Saturday, May 23, 2015

#1373: Jerry Bergevin

Jerry Bergevin enjoyed a brief stint in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012, and although he managed to do only a limited amount of actual damage, he sure tried to present himself as the dumbest wingnut in any state house in the US. In 2011, for instance, he submitted to the NH legislature what may very well be the dumbest piece of legislation submitted the last 50 years; the proposed bill adds the following to the state law:

Theory of Evolution. Require evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.

The language is illuminating in quite a number of ways. First, Bergevin apparently think of it as some kind of gotcha, for in Bergevin’s mind biology is all about theology, and evolution = atheism. And Marxism. And probably radical Islam as well. Second, and this is a standard cognitive obstacle, wingnut (and moonbat) ideologists are often unable to perceive the difference between science and politics – acceptance of scientific theories and rejections of others is not a matter of evidence but tribalism, and which scientific theories should be included in science education should be determined in part by the scientists’ views on economy and social issues. Third, and relatedly, people like Bergevin have a tendency to view science as a leftist plot – especially when they don’t like the conclusions; and since they fail to understand the significance of evidence, the science can equally be dismissed on political grounds.

Indeed, Bergevin emphasized that he didn’t get it: “I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It’s a worldview and it’s godless,” said Bergevin, and blamed the acceptance of evolution for the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the 1999 Columbine shooting.

He wasn’t alone in the NH legislature; another creationist bill, inspired by the Academic Freedom strategy and barely coherent, was introduced by Gary Hopper and John Burt, and is described here and here. “My taxpayer dollars pay science teachers to teach science, not philosophy. Let’s hope lawmakers don’t try to get in the way,” said the good New Hampshire legislators. Fortunately neither bill was successful.

In 2012 Bergevin introduced a bill that would mandate the teaching of the Bible in public schools. He didn’t appreciate the NH legislature’s approval of marriage equality either, declaring that they “just legalized the rectum as a sexual organ” (yes, you ought to think about how silly that statement is for a second) and warning “Christian citizens of the United States” that “Opposition to the Homosexual/Lesbian Political Agenda will be met with every and all conceivable actions be it criminal or even out and out murder to accomplish the complete suppression of your rights in our new world order. (P.S. Armageddon is the cure for the Homosexual/Lesbian pathology including every other vice & sin. – & may God bring it on‼!”

There’s gotta be something in the water in New Hampshire – their state legislature consistently appears to be (possibly) the most batshit crazy in the US, and that takes some effort.

Diagnosis: This will continue as long as certain people (apparently) view mindrot as a positive quality in the people they elect to legislative bodies. Bergevin never got a second term, but at least he used what he did get to show everyone his lack of reasoning abilities, critical thinking skills and aptitude for facts and evidence. 


  1. To be even crazier then the Texas Legislature is HELL of a trick!

  2. The New Hampshire state legislature is one of the largest Anglophone legislative bodies in the world (behind the Parliaments of the UK and India as well as the US Congress), and it has a majority of Republicans in both houses. There's also the issue of adherents to the Free State Project flocking over to NH in droves. Of course it's got a bunch of bugfuck insane people.