Saturday, September 27, 2014

#1163: Mark Souder

Mark Edward Souder was the Republican Representative from Indiana from 1995 to 2010 – he resigned from Congress after admitting to an affair with one of his part-time female staff members, and is as such relatively neutralized by now. But he won’t easily be forgotten, at least not by those of us who care for reason, truth, science and accountability. Souder is a truly fanatical religious fundie, which was amply displayed in his political positions (on the US’s Israel policy he said that “[T]he bottom line is, they’re God’s chosen people. He’s going to stand with them. The question is: Are we going to stand with them?” which is not a particularly fruitful point of departure for foreign policy decisions), and he got out of the Vietnam draft by applying for non-combatant status on religious grounds (though he was not opposed to other people fighting and dying, of course).

For those who care about reason and truth, Souder is probably most infamous for his support for creationists and creationism and for being a staunch ally of the Discovery Institute. In particular, Souder was heavily involved in trying to make a scandal over the Richard Sternberg affair (also here). Together with Discovery ally Rick Santorum Souder put out a report, the contents of which are simply not supported by any evidence, as part of a PR campaign for Sternberg, the Discotute, and the idea that Intelligent Design advocates – including themselves – are victims of discrimination (again, the details are here).

As for solo stunts, Souder is on the record saying that “I personally believe that there is no issue more important to our society than intelligent design. I believe that if there wasn’t a purpose in designing you – regardless of who you view the designer as being – then, from my perspective, you can’t be fallen from that design. If you can’t be fallen from that design, there’s no point to evangelism,” which may or may not be correct but is in any case rather entirely irrelevant to the science of biology. It is also one of the most blatant arguments from wishful thinking to the falsity of evolution (which Souder indeed took to be the conclusion) we have seen in a while.

He doesn’t like gays either, because he is a “family values guy”.

Diagnosis: Religious fundie denialist. He seems to be more or less out of the picture now, but he should really never have come anywhere near any position of power at all in the first place.

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