A glossary of scientific terms as compiled by the GOP candidates

August 31, 2011

This is a piece I posted over at the Awl last week:

Recently, several GOP presidential candidates have been quite vocal with their opinions on evolution vs. intelligent design. If Rick Perry sees evolution as a theory with "some gaps in it" and Michele Bachmann maintains that there can be "reasonable doubt on both sides" and Ron Paul, as a creationist, simply "doesn't accept" evolution occurred, you may well be curious about how they view other scientific theories and phenomena. Here's a primer we recently uncovered!

Gravity: The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or the weight pressed upon each of us by a thousand angels sitting on our heads? You decide.

Centripetal force: Some say this force is what makes a body follow a curved path, but there’s enough reasonable doubt out there to allow for another theory, which is that God’s just giving you a great big hug.

The Law of Conservation of Mass: Proof that abortion is wrong.

Periodic table: You may have been led to believe that the periodic table is something a bunch of fancy pointy-headed scientists came up with, but deep down in their hearts, many know that it's actually a long-forgotten appendix to the Bible.

Plate tectonics: Large-scale motions of Earth's lithosphere or the Earth doing a happy dance to celebrate its creation? Both can be true.

Black holes: Baby Jesus' cute dimples.

Speed of light: Light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second—which, incidentally, is exactly the amount of time it takes a phone call from Earth to reach Heaven.

Thermodynamics: A branch of physics concerned with the complex effects of work, heat and energy on a system? Or is it God’s sweet warm breath? You're smart enough to know which one is right.

Theory of Relativity: None of our business.