Say Rush Holt isn’t retiring, please

One of our precious rare godless representatives is retiring from office. And unsurprisingly, it turns out that he speaks with the voice of reason on his way out the door. He has an interview on Salon in which he exhibits an appropriate on science.

I am not saying that scientists are smarter or wiser than other folks. But there are habits of mind: you know, a deep appreciation of evidence; an ability to deal with probability and statistics, to be alert to cognitive biases and tricks that our minds play on ourselves; … a willingness to accept tentative conclusions and accept … the uncertainty of these scientific conclusions — not as reason for inaction, but a way of finding the best path forward …

You know, if we had a few hundred Rush Holts scrambling for high office, rather than a mob of incompetent teabaggin’ idjits getting elected, I’d have a lot more optimism for this country and humanity in general. But instead we get Ted Cruz, Steve King, Paul Broun, Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, Tom Coburn, Louie Gohmert, Eric Cantor…jebus, stop me before I die of terminal cynicism.


  1. athiestprogrammer says


    Don’t be so negative!

    I admire Rush Holt’s stint in congress.

    More non-politicians should do their civic duty and put
    a term or two in congress, then go back to their actual
    life rather than diving into the vile lobbyist swamp.

    So what do you say, PZ?

    Be the next scientist congressman!

    I for one would contribute generously to your campaign…



  2. futurechemist says

    I quite liked Holt when I lived in his district a few years back. There aren’t nearly enough people in Congress with science degrees, let along a PhD (Holt is a PhD physicist)

  3. says

    We would have more such people running for office if we had more support for such people running for office.

    Does anyone know of a secular group dedicated to electing non-believers to office? Something like the Victory Fund, which supports LGBT candidates for office, or EMILY’S List, which supports women? If there isn’t one yet, I think it is high time that something like that got started, and I’d be happy to put in some time and money to bring it into existence.

  4. flex says

    athiestprogrammer wrote @2,

    More non-politicians should do their civic duty and put a term or two in congress,….

    As the major sources of money for campaigns are from lobbyists…, well, you can do the math.

    But I’d throw some money at a secular group dedicated to electing non-believers to office. I don’t have much time to spare, but I could afford to donate.

  5. tbrandt says

    Everything you said about Rush is correct, apart from the “godless” part. He is a wonderful congressman and has taken the right stand (from my sciencey, far-left perspective) on nearly every issue. He is also a Quaker, not an atheist (thought it is possible that he is a non-theist Quaker; according to Wikipedia such people are more common than I’d guessed). I’ll refrain from labeling Rush as godless until and unless he chooses such a label for himself.

  6. says

    Hah. Yeah, I could see the people in my district, who voted for Romney last election, and McCain before that, voting for me in any position.

  7. says

    I was sad to learn this last week because I lived in Rush Holt’s district for several years back when I was at a cancer center in NJ. Then I moved back to Michigan, and I have a Tea Party wingnut as my Representative. I miss Rush (Holt, that is).

  8. kreativekaos says

    Yes,.. so true–the quote and the overall post. I’m in depressed agreement.

  9. DrVanNostrand says

    @2 and @PZ
    If my Wikipedia skills are up to par, it looks like the Morris congressman is something like a 20 year incumbent in a R+5 district. PZ will pretty much have to wait for him to retire or die to even compete in a DFL primary.