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Anti-science? No surprise there.

Denying realityPaul Krugman had an editorial today in the New York Times about the decidedly anti-science bent of the Republican party… or at least of the current crop of candidates. John Huntsman seems to be the only candidate grounded in actual scientific reality at the moment. Romney was, too, but now he’s hedging.

When it comes to science, Republicans seem to have no problem with things like atomic theory, gravitational theory, germ theory, physics, chemistry, etc. The problem is just when it comes to science that reaches conclusions that don’t mesh well with their ideology (or the ideology of their base). The obvious mentions are evolution and climate change, both of which are supported by an astounding amount of evidence, yet both of which cause Republicans some discomfort; one on political note and one on a theological note. But rather than acting responsibly and dealing with the reality the science represents, they attack the science or the scientists or the data or (more often) the make-believe stories conjured up as easily-attackable straw men.

Sadly, Huntsman is way behind in the polls, so that leaves either the outright anti-science group or Romney, who has, in a politically stereotypical move, hedged his bets on science in an attempt to placate the Republican base. That leaves the party with pretty lame options. As Krugman says in his editorial…

So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.

Phil Plait, on his Bad Astronomy blog, follows up on Krugman’s piece with a few more details on some of the candidates, and with this thought…

[Huntsman] recently said he thinks both evolution and global warming are real. This makes me sad, and scared. Why? Because this statement is considered bold.

How can it be bold to accept reality, to not deny the overwhelming evidence, and to agree with the vast, vast majority of scientists studying the very topics of discussion?

Huntsman wants his party not to be "the antiscience party". But that shouldn’t be bold. That should be common sense.

It should be common sense. Sadly, for most of the Republican presidential candidates, it seems to be neither common nor sensible.

4 Comments

  1. Thomas Shafer says:

    Dan, I don’t know whether to laugh at your citation of that moron Paul “Let’s spend our way into prosperity” Krugman, or point out your own ideological tone-deafness (oops – there I did) about climate science. In case you haven’t noticed lately, one block after another in the anthropogenic climate-change science foundation has crumbled. Let me just cite a few examples: (1) Scientific American just published an article revealing that deep ocean currents around Iceland have been discovered which make the North Atlantic “less sensitive to climate change than previously thought” – there goes the conveyor belt theory; (2) Yahoo News – NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 shows that the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than computer models created by Briffa et al, have predicted – there goes the greenhouse effect theory; (3) CERN – results of the CLOUD Experiment confirms cosmic rays do influence climate change – something the ‘deniers’ have been pointing out for some time. (4) I love this one: Charles Monnett, of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, is under investigation of “integrity issues” related to his research of polar bear mortality related to the lack of sea ice and global warming – it’s looking like he faked the research.
    I say when in doubt, always follow the money: According to the Science & Public Policy Institute, the U.S. government has spent over $79 BILLION since 1989 on policies related to climate change. Compare that with, say, Exxon-Mobil, which is repeatedly attacked for paying a grand total of $23 million to “skeptics.”
    The “consensus” has blown away with the wind. Thank goodness John Huntsman is way down in the poles. And Romney just says whatever he thinks will get him elected. Americans won’t be fooled anymore.

    1. Dan says:

      I don’t have an opinion of Krugman’s economics one way or the other, but in this case, he wasn’t writing about economic issues. Perhaps you didn’t read the op-ed, which shouldn’t really surprise me since you obviously haven’t really read any of the studies that you’re holding up as evidence for being foundation-crumblers of climate change science. If you had, you’d know that not a single one of them refutes the existing evidence. From citing a preliminary, unverified study to completely misunderstanding the actual issue (regarding Charles Monnett, whose investigation had nothing to do with scientific data), you’ve once again completely misrepresented (whether intentionally or simply through ignorance) the issues.

      In fact, the lead author of the cosmic ray study said, “[The paper] actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it’s a very important first step.” But I guess what the studies ACTUALLY say doesn’t really matter to you as long as you can somehow twist things around to spread your politically-inspired, non-scientific misinformation.

      I find it interesting that you’ll take a single researcher’s preliminary results and somehow interpret them as unequivocal refutation of thousands of well-established studies by hundreds of climate scientists over a couple decades. …and you call ME ideological about climate science. Seriously?

      Of course, since you seem to come here, spout off your misinformation, and never come back to address any responses, I’ve no doubt wasted my time again by responding. It’s almost as if you’re taking pride in your unwillingness to educate yourself on the issue.

  2. Mike says:

    “Americans won’t be fooled anymore.”

    And yet here we are…

  3. Craig says:

    *interweaves fingers and cracks knuckles*

    Where to begin? I’m fighting my internal monologue that’s tellng me to debate Thomas point by point. Oh, what the hell…

    1) The discovery of deep currents that make the planet, “less sensitive to climate change than previously thought”, is a good thing. That doesn’t mean global warming is not happening. Less sensitive does not mean, stopping it from occuring. It means…wait for it…LESS sensitive. Kinda’ like a plane that is missing 25% of it’s left wing, it’s less sensitive to falling than a plane missing 100% of both wings…but it’s still falling.
    2)Far more greenhouse gasses escape than first thought? Again, if true, great! That doesn’t mean that there is no evidence of ANY greenhouse effect.
    3)Cosmic rays contribute to global warming. I’ll accept that (without looking) as fact. That doesn’t mean that man isn’t accelerating the effects of global warming. I’m unfamiliar with this style of debate reasoning, “it happens naturally so we (humans) shouldn’t have to limit our impact on the environment when it is within our power to do so”?
    4)I think it’s safe to say we can all google a story to support any cause. It’s also important to put that story in a marginally objective context.
    This is no joke, I just googled the following off of the top of my head:”roman catholics are space aliens”. I got this as a top 10 search result:
    “ROMAN CATHOLIC SPACE ALIENS!!
    Wannabe/Newbie Anglican ^ | 9/07/2006 | Mark Marshall”

    Upon actually READING the article I found that it is a joke. But if I quickly googled it just to make a fast debate point without thoroughly reading it I might have made myself look rediculous and misinformed…like Thomas’ fourth point.

    What Thomas failed to note from his google search is the following:

    “…the 2006 article wasn’t framed in the context of climate change but was relevant to the topic.

    She (Monnett’s wife , who is a respected scientist) feared what happened to Monnett would send a “chilling message” at the agency just as important oil and gas development decisions in the Arctic will soon be made.

    “I don’t believe the timing is coincidental,” she said.

    Monnett’s work included identifying questions that needed to be answered to inform the environmental analyses the agency must conduct before issuing drilling permits.”

    You were right Thomas, follow the money.

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