All I want for Christmas is a little science literacy.
This is the season for lists, and Mother Jones recently ran a list of the dumbest science deniers of 2014.
Topping that list was Donald Trump, who may well be the most ludicrous and least self-aware person on the planet. Trump (who regularly takes to Twitter to embarrass himself) responded to freezing temperatures in parts of the country as evidence that “this very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop.”
Umm…Donald, there is a difference between weather and climate. Look it up.
The Donald also joined the anti-vaxxers, pointing to the thoroughly debunked link between autism and vaccination, and–to top it off– insisted that we shouldn’t allow those doctors and nurses who had been selflessly tending to Ebola patients back in the country. The tweet:”People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences.”
We can laugh at Trump (most people do), but far more portentous than the nattering of an ignorant, narcissistic billionaire is the ongoing attack on sound science from Congress. That attack is genuine cause for concern.
Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas took his opposition to basic science straight to the source: The grant-writing archives of the National Science Foundation. In an unprecedented violation of the historic firewall between the lawmakers who set the NSF’s budget and the top scientists who decide where to direct it, Smith’s researchers pulled the files on at least 47 grants that they believed were not in the “public interest.” Some of the biggest-ticket projects they took issue with related to climate change research; the committee apparently intended to single out these projects as examples of the NSF frittering money away on research that won’t come back to benefit taxpayers. The investigation is ongoing, and the precedent it sets—that scientific research projects are only worthwhile if they directly benefit the American economy—is unsettling….
Science denial on Capitol Hill is set to get even crazier next year. When Democrats (and environmentalists) got a sound whooping in the midterm elections, a new caucus of climate change-denying senators swept in. Almost every new Republican senator has taken a position against mainstream climate science, ranging from hardline denial to cautious skepticism. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the incoming majority leader, has vowed to make forcing through an approval of the Keystone XL pipeline his top agenda item in the new year; he also wants to block the Obama administration’s efforts to reign in carbon pollution from coal plants. And the incoming chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is none other than James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who actually believes that global warming is a hoax orchestrated by Barbra Streisand. You can’t make this stuff up.
Maybe evolution is more selective than we thought…..