Maybe We Aren’t Evolving After All

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…..


  1. First, Merry Christmas everyone.

    Nobody in their right mind cares a bit about Trump’s Tweets but Congress is a different pile of poop. The question is never far from my mind – Ignorance or merely having sold their souls?

    Such ignorance would be near impossible to obtain and difficult to maintain. It would require such selective exposure that it would be a full time effort.

    No, I vote for sold out. Lying in the face of America to keep their place at the trough.

    Ignorance is the role played by those who vote for them.

  2. It’s not “science denial” to question a scientific theory and to demand proof. That’s what science is all about. Science isn’t about getting a “consensus.”

    Anthropogenic global warming is based entirely on feeding select data into computer models. You have potential problems in the data fed in and the models. The notion that AGW is somehow like the theory of gravity (which Einstein successfully challenged…guess he didn’t know about the consensus in favor of Newton) or evolution is nonsense.

    As far as the difference between weather and climate, I see that alarmists have no problem whatsoever using weather when it supports their AGW theory.

    The sad part is that we have allowed science to become politicized. Our scientists should never become involved in promoting political causes. It inevitably affects the objectivity of their work.

  3. Paul Ogden – It is NOT science to question a scientific theory and demand proof. It is science to question a hypothesis and demand proof. A scientific theory is one that has become so accepted because the proof is already abundant that it is generally no longer challenged. Yes, one can still challenge it, but only if coming forth with new and extraordinary information. It is not science to demand that a scientist stop actual research, not because you’ve come up with an extraordinary challenge to relativity, but because you don’t understand it. This is particularly true if you’ve done exactly zero research of your own, but you’re acting like a 5 year old and answering every explanation with, “but why?” Or, even worse, if you’re filling yourself with self-selected ignorance and then demanding that the scientist prove why E=mc2 when you read in a comic book published by the Society for Interstellar Spirit and Love Travel that said everybody’s E is different, because we’re all inhabited by unique souls of long-dead alien bats.

  4. Actually, David, those who challenge AGW have been very specific in the problems with the theory. For example, the fact that atmospheric temperatures have not risen nearly as much as surface temperatures, which is inconsistent with a greenhouse warming. Another fact – increases in CO2 in the atmosphere trail by several hundred years increases in temperatures. That’s just a couple examples.. AGW has been questioned on a wide assortment of fronts.

    The alarmists response when the theory is questioned? They generally know very little about the theory and can’t actually argue it. They instead simply yell louder and louder that there is a consensus behind AGW and it can’t be questioned. The alarmists’ lack of scientific knowledge about the science behind AGW is remarkable.

  5. I don’t know any thing about the theory stuff that Paul and David are talking about. But, I did visit Glacier Park last year and saw pictures of what the glaciers looked like 50 years ago and where they are today (last year) and something has made them disappear way up the valley.

  6. So Sheila starts a list of unfortunates who serve as examples of foolishness, and Paul raises his hand and shouts “include me!” Weighing in shows that he has a practiced his litany, but hasn’t read a single serious bit of anything but ideological crap about the subject. Meanwhile, the journals and the evidence continues to accumulate on an hourly basis, along with rising tides and falling glaciers. Have you even made a movement toward checking out the recent Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change report or a single serious article, Paul? Accusing the scientists of politicization just doesn’t wash. A rational route would be much more successful.

  7. Beware, David and Stuart, that’s one of Karl Rove’s old tricks and a very good trick it is: get them to argue about the argument so there’s little discussion for substance. Fox News has made a fortune using it to captivate its audience by feeding to their fixed mindsets. It’s a very effective rhetorical tool and I often fall into its snare. However, thanks to each of you, I’m armed with a bit more reason in my pouch.

    The only real defense against that Karl Rove trick is to argue the specific results from the components which cause global climate change such as the deadly air we breathe and the poisoned water we drink. And then let them defend their harmless fossil fuels one by one. They know this – that’s the reason for dismantling the EPA.

  8. While I didn’t understand all of the technicalities in “An Inconvenient Truth”; I did gain a great deal of knowledge about Climate Change and Global Warming and the evidence it is escalating. The films, photos, maps, charts, etc., do not require a rocket scientist to see the changes world-wide in the environment and understand the dangers that lie ahead. I suggested before that people watch that old movie, “Soylent Green”; while it is science fiction and the Global Warming results portrayed are drastic, it does give us food for thought regarding possibilities of a future with no future. We don’t need higher education to remember the winter we suffered through here last year or the never before “storms of the century” that hit major northeast coastal cities for the first time in history. There are also more eatrhquakes reported in areas never before affected (Washington, D.C.); also sink holes which cannot be explained such as the major one in Louisiana. The hazard of nuclear runoff from the major earthquakes and storms in Japan are not confined to that country. Ignoring facts doesn’t change them nor does it make them go away.

  9. Shame on those scientists for providing “scientific” proof of global warming, and shame on those environmentalists for being concerned about the rapidly melting glaciers, and shame on those of us who studied science in school. Who would have guessed that we were being fed falsehoods in a classroom?

    Finally, I thank God that I do not watch Fox news or listen to any of the ridiculous propaganda from Americans for Prosperity or any of the other Koch Bros.’ self-serving organizations. All they do is destroy any brain cells that their listeners’ may have had before they tuned in.

  10. Thanks for the warning note, Phil. And despite a few comments from the bottom of the barrel, there are a number of other excellent observations which provided a very nice contrast. And Nancy, excellent point. Misery is what you get for knowing stuff.

  11. The science that proves anthropogenic global warming is older than I by a couple of decades and I’m old. It’s straightforward and pretty basic physics.

    The last few decades have been invested in climate science to improve our ability to predict the future weather consequences of certain global warming caused by dumping fossil fuel waste back into the atmosphere. Back where it came from during the times when fossil fuels were initially buried. And the climate was hot. Guess what? It’s causing the world to act like it did the other time all of that carbon was in the atmosphere.

    But, the fossil fuel industry is not going quietly into that goodnight that would avoid the worse of the consequences. So they provide the pseudoscience for those who will settle for it that creates the illusion of uncertain science. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

    So, we all have a choice. Proven science or brand marketed pseudoscience. The former necessary for our economic survival and the latter a guarantee of an unaffordable future.

    Take your pick.

  12. NASA has a website that provides some useful data and information about climate change. The argument that climate has always changed and that temperatures have fluctuated are true as far as they go. But the levels of GHG in our atmosphere has never been higher as demonstrated by direct measurements and indirect measurements from ice cores that are thousands of years old.

    Another factor that the deniers ignore is that the earth has never had 9 billion people before; our cities and coasts have never been developed to the extent that they are today. The effects of climate change will be more dramatic because it will impact so many people (structures, agriculture, more). Look back even a few hundred years at the world population and the development that took place before the advent of new technology and climate change would impact a tiny percentage of today’s population.

    Maybe we can expect some action from our congress when Donald Trump’s beach house is in imminent danger.

  13. The scorecard. The earth doesn’t care. Life will survive even though the sixth great extinction of species is predicted. Only the civilization infrastructure to support 7 billion people will be seriously impacted. Nobody knows what world population the new climate that we create will support because nobody knows when we will stop making it worse.

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