NASA

Will a Republican Congress Knock Science Back Into the Stone Age?

Predicting the effect of a victory for the G.O.P. "know-nothing flat-earthers" on science policy

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In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama famously promised to "restore science to its rightful place." Now liberals fear that a Republican landslide in next week's congressional mid-term elections will knock science back into the Stone Age, if not the Jurassic. For example, Chris Mooney, author The Republican War on Science, fearfully warns in the New Scientist that the "Tea Party [is] luring U.S. into adventures in irrationality." With a Progressive's usual regard for rationality and rhetorical restraint, Pulitzer Prize-winning left-leaning commentator Cynthia Tucker blogs over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that "the GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers."

Are they right? Let's take a brief tour of how Republican science committee ranking members have voted on various science-informed policy issues. These members, who will likely become the powerful chairs of the relevant science committees, will be in charge of any hearings on science policy and steering any science and research related legislation in the next session. If the Republicans achieve a majority in the House of Representatives, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) will become chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) will head up the House Committee on Science and Technology. Over in the Senate, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) will become chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) will chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard, and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will lead the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space.  

For this exercise, I will chiefly rely on data supplied by the non-partisan website On The Issues which reports votes by politicians on a wide variety of legislation. Like most politicians, these members of the House or the Senate evidently believe that it is the role of government to fund scientific research, which means the best indicator we have about their views on science is what science the government should fund.

Human embryonic stem cell research: Barton, who has a strong pro-life voting record, voted against banning stem cell research and for expanding stem cell research funding. Hall voted against both. Bailey Hutchison also voted for stem cell research funding, as did Snowe. Vitter voted against stem cell research funding. Rough total: 3 to 2 for stem cell research. Interestingly, On The Issues reports that Snowe voted against a ban on human cloning while Bailey Hutchison voted for it back in 1998.

NASA and commercial space flight: In 2004, Barton and Hall both voted to promote commercial space flight; specifically, they voted for the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act. Oddly, On The Issues reports that Vitter voted for the Act, but does not mention that it passed the Senate via unanimous consent which would mean that Snowe and Bailey Hutchison were for it too. More recently, the Senate passed by unanimous consent the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 which, among other things, moves NASA somewhat in the direction of using private space launch services. Both Barton and Hall voted against for the bill. Vote total: 3 to 2 5 for space privatization.*

Energy policy: Barton and Hall both voted against bills that aimed to extend various renewable energy production tax credits, federal subsidies for biofuels, and raise corporate average fuel economy standards. They voted for maintaining oil and gas exploration subsidies, lifting the moratorium on offshore oil drilling, permitting oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and permitting the construction of new oil refineries.

Different energy-related bills came up in the Senate. Like her House colleagues, Bailey Hutchison voted against extending tax credits to renewable energy producers, and for maintaining oil and gas exploration subsidies. She also favored opening up ANWR to oil leasing. Way back in 1999, Bailey Hutchison voted against a proposed increase in federal solar and other renewable energy research funding and she supported creating a nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Vitter's votes were essentially the same, except that he was not in the Senate when the Yucca Mountain bill came up. However, Vitter later supported opening Yucca Mountain. For her part, Snowe voted for extending renewable energy tax credits, against maintaining oil and gas exploration subsidies, against oil leasing in ANWR, and for funding renewable energy research, and for the Yucca Mountain waste depository. Rough vote: 4 against renewable energy subsidies, 1 for; and 4 for fossil fuel subsidies and 1 against.

But before moving on, let's not forget the geological insight demonstrated by Rep. Barton. Earlier this spring at a hearing Congressman Barton apparently thought he'd stumped our Nobel Prize–winning Energy Secretary Steven Chu with the question of how did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean? Sigh.

Climate change and carbon rationing: Both Barton and Hall voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act which would have established a cap-and-trade carbon rationing scheme that aimed to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020. On the Senate side of the Capitol, both Bailey Hutchison and Vitter voted for measures that stymied a vote on cap-and-trade legislation in that body. Both also voted against a measure that would have required the Army Corps of Engineers to include the consideration of global climate change in planning and feasibility studies. Snowe voted for introducing cap-and-trade legislation for consideration and for factoring global climate change into federal project planning. Vote total: 4 to 1 against carbon rationing.

However, climate change science occupies a special category of policy hell. Back in 2006, Barton hauled various climate scientists up to Capitol Hill where he questioned them about their work. He especially focused on the notorious "hockey stick" graph created by climatologist Michael Mann. Mann used a variety of proxy indicators to suggest that the last few decades are the hottest in the last 1,000 years. Barton will no doubt enthusiastically support Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) threat to hold investigative hearings on "Climategate" at the Oversight Committee. Any scientific misbehavior needs to be reprimanded, but the show trial nature of congressional hearings make them particularly ill-suited forums for airing and resolving scientific disputes.

The balance of the evidence is that the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing the average temperature of the globe. The real question is what, if anything, public policy should do about the situation. Keep in mind that the Democrats, who controlled both houses of Congress for the past two years, couldn't get carbon rationing passed. So the status quo remains the same: no carbon rationing schemes will make it through Congress in the next session.

Nevertheless, politicians on both sides of the aisle will probably want to appear to being doing something about climate change, so they will likely adopt the growing bipartisan consensus in favor of spending tens of billions on green energy research and development. Both Republicans and Democrats will favor this approach because it avoids the gnarly problem that carbon rationing necessarily pushes up the prices that voters pay for electricity and gasoline. This compromise also offers the delicious political benefit of allowing members of Congress to shower favored constituencies with vote-currying cash.

So if Republicans in the next Congress follow the lead of their science committee chairs, how will science policy likely fare? Stem cell research will be left alone; commercial space exploitation will be encouraged; and energy subsidies will continue but be divvied up differently. (Here's a thought: Liberals rightly hate fossil fuel subsidies, and conservatives properly disdain renewable energy subsidies. So why not a bipartisan compromise eliminating all energy subsidies? A man can dream.) Climate policy will remain status quo ante, i.e., nothing will be done.

Republicans may be a bunch of irrational flat-earthers, but it looks like it will be pretty much business-as-usual next session when it comes to science policy.

*Zachary Kurz,Republican Communications Director, for the House Committee on Science and Technology tells me that I didn't look far enough in sleuthing out the ultimate votes on this bill. He informs me that Barton and Hall voted for the Senate version. I regret the error.

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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389 responses to “Will a Republican Congress Knock Science Back Into the Stone Age?

  1. Progressives are in despair over what congressional Republican flat-earthers might do to science policy if they take over the House and Senate next week.

    That’s enough to vote TeamRed right there!

    1. Yeah,

      When progressives express “despair over what congressional Republican flat-earthers might do to science policy if they take over the House and Senate next week.

      Their real fear is that pseudo scientific babbling won’t be able to justify federal power grabs and pork barrel spending.

      Fuck Them!

  2. The “Progressives” I know tend to be quite ignorant about science. Oh, yes, they believe in evolution, but mostly because people they agree with tell them it’s so, not because they actually understand the theory (disclaimer, I don’t understand it either having taken no more biology than I had to meet course requirements. I do, however, accept that it is likely the best explanation about how life developed).

    Those who are not ignorant do not usually hew to the Green agenda that seems to be all the rage on the left.

    1. Most people are quite ignorant about science. However, the “progressives” do laughably tell themselves that they’re not.

      1. Hey, they have the Center for “Science” in the “Public Interest”. How much more science-ey can you get?

        1. I imagine “Center for Science in the Public Interest” is a verbal construction similar to “Holy Roman Empire”(neither “Holy” nor “Roman” nor an “Empire”).

          1. +1 pi2

      2. I don’t think it can be attributed to any political stripe. Mr. Bailey also seems to have fallen victim to credentialism.

        But before moving on, let’s not forget the geological insight demonstrated by Rep. Barton. Earlier this spring at a hearing Congressman Barton apparently thought he’d stumped our Nobel Prize?winning Energy Secretary Steven Chu with the question of how did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean? Sigh.

        Barton did stump Chu, his response was nonsense. When the oil formed in Alaska it was pretty much where it is today but much warmer.

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/05/03/is-chu-for-real/

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/0…..etary-chu/

        1. Global Moving.

        2. GF: You’re right that Northern Alaska was just a few degrees further south during the Cretaceous but Co2 averaged more than 600 ppm compared to pre-industrial 280 ppm.

          1. Ron,

            Red herring. The issue you are attempting to avoided is the fact that Chu’s response was nonsense and that Barton caught him in his ignorance. The reference to Chu’s Nobel prize was an appeal to authority. A Nobel prize does not make someone an expert at everything.

            CO2 concentration as a main driver of climate doesn’t hold over geological time.

            http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

            Also, as the ice cores show CO2 trails temperature on average by 800 years. The science I learned cause always comes before effect. This is consistent with the fact that the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with increasing temperature. Which is evident for anybody who has opened a warm can of soda.

            1. “A nobel prize does not make someone an expert on everything.”

              But it does make you an expert on some things. Example: Obama.

            2. AGW is bullshit and Bailey can’t seem to figure it out. The concept of which came first, warmer temperatures or higher CO2 levels, is beyond his comprehension.

            3. GF: As I understood the Congressional colloquy, Barton was hinting at the point that the oil was formed when the North Slope was a much warmer river delta complex millions of years ago (hinting because he didn’t say it). In any case, your links and comments made me scrounge about a bit online to see what geologists think actually happened and it certainly included tectonic plate movements briefly cited by Chu (see a popular description of this process at GEOTIMES).

              As for your point that warming precedes CO2 increase–as I understand it, the current view is that orbital changes begin to increase warmth and CO2 is released from warming waters which then synergistically produces further warming. If this is so, then warming followed by CO2 increases followed by further warming is a feedback loop.

              Finally, did I mention that Congressional show trials, uh, hearings, are bad forums for resolving scientific disputes?

              1. Sorry Ron but your cite is lacking anything of significance. The oil is not old enough to be the result of tectonic plate movements. Chu has no expertise in geology and should have just said he didn’t know the answer. Did Barton set him up? Sure he did. Barton wanted to see if Chu would play politics masquerading as science and Chu obliged. It is the sad state of climate science that anything that could possible call into question the orthodoxy is ignored. It is also sad that someone as bright as Chu is unable to admit his limitations. One thing is certain, the herd mentality that Thomas Gold spoke about is still part of the scientific community.

                Dinosaur bones from Alaska are found in rocks that are 68 to 100 million years old. Alaska over that time period ranged to about 30 degrees south of the pole to maybe 5 degrees. There is no question that the Cretaceous period was much warmer then it is now and the poles were free of ice. A fact that Chu was obviously unaware of.

                If this is so, then warming followed by CO2 increases followed by further warming is a feedback loop.

                It would be a positive feedback. Anybody who has any experience with systems that have positive feedback knows one thing for certain. They are unstable. The problem with the orbital changes is they are only 21 and 41 thousand year cycles where the geologic climate shifts last millions of years. It is all a lot of arm waving but it does get to the fundamental question.

                CO2 is a greenhouse gas. To that there is no debate. A doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels with no feedback would increase the temperature 1 degree C. Again, there is no debate. The issue is the feedback. All the climate models assume that the feedback is positive. There is no evidence that that is the case. You can search the IPCC documents and you will not find any proof based on real data that supports a positive feedback mechanism. There is likely feedback in the system but the reality is we don’t even know the sign (whether the feedback is positive or negative). The whole edifice of global warming is based on this unproven assumption.

    2. We get a choice between idiots who don’t understand science but accept it as faith, and idiots who don’t understand faith, but accept it as science.

      Yay two party system!

      1. I’ve never heard it put that way… profound!!

        1. Science with religion is blind, religion without science is lame.

      2. Excellent!

      3. That was good.

    3. To many people, Science is a belief system, not a way of collecting and evaluating information. They learn catechisms taught by wise men from old writings, and parrot them to others without reflection or validation (and, in most cases, without keeping those beliefs current). It isn’t science so much as applying ordinary human religious tendencies to scientific knowledge and institutions.

      1. Yes, we’ve gone from abject, unquestioning reverence for men in funny hats to abject, unquestioning reverence for men in lab coats. I suppose the sheep can’t be happy just thinking for themselves.

        1. It truths so bad it hurts!

    4. Very good post.

  3. I’ve read the Tao of Physics twice that makes me more than qualified to be an arbiter of Correct Science.

    1. It’s “The Correct Science”.

  4. God bless America — and I’m saying it as an atheist — since it’s the only country in the world where a major political party opposes the global warming hysteria.

    Ron Brownstein points out the truly unique nature of the Republican Party’s climate change skepticism:

    Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.

    Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”

    1. What are you taking this as evidence of, exactly?

      Think the American GOP is right and everyone else in the world is wrong?

      It’s possible. And Jesus may one day return to earth atop his trusty dinosaur.

      1. Thanks to the US Republican party the entire world is saved from wasting trillions of dollars on the modern-day Lysenkoism.

        1. Growing my company is not wasting trillions of dollars.

      2. What is the optimal global temperature? Please show you work.

        1. Your question is an admission that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          Simpler question: how likely is it that the American GOP is right on this scientific question and the rest of the planet, including the entire scientific community, is wrong?

          1. +1

            It’s amazing how much people on this site who have an admitted strong ideological basis to oppose global warming think any objective observer would find it more likely that they are correct about this issue than all of the major scientific organizations which have looked at it and concluded otherwise. Incredible.

            1. Re: MNG,

              It’s amazing how much people on this site who have an admitted strong ideological basis to oppose global warming[…] Incredible.

              What? Are you nuts? I am all FOR IT!!!!

              I am also for composition lessons. You know, to know how to compose sentences . . .

            2. All of the major scientific organizations looked at East Anglia’s work and said it’s peer reviewed so it must be so. That Mann has been proven to be a total fraud apparently doesn’t bother them.

              1. Yes James, the dozens of scientific professional organizations, with members from around the world working for a variety of organizations, all just took it as gospel because it was peer reviewed and now they know Mann to be a fraud and yet they still think that!

                Jesus, and you guys say the other side is credulous.

                1. So, you’re admitting Mann is a fraud?

                  1. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is unlikely that all of those organizations stake out their positions based on Mann’s work alone.

                    1. The whole peer review process was compromised. The organizations don’t want to admit that their systems aren’t perfect.

                    2. Only a person who knows next to nothing about the peer review process can say something so silly as “The whole peer review process was compromised.” There are literally hundreds of peer reviewed science journals with thousands of various editors and reviewers. Yeah James, “the whole peer review process” (WTF that means) was compromised…

                    3. Give it up, MNG. The only ones still holding to the bogus peer review standard of science are the global warming hoax deniers.

                    4. I haven’t had a science class in a while, but I think the scientific method is to form a hypothesis, test it and see if it works. I don’t remember anything about peer review being part of the scientific method.

                    5. It’s part of the validation process after you claim to (dis)proven your hypothesis.

                    6. Only a person who knows next to nothing about the peer review process can say something so silly as “The whole peer review process was compromised.”

                      Okay, let’s see what someone who does know a little more than nothing about the peer review process has to say.

                      http://moreintelligentlife.com…..ts-science

                      Most laymen probably assume that the 350-year-old institution of “peer review”, which acts as a gatekeeper to publication in scientific journals, involves some attempt to check the articles that see the light of day. In fact they are rarely checked for accuracy, and, as a study for the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think-tank, reported last year, “the data and computational methods are so seldom disclosed that post-publication verification is equally rare.”

                      Whooo. That rigorous testing and validation. You got’em there MNG.

                    7. Re: MNG,

                      What I do know is that it is unlikely that all of those organizations stake out their positions based on Mann’s work alone.

                      No. They also base it on the fact that they are more likely to get their grant money if they stick a big fat AGW label to their grant papers. So who cares if AGW is real or not if one can get to roll in the dough?

                    8. Oh of course OM, all those scientists from all of those various nations and organizations are all corrupted by the incentives to get government grants, while your motives are of course purely disinterested science…

                      This is paranoia bordering on mental illness…

                    9. You know how people are always suspicious of studies funded by businesses? How they always seem to come out with recommendations that favor the funding business?
                      Why is nobody ever suspicious when government-funded studies recommend increasing government power?

                    10. Not at all! They like using mountaineering magazines too!

            3. There are multiple issues.
              1) Is the globe warming? If not, then there is no issue.
              2) To what extent is the cause man-made? If to a minor extent, there is again little need for hysteria. The world is going thru one of its many climate change phases.
              3) Is this really undesirable. As some put it, what is the ideal global energy content? There are advantages to a warming climate.
              4) What should be done about it. I doubt massive governmental takeovers of global economies (directly or indirectly) is a terribly good idea in the long run, but that’s just me.

              1. I doubt massive governmental takeovers of global economies (directly or indirectly) is a terribly good idea in the long run, but that’s just me.

                What do you mean, a government takeover of the economic did wonders for the Aral Sea.

                Just think what it would do for the environment worldwide!

              2. There are multiple issues.
                1) Is the globe warming? If not, then there is no issue.

                Well, there is, and its getting worse by the day. It is also happening in very particular agreement with AGW theory, and in contradiction to hypothetical warming caused by other sources, such as the sun (which is in a cool phase anyway).

                2) To what extent is the cause man-made?

                As one leading climate scientist put it, the answer to this question is somewhere between 80% and 120%, by which he means to imply that it is equally likely that “natural” factors are offsetting some AGW as it is that they are adding to it.

                If to a minor extent, there is again little need for hysteria. The world is going thru one of its many climate change phases.

                Actually, this is incorrect. If GW is bad, it is bad, and we should prevent it regardless of the cause.

                3) Is this really undesirable. As some put it, what is the ideal global energy content? There are advantages to a warming climate.

                There are very few advantages, almost all of which have a direct opposing disadvantage (ie, nicer weather in Siberia offset by worse weather in the tropics). Numerous costs have no corresponding benefits at all, such as species loss, sea-level rise, increased extreme weather, increased severe draughts, and the general risk of things turning out far worse than we expect them to.

                4) What should be done about it. I doubt massive governmental takeovers of global economies (directly or indirectly) is a terribly good idea in the long run, but that’s just me.

                No such thing is needed. The primary cure to environmental issues that can’t be sorted out by privitization has been understood for many decades now: put a price on pollution. It’s not a big deal, folks, and is necessary for “markets” to have the correct price signals to respond to.

            4. … all of the major scientific organizations which have looked at it and concluded otherwise. Incredible.

              What is incredible is the appeal to authority. Think all those “major scientific organizations” actually pole the members to arrive at their position? If you do you would be wrong.

              http://www.belch.com/blog/2010…..g-a-fraud/

              1. Greg:

                Uh, you just appealed to authority…and not even a good one, but rather a single lone crank.

                You certainly get the *facepalm* of the day award so far.

          2. Re: Tony,

            [H]ow likely is it that the American GOP is right on this scientific question and the rest of the planet, including the entire scientific community, is wrong?

            The “entire planet”? “The entire scientific community”?

            FYI, a few enviro-wackos, rent-seekers, eleutherophobes and scientists on the dole are NOT either the “entire planet” or “the entire scientific community.”

            1. OM I will forgive this post as I am pretty sure you do not inhabit the same planet I do.

              1. Re: Tony,

                I will forgive this post as I am pretty sure you do not inhabit the same planet I do.

                Absolutely correct. In MY planet, nature is actually more powerful than man. You seem to live in Marvel-land.

                1. I’ll fix it.

                2. Let’s not forget Hal Lewis, Fellow of the American Physical Society, who resigned from APS after 67 years with this letter, which some have likened to the 95 Theses. That’s hyperbole but still – old goat certainly knows how to write a Fuck All Y’all letter.

                  But yeah, Tony, MNG – this idea that there’s a consensus among “real” scientists? Utter bullshit.

                  1. Oh, Stubby…one scientist? You found ONE? That has no expertise on the matter?

                    *facepalm*

                    *facepalm*

                    sigh…

                    1. Oh for fuck’s sake, grow up. Of course not. If you think Lewis is the only dissident, then you’re woefully uninformed.

                      And, by the way, I doubt your standing to judge Lewis’ expertise.

                    2. It’s no use, Stubby; he’s just a kid that learned from the blogosphere that if he types “facepalm” and “sigh” enough, we’ll all look like idiots somehow.

                      Thank you for Hal’s letter, though; it was an inspiring read that brightened my whole day 🙂

                    3. @Stubby
                      Saw that awhile back and wondered how many senior scientists it would take for tony and chad to listen to. I wonder if they even read it…..

                    4. Saw that awhile back and wondered how many senior scientists it would take for tony and chad to listen to. I wonder if they even read it…..

                      Let’s start with more than 10% of the total pool of relevant scientists, because there will alway be a handful of nutjobs on any issue who will put their politics before facts, even among scientists.

                      So far, you are losing something like 97-3. You’ve got a long way to go.

                    5. Science shouldn’t be determined on the basis of consensus. It is the AGW bunch who are putting politics above science. Why has the average temperature declined over the last 10 years as opposed to increasing as the AGW bunch predicted? It’s because there are other natural factors that are determining the temperatures and climate much more so than man’s puny contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere. Natural factors such as solar fluctuations, the earth’s orbit, cosmic rays, and ocean currents.

                    6. Global warming is causing global cooling except when its causing the warming, its now known as global climate disruption. And we know this because garbage in/garbage out computer models tell us so.

                    7. *facepalm*

                      *facepalm*

                      Chad’s face must be flat as a pancake by now.

                    8. So far, you are losing something like 97-3. You’ve got a long way to go.

                      And if scientific fact were a matter of popularity, I’d give a shit, but it’s not so I don’t. The warmists have a proven history of fraud, evasion, bad faith, collusion, spoilation of evidence and lack of evidence to overcome and so far they don’t seem up to it.

                      As others have pointed out, history’s trash heap is filled with scientific mumbo jumbo just as vigorously defended as holy writ in its day as AGW is in ours.

                      The difference, of course, is that scientists and politicians never figured out a way to milk tons of cash out of Piltdown Man or eugenics like they have AGW.

                    9. Actually, and you should know this, it only takes one counter example to disprove a “for all” statement, which is what you made.

                    10. Ever heard of the Oregon Petition? Over 31,000 scientists who disagree with AGW theory. But by all means continue believing every scientist agrees with Al Gore.

                3. Come on, you know that’s bullshit. If man works hard enough they can fuck up nature plenty.

                  An easy example would be nukes.

          3. “What is the optimal global temperature?” is not a scientific question.

            1. I mean the scientific question of whether global warming exists.

              1. You know, I’m perfectly happy to concede that the earth is probably warming. I’m even willing to allow that humankind is responsible for some (unknown) portion of that warming.

                I simply do not give a shit.

                1. Then you disagree with Phil Jones, who says the earth hasn’t warmed in fifteen years. Not that it matters, a warm Earth is a happy Earth.

                  1. Fifteen years is not enough time to establish a trend. The planet could cool over a fifteen year period and yet still warm over a much longer one.

                    Just as an exceptionally hot summer or a cold winter neither proves no disproves anything about GW.

                    That said, I tend to agnosticism on the subject.

                2. I simply do not give a shit.

                  Precisely! The single motivation for libertarian wankery. You people think it’s all contrarian and cute to make total self-interest the highest virtue–when in reality it’s just sociopathic douchebagery justifying itself with snake oil.

                  1. @Tony – I will take my well informed libertarian wankery over your …what the fuck are you again? any day of the week….

                  2. Tony, I don’t think that you get it at all. Libertarians don’t want to give up significant portions of their freedoms to the crisis du jour. Even when the crisis could be really bad, sometimes giving up freedom can be worse. You should read Anthony Burgess’s “The Wanting Seed.” Sure, it exposes some of Burgess’s homophobia, but it does make a good point about how horrible it would be to live in a world where the government controls most aspects of people’s lives to stave off environmental catastrophe, especially when the government’s efforts are mostly futile.

                    I believe that Global warming is happening and it is man made. However, I still believe that the costs of global warming are small enough not to warrant more government power. PLus, most effects lie beyond the time preference and investment in costly “solutions” will have negative economic effects which occur anytime the government encourages investment beyond the time preference. Also, I fail to see how most of the proposed government solutions will solve the problem.

                    IT seems to me that most of the technologies necessary to decrease CO2 output are on the way, but they are still too far off to be useful anytime soon. Windmill and solar panels require superconductors and carbon nanotubes to be truly useful, and we are already working on making those technologies cheaper. Massive government subsidy in green technology will not bring those technologies online any earlier. Basically, the government is going to use funds to build lots of symbolic power plants and windmills while renewables will remain a small percentage of our energy portfolio until those higher technologies see more breakthroughs.

                    THe private sector has been increasing efficiency of output for the last couple of hundred years. Year by year, every production process and consumer product has become more efficient thanks to the profit motive. It always makes me laugh when people hock products with a “green” label, as if without knowledge of the possibility of global warming the producers of consumer goods would produce the least efficient products in the least efficient way possible. Companies are basically doing the same thing that they have been doing all along, except now they slap the word “green” on their product and pretend to be socially conscious.

                  3. So, not wanting to surrender more of my economic liberty to demonstrably incompetent central planners, in order to combat a phenomenon that may turn out to have some mild bad effects in another fifty years — by which time I’ll probably be dead anyway — is “sociopathic douchebaggery”?

                    You’re a funny guy, Tony.

          4. Please validate your claim that “the entire scientific community” is on board with global warmism. Again, please show your work.

          5. Never heard of Eugenics Tony? Off the top of my head “the entire scientific community” was wrong about tectonics, piltdown man, luminiferous ether, and H. pylori causing stomach ulcers.

            The fact is the “entire scientific community” is often quite wrong or we wouldn’t have Kuhnian revolutions or “paradigm shifts”. The science community is no different than any other human organization. It is hierarchal where power is concentrated in a few “respected” scientist that are reluctant to abandon theories they spent their entire lives promoting.

            1. Heck, most of the world is wrong most of the time. We’re still really the home of capitalism, the economic system which actually allowed people to better themselves and go from paupers to princes and vice versa while the rest of the world is either struggling to make socialism work or sitting in its own squalor.

              Unfortunately the children of the people who grew themselves out of poverty are resentful snots with entitlement mentalities focused on destroying it before it can benefit their children. That includes republicans as well as democrats.

              1. +1

                I also wanted to add both the biological and volcanic demise of the dinosaurs to the list of abandoned ‘scientific consensus’. Especially tasty since they’re as recent as the early 90’s.

            2. Not good stuff Greg. Science can be wrong, yes. That doesn’t mean it is wrong whenever you want it to be.

              1. Science can be wrong, yes. That doesn’t mean it is wrong whenever you want it to be.

                Or right when you want it to be.

                You got stock in Norilsk Nickel, Tony?

              2. Actually, Tony, science is always wrong in some sense. Theories come into and out of fad. I, as an undergraduate university student studying science and engineering, also think that, just sometimes, science shouldn’t be afraid to revist some old ideas that, for one reason or anther, were thrown onto the rubbish heap.

                1. But it’s scientists who do the throwing, and so far they’ve not seen it necessary to throw global warming out.

              3. Straw man Tony. The science is not wrong when I or anybody else wants it to be. It is wrong when it fails to explain reality. The point you don’t seem to get Tony is you have to look at the science. Not what the scientist say, but the actual science.

            3. You forgot caloric and epicycles.

          6. Yeah. There’s nothing fishy happening in the scientific community concerning global warming at all. It’s not as if academics worldwide are financially dependent on their idea of climate change being possible, (they want open endedness in order to keep the money flowing), and that there are “non-believer” scientists actually calling the rest of the community out for being frauds.

          7. the entire scientific community does not support the global warming theory. Many oppose it.
            “the rest of the planet?” who exactly?

          8. My question is an admission that I don’t the optimal global temperature. Your attempt to change the subject and insult me is an admission that you don’t know either, and don’t want to admit it.

      3. “Think the American left is right and everyone else in the world is wrong?”

        That’s what you’re really trying to say, isn’t it?

      4. There are no dinosaurs in heaven. Can you believe this guy?!

        1. Then heaven’s lame. When I die, I want to chase the diploducus herds!

      5. Well, Tony lad, just ponder the interesting fact that the Second Law of Thermodynamics pretty much guarantees that on any complex issue the majority is pretty much guaranteed to be wrong.

        Why? Even you can understand. If the nature of a problem is not obvious, and there are about a bazillion million ways to be wrong versus exactly one to be right (which is always the case, the universe being a complex place) — then it’s statistically inevitable that the majority will as a rule coalesce around the most broadly appealing of the wrong viewpoints, i.e. the one that can gather the most adherents of somewhat differing personal agendas under a “big tent” belief system. (It’s going to be a wrong viewpoint because any situation in which the most broadly appealing viewpoint is also the correct one is trivial to judge and hence noncontroversial.)

        This is why human history is littered with religious cults, economic bubbles, witchcraft and patent medicine, charms and astrology and failed utopian schemes innumerable. It is almost laughably easy to get a majority of human beings in any specific time and place to believe plausible nonsense.

        Such may well be the case with the “climate change” theories, which gather together the climate scientist who want to have increased influence and funding, the politicians who would like an issue to ride that calls for greater central political control, the anti-American anti-globalization crowd who hate and envy the economic success of the First World and would like to see it brought low, the domestic 70s retreads who would like to recapture their flower-power We Are The World look that’s me on the evening news! youth instead of popping Lipitor and gloomily reading the last 401(k) statement, the college graduates wishing to enroll in the Big Crusades they were promised in their liberal arts education, instead of hitting the grim pavement and looking for a spot in the gray cubicle farm, and so on.

        Indeed, the very Crusade-like avidity with which so many groups have seized on the theme, the suspiciously convenient way the remedies are so broad they suit all their individual pernicious agendas, itself should give any skeptical thinking person reason to be suspicious, hit the brakes, exercise caution — a very scientific attitude, I might point out.

        1. “In every other discipline, scientists earn fame and fortune if they successfully debunk its reigning theories. They are feted at conferences, cited more often, offered more jobs. In climate science, by contrast, debunkers invite an onslaught by the entire global warming juggernaut that can leave their academic reputation in ruins. Debunkers get branded as deniers.” -Shikha Dalmia

          “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it.” -Frederic Bastiat

        2. That’s a lot of words that basically say “I don’t believe in what science says because I don’t want to: here are some excuses.”

          1. Or, “this is why I don’t want to give up my freedom and individuality to the collective on the basis of the crisis du jour.”

          2. Or, “this is why I don’t want to give up my freedom and individuality to the collective on the basis of the crisis du jour.”

    2. The Australian Liberal/national coalition has tended to reject GW, AFAIK.

      And the actual working class wing of Labor isn’t sold on it either.

      1. They’re Australian; thefefore they’re not a major political party. :-p

    3. The problem is while the GOP is correct about AGW, they have no idea why.

      1. I mostly agree. But you fight Lysenkoism with the political parties you have, not with the ones you’d like to have.

  5. Does TeamBlue fuck sheep?

    1. Does TeamBlue still beat its wife?

      1. Ask the gay community. And the pot smoking one while you’re at it.

    2. Only when the goats are locked in the barn.

  6. The intelligent design fad has largely passed.

    1. I was listening to a skeptic podcast recently, where they were interviewing this famouse skeptic. He spent the first half of the interview listing all of the logical fallacies creationists would use, then spent the second half of the interview using those exact same fallacies bashing on global warming deniers. Sad.

    2. The intelligent design fad has largely passed.

      Not to liberals. They insist they can intelligently design society, the nation, and world climate. All that’s necessary is to do what they say.

      1. We reject the idea of a God who tells everybody what to do. That’s our job!

  7. In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama famously promised to “restore science to its rightful place.”

    “In our pocket.”

    So if Republicans in the next Congress follow the lead of their science committee chairs, how will science policy likely fare?

    Like anything else that gets the label “policy” stuck to it: In the shit.

  8. I for one can’t wait for federal grants to study the negative effects of witchcraft!

    1. No costly studies needed. It’s in the Constitution Bible!

    2. Would you settle for fed grant to study the negative effect of Federal Grants?

    3. I say this manic, morbid devotion to global warmism is proof enough of the negative effects of witchcraft.

  9. Of course conservatism is hostile to science. Conservatism is about regression and living in the past. The Middle East is the best example of conservative ideology.

    Pew Research recently polled scientists and found only 6% self-identify as Republicans. The future will be high-tech/biotech where conservative thought is essentially worthless.

    Its Mississippi vs. California – who would you bet on?

    1. Re: Shrike,

      Of course conservatism is hostile to science.

      You say that as if it were true – did you forgot to take your meds again, Shrikey?

      Pew Research recently polled scientists and found only 6% self-identify as Republicans.

      Truth by polling!

      Or, Composition Fallacy.

      1. “Composition Fallacy.”

        Yikes, no further adventures in misunderstanding logic from OM please…

        1. Re: MNG,

          Yikes, no further adventures in misunderstanding logic from OM please…

          Glad you asked for help. It takes a real man, you know . . . Here it goes:

          “Scientists believe in science”
          “Scientists are liberal [96% it seems]”
          “Therefore, liberals believe in science”

          See?

          1. Except that he was making the opposite point about conservatives…

              1. If I note that, say, Jews are over-represented among scientists and say there must be something about being Jewish that fosters becoming a scientist, have I committed the fallacy of composition?

                1. Hey! How about blacks???

            1. Whoooooooooooooshhhhhhhhhhh!

    2. +1

      People who point out that the Soviet Union was the epitome of progressive thought should be told that theocracy is the epitome of conservative thought. NRO had a debate a few years ago about how religion is essential to conservatism. Tru dat.

      1. Re: MNG,

        People who point out that the Soviet Union was the epitome of progressive thought[…]

        Those people should be horse-whipped. There was nothing pogressive about the Soviet Union, as they didn’t allow tree-huggers to cohabitate with the populance.

        should be told that theocracy is the epitome of conservative thought.

        Yeah, since people who believe in God and are conservative MUST be theocratic. Hmmm. I smell a fallacy there, MNG . . .

      2. Certain of the Founders said that religion was essential to maintaining proper republican virtue in the USA.

        Were they theocrats?

        1. Was John Adams the only Founder? Was he even the foremost in Massachusetts?

    3. And yet conservatives are opposing these Middle-Eastern regimes, and progressives seem to be just fine with them!

      1. Bushy-boy is the best friend the Caliphate ever had.

        By removing Saddam Hussein he has paved the way for the new theocracy in Iraq to join Iran and Syria in the new Shia’ Crescent.

        The ignorance of Bush will effect the world for 50-100 years.

        1. Fortunately your ignorance will disappear probably even before you do.

        2. He said conservatives, troll.
          Bush =/= conservative.

          1. Fixed it: Bush != conservative.

            1. My programming is slacking. Oh wait, it always sucked.

              1. I never said I was any good.

                1. I had to look at some PHP to figure it out.

    4. shrike: NOT that I’m choosing one over the other, but please note that the current unemployment rate in California is 12.4 percent while Mississippi’s is 8.8 percent.

      1. Fair point – tell me about the per capita income too.

        1. Fair point — California is 9th and Mississippi 50th.

          1. Not really a fair point.

            What is the adjusted per capita income when one accounts for cost of living and tax differences?

            It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you have left over after paying all of your cost of living/tax/regulatory expenses that counts.

            My wife makes far less here in KY than when we lived in Miami (I’m one of the chosen ones – a stay-at-home dad who runs a fledgling company). But our home, a beautiful 4350 ft2 behemoth on 5 acres is unaffordable (for us) in South Florida. Our property taxes are far less (than our 640 ft2 condo was). In short what we have leftover (to save or spend as we wish) is far more despite making far less.

            So no, per capita income don’t mean shit, especially in a tax-happy joint like CA.

        2. Fair point – tell me where you can get the best gumbo.

          1. West of Mississippi.

        3. Fair point – tell me about PPP.

          1. He doesn’t know what PPP means – he’s an alleged financial wizard, not an alleged economist.

        4. A higher overall per capita income in California helps out that 4% extra… how? Oh, that’s right. progressive troll. Mah bad.

        5. As I note below, if you look at the period 2000-2005 (which if anything is biased in California’s favor), per capita GDP growth in California averaged an annual rate of 3.46%. Per capita GDP growth in Mississippi averaged 4.38%.

          1. When you add in inflation, especially since I’d assume that more inflation occurred in California than Mississippi, the difference in growth is shocking.

            1. http://www.bestplaces.net/col/…..2=50644000

              When moving from Jackson to LA, your income would have to increase by 80% to make the move worth it.

              True, most people who could afford it would rather live in LA than Jackson, but we are speaking in purely material terms here. I’ve never argued that there isn’t a good reason for somebody to want to live in California. I simply believe that those reasons are fuzzy and will eventually not be enough to fool people into taking the bait.

              Looking at the Median incomes for Mississippi and California, If one was to move from the former to the latter and earn the median income in both, somebody moving from Jackson Mississippi to San Diego, CA would just about break even. That same person would see a decline in their real income if they moved to LA.

              Of course, Mississippi is the poorest state in the country, and using Texas in the same calculator shows that no move from Texas to California could ever be justified without a significant raise. Somebody earning the median income in Texas would have to earn far above California’s median income to live the same lifestyle.

    5. The word “conservative” has multiple meanings. Do not conflate them. Some of the most conservative people I know are progressives. They resist change, resist individuality, resist dynamic social structures.

    6. Its Mississippi vs. California – who would you bet on?

      Any polity that can take take a land/culture like California: oil and gold seeping from the ground, breadbasket to the world, Silicon Valley, Hollywood – essentially a giant license to print money is what California is, the intrinsically richest place on earth – and somehow wind up broke is full of Brilliant Minds that are not so brilliant as they think.

      1. California is not broke at all – in fact it is vastly wealthy.

        The state government is broke and of which I don’t really care. That will sort itself out eventually.

        1. Yeah. By extorting it from the wealth of the people who live there.

          1. No – they’re not going to extort it from the really rich people who live there – the entertainment and IT billionaires. They’re going to extort it from the middle classes – the ones who are currently voting with their feet.

            Sometime in the near future California will be much like Mexico minus, we hope, the narcoterrorism. Poor people will live in appalling conditions among a crumbling infrastructure while wealthy people live in self-sufficient enclaves and hoard the state’s natural resources.

            1. Actually, the infrastructure will be the newest and most expensive, and the poor will likely live off of government programs, but the middle class will be squeezed. California is basically just turning into a playground for rich people with enough taxes to support infrastructure and a welfare class. The actual vibrancy of business in the state will be non-existant.

        2. As a California resident, I can honestly say: you’re an idiot.

          1. Ah, you don’t even have to live in California to know that.

        3. You live in your Stepdad’s basement. He occassionally feeds you and pays you 5 bucks a week to put on a lil’ bo peep outfit to sit in his buddies’ laps on poker night. He makes $30k a year. He owes the Triad $5 million. You still get your $5 a week. Since your Dad leaves you chained to a radiator when the asian hitmen pour 8 gallons of gasoline in the kitchen floor and light a match, are you still telling yourself you’re happy with 5 bucks?

    7. Conservatism is about regression and living in the past.

      Hmmm. “the past” = History and experience. You apparently have no use for either.

    8. Pew Research recently polled scientists and found only 6% self-identify as Republicans.

      This is just the contemporary American version of the treason of the clerks, not some indication of greater political wisdom.

    9. Yes, progressives are well known for their enthusiasm for biotech. Hopefully they can restrain all the crazy right-wingers who are opposed to GMO crops and personal gene-testing and whatnot.

      1. This.

        Why are progressives assumed to be so scientifically enlightened just b/c they believe in evolution and support stem cell research? Good for them — rational and intellectually defensible positions both.

        How about their hysterical opposition to the GM crops which feed millions, the genetic testing which offers people greater control over their lives and futures, and the chemicals like DDT which could save millions of lives lost to malaria each year? Oh, and bedbugs – you can thank progressives for the bedbug resurgence as well.

        I dunno. Denial of evolution is uninformed, but it doesn’t do actual harm to human beings the way opposition to stem cell research could, or the way opposition to GM crops, genetic testing and safe, effective chemicals already does.

    10. Hee! I like how you take the prettiest example of a liberal cesspool and compare it to the worst quagmire of conservative idealogy and they still come out so close! Now lets weigh Michigan and Texas! 🙂

    11. Its Mississippi vs. California – who would you bet on?

      I’d bet on Texas.

    12. Actually, if you look at the period 2000-2005 (which if anything is biased in California’s favor), per capita GDP growh averaged 3.46% Per capita GDP growth in Mississippi averaged 4.38%.

  10. Without being a TEAM RED cheerleader, one of the things that bothers me about this article is that it uses some of these policy disputes as proxies for Republican attitudes toward “science”, when that’s simply not the case.

    For instance: Republican opposition to stem-cell research hardly, in and of itself, manifests opposition to science unless you’re prepared to ascribe any and all ethical objections to scientific advancement as similarly “anti-science”. Agree or disagree with Republican pro-life ethics, but taking the position that destructive experimentation on human embryos is so morally questionable that taxpayer dollars ought not be used to subsidize it is hardly the equivalent of a membership in the Flat Earth Society.

    1. Opposition to eugenics is opposition to settled science.

      1. That’s what Buck v Bell said!

    2. All the vote proves is that someone voted against FUNDING stem cell research. I consider myself conservative and oppose funding it because I don’t believe steering medical research through tax funded incentives is a federal responsibility, rather I believe it is adjoined from doing so because it does not have that authority. I feel the same way about funding toenail fungus research.

      Now George Bush supported it, and the vast majority of republicans (and some democrats) supported it, but not for what I consider constitutional reasons. They did it because their god told them to, and that I don’t like, but an individuals vote on the funding matter itself doesn’t necessarily connote a religious rational for the vote. Heck, for the right amount of cash most politicians will turn god off long enough to vote your way, so maybe that particular vote was bribery related. Nah, that can’t happen here.

  11. I thought that one of science’s selling points was that, unlike religion, even “settled” knowledge was open to debate and advances in understanding — I guess not.

    1. To conservatives the Scopes Monkey Trial is not “settled”.

      1. shriek, as much as I detest conservatives, you are such a spastic hyperbolic moron that you almost make me want to defend them. Almost.

        1. You cannot ever point to where I am wrong.

          You simply call me names – which if you really wish to go that route you will find I am no slouch.

          1. No, shriek, I can’t point to where you are coherent, let alone approaching the concept known as “wrong”. You’re like a retarded monkey on speed, shrieking and flinging your own shit, and I’d say that’s a generous description.

            Please, say “King of the Rednecks” or “Christfag” or “Bushie-Boy” just one more time. Come on, you know you want to.

            1. Nothing wrong with fiscal conservatives, Epi… it’s the social cons that cause all the problems.

              Well, them and the liberals.

            2. I’m pretty sure he actually is, in fact, a shit-flinging monkey.

              1. No, he envies them for their communal behaviors.

                1. Such as shit-throwing festivals.

          2. You cannot ever point to where I am wrong.

            True, I’ve never been able to point EVERYWHERE at once.

      2. Re: Shrike,

        To conservatives the Scopes Monkey Trial is not “settled”.

        It is to me! The guy was guilty!

        I believe he was fined and everything. So it was settled.

        Or what did you mean?

      3. That one of the big “anti-evolution” figures in the Scopes trial, William Jennings Bryan, was a three time Democrat persidential candidate and on of the fathers of the American Progressive movement.

        1. He would be Mike Huckabee today.

  12. Neil degrasse Tyson (the American astrophysicist) had a Q&A in Los Angeles in 2009 where he was asked to reflect on the “dark ages” of science during the Bush years and whether or not he Obama would be able to restore science to its “proper foundation”.

    Tyson did not give him the answer he was expecting, when he detailed specifically how Republicans are traditionally more pro-science than Democrats from a budget perspective, and he gave several examples as to why.

    Here’s the video (the whole Q&A is fascinating as are most things with Dr. Tyson, especially they way he debunks planet X and the 2012 garbage)-

    “Republican Damage to Scientific Research”

    1. Whenever I hear about how Democrats are soooo much better on science, I think of Kennewick Man, The Bell Curve, organic food, and nuclear power.

    2. But we thought he really loved us.. He said.. things would be different this time..

      1. Yeah, he bullshitted you. They always do.

  13. Where Republicans have problems with science is the classic problem it presents: Overturning hallowed but seriously flawed worldviews based on 2,000 year-old tomes that by design cannot be updated with relevant information. When science butts up against those sacred (golden) cows, Republicans mail-it-in.

    Where Democrats mail-it-in is when some flawed dogma (call it whatever you want, science, ‘social justice,’ whatever) affords a chance at statism. The Dems totally go nuts for shit like that and they stop thinking when that piece of candy makes its appearance. I mean who could really think cap’n’rape is somehow going to be relevant to the human carbon footprint over the next thirty or three-hundred years? Only to someone who thinks caps and raping is good idea, no matter the reason…i.e. Dems.

    And scientists themselves – even the most esteemed scientists – are not by nature of their intellect greater in political wisdom. Good examples are Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, geniuses on garnering insights on the physical world, naive duds (and personal moral failures) in the human social condition.

    Poltically, science sucks.

    1. I think “cap’n’rape” is not the best description of that stuff.
      Bribe-and-Trade rings truer.

    2. Democrats like good intentions, whether they work or not. If it costs billions to lower the temperature by .001 degree a hundred years from now, they’re for it because “we have to do something.”

    3. Pay close attention, kids. I’m about to solve this whole AGW problem once and for all. All for a measily $20 billion grant. Go ahead and get the Treasury on the line. Ready…?

      PLANT.MORE.FUCKING.TREES.

      Problem solved. You got Geitner on the line? I just saved us a shitload of money.

      1. It all depends on where you plant them:
        http://sweetness-light.com/arc…..al-warming

    4. I guess in a lot of ways it’s the social cons vs. the social libs. Same kind of thinking, different dogma.

  14. The “Scopes Monkey Trial” was great farce, but beyond that, not sure that it has much revelance.

    1. The revelance was that we eventually expelled superstition from the classroom.

      Scopes to Dover – fighting conservatism for 70-80 years for science and enlightenment.

      1. And replaced it with ideas like the great cosmic fart…er I mean the “Big Bang.” Are you sure that you want to brag about that?

        1. Lets see. The only distinct alternative to the Big Bang theory is Creationism?

          Yeah – I will brag about the Big Bang.

          1. I am sure that there are plenty of alternative theories, it’s just that scientifically, none can be proven. But that sounds like a perfect excuse when explaining to the wife about the trashed house after a long night of partying:

            “Sorry about the mess dear, me and the guys were trying to recreate the Big Bang. We ain’t got it quite figured out yet, but we’re pretty sure that it had something to do with bong-resin and Ho-Hos.” It’s for science!

            1. Name a distinct alternative theory please (and not a slight variation on the Big Bang).

              That is why conservatism is a failure – its recalcitrance to modernity.

              1. I’d give a whole five-dollar bill to see you type “and liberalism is also a failure”, shrike… but I don’t expect you to man up, you being a devoted Hayek AND Obama fan and all that…

            2. The big bang is proven dude. What the fuck is going on here?

              1. Really? Didn’t think they reached that point yet. Not argumentative, just wondering if you have any newer sources on the matter.

                1. There is no alternate theory to the big bang… we just don’t know all the details prior to 10^-15 seconds after the big bang.

                  1. Yeah. I’ve seen some crazy theories on it, but they all seem based on the assumption that SOMETHING before then did in fact cause what lead to the big bang. shit like parallel universes overlapping and whatnot. Crazy interesting.

          2. Where did the Big Bang come from???

  15. If you think there is no anti-science elements on the left, try discussing nuclear power or GMOs with them.

    1. Aresen: Yes. As an example see my column, “A Tale of Two Scientific Consensuses.” In addition, everyone must look out for confirmation bias.

      1. Thanks, Ron. I was thinking of that column (although my Reason.com-sitefu is not good enough to find it myself).

        My post was more aimed at the commentariat than a reply to your blog item.

    2. No one disputes that nuclear/hydro produces power – just the trade offs of such on the environment.

      As an Obama supporter I am glad to see his joint venture into nuclear with the Southern Company in Georgia as well as his support of off-shore drilling – and his Export Bank loan to Petrobras.

      Obama is the most pragmatic POTUS in my lifetime who has won fans in long-time fiscal conservatives such as Bruce Bartlett.

      Let me know when he lies us into a war – okay?

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Oh shriek, you are an endless font of amusement.

        1. You will not bait me into name-calling today.

          Maybe Friday.

          1. I can’t wait, shriek. I am utterly fascinated with what you will come up with. It ought to be suitably hyperactive.

            1. Is this guy for real? Skippy’s “support” for offshore exploration? Talk about a bait and switch job, then call it a kangaroo. After yakking up how he was ‘expanding’ shit, the net effect was to diminish the area available for drilling.

              On the subject of nukes, the ‘tradeoffs’, which I doubt our whiz kid here can even recite from his talking points correctly, amount to hand wringing ‘China Syndrome’ scenarios and imaginary concerns about the moving goalposts for adequacy of Yucca Mountain as a storage site for waste – waste that really doesn’t need to even be the issue it is today were it not for the illuminated knowledge of ‘nuclear engineer’ and peanut farmer Jimmy, who steered us away from re-processing, which works pretty darn well, with much lower waste to contend with.

              Here, lemme do some name calling. Shrike, you’re a fucking moron.

      2. Re: shriek,

        No one disputes that nuclear/hydro produces power – just the trade offs of such on the environment.

        You mean how nuclear and hydro kills birds? Or how they affect the desert turtles?

        No?

        As an Obama supporter I am glad to see his joint venture into nuclear with the Southern Company in Georgia as well as his support of off-shore drilling

        “Joint venture” as in “state capitalism.”

        Because it’s not like Obama is investing risking his own money, is he???

        Obama is the most pragmatic POTUS in my lifetime who has won fans in long-time fiscal conservatives such as Bruce Bartlett.

        Interesting thing to say as you insinuated that conservatives are ignorant, scientific-illiterate fucks.

      3. Just as you do not oppose nuclear power (though you say nothing about GMOs), I accept that AGW is supported by most of the evidence.

        But I can point to anti-nuclear idiots just as easily as you can point to AGW deniers.

      4. We already know you’re a leftwing crony-capitalist.

      5. “Obama is the most pragmatic POTUS in my lifetime”

        Darn, here I was all set to argue with you, but smacking down someone who’s age hasn’t even hit double digits just doesn’t have any appeal.

      6. shrike, now we know you’re full of shit – no true devotee of Hayek would be a glad supporter of Obama.

        1. Many notable economists are – Larry Summers and Brad DeLong are two examples.

          1. Proof that reading and comprehending are not the same.

            1. You just cherry-picked a couple of fucking fools who happen to be “notable economists”.

              But, hey, anyone who thinks we can tax-and-spend-and-legislate-and-regulate our way to prosperity can’t be all that bright. Maybe your examples fit that description. You sure as fuck do, shrike.

              1. Larry Summers is only notable for his economic ability to nearly wipe out the Harvard investment portfolio, then move on to work his craptastic magic by whispering sweet Keynsian nothings into Skippy’s ear – advice that turned out to be so bad that he’s now ‘exploring other career opportunities’. Nice example.

          2. Why not throw Paul Krugman in there too?

            1. Fuck Paul Krugman and every moron who buys his bullshit.

              Like Tony, shrike, Chad, and et cetera.

      7. An Obama supporter? Wow, I never thought I’d see (read?) one again. He also believes what he’s being told! Incredible!!

      8. How can you not be aware that “pragmatic” would be an insult to someone who actually has a coherent philosophy?

    3. Let’s expand on the Liberal War on Science. Off the top of my head:

      1) Superstitious fear of all things nuclear.

      2) Superstitious fear of all “chemicals,” including traces of pesticides an drugs in the environment.

      3) Superstitious fear of genetically modified crops.

      4) Embrace of “alternative medicine” including acupuncture, homeopathy, and other similar quackery. Supporting government funding for same.

      5) A-priori rejection of any hypothesis of measurable differences in mean intelligence between different races and sexes.

      6) Claims that “alternative energy” sources can meet our requirements despite their glaring shortcomings.

      7) Anti-vaccination movements.

      8) Insistence that “organic foods” are healthier despite lack of evidence.

      9) Promotion of conspiracy theories regarding the suppression of breakthrough technology, including medicines, practical electric cars etc.

      10) Lack of skepticism with regard to claimed effects of climate change.

      1. I’d have to disagree with the vaccinations, at least in my experience. I meet many more progressives cheering for massive vaccination programs than conservatives. OTOH, the more conservative types I know have the attitude “fuck vaccines”.

  16. Also, for you idiots whining about evolution and conservatives, it was a BUSH APPOINTED federal judge -John E. Jones III- who presided over Kitzmiller vs. Dover wherein the “intellectual design” proponents were delivered their worst setback from a legal standpoint ever. Judge Jones completely destroyed “intelligent design” as a “scientific theory” so badly that they have never recovered. By the way, it’s an incredible decision, and one of the most brutal rebuttals to the creationists ever put to print.

    And this was a BUSH appointed Federal Judge.

    1. Wasn’t it a Bush appointee who struck down Prop 8? By your logic that means conservatives love gay marriage…

      1. Well guess what MNG- gay people are finding that conservatives are more tolerant than they initially gave them credit for, and the idea that liberals will defend individual rights (either gay or straight) any stronger than conservatives is no longer a given.

        You say that sarcastically, but the truth is a lot closer than you realize.

    2. Judge Jones completely destroyed “intelligent design” as a “scientific theory” so badly that they have never recovered.

      It would be funny if it was ultimately discovered that alien creatures from the galaxy MOJO had planted the seeds of life on earth after designing and engineering it. So much for bashing ‘intelligent design’.

      1. The Annunaki.

      2. Planting the seeds of life (panspermia) is different that creating complex life wholly formed.

    3. So Bush appointed one judge and this proves that conservatives don’t embrace/promote intelligent design?

      By your “logic,” since Bush expanded the deficits, then that means all conservatives are not fiscally responsible.

      This is the stupidest fucking post I’ve ever read.

      1. So Bush appointed one judge and this proves that conservatives don’t embrace/promote intelligent design?

        No, Bush appointed a conservative Republican judge who completely destroyed any chance of “intelligent design” ever being presented as a scientific opinion in a court of law.

        By your “logic,” since Bush expanded the deficits, then that means all conservatives are not fiscally responsible

        No, Bush did other things too, so do conservatives. But when one brings up the point about evolution in terms of social liberalism/conservatism, it is apt to reference the point that it was a conservative judge who has annihilated any chance of “intelligent design” being used as a scientific theory in a court of law.

        This has comparisons in other areas, but I agree the budget isn’t one of them.

    4. Thanks for bringing up that case. I was talking about this with my daughter about a week ago (she’s a fundy) I sent her the link to the talk.origins site hehe.

      Fucking. Epic. Beat. Down.

      1. I’m a little concerned about your reference to epically beating your daughter.

        1. And, yes, I made up the word epically. Shakespeare made up words too!

        2. That’s because you haven’t met his daughter.

      2. Why does being from Nova Scotia require an epic beating anyway? (fundy)

  17. The progressive are having feargasms. Too bad, so sad.

  18. The only reason evolution is a political issue at all is because of the state governments’ near-monopoly on public education. Since the GOP is willing to end this monopoly while the DEMS are not, I give the ‘red team’ a pass on this issue.

    1. Yes.

      Once again, a heaping load of (untrue) identity politics to make conservatives look bad, when really these issues would go away if the federal government would not fund embryo stem-cell research and parents were able to select which school their children is allowed to attend via school vouchers.

      Given that both of these are supposed libertarian positions, it seems strange that this site would uphold the straw-man arguments of the statists.

      But hey, Ron, don’t let me stand in the way of the hatin’! Clearly cultural superiority is better than clearly-delineated functions of government and the ability of children to escape failed schools!

      1. s/their children is allowed/their children are allowed/

  19. This is a very narrowly construed argument from Mr. Bailey. There is a lot more* to gov’t involvement in science than Congressional/committee votes.
    NASA
    CDC
    NOAA
    USDA
    FDA
    DOE
    PTO
    Those are just a handful of institutions off the top of my head. There are a lot more governmental and quasi-governmental scientific bodies.

    Last election cycle, Team Red called out volcano research (months before one erupted in the U.S.) and research into the disappearing honeybee populations as stupid and irrelevant. Not only as a spending issue, but on a scientific basis. But I guess those statements don’t matter since it wasn’t one of the 5 carefully-picked members of Congress used in the article…?

    * I’m definitely not saying there should be.

    1. All I’m saying is, this is a lot more complex than 3 votes by 5 members of Congress.

      1. jcarlton: I certainly don’t disagree — just trying to get a gist of how things might go into a short online column.

  20. Such a comprehensive Plenetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable…not only in the atmosphere and oceans, but in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes…The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade…The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits…the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits. (Ecoscience p. 943.)

    1. Not to mention someone would finally tell me what socks I should wear in the morning. Such a confusing decision.

    2. Holdren und Ehrlich und der Planetary Regime.
      Ja, ja, ist sehr gut.

  21. This recent Atlantic article is a must read, especially for those incapable of understanding that original research is really fucking hard and the results are often bullshit.

    Here is my obligatory “peer review is an editorial, not scientific, process” statement.

  22. I’ve known conservatives that oppose the big bang theory, and I’ve known liberals who reject genetic modification, but the real reality of the situation is that nobody on either side is anymore reluctant to believe in science when it cators to what they want to hear…

    For example…Even the most devout Christian who despised the idea of evolution would still probably feel relieved if a court ordered DNA test proved that he isn’t the one that knocked up the babysitter. … even though DNA is the very thing that proves evolution to be factual.

    Just like the liberals who reject non-ogranic GMOs, then rejoice when starving kids in villages finally get food.. the very food brought to them by sciences’ ability to multiply the efficiency of food production in third world nations.

    1. How does DNA prove evolution (I am assuming that you are speaking of MACRO-evolution)?

      1. In case you don’t want to read it- “The molecular sequence evidence gives the most impressive and irrefutable evidence for the genealogical relatedness of all life. The nature of molecular sequences allows for extremely impressive probability calculations that demonstrate how well the predictions of common descent with modification actually match empirical observation. Common descent is a deduction that directly follows from premises based on empirically observed molecular evidence. In addition, knowledge of biological molecular mechanisms and structures, combined with macroevolutionary theory, has given very specific, novel, and testable biomolecular predictions. “

        1. DNA does show that animals have much in common (mice & humans “share” 85 percent geneologicaly), hence you can expect all mammals to have many DNA similarities to each other (the same with comparing amphibians to other amphibians). It is a jump though to this fact and “common” ancestery. This tells us that different animals share facets in common, that is obvious. The origins remain a mystery and science has yet to show a clear line from simple liforms to the more advanced forms.

          I personally do not believe that that it ever will, nor is “proof” of God ever going to come out of a test tube, but I argue that the truth can be arrived at via reason.

          1. hence you can expect all mammals to have many DNA similarities to each other

            If you read the talk origins link I gave you, you would see that DNA similarities exist across ALL ANIMALS GREAT AND SMALL, thus giving us sufficient DNA confirmation of Macro-evolution examples we have observed through empirical observation.

            Micro and Macro evolution are essentially the same thing in terms of what evolution means.

            1. Sorry I forgot this one too (man it’s been a while since I’ve seen someone even questions this, which I think is a good thing)-

              science has yet to show a clear line from simple liforms to the more advanced forms.

              29+ Evidences for Macroevolution. And to cut you off before you ask for the inevitable follow up, he here- Prediction 1.4: Intermediate and transitional forms: the possible morphologies of predicted common ancestors

            2. I did read and I do not dispute the DNA similarities. That said, even w/o DNA it is easy to see that all animal life share many similarities: vision, bi & quadraped locomotion, reproductive similarities, etc…

              Knowing now about DNA, one would logically expect similarities among the species, but that still fails to show progression from simple to more complex organisms.

              1. Not sure how not questioning orthodoxy and dogma is a good thing, but OK. Science IS questioning!

                “Possible transitional forms?” Possible? Well, they told me back in the ’70s that the “missing link” was just around the corner — what a LOOOONG corner! Then again, I’m still waiting for that coming ice age and widespread famines from overpopulation they were promising back then, too.

                1. Steve,
                  I’m not here to tell you what to believe, but if you want to increase your depth of the knowledge on the subject, may I suggest a book entitled, “The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution

                  1. Thanks for the recommendation.

                    1. While I won’t stick around to defend or discuss it, and while there’s no reason for anyone to care, I have to insert my “I’m a Christian and I’m totally down with evolution and, while we’re at it, the Big Bang as well, and people who insist that Teh Universe ain’t big enough for both science and God are just secular fundamentalists and every bit as close minded as their religious counterparts” line here.

                      And now I have, so I’m going to bed.

                2. they told me back in the ’70s that the “missing link” was just around the corner

                  And it was, Pakicetus: Though partial fossils were found in the early 1980s, a complete fossil was not found until 2001. Of course, this is one of many, but you’re right, it’s been a long corner.

                  I’m still waiting for that coming ice age and widespread famines from overpopulation they were promising back then, too.

                  Yeah, well, those people were idiots. That’s ok, we got the evolution thing right.

      2. Somewhat off topic, but we really need a new word to replace “prove” in scientific contexts. Nothing is ever proven in science (even scientific “laws” are just theories that haven’t been disproven yet), so talking about scientifically proving this or that causes problems. To “prove” is to establish a truth, which science cannot, and should not be construed to, do. This disconnect is what brings us AGW nutters who believe that since the “settled science” has “proven” AGW, it is an immutable truth, and that arguing the existence of AGW is akin to arguing that the earth is flat. It’s hard to make people understand the constantly-evolving nature of scientific inquiry when they believe it establishes cast-in-stone truths rather than best-guess theories.
        /minirant

        1. You are correct and I apologize for the fuzzy wording. So much of what we “know” today will seem quaint 100 years from now.

          1. pessimistic meta induction

      3. Steve|10.26.10 @ 7:44PM|#
        “How does DNA prove evolution (I am assuming that you are speaking of MACRO-evolution)?”
        WIH is MACRO evolution? Some funny delusion that no one can ‘prove’ because you make up new definitions on a daily basis?

        1. Macro is the “an ameoba is a rat is monkey is a boy” silliness. Micro is adaptation and survival of the fittest, which is provable (or at least observable) and reasonable.

          1. Macro-evolution is chicken soup as the mighty t-rex evolved into a rooster. Nope no faith to believe that shit, its fact.

            1. Made from scratch for ~100 million years, bitches.

    2. The Bible told us long ago from dust we came to dust we shall return, science is just now catching up. DOH!

  23. Like most politicians, these members of the House or the Senate evidently believe that it is the role of government to fund scientific research, which means the best indicator we have about their views on science is what science the government should fund

    Ron, funding science is not binary. Republicans may concede it should be publically funded, but generally propose to fund it to a notably smaller degree than liberals. And yes, it should be publically funded, as there are numerous positive externalities related to research. Hence it would be sufficiently invested in by the private sector. This is a long-standing and well-understood argument that only the most crazy libertarians disagree with.

    The balance of the evidence is that the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing the average temperature of the globe

    I am glad you at least admit this much. Now if you would just acknowledge that the “balance of evidence” is in fact virtually all of a veritable mountain of evidence collected over the course of more than a century, and strongly supported by every major scientific organization on earth, you might be getting somewhere.

    1. Hasn’t doing the Chad sockpuppet gotten old for you yet? It’s sure gotten old for us.

    2. supported by every major scientific organization on earth

      Do you ever get tired of this? I would.

      1. “And if they don’t support it, they’re not major, dammit!!”

        1. And we’ll keep them from the peer review process so we can claim they’re not peer reviewed.

    3. Republicans may concede it should be publically funded, but generally propose to fund it to a notably smaller degree than liberals

      Yeah. Rs should just concentrate on turning public science funding down a couple of notches. I’m guessing that the unemployment rate of scientists and engineers with phd’s is around 0%. When the government hires one to make windmills, he is not available to work for Ford or Toyota to make more energy efficient cars.

      1. Your guess would be wrong, chromy. STEM jobs are being out-sourced like crazy.

          1. Too stupid to know how to type STEM into google? It’s a standard term.

            American companies aren’t hiring many scientists and engineers. Indeed, they are at best holding employment steady here as they open new R&D facilities in China and India. At worst, they bring foreign workers here for a few years, get them trained, send them home, and then fire the Americans who train them. It has been this way for a decade or more.

            1. Not everyone is as smart and haughty as you are, Chad.

        1. He was a fiber-optics engineering manager. Fiber-optics: +1, engineering +1, manager: -2.

          1. I Was not referring to that one person. I was referring to the story. And if I’m to understand your pseudo math above, are you inferring that an engineering manager doesn’t have an engineering degree?

            I presented the link to explain that your bull shit statistic was simply that, bull shit. I don’t have a statistic that shows the unemployment rate of scientists and engineers with phd is 0%, but I doubt you do either.

            But, I’d bet my left nut that there are a lot more unemployed engineers and scientists now then there were a few years ago. No I’m not implying the bush years were good, no REASONable person would. get it : )

            1. are you inferring that an engineering manager doesn’t have an engineering degree?

              There just aren’t many jobs for engineering managers. Modern industrial facilities are very complex and specific to their task. Management jobs are usually filled from within. Being a degreed engineering manager doesn’t have much currency. There’s no point in arguing with me about this, that’s just the way it is.

              But, I’d bet my left nut that there are a lot more unemployed engineers and scientists now then there were a few years ago

              I don’t want your left nut, but let me help out for free. I am an engineer and own my business. I am not employed by anyone now, so it is impossible for me to become unemployed. Does that hurt your brain? Tell me where.

    4. This post and thread reminded me of this video of Neil Degrasse Tyson going off on who spends more on science.

      Yeah, both sides pander to their base — always, but the money is where we should be looking.

      1. You Sugarfree’d the link:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Q8UvJ1wvk

        Dyson mythbusts the D’s vs. R’s policy on publicly funded science, but he still places a lot of FAITH in publicly funded science.

    5. IT’S ALL MANKIND’S FAULT!!!1!

    6. Externalities! Arf!

  24. That we are even having this discussion, how GOP policy might affect science in comparison to Team Blue policy, leads me to believe that science has probably been held up by at least a full generation, and is on the verge of becoming irrelevant to much anything other than instituting government policy at all.

    Get the fucking government out of science and then we’ll start to see some cool shit.

    1. “Get the fucking government out of science and then we’ll start to see some cool shit.”

      I agree.

      1. Well get the politics out of science at the very least. The factor the compromises the entire game has become the funding quest – which has created the vicious cycle that we’re seeing with the area of climatology. Several quite influential (notice I didn’t say capable) scientists and academicians made the remarkable discovery that if you tell policians things they like to hear, such as an idea they can latch on to dip their paws into a nice fat revenue stream, or exercise their power of office over, that the greatful politicians will reward them with plenty of research funding so they’ll crank out high sounding techno babble so the politicians can flop large piles of paper down to silence people that question what’s going on. . .

        1. But Wind Rider, don’t you know? Scientists and academics are entirely unlike normal people and never respond to financial incentives. They’re like warrior priests for science.

  25. It’s true that Senate hearings are not a good forum for science.

    But the Warmenistas have polluted the traditional forums beyond cleansing. By falsifying data with secret algorithms and failing to archive their data, they have brought science itself into disrepute.

    For this alone, they should be jailed and held up to scorn–whatever the truth of their cause. They have politicized the process with their amateurish wiles, and lined their pockets in the process.

    Bring on the hearings! They deserve it.

    1. Yep. My totally non-scientifically supported prediction is that in years hence, the purveyors of the great carbon swindle will be remembered by historians as some of the biggest charlatans and liars in human history.

      1. That’s highly unlikely because it is liberal academic historians who write history books.

        It will be one of those things that simply gets downplayed and forgotten. The GW/CC failure will be relegated to footnotes.

        But hey won’t be castigated.

  26. Tony, Chad, and MNG, the three global warming knights is here to save us all from the big bad CO2-breathing dragon! LOL

    1. Janet Pym? You’d think on a science thread you’d at least have Hank Pym as your handle…

      1. I don’t know who the hell Janet Pym is. I use search engine to find out.

        I laughed out loud so hard.

        Good one. You got me.

        Goddammityoutreehumpingfuck.

  27. By falsifying data with secret algorithms…

    I thought the complaint has been that the algorithms were written in FORTRAN spaghetti code, not the they were secret. Practically the same thing, but the intent is different.

    …failing to archive their data…

    I think that’s bullshit (not to you, Harry). There is just no fucking way that everyone involved in large computer science project lost the raw measurement database. I’m not Paul the Octopus, but I predict it’ll show up someday, along with database deniers.

    1. There is just no fucking way that everyone involved in large computer science project lost the raw measurement database

      However, that was basically Phil Jones’ lament, that the dog ate his data, after he finished screaming about how someone downloading a file placed on a publicly visible ftp server with global read permissions was actually “theft” by “hackers”.

  28. Libertarian position on a government “science policy”:

    There shouldn’t be one.

    End of discussion.

    1. The comment to end them all… +10

    2. Even in libertopia, I would regard the CDC as providing a legitimate government service. Not all existential threats are idealogical or man-made. Less important, I would also like some warning if the earth was going get hit by an asteroid in Five Years.

      1. …and there’s no reason why those functions have to be performed by a government entity.

        1. If you want to contract out the services the CDC provides, I’m OK with that. Believing that there is a pure, profit-oriented, business model for tracking communicable diseases is just speculation. I can’t prove to you that it wouldn’t work, and it’s OK with me if does work, but let’s start with a basic: who would be the customers of this service?

          1. chromy|10.26.10 @ 11:03PM|#
            “If you want to contract out the services the CDC provides, I’m OK with that. Believing that there is a pure, profit-oriented, business model for tracking communicable diseases is just speculation. I can’t prove to you that it wouldn’t work, and it’s OK with me if does work, but let’s start with a basic: who would be the customers of this service?”

            Uh, sort of the same people who are customers of, say, UL?

            1. The main reason a manufacturer gets his products UL labeled is that owners, or consulting engineers working on their behalf, cut and paste this requirement from the last specification they wrote, copied, or stole.

              I have no idea how a non-UL listed product can cause an existential threat.

      2. here is why you are wrong.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..02599.html

  29. A lot of these GOP candidates on the mid-term ticket make GW Bush look like a moderate and Bush is probably the most anti-science president in our nation’s history.

    1. Like who? Christine O’Donnell?

    2. Scroll back to YoJims’ post.

      I don’t get you link to a specific position within the H&R blog, but I’ve sure seen it done. ?

    3. Was that grape, or lemon lime koolaid you guzzled straight from the pitcher?

  30. From what I can tell, all of these politicians have been both for and against, and even for while at the same time against statist involvement in the economy. Good to know. Pieces of shit.

  31. “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “wanted to make public some of its long-term, worst-case discharge models for the Deepwater Horizon spill, and requested approval to do so from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget,” according to the staff paper. “The Office of Management and Budget denied NOAA’s request.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…..JO7ST8.DTL

    Of course the “worst-case” is the commonly released version on climate change, but hey, this is a dem administration, and they’d *never* try to bias ‘scientific’ reports for political purposes. Would they?

    1. “For a long time now there has been too much secrecy in this city,” Obama said. “The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”

        1. Yep. The current administration’s shennanigans wrt the Deepwater Horizon mishap pretty much pulls out a chromed Desert Eagle and shoots the “progressives are better on that sciency stuff” right through the fucking temple.

  32. I hope using Arial as your typeface on the elephant was a deliberate jab at Republicans, because no self-respecting professional graphical artist should be using Arial.

    1. What I once remarked about men writers who obsessed with descriptions of sex applies just as well to artist obsessed with something as meaningless as type fonts. Keep it simple, unobtrusive and move on.

      1. My old roommate (architect student) was obsessed with fonts and their meanings etc etc. It was weird.

        By obsessed I mean it came up in conversation more than once. If you refer to the meaning of FONTS more than once, I’m going to call it an obsession.

        1. Font Nazi

          1. Hence the name.

    2. True Conservatives use the monospaced Courier New font exclusively.

    3. Yeah, but Helvetica is copy-righted.

      1. I know of a few random font generators. One is packaged in the Irrlicht renderer, not the one I use, but likely good enough. Just pump out a dozen or so sets, and cross compare until you find one you like that fits the context you intend to use it. Or, if you have graphic skills overlay two together, snip out the obtrusive parts and you have custom fonts of your own, created in less than an hour of your time. Really, any time you put into thinking about fonts beyond what immediately appeals to you in the context of how you wish to use it is a waste of time. I have to do it because of my ‘day’ job (in quotes ’cause I have to be up until a compilation finishes, then I send it in to be on my project lead’s desk before he makes it to his office in six hours), and as you see, I have found and created short cuts. If I find it deadly dull, and I’m essentially a patternist by nature (here is one of the few college courses that has paid off in terms of money!money!money! for me http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc…..n1art.html) and profession than the idea someone is actually fascinated by typefonts to be bizarre. That last sentence should be rewritten as the second formation is skewed from the first. You know what, it’s late, I’m lazy, my payout comes from elsewhere, I’m keeping it.

  33. This thread reminds me of my favorite tv show that I only get to watch on DVD… Big Bang Theory.

    1. Where’s the girl next door?

      1. The girl is across the hall

        1. Semantics suck. You win.

    2. In a world ruled by a giant intelligent beaver…

      1. Misogynist!!

  34. Although it is definitely a minority opinion among geologists, if abiogenic petroleum formation theory can ever be proven, it will make BOTH Congressman Barton and Nobel Prize?winning Energy Secretary Steven Chu look like fucking idiots. Just sayin’…

    1. And if fusion ever becomes other than the ‘energy source of the future’, why, we’re all wearing silk undies and walking in high clover!

      1. Nobody really has to prove anything to make Chu look like a fucking idiot, he’s quite capable of that all on his own.

    2. It is a minority opinion but one that seems to be gaining a lot of traction or at least discussion lately. I’m rather interested in it. If it’s sound enough for Dimitri Mendeleev, then I’d say it’s worth investigating extensively.

      1. True, that – as far as interesting goes. The prevalence of hydrocarbons in the Earth’s crust simply isn’t very well explained by chalking it up to Dinosaur farts, or the sudden sequestration of large portions of the carbon budget held by ancient plant life. Given the tendency of so many other things in nature to be cyclic, the discovery of the presence of an ongoing process being involved will probably appear to be obvious in retrospect.

        1. I’d have imagined just given the deeper depths that drilling operations have been striking large deposits, they will eventually strike something at levels below that show no trace of organic life.

          Anecdotal, but FWIW, my brother works oil rigs in the gulf. His company’s operation involves depleting known reserves at smaller fields and moving on to the next. Eventually, they get back to the first one they started at, and lo and behold, oil has replenished.

    3. Dad drew up the two different carbon molecules and swore on his grave that one could never become the other. He used to be pretty smart guy despite the fact that his fusion reactor took in more than it put out.

  35. Penny: I always tear up when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes.

    Sheldon Cooper: Tears seem appropiate. Enlargement of the heart muscle, or hypertropic myopathy, is a serious disease.

    Penny: I take it you didn’t like it?

    Sheldon Cooper: On the contrary. I find the Grinch a relatable character, right until he succumbs to social convention and gives the presents back. What a buzzkill that was.

  36. Chad|10.26.10 @ 8:01PM|#
    “Ron, funding science is not binary. Republicans may concede it should be publically funded, but generally propose to fund it to a notably smaller degree than liberals.”

    Cite?
    And, no, asshole, I’m not doing your homework for you.

    1. NASA should be privately funded.

  37. Climate policy will remain status quo ante, i.e., nothing will be done.

    Oh good grief – I hope this call of your’s is wrong, Bailey. Lisa Jackson needs to be bitch slapped to at least Kokomo. Then again, she’s just an enabling tool.

    The entire basis for the argument to impose cap and tax is, to put it simply, wrong. The idea of Greenhouse gases as a significant forcing variable on planetary temperatures was wrong when Hansen first pulled it out of his ass when talking about Venus, and it hasn’t gotten any more correct since then. He just found out that it was a lot more career enhancing to apply the premise to Earth instead, particularly when framed in a fright producing Malthusean wrapper. That’s the only thing he’s been accurate about, it would seem, as most of his predictions have failed to materialize, at the least, or been completely wrong in the opposite direction at worst. Only Paul Erhlich has a more consistently erroneous track record.

    Mike Mann, the producer of the ‘Hockey Stick” is little more than a well connected and credentialed bullshit artist. Detailed deconstruction of his statistical methodologies, by people who specialize in statistics (and here I’m referring to the work of MacIntire and McKittrick, among others) reveals some highly questionable manipulations and flat out brute force massaging (by cherry picking and unexplained weighting of data) to arrive at the conclusions he peddles. Likewise, his computer modeling code is so biased that it will produce a “hockey stick” even when fed bogus or psuedo-random data – as such it is worthless both as a historical modeling tool, and worse than worthless as a predictive tool. An examination of his data collection, collation, and selection methodology for his ‘tree ring data’ is blatantly laughable, in that he claims the ability to divine the single pertinent variable for his research out of an inter-related multi-variable situation, without even the first clue as to what the other variables where. He might as well have gutted a few dozen chickens, and picked through the entrails to obtain his data points.

    Mann, Phil Jones, and Kieth Briffa were caught red handed attempting to ‘shape the battlespace’ through selective suppresion of contradictory positions in major scientific journals, and even the expulsion of the editors of those journals that didn’t hue to the preferred groupthink on the subject.

    The data compilations that many of the prognostications of doom are based turn out to be co-mingled and poorly collected, so in fact, the ‘three independent databases’ really aren’t, and the GIGO information they provide is quite often at odds with a truly independent source for the same measurements, namely the satellite temperature data collated and published via the University of Alabama at Huntsville, with several instances of blatant data smoothing and correcting (which on at least more than one occasion increased the disparity with the UAH data, btw) to fit the GW narrative.

    The “science is settled” and “it’s a concensus of a majority of scientists” meme is just that – a meme – and has been ever since Al Gore began using it in 1992 – which has survived (somehow) being refuted by plenty of scientists who don’t agree, and publicly so state. Such people are subject to being labeled “deniers” (a term which has taken on a meaning virtually identical to ‘heretic’, for all intents and purposes) thus worthy of dismissal from serious consideration.

    AGW has long since ceased being a ‘scientific’ issue – it is today a political one, eagerly supported by those who wish to extend statist influence, power, and control. Oh, and for the ability to place yet another spigot into the energy revenue stream, and direct funding in top down directed, command and control economic fashion. Senator ma’am probably has to strap on extra maxi pads every time Lisa Jackson shows up to report on the progress of such an agenda, to avoid leaving a soaked wet spot underneath her chair while she contemplates the massive increase in governmental control and influence opportunity this sham creates, just ready to be milked.

    Whatever report card by whatever standard you may wish to give team red a less than favorable grade on, a lot of them have no problem smelling this one for the rat that it is. Any shortcomings in scientific knowledge, appreciation, or understanding show glaringly through from the R’s that have allowed this sham of a clown show passing as science any credence whatsoever.

    Team blue really probably only believes one thing on the issue – that it’s a winner for them in that it very conveniently furthers their agenda. VERY conveniently. Because very few people are wiling to devote the time necessary to learn even the basics of whats involved, nor the patience to keep up with this train wreck as it unfolds.

    It’s probably fair to say that finally driving a stake through the heart of this one issue is probably fundamentally more important, from an economic aspect, than undoing the Obamacare mess.

    And if it’s the R’s holding the wooden mallet and pounding for our lives, I couldn’t really care less if they think that the world came into being because a flea on God’s Dog’s ass had a hiccup, or what the fuck ever.

    1. You actually sat there and wrote all of this?

      1. He could be a SQL Jedi.

        SELECT CLICHES FROM LEFTWING_BLOGS OUTER JOIN (SELECT CLICHES FROM RIGHTWING_BLOGS) WHERE CLICHE.LEFTWING_BLOG = CLICHE.RIGHTWING_BLOG ORDER BY ORDER BY RIGHTWING_BLOG RANDOMIZED

        1. I think he meant that it is a lot of writing for someone to do. Very risky since the average adult attention span is only 90 seconds long.

          1. I was just making a little fun of Wind River’s fascination with cliches. Had you spent 90 precious adult seconds reading his post you would have got that. He seems like a good chap. You, however, are a dingbat.

            1. Thanks chromy – The whole climate thing doesn’t give me a headache, it makes my fucking head explode.

              1. +1000 carbon credits.

              2. +1000 carbon credits.

            2. I was just making a little fun of Wind River’s fascination with cliches. Had you spent 90 precious adult seconds reading his post you would have got that. He seems like a good chap. You, however, are a dingbat.

              Whatever, I’m just saying it’s gay to sit there and write that much on a message board. I always skip anything that is more than a few sentences.

      2. Actually, I was restraining myself.

    2. You had me at cap and tax!

  38. Goodnight Reason.

  39. “While I won’t stick around to defend or discuss it…”

    I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of people who rely on science, then simultaneously deride it.

    If you don’t accept DNA’s role in confirming that evolution is at least plausible, then there’s no point in depending on forensic science that relies on DNA.

    If someone raped your wife, and they matched a suspect with forensic science and DNA, then would you simply say, “It wasn’t him, I don’t believe in evolution?”…. probably not… more likely you’d walk away and feel that justice was served.

    1. Identical twin’s DNA is identical.

      But unless you have a twin, ya probably did it.

      1. I have a twin brother.

  40. The real intellectual left and Libertarians are uniquely connected because of their disdain for organized religion. Libertarianism being what I consider an intellectual endeavor has, as a side affect, yielded a strong minded atheist/agnostic/skeptic community that is willing to challenge the left’s economic policies.

    America, with its heritage of liberty united with its uncanny ability to evolve, will surely, inevitably adopt a strict capitalist/private enterprise system (once again) with a consciousness, enlightenment and open-ended intellectual respect that will cause the dogmatic monopolies to eventually phase out as relics.

    Religion, hopefully, will still be free to all who chose to partake… but will have no influence over public policy.

    What we need is a basic, unbiased scientific worldview that dispels the myths of religion as well as political correctness… and eradicates it from political power. You will still have the right to go to church or be offended by the word “bitch”, but the insanity will cease to infect the majority rule…then freedom, innovation, and true prosperity will ensue unimpeded.

  41. Why are there left wingers that are against GM food ? I can see how global warming fits perfectly with their own ideology but opposing GM food makes no sense at all.

    1. Not when you factor in the fact that the warmist believe the world is over populated, coming from that perspective bans on DDT, GM seeds etc….make perfect sense. There are sheep and sheepherders so its only the sheepherders I’d call pure evil for the human suffering they cause.

    2. General Mills makes some kick ass cereal. GD I love GM’s cinnamon toast crunch.

      1. General Mills is an evil fascist corporation. I don’t see why the government doesn’t just go in and take it over.

  42. I am a mathematician by training and worked in the field for some years before moving on to software industry.

    For MNG, shrike and everyone else who blindly trusts peer review process: do not.

    Peer review only works if enough people have enough incentives to check the products of other people. This is unappealing and boring work even in mathematics, where it only requires some thinking and a piece of paper. And you do not get much peer appreciation for finding flaws in products of your colleagues. Some, yes, but, actually, most of the flaw-detection in every scientific branch I am aware of is done by just a few individuals that live on schadenfreude, and they are well known and a bit shunned all over their field of work. None of them is particularly popular In algebra, there was a famous lady named Barbara, who lived just to find errors in work of other people – and she was pretty much the only one to do that in that field of non-commutative algebra. Which meant that only about 5% of the papers to be published got her rigorous attention. (Actually, over a half of them contained non-trivial errors – she had way higher percentage of papers killed than her colleagues.)

    If repeating of an experiment requires some more expensive equipment or significant amount of time, there is good chance that no one will bother to do it ever again.

    A lot of current science is actually dependent on trust – scientists are expected to have some integrity and only publish things that they are reasonably sure about. It took over a year to detect fraud in work of Hwang Woo-suk, and he published in a field where results like his were eagerly awaited by thousands – because of their potential immediate applicability to human repair medicine. More obscure works may never be challenged by anyone.

    In case of global climate change, the thing is complicated by the fact that scientists are people, too, and if they are promised huge and permanent financial inflow in case that they return positive results, they will have motivation to be biased.

    In my home country, during Russian occupation, Lysenkism was the official standard, for similar reasons: the award was high.

    I say, only half jokingly: let us build Deep Thought from Douglas Adams’ novels and ask IT. It has nothing to gain from existence or non-existence of global warming.

  43. “The balance of the evidence is that the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing the average temperature of the globe.”

    So an article purported to be about “science” then posits voodoo science.
    Why don’t you read NASA scientist Roy Spencer’s book, “The Great Global Warming Blunder”, on the subject or Montford’s “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science” referenced by Hal Lewis in his famous APS resignation letter as follows:

    “It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.”

    Your article is unREASONable.

  44. Glad to see everyone is an expert in climatology. Can we please shut the fuck up on global warming? Both sides? No one fucking cares what you think because you are wrong regardless.

  45. If an individual is an entrepreneur, supports him/herself, assumes full responsibility for his/her actions, and/or is completely independent from government, does it make any difference what their scientific leanings are? Government has no business what science is acceptable or not.

    OTOH, the state is using its preferred “science” (left or right) to advance their agendas/growth.

    Calling Dr. Zaius!!

  46. Climate policy is such hell because it’s vague and distant enough in people’s minds that they think it has little impact on their daily lives, so it’s strictly a culture war.

    1. excellent point, gregory

  47. Rep. Ralph Hall and Rep. Joe Barton voted FOR the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 – not AGAINST.

    Rep. Joe Barton is term limited as Ranking Member / Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is possible to get a waiver from Leadership, but highly unlikely. Rep. Fred Upton is likely to assume the senior most position on Energy and Commerce. Rep. Ralph Hall has more seniority on Energy and Commerce, but has indicated his preference to stay on as House Science Committee Ranking Member / Chair.

  48. Let’s take a brief tour of how Republican science committee ranking members have voted on various science-informed policy issues.

    If someone voted libertarian-ish on those issues, exactly what could you deduce about their knowledge of science?

    Pew:
    http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1552

    “On average, [general public] Republicans scored somewhat higher than Democrats on the science test, and 37% of Republicans are in the high knowledge group compared with 27% of Democrats.”

  49. So none of the people who want to perform the largest control theory expirement of all times at the cost of trillions of dollars, and mucho centralization of policital power have answered my question yet:

    What is the global optimal temperature?

    1. I guess optimal global temperature is a better phrasing.

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  51. I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  52. Did you see “High School Musical 3”? There’s this hall, this corridor that’s on a pivot, turning like a cement truck’s barrel. Inside is an American voter who first smashes himself against the Democrat Wall (when Bush is in office) — kicking out all the Republicans and making both the Senate and the House pretty much Democrat.

    It’s now 2010 and The Hall turns again. The voter is miffed at who’s in office and he smashes himself against the opposite wall — this time kicking out all the Democrats and making both the Senate and the House pretty much Republican.

    Makes you want to scream, doesn’t it?

    Anyway, this goes on, election year after election year … until the voter “wakes up” on stage, sees the light sitting in the dark, and says to himself, “But of course! I should’ve voted Libertarian from the beginning! No more tumbling corridors for me, thank you!”

    1. Libertarianism is arguably one of the greatest political philosophies ever devised by mankind.

      The far-left is unhappy with libertarians though.. and we all know how easy it is to please the far-left, hehe.

      It’s this class war. Beat down the rich, take his money as he falls to the ground… why? Because we want to be rich too! Fool!!

      It isn’t politics, it’s armed robbery.

      Ironically, if you culturally audit this anti-capitalist phenomenon, it backfires on the ideologue every time.

      Man has an anthropological motivation towards ownership, and hates to be watched or spied on no matter how innocent he is.

      If you took a wealthy liberal and juxtaposed him with a village of diseased and ass ugly poor people in some Third World Country, he would be synonymous to a millionaire CEO dominating a working class neighborhood in the U.S. .. Then ask this man to spread his wealth to all these people until they more closely resemble him… eventually they will all be poor. .. and the spread-the-wealth cozy liberal fuck will demand justice, and his money back.

      Don’t judge the rich until you’ve been in their shoes.

  53. good lord, no shortage of self-absorbed aggrandizers on this site. Shout out the names of logical fallacies all you want, this debate is really pretty simple. If you pump a bunch of chemicals into the atmosphere that otherwise would not be there, then some other things will change that otherwise would not have. Whether we call it global warming or global fart sniffing is irrelevant. Look outside the climate tunnel and you’ll see that there are major changes happening in the biosphere (species die-off, for one), and that some, possibly most, will have a negative impact on a substantial number of people. If a tax on pollution is the best or only solution then we better get to it. Of course all of the genius libertarians here are so convinced of their own moral and intellectual superiority that they are equally convinced that its not their problem and to hell with everyone else. To that I say: get over yourselves. We have collective problems that require collective solutions. The alternative is chaos, and it will effect you, no matter how many times you shout “straw man” or “composition”.

    1. After reading your diatribe, I am even more convinced of our moral and intellectual superiority!

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