Where Do the Republican Candidates Stand on Science?

A roundup of the views of GOP hopefuls on contraception, evolution, Internet freedom, and more.


From the Internet to bioscience and energy, science and technology touch nearly every aspect of our lives. Below, a look at the positions of the five remaining Republican presidential candidates on seven different science and technology policy issues: (1) emergency contraception, (2) biological evolution, (3) climate change, (4) shale gas, (5) nuclear power and waste disposal, (6) space exploration, and (7) the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The candidates are listed in order they are currently polling: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Emergency Contraception: The science question here is contraception versus abortion? Most research finds that the common method of emergency contraception—taking high dose hormone pills after coitus—works by interfering with ovulation, not implantation. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney in 2005 vetoed a bill that would make the morning-after pill available over the counter in that state and require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. The legislature overturned his veto. During a recent debate in New Hampshire, Romney was asked if states had the right to ban contraception. He replied, "I can't imagine that states would want to ban contraception. If I were a governor or a legislator in a state, I would totally oppose any effort to ban contraception. So you're asking—given the fact that there's no state that wants to do so—you are asking could it constitutionally be done?" Of course, before the Supreme Court decided Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, states did ban contraception.

Biological Evolution: In 2007, he stated, "I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe." Romney added, "And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body." While governor of Massachusetts, he opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes.

Climate Change: Flip-flopper? In his 2010 book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, Romney wrote, "I believe that climate change is occurring—the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to factors out of our control." In an October 2011 speech in Pennsylvania, the former governor became more skeptical: "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." 

Shale Gas: Romney welcomes shale gas production. "In Pennsylvania and neighboring states, we are seeing the tremendous benefits that domestic energy development can confer," he said. "Tapping the Marcellus shale deposits promises not only to supply clean and inexpensive energy to our country for the next century but also to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs."

Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste Disposal: in an October poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans favor nuclear power and think it safe. Most experts believe that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada could safely store waste for up to one million years. In his 2010 book, No Apology, the candidate argues, "Nuclear power is a win-win; it's a domestic energy source with zero greenhouse emissions." Of course, if climate change is not a problem then it's just a "win." During the Republican debate in Las Vegas, Romney opposed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal facility not on safety grounds, but due to local opposition, saying that the "people of Nevada ought to have the final say as to whether they want [it]." He also suggested that states might bid for taking a waste storage facility with adequate compensation. 

Space Exploration: In the December 10 debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Romney declared that he was opposed to Newt Gingrich's idea of establishing lunar mining colonies. However, back in 2008, Romney said, "I support the NASA program, the president's vision program, which consists of a manned space mission back to the moon, as well as an ongoing mission to Mars." He was talking about President George W. Bush's proposals for a moon colony and a mission to Mars. Flip-flop?

SOPA: The Stop Online Piracy Act would enable censorship of the Internet in the guise of protecting copyright. At a New Hampshire campaign stop last month, a small business owner asked Romney what he thought of SOPA and he responded that he was against regulations that kill business. Mark this down as ambiguously against.

Newt Gingrich

Emergency Contraception: Gingrich, like Santorum, Perry, and Paul has signed the Personhood USA Pledge in favor of an amendment to the Constitution recognizing embryos as people.

Newt Gingrich

 In December, Gingrich stumbled with the pro-life folks, when he said that life begins at "implantation" instead of at "conception." He quickly backtracked. At an Iowa campaign event, a young woman told Gingrich, "I'm just a little concerned because I personally use birth control. And some forms of birth control would be outlawed if those personhood laws became the law of the land. So, do you support birth control, all forms of birth control?" Gingrich replied, "Any kind of pre-conception birth control would be legal. But I think post-conception birth control would be a form of abortion." As noted above, most research does not support the notion that morning-after contraceptive pills prevent post-conception implantation.

Biological Evolution: Asked in 2006 by Discover magazine if he regarded evolution as "just a theory," Gingrich replied, "Evolution certainly seems to express the closest understanding we can now have." With regard to teaching intelligent design in public schools, Gingrich added, "I believe evolution should be taught as science, and intelligent design should be taught as philosophy."

Climate Change: Another flip-flopper? Gingrich famously did a 30-second television spot with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in which he argued, "We do agree that our country must take action to address climate change." His 2007 book, Contract With the Earth, declared "climate change is supported by a wealth of scientific data derived from a diversity of measurement techniques," but added the he could not "be certain about the variance introduced by distinctly human activities." His views have evidently evolved. He announced a few days ago that a chapter by a Texas atmospheric scientist commissioned for his upcoming book on environmental entrepreneurs would be cut.

Shale Gas: In a February 2011 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Gingrich stated, "We now have technology that let's us go down as far as 8,000 feet, reach out as far as four miles horizontally. We can now produce commercially available natural gas from shale. We have an 1,100-year supply." In characteristic Gingrichian fashion, the former Speaker overstated the resources by 10-fold, but he is obviously enthusiastic about abundant natural gas supplies.

Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste: In the 1990s as Speaker of the House, Gingrich spearheaded establishing the Yucca Mountain waste disposal site over President Bill Clinton's objections. During the recent Las Vegas candidate debate, he tempered his views. "When I was in Congress," he said, "I worked with the Nevada delegation to make sure that there was time for scientific studies. But we have to find some method of finding a very geologically stable place, and most geologists believe that, in fact, Yucca Mountain is that." With regard to nuclear power production, he favors streamlining regulations and focusing on the development of "a whole new generation of very small nuclear power plants, that are very, very safe." During a question and answer session at The Washington Post in 2007, when Contract With the Earth was released, Gingrich stated, "I would incentivize dismantling the oldest coal plants and building new nuclear plants. We may be able to get to a clean coal technology, but not in the near future. In the near future nuclear is a much better investment." Incentivize? 

Space Exploration: Besides being in favor of lunar mining colonies, Gingrich also co-authored an op-ed in 2010 praising President Obama's moves toward developing a commercial space launch industry. Gingrich also would like to use large monetary prizes as a way to leverage private firms into developing space capabilities. During the CNN debate in June, Gingrich did say, "If you take all the money we've spent at NASA since we landed on the moon and you had applied that money for incentives to the private sector, we would today probably have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, a new generation of lift vehicles. And instead, what we've had is bureaucracy after bureaucracy after bureaucracy and failure after failure." Government space subsidies to private industry?

SOPA: Unable to find anything specific by Gingrich on this issue. 

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Emergency Contraception: Santorum signed the Personhood Pledge. Leaving aside emergency contraception, Santorum worries about the moral effects of conventional contraception. In October, he asserted of contraception, "It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Naturally, this comment produced a lot of alarm in some quarters. Santorum told The Washington Post last week that he thinks that laws banning birth control would be dumb "for a number of reasons. Birth control should be legal in the United States. The states should not ban it, and I would oppose any effort to ban it." He has called Plan B emergency contraception an "abortifacient." Again, most research suggests that it's not. 

Biological Evolution: In 2001, Santorum proposed legislation in the Senate that would have promoted the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Enough said. 

Climate Change: Santorum is definitely a skeptic. "The idea that man, through the production of CO2—which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas—is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all the other factors," said Santorum in June. He added, ""It's just an excuse for more government control of your life."

Shale Gas: Santorum argues, "No new natural gas regulations, such as those being debated by Congress, should be enacted. The states are regulating the natural gas industry and there is no reason for the federal government to get involved."

Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste: He voted in favor the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and still supports it. At an Iowa campaign event in June, the former senator said, "My position is that we should phase out all energy subsidies and create a level playing field." Presumably, this would apply to nuclear power. 

Space Exploration: He has a pretty thin record, but back in 1998, Santorum voted against an amendment that would have terminated funding for the International Space Station.

SOPA: When asked at a recent New Hampshire campaign rally if he supported SOPA, Santorum stated, "There is, and can be, a limitation on that. You know, freedom of speech.…They're not absolute rights. They are rights that have responsibilities that come with them, and if you abuse those rights… then you have a consequence of you using that right." Not a supporter of an unfettered Internet.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Emergency Contraception: Paul has signed the Personhood Pledge with some caveats. During his first run for the Republican presidential nomination, Paul reportedly told the editorial board of the Kansas City Star that he opposed restrictions on emergency contraception and the so-called "day-after pill" because those decisions "have to be personal moral decisions."

Biological Evolution: Back in 2009, during a Reddit question and answer session Paul said, "With regard to evolution, I mean… I just don't spend a whole lot of time on this, especially in politics. 'Do you believe in evolution or don't you believe in evolution? Yes or no?' And then we'll decide whether you should be President or not." He did note that political controversy over the issue would abate if schools were private.

Climate Change: Paul has called global warming a "hoax." During the 2009 Reddit session, Paul noted, "In the last 10 years the globe hasn't been warming and the science is back and forth on this. Quite frankly, I think we spend way too much time on this issue, saying that if you don't support the thesis that we're in this period of global warming, somehow we don't care about the environment. What we should care about is pollution."

Shale Gas: Can't find anything specific from Paul on this topic, but he generally supports private production of all energy sources.

Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste: Paul was one of the few members of Congress to vote against funding the Yucca Mountain waste disposal facility. He reiterated his view during the Las Vegas candidate debate. Paul says he wants to "lift government roadblocks to the use of coal and nuclear power." Paul also called the reaction of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan "overblown" but suggested that no new nuclear plants are likely to be built in the U.S. It should be noted that back in 2008, Paul sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy urging the agency to back a federal loan guarantee for NRG Energy to build two nuclear power plants in South Texas. In the Las Vegas debate, Paul argued, "The government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy. And nuclear energy, I think, is a good source of energy, but they still get subsidies."

Space Exploration: Paul voted against the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that enacted the Obama administration's new space policy, including efforts in the direction of commercialization. In 2008, Paul was just one of 15 members of Congress to vote against President George Bush's Vision for Space Exploration. Paul did, however, vote in 2004 for the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act. After Paul's congressional district was redrawn putting part of it near the Johnson Space Center, a group of Houston businesspeople met to explain the "value of the space shuttle" and Paul reportedly responded that "space travel isn't in the Constitution."

SOPA: At a recent campaign event Paul warned against increasing federal government threats to civil liberties. He added, "And they are planning more; they are planning the whole idea of controlling the Internet. They are saying that they are going to control piracy on the Internet, but what they are going to do is control your freedom and your privacy." His son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is definitely against SOPA. 

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

Emergency Contraceptives: Perry signed the Personhood Pledge. I can't find anything specific from Perry on this issue, but do note that Texas law requires [PDF] hospital emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception information to sexual assault victims.

Biological Evolution: At a campaign event in August, Perry expressed skepticism, saying that evolution is "a theory that's out there" and that it's "got some gaps in it." Perry added, "Well, God is how we got here. God may have done it in the blink of the eye or he may have done it over this long period of time, I don't know. But I know how it got started."

Climate Change: Another skeptic. In October at a campaign event in New Hampshire Perry said, "I don't believe man-made global warming is settled in science enough."

Shale Gas: Perry is an enthusiast. In an energy policy speech in October, Perry asserted, "Right here in Pennsylvania, and across the state line in West Virginia and Ohio, we will tap the full potential of the Marcellus shale and create another 250,000 jobs by getting the [Environmental Protection Agency] out of the way. While Marcellus shale is today's opportunity, the deeper Utica shale formations offer equally vast potential with more jobs over the horizon for Pennsylvania and its neighbors."

Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste: Generally supports. In 2008, Perry asked for federal loan guarantees to back the construction of two new nuclear plants for the NRG Energy's South Texas project. In October, he told Fox News that he had changed his position on federal loan guarantees to energy projects and now opposes them. In the Las Vegas candidate debate, Perry agreed with Romney and Paul and opposed the Yucca Mountain waste facility. 

Space Exploration: In July, Perry issued a press release criticizing the Obama administration for shutting down the space shuttle program. Perry vaguely added, "It is time to restore NASA to its core purpose of manned space exploration, and to define our vision for 21st Century space exploration, not in terms of what we cannot do, but instead in terms of what we will do." 

SOPA: I cannot find a specific statement from Perry on this issue, but the Texas Tribune reports that Perry opposes the bill. 

Most of the candidates for the Republican nomination appear to be against emergency contraception; skeptical of biological evolution and climate change; think that nuclear power is safe and has a role in producing energy in the U.S., but against storing the industry's wastes in a facility most scientists think safe; in favor of developing shale gas production; make space exploration something of a policy afterthought; and don't want to fetter the Internet. On the first three issues, the candidates' positions align with the views of the Christian right which plays a big role in Republican party primary politics. However sincere their beliefs, this tilt may come back to haunt the eventual nominee since majorities of the independent voters needed to win the election in November do not share those views on emergency contraception, biological evolution, and climate change

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.

NEXT: David Harsanyi on Fighting Money in Politics

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  1. Hm. I’ve voiced my support for Paul, but I have to give Romney higher marks here.

    1. I say we do science in the free market and get the government out of it, except maybe to buy the occasional tank and death-ray.

      1. You’re not going to get government out of anything much, as large groups of people living in settlements of 5000+ always form State level politics.

        Every. Single. Time. In fact, state-level politics is one of the 5 primary defining characteristics of civilization, which is why I call it city-Statism.

        And we know why too. Hierarchy is required beyond the neurobiological limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships called Dunbar’s Number.

        Now, just go all anti-science and anti-intellectual on me, religio-economic Fundie boy, unless…unless…

        You can provide me a single example of civilization (settlements 5000+) without state level politics.

        Otherwise, you should quit tilting against windmills. You won’t be successful, I guarantee it.

        1. In full effect, bitches. The POLIce police the POLIty of the POLIs.

          1. i’ll fill your effect

        2. The Tiv had over a million people and no state.

      2. Federal loan guarantees for nuke power is getting the government out? That bit from Paul surprised me.

        1. Paul ain’t perfect. And, to be honest, I don’t really expect the government to totally get out of R&D.

          1. R&D is completely different than loan guarantees for a power plant. Loan guarantees were the issue behind Solyndra. It’s not like the free market doesn’t provide CapEx loans. If the bankers have determined they’re a bad credit risk, why the taxpayer take it on.

          2. Libertarian Principles. An utter oxymoron.

            1. i’ll ox your utter

              1. Oxen have udders. Who knew? Who cared!

        2. And just about as stupid as the rest. Not quite as stupid, but no significant difference.

        3. Yeah, I wonder what the whole story is on that one. It seems out of character. Anyone know? Or am I going to have to brave the blackout in search of answers?

          1. Ron Paul has succesfully managed to navigate between the Scylla and Charybdis of getting pork for the people in his district and maintaining a reputation as a man of principle.

            I imagine the loan guarantee letter was designed to keep the special interests in his district placated.

    2. Paul gets the highest marks for saying, basically, “I’m a politician, why the fuck are you asking ME?”

  2. Romney has been programmed to deny that he wants more of his kind to be created.

    1. Bender: Ah, yes! John Quincy Adding Machine. He struck a chord with the voters when he pledged not to go on a killing spree.

      Professor: But, like most politicians, he promised more than he could deliver.

      1. Fry: What party do you belong to, Bender?
        Bender: I’m not allowed to vote.
        Fry: ‘Cause you’re a robot?
        Bender: No, convicted felon.

  3. Roe is bad federal law same as DOMA. States issue & regulate licenses, not the feds. Some will, some wont.

  4. Where Do the Republican Candidates Stand on Science?

    Who gives a fuck as long as they don’t advocate for forced wealth transfers from poor (or rich) people towards scientists on the dole?

    I don’t care if candidates believe the moon is made of green cheese and in phlogiston as long as they stick to their oath to defend the Constitution and mind their own business. In that regard, the ONLY one that can have ANY good mark at all is Ron Paul.

    1. For your purposes it’s probably better if they believe such nonsense. More likely they’ll believe your pet nonsense.

      1. Your comment ignores the relatively agnostic- and athiest-heavy makeup of libertarian circles.

        Most people who believe in creationism and deny anthropogenic climate change are hardcore team reds.

        (…not that there’s room for dissent, of course, within the libertarian population. But your associating OM’s kooky, cRaZy libertarianism with adam-and-eve stupidity ignores the demographic trends.)

        1. OM is an unabashed science denier on climate change.

        2. Along with the majority of posters here.

          1. I see you are at it again. Perfect. Fucking. Record. Goddamn.

            Its been cooling off for ten years. All of the predictions of gloom and doom have not come true. The chicken-littles have been caught lying over and over again…..Algore is alaughing stock….

            And you are still on about AGW. Damn Tony could you look any more foolish?

            1. Get yourself some clown shoes and a big red nose…..maybe a bright red, unkempt wig

            2. By chicken littles you mean the entire global scientific establishment.

              But you’re obviously more informed.

              1. I am. Dont appeal to authority.

                …the entire global scientific establishment.
                Horseshit. No such thing exists. There is no consensus.

                1. 98% of actively publishing scientists in the field is a consensus. If you don’t appeal to the experts in the field as the authority, where do you go? Some fatass on teeveee? Don’t pretend that you came to your opinions all on your own by studying the data. Appeal to authority, give me a fucking break.

              2. it’s kind of funny, all the physicists I know who have looked into AGW (N=3) have concluded that it is bullshit based on

                1) The bad practices used in the modeling.
                2) The sampling bias engaged in paleoclimate studies.
                3) The implausible phsyical processes positing a positive relationship between CO2 and water vapor.

                And, if one reads the Delinquent Teenager, one can see how the top guys in the field could include a paranoid idiot that doesn’t understand the limitations of Principal Component Analysis.

          2. TOny, nobody here denies that the Earth’s climate is ever changing.

            We just aren’t part of the superstitious cult of CAGW.

            Which hasn’t made any successful quantifiable predictions yet! 😉

            1. Neither has Austrian economics.

              1. Nice dodge dipshit.

                1. Not really–you guys clearly don’t have a standard of evidence you apply before believing something.

                  You, in fact, believe whatever random assortment of assertions you need to in order to confirm a cultish preconceived worldview.

                  I figure standing with current science is the best anyone can do.

                  1. Perhaps, for our amusement, you could give us some of this evidence? I mean, without saying its true cuz a bunch of other people say it is. give us some evidence, build a case.

                    1. Notice at the bottom of the page you linked to the source of the ‘evidence’ ( which is almost all untrue ) is the IPCC. They have zero credibility and have been caught lying howmany times now?

                    2. You needn’t have bothered unilaterally deciding that a perfectly legitimate source was off-limits–I could easily have guess that’s what you were gonna do.

                    3. But… but… it was on an official government website! It has teh be true! Unlike the rest of the internet.

                    4. Even though Tony says stupid things, I am sure he isnt dumb enough not to realize that I am beckonning with one hand and the other hand, which is behind my back, is holding a big club.
                      He will try to dodge

              2. Wow that came out of nowhere. What were we talking about again?

                1. I just arrived and noticed Tony is working on his perfect record of spewing idiocy every single time he opens his mouth. I was showing contempt for the contemptible.

              3. Given that Austrian Economics does not make such predictions by design, and your cult claims that it can make specific quantifiable predictions, you are comparing apples and xylophones.

                But nice attempts to move the goalposts. You’re so cute when you try to put together a rational, persuasive argument.

                1. If you are a science denier you are not amenable to rational argument, by definition.

                  1. ….and there is the dodge. What a surprise.

                  2. Yes Tony, that’s why I have given up hope of ever persuading you of anything. Superstitious people like yourself who confuse scientism with science are generally beyond help.

                    1. Neither of you is more of an expert on this subject than any one of the 98% of American scientists who disagree with you.

                      I can go on linking to facts all day long, and you’ll pull one lame excuse after enough out of your asses for why it’s not legitimate, even if it’s published in freaking Science.

                      So since none of us is an expert, the absolute best we can do is appeal to the actual experts. It is beyond absurd for you to continue hanging onto denierism when the scientific controversy on this subject is virtually nonexistent. The ONLY reason you treat this field of science different from all others is because of propaganda you’ve consumed.

                      In short, I don’t need to prove myself, I’m on the side of current science. The burden is squarely on you.

                    2. Wow, Science never publishes anything that is in doubt or where the methodology could be questioned? And I’m not talking about conscious misdirection, I’m talking about scientists, within the same field, disagreeing on methodology. I saw it all the time when I was working with geophysicists.

                      I know that you’re supposedly a chemist, and I’ve said it before – in your discipline, there are questions, experiments get run, data collected, and answers often come out. Not so in some other disciplines, earth sciences included. There are a lot of unknowns, experiments can’t really be run, etc.

                    3. That may all be true (except the part about me being a chemist), yet it remains true that the basic facts of climate change to which almost everyone here objects are not seriously at issue in the field.

                      The issue is simply, and quite sadly, muddled by oil industry propaganda. For some reason that kind of bias goes mostly unacknowledged.

                    4. Sorry, my mistake.

                      Just because you believe that the basic facts of climate change are not at issue does not make it true. Again, I bet most people (including many scientists) think we have plate tectonics all figured out, and yet, if you’ve really studied the subject, you would know that it is not. Ditto for all other kinds of planetary/earth sciences, including climate.

                      That there is changing climate may not be in dispute, but that it’s in some way catastrophic most definitely is.

                    5. That there is changing climate may not be in dispute, but that it’s in some way catastrophic most definitely is.

                      This is classic goalpost moving perfected by evolution opponents. First it wasn’t real at all. Then it’s the planet is warming but humans didn’t cause it. Then it was the planet is warming and humans caused it but it’s not a catastrophe. Probably skipped some steps. I suppose it will take some actual catastrophes indisputably linked to warming before the thick skull of the science skeptic is sufficiently penetrated on that count.

                      I realize Wikipedia is down today, but it has a very thorough article on scientific consensus about climate change. If you have a good reason to dispute the facts as they are currently understood, then go get published and gain fame and glory instead of perpetuating what seem very much like desperate conspiracy theories on the Internet.

      2. Re: Tony,

        For your purposes it’s probably better if they believe such nonsense.

        You don’t understand anything. It doesn’t matter what they believe as long as they do not violate people’s rights including yours.

        1. Regulations to create artificial borders that restrict the free movement of people:

          1. Violate Non-State People’s “rights.”
          2. Form the foundation of agricultural city-Statist “rights.”

          1. i’ll free your restrictions

          2. They see you gambolin’, they hatin’

          3. i’ll people your movement

            1. that was the last one, promise

    2. Agreed. For instance, I believe Gingrich is decent on space, being one of the few Republicans to be all for COTS.

    3. Come on, Old Mexican, it’s Ron Baily’s job to ask, and you don’t have to read the answers.

  5. The only reason anyone cares where these candidates stand on these issues is because the majority of people in this country think that government should be making choices for the American people. This is most likely due to the fact that our egos are so overinflated that we believe we know what is best for other and feel that we should elect people who agree with us in order to force our will upon the “stupid masses.” Of course this backfires when our candidate loses and we become one of the “stupid masses.”

    Ultimately, if you value freedom and your right to make your own choices regarding contraception, education, freedom of speech, etc. you should be voting for the candidate that is most likely to get government out of the business of choosing for you. If taking responsibility for living up to the standards we try to set others is too much for you, then you deserve to be thinned from the herd for the sake of the rest of us.

    1. you deserve to be thinned from the herd for the sake of the rest of us.

      This concept makes no sense to me.

      1. Even Atlas Shrugged is a Malthusian wet dream of sabotaging the necessities of civilization, like oil (Wyatt’s Torch,) to effect a massive dieoff of philosophical undesirables until Earth reached its Objectivist carrying capacity.

        Typical right-wing-nut Republican voters might include people of a certain “aggressor” color.

        In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors. ~Murray Rothbard

        1. i’ll capacity your undesirables

        2. Does it make you even MORE butthurt to know that nobody takes you seriously?

    2. If you value freedom, advocate against Gambol Lockdown. Unless your egos is so overinflated that yo believe you know what is best for Non-State society bands and tribes.

      1. i’ll gambol down your lock

        1. It’s amazing how swiftly libertarians are willing to violate their principles as a method of teaching people their ways. Nice.

          1. i’ll violate your principles

          2. i’ll people your method

          3. i’ll amaze your swift libertarians

  6. In before the “NO! YOUR team is more anti-science!” poo flinging that always accompanies these threads.

    1. Yeah, just because you’re some kind of anti-science freak hack!! Blearghlebleargh!!

    2. Not here. These threads usually turn into everybody-but-Tony-the-token-TeamBlue-and-John-the-token-TeamRed explaining exactly why this issue doesn’t matter at all.

      The smart snark is directed at Reason for writing on the topic in the first place. Sellouts!

  7. Paul was one of the few members of Congress to vote against funding the Yucca Mountain waste disposal facility.

    I don’t understand – is this supposed to be evidence of him being pro-science or anti-science? I contend this shows Paul to be pro 10th Amendment.

    Space Exploration: Paul voted against the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that enacted the Obama administration’s new space policy[.]

    I don’t understand – is this supposed to be evidence of him being pro-science or anti-science? What does the forced transfer of wealth from poor (or rich) people to the hands of a few bureaucratic technicians and scientists on the dole have to do with science per se?

    During the 2009 Reddit session, Paul noted, “In the last 10 years the globe hasn’t been warming and the science is back and forth on this. Quite frankly, I think we spend way too much time on this issue, saying that if you don’t support the thesis that we’re in this period of global warming, somehow we don’t care about the environment. What we should care about is pollution.”

    I don’t understand – is this supposed to be evidence of him being pro-science or anti-science? His take on the matter is not necessarily wrong – as there has been a lot of back and forth on this issue. Is being skeptical of AGW (now known by its very vague and fuzzy moniker “Climate Change”) make one anti-science?

    I’m sorry, I just don’t understand the reasoning behind the article. It looks more like one of those phony Fox News reports where one gets to “decide.”

    1. Yeah, it’s basically a bunch of facts that have to do with issues that are somewhat related to science. You decide! what those facts mean and whether they are relavent.

    2. OK, Old Mex, what questions should Reason‘s science correspondent ask of candidates?

      1. None. The job of the president isn’t to science, its to enforce the constitution.

  8. Why is Paul discussed fourth? The list isn’t alphabetical. Romney is first, suggesting the list is in order of “seriousness,” or “electability,” or what have you.

    Is Reason unaware that Paul is currently second in the delegate count? Which means, homeboy is in second?!??

    1. i’ll count your delegates

      1. shit i just realized i did that to myself

    2. He’s also second in votes received and in some of the newer polls.

      Homeboy is in second.

    3. i’ll second your homeboy.

  9. And I care why?

    If somehow it makes a difference with the broken economy, then we can give a rat’s ass which of the candidates cares about abortion or intelligent design. Even if they have the “wrong” opinions on these subjects, they aren’t entitlements like ObamaCare – they can be easily overturned by the next administration with minimal fuss.

    Can we focus on the issues that actually matter? Isn’t that where Obama’s biggest mistakes have been, doing things like trying to pushing through health care programs most of us were against instead of the stuff that really mattered, like trying to get people back to work?

    1. Obamacare is not an entitlement. The mandate may be unconstitutional but the last entitlement legislated was Medicare Part D (and completely unpaid for as well).

      Both parties are equally worthless when it comes to cutting an existing entitlement as evidenced by their rush every year to renew the doc fix in Medicare. The doc fix costs $30 billion per year

      1. Does it really matter what Obamacare is when the majority of Congress (which is supposed to represent the people) passed it even though the majority of people were against it?

      2. It is an entitlement in the same sense that drives why it is neither party wants to ever get rid of or reduce an entitlement. Once people get used to something, they rely on it like a crutch. Can’t monkey with Social Security, even though it’s broken as hell, because for too many Americans, it’s their entire retirement plan. Yes, those people are stupid, but they’re numerous and if you piss them off, they’ll vote you out of office in droves.

        1. To repeal Obamacare, according to the CBO, would increase spending.

          The repealers will have to explain to people that they want to take their kids up to age 26 off their insurance again and revert to preexisting condition rejection of coverage AND cost the government more money.

          But most critics don’t actually know what the bill contains at all, they just know that fat men on the radio tell them to hate it.

          1. The CBO didn’t do any research on their own – they just crunched the numbers provided to them by the backers of the bill, numbers which were significantly skewed. Garbage in, garbage out.

            1. In other words, you’re always right no matter what, and no amount of facts will change that.

              1. Tony is reliably wrong and stupid.

                1. You guys should leave Tony alone, as he clearly suffers from mental deficiencies of some sort. I notice that same pattern in most Internet climate hysterics.

              2. Tony it isn’t fucking facts. The CBO readily admits this. For example, the number of “jobs” created by the stimulus was simply the CBO plugging in the amount of money spent into their model. When a model assumes something, it will naturally spit out information a certain way because of that assumption. So if the CBO model assumes that Obamacare is going to do x, x being a decrease in spending on healthcare, should we be fucking surprised when the repeal of a model that assumes x will show y, an increase, if its appealed. This is fucking highschool logic.

          2. NO, according to the CBO repealling increases the deficit, not spending. The CBO very clearly states this increases spending.

            But event he deficit reductions was all a gimick. Half of which is already gone once the CLASS Act was removed. Now that they have already done more doc patches, once the mediciad expansion kicks in, that alledged savings will be gone too. Repealing the healthcare bill will most definetalyl reduce spending by about 150-250 billion per year at least and will reduce the deficit by some amount less than that.

            1. *decreases in that first line

      3. Obamacare is not an entitlement.

        It certainly is. You are entitled to have a policy issued to you by an insurance company regardless of risk, and entitled to have the taxpayers pick up the tab if you are too po’.

      4. it massively expands medicaid and creates a new subsidy to buy insuarance. How are those not entitlements?

  10. Federal loan guarantees for nuke power is getting the government out? That bit from Paul surprised me.

    I think this is some of the backhanded “contituent service” that Paul is known to engage in.

    He’s not actually voting for a loan guarantee but since they’ve already been passed, he might as well get some of that pork for his district.

    Private lenders are reluctant to lend on something that is perceived as being as risky like a nuke power plant. Some of this was supposed to have been taken care of by the Price-Anderson Act which limits the liability of an operator in the event of an accident.

  11. The science of the post conception birth control is relatively clear. The majority of time it does not work to abort an embryo, but it does happen. One death is too many?

  12. Paul is on record for saying he does not accept evolution:

    1. It’s by sheer happenstance that he’s correct on macroeconomic policy.

      Why does correct macroeconomic policy always seem to coincide with belief in the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs? Just one of those oddities of the universe.

      1. Re: Tony,

        It’s by sheer happenstance that he’s correct on macroeconomic policy.

        Like saying that by sheer happenstance Mozart was correct on music.

        Why does correct macroeconomic policy always seem to coincide with belief in the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs?

        Why does a dolt who goes by the nick of “Tony” always insist on talking about subjects on which he lacks any grasp or even superficial understanding?

        Just one of those oddities of the universe, I guess.

        1. How is Paul analogous to Mozart? I don’t get it.

          I have a superficial understanding of a lot of things! My preferred approach to these things is a sort of meta-view. Such questions as the following are what interest me, more than the details:

          Libertarians and believers in dinosaur-human coexistence have the same beliefs with respect to economic policy.

          Either the dinosaur people happened upon the correct version of one of the more complex subjects known to man, or you’re both idiots.

      2. Probably because macroeconomics is best taught by cartoons, and in all cartoons (except I can’t remember in the case of “B.C.”, but I think so), humans are around with the dinosaurs.

    2. Again, we care why about Paul’s views on monkeys vs. humans?

      At this rate, how long before “who would win a fight between astronauts and cavemen” shows up at a presidential debate?

      1. I would think we care because it speaks to your openness to scientific consensus, especially when the consensus speaks to policy choices.

        1. Re: Robert,

          I would think we care because it speaks to your openness to scientific consensus, especially when the consensus speaks to policy choices.

          Like which choices, Robert? Even if a president believes the world was created 6000 years ago, would that mean anything if he followed the Constitution to the letter? Would that mean anything if individual liberties are protected?

          1. If, for example, the scientific consensus was that global warming was a real threat, and that it was largely man-made, there could very well be federal policy implications.

            1. Well given that nations that have been more aggressive about “combating” GW have achieved squat with the Kyoto treaty over the course of a decade. And that even if the Kyoto treaty were implemented world wide it wouldn’t achieve a reduction in the warming of the globe, it begins to look like that any sort of federal involvement would simply be a waste of funds. Better yet, most research I have seen shows the impact will not affect developed nations the same way as undeveloped nations. Besides, whether or not we could do anything there is no mandate for federal involvement by the constitution. When you throw out the rules everytime theres a crisis you get…well the shit we are dealing with now.

    3. He says ” I don’t think anyone has absolute proof” before the clip cuts off. Who wouldn’t agree with that? Unlike an experiment that I can repeat in my lab numerous times, one cannot repeat evolution. So proof cannot be absolute. Evidence is overwhelming, but not absolute.

  13. This is all rather silly. You can be against spending a lot of money on space exploration because you don’t think it’s cost effective, and that doesn’t make you “anti-science.”

    And SOPA? I fail to see how that has anything to do with “science.” Of course most libertarians will be suspicious of government regulation of the Internet, but that’s not “science.” It’s just libertarianism.

    Finally, maybe a principled libertarian ought to be a bit skeptical of *scientists* (not the same thing as “science”). Maybe both climate scientists and nuclear scientists have vested interests that corrupt their beliefs. ClimateGate clearly exhibited that for the former group.

    Again, a silly article.

    1. ClimateGate clearly exhibited that for the former group.

      No it didn’t. The only reason you believe the propaganda that follows slimy corporate-funded witch hunts is because you choose to.

      1. ‘corporate funded witch hunt’

        BullShit! Corporations have little time or incentive to be involved. Gubbamint, however, is fully engaged in its propaganda campaign, abetted by pseudo scientists.

        1. Corporations have benefited just as much from the AGW group and the subsidization of green technologies as much as the the goverment.

    2. OK, John McA, what do you think Reason’s science correspondent should write regarding the campaign?

  14. President George W. Bush’s proposals for a moon colony and a mission to Mars

    Technically the VSE didn’t call for a moon colony. It proposed a moon base with a crew that rotated back to Earth every few months, similar to what is currently done for the ISS. A “colony” implies a group of people will permanently re-settle on the moon, which was clearly not the case. Moot point now of course, but still.

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  16. “Where Do the Republican Candidates Stand on Science?”
    Abetter question is what does Bailey know about science?
    Not much.

  17. “space travel isn’t in the Constitution.”

    What a great line. Had to laugh at that one. You go Ron.

  18. Who cares what their positions on science are? So long as they follow the Constitution, their positions will have no effect on anyone else’s beliefs or actions.

  19. In the study by Raine et al, ( ), they compare advance distribution of emergency contraception to clinic or pharmacy access. They conclude that recipients of advance emergency contraception (EC) were more likely to use it but were just as likely to become pregnant. Their mysterious conclusion was that EC should be given out in advance. Why? It doesn’t decrease the STD rate. It doesn’t decrease the pregnancy rate. It does increase money to the pharmaceutical companies. It didn’t seem to increase the rate of unprotected sex (but the recipients were highly artificial environment of having nurses call them monthly).

    My conclusion is would be that readily available versus restricted availability of EC doesn’t make a difference. There are untoward events. Therefore it should limited available.

  20. Science is the study of reality.

    They didn’t lie to you about the moon landings.
    They are not lying to you now about climate change.

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