Climate Change: Anti-Science, Anti-Fact, Anti-Intellectual – That’s How Republicans Roll

Who is the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology? That would be Representative Ralph Hall of Texas. He is a climate change skeptic. As you can probably guess, he is also a Republican. Who is likely to replace Hall as the House science chair in the 113th congress? That would be Lamar Smith, also a climate change skeptic, also from Texas, oh, and also a Republican.

Rep. Lamar Smith - photo by Ryan J. Reilly

See, this is how Republicans roll. Or more specifically, this is how many conservatives roll. Uninterested in knowledge. Lacking curiosity when it comes to science. And overall, an absence of concern for facts, particularly when facts challenge belief systems. Nope, the primary focus is government policy that comports to their ideology and their narrow worldview.

[Lamar] Smith, like many of his Republican colleagues, has expressed doubt that global warming is caused by human behavior. In 2009, he criticized the media for not airing enough “dissenting opinions” about climate change.

“The [ABC, NBC and CBS television] networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change,” Smith said in a statement at the time. “During a six-month period, four out of five network news reports failed to acknowledge any dissenting opinions about global warming, according to a Business and Media Institute study. The networks should tell Americans the truth, rather than hide the facts.”

He also referred to environmentalists and others who warn about the seriousness of the issue as “global warming alarmists.”

Lamar Smith, Global Warming Skeptic, Set To Chair House Science Committee

Maybe there are “dissenting opinions”, but so what? Climate change is not opinion, it is scientific consensus, and overwhelmingly so. Man-made global warming has moved from just another theory to the scientifically accepted fact about how and why the climate is changing.

What Smith calls bias is in reality fact. If there is a Hurricane heading to your town, you don’t expect the news to report the “dissenting opinions” on whether that is a fact or not.

To Mr. Smith: Not accepting facts is your problem. — To congress: Appointing people who do not accept facts to the House science committee is everyone’s problem.

On this issue, when it comes to the scientific consensus and the news media, there is no bias, there is only fact. If you do not offer deference to expertise beyond your scope of understanding, and instead are only offering your opinion, then understand that you are not a skeptic, you are a denialist.

photo by Ryan J. Reilly

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