Meet Your Republican Science Committee Members


Todd Akin and Paul Broun are not the only anti-science whackos on the House Science, Space and Technology committee. Longtime reader and commenter Dr. X sent me an email with links to a whole bunch of statements by some of the other Republican members of the committee. Rep. Ralph Hall, for instance, is the chair of the committee. Here’s an interview with him about global warming:

NJ: Do you think climate change is causing the earth to become warmer?

Hall: I can’t say it doesn’t have a percentage of effects on it – one percent, three percent, five percent. But I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls…

NJ: Last year the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science published a survey finding that 97 percent of scientists were in consensus that human activities lead to global warming.

Hall: And they each get $5,000 for every report like that they give out. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that. But I don’t believe ‘em…I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that.

This man chairs the top science committee in the House. Sleep tight. Then there’s Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who thinks the solution to global warming is to clear cut forests. No, I’m not making that up:

On the witness stand was Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s climate change envoy, who was questioned on whether the nation’s climate policy should focus on reducing the more than 80 percent of carbon emissions produced by the natural world in the form of decaying plant matter.

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” the congressman asked Mr. Stern, according to Politico.

“Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?” he continued.

Forestry experts were dumbfounded by Mr. Rohrabacher’s line of questioning, noting that the world’s forests currently absorb far more carbon dioxide than they emit — capturing roughly one-third of all man-made emissions and helping mitigate climate change.

Staggering. It seems that being an idiot is a prerequisite for a Republican to get a seat on that committee.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    I didn’t leave a comment on a thread posted yesterday but Congressman Roscoe Bartlett was mentioned and I think it unfair to bracket him with these nutcases. AFAIK, Bartlett accepts the scientific consensus on global warming.

  2. tbp1 says

    The only surprising thing is how unsurprising this is.

    And that’s not just sad, it’s catastrophic, considering how much power these idiots have.

  3. TGAP Dad says

    It seems that bring an idiot is a prerequisite for a Republican to get a seat on that committee.

    You had me at “Republican!”

  4. says

    Science is the pursuit of the most accurate approximations of objective truth our tools and brains can develop.

    I don’t think wingnuts believe there is such a thing as objective truth.

  5. says

    We should change all the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ signs on the the capital doors. At least, it should keep a few of these mentally retarded motherfuckers from getting in.

  6. naturalcynic says

    I don’t think wingnuts believe there is such a thing as objective truth.

    Except the Bible.

  7. Tony •Prom King of Sunnydale High• says

    holytape:

    We should change all the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ signs on the the capital doors.

    I like this idea. These politicians really shouldn’t be in any position of power with these unscientific views.

    At least, it should keep a few of these mentally retarded motherfuckers from getting in.

    I think using mental retardation as a means of insulting someone is offensive to those who suffer from mental disabilities.

  8. says

    Me:

    I don’t think wingnuts believe there is such a thing as objective truth.

    naturalcynic:

    Except the Bible.

    Only the parts they’re in the mood for. Or whichever parts are rhetorically convenient in front of a particular audience. Or whichever parts the wind velocity points to.

  9. P. Tirebiter says

    We should change all the “push” and “pull” signs on the capital doors.

    –holytape
    This could actually work. When I was a small boy, back in Arkansas, they put up ‘One Way’ signs on all the streets, & everybody left town & couldn’t get back in.

  10. jamessweet says

    And they each get $5,000 for every report like that they give out. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that.

    Epic facepalm.

  11. jamessweet says

    Carbon emissions from decaying plant matter is not entirely a joke… it is true that hydroelectric is not as “green” as we would like, since if your dam creates a new flood plain, you can easily create as much carbon from the dead trees as you reclaimed by eschewing coal.

    But yeah… clear-cutting? Really?!?

  12. D. C. Sessions says

    It seems that being an idiot is a prerequisite for a Republican to get a seat on that committee.

    No, but nobody else wants to half so badly.

    Besides, it’s a good place to put people who don’t understand numbers where they can’t do as much damage.

  13. says

    Congressmen get $5,000 from Big Oil every time they say something skeptical about global warming. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that.

  14. Trebuchet says

    Congressmen get $5,000 from Big Oil every time they say something skeptical about global warming. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that.

    Oh, I’d guess it’s LOTS more than that.

  15. Michael Heath says

    This presents us with another illustration of how far we’ve come from Thomas Franks’ 2004 or so thesis that the Republican party is comprised of plutocrats cynically exploiting the thinking defects of conservative Christians. All in order to secure a sufficient enough number of votes to carry-out their interests, even those which directly harm that voting base.

    The phenomena Franks observed continues to happen where we now also have an understanding of how this occurs from a psychological perspective (Chris Mooney’s newest book is a great starting point if you haven’t followed the science on this). The change since Frank’s thesis became pervasive is that now we also increasingly observe Republican leaders becoming more like the group they pander to and exploit rather than from the group that’s knowingly exploiting the voting base. Which is in this case is a voting base of reality deniers who get their beliefs from the Bible along with the leaders of their tribe who inform them AGW is a liberal conspiracy.

  16. tomh says

    Also on the committee, let’s not forget Ben Quayle, (R-AZ), son of Dan Quayle, who was voted the most conservative member of the House of Representatives by the National Journal. He dismissed global warming with, “Our planet has warmed and cooled since the beginning of time.” He’ll be leaving, though, having been bested in the primary by Tea Party favorite, David Schweikert, who billed himself as the “true” conservative in the race.

  17. Margaret says

    Do you think climate change is causing the earth to become warmer?

    Isn’t that like asking “Do you think global warming is causing the globe to warm?” Was the question supposed to be “Do you think climate change is happening?” or perhaps “Do you think climate change is caused by human activities?”

  18. says

    “Hall: And they each get $5,000 for every report like that they give out. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that.”

    Hall fucks dead mules in a circus sideshow and gets paid $5,000 for each performance. That’s just my guess, I don’t have any proof of that.

    Proof, like other factual data, has a liberal bias.

  19. StevoR says

    Then there’s also the notorious climate change denier Jim Inhofe too isn’t there?

    (Not on the Science Committee but in the US Congress right?)

  20. eamick says

    Then there’s also the notorious climate change denier Jim Inhofe too isn’t there?

    (Not on the Science Committee but in the US Congress right?)

    Yes, but he’s a Senator. We have two sets of idiots to contend with, you see. :)

  21. martinc says

    I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised. As the Republicans move more toward anti-science positions, they value science less and less, and therefore they send their dimmer reps to the Science Committee, because they see it as unimportant, thus saving the cleverer chaps for issues that really matter. Is there a House Theology Committee? That’s where you’ll find the intellectual cutting edge of the Republicans these days.

  22. StevoR says

    @eamick : Cheers.

    We have Senators in Australia too although we tend to call all of ‘em by that horrible insult – politicians!

  23. njosprey says

    @Martine:

    Is there a House Theology Committee? That’s where you’ll find the intellectual cutting edge of the Republicans these days.

    Yes. Its called the House Budget Committee where Pope Paul Ryan I reigns and assures that the Tea Party orthodoxy is maintained.

  24. Red-Green in Blue says

    Seriously, Dana? But… I just… What the…

    Excuse me, I think my cortex went into a protective temporary shutdown there.

    Thankfully our MPs, MSPs and AMs here in Britain don’t tend to come out with such concentrated fail. However, we do similarly have a problem with a lack of scientists amongst our elected representatives, as do many other countries’ legislatures. This is a big problem, given the myriad problems that humanity is facing in the 21st century. The question is, why is this so? (I can think of several cynical answers to this, but if any of those is correct then basically we’re screwed :-/ )

    Perhaps University of Oregon’s new Science Literacy Programme that I was reading about just now on Pharyngula should be aimed at politicians first!

  25. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    Re-reading Halls comments, it occurred to me that I really screwed up becoming a geologist. I had not idea that so little was known about meteorology and climatology.

    I can’t say it doesn’t have a percentage of effects on it – one percent, three percent, five percent. But I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls…

    It would have been so much easier for me to do “research” if I was a meteorologist. Collect some data, then ‘explain it’ by saying, “God controls this”, go on to more data… rinse, repeat. I’d have a hundred papers on my CV by now!

    I teach an online Meteorology class right now, using content from the American Meteorology Society. I guess I could just replace it all with, “God did it” and give everyone an A. Easy peasy.

    On the other hand, if I were a true believer, I could probably explain all geologic data the same way…

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