Republican does Science!

Not really. I lied. Steve Stockman made up a bunch of crap, which is only the Republican version of doing science.

You might say this is a cartoon. Steve Stockman didn’t really say anything like that, did he? Yes, he did.

Stockman also said he can’t get answers to how long it would take for the sea level to rise two feet. Think about it, if your ice cube melts in your glass, it doesn’t overflow. It’s displacement. This is some of the things that they’re talking about that mathematically and scientifically don’t make sense.

You know, it’s kind of sad when a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is so stupid that a TV comedian can kick his ass on a basic science question.

Look at the list of members on that committee. Don’t you think they ought to pass a basic science literacy test before being allowed to serve? One sort of like the competency tests they want to force on our high school teachers?


  1. David Marjanović says

    It’s an intersection of stupidity and ignorance. The ignorance is about geography, about clearly not knowing that Greenland and Antarctica are land with inland ice on top. The stupidity is to believe that all the tens of thousands of climatologists can’t possibly ever have thought of his great insight (which is, of course, valid for actual sea ice).

  2. says

    The Science, Space and Technology Committee is stocked with weirdos. There are 22 Republicans and 18 Democrats. The Republicans include:
    Lamar Smith of Texas
    Randy Neugebauer of Texas
    Paul Broun of Georgia
    Steve Stockman of Texas
    Randy Weber of Texas

    etc. Some of you will recognize names like Paul Broun as having said stupid stuff before.

  3. says


    [Lamar] Smith, the current chair of the committee, has publicly criticized scientists and journalists who are “determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming,” and he has backed up his rhetoric with a hardline voting record. During his 25-year tenure in Congress, Smith has voted to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, opposed tax credits for renewable energy and raising fuel effiency standards, and rejected the Kyoto Protocol.

    […] Smith has a powerful incentive to deny the existence of climate change: throughout his career, Smith has received $500,000 from the oil and gas industry.

  4. says


    The Tea Party-backed [Paul] Broun, who has served on the Science Committee since 2007, appears to believe that scientists are literally tools of the devil. In an October speech at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet, Broun declared, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

    “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior,” he added.

    In the same speech, Broun claimed “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”

  5. says


    [Jim] Sensenbrenner is a well-known climate change truther who has asserted that Earth has been cooling over the past 10 years, that Mars has been warming at a similar rate to Earth, and that global warming will help crop yields go up, making it “easier to feed 7 billion people,” among other flagrant falsehoods.

    Sensenbrenner also rejects the fact that genetics influence weight, telling the obese to “Look in the mirror because you are the one to blame.” Along the same hypocritical lines, Sensenbrenner opposed First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign due to her “large posterior.“

  6. NitricAcid says

    What’s that phrase about how you’ll never get person to understand something if their paycheque depends on them not understanding it?

  7. adaml223 says

    As usual, relevant XKCD. My question is, how can the committee ever not get anything done if they have actual knowledge?

  8. Kevin Kehres says

    @1….not at all.

    It’s the intersection power and greed. Ignorance has nothing to do with it.

  9. Rich Woods says

    that Mars has been warming at a similar rate to Earth

    No, no, no. That’s due to the heat island effect. And Martian wobbling. But anyway, NASA doesn’t have thermometers everywhere on Mars, and in any case the data is only a few decades old, plus those people who take the measurements don’t want to lose their jobs by saying the wrong thing, so how can Martian Warming possibly be true? And in any case, God told me he wouldn’t let Mars warm so that it became uninhabitable for humans, so take that, Republicans! Case closed.

  10. John Horstman says

    Competency tests for public office are a problem for the same reason competency tests for voting are a problem – in a racist, sexist, etc. society, their implementation is inevitably racist, sexist, etc. Unfortunately. (Otherwise, I’d love to see competency tests. The democratic process is supposed to function to pick the best, most competent candidate, but anyone who has ever witnessed a student council election ought to know why it doesn’t actually work out that way.)

  11. blf says

    And of course, some actual, you know, measurements: “A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting glaciers has caused the sea-level around the coast of Antarctica to rise by 2cm more than the global average of 6cm.”

  12. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Speaking of that Daily Show excerpt; I was totally amused by ?whoever? talking about “Earth Wobbling” as unaccounted for in current climate models. He then doubles down and tries to declare that climate scientists are fraudulent, by overlooking the MOST significant factor affecting climate. The climatologist then explained that the effect is …there, but so small, leaving it out does not affect the 50-100 year model, at all.
    I am flabbergasted that this committee totally disregards its very name when selecting members. How can so many, who are so ignorant, be put on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, when basically science, to them, is simply “magic”??? I guess, how they got there, is magic to me; I’m totally flummoxed.

  13. vaiyt says

    That cartoon is too generous. Reality is anathema to the Republican establishment, so we can be sure Stockman didn’t make any experiments, and just said what he thought was true from memory.

  14. Anthony K says

    How can so many, who are so ignorant, be put on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, when basically science, to them, is simply “magic”??

    It’s not that they think science is magic, it’s that they think of science as Dawkins thinks of feminists: they’re all tricksy liars out to play games with words and numbers and so make common sense a heresy.

  15. Who Cares says

    Committees are effectively the troughs from which most of the pork is dispensed. The best to be on is probably the Armed Services (then a toss up between Homeland security or Finances) for the amount of control a congressman or senator has over the budget and with that the amount of power they have to make deals.
    For the same reason the SST committee is not that interesting. Not a lot of money, not as glamorous as defending the nation. Congressmen tend to only end up there if they are an ideologue or lost some form of musical chairs with the places that had to be filled up.

  16. Zeppelin says

    From 1985 to 1986, he attended San Jacinto College but dropped out because he suffered from what he called “partying syndrome”. In 1977, when Stockman was twenty, police officers found valium in his possession. He was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, but the charge was later dropped.[3][4] He later turned around his life and became a born-again Christian.

    I’m not fond of German politicians, but I do feel occasionally grateful that they’re all lawyers and politologists and other flavours of superfluous but vaguely educated boring middle-class jerk, rather than the barely coherent bumpkins that somehow keep getting elected over there. They might be neoliberal reactionaries, but even when they’re a bit dim they don’t usually think they can overturn climate science by playing with ice cubes in their kitchen.

    Whenever I look at one of these guys’ biographies, they turn out to be the dim-witted son of someone rich. Is that how it works in the US, the rich just nepotise their less promising offspring into political offices to get them out of the way? But even then, how dense do you have to be to receive what I can only assume was a decent basic education and still think you can disprove the scientific consensus on a highly complex subject in your kitchen?

  17. twas brillig (stevem) says

    It’s not that they think science is magic, …

    sorry. I used my definition of “magic”: that which occurs without noticing the causal mechanisms resulting in such occurrences. THEY see stuff happen and think it happened with no causal agents.
    EG: Q: Why is it raining right now? A: Cuz gawd made it so. || Q: How do rockets fly? A: That fire is pushing against the ground, that’s why. || etc. etc.
    And Dunning-Kruger is rampant among them. They always pull up some obscure fact and say the scientists are frauds for not bringing it up. And they always disclaim it with, “I’m not a scientist, BUT…”

  18. unclefrogy says

    so the committee membership is made up of fools who do not have the status or the respect of their fellows and or are looking for a grand stand to spout from?
    uncle frogy

  19. shadow says

    @23 (unclefrogy):

    In a word — yes.

    How do you tell a politician is lying? Their lips move and noise comes out.

  20. speed0spank says

    If those fools stop lying/”not understanding” climate change then they will lose their cushy job that pays great, has great benefits, and allows them to take roughly 5 zillion vacations a year while doing almost nothing when they are actually at work. But they want to pretend its scientists who are rolling in that sweet sweet climate change cash?
    Pitiful and embarrassing.

  21. mykroft says

    @NitricAcid: 6
    I believe the phrase is “Where you stand often depends upon where you sit”, as in what position you hold in the government or in a company.

  22. robb says

    @naked bunny:

    i’m a scientist. i have heard of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. that is the one that proves that science can’t be true cuz republican minds are closed systems.

  23. colnago80 says

    Re Zeppelin @ #21

    How about Chancellor Merkel, a PhD in physics? Believe it or not, there are a scientist or 2 in the Congress (e.g. Rush Holt from New Jersey, PhD in physics and Bill Foster from Illinois, PhD in physics).

  24. says

    Exactly – whenever people get all in a twist over sea level rise and melting ice, I always bring up thermal expansion, as that’s thought be a pretty big deal. Then I proceed and try to tell them it’s not about glaciers in the ocean, but ice that isn’t (wither on land or above the sea).

    They then get all huffy about people talking about the polar ice caps (then why is it in the dicussion), to which I usually reply that, a) there’s ice above the sea level, b) The ice caps are a good metric of general warming.

  25. ck says

    Unless I’m misremembering my high school physics, Steve Stockman is wrong about the icecube example anyway. The oceans are salt water, while the glaciers will not be. That means the amount of water they displace while being frozen (which will be equal to its mass) isn’t the same as the what it will add when melted (its volume). His example only works if both the oceans and glaciers were fresh water.

  26. Mickey Schulz says

    @adaml223 #7 – I don’t think they intend to “get anything done” and view that as a feature, not a bug.