“If I ignore the science, it’ll just go away”

three wise monkeys by Anderson Mancini

Antiscience party
[Via Bad Astronomy]

Many times, when I post about political antiscience, I get some people who are very upset that I don’t point out when liberals or Democrats attack reality. While I do disagree with some or even many of the Democrats’ planks, they typically are not the ones rabidly attacking science. For the most part these days, those on the left are more supportive of science than those on the right. Stem cell research, evolution, climate change, cosmology… these are not generally targets of those on the left.

So it was with some grim amusement that two articles came up one after the other recently in my RSS feed reader: one from Chris Mooney at The Intersection, where he points out that attacks on global warming come almost exclusively from Republicans (and you can read more from Chris about this on DeSmogBlog), and the other by Josh Rosenau at Thoughts from Kansas where he frets — and rightfully (haha) so — about Eric Cantor’s gearing up to attack science en masse when Congress reconvenes.

I have a lot of worries about the new Republican majority in the House, and you can get a taste of them in an earlier blog post. Everything I’ve read and seen in the few days since I’ve posted that hasn’t exactly been reassuring, either: John Boehner just announced that when the Republicans take over, they’ll dismantle the House Select Committee on Global Warming.


No better way to make inconvenient science go away. What is interesting is that the ranking Republican on the committee does not want it to disappear:

“And while I was initially skeptical of the select committee’s mission, it ultimately provided a forum for bipartisan debate, and an opportunity for House Republicans to share a different view on the pressing energy and environment issues that we currently face.”

Of course, he really only wanted to keep the Select Committee going so he could hold sham investigations of the EPA.

As Phil mentions, some Democrats used to be against a lot of science – William Proxmire was a Democrat who attacked and slashed government research programs, including space travel. Now some Republicans seem to be against science – the new majority leader wants people to help find unworthy research project funded by the NSF or those people just do not like. The GOP wants to have investigations of researchers working on climate science, because they don’t like the science.

From William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece award to Cantor’s Youcut. Hurting science for political gain.

Ignoring the science won’t make it go away. Slashing funding will not change the natural world. Playing politics with science will only hamper our ability to adapt to changing conditions or to understand what is going on – neither of which the incoming Republican House majority seems particularly interested in.

They may be monkeys but they are not wise.

[Listening to: Such Great Heights from the album “Give Up” by The Postal Service]