3/4ths of Senate GOP Doesn't Believe in Science -- When Did Republicans Go Completely Off the Deep End?
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You’ve got to go back to the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 for a precedent to the anti-science mania that is currently sweeping the GOP. Then, the issue was teaching Darwin’s work on evolution in the schools. Today, the issue is global warming. Then, as now, large numbers of politicians tapped into the stratum of popular culture that simply rejects science as the basis for public or personal decisions. The chief prosecutor of high school teacher John Scopes, William Jennings Bryan, gloated that literal interpretation of the Bible trumped scientific knowledge. This resonated with large masses of ordinary folks, the ones H. L. Mencken and the liberal press were calling “yokels” and “morons.”
Turns out the yokels and morons won, at least for a generation. Scopes was found guilty of violating the Tennessee law that prohibited teaching evolution, and his conviction (though later overturned on a technicality) galvanized the anti-evolution movement for years. Politicians came pouring in. Scores of resolutions were introduced in state legislatures and school boards all over the country, setting back the teaching of evolution for decades until logic and reason and the scientific method gradually reasserted themselves in the culture.
Today, Republicans are falling over themselves in a rush to ridicule the science that shows our use of fossil fuels is producing greenhouse gases that are warming the planet to disastrous levels. These findings were confirmed even by the Bush administration before it left office, as well as by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and every other significant scientific academy around the world, not to mention the unpaid global work of hundreds of volunteer scientists for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But anti-scientists are undaunted by facts. More than half of the incoming Republican caucus denies the validity of climate change science. Some 74 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Senate now take that stance, as do 53 percent of GOP in the House. Here’s a sampler of what some of their leading illuminati have to say about it:
“I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do. …” — Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin
“Nobody really knows the cause. The earth cools, the earth warms … It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2 … Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives … We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself.” — Rep. Duncan Hunter, California
“There was a report a couple of weeks ago that in fact you look at this last year, it was the warmest year in the last decade, I think was the numbers that came out. I don’t — I accept that. I do not say that it is man-made.” — Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan
“The greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people.” — Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma
Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois says we need not worry about the planet being destroyed because, citing chapter 8, verse 22 of the Book of Genesis, God promised Noah it wouldn’t happen again after the great flood.
Sen. John McCain co-authored a good global warming bill when running for president in 2008. But he did a 180-degree turnabout when running for re-election to Arizona’s Senate seat two years later, suddenly saying, “There’s great questions about it that need to be resolved.”