Bad Science

Besides Congressman Akin, who clearly ditched high school biology, my favorite member of the Congressional Science Committee is Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who is on record as saying:

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? … 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?”

According to Motherboard, the Congressional Science Committee is responsible for “the entire spectrum of national science interests, from energy, the environment and the atmosphere, civil aviation and nuclear R&D, and space.”

I wish I could say these are actors in a Mel Brooks movie, especially since Congressman Brooks (R-AL) said, in an interview with Science Magazine  that high levels of carbon dioxide means that “plant life grows better, because it is an essential gas for all forms of plant life.”

I’ll let the opportunity for an “essential gas” joke pass.  There’s enough to laugh and weep over in these words from our members of Congress.

8 thoughts on “Bad Science

    • Hi Rod. I’m aware that almost any political comment these days will be controversial. I hesitated too, before hitting the Publish button, because I know satire is “the low road.” (Maybe I was forever warped by Mad Magazine in grade school).

      Yet beyond that, there are elements in the article I quoted that appear to stand outside anyone’s view of life. That a member of the Congressional Science Committee believes rain forests add to the greenhouse gas problem is a simple fact.

      That I thought others should know this fact is my view, but does not seem excessively radical. (I ended an earlier draft with, “Your tax dollars at work,” but removed that for being too snarky).


  1. I kinda don’t mind that senators and congressmen don’t “get” science. After all, there are experts to help them catch up with what they need to know, but I do mind if they don’t educate themselves on the basics of a subject (any subject, come to that) before formulating or voting on policy.

    I really, really mind when science is accused of refusing to market a cure for cancer, or perpetuating the notion of global warming as a way to keep the discussion of alternative energy on the table, or claiming that smoking kills, or, or, or. Anyone who thinks any occupation with thousands of members spread across numerous countries can dupe the world and speak with one voice is completely mistaken. Even if that “one voice” were possible, it would never get away with telling lies — too many individuals would opt out of the voice to stand up (and be interviewed!) with proof of the conspiracy. Scientists like their 15 minutes of fame just as much as the next guy, and if you can also reveal the truth behind a conspiracy? Well, who wouldn’t do that?


    • It seems like many scientific concepts, from a heliocentric solar system, to a round earth, to the harm of smoking, to global climate change begin on the fringes, then later hit a “tipping point” that brings them into the mainstream.

      I’m hopeful that it may have happened this year in terms of climate change. The Berkeley professor who was a staunch holdout, who now says climate change is real. The spectacle of drought and firestorms in this hottest year on record.

      There are some causes for hope, I think. In particular, the private sector is beginning to get it. The local power company gave us a significant rebate for installing solar panels last year. Our reviving American automotive industry now markets conventional internal combustion cars that get milage as good as some of the first generations of hybrids.

      I expect Washington to dither for the foreseeable future, so let’s hope it now makes economic sense to embrace reality.


  2. I’m cynical enough to say “your tax dollars at work” because those statements are absolutely absurd. These are the people who are running our country (into the ground, as your last post about the Bacevich book illustrated) and they’re stupid enough to open their mouths when a high school student should know better than to say something as stupid as these senators.


  3. Sigh. It’s as if ignorance is a new virtue. As horrid as this list is, I thank you for putting it out there in the light of day.


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