Science is anathema to the far right wing of the GOP
Just when you think those wild and crazy guys and gals who live out in the barren wilderness that is the far right wing of the Republican Party have reached the comedic depths of their zany ideology, they up and outdo themselves yet again.
After making fools of themselves with their complete misunderstanding of economics and history, and mangling the King’s English in the process, they now have decided to take on science.
When it’s all said and done, all of us will fear venturing beyond the horizon, because if we do we’ll drop off into a void full of fire and dragons. Nor will we ever set foot in an airplane again. After all, what possibly could hold it up? And yes, it will be proved beyond a doubt: Neil Armstrong’s giant step for mankind was taken on a Hollywood set.
The truth, finally, will set us free. It will come in small increments, but it will come. One of the first installments, you may have missed. It was last year and was led, as so many have been of late, by the Republican freshmen (soon to be sophomore) members of the House of Representatives. The target: Nothing less than the scientific method itself, even though I’d guess most of them couldn’t hazard a guess as to what the scientific method is.
First a couple of facts.
You may not have noticed it, but there were an even dozen extreme-weather events in the United States last year. An extreme-weather event is described as one that causes more than $1 billion in damage. They don’t come along often and 12 in one year was, until 2011, unheard of.
There were wildfires and record heat in the Southwest. Hurricane Irene trashed the East Coast. There was major flooding in the Mississippi River Basin, record tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast and a paralyzing blizzard in the East.
Needless to say, a year like that piqued the curiosity of scientists, both in and out of government. Phenomena of that magnitude are worthy of scientific inquiry.
Scientists are in agreement that there is about 4 percent more water vapor in the atmosphere now than there was 30 years ago, and yes, it is the result of human activity. They believe that is the likely cause of the extreme-weather activity of 2011.
The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration has proposed the creation of a budget-neutral office of Climate Service to put under one roof the various departments that now deal with climate. The goal would be to more efficiently manage the study of climate in the United States. Or, to put it in words the far-right wingers can understand: We want to find out what we should do when the thunder gets really loud.
But oh no. Those guys and girls being who they are, you know, afraid of a little knowledge, say no way. It’s really all about global warming, and anything having to do with global warming is bad. Global warming is a hoax. They know. We don’t.
They have all the knowledge we need.
Science they learned in caucus. One of their less-dim bulbs gathered them around a table where he led them through the creation of a volcano, Mr. Wizard-style. No need for any further study by NOAA. These guys have it all figured out now.
OK, so we’ve had a little fun at the expense of the right-wingers. But it’s long been known that ideology trumps facts, particularly scientific facts, at the fringes of the right wing. That’s not exactly breaking news. I remember many, many years ago, when a local school board candidate was asked if she would allow students in District 51 to be taught the Earth is flat if parents demanded it. She replied, if that’s what parents wanted, then that’s what parents would get.
What is news is there are more of them now, and they are in national office.
We can’t stop multibillion-dollar natural disasters. But we can prepare for them. Or we can fiddle.