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Earth Government Science

Climate Contrarians Seek Leadership of House Science Committee 518

An article at Ars examines three members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are seeking chairmanship of its Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in an interview, "My analysis is that in the global warming debate, we won. There were a lot of scientists who were just going along with the flow on the idea that mankind was causing a change in the world's climate. I think that after 10 years of debate, we can show that that there are hundreds if not thousands of scientists who have come over to being skeptics, and I don't know anyone [who was a skeptic] who became a believer in global warming." James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has a similar record of opposing climate change, as does Lamar Smith (R-TX). Relatedly, Phil Plait, a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer, has posted an article highlighting how U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has declined to answer a question about how old the Earth is, calling it "one of the great mysteries."
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Climate Contrarians Seek Leadership of House Science Committee

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  • My two cents... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @09:33PM (#42049973)

    It's interesting to see how fragmented the anti-science people are.

    That 23% of people who express doubt, are actually a bunch of different doubters. People who think it's not happening and lah-lah-lah (fingers in ears).
    People who believe it IS happening but its natural.
    People who believe it's man-made , but there's nothing we can do about it.

    If you watch Fox (it's the only US news I see on my cable), they can't keep their story consistent between which of these they are. I suspect all they really care about is that you use fossil fuels as wastefully as possible at as high a price as possible. Whenever energy efficiency comes up, they're all screaming 'unAmerican' as if anyone would be against doing the same thing for less money!?

    But it does show that you don't actually have 77%-23%, you have a more fragmented 77%-10%-10%-2%

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @09:35PM (#42049991)

    Senator Barack Obama in 2008:

    What I've said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it... it may not be 24-hour days, and that's what I believe. I know there's always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don't, and I think it's a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I'm a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don't presume to know. []

    These guys are politicians. Part of being a politician is to not annoy anyone who might vote for you, unless you have a really good reason. Privately, both Rubio and Obama might well believe the science is settled and that the literal word of the Bible is just wrong... but why would they say so? Why not just give a non-answer that annoys the fewest number of people?

    So, is it stupid and wrong when Rubio does it, but okay when Obama does it? If you have that kind of double standard, then shame on you.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @09:39PM (#42050013) Homepage

    Hi. Nice to meet you, Dana. I go by the name Sarten X, often represented with a hyphen.

    When The global warming concerns were first being voiced, I was skeptical. Surely humans' influence couldn't be that severe? Then I started learning. I learned about how CO2 traps heat. I learned how human CO2 production has been increasing exponentially. I learned how small shifts in ocean temperatures put far more moisture into the air, producing more severe storms.

    I learned too much to doubt. Even if half my knowledge turns out to be wrong, the other half still leads to the same conclusion: Our society is royally screwed because of global warming, and we're making it worse every day.

    I hope I'm wrong. I hope that we've been terribly mistaken in our analysis. I hope the solar system drifts into a previously-unknown dust cloud, and the greenhouse gasses save us. Hope, though, will not explain to my great-grandchildren why they can't leave the tunnels during storm season.

    At this point, I am still skeptical of many of the claims. A world covered in poison ivy by 2015? I doubt that. The east coast of the United States submerged in a decade? Probably not. Regardless of what preposterous scare-tactic forecasts are made, there is still too much evidence for me to ignore. Though the outcome is uncertain, the trend is clear. We, as the current dominant species on this planet, should do what we can to reduce the approaching threat of a warming planet. We should strive to make our pollution as harmless as we can, and keep our industrial processes as flexible as we can to allow future change if similar problems are discovered. We should have been more cautious in our designs over the past century, and we may not even have another century to live if we do not change our ways now.

    I am Sarten X. I was a skeptic of global warming, and I now support the efforts to fight it.

  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:08PM (#42050223)

    Rock and minerals are mosly recycled by our active planet. The oldest rock is 4.03 billion years old (gniess from NW Canada), and oldest mineral is 4.3 billion years (zircon crystals from west australia). But neither tells us the age of the Earth. That is done by assumption from meteorites and moon rocks.....true age of Earth is honestly a mystery.

    Actually there's a reason for most of the rock being not much over 4 billion years old. I think it was around 4.5 billion years that Earth was impacted by a body that was maybe as big as Mars. It's what caused the Moon to form. Most of the surface went back to being molten for a few hundred million years so the oldest rock was after that impact. In truth it's hard to give an exact date because it cooled for so many years that it's hard to given a specific date when you can call it a planet. The material collected and solidified over hundreds of millions of years then it was still hot for hundreds of millions of years and once it became liveable there was the impact event. There's even a debate if life evolved twice on earth both before and after the impact.

  • Re:My two cents... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:26PM (#42050829)

    There are many levels of scientific incompetence among climate deniers. The very lowest rung of which are the morons who believe that the greenhouse effect is thermodynamically impossible. Good grief, go pick up a textbook on radiative transfer. Or work your way through Science of Doom [] tutorials [].

    It's amusing to realize that if Latour was arguing for the greenhouse effect, you would treat his utter failure to defend his arguments with the utmost skepticism, but all your "skepticism" goes out the window when it's a guy on "your side". I'm sure you're also quite willing to rally around Spencer when he's arguing about climate feedbacks to the greenhouse effect, but throw him under the bus when he admits that the greenhouse effect exists.

  • by ridgecritter ( 934252 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:31PM (#42050875)

    You wrote: "They know that without the sciences, their comfortable lives could not be what it is today."

    I suspect a large fraction doesn't know that. I doubt these are people who, when they flip a light switch or run hot water in their kitchen or flush a toilet, even occasionally think of the infrastructure that lets them do those things. They not only don't know what they don't know, they aren't curious about it. Much less capable of changing their minds in light of scientific evidence that conflicts with their faith/beliefs.

  • Re:Richard Muller (Score:5, Interesting)

    by efitton ( 144228 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:45PM (#42050995)

    Yes, scientific grants clearly dwarf the money the oil companies have.

    See if you can follow along.

  • Re:Richard Muller (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:00AM (#42051127)

    The compromise to "indirect" election of the President (some delegates wanted the Congress to appoint a President), probably had a little to do with the State Legislatures picking Senators (because they get to pick the electors)... I don't know if that's significant or a coincidence... However, the direct election of Senators was a Progressive idea, because of all the trouble the State legislatures had at actually picking two senators. I forget which amendment changed it (and I can't find my damn pocket Constitution)...

    Electioneering aside, the Senate sometimes votes with a Statewide minded agenda (whatever that's worth these days) and it is generally the barrier against stupid shit like flag burning legislation, MLK holiday week, or birth certificate inquiries. I wonder if the Special Interests (that seem to drive all politicians) would've had much traction if they were appointed. Surely, there'd be a financial disincentive to have 50 lobbyists per state when came time for state legislatures to appoint senators. They are slow to approve legislation, which is their purpose... and they generally get compromise within the two houses... (unless it's a total fuckfest like the PATRIOT Act...) Additionally, they are slower to change power structure than the House, which goes quicker because of the 2 year cycle. It seems people are more rational voting for senators (FWIW)... well, for the most part.

    I've often wondered (Really can't stand Progressive ideas... they're neither beneficial or Progressive in my mind) that if the State Legislatures hadn't mucked shit up so badly, they wouldn't have had such a welcome voting public willing to amend the Constitution. I think (as I mentioned above) that lobbying would be harder to do with the Senate not being elected by popular vote.

    It doesn't matter anyway... the average person isn't represented at the Federal level... barely at the state level... and it's hit or miss at the local municipal level.

  • by WGFCrafty ( 1062506 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:31AM (#42051617)
    I was impressed when John Huntsman (R) plainly said "I believe in evolution and I trust scientists on global warming."

    It's sad you have to make sure you say that so people don't mistake you as the typically wrong thinking (in this aspect and much more) republicans.

    He's a Mormon but he also created Dream Theater day in Utah when governor and is the ambassador to China. Funny thing is if he had been made VP you would alinate the far right but gain so much at the middle. Instead their strategy was to alienate not just a political spectrun but 47% of Americans which includes a large part of Republicans. Maybe they just didn't want to vote after that.

    Funny thing, Paul Ryan maintained he loved Rage Against the Machine and it was funny how Tom Morello called him out and basically told him he was a hateful ass they didn't want as a fan. Bitch slapped by your favorite band, and a guy with a Harvard education.
  • Re:Richard Muller (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:42AM (#42051947) Homepage

    I'm going to play devil's advocate here : The way to debate this with republicans is simple : global warming is being used to massively expand government and regulation. It effectively regulates one of the few things nothing and nobody can do without : energy. I don't think anyone really denies that that is happening.

    Which is also why this responsibility thing is so huge with them : they don't feel responsible for global warming. Their grandfather's grandfather had nothing to do with it, other than having kids (ie. you). It's 15-20 generations back that it got started, long before accurate family records even began, and once started it was (and is) just a feedback loop that will complete with or without humans (look at the models in the IPCC reports, and ignore your "you averaged highdimensional non-linear models to arrive at a conclusion ?" impulse, which any statistician should have. And btw, that is not the only alarm that goes off in my head looking at those studies. I agree that those models are the best currently possible way to predict climate. Agreed. How does that fact make them valid ? Our best may simply not be good enough).

    In no reasonable sense of the word is anyone, nor humans "as a whole" responsible for global warming and there is zero moral justification to force people to take global warming into account. Were some humans part of the initial cause of global warming ? Yes, very likely. All the pain the entirety of the west put itself through in the last 15 years, btw, have been worse than useless [].

    Ok, but maybe we can justify it by pointing out the success we've had by all that interference and government expansion, right ? Otherwise all the people hurt because of this goal, from people starving due to bio-ethanol idiocy to the masses of people fired from no-longer-profitable factories in the west were hurt merely to make intellectuals feel good about themselves, with no measurable advantage. The only measure of importance in the models is worldwide co2 concentration, which has worsened due to government interference (e.g. because factories in the US by large run on nuclear and oil, whereas the chinese factories replacing them run on coal, producing about 20x more co2 for the same amount of energy).

    So have we improvided global co2 production ? Nope, we've actually worsened it.

    And of course, like all failing political goals, total failure can only be responded to in one way : we must do it again ! More ! Harder ! Which of course, to these sceptics, and to anyone observing the situation proves that the only goal of politicians is not to do do anything about global warming, but to amass more power and hurt more people, make everyone more dependent.

    The result, of course, will be a complete crash followed by wars. But of course, we won't know that for sure until it really happens, and then everyone can say "I didn't know". You just did what was popular, right ? How can popular thinking be wrong ?

    We're on the titanic, slaughtering working people to satisfy the almighty atheismo on the front deck, them screaming and we celebrating, celebrating how he has delivered us from icebergs ... say, what's that in the distance ?

  • Re:Richard Muller (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Magius_AR ( 198796 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @04:46PM (#42059747)

    Except R isn't interested in compromise. For example, way back when Obama started with redoing health care, he invited the Republicans to participate and said "Lets start with the plan from one of YOUR people, John McCain." The response was that that plan was unacceptable and that they wouldn't participate AT ALL.

    Please find less biased sources of news. What actually went down couldn't have been farther from the truth. If you want the truth, you follow the moderates (like Olympia Snowe for instance, who originally voted FOR the healthcare bill in initial committee, but quickly grew frustrated as the size of scope of the bill spiraled out of control and no one wanted to continue discussing it). What actually happened (and was flat out stated in the press by Dems) is that they believed in 2008 that they had a "mandate" delivered by the people to avoid Republican ideas at all costs (remember the "your policies fucked the country, now we get to drive" rhetoric Obama continually spewed?) This "mandate" concept is happening yet again, where now Obama seems to think the people want him to be a stickler for fucking the rich: []

    You want to see compromise? See what length Boehner took to TRY to make a debt deal happen and then look at how easily Obama undid months of effort by attempting to move the goalposts at the last minute: []

    Read that and then tell me the Republicans are the only ones who have a compromise problem.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's