What a Concept: Science Makes it Into Political Debate
January 18, 2016
Climate Change kinda sorta made its way into the election debate last night, as NBC moderators, in their wisdom, finally saw fit to ask (2 out of 3, anyway) Democratic candidates about their positions on the most important issue of the millennium.
Compare to Republican response, below, if you can stand it:
Toward the waning moments of last night’s GOP debate, somewhere between marijuana law and who should be on the ten dollar bill, CNN’s Jake Tapper finally brought up the most important issue facing civilzation. Kudos, dude.
Not that there was anything terribly enlightening to be heard from the firmly-in-the-grip-of-GOP-base-anti-science-hysteria candidates assembled. The responses were brief, – but boiled down to “we can’t do anything because we are funded by the fossil fuel industry and they are telling us they don’t want to give up any potential profits.” Ted Cruz was cut off from expanding on his “the world is not warming” nonsense, mainly because moderator Jake Tapper wanted to get on to more nonsense.
An added science denial bonus was the discussion of the merits of modern medicine’s greatest achievement, vaccinations. Even the two MD’s on the dais gave only timid defense of universal vaccination, and warned that “big government” might want, apparently, to force us to be healthy and live longer.
Waiting for a vaccine for stupidity, but predict massive resistance to that one, as well.
Below, candidates call climate action “wild leftwing idea.” Affirm America is not a planet. Pluto’s status not discussed.
In an exchange that would have been all but unthinkable even four years ago, moderator Jake Tapper posed a question to Florida senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that quoted Reagan secretary of state George Schultz: “Why not take out our insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?”
But despite the token question well into the third hour of CNN’s GOP debate, no candidate was willing to endorse any possible solution.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Rubio answered. “Every proposal they put forward will make it harder to do business in America. Harder to create jobs in America. Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida or anywhere across the country cannot afford it.”
He said: “We are not going to destroy our economy, make America a harder place to create jobs, in order to pursue a policy that will do nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather.
“America is a lot of things – the greatest country in the world, absolutely. But America is not a planet.”
Christie, who has previously stated that he believes climate change to be real, demurred when asked if he had an answer to “sceptics” like Rubio. “I don’t think Senator Rubio is a sceptic on climate change,” he said. “I think what Senator Rubio said I agree with – that in fact we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem. Look at what we’ve done with New Jersey – we’ve already reached our clean air goals for 2020.” He pointed to 53% of New Jersey’s power coming from nuclear energy.
“I agree with Marco. We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild leftwing idea that somehow us by ourselves is going to fix the climate. We can contribute to that and be economically sound.”
Carson then chimed in to add, “We have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations. But it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.” Then Rand Paul jumped in with the brilliant, “I’m all for vaccines. But I’m also for freedom.” He added, “I’m also a little concerned about how they’re bunched up. My kids had all of their vaccines, and even if the science doesn’t say bunching them up is a problem, I ought to have the right to spread out my vaccines out a little bit at the very least.”
Yeah, we’re Americans! “Science” is not the boss of us!
In case you’re wondering, just this past spring yet another compelling and reliable source — the Journal of American Medicine — found that “Receipt of the MMR [measles, mumps, rubella] vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regardless of whether older siblings had ASD. These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD.” The World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics support current vaccine safety guidelines. And let’s remember that the most famed proponent of the autism-vaccine link, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, later had his study declared an “elaborate fraud.”