More bad news about the Congressional Energy Committee

By Phil Plait | November 11, 2010 9:14 am

Remember yesterday when I pointed out the Republican Congressman Joe Barton who wants to be head of the Energy and Commerce Committee? Well, there are other Republicans vying for it. One of them is John Shimkus from Illinois. You need to understand that this Committee has a lot of overlap with the issue of global warming, as oil, gas, and coal are major contributors to the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Having said that, gird your loins to hear what Representative Shimkus had to say last year:

Did you catch the important bit there? God will decide when to end the Earth, not man. The obvious inference is that Congressman Shimkus thinks humans cannot destroy the Earth, or hurt its habitability. Terrific.

This is the same guy who tried to argue that producing less CO2 would starve plants.

The last thing this country — this world — needs, quite literally, is someone running the Energy and Commerce Committee who is this egregiously and willfully ignorant about global warming and the effects of carbon dioxide. Of course, tied for last place is Joe Barton. A third Republican, Fred Upton of Michigan, is also eying the top spot on the Committee, and I’m not sure he’s a whole lot better.

No matter what happens here, the news is either awful or worse. My only hope is that the Senate will stonewall any regressive measures made by the House… but that would mean the Democrats would have to stand up to the Republicans. We’ll just have to wait and see how that turns out.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (119)

  1. Mike

    We are dooooomed! (Well at least for the next two years).

  2. Gus Snarp

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable for a person’s faith to influence their decisions as political leaders to a certain extent, of which I won’t bore anyone with the details. But when you use your faith to justify inaction in the face of real threats to our way of life, that is simply absurd. Would he also apply the words of Matthew 5:39 to criminals or terrorists? If God is in charge and will decide when the world ends, would this man take no action to prevent nuclear war? An asteroid on a collision course? Why should he do anything? Why did he run for Congress, to sit around and do nothing because God will provide?

  3. The best person for the job is rarely the one who wants it.

  4. Office Casual

    As a citizen of the 19th district of Illinois, I want to apologize for allowing this man to be elected.

    When you see a post concerning your representative on Bad Astronomy you know it’s not going to be good…

  5. Messier Tidy Upper

    “God’s word is infallible … Genesis quote … In the age of the Dinosaurs.

    Hmmm .. Something sure seems contradictory there! Did anyone ask Shimkus how old he thinks the Earth is & whether he thinks Jesus rode a Velociraptor? ;-)

  6. Old Muley

    I like the reactions of the people sitting behind him. Wonder what they are thinking?

  7. Gus Snarp

    Yes, there was more carbon when the dinosaurs walked the Earth. Duh, where does he think the carbon we’re releasing now comes from? They call them fossil fuels for a reason. Just because it’s good for total biomass on Earth does not mean it’s good for humans. Neither we nor any of the creatures currently on the planet evolved to our current form with that much carbon in the atmosphere. It amazes me how the most basic elements of science are ignored by these people. But you can see from his comments how denial of evolution goes hand in hand with denial of climate change. What I really wonder though, since he thinks the bible is the perfect, unchanging word of God, is he also a YEC? If so, then surely he must not believe that carbon can have changed that much in 6,000 years.

  8. Messier Tidy Upper

    “Carbon Dioxide is Plant Food” – Crock :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g093lhtpEFo&p=029130BFDC78FA33

    Of The Week.

    Guess who has a starring role? ;-)

    Co2 helps grow weeds & heatwaves, droughts and floods are not great for gardening and agriculture. As a South Australian resident who has seen his garden perish over several summers record heatwaves – the hottest ever, longest ever and earliest ever in my city all in the past three years, I can vouch for that personally from bitter experience. :-(

  9. Chris

    Yes, CO2 was higher during the dinosaurs, but did he not watch Jurassic Park?

    In the Bible it says God gave “man dominion over the animals and the earth”. Now image your father gave you the house he spent time building and said “It’s yours.” OK now have wild parties, cut down the trees, burn the house down. Is your father going to be happy with you now? I wish these religious types would quit acting like spoiled brats, act mature so they can say “See God how nice we kept your planet?” Anyway that’s my view.

  10. Gus Snarp

    @Messier – Ah, I see you beat me to my concluding thought while I was writing!

  11. Messier Tidy Upper

    BA, what do *you* think is the best solution please?

    Where can we go from here given the current situation?

    It seems clear that for at least the next few years in the United States of America no serious action will be taken on climate change and the campaign to attack climatologists will be ramped up with the Contrarians like Inhofe, Cuccinelli and Shimkus running the show. :-(

    Inaction by the USA will also make it harder for other nations, like my nation (Australia), to act.

    International treaties don’t look like happening – esp. post-last years Copenhagen failure, lifestyle tokenism and renewable energies aren’t likely to cut it & make enough difference so .. what do we do?

    Jim Hansen has called for coal to be abandoned immediately & totally. That’s totaly unrealistic. Certainly in the next few decades. :-(

    Lovelock has called for nuclear power to be used as a stop gap alternative – but the environmentalist’s anti-nuke shrieking won’t seem to allow that either. :-(

    The situation is looking pretty depressing & I’m hoping we already not past a tipping point given the time lag factor with the Co2 emissions of the past still building up and feedbacks like methane from permafrost, climate-induced desertification and deforestation, etc … kicking in.

    Population growth and the rapidly industrialising giants of China and India mean vastly more carbon emissions that will swamp any cuts we in the West make overnight. (Yes, I know there doing a little here but still there are their sheer numbers and the fact that they are mostly growing on fossil fuels so..)

    Its a very gloomy picture I’m seeing AGW~wise & I can’t see a plausible way out. :-(

  12. Zetetic

    LOL! Just the next day after I posted the same video in the last political thread.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Messier Tidy Upper @ #4:

    Hmmm .. Something sure seems contradictory there! Did anyone ask Shimkus how old he thinks the Earth is & whether he thinks Jesus rode a Velociraptor?

    Actually that’s not surprising at all. Many YECs think that dinosaurs lived side-by-side with humans. Just check out the Creation Museum

    As for a solution, the only thing I can think is vastly ramping up the education and information for the public, but it’s not a short term solution.

  13. Gus Snarp

    @Zetetic – The contradiction is between biblical literalism and actually acknowledging that atmospheric carbon was higher when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The notion that atmospheric carbon was higher then pretty much goes hand in hand with the understanding that it was millions of years ago. Of course, the contradiction shouldn’t be too surprising, YECs have an amazing ability to weasel out of the fact that their beliefs basically require almost everything we know about physics, astronomy, geology, paleontology, biology, basically all of science to be wrong. Then again, there’s also the remote possibility that he’s not a YEC, in spite of his biblical literalism.

  14. Messier Tidy Upper

    Oh & here’s another Crock of the Week where Shimkus gives an intro and mentions the dinosaur era high Co2 level :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE6at2IEUOU&p=029130BFDC78FA33

    Entertaining & informative methinks – Hence this comment & link natch.

  15. Gus Snarp

    @Messier – Are you trying to depress me? I would say that I think we are both long past the tipping point and that there is no tipping point. We’ve done enough that climate change will continue. Things will get worse. On the other hand, there’s never a point at which it is too late to act. What exactly will happen and what we can prevent is a bit of an unknown, but if we don’t act at some point, it can always get worse.

    I don’t think we’ll get real action without seeing some very damaging effects. People are like that. We’re very bad at acting on some future perceived threat. Unless the threat is brown people, then we seem to be able to act.

    Science education can’t hurt, but I’m not sure it will change anything. It seems like it ought to, given the complete lack of understanding of the basic science many people, like the Congressman in the video, seem to have. But even if everyone understood the science, they’re just not going to act before there’s some sort of catastrophe. Maybe even then it will seem too nebulous to prod action…

  16. jfb

    And people wonder why we atheists get uppity.

    Although my problem isn’t so much with religion itself as it is with people who use their religion as an excuse to turn off their brains (and the brains of their children, and anyone else’s brains they can get a hold of, like zombies for Jesus); there are plenty of religious people who aren’t gibbering idiots and who are probably as gobsmacked by what this doofus says as the rest of us.

  17. T. Miller

    Hey Phil, why don’t you run for the senate or as a representative? Better yet, why don’t we form a ‘science party’ in the US? I would certainly vote for science party politicians.

  18. Michel

    Posted that in the comments yesterday. Good of you to pick it up.
    The US is going backwards very rapidly with people like that.

  19. QuietDesperation

    I would say that I think we are both long past the tipping point and that there is no tipping point.

    O_o

    Say wha?

  20. Note the way these clowns equate “world” with “human life as we know it.” That’s a big deal, actually. They cannot conceive of a world that does not revolve around god’s chillun. It’s a view that taints their perspective on pretty much any environmental issue.

    The sad fact of it is, the world can and probably will go on quite a long time without us. Just as it has before.

  21. Number 6

    The only positive in all this is the remaining human emotion left in Pandora’s box. It is contained in Phil’s last paragraph — “My only hope is that the Senate will stonewall any regressive measures made by the House.”

    It’s my understanding that the Senate’s approach is slower and more cautious on issues brought before it than their colleagues in the House of Representatives.

    So my hope is the same as Phil’s hope…I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the Senate can and will block any numbskull anti-science bills passed by the House.

  22. Katharine

    Can we make a more substantial attack on American fundie nutbags, please?

  23. Gus Snarp

    @Quiet Desperation – Did you read the rest? If so then I failed at my attempt to explain my point. What is a tipping point in terms of climate change? There are two ways to think about it:

    1. A point at which it is too late to prevent serious and noticeable, perhaps even catastrophic effects from climate change. We’ve probably passed that point.

    2. A point at which we should just give up because the damage has all been done, or because the feedback cycle will continue to magnify the changes and it will keep getting worse no matter what we do. That probably doesn’t exist. We can always make changes that will prevent some level of climate change effects. There are going to be problems, but we can probably always say that if we don’t act now, the problems will be worse.

  24. Mark

    Is there something we can do to ensure they don’t destroy climate change initiatives? This is making me sad.

  25. RMcbride

    @Zetetic #10. Is this for real? These nutjobs have watched land of the lost and decided to take it literally?

  26. Michel

    @Katharine
    You mean like a crusade?

  27. Gus Snarp

    @RMcbride – You’ve never heard of the Creation Museum? Yeah, it’s for real, they really believe that. Or at least they tell the rubes they do. It’s right down the road from me, so I get to see their expensive billboards with pictures of dinosaurs in action that extend past the frame of the billboard, perfectly designed to appeal to the kiddies. I even have a high school friend who went and posted pictures on his Facebook page with comments like: “Great to see the Truth depicted in a museum!” Check out a great walk through and critique here to save yourself from giving them any money to satisfy your curiousity: http://www.blaghag.com/2009/08/creation-museum-part-1.html

  28. @ RMcbride:

    Wonderfully, gloriously, insanely true. Apart from the fact that your admission dollars help to fund even more of their nonsense, a more entertainingly surreal experience cannot be had.

    After about ten minutes, I had someone following me around, glaring at me whenever I started laughing too loud. At least they were polite enough not to kick me out.

    It is scary, though, when they bring school groups through. I hope not very often.

  29. @20. kuhnigget: I think I remember Mr. Carlin saying “Save the planet? The planet is gonna be FINE. Now us, we’re all F*CKED.”

    Such a way with words, ol’ George. May he rest in peace. (Although I can see him giving Shimkus the double-bird from wherever he may now be.)

    Genesis? God? The dinosaurs?? This guy’s cherry-picking tidbits from all over the place and making his own fairytale out of it! May as well say that we can all hide with the Pope in Moria until the whole situation passes. Jeepers crow.

    I wonder what he thinks the sea levels were like during the late Cretaceous. I doubt his Miami beachfront property was just sitting there with a couple of lawn chairs waiting for him to arrive.*

    *(Ok I don’t know if Shimkus has Miami beachfront property or not, I’m just illustrating a point.)

  30. Charlie Young

    Funny how Shell Oil gets the header on this post…

  31. Cindy

    Hey, I helped re-elect my congressman who has a Ph.D. in Physics and used to work at Princeton’s Plasma Lab. Unfortunately, he’s a Democrat so he’ll be of limited influence.

  32. RJ

    Talk about delusional. This guy doesn’t seem fit to run a Kwik-e-mart, let alone our government. WTF is going on in Illinois? Wasn’t there anyone in that state that would have made a better choice for representing you? *face palm

  33. Gus Snarp (#2):

    An asteroid on a collision course? Why should he do anything?

    Maybe it’s all part of a test. Let’s try and stop it. If we succeed, then obviously G-d wanted us to stop it. He can be the next Abraham!

    Why did he run for Congress, to sit around and do nothing because God will provide?

    Well, he won, so I guess G-d wanted him to be a congressman. :-)

  34. Grant

    Did anyone notice the looks of disbelief the girl over the congressman’s shoulder keeps
    shooting at him?

  35. Collin

    wait, he claims it’s the infallible word of god, yet says two contradicting quotes?

    1- “i’ll never destroy the world again, blah blah blah..”

    2-”the world will be destroyed when i say it will”, saying that god will end it again some day

    Glad i live in Canada :) . good luck with him, my friends to the south.

  36. Nemesis

    Make no mistake about it, we are still here because god don’t care much for polar bears, walruses or the lands they inhabit- and Shimkus knows it.

    It’s our true biological imperative to eradicate all glaciers or any other form of frozen water from the earth’s surface- to make Adamantium mining easier and the earth more hospitable for our true rulers from the distant M12 galaxy, who are not as tolerant of frigid climates as we.

    After that happens- and all life ceases to exist- the Glorks will finally control Earth’s resources, so they may resume their journey to the next exploitable solar system in their infinite journey across the vastness of space.

    There will be no more need for us.

    We must resist at any cost, or we are to be but a footnote in the annals of Glork history.

    Or, maybe, if we didn’t apply things gleaned from story books to legislature that can decide our fate, we could save the planet.

  37. Jack van Beverningk

    I guess it’s official now: The inmates ARE running the asylum.

    Why not send the entire government home?
    Since, apparently, God is charge of it all, anyway…

  38. MaDeR

    @T. Miller Says
    Not possible. USA is pseudo-democracy with two-party duopoly that will rabidly cut down any competition that even barely appear to have any reasonable chance to success. Good luck with that.

  39. Nemesis

    Correction:

    “god *doesn’t* care….”

    I think my editing miscue and subsequent grammatical error makes for better satire anyway.

  40. rob

    great.

    he’s gonna help cause the partial pressure of CO2 to rise, creating massive global warming which will cause plant life to explode and correspondingly increase the partial pressure of O2. in the denser oxygen rich atmosphere, dragonflies will be able to evolve to have four foot wingspans. humans will all be suffering from oxygen intoxication and will be easy prey to our new insectoid predators.

  41. Aleksandar

    I would doubt any similar views were openly stated by GOP members during the Cold War, when MAD was the way for survival. Because you see, if man can’t destroy the world, than MAD isn’t actual deterrent.

    On a bright side, some studies suggest that human civilization can maybe survive 1000 ppm, barely.

  42. @4 said “When you see a post concerning your representative on Bad Astronomy you know it’s not going to be good…”

    I would say when you seen any political blog by Phil it isn’t going to be good…

  43. @37. Hey, if you’re gonna get your head munched off by a six-foot-long long dragonfly best to be intoxicated, I say.

  44. vel

    wow, the utter stupidity and pathetic lies that the GOP and TP fosters. I recall an episode of Highway to Heaven when a idiot like this Barton was shown how his actions damned his descendants. But Gawd will end the earth. Feh. I do wish idiots like this would go live in their mud huts and die from diarrhea as God “wills”. Go to Haiti, Barton and see how God’s will is enacted there with cholera that the bad ol’ science that you decry keeps you safe from.

  45. Okay, I’m going to be the hopeless pollyanna about this. I agree with all the facts in the post and totally disagree with its conclusion. The ability of the United States senate/house/white house to affect the progress of science and technology in the country is effectively nil. A while back, Dr. Plait engaged in a bit of hyperbole about the “Bush anti-science regime”. You mean the one where, after eight years of Bush, Mario Capecchi ended up taking the Nobel Prize home to the University of Utah? For his work on embryonic stem cells? That anti-science regime, yes?

  46. Did I hear him right at 1:46? Did he say “There is a theological debate that this is a carbon starve plan”? Now, if you want to claim that, during the time of the dinosaurs, there was more CO2 in the air, it was a lush paradise and thus releasing more CO2 in the air today will turn the Earth back into a paradise, go right ahead. Be prepared to back up your claims with solid evidence, but go right ahead. This isn’t a “theological debate” though.

    A theological debate would be whether God set the Universe’s rules up in the beginning or continues to tinker on a daily basis. It would be how does God keep track of and punish bad deeds. It would be why does God allow evil to exist. It isn’t “would the climate be better for us if we pumped more CO2 into it.”

  47. Nemesis

    If they really cared, they’d just pray the pollution away; or does prayer only work when somebody at church is sick or you want your football team to win?

    Maybe they’re deliberately trying to force god’s hand into bringing the apocalypse.

    If the 10 commandments were real, choosing blind faith and dogma over the earth would surely be a sin.

  48. Bill

    @TechyDad, 42
    >This isn’t a “theological debate” though.

    Silly Dad…if you’re fundy enough, EVERY debate’s a theological debate!

  49. Nooooo. What about Shiva the Destroyer?? That’s one mean dude and you can’t escape his wrath even if Yahweh gives you a free pass. Lately they haven’t been on cordial terms, especially since Yahweh borrowed Shiva’s favorite pet snake and never gave it back.

  50. Tom K.

    Interesting that this story book thumper left out the part about his God putting the oil, gas, coal, etc on this Earth for all mankind to use. That would mean without profit, that would be a sin to charge for it. Yet we kill and die for it and charge an outrageous profit, buy and sell the power in Washington with it, and ignore it’s dangers when we use it. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. I suppose he god didn’t increase the amount of cancer since the industrial revolution.

  51. Doug Little

    We are effing DOOOOOMED. I wish these idiots would keep their irrational beliefs to themselves, and not use them as an excuse to make their ultra rich buddies more rich at the expense of the environment, and sanity in general.

    He reads the bible like it is a textbook or something, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. I wonder what he thinks of other passages out of the same book and applies the same reasoning to them. Yikes steer clear of that nut job.

    Oh and WTF are members of the clergy doing there, like they have any valuable input to add to the debate. where is the astrologist, alchemist and medium I’m sure they have just as much useful information to share as the members of the clergy.

    Words fail me, they really do.

  52. Doug, as I said, that’s nonsense.

  53. Messier Tidy Upper

    Fred Clark (a sane and very smart Christian) from the Slacktivist blog suggests here :

    http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2010/11/yes-please-lets-have-hearings-on-the-evidence-of-climate-change.html

    that the Republicans may find their Climatologist persecuting hearings backfire badly on them.

    Also we can hope its a case of :

    Bad news – politicians promise to do terrible things.

    Good news – the bad things promised go the way of most political promises – unfulfilled. ;-)

  54. TheBlackCat

    A while back, Dr. Plait engaged in a bit of hyperbole about the “Bush anti-science regime”. You mean the one where, after eight years of Bush, Mario Capecchi ended up taking the Nobel Prize home to the University of Utah? For his work on embryonic stem cells? That anti-science regime, yes?

    You do realize that Bush blocked practically all federal funding for embryonic stem cells, right? Yeah, people were able to get by somewhat, either relying on contaminated lines or using very scant private funding, but to claim that Bush had no impact on the field is absurd. There is a reason most of the biggest breakthroughs in the field are coming from other countries.

    Yeah, Mario Capecchi was able to get a Nobel Prize for work on mice in the late 1980′s, but how that is relevant to work in humans in the 2000′s I’m afraid is a bit beyond me. Unless of course Bush redefined mice as people and got his hands on a time machine.

  55. Messier Tidy Upper

    @15. Gus Snarp Says: @Messier – Are you trying to depress me?

    No, I was hoping you’d find a way to cheer me up! ;-)

  56. Jeff

    rep. shimkus, ah schmuck, is a long line serving the oil and gas lobby.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they are going to aggressively try to kill all environmental legislation. That’s the way it is, and they are well organized and rich. They will win, at least to the extent that they will continue raping the earth of its fossil fuels and polluting the atmosphere.

    In recent years, I’ve been pondering the whole history of the industrial revolution and the European conquest of the “indians” in the “new world”. That same powerful strain is the same one behind big oil today. I seriously think the only “sustainable ” future is one where mankind goes back to the one type of life that lasted thousands of years without much environmental impact: an aboriginal lifestyle. And if mankind doesn’t choose to go back, events will force him back. This stuff seems obvious to me now.

    But many will disagree with me, maybe all, I know that. And I’ve heard all the alternatives over the years: solar, wind, etc., but they are still a marginalized piece of the pie chart of energy. They are simply not really going to take over the pie chart, and big oil will make very sure of that. So that is not a viable option for mankind’s future. Now for 100 more posts disagreeing with this….

  57. Chris Winter

    RMcBride wrote (#25): “Is this for real? These nutjobs have watched land of the lost and decided to take it literally?”

    Check this book out:

    http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780767926157?id=4801611937297
    Idiot America : How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free (Paperback)
    by Charles P. Pierce

  58. Jess Tauber

    Fools and criminals will kill us all- between religious fanatics and political schemers, raiders of the environment, etc. it really is all over, and we’re just waiting for the other shoe. In our generation.

    We *could* actually do something about it, but that would take courage that the people who should be in charge, scientists and engineers, simply don’t seem to have. Oh please, please listen to our pleas! Don’t you get it yet? The others aren’t listening- and they have the money, the guns, and the numbers. Appeals to the intellect ain’t gonna work. You don’t ask cancer to pretty please stop killing you, do you?

  59. Chris Winter

    Hugo Schmidt wrote (#46): “That anti-science regime, yes?”

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Erudition/Reviews/S_Shulman/Undermining.html

    That anti-science regime, yes.

  60. t-storm

    Messier you are way off. In reality velociraptors were the size of turkeys, so he might have had them at the first thanksgiving.

    He more likely rode a deinonychus. Or a bantha.

    I’m all for God deciding when the earth will end. Sure. But it is in our power to decide when humans will end, they never seem to get that point.

    My biggest complaint here is even if we aren’t causing it, what is wrong with conservation in general?

  61. You do realize that Bush blocked practically all federal funding for embryonic stem cells, right?

    Key word: federal. Not State or Private. Incidentally, there is a new story up Nature about the misconception of getting more and better science by just throwing money at it.

    Yeah, people were able to get by somewhat

    That is one heck of a definition of somewhat. Okay, Dr. Capecchi’s Nobel is based on his work in the eighties, however I haven’t heard of any sudden slow down. Let’s then take the number of papers & citations:

    http://in-cites.com/countries/2007allfields.html

    In 2007, over six times as many citations as the runner up and over three times more papers. Than the next one in the list.

    Now contrast this with Germany where I have been informed, in so many words, that I should be careful about ES work because I might face jail. Regardless if that’s public or privately funded.

    You Americans don’t have any idea how lucky you are that you live in a republic that diffuses power so much that nonsense like that does not happen.

  62. @ Jeff:

    Plenty of places where you can go practice what you preach. You want “an aboriginal lifestyle?” Have at it! What’s stopping you?

    Meanwhile, the rest of us will quietly slog away for change. With any luck we might get it before the oil runs out, otherwise…well, you’ll have a head start on us, won’t you?

  63. I seriously think the only “sustainable ” future is one where mankind goes back to the one type of life that lasted thousands of years without much environmental impact: an aboriginal lifestyle

    Smart guy, I’ve spent most of my life in a place where that persists. There the strong rule the weak, and guess where your place is?

  64. AJ in CA

    ARE YOU FARKING KIDDING ME!? This guy’s trying to prove a point in a congressional hearing by quoting verbatim from the Bible? And no one is smacking him upside the head and asking him what the hell he’s talking about? And he wants to be IN CHARGE of OUR energy?? GAHHH!!!

    Phil, in the future, I’d appreciate it if you’d warn us before blogging about stuff like this. Here’s a sample image you can use:

  65. AJ in CA

    I’m trying to imagine prospective head of the DoD during the chilly days of the Cold War using logic like this.
    “Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter WHAT we do, God won’t let the world end (in a nuclear holocaust) until he’s good and ready for the End Times to come. And we’ve got no rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, so pfft, we’re good! The Bible is very clear on this.
    Hey, why don’t we test some nukes in orbit over Moscow? You know, so they can get a reeeeal good look. What? Bah, Treaty-schmeety!”

  66. On another note, here’s a quote from Nick Cohen:

    Arguments about climate change, however, are not at all like arguments about abortion or creationism. Hard-headed people can see that their bills will rise and maybe their jobs go too. You must expect them to fight back hard.

    Correct. I know how vexing it is to deal with people who have, shall we say, a little trouble getting the science. But as annoying and as silly as they can be, they have every right to kick up a ruckus for the simple reason that it’s their livelihoods that are at stake. And if you think that you can pull anything off without taking the people along with you….

    Anyway, Nick’s good as always:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/06/nick-cohen-global-warming-conservative-backlash

  67. Zathras

    @9 Chris:
    Good point about the inconsistency in the “beliefs” of the fundamentalist/literalist nutjobs.

    Additionally, just to emphasize that not all sects are wacko, your well-thought point of view is very much like the “stewardship” view of the Presbyterian Church. I was also told at one time several of the American founding fathers followed that same sect: those well-known flaming liberals like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin ;-)

    (Don’t know if the founding fathers reference is accurate, but it’s fun to try and make a fundie’s head explode ;-) ) ).

  68. Ray

    Elections have consequences. The Dims lost for a reason. Think about it and fix it instead of whining about it.

    And no, it wasn’t the fundie wing of the Republican Party that shifted the election. I would expect scientists to actually examine the data and not kneejerk it.

  69. Joe

    This is my first time visiting the Discover magazine blog. Just curious-when did it become a political magazine?

  70. Joe (71): When they allowed me to post stuff like this.

  71. Colin

    62. Hugo Schmidt Says:
    You Americans don’t have any idea how lucky you are that you live in a republic that diffuses power so much that nonsense like that does not happen.

    I think I love you.

    Seriously, thank you for saying so. We have some struggle to face retaining that lead, but as long as we can keep from centralizing all authority, we should do alright. Still, it is unrealistic to expect a nation with 5% of the earths population to lead the Earth in science forever.

    Incidentally… my daughter’s school is named Hugo Schmidt. Was quite ironic to see your name.

  72. Colin

    Doc Plait,

    I think people are upset when they come for the science and see something that disagrees with them. The key thing is you can love science as a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Rastafarian, Catholic, or Muslim. Even Pastafarians too, as long as you understand that evolution is obviously a crock in front of the truth of the flying spaghetti monster.

  73. Thameron

    One question underlies all of skepticism and science, and that question is – ‘what does the evidence support?’

    So with that very question in mind ask yourself – Does the evidence support hope for the future? That is that it will be better than the past? Because I don’t think the evidence supports that. We can be pretty sure from present trends that the future will be hotter, more unstable and more full of idiots like these (and worse). The evidence suggests that science/skepticism is a niche market and does not enjoy broad appeal. Compare for instance the number of ghost hunter shows (and their ilk) to the number of science based shows on television. If there is some reason to believe there will be a sudden (one might say miraculous) change in this situation I’d love to hear it otherwise I’d say the game is over.

  74. Jeff

    As a Australian atheist I have to say that the religious fundamentalists in the United States of America scare me as much as the Taliban and Al Queda in Afganistan.
    At least the People of Afganistan can use the excuse that they are poorly educated

  75. Messier Tidy Upper

    @36. Collin :

    wait, he claims it’s the infallible word of god, yet says two contradicting quotes?
    1- “i’ll never destroy the world again, blah blah blah..”
    2-”the world will be destroyed when i say it will”, saying that god will end it again some day
    Glad i live in Canada. Good luck with him, my friends to the south.

    Hey, if you think *that’s* bad just take a look at this : :-o

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbG80SjrOnQ

    WARNING : Not Safe For Work. Really NSFW.

    Then there’s one :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk1owD9y1hc&NR=1

    Which combines the Bible, the Flood (does John Shimkus believe in that literally?*) and an analogy to something … Can’t quite figure out what though! ;-)

    —————-

    * Do creationists _really_ think the rainbow – a type of natural spectroscope caused by the sunlight being refracted off water droplets – didn’t exist before the supposed Flood? :roll:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow

    How do they explain how that could possibly be given what we know about basic physics – or don’t I want to know?

  76. Why Colin, what a nice thing to say! I’m suitably tickled pink on this morning. I wouldn’t be too sure about it being that unusual; I mean, Ancient Greece outshone the entire rest of the world in science despite being a tiny part of the tiny, scraggy, disreputable corner of Eurasia.

    Anyway, my general point is about freedom. Freedom isn’t some abstraction that is part of the faith of flinty-eyed gun nuts out in Nevada (sorry if I’m trading in stereotypes), but the ultimate in practical necessities – since it makes sure that our lives are not tied to the mistakes of others. We make mistakes, sure, but I’d far rather have the job of fixing my mistakes than getting someone else to fix theirs.

    By the way, do you want to know why Germany has these kinds of laws? It’s because they, basically, claim that this represents “an offense against human dignity” and this – nudge nudge – leads to…

    Go on, guess.

    So I guess I have a relaxed view towards this sort of thing because it is so obviously bullshit. It’s the subtle kind of bullshit that’s dangerous.

  77. Cairnos

    Holy crap! I normally see this stuff when I take a quick look over it at work, so I never open any video links, but I was curious and later looked at it at home.

    This was an elected official? What they hell was he answering or making a statement about? I couldn’t even work that out. And he was a successful candidate?

    And I thought us catholics were supposed to be wierd

  78. Blubba

    In general, people who get elected just try to be echo chambers of the largest (and most politically active) constituencies they can collect. They are the symptom not the disease. What we need is better science education in this country and scientifically literate people being more politically active.

    When the number of adults who can beat 5th graders on game shows (and vote) exceeds those who can’t (and vote) politicians themselves will start acting smarter.

  79. After thinking this over, if the guy wants to quote religious stories, I’ve got one for him:

    A man had fallen overboard and was drifting aimlessly at sea on a plank of wood. He prayed to God to rescue him. A few hours later, he saw a ship on the horizon. The man sat perfectly still and watched as the ship got closer, but then turned around and headed away without spotting him. The man prayed some more and later on an island appeared on the horizon. The current took him within swimming distance of the island but the main floated still until the tide pushed him back out to sea. Eventually, he tired, slipped off the plank of wood and drowned. When he met God, he asked why God didn’t save him. God replied: “I sent the ship and the island for you, but you didn’t do anything to help save yourself.”

    The moral of this story, if you take a religious view of the situation, is that perhaps these AGW effects are God’s way of telling us to shape up and take better care of the Earth. He’s giving us warning after warning. If we ignore them all and do nothing, the Earth will survive, but we might not. Or perhaps we will survive, but just barely with all of our civilizations collapsed. Either way, it won’t be pretty, but we can avoid it if we just try.

  80. Steve Metzler

    Well Phil, I’m afraid the chickens come home to roost on this one. Remember those raging threads we had a few months back, about how it’s apparently OK to be skeptical about everything *but* religion? Like, hands off my religion, what’s the harm if I believe in a magical sky fairy?

    That video is the harm. Staring you right in the face. Religion is dictating policy (at least for a significant portion of the elected representatives it is). And you can’t even see it.

  81. Zetetic

    Gus Snarp @ #13:

    The contradiction is between biblical literalism and actually acknowledging that atmospheric carbon was higher when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

    Actually I was referring to Messier Tidy Upper’s “Jesus riding a Velociraptor” remark, not to the CO2 levels.

    Of course in the self-isolated and non-evidence based mindset of a biblical literalist (like Representative Shimkus appears to be) there is no contradiction between AGW/CO2 levels and history. To some one like Shimkus, the fact that CO2 levels used to be much higher in the late Ordovician (before the dinosaurs and when solar output was much lower than today) isn’t a contradiction at all. To him it’s proof that CO2 is harmless since “god” won’t allow for there to be harm.

    As for a contradiction between the time scales involved and the Bible, well I’m sure you already know there are plenty of way to justify that position.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    RMcbride @ #25:
    Yup. I’m afraid that they are quite for real and quite serious. There are even other smaller, not as well made creation museums around the USA.

    If you haven’t found it already here is there official site for teh one I was referring to earlier.
    Creation Museum

    Also, here is an interesting article about it from when the Pharyngula horde descended upon the “un-museum”.
    The Creation “Museum”
    and even worse yet, here’s another example of how twisted they are (*headdesk* *headdesk*)…..
    More stuff we missed at the Creation “Museum”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    @ Messier Tidy Upper post #77:
    And don’t forget about this rainbow classic!
    Woman doesn’t know about light refraction

    [sigh] Sometimes, I really fear for the future of the human race…..

  82. Daniel J. Andrews

    Interesting point, Steve, but extrapolating from Shimkus’ ignorance of what his own religion says to the religion itself being free from criticism is a bit of a non-sequiter leap.

    I do believe you’ve set up a strawman.. Was anyone arguing that it was ok to be skeptical about everything but religion? That’s not what I remember from the thread, and I know that Phil would certainly not advocate that position either. Incidentally, I doubt Phil or most readers here have missed that religion is dictating policy (another strawman argument on your part?), and has been for decades (think U.S. policy concerning Israel).

    But I certainly share your concern. The question is what do we do about it? Polarize the debate even more and push these idiots and their supporters into further extremes, or try something different? (yes, I’m aware of the irony in that last sentence re: polarizing and idiots). Trying reason may not help, but bashing indiscriminately (and with little knowledge of what to bash, or how to bash–sort of like bashing Darwinism without understanding anything about biology) will make things worse.

    In fact, I could argue that Shimkus is the product of past efforts of bashing. It has driven him and his supporters to an extreme camp in which this is an all-out war against the forces of liberalism and godlessness because they aim to destroy the very foundations of truth, justice and the American Way, and they have a some very choice vicious quotes to wave at their supporters to show how nasty we skeptics/atheists/elites/liberals/socialists etc are–they scare potential supporters with our own words and thereby build up their own support.

    Perhaps we’ve helped push fringe crackpots onto the main stage? Indeed, perhaps the chickens have come home to roost after all?

    So do we continue with that which may have caused this divide in the first place, or do we work on something else (not that it is a dichotomous choice). I doubt we’ll “build bridges” across that divide to people like Shimkus, but by *not* alienating thousands/millions who then might throw their support behind the devil they know to oppose the devil they don’t know, perhaps those on the other side of the divide might retreat back into fringe crackpottery, and off the main stage.

    I really don’t know the answer (heck, I hardly know the questions), but I do know the solution(s) will take a couple of generations, regardless of what the solution(s) are/is.

  83. Utakata

    Religion is a strawman arguement. Just saying…

  84. Yojimbo

    “God will decide when to end the Earth, not man. ”

    Hmmm! I guess he never considered that his hypothetical deity might use man to accomplish it.
    I don’t so much mind these guys being theological, but it is a bother when they are theologically inept.

  85. QuietDesperation

    God will decide when to end the Earth, not man.

    Gee, I hope it’s not the Dark Gods. I look like crap in Goth clothes.

  86. Stan9fos

    “God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”

    Exodus 21:7-11
    Deuteronomy 22:28-29
    Leviticus 25:44-46
    Exodus 21:2-6

    Rules concerning selling your daughters into slavery, (bad news: the deal is more binding than if she were male) rape, (just pay her dad 50 pieces of silver) slavery (several contradictory and gut-wrenching guidelines here in just a few sentences; don’t even get me started).

    Infallible, unchanging, & perfect. God save from… well…

  87. Terry

    @86 Yojimbo:

    Hmmm! I guess he never considered that his hypothetical deity might use man to accomplish it.

    this pretty much supports my worldview right there. God made all these nifty rules about how the world works, why would he go about violating them all the time?

    Sorry, not preaching, just explaining my worldview.

  88. Dave

    “The obvious inference is that Congressman Shimkus thinks humans cannot destroy the Earth…” – and he is probably correct. There are too many false premise and unproven arguments out there regarding energy production, CO2 (one of many greenhouse gasses)and climate change. Relax people. Dr. Plait’s gift is understanding and relating astronomy, not politics. If you don’t like who’s been elected, you’re in the minority. Have a nice day.

  89. Doug Little

    If you don’t like who’s been elected, you’re in the minority

    I rather like being in the minority, have been there my whole life.

    Dr. Plait’s gift is understanding and relating astronomy, not politics

    I think he understands and relates any topics he discusses rather well. I don’t see too many people criticizing his writing style or clarity. As a matter of fact you seem to have commented on a political thread on his blog which means that you have at least read the blog post and probably most of the comments. If his political posts have no worth in your mind why did you spend the time to read them? What gives you the right to assess Phil’s ability to understand politics anyway?

  90. Keith Bowden

    I love his quotes.

    God won’t destroy the Earth again… and everything will survive until it ends. (WTF?)

    God won’t destroy the Earth… until god destroys the Earth. (WTF? 2 )

    God promises not to kill every living thing… until the Earth is gone. (But of course it says nothing about letting people or anything else kill many – or even all – creatures.)

    And whether there’s a microbe left or not, the Earth will still be here… until it isn’t.

    Um… logic FAIL!

  91. MartinM

    There are too many false premise and unproven arguments out there regarding energy production, CO2 (one of many greenhouse gasses)and climate change.

    Oh, well, if Dave says so, I guess we can just ignore the consensus of the scientific community.

  92. Daffy

    Dave: “If you don’t like who’s been elected, you’re in the minority. Have a nice day.”

    I am sure that’s exactly what you said when Obama was elected and the Democrats won both houses. Right? I mean, you wouldn’t have double standard, now would you?

    Have a day.

  93. Mike Mullen

    Well unless god is planning to repeal the laws of supply and demand the USA is going to have embrace energy efficiency and alternate energy sources. The only question is when; will it at $5 per gallon? Or $10?

  94. Steve Metzler

    84. Daniel J. Andrews:

    *sigh* Yeah, I know, I’m coming across all strident there. I’m actually a big fan of Phil, and this article really didn’t change that. It’s just that we don’t see eye-to-eye on this one point: the cognitive dissonance bit. With all that grandeur out there in the universe that came about through wonderful natural processes, why is humanity still relying on this god crutch, even as science is discovering more and more. It truly is a ‘god of the gaps’ at this stage in the proceedings. It being like… the 21st century and not the 13th.

    I think (almost) everyone here agrees that the line is crossed – no, *decimated* – when people start quoting from the bible in congress. Separation of church and state me ar$e from Dalkey (Dublin expression). I’m just trying to figure out how it came to this. Oh, wait… I do know:

    The Authoritarians

  95. AJ in CA

    @#82 Steve Metzler: Speaking of the “What’s the harm?” question, I found this great website along those lines: http://whatstheharm.net/
    The “Moon Landing Denial” section is of course extremely small, but it’s worth a look anyway ;)

    Full disclosure: In all honesty, I forget where I found this site, and it may even have been linked to by someone in this very forum, so if so, I apologize :)

  96. AJ in CA

    @#88 Stan9fos: As a (mostly secular) Jew, I always find it amazing that Christians* are the ones who always seem to dig into the Old Testament to find some goofy idea to push because “God said it!”.
    How many Jews do you see going around spouting the same stuff? A few, sure, but not that many! And it’s OUR book! These jokers don’t even try to read it in the original Hebrew, for fark’s sake! They trust some (often very old and questionable) translation and still have the stones to act as if it’s “God’s Immutable Word”. Grrr! Hey, if fundies are going to do stuff like this, I should get to run for congress on a platform that we should ban fig newtons (they are evil because Jesus said so.)**

    *Yes, only a few Christians, I know.

    **Mark 11:12-14 – The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.

  97. AJ in CA

    @#99 Dave: If you don’t like who’s been elected, you’re in the minority. Have a nice day.

    Not necessarily. It’s quite possible for a congresscritter to win a state election and still be reviled by the majority of the country. I’m sure there are many Republicans outside his district who are facepalming at antics like this – they sure don’t help the party, that’s for sure.

  98. I don’t believe most of these Congresscritters are as willfully ignorant as they seem.

    More likely, they’re kowtowing to their campaign contributors and voting bloc.

    I don’t think Rep. Shimkus actually believes that it is impossible for humans to damage the Earth’s habitability. I DO think he publically states what either (A) his constituents, or (B) his financers want to hear. If he gets campaign contributions from fossil-fuel companies that would be hurt by emission limits, he’ll say that Global Warming is caused by pixies from Mars. If the voters in his state are primarily Conservative Christians, he’ll say that masturbation makes Jesus cry. He’ll “believe” whatever will get him re-elected 2 years from now.

  99. AJ in CA

    @100 tracer: Which brings us to another question: is it worse to be an ignorant doofus or a dishonest douchebag?

  100. Joe W.

    As a conservative, I find this absolutely disgraceful. I have no idea why seemingly everyone on the right wing has to be against the idea that the climate is changing. Is it because they don’t like the idea of it? If that was the case, I think everyone would be climate-deniers…

  101. Zetetic

    @ Joe W.:
    Unfortunately I think that it comes down to a few interrelated reasons.

    1) IMO many of the higher level Republicans have made a concerted effort to maintian power by appealing to the party’s more radical elements, especially since it’s easier to keep them “riled up” and marching to the voting booth.

    2) To that end, many in the party have been attempting to keep these elements whipped up with conspiracy mongering and encouraging an increasingly intellectually isolated voting block based on adherence to ideology.

    3) Therefore many of them have to oppose AGW because they not only get lots of money from fossil fuel interests, but because they must also avoid appearing as trying to appease the Democrats.

    4) They can always worry about someone else cleaning up the mess later.

    In short they are selling out the country’s long term future and security for short term gain. It’s too bad since IMO progress on stopping (or at least minimizing) AGW could be made with much less of an economic mess created in the process if the Republican leadership put more of a priority on the USA’s future.

    Don’t believe in global warming? That’s not very conservative.

    Veterans Day, 2030

  102. Messier Tidy Upper

    @61. t-storm :

    Messier you are way off. In reality velociraptors were the size of turkeys, so he might have had them at the first thanksgiving.
    He more likely rode a deinonychus. Or a bantha.

    But ..but .. Jurassic Park said .. ;-)

    http://unrealitymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/jurassic_kitchen_raptor.jpg

    Anyhow what’s wrong with him riding a Tauntaun or a Stegosaurus instead? ;-)

  103. Messier Tidy Upper

    @100. tracer :

    … masturbation makes Jesus cry.

    Clearly, he’s not doing it right! ;-)

  104. MartinM

    It’s quite possible for a congresscritter to win a state election and still be reviled by the majority of the country.

    Indeed, it’s entirely possible for someone to win a state election and still be reviled by the majority in that state. “If you don’t like who’s been elected, you’re in the minority” is just an asinine soundbite which falls apart under the slightest scrutiny.

  105. Ray

    @ AJ,

    I’ll grant you the Biblical injunction against eating figs, but its a moot point as there aren’t any figs in the newtons to begin with.

  106. Daffy

    Joe W: “As a conservative, I find this absolutely disgraceful. I have no idea why seemingly everyone on the right wing has to be against the idea that the climate is changing. Is it because they don’t like the idea of it? If that was the case, I think everyone would be climate-deniers…”

    Because the Republican party truly believes that what is good for the global corporations is good for humanity. One can agree with that idea or not; but the fact that that is what the party believes is inarguable.

  107. Joe W.

    @ 103 “Zetetic”

    Yes, it seems like a stupid game plan though. It’s like going to the doctor with an infected cut, and being told “Oh don’t worry, the cut doesn’t exist!”. Pretty much anyone would call that doctor out as being a quack. Not nearly enough people aren’t going into John Shimkus and the hyporcritical stuff he’s spewing.

  108. Anchor

    Fantastic.

    A shimmering illusion with all kinds of gleaming shiny surfaces and colors posing as ‘fiscal responsibility’ – specifically designed to wow the dunderheaded FOX-Beck-Rush crowd (which they have so faithfully cultivated) – is somehow supposed to cover (or replace) that nasty little residual headache called ‘intellectual responsibility’.

    Barton. Shimkus. Upton. What a glorious trio bucking for the powerful (if not lucrative) position of heading the Energy and Commerce Committee.

    The word ‘imbecility’ doesn’t even come close to characterizing my contempt for these jokers. ‘Idiocy’ has become so common it’s lost its spunk as well.

    Well, lessee…

    As in given to: incompentence, ineptitude, inconsistency, incapacity, stupidity, shallowness, silliness, vacancy of mind, poverty of intellect, clouded perception, short-sightedness, puerility, fatuity, driveling, dunderheadeness, senility, nugacity, conceit, arrogance, brainlessness, weak-headedness, addle-brainedness, muddle-mindedness, shallowness, dim-wiitedness, feeble-mindedness, addle-patedness, short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness, bufoonery, obtuseness, fatuousness, blockishness, silliness, ridiculousness, unreasonableness, irrationality, inconsistency, obstinacy, thick-skulls, moronic blundering, fraudulence, deceit, cheating, foolishness and monumentally assinine and ultimately indefensible folly.

    I’m sure there are at least 10 times that many words and phrases which would as ably characterize my opinion of people like Barton. Shimkus. Upton. These just came to mind in 5 minutes, so I’ll apologize for its lack of comprehension.

    Seeing them gathering together like that is, however, rather more spunky than any single disparaging word though, donch’ya think?

    Oooh, many pardons, I shan’t have DREAMED to hurted anybody’s's feelingses just because I possess an opinion which I am instructed by the Forces of Good to balm. (Or bury deeply away because it somehow isn’t cool to expose one’s opinion).

    Not when (some in) the Forces of Good keep thinking they are in a fencing contest while they are getting hacked to bits by opponents who use heavy axes and back-stabbing, um, ‘assistants’. Pardon me for being dick-headed, but have you really looked around where you are lately? It’s conventionally called a ‘battle front’. It’s no place for the squeamish or those on any side to sit down and read charming stories to their children under soothing candlelight. THAT very fine pastime can be reacquired ONLY once things become ‘stable’ in the form of what is known as ‘peace’.

    The question is, what kind of stability (‘peace’) are you willing to accept? The one that is determined by the adversaries? Or the one of science and truthfulness that you are obliged to fight for?

    Anyone who thinks human civilization can ‘work it out’ in polite proprietary terms before horrendous events come to pass that effectively squelch any hope of pulling us out of the nightmarish death dive we now definitely see ourselves in condemn us all to just cycle round this issue idiotically till the inevitable doomsday comes to pass. (See above word-train to gain a flavor of just how far folly may extend as well to the well-intentioned Forces of Good…who, evidently, love nothing better than to play defense and wax triumphantly at having been on the right side of justice and rationality every time they LOSE GROUND).

    It’s an old and time-honoured principle: Newton said that for every action there is and equal and opposing reaction. If somebody pushes you, you push them back with at least equal force or you will lose the ground you thought you were entitled to. It has nothing to do with politeness. It has to do with preserving what space you think you were entirely justified in occupying.

    It would be a shame if we all lost our ground simply because we followed an entirely arbitrary ethic while the other guys beat the crap out of us using no ethics at all: resting on our ethical laurels in the aftermath, saying we did the ‘right thing’ according to some moral script simply makes us a laughing stock, and encourages further intrusions by the opposition who correctly sees that they OWN THE OFFENSIVE.

    Should we therefore throw away our ethical and moral principles? HECK NO!!!!! But don’t let ANYBODY tell you it isn’t ‘nice’ to use an axe of rationality to defend yourself against any attack by the MANY axes of irrationality. If anybody happens to be too slow to understand that, tough. They’re just naive children. Help defend them with your axe too! Most of the squeamish and ‘good-hearted’ will wisen up and grow the callouses necessary to keep what ground they have. But those who spend lots of effort and even capitalize on ‘demonstrating’ how much they deplore how others stay their ground are an absolute disgrace. Of those, I would simply and charitably add to the above word train: ‘mindlessness’ and a truly startling level of naivete. Basically as helpful as a squadron of Glen Becks.

    And here most folks on the right side think the bad guys were the dumb ones.

    In the meantime, we are supposed to secure a future that makes sense for ALL of us, not just the kind of future exemplified and promoted by digusting scoundrels such as Barton. Shimkus. Upton.

  109. Zetetic

    @ Joe W. # 109:

    Yes, it seems like a stupid game plan though.

    In the long run (for both the country and the human race) it absolutely is. But the current GOP leadership seems to be more concerned with short-term gain rather then long-term consequences.

    That’s why I listed…
    “4) They can always worry about someone else cleaning up the mess later.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing until the GOP starts presenting more consolidates that actually care about the science and the long-term future of the country more than they do conformity to ideology or religious dogma, and fewer like Michele Bachmann, Joe Barton, and John Shimkus.

  110. Messier Tidy Upper

    @83. Zetetic :

    @ Messier Tidy Upper post #77: And don’t forget about this rainbow classic! Woman doesn’t know about light refraction
    [sigh] Sometimes, I really fear for the future of the human race…

    Only *sometimes*?

    Yikes. The stoopid, it burns. :-(

    Yeah, that’s just .. *facepalm*

    I only hope it was a Poe but she seems too serious for that.
    Thanks, I guess.

  111. Zetetic

    @ Messier Tidy Upper @ #112:
    Sorry about that….

    The Rachel Maddow video I linked to in the last thread was overall funnier (especially the “vampire” bit)…
    Rachel Maddow Explores Right Wing Lying Echo Chamber
    But in a way I think Maddow’s is a little more depressing since it’s not just one crank on the internet.

    It’s so conflicting, wanting to laugh and yet feeling depressed about humanity at the same time. :roll:

  112. me

    i wish that folk could opt out of evolution if they didn’t believe in it
    would take quite a few generations, but eventually the biblical literalists would be less of an issue

  113. Messier Tidy Upper

    @113. Zetetic :

    I saw your linked craziness there and I raise you this :

    http://grandmagrizzly.blogspot.com/

    [Warning : Extra large bottle of brain bleach required when reading.]

    Although this, surely, has to be a Poe, I mean this has just *got* to be parody hasn’t it? ;-)

    … Hasn’t it? :-o

    PS. Re : That last sentence – yes.

  114. Joseph (AG in SC)

    @#107 Ray: No figs? In the noble Fig Newton? Blasphemy!

    @#110 Anchor: I find your ideas intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Also, I love “nugacity.” That one, I haven’t heard before.

    @#115 Messier: Oh. Em. Gee. That’s either the most terrifying or the most hysterical blog I’ve ever seen. I do hope you’re right about Poe’s Law and all that.
    *struggles to banish the dark images in his head*
    “It’s only a parody, it’s only a parody, it’s only a parody…”

  115. Zetetic

    Messier Tidy Upper @ #115:
    Yeah, I’m pretty sure your’s is a poe. Granted it can be really hard to tell sometimes.

    My earlier rainbow video may be a poe, but I doubt it.
    Worse of all, we know that at least some of what Maddow’s video showed was definitely real (the vampire bit though…hard to tell).

    Yes…I’m considering investing in brain bleach, I have a feeling it’s going to be a real big seller for at least the next few years.

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