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Romney in hot water for belief that climate change is real; at odds with GOP
June 9, 2011 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Agreeing with the scientific community when it comes to global warming could lose you an election if you are a Republican hopeful.
posted by Tarumba (93 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gingrich is having trouble, too. <K-K-K-Ken>Good.</Ken>
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:23 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bonus: 102 degrees in DC today, highest since 1874.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:23 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


He'll change his stance a few more times by next week. Christie came out as a global warming believer, too. I wonder if this is the start of Republican acceptance of global warming, even if they still deny that we can or have to do anything about it.
posted by stavrogin at 7:24 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Didn't Newt lose whatever momentum he had by saying that the Ryan plan wasn't all sunshine and rainbows?

How large of a percentage of the base is the Tea Party? How large of a percentage of the general vote are they?
posted by codacorolla at 7:24 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Purity above all else.
Fuck every last one of them.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:25 PM on June 9, 2011 [15 favorites]


Coldest June here since 1914 or something like that.
posted by tumid dahlia at 7:26 PM on June 9, 2011


And yet the Dems are "Maoists" to them? With the purges and the party line and the purity and the GLOYVEN SCHROYVEN.

We'll add this to the long, long list of things they don't understand.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:29 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


npr:
How is it positive from a campaign point of view? It contradicted Romney's reputation as a political chameleon.

"The fact that he doesn't change his position . . . that's the upside for us," said one Romney adviser
This is great. Global warming will help us get the tea party vote!
posted by stavrogin at 7:33 PM on June 9, 2011


Btw when I was a wee lad living through the first Clinton administration and living in the Midwest I had an epiphany one day: this really is a matter of "identity" for the right wingers isn't it? It was never about policy as much as team identity.

Not that that's a new concept or anything but I'm impressed with my younger self for getting that because I really was a moron back then. Frankly I think I that deserves a Zagnut.

But ya know...without paying.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:34 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I believe the world's getting warmer.... I believe that humans contribute to that," Romney said in response to a query on whether he'd disavow the science behind climate change.

"It's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors."


You know, I have a lot of reasons for not liking Romney, but I respect him for saying this. I would love to see a presidential election where the candidates debate how to respond to global warming, not whether it's real. So I hope he (or Huntsman) gets the nomination, although it seems unlikely.
posted by Tsuga at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's interesting that Romney also believes in the science behind evolution. There seems to be a huge overlap in America between evolution denialists and climate change denialists.

That makes sense, I guess. I mean, if you believe that scientists are a monolithic group of white-coated atheists who collude in secrecy to foist a massive conspiracy on the American people with one scientific theory, you can easily believe that they'll do it with another scientific theory too.
posted by Avenger at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I know in political threads we're not supposed to look at the links – we're just supposed to wander in and start chattering about our opinions – but is there any reason you linked to the Wikipedia talk page about global warming there?
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


offhand, I'd say it's because the talk page has a faq of ludicrous global warming denialist questions on it
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:39 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that reading the Post's article on this today snuffed out the last tiny bit of hope that I had RE: the future of the United States:

“Bye-bye, nomination,” Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday on his radio talk show after playing a clip of Romney’s climate remark. “Another one down. We’re in the midst here of discovering that this is all a hoax. The last year has established that the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax, and we still have presidential candidates that want to buy into it.”

It has been said here many times, but I finally accept it: we are simply too stupid, collectively, to survive.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:40 PM on June 9, 2011 [18 favorites]


Alternate headline: GOP Presidential Frontrunner Accepts Scientific Consensus On Climate Change

Will anything make you guys happy? It's pretty clear to me that you guys just want to hate on Republicans... The article in the FPP quotes Limbaugh (increasingly irrelevant in GOP politics... who listens to the radio anymore?) and a few fringe Republican candidates. I detect a backdoor attempt to manufacture a controversy and sideline a candidate who is very competitive against President Obama in a head-to-head matchup.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:42 PM on June 9, 2011


Will anything make you guys happy? It's pretty clear to me that you guys just want to hate on Republicans... The article in the FPP quotes Limbaugh (increasingly irrelevant in GOP politics... who listens to the radio anymore?) and a few fringe Republican candidates. I detect a backdoor attempt to manufacture a controversy and sideline a candidate who is very competitive against President Obama in a head-to-head matchup.

What?
posted by codacorolla at 7:44 PM on June 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


Principle has nothing to do with this. Romney is calculating that in the end, most Republicans will hold their nose and vote for him. What he loses in Tea Party votes, he'll make up for in independents - who will be fleeing the Democratic Party in droves if unemployment is this high in 2012.

Of course, he has to win the nomination first. But he's got the money, the organization, and the experience. And unusually feeble competition. I won't bet against him.
posted by Trurl at 7:46 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I detect a backdoor attempt to manufacture a controversy and sideline a candidate who is very competitive against President Obama in a head-to-head matchup.

It looks to me like the Republican base are the ones trying to sideline him.
posted by Avenger at 7:46 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


...the non-partisan National Academy of Sciences, considered the Supreme Court of science...

Oh, good grief.
posted by gurple at 7:47 PM on June 9, 2011


“Bye-bye, nomination,” Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday on his radio talk show after playing a clip of Romney’s climate remark. “Another one down."

Do Rush Limbaugh's listeners know that he basically talks like your stereotypical high school mean girl?
posted by mcmile at 7:49 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, in another year, this statement might have been a death knell, but Romney has essentially no competition. So far, it's bunch of people who aren't actually running, a guy with no campaign staff anymore, a bunch of people no one's ever heard of, and a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter.
posted by lesli212 at 7:49 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like to see Rush Limbaugh run...

...while pursued by velociraptors.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:52 PM on June 9, 2011 [29 favorites]


It looks to me like the Republican base are the ones trying to sideline him.

George W. Bush and John McCain had the same position as Romney on this issue.

The mainstream media is only too happy to help fan these particular flames... They want a hard-core unelectable conservative to face Obama in the general.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:53 PM on June 9, 2011


I would like to see Rush Limbaugh run... after Nazi's
...while pursued by velociraptors.
posted by stbalbach at 7:54 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, the tea party wants a hard-core unelecctable conservative to face Obama.
posted by stavrogin at 7:54 PM on June 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


The mainstream media is only too happy to help fan these particular flames... They want a hard-core unelectable conservative to face Obama in the general.

Hahahahahaha, ok. I was wondering where you were going with that, and it turns out that it's the vast left wing conspiracy of the "mainstream media".
posted by codacorolla at 7:57 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


The mainstream media WANT a horse race.. the more they can milk something the better it is for them. I suspect they also want someone that is as business friendly as possible.



I dunno, in another year, this statement might have been a death knell, but Romney has essentially no competition. So far, it's bunch of people who aren't actually running, a guy with no campaign staff anymore, a bunch of people no one's ever heard of, and a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter.

Don't forget the dry white toast candidate.
posted by edgeways at 7:57 PM on June 9, 2011


I would like to see Rush Limbaugh run... after Nazi's

After Nazi's what???

Don't leave us hanging like this!!!
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I may be going out on a limb here, but shouldn't the Republican candidate oppose Democrat positions? Or am I living in the past and hopelessly naive?

It's terrible that so many people really do see it that way. No room for compromise or consensus across party lines on anything.

If democrats declared that ice cream cake is good, republicans would be denouncing it as evil, and hanging Cookie Puss in effigy.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:04 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I mean, if you believe that scientists are a monolithic group of white-coated atheists who collude in secrecy to foist a massive conspiracy on the American people with one scientific theory, you can easily believe that they'll do it with another scientific theory too."

This is true. One of my conservative Christian co-workers is very big on: Creationism + CC Denial = "Science has failed" and Jesus will be along pretty soon.

Living in a large, modern city, surrounded by a darn good education system, it's hard to imagine how people are able to maintain this narrow mindset. Whatever they're doing to those kids seems to be quite effective.

By the way, all this time I've thought the concept that "US politics is more interesting than Canadian politics" was just the voice of ignorance. Today shows how wrong I was. Go Newt!
posted by sneebler at 8:07 PM on June 9, 2011


"Global warming is a hoax!"
"Abstinence-only education works!"
"Evolution is a sham!"
"A fertilized ovum is a person!"
"Gold is the only true basis of currency!"

Say what you want about the effectiveness of the other side. But while the core principles of the Republicans remain as stated above - with every statement provably, scientifically false - they are best referred to as the Unreality Party.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:15 PM on June 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


I detect a backdoor attempt to manufacture a controversy and sideline a candidate who is very competitive against President Obama in a head-to-head matchup.

I detect a Republican Party that will throw Romney or any other apostate under the bus as long as it manages to keep that ideological purity intact.
posted by blucevalo at 8:17 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


"By the way, all this time I've thought the concept that "US politics is more interesting than Canadian politics" was just the voice of ignorance. Today shows how wrong I was. Go Newt!"

it is certainly more entertaining, but i wouldn't say that it is more interesting.
posted by striatic at 8:18 PM on June 9, 2011


At a Iowa debate in 2007, Romney did not raise his hand when Republican candidates were asked to do so if they didn't believe in evolution.
Dude!
posted by monkeymike at 8:18 PM on June 9, 2011


Bora Horza Gobuchul: You forgot "Tax cuts create jobs and increase revenue!"
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 8:32 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Global warming is a hoax!
Evolution: Sham. Wow!
Abstinence can't be over-sold,
Unless they're holding back the gold,
So beat the young and tax the old,
And give the ovum jobs right here and now!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:32 PM on June 9, 2011


That's exactly what I meant to do, toodleydoodley. I thought it seemed like a useful compilation of the regular bs we keep hearing, plus I liked the concise and complete answers.
posted by Tarumba at 8:49 PM on June 9, 2011


Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People
posted by dhartung at 8:57 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


“Bye-bye, nomination,” Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday on his radio talk show after playing a clip of Romney’s climate remark.

Keep in mind that Rush thought that it would be "the end of the United States as we know it" if McCain got nominated. Hannity, Rush, et al. might hate Romney, but if the guy is going to get nominated, he's going to get nominated.

I defer to digby's take on this statement from Romney:
Mittstah Soljah

by digby
...
You can't do a Sistah-Soljah moment on the right. They don't care if your convictions are authentic. Indeed, they really prefer if they aren't -- there's more power in being able to force a politician to pander, after all. No, the only thing that matters to them is ideological conformity and pissing off liberals (and not necessarily in that order.)
Romney might be trying to appeal to the press on this one: they seem to find Romney fairly hilarious for trying to give himself a right-wing-conservative makeover, but the truth is that the GOP primary voters really love it when Republicans suddenly "convert" to the right-wing party line: it's a sign of submission to the "cause." Ironically, Romney's willingness to submit to right-wing talking points is generally considered a plus by voters: a sign he is willing to become part of the team.
posted by deanc at 9:07 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Green agenda is being shifted towards capital.
less is more.

The "solution" you highjack is better then the devil you create.

smart move.
posted by clavdivs at 9:10 PM on June 9, 2011


It has been said here many times, but I finally accept it: we are simply too stupid, collectively, to survive.

Just because you're stupid doesn't mean you can't, through some crafty adaptation or other artifice, devise a means to survive, despite your overall ignorance.

Take cockroaches, for example.

Or the Republican Party.
posted by darkstar at 9:11 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I detect a backdoor attempt to manufacture a controversy and sideline a candidate

The mainstream media is only too happy to help fan these particular flames.


Indeed, how could it be otherwise? There really is no other reasonable explanation.
posted by Ratio at 9:12 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Newts a diversion bye the bye. He snaps up the fish-eye lens quick like, riding in around Trump-a-Rama.

It's a King Vidor production.
posted by clavdivs at 9:15 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article in the FPP quotes Limbaugh (increasingly irrelevant in GOP politics... who listens to the radio anymore?)

What Rush says in the afternoon, your cranky Republican uncle says at dinner and Bill O'Reilly says to your grandmother on television in the evening. The dude gave the keynote address to CPAC in 2009, for goodness sake.

Unless, of course, you're willing to argue that Rush is in on the conspiracy.

That said: the press does not like Mitt Romney. Everything he does/says is interpreted by the press through the prism of his (supposed, but actually real) willingness to be whoever he needs to be to get the nomination, and it's at the point where he's starting to become an object of derision. This statement from him is an attempt to blunt that coverage that he's getting.
posted by deanc at 9:17 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


see, cockroaches are a referent to nuclear survival.

it will always be 1945 until the planet gets it's head out of it's ass.

Godroached
posted by clavdivs at 9:18 PM on June 9, 2011


George W. Bush and John McCain had the same position as Romney on this issue.

Bush and McCain disagreed. Bush thought it wasn't true. McCain thought it was an supported cap & trade but has since repudiated that stance now that it is no longer required to "stick it" to W. Pawlenty has repented from his moderate past and become a climate-change denier, as is required.

For the most part, climate-change denialism is a social/status marker among Republicans, required to identify each other as part of the tribe, but also an act of doing what they believe "angers liberals" or as a way of attacking their decades-old enemy Al Gore. So it is sort of unusual that in this political climate, where Romney needs to make sure all his tribal markers are in place, he would stick to what he needed to say back in 2002 when he said what was required to be taken seriously as a gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts.
posted by deanc at 9:23 PM on June 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Say what you like, but I believe that the right-wing view on climate change has evolved over time, from:

Global warming is a hoax and it's not happening. Drill, baby, drill!

to:

Global warming is a hoax and it's not our fault that it is happening... and it's not happening. Drill, baby, drill!!

The next step is:

Global warming is a hoax and it's everyone else's fault... and it's not happening. If we don't burn those last reserves of fossil fuel, the Chinese will have won!

Limbaugh is, predictably, still clinging to the outdated position, even though he is more than well equipped to deal with the cognitive dissonance generated by the second.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 9:47 PM on June 9, 2011


clavdivs: "Newts a diversion bye the bye. He snaps up the fish-eye lens quick like, riding in around Trump-a-Rama.

It's a King Vidor production
"

Kingfisher Eleven! The biggest dirt digs the bed bug! Salty sky will rise alone!

I have no idea what any part of this post was supposed to mean! Which is admittedly kind of appropriate if we're talking about political extremism and the messages sent by adherents.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:50 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of thing that bums me out about the two-party system. The energized portion of the party picks their nominee, which is why people like Palin are considered viable candidates. If we had four parties rather than two, there would be a Palin wing on the right, and a Kucinich wing on the left and then more moderate Romney and Obama wings in the center.

At least that would tip the odds more in favor of getting an intelligent candidate and decrease the likelihood of the fringy ones. While my personal politics is to the left of Obama/Clinton and the like, I'd be willing to trade that for some sanity on the right.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:56 PM on June 9, 2011


Take cockroaches, for example.

Or the Republican Party.



You so missed the opportunity to end that comment with ".. but I repeat myself..."
posted by DreamerFi at 10:07 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, Romney could run as an independent. It's not like he has to worry about name recognition at this point. He could avoid the worst of the Republican primary circus and come out looking like a reasonable option to some moderates and disaffected Democrats. Moderate republicans may vote for him before voting for Republican nominee Sarah Palin.
posted by dibblda at 10:17 PM on June 9, 2011


The enemy of my enemy is ... well, still my enemy, but by all means, have at with the cannibalism and the self-destruction, Republicans. The grand old party in its present form is the greatest threat this nation faces - thank dog they're almost as dangerous to each other.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:20 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... the snow finally melted, even though Fox hasn't, eh?!
posted by markkraft at 11:51 PM on June 9, 2011


""I believe the world's getting warmer.... I believe that humans contribute to that... and I believe that God's on planet called "Kolob", and one day I'll have my own planet too. I believe that the The Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. I am a Mormon, and a Mormon just believes."
posted by markkraft at 12:06 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would like to see Rush Limbaugh run... after Nazis... while pursued by velociraptors.

THIS. This is why we have Yakity Sax.
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:24 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Velociraptors? Even lefties expect to be saved by bizarre miracles? That right there explains so much.

Chase him your own damn selves. Don't allow him to pollute YOUR air waves.
posted by Goofyy at 2:32 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


deanc: "an act of doing what they believe "angers liberals" or as a way of attacking their decades-old enemy Al Gore."

Do you think the situation would be different if the first high-profile person to spread the message about climate change had been someone else? Maybe even someone who wasn't so associated with a political party? I never thought about it like that before, but it's an interesting thought (and unfortunate if true).
posted by Rickalicioso at 3:25 AM on June 10, 2011


The good news: The Republican base is pushing Republican candidates to the extreme right.

The bad news: The Democrats always follow the Republican lead.
posted by DU at 4:27 AM on June 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Agreeing with the scientific community when it comes to global warming could lose you an election if you are a Republican hopeful.

Not seeing any downside to this, at all.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:37 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you think the situation would be different if the first high-profile person to spread the message about climate change had been someone else?

No.
posted by goethean at 4:41 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


So. Why is there no actual left-wing party in the US? I mean. Why isn't there some candidate that says "Fuck you, I'm a left-wing/socialist/social democrat and that's awesome!".

Oh well. It seems to my laymen's eye that the Republicans are rather confused about 2012, and whether to go Full Retard or just Extreme Right.
posted by Harry at 4:54 AM on June 10, 2011


My first post to metafilter.

I was the questioner of Mitt last Friday in Manchester. The actual question was:

"How to deal with climate change is a policy issue, the science of climate change is not. My question is not about policy—how we mitigate global warming—it is about recognition of the science.

In 2010 The National Academy of Sciences issued a comprehensive report about climate change. They concluded

“A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems….”

They also said…

“Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small…This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”

My question to you –

Most of the other candidates are suggesting that there is no scientific consensus on the reality of climate change. We can’t have a meaningful discussion about solutions until there is agreement on the problem. Will you state now that, under a Romney administration, global warming will be recognized as a scientific reality and this reality will be the foundation for all energy and climate policy?

----

After Rush talked about it I decided to call his show. You can see the transcript
posted by Michael_H at 5:11 AM on June 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


After Rush talked about it I decided to call his show. You can see the transcript
posted by Michael_H at 5:11 AM on June 10 [+] [!]
Just read the link to the Rush show... that must have been infuriating to have that bloated drug-addicted gasbag tell you that the national scientific establishment, with the support of decades of painstaking research and analysis, was perpetrating a hoax. As if Rush declaring it a hoax magically makes it a reality. Just reading the transcript made me angry; can't imagine how you felt on the phone with that ludicrous excuse for a thought leader.
posted by ben242 at 5:59 AM on June 10, 2011


Wow, Michael_H, good for you for taking the word to the charlatans. Like ben242 says, that must have been infuriating.
posted by notsnot at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2011


The ugly British face of climate change denial.
posted by Summer at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2011


Michael H., that was really infuriating. I mean I know people try to use reason to make things look the way they want, but what kind of massive ego do you have to have to think you can debunk the whole of the scientific community without so much as a BS?

And what kind of a massive idiot does one have to be to give this guy any credit?
posted by Tarumba at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2011


ben242

I was prepared to discuss the usual denier claims, I've been doing that for some time at various conservative web sites. I was surprised at the simplistic argument. Interesting analysis of the exchange here.
posted by Michael_H at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2011


After Rush talked about it I decided to call his show. You can see the transcript

Wow indeed. At least Vreenak used scientific methods and was intellectually honest when he pronounced "It's a fake!!!"
posted by juiceCake at 6:05 AM on June 10, 2011


If I had called and got that response the first time, you would have just heard the sound of my head exploding in rage.
posted by Tarumba at 6:06 AM on June 10, 2011



I would like to see Rush Limbaugh trip over a Nazi...

...while pursued by velociraptors.
posted by eriko at 6:09 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


BTW, my original goal with the Romney question was to use the unique setting of the NH primary to ask candidates questions that would be impossible when they shift to "wholesale" politics. To that end, I've set up a FB page called Climate Change in the Presidential Primaries. My goal is to ask the questions, post the response with annotations, and hope that I or someone else can followup at a different venue with an informed followup. We already had some people ask Huntsman questions about AGW.
posted by Michael_H at 6:14 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


BobbyVan: The article in the FPP quotes Limbaugh (increasingly irrelevant in GOP politics... who listens to the radio anymore?)

I don't think he was ever relevant on any topic.
posted by zombieApoc at 6:53 AM on June 10, 2011


"The ugly British face of climate change denial."

Richard Littlejohn is the ugly face of almost everything.

Racism: "Does anyone really give a monkey's about what happens in Rwanda? If the Mbongo tribe wants to wipe out the Mbingo tribe then as far as I am concerned that is entirely a matter for them."

Homophobia: "In the past year's Sun columns, Richard has referred 42 times to gays, 16 times to lesbians, 15 to homosexuals, eight to bisexuals, twice to "homophobia" and six to being "homophobic" (note his scornful inverted commas), five times to cottaging, four to "gay sex in public toilets", three to poofs, twice to lesbianism, and once each to buggery, dykery, and poovery. This amounts to 104 references in 90-odd columns"

Hating female sex workers: "it might not be fashionable, or even acceptable in some quarters, to say so, but in their chosen field of "work," death by strangulation is an occupational hazard."

He is either insane or a sociopath.
posted by jaduncan at 6:58 AM on June 10, 2011


I may be going out on a limb here, but shouldn't the Republican candidate oppose Democrat positions? Or am I living in the past and hopelessly naive?

Firstly -- where is it written that opposing political parties must also by extension oppose each other's talking points? We're not talking the Bloods and the Crips here. Political parties are meant to frame approaches for solving national problems. One party may feel that the arts are best served by federal financial support, but that doesn't mean that the opposite party must therefore be forced into a "boo! Down with art!" position just to look good. They are perfectly free to come up with a different solution ("hey, how about we give a tax break to people when they see a movie/concert/play/etc.") or just...decide not to address it at all. It's not like anyone's keeping score and saying "hey, the other guy has an arts policy, what about you? Oh, you don't? LOOOOOOOOO-SERRRRRRR!"

Taking an opposing position just for the sake of taking an opposing position just makes you look like you're being deliberately contrary out of spite. It's like when Michelle Obama said something about how dessert wasn't a right, and it was perfectly okay to not give your kids dessert, and then Sarah Palin came back with a press release with lots of big bowls of ice cream for her kids all "take that,Michelle! We're gonna eat our dessert if we wanna!" Michelle Obama was just saying "parents can exercise their own discretion when it comes to serving dessert," and Sarah Palin was just coming across as saying, "Oh, yeah, I'll tell her!" It looked immature and combative and, frankly, just plain stupid.

Secondly -- there's also a difference between opposing the other party's position, and opposing actual reality itself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on June 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


We're not talking the Bloods and the Crips here.

Yes, we sort of are. Politics aren't about policy anymore, they're about tribalism. It's what America has instead of ultras and football riots. (The difference is that FC Barcelona doesn't end up with a mandate to rule Europe for the rest of 2011.)

Sarah Palin was just coming across as saying, "Oh, yeah, I'll tell her!" It looked immature and combative and, frankly, just plain stupid.

Palin's not trying to impress you. You're analyzing her actions, which makes you more difficult to convince, and puts you, sadly, into a (hopefully large) minority. More effort for fewer hearts and "minds"? The cost-benefit on trying to sell a political brand to the thoughtful just doesn't add up. Her numbers are based on a more primal reaction, and the calculation that the positive reaction to her will do her more gain than the negative reaction will do her harm — and in the case of most of the people on the Romney's-an-idiot-for-speaking-the-obvious side of this slapfight, both reactions increase attention to them, which is monetizable regardless of its sign.

Most of the noise about this is about attention, it's about eyeballs, it's about brands, and how much cash those brands earn. Potentially dangerous in that we could end up with a raving birther creationist denialist paranoid (or at least one who plays one on teevee) as the Republican nominee, which puts them one October surprise away from the big red button. But for the Limpalins of the world, political power is a secondary consideration to puffing up the brand.
posted by Vetinari at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was prepared to discuss the usual denier claims, I've been doing that for some time at various conservative web sites.

I admire your tenacity and bravery. In the end though I don't think it helps to debunk denier claims in a scientific way, at least in discussion forums. They operate on a different level from science. For them it's about common sense, emotion, morality. One of the better tactics is to find someone they trust or believe in, and point out this person believes in global warming, or some aspect of it. What's surprising is someone has not made a Wiki of all the GOP/Conservative types who are on positive record about global warming, that would be a powerful tool, kinda of an anti-SourceWatch.
posted by stbalbach at 8:03 AM on June 10, 2011


I think it'd be better for science and the world in general if people would use the word skeptic instead of denier. With all this discussion of tribalism in American politics, perhaps the lens could be turned on the language we use to describe scientific communities.

I could also point out that proponents of the anthropogenic climate change doomsday scenarios remind me quite a lot of Camping's May 21st Rapture crew. The truth is, "the end is near" has been an odd human fixation for just about as long as anybody can tell.

Regarding the conclusions of the so-called "Supreme Court of Science," or the IPCC and other organizations, I think it's important to remember that these too are groups of people with enormous stakes in pushing the consensus toward an anthropogenic global warming dialog. However, this is not for the sake of the world; I don't think anybody actually believes any of their worst-case scenarios will actually come to pass. Rather, they have invested their entire careers and livelihoods on these claims. If they turn out to be false, then these particular scientists and politicians will be out of a job!

Climate science---as distinct from meteorology---had never been a particularly interesting field until these sorts of worldwide catastrophe scenarios began to gain traction (correct me if I'm wrong here). Our tools to observe these large-scale changes are relatively new, of course; the problem is, since we've only had the ability to peek into the atmosphere or the ozone for a few decades, the discipline doesn't have centuries of quack claims or false alarms at hand to give the field an even temperament.

Finally, "science" is not at all monolithic---and I don't mean simply that there continue to be folks of different opinions. There are many different ways to gain so-called "scientific" knowledge, and they all generally fall under the umbrella term of empirical methodologies. There are hypothesis-driven studies which are able to directly manipulate experimental conditions, correlative studies which take advantage of previously existing variations, exploratory studies which just start measuring and hypothesizing, and there are modeling studies such as those used in climate science.

Modeling studies by far are the least intrinsically reliable of these, since they excel at showing potentially plausible explanations but operate based on many assumptions and proceed in microchips instead of on a lab bench. There have been innumerable takes on scientific philosophy as well. Perhaps you're familiar with Popper's case for the necessity of falsifiability in a scientific claim. Although this is only one approach to scientific reasoning, it has certainly been particularly fruitful for modern investigation. One major problem of these climate models is that they get revised again and again and again based on new incoming information---parameters are revised, but the models as a whole are never thrown out.

It's an interesting question, and I think that good healthy skepticism is exactly what people need in order to truly advance scientific knowledge. Not name-calling.
posted by phenylphenol at 9:38 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it'd be better for science and the world in general if people would use the word skeptic instead of denier.

I found this piece relevant to the distinction. Having spent much time over the last few months trying to reason with so-called skeptics, I find that the last thing they want is to discuss the empirical research.

As to the AGW hypothesis being built only on models, I have heard it say that "models are always wrong but they are usually useful." Most of the models do well in hindcasts and even Hansen's 1988 scenarios, drawn from fairly primitive models, have fared reasonably well in their predictions.

But the AGW hypothesis is also supported by empirical data drawn from many diverse domains.
posted by Michael_H at 10:00 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it'd be better for science and the world in general if people would use the word skeptic instead of denier.

The skeptics are the climate scientists. The deniers are the ones who continue denying in the face of the evidence.
posted by deanc at 10:01 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Climate science---as distinct from meteorology---had never been a particularly interesting field until these sorts of worldwide catastrophe scenarios began to gain traction (correct me if I'm wrong here).

You. Are. Wrong.

Climate science was a mostly uninteresting field back when computing power was not up to the task of dealing with earth-scaled climate simulation. That's the nature of scientific research: it only gets interesting when it's actually feasible.
posted by ocschwar at 10:10 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


phenylphenol: I don't have time to respond to your entire post right now, but I did want to ask what exactly you mean by statements like "these too are groups of people with enormous stakes in pushing the consensus toward an anthropogenic global warming dialog, " and "If they turn out to be false, then these particular scientists and politicians will be out of a job!"

I am genuinely curious about your answers to a couple questions:

a) Who exactly in the National Academy of Sciences do you think would be "out of a job" if anthropogenic global warming turned out to be completely, wildly incorrect?

b) And do you really think that if a climate scientist had really great, solid science indicating that there isn't any global warming, they would be unwilling to publish it?

It seems only fair to give you my own answers to these questions.

a) No one. I haven't checked, but I would be very surprised to find a single member of the NAS who isn't a tenured professor. Probably you are aware of this, but membership in the NAS is tough to come by. Most of these people have put in decades of top-tier work in their field, though there are a few young-ish superstars as well. If any of these people wanted to bash global warming, they would be free to do so -- and they'd get a lot more attention in the process than your average professor would.

b) The most reliable possible way to make a name for yourself in a scientific field is to show everyone they are wrong. If I had reason to believe AGW was wrong, I would be trumpeting it from the rooftops; it'd be in Nature or Science, and I'd be happily appearing in every popular press outlet under the Sun. I also suspect I wouldn't want for funding: my guess is that there are a hell of a lot of companies who would love to fund research proving the scientific consensus on AGW is wrong.

In short, I am puzzled by your apparent belief that scientists have strong incentive to support the notion of human-influenced global warming if they think it is incorrect. Most of the really strong incentives -- fame, prestige, money, etc -- seem to me to point in the other direction, such that anyone with really convincing evidence that AGW was wrong would (imho) be crazy not to publish it. I will grant you that there is some "peer pressure" not to rock the boat, in this or most other things -- by which I just mean that usually the established view of an entire scientific field is correct, so you'd better have a good reason for telling everybody they are wrong. I don't think that's too unreasonable a bar to set, though, and believe that the incentives for publishing really strong anti-AGW work vastly, vastly outweigh the incentives for quashing it. I am curious to hear why you (seemingly) disagree.
posted by chalkbored at 10:32 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


phenylphenol

I would suggest you actually read the NAS report. You will see that they buttress their conclusions with ample research.
posted by Michael_H at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2011


phenylphenol: "Climate science---as distinct from meteorology---had never been a particularly interesting field until these sorts of worldwide catastrophe scenarios began to gain traction (correct me if I'm wrong here)"

You are wrong. Firefighting is not a particularly interesting job until, you know, something catches on fire.
posted by notsnot at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2011


[Friendly reminder - please do not call for anyone's death. Thanks! ]
posted by restless_nomad at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


If they turn out to be false, then these particular scientists and politicians will be out of a job!

Let's look at the converse-- cases where politicians and scientists were horribly, horribly wrong: Which politicians lost their jobs for being wrong about the Iraq war? Which scientists lost their jobs for being wrong about plate tectonics? The social pressure actually works in the opposite direction: there are no consequences for being "wrong." If the climate scientists turn out to be wrong, everyone will just shrug, say, "hey, that scientist I worked with is a good guy. That's why I still respect his current work [in whatever other field he does research in after people move on from the climate change thing]."

So, no, there aren't any scientists or politicians whose jobs are at stake over climate change. However, a lot of the livelihoods and lives of people who depend on the availability of arable land do depend on addressing climate change. It's denialists who are playing politics with their lives for political gain.
posted by deanc at 10:54 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, at least he isn't getting death threats.
posted by homunculus at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2011


By contrast, the consequences to being right are quite severe: Gen Shinseki had to resign for openly testifying that many times more troops would be required to pacify Iraq than the Bush administration wanted. At present, climate scientists whose findings are in line with the rest of the available data and findings are the ones receiving death threats and being hounded by petty politicians as well as having their research budgets cuts.

So it strikes me that if you're in climate science and you want to keep your job, your livelihood, and your health, you wouldn't be pushing the science about climate change right now.

So I'd be pretty skeptical of someone claiming that human-caused climate change isn't happening. Obviously, they have an agenda, and it strikes me as a bit more malicious of an agenda than that of the scientists'.
posted by deanc at 11:51 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do Rush Limbaugh's listeners know that he basically talks like your stereotypical high school mean girl
?


Like, oh, my god, no way!

Don't be fooled, because he may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing, slut-faced ho-bag. But in reality, he is so much more than that. He's the queen bee.
posted by y2karl at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2011


Agreeing with (rational minds) when it comes to (statements of fact) could lose you an election if you are a Republican hopeful.
FTFY
posted by wowbobwow at 6:11 PM on June 10, 2011


chalkbored: I think you make some good observations about the makeup of the NAS. I think I overstepped when I suggested that tenured professors would be somehow out of a job. But still, those in the NAS who represent the climate science "mainstream opinion" are still climate scientists who have put their academic reputations on the line.

The incentive isn't to deliberately misrepresent and cover up a truth (although see Climategate). Rather, I suspect there's other factors playing into what people end up believing. While we would like to think that science relies on set methods of inductive and deductive reasoning, when it comes down to it an individual will behave in a way and believe things that are heavily influenced by their social surroundings. A touchstone of both psychology and anthropology is that a person's feelings, beliefs, and actions are closely tied to external factors or enculturation, respectively.

It would be wonderful if showing everybody they are wrong was as easy as one conclusive study, but that's unfortunately not the case. Overturning old scientific standard ideas is very VERY difficult to do, even if you have an apparent piece of irrefutable evidence. The typical scientific experiment today, if it rejects the null hypothesis (that is, succeeds), is in reality demonstrating that either the hypothesis was true, OR that one of the innumerable assumptions going into the experimental design was faulty. It makes sense that this would be the case---why throw out an overwhelmingly accepted majority opinion for one piece of damning evidence? Instead, the assumption would be that the study is flawed. This makes it difficult in general to do such a thing.

There are two factors that make it particularly difficult to do this with climate research, and both are because the field relies on enormously complex models that describe changes on a very long time scale. First, in order to disprove the theory conclusively, one would have to wait 100 years or so and show that temperature levels have gone back down. This is not in the scope of present scientists. Second, the current paradigm of model-revise-model-revise is very lucrative because it is accepted by most climate scientists so is good for careers, is relatively easy to do with data collected from other sources (if your lab is underfunded), and because if the predictions it makes aren't borne out, you don't have to scrap the model; you only tweak some parameters and update it.

Hindcasting is interesting, but must be done very very carefully in order to mean anything. Forecasting is the only way to go, and to find resounding successes, you have to cherry-pick particular studies that tend to do "reasonably well." I'm not going to say these models aren't helpful or useful; I just regret that none of them could ever lead to a falsification of the hypothesis.
posted by phenylphenol at 7:44 AM on June 11, 2011


deanc: You're very right about how politicians tend to fare better after being shown to be wrong. Scientists, though, as individuals don't have the same sort of built-in prestige of leadership experience, powerful political connections (usually), and wealth. Getting judged wrong by your peers in science is much more dangerous, death threats from outside the Academy aside.

As for examples of political figures getting fired for telling the truth, I think you'll agree that the reason they got canned wasn't because they told the truth per se, but rather because they went up against the prevailing desires of the rest of the administration higher-ups. This strikes me as the same sort of danger that might confront an enterprising young scientists who does happen to think global warming is bunk.

I'm mainly speaking as a scientist within the academy who has some philosophical interests, so I'm not as savvy to death threats and malicious political forces.
posted by phenylphenol at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2011


phenylphenol: for many decades now, the financial rewards and rewards of public attention for being "a climate scientist who doesn't think that climate change is happening" have been far, far greater than being a climate scientist who accepts the reality of the data... not to mention the fact that in the current political climate, funding for your research as a science-accepting climate scientist is in strong, strong danger of being cut, to say nothing of the threats of political harassment. So the self-interested move here is to, well, honestly, take up a job writing stuff like you just did, just for a think tank instead of MeFi comments.
posted by deanc at 9:10 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The incentive isn't to deliberately misrepresent and cover up a truth (although see Climategate).

I'm not sure what this comment, casually tossed in, is supposed to convey. This, of course, is Limbaugh's sole reason for disbelieving climate change. But even the link you gave indicated that the science was not misrepresented, and that was from 2009. Since that time there have been seven different independent assessments, all of which affirm that the science was sound and that there was no misrepresentation.
posted by Michael_H at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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