Ashutosh Jogalekar writes at Scientific American that the House Science Committee is “turning into a national embarrassment.” No, I’m afraid it’s been a national embarrassment for years now, especially on the Republican side. He flags this exchange between a Republican congressman and the White House science adviser:
Several members, for example, appeared to be trying to mock rather than engage Holdren on climate change. “I may want to get your cellphone number, Dr. Holdren,” said Representative Randy Weber (R–TX), “because, if we go through another few cycles of global warming and cooling, I may need to ask you when I should buy my long coat on sale.”
Weber, a freshman from the Galveston area, began his interrogation by asking Holdren whether “when you guys do your research, you start with a scientific postulate or theory and work forward from that? Is that right?” Holdren gamely played along, explaining that “it depends on the type of science, but the notion of posing a hypothesis and then trying to determine whether it is right is one of the tried and true approaches in science, yes.”
But Weber’s question was really just a setup for his concluding statement. “I just don’t know how you all prove those theories going back 50 or 100,000 or even millions of years,” Weber said.
And the fact that you don’t know how they do that is exactly why you don’t belong on a science committee. You could try asking your buddies in the oil industry, whose entire business is predicated on historical geology that goes back hundreds of millions of years. This same committee includes Paul Broun, who has proudly declared that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies from the pit of hell.” 17 out of the 22 members of the climate change subcommittee reject climate change.