You Didn’t Solve That

This is an incredibly minor political flub, but it makes me cringe. During a routine interview with the Washington Examiner in December, Mitt Romney delivered the following line:

I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.

As someone who got very excited when the initial announcements came out about cold fusion, it really bothers me to hear Romney say that we just haven’t figured out how to duplicate it yet. The consensus is that Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann were completely off base, not in the least because they had ignored the previous literature on deuterium reactions.

I think this is just a stumbling misstatement derived from the fact that Romney never paid any attention to the supposed discovery and the following scandal. But if he’s serious about being a booster for science, then he needs to become aware of how scientific investigation can go awry.

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  • drax

    Well, he knew enough about it to mention it specifically. Although it is likely that he only knows about it because it happened in Utah. Science doesn’t seem like a topic that is overly important in electing a president. Most people don’t care about it. Those who do can probably spot Romney’s remark for what it is, uninformed pandering.

  • Peppylady (Dora)

    Toward the end of each month I visit other blogs then my regular ones and this time I decided to stop by some of lacking a better word “religion” ones
    I’m not up to dated on fusion but Candidate Romney is a business man and a good reason he may possible be interested in this is “Profit”
    If you have time stop by at my blog and the coffee is on.

  • vasaroti

    The angel Moroni brought fusion, then he took it away, just like the gold plates.

  • Yoav

    They have solved the problem of cold fusion using Kolobian technology, unfortunately Earth technology just isn’t advanced enough yet.

  • Bart Mitchell

    I thought this was a major slip-up when I heard it. I expected the Obama administration to pounce, and see attack adds making fun of his science illiteracy.

    … Crickets.

    Then, I realized the profound ignorance of the vast swath of those I claim as countrymen. No one, not even Obama, is trying to court the vote of people who understand science.

    But can you imagine the LOL that Steven Chu let out when he heard that line?

  • Matt O’Neal

    What’s more surprising to me is that he (or any politician) knew anything about it. Of course he was dead wrong in the “solved” part. But I have to give him credit for even knowing the term Cold Fusion.

    And why didn’t this administration pounce on his scientific illiteracy? Because most of our country is even more illiterate. It would smack of intellectual elitism from the democrats. And Bart is spot on. No one is courting the scientists. We’re kind of in the democrat camp by default.

    • jscalvano

      Just like to say that I as a scientist, although a young one, am not in the democratic camp.

      • Bart Mitchell

        Which camp are you in jscalvano? I’m bothered by quite a bit of what the Dems do, and I think the two party system is a cancer that is eating up our nation. On that note, I don’t see any viable 3rd party candidates in my district (im talking all offices here, not just POTUS), so I’m choosing the best candidate on my ticket.

  • Hitchslapper

    Yesssssssss, and in 1820 Roger Smith dug up the gold Tablets that Jesus buried in upstate N.Y. on his previous visit to the New world….. He flew in on the jet he hid under a mountain in Jerusalem….. Bwa-hahahahahahahaha………

  • Robster

    Don’t forget Romney is a bloke who wears and believes in the magic mormon underwear, the planet kolob, the silly gold plates, that ratbag Joe Smith, that he’ll become a god or something similar after death (yeah right) and the rest of the ever so silly mormon nonsense. That he fails to grasp science can’t really be a surprise.

  • Justin

    “I believe in Basic Science”… What, so nothing more complicated than a water rocket, then?

  • d.mantis

    Look at how how the answer is phrased. He ‘believes’ in science. He lists specific things that would benefit his interests. There is no analysis, or measured response on implications or effects of any of these scientific ‘beliefs’.

    The real problem is that he lists them like a catechism and by implication, all other science is basphemous or unnecessary. This is the extant that scientific matters (and generally all important issues) are handled by politics on both sides. At its worst, this trend is a tool to render meaningful discussions vapid. At best, idiots say idiotic things.