What has science ever done for us (aside from cell phones, clean food, the internet, hurricane tracking, medicine, clean water…)?

Guy laughing saying "We are so fucked."Some of the members of the House Science, Space, and Technology committee belong there like a Catholic priest belongs in a cub scout troop.

Meet the chairman of the committee, Ralph Hall.

NJ: Do you think climate change is causing the earth to become warmer?

Hall: I can’t say it doesn’t have a percentage of effects on it – one percent, three percent, five percent. But I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls…

NJ: Last year the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science published a survey finding that 97 percent of scientists were in consensus that human activities lead to global warming.

Hall: And they each get $5,000 for every report like that they give out. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that. But I don’t believe ‘em…I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that.

Well no shit you don’t have any proof of that!  Like proof for the god you invoked, it doesn’t exist because that position is so blatantly untrue that anybody uttering it should be disqualified from any job involving a desk.

He’s the fucking chair of the most important science committee in the House and he doesn’t even realize the importance of researching claims before making them.

Or, how about Dana Rohrabacher?

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” the congressman asked Mr. Stern, according to Politico.

“Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?” he continued.

Cut down the rain forests to fix environmental problems?  This guy isn’t the least bit familiar with what scientists are saying, and he wouldn’t recognize the basic science behind anthropogenic climate change if it slapped him.

Forestry experts were dumbfounded by Mr. Rohrabacher’s line of questioning, noting that the world’s forests currently absorb far more carbon dioxide than they emit — capturing roughly one-third of all man-made emissions and helping mitigate climate change.

The committee also includes anti-science all-stars like Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Paul Broun.  Who is Paul Broun?  He’s the Georgia Congressman who said

“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

This is like recruiting an anchor to your Olympic rowing team.  I don’t get it.  We want athletes on our football teams, we want architects designing our buildings…why don’t we want scientists informing our governments decisions on science?

A petition exists to request that people familiar with science be the ones on our government’s science committees.  Take a second and sign your name to proclaim and defend the fucking obvious.

(Thanks to Ed Brayton for some of these quotes)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • invivoMark

    It actually costs closer to $5000 to publish a report. Nobody gets paid $5000 except the publisher.

    And, if anybody missed it: http://www.thejayfk.com/?p=2757

    ““Science was not created in, nor ever a resident of, any of our Nine Circles or the Island of Purgatory,” says Satan.”

    • http://helikonios.wordpress.com heliconia

      Hall: And they each get $5,000 for every report like that they give out. That’s just my guess. I don’t have any proof of that. But I don’t believe ‘em…I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that.

      I read that and was like “WHERE IS MY MONEY?! I will write so many papers on whatever topic you want if I get money for each one!”

      But what find most amusing about his statement is his casual dismissal of the need for proof. He admit that he’s just making things up, but, like, that’s totally fine. “I’m really more fearful of freezing. I just made that up, but dear god I’m terrified now.”

  • Baal


    It’s not fair to clowns to label these men with that word but it’s a great term for someone who flairs about and makes messes. That description is apt for ralph, dana and todd.

  • Loqi

    Science gave us the spork. Beat that, god!

  • Silviu

    If anyone tried to make a movie in the let’s say 80′s that featured politicians spewing such idiocy, it would have been labeled satire.

  • http://mrtact.com/blog Tim Keating

    “This guy isn’t the least bit familiar with what scientists are saying, and he wouldn’t recognize the basic science behind anthropomorphic climate change if it slapped him.”

    I think you mean athropogenic (resulting from the influence of man), not anthropomorphic (walks like a man, talks like a man, and other hits from the Four Seasons).

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      You are correct. Fixed. :)

      • invivoMark

        Heh. I do that sometimes.

        Anthropomorphic climate change says, “fuck you, humans!”

        • RuQu

          Then it takes its rainfall and goes home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CFSLIG ScienceLit

    The Paul Broun thing was simply too much. How there are enough science illiterate people out there to elect these clowns is beyond me.

  • SLC

    Considering that the Chairman of the Canadian Parliament’s committee on science and technology is one Gary Goodyear, global warming denier, creationist, and chiropractor, the Canadians shouldn’t be laughing too loudly.

  • Drakk

    Don’t you have a system for removing incompetents from important stations?

    • RuQu

      It’s called the next election cycle, and the House has an incumbency rate over 90%. The 2010 election where the Tea Party ousted a “huge” number of House seats…84% incumbency.


      Generally you have to resign, die, choose not to run, or be caught on video no less than three times slaughtering puppies and bathing in their blood.

  • http://eliottcanter@gmail.com Eliott

    We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess politically and it’s hard to tell which is the greater culprit, religion, complacency, idiocy or laziness. For the comments to even be made by our elected officials is an embarrassment of ignorance which seems to quickly be coming our most prolific export. Just look at Romney when he traveled overseas and Ryan at the debate. What has happened to us?

  • Kent

    I’m an atheist and a scientist, but I have no use for government science, space and technology committees. Science is a valuable method for understanding the world, but the government needs to stay out of it. I don’t need god to tell me how to live and I don’t need government to tell me what is worthy of scientific inquiry. Surely there are other libertarian atheists out there who are tired of replacing one fictional deity with another.

    • Nate Frein

      I have a big issue with this. Corporate research is interested in profit; specifically, profit that can be identified (probably by non-scientists) and realized in the relatively short term.

      Government funding of research enables scientists to study areas that show no immediate or short term profit. This allows us to build knowledge that can pay off in the long term.

      NASA, for example, has been driving the development of so many consumer goods that to list them all would hardly be possible. Computers, batteries, food storage all have seen incredible improvements because of the needs of NASA engineers, but NASA itself does not make money.

  • Robert Karma

    It’s vital to our national interests and to the future success of our economy for our federal government to invest in the STEM fields including space exploration. When Sputnik was launched by the Soviet Union it shocked the American people and many in the government. “The country scrambled to make up for lost time in the new “Space Race,” to fund satellite programs and to emphasize math and science in schools. In 1958 the National Defense Education Act was passed to give $47.5 million in student loans as well as allocate $300 million for equipment and fellowships for science and math graduate students. Money was sent to high schools, colleges, and universities to provide them with new books and laboratories, and to give students financial incentives to improve their education. Schools also began to emphasize creativity and independent thinking instead of memorization, even at the elementary school level. Schools also began offering special courses for gifted students, allowing them to learn more things more quickly. Being smart suddenly became something that people admired, instead of something they made fun of.” http://universityhonors.umd.edu/HONR269J/projects/castell.html We had a revolution in technology, science and engineering in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s thanks to the substantial investment by the government in these fields. With budget cutbacks and the retirement of the Baby Boomers who benefited from this investment we are now facing a looming crisis in an increasingly competitive world. This is why we need our representatives in Congress to be competent in the areas of Space, Science and Technology especially those who serve on this committee. The cost our our nation of not investing in these areas will prove prohibitive us for at least a generation if not quickly remedied. Seeing the anti-science, anti-Reason members of Congress makes it likely that we will be left in the backwash as the rest of the world sails on funding, utilizing and promoting Science. Our economy will slide, our standard of living decline and our standing in the world diminish unless we aggressively confront this pernicious path of imagined austerity.

    A summary of the National Defense Education act – STEM stimulus history can be found at http://www.nagc.org/uploadedFiles/Information_and_Resources/Hot_Topics/The%20National%20Defense%20Act.pdf with the paper entitled “The National Defense Education Act, Current STEM Initiative, and the Gifted.”