Back in August, the Senate heard from the IPCC, the United Nations climate body. After facing a summer filled with draughts and wildfires, the IPCC warned that there is a direct link between disasters such as those previously mentioned and climate change.
“It is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disaster is clear,” Christopher Field, a lead author of the IPCC report, said when before the Senate.
Yet the majority of republicans do not believe in manmade climate change. Many do not believe that climate change is happening at all. Climate change even got called out during the Republican National Convention.
“President Obama has promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,” Mitt Romney quipped. He then paused to allow some laughter.
Meanwhile, the overwhelmingly republican Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill that protects teachers from any wrongdoing when they are “helping students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories such as evolution and global warming.”
The bill, which became law in April of this year, opens the door for a teacher to basically imply scientific controversy where scientific controversy does not exist, such as in the specifically mentioned subjects of evolution and climate change.
It also allows for alternative theories to be taught in classrooms. There are two disturbing aspects to this. First, the prevailing alternative theory to climate change is to deny climate change.
The second is the alternative to evolution, which is a glorified version of creationism called intelligent design. This can now be discussed in Tennessee public schools as if it were true biology. Does anyone else see a separation of church and state issue here?
Republicans in state legislatures across the country have tried to pass legislation such as this but have only succeeded in Tennessee and Louisiana.
Considering the anti-science atmosphere in the Republican Party, is it any wonder that we have a republican congressman, in Todd Akin, who understands so little about biology that he would suggest women have a biological mechanism, perhaps some sort of fairy, which can distinguish the difference between consensually received genetic material and forcibly received genetic material?
Don’t get me wrong. Evolution and climate change are controversial but not to scientists. These are controversial to politicians, particularly republicans. Republicans have done an excellent job of creating an illusion of scientific doubt.
The fact that I feel it necessary to start presenting evidence that evolution and climate change are real things highlights how deep the illusion goes.
It is ridiculous that I feel compelled to do this. Evidence for both evolution and climate change is abundant. It has been exhibited and presented time and time again. Evolution is the guideline that biologists use to study biology.
It is a scientific paradigm.
There is not true scientific debate on whether or not evolution is an actual thing. Nor is there debate in the scientific community as to whether or not the climate is changing. These are not scientific controversies. Instead, these are political controversies.
It is considered weak for a republican to concede to a scientist. John Huntsman was the least relevant candidate in the Republican presidential primaries. Despite his economic policies aligning perfectly with conservative principles, his belief in science got him labeled as a liberal in disguise.
It was not always like this. The Republicans used to offer solutions to climate change.
Cap and trade is a good example of this. Cap and trade is a market-based approach to get a hold on climate change. The idea is to provide economic incentives to businesses for achieving reductions in pollutants.
Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and other prominent republicans used to support cap and trade. President Barrack Obama has also expressed support for cap and trade.
During this year’s republican primaries, though, it became mudslinging fodder if a candidate voted or supported cutting greenhouse emissions and pollutants. Republicans have managed to make it a positive attribute to not want to limit the amount of chemicals we pump into the atmosphere.
Republicans have created an atmosphere in America where a passionate opinion is sacred no matter how much the opinion may go against logic and fact. This idea that “everyone is entitled to their opinion” and sometimes we “must agree to disagree” has paved the way for the notion that all opinions are equal when they are not. Some opinions are simply better than others, especially when one of said opinions is backed up by scientific fact.
An opinion alone does not and should not trump science.