Santorum, ClimateGate, & Creationism: Axis of Idiocy

Lately we’ve been writing about what appears to be a growing axis of idiocy. We’ve observed that creationists are invoking what we call the vindication of all kooks doctrine — which holds that if the legitimate views of global warming skeptics have been wrongly suppressed, then all science dissent has been similarly mistreated, and therefore the science-denial of creationism is now respectable.

The unwelcome rush of creationists to the defense of global warming skeptics has now generated a backlash. Global warming supporters are defending both their science and their political agenda by lumping all their critics and skeptics together. We’re now seeing the “all our critics are creationists” doctrine. This is no way to do science.

In Salon there’s a well-written article that deploys this backlash doctrine, Weathering the storm of stupidity, which uses the delightful phrase: “creationism with a thermometer.”

We have always believed that it’s not only respectable, but also required for a defender of free enterprise and property rights to challenge the politics of those who are riding the currently convenient science of climatology. The science is what it is, but a cabal of global socialists are using it to achieve political goals. That’s what we oppose.

The issue should be simple — science is one thing, politics another. The science of global warming is fine (we assume), so now let’s talk about how to deal with it. To use an old Cold War analogy, which society is more likely to provide better solutions — the USSR or the USA, and in which would you rather live?

Unfortunately, the creationists are mucking up our opposition to the political dimension of global warming by shouting “Me too!” It’s the dreaded Kiss of the Creationists. Who wants it? With friends like those, free enterprise needs no enemies.

Among the creationists invoking the vindication of all kooks doctrine is a man we’ve written about recently — Rick Santorum: Full-Blown Creationist. He’s not someone you want on your side in a scientific debate.

Here are some excerpts from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, written by Rick Santorum, titled The Elephant in the Room: Challenging science dogma, and subtitled: “As with evolution, the ‘consensus’ on climate change has become an ideology.” The bold font was added by us:

Questioning the scientific consensus in pursuit of the truth is an important part of how science has advanced through the centuries. But what happens when the scientific consensus becomes an ideology that trumps the pursuit of truth? Answer: Those making legitimate inquiries are ostracized, the careers of dissenters are destroyed, and debate is stifled.

Unfortunately, I am referring not only to the current proponents of the theory of man-made global warming. In 2001, I offered a legislative amendment about teaching the subject of evolution. I caught more flak for this simple amendment than for almost anything else I championed in the Senate.

Then Santorum launches into a retrospective about his creationist legislative provision that would have mandated teaching the alleged scientific controversy about evolution. You can learn about it at the website of the National Center for Science Education: Santorum Amendment Stripped from Education Bill.

Let’s read a bit more from Santorum’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

It is one thing for ideologically driven science to indoctrinate children in classrooms. It is another for politicians to use science to destroy national economies and redistribute global wealth. I refer, of course, to the latest scientific non-controversy, man-made global warming.

To creationists like Santorum, the theory of evolution is “ideologically driven science.” Observe how he glibly applies his scripture-based hatred of biology to the completely different science of global warming:

… Americans don’t like being told what to believe. Maybe because we have learned to be skeptical of “scientific” claims, particularly those at war with our common sense — like the Darwinists’ telling us for decades that we are just a slightly higher form of life than a bacterium that is here purely by chance …

That’s enough from Santorum. If someone would arrange a steel-cage death-match between him and Al Gore, we could make a Delphic prediction of the outcome — “A world-class idiot will be defeated.”

Now look — aside from the babbling of ignoramuses, there really is a rational political objection to the global warming situation. We’ve tried to express it earlier, but perhaps you’ll pay attention to John Derbyshire — he writes so much better than we do. Here’s his article in the National Review: Trust Science, A few general truths to keep in mind in the wake of Climategate. Some excerpts:

[T]he science is heavily polluted by politics. The climate-change legions are recruited mainly from the Western Left-intelligentsia, their kitbags stuffed with all the sub-Marxist and ethno-masochist flapdoodle of the modern academy. They hate capitalism, they hate Western civilization, and they hate their own ancestors. The kind of dramatic social engineering implicit in the phrase “combating climate change” is emotionally appealing to them.

Downstream from these ideologues are opportunist politicians (if you’ll pardon a pleonasm), too dimwitted to understand the ideology — let alone the science! — but eager to ride the climate-change wave to power and wealth.

[…]

In any region of science there is usually, at any given time, a consensus position and a contrarian position. For theories solid enough to be part of the magisterium, contrarianism is out at the social fringes, as noted. In less settled areas, the contrarians themselves are working scientists, with data they can bring forward to challenge the consensus data. …

The temptation for outsiders is to side with the underdogs, the contrarians. The temptation is especially strong for conservatives, who are suspicious of bossy technocratic elites possessed of esoteric knowledge. …

The temptation should be resisted. Contrarians do indeed sometimes turn out to be right, but that’s not the way to bet. …

Contrarians should be made to fight for their victories. If they fight on fair ground, wielding superior data and arguments, they will win, and become the new consensus.

Enough excerpts. Click over to National Review and read it all. Derbyshire doesn’t take a position on the actual science of global warming, and we don’t either.

Although we express no opinion on climatology, we think it’s entirely justifiable to resist the political solutions being trumpeted by the global warming advocates. And we’d like to do this without having creationists running over to us, embracing us, and insisting that they share out opinions.

Creationists don’t share our opinions. They’re utterly uninformed about science, and in many cases they’re flat-out crazy. That’s why we say to Santorum, to the Discoveroids, and to all the other creationists: “Go away. You’re embarrassing us. You don’t know what you’re talking about, your followers are all insane, and if for some twisted reason you like what we’re doing, then we’d appreciate it if you’d shut up! We have a far better chance of success without you.”

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Santorum, ClimateGate, & Creationism: Axis of Idiocy

  1. Hat-tip to one of our clandestine operatives, who told us about the Derbyshire article.

  2. comradebillyboy

    While there is a legitimate scientific debate regarding the global warming, science based skeptics are suffering from their association with the anti science right wingers like Santorum, Beck and Imhofe.

  3. “Go away. You’re embarrassing us. You don’t know what you’re talking about, your followers are all insane, and if for some twisted reason you like what we’re doing, then we’d appreciate it if you’d shut up! We have a far better chance of success without you.”

    Brilliant as usual Curm.

    As far as rejecting the socially invasive solutions proposed for AGW, such as Cap and Trade, even J. Hansen agrees with you. The only people to benefit from C&T will be the speculators. Hansen is also a supporter of nuke, as am I.

    After talking with (primarily climate) scientists and knowledgeable sci-geeks like myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that climate science is accurate but that the overbearing advocates, the extremist activists and the political opportunists are f*&king up the public dissemination of accurate information. The denialists for hire really don’t need to do much, the rhetoric from the science side is so overblown the first reaction most people will have is skepticism.

    BTW, the reasonable and intelligent advocate who convinced me to look further into AGW is a far right wing conservative I seldom agree with, RWP.

  4. Does anyone have an email for Santorum? I can only find a web site that directs it to a 3rd party. I understand that he probably gets a lot of hate mail – which I don’t condone in any way – so he needs a screener probably even more than when he was a Senator.

  5. Frank J, this is at the end of the article from which I quoted:
    Rick Santorum can be reached at rsantorum@phillynews.com.

  6. Agreed, Tundra Boy, it’s very interesting that RWP seems to have flipped.

  7. Another point I just have to make about the Derbyshire article – he does indeed take a stance, a stance that repeats previously debunked points made in the denialosphere, such as the reference to the Petition Project , which grew out of the Oregon Petition Project, list of 31,000 signers, which has very few scientists in fields related to climate science but does have ‘scientists’ with nothing more than a bachelor degree and even a few made up and/or duplicated names.

  8. The Curmudgeon // 17-December-2009 at 1:41 pm

    Agreed, Tundra Boy, it’s very interesting that RWP seems to have flipped.

    The sign of an open mind, and hallmark of good science, is the ability to change one’s opinion in the face of new evidence …

  9. If you fight these people it is a lot easier to just lump them together. They behave in the same way. Not convertible and just as stupid.

    They don’t want to be educated. Unfortunately they now have new leaders like Palin and Beck to egg them on.

  10. bsharp “I’ve come to the conclusion that climate science is accurate but that the overbearing advocates, the extremist activists and the political opportunists are f*&king up the public dissemination of accurate information.”

    This is particularly true in the U.K. especially after the tabloid papers gone with it so often as they have, and so extreme are the claims. Now most people just go. Another climate change/global warming story? Just file it with the rest of the junk under eggs cause cancer, and video games make you violent, and then totally ignore it. Even if it someone trying to disseminate reasonable science.

  11. Another point I just have to make about the Derbyshire article – he does indeed take a stance, a stance that repeats previously debunked points made in the denialosphere…

    Drop him a line–a nice one–with well-supported arguments, and he’ll listen, that’s been my experience. Climate science is not his main interest–mathematics is. For evolution and science in general he’s one of the good guys.

  12. Thanks, Curmudgeon. Between work and this hobby, I’m on reading overload. Advancing age may play a role in my missing things too. If I were like those “conservatives” demanding tax money to teach anti-evolution pseudoscience I’d demand that the government help out my age-related disabilities.

  13. Rick Santorum: “… Americans don’t like being told what to believe.”

    Then why, oh why do so many blindly believe what they are told to believe by those who claim to have “Divine Guidance”?

    In fact, most Americans (and most people all over the world, for that matter) DO like being told what to believe. It’s so much easier than thinking for one’s self.