This is timely information. The Washington Post has an article titled: Trump and Pence on science, in their own words, and they have a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news article, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In the hours after the election of Donald Trump, Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington, told the journal Nature that Trump will be “the first anti-science president we have ever had.”
Whether that characterization is fair won’t be clear until Trump actually takes office. But Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence do not have a great track record. In the course of their careers and this campaign, they have made several false claims about science, eliding complexity and sometimes outright rejecting the conclusions of the vast majority of researchers. Often, they have repeated dangerous misconceptions about science, such as the nonexistent link between vaccines and autism, which could make it harder for researchers to communicate the truth.
We suspect that over the course of their careers, most politicians have said stupid things that reveal their scientific ignorance. Oh wait — the journalists recognize this. They say:
Trump and Pence are far from the only candidates to be wrong about science. But they are the ones who will enter the Oval Office in three months. So, in their own words, here are eight cases in which they have gotten science wrong — with an explanation of what the science actually says. Starting with Trump:
Okay, here it comes:
“I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change.” — Trump in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Sept. 21, 2015
“Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money.” — interview on Fox and Friends, Jan. 18, 2016
“We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement.” — speech in Bismarck, N.D., May 26, 2016
Then they quote him saying something silly about vaccines and autism. Skipping that, and something about Ebola, and something else about wind farms, they give us this quote about the ozone layer:
“You know, you’re not allowed to use hair spray anymore because if affects the ozone. You know that, right? … I said, ‘Wait a minute — so if I take hair spray and if I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?’ ‘Yes.’ I say, no way, folks. Now way. That’s like a lot of the rules and regulations you people have in the mines, right? It’s the same kind of stuff.” — speech in Charleston, W.Va., May 5, 2016
We won’t panic over that. Then they quote a Tweet or something where he says:
Fracking poses ZERO health risks. In fact, it increases our national security by making us energy independent.
We’re not knowledgeable about fracking, so although we’re aware that it’s a big issue with environmentalists, we have no opinion. As with everything else, we assume Trump will get some expert advice before proposing any legislation. In other words, we think the country will survive.
Although the Washington Post probably dumped everything they could find into their article, that’s all they have from Trump, and there’s no hint that he would propose something crazy, like shutting down the space program.
The rest of the article is some creationist quotes from Vice President-elect Mike Pence. After one quote we already mentioned in an earlier post — see Mike Pence: Creationist? — they give us this:
“Charles Darwin never thought of evolution as anything other than a theory. He hoped that someday it would be proven by the fossil record but did not live to see that, nor have we … And now that we have recognized evolution as a theory, I would simply and humbly ask, can we teach it as such and can we also consider teaching other theories of the origin of species?” — speaking before Congress, July 11, 2002
Yeah, Pence is a hard-core creationist. Fortunately, it’s not an issue for the federal government, although it’s certainly disturbing to have someone like that so close to the Presidency. But there have probably been others before him, so we’re not going to lose any sleep over it.
Anyway, there you have it. Never let it be said that your Curmudgeon isn’t fair and balanced. Fortunately, the President isn’t the nation’s Scientist-in-Chief.
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