General Question

RocketGuy's avatar

Are there Republicans who are science-literate and agree with most climatologists that human activity is causing climate change?

Asked by RocketGuy (13450points) April 6th, 2012

I thought there were none, but my friend knows of a few. I was amazed!

Apparently only 2% of Congressmen/women have a science background, yet congress is expected to generate legislature regarding science. Do you see this as a problem?

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34 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

I’m amused how the question in your title and the question in your details are pretty much two distinctly different questions.


To the question in the title, yes, of course there are.

To the question in the details, Not really as there are lobbyists for that.

flutherother's avatar

People are complex and you can’t always predict how they will feel about issue A from how they feel about issue B.

I’m not saying we don’t need lawyers but jurors without a degree in law can decide guilt or innocence.

Nullo's avatar

Congress is, theoretically, supposed to represent the everyman, so a congressman not having a science background is not troubling. After all, science isn’t everything. What if you had a hard science-heavy congress trying to legislate with regards to the arts? Or finance?

Also, keep an eye out for people who are science-literate and don’t agree with climatologists. They’re out there, too.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My husband is the only one I personally know of.
All the rest either say it’s a fallacy created by Al Gore or the Weather Channel
...I kid you not.

marinelife's avatar

Some do, of course.

RocketGuy's avatar

@AstroChuck – that’s the first Republican that I know who makes sense to me! I would vote for him in a second! A call to action, invest in alternative energy, the Bible even.

gorillapaws's avatar

The thing that really blows my mind is how easily most Republicans are able to dismiss the opinions of experts in climatology, finding the one or two lone assholes who happen to have the opinion they WANT to be true (or are paid very well to state publicly at least), and then proceeding to declare that the thousands of other climatologists are all full of shit, or involved in a conspiracy.

You would never see a Republican question the tactical assessments of the military for example, or the religious authority of a major Christian church.

King_Pariah's avatar

Ugh, people generalizing…

whitecarnations's avatar

I have liberal friends who can’t grasp the concepts of science. And I’m a 1987 person. Just remember that the General Education Breadth through out college does require a certain amount of science units be fulfilled as well as a mandatory lab class.
Even when Democratic politicians are scientifically literate, just because they were introduced to it, doesn’t mean they are constantly practicing science or studying it. I think it is unfair to critique the Republicans to be in charge of science decisions, because they also make art decisions, amongst other problems presented to them. I’m not a fan of our Congress because 100 years from now kids will be studying American history and probably call the 2000–2012 era the Congress Blockade Era.
To answer your “detailed question” I don’t see it as a problem. Because what my science professor has told me, is that scientist have always have to beg for grants. There is a strict policy and goes through a committee to get approved.

Jaxk's avatar

Yet another ‘Global Warming’ debate. When I hear that the temperature has been increasing for 200 years, I say of course it has. The ‘Little Ice Age’ ended 150 years ago, of course it’s warmer. Otherwise we’d still be in the Little Ice Age. Personally, I’m glad we’re not.

If you want us to get off oil, we need an alternative. We don’t have one. I can’t help but laugh when I hear this argument “if we can put a man on the moon we can solve this problem”. Apparently that’s not true since we haven’t solve the problem whether real or imagined.

As for the legislators, they make rules and regulations for all sorts of things they know nothing about. They’re lawyers for Christs sake.

6rant6's avatar

In general Congressional representatives lack math training, too. And foreign culture. And comparative religion. And sociology. And economics. __And judging from their actions, ethics.__

Being clever about marketing is the only requirement, I think.

LostInParadise's avatar

What is most upsetting is a generally hostile attitude toward science. Rick Perry, governor of Texas and former presidential candidate, denies global warming and holds a giant prayer session to solve the problem. I can’t imagine anything similar happening in any other developed nation. Hey Rick, what do you think of those tornadoes that just came your way? Maybe God really is listening and telling you to start acting and to stop denying his laws of physics.

There is also a lot of overlap between those who deny climate change and those who deny evolution. There is even a group that gets upset about the theory of relativity, apparently because it contains the word “relative” and in their minds can lead to moral relativism. It is just amazing that in what is still the world’s most advanced nation, there can be so much willful ignorance.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Jaxk what do you hear when a Scientific consensus tells you that you’re wrong? This fact-based scientific article is pretty clear-cut.

There is an article that directly refutes your point about the Little Ice Age. To quote from the article:

“The sceptical argument that current warming is a continuation of the same warming that ended the LIA is unlikely. There is a lack of evidence for a suitable forcing (e.g. the sun) and numerous correlations with known natural forcings that can account for the LIA itself, and the subsequent climate recovery. Taken in isolation, the LIA might cast doubt on the theory of climate change. Considered alongside the empirical evidence, model predictions and a century of scientific research into the climate, recovery from the LIA is not a plausible theory to explain the observed evidence and rate of global climate change.”

Jaxk's avatar


Your guy goes a little over the top. I don’t have a problem with this quote “The world must “prepare for the inevitable effects of abrupt climate change—which will likely come [the only question is when] regardless of human activity.”

He should not have strayed into the theory of ‘Peak Oil’ since he obviously doesn’t have a clue. Nonetheless, he seems to agree that the LIA ended 150 years ago. He seems to agree that temperatures have risen since then. I’m not clear on what I said that you think is disputed in his article.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk I think it is common ground for all parties that the planet’s temperature will continue increasing no matter how humans behave. The question is how quickly it will do so. The current evidence is that the temperature of the Earth is increasing at a faster rate than ever before, which suggests—though does not itself prove—that the natural processes responsible for the cycle of heat waves and ice ages that marks our planet’s meteorological history are not the whole story anymore. Thus the point of debate is over what is causing this more rapid increase. Theories proposing human activity are currently better supported than those proposing some hitherto unknown natural process. Indeed, some of the main “skeptical” arguments actually do nothing more than propose alternative human activities that might be at the root of global warming (such as those who dismiss carbon dioxide emissions as the culprit, but instead blame black carbon—a difference without a difference, one might argue, as they are produced by many of the same activities).

gorillapaws's avatar

@Jaxk your comments sounded to me like you’re denying anthropogenic global warming, attributing the cause to natural end of the Little Ice Age. If this is not your position, you might want to state your thoughts more clearly. The article does refute that point as an unlikely explanation for the current warming.

As for the charge that the author “obviously doesn’t have a clue” with regard to the theory of peak oil, I would argue that a PhD in Geology with over 250 scientific papers published probably has a very good clue, much better than 99%+ of the population in all likelihood. This again gets back to my point that somehow non-experts seem to think they can second-guess the experts in the field of study, and will look at a concert hall filled with experts all in agreement and then point to the 2 or 3 guys who disagree and side with them. It’s a dangerously arrogant attitude, and more than a little pathetic.

Ron_C's avatar

I don’t think it matters because Republicans that state their belief in climate change will be quickly rooted out of the party. The same goes for those that are not Christian or Jewish. The sole goal for the present Republican party is to gain complete power over the government and the courts They will then rule the country to the benefit of the rich and penalize the poor for being poor.

Rock2's avatar

I don’t know about Republicans but I am a conservative and have been a degreed engineer for the last 50 years. I don’t believe in what is commonly called man made global warming. To be more precise I don’t believe that the global warming advocates have proven their case. I’m not sure their correlation is correct and in any event, showing corrolation is not the same as showing causation.

Having gone to college and attended post graduate courses at other colleges I know how college professors who depend on government grants for their living will say or do anything to get those grants. Figures don’t lie but liers figure.

I also reason that whatever caused the planet to warm up after the last ice age wasn’t caused by rich republicans driving SUVs.

The climate has been constantly changing since its inception. What makes anyone think it is going to stop changing no matter what we do.

JLeslie's avatar

Sure there are. I care more about being independent in our energy needs and not polluting the earth in general. Even if man has nothing to do with causing global warming, why would anyone be in favor of raping the lands? Or, depending on Saudi, Venezuela, and other coumtries for oil? Or, throwing chemicals into our land, sea, and air. It makes no sense. It makes no sense that there would not be some sort of negative affect from these things. The republicans are protecting their big business friends. Democrats do it also to some extent, but the Republicans seem to be a little better at it. Being able to ignore science and have a large portion of the constituents very comfortable following a leader without much question makes it easy to control them. My guess is that accounts for about 50% of Republicans, I am not sure why they are so much more important than the other 50% who do think and are willing to disagree with their party.

RocketGuy's avatar

(Republican) Paul Douglas (see @AstroChuck above) talks about $27 Trillion that the carbon industry stands to lose if we go completely green. That is 10^6 times more than any professor can ever hope to gain. So tell me whose livelihood is being threatened?

ETpro's avatar

Well, the breakdown of answers you’ve gotten here pretty much answers OP plus detail 1 and 2. If our right-wing jellies even admit that global temperatures are rising, they insist it’s a natural process as if they know that to be a fact. They obfuscate. They say more research is needed.

Many of the men behind the GOP curtain are joined at the hip to the fossil fuel industry. They have used exactly the same template that big Tobacco used to try to claim that the science condemning their products as health hazards was bogus. In many instances the exact same junk scinece institutes and PR firms are now working for the fossil fuel industry to protect their profits regardless of the cost in human lives in the future.

Are there Republicans who aren’t so easily duped? Sure. Some rattle off the talking points anyway, because they wish to stay in the party’s good graces. Jon Huntsman openly stated that he was convinced there is warming and that it is anthropomorphic in genesis. But you see how far he got in the primaries. As @Ron_C observed, the current GOP base has veered wildly to the right. Fail any of their litmus tests and a Republican will end up a casualty the base’s War on Science.

Nullo's avatar

Just so we’re clear, you’re referring to elected Republicans? Or does this include everyone who consistently votes®?

Ron_C's avatar

By the way, I am and have always been pro-science and mistrustful about religion. I was a republican and even held local office until Reagan ran for President. I then saw the worst bottom feeder and ignorant members of my party. I would have registered as an independent but you can’t vote, in my state’s primary election if you’re not a republican or democrat.

Since that time my Eisenhower version of the Republican party deteriorated until it became what it is today a radical, racist, theocratic, fascist gang.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C The Republican Party is hardly theocratic.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C Ditto except I never held elective office.

@Nullo What a party is is determined by what it does, not what its propaganda says it does.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo “Not theocratic?” What do you call the constant charge that Obama is a Muslim, or Santorum saying that women shouldn’t have birth control or abortions?

I know that most of the republican leadership is in it for the power and money but don’t forget that about ⅓ of the party’s support comes from Evangelical Christians and they certainly push the party to theocratic and support for Christianity and fight against Islam.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro And when it’s not pandering to the religious conservatives, it seems a rather un-Christian party. If you’re not Christian all of the time, you’re not really Christian. The individual, as in Santorum’s case, may be unaffected, but the party’s goal is power.

@Ron_C The party sees that as a path to power. The people see it as a puppet string. You might as well be saying that the Democrats are the homosexual party.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo I’ll give you that. But there’s a huge difference between being a theocratic party and a Christian party. The Republicans in state and federal power since 2010 have pushed 1,100 bills limiting women’s rights to contraception, abortion and other health care specific to females. That is after almost no such legislation in the years leading up to them grabbing power. Again, it isn’t about what they say they support, it is about what they DO support.

As to Democrats supporting gay rights, you might rightly accuse them of being the Homosexual party if they weren’t simultaneously campaigning for rights to other oppressed groups. Since they are doing so, you have to see that as favoring fairness and equality for ALL people, not a campaign for one special interest group. It’s dad. There was a time when the GOP was the Party pushing for equality for all. But it’s been many a decade now since that was the case.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo ” You might as well be saying that the Democrats are the homosexual party” /The really big difference between the parties is that the Republican core is all about reducing freedom, including, voter rights, health care rights (pursuit of happiness), immigrant rights, women’s rights, marital rights,religious freedom, and sexual freedom.

The Democrats, despite all their faults support all of what the party of “NO” rejects.

By the way I am more of an independent than a democrat and will vote for anyone that will improve the country and my state.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“If you’re not Christian all of the time, you’re not really Christian.”

No True Scotsman fallacy. And if you don’t buy that, then one could easily respond that they are Christians all the time. It’s just that a lot of the time, they’re bad Christians. But we’re all sinners, right? So that can’t be a reason to rule them out as Christians. Everybody strays.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro I was speaking hyperbolically. The Republicans aren’t all about theocracy, and the Democrats aren’t all about homosexuality.

@Ron_C You’ve gone off on a tangent again. The Democrats are about regulation and taxation. How that translates to freedom is beyond me.
including, voter rights By denying the vote to people who shouldn’t be here?
health care rights By getting behind individual self-determination?
immigrant rights By saying that people ought to follow immigration rules?
women’s rights By saying that an unborn child has the moral status of a post-natal one? marital rights By saying that you can’t force people to accept yet another perversion of marriage?
religious freedom wat
sexual freedom No pertinent legislation pending.
I can never fully distance myself from the Republicans because they are the only full-sized party that has taken up a few of my issues. If I want representation, it’s them or nobody.

@SavoirFaire I’ll give you no true Scotsmen, but not about this. Real Christians act a lot of ways, and it’s true that everybody struggles – part of the message of the New Testament is that yeah, you’ll mess up, but you’re forgiven so pick up and let’s keep going. But I’m not talking about that; I am referring to people who are not Christians but pretend to be them when (and for as long as) it is convenient for them. People who don’t really believe, but pretend to so that you’ll vote for them.
Everybody stumbles, but the guy laying in the muck over there who hasn’t moved in a few decades but to roll over probably never did. This would simply be a personal issue, except that’s what he wants to use as an excuse to get into power.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo You will get no disagreement from me that there are many politicians who are probably not religious at all and who are only claiming to be so for political gain. It is a sad effect of the American populace’s refusal to vote for someone who is not (or at least, who does not identify as) a Christian. My disagreement is with the phrase “if you’re not a Christian all the time, you’re not a Christian.” But if all you meant is that there are politicians fraudulently claiming religious faith, then I agree.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo Thanks. Understood.

In regards to your contention with @Ron_C, freedom is a big tent. A coal fired power plant’s freedom to puke fly ash, carcinogens and poison into the air and ground water infringes on everybody else’s freedom to breathe clean air. Regulations are good when they honestly address the freedom of the body public. They are onerous only when they unjustly restrict the freedoms of the few without securing the freedoms of the many.

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