Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity

The entire universe in blog form
March 15 2011 12:08 PM

Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity

Today, House Republicans made it clear just how antiscience they are (as if we didn't know already): they voted down a simple amendment declaring the reality of climate change. Not that it was human-caused, or dangerous, just that it existed. Which it does.

The amendment was presented by Henry Waxman (D-CA) to the Energy and Commerce Committee. All the Democrats voted for it, all the Republicans voted against it. So there you go. As Waxman said,

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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This finding is so obviously correct that there should be no need to offer the amendment.

Yet, it was voted down. The Republicans also rejected a second amendment declaring that climate change is in large part due to human actions. Since that one philosophically at least depended on the Waxman amendment, it's no surprise it was voted down as well.

Y'know, whenever I use the term denier (as in "global warming denier") I get lots of comments accusing me of using a loaded word. But it's not: it's precise, and given what we're seeing in Congress, it's the exact word to use.

And this all comes on the heels of a rousing video of Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) that sums up this whole thing extremely well. It came out last week, and it's fantastic:

Representative Markey gave this short speech at a meeting of the Energy and Power subcommittee (part of the Energy and Commerce committee) on March 10. Here's the transcript in all its awesomeness:

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet.

However, I won't rise physically, because I'm worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating around the room.

I won't call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Instead, we will embody Newton's third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America's importation of foreign oil.

This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrödinger's cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process!

Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair's amendment pile.

Given the virulent and firmly-entrenched antiscience attitudes of so many in Congress right now -- pick any random blog post at DeSmogBlog for examples aplenty -- I hope this video mocking them goes viral and is seen by millions of constituents. The lengths to which the new majority goes to suppress rationality, reason, and science are truly frightening.

Tip o' the corporate paycheck to reddit.




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