Fox Host to Santorum: If Only Scientists Can Talk Climate Change, Shouldn’t You Shut Up?

Fox News Host to Santorum: If Only Scientists Can Talk Climate Change, Shouldn’t You Shut Up?

Fox News Host to Santorum: If Only Scientists Can Talk Climate Change, Shouldn’t You Shut Up?

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June 7 2015 5:14 PM

Fox News Host to Santorum: If Only Scientists Can Talk Climate Change, Shouldn’t You Shut Up?

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Fox News host Chris Wallace pushed Republican presidential candidate to expand on his criticism of Pope Francis for talking about climate change. On Monday, Santorum had criticized Francis for pushing action on global warming, saying the pontiff should leave “science to the scientists.” “Two points,” Wallace said Sunday, “if he’s not a scientist, and, in fact, he does have a degree in chemistry, neither are you … And the second point is somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of scientists who have studied this say that humans, men—human activity, contributes to climate change. So, I guess the question would be, if he shouldn’t talk about it, should you?”

To that Santorum essentially said that politicians have to talk about things they’re not experts in all the time so anything is fair game. “But you’re not a scientist,” Wallace insisted. “You said leave the science to the scientists.” And Santorum pushed back that fighting action on climate change is about defending American jobs. “The point is that politicians, whether we like it or not, people in government have to make decision[s] with regard to public policy that affect American workers,” Santorum said. Although the “pope can talk about whatever he wants to talk about … there are more pressing problems confronting the Earth than climate change,” the presidential hopeful added.

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At one point, Wallace notes that “somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of scientists” who have studied the issue agree. But Santorum is having none of it, calling it a “speculative science” and saying that he doesn’t believe anyone who is so sure of their facts. “Any time you hear a scientist say the science is settled, that’s political science, not real science, because no scientists in their right mind would say ever the science is settled.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.