NYT columnist to Republicans: Your tribe is willfully ignorant on global warming

Ed Lasky
New York Times columnist Judith Warner delivers some zingers in her column on Republicans who are skeptical of the claims of climate change:
President Obama has made scientific innovation the cornerstone of his plans for "winning the future," requesting in his recent budget proposal large financing increases for scientific research and education and, in particular, sustained attention to developing alternative energy sources and technologies. "This is our generation's Sputnik moment," he declared in his State of the Union address last month.

It would be easier to believe in this great moment of scientific reawakening, of course, if more than half of the Republicans in the House and three-quarters of Republican senators did not now say that the threat of global warming, as a man-made and highly threatening phenomenon, is at best an exaggeration and at worst an utter "hoax," as James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, once put it. These grim numbers, compiled by the Center for American Progress, describe a troubling new reality: the rise of the Tea Party and its anti-intellectual, anti-establishment, anti-elite worldview has brought both a mainstreaming and a radicalization of antiscientific thought...

The politicization of science isn't particularly new; the Bush administration was famous for pressuring government agencies to bring their vision of reality in line with White House imperatives.

Warner , to her credit, traces the rise of an anti-scientific attitude from the left to the right over the years.

And as the political zeitgeist shifted, attacking science became a sport of the radical right. "Some standard left arguments, combined with the left-populist distrust of ‘experts' and ‘professionals' and assorted high-and-mighty muckety-mucks who think they're the boss of us, were fashioned by the right into a powerful device for delegitimating scientific research," Michael Bérubé, a literature professor at Pennsylvania State University, said of this evolution recently in the journal Democracy.

Warner ends her column by quoting Bérubé bon mot:

"It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his tribal identity depends on his not understanding it..."

Warner, given the thrust of her column, seemingly endorses the view that many Republicans are all but knuckle-dragging troglodytes, united by ignorance.

Nowhere in her column is any mention of the controversies raging over the scientific validity of anthropogenic climate change. There is silence regarding the discredited "hockey stick" graph that supposedly showed increased warming coinciding with the industrial age-the key to much of what followed regarding claims of climate change. There is no mention of the disclosures regarding the East Anglia emails that reveal a concerted effort by climate change believers to silence skeptics. There is no mention of studies that show the claims of climate change believers to be false (such as glaciers that are expanding and not melting). No mention of the number of scientists who have signed petitions that argue that there has been no scientific proof of man-made climate change. Nor is there mention of the fact that President Obama has politicized science: there are no words taking him to task for his claims regarding the scientific or economic viability of his plans for electric trains, solar and windmill farms, ethanol factories, and electric cars.

Nor does Ms. Warner mention the abuse of science committed by President Obama's team of Democrats when they misrepresented the views of a panel of experts regarding the wisdom of a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico - a distortion so abusive the panel of experts wrote a letter taking the administration to task for falsifying their views.

The New York Times has suffered from more than just a decline in its readership and stock price: it has suffered a decline in journalistic quality and credibility.


New York Times columnist Judith Warner delivers some zingers in her column on Republicans who are skeptical of the claims of climate change:

President Obama has made scientific innovation the cornerstone of his plans for "winning the future," requesting in his recent budget proposal large financing increases for scientific research and education and, in particular, sustained attention to developing alternative energy sources and technologies. "This is our generation's Sputnik moment," he declared in his State of the Union address last month.

It would be easier to believe in this great moment of scientific reawakening, of course, if more than half of the Republicans in the House and three-quarters of Republican senators did not now say that the threat of global warming, as a man-made and highly threatening phenomenon, is at best an exaggeration and at worst an utter "hoax," as James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, once put it. These grim numbers, compiled by the Center for American Progress, describe a troubling new reality: the rise of the Tea Party and its anti-intellectual, anti-establishment, anti-elite worldview has brought both a mainstreaming and a radicalization of antiscientific thought...

The politicization of science isn't particularly new; the Bush administration was famous for pressuring government agencies to bring their vision of reality in line with White House imperatives.

Warner , to her credit, traces the rise of an anti-scientific attitude from the left to the right over the years.

And as the political zeitgeist shifted, attacking science became a sport of the radical right. "Some standard left arguments, combined with the left-populist distrust of ‘experts' and ‘professionals' and assorted high-and-mighty muckety-mucks who think they're the boss of us, were fashioned by the right into a powerful device for delegitimating scientific research," Michael Bérubé, a literature professor at Pennsylvania State University, said of this evolution recently in the journal Democracy.

Warner ends her column by quoting Bérubé bon mot:

"It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his tribal identity depends on his not understanding it..."

Warner, given the thrust of her column, seemingly endorses the view that many Republicans are all but knuckle-dragging troglodytes, united by ignorance.

Nowhere in her column is any mention of the controversies raging over the scientific validity of anthropogenic climate change. There is silence regarding the discredited "hockey stick" graph that supposedly showed increased warming coinciding with the industrial age-the key to much of what followed regarding claims of climate change. There is no mention of the disclosures regarding the East Anglia emails that reveal a concerted effort by climate change believers to silence skeptics. There is no mention of studies that show the claims of climate change believers to be false (such as glaciers that are expanding and not melting). No mention of the number of scientists who have signed petitions that argue that there has been no scientific proof of man-made climate change. Nor is there mention of the fact that President Obama has politicized science: there are no words taking him to task for his claims regarding the scientific or economic viability of his plans for electric trains, solar and windmill farms, ethanol factories, and electric cars.

Nor does Ms. Warner mention the abuse of science committed by President Obama's team of Democrats when they misrepresented the views of a panel of experts regarding the wisdom of a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico - a distortion so abusive the panel of experts wrote a letter taking the administration to task for falsifying their views.

The New York Times has suffered from more than just a decline in its readership and stock price: it has suffered a decline in journalistic quality and credibility.