Prepare for Attack on Science by Newly-Elected Republicans

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.

In addition to the drubbing Democrats took last night, it looks like science and reason got brutalized too. 

Last night’s Republican victories swept in a cadre of anti-science senators – Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Hoeven (R-ND), Pat Toomey (R-PA).

Most of the anti-science candidates are targeting climate change as their attack issue du jour, and will likely join forces with the new congressional Republican leadership, which has vowed to lead witch hunts in the form of congressional hearings into the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory policies. And even more frightening, to use the high-profile events to go after climate scientists. 

As an example of the anti-science positions of the new Senate officeholders, Johnson, who beat progressive Russ Feingold, says sunspots are responsible for increasing temperatures in the Earth’s atmosphere, a Republican-led “belief” that contradicts the overwhelming consensus of people who actually know what they’re talking about, i.e. climate scientists. Ayotte, Toomey, Hoeven and Rubio have made similar comments.

In the case of Toomey, whose state of Pennsylvania sits on top of the Marcellus Shale, the largest natural gas deposits in the country, his position may have been helped along by his top contributors in the energy industry, Koch Industries and Murray Energy, according to the Huffington Post. Other climate change deniers who were just elected or reelected to the Senate and whose top contributors are these same two companies include Hoeven, David Vitter (R-LA) and Jim DeMint (R-SC). 

Despite the fact that, just as with evolution, there is virtually no debate in the science community over the existence of man-made climate change, questioning it in the public sphere is pretty much boilerplate for Republicans kowtowing to big energy interests. Additionally, many of the newly elected last night are, if not outright creationists, at least sympathetic to their attempts to battle the teaching of evolution.

Rubio voiced support for parents trying to push creationism into Florida schools. Paul refuses to answer a question regarding his belief on the age of the earth. The new senators join incumbents like Vitter, a married “family values” candidate who sailed to victory after being outed for having sex with prostitutes (Just how much hypocrisy does it take to get a conservative Christian boosted from office in that state?), and who has earmarked funds for Christian organizations that challenge the teaching of evolution in public schools. 

So what’s the happy news? At least Sharron Angle, with her ties to the Christian Reconstructionist movement and who believed her candidacy was divinely inspired, was unable to beat out Harry Reid.

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