Why we should be angry that Ted Cruz is leading the Senate subcommittee on Science and Space

January 17, 2015

I disagree with Ted Cruz on a lot of subjects.  We have different opinions on pretty much everything people have opinions on.  But that’s fine.  I don’t like his opinions, but I do like living in a country where we can have opinions as different as ours are and neither of us is in jail because of them.  Our political differences really aren’t relevant for what I’m going to talk about here; this isn’t a blog about politics, it’s a blog about science and technology.

The reason we should be angry that Ted Cruz is chairing the Science and Space subcommittee is that Ted Cruz does not believe in science.  Maybe he says he does; I don’t know.  But I do know that if you don’t believe that global warming is happening, you don’t believe in science.  As I mentioned in my previous post, it is an incontrovertible fact that the earth is getting warmer.  To me it’s clear that human industry is a major (though not singular) cause of this warming, but I acknowledge that this is interpretation rather than fact.

However, Ted Cruz has gone on record as saying that the earth is in fact not warming.  He bases this supposedly on data from the past 15 years.  This article provides some good news: the earth has warmed less than we thought it would in the past 20 years.  However, it also shows that the global temperature is rising (0.14 +/- 0.06 degrees C) per decade.  In addition, it doesn’t really matter what the last 15 years show.  If we’re talking about long-term global temperature patterns, 15 years is nothing.  Even in the past 150 years we’re only talking about a couple degrees.

Having Ted Cruz chair a subcommittee on science is like Catholics electing an atheist Pope: you’re being led by someone who completely opposes your entire mission.  I hate that Cruz is going to slash funding for NASA, but that’s just a difference in opinion.  I believe in, and will argue vehemently for, the importance of space exploration, but I can’t say that Cruz doesn’t believe in space exploration.  More likely he believes that government funds should be spent on other things.  I might not like it, but that doesn’t make him a bad leader.  What does make him a bad leader is that he does not believe climate change is happening.  It is a logical impossibility to believe in the scientific method and yet reject the reality of global warming, ergo Ted Cruz does not believe in science.

Not everyone values science.  I don’t like those people, but according to my own person beliefs, they have as much value as I do.  I’m not saying Ted Cruz should be thrown in jail, and I’m not saying (at least based on the topic under discussion) that he should be thrown out of Congress.  What I am saying is that it is patently ridiculous to have someone who rejects science overseeing scientific establishments.  I would think that this is one thing everyone could agree on: if we believe in the value of science, and if we believe that our country has a scientific mission to explore new areas (both geographically and ideologically), then we should have someone in charge who acknowledges the value of what he is overseeing.  Ted Cruz is not such a person, and Ted Cruz is the wrong person for this specific job.

(As always, I welcome dissenting opinions that are data-driven and don’t advertise a specific agenda.  If I come to your home and insult you to your face you have every right to throw me out, and if you submit a comment that is insulting or intellectually vacuous I have every right to reject it.)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: