Ask About Evolution at the GOP Debate

August 18th, 2011 at 3:12 pm | 122 Comments |

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Jon Huntsman has decided to set himself apart from a large part of the GOP field by affirmatively declaring on twitter that he believes evolution and climate change are real:

To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.

Prompting James Pethokoukis to ask: “Will we now get an evolution/global warming question at next GOP debate?”

I hope the answer to this question is “yes.” The great thing is that there is precedent for this. In one of the GOP primary debates in 2007, medical John McCain was asked whether or not he believed in evolution. He responded that he did, malady and the moderator then asked for a show of hands of candidates who did not believe in evolution.

Although the GOP is often viewed as the party opposed to science, remarkably, only three candidates raised their hands: Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, and Tom Tancredo.

It would be noteworthy if the number of hands that go up in response to that question increase, and if those hands belong to actual frontrunners.

My big worry is what Rick Perry would do. According to Rick Perry, not only do they teach creationism and evolution in Texas, he also answered a question about evolution by saying the Earth is “pretty old.”

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122 Comments so far ↓

  • Oldskool

    Hopefully they’ll have a class of 10-year-olds on stage to clear up anything the Gopers get wrong.

    • Houndentenor

      Ha! Maybe instead of a debate we can have them each appear on “Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?”!

  • TerryF98

    TPM Rick Perry says evolution is a “theory that’s out there,” claims TX teaches creationism, too.

    Nutter on a pogo stick.

  • indy

    He’s toast. Actually, he was toast before. Now he’s burnt toast.

  • sdspringy

    Just as easy to call him unemployed.

  • balconesfault

    Is there any evidence that coming out against evolution will hurt you in the GOP Primaries?

    Polls have constantly shown that the majority of the Republican Party are evolution skeptics.

    My guess is that Rick will come out with the position that accepting evolution represents a form of “faith”, and that its not up to government to decide which religion people should believe in. This is a winner until you get to the general election, when it will (rightfully) scare the crap out of most independents.

  • Diomedes

    “TPM Rick Perry says evolution is a “theory that’s out there,” claims TX teaches creationism, too”

    That is actually not true. They ‘tried’ to adjust the textbooks, but the courts don’t allow them to teach creationism or ID in any way. All they can do is stipulate that the evolutionary theory has ‘holes’ or is ‘incomplete’.

    What is ironic is that the recently elected education board in Texas that tried to push the textbook changes ended up running out of money, so they couldn’t even purchase the ‘modified’ textbooks. They are still using older ones. And the whole thing became a fiasco because they also failed to realize that the digital age allows anyone to modify textbook content and print their own versions easily.

    As an American, I have to say, off all the things that come out of this country, this idiotic debate is amongst the most embarrasing. The fact that we have elected officials who placate to this nonsense and make a spectacle of this just further enable the crazies to peddle their idiotic philosophies.

  • tom78212

    Others e.g. Hippocrates and those who have quoted him have said:

    To know (i.e., to research, study, think, contrast, compare) is science. To believe one knows is ignorance.

    No credible scientist would say that he/she “believes” in evolution. The theory of evolution represents solid scientific inquiry for hundreds of years. There is no one theory but many hypotheses that have changed and, yes, evolved as new evidence has been tested and shown to support the growing evidence that all species have evolved. The sad thing about all of this creation crap is that those who “believe” in creationism deny themselves the joy of the study of the miracles of life through scientific inquiry. And even more unfortunately, they enjoy their ignorance as they wallow in it.

    Why don’t the creationists do the research and compare/contrast/test hypotheses of their creation myth with all of the other creation myths that exist? They contend that their myth is the true one and all the others are wrong. But where’s the proof? What are they afraid of?

    • PracticalGirl

      No credible scientist would say that he/she “believes” in evolution.

      Spot on, and the reason why I hope it isn’t asked in the debates. It begs only an answer full of smarmy bullshit and/or code, and allows candidates like Perry to give an all-things-to-everybody response.

      If this sort of questioning is to be pursued, then bring it on. As much as I hate the tactics of the parent in the above clip, the most reasonable question is the one she set her son up to ask. Straight up, how old (give or take) is the Earth? Equivocation is still possible, but much more difficult. Then let’s separate the candidates who answer with something in keeping with scientific evidence from those who think that the Flintstones is a documentary, are sure that the Earth is younger than many trees that are still living upon it.

    • kccd

      Correct. Scientists tend to use the word “believe” to signal speculation.

      The better word to use in this context is “accept”. As in – scientists accept evolution as the best explanation for biodiversity.

      In addition to being asked whether they accept evolution, candidates could also be asked about the age of the earth, or the common ancestry of humans and chimps.

    • Barry

      To help you out, Hippocrates live a looooooooooooooooooong time before the modern scientific method. And ‘belief’ is a perfectly good word.

  • ottovbvs

    Yep…he’s crazy according to the lights of the majority of the Republican party. Which says more about the Republican party than Huntsman. But that’s where we are in this country at present.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    evolution, how about asking if anyone believes in devolution because no way in hell can anyone convince that Bachmann, Santorum, Perry are not devolving.

    • ottovbvs

      “that Bachmann, Santorum, Perry are not devolving.”

      I think regressing is the word.

      • Chris Balsz

        Ironically,you don’t understand the scientific theory of changes in gene frequency.

        The notion that evolution = improvement is obsolete. Adaptation to environment is one possible cause of changes in gene frequencies in populations; but not the only cause.

        • Frumplestiltskin

          good lord, you have zero sense of humor. Figure it would be you making a point that no one anywhere has made the contrary point that mutation=progress. You are obviously a mutant, I have never claimed you to be better.

  • Chris Balsz

    Evolution, or Darwinism?

    And what’s the empirical test of global warming? Is there one, since it became Global Climate Change? If there isn’t one, how is it a scientific theory?

    • ottovbvs

      “And what’s the empirical test of global warming?”

      There isn’t an absolute empirical test of global warming (aka Climate Change) but there is a mountain of scientific empirical evidence suggesting both its existence and man made source . Not that you’d know the difference.

      • Chris Balsz

        The clearest difference is, if I doubt something that can be tested and demonstrated, I’m obviously wrong; if I doubt that a possible scenario is the most probable solution, I have a scientifically valid opinion.

        By the way, why is it “aka” Climate Change? It was very clearly “Global Warming” in 1999. Nobody doubts the climate can change.

        • ottovbvs

          “Nobody doubts the climate can change.”

          Apart from you apparently.

        • Chris Balsz

          Oh I believe it has changed prior to industrialization, I believe its modern performance has been radically different from the trends observed even 10 years ago, and I believe it will change in the future and the same circular logic will be applied then too –that SINCE we KNOW pollution drives climate, whatever weather we have is due to pollution.

          If I believe pollution is driving climate, I have to accept two separate and exclusive models of terran climate — the modern industrial climate driven by pollution and the preindustrial factors that drove regional climate change that have somehow been sublimated by human industrial output.

        • Primrose

          Because Climate change is more accurate. Some places will get both colder winters and warmer summers. Other places will get drier. etc. etc.

          We could prove Climate Change but that would require us to live through it, which is not advised.

    • CanadianLiberal

      “Darwinism” is not a scientific term. It is a polemical term used to incite opposition to the science of biological evolution. No one teaches “Darwinism” because such a thing does not exist. It’s a propaganda tool – call it “Darwinism” and then talk about how Darwin was a racist… or how “Darwinism” was used by the Nazis, etc. (ad nauseum). It’s easier to knock down a single man than to try to discredit 150 years of research.

      What Creationists – oh sorry, “Intelligent Design proponents” – fail to realize is that the science of evolutionary biology is not based on studying one book (On the Origin of Species) and then declaring it the absolute Truth of the world. It’s the creationist who take all their knowledge from one book and willfully ignore the facts. 150 years of research have consistently found that evolution by natural selection is true. In fact, recent advances in genetics would be sufficient in and of themselves to PROVE evolution true – without the fossil record or the mountain of evidence produced in since 1859.

      • Chris Balsz

        No, it is one factor in the shift of genetic frequencies in populations.

        If more human beings have black hair than previous generations, the human race has “evolved”. There may be an advantage to that shift. There may not.

        • CanadianLiberal

          I don’t even understand what you are referencing. Are you responding to me?

        • CanadianLiberal

          No, that is not what I said. I said advances in genetics are sufficient to prove evolution – i.e. descent from a common ancestor. And that is true – an examination of the genome of humans, other animals and even plants provides evidence of our common ancestry. Phylogenetic reconstruction, endogenous retroviruses, pseudogenes, etc. are all evidence of common ancestry. Chromosome 2 in humans in a great example of how genetic research can be used to investigate evolution.

          The cutting edge of genetic research in evolutionary biology centres on epigenetic phenomena like parental imprinting and gene x environment interactions. Epigenetics provide a molecular mechanisms by which the environment influences inheritance (i.e. natural selection). Processes like methylation alter gene expression in response to environmental cues and those changes are passed on through the generations.

      • Houndentenor

        Creationists like to make it sound like there is a religion called “Darwinism” in which people believe in “Origin of the Species” like they believe int he Bible. No one outside the closed Fundie echo chamber would be able to follow the “logic” of a single paragraph of their nonsense. Their construct is that everything is about “faith” in the unproven since that’s all they are willing to acknowledge. If you doubt me, head to an area where this kind of “thinking” is common and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

        • anniemargret

          Heavens, I’ve been around fundamentalists; some were even my friends for a time until their weird thinking became unbearable for me to be around them, and still respect them.

          There are two types of religious Christians, one who takes the Bible allegorically (mostly Catholics), and Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists who take it literally. The latter also feel compelled to proselytize and prefer our secular government become ‘christianized.’

          Scary, huh? And the top tier candidates for the Republican offerings right now are all in the last category, Perry/Bachmann/Palin (because if she runs, she would knock the other two off the charts).

    • JohnMcC

      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

      There’s the empirical evidence you needed, Mr Balz. Question is do you trust the NASA satellites or Rush Limbough?

      • Chris Balsz

        “Our first published results (Hansen et al. 1981) showed that, contrary to impressions from northern latitudes, global cooling after 1940 was small, and there was net global warming of about 0.4°C between the 1880s and 1970s.

        The analysis method was documented in Hansen and Lebedeff (1987), showing that the correlation of temperature change was reasonably strong for stations separated by up to 1200 km, especially at middle and high latitudes. They obtained quantitative estimates of the error in annual and 5-year mean temperature change by sampling at station locations a spatially complete data set of a long run of a global climate model, which was shown to have realistic spatial and temporal variability.”

        How many satellites did NASA have in orbit in 1880? How many weather stations covered Antarctica prior to 1930?

        They developed a statistical model to explain current temperatures, then they project it backwards in time and over areas for which they had no records. Bear in mind that observational data that conflicts with this calculated climate — tree rings– is “hidden” because the observational data isn’t needed.

        • greg_barton

          How many satellites did NASA have in orbit in 1880? I don’t know. Did space even exist then? I think the world was still flat and stuff.

    • Barry

      “And what’s the empirical test of global warming? Is there one, since it became Global Climate Change? If there isn’t one, how is it a scientific theory?”

      Well, let’s see:

      Recorded temperatures get higher, which is happening.
      Instrumental proxies track that, which is happening.
      Events such as the amount and rate of Greenland ice melting (hitting layers now which IIRC survived the previous interglacial), which are happening.
      Vast quantities of plant, insect and larger animal data showing that they are reacting as if it’s getting warmer, which they are.

  • Graychin

    A Republican who poo-poos evolution?

    The overused cliché applies here: that isn’t a bug – it’s a feature!

    I’m beginning to question Huntsman’s sanity. If he really wants to be president, he needs to throw his family tradition aside and run as a Democrat in 2016. I can’t imagine what affinity he feels for today’s GOP.

    Except he did mention in the recent debate that he doesn’t much care for the EPA – that’s a definite Republican talking point. There’s that family tradition again – he’s the scion of a chemical company.

    The beat goes on…

  • jjv

    Again, evolution is a theory. That’s why they call it “the theory of evolution.” As theories go its a pretty good one but the “full evolutionist” view is now political and connnotes-to both supporters and opponants-a rejection of God. If some scientists say evolution means no God why should a GOP candidate have to believe in that version of evolution. I think the proper response is “define your terms.”

    • balconesfault

      “If some scientists say evolution means no God ”

      A scientist might say that as a matter of personal opinion. That should not be confused with being part of a scientific theory.

      There is no real way to construct a test to prove or disprove the action of a willful supernatural actor upon natural systems.

    • Chris Balsz

      Darwin had no knowledge of DNA. He only observed visible trends in living beings. His explanations for that were philosophical.

      Modern biology teaches about changes in genetic frequency among populations. Changing enviroments can reduce certain genetic traits, as Darwin observed. Accidents in the distributions of populations can lead to mutations. So can disease, or random breeding.

      “Darwinism” – the notion that Nature itself improves over time– is not a scientific theory. It is popular for movements that want to challenge religious morality by pretending that science “disproves” the existence or necessity of God, and that religious values are “contrary to Nature” and actually harmful to the human race.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        why the hell are you making up definitions of Darwinism that no one else is stating? Who here has said all mutations equal improvement? Why are you always so far out in left field for arguing with the gnats that circle your head?

        “Darwinism” – the notion that Nature itself improves over time– is not a scientific theory.
        That is because this invented notion of yours no one states. God you are such a tool. You show me in any modern Scientific textbook that states that Darwinism is nature improving over time. Just one book. You freaking tool.

        • Chris Balsz

          Guy named Charles Darwin invented it, which is why it is known as “Darwinism”.

        • CanadianLiberal

          Charles Darwin invented nothing. He set forth a series of hypotheses, based on observation, about how speciation occurs in On the Origin of Species – he proposed natural selection as the mechanism of speciation and also presented evidence of humans’ descent from a common ancestor.

          Subsequent to the publication of this book (And The Descent of Man), scientists spent 150 years testing Darwin’s hypotheses – and found out that he was remarkably accurate in his predictions – especially given the lack of knowledge about genetics, etc. No research to date has proven the foundational principles of natural selection and common descent wrong.

          What is taught in biology in the 21st century is the accumulated knowledge of 150 years of scientific inquiry into biological evolution – evidence from embryology, genetics, biochemistry, paleontology, etc.

          Emerging knowledge about epigenetics, for example, is giving rise to new understanding about the molecular mechanisms that underlie natural selection. It’s mind-blowing!

      • Primrose

        Darwinism isn’t a theory at all. The scientific field (it’s a bit more than a theory) is evolutionary biology. And it has come a long way from Darwin’s initial offering, though he remains startlingly wise even now.

        religious morality by pretending that science “disproves” the existence or necessity of God, and that religious values are “contrary to Nature” and actually harmful to the human race.

        No, they challenge religious authority over morality. Difference. Thus the ability to distinguish between what is taboo and what is immoral. Women having sex before marriage is taboo in man religions but it has no particular moral reason for being. Homosexuality is taboo but it has a biologic basis. Mixing linen and wool is taboo, again no specific reason for that morally.

        But it is not necessary to believe in literalism to believe in God. What is necessary is understand that it God is not at this point a scientifically provable concept. That faith can not be a logical step in science.

        And frankly, it is politeness that leads scientists to ignore the idea of god in their research. They would have to take a stand on another person’s religion. I don’t think any evangelical Christian I know would take kindly, let alone be convinced by, a peer reviewed article that said their beliefs were untrue. (Once again you can’t use faith as the answer. Nor can the bible be proof of God because until you have proven God, we must assume it was written by men for their own reasons.)

        Unfortunately, many certain religious variants can not extend the same courtesy to others. It is not enough that they believe. They must force others to agree and reset society in their image. The drive to make religion scientific is not a quest for knowledge but a drive to dominate, to force their authority on those who disagree with them. It is an act of ego.

    • PracticalGirl

      …but the “full evolutionist” view is now political and connnotes-to both supporters and opponants-a rejection of God

      No, that’s only a hang up of the extreme fringe-the one that has two sides either claiming not to “believe” in evolution OR claiming the missing link isn’t “missing”.

      Apparently, you’ve never spoken to a Catholic scientist. Perhaps you would do well to quiz, say, a professor within the College of Science at Notre Dame University (or heck, any grade school Catholic teacher) about what they teach regarding evolution. You may find out that scientific fact isn’t something that they shy away from.

      Evolution exists in all species, and there is a mountain of evidence to show how humans have evolved. The “missing link” is taught as just that, and the debate/discussion of the theoretical part is held (at appropriate levels) along the way. And nobody ever feels like they have to reject God for science (or vice versa) because Religion and Science are taught as two distinct, simultaneous and complementary subjects.

      • kccd

        “Apparently, you’ve never spoken to a Catholic scientist. Perhaps you would do well to quiz, say, a professor within the College of Science at Notre Dame University (or heck, any grade school Catholic teacher) about what they teach regarding evolution. You may find out that scientific fact isn’t something that they shy away from.”
        ——
        I am a scientist (biologist). While my Ph.D. is from a secular university, my B.S. in biology was awarded by a Catholic college. I learned evolution in both institutions, and never heard any mention of creationism.

    • CanadianLiberal

      Theory, noun:

      1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.

      2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation

      In science, theory means #1. Definition #2 is a hypothesis.

      There are many hypotheses in the scientific community, but when something is called a theory (like, say, the Theory of Gravity) it is a well-established, well-tested set of principles that are parsimonious, coherent, and have sufficient evidence behind them. A theory is not something I thought up last night and want to test – that is a hypothesis.

      To state that evolution is “only a theory” is nonsensical to a scientist. It’s just another propaganda tool to confuse people by deliberately conflating the common use of the word with the scientific use of the word.

    • anniemargret

      You have a small GOd. My belief in God is that we are evolving and that takes time, energy, thought and empirical truth. There is no need to abandon a concept of God and make science an adversary.

      It’s why fundies are so scary…their concepts are small and narrow and have no room for individual search for the truth on earth. Sad.

    • baw1064

      jjv,

      As a scientist, and one who believes in God, I’m utterly baffled by your statement. You are saying that a scientific theory should be discarded or discredited because someone draws theological implications with which you disagree? Religion is a matter of personal belief, which isn’t proven or disproven by science. Likewise, a scientific theory stands or falls (or requires modification) on its own merits and on the available observational data and tests.
      I’m of the opinion that anyone who says that science and religion aren’t compatible misunderstand at least one of the two.

    • Barry

      “Again, evolution is a theory. ”

      It’s an excellent signal that somebody saying that doesn’t know what they’re saying; it’s like ‘fiat currency’.

  • Diomedes

    “By the way, why is it “aka” Climate Change? It was very clearly “Global Warming” in 1999. Nobody doubts the climate can change.”

    Because unfortunately, the imbeciles in this country, coupled with Fox News, love to utilize the logical fallacy referred to as a ‘hasty generalization’ or ‘proof by example’.

    What that entails is that they cite singular instances of a particular occurrence to refute the aggregate data. So for example, when somebody states ‘global warming’, the response by the deniers is stating: “Global warming? We had a cold winter this year! It can’t be true.”

    So despite the fact that Global Warming actually predicted large scale climatic fluctuations in temperature, depending on demographic region and how the wind effects would be alterred, it is still poo pooed because it has the word ‘warming’ in it. Hence the decison by climate scientists to alter the statement to Global Climate Change. It wasn’t an admission of defeat, it was an attempt to make the concept more clear to the idiots. With mixed success unfortunately.

    • Chris Balsz

      No, it didn’t Diomedes. As a matter of historical record, it predicted continual and exponentially increasing rises in global average temperatures over the very short term -so short, that political mobilization to reduce emissions was critically necessary. Remember the “hockey stick”? We were going to have global flooding by 2025. That theory has already collapsed, and the theory of “fluctuations” has arisen in its place, to replace a failed theory of warming.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        and you make up history again. “As a matter of historical record, it predicted continual and exponentially increasing rises in global average temperatures over the very short term”
        What “historical record” except the imaginary one in your head?Back in the 70′s people predicted global cooling, believe it or not scientists make predictions all the time and are wrong, that does not mean science itself is bad.
        You refuse to look at present day scientific evidence, you quote one graph from one paper and assert that because it was wrong everything else about the theory is wrong. That is just brain dead stupid.
        Einstein himself revised his theories over time, but to you I suppose that would mean everything he ever wrote must be wrong.
        How ironic, Balsz is such a dick.

        • Chris Balsz

          “and you make up history again. “As a matter of historical record, it predicted continual and exponentially increasing rises in global average temperatures over the very short term”
          What “historical record” except the imaginary one in your head?”

          Guy named Al Gore. Vice-President of the United States 1992-2000. Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2000. Wrote a book called “Earth in the Balance”.

        • baw1064

          Al Gore isn’t a scientist. Why is his opinion relevant to this discussion?

        • Primrose

          Not only that but Einstein predicted some future scientist would correct him.

      • JohnMcC

        Actually the ‘hockey stick’ was not a prediction, Mr Balz. It was a graph of real mean temperatures and the sharp upturn at the right-hand margin indicated that the surface temperature of the planet was actually growing warmer at an accelerating rate. I gave you a link to the NASA site with the ‘hockey stick’ above.

        As for your scorn about rising sea levels, you can read it in the newspapers. Like this one:

        http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/disappearing-world-global-warming-claims-tropical-island-429764.html

        • Chris Balsz

          “The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India’s part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.”

          Land vanishing in the junction of two rivers! I bet that would totally amaze uneducated people! Like, ignorant rednecks in the Lousiana Delta. Imagine their shocked wonder if you told them that islands near a river simply went away!

          “…Until now the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea were expected to be the first populated ones to disappear, in about eight years’ time, but Lohachara has beaten them to the dubious distinction.”

          I guess there’s a gentle slope of water somewhere between India and Papua New Guinea, if the seas rose in India but not further east?

          Oh and I found this.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohachara_Island

        • baw1064

          OK, prove that sea level isn’t rising. All you have done is to discredit one example that someone considered as evidence that it is. It could be that sea level is rising but wasn’t the primary factor in this island’s disappearance.

      • AnBr

        Even though the Northwest Passage is becoming a reality, it is not the disappearance of sea ice that will make the ocean levels rise. The blowhard Limbaugh once made the astounding observation that he noted that when the ice in his glass melted that the level of the liquid did not rise. The buffoon failed to mention the ice on land, i.e. glaciers and snow caps. These are rapidly diminishing. 2/3 of the antarctic ice cover is rapidly thinning.

  • jjv

    Secondly-any one who uses the term “the Science” is an ideologue not a scientist. Man made global warming is a controversial theory. There are new points coming along all the time that burst the bubble on this one. Worse, the political responses to GW are all statist and almost uniformally useless.

    What test would disprove global warming? If it gets hotter-its man made global warming-if the globe stops warming (as it has for a decade) its still man made global warming. Why was there a “little ice age” and then more warming when men had not even harnessed steam? No answers to this just dogma about polar bears (and the chief proponant of the “drowning polar bears” is now under investigation for fraud.

    • Oldskool

      At some point people had to deal with the fact that the world was round. After 911, there was detectable change in the atmosphere of the US because air travel was suspended for several days. Is there anything over and above that one fact that a skeptic would need to know? If so, they’re not a skeptic, they’re an idealogue.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      Why was there a “little ice age” and then more warming when men had not even harnessed steam?

      Ah Snidely, you make it too easy. You are aware that there have been times in Earths history when the world was much hotter, yes? No one is claiming that climate change only occurs because of mankinds activities, just that man can now affect climate by his own actions. Are you really this dumb?
      As to the little ice age, The causes of the little ice age are not certain, but the major theories are:

      Variations in sunspot activity
      Changes in ocean currents
      Volcanic eruptions
      Changes in the Earth’s albedo

      Funny how even a simpleminded person like you might agree that a comet struck the earth and led to an extinction event, yet humans pumping tons of pollutants into the atmosphere causes no effects whatsoever. In fact, breathing car fumes is equal to life, right?

      And just love your English, as Diomedes points out they call it the theory of Gravity, so why don’t you test it out on a nearby rooftop? Oh, right, because since you can’t find your ass with both hands you are the type of person who if he jumps off a roof he would miss.

    • JohnMcC

      Silly people always bring up the ‘little Ice Age’ imagining a land-scape like that in the Disney movie. Actually, according to the IPCC, “Evidence from mountain glaciers does suggest increased glaciation in a number of widely spread regions outside Europe prior to the 20th century….However, the timing of maximum glacial advances in these regions differs considerably, suggesting that they may represent largely independent regional climate changes, not a globally-synchronous increased glaciation. …the conventional terms of “Little Ice Age” and “Medieval Warm Period” appear to have limited utility in describing trends in … past centuries. …the “Little Ice Age” can only be considered as a modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during this period of less than 1*C relative to late 20th century levels.”

      In other words, learn something before you make stupid remarks, Mr V. Or keep your AM radio on and remain ignorant but a good conservative.

      • Chris Balsz

        If it is possible for natural trends of “independent regional climate change” to occur outside a global climate trend to an average of almost 1 degree celsius, how can you predict with any certainty that there will be a continuing, global increase in temperatures?

  • Diomedes

    “Again, evolution is a theory. That’s why they call it “the theory of evolution.” ”

    *sigh*

    This is getting tiresome, since I have had to explain this in detail SO MANY TIMES. But let me try again:

    Evolution is a FACT. It is an observable occurrence and it’s mechanism can be viewed in a laboratory.

    The actually full statement is “The Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection”

    The ‘natural selection’ portion is the ‘theory’ which explains the FACT of evolution.

    To drive the point home a little further:

    We often cite the ‘Theory of Gravity”. That is also a condensed statement. The full statement is: “The Theory of Gravity Through Special Relativity”.

    Once gain: Gravity=FACT. Special Relativity=THEORY.

    I am stunned that this elementary concept is so difficult to grasp.

    “but the “full evolutionist” view is now political and connnotes-to both supporters and opponants-a rejection of God”

    Actually, no it does not. It only is a rejection of god in the eyes that have to take a fully literalistic interpretation of the bible into the world of reality. So any refutation of its words is immediately received with skepticism and denial. The bible also talks about the earth-centric view of the universe, which is clearly false. So are you saying that a political candidate needs to deny that the earth doesn’t orbit around the sun because it violates their religious beliefs? Idiocy.

    How would you react if a candidate wanted to alter textbooks and the way the FDA functioned because he/she didn’t believe that salt and water can mix? Because guess what, that is what is written in the Koran.

    My suggestion: please have all our candidates grow up and join the world in the 21st century.

    • Nanotek

      Good effort but you realize you are talking to people whose beliefs are fixed?

  • balconesfault

    if the globe stops warming (as it has for a decade)

    Which globe are you talking about?

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2010/13

    For 2010, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature tied with 2005 as the warmest such period on record, at 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). 1998 is the third warmest year-to-date on record, at 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average.

    • Chris Balsz

      What happened in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009? Why did heat energy transform into other energy and then not transfer in 2010?

      This gets right back to Climategate – it doesn’t matter what happened, we “know” the answer is that pollution caused it, so a little sloppiness about the details may be professionally deplorable but isn’t a serious challenge. The atmosphere of a whole planet just acts weird cause of smog. This is the “educated” theory.

      • balconesfault

        What happened in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009?

        Have you ever performed scientific experiments on complex systems? Data virtually never trends in a perfect line – there is scatter. Nonetheless, 9 of the Earth’s 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. And that with sunspot activity actually decreasing.

        • Chris Balsz

          That’s one of my problems with the theory. “Scatter” makes sense if you’re talking about mathematical model. Supposedly this is about the transfer of millions of joules of energy through the earth’s atmosphere over a period of some sixty months! If “global warming” is accurate that energy should be present for years in some form or another. It should not be heat energy in 2005, and then not heat for 4 years, and then heat energy in 2010, without some clear explanation for the physical process. I’m sure the total energy involved is not that large compared to something really BIG, like, annual solar output, but compared to say the energy output of the G8 nations, it’s a collossal figure.

        • baw1064

          The short answer is that the Earth’s climate is dominated by the radiation balance. There’s also all kinds of feedback loops in play. For instance, if snow and ice cover is decreased due to a warmer climate, the Earth’s albedo will increase, accelerating the effect. The dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor, whose concentration is controlled by temperature. Warmer climate means more water vapor means more greenhouse effect means warmer climate. But changes in cloud formation, vegetation, etc. also affect things.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        you just love these strawmen don’t you. “we “know” the answer is that pollution caused it”
        And who the hell is this we? You make these outlandish assertions that climatoligists state that any fluctuation in weather is caused by mankind, when no one anywhere except you are stating this.

        “The atmosphere of a whole planet just acts weird cause of smog. This is the “educated” theory.” Good lord, are you brain damaged? Show me on scientific journal anywhere on this planet someone stating that theory that you claim is standard. Just one journal.

        What really is wrong with you? I am curious as to the psychological affliction you possess to come up with such bizarre notions of science. My God, the atmosphere acts weird (be)cause of smog. You are truly astoundingly bizarre. You should go into comedy.

        • Stewardship

          Skeptics…do yourself a favor…visit Skeptical Science’ s website which provides factual responses to the half-truths, myths, and outright lies you parrot from Rush, Sean, and Steven Milloy, the former tobacco industry hack who was paid to tell you that tobacco wasn’t addictive and wasn’t harmful to your health.

          Rush’s rear end must be gargantuan for all the heads stuck up it.

  • Diomedes

    “if the globe stops warming (as it has for a decade)

    Which globe are you talking about?”

    Obviously, he is referring to the globe he keeps in his fridge.

    What is sad about that statement is it takes all of a 5 second Google search to look this up:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png

    And thanks for displaying the ‘hasty generalization’ logical fallacy yet again.

  • GregoryHJ

    As long as the GOP base is dominated by right-wing fundamentalist Christians and the GOP itself is dominated by well-paying oil companies, we will never get an honest answer to either of those questions. John Huntsman continues to prove that he is the most honest GOP candidate after Ron Paul. It is because of that honesty that he will most certainly not receive the nomination. As a liberal who voted for Obama in 2008, I can honestly say that I would consider voting for Huntsman in 2012. Watching those two compete would be great and might actually bring back an air of respect to the Presidential race. But sadly, we all know that Romney will inevitably get the nomination.

  • paul_gs

    I’d like to know how many Democrats believe vaccines can cause autism. I’ll bet the number is pretty high.

    • drdredel

      I’ll take that bet. What number would constitute “pretty high”?

      • paul_gs

        I’ll say 25% of Dems believe that vaccines do or may cause autism whereas I’d put the number at less then 5% for Repubs. Now how much are we betting? ;)

    • greg_barton

      And just because some democrats have teh stoopid you must have teh stoopid too?

    • chephren

      You seem to want to prove that Democrats are just as gullible and/or credulous as fundamentalist Republicans.

      That’s lame.

    • Bagok

      This is an excellent example Paul. Initially there was *one* researcher who falsified data to show a statistical correlation between vaccines and autism. Several years later it was shown the data had been faked and no correlation existed. This is how science works. It is self correcting. Faith is the exact opposite. Faith is self-perpetuating, where facts are changed to fit the faith.

      When one looks at the world around us, at the incredible progression science has brought the human race, how can one not be convinced that science and the scientific method is simply the best way to determine truth?

  • drdredel

    This is where the Internet has really done people of modest intelligence a massive disservice. “Just google it” is wonderful if you need to look up what year Shakespeare lived or what the Euro:Dollar conversion rate is today… it’s a HORRIBLE strategy if you want to arm yourself with the expertise necessary to have this debate and not sound like you don’t know wft you’re talking about. Doctors hate this more than anyone; one clown after the next arrives with their diagnosis all prepped and ready, as well as tons of information to second guess the doctor’s impression. I strongly doubt anyone here has the scientific background necessary to have an argument on this subject, here. The only thing that you can say with some degree of non-buffoonery is that the scientific community is overwhelmingly convinced (and not because they googled it) that the earth is getting hotter and that it is largely humanity that is responsible.
    There is no conspiracy
    There is no falsified info
    There is no “agenda”
    Stop “googling it”… you’re not in possession of the expertise necessary to understand what you’re googling! At some point you simply have to defer to the experts or actually bother to become one yourself. There is no alternative.

    • Bunker555

      ^+1 drdredel

      This is the most intelligent post I have read today.

    • Chris Balsz

      “There is no conspiracy
      There is no falsified info”

      We’ve already shown there is. Why is the IPCC publishing, then retracting, claims the Himalayas will have no glaciers in 2050? Why bring a dendrochronologist to a research team and then have him rely on instrumental readings instead of tree rings in his published work?

      “There is no “agenda””

      You lie. You yourself touted it.

      “2) the actions we need to take to reduce carbon emissions are also the ones that would help stimulate the economy MOST! Those, like Perry, who say this will be a waste of money, are knowingly (and cynically) misleading the public to protect the various private interests who would, indeed, suffer here, such as oil and coal companies. Unless you’re on the board of one of these (and are also a total selfish dick-head with no regard for your nation or the planet) you should not care too terribly much about their bottom lines. Like all corporations in a true market economy, they should be able to survive without the help of government protection against natural market forces.”

      “At some point you simply have to defer to the experts or actually bother to become one yourself. There is no alternative.”

      I’ll take option C: Destroy any political momentum behind accepting your “expert”, superior, better-than-freedom elitism in our economy.

      • drdredel

        “You lie. You yourself touted it.”

        Where did I tout it? Unless you mean that the agenda is to be attentive to reality. In that case, yes… that’s the agenda.

        “I’ll take option C: Destroy any political momentum behind accepting your “expert”, superior, better-than-freedom elitism in our economy.”

        I”m not sure what you mean by this, but I’m inclined not to even bother investigating if I understand your intention behind the quotes around the word ‘expert’ to suggest that expertise is some sort of canard that those who push the environmental agenda beat all those who know better about with. If this is your argument (and I’m not sure that it is, but that’s what I’m gleaning from the sentence), it’s a very tired argument that is rapidly losing favor with even the stupidest of the GOP supporters. Yes there IS such a thing as expertise. I, for example, am an expert in various fields of software design. I can tell you with a very high degree of confidence that anyone who is unfamiliar with those areas in which I specialize would not be able to examine my code and say with ANY degree of certainty what it is mean to do (much less if it works or not, or if there are bugs in it).
        Only a total jack-ass would storm into an operating room with his wi-fi enabled iPad and start telling the brain surgeon that they should stop pretending that their years of training and practice are worth a dick, and let me show you how it’s done… here, I’ll pull up YouTube video…
        Why is this same level of disregard for expertise so prevalent when it comes to fields like environmental research? Where is the humility? We’re not talking about some field in which there are 100 different scientific opinions and everyone is trying to prove theirs is the most reliable… like I said, this isn’t String theory (not that I’d be interested in your opinion in that, either, if you weren’t a well trained physicist), but in this case, the vast majority of the scientists IN the field, agree on what the data means. What do you think they get in going with the program? Is there a tote bag in it for them? A trip to Disneyland? As I said before, scientists all strive to find something ground breaking… confirming 10 previous studies hardly ranks as ground breaking.

        • Xunzi Washington

          DrDredel

          I’ve got to give you props here. I can’t bear arguing with Wikiperts and Googologists about science. It’s an exercise in total futility. Once experts become “experts” you’ve entered a post-modern world in which logic, argumentation and evidence will always take a back seat to ideology.

      • angeleno

        Only climate scientists can refute climate science. Nobody else has standing. Mr. Balsz is not a climate scientist. He has no standing. It’s very simple.

        There has been an anti-intellectual agenda in the US since the eighteenth century. It’s very wicked. I am surprised Mr. Balsz finds any gratification from visiting this website. It is a hostile atmosphere to characters of his persuasion. This is not an anti-intellectual forum. This is an oasis from anti-intellectualist fora.

        Now if you’d excuse me, I am at the local bowling alley and my turn has come up.

    • Bagok

      Good points Doc. However, I think the real problem is that a lot of people do not know how to reason, to think critically. They have no way to determine what is noise and what is pertinent and end up relying on people they trust to tell them what to think. More data is not a bad thing in an of itself. Using said data in an irrational manner is.

      I say teach reasoning, logic and critical thinking early and continuously. A person with these skills is able to use the incredible resources science has given us to improve themselves, their friends and family, their country and the whole human race. Sadly, I believe the US (like much of the Middle East) values strict adherence to some articles of faith over reasoned thought.

      • drdredel

        I think in some ways this knife cuts both ways. Critical thinking is obviously an immensely valuable trait. But the problem is that the amount of knowledge that we, as a species, have now amassed, and the highly elusive nature of many (frequently un-intuitive) facts, sometimes make this trait (oddly) counter productive.

        Consider the very argument of evolution. No lay-person can possibly understand the full scope of the evidence that leads biologists to declare things like “evolution is more a ‘fact’ than gravity”. Intuition would certainly not lead anyone to such a statement. Quite the contrary… evolution is complicated and hard to understand, while any 2 year old can give you a fairly accurate explanation of how gravity works (never mind that once you start examining the math, gravity is actually the thing we understand the least of most natural phenomenon!).
        So, I take your point about critical thinking, but I think that it’s very important that people recognize that their critical analysis is necessarily limited by their overal familiarity with the basic facts that preside in whatever argument.
        Absent any higher authority, I’m perfectly happy to defer to those who do the research (so long as they’re not funded by tobacco companies). Obviously I am skeptical when some study is released that blatantly contradicts the prevailing understanding of anything, but that actually happens VERY rarely. Most often information comes out that the prevailing idea is not precise in some way, and it is improved upon gradually.
        I would prefer that people stopped arguing from the (bizarre) standpoint that scientists have some sort of hidden, secret, plot. Or at least if they came up with a good reason what the motivation for such a plot would be.

  • brandon

    I don’t give a rat’s behind what any of the candidates think about evolution. We are not selecting someone to be the chair of the biology department at Harvard.

    I’m far more interested in what the potential nominee thinks about things like economics, the constitution, foreign affairs etc.

    We have 9% unemployment, 3 wars, unsustainable debt and a president who has no idea what he’s doing. We need to be concerned about where the country is headed not how various species got here.

    • drdredel

      You should care very much what they think about Evolution. Evolution isn’t string theory. Someone that doesn’t have the rational capacity to understand that the earth isn’t 5,000 years old isn’t ready for economics or international diplomacy. I wouldn’t trust them with safety scissors, much less the national agenda.

      • brandon

        It is unimportant what a potential candidate thinks about issues like how old the earth is. Many (not most) Christians believe God created an aged Earth just as he created Adam as a man and not as a boy.

        Mormons believe that Jesus visited advanced civilizations in North America of which their is no archeological evidence of whatsoever. I would assume Gov. Romney believes in the Book of Mormon.

        Despite my own belief that all of the above is utter nonsense, if you had a business to run and your CEO could be either Romney or Obama, who would you hire?

        • drdredel

          I wouldn’t hire Romney to mow my lawn. I’m not sure what sort of CEO Obama would make… think he makes a fairly mediocre president, though it’s hard to say… maybe he’d be a terrific president if he didn’t have to spend the bulk of his time wrangling a bunch of retarded obstructionist zealots to do their jobs.
          Anyway… I strongly disagree. I think that the ability to think rationally is imperative, and not limited to the task at hand. How you deal with situation A isn’t informed by what you believe, but if you’re prone to believe a lot of stupid bullshit then I expect you won’t be any good at dealing with anything. And yes, I am likely to disqualify anyone from the running if their beliefs include Jesus doing much of anything, but certainly doing it on the North American continent!

        • brandon

          Romney has an impressive business resume and has been responsible for millions of dollars in profits.

          If you wouldn’t hire him to cut your grass then I can only hope you are never on the board of directors of a company that I own stock in.

        • chephren

          Yes, it is important whether a president believes in evolution or creationism.

          The federal government is the source of most of the funding for basic science in the United States. If the executive branch, which administers most of this funding, sets science policy and appoints the bureaucrats who oversee it, establishes what amounts to a religious test for ‘legitimate’ scientific inquiry, it matters a very great deal.

          The Bush/Cheney administration appointed unqualified ideologues to oversee federal science agencies. They routinely meddled in the work of scientists. This was, or should have been, totally unacceptable.

        • Frumplestiltskin

          Warren Buffett has a far, far, far more impressive resume in business than Romney, why don’t you write his name in? As to Buffett himself, he supported Obama. Kind of completely destroys your whole thesis, doesn’t it?

    • gocart mozart

      Brandon, should the President be able to get a passing grade in 8th grade science?

    • kccd

      This question addresses a larger point – whether the candidate accepts the consensus view of experts on technical issues in which the candidate has no expertise.

  • violet

    Take the microphone away from this guy. He’s an ignorant idiot. It is going to be a long 15 months…

    • Bunker555

      ^+1 violet.

      Let him talk. The longer he keeps his trap open, the deeper his boot gets down his throat. When his second boot gets lodged in his other end, his innuendos will end.

  • Chris Balsz

    “OK, prove that sea level isn’t rising. All you have done is to discredit one example that someone considered as evidence that it is. It could be that sea level is rising but wasn’t the primary factor in this island’s disappearance.”

    Go ahead and prove that it is rising. It’s the proponents of a theory who end up defending its actual operation.
    All we ever do is discredit one example…after another after another. That is because this is less of a scientific theory and more of a political movement that demands control of the means of production, right now, by popular consent.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      yes, Russian scientists all agree with the consensus that global warming is real because they secretly want to run the businesses….uh huh. You are truly batshit insane if you think there is a WORLDWIDE conspiracy to promote the idea of global warming by scientists.
      Russia, more than any other country, would benefit by global warming as it would open up Siberia to far greater exploitation, hence the oligarchy there would want to squash the science, but even they are not willing to appear as backward and ignorant as you.

      There are a host of south pacific islands that are disappearing under the water, islands that have existed for all of mankinds recorded history. I have family that works in Micronesia who have seen firsthand atolls swallowed up by the sea. But hey, maybe they should think the water is an illusion, right?

      You are simply hilarious Balsz, you amuse me more than most other posters because you really have no idea how funny you are.

      Here is a press release from the National Academy of Sciences (USA) which opens with the words “Climate Change is real”. It’s conclusion begins with “We urge all nations, in the line with the UNFCCC principles, to take prompt action to reduce the causes of climate change, adapt to its impacts and ensure that the issue is included in all relevant national and international strategies.” It recognizes the international consensus of the IPCC (2001), IEA (2004), and UNFCCC. It is signed by:

      National Academy of Sciences, United States of America
      Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
      Royal Society, United Kingdom
      Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
      Academia Brasiliera de Ciências, Brazil
      Royal Society of Canada, Canada
      Academié des Sciences, France
      Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher, Germany
      Indian National Science Academy, India
      Accademia dei Lincei, Italy
      Science Council of Japan, Japan
      http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

      Yep, they are all secret socialists out to run ebay and facebook.
      Balsz = braindead

      Honestly, do you wear tinfoil hats? Do you hear radio transmissions coming from your teeth?

    • baw1064

      But change in sea level isn’t a theory. It’s an empirical observation: it’s either rising, falling, or staying the same. The fact that sea level is or isn’t rising is independent of various explanations which might be proposed for the observed behavior.

      • Diomedes

        “The fact that sea level is or isn’t rising is independent of various explanations which might be proposed for the observed behavior”

        Um, no. Sea level can only be affected by three things:

        1) The moon’s gravity
        2) Pressure
        3) Temperature

        Let’s examine these:

        -The moon’s gravity-

        Neither moon’s orbit nor it’s mass have changed in any meaningful way in the past 150 years. Furthermore, the change in sea level is cyclical based on the moon’s orbit and the earth’s rotation. So it cannot account for an island sinking. Otherwise the island would resurface once the moon was on the other side of the planet. So we can scratch that one off the list.

        -Pressure-

        The earth’s atmospheric pressure and the world’s ocean pressures have also not changed in the past 150 years. Scratch another one off the list.

        -Temperature-

        The earth’s temperature HAS changed dramatically in the past 150 years, as demonstrated through analysis and empirical data. We know from physics that temperature is directly proportional to volume of a gas or liquid:

        T ~ V

        Thus, if temperature rises, so does volume.

        Ergo, with the increased temperature we have observed, we can deduce through process of elimination and statistical measure that the increased temperatures account for the increased volume of the earth’s oceans. Which in closing accounts for sea level rises and the sinking of islands.

        Science is fun, ain’t it?

      • Chris Balsz

        The usual measurements have been to the depth of coastal seafloors, which is not the same thing as measuring the “level of the sea” due to things such as erosion.

        I’m not clear why the Pacific Ocean would be “higher” in Kiribati but not in Peru, Japan or Hawaii.

        • drdredel

          As I note in my point above, the fact that you’re “not clear” on it is to be expected… This is what happens when one examines information in which one has limited understanding. However, the prudent approach here is to try to learn what you can, in the limited time available to you, so as to understand the “whys” that you can understand, but recognize that there are some “whys” that you simply can’t grasp without extensive training in the field. This is not to say that you can’t do a massive about-face in your life and go become an expert. It is going to take time however.
          Personally, I’m all in favor of people discovering new passions in life. I promise you that if you find conclusive evidence that the world-wide science conspiracy that you are beating the drums over, actually exists, you will have many riches awaiting you.
          Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

        • Chris Balsz

          Go ahead and explain why a single body of water is “rising” in one spot and not anywhere else within its breadth or onto the surrounding coasts.

        • Xunzi Washington

          It’s the level of non-expert level skepticism displayed by people like Balsz on these issues that really annoys me. Personally, I have no idea why the water would be higher in one place and not another. I’m not an oceanographer, I have worse than a layman’s view of geography and topography, and I’m not a climate scientist. Does it sound intuitively odd? Sure. But there are lots of things that are intuitively odd that are, scientifically speaking, completely obvious and understandable.

          This is why we have a division of labor. We’re not all experts. I cede my vote to the scientific community, because I don’t have time to figure out everything I’d need to know in order to weigh in on scientific issues in a meaningful way.

          When people question the division of labor due to layman’s observations and based on Wiki and Google searches, all it tells me is: you don’t like the conclusion and are looking for reasons to script out for others your refusal to believe it.

          Personally, I hope and pray that global warming is not true. Even as a left oriented person, I do not want it to be true. I don’t “secretly wish” it is true so that all sorts of environmental regulations can come into being. In fact, I don’t know any left oriented people who “secretly wish” it is true.

          Can it turn out to be false? Yeah. And I hope it does! However if it does, it won’t be because of Googologists and Wikiperts like Balsz going on about water levels and the Himalayas. It will be because the scientific community as a whole finds that the theory is false. No – not that this or that piece of countervailing evidence exists, since this is not the way a theory is disproved — but because on balance the theory will fail to explain all the data as well as a counter hypothesis.

  • gmckee1985

    Who cares? Evolution is a theory. What does it have to do with politics? Unless someone is campaigning on teaching creationism on a national level, it is utterly irrelevant.

    • drdredel

      Evolution is a theory in the same way that the Earth being a sphere is a theory. Would you vote for someone that insisted that we offer kids the choice between flat and round earth theory and trust them to be smart enough to figure out which is right?

      What exactly IS your criteria for someone being your leader? I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but are you saying that so long as they align themselves ideologically with the things you hold dear, who they are as a person, and what they think on subjects (many of which find their way across their desk in innumerable ways) doesn’t matter?
      We’re not talking about his favorite ice-cream flavors! We’re talking about this person’s ability to understand and acknowledge really fundamental factual realities. How many of these can he shirk before you disqualify him for leadership?

  • angeleno

    Huntsman is the conscience of the GOP.

    • CanadianLiberal

      I agree. I really like him. I mean, I disagree with him on many things, but he strikes me as an intelligent, rational person. He has demonstrated an ability to work with Democrats as Ambassador. He supports gay rights – well, at least 1000x more than the other candidates. He has experience not only as a governor, but with foreign affairs. He accepts basic science. He is not a religious zealot. In fact, I deeply admire the fact that he and his wife have chosen to raise their two adopted daughters within their cultural faiths (Hinduism and Buddhism), as well as (presumably) within the Mormon Church. I wish he would get the nomination – even though I realize that is impossible in the current GOP climate.

      I actually think that Jon Huntsman is the best shot the GOP have at winning in 2012. Maybe that should make me root for him to lose the primary, but I would rather see a qualified, intelligent, thoughtful person run against President Obama. I guess I am just not that cynical. It might be a closer race, but I could be at peace with either outcome. Right now, the possibility that Bachmann or Perry have even the smallest possibility of becoming President frightens me.

      • Demosthenes

        I would rather see a qualified, intelligent, thoughtful person run against President Obama

        I gave to Ron Paul, largely for this reason. (I would vote for Huntsman on the GOP ticket, but at this point I think Paul stands the better chance of gaining traction, particularly with independents and center-right Republicans). If the nominee is Perry or Bachmann, the conversation during the election is about stupid nonsense like whether or not we should allow “Intelligent Design” to be taught in science classrooms. If the nominee is Ron Paul, the conversation is about the military-industrial complex. I prefer we talk about the military-industrial complex.

        • CanadianLiberal

          I have some pretty deep reservations about Ron Paul, personally. I agree with him on several key issues – ending military involvement in Iraq/Afghanistan, legalizing drugs – but his other views are too extreme and they make me squeamish. I am all for personal liberty, but I think liberty has to be balanced with justice. In a just society, people don’t die because they are too poor to have health insurance (I find his stance on health care extremely puzzling given that he is an MD). In a just society, quality education is available to everyone (Why target the Department of Education? As an educated man, I would think that he would understand the value of having a well-educated society). In a just society, personal religious beliefs have no place in policy decisions (He opposes same-sex marriage on (I assume) religious grounds). He opposes repealing DADT – a law that limits the speech of individuals serving in the military – even though he claims to be a champion of free speech. He opposes environmental legislation – because he doesn’t believe in the science. He opposes nearly all regulation of business and banks, despite the clear evidence of what results from de-regulation.

          Just like many libertarians, he wants to impose the freedoms he approves of (guns, greed and school prayer) and limit the freedoms he doesn’t approve of (gay marriage, gay adoption, free speech for gays in the military, women’s reproductive rights, civil rights protection). It’s intellectually dishonest.

          This is what I hear – “I want government out of your lives – unless you’re gay or a woman. I think everyone has inalienable rights – but I won’t do anything to protect them. In fact, I will actively pursue repealing the laws that already protect you.”

        • Demosthenes

          Those are all fair points. However, I think that what you have seen from Representative Paul may be something different than what you might see from a President Paul. Certainly this is true of Senator vs. President Obama!

          Ron Paul strikes me as a man of deep integrity and a fair amount of intelligence. Leading is different from legislating, and I am sure he understands this, just the same as Obama does. He has deeply-held beliefs, which strike many (including myself) as unorthodox. But I feel that he is enough of a pragmatist to get the job done right. Certainly I will keep an open mind about his candidacy, if he is the eventual GOP nominee.

        • CanadianLiberal

          Demosthenes, I admire your faith in Ron Paul. But I choose to take him at his word. He has said that he will do these things – I have no reason to think that he is a liar. In the recent debate, he indicated that he would not take a deal that was 10:1 spending cuts to revenue increases. That is not a pragmatic (or correct, in my opinion) position. It’s an ideological position. Obama campaigned on bipartisan compromise – he has certainly done that (far too much, but I digress). I don’t feel that Barack Obama is substantively different from who he said he would be as President.

          I can’t base my opinions on what I think someone will do. Ron Paul has made his positions abundantly clear. I take him at his word. Therefore, I cannot support him.

        • Demosthenes

          Jon Huntsman said he wouldn’t take the same 10:1 deal! At the same time!

        • CanadianLiberal

          I know. That’s why I don’t really support any of them. But I find Jon Huntsman much more reasonable and moderate than Ron Paul. Huntman’s ideas are far more rational and far less extreme.

  • Demosthenes

    @Chris,

    Having lived in the shadow of the Himalayas, I can tell you that the locals are very unhappy with the changes in climate. There are droughts when there used to be monsoons, heavy rains when there used to be droughts, and the glaciers are visibly diminished even over the last five to ten years. They may not be completely gone by 2050, but then again they may be completely gone even before then. The point is, the Himalayan glaciers are most certainly melting at an alarming (and accelerating) rate. I can tell you this with 100% certainty, having seen it myself, and having spoken with locals about it.

  • Xunzi Washington

    It’s the level of non-expert level skepticism displayed by people like Balsz on these issues that really annoys me. Personally, I have no idea why the water would be higher in one place and not another. I’m not an oceanographer, I have worse than a layman’s view of geography and topography, and I’m not a climate scientist. Does it sound intuitively odd? Sure. But there are lots of things that are intuitively odd that are, scientifically speaking, completely obvious and understandable.

    This is why we have a division of labor. We’re not all experts. I cede my vote to the scientific community, because I don’t have time to figure out everything I’d need to know in order to weigh in on scientific issues in a meaningful way.

    When people question the division of labor due to layman’s observations and based on Wiki and Google searches, all it tells me is: you don’t like the conclusion and are looking for reasons to script out for others your refusal to believe it.

    Personally, I hope and pray that global warming is not true. Personally, I don’t know if it is. I’m not qualified to say. The scientific community seems to think it is, so I tend to be worried about it. As a left oriented person, I do not want it to be true. I don’t “secretly wish” it is true so that all sorts of environmental regulations can come into being. In fact, I don’t know any left oriented people who “secretly wish” it is true.

    Can it turn out to be false? Yeah. And I hope it does! However if it does, it won’t be because of Googologists and Wikiperts like Balsz going on about water levels and the Himalayas. It will be because the scientific community as a whole finds that the theory is false. No – not that this or that piece of countervailing evidence exists, since this is not the way a theory is disproved — but because on balance the theory will fail to explain all the data as well as a counter hypothesis does.

    But to know that, one way or the other we’ll have to…gasp…wait on the verdict of the scientific expert community.