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Climate ChangeGlobal WarmingPolicies & Politics

Rick Santorum Talks to Plants (a lesson on climate skeptic vs. climate denier)

There has never been any doubt where Rick Santorum stands on global warming. While he may call himself a “skeptic”, he is unworthy of the term. Santorum is a demagogue and a denier. But that’s what he’s always been so it was no surprise when he uttered this gem of denialist drivel while stumping this week in Biloxi, Mississippi :

“The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is”

I can see all the climate scientists running for cover – “oh no! they’re on to us! 

Yes sir, with Santorum’s expressed understanding of the carbon cycle, we’ll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief if he is ever elected president.

But seriously, we should expect – we should demand – that anyone running for president be a skeptic, and there’s nary a one among the thoroughly underwhelming contenders for the GOP nomination.

In his book Requiem for a Species, Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change, author and philosopher Clive Hamilton addresses the distinction between true skepticism and Santorum’s brand of denialism:

“…climate skeptics are not true skeptics, that is, those who suspend credulity in order to subject accepted beliefs to rigorous questioning. Climate skeptics do not carefully assess the claims of climate science in order to establish those that are credible and those that are not. They reject all claims of climate science and search for reasons to justify their rejection,” he writes. “This is not so much the agnosticism of the sceptic but the zealotry of the fanatic who believes himself to possess the Truth.”

Santorum and his GOP competitors are zealous and fanatical in their rejection of climate science. They make the conscious choice to forego reason and skeptical examination of the evidence in favor of fanaticism. They project their own “false theology” on others (as if Barrack Obama is really under the thumb of “radical environmentalists”), fearing extremism in others while failing to recognize their own.

Such abandonment of reason may pander to their base, it may even get them elected (though I doubt it). But it certainly is not the mark of the kind of leader we need in our troubled world.

Go ask your plants about that, Rick.

Image credit: Thinkprogress

 

 




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