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Lamar Smith, Future Chairman For the House Committee On Science, Space, and Tech

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the politician-selected-for-job-in-politics dept.

Government 292

An anonymous reader writes "Lamar Smith, a global warming skeptic, will become the new chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Someone who disagrees with the vast majority of scientists will be given partial jurisdiction over NASA, EPA, DOE, NSF, NOAA, and the USGS. When will candidates who are actually qualified to represent science or at a minimum show an interest in it be the representatives of science with regard to political decision-making?"

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I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122657)

I know where are mexican politics taking their ideas from

Re:I can see it now (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123519)

No, the Mexican government would have prevented this. In Mexico the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, elects 3/5th of its members by district and 2/5th by proportional representation. Proportional representation puts a wrench in the gerrymandering machine. By contrast, in the US we would have to have a 5% greater Democratic vote than Republican vote [princeton.edu] just to get parity in the House due to a phenomenal level of gerrymandering (which the Supreme Court says is perfectly legal even outside of the census as long as there is no obvious attempt to define districts to disenfranchise people based on race). Unfortunately, the people only voted for Democrats by 0.5% more than Republicans, resulting in the Republicans having 33 more seats than the Democrats.

Just vote them in to office (4, Insightful)

bfmorgan (839462) | about 2 years ago | (#42122685)

Please vote them in to office.

Re:Just vote them in to office (3, Insightful)

systemidx (2708649) | about 2 years ago | (#42122779)

Qualified individuals are too intelligent to run for office.

Re:Just vote them in to office (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123129)

This is the house, where an insignificant little nowhere can get a ton of free crap by just electing the same person for 40 years straight thereby giving him enough seniority to gain influence, chair important committees and bring a ton of pork back to his district.

Vote him out? It's not in the best interests of the few constituents he has. All his negatives are externalities that his constituents don't have to pay.

Re:Just vote them in to office (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123795)

Lamar Smith is the Representative of the 21st Congressional district of Texas [wikipedia.org] which contains parts of the Austin and San Antonio metro areas. It's also gerrymandered to hell and back, specifically designed to break up the citizens of those two metro areas.

Re:Just vote them in to office (1)

Newander (255463) | about 2 years ago | (#42123909)

If we were to get the Democrats back in the majority, though, these guys wouldn't be the chairmen.

To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (4, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#42122715)

Hall's opposition was even more pronounced. One could even say that by appointing Lamar Smith, who only attacked "one sided coverage" (vs the 88 year old Hall's direct attack on the science), that Texas may be slowly warming up to the idea... http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/12/ralph-hall-speaks-out-on-climate.html [sciencemag.org]

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122825)

and AFAIK he hasn't suggested that it's all "lies straight from the pit of Hell!"

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (5, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#42122989)

Lamar happens to be the dickbag that keeps trying to push things like SOPA... just keep that in mind.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#42123553)

I know SOPA is more relevant to slashdot, but I think climate change is a bigger concern here.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (4, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#42123185)

Texas may be slowly warming up to the idea

They may want to move a little faster. They have a lot of coastline.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42123433)

Everything moves slowly in the south.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#42123403)

going from a shit nominee to a remotely less shit nominee does not mean that Texas is warming up to logic. They're as anti-logic as they ever have been, with intellectuals remaining a minority.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#42123681)

going from a shit nominee to a remotely less shit nominee does not mean that Texas is warming up to logic. They're as anti-logic as they ever have been, with intellectuals remaining a minority.

With any luck Texas will make good on their threats and secede, taking him with them.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123989)

Intellectuals are a minority pretty much everywhere once you expand the area beyond a college or some high tech workplace.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (5, Informative)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42123503)

Lamar Smith is a Christian Scientist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_S._Smith#Personal_life [wikipedia.org]

Christian Scientists believe that sickness and disease are the result of fear, ignorance, or sin, and should be healed through prayer or introspection.
Christian Science is opposed to science and uses the appearance of being a science to give itself extra legitimacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science [wikipedia.org]

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (1)

wlj (204164) | about 2 years ago | (#42123671)

What do you mean "slowly warming up to the idea"? As opposed to "a cold day in ..."?

Reality checks bounce ALL to often down here.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42123749)

Texas may be slowly warming up to the idea

No pun intended, I'm sure.

Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (3, Informative)

pieisgood (841871) | about 2 years ago | (#42123755)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science [wikipedia.org]

Lamar is also a part of the Christian Science denomination. Read up on what these people think, then get back to me.

He does show an interest in it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122727)

Opposing something means you are interested enough in it to oppose it.

Re:He does show an interest in it. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#42124115)

Right.

This is why he was elected. Well that and gerrymandering, but this is the job his constituents (the republican party and Fox news) chose him to do. To oppose these 'false elitist scientists' or however you want to phrase it.

In 2010 'Merican voters handed gerrymandering majorities to Republicans, this is what they did with it. We're complaining because this is what he publicly stood for before coming into office. That's what he believes, that's what he was elected to do. For all of the many faults of republicans the Tea Party has made them actually stand for the things they say they stand for. They might be ignorant fools, but at least they aren't liars (or at least not lying about the policies they are going to vote for). I guess thats supposed to be an improvement.

Sigh (1)

systemidx (2708649) | about 2 years ago | (#42122759)

Politicians become politicians BECAUSE they're inept in every other field. Therefore politicians will never be qualified to represent .

Good choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122771)

I'm sure Gordon Freeman will be glad to know that Lamarr is in charge.

Skeptic is ok... (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 2 years ago | (#42122789)

If he were merely a skeptic, that's ok; a skeptic is a person who's willing to look at the data and see what they say.

However, far too many of the people who call themselves "skeptics" are in fact not skeptics at all, but global-warming deniers: they don't care what the data is, and aren't really interested in learning. They're not really skeptical, because they already have their conclusion, and are only interested in arguments that support it.

To quote S. Fred Singer, "The deniers are giving us skeptics a bad name."

Re:Skeptic is ok... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122961)

Hilarious. "global-warming deniers". Don't you mean "climate change deniers"? You forgot that the global warming scammers have changed the name, to 'climate change' - you know, because the climate is ALWAYS 'changing'. You morons.

The Slashdot idiots are out in force again, whatever the TV tells them, they believe it.

www.climatedepot.com

Re:Skeptic is ok... (2)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 2 years ago | (#42123191)

Can't you see the insanity of going off on a tangent about others substituting the term climate change for global warming in reply to a poster using the term global warming? The person doing the substitution is you ... and predominantly people like you ... personally I believe it has become more common after surfacestations imploded and outright denialism of warming became a bit too silly.

Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123231)

If you really believe that, how you managed to coordinate both of your moldy braincells long enough to stop drooling on the keyboard and post?

Oh right, paid shill. Move along.

Re:Skeptic is ok... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123975)

Hilarious. "global-warming deniers". Don't you mean "climate change deniers"? You forgot that the global warming scammers have changed the name, to 'climate change' - you know, because the climate is ALWAYS 'changing'. You morons.

The Slashdot idiots are out in force again, whatever the TV tells them, they believe it.

www.climatedepot.com

This should be an ask slashdot question... Why do all opinions that contradict the group think at Slashdot get moded down to -1? Of course the question is probably self answering...

Hello Slashdotters... The global cooling oops global warming oops climate change religion is just that a religion. HEY DUMB F..KS.. There is climate change and there has always been climate change and THERE WILL ALWAYS BE CLIMATE CHANGE!!! Climate change isn't a bad thing. You people profess to know the facts... One simple question regarding the facts... If the climate has changed throughout the history of the planet's existence and those changes have led to conditions that are more extreme than the conditions currently on the planet. Then, why are all of you idiots so upset? Have you ever herd the saying "Much ado about NOTHING!!!!"

Re:Skeptic is ok... (2, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#42123315)

If he were merely a skeptic, that's ok; a skeptic is a person who's willing to look at the data and see what they say.

However, far too many of the people who call themselves "skeptics" are in fact not skeptics at all, but global-warming deniers: they don't care what the data is, and aren't really interested in learning.

I'm an agnostic. I don't know if or how much global warming is occurring; and given the hyper-partisan rhetoric, name-calling, and various logical fallacies coming from both sides I don't think I'll know for a very long time.

The term you use, "denier", is a perfect example and is in fact a Godwin. The term was well known for Holocaust denier and once it became appropriately stained people started using it to label skeptics of their pet ideas when they didn't want to have to actually convince anyone.

Re:Skeptic is ok... (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42123799)

I'm an agnostic. I don't know if or how much global warming is occurring; and given the hyper-partisan rhetoric, name-calling, and various logical fallacies coming from both sides I don't think I'll know for a very long time.

So skip the partisans and see what qualified people have to say: scientists.

The term you use, "denier", is a perfect example and is in fact a Godwin. The term was well known for Holocaust denier and once it became appropriately stained people started using it to label skeptics of their pet ideas when they didn't want to have to actually convince anyone.

Bullshit. If someone denies a well established fact, they're a denier. The only common bond they have with people who deny other well established facts is that they reject facts established by mountains of evidence.

Re:Skeptic is ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42124079)

Which scientists?

And what makes them qualified to render an opinion worth listening to?

Re:Skeptic is ok... (0)

Ocker3 (1232550) | about 2 years ago | (#42124041)

*sigh*

I'll bite.

What various logical fallacies do you see coming from the 99%+ of the scientists around the world who agree that Global Climate Change is a reality, if not being completely human-caused? The polar ice caps are melting, the glaciers are melting, Kilimanjaro is clear of snow for the first time beyond living memory, the Siberian Tundra that stores huge quantities of methane are melting, the Insurance Industry can show you graphs of increasing intensity in storms going back to before WWI, the evidence is vastly on the side of Global Climate Change as being a reality now, not any hypothesis.

Perhaps you don't Want it to be a reality? I don't either, but from many data sources we may well be fucked anyway and stuck with a 2 degree increase in global averages no matter what we do, which will cause many changes that threaten our way of life.

Re:Skeptic is ok... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#42123475)

> far too many of the people who call themselves "skeptics" are in fact not skeptics at all

Sadly yes. :-/ The correct term is Pseudo-Skeptic or Irrational Rationalists.

i.e. see Sofka's excellent "Myths of Skepticism" whitepaper.
http://homepages.rpi.edu/~sofkam/papers/skeptik.html [rpi.edu]

or Wu's very interesting essay which despite it being on a different topic altogether lays out the problems of pseudoskeptics.
http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Introduction.htm [debunkingskeptics.com]

Great quote BTW !

When (1)

Meneth (872868) | about 2 years ago | (#42122815)

When will candidates who are actually qualified to represent science or at a minimum show an interest in it be the representatives of science with regard to political decision-making?

When a majority starts using their brains to vote. Which means, probably never.

Re:When (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42123565)

Democracy isn't a particularly good method for coming to facts, especially when you find yourself realizing that your own personal interest is not served by acceptance of that fact.

Awww fuck.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122823)

Religious nut in charge of science and technology... This will not end well for the usa.

Ask not for whom the bone bones - it bones for thee.

Royally.

"Skeptic" (0)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#42122827)

That's a funny way to spell "denier".

The question is whether he's a denier because he sincerely wants to believe there's not a problem, because there's money and power at stake, or both.

Re:"Skeptic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122965)

Looking at all the purchased legislation that comes from him (SOPA, PCIP, DMCA enhancements) & your answer is pretty obvious.

You're confused about who he's representing. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122875)

The candidate (Lamar Smith) is not there to represent science, so he doesn't really need to be qualified for that. He's not there to represent NASA, EPA, DOE, NSF, NOAA, and the USGS. He's there to represent the people who elected him, and more broadly all of the people of the US. Just playing devil's advocate here. Not everyone in the US agrees with all things science.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42123197)

You can't disagree with facts. You can be ignorant of them, but you can't disagree as they are not matters of opinion. Sometimes there are not two sides, the earth is round, the sun is the center of the solar system, the earth is billions of years old.

At least he is replacing the "lies from the pit of hell" moron.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (1)

gQuigs (913879) | about 2 years ago | (#42123339)

I disagree :)

In fact, it's right in the definition: to dissent in opinion (from another person) or dispute (about an idea, fact, etc.)
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/disagree [thefreedictionary.com]

Now.. that doesn't make their positions any less wrong.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123365)

Well, you can disagree whether is a fact. Is earth being round, a fact? No it is not. I am thankful for people who did not take it as a fact and studied it further.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (5, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#42123743)

You have to account, though, for the truth that not all things claimed to be facts, particularly in politicized subjects, are actually facts. For example, temperature measurements are facts, though their accuracy can be questioned. Global temperature, though, is not a fact: it is an extraction on facts (the temperature readings) filtered through assumptions and patches (like assuming that temperature changes smoothly and uniformly between places where temperatures are measured). On top of those extrapolations, people have layered conclusions, some of which are reasonable (which does not make them facts but inferences), some of which are not. But it's pretty clear that just arguing that AGW is a fact won't get you anywhere, because the totality of what is commonly meant by that term is not a fact or set of facts, though it does include some facts, even if it later turns out to have reached a correct conclusion. "Shut up" is rarely an effective argument.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#42123455)

He can represent his district by voting on legislation. He doesn't belong as the head of a committee on a subject he's incompetent at.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (0)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42123827)

on a subject he's incompetent at.

Careful, careful... the job of his position is to decide how to destroy the middle class:
1) by increasing corp control (R)
or
2) by increasing govt control (D)

WRT to global warming the plan for each option, respectively is:
1) Burn more hydrocarbons aka business as usual (R)
or
2) "Make a statement" by doing annoying stuff that will have absolutely no measurable result in the end, or go all Pol Pot on the worlds population (D)

Now the PR campaign is he's a supporter of option #1, because of Jesus or whatever irrational man in the sky. Reality is more likely due to campaign contributions. Regardless of why, he's a supporter of option #1, which is likely to cause less human suffering than option #2. So ridiculous imaginary friend rationalization of the irrational or whatever, he's pointed the right direction. Even a blind dog finds a bone once in awhile.

Overall... OK. Find. BAU is better than the alternative.

For better or worse his position has nothing to do with science or reality or truth or whatever, so don't worry about it.

Re:You're confused about who he's representing. (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42123815)

The candidate (Lamar Smith) is not there to represent science, so he doesn't really need to be qualified for that. He's not there to represent NASA, EPA, DOE, NSF, NOAA, and the USGS. He's there to represent the people who elected him, and more broadly all of the people of the US. Just playing devil's advocate here. Not everyone in the US agrees with all things science.

"The people" elected him to represent their district. A political machine made him chair of the committee.

Unacceptable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122903)

Only those who conform to what other people think is scientific enough to be in a position of influence!

at last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42122921)

Seems to me like someone has at last made the correct choice to give the global warmies and the climate clan a bit of a hard time well done .

Scientists need to be careful to avoid bias (2, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 2 years ago | (#42122941)

People like this are the reason that scientists need to be very careful to present their data in an unbiased fashion. The temptation to show "simple" or "clear" data that supports something they are sure is true needs to be resisted. Any evidence that the scientists are in any way biasing their data can be used politically to discredit the entire field.

Re:Scientists need to be careful to avoid bias (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42123599)

Physical scientists have a notoriously bad record predicting economic impacts of their physical science. The best thng to do may be nothing and let technology continue advancing rapidly.

Imagine people in the year 1900, the idiocy of them crushing their economy in hopes of staving off global warming. We would decidedly not be better off in 2012 with 1970-level tech (or 1980 or, gag, 1950) but no global warming.

A quick look at many countries nowadays shows massive interference can not just slow things down but drive it retrograde. North Korea, for example.

Now, having said that, there are potentially much cheaper ameliorations. I don't recommend those either as an overshoot could induce an ice age, which records show can come on in as little as a year or two -- one year where winter snowfall doesn't melt, and buttloads of energy are reflected all summer, bringing on a hideous winter, and poof. Not small difficulties of moving back from the ocean over a century, but billions dead in a year or two.

Re:Scientists need to be careful to avoid bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123785)

The thing a out Science is that it is the least biased human activity there is.

please define (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#42122953)

Define "vast majority of scientists"

If you want someone who understands science better, then someone like Roscoe Bartlett should not have been voted out of office, given the fact that he holds a PhD is physiology and is a former NASA engineer. Stop voting for politicians, vote for people with real world experience and technical knowledge. Get rid of the lawyers and elect doctors and scientists.

Re:please define (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42123241)

Lawyers deciding scientific matters doesn't make much sense, but neither does doctors deciding matters of war and peace or scientists deciding matters of budgeting. That's one of the major problems in politics: Anyone actually trying to serve their country well (I know, pipe dream, but bear with me) has to make decisions about subjects they know absolutely nothing about.

Here's what you actually need: People who are smart enough to listen to expert advice about what they don't know, and discerning enough to tell the difference between a real expert and a fake expert. Having a general background in a wide variety of subjects also helps in determining which expert is lying.

Also, there are currently 16 doctors, 8 other health care professionals, 9 farmers, 5 engineers, 6 scientists, and 5 accountants, who haven't done things all that differently from everyone else in Congress. Also worth noting is that there are 201 business executives and 94 educators as well as 225 lawyers.

Re:please define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123405)

Why do we need to? He practices Christian Science. To all sane people, it should be enough to disqualify him from any position related to actual science.

Re:please define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123639)

So how does him knowing a bit about the body (though his phd) and some engineering stuff (my guess would be something related to mech, elec, aero) mean he knows any more than other people about long time global climate fluctuations, weather, energy generation, and rocks?

Re:please define (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#42123859)

So how does him(her) knowing a bit about the law and some litigation mean (s)he knows any more than other people about science and technology?

FTFY, to include 50% of Congress

Re:please define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123945)

Stop creating false dichotomies. There may not be many of us, but some lawyers are also scientists.

No big suprize. (0, Flamebait)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about 2 years ago | (#42122987)

He is just there to sabotage science, technology and reason. It is as simple as that. My friend who is in local politics says it very standard practice for a person to join or chair a committee for the sole purpose of sabotaging the committee and what it stands for. Kinda like the ole fox guarding the hen house. So it's just not a matter of a poor choice, it's an agenda.

Re:No big suprize. (2)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#42123423)

He's a politician. He'll sabotage whatever he's paid most to sabotage. It's not unique to Lamar (who is a jackoff in his own right)... it's how politicians work. Make no bones about it, even if he was a proponent of sending all the Oil companies into space and using nothing but solar power, he'll STILL go to the highest bidder.

In other words.. this is MOTS... regardless of party... Anyone who's been awake for the last 4 years can realize now that there isn't a two party system anymore in the US.

What makes you qualified to say he's unqualified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123005)

So he's skeptical of human-made global warming. How does that make him unqualified? The evidence is still inconclusive. Just because you believe it to be true doesn't mean it necessarily is. It very well may be, but we don't know for certain.

From what I've learned about the subject, I'm convinced that global warming is happening, and that it's not part of the natural warming-cooling cycles. However, it is not beyond a shadow of a doubt, let alone "proven."

Now, if he said that evolution is a lie straight from Hell, and that the world is only 9,000 years old, then I'd agree that he's unqualified. The evidence in favor of evolution is conclusive, even if it isn't absolutely provable.

Re:What makes you qualified to say he's unqualifie (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42123917)

You have a religious interpretation of a scientific issue. Science doesn't matter how he "feels" or what he "believes". They are orthogonal.
All that matters is what he plans to do. I think he's planning to do the right thing, with right thing defined as causing the least overall human suffering.
I really don't care which sky god told him to do it, or what jumbled up mystery bounces around inside his head. Just continue to do the right thing and I'm happy.

It would be "nice" if he was in the community of the rational, but I'll take "doin the right thing" over that any day as a pragmatic outlook.

Re:What makes you qualified to say he's unqualifie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42124097)

Because on /., if one disagrees with one part of one field of science, you disagree with all science.

Wasted Space! (0)

Knoman (995090) | about 2 years ago | (#42123025)

Why is it that all the Republicans on the House Committee of Science, Space and Technology; Deny Science {Evolution,Global Warming, etc.}, don't understand Technology {The Internet is a "series of tubes"} and are just a waste of Space?!?

Re:Wasted Space! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42123863)

Why is it that all the Republicans on the House Committee of Science, Space and Technology; Deny Science {Evolution,Global Warming, etc.}, don't understand Technology {The Internet is a "series of tubes"} and are just a waste of Space?!?

Politics. They deny global warming because their $$$ sponsors expect them to, and they deny evolution because the people who vote in their districts expect them to.

Some scientists make policy (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about 2 years ago | (#42123051)

> When will candidates who are actually qualified to represent science ... be the representatives of science with regard to political decision-making?

You know that Steven Chu [wikipedia.org] is secretary of energy, right? And that the department of energy has a Basic Energy Sciences division which gets a lot of federal science money?

And wasn't there a slashdot story about a physicist-turned-congressman lately?

I mean, yes, I'd like it if it happened more often, and I'm not defending Lamar Smith's qualifications, but it's childish and petty to pretend that it _never_ happens.

My apologies. (5, Interesting)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#42123065)

To all of Slashdot's out-of-US readers: On behalf of the United States of America, I apologize for this event. I do not live in Smith's Congressional district; nor would I have dare voted that anti-freedom, anti-technology SOPA author and professional monster [wikipedia.org] to Congress (let alone this apparently influential committee position) if I did.

Smith has left great bruises on the certainty of a free internet and will now leave a great and lasting scar on Science and the Useful Arts. He will not endanger the science of "climate change" or "global warming", he will endanger knowledge itself.

Re:My apologies. (0)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#42123791)

What the fuck qualifies you to speak on behalf of the Uniyed States?

Re:My apologies. (4, Funny)

hawkfish (8978) | about 2 years ago | (#42123879)

What the fuck qualifies you to speak on behalf of the Uniyed States?

Because he can spell?

Re:My apologies. (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#42123887)

He went on a super-secret-squirrel mission to save the world from an evil mastermind plotting to blow up the moon with a laser beam.
From his office chair. In his parent's basement. Drinking Mountain Dew and eating Cheetos.

Dennis "Chem Trails" Kucinich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42124039)

How about we put him in charge? Huh? Because bat shit crazy has no party affiliation.

Re:My apologies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42124173)

I DO live in Smith's Congressional district. I tried to get the word out and remind everyone of how bad Smith really is, but it seems 2/3 of my neighbors do not care. On behalf of the 1/3 of us that voted against Smith, we apologize.

When? (2)

uzd4ce (1916592) | about 2 years ago | (#42123067)

"When will candidates who are actually qualified to represent science or at a minimum show an interest in it be the representatives of science with regard to political decision-making?"

When more scientists step up and become congresscritters of course. Until then....

Re:When? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42123427)

Well, they'd have to win election too...

Re:When? (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#42123515)

The Committee on Science, Space and Technology has about as much to do with science as the Book of Genesis does with explaining the origin of the universe. It's a POLITICAL committee.. it is motivated by cash. Period. Just like all other committees. Democrats/Republicans/"Independents"... they're all cash hungry. That's it. I wish it were better, but it isn't. The one or two representatives and senators who understand the Internet and aren't in the back pockets of the *AAs are not connected enough to get on a committee...

Will the world return to flat earth belief and a desire to return to the moon for the cheese? No. Will scientists be burned at the stake? No. It's the HOUSE committee... there's still a SENATE committee... and well, the other guys who have that chamber aren't that much better.... but the planet will not implode and we won't be demon hunting in New Jersey because Lamar Smith railroaded a law through that claims all able bodied individuals must go on witch-hunts twice a year or be fined $500.

Re:When? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42123689)

Rush Holt says hi.

Apparently.... (3, Insightful)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 2 years ago | (#42123093)

It looks like the GOP doesn't think they have done a thorough enough job of convincing us that they have all either sold out or lost their freaking minds. Or both.

religious agenda (0)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#42123109)

Upon reading up on this Lamar Smith guy, I'm convinced he has an agenda motivated by religion. Just look at the guys schooling, views on abortion, on cannibis, etc. Looks like we'll be back in the Dark Ages again.

His platform doesnt agree with the above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123127)

The platform he has on his web site says:
"Like many Americans, I am concerned about the environment. The Earth has undergone tremendous change in the past and is experiencing similar change now. Climate change has the potential to impact agriculture, ecosystems, sea levels, weather patterns, and human health.

It is our responsibility to take steps to improve the quality of our land, water and air for ourselves and for future generations. We can do this by developing and expanding clean energy technologies, relying less on foreign oil, and utilizing a common sense approach to conservation.

As a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, I am committed to ensuring that we rely on good science to guide our strategies in dealing with the environment."

So honestly it seems that he has changed his mind on the issue, and this article seems one sided as the attached link is from 2009, and im of liberal standpoint, that doesnt mean we should be unfair...

Vast Majority? (1, Interesting)

loyalw (887067) | about 2 years ago | (#42123169)

Just because a vast majority believe a certain thing to be true does not make it so. Things all fall at the same rate, the Earth revolves around the Sun, the Earth is a spheroid, etc. None of these beliefs was held by the vast majority at some time in the past. I don't know if there is global warming or not. Some of the data show a rise in sea level and a loss of polar ice. Is this man-made, man-enhanced, or just a natural cycle that the Earth is going through? How much carbon is put into the air from forest fires, volcanoes, etc.? How does that compare to what the cars and other man-made carbon spewers put into the air? Some unbiased data would be good. It is unfortunate that big business (and government, which really is just another big business) pays for most research. It makes it very hard to publish a study with a conclusion different from what the sponsor would like. Just my $0.02.

Re:Vast Majority? (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42123643)

Yeah, Mesopotamian creation myths showed a flat Earth. So what? They were operating with a very different belief system than modern empiricism, or even post Pythagorean logic. Is that what you want to make decisions with? Divine inspiration from Enki?

That's the only way you are going to get to the idea of a flat Earth.

FACT: Anyone who can do basic geometry can prove the Earth is not flat. Pythagoras knew it 2500 years ago.

Likewise with global warming. It's a FACT that the Earth is getting warmer. Sea levels all over the world are going up. There is no possible explanation for it other than the average temperature is increasing unless you believe some magic sky daddy is creating water to trick us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trends_in_global_average_absolute_sea_level,_1870-2008_(US_EPA).png [wikipedia.org]

Now the data for anthropogenic global warming is slightly less compelling, but none the less it is compelling. If you don't want to accept it, fine. But I betcha that you are going to look like a complete boob some time in the future.

Sorry, but conspiracy theories are complete horseshit. It's EXACTLY the same logical fallacy that led Republicans to believe they were going to win the election (left wing media controls the polls and they are manipulating the results).

Let me guess. You thought Romney was going to win, didn't you?

Re:Vast Majority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123727)

Wasn't worth $.02

Re:Vast Majority? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 2 years ago | (#42124219)

Go away, denier-boy.

Congress does not represent a mythical group (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123199)

FYI:

Congress does not represent a abstract group of people called "scientists" or this thing your naming as "science" or "interests of science".

Each representative and senator represents the majority of their districts, and Congress as a whole is theoretically representative of The People- not some kind of fabricated "group authority of experts" that often called "scientists". Its not relevant if he disagrees with your opinion, even if you choose to represent your opinion or even the opinion of a small group as "the vast majority of some such group who know everything about what is true concerning everything".

So you ask: "When will candidates who are actually qualified to represent science or at a minimum show an interest in it be the representatives of science with regard to political decision-making?"

Candidates are not supposed to represent "Science". They represent The People. Not you. Not a small group of so-called experts. And not some kind of fantasy of belief that "SCIENCE" needs to be represented at all, or merits any representation.

Finally! (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#42123209)

Finally, we'll get some sensibility and order to our so-called "science." This man will, by decree, ensure that there is no global warming, that all angles are obtuse - to avoid anyone getting poked - precisely identify how old the universe is, and declare cancer illegal, except in those cases where it brings in money for research companies and drug manufacturers. Oh, happy day! So much uncertainty will be wiped away by legislation. Imaginary numbers will no longer vex us. Glass will be neither a liquid nor a solid, or even a super-cooled liquid: it will be "magic" by God's intent. Take that you scientists with your harsh realities.

Don't forget "Christian Scientist"! (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about 2 years ago | (#42123245)

He's also a "Christian scientist", which I'll let wiki [wikipedia.org] explain

"Christian Scientists believe that sickness and disease are the result of fear, ignorance, or sin, and should be healed through prayer or introspection. Combined with a belief that the use of medicine is incompatible with Christian Science healing methods, this has led to outbreaks of preventable disease and a number of deaths. Its claim that sickness can be healed through prayer rather than medicine, its rejection of science as illusory, and its attempts to present itself as science make Christian Science a pseudoscience, in the view of philosopher John R. Searle."

Re:Don't forget "Christian Scientist"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123801)

The irony is that religion really is the result of fear and ignorance, and sin doesn't even exist.

"Global Warming" is both science and politics (2, Insightful)

jjo (62046) | about 2 years ago | (#42123377)

The real reason for pushback against the global warmist 'consensus' is that it is frankly both scientific and political. It starts with observations of global climate, and ends up with the undeniable and unquestionable conclusion that First-World governments must do whatever it takes to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in their countries. The entire chain of reasoning from observation to required government policy has been so sanctified that any one who questions or doubts even the tiniest aspect of it is labeled a "denier", implying that they are just as bad or worse than those who deny the Holucaust.

It's very puzzling that scientist's predictions of how an imperfectly-understood chaotic system will behave in the future, and recommendations for one particular policy approach to dealing with it, have achieved the inerrant status of Holy Writ, so that those who question any aspect of it must be burned at the stake.

That's illiteracy, not politics (0)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 2 years ago | (#42124073)

It starts with observations of global climate, and ends up with the undeniable and unquestionable conclusion that First-World governments must do whatever it takes to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in their countries. The entire chain of reasoning from observation to required government policy has been so sanctified that any one who questions or doubts even the tiniest aspect of it is labeled a "denier", implying that they are just as bad or worse than those who deny the Holucaust.

[citation needed] I think the viewpoint of "Yes, the numbers show warming, and no, government policy should not address the problem," is somewhat rare in itself. (But maybe I'm wrong about that.) And I have never heard of anyone who says that, being labeled as a denier. Not that it couldn't happen, but..

Wait, you're saying that you have not only witnessed this 1) rare position of acknowledging the measurements 2) seen the acknowledgement mislabeled as denial 3) seen the aforementioned mislabeling done repeatedly and consistently as a pattern? (I'm trying to rule out fringe crackpots.)

You've got three pretty small probabilities being multiplied by one another. I can believe the first: an anarchist could hold that position. Maybe some libertarians, if they get over that whole someone-elses-pollution-is-a-form-of-force-against-me thing. But step 2 is something truly bizarre (i.e. crazy homeless guy territory, or maybe extreme illiteracy where they don't know the meaning of "to deny" and lack capacity to use a dictionary) and step 3 would require an organized religion of some kind. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it would sure be interesting and amusing. You really have seen it? Has anyone ever written that somewhere on the Internet?

It's very puzzling that scientist's predictions of how an imperfectly-understood chaotic system will behave in the future, and recommendations for one particular policy approach to dealing with it, have achieved the inerrant status of Holy Writ, so that those who question any aspect of it must be burned at the stake.

Even literally burning ideological opponents at the stake over this, would be a less surprising reaction than the scenario you described in your first paragraph, where such opponents are being labeled as deniers.

Re:"Global Warming" is both science and politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42124195)

The real reason for pushback against the global warmist 'consensus' is that it is frankly both scientific and political. It starts with observations of global climate, and ends up with the undeniable and unquestionable conclusion that First-World governments must do whatever it takes to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in their countries. The entire chain of reasoning from observation to required government policy has been so sanctified that any one who questions or doubts even the tiniest aspect of it is labeled a "denier", implying that they are just as bad or worse than those who deny the Holucaust.

It's very puzzling that scientist's predictions of how an imperfectly-understood chaotic system will behave in the future, and recommendations for one particular policy approach to dealing with it, have achieved the inerrant status of Holy Writ, so that those who question any aspect of it must be burned at the stake.

Wow, you are right on target!!! I'm surprised you haven't been moded down to -1 since this thought contradicts the Slashdot group think.

Just to pile on... The best predictors of future weather are the guys who predict hurricane tracks and they only predict 3 days out... But these climate guys with a system that is much more complicated (planet vs a storm on a planet) believe they can predict accurately years in advance... What BS!!!

He's owned by hollywood and music lawyers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123419)

Lets not forget that he is a notorious copyright troll and corporate sock puppet for the MPAA and RIAA. PIPA, that was him......

I don't care about that (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#42123511)

It would be good to have a skeptic, someone who won't just dive in with spending trillions and curtailing rights every time someone brings up the climate change bogeyman.

What I am worried about is this guy is in the pocket of the entertainment industry. He wanted to strengthen the DMCA's provision on anti-circumvention software, and this is THE guy who introduced SOPA.

Re:I don't care about that (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42123823)

He's not a true skeptic. If he was he wouldn't be a Christian Scientist.

Confusion (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 years ago | (#42123587)

I really hate it when the headline isn't even a complete sentence.

Comperable... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123597)

That's like having Michele Bachmann on the Intelligence Committee. Oh, wait.

Republicans are ass wipes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42123707)

Actually, that is an insult to ass wipes which can be quite useful in a pinch.

Lamar "SOPA" Smith? Fuuuuuuuuu..........!!!! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#42123805)

That's crazy! This is the worst possible person for the job in the whole fucking world! This guy isn't a global warming skeptic, he's an outright, card-carrying denier.

Misspelt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42124127)

Which did they misspell first, lamer or Lamar?

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