At last night's Republican presidential debate, the harshest blow may have been landed by Rick Perry ... against Rick Perry.
The Texas governor, already infamous for his climate science ignorance, somehow dug his own hole even deeper last night. Perry mangled an analogy and managed to compare himself to the religious and/or political figures who found Galileo's sun-centered model of the solar system to be an inconvenient truth:
"Galileo got outvoted for a spell," said Perry, in attempting to argue that the issue of climate change remains "unsettled." But what Perry fails to realize is the fact that the scientific community actually agreed with Galileo. It was the clergy who outvoted him, accusing him of being a heretic. "By the time Galileo was publishing on heliocentrism, the idea was already circulating and widely accepted in scientific circles, including Jesuits," explains Joshua Rosneau from the National Center for Science Education. "He wasn't outvoted by scientists, he was outvoted by the political and religious leadership of his country."
The example of Galileo would actually make a great metaphor for climate change scientists, not the deniers. Following his Galileo blunder, Perry parrots the familiar political reasoning behind brushing off the theory of climate change, one supported by the vast majority of environmental scientists--97 percent of them, in fact. Perry warns of putting "America's economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country." But a study by the National Academy of Science and funded by Congress said bluntly that the "the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare for adapting to its impacts." Despite what Perry claims, climate change continues to be debated not by scientists but by politicians.
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