Closing Minds and Banning Science in North Carolina

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 02:41 am

When Hrafnkell Haraldson wrote about North Carolina’s GOP desire to enshrine climate change denial into law, I read the article, shaking my head.  I also hoped that somehow the sanity Godess would convey her wrath and this asinine excuse for a law would be struck down.

Hraf’s article addresses the science of climate change in ways that I can’t match.  Aside from the detrimental effect that denying climate change will have on our children and their children’s future, there is another aspect of this bill that the great freedom fights Republicans claim to be should find problematic.

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But that’s not the worst part – or perhaps it is the worst part but not the most shocking. No, that would be that it might soon be illegal to talk about it in North Carolina.

Rather than deal with scientific fact, business-friendly Republicans would make it illegal.

With all the real issues to deal with, one would think that the GOP in North Caroline (or anywhere else for that matter) would spend their time working on them.  But why do real work to make job creation possible, when you can legislate conformity to your belief system?

After all, issuing dictates of what you will believe is much simpler than dealing with facts, science and other inconveniences that get in the way of the Orwellian sounding “job creators” making those billions to buy Presidents, governors and little puppets to perform in the State House and House of Representatives.

According to the Associated press:

HB 819 says that only the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission can calculate how fast the sea is rising for state governmental purposes and those calculations must be based on historic trends, which are much lower than the science panel’s projections.

Yes, this bill was passed last week with little opposition and it’s expected to become law, again with little opposition.  According to Treehugger:

After it passes the House of Reps again and is signed by the governor (neither are expected to offer any resistance), the law will officially force state planners to ignore forecasts of sea level rise projected by climate scientists, and instead rely only on historically observed levels.

If you find the ocean in your living room one day, you can thank Republicans and their desire to ban scientific research on climate change.

Whether you accept the science on climate change or not, this bill should bother you.  The very notion of a government banning any sort of scientific research has absolutely nothing to do with the freedom Republicans say they stand for.

Banning science they don’t like is nothing new for conservatives in this country and others.  For that matter using the bible as a justification to ban science or certain scientific thought dates back to Galileo.

Despite the Catholic Church’s condemnations, the earth continued to revolve around the sun and it will continue to do so.   The only thing the Catholic Church accomplished by condemning Galileo for daring to make a scientific discovery that contradicted religious doctrine was they put themselves on the wrong side of science and the wrong side of history.

Similar persecutions occurred throughout the ages, be it because conservatives resented the politics of the scientist or because the scientists research offended their political sensitivities.

The battle between science and conservatives has gone on for centuries.  They clinged to the myth that the earth is flat, despite scientific proof to the contrary.  Darwin was persecuted for his theories of evolution and the theory remains a thorn in the side of today’s religious zealots.  In that sense, the conservative resistance to climate change comes as no surprise.

The tactics remain the same today as they did centuries ago and it appears despite the lessons of history, Conservatives continue to hold on to the hope that by making facts disappear in a memory hole, the sun will start revolving around the earth, climate change won’t happen and the ocean will not appear in your living room.

By smearing the scientists or using time honored intimidation,

Conservatives hope to make scientific discovery that contradicts their version of the bible disappear.

By that logic a simple stroke of the pen will eliminate natural disasters or the adverse affects of nuclear weapons.  They can declare by law that AIDS is God’s punishment for the LGBT community and presumably if you get AIDS by other means, you must have done something to deserve it.

We can make Darwin’s theory of evolution disappear down the memory hole by forcing children to study creationism or “intelligent” design and calling it science even though, in reality, it is religious dogma.

This law in North Carolina takes the imposition of Republican ideology on all of us to the next step.  By banning science, by banning any discussion at all of climate change, the anti-regulation Republicans are regulating scientific thought.

While the tactics are akin to those of the Catholic Church in Galileo’s day, the motives extend beyond being offensive to the religious and or political sensitivities of today’s conservatives.

It’s a matter of corporate greed.  The tobacco industry led the charge in the 1990’s.  Since then leaders of the oil industry and the AEI joined in the effort to do the science on climate change what the Catholic Church did to Galileo.

When P.R., front groups, astroturfing and bribing scientists to lie about climate change didn’t work, the climate change deniers turned to tampering with government reports.

Phil Cooney, who was George W. Bush’s chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, made a few changes to the scientific findings of government reports to fan the flames of doubt about the science on climate change. Of course, since Cooney was found out, the plan backfired.

The very interests that engaged in these tactics are behind the ban on scientific thought when it comes to climate change in North Carolina.

Just wait, it’s a matter of time before they will legislate that the sun revolves around the earth and the Koch brothers are our creators.

Image from Christian Science Monitor

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