Rick Perry Happily Grabs the Anti-Science Brass Ring


Congratulations to tonight’s GOP debate hosts at MSNBC for asking Rick Perry to explain his distrust of scientists regarding human-induced climate change—and then asking a follow-up. Too bad Perry didn’t really answer either query.

First, Perry was asked whether he thinks climate change is happening. He responded with the old trope that the “science isn’t settled” on climate change. The models could be wrong, he said, and he asserted that we shouldn’t make political decisions based on what could be flawed science. And even if a lot of scientists (actually, 97 percent of them, to be exact) agree that the science is settled, that’s not enough according to Perry. “Galileo got out-voted for a spell,” he said.

But then he was asked to name a scientist that he “finds compelling” on the subject of climate change. One scientist. Any scientist! But Perry declined to name a single one. Instead, he pivoted. “Let me tell you what I find compelling,” Perry said. “What we’ve done in the state of Texas.”

Immediately before that exchange, the moderators quoted John Huntsman’s allegation that his fellow candidates in the GOP contest are “anti-science.” Huntsman, though, declined to name names. Instead, he stuck to the broad criticism of Republicans who make “comments that don’t reflect the reality of the situation.” Perry did Huntsman the favor of proving his point.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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