We talked yesterday about Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who believes that cosmology, biology, and geology are, quite literally, “lies straight from the pit of Hell.” The kicker, of course, is that Broun is a member of the House Science Committee. As several commenters reminded me, he’s joined on the panel by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who has his own unique insights on biology.
But this led Jillian Rayfield to ask a good question: who else is on the House Science Committee?
Let’s start with the chairman himself, Ralph Hall of Texas. Though he was once a Democrat, Hall was behind a 2010 effort by Republicans to cut off billions in funding for scientific research and math and science education. He did this by rather cannily tacking onto a bill a provision that would have forced Democrats to vote in favor of letting federal employees view pornography while on the job. Hall also once said of climate change: “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.”
It’s quite a panel. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who drafted a resolution for Americans to “join together in prayer to humbly seek fair weather conditions” after a series of destructive tornados and droughts, is also on the House Science Committee, as is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who suggested “dinosaur flatulence” may have caused climate change 55 million years ago.
They’re joined by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who has characterized climate science as an “international conspiracy,” as well as Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), who supports having public-school science teachers offer lessons on “theories that contradict the theory of evolution.”
Remember, the House Republican leadership makes committee assignments, and felt these lawmakers are the best qualified members to serve on the committee related to science.
When we talk about a “Republican War on Science,” there’s no reason to consider that hyperbole.