Global warming, health care reform, GOP lies, and American ignorance
Monday, July 09, 2012 Americablog
I guess it’s good news that an increasing number of Americans believe in global warming. But come on. It takes some foul weather for Americans to start believing in science again? It really shouldn’t matter what the weather is like. Either science and facts exist or they don’t – we respect them or we don’t.
Check out the second paragraph that I quote below. Only one third of Americans believe that “most scientists think global warming is happening,” even though that statement is true.
This reminds me of the Newsweek story we posted in 2010 that most Americans oppose health care reform until you tell them what’s in it, then they love it. Sometimes we really are a decidedly un-intelligent, un-factually-based, people. And interestingly enough, in both circumstances it’s GOP lies, and public ignorance, that give the Republicans the edge in beating (down) science.
It’s a larger problem our nation faces, that the Republican party has chosen to delegitimize science in the public’s eye. The GOP has done a bang up job destroying the credibility of the media (and the left, sadly, helped) – sadly, because the media was one of the few gatekeepers of truth that we had left. Another key gatekeeper that seems to often contradict the GOP is “science.” How do you impose an evangelical agenda in schools when teachers keep teaching the fact of evolution?
The GOP survives by negating facts with lies (death panels comes to mind – it was the GOP’s most effective argument against health care reform, a proven lie). It’s why the GOP started Fox News. Not just to usurp the mainstream media’s fact-checking authority, but also to create their own facts based on lies.
Putting aside for a moment what it says about a political party that the best way it can win is by lying, what does it say about a country that the lies actually work?
These generalizations are based on a series of Yale University studies over the last few years. According to Yale, Americans’ belief in global warming fell from 71 percent in November 2008 to just 57 percent in January 2010 but rebounded to 66 percent by this spring. The findings mirrored those of the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which showed belief in global warming bouncing from 65 percent in 2009 to 52 percent in 2010 and back up to 62 percent this year.
What accounts for the rebound? It isn’t the economy, which has thawed only a little. And it doesn’t seem to be science: The percentage of respondents to the Yale survey who believe “most scientists think global warming is happening” is stuck at 35 percent, still way down from 48 percent four years ago. (The statement remains just as true now as it was then—it’s the public, not the scientists, that keeps changing its mind.)