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Texas Showdown – The Scientists are Revolting

State officials of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) commissioned a scientific report on Galveston Bay, and hired three scientists to write it, including John Anderson, an oceanographer at Rice University. The scientists knew there might be problems; after all, the head of TCEQ is a Rick Perry appointee who frequently claims scientific arguments that human activities are changing the climate are a hoax. Perry himself says that such science is inconclusive. So the scientists were careful to only use research that had appeared in peer-reviewed journals, and that science says that Texas it at high risk from climate change from things including increasing numbers of hurricanes along its long coastline and this summer’s wildfires and drought.

But before the TCEQ published the report, they decided to remove every single mention of human-induced climate change and rising sea levels. According to report author John Anderson, “They just simply went through and summarily struck out any reference to climate change, any reference to sea level rise, any reference to human influence – it was edited or eliminated. … we live in a state of denial in the state of Texas.” For example, they deleted a reference to the sea level in the bay rising five times faster than the historical average, which is simply a scientific fact. So the three scientists who worked on the report have asked that their names be removed from it.

You can see the changes to the report here.

But what takes this situation from the realm of irony into hypocrisy is that the TCEQ officials are defending their censorship. When the Houston Chronicle asked TCEQ why they censored the report, a spokeswoman gave no reasons but just said that the agency disagreed with information in it. She further claimed that “It would be irresponsible to take whatever is sent to us and publish it.” So when will they decide that they don’t like gravity and repeal it?

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10 Comments

  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    One of the most egregious examples of conservative projection is their attempt to tie various Democrats and liberal “agendas” to 1984.

    Even worse, once this gets published, in a few years it will be endlessly referenced by the right wing echo chamber. “Look, here is a scientific paper written by several very intelligent scientists with no mention of human caused climate change. If it was real, how could that be?!”

    But never fear! I’m sure the media will be right there to do real journalistic investigation and subsequently call them out on it. No really…

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 5:05 am | Permalink
  2. Arthanyel wrote:

    This is what angers me about conservatives. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and there are legitimate disagreements about ideology. But flat out lying, trying to change facts to match preconceived notions, and denying reality goes beyond legitimate disagreement.

    It makes it hard to agree with them on anything.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink
  3. klem wrote:

    And in a few years when anthropogenic climate change has become the biggest laughing stock theory of the century, these scientists will thanks them for censoring it.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  4. Jeff wrote:

    They make the fundamental mistake in science of making up their minds before they see the evidence, and then attempting to make the evidence fit their preconceived notions.

    If they were to admit that human activity contributed to climate change, they would have to then admit that their policy of trying to undo the regulations of the EPA have had a major negative impact on the environment and on people’s health. And if you can reject one postulate of their worldview, their black-and-white reasoning states you must reject all of it. They don’t want to reject their entire worldview as they think they would have to, so they simply choose to ignore certain pieces of evidence and facts.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink
  5. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Klem, that must be going to happen shortly after evolution becomes the biggest laughing stock theory of the century, which has also been supposed to happen “in a few years” for the last 70 or so.

    It is entirely possible, though doubtful, that in a few years the theories around climate change will be disproven. However, you give yourself away because you think that:

    a. disproven (or more commonly, modified) theories not based on hoaxes become “laughing stocks” among scientists. They are actually seen for what they are: stepping stones.

    and

    b. scientists who investigated those theories have some dedication to them that would cause them personal embarassment.

    These are very common, entirely wrong things that people who have had little to no exposure to the scientific method think.

    Keep in mind the next time you are polluting your mind with the right wing noise machine that in this scenario the scientists have virtually nothing to gain or lose. They would simply start researching and validating the new theory. That is their job.

    The corporations on the other hand, they have *everything* to gain or lose on it.

    Then ask yourself which group is filling your head.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Great points 1032

    Arthanyel- it should not be “all” conservatives that anger you. Not all are evil, just like not all liberals are evil. Call them wing nuts if your referring to a sub group of conservatives. Heck, I’m a conservative democrat so where do I fit in?

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    PSgt – Perhaps I should have used wingnuts, although there are so many on the right wing these days it seems they form the majority of Republicans. After all, where would Faux News and Sarah Palin be if the winguts were a tiny minority? Faux is ON THE RECORD as having ordered its employees to lie and fabricate information to support their conservative agenda, and then firing them when they refused.

    Perhaps the problem is the labels “conservative” and “liberal” because, like you, I am rated as very conservative on some issues (gun ownership, for example) and very liberal on others (legalizing marijuana, for example). When I said “conservatives” I meant the all too large number of people that think Faux News is the best news on TV and that Rush Limbaugh is the only one telling us the truth.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I didn’t try to guess the actual numbers of wingnuts and won’t even try :)

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  9. David Freeman wrote:

    PSgt – I’m willing to try. Among my 4 siblings, including myself, we have 1 wingnut. Extrapolating out to the current US population of 312,448,831 there must be 78,112,208 wingnuts rounded up.

    However, my siblings and I live in the South which definitely skews toward wingnuttery so 78 million is clearly overstating the problem. 55 million would certainly be closer to reality. Coincidentally, Google Answers states there are 55 million Registered Republicans. Obviously not all Republicans are wingnuts … so how can we account for nonwingnutlicans. Well, Jon Huntsman polls at about 1% therefore we have 54.45 million wingnuts Q.E.D.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  10. PatriotSgt wrote:

    David – we’ll need alot of WD40 to loosen up those nuts.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink