Here’s a Video Showing the Very Worst Anti-Science Bullshit of 2015

Snowballs, witch hunts, and a big measles outbreak.


In 2015, science was a favorite punching bag for many of America’s politicians. While leaders of nearly 200 nations met in Paris to hammer out a historic deal to combat climate change, the US Senate held a hearing—hosted by presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-Texas)—to debunk the science. It had a subtle title: “Data or Dogma?” In fact, 2015 did nothing to alter the notion that one whole American political party—and nearly all of its candidates for the White House—remains stuck on a murky spectrum from outright climate denial to the policy version of ¯\_(?)_/¯, as we wrote about all too often this year.

There was, of course, the infamous snowball thrown on the floor of the Senate. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) claimed global warming wasn’t happening because it was cold when he made the snowball. (Repeat after me: Weather does not a climate trend make.) But perhaps the more insidious attack on science was directed by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Smith accused government scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of rigging climate data to disprove the so-called “global warming pause” (a contested but popular talking point often used to attack the science). He then attempted to depose the scientists and subpoena their documents. “Political operatives and other NOAA employees likely played a large role in approving NOAA’s decision to adjust data that allegedly refutes the hiatus in warming,” he told the Washington Post.

But if you can’t fight the science outright in public, why not simply try to ban the words? That was the ingenious tactic allegedly employed by the state of Florida, under Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Employees from several state departments said they had been told not to use the phrases “climate change” and “global warming” in official state business. (The governor denied the allegations.)

2015 also saw yet another round of measles outbreaks, including one that spread at Disneyland in California. Public health officials blamed parents who don’t vaccinate their kids. That anti-vaxxer sentiment found a powerful megaphone in Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who at September’s televised GOP debate repeated the totally discredited—and dangerous—theory that vaccines cause autism. “Autism has become an epidemic,” Trump claimed. “Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control.” (Trump insisted he’s still in favor of vaccines, despite warning a national TV audience that they are endangering children.)

Watch the whole, not-so-splendid, anti-science show above.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.