2014 in Quotes: The War on Science

by Dan Quinn

It’s time for the Texas Freedom Network’s review of the nonsense we heard from the far right this year. We’ll take up a different subject each day. Today: The right’s war on science — especially on climate science and the teaching of evolution — roared onward in 2014.  Click here to read quotes from the right in previous years. Let’s get started:

“When it comes to creationism, not only should it be taught, it should be triumphed. It should be heralded.”

— State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, expressing his support for teaching creationism in the state’s public schools during a debate with his Republican opponents in the race for Texas lieutenant governor. His GOP opponents also said they supported teaching creationism in public schools. Patrick won the election and will take office as lieutenant governor in January.

“I was not following this issue previously until a mom down in Corpus Christi showed me a a lesson plan that said ‘Fossil fuels are bad because …’ and then you filled in the blank. And the child filled in ‘because they pollute and are not renewable’ and that was the right answer! And as I delved into this more and more, I began to see a curriculum on energy that was completely biased against fossil fuels — this is in Texas! In Texas public schools, talking about the fact that oil and coal and gas pollute!”

— Failed Texas attorney general candidate Barry Smitherman, talking about Common Core, the multi-state education curriculum standards currently the subject of innumerable tea party conspiracy theories.

“I certainly think all students should be aware of creationism. They should be aware of that, absolutely. Teaching it as a science, it should be taught on equal footing.”

— Don Huffines, who defeated incumbent Texas state Sen. John Carona in their Republican Primary and will take the seat in January, offering his peculiar views on creationism and science.

“Whether global warming is a myth or whether it’s actually happening, that’s very much up for debate. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.”

– David Bradley, a Republican member of the Texas State Board of Education.

“So I was just wondering how that related, like, for example, to global warming and eventually global cooling. And I may want to get your cell phone because if we do go through a couple cycles — global warming and then back to global cooling — I need to know when to buy my long coat on sale. You know, I just don’t know how y’all prove those hypotheses going back 50, 100 mill — what you might say thousands, even millions of years, how you postulate those forward.”

— U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, attempting to mock a scientist testifying before a House panel.

“How’s he going to look? Is he going to look … uh … like the people who threw Galileo out?”

— Glenn Beck, claiming that Bill Nye the Science Guy, who opposes teaching students about creationism as science, is no different than the people who tried to silence Galileo. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church silenced Galileo.

“(T)hey are imposing the religion of naturalism/atheism on generations of students. They are imposing their ideology on the students, that everything is described by natural processes. That is a religion.”

— Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, speaking during a “debate” with Bill Nye The Science Guy about the Texas Freedom Network and other supporters of science education.

“Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

— Televangelist Pat Robertson, rebuking Ken Ham and other young Earth creationists a day after Ham debated Bill Nye the Science Guy.

“You have to be deaf, dumb and blind to think that this Earth that we live in only has 6,000 years of existence. It just doesn’t. I’m sorry.”

Pat Robertson, speaking in a remarkable moment of clarity.

“Pat Robertson illustrates one of the biggest problems we have today in the church — people like Robertson compromise the Word of God with the pagan ideas of fallible men!”

 Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, responding to Pat Robertson’s criticism of young Earth creationists.

“You know, the word ‘science,’ it’s kind of a magical word. ‘I believe in science.’ It just means knowledge, that’s all it means. There’s different areas of science, different areas of knowledge. When you say the Bible is not a science book, you’re saying it’s not a knowledge book? It tells us how God created the Earth!”

— Creationist Ray Comfort, arguing that Cosmos host and astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, misrepresented the Bible.

“I see some people that like to mock and ridicule, especially about the dinosaurs, how did they put the big old dinosaurs on there? Well, I would suggest to you they didn’t take the big old dinosaur — they would have taken the younger ones. You think of a guy like me, if you’re going to go repopulate a planet, you’re not taking me with you. I’m old. My repopulating days are done. You take my son or my grandson. My grandson is a whole lot smaller than I am.”

— Carl Kerby, clearing up confusion about how Noah’s ark had room for all those big dinorsaurs.

“So we have a decision to make: do we believe what an environmentalist group says and choose to live in a world where we’re attempting to make everything as clean in the air as possible, or do we believe what the Bible says, that these things were going to happen and that rather than try to clean up all of the air and solve all of the problems of the world by eliminating factories, we should start to tell people about Jesus Christ who is to return?”

– Matthew Hagee, the son of San Antonio megachurch Pastor John Hagee, explaining the the planet is not experiencing climate change, but rather the second coming of Jesus Christ.

“You can mix a donkey and a horse and get a mule, but mules cannot reproduce. They can only reproduce after their own kind. We have no species change. Why would a whole theory, everything taught in our schools, be based on something that is something that is so outrageously not only ridiculous, it’s impossible.”

– MorningStar Ministries founder Rick Joyner, claiming in a sermon that that there’s no evidence of species evolving.

“I think everyone here is doing it because we believe in the message and we ultimately want people to be saved. We want people to realize the Bible is trustworthy in matters of history and when it touches science. And because you can trust it in those areas, you can trust it when it comes to how to inherit eternal life.”

– Jason Lisle, an astrophysicist and research director at the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research, explaining why he wants to show that science proves the biblical version of creation.

“We live in a day and age where there are a whole lot of people who tell us we don’t have a purpose. The arguments couldn’t be more clear in this age when so many people worship science as the end of all things. There are some who believe we are an accident of primordial goo, particles bumping into each other after the Big Bang, creating bacteria which created amoeba which created something that led to something that led to something — a missing link! And then men. Somewhere in there there’s a monkey apparently. But we’re an accident.”

– Right-wing blogger and commentator Erick Erickson, deriding evolution and science in a speech at the religious right’s Values Voter Summit.

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