On Wednesday, the House science committee asked SETI researchers a number of rather vapid questions on NASA's search for extraterrestrial life — which makes sense, considering many of the committee members don't believe in evidence-based scientific theories, like global warming.
In 2009, ommittee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith delivered a diatribe on the subject on the House floor, saying that "prominent scientists were so determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming that they worked together to hid contradictory temperature data." Not surprisingly, no other evidence backed this claim. And last year, Smith penned an op-ed in the Washington Post claiming that "there is a great amount of uncertainty associated with climate science."
According to The Huffington Post's Shadee Ashtari, Smith sits at the head of a committee populated by leaders with similar views:
Committee member James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) has gone so far as to call climate change a "massive international scientific fraud" and evidence of "scientific fascism," while Paul Broun (R-Ga.), a young Earth creationist, believes the Earth was “created in six days as we know them.”
Over at the National Journal, Emma Roller writes that the committee has held 15 hearings on space exploration alone, and only two on climate change. Based on the types of questions that the members asked SETI senior astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak and director of the SETI Research Center at UC Berkeley Dr. Dan Werthimer, during yesterday's hearing, it makes sense that the committee members would see astrobiology as more akin to science fiction than actual science.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.