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‘Stupidest’ anti-science words and actions of 2014 listed by Mother Jones

Most of the items on Tim McDonnell’s list involve climate change denial, but several also deal more directly with health-related issues

Protestor Jeff Hulbert of Annapolis, Maryland, demonstrating in favor of a travel ban to stop the spread of the Ebola virus, in front of the White House on Oct. 16, 2014.

Mother Jones’ “Climate Desk” editor, Tim McDonnell, recently summarized some of the “stupidest” anti-science nonsense spieled by politicians and other high-profile people during 2014 (although he used a more colorful word than nonsense).

It’s a troubling list of scientific ignorance — mostly because the people involved should know better. We can laugh (and do) at many of the statements (such as Donald Trump’s declaration to Fox News that global warming is a “hoax” perpetrated by scientists “having a lot of fun”), but, as McDonnell rightly points out, such statements often have serious consequences for public policy — and that’s no laughing matter.

Most of the items on McDonnell’s list involve climate change denial, but several also deal more directly with health-related issues:

And then there is the disturbing effort by some members of Congress to control what kind of scientific research gets federal funding. These efforts will have a profound impact not just on climate change research, but also on research related to health. Writes McDonnell:

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Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas took his opposition to basic science straight to the source: The grant-writing archives of the National Science Foundation. In an unprecedented violation of the historic firewall between the lawmakers who set the NSF’s budget and the top scientists who decide where to direct it, Smith’s researchers pulled the files on at least 47 grants that they believed were not in the “public interest.” Some of the biggest-ticket projects they took issue with related to climate change research; the committee apparently intended to single out these projects as examples of the NSF frittering money away on research that won’t come back to benefit taxpayers. The investigation is ongoing, and the precedent it sets — that scientific research projects are only worthwhile if they directly benefit the American economy — is unsettling.

You can read McDonnell’s entire list on the Mother Jones website.