While it may be logically laughable, it is politically very dangerous to allow the GOP to make a mockery of science. The latest escalation in tactics is the absurd Newspeak denial of reality that rising sea levels are a left-wing term
As both a scientist and a student of history, this kind of verbal bullying is but a prelude to more outright attacks. Below the fold, I will try to remind everyone that the only code words being spoken in this situation are the claims that reporting the facts is somehow a "left wing term" or "liberal code words".
The totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin are now such ancient history that the GOP can get away with straight-out copying the propaganda tactics of that period:
During the early years of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity was met with much bitter controversy within the physics communities of the world. There were many physicists, especially the "old guard," who were suspicious of the intuitive meanings of Einstein's theories...Many of these classical physicists resented Einstein's dismissal of the notion of a luminiferous aether, which had been a mainstay of their work for the majority of their productive lives. They were not convinced by the empirical evidences for Relativity...(In Germany, they) began a core campaign to label Einstein's Relativity as Jewish Physics.One can almost feel empathy for the ideologically rigid scientists from Wilhelmine Germany, blindsided by the counter-intuitive notions of quantum mechanics and relativity. When the political climate offered them a helping hand in their fight against reality, they took it and drove the founders of modern physics right out of their own country.
For a few years after the Nazi takeover in 1933, this found strong support from Nazi leadership, as it played upon a number of Nazi ideological themes, and gave yet another method to harass and delegitimize Jewish citizens and institutions. Lenard and Stark enjoyed the Nazi support because it allowed them to undertake a professional coup for their preferred scientific theory, an example of using heavy-handed politics to resist an ideologically unwelcome scientific "paradigm shift". Under the rallying cry that physics should be more "German" and "Aryan," Lenard and Stark, with backing from the Nazi leadership, entered on a plan to pressure and replace physicist positions at German universities with people teaching their preferred theories. By the late 1930s, there were no longer any Jewish physicist professors in Germany
-Wikipedia Jewish Physics
And that is where science denial is headed in America. This ludicrous attack on climate change is the exact equivalent of the charge of "Jewish Physics".
Just like relativity and quantum mechanics, climate change is another "paradigm shift" that is unwelcome to the entrenched power structure. In this case, it is saying that human activity must now take into account its impact on the entire planet's ecology. It is saying to the elites, stop murdering the planet before we all die.
But, unlike the mathematically and experimentally challenging new physics which occurred at microscopic scale, evidence for climate change is out their for all to see - and yet it is still denied. Ice-free Arctic? Don't mention it. Rapidly melting glaciers? Who cares? The only "scientists" left defending this denial are paid corporate shills. Even a major, conservatively-led review of the data was forced to agree that decades of temperature measurements from around the world were accurate. Even though this confirmation happened last October, you would never know it from the media coverage of this latest bit of right-wing witch-hunting in Virginia.
Like everyone, I read with dismay the Gallup survey that 46% of the US thinks the world was created less than 10,000 yers ago. What is the matter with these people? Can't they even count? There are freezers full of ice-cores with climate rings going back at least 18,000 years. That is 18,000 rings. They were counted. By real scientists. If these idiots can't count to 18,000 then who would trust them to run a business. Oh, of course, other idiots.
And, history also shows us where this kind of ideological control of science leads:
Certain scientific fields in the Soviet Union were suppressed primarily after being labeled as ideologically incorrect.This pattern of suppression, followed by inferiority has been underway for a while. America has already shot itself in the foot about stem cell research, driving good scientists away and stifling investigations in this vitally important area.
At different moments in Soviet history a number of research areas were declared "bourgeois pseudosciences", on ideological grounds, the most notable and harmful cases being these of genetics and cybernetics. Their prohibition caused serious harm to Soviet science and economics. Soviet scientists never won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine or a Turing Award. (In comparison, they received seven Nobel Prizes in Physics.) This is one of the factors that resulted in the USSR historically lagging in the fields of computers, microelectronics and biotechnology.
-Wikipedia Suppressed research in the Soviet Union
Since the scientific method is about finding reproducible patterns in data, its trivial to notice that the targets of conservative-funded psuedo-science in America are the classic targets of authoritarians: women, minorities, and gays.
Hence we have the ludicrous nonsense of "abortion causes cancer", "blacks are intellectually inferior", and "gayness is a choice". All of these have been scientifically debunked. On the gayness front, there was an MRI study showing that newborn babies' brain activity was already predictive of sexual orientation.
But, what you should note is the raw political power that caused the Virginia Democrats to fold like a cheap suit and censor the report. This is more history that it seems America has forgotten and is doomed to repeat.
It takes power, not propaganda skill, to circulate a revised history of the Russian Revolution in which no man by the name of Trotsky was ever commander-in-chief of the Red Army.Every day I grow more convinced that this country is in the shitter, that big money rules and will use idiot fundamentalists and angry goons like George Zimmerman as capos and overseers in the Friendly Fascist country formerly known as "the land of the free".
- Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Anyone who thinks that laughing off this disgusting affront to reason is the end of this story is whistling past a graveyard full of disappeared victims. They are boiling us slowly, and no one is jumping out of the pot.