Belief v. Science on Climate Change

Climate change–denying Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are taking this morning's hearing on climate science as an opportunity to compare themselves to Copernicus and Galileo. Like these visionaries of the past, Republicans and who don't believe in climate change and their few allies in the scientific community are, apparently, brave geniuses using their vast intellects and scientific training to speak truth to power. Or, as Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia put it, "Just because you might be in the minority doesn't always mean you're wrong."

No. Galileo and Copernicus weren't just arguing against fellow scientists who had turned up conflicting data. They were fighting against an entrenched, religious system of belief that declared the Earth was the center of the universe. Their opponents, like House Republicans, were operating more on faith than science.

Rep. Henry Waxman, bless his heart, is still trying to reason with his esteemed colleagues. Urging them to abandon their resistance, he said, "If my doctor told me I had cancer, I wouldn't scour the country to find someone to tell me, "Don't worry about.""

Some patients, however, do just that. But their denial only affects their own health; unfortunately for not only America but the global community, Republicans' intransigence could wreak far more reaching harm.