August 21, 2010

Ron Johnson "not alone in sunspot belief"

Breaking news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Republican Senate candidates Marco Rubio of Florida and Ken Buck of Colorado both have made similar comments.
Seriously, that's a front-page story this morning.
Republican candidate Ron Johnson told the Journal Sentinel this week that sunspot activity and natural cycles of the Earth can explain a warming in the Earth's atmosphere.
Forgot a word there, folks: "that sunspot activity and natural cycles of the Earth alone can explain a warming in the Earth's atmosphere."

It's kind of an important distinction. Try telling a quasi-Johnson conservative Republican that natural selection and genetic drift alone are sufficient to explain biodiversity and watch his wig-hat vibrate.
"It's simply reached the point," UW political scientist Charles Franklin said, "where a claim of science* meets with blithe rejections from conservative Republicans now."
And that's not news either. See, e.g., Antonin Scalia.
Franklin doubted whether Johnson's comments will hurt him in a race now considered close against Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold.
What makes Prof. Franklin think some people haven't made up their minds yet, or that others might change theirs by 2 November?

Obviously his comments won't hurt him among the committed zanies.

* It's unclear whether those include claims of political science.

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