Posted by: Barry Bickmore | August 24, 2011

Why Romney and Huntsman Aren’t Anti-Science

The Daily Beast has a nice article on why the Mormon candidates in the GOP primary race are the only ones who haven’t disavowed mainstream climate science and evolution.  My pal Summer Rupper was interviewed for the piece.

Meanwhile, Dana Nuccitelli just posted a detailed examination of the GOP candidates statements about climate change on Skeptical Science.



  1. Thanks for the link. Interesting take on Mormonism and science. But in most cases, the Republican anti-science position is all about appealing to the right-wing Fox-watching voters. Huntsman and Romney, in addition to being Mormons, also happen to be the two most moderate Republican presidential candidates. So they don’t have to worry as much about appealing to the right-wing, since their votes come from the moderates.

    Though from what I’ve seen of Huntsman, he actually seems to be an honest guy who stands by his principles (moreso than Romney, who’s been known to flip-flop to appeal to certain voters). Too bad Huntsman has almost no chance to win the nomination.

    • As if to prove my point that he’s no Huntsman, today Romney walked back his statements, saying he *thinks* (but isn’t sure) the planet is warming, and isn’t sure humans are the main cause.

    • Is it not anti-science to suggest the debate about anthropogenic climate change is forever settled? The way I see it, the issue is not black or white. The debate should not be about whether or not anthropogenic climate exists, but about its magnitude or severity. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that humanity’s contribution may not be that severe. Before we impose counter-measures that have far-reaching consequences for our lifestyle and prosperity, we better be sure the cure is not worse than ailment.

      • There is a lot of grey between “we don’t know anything” and “it’s forever settled,” Rich. You say there is “a lot of evidence” to suggest that humans won’t have that much impact. I think there is much more evidence to suggest we will. It’s “anti-science” to ignore most of the evidence and just pick the bits you like, in my opinion.

      • We have already determined that the ‘cure’ is not worse than the ‘ailment’.

        Black and white thinking is what’s preventing us from taking action to address an exceptionally high risk scenario until the science is 100% settled, which it never will be.

  2. “A look at the relationship between Mormonism and science makes a convincing case that this is no coincidence.”

    Not that one person can overturn that theory, but… Glenn Beck?

    • I think the author’s point was that it’s fairly easy for Mormons to be pro-science, rather than that all of them are. My impression is that it’s about the same for Catholics, but not so easy for Evangelicals, for instance.

      • As a Catholic deacon, I agree to a point. Catholics should find it easy to be pro-science, and I know popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have made many statements about the fallacies of the “religion-vs-science” perspective. However, most American Catholics that I know are not all that well-informed about what the church teaches, and when it comes to climate change they tend to be driven more by their political views than by their religious faith. As for Romney’s backtracking, he’s feeling heat from Perry and Bachmann. On the other hand, Obama is no leader, either, and has been throwing the environment under the bus. See Rick Perry, Barack Obama, and the Climate Quagmire

  3. Mormonism and science? Are you kidding me? The very fact that you can post this without falling off your rocker laughing discredits you. Try looking up the Mormon fascination with archaeology on the American continent and their attempts to prove even the tiniest shred of evidence through the archaeological record. Despite exactly zero evidence for the historical claims in the book of Mormon and mounds of evidence against it, they continue to deny the “science”. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so odd that people who project their own philosophy onto a 1000 year record of tree rings which has no provable relationship to temperature wouldn’t be able to detect fraud in a religion that completely and utterly contradicts the historic record in every way.

    • Hi Jonathan,

      I think that if you were to actually look up what Mormon archaeologists (as opposed to excitable amateur enthusiasts) say, you would find that they are far more careful about what they claim. Whatever you think of our religious views, Mormons have a long tradition of producing a large number of scientists, some of them quite prominent (e.g., Henry Eyring, who was the architect of transition state theory.) Does that translate into a purely “scientific worldview”? Obviously not, but it does translate into a lot of Mormons who take science seriously.

      Also, I usually find that people who go around saying there is “zero evidence” for some claim usually mean there isn’t enough evidence to convince them… and they really don’t have a clear idea of the difference, anyway. For instance, the Book of Mormon describes an ancient journey in the Arabian Peninsula in enough detail to predict that there should have been a place called “Nahom” in a certain rather restricted area. (Ancient Semitic languages had no vowels, and the vowel sounds changed from dialect to dialect, however, so we should really be looking for a place called “NHM”.) And guess what? They recently found such a place, in exactly the right location. Maybe this isn’t enough evidence for you to be convinced–I won’t blame you. But I think it’s striking enough that your claim about “zero evidence” doesn’t hold much water.

      If you want to see a summary of the claims about “Nahom” and criticisms of those claims by non-Mormons, you can get it at Wikipedia:

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