Posted by: Barry Bickmore | January 7, 2014

Republican Scientist: “Rush Limbaugh is an Idiot”

Ok, I’m too polite (and overweight) to call him a “big, fat idiot” like Al Franken, but today someone sent me a link to this post of Limbaugh’s in which he says,

Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have you ever heard of it? Well, they just created it for this week. Actually, there is a piece. I’ve got a piece in the Stack that actually makes the case that all of this frigid, chilling cold is due to global warming, strange as it may sound, it says. Other wackos are saying it’s a great example of climate change, but regardless, the agenda is that we’re responsible, we’re causing it, we have to pay the price. And so any weather extreme now is said to be man-made, and therefore it fulfills the leftist agenda on this.

Meteorologists have actually been using the term “polar vortex” for some time–far beyond the past week, as Rush might gather by looking up “Polar Vortex” on Wikipedia and checking some of the references… such as this NASA press release from 2001, which is entitled, “Stratospheric Polar Vortex Influences Winter Cold, Researchers Say”.  A little Googling might uncover this 1971 article in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences that mentions the “polar vortex”.  

Now, I don’t know how strong the link between global warming and a weakening polar vortex (which has been shown allow more extreme weather outbreaks) is, but at least the basic idea makes physical sense.  And the articles I’ve seen (like this one from Time Magazine) make sure to point out that the research that posits this link is fairly preliminary.

What I do know is that Rush Limbaugh doesn’t know anything about science, as he proves essentially every time he opens his mouth about a scientific topic.  Given how much the guy is talking every day, I don’t understand how he could possibly know enough about anything to ever open his mouth with any conviction.


  1. Peter Gleick did a Google Books n-gram, and found that mentions of the “polar vortex” go back at least to 1950, and peaked in the early 90’s.

    • At least Gleick didn’t label Limbaugh as unethical and accuse him of faking his first statement. (:

  2. Rush Limbaugh is a big fat man, but he ain’t an idiot, far from it. His a lucky guy who’s father got him into radio broadcasting, and when conservative talk radio started catching on, the billionaires bought him. He’s really smart, smart enough to take the money from big oil and coal to deny global warming. This guy doesn’t just own a house, he owns a compound! Do I or any of you own a compound? No! We are the idiots because we didn’t figure out a way to rake in the big doe like he does. And he ain’t alone in the climate denial for profit biz or the biz of shilling for other billionaire bought and paid for propaganda, like socialism is evil, unions are bad, social security is broke, minimum wage laws are bad, etc. Conspiracy radio host Alex Jones is in on it too, and he’s growing his bank account and media empire from that billionaire cash outlay. And other media outlets like Fox News are in on it as well. Clyde Lewis on his radio show ‘Ground Zero’ is another annoying conspiracy radio host doing climate denial almost every time I tune in.

    Alex Jones goes easy on the Koch Brothers on his show and never mentions that they pay for much of the climate science denial in the conservative and now conspiracy media. Non of the climate denial radio and TV personalities do. Jones said people accuse him of working for the Koch Brothers so he decided to research them and then he goes on to tell his audience what he found, and never does he mention that the Kochs own a big oil and coal operation, the second largest privately owned company in the U.S., nor does he mention that the Kochs and other billionaires are funneling about 1 billion $ a year into climate science denial.

    Get this: Rush Limbaugh gets on the air one day and says global warming is a hoax, it’s a political issue, not a science issue. Two or three days later, he says he golfs and eats dinner with the Koch Brothers. If his audience was a little bit informed about the Koch Brothers, those who heard both broadcasts might have put 2 and 2 together = Rush is a Koch Brothers climate denial shill.

    What there is of the liberal media doesn’t deny the climate problem. No wonder Rush and Clyde Lewis and other conservative or conspiracy talkers put down liberals. I called Clyde Lewis on the climate issue and he accused me of being a liberal. How in the hell would he know what my politics are? It’s just an excuse to dismiss me as a liberal and therefore discredited on the climate change issue.

    They say every man has his price. If big oil and coal wanted to hire me to do climate science denial in the media, all they have to do ask me and offer enough money to make my conscience shut up and go away.

  3. Of course the Antarctic polar vortex is what drives the ozone hole. The Arctic one is weaker but still there. What the vortices do is restrict air flow out of the polar regions during the winter, cooling the atmosphere to like zilch, or what zilch can be on earth. Outbreaks from a weakening vortex drive really cold weather such as we have now. It is the weakening of the Arctic vortex which may link back to climate change driven by greenhouse gas increases.

  4. Dear Dr. Bickmore,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog, and yes, Rush Limbaugh, like many radicals on the right, is anti-science. However, this narrow minded man is not why I am e-mailing you. I wanted to let you know that you have restored some of my faith in the many great people and professors I knew at BYU as a student in the 1980s. Also, that their are some sane people left in the conservative movement! (I include Jon Huntsmen Jr. with your ilk.)

    I must confess though — and this reinforces the notion of academics leaving the GOP — that as both an undergraduate and a graduate student in Utah, I felt inundated with unscientific mumbo jumbo that was spouted by far too many Republicans and those of the Mormon faith. The most virulent attacks on science were reserved for poor Charles Darwin and his brilliant insights into natural selection and evolution. There was also a lot of rubbish spouted about the age of the earth, race and genetics, and oddly — why was this ever political? — issues raised by environmental scientists.

    I was only too happy to leave Utah for California where I could be in an academic environment more supportive of factual inquiry. I also quit the GOP and joined the Green Party. It seemed the best way at the time to voice my protest against the anti-environmental politics being steadily embraced by the Republican Party.

    It seems that this anti-science trend in the GOP has only continued to worsen since the1980s. The following link is to an editorial in the N.J. News on this topic.

    (“Nearly half of all Republicans don’t believe in human evolution, a new poll from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found, or in man-made climate change.” )

    In this light you are a brave voice calling out the truth from the lonely desert of Provo Utah. Keep up the good work, and Thanks!

    Dr. Lillian Wallace
    Los Angeles California.

  5. “Ok, I’m too polite (and overweight) to call him a “big, fat idiot””

    It’s not a zero sum game. You being overweight takes not one oz of Rush.

    So don’t let your own weight stop you unloading highly deserved derision on someone.

    It sure as hell isn’t going to stop Rush or any other lardarse calling Al Gore fat.

  6. “Do I or any of you own a compound? No! We are the idiots because we didn’t figure out a way to rake in the big doe like he does.”

    Will any of us get to live forever? No. Therefore no matter what you collect in this life, you’re going to lose it.

    Knowing this may be why Rush does so many designer drugs.

    So in the time we have here, would you prefer to be Rush, KNOWINGLY (if your presumptions are correct) that you’re a sick joke of a human being who sold their soul for a temporary gain in things he can’t gain anywhere near the level of enjoyment out of (see the weight gain: comfort eating and stress disorders), or someone who can at the end of the day look back and feel comfortable with themselves?

    We’re both dead at the end.

    Only one of us (out of Rush and me) will be clawing desperately at every shred of life left in a frantic attempt to hold on to what they’ve “gained”. The other one will have lived a life they can be happy with.

  7. What I love is that high school student’s recognize a bigot and fool when they see one. We need to cleanse the airwaves of this fascist idiot.

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