Bad Astronomy

Fred Thompson: stick to acting, dude.

Fred Thompson, whom many Republicans are hoping will swoop in at the last minute to save their party’s Presidential hopes, turns out to be just another anti-science shill.

He was on Paul Harvey’s radio show yesterday. I don’t listen to Harvey’s show; let’s just say that he and I are polar opposites when it comes to, well, everything (I prefer Paul Harris). But Thompson was on the show, and talked about global warming. You can just imagine how that went!

But then Thompson pulled out the hoary old nonsense of denying anthropogenic global warming because… wait for it… the other planets are warming too!

NASA says the Martian South Pole’s “ice cap” has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter’s caught the same cold, because it’s warming up too, like Pluto.

This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle.

Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Hmmmm. SOLAR system. Hmmmm. Solar? I wonder. Nah, I guess we shouldn’t even be talking about this. The science is absolutely decided. There’s a consensus.

Bzzzt. Sorry, Mr. Thompson. You may be trying to sound all small-towny and home-spun like Paul Harvey does, but your ignorance is showing. There is a consensus, and it’s this: you’re wrong. Had you actually done any research, like I did, you’d find that the other planets’ warming has nothing to do with the Sun.

I suspect that this little meme will be spreading more and more as the Presidential elections loom. Citizens, it’s up to us to keep know-nothings like Fred Thompson from spreading them.

Update: Of course, the Republican candidates at the debate last night did everything they can to crush science into oblivion (if they actually believed in oblivion). TfK has the goods, as, of course, does PZ. And while I am totally underwhelmed with who the Democrats have up for grabs, I’ll ask you this: why aren’t they asked about science topics like evolution and global warming at the debates? Interesting, eh?

Tip o’ the sun shade to Matt McIrvin.