Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum who last month debated TV personality Bill Nye “The Science Guy” pitting his Biblical literalism against Darwinian evolution, says the highly publicized showdown has been like manna from heaven for a foundering $73 million Noah’s Ark theme park.
“It was a challenging time, one that on a human level required a miracle to overcome,” Ham, who heads the Answers in Genesis ministry, said in a statement of the near collapse of funding for the long-delayed Ark Encounter park. “And God in His providence supplied our needs.”
Nye is widely viewed as having won that debate, but Ham may have gotten the last word: on Thursday he announced that his Creation Museum’s proposed Noah’s Ark theme park, including a 510-foot replica of the Biblical vessel, had against all odds secured a last-minute $62 million municipal bond offering.
Aaron Carroll today offers a graphic depiction of the toll of the anti-vaccination movement. (H/t: Kevin Drum.) It comes from a Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of “vaccine-preventable outbreaks” worldwide 2008-2014.
A couple of manifestations stand out. One is the prevalence of measles in Europe — especially Britain — and the U.S. Measles is endemic in the underdeveloped world because of the unavailability of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
But in the developed world it’s an artifact of the anti-vaccination movement, which has associated the vaccine with autism. That connection, promoted by the discredited British physician Andrew Wakefield and the starlet Jenny McCarthy, has been thoroughly debunked. But its effects live on, as the map shows.
Vaccine panic also plays a role in the shocking incidence in the U.S. of whooping cough, also beatable by a common vaccine. Researchers have pointed to the effect of “non-medical exemptions” from legally required whooping cough immunizations — those premised on personal beliefs rather than medical reasons — as a factor in a 2010 outbreak of whooping cough in California.
And this guy is the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
I expect the bombshell revelation that Michele Bachmann is, in fact, from Mars.
The hearing’s charter states that, “With the discovery of potential Earth-like planets outside of our Solar System, the hearing will also investigate what methods are being used to determine if any of these planets may harbor life. The hearing will explore existing and planned astrobiology research strategies and roadmaps.”
Think Progress noted that Smith — who has received $500,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industries — is a longtime critic of what he called “the idea of human-made global warming,” arguing on the House floor as far back as 2009 that the press was “heavily slanted in favor of global warming alarmists.”
In November 2013, Smith issued a subpoena against the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) accusing it of using “secret science” as part of its new set of air quality regulations.
Why waste your time with the drudgery of reading through original documents in a dank library all by yourself on a beautiful day while everyone else is out playing golf or barbequing or at the ball game when you can either parrot right wing propaganda, or make up your own and get paid for it?
In that regard, David Barton is a genius!
But I digress, and here, Barton wades into the intellectual wading pool that is global warming denial:
“Global warming occurs,” Barton stated, but “we haven’t had it in sixteen years. But anthropogenic? That hasn’t been proved at all, not by a long shot. Anthropogenic means man-caused global warming. I mean, we’ve got cycles, you bet. That’s why we have averages. That’s why in Texas we go from summers of 70 degrees to summers of a 120 degrees. I mean, it’s averages.
The interview is fairly typical as Playboy interviews with controversial figures go. But Sean Hannity does not disappoint on the derp front.
PLAYBOY: Next issue. More than 30 academies of science across the world have concluded that global warming is caused by human activity, but you’ve cast doubt on climate change for years.
HANNITY: You want the short answer or the long? Either way, I think it’s a crock of shit. I don’t believe it’s true, and I think that people have been put in a state of panic. I think the environmental movement is rooted in a political agenda, which is that capitalism is evil, that people are raping and pillaging the planet for profit. And I think it is rooted in redistribution.
I find people like Al Gore are the biggest, phoniest hypocrites of all. If global warming and carbon emissions are so bad, how does Al Gore justify getting on a private jet like we caught him on? How does he justify making money selling Current TV to Al Jazeera? That’s all oil money, Al. I can respect a guy like Ed Begley Jr. riding around on his bike. I even offered to bail Daryl Hannah out of jail after she was arrested for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. She uses her own biofuels to drive her car. Beautiful! But you’ve got these other Learjet, limousine liberals, the hypocrites and Hollywood phonies. Leonardo DiCaprio flying around on New Year’s from Australia to Vegas, and he’s lecturing people about the cars they’re driving. So hypocritical. Come on!
PLAYBOY: How should we be managing our natural resources?
HANNITY: Hey, listen. I wouldn’t mind having a car that runs on water. My attitude is that we should seek out new technologies and inventions that will advance the human condition. And at the same time, we should be drilling, we should be fracking, we should be the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, we should be building refineries, which we haven’t built in 35 years, and nuclear facilities. France gets 75 percent of its power from nuclear plants. If the French can, we can. America is inhibited because of government regulation. You know all these people out of work? The minute you start drilling for natural gas and oil, every state can benefit, just as North Dakota does, which now has an unemployment rate of three percent. If we lessen our dependence on foreign oil, we’re less involved in the Middle East, where there’s such political instability, and the price of gas goes down to where the average American can pay less than $2 a gallon. That’s a tax cut for everybody.
PLAYBOY: Trump was one of the most vocal skeptics of Obama’s American citizenship. You’ve also said Obama grew up in Kenya. Do you regret saying that now?
HANNITY: But he did grow up in Kenya, and he told The New York Times that he went to a school there and one of the most beautiful things on the planet is Islamic prayer at sunset.
PLAYBOY: Are you fueling the myth that Obama’s a Muslim from Africa by saying that?
HANNITY: I never fueled the myth. How do you come up with this stuff? He did go to a Muslim school. He writes about it in his own book.
PLAYBOY: He did not grow up in Kenya.
HANNITY: He went to a Muslim school in Indonesia, or wherever it was, Kenya. I forget. Now you’ve got me. I think it was Indonesia. I’m trying to remember his biography. It’s going back so long. He admits he went to a Muslim school. It’s on his audiobook, if you want a tape of it—you can hear him say it himself.
I’m a Christian. All people are the children of God. I’m just telling you what Obama said in his own words. He didn’t go to a madrassa, which has negative connotations, but he did study the Koran and Islam and learn prayers that he could recite with a perfect accent, according to Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. As for the issue of his birth certificate, I thought that was one of the oddest things, a noncontroversy that the White House easily could have ended but didn’t. If you’ve got the birth certificate, just release it and move on. That’s what I said.
He also gets defensive when asked about the drop in his ratings:
PLAYBOY: Let’s move on. Fox News’s ratings are down, and your show in particular has taken a hit this year.
HANNITY: No, actually, our ratings are back up.
PLAYBOY: Your ratings were down 35 percent in February.
HANNITY: Well, from the year before, which was an election year.
PLAYBOY: Rachel Maddow has beaten you in your time slot.
HANNITY: Never! Not once!
PLAYBOY: She has in the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic.
HANNITY: But overall, we’re at double her ratings. You’ve got to be careful how you make these comparisons
PLAYBOY: Fox News overall hit a 12-year ratings low in January and recently had a record low in a poll on viewer trust. The perception among many is that Fox News is out of it. Is there anything you’re doing to change that perception?
HANNITY: No. You know, I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’m not one who obsesses over ratings, but I will tell you this. There is a natural ebb and flow due to election years and major events such as Hurricane Katrina or Sandy or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Any issue of that sort will drive ratings up and down. I will tell you that after the election, a lot of people who didn’t want Barack Obama to get a second term threw up their hands in disgust, including myself. I can go back and show you all the years that I’ve been through presidential elections on radio. You see the spike, you see the decline, you see the spike—it’s part of the news cycle. It’s the story of my life.
Last week, the Virginia Republican party nominated Ken Cuccinelli for governor, in an election to be held later this year. Just three years ago, in his current job as Attorney General of Virginia, Cuccinelli launched one of the most outrageous attacks on an academic scientist that I’ve seen in many decades. His actions would not be out of place in a totalitarian state such as the Soviet Union, or perhaps in the 1950′s McCarthyism era, when many Americans were blacklisted, denied jobs, and even fired because of their political views. But in a country where the freedom to speak is a fundamental right, Cuccinelli’s actions are frightening.
Cuccinelli used the power of government to intimidate a scientist with whom he disagreed. Not just one scientist, but 40 scientists and their colleagues, all working at the University of Virginia. His message was clear: if you disagree with me, I will come after you. Now Cuccinelli is running for governor, and in a state fairly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, he has a good chance of winning.