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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Science under assault this morning at the legislature

Posted by on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 10:10 AM

At 11 a.m. there is an event at the Legislature that, if the lead-up is any indication, will be the mother of all dog-and-pony shows.

At the invitation of Rep. George Cleveland, a Republican from coastal Onslow County, John Droz is scheduled to deliver his 155-slide presentation (Droz notes it's "shorter, simpler and less complete") titled "Science Under Assault" to legislators in the auditorium in the Legislative Building.

Yet Droz, a fellow of the right-wing American Tradition Institute, is a primary assailant of science. I know, it's hard to wrap your mind around.

Droz is a member of NC-20, a group of government and real estate interests that spearheaded the so-called sea-level rise bill last year on the basis of—wait for it—a political and economic agenda.

INDY Week wrote about NC-20's true motives: documenting a rise in sea levels, and regulating development along the coast as a result, would deter further construction in these vulnerable areas, thus cutting into the profits of those interests. House Bill 819 would have restricted the ability of state agencies to accurately forecast and prepare for sea-level rise. As a result, developers could continue to profit from building in vulnerable, low-lying coastal areas, free of additional regulations that would apply if the state accounted for higher seas.

Denounced by the legitimate scientific community, the bill died in the legislature.

Droz calls himself a physicist, although, according to his online résumé, his specialties are not climate change but solid state science and real estate.

But back to the slide show: Without Droz's live narrative, it's hard to follow the bizarre graphics, but here is a selection:

• Slide No. 22 pulls from a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by economics professor Paul Rubin that tries to discredit the environmental movement by saying "environmentalism is eerily close to a religious belief system." Clever—trying to offend those atheist and agnostic scientists by drawing them closer to God.

• Slide 58 criticizes "peer review," calling it an "abused credential." Has Druz written anything that has been peer-reviewed? Nope.

• Slide 66: "There are tens of thousands of scientists who are off the reservation."

Well, if there's at least one.

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