Environment Jeb Bush Science

Jeb “Not a Scientist” Bush Says Scientists Are Arrogant, Then Calls for More Science

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The science is settled on climate change, but Jeb "the Smart One" Bush says you're arrogant if you believe the science is settled.

In comments reported by CNN on Wednesday, the potential 2016 presidential candidate called the science of human-caused climate change “convoluted,” and questioned the degree to which carbon emissions are responsible.

“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he reportedly said. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”

As I'm sure you know, nearly 100 percent of scientists who study the subject agree that human activity can and has caused climate change.

Are they all arrogant? Are we not-scientists (myself and those reading this) who rely on the opinions and findings of real-scientists arrogant?

No, arrogance is saying "I'm not a scientist" and following it up by implying that scientists are wrong.

Interestingly enough, Bush followed up his comments on climate change on Wednesday with a call for conservatives to become better at understanding and embracing science in all its forms.

Just generally I think as conservatives we should embrace innovation, embrace technology, embrace science,” he said. “Sometimes I sense that we pull back from the embrace of these things. We shouldn’t.”


I'm glad we cleared that up.

  • McKinley


    Conservatives imply the same argument when it come to economists and statisticians, who overwhelming state – with scientific proof – that Trickle Down and austerity plans don’t work as well as government investments in economies, infrastructure and personal supports do, and actually make things worse for more people.

    And making this a ‘populist’ argument adds insult to injury for struggling Americans.

  • muselet

    To one degree or another, most of us have blind spots, areas where we choose for the sake of our preconceptions—or sometimes for a quiet life—to ignore inconvenient facts. That’s understandable. It’s human.

    If Jeb Bush had merely delivered the second part of that statement, the part about conservatives embracing science, I’d have had to give him credit for it. Even if he’d just said that first, I’d have given him a gentleman’s C.

    But Jebbie said that second, after he’d pooh-poohed climate science and the people who believe climate scientists. His message was simple: Embrace science, as long as it doesn’t cut into fossil-fuel companies’ profits.

    The Right will never embrace Jebbie, full stop. His pandering won’t change that. All he’s doing is giving his twin reputations as A Sensible Republican and The Smart Bush Brother a long overdue knock on the head.


  • Christopher Foxx

    It’s this intellectual arrogance

    “I mean, who do these scientists with advanced degrees who have spent years studying this stuff think they are?”

    • GrafZeppelin127

      During the “government-thinks-they-know-better-than-you” phase of the ACA “debate” in 2009-2010, I pointed out to some wingnut that many of the people working on the ACA were experts in their fields, including medicine, insurance, law, economics, &c.; people whose job it was to study, learn, practice, and understand all about these things and how they work. And, yes, people who actually do study, learn, practice, and understand a particular subject matter do know more about that subject matter than people who don’t.

      Response? “That’s ridiculous.”

      • Christopher Foxx

        Some people just refuse to not be stupid.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Maybe 10 or 12 years ago, I predicted that one day George W. Bush would go on TV and say that 2+2=5. The “liberal” blogs would explode with laughter and derision, then Sean Hannity would invite some Harvard math professor onto his show to explain why 2+2 can only = 4, at which point Sean would call him an arrogant elitist liberal and ask him why he hates America.

    This isn’t far off from that.

    • Christopher Foxx

      It’s Orwellian. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. And it isn’t Jeb Bush who’s being arrogant, it’s the folks who actually know stuff.

    • muselet

      “2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2 and sufficiently small values of 5.”

      We laugh. Righties wonder if maybe they’ve just heard something important.


      • GrafZeppelin127

        Actually, someone said something like that to me years ago that helped unlock why so many people are so willing to believe things that are so unreasonable.

        “2 + 2 does = 5 … for sufficiently large approximations of 2.”

        The key word being, “approximations.” What is known and accepted as self-evident gospel truth over in the paracosm — everything from “Hitler was a liberal” to “tax cuts create jobs” — is supported by “proof” and “evidence” that amounts to nothing more than an approximation of reality. When your information and understanding is merely an approximation of the truth, it can lead you to very, very wrong conclusions.

        • j hentai

          you’re assuming that the word “approximation” is in their vocabulary and that they could spell it!

          • GrafZeppelin127

            No; that doesn’t matter. If what they know is only sort-of true it doesn’t matter how you or I would characterize it.

            “47% don’t pay taxes” is the best example. That meme comes from the fact that 47% of U.S. households filing tax returns did not owe federal income tax in 2009. Just change the verb “owe” to “pay,” change the tense from past to present, drop the adverbial of time and the subject and object modifiers, and voilà; 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes. It’s not true; it’s an approximation of the truth.

        • muselet

          It’s the same joke, just with more precise language.

          If you’re not willing to examine your beliefs honestly in light of contrary information—not a clever argument, but actual data—then reality is likely to kick your arse, and sooner rather than later.