Fool Me Twice

This Week’s Poll!

It just got a little colder in Texas. Recently, after officials in Rick Perry’s administration purged a landmark environmental report of crucial facts on climate change and rising sea levels, every participating scientist disowned it, each demanding that his or her name be struck from the document. And it wasn’t just interpretations of data that Perry’s goons were going after. They removed the data itself.

The lunatics in Texas may be onto something, at least when it comes to thinking they can make the public believe anything they want, no matter how untrue. We just read that, also last week, two professors at Smith College got students taking their introductory class in logic to try an experiment — and convince the entire faculty and student body that the college was going 100% vegetarian and locavore. Using pamphlets, Facebook and Twitter feeds, the students were remarkably successful. Panic ensued! (Despite the fact that these two professors pull a similar prank every year.) One news story reported that the dining services manager came under particularly vicious attack: How can students pass their midterms without coffee?! Can you imagine what they could accomplish if they were funded by the Koch brothers?

But it seems you can fool all of the people for only so long. This week, several major academics who made names for themselves as climate-change doubters completed their re-evaluation of the mountains of evidence — and concluded that they were wrong ever to doubt it. In a remarkable turnaround, the researchers decided that the main premise of their doubt — that global warming trends were being exaggerated due to the inclusion in global data sets of urban temperature stations that retain more heat — was simply false.

Well, this is a breath of fresh air. What’s next? Will the Bachmanns suddenly open a clinic for ex-gays who want to go back? We can only fantasize. But we want to know what YOU think. If conservative climate-change skeptics can see the light, what might be the NEXT long-held conservative myth that will, finally, be rejected?

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