A Texas Republican best known for his Twitter posts criticizing President Barack Obama feigned an interest in science last week to set up a jab at a climate scientist testifying before a House panel.
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) quoted an apocryphal remark, which he attributed to Mark Twain, Will Rogers, or Ambrose Bierce, during a budget hearing Wednesday of the House committee on science, space, and technology that suggested a scientific fallacy.
“All scientists are only sure about one thing, and that’s that all scientist before them were wrong,” Weber said, and asked the government witness if he’d ever heard that claim.
John Holdren, the president’s science advisor, told Weber he’d heard versions of the remark, but he wasn’t sure who had said it.
“So when you guys do your research, you start with the scientific postulate or theory and you work from that direction forward, right?” Weber said.
Holdren, who recently released a six-page paper debunking the claims of climate change denier Roger Pielke Jr., said that was a generally accurate statement.
“It depends on what sort of science you’re talking about, but the notion of posing a hypothesis and then trying to determine whether it’s right is one of the tried and true approaches in science, yes,” Holdren said.
Weber, who criticized Obama for “wasting time on a parody interview” earlier this month with comedian Zack Galifianakis instead of focusing on Benghazi, attempted to zing the scientist with his own attempt at humor.
“So I was just wondering how that related, like, for example, to global warming and eventually global cooling,” Weber said. “And I may want to get your cell phone because if we do go through a couple cycles – global warming and then back to global cooling – I need to know when to buy my long coat on sale. You know, I just don’t know how y’all prove those hypotheses going back 50, 100 mill – what you might say thousands, even millions of years, how you postulate those forward.”
Watch the entire exchange posted online by climatebrad: