All the Things Wrong with Ted Cruz’s Interview with NPR

First off, I want to say that Steve Inskeep is a saint. There is no way that I could have contained myself during this conversation with Cruz. Anyway, Ted Cruz recently (December 9th) had an interview with NPR, and in part of it, they talked about global warming. It was so outrageous, that I felt I had to do this, even with finals breathing down my neck, and no blog posts in forever. I’m going to break down his claims, bit by bit. Original transcript here. I will do my best to stay out of the politics of it and stay objective and fair. My comments will be in colored brackets.

Inskeep: What do you think about what is seen as a broad scientific consensus that there is man-caused climate change?

TED CRUZ: Well, I believe that public policy should follow the science and follow the data. I am the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists. [Oh, I like where this is going!] In the debate over global warming, far too often politicians in Washington – and for that matter, a number of scientists receiving large government grants – disregard the science and data and instead push political ideology. [Sure, science should be objective! I agree! Good so far!] You and I are both old enough to remember 30, 40 years ago, when, at the time, we were being told by liberal politicians and some scientists that the problem was global cooling… [citation needed. Literally 20 seconds on Google dug these up: 1,2,3. This one I found elsewhere, but is a lot more professional]

INSKEEP: There was a moment when some people said that.

CRUZ: That we were facing the threat of an incoming ice age. And their solution to this problem is that we needed massive government control of the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives. [citation needed?]  But then, as you noted, the data didn’t back that up. So then, many of those same liberal politicians and a number of those same scientists switched their theory to global warming. [Soooo, assuming what you said was true in the first place (it was an exaggeration at best), now you are saying that science proving that certain theories are wrong, and others fit with the data at hand is somehow bad…? This is how science works.]

INSKEEP: This is a conspiracy, then, in your view.

CRUZ: No, this is liberal politicians who want government power over the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives. [So, said another way, “a conspiracy?” Conspiracy:a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. Hm. Sounds like exactly the word you wanted.]

INSKEEP: And almost all the countries in the world have joined in to this approach?

CRUZ: So let me ask you a question, Steve. Is there global warming, yes or no? [Avoiding the question?]

INSKEEP: According to the scientists, absolutely.

CRUZ: I’m asking you.

INSKEEP: Sure.

CRUZ: OK, you are incorrect, actually. [W r o n gEach letter is a different link. I could go on, but at this point, its just beating a dead horse.] The scientific evidence doesn’t support global warming. For the last 18 years, the satellite data – we have satellites that monitor the atmosphere. The satellites that actually measure the temperature showed no significant warming whatsoever. [Wrong. Is anyone surprised?]

INSKEEP: I’ll just note that NASA analyzes that same data differently. But we can go on.

CRUZ: But no, they don’t. You can go and look at the data. [Why don’t YOU look at the data, Cruz? It’s even a free download! And from NASA! How convenient!   And by the way, this hearing – we have a number of scientists who are testifying about the data. But here’s the key point. Climate change is the perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big government politician who wants more power.[Right, because most pseudoscience has more than 100 years of data and a 97% consensus. That was sarcasm, if you’re reading, Teddy.]  Why? Because it is a theory that can never be disproven. [Literally could not be more untrue. It could be proven wrong by data showing that the trends are false, for one thing. That would be rather easy. I think he means that it can’t be proven wrong because it is correct? Because that would be true.]

INSKEEP: Do you question the science on other widely accepted issues – for example, evolution?

CRUZ: There is a fundamental difference, which is in the name of global warming, you have politicians trying to impose trillions of dollars of cost on the world. In the I-95 Corridor, among the Washington elite, global warming is very popular because it makes you feel good about caring for the world. But I’ll tell you, you know who I’m concerned about? I’m concerned about the single mom waiting tables right now, who for seven years of the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation. Her wages have been stagnating. It’s harder and harder to make ends meet. And what the Washington elites are trying to do is double her energy bill. [Stagnated? What metric are you using? Or are you looking at the 2009 data? Either way, you just avoided the question again.]

INSKEEP: Do you question other science, like evolution?

CRUZ: Any good scientist questions all science. [True! If my count is correct, this is his third correct statement.] If you show me a scientist that stops questioning science, I’ll show you someone who isn’t a scientist. [That makes four times!] And I’ll tell you, Steve. And I’ll tell you why this has shifted. Look in the world of global warming. What is the language they use? They call anyone who questions the science – who even points to the satellite data – they call you a, quote, “denier.” Denier is not the language of science. Denier is the language of religion. It is heretic. You are a blasphemer. It’s treated as a theology. But it’s about power and money. At the end of the day, it’s not complicated. This is liberal politicians who want government power. [Okay, the reason why we use the word “denier” rather than “skeptic” is because skeptics follow the evidence, whereas deniers ignore evidence and follow their personal ideas. There is way more than I can fit in this blogpost, but if interested, here is some more reading: 1,2]

INSKEEP: You know that your critics would say that it’s about power and money on your side. Let’s not go there for the moment. But I want to ask about this. I want to ask about facts.

CRUZ: But hold on a second. Who’s power – but let’s stop. I mean, if you are going to…

INSKEEP: Energy industry, oil industry, Texas…

CRUZ: If you’re going to toss an ad hominem.[Wow. That was a doozy. Time for a numbered list.

  1. Definition: (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining. I think he used that one wrong. And anyway, logical fallacies don’t render arguments wrong. Me saying that the Koch Brothers are greedy, evil people (regardless of truth) doesn’t mean that the money they spend on elections isn’t still changing the election. 
  2. You seriously just talked about how it was all about power on one side, but suddenly, if the power is on your side, it is an ad hominem…? (see: denier vs skeptic). The irony is physically stifling
  3. Does he expect us to believe that “Big Renewable Energy” (it even sounds silly) can outspend “Big Oil” and “Big Coal?”

INSKEEP: OK, not meaning to be an ad hominem. But you know. You know there are economic interests on all sides of this.

CRUZ: If you’re going to toss an ad hominem, then let’s actually respond because there’s not a moral equivalency.[Again, with avoiding questions!]  You say it is about power and money. I’m trying to keep power with the American people. I’m trying to keep power with the single mom waiting tables not to drive up her energy bills. I’m trying to keep power with the teenage immigrant, like my dad was, washing dishes. Now, how is that about power and money other than keeping Washington out of their lives and making it easier for people to achieve the American dream? That’s who I’m fighting for. [Its cheaper to spend money now, than to fix our negligence.]

INSKEEP: Final thing, Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary, pointed out on All Things Considered the other day that the cost of renewable and alternative energies has been going down drastically, that technology is constantly advancing. And on a basic level, of course, pollution is inefficiency. If you can be more efficient, it actually saves people money. If you found out that climate change was cheaper to address than it seems to now, would you change your view of it?CRUZ: Of course there will be alternative energies. We will have innovation. And I promise you this. The alternative energy innovations are not going to come from Washington. They’re not going to come from the cronyism of this town. They’re not going to come from Solyndra because when Washington does that, they allocate money based on political concerns, not based on what is necessary. I fully expect in a hundred years, or maybe 50 years, or maybe even 10 or 20 years – I mean, change can be very rapid. And I am excited to see where that goes. But it will come from the private sector, not from government.

INSKEEP: Senator Cruz, thanks very much.

CRUZ: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Republican presidential candidate.

I think the part of this that I find the most terrifying is his conviction. When he says it, it sounds like he is telling the truth. If I wasn’t intensely interested in this subject, and know better, I may have been swayed by him. And the real issue isn’t that a private citizen is wrong. The problem is that Ted Cruz is purposely misleading people, or is incredibly easy to sway by money or unscientific arguments. Is that really the sort of person who we want to be president? 

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