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Texas vs. North Carolina Steel Cage Match in Science Stupid


Look out, North Carolina -- Texas is not going to let you run away with the title of State Most Shamefully Committed to the Stupid Political Ruination of Science. Despite North Carolina's impressive recent yearlong streak of stunning science-related legislative psychosis -- from legislating against the sea itself to removing scientists from scientific commissions to giving up on such scientific staples as counting -- Texas won't give up without a fight.

Witness congressperson Lamar Smith, who has floated a bill for the U.S. House of Representatives that would require scientific research to pass political litmus tests. Smith gained notoriety a week before the bill when he sent a letter to the NSF demanding explanation of some science that didn't seem to live up to his exacting standards.

I don't know what Smith majored in in college, but he has admitted he couldn't hang in freshman physics and has expressed his doubts on climate change, too. He graduated from Yale -- which it seems to me has some explaining to do.

I'm not sure whether I'm telling you this as a warning, as a way to comfort myself that North Carolina legislators aren't the craziest in the country every second of every day, or just as a way to keep away from the scotch for as long as it took to write this post. Anyhow, I've told you.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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