As Chris Christie continues to play footsie with a presidential run, we should be aware that the New Jersey governor is yet another example of the politician as scientific know-nothing, warning of the dangers of anthropogenic global warming. Christie — a graduate of the University of Delaware in political science [sic] with a law degree from Seton Hall — has decided global warming is real. How does he know?
Says Christie: “I’m certainly not a scientist, which is the first problem. So I can’t claim to fully understand all of this, certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”
No, it’s not. Anyone who understands anything about the history of science knows that kind of reasoning is antithetical to the scientific method (repetitive testing of an hypothesis) and to the search for truth. Of course, that’s what our uneducated politicians have to do, trust the experts they choose, since they themselves have no background. Only a handful with medical degrees are qualified to have any kind of opinion about global warming at all.
Frankly, Christie worries me with this simple-minded statement. (Ironically, of all the candidates, including the incumbent, the only one with substantive scientific or technical training is Herman Cain, who has a degree in mathematics from Morehouse and computer science from Purdue.)
One more thing. My friend Scott Johnson, with whom I normally agree, is unconcerned with Christie’s girth. I would certainly concur that we have had more than enough nanny state nattering about our excessive avoirdupois from such pot-to-kettle hypocrites as Michelle Obama. And Scott’s prediction that big bellies will come back into fashion with a Christie presidency might be true.
But the truth is being president isn’t remotely the same thing as it was during the days of that famous Man of Belly Scott cites, William Howard Taft. The modern presidency is a 24/7 high-stress job beyond the imagination of the people of Taft’s time, a hundred years ago. Even Barack Obama — a lithe, devoted basketball player — looks physically wrecked after three years. Christie could keel over in three weeks.
I have some advice for the Jersey governor. If he’s really serious about running, he should do it from a spa where he is on an exercise and calorie restriction plan. The press could come and interview him there about his policies while he works out. It would be a good thing for his family too.