McCain On Science: ‘Blah, Blah, Blah,’ ‘Foolishness,’ ‘Waste Of Money’

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) earns great applause when he mocks science, and he does so often. This weekend, he added a new riff to his list of hits, summing up his concern for the dangers of nuclear waste:

Blah, blah, blah.

At this, McCain’s audience erupted into hoots and cheers. Watch it:

What else has McCain mocked?

BIOLOGY & ECOLOGY. The five-year, $4.8 million Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project used DNA analysis of hair samples to peg the population size, distribution, and genetic diversity of grizzly bears in northwestern Montana, finding that their population and range has increased. The Washington Post hailed it as “an astonishingly ambitious research project.” The New York Times described the project as “a prerequisite for sensible administration of the Endangered Species Act.”

McCain’s take: “I don’t know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money.”

ASTRONOMY & SCIENCE EDUCATION. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago is the first planetarium theater in the Western Hemisphere, built 78 years ago. The planetarium’s Zeiss Mark VI projector — the planetarium’s second — is nearly 40 years old, and parts and manufacturer service are no longer available. To upgrade the planetarium will take $10 million. As Adler Planetarium officials argue, “Science literacy is an urgent issue in the United States. To remain competitive and ensure national security, it is vital that we educate and inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.” Planetarium officials requested a $3 million earmark in federal funding, but the request was rejected.

McCain described this multimillion-dollar instrument as an “overhead projector” and “foolishness.”

Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is happy to join her running mate’s example. Scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research. Yet last week, Palin derided “fruit fly research” as having “little or nothing to do with the public good” — contrasting it, ironically, with support for autistic children.

(Video from Raw Story.)

UPDATE: Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder responds:

McCain is showing an alarming lack of respect for the very real risks that come with nuclear power. There have been a string of safety incidents at U.S. and international reactors, there is nowhere to store the 100,000 shipments of waste we’ve already generated, and nuclear plants are, as the FBI director has stated, “target rich” environments for terrorists. The fact that McCain so readily dismisses these very real concerns with a “blah, blah, blah,” is disconcerting to say the least. It appears that McCain’s absolute support for nuclear power has more to do with ideology than facts, and underscores the risky nature of his candidacy. He just doesn’t get it.

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