Ted Cruz: ‘Climate Change Is Not Science. It’s Religion.’

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz think climate change is a religious belief. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MARK J. TERRILL
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz think climate change is a religious belief. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MARK J. TERRILL

Sen. Ted Cruz, candidate for the highest office in the land, thinks that climate change — a phenomenon widely accepted by the scientists who study it — is a religious belief.

“Climate change is not science. It’s religion,” Cruz told Glenn Beck on Thursday.

To back up his claim, Cruz pointed to the way we talk about climate change.

“Look at the language, where they call you a denier,” he said. “Denier is not the language of science … Any good scientist is a skeptic; if he’s not, he or she should not be a scientist. But yet the language of the global warming alarmists, ‘denier’ is the language of religion, it’s heretic, you are a blasphemer.”

In fact, how we refer to self-proclaimed “climate skeptics” is not without debate. The Associated Press recently announced that skeptic is not an appropriate word for “people who don’t accept mainstream science” (the AP’s words), because skeptic suggests that there is some scientific evidence on their side. The organization, whose style is broadly accepted within the media, dislikes the use of deniers, though, because it is too reminiscent of the phrase Holocaust deniers. It’s unclear whether Cruz also thinks that believing the Holocaust occurred is a religious belief.


Not everyone agrees with the AP — or with Cruz. “Those who are in denial of basic science, be it evolution or human-caused climate change, are in fact science deniers,” climatologist Michael Mann told ThinkProgress at the time.

During Thursday’s interview, Cruz also patted himself on the back for challenging the president of the Sierra Club at a hearing last month on “the data.”

“He couldn’t answer the most basic fact that for the last 18 years, the satellite data showed no significant warming whatsoever,” Cruz said.

The data he is referring to is very specific. Cruz is looking only at satellite data — not ground-level data or oceanographic data — and he does not say “18 years” just as a random number.

In 1998 the planet experienced a record-setting El Niño — and satellite data showed temperatures were very high. That does not mean that the global warming trend (weather and data will fluxtuate, but trends are important) is not occurring. In fact, 14 of the hottest 15 years on record have all occurred since 1998. Moreover, 90 percent of warming has been absorbed by the oceans.


Ninety- seven percent of published, peer-reviewed climate science papers concur that man-made climate change is occurring.

As “the child of two scientists,” as he pointed out in the interview, Cruz should know that cherry-picked data is not good science.

“It’s like a pro baseball player deciding he’s having a batting slump three weeks after a game when he hit three homers because he’s only considering those three weeks instead of the whole season,” Carl Mears, a physicist and senior scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, told the Washington Post, the last time this came up.

After Cruz went on Late Night and told Seth Myers there is no such thing as global warming — if you look at the “satellite data,” of course — there have been several articles debunking Cruz’s statements. He does not appear to have read them.

He also seems to not have seen any of the data showing that the world is hot and getting hotter. 2015is on trackto be the hottest year on record. 2016 will likely beat it.


An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the show Seth Myers hosts. He appears on Late Night, not The Tonight Show. I regret the error.