Chicken-Fried News: Science diet 

click to enlarge INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

On Jan. 2, University of Oklahoma meteorologist with the extremely scientific first name Kelvin Droegemeier was approved in a U.S. Senate voice vote to become President Donald Trump’s chief adviser on all things science. For those not familiar with voice votes, it’s kind of like an Applause-O-Meter used during talent competitions or rap battles, or like walking up to a polling place volunteer and yelling, “Yes on State Question 788!”

Now, Chicken-Fried News certainly wishes Droegemeier the best in his new pursuit in the same way we would treat astronauts on the first manned space flight to Mercury: We hope things work out, but who are we kidding? Trump doesn’t like science unless it involves Russian Twitter bots or erectile dysfunction pills. Science gets in the way of good ol’ carbon emissions and usually predicts that Mar-A-Lago will be underwater in a few years.

Regardless of whether sending Droegemeier into the White House for science briefings is like launching a canary into a burning coalmine, he asked for it by giving some really mealy answers during his August confirmation hearings. As reported in The Oklahoman, Droegemeier said he will “welcome all points of view … science rarely provides immutable answers about anything.”

Actually, that’s kind of what science does. The scientific method involves the development of hypotheses, formulation of theories, measurement-based tests on those theories and then the refining or disproving of those theories based on the findings of the experiment. Zealots in lab coats who prattle about “intelligent design” stop at the theory stage, as do climate change deniers and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry when he talks about the moon.

So, if Droegemeier had to pretend that he will accept the Flat Earth Society and Jenny McCarthy just as readily as he will meet with Nobel laureate immunologist Bruce Beutler or neuroscientist Cara Santa Maria, CFN assumes that is the price of admission to the Oval Office. But CFN wonders how many times Trump will insist that the moon is really made of cheese and should be mined for curds by the Space Force before Droegemeier runs screaming from the West Wing.

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