Not all Republicans are stuck in the Middle Ages when it comes to attitudes about science. At the party's presidential debate Wednesday night in Simi Valley, Jon Huntsman Jr. showed that at least some of the candidates have advanced past the Enlightenment era.
"Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science," Huntsman said.
The former Utah governor might have only the slimmest of chances to win the GOP nomination, but he isn't the only candidate to acknowledge the scientific consensus that the climate is changing and that the greenhouse gases produced by human activity are the cause; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also recognizes the problem and the need to do something about it, though he hasn't been specific about solutions and has condemned such proposals as carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade program. On the other side, though, is the rest of the Republican field, led by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has referred to climate change theory as a "contrived phony mess" and whose defense of this position Wednesday night marked the intellectual nadir of the debate.