Rick Santorum, Criticizing Pope Francis, Seriously Said We’re “Better Off Leaving Science to the Scientists” June 3, 2015

Rick Santorum, Criticizing Pope Francis, Seriously Said We’re “Better Off Leaving Science to the Scientists”

Rick Santorum has a message for Pope Francis: Pipe down about climate change and get back to theology and morality. It’s an interesting position for a committed Catholic to take, not least of all since Pope Francis’ take on climate change is that addressing it is a moral imperative.

But it’s not just that the former Senator seems to think he knows better than the Pope about how to be pope that makes this story interesting. It’s that he, a politician who has no problem denying the scientific consensus on climate change, states that Pope Francis, who accepts what scientists have to say on the matter, should leave science to the scientists. (Hello, lack of self-awareness!)

Responding to a question from Talk Radio 1210 WPHT’s host Dom Giordano about the Pope’s stance on climate change, Santorum said (around the 11:40 mark),

… the Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we are probably better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re really good on, which is theology and morality… When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, then I think the church is probably not as forceful and credible.

Now, Santorum isn’t wrong to say that the Pope should leave science to the scientists (though it’s extremely ironic coming from a Creationist). Where he’s wrong — and downright dishonest — is implying that, in acknowledging climate change, the Pope is doing something other than leaving science to the scientists. The Catholic Church’s storied history of “[getting] it wrong… on science” were the moments when the Church assumed it knew more than the scientists.

That’s actually what science deniers like Rick Santorum are doing. Pope Francis, on the other hand, is not challenging the science of climate change; he’s speaking to the theological and moral implications of the scientific data.

When it comes right down to it, Santorum is attributing his own behavior to the Pope, while suggesting that Pope Francis should do pretty much exactly what he’s already doing. This is a spectacular degree of hypocrisy, even by Santorum standards.

(Image via Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)


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