Posted by: ericgrimsrud | December 25, 2013

Smartest Idiot of 2013 Award

In June of 2012, one of my first posts on this blog was entitled “Our Smart Idiots”  and related the documented fact that that among the politically conservative, those who have achieved higher levels of education are more likely to doubt the notion of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) than conservatives with less education.  As a scientist, I found this to be most disappointing, of course. The most credible scientific communities of our country have made their own opinions and recommendations on this topic very clear in the numerous position statements they have issued.  Apparently, among the brightest conservatives of the USA, respect for intelligence and professional competence does not extend into the sciences.

An excellent example of this phenomenon is Fox News commentator, Charles Krauthhammer , who is considered by many to be a leading visionary on many topics by the Right.  He is indeed highly educated and has achieved a multitude of professional accomplishments not only in journalism but also in his field of psychiatric medicine.  In a recent issue of the Washington Post, however, he mistakenly held forth on the subject of global warming.  That article can be seen at

In this opinion piece, Krauthammer cast as much doubt as he could on the need for addressing man-caused global warming any time soon.  He  repeatedly used his cleverness to mislead rather than clarify. His article is literally riddled with erroneous and misleading “information” as was clearly pointed out in a follow-up article that can also be seen at:

So one wonders,  why does Krauthammer say such scientifically stupid things – that are nothing more than repetitions of the junk science to be found everywhere on the Denier’s bloggeries?  As a well educated and intellectually astute person, he surely must know what he is doing.  My only guess is that, as in the case of Matt Ridley ( see my previous post at ), when the best scientific information available causes angst to one’s political ideologies, these smart idiots give priority to their ideologies.  This is most unfortunate because many people on the Right take their cues from their acknowledged intellectual leaders while Mother Nature pays no attention to the political preferences of anyone no matter how smart they are perceived to be.

So with apologies to Matt Ridley and also to columnist George Will (maybe next year guys), my vote for the Smartest Idiot of 2013 goes to Charles Krauthammer.

More seriously, however, one of my most fervent wishes for 2014 is that the leaders of the Republican Party (who I am willing to assume are reasonably smart) begin to understand and have more respect for the Laws of Nature and the professionals who study them.


  1. Eric,
    I can’t get excited about a debate directed at individuals (ad hominem).

    Explain what is wrong with an idea and you may get my attention. Be specific. Vague statements have no value. For example this one:

    “So one wonders, why does Krauthammer say such scientifically stupid things – that are nothing more than repetitions of the junk science to be found everywhere on the Denier’s bloggeries?”

    Specifically, can you cite even one statement he made that is incorrect?

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