Can you imagine what a White House Science Fair would look like under a President Ted Cruz? I asked that question on Twitter on Monday, after the Texas senator announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election.
The same day, President Barack Obama hosted the White House’s fifth-annual science fair—the event that once brought us the Marshmallow Cannon. It showcased experiments like a group of 6-year-old girl's page-turning robot and a high school senior’s test to predict a cardiac arrest. The point of the event is to encourage kids to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The U.S. lags much of the world in these areas, ranking 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science among 15-year-olds internationally.
But if Cruz occupied the White House, it's fair to say that he would take the science fair in a more ... creative direction:
Noah's Ark recreation
While Cruz hasn't said revealed how old he thinks the Earth is, he did announce his candidacy at Liberty University, a Christian school that teaches students the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Students attending the school's Center for Creation Studies learn about the "creation-evolution controversy" and develop a "consistent biblical view of origins." Cruz would no doubt want to see these teachings represented at his science fair—perhaps by recreating the wooden vessel that allegedly preserved the world's fauna from a massive flood?
An Internet Connection Powered by a Gerbil
Cruz is against net neutrality. In fact, he compared Obama's plan for net neutrality to "Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government." That makes no sense: Net neutrality is about a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) classification, not about the federal government physically running the Internet. Cruz's position was so nonsensical that it even angered conservatives.
Cruz's mission, as chair of the Space, Science, and Competitiveness subcommittee overseeing NASA's budget, is to get the agency to focus more on space and less on Earth. It's part of his mission to cut funding for NASA's research on air and climate pollution. "I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel," Cruz said at a hearing about threats from space, referring to Willis's role in the 1998 sci-fi disaster movie Armageddon. "There probably is no doubt that actually Hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do."
Cruz thinks climate change is a hoax. In an interview last week, he pointed to snow as evidence. (He certainly isn't alone in thinking that.) “I just came back from New Hampshire where there’s snow and ice everywhere,” Cruz said. “And my view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up.” Cruz would have an igloo built on the White House lawn, in below-freezing weather. The fact that it didn't melt would prove, obviously, that there's no such thing as climate change.