POLITICS
10/21/2014 02:47 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2014

Politicians Are No Scientists On Climate Change, But They're Happy To Give Medical Opinions On Ebola

"I'm not a scientist, but …" has become something of a cliché among politicians who want to weigh in on climate science without actually having to say whether they believe it. But when it comes to Ebola, a number of the same not-a-scientist politicians have been more than happy to provide their medical opinions, as Think Progress documented Monday.

Many of these politicians have made false statements about Ebola, from claiming one could catch it at a cocktail party, to arguing that it can be transmitted through the air, to worrying that immigrants will carry it over the Mexican border (where there have been precisely zero cases of Ebola).

As Think Progress notes, many of the Republican politicians spreading medical misinformation about Ebola have attested to their lack of qualifications in other scientific fields like climate change:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he’s "not qualified" to debate the science of climate change, but insists that President Obama should "absolutely consider" a ban on U.S. travel to West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he’s “not a scientist” when it comes to climate change, but also says it would be "a good idea to discontinue flights" from Ebola-affected countries. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal — who studied science in college — says he’ll "leave it to the scientists" to talk about climate change, but says it’s "common sense" to institute a flight ban.

Meanwhile, actual doctors and medical professionals have made it clear that Ebola does not spread through the air, it is not "incredibly contagious" and there is little likelihood of a large-scale outbreak in the United States.

Irrational panic over Ebola, however, does appear to be highly communicable.

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