The increasingly unhinged deniers of global warming point to Inhofe’s report to validate their theocratic worldview or selfish economic interests, Parham writes. (Photo: U.S. Senate)
A Southern Baptist creationist without a college degree is listed as one of the 700 prominent scientists who object to the statement that the scientific community has reached a consensus about man-made global warming.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) issued a report that said, “Over 700 dissenting scientists … from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.”
Calling it a “groundbreaking report,” the document said, “The over 700 dissenting scientists are more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.”
“This Senate report is not a ‘list’ of scientists, but a report that includes full biographies of each scientist and their quotes, papers and links for further reading,” said the document, dated March 2009. “The distinguished scientists featured in this new report are experts in diverse fields.”
One of the listed prominent scientists is Chris Allen, who holds no college degree, believes in creationism and belongs to a Southern Baptist church.
Allen is a weatherman at the FOX-affiliated TV station in Bowling Green, Ky.
On pages 227-228 of the report, Inhofe identified Allen as a meteorologist and quoted from his “scientific writing”—a blog—about global warming.
“[J]ust because major environmental groups, big media and some politicians are buying this hook, line and sinker doesn't mean as a TV weatherperson I am supposed to act as a puppy on a leash and follow along," wrote Allen. "All of this (global warming alarmism) is designed to get your money and then guilt you in to how you live your life."
Inhofe doesn’t quote other segments from Allen’s blog, however.
“My biggest argument against putting the primary blame on humans for climate change is that it completely takes God out of the picture,” he wrote on Feb. 7, 2007.
“It must have slipped these people's minds that God created the heavens and the earth and has control over what's going on. (Dear Lord Jesus ... did I just open a new pandora's box?) Yeah, I said it. Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created? Of course, if you don't believe in God and creationism then I can see why you would easily buy into the whole global warming fanfare. I think in many ways that's what this movement is ultimately out to do—rid the mere mention of God in any context,” wrote Allen.
“What these environmentalists are actually saying is ‘we know more than God— we're bigger than God—God is just a fantasy—science is real ... He isn't ... listen to US!’ I have a huge problem with that,” said Allen, a member of Hillvue Heights Church, whose pastor is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an adjunct faculty member of Campbellsville University, a Kentucky Baptist university.
Responding to criticism on Feb. 23 about not being a meteorologist, Allen blogged, “No, I am not … nor have I ever passed myself off as one [a meteorologist] … But some of these people automatically dismiss my comments as invalid simply because I was not able to take advantage of a higher education. The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good.”
He added, “I am not a scientist—and I don’t have a college degree.”
The problem here is not so much Allen’s lack of education, nor his theology of hostility toward science.
The problem is Inhofe’s lack of integrity. Inhofe claims the support of prominent scientists, one of whom has no scientific credentials.
One wonders how many others on the list are without credentials like Chris Allen.
A number of the so-called scientists are TV weathermen with undergraduate degrees, some of whom have blogs and have been quoted in local newspapers denying global warming. But that’s a far cry from having written scientific papers.
One without credentials in climate science is a professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma: Edward Blick, a former professor of engineering.
The earth “couldn’t be more than 10,000 years old,” wrote Blick in a January 2007 column that appeared in the Norman Transcript. “Since evolution has never been proved scientifically, it must be believed by faith.”
Supporting Ben Stein’s film, which pushed intelligent design as science, Blick wrote on the film’s Web site about a Baptist university that refused to teach biblical creationism in favor of evolution. Blick said evolution was “the Devils [sic] theology.”
Blick signed a statement opposing Darwin’s theory of evolution sponsored by the Discovery Institute, a creationist organization, and is listed as a scientist with the Institute of Creation Research.
Again, the Inhofe problem is not that Blick advocates a fundamentalist theology that is hostile to science. Blick is certainly entitled to his non-scientific opinion and screwy theology. Just don’t claim that he is a prominent scientist whose opinion should be taken seriously about global warming.
Not only is the Oklahoma senator being deceptive; he is spreading misinformation in the public square. Again and again, the increasingly unhinged deniers of global warming point to Inhofe’s report to validate their theocratic worldview or selfish economic interests at the expense of the global good. It only takes a village of global warming deniers to slow down the needed initiatives to address climate change.
Next time you hear or read about a growing number of scientists who disagree that human beings are causing global warming, remember Chris Allen and Edward Blick.
Remember than what gets Inhofe into trouble is not what he doesn’t know, but what he thinks he knows that just isn’t so.
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.