Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 9, 2009

INHOFE'S 'EXPERTS'.... Periodically, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) unveils a list of "prominent scientists" who he claims agree with his rejection of evidence of global warming. His latest update was published about a month ago, and according to the far-right Republican, he's up to 700 names.

Generally, conservative activists find this pretty impressive. After all, if a U.S. senator can point to 700 "prominent scientists" who are global warming deniers, then those mean ol' liberals shouldn't be allowed to say there's a scientific consensus on climate change.

Problems arise, however, when Inhofe's work is subjected to scrutiny. For example, some of the senator's scientists are actually economists. Others are scientists and inventors who have "no expertise in climate science whatsoever." Many are on ExxonMobil's payroll.

But an alert reader brought this item to my attention, and it's my favorite.

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."

Allen's blog rejects global warming, in part because he doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created." He's also argued that his perspective on science has value, despite not having a background in science, because, "The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good."

The point here is not to pick on a TV weathermen, who is obviously entitled to his opinions. Rather, the point is that a U.S. senator labeled this man a "distinguished scientist" and "a meteorologist," whose "expertise" on climate change should cast doubt on overwhelming scientific evidence.

Something to keep in mind the next time Inhofe is on Fox News boasting about his latest "report."

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

'I am supposed to act as a puppy on a leash and follow along'

Up boy, up! Now, roll over for Inhofe.

Posted by: Bill on May 9, 2009 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Among the other prominent experts include:
Dr Frank N Furter
Dr Wormstrom
Dr Evil
Lex Luthor
Dr Zin
Bozo The Clown

Posted by: Former Dan on May 9, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Another perspective - 700 is not that impressive a number of scientists even if they were real. I live in a modest midwestern city and I have at least that many scientists working within a three mile radius of my house. I know quite a few of them, and can think of two who might be on Inhofe's list. The rest are sane and most are UCS members.

Given the way the numbers break across the scientific community, 700 would seem pretty paltry even if he wasn't fudging his numbers, and indicates overwhelming scientific support of the opposing viewpoint.

Posted by: Blue Girl on May 9, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

He he he !
The funny thing is in the differences between different folks . Some folks ask how there could be a God if such astounding stupidity were permitted to flourish .
Others draw the inference that if it is actually occurring it cannot be bad ...

Because because because

Because of the wonderful things he does !

He he he !

Posted by: FRP on May 9, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

You know things are looking bleak for the Republican Party when a Republican U.S. Senator has to cite a high school grad (no college degree) who is an evangelical creationist weatherman at a Fox TV station as an "expert" who contradicts climatologists on the issue of global warming. Why? Because "he doesn't believe 'God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created.' " Although it is funny to write the words "evangelical creationist weatherman" and "Fox TV" in the same sentence.

We boring educated liberals have to resort to stupid stuff like science, experiments, testing hypotheses, measuring ocean water temperatures in various places over periods of time, satellite photography of polar ice caps shrinking and glaciers melting in recent decades and all that other boring stuff that persons with college degrees do.

Posted by: Goose on May 9, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

> The point here is not to pick on a TV weathermen,
> who is obviously entitled to his opinions.
> Rather, the point is that a U.S. senator labeled
> this man a "distinguished scientist" and "a
> meteorologist," whose "expertise" on climate
> change should cast doubt on overwhelming
> scientific evidence.

Um, let's not go overboard into the titleism trap here. Some TV weathermen are pretty faces who read from the teleprompter. OTOH, we have one TV guy in our city who is an accomplished meteorologist and has a very deep knowledge of all forms of weather.

Additionally, while there are many Ph.D meteorologists who specialize in complex mathematical models it is also a field where dedicated amateurs still do a lot of important work. So there again titleism is not a good trap to fall into.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 9, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me Inhofe's chasing a one-eyed Jimmy Stewart! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 9, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

he doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created

It looks to me like God is willing to allow humans to do all kinds of stupid things.

Posted by: qwerty on May 9, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

So who is actually compiling this list for Inhofe?

Posted by: martin on May 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Allen doesn't believe that God would allow us to destroy the Earth He created. That;s just silly. No, Allen just believes that God would set forth upon this Earth His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who was immaculately conceived, and let this Son be raised and grow to adulthood specifically to die a humiliating and brutal death - at the hands of humans - for all our sins. Yes, that makes much more sense.

Posted by: slappy magoo on May 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

How do you get to be a t.v. weatherman with no training? I thought these people had degrees in earth science, even if they did the weather for smaller news stations.

Posted by: Varecia on May 9, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

This call for another Steve list!

(Discovery Institute did the EXACT SAME THING with creationism; as a lark there is a Steve list of biologists named Steve that support evolution).

Posted by: gwangung on May 9, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Got something against Christianity buddy?

Joe the weatherman:

"All of this is designed to get your money and then guilt you in to how you live your life."

Posted by: koreyel on May 9, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"[H]e doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth...." I'm not any kind of expert, but doesn't this conflict with the whole free will thing?

Posted by: jhm on May 9, 2009 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good."

This succinctly sums up the most fundamental, basic tenet of Republican Party philosophy, and everything it does flows from this approach to life: Ignorance is strength, knowledge is dangerous, and faith is everything.

The GOP really is the 21st-century reincarnation of the Know-Nothing Party.

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Also on that list is one of out teevee weatherman who claims that he not only has debunked global warming but is "insulted" by the arguments.

He was on the air during one of our major fires when a firefighter said something about "unpredictable winds." He got all in a huff and said that, as a weatherman, he could predict "exactly what the winds will do" and proceeded to lecture on sea breezes and orographic this and adiabatic that. As he was saying that the wind reversed direction twice on camera and the firefighter said, "Well, that may be, they really swirl unpredictably down in these canyons."

Posted by: Bill H on May 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

That Furter doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created" is fascinating. My parents, both who died of tobacco diseases (lung cancer, heart disease) once said something similar to me, about the time the Surgeon General report was released on the dangers of smoking (1968?). Rather than God it was the tobacco companies that ,they believed, would not sell a product that was harmful.

Posted by: Don on May 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

If Inhofe's standards for making his "expert list" are this low, there really should be a lot more people on it. 700 ? Psht.

If roughly 2/3 of hard core Republicans don't even believe in climate change, I would guess that means some 40 million or so potential experts are out there waiting to be discovered by Inhofe. Many of them probably even have college degrees. Stop slacking , James.

Posted by: about time on May 9, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

A recent letter-to-the-editor in my local Oklahoma newspaper opined that David Boren, the President of Oklahoma University, had let "too much intellect" get in the way of good judgment when he allowed Richard Dawkins to speak on evolution at the University.

There's a reason Inhofe keeps getting elected time after time.

Posted by: CDW on May 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK
Allen's blog rejects global warming, in part because he doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created."

I assume Imhofe is neither Christian nor Jewish. After all, only 5 chapters into the Good Book, God does precisely that, and simply to spite humanity, leaving Noah and his family and millions of paired beetles, sea slugs, Irish elk, and so forth bobbing around on an ark.

And, as is standard, no one, including commentators here, seems to have absorbed the difference between weather and climate. Weather is your paycheck, climate is the economy.

Posted by: Tom Parmenter on May 9, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I meant "I assume Allen is neither Christian nor Jewish", but I'm willing to leave Imhofe on the hook anyway.

Posted by: Tom Parmenter on May 9, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Climate Change is a sunk cost. No matter what the U.S. does, China and other nations will keep spewing carbon dioxide into the environment. This means that, instead of trying to prevent climate change, the U.S. should simply prepare to adapt to it.

Posted by: trumanliberal on May 9, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

somewhere else on the innertubes, there was a list of 31,000 + purported scientists who scoff at global warming..[too lazy to google the link]..so 700 is small potatoes...however, that big ass list doesn't say what fields the "scientists" are in...there are some folks with phd's behind their names..but there are also md's, and my fave, dvm's....as we all know, vets are the ultimate climate change authorities...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 9, 2009 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

The climate change denialists refuse to acknowledge the difference between weather and climate. A cold day in Oklahoma represents cold weather, not a cooling climate. Meteorologists specialize in weather, and can be amazingly clueless about climatology. A recent pole of scientists indicated meteorologists were among the most likely to be climate change denialists.

Posted by: Emil Minty on May 9, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

All of this is designed to get your money and then guilt you in to how you live your life.

Sounds like organized religion to me.

Posted by: scooter on May 9, 2009 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

He is right, God probably won't let humans destroy the earth He created. I bet that He would allow humans to alter the climate enough to make civilization as we know it impossible, though, and destroy thousands of species in the process. But the world will still be here. The remaining humans, if there are any, just won't enjoy it much.

BTW, didn't this guy read the part about Noah? I mean, God's already on record drastically revising the climate leading to the deaths of almost all humanity at least once. Why should we believe he wouldn't do it again, or let us do it to ourselves? Sure, maybe He's changed his ways since that whole Jesus thing, but let's not act like He is overly attached to small details like maintaining global temperature where we might like it.

Or doesn't he believe in the Bible?

Posted by: biggerbox on May 9, 2009 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

"he doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created."

I guess he doesn't believe in free will, then.

BTW, global warming wouldn't DESTROY the Earth. It wouldn't even destroy "man." I would wreck a vast change to human culture and human life, would probably cause massive death in places like Bangladesh and perhaps India. But it would not blow the Earth apart or anything.

And also BTW, what does this yahoo think God did when he created the Great Flood that apparently killed everyone on earth except Noah and his family. Does this idiot, who obviously believes God DID this to the world once, think He can't or won't do it again? After all, he could just create a NEW Adam and Eve 2.0 and start all over again.

Sheesh some of these religious folks are stupid. They can't even learn the lessons of their own Holy Book!

Altho as I now re-read my comment, I guess that if you pointed this out, they'd change their tune and say Global Warming is God's vengence on abortion and gay marriage.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on May 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

So ... the talking point has been identified. The next time one of these idiots say "we can't destroy God's world" the next question is, "Do you think GOD is causing global warming then? To create the next Great Flood?"

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on May 10, 2009 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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