Re: [asa] John Houghton on AR4

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Mon Mar 05 2007 - 15:03:51 EST

On 3/5/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> At 06:01 AM 3/5/2007, Rich Blinne wrote:
> On Mar 4, 2007, at 8:48 PM, Janice Matchett wrote:
> Sir John Houghton is largely responsible for awakening evangelicals to the
> need for action on climate change. *~ Rich B.*
> *@ *It's amazing he still has any credibility after he said that *"* *human
> induced* global warming is a weapon of mass destruction at least as
> dangerous as chemical, nuclear or biological weapons that *kills more
> people than terrorism*." ~ John Houghton Monday July 28, 2003 *~ Janice*
> *"*And why shouldn't evangelicals listen? ....So, yes, we heard, we
> listened, and we responded to Sir John Houghton. How could we do otherwise?
> That's the why behind the poll numbers where *a majority of evangelicals
> believe in anthropogenic climate change and that we should respond quickly
> even if it's costly*, because we know the world doesn't believe in costly
> sacrifice but the followers of Jesus Christ both evangelical and not do. *~
> Rich B.*
> *@@* Oh, I have noooooo doubts about the "majority" of evangelicals (and
> other "experts in climatology") believing the UN central planners' "big
> lie". It's been told long enough and loud enough. (A technique described
> in a saying, often attributed to Lenin, as *"A lie told often enough
> becomes the truth",* although the user may not be intentionally promoting
> a lie and may just believe an illogical or faulty proposition.)
> *Some pertinent observations:
> QUOTE: *"We seem to have both low scientific literacy and low religious
> literacy in this country, if his statistics are right. No wonder we're
> having trouble communication the integration of the two." *~ Randy Isaac *Sun,
> 4 Mar 2007 20:40:53 -0500 Teaching religion in state schools

Yet another case of quoting the exact opposite sense of the person who was
quoted intended. What Janice apparently doesn't realize is the illiterate
here are those who deny anthropogenic climate change. It is not the
conclusion drawn by the skeptics that causes us to conclude this but how
they evaluate scientific controversies.

Here's how a scientifically literate person evaluates controversies. For
example, when you have an error range of data you don't make it a single
point. You make sure that when comparing that which is compared is
comparable. (This sounds like a tautology but it is not. A prime example is
what critics did by doing a false comparison between TAR and AR4 on sea
level rise. You need to compare the same scenario and then compare the means
and errors and not compare an extreme from one scenario that includes ice
dynamics to an extreme from a different scenario that doesn't.) You realize
the importance of model building and testing in order to make scientific
progress. You quote original, peer-reviewed, research. You give preference
to specialists in the field. You don't argue ad hominem. None of these are
being done by the critics of anthropogenic climate change.

Given all the noise out there it is not surprising that interested
evangelical lay people are confused and it would be unfair to blame them --
at first. The ASA should continue to consistently warn lay people of
unreliable demagogues to be avoided even when some lay people
have consistently failed to heed our warnings. We should also continue to
encourage good cooperation between science and faith like we have by
inviting Sir John Houghton to the upcoming ASA/CIS meeting in Edinburough.
Ted, thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately, my vacation schedule won't
allow me to attend. It sounds like a great meeting.

All of this can be depressing to people in Randy's position and have the
goals he has. Randy, I brought up the poll data up to give you hope that not
all evangelicals are willfully ignorant and then sit in judgment of those
who are not.

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Received on Mon Mar 5 15:04:04 2007

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