Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pat Robertson on global warming

There's been some interesting discussion on this blog about Pat Robertson's sudden and unexpected conversion to AGW believer.

I wrote that from a policy standpoint, Pat Robertson's conversion is huge. Policies that garner broad support have the best chance of getting adopted, and Pat Roberston brings real diversity into the AGW tent that wasn't there before. In particular, he brings a strong conservative presence that has been missing from the pro-action constituency for at least a decade.

A reader responded:
I don't disagree ... about Pat bringing along a political clout, but really, would you or your distinguished scientists like to stand on the same podium and shake hands or be involved with someone that ridiculous and obviously unhinged? If you welcome him you endorse him, and that is not something a real scientist would do, only a political one.
I reject this argument. While I am gratified that Pat R. acknowledges the strong scientific, economic, and moral case that exists for action on AGW, which I have been arguing for a few years, his endorsement of my position does not mean that I endorse anything else he says. [Ronald Reagan made basically this exact argument when someone odious endorsed him for President --- if anyone has the exact quote, please put it in the comments section.]


Benjamin Bush Jr. said...

I'm having difficulty understanding exactly why I'm posting on an Aggie blog! But....here goes!

Pursuant to his Charisnmatic beliefs, this is not the first "conversion" for Pat Robertson. The major conversion for him was when he decided to sell his family channel to Rupert Murdoch and then work for Murdoch, a Roman Catholic. Now that's a conversion! Follow the money!

Speaking of Aggies, I have a 65 yeasr old cousin who graduated from A&M with an enginerring degree. To this day, his all time favorit TV show is.......................................................Roadrunner! And that's no joke!
I'm not sure how all this contributes to the Global warming dialogue.

Calvin Jones said...

Just a quick comment to say:
1. I`ll be back.
2. I have a climate blog you might like to check out.

Best wishes

ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

Dr. Dessler, just a note, the SAL has come up at a post at the Houston Chron SciGuy on hurricanes, your paper with Wong has been linked, and someone named Roger whose father was involved in the old cloud-seeding experiments has raised an interesting question.

Any advice for us? :^D

Link to SciGuy post and commentary:


ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

Btw, on the subject of Robertson, well, certainly it will help you, the PTL Club program has a huge audience!

George Landis said...

I am sorry to hear you say that Dr. Dessler, I have misjudged you and thought you a serious scientist. As I told my kids, you are judged by the company you keep, and principles need no apologies. Soon I suspect you will be receiving an email from Pat thanking you for your support, and asking you to help him with another of his science issues, ID, he will think you obviously support that too. Good luck with your new soul mate. I am sure you will have inspiring science cases ahead.

ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

Dr. Dessler, this falls on the political-religious side of your topic here, but I am wondering if you knew about any of this below.

Here is info I was not aware of myself until I just looked it up following links on the net beginning with the story on Robertson you linked in your post.

You are getting help from a very unexpected and substantial quarter here, from conservative evangelicals whose flocks are numbered in the millions just in the US.

Did you know about this? Again, I had no idea.

This huge evangelical movement combines social conservatism with a new social gospel that **includes environmental concerns**, and the evangelicals who signed the climate change statement are prominent leaders of it.

The most prominent American involved is Rick Warren, who has the largest "mega-church" in America in Orange county. He is a conservative pro-life evangelical who hangs out with Bono and helped organize the world wide response of independent Christian churches to the Tsunami. He donates 90% of his income to his church and to AIDs programs and so forth. He has a book out that has so far sold 22 milion copies just in the US.

Here is a story on the climate change statement:


Here is the Pew interview:


Anyway, this is much much larger than simply Pat Robertson and his followers, we are talking about reaching multi-millions of people.

[And in case you didn't realize this, the last 8 US national elections have been won --- and lost --- in the pews of these evangelical churches.]

This is very, very substantial support for taking action on GW.

Andrew Dessler said...

George Landis-

There's a tendency in the AGW debate to try to put people in intellectual boxes. So if Pat R. accepts what I've been saying about AGW, then I must be a religious fundamentalist. Such a black vs. white view of the world does not do justice to the fact that most people (although perhaps not you) have nuanced views of the world. There are certain things I agree with Pat R. on: AGW, the right of Israel to defend itself, etc., but I don't agree with lots of what he says, too. Intellectual diversity exists --- deal with it!


Andrew Dessler said...


Yes, I had seen that, and it was what I was alluding to in my "found in my in-box" post when I talked about the emerging Evangelical constituency.


ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

Dr. Dessler, yes, I see that now! I was focused in on the information and links to the opposing group in that post, and your comments on the import of the statement by Warren and company did not take root in my short-term memory!

Before reading your posts here, my knowledge of the evangelical community weighing in on the GW discussion was limited to a few articles I've seen over the past couple of years concerning "Last Days" interpretations of GW, hurricanes, etc.

I am glad to see the "Warren" group is talking, instead, about scientific evidence and technological mitigation.

George Landis said...

Dr. Dessler, I think you misunderstand me, I am not saying you are religiously or even politically similar to Pat. What I am saying is that when you accept and encourage his (and nuts like him) support for your case you cheapen the case and science in general. Consider the source of your glee at having someone (anyone will do?) support your scientific opinions. Pat is no source at all of scientific support for this issue, he is a religious zealot, political kook (remember what he wanted to do with Chavez in Venezuela)and has no idea what AGW even is. So just because he brings some radical religious followers to your side, why would you be pleased? Would you be pleased if the Skinheads and Neo-Nazi party support your ideas? It all sounds like "the end justifies the means", which is dirty politics and not science, are you a politician or scientist on this issue?

It also reminds me of Al Gore's quote at his NYC town hall meeting to rollout his movie recently, when he said:
"The Book of Revelation [says] God will destroy those who destroy his creation," Gore said, noting that some evangelical Christian leaders have expressed concern about climate change. "Whatever works," Gore added, prompting applause and laughter from the invitation only private audience of political and financial supporters." Spoken like a dirty politician, but at least he is honest about it.

J. S. - (Wacki) said...

" George Landis said...

I am sorry to hear you say that Dr. Dessler, I have misjudged you and thought you a serious scientist. As I told my kids, you are judged by the company you keep, and principles need no apologies."

What? This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. By your logic Dessler would have to change his mind every time he met a "bad guy".