Sunday, August 13, 2006

Found in my in-box

A faithful reader of the 'blog has forwarded me this e-mail:

Dear Dr. NameWithheldByRequest,

Fred Singer suggested that I send you the attached documents for your interest. If you would like to join Fred and many others in endorsing "A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming," we would be honored. You can do that simply by reply e-mail listing your name, title, and (for identification only) institutional affiliation, plus snail-mail address, phone number (for verification only), and a list of your degrees (subject, level, and granting institution). You will note that the "Open Letter" and "Call to Truth" are primarily from evangelicals and to evangelicals but that we have included endorsements by non-evangelicals with special relevant expertise. If you do endorse, please inform me whether I should list you among evangelicals or non-evangelicals. Thank you for your consideration.

In Christ,

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Social Ethics
Knox Theological Seminary, 5554 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308
Here are copies of the "Open letter," the ironically named "Call to truth," and the press release.

I've read these documents and they're full of the usual crap that gets rolled out for these: Humans are not causing warming; if they are, the warming will be small; and in any event, we can't do anything about this. Their arguments are, by and large, either normative value judgments, or are misleading or downright wrong scientific statements. [Note added in proof: also see the discussion here.]

From a strategic view, however, this type of campaign makes perfect sense. First, the recent emergence of an evangelical coalition in favor of action on climate change was one of the most significant events of the recent past. This represented a titanic shift in the political fault lines of this policy debate. Those opposed to action on climate change had to be terrified that they were on the brink of losing the entire policy debate. So this response makes perfect sense. Second, by arguing about science, they can drag the debate into a complete gridlock, as argued by Jon Miller. The report, with it's appearance of credibility and objectivity, leads the other side (those in favor of action) to leap to an enthusiastic defense of the reality of climate change - and the trap is sprung: the public tunes out (too boring), the media downgrade the story (too complex) and the politicians have the greatest excuse for doing nothing (let's wait until the science is clear).


Anonymous said...

Dr. Dessler, I think you've got a research paper pdf linked instead of the Open Letter, unless the evangelicals have taken a 34 page excursion into "Principal Component Analysis of the Evolution of the Saharan Air Layer and Dust
Transport ..." :^D

Anonymous said...

OK, the press release link is taking us back to your website to an unauthorized section.

Anyway, link 2 is working, and I've heard of this, and the evangelical group they are opposing.

This is a public reply to another evangelical group which took the opposite position in a "Call to Action" letter and ad.

I have also heard fundamentalist preachers talk about global warming as "End of Days" stuff, too!

One guy said something about Jesus is coming back with an air conditioner for the righteous ...

Andrew Dessler said...

Links fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

EliRabett said...

This has been discussed elsewhere.

It is another version of the 17000 scientists can be fooled. It would be good to get their mailing list. Have they been so foolish.....

EliRabett said...

This has been discussed previously here.

The most interesting thing would be their mailing list. At that point it would be useful to put together a response.

Anonymous said...

Correct tytler5, this is no worse than the opposite bible pounders jumping on the AGW bandwagon, but I have heard many pro-AGW forces are pleased to have Pat Robertson and the purposeful life religious jealot stumping for them. No accounting for taste, but true scientists will not get involved in this religious junk, just like they shouldn't have endorsed Environmental Defense, but somehow they just can't help themselves.

Andrew Dessler said...


From a policy standpoint, Pat Robertson's conversion is huge. Of course, it does not change the scientific consensus one bit. But policies that garner broad support have the best chance of getting adopted, and Pat R. brings a whole group into the AGW tent that wasn't there before.


Anonymous said...

I don't disagree Dr. Dessler 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.

Anonymous said...

I've got a feeling the evangelical preachers on either "side" of the public debate would have to speak out on this, anyway, as they are obligated to guide their congregations.

I'm sure the "doomsday" reporting by the media has many religious people in the congregations wondering if these are "signs".