Posted by: Barry Bickmore | February 23, 2012

Republican Scientist: “I. WILL. NEVER. VOTE. SANTORUM.”

Now that Rick Santorum has overtaken Mitt Romney in the polls, I have to start asking myself whether I could vote for Santorum if he wins the nomination.  What is a Republican scientist to do?

Politically, I think I am probably somewhere around the center of the Republican party on most issues, but unfortunately, this hasn’t been a good couple of years for “moderate” Republicans.  This is certainly the case for Mitt Romney, at the moment.  Oh, I know he is presently on the stump preaching about how conservative he is, but the fact is that he doesn’t have the most conservative of records.  Another relevant fact is that he is a Mormon, so Romney does significantly worse in localities that have a higher percentage of Evangelicals, who often call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a “non-Christian cult”.  All of this makes him a tough pill to swallow for the “Tea Party” wing of the party,  which is dominated by ideological purists and Evangelical Christians.

Santorum doesn’t have the most conservative record on some issues, either, but he has consistently been on the extreme right with respect to social issues.  He’s also a Roman Catholic, and Catholics generally aren’t viewed as unfavorably as Mormons by most Evangelicals, in my experience.

And then there’s the issue of climate change.

While Romney once backed emissions caps, he has now at least become more wishy-washy in his public statements about the issue.  That is, while he once said that he “believed” humans were causing some of the global warming we’re seeing, he now says he “doesn’t know” what is causing it.  While he once said that we should try to limit emissions, he now says it’s not the right time to be spending “trillions of dollars” on it.  He sounds different, but in fact he hasn’t really contradicted anything he said previously.  Maybe he still “believes” humans are causing global warming, but doesn’t “know” it, and “believes” that we ought to do something about the issue, but has in mind a price tag in the “billions of dollars” range.  I have no idea, but I can imagine Romney’s updated language still sounds a bit suspicious to Tea Party activists, who overwhelmingly reject the evidence that humans are causing significant climate change.

Santorum has never had a moment’s doubt about climate change, however.  According to Politico, Santorum recently claimed that global warming is a “hoax”.

Now, to some extent I can understand the belief that “the science of man-made global warming” is too uncertain, because there’s always uncertainty involved with any scientific theory.  And the fact is that a few years ago I thought the uncertainty was too much for any drastic action, as well.  My problem is that I’m a geoscientist with areas of expertise that overlap quite a bit with those of many climate scientists.  When I decided to study climate change in depth, I fairly quickly found that even given all the uncertainty, there’s only a miniscule chance that human-caused climate change is such a minor problem that we don’t have to worry about cutting our emissions.  When I looked into charges that climate scientists were guilty of conspiracy, I found the scientists’ critics had taken their words badly out of context, and the conspiracy would have had to be so vast as to be utterly impossible to sustain.

I’ll be blunt.  The climate change conspiracy theories aren’t just untenable–they’re idiotic.

Now, I’m really not that picky about the political candidates I vote for.  As long as they seem to mostly align with my policy views, and to generally be reasonable people who have some kind of moral compass, I don’t have a problem voting for them.  But that part about being “reasonable” is a sticking point, here, because I don’t consider people to be reasonable who believe and promote wacko conspiracy theories.

Lately, conspiracy theories seem to have gained a lot of traction on my side of the political fence.  Back in 2010, one poll showed that 46% of Republicans believed Barack Obama was a Muslim, and last year a poll of likely Republican primary voters showed that 51% were “birthers”.  So what is someone like me supposed to do, when people like these are picking the Republican candidates?  The ultra-right keeps telling me that nominating a moderate Republican like Romney is a recipe for failure, because there won’t be enough of a “contrast” with Obama, and such a candidate wouldn’t be able to “mobilize the base”.  Even if they’re right, if Santorum is nominated I will be faced with a choice between 1) a guy who seems fairly reasonable, but disagrees with most of my policy preferences, and 2) a guy who agrees with most of my policy preferences, but is a conspiracy theorist.

If the ultra-right wing wants to draw a line in the sand and tell us that “the base” won’t show up to vote for a moderate Republican, all I can do is counter with my own line in the sand.

I.  WILL.  NEVER.  VOTE.  FOR.  A.  CONSPIRACY.  THEORIST.

I just can’t make myself do it.  I can’t put someone like that in charge of the most powerful military force on the planet–no matter what a second term for Obama might mean for the economy or the make-up of the Supreme Court.  This is where my loyalty to the Republican team ends.  I encourage like-minded Republicans to show up to the primaries and Just Say No to Conspiracy Theorists.

If you’d like to read more about the frustrations of Republican scientists about their party’s stance on climate change, see “GOP Not Listening to Its Own Scientists on Climate Change” by Katherine Bagley at InsideClimate News.  [UPDATE:  Steve Milloy, Fox News commentator and owner of the junkscience.com website, has called me and the other scientists featured in this story RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).  Given that Milloy also thinks that things like the links between second-hand smoke and various health problems are "junk science," I will take this as a compliment.  Let's just say that I don't have a very high opinion of his intellect.]

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Responses

  1. Terrific piece, Barry.

    • This is fantastic. Simply fantastic!!!

  2. I find it hard to believe that anyone other than extreme right-wing Tea Partiers would vote for Santorum. Aside from being an anti-science conspiracy theorist, the guy is kind of a scumbag bigot. I find it kind of depressing that he’s doing so well in the primary.

  3. True science has no political bias, because it adheres to the experimental evidence. Scientists are better professionals than politicians. Keep up the good work, we are all in this part of life together.

    http://ecocosmology.blogspot.com/2011/08/exceptional-american-denial.html

  4. Given how close to the center Obama has governed, what exactly is the problem with someone with your politics voting for him?

    • It mostly has to do with “direction”. If I’m right of center, and think the government should be pushed more in that direction, I will usually vote for the person who I think will be pushing in that direction. I may not have a problem voting for someone who is quite a bit more to the right than me, because I figure there’s no way such a person would get EVERYTHING he/she wants. But I would have a problem voting for someone–even a fairly moderate person–who wants to push things further to the left.

      • And so the Overton window moves on…

        It’s a bugger, innit. Democracy only works if you can find a country without any morons.

        This is not likely.

      • The problem may be that the world gets changed by the unreasonable man, not the reasonable one, Barry.

        And, mostly recently (like the past 15-20 years), the right have been getting the complete and utter nutcases who WILL NEVER CHANGE and WILL NEVER SHUT UP.

        In the 60’s, the left were the ones with the nutters who changed the world.

        But now they’ve got money and power and privilege, these 60-year-old ex-hippies now want privilege continued and are batting for the other side. (as it were).

        And so now only tea baggers are the ones being immobile.

        And anyone else who dares not compromise is vilified for being an extremist by media’s lazy journalism using false balance instead of investigation to find “the truth”.

        The only ones not able to be shut down are the TBs.

        And so the USA moves out of the right wing and into the nuthouse.

  5. “2) a guy who agrees with most of my policy preferences, but is a conspiracy theorist.”

    What does it say about the validity of your policy preferences if a conspiracy theorist with no intellectual credibility shares them with you?

    It does not follow that someone whose mind allows them to draw such a fundamentally broken conclusion on climate change is somehow able to segment that flawed reasoning away from the rest of their views on the world.

    • Well, 1) there are non-conspiracy-theorists who favor those same policy preferences, and 2) there are quite a number of liberal conspiracy theorists. Therefore, the fact that some of my preferences are shared by some nuts is probably not a very good reason for changing my views.

      • Liberal conspiracy theories are far less pervasive or mainstream. The GOP’s go-to ones to point out how foolish liberals are typically involve 9/11 truthers (which is also a fringe right-wing conspiracy theory and not limited to irrational Bush-haters) and anti-vaccination advocates. Neither of these positions are as widespread as comparable right-wing conspiracy theories about climate change or Obama’s birth certificate, nor are they openly held by a majority of Democrats, any prominent Democratic presidential candidates, or mainstream Democratic-leaning media organizations.

        While it’s inevitable that any belief a person has will also be held by at least one person of questionable intelligence, the GOP’s systematic elevation of conspiracy theorists is not a ringing endorsement of their views towards how a society ought to be run.

        The problem isn’t sharing preferences with nuts, the problem is sharing preferences with prominent nuts who are prominent because they are backed by millions of nuts.

        • There are plenty of contemporary crimes involving collusion, IE “conspiracy”. You probably know many personally. Ever been to high school? Ever know anyone who smoked or drunk? The act typically involves multiple people and is against the law. It is thus a conspiracy. And you really think this never happens at higher levels? No double standard exists? Please…

          The phrase “conspiracy theorist” is really just an ad hominem.

          My advise: Stick to the facts instead of dismissing whole groups and beliefs out of hand, it is better to look at the evidences themselves rather than name calling someone who thinks a crime has been committed and ignored for there are MANY!

          Sandy Berger… The man is on the record to have stolen top secret documents. If I do that, I GO TO JAIL and there will be very stiff and far reaching penalties. Softballing him is an obvious travesty of non-enforcement and there’s bound to be conspiracy tied up there. It’s pretty obviously a rabbit hole when you start to ask questions like “why” and “what documents” and I can’t even begin to guess what’s underneath…

          As for the birth certificate… Yes, it’s annoying to have so much attention focused on such a little issue. But there are facts that naw at me… Why did Obama spend a small fortune in attorney’s fees to keep people at bay? It should have been an easy thing to make go away. Why after all that did he publish an obvious forgery ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/55594183/Obamas-Cert-of-Birth-May-10-2011-News-Realease )? Smells like a problem. So we ignore it. Bleh. But if someone steps up and says we shouldn’t doesn’t make them bad, many of the evidences are indeed compelling. Or would you make the case that we should believe the mass media and the government propaganda organs in all things? I, for one, would prefer a little more independence of thought and will, even if I might believe otherwise myself.

          Sheesh, you people act like the king can do no wrong.

          • None,

            I think conspiracies happen, sometimes. But I need evidence. So far, the climate conspiracy theorists have 1) a few DEMONSTRABLY out-of-context quotations from e-mails, and 2) some blowback from the climate science community toward editors and authors who publish DEMONSTRABLY flawed contrarian papers. So yeah, it’s POSSIBLE there’s a conspiracy, but the “evidence” that has been trotted out so far is stupid.

            Then you tell me about some little “birther” facts that gnaw at you. Here’s one that gnaws at me. His birth announcement was in the paper in Hawaii. Do you have any “evidence” to counter that little factoid? How about a new conspiracy theory that explains it? (“See, Obama’s family knew this little bundle of joy would be running for President someday, so they put in the announcement, even though little Barack was still in Kenya.” Or, “They went back in time.” Or, “They faked the newspaper announcement recently, confiscated all the microfilm copies of the newspaper in all the libraries, and replaced that particular page with the faked one.)

            • Fair enough you disagree with his conclusions. Still, “conspiracy theorist” is an ad-hominem. Would be better for you to stick to facts instead of unintellectual mud-slinging.

              I know, I’m asking for more than politicians offer, but we all know they are scum anyway, right?

              Announcements aren’t proof, why do I need to present you with a rebuttal to that? Regardless, at present, the fact that it is a FELONY to forge documents is more important than where the birth did or did not occur. Here we have a sitting president caught red handed doing just that and peddling it to the nation. Yet nothing happens. It’s a conspiracy out in the open for all to see.

              The media will show you some smoke and mirrors and say “nothing to see here”, but READ THE EVIDENCE FROM A PRO (here’s a better link to a more updated affidavit http://www.vectorpub.com/Obama%20affidavit%206-24-2011.pdf ). That has not been refuted that I can find, and anyone who has any experience scanning documents can easily follow it and probably most who haven’t.

            • None,

              People who accuse others of conspiracy and fraud based on ridiculously thin pseudo-evidence are reprehensible, in my opinion. Such people are one of the main reasons that constitutional democracies exist–i.e., to keep them in check if they happen to come into a position of power.

              Santorum is a “conspiracy theorist” because he does that kind of thing regularly. (I understand you would rather I call him “scum”, but I thought “conspiracy theorist” was more polite.) And of course it is an “ad hominem” (against the man). I said I couldn’t vote for him because of the kind of person he is, so what’s wrong with arguing that he’s a certain type of person in that context?

              Finally, I see you haven’t bothered to come up with a better “birther” conspiracy theory that explains how the Hawaiian newspaper could announce Obama’s Kenyan birth. Would you rather I call you a “conspiracy theorist” or “scum”?

            • Part of my issue with the “conspiracy theorist” meme is the guilt by association you paint with it and the very line of logic you used in your last 2 posts. Facts? Who cares. Loose ones will do once you’ve painted “conspirasists” of all strips together. Poor cobbled together weak unimportant or even irrelevant facts will do just fine once that label is applied.

              Your insistence that I find additional conspiracies to explain weak circumstantial evidence is ridiculous. I noticed you conveniently stuck to weak evidence instead of reviewing the evidence I presented. It appears that you choose not to entertain an actual discussion but you would rather simply lecture. At this point, I don’t care what you call me. I’ve said my bit.

        • “Liberal conspiracy theories are far less pervasive or mainstream.”

          I agree. Nevertheless, I don’t think all conservative ideas are wrong.

          • A strawman there, Barry.

            May be of use when you’re deep in heavy argumentation to find some areas of common ground to work from, but not really that useful otherwise.

            Nobody is saying that all conservative ideas are wrong. The only ones coming close to that are, for example, Santorum, who seems to feel that no matter what the idea is (even if it’s his own), if it’s pushed by Obama, it’s wrong.

            • Well, BK seemed to be saying that I should change my policy preferences because of who else believes them. My point was that if I don’t think some of those policy preferences are wrong, I’m not going to change them.

            • Aye, I understand that nobody has to agree 100% to agree with someone.

              In life and in politics.

              And it didn’t look to me like BK was saying “you should leave them if they have loons in them”, but it may be that you’ve gotten this before and therefore are primed to read it.

              Or maybe I’m just well wedded to the idea “I can agree with you less than 100%” so I don’t see it when it’s implied.

              Though I will say that the Democrats are now, if anything, more rightwing/conservative than the Reagan Republican. Heck, they even put forward RomneyCare! With some of the costs to medical providers removed, even!

              “if I don’t think some of those policy preferences are wrong, I’m not going to change them.”

              Don’t. Say. That.

              Watch B5 as a modern retelling of the FACT that individuals DO change things.

              And because you wash your hands of it, as “impossible”, the lunatic who DOES NOT AGREE will change the party for you. To that extent, the nutbaggery of your party is your fault. Others have done the same, but you’re only responsible for your (in)actions

          • Wow,

            That’s why I draw the line at voting for nuts. I can vote for reasonable people that are further to the right than me, but I can’t vote for nuts, no matter what their political orientation.

            And since I’ve been quite vocal about that fact, I’d say the current crop of Republican nutbaggery isn’t really MY fault. For Pete’s sake, I go every couple years to my neighborhood caucus and run for delegate on the “I think some of the people we’ve been nominating are too extreme” platform. I aggressively try to get the local media to print things that paint some local politicians as extremist ideologues. I get called a “RINO” by Steve Milloy.

            • What is your fault is this statement:

              “if I don’t think some of those policy preferences are wrong, I’m not going to change them.”

              Since you gave up, there can only be votes won by wooing the lunatic fringe.

              It’s how the overton window moves on.

              In the 60’s left wing loons.

              Since the 80’s, right wing ones.

              What happened to the “give it the good old college try” spirit in America?

              Shouted down because of the stigma of appearing “extreme”. Only the loons then can afford to be extreme, since they don’t listen to anyone else than the voices in their head.

              Look at the vilification of ACLU or Richard M Stallman (in the latter case, every single thing that has come about that he warned about 30 years ago was then considered “lunatic” but, rather than accord some validity to his ideas, he’s STILL labelled an extremist nutter.

            • I think maybe you are reading my statement in a way I didn’t intend. I meant that I’m not going to change my policy preferences because of who else happens to share them. I wasn’t talking about changing other people.

            • OK, that would also fit the wording, Barry.

              One of the reasons why parties are becoming less sane is because the sane ones listen to the voices crying about “balance” and “extremism”.

              It doesn’t matter if you’re going to lose, you still have a duty to argue against the idiotic proposals.

              When only lunatics dare raise their voice, only lunatics will get heard.

  6. The whole foundation of climate science denialism is built on the claims of a “conspiracy” that *necessarily* must involve thousands of independent climate scientists “collaborating” for over three decades through research, peer-reviewed scientific papers, and covert communication, without a single whistle-blower spilling the beans, or other science able to refute AGW.

    Of course, they are absurd and untenable.

    The problem on our side is that we rarely point that out as you have done, Barry. And we NEVER hold climate science deniers’ feet to the fire and make them explain HOW their conspiracy theories are supposed to work. WE simply don’t make the effort to make deniers support their case and the public gets no exposure to the absurdity of completely unworkable conspiracy theories.

    I have often thought it is necessary to put denialists on the spot by making them explain themselves in the one way they will shoot themselves in the feet.

    • Seven decades, bje. And counting.

  7. The green message is entirely basaed on emotion and devoid of all logic. Some say that with global warming polar ice caps will melt causeing major flooding from sea level rise. Yet 91 percent the world glacial ice is in antartica where the average temp is minus 40 degrees celsius. Ice melts at 0 degrees celsius.The Antarctic temperature would need arise 40 degrees in order for this to happen.Which NOBODY is predicting. Where is this sea level rise going to come from? North pole ?North pole is mostly floating sea ice. And this melting ice doesnt rise the sea at all ( It’s called Archemedes principle). Still we hear this unashamed lying by warmists like James Hanson say “we will lose all the ice on the polar ice caps in two decades”.

    • Steve,

      Methinks you exaggerate. E.g., it would be nice if you would provide a source for Hansen’s alleged statement.

      Also, ice doesn’t melt because the AVERAGE annual temperature over a wide area reaches 0 °C. It melts because the local temperature AT THAT TIME happens to be above 0 °C. Otherwise, no ice would EVER melt in the Polar regions. Are you saying that doesn’t happen?

    • In fact, I’m pretty darn sure you just made up the quote by Hansen. Here’s what he actually said:

      “we find no evidence of millennial lags between forcing and ice sheet response in paleoclimate data. An ice sheet response time of centuries seems probable, and we cannot rule out large changes on decadal time-scales once wide-scale surface melt is underway.”

      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

      Perhaps you should rethink your reliance on certain information sources.

    • “Some say that with global warming polar ice caps will melt”

      So are you saying that ice doesn’t melt?

      “causeing major flooding from sea level rise”

      Are you saying that sea level rises wouldn’t cause floods?

      “Yet 91 percent the world glacial ice is in antartica where the average temp is minus 40 degrees celsius”

      The North Pole gets ice free in summer. You see that hot burny thing up in the sky at day times? That’s the Sun. It’s at 6000K, easily enough to melt snow. So sun shining (you have gone out in the sun, right?) on the snow is warmer than the air temperature. You yourself will have felt the sunshine on your face as a warm glow, even if your eyes are closed.

      “The Antarctic temperature would need arise 40 degrees in order for this to happen”

      And you know this because you’re a glaciologist? Or is this that “common sense” I’ve heard so much about but so very infrequently seen in someone “using” it.

      “And this melting ice doesnt rise the sea at all ( It’s called Archemedes principle).”

      Not at the Antarctic where, as you attest, 91% of the ice lives.

  8. wishful thinking, bje. the point of denierism is to lard up any fact claim with an endless series of non-germane complexities, so pretending that one can engage with a denier as if they are a serious interlocutor is just hogwash. at some point you find yourself saying “the earth is CLEARLY ROUND DAMMIT” and hearing “according to my calculation using ERQ2 substrate surface common complexity survey data (op cit Clearly Leary Meary and Schmeary, 1985 University of southern Utah, southern southern branch) the angularity of any two points viz the dimensionality (one)…” and you just want to tear your hair out. and of course your opponent goes home to cash the fat Koch check and you struggle for your thesis to get published so you can get on tenure track in five years and make 150k/yr by the time you retire, aka what Heartland pays you for 5 op-eds. so…no. you can’t reason with these people. it’s a war. you have to fight them. they are your enemy, as they are the enemy of reason, of enlightment, and of your fellow human.

    the reality that the author of this blog faces is an uncomfortable one: why is it exactly that the VAST (and i’ve seen numbers as high as 99% in reputable surveys) majority of PhD “hard” scientists are either liberal dems or atheist liberal dems? hmmm, let’s see: the smartest (often, not always, but bear with me) and most studied and learned in our society seem to be in consensus on the way things are politically and religiously and socially…huh. i wonder? I KNOW IT’S A CONSPIRACY OF THE UNIVERSITIES. which, by the way, is actually what santorum said today.

    i’ll go with: we are smart and therefore we don’t want a bunch of revanchanist right wing nonsense ruining our world, but YMMV.

    • Robert,

      I’ve seen social statistics on scientists, and it appears that the reason so many (maybe 60%) are atheists is mainly that they self-select from non-religious families. It makes sense to me that more non-religious people would be interested in pursuing science as a career. Mormons are sort of a weird anomaly. We produce A LOT of scientists, per capita. For a long time, Utah was the #1 per capita producer of scientists in the USA, although I don’t think that’s been true anymore for a few decades.

      Anyway, most conservatives aren’t really cut out for the academic life, whether they are intelligent enough for it, or not.

      • This may be twofold in America (in the opinion of an outsider):

        1) Jock culture. Therefore nerds are an underclass

        2) Money Uber Alles. Science doesn’t pay well, requires lots of effort and learning, and requires intelligence that would gain much higher renumeration outside academia. Therefore A Bad Career Move.

        Look at the dotcom boom. When computer programmers were getting banker-level pay and perks, a glut of programmers. When the pay isn’t as good, a dearth.

        • Not just science, mind.

          Much of the healthcare provision (Nurses, etc), all of teaching, most of academia are examples of hard work for little pay and without the Burger Flipper benefit of requiring nothing in the way of educational effort.

    • Robert Green, 

      I am not in the least bit advocating that we try to engage deniers rationally as if they are “serious interlocutors.” Just the opposite. I agree this is war and I’m advocating dealing with this on a war footing. I am advocating putting denialists in a position of having to actually defend their claims publicly without them being able to control the agenda, forcing them to answer questions about their claims, and let them show themselves how completely nuts they are, embarrass them into putting their money where their mouths are. I am saying *exactly* that it is hopeless to try to engage denialists but it does not mean one throws up ones arms and not deal with it.

      I have been engaging denialists for years from Holocaust deniers and creationists, to 9/11 deniers. I have come to find the most effective way to expose them for what they are in public is to *always* make them try to defend their own claims instead of trying to refute their claims or engage them. You have to use what *they* claim to put them on the spot. They either attempt to defend their claims which opens the opportunity to question them about their logic and let them trip up, or they don’t show up, giving one the opportunity to show why they won’t engage you. You control the agenda, not denialists.

      There is no reason why a dedicated group of scientists cannot offer to prominent denialists to come to a public forum to defend their claims. It shouldn’t be a nicey-nice “debate” with a moderator controlling the agenda. It’s a flat out challenge to deniers to give evidence for their claims publicly and try to defend them under expert questioning. It’s an effective counter attack, particulary since one can never reason with denialists.

  9. Man, I am so glad to hear that there are still some reasonable people left in the Republican party. I really miss the days of great moderate Republicans like Bill Cohen, John Chaffee, Gerald Ford, Sherwood Boehlert, James Baker, etc. The party has since been taken over by conspiracy-minded wackos who seem to want to take us all back to the Middle Ages.

    Thanks for making my day.

  10. Just a note about scientific ‘conspiracies’ and ‘secrets’. Listened to the ABC’s Science Show on radio today, discussing the H5N1 virus kerfuffle. Good discussion and then final remarks about just how many people will eventually get their hands on the details of how to create the air-borne version of the virus.

    Journalists say that if the information spreads to just 100 scientists, they will get the information in a fortnight.

    So the idea that climate scientists, their students and research assistants and all those in related disciplines and =their= students and assistants who would have to have held onto the ‘secret’ of the ‘hoax’ for 30+ years, so 50,000+ people all up, and never once a whisper to a journalist – just falls over instantly.

    Has anyone ever worked out the likely number of participants in 3 decades of such a project (or conspiracy)? I’m starting to think I’ve set it a bit low.

    • That was my point, too.It’s simply not possible to have any conspiracy that necessarily involves thousands of people.

      Furthermore, it would be ridiculous for anyone planning a conspiracy to assume that thousands of people a conspirator doesn’t know would autocratically keep their mouths shuts, much less for several decades.

      I contend that in public debates with deniers the opportunity exists to make deniers outline how their AGW conspiracies are supposed to work. I think it’s important to concentrate on making deniers explain themselves rather than trying to rebut them.

      • Read “automatically” rather than “autocratically.”

  11. I don’t believe Santorum has used the word “conspiracy” to describe his position on climate change.

    A hoax is not necessarily a conspiracy. For example, there has always been a large group of people who believe overpopulation is a “near” term world problem. From Malthus to Erhlich, the dire predictions of doom have not materialized. But you’d never refer to what the population doom-and-gloomers believe as a “conspiracy”. It sure smells like a hoax though.

    To the degree “global warming” appears as a hoax, you may thank the actions of those on the warmist side of the argument. Both sets of leaked emails (climategate one and two), advocates like Al Gore, IPCC inaccuracies, Peter Glieck’s recent shenanigans not to mention the flawed GCMs and flat temperatures for the last decade or so, tend to make the casual observer of the climate debate think, “hoax”.

    Dr, Bickmore, if you really believe human caused change poses an imminent danger to earth, you will vote for President Obama. That would end your personal internal political struggle.

    • I don’t think you looked up “hoax” in the dictionary before you made this comment. Dictionary.com gives this definition (the only one for the noun form).

      “something intended to deceive or defraud: The Piltdown man was a scientific hoax.”

      Since this “hoax” could not have been perpetrated by a single scientist, it is by definition a “conspiracy”.

      • Be honest with me Dr. Bickmore; do you not believe that the UN(IPCC) has used “global warming” as a method of deceiving or defrauding the U.S. and other wealthy nations in the name of “climate justice”?

        • No, I don’t believe that.

          • IPCC reports have been shown to contain risible errors. Pachauri has even fessed up to the phony data. Here is a quote from a section of their 2011 climate report:

            “39. Developed country Parties shall provide developing country Parties with new and
            additional finance, inter alia through a percentage of the gross domestic product of
            developed country Parties, for technology, insurance and capacity-building in order to
            enable and implement adaptation actions, plans, programmes and projects at all levels, in
            and across different economic and social sectors and ecosystems;”

            http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/awglca14/eng/crp38.pdf

            Here is an article where “climate justice” is being urged by Pachauri and other UN reps.

            http://news.bahai.org/story/729

            IPCC policy + phony data —–> intent to defraud (hoax?)

            • I can count the number of legitimate, serious errors people have pointed out on my fingers. Imagine that–errors in a set of volumes of thousands of pages!

              And supposing climate change is a serious issue we need to face, how would YOU plan on getting developing countries on board with mitigation strategies? I forgot. It’s easier just to say the whole thing is a “hoax”.

            • Dude, the UNFCCC is not the IPCC!

              And if phony data and errors are so important, you wonder when people like you stop listening to Watts, Monckton, Spencer, Lindzen, Singer, etc. etc. etc.

              Some of them manage to put the same number of errors in the whole IPCC report in a single Op-Ed in the WSJ…

            • Marco dude,

              They’re tentacles of the same Mesonychoteuthis.

              http://www.grida.no/graphicslib/detail/ipcc-and-unfccc-institutional-framework_9145#

            • “IPCC reports have been shown to contain risible errors.”

              Then followed by:

              “39. Developed country Parties shall provide developing country Parties with new and
              additional finance, inter alia through a percentage of the gross domestic …”

              That isn’t an error.

              “IPCC policy + phony data”

              What about

              IPCC policy + genuine date ? You know, the one that actually exists.

              Of course, you DO get IPCC policy + phony data. Just look at Monckton, using phony data and the “scare” of policies that mean they have to change to produce false rhetoric.

        • So what happened to your original point? You seem to be implying that a large organization of people has attempted to deceive and defraud us. Isn’t that a “conspiracy”? Isn’t that what Santorum was suggesting?

          • “You seem to be implying….”

            No, that was your interpretation of Santorum’s position. I merely pointed out that a “casual observer” of the debate could easily be convinced of fraudulent intent (hoax) by the actions of many proponents of CAGW. I’m not a “casual observer”. I’ve followed the debate closely for several years. I think it’s more complex than a “hoax”. But there are definitely elements of fraud and un-scientific behavior involved. I think when Santorum uses the word hoax, he is referring to the politicization of the climate debate and not intending to lump all climate scientists into some sort of “conspiracy”. I could be wrong. I wish someone would would delve deeper into all the candidates views on the topic. Most politicians, including Santorum, are using “global warming” to get votes and sharpen their idealogical axes.

            • “No, that was your interpretation of Santorum’s position.”

              Nope, Dan. Your original complaint is that a hoax is being perpetrated. Since the perpetrators have to be worldwide and in their thousands, that would require a conspiracy.

              And, since you re-use “hoax” it’s not Santorum, it’s YOU he’s talking about.

              And you ARE going on about a conspiracy.

              “by the actions of many proponents of CAGW”

              1) Dogwhistle: CAGW is a denier meme. No such term exists except as a strawman by deniers.

              2) Who’s a proponent? Nobody is a proponent of Cyanide being poisonous, yet biologists and doctors will tell you what will happen when you eat it. Another strawman deniers make up to beat up, since they are the only targets that they can manage.

              “But there are definitely elements of fraud and un-scientific behavior involved”

              With the NIPCC and WUWT? Very true. Wegman, Pat Michaels, McIntyre and Fred Singer? Yup.

              For the 99% of scientists who don’t deny AGW as a consequence of climate science? No, you’ll have to show some.

              “I could be wrong”

              You are.

  12. Dr. Bickmore,

    First let me say how much I appreciate how much help you are in assisting me in dealing with the denier community that in my GW presentations. However,

    Your statement: I. WILL…… reminds me of one I have made often to others

    I. WILL. NEVER. VOTE. FOR. A. REPUBLICAN. PERIOD. END. OF. DISCUSSION.

    Why, you ask? I have a son who did 6 tours in Iraq. I also have done a large number of ‘tours’ testing at a place called Dugway. That background gave me enough knowledge to highly suspect that Bush and the Republicans were running a real ‘hoax’ on the American people. And now we know….

  13. Oh, and another reason not to vote for Santorum:

    Seems Mr. Santorum sees another grand conspiracy in the Netherlands to kill off all our elderly citizens. To hell with the facts!

  14. Oops! Sorry, Barry, didn’t know it would embed the video.

  15. And now Sen. James Inhofe has written a book calling global warming “the greatest hoax.”

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=335&articleid=20120225_16_A1_CUTLIN970703

    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, it’s not that climate deniers are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

  16. [...] Republican scientist explains why he cannot support Santorum, for countenancing the conspiracy theory that climate science is a hoax. Which is [...]

  17. [...] Related Post:  Republican Scientist:  I. WILL. NEVER. VOTE. SANTORUM. [...]


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