Karl Koehler: Lawmakers dismissive


— When catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) proponents resort to using the term "denier" to discount the views of those with whom they disagree about the urgent criticality of climate change, it’s a reliable signal that they’ll be unwilling to open-mindedly exchange thoughts on the topic.

Sen. Barbara Boxer and other Democrat leaders too commonly use the not-so-cleverly redefined term. Given that it is they who often reflexively dismiss scientific findings contrary to their world view, the hypocritical irony of the declaratory insult “denier” is particularly galling.

But to then double down behind a twisted sense of moral certitude and indignantly question an individual's personal belief system or sense of spiritual identity in an effort to discredit their views in general, as exemplified by recent comments presented to Dave Moloney, well, that takes gall to a whole ‘nother level. But Mr. Moloney's challengers were hardly the first intolerant anti-religionists to exploit this shallow form of “reasoning.”

Dr. Roy Spencer was subjected to exactly this sort of accusatory indignity when testifying last July before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. The “gotcha” attempt he was ambushed with came after he and Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. had provided persuasive testimonies refuting core tenets of the alarmist view of CAGW, specifically by highlighting scientifically-derived, peer-reviewed findings giving lie to the myth of extreme weather events being attributable to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations and citing findings that support lower than previously assumed climate sensitivities to CO2 increases. It is this latter variable that anyone credibly following the discussion recognizes as the real crux of the current debate.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) questioned Dr. Spencer – in an official committee hearing no less – as follows: "Let me um, turn to Dr. Spencer and let me, first ask a kind of unrelated question, Doctor. Do you uh, believe that the theory of creation actually has a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution?"

You can view this for yourself at the three-hour, 23-minute mark of the hearing, readily available on the web. In response, Dr. Spencer first laughed, I think in incredulous reaction to the puerile audacity of the partisanly dog-whistled inference in the question, and then asked in return, "And why are we going in this direction?" To which Sen. Whitehouse responded, "’Cause it's something you've said, and I just want to see if you still believe in it."

Dr. Spencer then proceeded to give an obviously honest and candid response with the bottom line being that after thoughtful consideration he personally found the theory of evolution in and of itself to be a scientifically inadequate explanation for the origin of life and had concluded therefore that creation must also have played a role in the process. 

In his response, Dr. Spencer echoed the deist views known to have been shared by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Sen. Whitehouse gave no indication that he respected or even recognized that a viewpoint perhaps different from his own but no less valid had been presented for his consideration and instead forged ahead with the remainder of his well-rehearsed commentary while seeming smugly satisfied that he had somehow managed to call into question the eminent Dr. Spencer's conclusions in their totality by pursuing this line of inquiry.

Such desperately discrediting tactics in my view tend to shed more light on the political and cultural mores of the inquisitioners than on the trustworthiness of the respondent’s opinions pertaining to wholly unrelated concerns, no matter the forum.

Karl Koehler



Ken Collins 10 months, 1 week ago

Interesting comments on Boxer's and other Dem's reactions to those who don't believe as they. You might find this interesting, also. Log in to: Karl Koehler: Do Your Homework from 10/25/13 in the Today.
The deist views of George, Ben and Tom are from 18th century. Wonder how they would feel if they were 21st century.


mark hartless 10 months, 1 week ago

I too have often wondered how George, Thomas and Benjamin would feel about what people like YOU are turning this country into, Ken.

They might have lacked the scientific knowledge we have standing on their shoulders here in the 21st century, but they understood tyranny, and how naive men would wax eager to throw it away for the false promise of security, social stability, protection from boogey men like climate change, etc.


Ken Collins 10 months, 1 week ago

In mentioning George, Ben and Tom, I'm referring to whether they would be creationists or evolutionists with 21st century knowledge. I'm sure they would still believe in God.


Karl Koehler 10 months, 1 week ago

A philosophical question: If a political spokesperson proves - not just leaves the door open to make you question or maybe gives you reason to doubt - but gets up on a world stage and PROVES that he/she has no idea, none at all, about what he/she is talking about, should that spokesperson ever be paid any heed about anything whatsoever?


mark hartless 10 months, 1 week ago

I once heard a black man call in to a radio talk show (local not syndicated) and proclaim with absolute certainty that (and I am NOT kidding) that math tests in the local public schools were racist.

When a significant portion of the population thinks algebra can be racist but black people can not, Bush's drones are unconstitutional but Obama's are not, republicans patriot act is illegal but democrat's patriot act is not, their personal lift ticket doesn't contribute to global warming but my snowmobile does, their light switches don't burn fossil fuel but their neighbor's do...????

Good luck getting them to agree that "their" spokesperson has ever been discredited.

This question starts down the road I have been on for somne time; NOBODY wants to call THEIR spokesperson "pollitical" or admit that they have been "discredited".

Therefore, the answer to the question is that your hypothetical scenario will never happen; nobody is ever wrong. Everybody gets a trophy. There's no sucy thing as "sin". Smoke what you want. Marry your dog. Adopt your mtn. bike.... It "is what it is". And, of course, it all depends on what the meaning of "is" is..


mark hartless 10 months ago

The pollitical geniuses are the folks who can say, under oath that the veracity of his sworn statement "depnds on what the meaning of "is" is, and still get half the population to support him; the guy who can promise to lower oceans and provide more healthcare for less money and not to abuse the executive branch, then do the opposite and still have pollitical support; the person who says "we have to pass the bill to see what's in it" and then get re-elected.

THOSE are the pollitical geniuses


Rick Pighini 10 months ago

You are spelling political wrong. One L. You being soooo smart I thought you would get that. I wouldn't of said anything but its been happening on every post just thought I would help the genius out.


Karl Koehler 10 months ago

Case in point: "Try and picture a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity – that’s how thick it is. It’s in our atmosphere. It’s way up there at the edge of the atmosphere. And for millions of years – literally millions of years – we know that layer has acted like a thermal blanket for the planet – trapping the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the Earth to the ideal, life-sustaining temperature. Average temperature of the Earth has been about 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which keeps life going. Life itself on Earth exists because of the so-called greenhouse effect. But in modern times, as human beings have emitted gases into the air that come from all the things we do, that blanket has grown thicker and it traps more and more heat beneath it, raising the temperature of the planet. It’s called the greenhouse effect because it works exactly like a greenhouse in which you grow a lot of the fruit that you eat here."

Ah yes, the fabled fruit greenhouses of Jakarta...


Ken Collins 10 months ago

To all the commenters: forget the climate topic, forget Ben and the boys, forget racism and forget misspelling. My point was to read Karl's Letter to the Today on 10/25/13 under the title I gave. Then compare it to his letter above. That's all I'm asking.


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