Response to Fake News on Climate Change in “The Federalist”
September 6, 2017
“Prominent Debunker Shows Himself Gullible to Al Gore’s Unsupported Climate Shilling,” read the headline in The Federalist, August 29, 2017 (Gleason 2017a). Why, they were talking about moi!
At issue was my very favorable review (Nickell 2017) of Al Gore’s latest film, An Inconvenient Sequel. It “updates,” as I said, “the dynamics of planetary weather change.” But my blog hit the hot button of writer Aaron Gleason.
Who is Gleason? you rightly ask. He is a fledgling global-warming denier who shares Trump’s dissatisfaction with the Paris Agreement on climate change. To say Gleason is a non-scientist is a great understatement. He studied theology at evangelical Christian schools: Biola University and its Talbot School of Theology, which holds that the Bible is “the Word of God, a supernaturally given revelation from God Himself” and “without error” (“Doctrinal” 2017). Presently, among other things, Gleason (2017b) drives for Uber.
Although one might think Gleason is not the brightest bulb, he obviously believes himself smarter than I, Al Gore, 99.9% of climate scientists (Powell 2015), and all but one world leader. What makes Gleason so brilliant in his own mind? He apparently jumps to conclusions with the aid of a pogo stick. For example, he asserts that I was “persuaded by Gore alone” about climate change. Actually, that is a falsehood: the science magazine I work for, Skeptical Inquirer, has been addressing climate evidence for many years.
Cited by Gleason as his trump—or Trump—card is Roy Spencer, a meteorologist and prominent denier of man-made climate change who appears on programs like “The Rush Limbaugh Show” to discuss his beliefs. Spencer is a signer of “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming” which states: “We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence—are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history” (“Roy Spencer” 2017).
Spencer—a poster boy for confirmation bias—obviously prefers a dogma about “God” to the overwhelming scientific evidence for man-made global warming. Not surprisingly, he has been criticized for plotting data that supports his view, while ignoring scientific evidence to the contrary. He announced in 2014 that those who disparaged “climate change deniers” were themselves “global warming Nazis” (“Roy Spencer” 2017). Gleason accuses me of making an appeal to authority, but look at the authority he appeals to. Thank you, Mr. Gleason; now run along.
Doctrinal Statement. 2017. Online at https://www.talbot.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/ ; accessed September 1, 2017.
Gleason, Aaron. 2017a. Prominent Debunker Shows Himself Gullible to Al Gore’s Unsupported Climate Shilling; online at https://thefederalist.com/2017/08/29/prominent-debunker-shows-gullible-al-gores-unsupported-climate-shilling/ ; accessed September 1, 2017.
———. 2017b. Competition. . . . Online at https://thefederalist.com/2017/06/23/competition-uber-lyft-shows-free-markets-make-life-better/ ; accessed September 1, 2017.
Nickell, Joe. 2017. “An Inconvenient Sequel”: A Nickell-odeon Review. Online at https://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/an_inconvenient_sequel_a_nickell-odeon_review/ ; August 17.
Powell, James Lawrence. 2015. The consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming. Skeptical Inquirer 39:6 (November/December), 42–45.
Spencer, Roy (scientist). 2017. Online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist) ; accessed September 1, 2017.