The religious left lifts its voice in campaign 2008

As the Republican Party’s hold on religious conservatives shows signs of loosening in Florida and around the country, some evangelicals are redefining what it means to be a values voter.

About 1,500 Christians are expected in Washington today for a nationally televised forum with the leading Democratic presidential candidates, in what organizers describe as a turning point in the debate over the role of faith in politics.

For decades, politicians touted their ”family values” by disavowing abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research. But some evangelical leaders are now pushing a broader moral agenda that includes AIDS, global warming, poverty and the crisis in Darfur.

After years in the shadow of the religious right, churchgoing liberals are joining the political fray: lobbying Congress, organizing grass-roots groups and promoting compassion in books and blogs.

”The religious right has tried to paint progressives as if they are a bunch of people on the fringe who are out of touch with mainstream America, and that’s just not the case,” said the Rev. Tim Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and spokesman for the Jacksonville-based Christian Alliance for Progress. “We think theological reflection is the responsibility of every Christian voter . . . How should a Christian think about this war? How should a Christian think about torture?”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

42 comments on “The religious left lifts its voice in campaign 2008

  1. Bob K. says:

    Nice try by liberals, but the Democratic party is still the pro abortion party. “Global warming”(that is, as a man-made problem) is a farce, and no Christian should be sucked into believing a lie-even, yea, ESPECIALLY, a fine sounding one. While I sympathize with every AIDS sufferer, I also fully realize that the overwhelming majority of cases were contacted through poor moral choices, and whatever action society decides to take MUST be predicated upon that knowledge. The war in Iraq? A terrible mistake, a situation we should extricate our men and women from as soon-and as wisely-as possible. The liberal left has always had thier religious adherents-usually unregenerate church folk, such as is much of the clergy in TEC-and they always will. I just hope that born again, Bible believers of any denomination are not sucked in by the drumbeat of “social responsibilty”-as if being pro human life, and insisting that people be aware that poor moral choices often lead to bad consequences which are no ones fault but thier own, and that preserving the sanctity of marriage, are somehow socially irresponsible positions.

  2. Words Matter says:

    I would like to be a Democrat, I really would. Well, no, I’ll always be an independent, but I would cheerfully vote for more Dems. I’m tired of the less-government cant (private business efficiency is greatly over-rated and some things only the government can do), a mixed economic system makes a lot of sense, and the free-market health care system sucks. I’m not saying Republicans don’t care about the poor – many do, far more than many Democrats. I’m saying I don’t agree with some of their strategies.

    To tell the truth, the only politician I ever worked for (campaign volunteer) was Ann Richards, a pro-choice Democrat, an honest, common-sense governor, and a wonderful lady. But when the issues touch on pro-life matters, and there is a choice, I really have a hard time voting for someone who protects the practice of almost delivering a living child, puncturing his/her skull, sucking out the brains, then crushing the skull.

    It’s true that the Republicans are a “big-tent party”, including many pro-choice people. It’s not true that the Democrats are equally accepting of pro-life people. Until they fix that, and mitigate their unrelenting support for infanticide, I’m not interested in hearing about their religion.

  3. Katherine says:

    I have to agree that it’s sad to see these evangelicals putting aside the issue of infanticide.

    I objected to the Christian Coalition telling people that God or the Bible require voting Republican, and I object to these people telling us that God requires voting Democratic. We all bring our foundational beliefs with us to the voting booth, or I hope we do, but believers can disagree on what the right policy is.

  4. Dave C. says:

    The notion of a “Christian Left” is irrelevant. I can’t think of a single policy issue where there is a difference between what secularlists on the left and Christians on the left believe or promote.

  5. Bob from Boone says:

    I watched this program on CNN last night and heard what the various candidates had to say about their own religious faith and how it impinges on their decisions as public officials. The headline is false: this was not “the religious left” and it is time to stop this kind of misleading labeling. There was as much “the religious center” as there was anything else.

    I don’t pick up from the comments above that any of the commenters watched the programs. I should like to hear from others who did.

  6. PadreWayne says:

    Bob from Boone, I, too, watched CNN last night with a group of interested parishioners. First, we agreed that the moderator was bad, bad, bad. I mean, really: Questions like, “How did your faith help you get through your husband’s infidellity,” and “What is the biggest sin you’ve ever committed…” Rediculous.
    The candidates themselves, though, I thought came through more as “centrists.” It is possible, for example, to be both pro-choice and pro-life (contrary to the comments above), and to bring people together to talk about how we can allow (legally sanction) a woman the right to make the wrenching decisions surrounding abortion and birth and at the same time how we can educate, educate, educate — and reduce the potential of more human suffering. “Pro-life” and “Pro-choice” are not mutually exclusive.

    Bob K #1 above, I just think you’re wrong. RE: abortion, see above. RE: Global warming, who have you been listening to — Ann Coulter?!? Do the scientific data mean nothing to you? The Alaskan village that is about to close down because the permafrost if melting? RE: AIDS. So…you would assume that a woman (and her unborn child) who contracts AIDS because of her husband’s philandering made a poor moral choice and therefore deserves to suffer? My, my, what a compassionate conservative you are…

    And then you wrote:

    The liberal left has always had thier religious adherents-usually unregenerate church folk, such as is much of the clergy in TEC-and they always will. I just hope that born again, Bible believers of any denomination are not sucked in by the drumbeat of “social responsibilty”

    I’d like to hear your explication of Jesus’ exhortation to care for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the suffering. I’ll assume for now that you think he was “sucked in” by the drumbeat of “social responsibility.”

  7. Katherine says:

    The left always likes to identify itself as “centrist,” because it does not view its ideas as controversial. Perhaps we are all prone to this to some extent. However, I have read enough about Jim Wallis, et al., to have some idea of what was be said. (And no, I didn’t watch; I’m halfway around the world.)

    The compassionate and Christian approach to unexpected pregnancies is to offer the mother emotional and if needed financial support and to make adoption services available to those who are not in a position to raise their babies. Being supportive of a mother’s decision to kill the child is not an acceptable alternative. (Obviously this excludes situations in which the pregnancy must be ended because the mother’s life is imminently in danger.)

    And AIDS is overwhelmingly caused by irresponsible behavior. This should in no way stop us from offering medical care and support services to victims, whether they are victims of their own behavior or innocent victims of a husband’s or father’s mistake. However, just distributing condoms without talking about the moral dimensions of the disease transmission is a strategy doomed to fail.

  8. libraryjim says:

    re: Global Warming: we’ve been reading and listening to non-alarmist, credible scientists from all scientific fields who disagree with the human cause theory. And there are many of them, with more ‘coming out’ every day.

    Ann Coulter has nothing to do with it (I can’t stand her, anyway, even though I disagree with censoring her, but that’s not the point).
    The FACT is that there is no consensus (“if it’s consensus, it’s not science” — Michael Crichton) among the MAJORITY of scientists in the world, but rather a healthy dissent — in spite of the human cause theorists wanting to silence the natural cycle theorist side.

  9. Reactionary says:


    Public welfare is not charity; it is an involuntary transfer of wealth from net tax producers to net tax consumers.

  10. libraryjim says:

    Right — a.k.a. ‘Socialism’. But not “Charity”.

  11. Words Matter says:

    to talk about how we can allow (legally sanction) a woman the right to make the wrenching decisions surrounding abortion and birth …

    Many words to say what could be said in two words: dead babies.

  12. John Wilkins says:

    The issue about abortion is how do we make abortions rare? There are fewer abortions when men are employed and the economy is strong. Who gets abortions? Poor women who won’t marry irresponsible husbands. You can end abortions coercively – which won’t end them. Or you can make it so that people make better choices in a secular country, that is formally agnostic about the religious issues regarding the fetus.

  13. John Wilkins says:

    I would also add that it is easy to talk about dead babies, while we refuse to look at the number of children who die in the rest of the world due to preventable diseases.

    Our charity is limited, it seems.

  14. BillS says:

    Contrary to PadreWayne, it is not possible to be prolife and pro abortion. The two are mutually exclusive. To be pro life means that taking the life of an unborn child is sinful, always. Have the baby and give it up for adoption, but do not kill it under any circumstances.

    By the way Padrewayne, I am still hoping for an answer to the question, where in the Bible does it say or imply that SSR are to be blessed or celebrated on par with Holy Matrimony?

  15. PadreWayne says:

    Howdy, BillS.

    I understand your assertion and won’t press the “what if the mother’s life is at stake” potential. But it is not impossible to be pro-life and still honor the legality of abortion. To be pro-life, IMHO, means that in all circumstances abortion is the last, final, nothing-else-is-possible response; the life of the unborn and the life of the mother must always be respected, but there are some circumstances where the continuation of pregnancy would be harmful. One could use the theory of just war in such circumstances. (And, only slightly off-thread, I am assuming that if one is “pro-life” as you describe, one is against all war.)

    And, too, being pro-life would imply that one would do all possible to adopt and to provide safe, nurturing homes for the orphan (including, in my opinion, parents who happen to be gay — but that should probably be saved for another thread).

    In response to your question, which I have indeed failed to answer, I never said (nor do I say) that Scripture says or implies that SSRs are to be blessed or celebrated on par with male-female marriage. Actually, I do not believe that Scripture itself particularly “says” that marriage between one man and one woman is the only marriage to be blessed. I always choke slightly on the part of the service that says that God ordained the covenant between a man and a woman… God said that it is not good that man should be alone, and God therefore created a companion. God did not create marriage.

    Memo to Katherine: Check the AIDS statistics for Africa.

    Memo to Libraryjim: I’m glad we feel the same about Ann Coulter. We certainly differ on the issue of global warming. Moreover, even if global warming were the result of natural causes (i.e., not contributed to by humankind), would we not owe it to future generations to help mitigate the disastrous consequences that are foreseen?

    John Wilkins 12 and 13: Yes and yes and amen.

  16. Words Matter says:

    I would also add that it is easy to talk about dead babies, while we refuse to look at the number of children who die in the rest of the world due to preventable diseases.

    Red herring’s on the menu, I see. Do you have something rational to say, Mr. Wilkins, or do you simply prefer slander.

    You see, as a member of the largest pro-life organization in the world (the Catholic Church), I am aware of a legacy of education, health care, and pre-natal care offered to unwed mothers across time and place by tens of thousands of nuns, priests, and lay folk. I am aware of medical missions in poor places, and food distribution projects. I am aware of parish food pantries, help with prescriptions, co-operative efforts to help the homeless, and so on. I am aware that Christians (Catholics and non-Catholics as well) have historically and today done actual missions.

    As a liberal Episcopalian, perhaps you do find it easy to talk about dead babies (since you object to protecting them), and perhaps you sit by in your comfortable middle to upper middle-class parish while children die. God knows you people are quite fond of your meetings in luxury hotels and your photo ops. But it’s a lie to condescend to people who actually work to make the world a better place while you do whatever it is you do.

  17. BillS says:


    Thank you for your response, particularly to my question of Biblical justification of blessing SSR and same sex marriage. Obviously, I disagree, but I do appreciate your answer.

    There are cases where the mothers life is at stake, where abortion may be the lesser evil. In most cases, abortion is for the convenience of the mother. Yes we should educate and so on, but many families want to adopt, and the process for mothers who want to give up their children for adoption should be made easier.

    Because you alluded to it, I am very much in favor of the war in Iraq, and believe that the world is better off without Saddam for the same reasons that the world is better off without Hitler and Tojo. Whether we like it or not, the world is a dangerous place, and pretending that the world is not dangerous does not make us safer. Sometimes war is necessary to overthrow the tyrants who slaughter millions.



  18. libraryjim says:

    re: Global warming —
    Moreover, even if global warming were the result of natural causes (i.e., not contributed to by humankind), would we not owe it to future generations to help mitigate the disastrous consequences that are foreseen?
    the simple answer is ‘no’.

    Scientists are not at all certain WHAT the consequences will be. Heck, they can’t even agree on how much theoretically the oceans will rise: the IPCC says 17 inches, AlGore says 25 feet. Archaeoligists are having a field day (literally) in Switzerland where the glaciers are receeding and revealing the remains of stone age civilizations — proving that the earth heats and cools in cycles. Where glaciers are now, there was once fertile land where people lived.

    What we do owe our future generations is good stewardship of Earth’s resources. This is not at all the same thing. We have an obligation to care for the Earth, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We cannot say we love our neighbor while polluting their air and water or poisoning the soil with harmful chemicals. I’m all for conservation, but not at the expense of the Truth — for an unproven theory.

  19. libraryjim says:

    You might want to check out this article on the effects Political Global Warming restrictions will have — and are having — on the poor! It ain’t good.

  20. Cindy T. in TX says:

    I think it would be easier to prove that abortion has increased with greater accessibility and greater societal approval, rather than the higher income of those seeking it. Of course we cannot eliminate it altogether, whether it’s legal or illegal, because some people will do it no matter what. But we don’t use that logic with murder… we don’t say, “well, people are going to kill each other anyway, so let’s just make it legal–they’re really in a bind!” I believe a lot more people would be alive if abortion was illegal. I imagine that many women would have sought out other alternatives (yes, hard, inconvenient alternatives) if abortion meant going to jail. I’d be interested in statistics showing that most abortions are sought by “poor women who won’t marry irresponsible men” because, frankly, I don’t believe it. The argument that women die in dangerous, illegal abortions doesn’t justify killing tens of thousands of children every year. People do LOTS of dangerous, desperate things that end up killing them (drugs, suicide, violent crime), but those have to be dealt with individually – with counseling, family and community support, etc. But legalizing infanticide does not solve the underlying issues, and instead, codifies as worthless that which God values highly and that He gave as a precious gift–human life itself.

  21. libraryjim says:

    The unpleasant secret of legal abortion: women still die from botched processes and infections. There are few if any medical regulations and oversight on abortion facilities (there are more regulations on sanitary facilities for vetinary hospitals than abortion clinics) because if anyone tries to put them in place, NOW hollers “you are trying to restrict a woman’s right to choose!” and the pols back off. Sad but true. A ‘womans right’ may be legal, but it isn’t safe.

  22. PadreWayne says:

    Cindy T. in TX: “we don’t say, “well, people are going to kill each other anyway, so let’s just make it legal–they’re really in a bind!” ”

    Actually, we do, in a tangental way: We refuse to pass laws restricting private possession of guns.

  23. Cindy T. in TX says:

    PadreWayne: That’s waaaay more than tangential. Owning a gun is a long way from deciding to commit murder, isn’t it? Got any info re: how many murders are committed with legal guns vs. illegal guns? Percentage of responsible gun owners vs. murderers? Doesn’t wash I bet. But this is way off topic.

    I’d rather get back to hearing more about the faith of the Democratic candidates. I heard Hillary, for instance, talk a lot about her “faith” that kept her sane during her husband’s adultery episode, but not much about the essense of that faith. She says she doesn’t want to wear it on her sleeve, but if she wants to pull any hard-line Christian-rights, she had better flesh out her “testimony” a bit. If her “faith” has informed her positions on issues, then I’m not sure I can support her “Faith-based” candidacy. Faith in Who or What? To do What? Just looking for more info…

  24. Katherine says:

    Memo to Padre Wayne: Huh? Statistics from Uganda show that the “ABC” approach to AIDS (abstain, be faithful, condoms for failure of self-control) is more effective than condoms-only. This in no way argues against medical treatment for sufferers. Perhaps it is you who need to check the Africa stats.

  25. PadreWayne says:

    No, no, no, Katharine, I was referring to your comment that AIDS is nearly always the result of immoral/irresponsible behavior, when it is clearly not. For example: The thousands of children born with AIDS could hardly be accused of behaving irresponsibly. Their mothers, infected by yes, irresponsible fathers, are not to be so accused either. I agree with you (surprise!) that ABC is effective. Abstenance-only and condoms-only programs are not nearly as effective.

  26. aldenjr says:

    Library Jim #19: What has this mine got to do with the fight to reduce global warming and adopt technologies and an economy based on them that would reduce GHG emissions. I have been telling you and Bill S. that the amount of investment that could and should be unleashed in new energy technologies, if only we would get our energy policy straight would unleash a juggernaut of funding that would actually help the poor. Can you imagine the job potential in Africa if wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy companies were to invest in power production there for these sources. Not only would they have increased energy supplies, but the environment would benefit by the transfer from a firewood based economy to one of clean electricity.

  27. Bob K. says:

    In response to PadreWayne: Well, who have YOU been listening to re: global warming; Al Franken? Global warming is FAR from being an established scientific fact, and a large number of very reputable scientists dont accept the theory, and in fact, consider the human cause aspect just so much junk science-which it is(despite being the cause celebre of the Hollywood left and their allies). Secondly, Wayne, your remarks concerning the spread of AIDS-you just might want to read my post first you make such ill advised comments about what I supposedly said. I said the OVERWHEMING MAJORITY[not ALL] of AIDs cases were the result of poor moral choices(homosexual sex[often with multiple partners], sharing dirty needles during IV drug use, unbridled promiscuity in general). The thousands of HIV positive babies that are born would not have been so-but for such poor choices by their parents as I have described above, something you dont seem to want to face. By the way-Wayne-I had 4 good friends die of AIDS from using dirty needles. Contrary to what you have so insultingly written about my character, I wasnt particularly gleeful to see any of them die. The fact of the matter is; if all homosexual sexual activity and all illegal IV drug use were to stop today, the number of new AIDs cases would plunge-DRAMATICALLY. Of course, you would dispute that. Have fun. I never said-as you have suggested-that we withhold compassionate care from these people. What gets me is when Gay Activists want to blame-and Ive seen them do it-George Bush or Ronald Reagan because so many of their number are dying of AIDs. They NEVER blame their perverse and often promiscuous sexual behavior, which , in fact, IS to blame. Hey, if I overeat constantly and never excersize, and baloon to 600 lbs., Im not going to blame Safeway, Dunkin Donuts, or my Aunt Matilda. Its MY fault. Gay activists want to blame everyone else for the fix their in. Lastly, as far as abortion goes; the Republican national platform has held for quite some tiome that abortion be legal under the following circumstances only; in cases of incest or rape, of if the life of the mother would be endagered by giving birth. I can live with that. How about you? You also might want to get your’ Scriptural bearings straight on the issue of the unborn; read Psalm 127:3, 128:1-4, 139:13-16; Jer 1:4-5; Luke 1:39-44.

  28. John Wilkins says:

    Bob K –

    When it comes to global warming, you’ll have to do a better job than you offer. You can’t just assert it. You might want to check out the New Scientist or read some Bill McKibben. If 99% of scientists think there is global warming, and 1%, funded by oil companies, think its not happening, who do we trust?
    Of course AIDS is caused by choices – but not just individual moral choices, but by choices of people who have state power. Just because someone makes a bad moral choice doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also show compassion or try to mitigate harm. That’s the issue: mitigating harm. Further, it simply costs less to work preventatively, to mitigate harm than the alternatives.
    You also have succumbed to the myth of individualism. Companies hire psychologists to make their ads effective. They understand that we are malleable and highly prone to suggestion. It is human nature – and they exploit it. I admire people who can resist Dunkin Donuts, Pizza, chocolate, McDonalds or purchasing toys for their children. You are a much stronger man than most people, clearly. Fortunately, our economy is built upon lemmings such as myself.

  29. Katherine says:

    Padre Wayne, I didn’t mean that the irresponsible behavior was always that of the AIDS sufferer. Indeed, it is often innocent wives and children who pay the price along with the husband/father who visited the prostitute, which is the common pattern in Africa and Asia. If men could be educated to understand that their irresponsibility can bring horror and death to all their families, progress could be made. That’s what I mean by the moral dimension.

  30. PadreWayne says:

    You are absolutely right, Katherine. And if women could be empowered — in too many societies they simply do not have the option of refusing their irresponsible husbands. And note to you and any others who may have misunderstood: I never meant to imply that you would refuse a compassionate response to the sick and dying.

  31. Bob K. says:

    John, I think you need to get real yourself. You said that 99% of ALL scientists believe in global warming as the result of the burning of fossil fuels, and you have scientific proof that the “1%” who believe otherwise are employees of oil companies. Uh-huh. Yeah. I’M convinced.

  32. libraryjim says:

    If 99% of all doctors believed that disease were caused by bad-humors in the blood, and only 1% believed diseases were caused by microscopic organisms such as viruses and germs (and it seemed these got their funding from Dial Soap), who would you believe?

    Would the 99% be right simply because they were in the majority?

    Actually, there are a lot more than 1% who disbeleive the human cause theory. and more are coming out every day declaring their dissent, and this number includes scientists who were previously proponents of human cause who now say, “no, it’s a natural cycle”.

    You can’t even go by the names on the IPCC, since many of the scientists say their names were put up without their consent (one has gone so far as to SUE to get his name removed!).

    Frankly, the natural cycle theorists have made a better, more convincing case than the human cause theorists. The problem is that they can’t get the media attention because the media thrives on inducing panic. “Earth is doomed if we don’t do something” is news, “Earth going through warm cycle again” is not.

  33. libraryjim says:

    You also have succumbed to the myth of individualism. Companies hire psychologists to make their ads effective. They understand that we are malleable and highly prone to suggestion. It is human nature – and they exploit it.

    Apply this to Gorbal Warming, and – “no more calls, we have a winner!”

  34. libraryjim says:

    click on the link again, then click on ‘read whole article and comments’. Your questions are answered there. Or better yet, click on the link “e-mail Roy Innes” and ask him. Then post his answer here. we’ll be waiting to read it.


  35. John Wilkins says:

    library jim, the word for your anecdotes is sophistry. You might not believe in it, but industry is getting ready; as are corporations; the government and even George Bush. Why not read an unbiased source, like the New Scientist?.

  36. libraryjim says:

    LOL, New Scientist unbiased.
    Good joke.
    When they publish articles by Bjorn Lomberg, S. Fred Singer, David Demming and present all sides of the issue, then I’ll believe they are unbiased. When they call for an end to personal attacks by calling anyone who disagrees with Human Cause theory “Global Warming Deniers” or “In the pocket of big oil” (without any proof) or “unqualified” (when they are highly qualified), then I’ll believe they are unbiased.

    But as long as they only present one side (the ‘human cause’ theory side), they are NOT unbiased.

  37. John Wilkins says:

    Perhaps they are… “biased” because the science (unless, you are skeptical about the scientific method) is… is what it is. It’s not a political magazine. Its a science magazine.

    You didn’t even read the article, library Jim. Unless everyone who disagrees with you is biased!

    Look at the science. The article breaks it down, with more fairness and a better explanation than either one of us can do.

  38. libraryjim says:

    John, I didn’t read the link, because up until now, your links have been very one-sided in spite of your claims that they are ‘unbiased’ (and often require a subscription to read the entire article). The fact is that pro-human cause scientists have been doing all they can to silence the other side. I’m sure you will say the same about the links I post. Feel free. But at least both sides will be presented, unlike in the media and psuedo-scientific circles. Of course everyone who disagrees with me is biased: you can’t even accept my analogies without rudely dissing them without answering them. (By the way, my ‘analogy’ above was based on a real situation, except for the dial soap part. Who was proven right, the majority of the dissenters?)

    Global-warming skeptics cite being ‘treated like a pariah’
    By Eric Pfeiffer
    February 12, 2007
    Scientists skeptical of climate-change theories say they are increasingly coming under attack — treatment that may make other analysts less likely to present contrarian views about global warming.

    “In general, if you do not agree with the consensus that we are headed toward disaster, you are treated like a pariah,” said William O’Keefe, chief executive officer of the Marshall Institute, which assesses scientific issues that shape public policy.

    “It’s ironic that a field based on challenging unproven theories attacks skeptics in a very unhealthy way.”

    Two climatologists in Democrat-leaning states, David Legates in Delaware and George Taylor in Oregon, have come under fire for expressing skepticism about the origins of climate change. Oregon Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski is publicly seeking to strip Mr. Taylor, widely known as the state’s climatologist, of his position because of his stance.

    “There has been a broad, concerted effort to intimidate and silence them,” said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global-warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It’s the typical politics of the hard left at work. I think these are real threats.”

    CEI, which previously listed Mr. Legates as an “adjunct scholar,” has published multiple reports questioning the science behind global-warming theories and has been criticized for accepting donations from companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp.

    Mr. O’Keefe said his organization doesn’t deny the existence of global warming but questions the methods used by individuals and groups advocating for new government restrictions to combat the phenomenon.

    “We have never said that global warming isn’t real,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “No self-respecting think tank would accept money to support preconceived notions. We make sure what we are saying is both scientifically and analytically defensible.”

    In an interview with local NBC affiliate KGW-TV, Mr. Kulongoski, a Democrat, said he hopes to take away Mr. Taylor’s job title because his views do not mesh with the political opinions of most lawmakers in Oregon, including the governor.

    “He is Oregon State University’s climatologist. He is not the state of Oregon’s climatologist,” Mr. Kulongoski said. “I just think there has to be somebody that says, ‘This is the state position on this.’ ”

    Mr. Taylor was appointed to the position in 1991, when Oregon’s legislature created a state climate office at the college. Mr. Kulongoski wants to change the position to a governor-appointed one. State Sen. Brad Avakian, a Democrat, is sponsoring a bill supporting such a move.

  39. libraryjim says:

    Ok, let’s take one example from the article:

    Most researchers would agree that while the original hockey stick can – and has – been improved in a number of ways, it was not far off the mark. Most later temperature reconstructions fall within the error bars of the original hockey stick. Some show far more variability leading up to the 20th century than the hockey stick, but none suggest that it has been warmer at any time in the past 1000 years than in the last part of the 20th century.

    Try again, we still don’t have a winner. The critics of the ‘hockey stick’ graph are still numerous, and the only ‘researchers’ who stand by it are the pro-human cause theorists. David Demming, Singer, Lomberg, and many others have come out and strongly condemned this graph.

    Richard Muller writing for MIT’s Technology Review put it this way, in 2004:

    Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records.

    But it wasnt so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.

    Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called Monte Carlo analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

    That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.

    Proponents of the graph ignore or dismiss the critics and then go on to say with no basis that the graph has been proven right.

  40. John Wilkins says:

    There are two issues here: one is the bias of the new scientist; the other is the validity of the hocky stick graph.

    First, the New Scientist was careful – read the sentence you quote: Some show far more variability leading up to the 20th century than the hockey stick, but none suggest that it has been warmer at any time in the past 1000 years than in the last part of the 20th century.

    Read what it says later: “Even the position of perhaps the most respected sceptic, Richard Lindzen of MIT, is not that far off the mainstream: he does not deny it is happening but thinks future warming will not be nearly as great as most predict.

    Of course, just because most scientists think something is true does not necessarily mean they are right. But the reason they think the way they do is because of the vast and growing body of evidence. A study in 2004 looked at the abstracts of nearly 1000 scientific papers containing the term “global climate change” published in the previous decade. Not one rejected the consensus position. One critic promptly claimed this study was wrong – but later quietly withdrew the claim.”

    This is fairly balanced reporting from people who know science. You quoted a story that is more about freedom of speech than about what is actually happening environmentally.

  41. libraryjim says:

    But, John, don’t you see? The lack of freedom of speech among scientists to dissent is WHY there were so few papers QUESTIONING the validity of the studies. If a scientist cannot get his paper published by a peer-reviewed journal or outlet, then it cannot be included in the review.

    I posted a story not too long ago on the old forum about the retreating glaciers in Switzerland revealing stone age cultural artifacts. In that story, scientists were quoted as saying temperatures during that time (before the glaciers covered the area around 1750 BC) were .5 to 2 degrees warmer than what we have today! (source for data: Peter Suter, Leader of the department of prehistory and early history with the archaeological service in Berne: “From climatic research, it is well-known that in Europe between the 3rd Millenium and 1750 BC, a mild climate prevailed. The average summer temperatures might have been at that time for 0.5 to two degrees than today.” translated from the German.)

    Studies are not showing that we are entering the warmest period EVER, but that temperatures cycle from warm to cold. In other words, the Solar System goes through its own seasonal cycles. That’s why in the 70’s the scientists were warning about a coming ice age and now it’s warming.

    Or this from USA Today’s Science pages (March 22, 2002):

    WASHINGTON (AP) — An unusually warm period a millennium ago may have been part of a natural planetary cycle, say researchers who studied tree rings.

    The study, appearing in the March 21 issue of the journal Science, analyzed ancient tree rings from 14 sites on three continents in the northern hemisphere and concluded that temperatures in an era known as the Medieval Warm Period some 800 to 1,000 years ago closely matched the warming trend of the 20th century.

    In recent years, many climate scientists have said an unprecedented warming spell that began last century and continues is caused by an enhanced greenhouse effect. While the natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth at a liveable temperature, the enhanced greenhouse effect is blamed on an increase in the atmosphere of gases, principally carbon dioxide, from the burning of fossil fuels.

    The tree-ring study gives another perspective on Earth’s natural cycles, said Edward Cook of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y. Cook is co-author of the study with Jan Esper and Fritz Schweingruber of the Swiss Federal Research Institute.

    Cook said the study shows the Earth to be “capable of rapid changes and long periods of above average warmth on its own without enhanced greenhouse warming caused by human activities.

    “We don’t use this as a refutation of greenhouse warming,” said Cook. “But it does show that there are processes within the Earth’s natural climate system that produce large changes that might be viewed as comparable to what we have seen in the 20th century.”

    Cook said the study found that, based on the growth of rings in the trunks of trees that lived hundreds of years ago, the temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period were about equal to the warming trend that started in the 20th century.

    “Greenhouse gases (added to the atmosphere by humans) were not a factor back in the Medieval Warm Period,” said Cook.
    Cook said data used in the climate change panel’s calculation is based on a model that compared the preindustral age climate with the climate of the 20th century. The model did not include a Medieval Warm Period. Including data from that era could change the calculations, Cook said. …

    Cook said the panel’s [IPCC] temperature warming prediction could be correct. Based on the new tree-ring data, however, he said the warming could be in the lower part of the temperature range forecast by the group.

    Keith Briffa and Timothy Osborn, climate scientists at the University of East Anglia in Britain, said the study by Cook and his colleagues “provides evidence for greater climate swings in the last 1,000 years than has yet been generally accepted.”

    In a commentary in Science, Briffa and Osborn said a need exists for more such independent studies to refine predictions for global warming in this century.

    John, you can’t deny it: the human cause folks leave out vast amounts of information from their studies. When other scientists call them on it, they are told to shut up or lose funding, and when their papers are not published so that the public cannot make a valid assessment, they say “See? There is no disagreement – all published papers agree with us.”

    That’s not science, that’s politics.

  42. Barry says:

    John Wilkins wrote:

    Bob K –

    When it comes to global warming, you’ll have to do a better job than you offer. You can’t just assert it. You might want to check out the New Scientist or read some Bill McKibben. If 99% of scientists think there is global warming, and 1%, funded by oil companies, think its not happening, who do we trust?

    During the past several years, more than 17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two-thirds with advanced degrees, have signed the Global Warming Petition.
    Signers of this petition so far include 2,660 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and environmental scientists (select this link for a listing of these individuals) who are especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

    Signers of this petition also include 5,017 scientists whose fields of specialization in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and other life sciences (select this link for a listing of these individuals) make them especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide upon the Earth’s plant and animal life.

    Nearly all of the initial 17,100 scientist signers have technical training suitable for the evaluation of the relevant research data, and many are trained in related fields. In addition to these 17,100, approximately 2,400 individuals have signed the petition who are trained in fields other than science or whose field of specialization was not specified on their returned petition.

    Of the 19,700 signatures that the project has received in total so far, 17,800 have been independently verified and the other 1,900 have not yet been independently verified. Of those signers holding the degree of PhD, 95% have now been independently verified.
    Might want to get your facts straight before you post John.