Lots of sources are telling me about Pat Robertson’s sudden acceptance of the fact of global warming. I’m sorry, but it’s no cause for rejoicing. He accepts it for the wrong reasons.
This week the heat index, the perceived temperature based on both air temperatures and humidity, reached 115 Fahrenheit in some regions of the U.S. East Coast. The 76-year-old Robertson told viewers that was “the most convincing evidence I’ve seen on global warming in a long time.”
If there’s one broad, overall message I wish everyone would get from this blog and from my teaching, it’s that science isn’t about getting the right answers—it’s about how you arrive at your answers, by verifiable, testable, repeatable methods and logic and good evidence. Deciding that global warming occurs because you’re having a hot, sticky, uncomfortable summer: bad and unscientific. Deciding that global warming occurs because the climate research community has evaluated multiple lines of evidence and documented an anomalous pattern: smart.
I’m sorry, Jake, but while getting the religious right on the side of conservation is a good thing, doing so on the say-so of an incompetent authority like Pat Robertson who uses an anecdote about the weather to justify it is a bad thing. What are we going to do if Colorado has a blizzard in January, and James Dobson uses that to argue that an Ice Age is on the way? Or if Jerry Falwell has a bout of incontinence, so he prophesies great floods?