Science is a wholesome and beneficial enterprise, and it serves us well in figuring out how the universe works and what’s going on. We may not always like the answers we get from science, but we ignore the results of science at our own peril.
The conservative mindset has long had issues with scientific results. Back when the tobacco lobby held larger sway they wooed conservatives with campaign contributions. Politicians so entranced with this largess were inclined to shave points in the government’s battle to educate the public on the hazards of tobacco. What scientific research there was showed that tobacco smoking was addictive and that there was a strong positive correlation between smoking tobacco and lung cancer. Tobacco industry executives came before Congress and perjured themselves denying these findings, this despite knowing their own research had confirmed them:
Tobacco Chiefs Say Cigarettes Aren’t Addictive
By PHILIP J. HILTS,
Published: April 15, 1994
The top executives of the seven largest American tobacco companies testified in Congress today that they did not believe that cigarettes were addictive, but that they would rather their own children did not smoke.
The executives, sitting side by side at a conference table in what seemed to many a counterpoint to the growing antismoking sentiment in Congress, faced more than six hours of sharp questioning by members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment.
Under persistent questioning, each of the executives agreed to give Congress extensive, previously unpublicized research on humans and animals that their companies had done concerning nicotine and addiction.
Democratic Congressmen on the panel, inspired by recent news reports, pressed the executives on whether their companies manipulated the content of nicotine to keep smokers addicted to cigarettes. The executives acknowledged that nicotine levels could be and were controlled by altering the blends of tobacco, but they said this was done to enhance flavor, not to insure addiction.
Elsewhere we have seen a decades-long parade of conservative politicians defending the teaching of creationism (including the faddish Intelligent Design formulation) at public expense. In many cases it has been hard to tell whether these advocates are scientifically challenged or merely blinded by the lure of religious-based government.
Twenty years back I carried on a running dispute with a fellow (conservative) member of The North Texas Skeptics. This person was at odds with a lot of science relating to environmental issues. Environmental issues may sometimes require government action, and I get the idea talking to my conservative friends that government intervention is a bad thing and must be avoided. It also became apparent to me that because the scientific findings pointed to government action, the findings must be suspect. The hot topic twenty years ago was atmospheric ozone depletion.
Serious scientists had identified a problem, and politicians had determined a solution:
- Ozone high in the stratosphere blocks harmful ultra-violet radiation, thus protecting those of us living on the earth’s surface.
- This ozone layer was continuously formed by the action of that same ultra-violet radiation.
- Chlorinated fluorocarbon compounds that migrate to the stratosphere become dissociated (the molecules broke up), releasing free chlorine, which precipitates the disintegration of ozone molecules.
- The ozone layer is being thus depleted. Harmful effects were already apparent and would worsen if the process continued.
- The culprit chlorinated fluorocarbons come exclusive from human activity, since we manufacture these substances, which do not normally appear in nature on the earth.
- We were responsible for this calamity, and we needed to change our activities to eliminate the problem.
- Government regulations were put into place to limit the production of chlorinated fluorocarbons.
My conservative friends vigorously denied the validity of the scientific findings, and this dialectic went on for a number of years, until…
11 October 1995
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to
Professor Paul Crutzen, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany (Dutch citizen),
Professor Mario Molina, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and Department of Chemistry, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA and
Professor F. Sherwood Rowland, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone.
The ozone layer – The Achilles heel of the biosphere
The atmosphere surrounding the earth contains small quantities of ozone – a gas with molecules consisting of three oxygen atoms (O3). If all the ozone in the atmosphere were compressed to a pressure corresponding to that at the earth’s surface, the layer would be only 3 mm thick. But even though ozone occurs in such small quantities, it plays an exceptionally fundamental part in life on earth. This is because ozone, together with ordinary molecular oxygen (O2), is able to absorb the major part of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and therefore prevent this dangerous radiation from reaching the surface. Without a protective ozone layer in the atmosphere, animals and plants could not exist, at least upon land. It is therefore of the greatest importance to understand the processes that regulate the atmosphere’s ozone content.
I have not heard about this too much since from my conservative friends. They have moved on to other topics, including anthropogenic global warming. I picked up on this recently. A link was posted on Facebook by a vocal conservative advocate. The item is by John Hawkins, and it appeared last week on RightWingNews.com. I am re-posting the entire piece for analysis:
5 Scientific Reasons That Global Warming Isn’t Happening
Written By : John Hawkins
February 18, 2014
How did global warming discussions end up hinging on what’s happening with polar bears, unverifiable predictions of what will happen in a hundred years and whether people are “climate deniers” or “global warming cultists?” If this is a scientific topic, why aren’t we spending more time discussing the science involved? Why aren’t we talking about the evidence and the actual data involved? Why aren’t we looking at the predictions that were made and seeing if they match up to the results? If this is such an open and shut case, why are so many people who care about science skeptical? Many Americans have long since thought that the best scientific evidence available suggested that man wasn’t causing any sort of global warming. However now, we can go even further and suggest that the planet isn’t warming at all.
1) There hasn’t been any global warming since 1997: If nothing changes in the next year, we’re going to have kids who graduate from high school who will have never seen any “global warming” during their lifetimes. That’s right, the temperature of the planet has essentially been flat for 17 years. This isn’t a controversial assertion either. Even the former director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, Phil Jones, admits that it’s true. Since the planet was cooling from 1940-1975 and the upswing in temperature afterwards only lasted 23 years, a 17 year pause is a big deal. It also begs an obvious question: How can we be experiencing global warming if there’s no actual “global warming?”
2) There is no scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and caused by man: Questions are not decided by “consensus.” In fact, many scientific theories that were once widely believed to be true were made irrelevant by new evidence. Just to name one of many, many examples, in the early seventies, scientists believed global cooling was occurring. However, once the planet started to warm up, they changed their minds. Yet, the primary “scientific” argument for global warming is that there is a “scientific consensus” that it’s occurring. Setting aside the fact that’s not a scientific argument, even if that ever was true (and it’s really wasn’t), it’s certainly not true any more. Over 31,000 scientists have signed on to a petition saying humans aren’t causing global warming. More than 1000 scientists signed on to another report saying there is no global warming at all. There are tens of thousands of well-educated, mainstream scientists who do not agree that global warming is occurring at all and people who share their opinion are taking a position grounded in science.
3) Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012: The loss of Arctic ice has been a big talking point for people who believe global warming is occurring. Some people have even predicted that all of the Arctic ice would melt by now because of global warming. Yet, Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012. How much Arctic ice really matters is an open question since the very limited evidence we have suggests that a few decades ago, there was less ice than there is today, but the same people who thought the drop in ice was noteworthy should at least agree that the increase is important as well.
4) Climate models showing global warming have been wrong over and over: These future projections of what global warming will do to the planet have been based on climate models. Essentially, scientists make assumptions about how much of an impact different factors will have, they guess how much of a change there will be and then they project changes over time. Unfortunately, almost all of these models showing huge temperature gains have turned out to be wrong.
Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says that climate models used by government agencies to create policies “have failed miserably.” Spencer analyzed 90 climate models against surface temperature and satellite temperature data, and found that more than 95 percent of the models “have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH).”
There’s an old saying in programming that goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, if the assumptions and data you put into the models are faulty, then the results will be worthless. If the climate models that show a dire impact because of global warming aren’t reliable — and they’re not — then the long term projections they make are meaningless.
5) Predictions about the impact of global warming have already been proven wrong: The debate over global warming has been going on long enough that we’ve had time to see whether some of the predictions people made about it have panned out in the real world. For example, Al Gore predicted all the Arctic ice would be gone by 2013. In 2005, the Independent ran an article saying that the Artic had entered a death spiral.
Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years….The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a “tipping point” beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.
Meanwhile, Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012. James Hansen of NASA fame predicted that the The West Side Highway in New York would be under water by now because of global warming.
If the climate models and the predictions about global warming aren’t even close to being correct, wouldn’t it be more scientific to reject hasty action based on faulty data so that we can further study the issue and find out what’s really going on?
I will start with Hawkins’ statement of the problem: “How did global warming discussions end up hinging on what’s happening with polar bears, unverifiable predictions…”
That’s probably the best point he makes in the entire piece. There are a lot of people out there who, while possessing an earnest belief in the basis for global warming, have no real knowledge about the science. There are alarmists making unverifiable predictions, predictions that are almost certainly baseless. It’s good that Hawkins brings this up. Unfortunately for him it does nothing toward making his case, namely that he is presenting “5 Scientific Reasons That Global Warming Isn’t Happening.”
Let’s move on to Hawkins’ first point:
1) There hasn’t been any global warming since 1997:
This is a good statement for Hawkins to start with, because it has the possibility of real science. It makes a definite claim, and the claim has the possibility of invalidating the theory of global warming. The problem with this statement is merely that it is false. I have in the past posted the following figure:
It’s from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies Web site. The line representing the 5-year running mean climbs up through 2005 at least. If you look at the remainder of the plot, there has been a progressive increase in the temperature index since 1900, with a dip following 1940 and a steady climb since about 1970. There have been periods since 1960 that the index has not increased, but Hawkins’ statement (hasn’t been any global warming since 1997) is technically not true, and the hiatus of the past few years is not inconsistent with the trend of global warming.
Hawkins’ point number 1 is invalid and is definitely not a Scientific Reason That Global Warming Isn’t Happening.
2) There is no scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and caused by man:
Hawkins wants to make the point that “Questions are not decided by consensus.” Actually, in real science they are. If a scientist has a new idea, a new theory for example, this idea gets kicked around and studied by other scientists knowledgeable in the subject. When a reasonable consensus is obtained, the idea or theory gets incorporated into the body of science, and others begin to use it as a basis for additional study. Here are some interesting histories of theories that went through the process:
- Phlogiston was thought to be a substance associated with heat. It sounded good, and scientists attempted to use it for years. Eventually they came across instances that were in contradiction, and the theory was discarded.
- Aether was supposed to be a substance that permeated all of space and was he vehicle for the transmission of light waves. An experiment about 150 years ago by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley attempted to use the concept to measure the absolute motion of the earth through the aether. They achieved negative results (the aether theory did not work), and the aether theory was discarded.
- On the other hand the theory of continental drift was proposed about 100 years ago by Alfred Wegener. Wegener had a lot going for his theory, there was the appearance that continents had moved. However, Wegener’s proposal did not include a workable mechanism for continental movement, and it was rejected until well after he was dead from a polar exploration accident. In the 1960s scientists established conclusively that the continents were moving, and they further formulated a model of the earth’s interior that accounted for the movement. The scientific consensus now is that continents are moving. This movement can be measured by GPS, and measurements show that North America and Europe are separating at about one inch per year.
That is scientific consensus. It’s formed by real scientists doing real science. It’s not formed by passing around a petition for people to sign as Hawkins alludes to: “Over 31,000 scientists have signed on to a petition saying humans aren’t causing global warming.”
I have seen this kind of thing before. The National Center for Science Education came up with Project Steve to counter a list of 500 (the number varies) scientists who dispute the fact of biological evolution:
October 17th, 2008
NCSE’s “Project Steve” is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of “scientists who doubt evolution” or “scientists who dissent from Darwinism.”Creationists draw up these lists to try to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists, that it is a “theory in crisis.” Not everyone realizes that this claim is unfounded. NCSE has been asked numerous times to compile a list of thousands of scientists affirming the validity of the theory of evolution. Although we easily could have done so, we have resisted. We did not wish to mislead the public into thinking that scientific issues are decided by who has the longer list of scientists!
Project Steve pokes fun at this practice and, because “Steves” are only about 1% of scientists, it also makes the point that tens of thousands of scientists support evolution. And it honors the late Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary biologist, NCSE supporter, and friend.
We’d like to think that after Project Steve, we’ll have seen the last of bogus “scientists doubting evolution” lists, but it’s probably too much to ask. We hope that when such lists are proposed, reporters and other citizens will ask, “How many Steves are on your list!?”
What the NCSE did was to come up with a list of scientists who back the theory of biological evolution, but they limited their list to only people named Steve or variations of the name, e.g., Stephanie. The NCSE list easily trumped the creationists’ list.
A few years ago I took the creationists’ list of 500 and picked one at random. When I tracked the guy down I found out he was not really associated with the ccollege/university listed, and he was not a working scientist.
The EcoGeek has done something similar with the Global Warming Petition Project:
31,000 “Scientists” (Some Dead) Refute Global Warming
Written by Dave Loos on 20/05/08
In keeping with the amount of virtual ink this item deserves, we’re going to try and keep this short. The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine held a press conference this morning to announce that 31,000 “scientists” have signed apetition rejecting claims of human-caused global warming.
According to OISM officials, the purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that “the claim of ‘settled science’ and an overwhelming ‘consensus’ in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climate damage is wrong.”
So what does it take to be included among the 31,000 “experts” on the petition? Well, according to the OISM criteria, any undergraduate science degree will do just fine. Bet you never thought that BS you earned 20 years ago made you a qualified climatologist. Congratulations!
OISM also wants to let you know that 9,021 of the signers hold PhDs. They don’t specify what the doctorates are in, but they repeat that figure quite a bit, as if it means something. Since the group was nice enough to list all 31,000 signers, including the dead people, let’s take a look at the qualifications of three randomly-selected “climate experts.”
- W. Kline Bolton, M.D. is a professor of medicine and Nephrology Division Chief at the University of Virginia. Nephrology deals with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney.
- Zhonggang Zeng is one of the 9,000 with a PhD. He is a professor of mathematics at Northeastern Illinois University. His most recent publication is entitled “Computing multiple roots of inexact polynomials.”
- Hub Hougland is a dentist in Muncie, Indiana. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame last year.
We have encountered the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine before. Robert Park is a physicist who has long written a “What’s New” on skeptical and anti-religious issues. Not allowing the scent of plagiarism to bother me, I have regularly re-posted his comments. Here’s one:
Political climate: what’s right for the American people?
One of the purported abuses cited in the minority staff report involved the insertion into an EPA report of a reference to a paper by Soon and Baliunas that denies global warming (WN 1 Aug 03). To appreciate its significance, we need to go back to March of 1998. We all got a petition card in the mail urging the government to reject the Kyoto accord (WN 13 Mar 98). The cover letter was signed by “Frederick Seitz, Past President, National Academy of Sciences.” Enclosed was what seemed to be a reprint of a journal article, in the style and font of Proceedings of the NAS. But it had not been published in PNAS, or anywhere else. The reprint was a fake. Two of the four authors of this non- article were Soon and Baliunas. The other authors, both named Robinson, were from the tiny Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in Cave Junction, OR. The article claimed that the environmental effects of increased CO2 are all beneficial. There was also a copy of Wall Street Journal op-ed by the Robinsons (father and son) that described increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as “a wonderful and unexpected gift of the industrial revolution.” There was no indication of who had paid for the mailing. It was a dark episode in the annals of scientific discourse.
That was from the September 2003 issue of The North Texas Skeptic, and is posted on the What’s New site at http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN03/wn080803.html.
The Motley Fool site also took a dig at beloved old OISM and included remarks from Bob Park:
The Oregon Petition again! Definitely one for a putative FAQ.
Here are some facts about the petition; the text was authored by the late Frederick Seitz. Seitz used to be the chairman of both the Science and Environmental Policy Project and the George C.Marshall Institute. Both organisations are funded by ExxonMobil and both deny that manmade climate change is happening
The petition was widely circulated “Virtually every scientist in every field got it,” says Robert Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland at College Park and spokesman for the American Physical Society. “That’s a big mailing.” According to the National Science Foundation, there are more than half a million science or engineering PhDs in the United States, and ten million individuals with first degrees in science or engineering.. (Emgineers outnumber Earth scientists in the petition by about 3 to 1).
Seitz attached what appeared to be a reprint of a scientific paper – a ‘review’ of the science of climate change. The review mimicked the font and format of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of which Seitz was a past president, but it was in fact written by a Christian fundamentalist called Arthur B. Robinson, who has never worked as a climate scientist, his 22-year old son and two employees of the George C. Marshall Institute, Willie Soon and Sallie Balliunas. Robinson runs theOregon Institute of Science and Medicine which sounds impressive but is in fact a barn in the small rural town of Cave Junction. Soon after the petition was published, the NAS released a blunt statement:
The Council of the National Academy of Sciences is concerned about the confusion caused by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy. The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal.
The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.
Chicanery indeed. Anyone claiming to hold a degree may sign and it has been repeatedly spoofed by environmentalists; previously signed by the cast of M*A*S*H, (Dr. Frank Burns, Dr B. J. Honeycutt etc geddit?), Michael J Fox, John Grisham and ‘Dr’ Gerri Halliwell (twice).
Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science:
Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition – one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers.
and in 2005, journalist Tom Shelly found In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided. Why the lack of transparency?
So, still waiting for those scientific facts,
Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine :
The ‘paper’ and petition
[Some text deleted]
From first appearances it would seem John Hawkins draws from fraudulent sources to make his argument. Let me add that he also also appears to do so from second, third, fourth and fifth appearances, as well.
The real scientific consensus is available to all who care to read:
The scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming, and it is extremely likely (at least 95% probability) that humans are causing most of it through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels. In addition, it is likely that some potential further greenhouse gas warming has been offset by increased aerosols. This scientific consensus is expressed in synthesis reports, by scientific bodies of national or international standing, and by surveys of opinion among climate scientists. Individual scientists, universities, and laboratories contribute to the overall scientific opinion via their peer-reviewed publications, and the areas of collective agreement and relative certainty are summarised in these high level reports and surveys.
National and international science academies and scientific societies have assessed current scientific opinion on climate change. These assessments are generally consistent with the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), summarized below:
- Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as evidenced by increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, the widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.
- Most of the global warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to human activities.
- “Benefits and costs of climate change for [human] society will vary widely by location and scale. Some of the effects in temperate and polar regions will be positive and others elsewhere will be negative. Overall, net effects are more likely to be strongly negative with larger or more rapid warming.”
- “[…] the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time”
- “The resilience of many ecosystems is likely to be exceeded this century by an unprecedented combination of climate change, associated disturbances (e.g. flooding, drought, wildfire, insects, ocean acidification) and other global change drivers (e.g. land-use change, pollution, fragmentation of natural systems, over-exploitation of resources)”
No scientific body of national or international standing maintains a formal opinion dissenting from any of these main points; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position. Some other organizations, primarily those focusing on geology, also hold non-committal positions.
[Some links removed]
The critical wording is in the last paragraph: “No scientific body of national or international standing maintains a formal opinion dissenting from any of these main points…”
Hawkins’ second point is without merit and mirrors a gross misconception of all science, including climate science, held by the scientifically uneducated.
3) Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012:
The first thing that can be said about this is that it is not a scientific reason “that global warming isn’t happening.” Actually, that’s the only thing that needs to be said about Hawkins’ point 3, but I will say more.
Joe For America posted a similar claim last year, and I countered it at the time:
JFA does not say which polar ice cap—there are two, one north, one south—so I’m going to have to look at both. First the Arctic cap. Here’s a news item from that left wing liberal source, the New York Times:
Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean underwent a sharp recovery this year from the record-low levels of 2012, with 50 percent more ice surviving the summer melt season, scientists said Friday. It is the largest one-year increase in Arctic ice since satellite tracking began in 1978.
The experts added, however, that much of the ice remains thin and slushy, a far cry from the thick Arctic pack ice of the past. Because thin ice is subject to rapid future melting, the scientists said this year’s recovery was unlikely to portend any change in the relentless long-term decline of Arctic sea ice.
Hawkins is batting 0 for 3 so far. In real science Hawkins should be playing defense by now. Instead he keeps on throwing out unsubstantiated assertions. This is getting to be fun. Here’s the next:
4) Climate models showing global warming have been wrong over and over:
This is not even close to being a scientific argument. Hawkins’ argument is supposed to be that global warming isn’t happening. A statement about failed predictions has no connection to his argument. I will go to Hawkins’ final point:
5) Predictions about the impact of global warming have already been proven wrong:
Really? Somebody makes wrong predictions about the impact of global warming, and this is supposed to disprove the science behind global warming? This in no way resembles a scientific argument. Let me give you a parallel example:
The theory of gravity states that the attraction between two bodies is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the two.
- Somebody says, “For example, two spheres.”
- I say yes.
- They say “A big steel ball the size of the earth and a small steel ball the size of a bowling ball.”
- I say yes.
- They say, “At or near the surface of the big ball the centers of the two are about 4000 miles apart.”
- I say yes.
- They say, “Now I bore a hole 3999 miles deep into the big ball and lower the small ball to the bottom of the hole. Now the center of the big ball is only one mile from the center of the big ball. The attraction should now be about 16,000,000 as great. But it isn’t. In fact, it’s almost zero. This is a contradiction of your supposed theory of gravity, so the theory of gravity is all wrong.”
Somebody please do the physics. Isaac Newton did it over 300 years ago.
I have not gone to the same depth in analyzing every one of Hawkins’ points. I should not have to. Analysis of the first three has demonstrated the scientific vacuity of his argument. If any reader wants me to I will provide additional detail to back up my statement that Hawkins’ argument is lacking in either scientific merit or factual basis or both. This is a case of politics attempting to trump science. It’s the same approach political conservatives took against the health effects of tobacco and the facts behind ozone depletion, and it’s the same approach they are currently taking against the science behind biological evolution.
The strident conservative who posted the Hawkins link has since unfriended me on Facebook. She likes to post a load of crap like this and then avoid taking the heat when it is due. I have called this tactic Ring and Run. I get this a lot from people who cannot withstand a serious challenge to their world of myth, and I have lost multiple conservative Facebook friends over time.
Take it as you will, readers. The title of this blog is Skeptical Analysis, and I do like to give bullshit a rough ride. Learn to live with it.