Tuesday, March 26, 2013

#483: E. Calvin Beisner


Although one may like to give a nod to Sharon Begley for her tendencies to play up manufactroversies and non-existing conflicts she is generally in the vicinity decent at covering science. E. Calvin Beisner would not be able to distinguish evidence from a basket of the number three if his life depended on it.

Beisner is a political activist and dominionist who used to be a theologian at the Knox Theological Seminary (Ft. Lauderdale). He staunchly defends pretty much every kind of radical wingnut lunacy that exists, and generally vies with Brian Fischer for the position of the most fractally wrong delusional maniac alive at the moment. His current main theme seems to be global warming denial and anti-environmentalism, and it is worth pointing out that although he calls himself ”Dr. Beisner” his education is in Scottish history, which is about as relevant to climate research as the Bible. Beisner was behind the Cornwall Declaration, and the Cornwall Alliance. The latter is a denialist organization (of the ”environmentalism is unchristian” type) that receives plenty of funding for promoting denialism, and which claims that environmentalism is dark paganism the goal of which is to wipe out 95% of the world’s population. Beisner is also on the advisory board for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the employer of several "experts for hire" (Patrick Michaels, Marc Morano (more on him here), Michael Fumento) to promote denialism, as well as co-author of the infamous ”A Call to Truth”, which firmly keeps truth out of calling distance. Beisner’s Bible-based ”expertise” was impressive enough to have him testify at a Congressional hearing on global warming (in which he argued that one shouldn’t believe in the conclusions of IPCC because it is an atheist organization), but they invited Monckton as well, which tells you something about the standards.

Of course, Beisner rejected – outright – the Koch Foundation sponsored study that famously came up confirming man-made climate change.

The Cornwall Alliance is also behind the infamous Green Dragon 12-part documentary series to "educate" people on environmentalism. To do that, they draw on the expertise of a wide range of authorities on the matter, including Beisner himself, David Barton, Wendy Wright (of Concerned Women for America), Bryan Fischer, Tom Minnery (of Focus on the Family), and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The series was endorsed by Victoria Jackson. It pushed the usual talking points, and a few novel ones inspired by John Birch Society-style conspiracy theories: environmentalism is a secular religion, the goal of which is to wipe out Christianity and establish a world government. Indeed, Beisner has argued that since environmentalism is a religion the Environmental Protection Agency, being one of many partners involved in promoting the film ”The Lorax”, is in ”violation of the separation of church and state” (as opposed, apparently, to mandatory school prayer; also here). Apparently Pixar’s movie ”Brave” is also part of a Satanic plot to undermine God’s plan with mankind by deliberately trying to stem population growth.

According to Beisner, the environmental movement is ”depraved” and ”modeling itself after Satan” – apparently that’s what counts as rigorous science in his circles (the screed is here) – and that not using fossil fuels is an insult to God; that is, failure to use coal, oil, and natural gas is an insulting rejection of the gifts that God has given to us, Beisner maintains, gifts which He buried deep in the earth because He delights in our search for and discovery of them. Apparently the argument does not apply to wind or sun energy.

In fact, it is not only the failure to use fossil fuels – even believing that climate change is happening ”really is an insult to God ... and it will eventually lead to tyranny.” The fact, apparently, is that God made the world strong and robust, and carbon dioxide is “fertilizer” for plants and helps them grow more. In short, the modern environmental movement represents ”the greatest threat to Western civilization” mankind is facing because it combines ”the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad” into a pseudo-religion that undermines Christianity.

Though he has often teamed up with them, Beisner has on other occasions criticized Focus on the Family, since the latter organization has, on some occasion, supported legislation to reduce mercury emissions (because such emissions rather obviously hurt babies). Beisner, of course, would have none of it. ”Some of [the people supporting the legislation] have 100 percent pro-abortion voting records in Congress,” Beisner argued.

Of course, Beisner is also a hardcore creationist, but no one would at this point think that Beisner really had any clue about how science works or about the role of testing and evidence.

He has also argued that AIDS is God’s punishment on homosexuals, and he is thoroughly afraid of the nefarious and extremely influential gay lobby in Washington. Tornadoes are punishments from God as well, it seems. Take that, climatologists.

Diagnosis: Hardcore insane fundie denialists, and it is telling how many people are unable to distinguish the incoherent ranting of a mad theologian from evidence-backed claims by actual experts (best explanation: Dunning-Kruger). Beisner must, however, be considered extremely dangerous.

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