Tuesday, September 29, 2020

#2390: James Wanliss

Yes, it’s that one again: the list of signatories to the Discovery Institute’s nonsense petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism. James Wanliss is a Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, whose research and fields of expertise are completely unrelated to anything to do with evolution or biology in general. He is, however, a fundamentalist Christian. The combination of an education and fundamentalist religious beliefs makes him fairly typical of the signatories to the list.

Wanliss is probably more notable, however, for his deranged promotion of climate change denialism and anti-environmentalism (and no: he has no scientific publications in those areas either). Wanliss is for instance the author of The Green Dragon: Is Global Warming a Religion (brief review here), in which he portrays environmentalists as a “pagan world order” – according to Wanliss, “the green movement is not about science, or the environment, but is offered as an alternative to Christian faith”. Yes, it’s a conspiracy, a Satanic one: “environmentalism is no longer your friend. It is your enemy. And the battle is not primarily political or material, it is spiritual”. Because Wanliss is a Christian and if he disagrees with you about something, it means that you cannot be and that you have nefarious, ulterior motives and so on. Otherwise, Wanliss has been pushing the predictable and idiotic standard denialist myths, such as claiming that global warming has stopped.


His books, as well as other rants about environmentalism, are published by the fundamentalist, global warming denialist Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The Alliance is also responsible for the video series “Resisting the Green Dragon”, and in 2011 they released an accompanying book titled Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death, also written by Wanliss.


Wanliss also appears on James Inhofe’s dishonest list of 650 scientists who supposedly dispute the global warming consensus, and Wanliss is thus one of five signatories sufficiently anti-science to appear on both the Inhofe and Discovery Institute’s list. The fact that he does ought of course to undermine any value his signature to either might otherwise have seem to have had, though the general quality of Wanliss’s anti-science contributions should really do so on its own. He was also a signatory for instance to a Cornwall Alliance open letter supporting Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator under the Trump administration, and which stated for instance that “Mr. Pruitt has also demonstrated understanding of and open-mindedness toward scientific insights crucial to the formulation and implementation of environmental regulation,” a claim that one its own should qualify any signatory for an entry in any encyclopedia of loons.


There is a more comprehensive biography of James Wanliss here.


Diagnosis: All-round science denialist, and his denialists screed are permeated by religious fundamentalism to the extent, and in ways, that it makes it hard for him to claim that his denialism is in any way based on science. As such, his contributions should really harm rather than help his causes, but it is probably overly optimistic to hope that this is how it will pan out. 


  1. I just don't get how these people get a platform when this isn't even their subject area of expertise. Utter nonsense.

  2. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good laugh at creationists.

    They seem so mundane now that a legit fascist cult has become mainstreamed in US Politics in the form of Q Anon.

    For my next recommendation, James Woods, for being perhaps Twitter’s most popular bullshit peddler.