The Island of Doubt

Inhofe: What planet is he on?

It’s like every rationalist’s worst media nightmare. Pat Robertson interviews Sen. Jim Inhofe on the 700 Club. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by what transpired. After all, Inhofe is the guy who keeps calling global warming the greatest hoax of all time. But I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for the depths of his mendacity.

Consider this exchange:

ROBERTSON: Tell me, what do the environmentalists believe? Do they worship the God of the Bible or something else?

INHOFE: Well, let’s talk about the environmentalists. I call the far-Left environmental extremists the ones like the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council), like the Environmental Liberation Front. The Environmental Liberation Front bombs buildings and burns down construction, and they’re actually considered by the State Department as a terrorist group. The environmentalist Left is the largest group in terms of funding Left-wing, liberal candidates for office.

First of all, what’s with the capital-L left? Was that your idea, or the copy editors at the Christian Broadcasting Network? Next, it’s the “Earth” Liberation Front, not “Environmental.” But I suppose that’s quibbling. More to the point, though, which mathematical system are you using to arrive at the conclusion that the NRDC and the ELF are the biggest source of money for left-liberal candidates?

But then comes the really big whoppers:

INHOFE: No, no. Pat, I wished you had watched yesterday. I gave a one-hour speech on this, on the Senate floor. All of the science since 1999 has repudiated the idea that global warming caused by man-made gases — that’s methane and Co2- – is causing a global warming, and the end of the world is coming, and the icecap is going to melt and all these things. But what they don’t realize– and what they won’t tell you — is that it was far warmer on the icecap in the 1930s and 1940s than it is today. We have trend lines that go up and down. And God is still up there and weather does change, but the same people who are yelling and screaming, and the authors of doom about global warming, were the ones in the late ’70s who were talking about a new ice age coming, and we are all going to die. They have to be hysterical about something. I recommend, except for the dirty words, a great book written by Michael Crichton. I think we talked about that. It’s called State of Fear. He is an author, a medical doctor, and scientist. He was going to write a novel about global warming and all the horrible things, so he researched it and he thought, wait a minute, this thing’s a hoax. So he wrote a book about the fact that it is a hoax, and while it’s a fiction book and a novel, the footnotes are incontrovertible in terms of science.

So it’s not just that thousands of scientists are engaged in junk science that doesn’t support anthropogenic global warming — “All of the science since 1999 has repudiated the idea that global warming caused by man-made gases.” Imagine that. All of it since 1999.

I hardly need to offer links that debunk the old Ice Age is Coming canard, but just in case you haven’t read Real Climate’s take-down on that myth, here it is. The same gang does the same thing to Crichton.

What’s to be done with Inhofe? Have Oklahomans no shame?


  1. #1 Andros
    July 27, 2006

    Well, those people are from this planet, location USA! Unless their alien race has already colonized our country, then they have millions of followers! That’s why this kind of crap is still relevant today. If enough people believe that the Earth is flat, then that’s very real–even if it only resides in their feeble minds. You’d have a very hard time convincing the flatearthers to send ships over the horizon! Besides, for them something that FEELS right is also right! End of story. all the rest is YOUR THEORY!

  2. #2 Daniel Morgan
    July 27, 2006

    Call me naive, go ahead. But…I have to ask: what is the link between the Religious Right and anti-environmentalism? What is the rationale? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard the idea (esp. from the witch-hag Coulter) that we are supposed to dominate/pillage/rape the earth, as a command from God.

    However, this is more a justification for a pre-determined course of action. Why is there such a strong correlation between Religious Right views on the subject and general Big Business Right views? Do the RR just fall in line with the party?

    My only supposition is that the RR wants to undermine everything that science says, so that more attention can be given to them, and not reality. Perhaps it’s also a ploy to remind people that “whatever the scientists say about the future doesn’t really matter — God is still in control”?

  3. #3 Russell Abbott
    July 27, 2006

    There are plenty of us in Oklahoma that don’t like Inhofe. Have you never been in the situation of being represented by someone you disagree with? I’ve gone round and round with Inhofe over this stuff. Don’t paint us all with the same brush, please.

  4. #4 umilik
    July 27, 2006

    Michael Crichton a scientist ? He’s never published an article in any scientific journal, which would suggest that his “scientific career” is somehat less than productive. But if policy makers take their insights on global warming from fiction writers, referring to them as scientists because they happen to hold a medical degree, we’re all in far deeper guano than I would have thought.

  5. #5 TTT
    July 27, 2006

    The Rapture Right believe themselves to be “in this world but not of it.” They belong in Eden, not on Earth. They find it alien and unholy for people to care about the planet in itself–since their religion implicitly paints this world as disposable, its imminent near-term destruction part of God’s plan. Opposing that plan makes you in league with the Antichrist.

  6. #6 Bryan
    July 27, 2006

    I saw Falwell interviewed on TV a coupla years ago. The interviewer questioned JF about petroleum “running out”. Falwell replied, “God won’t let…” then paused & dissembled. I suspect that JF believes that God won’t let petroleum run out if we obey him, according to Dominionist theology. Just return to 1500s an’ everything will be okay. Brr-r!

  7. #7 Matt
    July 27, 2006

    Today’s OnPoint features an interview with Andy Revkin, an environmental reporter for the New York Times, defending the reporting of science despite attacks from people like Sen. Inhofe, who criticized his children’s book on the North Pole.
    You can watch the video free (no login) at or read the transcript at

  8. #8 BDF
    July 27, 2006

    Daniel: The simple answer is: Divine Providence

    Don’t expect a change in the thought processes of these people. If it ever gets to the point where Global Warming starts biting them in the a$$, the response will be “It is God’s will and there is nothing we could have done about it anyways”

    This kind of thinking is exemplified by this article from the ‘Wichita Eagle’ and I quote:
    Because the truth is — however unbelievable and inconvenient it may be to some — that God controls the Earth’s fate, even when we do our worst to it.

    The answer is to be politically active and try to reach those people who do have open minds.

  9. #9 Jason Lacoss-Arnold
    July 27, 2006

    BDF, I’d like to respectively disagree, per my own experience. While I used to fall nicely into the religious right camp, I no longer do so. In fact, it was development in my faith that led me to realize that much of the Christianity = Republican assumption is yet another form of sin (where “sin” literally means “falling short”). Christians and Jews are called to a role of stewardship. Moreover, we are called to take care of the poor, sick, defenseless, etc. Those calls, coupled with the likely impact of global warming are exactly the types of issues that have separated me from the RR.

  10. #10 Morton Skorodin
    July 28, 2006

    Could the $847K Inhofe received from the oil industry have anything to do with his attitude?

    In 2002, the Pentagon issued a report on global climate change predicting draught in the central plains including Inhofe’s (and my) Oklahoma. Well, it already came true and we had a burn ban several months ago. The brilliant Inhofe defied the burn ban on his ranch – his “controlled” fire got out of hand and the local volunteer fire fighters had to put it out. Inhofe then had to “donate” several hundred dollars to the local fire department. I can’t help but notice that this incident got virtually no media coverage.

  11. #11 John
    July 28, 2006

    Yes, as an Oklahoman, I assure you we have shame, and Senator Inhofe personifies it. I can tell you, when I went to see “An Inconvenient Truth” at my movie theater in Oklahoma City, when his face appeared on the screen, before he spoke one word, the house erupted in catcalls and boos. My latest letter to him expresses my outrage over equating people who believe global warming is a real threat to the Third Reich’s “big lie.” In other words, my U.S. Senator thinks I’m a Nazi. Appalling, and sad. Normally, he doesn’t even respond to my letters.

  12. #12 t
    July 28, 2006

    I find it amazing that in todays age of technology and science, that there are full grown adults that believe in mystical fairy tales.

  13. #13 Michael Hopkins
    July 28, 2006

    Want to hear something scary?

    Inhofe is not Oklahoma’s most insane senator. Not even close. Ever hear of Tom Coburn?

  14. #14 catherine
    July 29, 2006

    To Oklahomans (Oklahomians?), before I read your comments, I was going to comment thus: “It’s not that Oklahomans have no shame, they just have no senator who is sane.” I “feel your pain,” being from Ohio, known fondly by us science supporters as Kansas East.

  15. #15 George
    July 30, 2006

    Oh the irony of a religious guy having someone on his show to discuss “the greatest hoax of all time” …

  16. #16 Annie
    July 30, 2006

    As a Permanent Legal Resident of the USA (and Oklahoma), married to an American citizen, I have a question:
    “How the hellfire did a man like Inhofe ever get voted in – what were the good Oklahomans here thinking about??”

    I am ashamed, aghast at his ignorance, ill manners and insidious remarks.

    I read locally that he is to hold dove hunts around the Quartz Mountain/Lone Wolf area, charging fees which will go into the pot for his next election battle. Sacrificial doves !!!

  17. #17 BDF
    July 30, 2006


    I’m friends with two different fundamentalists with two very different views on their religion. One is co-worker and the other is an old college buddy. The co-worker is of the brand of fundamentalism described in:
    The best attitude I can ascribe to this friend’s belief is humility. He is a man of great faith and humour. From your response, I would suspect you are of the same mold.

    I’m beginning to wonder why I’m friends with the other fundamentalist. His belief (fundamentalism) is of the brand I was displaying the cynicism towards. He is someone I would like to have in a fox hole next to me but would scare me to death if he ever held polical office. He is reactionary, distrustful of any democrat and often will fall back on tautologies when confronted with facts that don’t agree with his preconcieved world view. I believe the fundamentalists this second stripe pose a danger to the American system of government and through their skepiticism towards science; a threat to our future on this planet. I fear that Republican party is moving more and more to this brand of fundamentalism.

  18. #18 Thursday
    August 5, 2006


    “[…]But what they don’t realize– and what they won’t tell you — is that it was far warmer on the icecap in the 1930s and 1940s than it is today[…]”

    When does he get to the part about how the Russian tourist sub that used to go beneath the North Pole can now surface there?

  19. #19 gay sohbet
    September 25, 2009


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