Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson interviews the man behind HB 549. Rep. Read explains that he didn’t seek scientific comment before drafting his bill, and that he decided the legislature had to declare that global warming is not happening, is not caused by humans, and is good for Montana anyway because:

We can’t wait for this issue to be settled. So the legislature is going to come in, and prevent something that potentially could destroy the economy of Montana and the United States.

He tells Johnson that he was reacting to federal climate policy, including forthcoming EPA regulations, as well as lawsuits against coal plants and coal mines. Explaining why he decided to skip the step of talking to scientists first, Read explains:

Sometimes you have to do fairly radical things to address a federal government.

For more on his “radical” plan, read the rest of the interview. It’s an interesting look inside the mind of a climate change denier, and where they’re coming from. For those of us who deal with science denial regularly, it’s hardly a surprising picture. Read is uninterested in the scientific literature. When pressed, he concocts a mistaken notion of science in which personal biases and the attractions of grant funding can overcome empirical evidence. It isn’t surprising that he’d think science works that way, because it’s the way he works. If the science is true, he thinks there would be bad consequences for himself and for the economic ideology he’s committed to. Rather than accepting the science, and thereby re-examining his ideology, he prefers to reject the science.

This is the dynamic around rejection of a range of scientific issues, from global warming to evolution to vaccines. And that’s what makes these things so hard to talk about: the folks defending science think it’s a conversation about science, while the folks attacking science think it’s a fight over cultural and political issues.


  1. #1 wither
    February 17, 2011

    Montucky is providing non-stop entertainment since November. So far in our story, the legislature officially wants to fund armed local militia groups in towns all over the state, form a commission with the “power” to nullify federal legislation (because the feds are tyrannical when they exert power over state law), nullify any anti-discrimination by municipalities (because the state is not tyrannical when it exerts power over local laws), make all federal legislation subject to approval by local sheriffs, ban the EPA, and build a nuclear reactor. These are all bills that have passed committee and are or have headed to the floor.

    Unofficially, current elected members of the legislature have headed efforts to de-fund schools that allow evolution to be taught, tried to get public officials to decree that all 17 year old boys be required to train in an armed militia (girls would “not be required to serve unless the men were in danger of being overrun.” Yes, that was a quote. Finally, it was not so long ago when the school board in Hamilton, Montana decided that they “deserved a winning football team”. They got rid of the volunteer arts in the school programs, a science teacher, and a music teacher to pay for more travel games and keep the number of players at the maximum. They are winning half their games for their efforts. They got rid of the FIRST robotics program (no science-oriented teachers left to steer it).

    And so it goes. They won’t be happy till their kids are poor and bitter like their parents. No more kids getting uppity and edificated….no sireee.

  2. #2 Clam
    February 17, 2011

    All extremists distrust education as, for instance, the Taliban do. The problem is that, when the populace is educated, they lose support.
    And, by the way, what’s wrong with building a nuclear reactor?

  3. #3 John Mashey
    February 18, 2011

    1) One curiosity is the fact that at least as of 10 years ago, Montana got more $$ from the Federal government than it sent, meaning some of us in other states were subsidizing them.

    In the 50 states, Received/Paid ranged from 170% (NM) down to CT (60%), MT was sixth from the top @ 134%. Of course, there are legitimate reasons for differences, but it is always ironic to see “Federal govt go away” folks in states that get big subsidies. By the way, a real oddity is the fact that most of the top states on that scale tend to vote (R), most of the bottom states tend (D). Curious.

    2) MT legislature meets for no more than 90 days each odd-numbered year. SO, I think Read is in his 3 months of glory, as he was newly elected.

  4. #4 celebs4truth
    February 20, 2011

    Global warming has been ADMITTEDLY debunked…right down to the disgraced East Anglia University (UN) “climate scientist” that had to step down for ADMITTEDLY fudging and hiding the numbers, and not including other peer-reviewed studies that showed a decline in temps over the past 15 years! Fools simply refuse to stop cult-like global warming worship, even though global warming worshipers have been openly had by Al Gore, the former UN lawyer who stood to gain billions in his global government funding carbon tax scheme, until the truth thankfully surfaced, just in the nick of time! Thank you Climate-Gate! Good buy fear based BS global government funding scam, and all you (the sun is actually solely responsible for long term climate change, and always has been) deniers!

  5. #5 Spiny Norman
    February 21, 2011

    @4: If you’re writing at a 5th grade level, do you really expect us to believe that you understand atmospheric physics?

    Why yes, you do expect that. Pretty sad.

  6. #6 mememine69
    February 21, 2011

    Climate Change has done to climatologists and SCIENCE what abusive priests did for the Catholic Church.

  7. #7 Harryhammer
    February 21, 2011

    celebs4truth, the score in the global warming debate is 98 to 2.

    If you want to talk about facts, here a a few that you seem to be ignoring:

    Every scientific organization in the world, including your own National Academy of Sciences, agrees with the conclusions of the IPCC.

    The Republican Party is the only political party in the world to be in denial of those conclusions.

    With respect to those stolen emails:

    Did they catch the thieves yet?

    There have been 5 separate independent inquiries into the climategate case.

    In November of 2009, thousands of emails and other documents were stolen from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and made public. Within a few days, every conservative hack in America was trying to turn them into a worldwide, Al Gore, conspiracy.

    What followed was a series of 5 independent inquiries:

    On March 31, 2010, the Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry reported that the emails and claims raised in the controversy did not challenge the scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity“. They also said that they had seen no evidence to support claims that Jones had tampered with data or interfered with the peer-review process.

    On April 14, 2010, the Independent Science Assessment Panel published and concluded that the panel had seen “no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit.” It found that the CRU’s work had been “carried out with integrity” and had used “fair and satisfactory” methods. The CRU was found to be “objective and dispassionate in their view of the data and their results, and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda.” Instead, “their sole aim was to establish as robust a record of temperatures in recent centuries as possible.”

    In July 2010, a British investigation commissioned by the UEA, chaired by Sir Muir Russell, announced and published in its final report that it had exonerated the scientists of manipulating their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming. The “rigour and honesty” of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit were found not to be in doubt. The panel found that they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism as alleged, and that the key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any “competent” researcher.

    A separate review by Penn State University into accusations against Michael E. Mann cleared him of any wrongdoing, concluding that “there is no substance” to the allegations against him.

    After the July 2010 reports, the New York Times referred to Climategate as a “manufactured controversy,” and expressed the hope that reports clearing the scientists “will receive as much circulation as the original, diversionary controversies,”.

    The Columbia Journalism Review criticized newspapers and magazines for failing to give prominent coverage to the findings of the review panels, and said that “readers need to understand that while there is plenty of room to improve the research and communications process, its fundamental tenets remain as solid as ever.”

    CNN media critic Howard Kurtz expressed similar sentiments.

    In June 2010 Newsweek called the controversy a “highly orchestrated, manufactured scandal.”

    Here’s a novel idea that you should take to heart:

    Apologize to those you’ve wrongly accused and stop spreading disinformation.

    As for your irrational detestation of Al Gore:

    Did you know that when Al Gore was in kindergarten Time magazine and Popular Mechanics were running articles on the work of a physicist named Gilbert Plass?

    Physicist Gilbert N. Plass had just completed some calculations on the atmospheric warming effect of carbon dioxide. He certainly wasn’t the first person to make such calculations, but he was the first to make use of computers to perform the calculations in much greater detail. He drew attention to the point that man-made CO2 emissions would have a significant warming effect on the Earth’s temperature. Popular Mechanics reported the results under the headline “Growing Blanket of Carbon Dioxide Raises Earth’s Temperature”.

    Furthermore, there has always been a consensus predicting that global average temperature would rise.

    Climatologist Thomas C. Peterson of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and his colleagues put together a team to survey all major journal papers published between 1965 and 1979 and found that out of a total of 71 major journal articles, only 7 articles predicted that global average temperature would continue to cool. During the same period, 44 journal papers indicated that the average temperature would rise and 20 were neutral or made no climate predictions. The report was in the September Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

    Today the consensus is 98 to 2.

    Here is the most recent survey of climate scientist opinions:

    Anderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider, 2010

    A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and resulted in the following two conclusions:

    (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    (ii) The relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

    In other words, only a handful of below par researchers agree with you.

  8. #8 Godspeed
    February 23, 2011

    global warming is a scam to pass future ‘cap and trade/cap and dividend legislation.



    Check out IV: Assessment of Sources

    Carbon legislation is needed to pass a ‘cap and trade’ like bill. ‘Cap and trade’ is needed to pass this UN wishlist.

    Sadly George Soros, a heavy contributor to the democratic party, helped write this.


    Cmon you guys know this. Report both sides.

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