Monday, February 09, 2009

Classic Gauze: Robert Christopherson versus Me

Catholicgauze has been called everything from the loving "walking biased encyclopedia" to the hateful "monster." My verbal beatdown by Dr. Robert Christopherson was the first Catholicgauze controversial public moment. Let us relive it together!
Originally published September 29, 2006

Maybe that is a stretch, but it is close

Doctor Robert Christopherson is the author of Geosystems, a popular physical geography textbook, and professor at American River College, one of the largest community colleges in California.

Christopherson gave a guest lecture on global warming and how it is human caused. He stated there is consensus among the scientific community that global warming is human caused. He gave evidence and projections that were higher than what Al Gore predicted in An Inconvenient Truth (a work which has been attacked by some). He capped off his presentation by saying the economy would make more money if the United States adopted the Kyoto Treaty (very, very, very questionable to say the least).

Now long time readers will know I am a fan the works of Harm de Blij and others who, while believing in climate change, question how bad it will be and whether or not humans are influencing it in any meaningful way. So I decided to ask what Christopherson thought of The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg and tie that into climate cycles. Lomborg scientifically questioned how things really are and proposed cost-benefit analysis on if things should be done concerning some environmental issues.

This is what happened:

Robert Christopherson: Are there any questions?

: "Thank you for your speech. Are you familiar with Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist..."

RC: Interrupting "That is not science! That is not SCIENCE!" "I am doing science. We should stick to discussing science!" RC went on to say that Lomborg should be studying RC's work and about two minutes into his rant said, "Lomborg should talk to the half-starving polar bears!"

At the end Christopherson implied he would wish to continue our "conversation" later but the people sitting next to me just looked at me with stunned faces from the vicious beat down that just went down. To top everything off Christopherson then ended the question session. There was only question asked- mine. I was quickly rushed by Ph.D. and Master students who wished to know what the background of the question was. "What did you DO!?!?" and "Do you think he's mad?" (sarcastically) were some things I was asked. A student told me he wanted to ask about extraterra global warming (global warming on other planets) but told me that even if Christopherson did not end the question session he would not have asked the question because of Christopherson's attitude.

Is this science? When a side is denounced as not being science (Lomborg has been dealt worse: he is a victim of multiple threats of lawsuit) and those who have questions are met with domineering and intimidating responses: are we not close to those who imprisoned the scientists of old?

Note: Robert Christopher blames "the oil companies" for creating "false images" and "spin" portraying the scientific community as not a unified field believing in human caused global warming. He enjoys flying, boating, driving, and other uses of fossil fuels to travel to the North and South Pole. He uses a computer (do not even get me started how computers ruin the earth) and his textbooks are printed on paper. To reach his speaking destination he took a plane to the airport and then drove quite a distance. He blames global warming not on himself but solely on "the guy going 85 on the interstate getting 8 miles per gallon."

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