The Radical Left is getting larger. This is a scary poll…

Yesterday’s headlines included Rasmusson’s poll results on how many people want the government to prosecute people who don’t believe in global warming.  The title of the article, Little Support of Punishing Global Warming Foes, belies the seriousness of the actual results.  Let’s summarize the results, (copied from the Rasmusson link):

  • 68% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming.
  • over one-in-four Democrats (27%), however, favor prosecuting those who don’t agree with global warming.
  • Most also oppose prosecuting those who don’t agree that global warming is real, although voters under 40 are more supportive of prosecution that their elders are.
  • Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Obama is doing, 29% favor prosecuting those who disagree with global warming.
  • But only 20% of Americans think they have true freedom of speech today. Seventy-three percent (73%) think instead that Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.

A few months ago I shared with a family member that some on the left want put people in jail who don’t agree with AGW; she was in disbelief until I sent her a few links.  But I said, of course that is only the radical left.  Most don’t feel that way.  I was thinking well less than 5%.  But this poll says I was wrong.  How can it be that over 1/4 of Democrats think that we should prosecute people and corporations for disagreeing with their orthodoxy?  Of course the response will be, because its so serious.  We can’t claim free speech to allow someone to yell fire in a crowded theater, so we can’t allow free speech in political or scientific discourse.

This post isn’t about global warming per se, and I haven’t changed my thinking since this post, But I do find it ironic that the hysteria (and certainly the shrillness) of the debate goes ever stronger as the evidence* seems to get weaker.  A Biblical worldview starts with our anthropology–we believe that we are created in the image of God and yet we are also fallen.  The effects of the fall have corrupted everything, even our minds and reason, such that we know that even the best minds can be deceived.  That knowledge should humble us and cause us be skeptical of claims that the “science is settled,” especially when climate science is an incredibly complex system.  The claim that the science is settled, when the very nature of science suggests that nothing settled (rather, the best we can say is that the current scientific consensus supports XYZ), should warn us that something else is up.

*At least in terms of demonstrated feedback loops from CO2 to the climate; all the climate science agrees that the direct result of CO2 is insufficient to get the >2 degree rise that will lead to the catastrophic results–the debate is over the models that show that the effect from CO2 is amplified within the climate system.  Yet despite NOAA’s claims that every year is hotter, they fail to note that the “rises” in temperature are so small they are well under the precision of their estimates!  Those type claims should alert the reader that there is an agenda.

24 thoughts on “The Radical Left is getting larger. This is a scary poll…”

  1. Thanks for the article, Jeff! I’m terrified of the poll results (except that I know God is sovereign). But I’m glad you’re writing about it. -Adam

  2. I have to disagree with you. You said 20% of Americans think they have freedom of speech, it’s actually they think that political correctness isn’t a problem. There are repercussions for what you say, that’s not a lack of freedom of speech. In fact, this article is criticising an entire group of people for their speech. You aren’t infringing on their rights by doing that.

    That said, of course it’s insane to regulate speech on climate change, it might be possible it’s constitutional, but still insane.

    I believe climate change is something we have to act on, if nothing else pollution is all too real and we need to act on it.

    1. @ anonymous. Sorry it wasn’t clear, I didn’t say that, I just copied directly from the Rasmusson article. I see your point, but the distinction between free speech and political correctness doesn’t seem to me to be germane; they are two sides of the same coin. However, I’ve updated the original to indicate it came from Rasmusson.

      As for we have to act on it, why? Are you saying its all benefit and no costs, or that you think the benefits exceed the costs? So because pollution is real, we must spend trillions. Why not millions? Why not quadrillions? Several of our other links (include my earlier blog post) show that anything we do will make almost no difference, while costing large sums. Further, the poor will be hardest hit by any adjustments.

      Think about the logic of your comment. I can solve all air pollution problems today. We’ll simply outlaw all powerplants, factories, and transportation (okay, of course I’ve left something out). Would that tradeoff be worth it? The optimal amount of any “bads” is not zero–there are no solutions, only tradeoffs.

  3. Jeff,

    Re: the last line of your article….what is the “agenda?”
    If all the science was produced by a liberal politician who didn’t know science, then I would see an agenda. But are we to believe that the vast majority of scientists who have studied climate change have an agenda? That seems like too vast a conspiracy to be likely. And as far as settled science, sure, technically things can change but we still accept things in the interim. We believe the Earth is round. That seems settled, doesn’t it? We could discover we are wrong, but we accept it for now.

    1. re the agenda, check out my previous post link. You may well disagree with that assessment, but I’ll stick with it. That in no way means “the vast majority of scientists who have studied climate change have an agenda;” it simply means those in leadership do. I’m not going to chase down the links right now, but the poll question was written so broadly to basically say “do humans have an impact on the climate.” Almost no one would disagree with that. But that in no way means they buy the whole AGW line that necessitates drastic action.

      And yes, of course we agree that the earth is…spherical (maybe not round). But what if we only had a model of the earth as round (no physical data), and the physical data did not agree with the predictions of the round earth theory. Would we triumphantly say that the earth is round….the science is settled, and oh by the way, if you disagree we should prosecute you and put you in jail?

  4. No one should ever say that the science is settled, because that is not how science works. The work of a scientist is not to prove, but to disprove, and accept tentatively whatever survives after the brutal process of peer review.

    That said, the preponderance of evidence is in support of the AGW hypothesis. I would avoid using emotion-laden words such as “catastrophe,” and I cringe when I see alarmists on the left, especially; but the deleterious effects of climate change are already evident. There is good reason to accept that planet Earth is now in the beginning stages of its sixth extinction event (Permian had one, the end of the Triassic had another, there was another during the Devonian, etc), as species die because they are unable to adapt to their rapidly changing environment. The difference now between past events is that humans are largely behind the change, and that the change is more rapid than in the past and potentially more destructive.

    It would be nice if you had a better poll than one from Rasmussen. Its polls are notoriously unreliable and tend to be right-leaning.

    Has Rasmussen done any polls regarding conservatives and their intolerance regarding Muslims, atheists, and other non-Christians? Not that one justifies another, as all forms of intolerance have the potential to harm others.

    Thank you very much.

    1. Earth has had one, and only one, verifiable global extinction event in history, the Flood. It was caused by man because man, with only a few exceptions, had become so evil God regretted creating us in the first place. And it will only have one more, when God renews it. I know you will probably respond with the typical evolutionist party lines and I am fully aware of what they are and why evolutionists believe them. Absent special revelation from God (a.k.a. the Bible) they would be perfectly reasonable assumptions, so please save your time. You needn’t respond because I already know what that response will be.

      I also understand, though I completely disagree, why Christians like yourself want so desperately for all other Christians to accept an alternate interpretation of Genesis that goes along with the current secular scientific consensus.

      As for the preponderance of the evidence supporting AGW… who knows? The Bible says nothing regarding this issue apart from the fact that it DOES tell us how the world ends and it is not because of AGW. Might AGW exist and might it cause damage to this planet? Sure. I doubt it, but do not completely rule it out (see, critical thinking at work).

      What I do know is this. Humans will not become extinct from AGW. And in the past so called settled science that supposedly was supported by preponderance of the evidence and was accepted by the majority is today holds those distinctions no longer. In the 1960s and 70s, the prediction, supposedly based on hard scientific evidence, was that a new ice age was coming. It is any wonder that they are large segments of society that reject the alarmism of the AGW doomsdayers?

  5. “Earth has had one, and only one, verifiable global extinction event in history, the Flood.”

    Scientific evidence for that assertion?

    Why must Genesis 6 be interpreted literally? It doesn’t. And it shouldn’t.
    And those who do show that they are not interested in trying to discover knowledge.

    If God wanted us to interpret it as such, God would have provided evidence in His creation. When so-called Christians twist the Bible to mean what it cannot mean, they only reveal their pride and arrogance, two sins we are all guilty of on occasion.

    You are welcome to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

    1. ““Earth has had one, and only one, verifiable global extinction event in history, the Flood.” Scientific evidence for that assertion?”

      The highest evidence possible, but not evidence you will ever accept. There is not much point into getting into another debate with you over the validity of God’s written word as evidence. You refuse to accept Scripture as viable evidence. I do. Neither of us is going to change our opinion.

      “If God wanted us to interpret it as such, God would have provided evidence in His creation.”

      Since I already know you will reject the argument that the evidence is all around us, you just interpret it differently, let me say that even if God left direct evidence, it would change nothing. Such evidence would simply be discounted or rejected as meaning something else in a manner no different than is already done with the words of Genesis. Jesus Christ told the Jews who were rejecting him that if the miracles he performed had been done in Sodom or in Tyre, those wicked cities would have repented of their sin. He provided ample evidence of his divinity as Messiah and yet the Jews rejected him in spite of the evidence right in front of their faces. The real question should be: If God did not want us to interpret it as such, why is it written as such? If we are to interpret a text as meaning something other than what it says, how do we know which texts to do that with and which to not do it with? If the way we understand God’s Word is affected by the current secular understanding of science, then its meaning can be ever changing. It becomes useless as a reliable constant whole.

      “When so-called Christians twist the Bible to mean what it cannot mean, they only reveal their pride and arrogance”

      Please explain why it is prideful or arrogant to believe that “and evening and morning were the first day,” means exactly what it seems to mean, a literal day? Why can it not mean exactly what it sounds like it means? How does believing it says what it says make a person prideful or arrogant? Does not such reasoning reveal your own sense of pride and arrogance that you cannot possibly be wrong?

      You have previously complained about how I (and some others) respond to your posts with accusations of un-Christian writing. As I said before, and freely admit, there is some truth to your claim, but let me ask you this. How can you possibly expect me, or anyone else for that matter, to deal politely and respectfully with you when you continually use terms like “prideful” and “arrogant” (or even “if this blog were a tux, your contributions are the tube socks) to describe us? This has been a constant double standard on your part. You are a master at using these terms to describe me and others, but when we respond likewise, you whine and complain.

      “You are welcome to your own opinion, but not your own facts.”

      As are you and everyone else, and that is exactly what evolution is, an interpretation of the facts. The so-called ages of the earth and the mass extinctions that ended each age are not proven facts, they are theories based on a certain interpretation of the evidence. And as I specifically said, absent the special revelation of God’s word, that interpretation would seem a plausible one.

      Which brings us right back to the beginning. You will not accept God’s Word as cause to reinterpret that evidence while I do. Once again, Impasse.

      1. My view of the Bible is higher than yours, because I do not twist it and abuse it to support an unsupportable claim. I respect it and refuse to take it out of its historical, indexical and deictic elements in order to support a human notion.

        It is called respect.

        I consider it disrespectful to claim that God would intend for us to understand a passage in a way that would.

        For example, would you also accept that Jesus meant in Matthew 13 that the mustard seed is literally the smallest of seeds, even though that is clearly not true, because there are other seeds that are smaller? If you accept that passage as literally true, as I assume you would as a fundamentalist, then you are implying that Jesus is an incompentent buffoon.

        Obviously, Jesus did not mean that literally and obviously the Flood and the Creation account are not meant to be taken literally. Stop insulting God already!

        There is overwhelming evidence that there have been several extinctions over hundreds of millions of years. There is NO evidence that there was a global flood over the last four thousand years or so that wiped out just about every single life on earth. If someone is telling you otherwise, then you are being lied to. Hence, my pity…

        Your opinion may be different, but it does not matter. You may also believe that the sun revolves around the earth, but, again, so what? Facts trump opinion.

        Young earth creationism is not from God, it is from the minds of men who arrogantly put their own selfish interpretations over what God clearly intended.

        The issue is AGW, not evolution, so consider this the final word on the subject here.

        Sadly, it seems that what you need is not a debate, but a scientific education, as well as a increase of respect for the Bible.

        If all truth is God’s truth, then who is the author of error.

      2. “I respect it and refuse to take it out of its historical, indexical and deictic elements in order to support a human notion.”

        I beg your pardon Mr. Adams but this is exactly what evolutionists do with the Bible. They twist it in order to support their very Human notion and evolution is a Human notion. It was invented and promulgated by Humans and has no supporting evidence in special revelation. Creation, since it is found in God’s Word, is not a human notion. It is a God notion.

        Like I have said several times before and which you simply ignore as buffoonery, when God created Adam, he created him as an adult. Physically, the “evidence” of Adam’s body would indicate he had existed for perhaps twenty or thirty years when he had only been created moments before. All creation and all physical evidence when viewed in this light reconciles what is observed in science with young earth creationism.

        “The issue is AGW, not evolution, so consider this the final word on the subject here.”

        You were the one who brought evolution into it by invoking supposed past extinctions that have no basis in Scripture. The evidence of the Flood is, like I said, all around us. Otherwise explain marine fossils on mountaintops. Explain fossils of lifeforms that according to evolution are more recent being found in lower strata that ones that supposedly came millions of years before. Explain rock layers that are the reverse of the order evolution would claim is the correct one.

        Evolution has dozens, if not hundreds, or thousands, of evidentiary problems and is a theory to fit a certain interpretation of the evidence. It CANNOT be proven, it can only be theorized.

      3. Now, to specifically address the “mustard seed” argument. Did Jesus really say it was the smallest of ALL seeds? No he didn’t. When you put Matt. 13:32 into context with the preceding verse you will find that the qualifier “which a man took and sowed in his field” it is clear Jesus is referring to sowable seeds, those a farmer would plant. Of these seeds, the mustard seed was the smallest sowable seed in that region of the world and it does indeed grow into a bush/tree sometimes reaching 12 ft. tall.

        And completely above and beyond that, this verse takes place within a parable. The text identifies it as parable and therefore not a literal historical story. There is no such identifier in Genesis to suggest it is to be understood as anything other than historical narrative. If Genesis was to be understood any other way, God would have revealed it IN THE TEXT.

        Creationists, contrary to your insistence, are not dull, dimwitted, buffoons incapable of realizing that within the text of Scripture, when it is not to be understood as literal, it says so. With the parables, this is clear. With Genesis, there is no such qualifier.

        See the following link for more commentary on the “mustard seed” fallacy…
        http://christiananswers.net/q-aiia/mustardseed.html

  6. Part of the reason why the Left continues to grow is because Conservatives as a whole have not been very good at explaining what we support instead and why instead of articulating what we are against. In order to win elections and enact beneficial policies this has to change.

    Contrary to popular belief, the idea that the climate changes is nothing new and the science behind modern day global warming is not settled yet. Temperatures and weather patterns have fluctuated throughout human history and just because its a little warmer now, does not mean that the government and the UN need to interfere in order to restrict emissions. This would result in a decrease in economic growth around the world.

      1. John
        Remember the maxim above, there are no solutions, only tradeoffs. We know that economic growth has literally lifted over a billion people out of extreme poverty over the last 40 years. Millions of lives have been saved by growth. To restrict growth means additional people WILL die. Of course there is a balance, but when the agenda promoted does not actually lead to a reduction in temperatures, and will cost much loss in growth, there is less human flourishing for virtually no gain.

      2. Risk of death to the Human population is far from scientific consensus.

        Below is an article discussing the incorrect claim that 97% of scientists say that AGW is a threat. Actually, while a majority probably do think the climate is changing and while a majority say that man is responsible for it (as is they think man is at least 51% of the total cause) there is far from any consensus on the magnitude of the change and the potential danger to humanity. And contrary to what Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders believe, this nation faces far more dangerous threats than climate change.
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexepstein/2015/01/06/97-of-climate-scientists-agree-is-100-wrong/

      3. Nathan D,
        I see your point. I need to read more about this. If the republicans could elect an adult (in my opinion, someone like kasich), then there could be some balance on the many things that threaten our country. But the current clown car of front runners is assuring Hillary will win.

  7. Nathan,

    We will have to agree to disagree.

    Your knowledge of evolution needs some work. The arguments you laid against it have already been answered, and answered long ago. I suggest you start with talkorigins.org and read some of the published research of the Rev. Robert T. Bakker, an ordained minister and paleontology Ph.D. who knows more about the Bible and about evolution than either of us.

    1. I agree. We will have to disagree.

      I might suggest to you to read some material by Floyd N. Jones. He is a YEC who used to be a evolutionist and also has an impressive academic resume.

      I know this next comment will sound harsh, and to you, it will sound very stupid and unreasonable and totally lacking in critical thinking. That is fine. I am not concerned with your opinion of me (and neither should you be concerned about mine of you). But I will say this. I have sufficient knowledge of evolution. I know what the theories are and I know why many scientists think that way. My knowledge of evolution needs no work and I have read many commentaries by Christian authors who believe in old earth. In fact, it may surprise you to know that I do not out of hand reject the Genesis 1:1 – 1:2 gap theory. But I do reject evolution.

      1. The bottom line is that this is an intramural fight among Christians. It’s not all that important. There are respectable Christians who believe in a young earth and just as genuine Christians who believe in old earth. Tim Keller is conservative but he’s an old earth guy. Regardless it’s what one believes about who Christ is that really matters. But it’s still interesting discussion.

  8. I think we would misunderstand the purpose of this post to focus too heavily on whether climate change is real or not. Or if the United States could actually regulate any changes that would have a benefit great enough to outweigh the monetary and human costs of that regulation. This post is also not about evolution.

    I understood this post to be a warning and wake up call on free speech and political correctness. This post and the Rasmusson article should show us there are actually people who want to PROSECUTE another group of people for not believing a certain way on a hotly debated issue. With this article and the latest debacles on college campus’s safe spaces/trigger warnings we should be VERY concerned about the dangers devaluing free speech. For example take this ENTIRE blog. What if all of a sudden the authors wanted to prosecute the resident critic Mr. Adams for not agreeing with the economic thinking on the blog (or vice versa). This would be bad for a myriad of reasons but most simple, I think it would make Dr. Haymond much less alert with his economic explanations if he thought every time he wrote a blog all the commenters would just agree. I also think it would make it far more boring for the students that read the blog.

    Free speech and freedom to believe in various ideas (no matter how silly) is fundamental to tackling tough issues such as how to approach climate change. Through disagreement and discourse, I believe we really will find new and innovative ways to solve the problems as best we can. Any group of individuals that is so deeply concerned with an issue that they want to PROSECUTE the other individuals that disagree with them are simple LAZY. These far left liberals are simply too lazy to take the time to articulate their position and solidify their science to convince climate change rejecters. They also completely ignore the cost/benefit analysis of their regulations, but again that is an argument for another time and another post…

  9. The aggressive nature of the Left has left conservatives in a bad position. The Left is a loud party and they know how to make sure that they are heard. They’re the ones bringing up the biggest issues that our country is focusing on today. (like Climate Change and Same-Sex Marriage). And how much noise has the Right made? Why aren’t republicans explaining what they believe more clearly? Obviously to me, my Christian lifestyle and biblical world view give me a very clear guiding into conservative principles. But what about those who aren’t Christian? How are they explaining their stance?

  10. I agree with the 73% who said “Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble”. I look back on the last decade where many people, conservatives in particular, have decided to withhold their opinions to prevent unjustified persecution. Those who disliked Obama’s performance as President have been called racists. Those who say the Bible states homosexuality is wrong are called homophobes and bigots. Those who are pro-life are called sexist and women haters. I can already see it now: when Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate, all who oppose her will also be call sexist. All people need to be respectful of one another and classy in the way they share their opinion, but American should never be withheld from participating in civil discussions on controversial topics. If we start restricting our freedom of speech, we will be stuck with the status quo, without innovation and development, relying on a few “elites” to make the decisions for our nation.

  11. While the results of this poll are quite alarming, I think it is always best to remain skeptical as to the results. Generally it is easy to get “average” people to say ridiculous or downright stupid things as evidenced by the video here along with dozens of other examples. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiZFXkmofgI . This is not to say that the results of this poll should be disregarded. I certainly agree with Tyler that the Right/Conservative Republican Party has been enduring an image crisis. They have no idea how to sell or promote their ideas to the Public. Even as a more conservative-minded libertarian myself, I struggle to see what the Republican party stands for. I believe that social issues have and will always be greater motivators for potential voters in politics. They are generally emotional issues that easily stir the electorate into action. Both parties have their fair share of insanity. I think we should be weary of the extreme spectrums of each.

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