A front-page article in today’s New York Times discusses the strong tendency of Tea Party members to deny the existence of global warming. The statistics are pretty alarming: while 49% of American see global warming as an environmental problem that is currently affecting the world, only 14% of Tea Party supporters feel this way. And, of course, there’s the effect of religion (Tea Partiers are often allied with conservative Christianity):
“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.” . .
“They’re trying to use global warming against the people,” Ms. Deaton said. “It takes away our liberty.”
“Being a strong Christian,” she added, “I cannot help but believe the Lord placed a lot of minerals in our country and it’s not there to destroy us.”
It’s a pretty good piece, and goes on to describe the unholy efforts of the oil and gas industries to combat global-warming legislation, as well as the strong tendency of Republicans to also deny there’s an issue (“Of the 20 Republican Senate candidates in contested races, 19 question the science of global warming and oppose any comprehensive legislation to deal with it, according to a National Journal survey.”)
But the piece is missing something. Nowhere in its contents will you find any indication of what the facts are. If Tea Partiers are denying a scientific contention, what’s the evidence that that contention is true?
It seems to me that presenting an article about the politics of what is really a scientific controversy demand at the minimum that the scientific consensus be describe. It’s like writing an article about how Tea Party and Republican candidates deny evolution without stating that evolution is a scientific fact. Would it be too hard for the Times to add one sentence saying that “a large majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is a serious problem that’s affecting our environment now”?