Tag Archives: press spin

Did polar bears eat a New York paper’s homework?

It’s easy to take one published paper and promote it as the entire story in any particular science discipline. It does not require any effort, no homework and no thoughtful consideration of differing perspectives.

But due diligence (acting with a certain standard of care), doing one’s homework and thoughtful consideration to valid points of view are important to any enterprise. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to win a spat with someone (I suspect we’ve all done it at least once in our lives) or blindly advocate a political position.

Mud slinging to attack and discredit a particular scientist (as reported here for example) and lawsuits filed by one scientist against another because of valid scientific disagreements gets all of us nowhere with regard to addressing real-world environmental problems. It is simply counterproductive.

Should the press be required to report truth?

An interesting twist in Venezuela……Last week the press reported on possible drinking water pollution.

At the request of President Chavez, the court has now ruled that press reports must contain “truthful technical support backed by a competent institution.” Click here….

Hey, what a concept! Requiring press reports to contain truthful technical support…..

Press Spin: OU Campus paper misleads readers on chromium 6

USEPA has announced a schedule for updating the chromium 6 risk assessment in the IRIS database….click here.

Contrary to what is claimed in this University of Oklahoma (OU) campus paper (click here), this is not an effort to re-evaluate standards. First, the chromium 6 risk assessment must be updated based on the latest available science.   USEPA anticipates that the draft assessment for hexavalent chromium (oral and inhalation) will be released for public comment and external peer review in 2013.

Then, the USEPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water has stated (click here) that it “will carefully review the conclusions and consider all relevant information to determine  if a new standard needs to be set.” Click here.

In addition, the Environmental Working Group is an environmentalist advocacy organization, not a research organization. Political groups such as the Water Research Foundation (formerly the AWWA Research Foundation) are governed mostly by advocates from large city water systems and large firms. To avoid being perceived as being like the tobacco industry they usually support the statements of environmental groups, at least on the surface, rather than basing statements on science. 


Press Spin: Rhode Island surface water quality a problem?

The State of Rhode Island is the size of a large county….though it has 2 Senators just like any other state…..

This alarming report and headline (click here) is intended to get the citizenry worried……Rhode Island has more than 237 lakes, ponds and reservoir…..43 are reservoirs that are sources of public drinking water supplies…..and they serve 11 public water systems.

74% of the population is served by these systems. 24% of the water sources “face pollutant problems.” So if I understand this article, about 11 reservoirs face water quality problems.  

Gosh, for a large county, this might not be so bad. It implies that 76% of the sources do not face water quality problems….though we know any surface reservoir water quality will fluctuate with the season of the year, turnover, algae, etc. These so called “water quality problems” sound like what we would expect any way…..

I can think of other counties with much, much worse surface water quality than Rhode Island….

Press Spin: Is drinking water safe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

Medicine collection days give the local press a perfect opportunity to raise alarm over the safety of drinking water….like this article in Milwaukee….click here.

A medicine collection day will be held at six sites on April 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. so residents can properly dispose of pills.


Press Spin: Ms. Hayhoe confuses science and religion in climate arguments

Religion again has become an issue in the climate debate. In “What Do Christians Have Against Climate Science?” (click here), Katharine Hayhoe is quoted as arguing (1) that a “Christian” can be a “climate scientist”, (2) that there is a misperception that a person can’t simultaneously believe in “God” and accept the conclusion that “human activity is contributing to the increased level of greenhouse gas emissions raising the earth’s average temperature.”

Let’s take a look at just these 2 arguments. The first assertion assumes that there is a special category of science that just focuses on climate. But who designates who is a climate scientist and who is not? Those who think they are and hold a similar view have banded together to argue that only they can speak authoritatively on this issue.  So to disagree with any one who fits their particular category of “climate scientists” (regardless of their particular religion) is to be anti-science.  This is false.

Statements of scientists (whether they study climate or otherwise, regardless of religion) are not necessarily based on science. And here is the crux of the problem. If we stick to the observable science, verifiable models, and reliable historical records, the assertions made by those arguing that catestrophic global warming is occurring due to CO2 increases is not supported.

A Christian (or non-Christian) of any discipline can study climate.  In fact, they do it every day when they walk outside and look to see if it is sunny or raining. It is not possible for humans to not affect the climate. We are part of the ecosystem too, remember? Yes, the global average temperature does change. It goes up. It goes down. I don’t know any one (of any religion) who does not recognize this looking at the data.

Using religious labels will not change the assessment of the science. Respectfully, in the apologetic article (click here) Ms. Hayhoe has confused science and religion.  I am quite comfortable presenting and responding to the theological and Biblical implications of climate issues on my other blog (http://drfredpontius.blogspot.com/). Based on the statements in the above article, the arguments do not appear to represent a consistent Biblical worldview, regardless of the religious language used (not to mention several logical fallacies).

Articles such as this are simply a public relations effort, setting up a strawman just to knock it down and slap down those of us who have a different point of view. Does this create “A Climate for Change”? I don’t think so…..

Cornwall Alliance: Protecting the Unborn and the Pro-Life Movement from a Misleading Environmentalist Tactic

The Cornwall Alliance has issued a statement responding to claims made by environmetal groups that mercury regulation is pro-life. Click here for the statement. Click here for the press release. The text of the statement is below:

Protecting the Unborn and the Pro-Life Movement from a Misleading Environmentalist Tactic
A Joint Statement by Pro-Life Leaders

Recently some environmentalists have portrayed certain of their causes as intrinsic to the pro-life movement. The tactic often involves appealing to a “seamless garment” of support for life, or to being “consistently pro-life” or “completely pro-life.”

As leaders of the pro-life movement, we reject that portrayal as disingenuous and dangerous to our efforts to protect the lives of unborn children.

The term pro-life originated historically in the struggle to end abortion on demand and continues to be used in public discourse overwhelmingly in that sense. To ignore that is at best sloppy communication and at worst intentional deception. The life in pro-life denotes not quality of life but life itself. The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies.

In stark contrast, most environmental causes promoted as pro-life involve little threat to human life itself, and no intent to kill anyone. For example, even if one grants the exaggerated numbers and harms claimed by the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) in its recent quarter-million-dollar advertising campaign that claimed, “being pro-life means protecting the unborn from mercury pollution,” mercury exposure due to power-plant emissions does not kill infants.

Consequently, calling mercury pollution and similar environmental causes pro-life obscures the meaning of pro-life. And thanking politicians with 100% pro-abortion voting records (even some who support partial-birth abortion) for their “pro-life” position because they supported restrictions on mercury emissions, while rebuking some with 100% pro-life voting records because they opposed or didn’t support the new restrictions, as EEN’s campaign did, will confuse voters, divide the pro-life vote, and postpone the end of abortion on demand in America.

This doesn’t mean we should ignore environmental risks. It does mean they should not be portrayed as pro-life. Genuinely pro-life people will usually desire to reduce other risks as well—guided by cost/benefit analysis. But to call those issues “pro-life” is to obscure the meaning of the term.

Two fundamental principles distinguish truly pro-life issues (like abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research) from environmental issues. First and foremost, truly pro-life issues are issues of actual life and death, while environmental issues tend to be matters of health. Second, truly pro-life issues address actual intent to kill innocent people, whether the unborn, the gravely ill, or the aged, while environmental issues do not.

If environmental advocates still want to support mercury-emission reductions or other environmental causes, let them do so honestly and above board. But they should not promote those causes under the pro-life banner. That is at best badly misinformed, at worst dishonest.

We call on environmentalists to cease portraying such causes as pro-life and join us in working diligently to reduce and end abortion on demand in the United States, which every year kills about 1.2 million babies, amounting to over 54 million in the 39 years since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.


  • Kim Andrews, Missouri Eagle Forum
  • Sara L. Anderson, Executive Vice President, Bristol House, LTD
  • Dr. Herman Bailey and Dr. Sharron Bailey, Hosts, Herman & Sharron Television Ministry, Christian Television Network
  • J. Matt Barber, Vice President, Liberty Counsel Action
  • Gary L. Bauer, President, American Values
  • E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Founder and National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
  • Rev. Pierre Bynum, Founder, Pro-Life Action Churches of Maryland, Inc, Chaplain, Family Research Council
  • Nancy Clark, Director of Women’s Ministries, Elim Fellowship; President, Evangelical Women Leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals
  • Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Executive Director and Senior Fellow, The Beverly LaHaye Institute
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B Anthony List
  • Rev. Barrett Duke, Ph.D., Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
  • Rev. Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis, American Family Association
  • Tim S. Goeglein, Vice President for External Relations, Focus on the Family
  • Rev. Wayne A. Grudem, Ph.D., Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary; Board Member, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
  • Donna Hearne, Convener, Educational Policy Conference
  • Rev. Peter Jones, Ph.D., Director, truthXchange, and Adjunct Professor and Scholar in Residence, Westminster Theological Seminary, Escondido, CA
  • Rev. Richard Land, Ph.D., President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Jan Markell, Founder, Olive Tree Ministries
  • Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President, Focus on the Family
  • Marilyn Musgrave, Vice President for Government Affairs, Susan B Anthony List
  • Penny Young Nance, Chief Executive Officer and President, Concerned Women for America
  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
  • Rev. Joey Pipa, Ph.D., President, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Kelly Shackelford, President & CEO, Liberty Institute
  • Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr., Senior Vice President, Family Research Council
  • Eugenie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama
  • Ginger Soud, Eagle Forum of Florida
  • Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
  • Mark Tooley, President, Institute on Religion and Democracy
  • Kelley Wesley,  Pregnancy Center Advisor, former Chief Executive Officer of Sanctity of Life Ministries
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association

(Institutional affiliations are listed for identification only and do not imply institutional endorsement.)