Thursday, January 8, 2015

Senator Jim Inofe - The Conflict Between Science and Religion

Now that the Republicans have taken over the majority in the Senate in the 114th Congress, there have been changes in who chairs various committees but, one of the most notable changes has been in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee or EPW.  The replacement for former chair Democrat Barbara Boxer of California is James W. Inofe of Oklahoma who, under the Bush II Administration, headed the EPW between January 2003 and January 2007.  Mr. Inofe is ranked as one of the top Senate conservatives by several groups including the American Conservative Union and the Club for Growth.

Before entering the political arena, Mr. Inofe, the senior Senator from Oklahoma, was a mayor of Tulsa, a real estate developer and the president of the Quaker Life Insurance Company, a spinoff from his father's insurance company that was forced into receivership in 1986 .  He first appeared on the national scene in the 1994 federal election when he was elected as the Representative for Oklahoma's first district.  In 2012, the Senator authored a book "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future" where he claims that human-influenced climate change is impossible because "God is still up there".

Here are his stands on several key issues:

1.) Pro-death penalty.
2.) Pro-gun rights.
3.) Anti-gay rights.
4.) Opposed 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

As a bit of background and so that we can get a sense of where things might be headed on the new EPW Committeehere's what non-scientist Senator Inofe had to say about the role of science in environmental policy-making back in September 2005 when he was Chair of the same Committee on Environment and Public Works that he is destined to take over in 2015:

"Today’s hearing will focus on one of the three objectives I set out when I assumed the Chairmanship of the Committee – to ensure that regulatory decisions are based on sound science.
Too often the environmental policy decisions made by EPA and other science-based agencies are driven by political or personal agendas. You see this in types of research that gets funded or the types of grants that get awarded. It is my hope this hearing will help shed some light on how science is used by policy-makers and that we can arrive at some concrete suggestions for making the process better.

I am particularly interested in hearing the testimony of Dr. Michael Crichton. Everyone knows that Dr. Crichton is a best-selling author and Emmy award-winning producer. But what most people do not know is that Dr. Crichton’s background includes degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He was also a visiting lecturer in Physical Anthropology at Cambridge University; and a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he worked on media and science policy with Jacob Bronowski, the author of Common Sense of Science, Science and Human Values, and The Identity of Man. Dr. Crichton’s science background has served him well in providing material for his books, many of which explore scientific issues, my favorite of which is State of Fear. I urge you all to read this book. It’s fiction, but it contains an enormous number of footnotes to real studies backing up the scientific points made in the book. Dr. Crichton, thank you for agreeing to testify today on your observations and recommendations about the use of science in public policy-making."

I find it fascinating that Senator Inofe was so moved by a work of fiction in which eco-terrorists plot mass murder to promote the dangers of global warming that he thought to bring the well-known author, Michael Crichton, to testify before the Senate Committee even though his doctorate was in medicine not climate science.

Here's another example showing us where Senator Inofe's agenda lies.  In an appearance on Voice of Christian Youth America's in March 2012, Senator Inofe laid bare his soul with this exchange with show host Vic Eliason:

Here's a transcript:

"Eliason: Senator, we’re going to talk about your book for a minute, you state in your book which by the way is called The Greatest Hoax, you state in your book that one of your favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22, ‘while the earth remaineth seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease,’ what is the significance of these verses to this issue? 

Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

As if picking on the non-religious masses wasn't enough, the Senator even crticizes his fellow Evangelical Christians who apparently don't measure up to his and God's standards.   Richard Cizik, the former Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, stated that the Evangelical concern for the environment comes from a:

 "...newfound passion, this concern for Creation Care as we call it, comes straight from God and the Holy Spirit who is regenerating people’s hearts to realize the imperative of the scriptures to care for God’s world in new ways.  It comes from God Himself."

Senator Inofe's response?

"There’s another piece of Scripture I’ll mention which I should’ve mentioned, no one seems to remember this, the smartest thing the activists did in trying to put their program through is try to get the evangelicals on their side, so they hired a guy named Cizik, and he had his picture in front of Vanity magazine dressed like Jesus walking on water. He has been exposed since then to be the liberal that he is. I would say that the other Scripture that I use quite frequently on this subject is Romans 1:25, ‘They give up the truth about God for a lie and they worship God’s creation instead of God, who will be praised forever.’ In other words, they are trying to say we should worship the creation. We were reminded back in Romans that this was going to happen and sure enough it’s happening."

Guess who Senator Inofe has doomed to the fires of Hell for all eternity?

Now, to help us put the whole story together, let's see who is funding Senator Inofe's stay in Washington.  Here is a screen capture from Open Secrets showing the Senator's career fundraising totals and which companies and industry sectors back him:

Not surprisingly, Koch Industries is his top career contributor followed by Murray Energy.  Here is a more complete listing showing that other energy companies including ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Chevron and Exxon Mobil are backing Senator Inofe:

Here are the sector donation career totals showing that energy and natural resources (including coal) lead the pack:

In recent days, Senator Inofe has released a statement to the Washington Post stating that "As we enter a new Congress, I will do everything in my power to rein in and shed light on the EPA's unchecked regulations".

It's always nice to see that someone spends their time Washington's political theatre with an open mind.  Fortunately for 80 year-old Senator Inofe, he's unlikely to see the worst of the impacts of global climate change, if indeed, there are any.  He'll be singing hymns in the heavenly choir while those who remain behind experience the truth about climate change.


  1. What I do not understand is how money gets people elected. Do the public actually believe all the nonsense that money buys? Americans are not much brighter than Russians, when it comes to swallowing BS, they just have more flavours to chose from.

  2. The problem is that vast majority of those who in the election simply vote for a D or an R. They don't look at the issues, they don't look voting history, they don't research the candidates. I bet if polled the general population that does vote most of them couldn't name their congressman or Senator.