Hate Speech, Bias & Intolerance On Display at University of Delaware

University of Delaware student newspaper attacks climatology professor for his religious beliefs.

Hate Speech, Bias & Intolerance On Display at University of Delaware
Hate Speech, Bias & Intolerance On Display at University of Delaware

Delaware – -(Ammoland.com)- University of Delaware students, faculty, administrators and trustees must truthfully answer a simple, but important question: Would this conduct have been ignored or excused if the targets had been Muslim?

A recent article by the editor-in-chief of the school’s student newspaper proclaimed “Green Dragon slayer for hire, in a geography department near you: To members of the Cornwall Alliance, environmentalists are satanic ‘Green Dragons,’ sent from the bowels of hell to threaten world order and harm the needy.”

Caleb Owens’ article links tenured UDel geography and climatology professor David Legates and his Christian faith to “far-right American evangelicals,” fossil fuel funding and the “anti-environmentalist” Cornwall Alliance. Legates is pilloried as a “listed speaker and trusted affiliate” of the Alliance.

The article relies heavily on Iliff School of Theology sociology professor Antony Alumkal, whose book Paranoid Science Owens asserts “charts the long and complicated relationship between science and the American Christian evangelical movement, examining the intra-religious tensions that have accompanied various strands of science denial, including the intelligent design and anti-environmental movements.”

Expanding on this, Owens falsely claims “far-right American evangelicals have been responsible for some of the most radical opposition to scientific positions regarding topics such as climate change and evolution, working in close tandem with secular free-market idealogues.” [sic]

“To find religious justification for their activity,” he says, “Christian anti-environmentalists” and groups like Cornwall “claim a specific literal interpretation of Genesis, finding free-market justification in passages that describe God giving humans unrestricted reign over [the] earth. According to the interpretation, God granted humans dominion over the planet and the license to exert power over earth’s resources. From here, environmentalist attempts to regulate fossil fuel use, for instance, stand contrary to man’s God-given destiny.”

Underscoring his bias and intolerance, a cartoon accompanying the article depicts a cute, frightened green dragon carrying a “recycle” placard being attacked by members of a Christian mob dressed in nineteenth-century garb straight out of a Frankenstein movie, and brandishing a cross, torch and pitchfork.

In his imagined coup de grace, Owens claims that “groups like” Cornwall have received “indirect” funding from fossil fuel companies, such as Exxon Mobil – and “government officials and climate activist groups have questioned Legates’ funding and motivations, possibly traceable to fossil fuel industries.”

Owens didn’t even give his target organization its proper name, and clearly didn’t review its actual policy and religious positions.

I’ve co-authored articles with Professor Legates and know him, the organization, Cornwall founder, and national spokesman Calvin Beisner, and many of its staff and advisors very well.

First off, it’s the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. Those final four words underscore what this fine organization is, what it stands for – and how disingenuous Owens’ article is.

In no way does Cornwall or anyone affiliated with it promote or condone “unrestricted reign” over our Earth or a license to exploit its resources without legal or regulatory constraints. They hold that people are integral and rightful inheritors and stewards of our planet, with a God-given right to utilize its energy and other resources to nourish and sustain humanity – responsibly, for this and future generations.

“Godly dominion,” Beisner explains, “means enhancing the fruitfulness, beauty, and safety of the Earth, to the glory of God and benefit of our neighbors and humanity. Because humans are imperfect, and some take impermissible advantage of opportunities, government rules against fraud, theft, violence, pollution, and harm to other people’s health and property are necessary and proper restrictions on our dominion.”

Nor is Cornwall anti-environment or against environmental groups, though it definitely opposes extremist forms of environmentalism. Cornwall’s DVD lecture series “Resisting the Green Dragon” makes that distinction and, as Beisner notes, clearly and persuasively explains that “much radical environmentalism is indeed an alternative to the Christian religion, is thus acceptably termed ‘pagan’ in its nature-focused views. It also often does indeed strive to establish a powerful, dominant one-world government.”

The “Green Dragon” DVD series prompted the title for the Owens article, and some of its misguided criticisms. In his own Dragon lecture, Legates says segments of the scientific community improperly engage in “post-normal science,” altering or distorting facts to advance political goals. Owens suggests that this is not happening and claims Legates is in denial about human-caused climate change.

However, even Dr. Mike Hulme, a former member of the IPCC and University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (and an evangelical Christian), said post-normal science focuses on “the process of science – who gets funded, who evaluates quality, who has the ear of policy makers” – rather than on what should be an honest, transparent, evidence-based scientific method. Hulme called the IPCC “a classic example.”

Moreover, like many other scientists, Legates has explicitly affirmed that climate change is frequent and recurring, and people play a role, especially at local levels but even on global scales. What he denies is that carbon dioxide emissions are the primary driver and manmade change is likely to become disastrous.

All this puts Cornwall at odds with political activist groups that use sustainability and climate change to justify their positions against fossil fuels and economic development. All people, Cornwall says, should be able to develop the natural resources needed to maintain or improve their health and wellbeing.

It is especially immoral to tell Earth’s most destitute, diseased, malnourished, energy-deprived countries and families that they can improve their ghastly situations only at the margins. Or only to the extent that they can do so only with renewable energy – and without fossil fuels, genetically engineered crops like Golden Rice, insecticides to combat disease-carrying insects, and other technologies that wealthier nations have used to give billions of people living standards that few could even dream of a century ago.

Caring, ethical students, universities, environmental groups and people of faith do not politicize or pervert “sustainable development” concepts in ways that ignore the needs of current generations. They do not say people living today must refrain from using natural resources, based on completely unpredictable raw material requirements of completely unpredictable, constantly evolving future technologies. They do not seek to protect people from exaggerated future dangers that exist mostly in bald assertions, questionable science, and computer models – while perpetuating dangers that are very real, even lethal, right now.

Caring, ethical people do not condemn fossil fuel, nuclear and even hydroelectric energy, while promoting energy that is land-intensive, destructive to wildlife and habitats, expensive, weather dependent, unpredictable, sporadic, and completely inadequate to power modern industrialized economies, lift people out of poverty – or even manufacture more wind, solar and biofuel installations.

These principles put David Legates and the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation firmly on the side of humanity, evidence-based science, and mainstream environmental and Christian thinking.

Finally, as to funding, Legates and Beisner have told me neither they nor Cornwall ever received “one dime” from any fossil fuel company. Owens’ slick, crafty suggestions that they did could have meant he has a job waiting for him at MSNBC – except that the claims are libelous, especially in the context of the headline claim that Legates is “for hire” by Cornwall or an oil company. (Meanwhile, six progressive-climate alarmist religious groups received over $3 million in nine years from liberal foundations, some of which have clear financial stakes in renewable energy policies. Why is there no problem with that?)

The University of Delaware cannot let this biased, deceitful, defamatory hate speech go unchallenged – especially in an official campus newspaper, housed in a UDel building, funded by Delaware taxpayers.

Imagine the outrage it would have generated if the professor’s conservative, environmental and climate views were rooted in the Koran and his Muslim faith. Or the cartoon had featured a woman in a hijab and a bearded man waving a banner emblazoned with a star inside a crescent moon.

And it’s not just the double standards. This is yet another attempt to intimidate and silence unwelcome voices on campuses. It has to end – and be replaced by open, robust, respectful, tolerant free speech for all.


Paul Driessen
Paul Driessen

About Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT,org) and author of articles and books on energy, climate change, carbon dioxide and economic development.

  • 4 thoughts on “Hate Speech, Bias & Intolerance On Display at University of Delaware

    1. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a greenhouse gas! Carbon monoxide (CO) is. CO2 is a nutrient, required for photosynthesis. The higher the CO2 level, the lusher, greener, hardier all plantlife becomes! After many decades of industrialized production, CO2 currently remains at only 400 parts-per-million (ppm), FAR below the threshhold of 1000 ppm at which humans would need to start worrying.

      This issue is really simple, with only two factors to consider. One is the CO2 level, and the other is sea-level. As long as CO2 remains below 1000 ppm [it is currently WAY below] and sea-level does not rise [satellite measurements prove that sea-level has actually dropped(!) by 1/2″ in the last 45 years], global warning is NOT occurring. All else is smoke-and-mirrors, outright-lie, commentary.

      The “hubub” is a completely man-made “emergency,” contrived to bilk taxpayers out of ever-increasing research funds.

      **Cannot wait to see the “denier!” accusations LOL**

      1. @JU…Funny thats what I was taught too , back when schools actually taught science and history . Yes exhaust has always been carbon Monoxide ( CO1 )

    2. One of the largest offenders to climate change is Air Transportation, but many do not mention it because they are offenders using this industry.

      Although aviation is a relatively small industry, it has a disproportionately large impact on the climate system. It accounts for four to nine per cent of the total climate change impact of human activity.
      But at a time when we urgently need to reduce our impact, greenhouse gas emissions from aviation continue to grow. For example, since 1990, CO2 emissions from international aviation have increased 83 per cent. The aviation industry is expanding rapidly in part due to regulatory and taxing policies that do not reflect the true environmental costs of flying. “Cheap” fares may turn out to be costly in terms of climate change.

      How do greenhouse gas emissions from flying compare with emissions from other forms of transport, like driving?

      Compared to other modes of transport, such as driving or taking the train, travelling by air has a greater climate impact per passenger kilometre, even over longer distances (see graph below). It’s also the mode of freight transport that produces the most emissions.

      CO2 intensity of passenger transport via IPCC

      What sorts of greenhouse gases do aircraft produce?

      When jet fuel is burned, the carbon in the fuel is released and bonds with oxygen (O2) in the air to form carbon dioxide (CO2). Burning jet fuel also releases water vapour, nitrous oxides, sulphate, and soot.

      A special characteristic of aircraft emissions is that most of them are produced at cruising altitudes high in the atmosphere. Scientific studies have shown that these high-altitude emissions have a more harmful climate impact because they trigger a series of chemical reactions and atmospheric effects that have a net warming effect. The IPCC, for example, has estimated that the climate impact of aircraft is two to four times greater than the effect of their carbon dioxide emissions alone.

      What are “contrails” and what is their impact on climate change?

      Contrails are the long plumes of exhaust that can be seen in the sky behind airplanes. They consist primarily of water droplets and ice, and are formed when water vapour released from burning jet fuel condenses at higher altitudes. Contrails may stay in the sky for many hours, and can spread two kilometres wide before dispersing. The net effect of these contrails is to trap heat that would otherwise escape from the Earth, which contributes to global warming. Studies have shown that night flights have the strongest warming impact, because during the daytime contrails actually reflect some sunlight away from the earth.

      What’s being done about emissions from air transportation?

      Not much, unfortunately. Countries with national emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol are only required to account for emissions from domestic flights. Emissions from international flights are not counted. And very little has been done to actually limit these emissions. To date the only formal plan to control and reduce international aviation emissions is being developed within the European Union (EU).

      Is it likely that new technologies or fuels will make air transportation more efficient in the near future and help reduce its climate impact?

      Currently, airplanes use kerosene fuel, and there is no indication that commercial aircraft powered by solar panels, batteries, biofuels, or hydrogen can be expected anytime soon. In terms of efficiency, it appears that improvements in current aircraft technology have nearly reached their limit, and further significant fuel-efficiency gains will only come from the development of radically new airplane designs and systems. The time, cost and coordinated effort it would take to develop and test such designs and then phase them into the world’s fleets of aircraft make this unlikely to happen anytime soon. It is therefore an impractical solution for the urgent problem of climate change. In reality, the small, incremental gains that we can reasonably expect in aircraft fuel efficiency will be eclipsed by the projected growth in the industry.

      The Hypocrisy Continues.

      New technologies need to be adapted as a bridge to a New Future. The energy companies need to be on board or nothing will be able to be accomplished.

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