Land Needs to Cool It

March 17, 2008

Ethics Daily has a good article today that demonstrates how Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, got his facts wrong in a discussion of climate change. Making it worse, Land arrogantly and aggressively attacked Al Gore because of the poor evidence. Land claimed recently on his radio program that new evidence proved the earth was cooling and that one month of cooling had wiped out all of global warming from the past century. The problem is that his source, FoxNews, based their report on a website that has since corrected their story. Land, however, had apparently missed the correction (and had not thought about how ridicolus it was to suggest that one month could undue 100 years of weather). Ethics Daily talked to Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences at Princeton University, to set the record straight. Land, on the other hand, apparently did not look into the facts. Instead, he used the inaccurate source to dismiss Gore's claims as "pure quackery" and starting quacking on the air.

Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, stated in response:

Richard's name calling and animal sounds are no substitute for real engagement of the issue. ... He would do well to engage real scientists rather than rely on secondary sources like Fox News that compounded an error by repeating it. We must always remember that untruth anywhere harms truth everywhere.
Parham is correct. Land made the mistake of not double-checking the facts before he reported them, which is the ethical responsibility of a speaker. But he made the problem much worse by then using the inaccurate claims to launch unethical ad hominem attacks on a Nobel Peace Prize winner. This comes on the heels of Land's outrageous attacks on Senator Chuck Schumer and his inaccurate claims made about the growth rates of various Baptist denominations. It is time for Land to check his facts and tone down his rhetoric. In essence, it is time for him to cool it.