MN Senate Climate Change Denier: Ordained by ‘Christian Motor Sports International’

Your facepalm of the day

Here’s a classic example of the bizarre reality-denying cognitive dissonance of right wing climate change deniers.

In the Minnesota State Senate, one of the loudest voices against accepting the scientific reality of climate change is Michael Jungbauer, who’s known for making grand pronouncements about “not being convinced” by the science, and grand claims of being a scientist himself. Here’s a video he uploaded to YouTube, presumably because he believes it casts him in a good light:

Youtube Video

The problem with Jungbauer’s claims of scientific expertise is simple — they’re just flat out lies. In truth, his educational background includes no degrees in science; in fact, he has no degrees at all, because he never graduated from college. He’s a “water and sewage treatment specialist” who attended Moody Bible Institute, and was ordained as a minister by “Christian Motor Sports International.” (That’s not a joke.)

And that’s not the end of his distortions: Background claims by state Senate’s global-warming skeptic fail to check out.

Even though his published biography lists his higher education credits from Moody Bible Institute, Anoka Ramsey Community College and Metropolitan State University and that he is working on his master’s degree in environmental policy and that he has a background in biochemistry, it turns out he has never graduated from college. He doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree.

He is an ordained minister, of sorts. But, although his official biography says he has a degree from Moody, he does not. In direct answer to my question, Jungbauer responded: “No I did not graduate. But I have a certificate.”

The truth is that Jungbauer was ordained by Christian Motor Sports International out of Gilbert, Ariz. His Senate biography says the organization provides “chapel services, pastoral care, outreach and Christian fellowship at car races, car shows, cruise-ins and tractor pulls.” …

He has said he has a major in biochemistry. That suggests he received a degree with enough credit hours to give him a major in that important science. But he does not have a degree in biochemistry. He told me that he is getting a master’s degree in environmental policy at Metropolitan State University, but that school doesn’t have a master’s program in environmental policy. When I asked him about that, he said: “Well, that’s what they told me.”

He tells people from his committee perch “in my tropospherical chemistry class they said there is no scientific evidence that would link CO₂ to higher temperatures.” I don’t doubt someone said that to Sen. Jungbauer, but whoever said it would be the only scientist in the world who thinks that.

But that is not the important point. What’s important is that there is no evidence Jungbauer ever took a “tropospherical chemistry” class. When I confronted him with that inconsistency, he said: “Well, it was part of a discussion in another class I took.”

Ooohkay. But uneducated religious fanatics and scientific ignoramuses are exactly what right wing groups like the Heartland Institute are looking for, especially if they’re good at sounding like real scientists.

By way of explanation, Jungbauer told me that he has attended lots of classes in other parts of the country, and had gone to lots of conferences. One of the conferences he attended was the fourth International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute. He has been a featured speaker for Heartland. Heartland is a fossil-fuel funded, conservative think-tank designed to protect the interests of oil and coal from government regulation.

Jungbauer told me he gets no contributions from Heartland, but he has been paid to speak at conferences and on Heartland-sponsored radio programs. Heartland gets a lot of the money it pays to Jungbauer from Exxon-Mobil, Koch Brothers and the Scaife Foundation.

People like Jungbauer are driving the anti-science agenda of the Republican Party.

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