Focus on the Family: it’s not ‘Pro-Life’ to Protect Newborns from Mercury Poisoning
Credentials? We don’t need no stinking credentials!
Like David Barton, who has no academic training as a historian but is the Religious Right’s point person on American history, Calvin Beinser of the Cornwall Alliance has no scientific credentials but has become the go-to person for right-wing activists on questions of science, particularly climate change. While he lacks any credentials what Beisner does have is close ties to organizations financed by the energy industry and a history of attacking scientists, spreading misinformation, and fueling fears that the environmental movement is a pagan plot to destroy Christianity and kill ‘about 95% of the human race.’
Beisner is especially concerned about growing calls for environmental protection made by evangelical Christians, and has went out of his way to attack groups like the Evangelical Environmental Network for calling on public officials to clamp down on mercury poisoning. Beisner’s outburst against his fellow evangelicals should come as no surprise, as he has even gone after a Koch-financed study which actually confirmed the science behind climate change. He joined Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink, whose head Tom Minnery appeared in Beisner’s Green Dragon video series, to disparage the EEN for thanking both Republican and Democratic politicians who supported efforts to reduce mercury emissions:
“…only one in every 1,000 American babies is exposed to harmful doses of mercury, and the slight delays in cognitive development it may cause generally disappear by age 7.”
Center for Disease Control:
… one in six newborns, or 630,000 of the 4 million babies born annually, are ‘at risk for developmental disorders because of mercury exposure in the mother’s womb,’ which PBS described as mercury levels ‘so high that they are potentially at risk for learning disabilities and motor skill impairment and short-term memory loss.’
“In 1999, EPA estimated that approximately 75 tons of mercury were found in the coal delivered to power plants each year and about two thirds of this mercury was emitted to the air, resulting in about 50 tons being emitted annually.”
Beisner, a Ph.D in Scottish history, presents his climate science bonafides;
DR. CALVIN BEISNER: Yes, I would. And that’s why I have spent the amount of time that I have reading, at this point now, probably about nine full books by climatologists on this subject and hundreds of articles, refereed and non-refereed. That’s why I’ve spent the time that I have.
But I’m not persuaded that (a) it’s going to be catastrophic, and (b) that human activity is a major cause of the climate trends that we have seen. The fact, for instance, that most of the warming that has occurred over the past century and a half occurred before 1940, before there was a significant increase in CO2 at concentrations in the atmosphere, is indicative of some questions about the actual direction of the causal relationship between CO2 and global warming. The work of Robert Essenhigh at — it’s Ohio State University — on paleoclimate indicates that, generally, CO2 is a lagging factor behind temperature change, not a preceding factor.