Ken Ham’s Climate Change Rhetoric Uses Cigarette Ad Tactics

Ken Ham's Climate Change Explanations Use Similar Tactics to Cigarette Ads.
Ken Ham caused further wrinkles of bewilderment to etch themselves into Bill Nye’s forehead during his explanation of climate change post-discussion, prompting Nye to compare his rhetoric to tactics used in cigarette advertisements. The president of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, and the TV personality and scientist appeared on CNN after their Tuesday night discussion to elaborate on their views.

Ham became defensive after Piers Morgan pointed out that 80 percent of scientists believe in climate change. Ham countered that he had never divulged his stance on global warming, having only briefly explained what young-earth Creationists like himself believe.

According to Ham, man’s fool spurred extreme weather patterns. Whether this means that man created the weather patterns, or that a higher power created the weather patterns as punishment was not elaborated on.

Nye took the explanation to mean that Ham attributed global warming to punishment from a higher power. Skeptical of this explanation, Nye reiterated that warming is the result of excess heat energy in the atmosphere. Of particular concern is the rate at which heat energy is being added, prompting storms.

During Ham’s explanation of climate change, he compared how scientists and creationists talk about weather patterns. Ham said that both view climate change as a series of highs and lows, and embrace the fact that global temperatures have been changing.

Where the two views diverge is on the explanation for why temperature change takes place. Ham avoided directly answering what he believed. The rhetoric that he used to dance around the question caused Nye to compare his language tactics to those in cigarette ads.

After Ham caught Piers Morgan assuming that he did not believe in climate change, Ham maneuvered around explicitly answering what he believed. Ham said that observation and interpretation needed to be dealt with separately. Then he said that past and present needed to be understood individually too.

Citing the belief that temperature has fluctuated throughout time, Ham’s elusive point was that scientific data could be interpreted multiple ways. As the minority view on CNN, Ham stopped short of saying that his interpretation was markedly different from Nye’s, but Nye caught the omitted opinion.

If any doubt were to exist as to Ken Ham’s exact stance, the material marketed by his Answers in Genesis project reveals pointed views. One documentary titled, “Global Warming, the Scientific and Biblical Expose of Climate Change,” accepts climate change, but denies that man creates it.

The skepticism lauded by Ham is dangerous to the future of the country according to Nye. Skepticism itself is not dangerous, but sidestepping facts as cigarette ads often do, is deceptive. Furthermore, doing so undermines the scientific process. Nye emphasized that scientific uncertainty is not the same as scientific doubt. While there may be some aspects of climate change that scientists are not 100 percent certain of that does not mean that they doubt it exists.

Raising future generations to believe that scientific uncertainty and doubt are synonymous is severely detrimental to the country’s future according to Nye. Uncertainty is a fundamental of the scientific process because it allows for adjustment as new discoveries are made. If discoveries were dismissed when they allow for uncertainty, what would the impact be?

The number of Americans who do not believe in climate change has been on the rise since early 2013, according to a Yale study. Twenty three percent of Americans were dismissive of global warming in November 2013, up from 16 percent in April 2013. The number who believe in global warming has held fast at 63 percent, and the number who say they are unsure has dropped from 20 percent to 14 percent.

Overall, does it matter if people believe in climate change or not? The documentary published by Ken Ham’s organization claims to have policy implications. If views on climate change shape behavior, then they could impact the future. If nothing else, rhetoric used by Ken Ham and others that blurs the line between uncertainty and doubt uses deceptive tactics similar to those in cigarette ads, and according to Nye, may result in equally dangerous consequences.

Editorial By Julia Waterhous


7 Responses to "Ken Ham’s Climate Change Rhetoric Uses Cigarette Ad Tactics"

  1. Vastet   February 8, 2014 at 8:25 am

    There WAS an ice age on the horizon. There were chemicals being thrown into the atmosphere that were cooling the Earth, and destroying the ozone layer as well. Those chemicals were banned and thus the ice age was prevented, and the ozone layer is recovering.

    Make no mistake, the science of global warming today is just as accurate as the science of global cooling was decades ago.

  2. m   February 8, 2014 at 3:53 am

    The “scientists” who are all touting supposed climate change that is man made, will all quietly slink away in a few years when new “data” shows the models were incorrect.They say anything to keep the funding coming.John made a good point that climate variability has been the norm.I remember when I was a kid, all they talked about was an ice age that was coming in the future,now it’s global warming.63% of people believe in climate change just shows how people let the tv do the thinking for them.

  3. Dianne McCollum   February 8, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Time will tell…if science is right, millions of poor people will be impacted and the rich will jet off to higher ground…..I will not be impacted at 160′ above sea level the only negative will be higher food prices.

  4. Vastet   February 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I have seen a molecule. And an atom. And an electron. I’ve also seen footprints left in mud that solidified and were visible years later. It actually happens with great frequency ever since we started making sidewalks out of concrete, but it happens in the wild too.

    There’s also no need for faith in dating objects and events. Dating methods depend on the very predictable and never changing decay of elements. The only thing Bill didn’t directly refute that I think he should have refuted was Kens claim that different dating methods give different results.

    Of course they give different results. You don’t use carbon dating to date a million year old rock. You can’t. All the carbon will have decayed by the time a million years go by. 45,000 years is the most you can expect to get out of carbon dating. It isn’t at all strange how the wood he mentioned in the debate, that was encased in million year old rock, had a dating of 45,000 years.

    Similarly, you don’t use uranium dating to determine how old a corpse is. Uranium decays much more slowly than carbon. Anything less than 10,000 years won’t even give you a result to work with. The lab will say a 5000 year old corpse could have died yesterday. Simply because there hasn’t been enough time for the uranium to decay.

    Nothing in science is based on faith. Science is based on testable data. You can do it yourself with the right equipment. And that’s where religion fails. It cannot be tested and thus it cannot be verified as true or discarded as false. Maybe there is a god, maybe there isn’t. You need faith to find a god. You don’t need faith to use science.

  5. John R. Smith   February 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Piers Morgan stated “80% of scientists believe in climate change”. What does that mean? Does it implies that scientists believe climate change is man-made, or just that it has been observed? If it is the former, I quarrel with that. I’m and earth scientist, which at least qualifies a degree aptitude for appreciating the issue involved. Further, I know from personal research that climate variability is the norm on planet Earth. However, my opinion has not been consulted on the matter, and neither have those of any of my immediate colleagues. Where then does the 80% figure come from?

    I’m disappointed with Mr. Morgan and would have expected at least a minimum of intellectual rigor, if not a bit of healthy skepticism.

  6. Down to Earth   February 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Here’s whats coming to a country near you !

  7. Jack Regan   February 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    The problem I have with all of this is the lack of critical analysis, on both sides, by the general public. Someone states that a dinosaur footprint many millions of years old has been discovered. Such a thing is possible. But is it likely? Does anyone have an experience of a footprint being preserved after just a month? Think of the incredible array of circumstances that must align line to create such a thing. Someone says God created the earth just 6,000 years ago. Is this likely? If so, the sun, moon, all other planets had to have been created at the same time in order to justify planetary orbits. I don’t subscribe to Creationist Theory but I’d like to remind those who quickly ridicule the idea of how many things you take take on faith right now. Have you ever seen a molecule? An atom? An electron? Are these things particles or simply manifestations of vibrational energy?

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