Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Mailbag: PolitiFact Texas's pants are on fire

Readers say we deserve a Pants on Fire for our check of a claim about science and greenhouse gases.
Readers say we deserve a Pants on Fire for our check of a claim about science and greenhouse gases.

We rated Pants on Fire this claim by state Rep. Wayne Smith: "Science has not shown greenhouse gases to be a problem."

Piffle, readers said of our conclusion.

To the mailbag:

"Your PolitiFact misinforms the public... please retract the damage."

Similarly: "Once again your political slip is showing... your credibility has crashed and burned... Understand this:  science has nothing to do with anthropomorphic global warming; such is completely based on politics and self-serving motivations. Everyone with half a brain cell and an open mind knows this.  Furthermore, the ‘scientific consensus’ you referred to does not exist. It never has!"

Another reader: "As a physicist with some personal experience with atmospheric physics, I have followed the climate change discussions and debates with some interest. It is frustrating when I come across articles such as your politifact discussion which give such short shrift to the subject, and miss the point of much of the debates... It is completely unfair for you to erect a strawman at the end of your article, by hypothesizing that ‘his statement purported to reflect scientific consensus,’ and rendering your judgment about the strawman proposition... It is sometimes claimed that the climate change science is ‘settled.’ Many respected scientists strongly object to this appeal to ‘consensus’ as a justification for curtailing further investigations... I would urge you to be more careful, and more honest, in your future articles."

Another reader said we deserve the Pants on Fire rating, not the representative, adding: "Truth is, there is NO SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN correlation between carbon and climate behavior... Articles like the one in the paper today takes credibility away from the already highly questionable ‘PolitiFact’ franchise."

Another: "A scientific consensus is no better proof or justification than a consensus of people on the street. There is NO proof, other than in some laboratories or some geographical locations. Actual results have been absolutely contradictory. Mankind can’t even predict climate change, much less affect it."

And: "I’m a scientist with 39 years experience. To a scientist, ‘to show’ something means to prove it. No climate scientist has ever proven (or even come close to proving) that climate change (or greenhouse gases, that might cause climate change) is a problem. They simply speculate that it might be a problem at some point in the future. No one can know if it is a problem or not. Some scientists might have an opinion that it will become a problem but that is not a fact or evidence."

We appreciate all blasts. To comment most immediately, "like" our Facebook page (where we initially holler about our completed fact checks) and comment there. Emails, too, are always welcome.

What else?