Politics Archive

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 9 - Shoddy Scholarship

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, mainly by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

For this entry, I'm actually going to look at a very short excerpt from his book, America the Beautiful, dealing with the supposed inadequacy of modern education.

To gain a real appreciation of what children were expected to know in early America, one has only to look up an exit exam from middle school grades during the nineteenth century. I suspect that many, if not most, college graduates today would fail that test. Some sample questions:
  • Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
  • Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.
  • Show the territorial growth of the US.
  • Name and locate the principal trade centers of the US.
  • Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
  • Describe why the Atlantic Coast is colder than the Pacific at the same latitude.

As a matter of fact, I recognize all those questions, because I've seen them before in a chain mail. In fact, I wrote a blog entry about it, Email Debunking - 1895 8th Grade Final Exam. It turns out that the test was almost certainly administered to teaching candidates, not students, so Carson's example of nineteenth century middle school education was wrong.

It would be one thing if this was a remark Carson made off the cuff during an interview, but that's not the case here. This was a published book. He had plenty of time, and an ethical responsibility, to research any factual claims he was making. But he got it wrong, and it appears as if his source was chain mail that could have been easily debunked (or at least piqued his suspicion) merely by visiting Snopes. That's really rather shoddy scholarship, and certainly not the type of ethic I'd want in a politician.

But beyond who the test was administered to, Carson was trying to make the larger point that modern education has gone downhill, with negative impacts for the U.S. Here's what he wrote just a couple paragraphs after the above excerpt.

In the mid-twentieth century, however, a series of things began to happen that negatively impacted the quality of public education in the US. Public prayer was banned in school, and the educational agenda began to expand significantly beyond basic reading, writing, and arithmetic.

So, how does a 19th century education compare to a modern one? If you actually take the time to read that test and consider the questions, it doesn't look particularly difficult. To quote myself from that previous entry I wrote about the test, "My daughter has had a much broader education than the hypothetical one from this test, and she won't finish with 8th grade for another year (and this is Texas, which doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation for education)." And if you consider that the test was administered to teaching candidates, not middle schoolers, this difference becomes even starker. And not only that, but that Snopes article I linked to above described a very similar test from the same period that was definitely administered to teaching candidates, and noted that the potential teachers didn't do that well on it. So, what this test really shows is that modern day middle schoolers would do as well or better than 19th century teaching candidates.

As another point, let's take a look at some hard data, using literacy rates as a rough indication of how good education is in the present day compared to the past. Literacy can be measured multiple ways, and I couldn't find a single source with a single methodology that went all the way from the 1800s to the modern day, but I did find one source that went from the 1870 to 1979 (National Center for Education Statistics), and another for recent years (CIA Factbook via Wikipedia). I combined them into the graph below, noting which curve is for which data source.

U.S. Literacy Rate by Year

I think it's pretty obvious that as a nation, we're doing a much better job of educating people, especially in basic reading and writing, as Carson would put it.

So not only did Carson get his scholarship wrong, but if he'd dug a little deeper, he'd have realized that his example didn't support his larger point, and that additional data certainly doesn't indicate that modern day education is worse than that in the 19th century. This may not be the most important issue out of the entries I've written about Carson, but it's just one more in the long list of reasons why I wouldn't vote for him in an election.

Continue to Wrap up

More Info:

  • The website, Uppity Wisconsin, has a little more discussion on this issue, making a few points on the absurdity of trying to say that nineteenth century America was better educated than modern day America, RoJo: Education Was Better in 1830s, But Dems have "Dumbed-Down Our Population" to Get Votes.
  • Simple literacy and functional literacy aren't the same thing. Earlier measures of literacy were very basic - the ability to read short passages or write your own name. Functional literacy is about reading and comprehending enough to get by in society. That's why using the older measures of simple literacy (the type I plotted in the graph), the U.S. has a literacy rate of 99.9%. However, using newer measures of functional literacy (for which data doesn't exist going back much more than a few decades), the functional literacy rate is between 60%-90%, depending on exactly how functional literacy is defined. While this is comparable to the rates in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it's worse than other countries like the UK and Ireland, so there's certainly room for improvement. However, if even simple illiteracy in the U.S. was at 20% back in the 19th century, functional illiteracy was almost certainly higher than today, so simple literacy still supports the idea that modern education in the U.S. is better than in the past. For more discussion, take a look at the Wikipedia article on Functional Illiteracy.
  • Carson also discussed how the average scores by U.S. students in international tests tend to be lower than many other countries. However, Carson saw this as an indictment of the education system in general, when in fact, much of the problem has to do with the high proportion of U.S. students living in poverty compared to other countries. Socioeconomic status plays a huge role in how students perform in school. When you take this into account, comparing advantaged students in the U.S. to advantaged students in other countries, and disadvantaged students in the U.S. to disadvantaged students in other countries, the scores are more similar. The U.S. still lags the best countries, so there is certainly still room for improvement, but it ranks much higher this way. So if you want to fix the problem with U.S. education, you must recognize the true nature of it, and a major part of the problem is the high poverty rate in the U.S. A big way to improve average U.S. test scores would be to improve the social safety net, improving students' home life, which in turn would allow them to better focus on their education. (Of course, we can certainly try other improvements at the same time, since not all of the problem is down to poverty.) To read more, here's a good article/study from the Economic Policy Institute, What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?. Here's another good article, PISA: It's Still 'Poverty Not Stupid'. And finally, here's a commentary from Nature, Making the grade.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 8 - Torture

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, in particular by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

The article I'm going to look at today wasn't one of the original ones on his homepage when I started this project, but was added later. It's titled Democrats' wasteful torture report.

This is an issue I'd already written about in the entry, Depressing Poll - Majority of Americans Support Torture. I'll try not to repeat myself too much here, but I will repeat the conclusion up front, just to make it clear how I feel about this issue.

...I'm done with this entry. Every time I read through it again to proof-read or see if there's anything else I want to add, I just get angry. This is a horrible, horrible stain on our country's reputation. Everyone involved, from Bush and Cheney on down, ought to be taken to the Hague and tried for human rights abuses. But instead of justice, we live in a country where the majority supports this depravity.

Of course, I'm sure you can guess Carson's opinion on the matter.

However, when we are involved in a war, we should use every resource available to end it quickly and successfully, including the use of covert weapons and techniques that are not meant for public consumption.

Which is exactly why we don't hesitate to use nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons...

Second of all, the 'war' on terrorism is not like a conventional war. Terrorists are organized criminals, like the mafia, or gangs. Kill one leader, and another one will rise to take their place. Make an agreement with one branch, and another branch will act on their own. There won't ever be a peace treaty to stop the fighting - no armistice or V-E Day or V-J Day. There's not going to be any quick end. The only solutions are long term, and will require a lot more than just trying to kill all the bad guys.

Looking at the latter part of that quote, if techniques aren't 'meant for public consumption', perhaps there's a reason. When techniques are so horrible that you have to do them in secret, and would be ashamed if they became public, that's probably a very good reason not to do them at all. I know that war requires people to do bad things, but those people should at least be able to defend their actions in public.

It is absolutely foolhardy to believe that everyone is going to abide by the rules of moral war, if there is such a thing. If we allow our enemies to do anything they want to do, including the beheadings of our citizens, but we feel that we must accord them every courtesy and comfort, our days of winning wars will be over.

There's a reason Japanese and Nazi war criminals were tried and executed at the end of WWII. Their actions were so far beyond the pale, even during war time, that they couldn't be excused. Think about that. Even after the fighting was over and peace treaties had been signed, those war criminals had to face up to their crimes (and remember, some of the Japanese were even executed for water-boarding, the same torture technique that some people are now trying to say isn't so bad - Politifact). Are the war criminals in this country going to face up to their crimes if the war on terror ever ends?

And who's allowing terrorists 'to do anything they want to do'? I'm pretty sure that's part of the reason the U.S. is engaged in military action against them. We're already trying to kill them. Isn't that enough? If we sell our souls and sink to their level of depravity, then we've already abandoned the principles this country was founded on. Hell, even ignoring the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Third Amendment protects people from having to quarter troops. If that liberty of the military was considered going too far, how much worse is it to torture people?

Finally, even if we don't torture prisoners, I hardly think military prisons 'accord them every courtesy and comfort'.

We also need to understand that peace is much more likely to be realized if we are in a position of strength and possess a military force that cannot be challenged.

Peace through tyranny. That's the same type of peace that existed in the U.S.S.R. Excuse me if I have a hard time seeing the bastards who tortured people to death as representatives of 'peace'. I'd much rather see peace through diplomacy and cooperation, not threats and fear*.

The high-profile release of this information at a time when we are engaged in war with various terrorist groups demonstrates a profound lack of wisdom, since this information will be undoubtedly used as an effective recruitment tool by our enemies.

And when was this information supposed to be released? Or was it supposed to be kept secret forever? Like I wrote above, the 'war' on terror is not likely to end any time soon, since it's a war on organized crime, not a war against a nation or government. America is not supposed to be a tyranny or dictatorship. The government must answer to the American people. But if the government keeps their actions secret, how can there be accountability?

It already had been documented extensively that three suspects were water boarded and that techniques such as sleep deprivation were used to extract vital information from terrorists. That information played a part in the apprehension or annihilation of many upper-echelon terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

What about the prisoner who was tortured to death and died of exposure? What about prisoners who had food forced up their anus? What about the other victims of water boarding besides the three already known about. This report uncovered torture more extensive than the already horrible acts known about.

Another important finding of the report is that the claims of vital information gained through torture were at best exaggerated, or not even true. Almost all of the important information was gained through traditional, rapport based interrogation techniques. To quote an article from The Nation, Senate Report: CIA Torture Was Brutal and Ineffective:

If there's one sentence to take away from the report, it's this: "the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation." The report found literally not one instance where torture led to a useful piece of information that couldn't have been otherwise obtained by routine interrogation.

Looking at the larger issue of torture in general, and not just the CIA's use of it, here's a good article from the Guardian, Does torture work? To answer the headline in a word - no. And most parts of the government already know this. The article listed a quote from the US Army Training Manual's section on interrogation, "...the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear." The penultimate paragraph of that article made a very good point about the lack of evidence in favor of torture.

In spite of decades of use, and ample opportunity to gather statistics, there just isn't any scientific evidence beyond a few dubious anecdotes to show that torture works. Torture is an extreme method, and before we even reach the ethical and moral debate over its use, the effectiveness of it must be demonstrated to some reasonable degree. The burden of proof lies with the people who seek to torture. Any trials would of course be deeply unethical, but it's not like they don't have plenty of past experience to draw data from.

Despite claims coming from the organizations that committed the torture (and wouldn't you expect them to try to save their own hides at this point), there's no evidence that torture produces reliable intelligence, and plenty of evidence indicating that it goes the other way.

Here's the last quote from Carson I'm going to discuss.

Members of both parties need to take time to figure out who the real enemies are and stop trying to demonize each other.

Anybody who's willing to sacrifice the ideals of this country is, if not necessarily an enemy, certainly not an ally. This isn't a partisan political issue, unless your partisanship allows you to forgive war criminals. I've already commented on this blog once before about my disgust with Obama's use of the double tap drone strike (Cynicism, Part III). I even said that "if I had any belief that presidents would be held accountable, I'd like to see Obama and Bush both taken to the Hague over their actions in the fight against terrorism." Any American who commits war crimes should be held accountable. We lose any semblance of moral high ground if we allow them to get away with it just because they're on our side.


This was perhaps the most difficult entry for me to write in this series, because it was a bit of a struggle not to reduce my writing to strings of four letter words directed at Carson. The fact that the torture took place in the first place and was actually condoned from the highest office in the land is bad enough. That people like Carson make excuses for and justify the torture is disgusting. To use a well known quote from a dark time in our country's past, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Summary on RealBenCarson.com: Democrats' Wasteful Torture Report

Continue to Part 9 - Shoddy Scholarship

*I still recognize the importance of a strong military - "Speak softly, and carry a big stick." The world is full of people and groups who would use violence to reach their goals, and there must be a military to stop them. Just imagine what a leader like Putin would do if there was no U.S. military. But military action should be used sparingly, and close to a last resort. However, in an article discussing using torture against enemies of the state and maintaining secret operations with no accountability to the American people, it sounds rather Orwellian to praise a strong military in that context.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 7 - Honesty & Constitutional Literacy

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, in particular by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

The article for today is A Plea For Constitutional Literacy On Constitution Day.

This article had some good points, but Carson turned me off right from the beginning by misrepresenting the interview he brought up in the opening paragraph. Here's what Carson wrote.

Earlier this summer, I managed to perplex, perhaps even offend, a famous TV interviewer when I declared I wanted a federal government that followed the U.S. Constitution. Seemingly aghast, the interviewer went so far as to suggest my position was a "highly charged thing to say."

Imagine that. A journalist who, owing to the Constitution, has the right to report freely and to speak freely, being uncomfortable to hear a fellow American swear allegiance to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers' vision of a limited central government.

Carson was referring to this interview with David Gregory on Press Pass, Dr. Ben Carson on PRESS Pass: 'I will never become a politician'. Carson implies that Gregory was "aghast" (which he wasn't - watch the interview) that someone would want to follow the Constitution. Although the wording's slightly ambiguous, Carson seems to be accusing Gregory of being "uncomfortable to hear a fellow American swear allegiance to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers' vision of a limited central government." What Gregory actually said was, "There are some people who say that. That's a very highly charged thing to say. Where is the Constitution not placed in the right level today?" Gregory was obviously not shocked at someone wanting to follow the Constitution, just calling attention to Carson's implication that the Constitution is no longer being followed.

And yes, I realize that practically everyone in politics lies or stretches the truth to some degree, so it's not as if Carson's misrepresentation here is especially out of the ordinary for a political figure, but it's still off-putting to catch someone in the lie (especially someone who tries to paint himself as being an outsider to politics who's above the normal politicking).

Just to say something related to Carson's main topic, I think the expression 'Physician, heal thyself', applies here. In a previous entry, A Response to Ben Carson's Comments on Navy Bible Kerfuffle, I quoted Carson on the following:

We must also go back and read the Constitution, including the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion. It says nothing about freedom from religion and, in fact, if you go back and look at the context and the lives of those involved in the crafting of our founding documents, it is quite apparent that they strongly believed in allowing their faith to guide their lives.

I wrote a longer rebuttal in that entry, but anybody who can read the Constitution where it says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." and not realize it means freedom from religion imposed by the government isn't making a very strong case for their own constitutional literacy.

Summary on RealBenCarson.com: A Plea For Constitutional Literacy On Constitution Day

Image Source: Christian Post, Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Continue to Part 8 - Torture

Added 2015-03-04: I just came across an article detailing another instance of Carson having less than stellar constitutional literacy, Forbes - Ben Carson's Odd Notion Of The Constitution And Same-Sex Marriage. This one describes how Carson thinks Congress has the power to overturn court rulings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 6 - Equal Opportunity

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, in particular by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

Today's entry examines the article, Overcoming Hardship To Survive & Thrive.

This is probably the article where I was most in agreement with Carson (though still not completely). He makes some good points, and I think the mindset of individuals has to be to take responsibility for themselves and try their hardest to excel. There's not much to disagree with in passages like this*:

There is a long list of factors highly correlated with success regardless of the environment. They include strong supportive families, a sense of personal responsibility, good role models, faith that produces a sense of purpose and values, hard work, confidence, courage, emphasis on education and caring neighbors.

But I think that as a society, we should step back and look at what obstacles might be keeping certain segments of the population from achieving their full potential. It's not enough to tell kids to work hard if there's a good chance their efforts aren't going to be rewarded.

Here's a revealing graph from the Economic Policy Institute's The State of Working America site, where they used eighth grade math scores as a proxy for academic achievement**.

Share of students completing college, by socioeconomic status and eighth-grade test scores

Students who perform well but have a low socioeconomic status only have a 28.8% chance of graduating from college, while students who perform poorly but come from a high socioeconomic status have a 30.3% chance of graduating from college. In other words, poor performing wealthy students have better odds of graduating from college than high performing poor students. The discrepancy's even worse when you see that nearly three quarters of high performing wealthy students will complete college.

So even the low-income students who are doing everything Carson seems to be saying they should do, just don't have the same opportunities as high-income students. If it was all down to initiative, those hard working low income students would be just as well represented in universities as their more well-off counterparts. The fact is, the luck of the draw in being born to parents of a certain income level has huge implications for the opportunities you'll have in life. And with income and wealth inequality both increasing (source - Pew Research - U.S. income inequality, on rise for decades, is now highest since 1928), this disparity is only going to grow, and the problem is only going to be exacerbated by rising tuition costs thanks to cuts to university funding.

Carson mentioned his scholarship program which I realize is an attempt to help with this, and which is certainly commendable, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the magnitude of the problem.

So I agree with Carson that individuals must do everything within their own power to be successful, and their local communities must do all they can to help. But we must also realize that the deck is stacked against them, and that if we want America to truly be a land of opportunity where anybody can be successful through their own efforts, we'll have to institute systematic solutions to try to address those obstacles.

Related Entry:

Summary on RealBenCarson.com: Overcoming Hardship To Survive & Thrive

Image Source: Christian Post, Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Continue to Part 7 - Honesty & Constitutional Literacy

*Of course, I'm still not in total agreement with that excerpt. He just had to slip in that part about faith producing purpose and values. Here's an article highlighting some of the studies showing where the non-religious and secular exhibit the same or better values than the religious, Misinformation and facts about secularism and religion.

**A recent NPR interview with Tom Harkin, Senator Warns Of A Student Loan Bubble, quotes the senator on a more direct statistic than relying on eighth grade math scores. I haven't been able to track down the source of this stat, and given the EPI's graph that I included up above, Harkin's statement seems like it may be exaggerated. However, without knowing how he's defining income or performance, there's no way of knowing for sure. At any rate, here it is for reference.

Right now, if you are a high-income, low performance student, you have an 80 percent chance of going to college. If you are a low-income student, but high-performing with a B or better average, you only have a 20 percent chance of going to college.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 5 - Global Warming

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, mainly by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

For this entry, I'm actually going to break from the original articles I'd found on RealBencarson.com, and look at his position on global warming. In an interview towards the end of last year, Carson made some troubling statements about global warming. The statements can be found in the Bloomberg article, Ben Carson Not Convinced on Global Warming:

"There's always going to be either cooling or warming going on," the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate said in an interview this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa. "As far as I'm concerned, that's irrelevant. What is relevant is that we have an obligation and a responsibility to protect our environment."

Carson, a retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, often talks about his medical background and science during his speeches. Pressed on the fact that the bulk of the scientific community believes the Earth is indeed warming, Carson pivoted. "You can ask it several different ways, but my answer is going to be the same," he said. "We may be warming. We may be cooling."

Let me get the obvious out of the way, first. Global warming is real and caused primarily by people. I wrote about this seven years ago in the entry, Global Warming - It's Real, And We're Causing It, and the evidence and scientific consensus have only grown stronger since then (the latest by Phil Plait, No, Adjusting Temperature Measurements Is Not a Scandal, is a good recent discussion). I have another entry from that same year, Political Litmus Test, where I explain why I would never vote for somebody who didn't accept global warming - "to reject anthropogenic global climate change altogether requires ... that someone lacks knowledge of the issue, is willing to ignore the consensus of experts, and is willing to ignore evidence in favor of their ideology." Add to that the actual danger associated with global warming and the necessity of politicians doing something about it.

I'm glad Carson thinks we have 'an obligation and a responsibility to protect our environment', but you can't do that properly if you ignore the largest threat to the environment in historical times*. Acknowledging that climate change is real means taking vastly different approaches to public policy. Of course, there are obvious examples like coastal habitats - don't conservation efforts in the Everglades seem futile if we do nothing to stop global warming and let them become ocean in a hundred years (see this interactive map on sea level rise - Global Warming Art - Sea Level Rise Explorer)? There's also the acidification of the oceans and effects on corals, not to mention major climatic shifts changing rainfall patterns on land, or the much publicized melting of the polar ice caps and the effects that's having on arctic creatures, etc. Given that global warming is such a huge driver of changes to the climate, it must be an integral part of any comprehensive environmental conservation plan.

Carson has made similar statements about global warming before. Here's a quote from an editorial he wrote early last year, Energy's role in the path to peace:

Whether we are experiencing global warming or a coming ice age, which was predicted in the 1970s, we as responsible human beings must be concerned about our surroundings and what we will pass on to future generations. However, to use climate change as an excuse not to develop our God-given resources makes little sense. Expanding our wealth of energy resources, as well as encouraging the development of new renewable energy sources, would provide an enormous economic lift with obvious benefits, but it also would bolster our role as a formidable player in the struggle for world leadership.

When he says that "to use climate change as an excuse not to develop our God-given resources makes little sense", I don't think I'm reading too much into that by interpreting it to mean that he thinks we should continue to use coal, oil, and other fossil fuels at current rates (because no one's using climate change as an excuse to not develop renewable energy sources). This is, quite simply, a horrible idea. Since global warming is real, using more fossil fuels is going to make the problem worse. It is exactly the reason why we should slow down on 'developing' those particular resources.

If there were no global warming, there would still be concerns over methods of extraction and ways to clean up the exhaust (such as scrubbers), but coal and oil are wonderfully convenient energy sources. And they're still fairly plentiful, with many decades of oil left, and probably at least a century of coal left (source - World Coal Association). Without global warming, we could budget research on renewable energy at a far lower rate, since we'd still have plenty of time before we'd have to transition.

But global warming is a reality, so we as a civilization must try to drastically slow down our use of fossil fuels and develop alternative renewable energy technologies. Well, I say 'must', but it really depends on what consequences you're willing to live with - more extreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts, and floods and the deaths they'll cause, rising sea levels and shrinking coastlines including the inundation of major cities and entire islands, disruptions to the food supply, more wildfires, disruptions to fresh water supplies, mass extinction, etc. (more info - Union of Concerned Scientists - Global Warming Impacts). It's not going to be the complete downfall of civilization or the extinction of every living thing on earth, but it's going to be a lot of suffering and expense that could be avoided with some increased funding right now. Personally, I see it as a no-brainer, but if you only care about yourself and don't give a damn about future generations, then I suppose you might want to just continue on with the status quo. I think Carson probably does care about future generations, but you can't address the effects of climate change if you don't first accept the reality of it.

I also can't let slide the statement he made about "a coming ice age, which was predicted in the 1970s". This is at best misleading, at worst a lie. A minority of scientists in the '70s were predicting an ice age, but the majority even then were predicting global warming (Skeptical Science - What were climate scientists predicting in the 1970s?). Only a tenth of the of papers published between 1965 and 1979 predicted cooling, while nearly two thirds predicted global warming, and the consensus has only grown stronger in the 35 years since then.

It's not like this is the issue that's finally pushed me over the edge in not supporting Carson. I wasn't too found of him based on everything else I'd read prior to this. But even if I didn't know all those other things and this was the first I'd heard about him, it would be enough to disqualify him as a viable presidential candidate. Our politicians must start addressing climate change much more aggressively if we want to avoid passing on all the associated suffering to future generations. And the first part of that action is acknowledging the reality of human caused climate change.

Related Entries:

Image Source: Christian Post, Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Continue to Part 6 - Equal Opportunity

*Note that global warming isn't the only current environmental threat. Habitat destruction is another huge one, and why it's frustrating to see some of the proposals to address global warming that worsen the habitat loss problem.

Updated 2015-02-18: Added links to related entries. Slightly reworded one sentence to read better (but not changing the meaning).


Selling Out