American Family Association Misrepresents Climate Science

February 16, 2010 2:44 pm ET

On February 15, 2010, the American Family Association seized on a misinterpretation of a climate scientist's comments to declare that "global warming theory is dead, dead, dead." In reality, the anti-science AFA took words out of context and ignored overwhelming scientific evidence that shows the Earth is warming.

American Family Association Attacks Climate Change Science

American Family Association:

You can stick a fork in the theory that man is causing global warming - it's toast, it's cooked, it's all over but the funeral.

Phil Jones, the scandal-plagued director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, and the man at the very center of global warming hysteria, confessed to the BBC on Friday that there has been no "statistically-significant global warming" since 1995.


Perhaps now we can end with all the foolishness about green energy and carbon caps that will only trap the world's poor in grinding poverty and do even further damage to the world economy by driving up the cost of energy for everybody.

It's time to close the books on this sorry chapter of scientific fraud and send Al Gore home to Tennessee to luxuriate in his carbon-guzzling palace with instructions to leave the rest of us alone. [American Family Association, 2/15/10]

Actual Scientists Easily Debunked The American Family Association's Interpretation

Union Of Concerned Scientists Has Rebutted Identical Claims.  In a February 15, 2009 email to reporters, the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote:

Climate science contrarians are twisting the words of Phil Jones, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, from a British Broadcasting Corporation interview. When asked, "Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?" Jones answered, "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95 percent significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."

Contrarians claim that Jones was saying the Earth is not warming. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jones is simply answering a very narrow question about how much temperatures have increased during the past 14 years and only the past 14 years. During this very short time period, human-induced warming has caused the planet to remain quite hot compared to its average for the past century. But with only 14 years worth of data, it is hard to achieve a high level of significance in any trend. By contrast, data collected over the past 100-plus years show an unmistakable warming trend. As Jones says later in the interview, "I'm 100 percent confident that the climate has warmed." On the question of whether or not humans are contributing to that warming, Jones says, "I would go along with [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Chapter 9 - there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity."


According to a backgrounder on global temperatures from the Union of Concerned Scientists, "Over the last century, global average temperature has increased by more than 1°F (0.6°C). While the record shows significant regional differences in warming, the long-term global upward trend is unambiguous."

It continues, "Over the last 25 years, Earth's global average temperature has been increasing at more than twice the rate of the last century. In fact, nine of the warmest years on record have occurred in just the last 10 years. This warming has been accompanied by a decrease in very cold days and nights and an increase in extremely hot days and warm nights. Additionally, the oceans reached their highest recorded temperature in the summer of 2009. Oceans have absorbed much more heat from global warming than the air at the Earth's surface because water is much better at retaining heat."

The past decade was the hottest on record. Still, scientists are looking into the role that short-term ocean cycles, sunspot cycle and other factors can play in dampening the pace of warming over the past 10 years. [Union of Concerned scientists, 2/15/10]

The AFA Is Anti-Science

A mere 20 minutes after posting that "Global warming theory is dead, dead, dead," the AFA  published a blog post criticizing scientists who believe in evolution.  The only source cited in the blog post was, which also claims that "dinosaurs lived at the same time as people."

Surely, everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs.  But one can't disprove established science by simply reiterating their personal interpretation of religious texts.

Moments After Bashing The Science Behind Climate Change, The AFA Bashed The Science Behind Evolution:

What the writer and those who accept evolution do not seem to understand is that their acceptance of evolution is based on more faith than fact. Actually, it takes more faith, based upon the evidence available, to believe in evolution than it does to believe in creationism as it is accounted in Genesis in the Bible. Further, acceptance of evolution undermines the entire foundation of the Bible and nullifies the rest of the Bible. The coexistence of the two is incompatible. For further study on the topic, check out Answers in Genesis.

The Church of England has one thing right here: science and faith are compatible. The fact of it is that science offers more to reject the hypothesis of evolution than to support it among those who are open-minded enough to consider everything that science has to offer and not just what backs up their desire to not have to acknowledge that there is a Creator. [American Family Association, 2/15/10]

AFA Source "Answers In Genesis" Believes Dinosaurs Lived Along Side Humans 6,000 Years Ago.  Describing dinosaurs, "Answers in Genesis" writes:

  • ... we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6000!), not millions of years. Thus, if the Bible is right (and it is!), dinosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years.
  • Dinosaurs first existed around 6,000 years ago.3 God made the dinosaurs, along with the other land animals, on Day 6 of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:20-25, 31). Adam and Eve were also made on Day 6-so dinosaurs lived at the same time as people, not separated by eons of time. [Answers in Genesis, accessed 2/16/10; 2/16/10]