Anti-science crowd melts down as UT Knoxville presents Al Gore an honorary doctoral degree

Knoxville News-Sentinel suggests they “Get over it”!

The anti-science crowd has been freeping this newspaper poll.  ClimateDepotted run by the The Swift Boat smearer Marc Morano — who believes climate scientists should be publicly beaten — even provided the email address and phone number of the Chief of Staff for the University President (see “The rise of anti-science cyber bullying“).

If you are really bored, you can vote here.  For the record, the Knoxville News-Sentinel editorialized on why Gore is a worthy choice:

Here’s a suggestion to those objecting to the University of Tennessee’s plan to confer an honorary doctorate on Al Gore Jr.:

Get over it.

Gore is an appropriate choice for the honor.

That’s not because we necessarily agree with his politics. Sometimes we have; sometimes we haven’t.

But therein lies the point. Political preferences shouldn’t be the basis for awarding honorary degrees. Leadership stature should be.

The practice of granting honorary degrees is new to UT. Only two people have been so honored: former Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. and entertainer and philanthropist Dolly Parton.

Both were excellent choices, and Gore is, too.

In fact, his resume is remarkably comparable to Baker’s.

Both men served in the military, attended law school and became U.S. senators. Baker rose to be Senate majority leader and White House chief of staff. Gore became vice president and a presidential candidate who won the majority of the popular vote. Both performed international service after retiring from active politics, Baker as ambassador to Japan and Gore as a global environmentalist, winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

University trustee Crawford Gallimore questioned the selection, saying, “Should we be concerned as a board about awarding degrees to controversial advocacies?”

Quite the contrary. Vigorous participation in the marketplace of ideas should be held up as cause for recognition and celebration….

Some objectors have pointed specifically to Gore’s involvement in the global-warming debate, suggesting that man-made climate change has been disproven by the “Climategate” e-mails. That’s far from true. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is among those who still say climate change must be addressed, and he certainly shouldn’t be disqualified from some future honorary degree. In fact, he would be an excellent choice.

UT had been reluctant to award honorary degrees in the past, but Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has pushed for a different approach. He believes such degrees call attention to the university and the achievements of those associated with it. Honorary degrees awarded during commencement also point new graduates toward the heights to which can can aspire.

In recommending Gore, Cheek said:

“He is among the most accomplished and respected Tennesseans in history, and it is fitting that he should be honored by the flagship education institution of his home state.”

It certainly is.

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15 Responses to Anti-science crowd melts down as UT Knoxville presents Al Gore an honorary doctoral degree

  1. Jeff Huggins says:

    Joe …

    The anti-science crowd, playing with our futures, organizes to send e-mails to a university complaining about a prize given to Nobel Prize-winning (ex) V.P. of the U.S., Al Gore, who is a very responsible guy, honest, brave, and cares about the planet.

    Yesterday, Dot Earth was flooded with comments regarding a posting about a study from Harvard.

    Here, now, again, I’d like to convey my own view that, all things considered, I believe that any self-respecting person who cares about the global warming issue, and who cares about honesty, and who wants to make sure that actual living human beings provide the inputs to democracy, ought to boycott ExxonMobil and sell all ExxonMobil stock. Period and pronto.

    To be clear, I don’t have the expertise to give financial advice, nor am I providing any financial investment advice, nor do I know anything of any inside sort (the problem with ExxonMobil is pretty obvious to anyone who has been paying any attention whatsoever).

    My views are based on all the reading and analysis and other factors with which I’m familiar, and based on ethical considerations, and so forth. But they tell me that we ought to sell ExxonMobil stock and boycott ExxonMobil products, period. If the deniers of science and sensibility can organize, so can we!

    I’ve stated it before, and I’ll state it here: I have considerable background in these areas and on these issues … the oil industry, science, business, ethics, and etc. I only mention this because I’m serious when I say that I believe we ought to begin taking these actions.

    I should also ask at this point, where are you other sites that are concerned about the climate and energy issues? Where are the sites and organizations and movements that would and should call such a boycott, informally and formally? Where is everyone? What point in time are you waiting for? Do you think that things will be better “tomorrow”, magically?

    The Supreme Court recently ruled, again, in favor of the notion that ExxonMobil is like a person. They can flood the airwaves, contribute to political campaigns, advertise in favor of politicians, and etc.. They can use the money you’ve spent on their products to advertise against the well being of future generations. They can use money that you’ve invested in them to advertise to keep us addicted to oil. Don’t forget, you are people too!

    That’s about all I can say. I’ve said what I can. Are you on the bus or off the bus?

    Cheers and Be Well,


  2. mike roddy says:

    Congratulations to Al Gore, and to the Knoxville News-Sentinel for doing the right thing.

    I don’t think that Morano’s targeting of Gore is the least bit rational, especially since An Inconvenient Truth was based on solid science, and since Gore’s public utterances are measured and restrained.

    Morano is like Rush Limbaugh, and likes to identify individuals or groups to focus free floating hatred on. Limbaugh’s favorite is Nancy Pelosi, who, like Gore, is actually pretty moderate, and not inclined to fight back very aggressively. Michael Mann and John Kerry can also tell you about Swiftboating: the charges have nothing to do with reality. “Liberals” are usually the group targeted these days.

    My old college roommate, who went on to get a PhD in physics, and is a Jew, understands this well. He told me that fascist Germany was filled with the same kind of talk, which was obviously just as full of lies. The Nazis’ lies were repeated for 15 years, and were not only believed, they became a way to focus all of the country’s freefloating hatred and fear onto the groups and individuals chosen by Nazi leaders.

    We are in scary territory here. It’s time more people paid attention and spoke out. Limbaugh and Morano practice hate speech, and should be prosecuted for it.

  3. Chris Dudley says:

    Speaking of melting down, this article on permafrost methane is ominous:

  4. Doug Bostrom says:

    If Morano wants to create and cement resentment against rejectionists and thereby steer policy in the opposite direction he wants, by all means he should continue publicizing contact information so that his army of mouthbreathers can spew invective and threats against his victims. The worse and the more, the better for the rest of us.

    Morano’s employing gutter tactics conducted against highly influential people. It’s a twisted notion, but there’s hardly any method imaginable that could have better results for policy in the long term. Any campaign can be lost if there’s no emotive component and Morano’s providing that in spades. All that needs happen to clinch the results is to make absolutely sure Morano’s targets understand from exactly where their pain is originating.

  5. mike roddy says:

    Thanks for the link, Chris. Dean got the Tg number wrong in the article: it’s million metric tons, not billion.

    One complaint I always had about Revkin on DE was his reluctance to explore feedback dangers, talking about “uncertainty”, “we don’t know enough” etc every time I bugged him about it. He contributed to this article, so maybe he’s waking up.

  6. David Smith says:

    To add to Jeff’s point. ExxonMobile and other corporations aren’t just persons according to the supreme court ruling. They seem to be super-persons, held above the actual living breathing versions of persons, (Homo Sapien). While they don’t get to vote, they get access to presidents and senators. They are not held to any moral/ethical standard. There are no crimes to which corporations can be charged. They can’t be tried and sent to prison. Their worst punishment is that they are asked to pay fines and many corporations consider these fines to be the cost of doing business.

    Corporations get all the up sides of person-hood with none of the negatives. (This is because corporations have been working to influence the laws, constitution, etc… in their special interest favor as long as the constitution has existed.)And people doing bad things can easily hide inside the protective wings of corporations.

    I support the boycott. Where do I sign?

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    Is “Gate” still operative? If so, IOPGate:

    Evidence from a respected scientific body to a parliamentary inquiry examining the behaviour of climate-change scientists, was drawn from an energy industry consultant who argues that global warming is a religion, the Guardian can reveal.

    The submission, from the Institute of Physics (IOP), suggested that scientists at the University of East Anglia had cherry-picked data to support conclusions and that key reconstructions of past temperature could not be relied upon.

    The Guardian has established that the institute prepared its evidence, which was highly critical of the CRU scientists, after inviting views from Peter Gill, an IOP official who is head of a company in Surrey called Crestport Services.

    According to Gill, Crestport offers “consultancy and management support services … particularly within the energy and energy intensive industries worldwide”, and says that it has worked with “oil and gas production companies including Shell, British Gas, and Petroleum Development Oman”.called Crestport Services.

    An oily, sooty explosion, as expected.

  8. Doug Bostrom says:

    By the way, if you read the entire article on IOP you’ll see they’re all of a sudden not very keen on transparency.

  9. Wes Rolley says:

    For those who, like Jeff, want to end our fuelish ways, we do have to pay attention to the move in Congress by Inhofe and his acolytes to bar the SEC from requiring any corporation to reveal it’s climate change risk. If is is all a hoax, as Inhofe claims, then the risk should be zero, so why is Inhofe trying to hide it?

    Yeah, it is time to bail on Exxon-Mobil and the rest.

  10. Dave E says:

    Jeff Huggins (#1)
    I agree with you completely. In the past, I bought most of my gas at Mobil but I have now quit buying Mobil at all. My impression is that Shell is somewhat better, although I’m not sure that any of the large oil companies are significantly better. The obvious solution would be to quite buying gas at all–I am trying to ride my bike whenever possible, but I’ll have to admit to a reluctance to ride when it is raining or snowing. We’re looking into adding PV’s to our passive solar home but we would still only generate a portion of our electricity, let alone produce a surplus that might eventually allow us to replace our gas powered transportation with electric transportation.

  11. Jeff Huggins says:

    Three And Counting …

    So far, then, there are three of us: Me (Jeff, Comment 1), David (Comment 6), and Wes (Comment 9).


    In situations like this, where there are three, there are eventually 30 million!

    “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    – Margaret Mead

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
    – Martin Luther King Jr.

    “Anyone who wants a certain result, but is quite happy with the absence of what would bring it about, has obviously no understanding of either causes or effects.”
    – Petrarch

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi

    “What good am I if I know and don’t do?”
    – Bob Dylan

    “I had my chance and lost it,
    many chances & didn’t
    take them seriously enuf.
    Oh yes I was impressed, almost
    went mad with fear
    I’d lose the immortal chance,
    One lost it.
    Allen Ginsberg warns you
    dont follow my path
    to extinction.
    – Allen Ginsberg, excerpt from After Lalon

    “Pick up the cry!”
    – Grace Slick

  12. Leif says:

    Jeff: For what it is worth, I have not paternized EXXON since the 1989 oil spill in Alaska. Does that count?

  13. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dave (Comment 10) and Leif (Comment 12),

    Yes and thanks! We are now five and counting.

    “Pick up the cry!”



  14. riverat says:

    The Institute of Physics has clarified it’s statement on the CRU investigation. They basically said they are not questioning climate science, just the actions of some scientists in the field. You can read it here.

  15. William T says:

    I ever stop at Mobil stations either – haven’t done so for a few years now since I first read about their actions on spreading disinformation.