State-funded Science Institutions Host Keynote by Fringe Anti-Science Guy

(Seriously? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The wires are abuzz about the latest example of fossil fuel influence attempting to bend science, another Climate Change Denialist hero has been shown as seriously besotted by sooty cash, but failed to note the connection.  His ‘science’ was—in fact—“deliverables” to dirty energy powerhouses, from utilities, coal, oil and gas, the Kochs.

Meanwhile in western Colorado, the Energy Forum & Expo is also creating a stir. 

This annual event hosted by Colorado Mesa University, Colorado Mountain College, and the John McConnell Math & Science Center (along with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, Club 20, and the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado) is known to include a lot of industry cheerleading.  

The purpose of the Energy Forum & Expo CO's is to educate Colorado citizens on the role we can play in meeting our energy needs today and into the future. 

That the ‘Energy Forum & Expo’ of Grand Junction organized, hosted and sponsored as it is,revolves around Old Energy boosterism is not a new realization, but this year it is something else that is attracting criticism. 

This year the keynote is being given by a fringe climate change denier (and ‘earthquake predictor’), who is a favorite on the Tea Party circuit, wingnut radio, and whose ‘expert opinions’ populate articles, between ads for gold, testosterone boosters, and bunker supplies on sites like NewsMax.

The Energy Forum & Expo is a private event, sponsored by a broad range of energy companies and associations, business groups, and educational institutions.   According to a  letter to the editor that ran in the Grand Junction Sentinelthe speaker was selected by a small group that included long-time oil and gas enthusiast Kathy Hall and Bonnie Peterson, head of AGNC and former director of Club 20. 

But here’s the thing.  Even in a ‘Forum & Expo’ clearly geared toward promoting the energy industry and opportunities of western Colorado, the quality of the information ought to be of top concern. Especially with prominent hosts being the local university, a regional college, and an educational science center. And in that regard the event fails, and badly.  The author of the letter above writes of the keynote speaker:

He has a couple of “reports” linked at the bottom of this page… One of them was “pal-reviewed.” 

Richard Alward, a local scientist-for-real and a commissioner on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, recently raised his concerns in a Sentinel guest column, writing about Casey:

…  he provides no evidence on this website that he obtained any education in engineering or climate science, or that he has been awarded any engineering certifications, or that he has published any research of any kind in any scientific journal.

Rather than a resumé of qualifications, Casey promotes a book he self-published in 2011, provides links to two amateurish “reports” that have never been published outside of his website, and devotes two pages of his website to cataloging five-years of press releases.

Alward blasts the Casey keynote, presented at an event that claimed education:

This is unfortunate, disturbing, and insulting.

All three things are true.  It is unfortunate that an opportunity to provide real education appears squandered.  It disturbing that state funded and other public institutions are 'host' to such a charade. And it is insulting to real science and efforts to offer quality information around critical issues facing Colorado. 

 

 

3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    I looked the guy up. He has a B.S. degree in physics and mathematics; an M.A. in management. Hardly qualified to be a spokesperson on anything relating to climate or meteorology. He has yet to make the list of climate misinformers on http://www.skepticalscience.com   .

  2. ardy3 says:

    Oh come on, PK. Aren't you aware that Casey is "America's best climate prediction expert?" That's true (I read it on the interwebs).

    Who awarded this title to Casey? A: Dr. Richard Swier.

    Who's he? A: The publisher of drrichswier.com, of course. And a contributer to watchdogwire.com (here's the glowing (smoldering?) Love song to J.L. Casey) [with apologies to T.S. Eliot]. 

    Is that all? A: No. Swier also sits on the Board of Directors of the "Sunspots Cause Eruptions & Earthquakes & Incontinence International and A#1 Prediction Service and Flower Delivery Corporation." Surprised? Which just happens to share a phone number and physical address with the Space & Science & Soapscum & Ceiling Stripper Research Corporation. Still surprised?

    Would you like to buy my book? But wait, that's not all … if you order now, you'll also get a free prediction of when your garbage service will arrive following the imminent cold epoch (with the standard guarantee double your money back if you are not 110% satisfied). Operators are standing by … 

  3. ct says:

    Claudette Konola, who ran against Ray "NEXT!" Scott for (s)election, has her Sentinel column today on this.  http://www.gjsentinel.com/opinion/articles/salesman-yes-scientist-no

    Since learning about the outrage of some local scientists at the choice of speaker, I’ve been trying to find out as much as possible about the man, and how he got to be invited. For a “well respected” scientist, there is little online evidence supporting that label. There is, however, lots of evidence suggesting he is an entrepreneur looking to find the path to quick riches. He is the registered agent or chief executive officer on more than 25 companies filed with the Florida Secretary of State — most of which are not currently active.

    Casey’s current employer, the Space and Science Research Center, has only a P.O. Box address. It is hard to imagine any meaningful research being done at a P.O. Box, with one staffer and two colleagues, one from Bulgaria. The site says that most of their funding comes from “donations” which are not tax deductible, and the sale of their publications, especially a quarterly newsletter at $8.95 a pop.

    Casey has written two books: “Dark Winter” and “Cold Sun.” Using the “look inside” feature at Amazon Books, it appears it is the same book with two different publishers — at least the table of contents is identical.

    The books have been promoted by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, through their network of “reporters” at WatchDog.org. Wikipedia has this to say about Franklin: “According to Internal Revenue Service records, 95% of Franklin’s revenue in 2011 came from a charity called DonorsTrust. … DonorsTrust distributed US$86 million which … are private gifts and used for ‘funding sensitive or controversial issues,’ an arrangement said to obscure the identity of the donors wishing to keep their charitable giving private. Donors- Trust’s top contributors were Charles and David Koch.”

    Bonnie Peterson, formally of Club 20 now of Assoc Govts of NW CO (which was formally headed by former Rep. Scott McInnis cum Mesa BOCC member…)  also has a letter to the editor on the matter.  Basically those concerned about a charlatan presenting under the university's name at an 'educational' event are anti-smarts and knowledge.  

    Finally, John Casey, author of “Dark Winter,” will provide his perspective on impacts the Earth could see related to solar activity.  It is a different idea than has been vastly reported in the media, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn't’t be heard.  It is not a bad thing to hear different perspectives so you can decide for yourself how to plan for your energy future. 

    If you are interested in different ideas, join us this Friday — it’s free to the public.  If you are not interested and are offended by ideas that are different from your own, don’t attend. It’s still a free country.

    Don't think an unqualified hack should give the keynote at an 'educational' event sponsored by public science and 'higher' educational institutions, which are funded in large amount by your tax dollars?  

    Then you, comrade, are a freedom hater.  

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