Benishek's Absurd Appeal to His Own Non-Existent Authority

Benishek's Absurd Appeal to His Own Non-Existent Authority October 10, 2014

The standard line from Republicans on global warming these days is, “Hey, I’m not a scientist, I just know some scientists dispute it.” But Dan Benishek, a Tea Party type from Northern Michigan who is also an MD, is taking the opposite line: I am a scientist and I don’t find any evidence for it.

“The climate may be changing, but I don’t think man is contributing to it,” Benishek told ABC 10′s news director Greg Peterson, according to a Tuesday report from the Michigan news station.

“I could throw some science at you,” Peterson pressed.

“Well, I am a scientist,” Benishek responded. “You know, I believe in peer-reviewed science. But, I don’t see any peer-reviewed science that proves there is man-made catastrophic climate change.”

Benishek is running for re-election in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, which he first won in 2010. His opponent, Democratic nominee and Army veteran Jerry Cannon, has said he does believe in global warming, according to ABC 10 News.

According to his congressional website, Benishek earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Michigan back in 1974. He went on to graduate from Wayne State Medical School in 1978, and has since worked as a general surgeon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and worked part-time at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain.

So there are several problems here. First, he’s not a scientist. Getting a degree in a scientific subject 40 years ago then never practicing in the field does not make one a scientist (nor does being an MD). But even if it did, so what? Are you a scientist in a relevant field? Have you read the literature on this? Are you up to date on the climatological data and the studies that have been done on it? The answer is almost certainly no (and it’s unlikely he would be able to understand it if he had read it). This is an appeal to authority that simply doesn’t exist.

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