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  • A Missed Introduction To Oregon's Extreme New Republican Chairman

    Former Congressional Candidate Has Espoused Fringe Views On Evolution, AIDS, Race

    Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

    Art RobinsonIt's hard to do justice to the extreme views of the new chairman for Oregon's Republican party. But reports on Art Robinson often didn't even come close, merely mentioning that he is a "skeptic of human-caused global warming," while leaving out the chairman's anti-scientific statements on evolution, AIDS, and nuclear waste.

    Robinson is best known for organizing a petition rejecting climate change that claims to have 31,072 American scientist signatories, with "scientist" defined as anyone who claims to have a bachelor's degree in various fields including computer science, statistics, and metallurgy. Robinson, who is a chemist but has not done any scientific research into climate change, has acknowledged that fake names such as the Spice Girl's Geri Halliwell made it onto the list. The petition says little to rebut the consensus of the vast majority of scientists, as it does not state what percentage of people responded to the survey. Robinson told the conspiracy website in 2002 that ""[t]here is absolutely not a shred of evidence that humans are causing any change in the climate by generating CO2."

    The Associated Press characterized all this by simply stating that Robinson is "a chemist and outspoken skeptic of human-caused global warming," echoing The Oregonian, Oregon's largest newspaper.

    Furthermore, at no point during Robinson's candidacy for GOP chairman did the two largest Oregon papers (The Oregonian and The Eugene Register-Guard)* mention that Robinson has made several other claims that run counter to scientific research:

    • Robinson signed an anti-Darwinism statement "skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life," contrary to peer-reviewed studies repeatedly supporting evolution.
    • Robinson questioned whether HIV was leading to AIDS in the 1990s, reportedly writing that "AIDS may be little more than a general classification of deaths resulting from exposure to homosexual behavior." When MSNBC's Rachel Maddow asked Robinson about these and other statements that he has made, he refused to answer, spinning around in his chair as he vaguely accused her of "lies."
    • Robinson reportedly believes in radiation "hormesis," the idea that low-level radiation is good for you, and thus supports disposing of nuclear waste by diluting it and "sprinkl[ing] it over the ocean" or using it to "enhance" drinking water in Oregon. Scientists say that the data on the effects of low-levels of radiation are too weak to base public policy on.

    Nor did they mention* the following extreme views and conspiratorial claims from the former Congressional candidate (in fact, The Oregonian published an op-ed suggesting that Robinson has not engaged in "offensive and bizarre comments"):