Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/16/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

A scientist refutes Dr. Hendrickson's claims.

At Catholic Online we often receive letters and emails commenting on our content. Today we received a strong rebuttal to our interview with Dr. Mark Hendrickson of the Center for Vision and Values. This response comes from Dr. John Abraham, a scientist who works at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, a Catholic University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

A composite satellite image shows the extent of arctic sea-ice lost over the summer. The loss of ice is far more substantial than normal and a blatant sign of unnaturally rapid global climate change.

A composite satellite image shows the extent of arctic sea-ice lost over the summer. The loss of ice is far more substantial than normal and a blatant sign of unnaturally rapid global climate change.


By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

4/16/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Mark Hendrickson, global warming, climate change, skeptic

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a recent Catholic Online interview, we heard from a seemingly reputable person (adjunct faculty member Mark Hendrickson) that global warming is a hoax "perpetrated by those who let a political agenda shape science".  This is a very strong charge that cuts to the professionalism and competence of myself and my colleagues.  As a scientist who carries out real research in this area, I can say Dr. Hendrickson is demonstrably wrong.   Now, in his defense, Dr. Hendrickson admits he is not an expert although he "has followed it for over 20 years."  In this field, expertise is judged by research accomplishments.  On April 12, 2013, I performed a literature search on Dr. Hendrickson, I could not find a single study he has ever performed and published on any topic, let alone climate change.  So, he is clearly not an expert. Of course, Dr. Hendrickson is entitled to his opinion; this is a free country.  But to speak authoritatively about a subject he knows little about does a disservice to the readers.

Dr. Hendrickson believes, erroneously, that climate science is like economics.  Here he is wrong.  Climate science is governed by physical laws (conservation of energy, conservation of mass, gravity, etc.) which have no corollary in economics.  It is naďve to confuse economics and physical science disciplines.

But what about his claims?  Are they correct?  Not hardly.  In his interview, Dr. Hendrickson was asked to explain temperature changes that have already been observed.  He responded by belittling computer models.  His answer obviously confused past temperature measurements with future predictions of temperatures; they are not the same.  The evidence from measurements clearly shows that temperatures have increased significantly over the past 150 years (here and here for example) and temperatures are currently higher than the past few thousand years (here and here for examples).  These are but a few of the many studies that show the temperatures we are seeing now are out of the natural range that is expected.

He claimed that satellites have shown no warming in the last two or three decades.  This is also false.  In fact, even data from two of the most prominent climate skeptics (Dr. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer) show temperatures are clearly rising. Their results are confirmed by other satellite organizations and institutes that use other temperature measurement methods such as the Hadley Center, NOAA, and NASA.  Even a Koch-brothers funded study has concluded that Earth temperatures are rising and humans are the principle cause.

What about the claim that the Antarctic is gaining mass?  Again not true (here and here for example).  What about the North Pole?  There we have lost an astonishing 75% of the summer ice over the past four decades.  Should we be concerned?  Dr. Hendrickson is correct in stating that Arctic ice loss won't raise sea levels much because it is already floating in water.  What he doesn't report is that Arctic ice loss is important for another reason.  It helps keep the Earth cool by reflecting sunlight.  The loss of this ice has led to an acceleration of the Earth's temperature rise.  If you don't want to take my word for the importance of Arctic Ice, perhaps we could listen to the Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (Mark Serreze).  He has characterized Arctic is as in a "death spiral".

Dr. Hendrickson makes a series of other claims: the medieval times were warmer than today (false), there are 30,000 scientists with advanced degrees who have signed a petition to stop climate action (false), and that there are many scientists who have resigned from government research positions and begun speaking out against the science (he couldn't recall any names of such scientists).

So what can we make of all of this?  First, it is obvious that non-experts like Dr. Hendrickson have every right to provide their opinion in any forum; however they must be held to the standards of truth and intellectual honesty.  When someone makes serial and serious errors in his interpretations, those errors must be called out.  Perhaps Dr. Hendrickson truly believes his statements are correct, but his belief does not make them so.  This is why we defer to people who know what they are talking about.  People who study this every day of their lives.  Those people, the real scientists, clearly understand that climate change is a clear and present problem that will only get worse as we ignore it.  Failure to deal with climate change will cost us tremendously, in dollars and lives.  In fact, two (here and here) recent studies have shown that 97% of the most active climate scientists agree humans are a principle cause of climate change.  Among the experts, there is strong agreement.  It is up to each of us to decide who to believe (97% of the experts, or Dr. Hendrickson).

But this isn't all doom and gloom.  The good news is there are solutions to this problem.  Solutions we can enact today, with today's technology.  If we make smart decisions, we can develop clean and renewable sources of energy.  We can light our homes and power our cars while preserving this gifted Earth.  Simultaneously, we can create jobs, diversify our energy supply, and improve our national security.  Who can be against that?

Failure to act is a choice.  It is a choice with tremendous consequences.  For me, the path forward is clear.

Dr. John Abraham
University of St. Thomas
School of Engineering


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Green

Why are there more animals around Chernobyl than nearby wildlife preserves? Watch

Image of The wolf population around Chernobyl has recovered to seven times what it is in non-contaminated areas.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists assessing wildlife populations around Chernobyl have learned something startling. Despite the radiation, there's more wildlife around Chernobyl than on surrounding wildlife preserves. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists recently conducted a survey ... continue reading

Hurricane Joaquin heads to NE America Watch

Image of Overhead view of Hurricane Joaquin (NASA).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The National Hurricane Center reported hurricane Joaquin intensified Thursday afternoon to a Category 4, which means the wind speed ranges between 131 and 155 mph. Joaquin had maximum sustained winds at 130 mph. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - CNN reported ... continue reading

JUST IN CASE: Scientists plan to save world from giant asteroid - as in 'Armageddon' movie Watch

Image of Both the NASA and the European Space Agency plan to implant the device into the 52-foot Didymoon. The experiment will test the principle that a much larger asteroid threatening the Earth could be deflected.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not saying it's going to happen -but just in case, scientists are planning a space mission to nudge an asteroid out of its orbit. You know, like in that 1998 Bruce Willis movie Armageddon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The joint European-U.S. effort, ... continue reading

Mars revelations may reveal God's personality according to Vatican astronomer Watch

Image of Architectural Digest's winning design for a 3-D-printed habitat on Mars.


An exciting discovery found on the surface of Mars revealed details about the planet which gives people a better understanding of God's personality, Vatican astronomer Brother Consolmagno reported.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - NASA scientists confirmed ... continue reading

Climate Talk: Al Gore spreads the environmental gospel Watch

Image of Al Gore leads environmental training prior to Paris climate change talks.


Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore trained an army of organizers and encouraged them to promote and spread the environmental gospel prior to climate talks that will occur in Paris later this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The climate talks are due to commence ... continue reading

Remarkable neon-glowing sea turtle discovered Watch

Image of Hawksbill sea turtles glow neon ( via David Gruber).

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While researching biofluorescence in small sharks and coral reefs, an unexpected glowing creature passed a team of scientists who identified the fluorescent creature as a sea turtle species. After testing others, they determined hawksbill sea turtles have attained the ... continue reading

Strange Stonehenge-styled rocks found on surface of Mars Watch

Image of


Alien experts and hunters usually look for -and find- the most bizarre images beamed back from the surface of Mars, which includes coffins, pyramids, crabs and even floating spoons. New images of Mars have excited alien enthusiasts with what appears to be an alien ... continue reading

Very rare simultaneous supermoon and eclipse expected to hit the sky this weekend Watch

Image of Lunar eclipse and blood moon from 2011 ( David Paleino).


A supermoon lunar eclipse is expected this weekend, exciting some people but bothering those who believe it signifies the nearing end of times as cited by some religions. Regardless of the contrasting responses, NASA and a professional photographer have some reminders ... continue reading

Massive 100,000-year-long meteor shower could be responsible for Earth's shape Watch

Image of Meteor shower lasing 100,000 years could have helped form the Earth's crust (CORBIS).


Earth has higher levels of magnesium and lower levels of silicon today than it does in deposits of its formative materials, leading French scientists to question "why?" MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, a recent theory was made after ... continue reading

Love Birds: Research finds birds really do fall in love Watch

Image of


There are more characteristics birds have that are similar with humans. In a recent study created by a team of researchers in Germany, it was discovered that "lovebirds" isn't just a name of a specific kind of bird, but that birds really do fall in love. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading

All Green News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Malachi 3:13-20
13 'You have said harsh things about me, says Yahweh. ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:5-13
5 He also said to them, 'Suppose one of you has a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 8th, 2015 Image

St. Pelagia
October 8: Pelagia, more often called Margaret, on account of the ... Read More