Chandler Robbins, A Legend Who Persuaded a Generation to Love Birds, Wild Places and Science, Has Passed

By Bo Gardiner
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A well-loved copy of Robbins’ Birds of North America, 1966 (aka “Golden Guide”)

Thousands, maybe millions, this week will recall this gorgeous book with profound affection and tears in their eyes.  I can attest, as I seem to be having a bit of trouble myself writing this.

Chandler S. Robbins, co-author of the classic Birds of North America (1966), more widely known to birders simply as “The Golden Guide,” died yesterday, March 20 — a legend of ornithology and citizen science.

Let me tell you about this man and his work, even if you know nothing of birds.

For me, the tears are less about sadness -– 99 years is a marvelous run — than of gratitude for the incredible and lasting joy this book brought into my life.

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Instead of Feeling ‘Blessed’ and ‘Praying for Haiti,’ Please Stop Voting to Make Their Storms Worse

Instead of Feeling ‘Blessed’ and ‘Praying for Haiti,’ Please Stop Voting to Make Their Storms Worse

The BBC reports that Hurricane Matthew has killed over 900 people; nearly wiped out whole towns; left tens of thousands of families homeless; destroyed crops, livestock and food supplies;  contaminated the drinking water; and released sewage that’s spreading disease.  The U.N. says “Haiti is facing the largest humanitarian event witnessed since the earthquake six years ago.”

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[A scene in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, photo via the U.N.]

While the U.N. and other nations help Haiti rebuild, some missionaries have gone to take some supplies and most likely the opportunity to evangelize victims, like Franklin Graham’s Christian mission Samaritan’s Purse.  The charity is asking the public for donations and “prayers in Jesus’ name.”

But part of their work, at least for its CEO, Rev. Graham, is to ensure the situation only worsens for Haiti.  He must like the hurricane-relief business, since he’s also America’s leading Christian crusader for Donald Trump, going to all fifty states to get out the vote for him in his Decision America tour.  Trump, who says climate change is a hoax concocted by the Chinese, will almost certainly increase our CO2 emissions and threaten global climate treaties if elected.  Graham himself calls climate change treaty efforts “godless,” “frightening,” and leading toward “moral depravity:”

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Talking political pseudoscience on MSNBC

Bo Gardiner

This morning I was a guest on MSNBC’s AM Joy show with Joy-Ann Reid, discussing the disappointingly nonprogressive, anti-science beliefs of the Green Party and its candidate Dr. Jill Stein, with their potential for harm to public health and the environment.  Full video here.

Wonder if she was surprised to hear me bring up tigers and orangutans.

Jill Stein to WaPo on Vaccines: She’s Just Asking Questions

By Bo Gardiner

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Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, finally received her big chance yesterday to straighten out the growing concern about her position on vaccines.

With people like me unfairly maligning her, as her supporters have been pouring in here and to The Friendly Atheist to tell me, she had the opportunity to unequivocally reassure us and the American public that vaccines were safe and that she strongly encouraged their use.

The Washington Post began with a softball question to begin their interview: do vaccines cause autism?  Here was the doctor’s reassuring reply:

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Just In Case There’s Any Doubt Jill Stein Sows Distrust in the U.S. Vaccination Program…

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Let’s simply let her supporters answer.

Here are some comments from angry Jill Stein supporters on the Friendly Atheist Facebook page in response to my article criticizing her statements on the U.S. vaccination program.   It was gratifying to see these dwarfed by many thousands of likes and shares, as was a lovely mention as well by the national progressive humanist group Center for Inquiry’s Paul Fidalgo in his daily roundup of humanist news:

Speaking of Stein, Bo Gardiner does a good overview of Stein’s many pseudoscientific predilections.

But it’s a veritable online rule that people who disagree are the most likely to comment, and comment they did.  

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My Heartbreaking Conclusion: Jill Stein Is Anti-Science, Bad for the Environment, and Now Fully Earns Anti-Vax Label

[A version of this article appeared on July 27 at The Friendly Atheist.]

By Bo Gardiner

In a 2013 speech, Jill Stein calls for the imprisonment of GMO producers based on discredited claims, ignores the environmental damage that would produce, and says the difference between the major parties is mere “window dressing” [Source: YouTube].

 

I’m a strong progressive with socialist leanings, but more than anything else, I’m an environmentalist working for biodiversity – it’s my life’s passion.  I campaign hard for Greens running in local elections.  While a government environmental scientist, I successfully blew the whistle more than once on politicized agencies’ illegal actions to permit corporate pollution.  I pushed my agencies hard to put science over politics and stop dragging their feet on climate change.  While working for a nonprofit conservation group, I managed successful statewide biodiversity campaigns, criticizing politicians and government agencies who were obstacles.  In my personal life, I’m a naturalist and organic gardener, who lectures about gardening for wildlife.

For these reasons, I would not dream of voting for Jill Stein, and will be voting for Hillary Clinton for President.  Does this surprise you?  It shouldn’t if you’re looking deep enough.

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