Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian, reports on the war on Christmas from her embedded position in the enemy's maw - er, the shopping mall.
Quote for the win:
"We stole December 25 fair and square and we're not giving it back!"
Friday, November 30, 2012
|Visitors at the Creation Museum paid good money to view an utterly false "vegetarian" dinosaur display.|
Stop the presses! For the second time this year, Pat Robertson has actually expressed a rational thought! First, it was "legalize marijuana" and now...LOOK!...Pat has declared that Young Earth Creationism is false!
|Everything you need to|
deprive your child of a
The Creation "Museum" is part of the even broader outreach of that movement's determination to indoctrinate youngsters with lies and mythology. Ham lobbied for (and received!) publicly-funded financial incentives to construct a glorified indoor theme park which tells the "story" of life on earth according to Biblical mythology. By gaining access to some public funding and calling the religious edifice a "museum", Ham and his disciples were able to misrepresent their religious agenda as a mainstream "educational" institution just like bona fide museums and libraries. The targeted groups can venture outside their religious "schooling" bubbles and find their carefully-inculcated worldview confirmed in a "public place". It is all part of the drive to paint a veneer of legitimacy over the fabrications, mythology and straight-up lies that the Young Earth Creationists present to their students in place of real science and reality-based history. (The other part of that strategy is to inject YEC into public schools by claiming that it ought to be taught alongside real science and history, thus giving it a false equivalency to reality-based instruction).
|Now, now, settle down, Viewers! |
I'm still the same old batty Patty!
Yet, even in the echo chamber that is the fundamentalist religious schooling movement, young people still claw their way out of the suffocating fear of eternal damnation to question the validity of a belief system which denies the reality right before their very eyes every day. In response to a viewer who was worried about her family's ticket to heaven in the afterlife because they found the Biblical "explanation" (or lack of it) for the existence of dinosaurs unconvincing, Robertson had this to say:
Look, I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop [James] Ussher wasn't inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years. It just didn't. You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas.
They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.
If you fight science, you're going to lose your children, and I believe in telling it the way it was.
Of course, Pat Robertson did not always believe in telling it the way it was (or, for that matter, telling the truth at all). But, things are different, now. It seems that the wily ol' fox has twigged to the fact that young people sometimes resist being indoctrinated with lies. That 'god-created 6000 year-old earth, end times are a'nearing' alternate universe that fundamentalist Christians have been forcing on their young is not just a terrible, manipulative lie, but it is a terrible manipulative lie that they can't sustain because the facts just won't go away.
|Even a broken clock is right twice a day, |
so a wingnut with bats in the belfry
can be right twice in a year!
Isn't it marvelous how quickly base self-interest will induce even hardliner right-wing extremists to soften their irrational stances when it just isn't winning them elections anymore? Rabidly fundamentalist preachers doing a U-turn on the anti-science highway, GOP representatives decrying the anti-immigration hard line, and wingnut radio hosts giving themselves whiplash spinning their positions on immigration policy, reproductive rights and economic inequality: Change is in the air! Republicans are doing a hasty, awkward two-step which they are trying to sell as a modern dance with intentionally surprising twists and turns. Their extreme positions were an illusion! In fact, they are for what they only seemed to be against. Or at least, some of them hope to conceal their true agenda better in the future. Meanwhile, others believe that their approach was not extremely conservative enough.
|Equality for women next, Pat?|
But batty Patty knows that doubling down on a losing strategy simply
Next thing you know, old Pat will be arguing in favor of right-wing acceptance of evolution, global climate change and women's equality!
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Pat Robertson
Okay, maybe just the first two.
Update: Before I even had this blog post finished (yes, it's taken me two days - I have the flu, so sue me), Ken Ham has taken the time to blast Pat Robertson over his remarks. Quelle surprise!
Head-shaking and accusations of disloyalty to the authority of ???:
"Not only do we have to work hard to not let our kids be led astray by the anti-God teaching of the secularists, we have to work hard to not let them be led astray by compromising church leaders like Pat Robertson," Ham said Wednesday in a post on Facebook.
"Pat Robertson gives more fodder to the secularists. We don't need enemies from without the church when we have such destructive teaching within the church," Ham added in the statement shared with those following his non-profit Christian apologetics ministry on Facebook.
...And...like clockwork...the inevitable threats and fear-mongering:
"I still shake my head at the number of church leaders who want to appease the secularists and accept their anti-God religion of millions of years and even molecules to man evolution," Ham wrote. "Such leaders (including Pat Robertson) have a lot to answer to the Lord for one day. Such leaders are guilty of putting stumbling blocks in the way of kids and adults in regards to believing God's Word and the gospel."
Ken Ham of Creation Museum Slams Robertson for Dismissing Young Earth Theory, Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post, November 30, 2012.
Monday, September 17, 2012
(Thanks to Left Hemispheres for posting this video)
The Thinking Atheist produced this brief and informative video clearly explaining that, far from establishing the United States as a Christian nation, the founding fathers did something revolutionary - they founded a secular nation where freedom of religious belief would be protected for individual citizens while individual citizens would also be protected from religious oppression by churches seeking to impose their religious dogma on the entire population. By protecting individual religious freedom rather than church power, the Constitution protects all people from being forced to follow the religious beliefs of whatever the majority religion is wherever they reside.
Contrary to right-wing propaganda, European nations based upon Christianity were the norm in the late 18th century, not something new and special that the USA brought to the world, thus (according to right-wing myth) securing "God's blessing" on America. Religious oppression by explicitly religious rulers and governments - backed by religious majorities - was also the norm until the United States embarked on its amazing and courageous journey to secular nationhood. And the journey certainly required courage, because the churches fought against the budding new Republic from the very beginning. It was the effort to create a "more perfect union" of states whose citizens would be free from religious and class tyranny - imperfectly executed though it has been - which has been the inspiration for people all over the world for generations. It is an inspiring story precisely because of how difficult it was to wrest power from the churches and to maintain a secular government which is prevented by the Constitution from oppressing people if their religious beliefs do not match those of the majority. The idea of a government by the people - free from religious control - is the single most important thing that sets the USA apart from other countries. In short, it is the separation of church and state that forms the base for that much-vaunted American Exceptionalism!
truth is that one of the most important driving principles behind the formation of the United States was the recognition by most of the founding fathers that the establishment of separation between church and state would be crucial to the American dream of finally and decisively escaping the ideologically-driven brutality and class inequality of the Old World. Ironically, early settlers who had fled to the New World to escape religious persecution in Europe had begun to create little microcosms of European religious communities from the moment they set foot on North American soil. Almost from the beginning, formerly oppressed minorities began to persecute people who did not share their religious beliefs. Instead of learning from their own experiences of the war, strife and vicious oppression that religious majorities and religious rulers had used in the rest of the world to consolidate power and control people, many early settlers set up exactly the same kinds of communities in the colonies - grabbing their own chance to be the powerful religion in their newly established "Christian" enclaves.
Wisely, the founding fathers recognized that no new or greater nation could ever be built in America unless those old patterns of church power and persecution could be prevented from usurping the shared governance of the people or from taking away the religious freedom of the American citizen. They fought hard to establish a secular nation in which all 'men' might be equal - and might all have the best chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If one religion were to be established as the state religion, then immediately the liberty and happiness of persons outside that religion would be compromised and (as history has shown) their lives would soon be in danger, too. Powerful religions take no prisoners; the constant refrain has been "convert or die". The founding fathers saw, as many Enlightenment thinkers also understood, that a state religion virtually guarantees sectarian strife, cruel oppression of minorities, extremist insurgencies and holy wars.
Nearly everyone in that era believed in a god and belonged to a religion, but the genius of Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers was that they prevented any one of them from being declared the United States' national religion, thus enabling slow but steady progress in education, technology and economics to proceed relatively free from sectarian strife and religious tribalism. But at the core, nearly every religion is based upon a "one true religion" belief which is the foundation of the assertion of the "divine right" to govern that is always used by ambitious religious leaders to justify their insistence upon special status and power in society. When taken to its logical conclusion, a belief that theirs is the "one true faith" means that its adherents must ultimately conclude that the only righteous course is to convert everyone else to their religion - or eliminate them. The language of "choice" is used in this context to assuage any discomfort the rank and file may have about waging a ruthless campaign to eliminate other religions (and in the process, usually the people who faithfully follow these other religions): if non-believers will not "choose" to convert, then they can be dismissed as willfully evil and eliminated as enemies of the one true god. This has been the moral basis for religious ambition and oppression for thousands of years.
|Not so fast, non-Christian Americans! |
The GOP says that only Christians
are protected by the Constitution!
An individual has the inalienable right to freedom of religion including freedom from the oppression of other religions which would interfere with individual freedom. Neither Biblical law, nor Sharia law, nor Halakhah law can be imposed by Christians, Muslims or Jews on people who do not share their faith or who do not choose to follow those religious practices. Not via government, not via private business, not in any way is it legal to impose one set of religious beliefs on the public. Religious practice and belief is a private individual freedom. The Constitution guarantees it and, although it has been under constant attack by religious people from the day it was signed into law, the separation of church and state is quite possibly the only flimsy firewall which has (usually) prevented sectarian strife from exploding in the USA at various times in our history as it has done in every country lacking a Constitutional protection of individual religious liberty.
The idea that the American government or legal system is or should be based upon the Bible - or any holy book - is not only utterly contrary to the founding principles of the country, but it is also inimitable to individual liberty and sectarian peace. A "Christian nation" will mean a nation where non-Christians are second-class citizens, directly challenging the promise of equality in the founding documents. A "Christian nation" will be a nation where, after this brief period of uneasily ecumenical Christian unity which is the final strategy culminating a 200+ years battle to become the established religion, the hundreds of Christian sects will splinter and squabble over whose version of Christianity, in fact, is the true American Christianity. Freed of the founding fathers' restrictions on religious influence in government, the only thing the Christian sects will remain united on is the righteousness of imposing Christianity - some version of it, at least - upon the non-Christians in their midst. Oppressing minority religions and sectarian infighting is something with which the world is sadly all too familiar and it is a very real threat to America if the GOP succeeds in fulfilling the agenda of the Christian right-wing.
The principle of separation of church and state, laid out in the Constitution and supported repeatedly by the founders' writings, is the singular amazing idea which made this country exceptional. Freedom from overt religious rule lifted the United States out of the constant, grinding religious conflicts which have historically torn other nations apart. In pushing so relentlessly for the destruction of the wall of separation between church and state, the Christian right - and its political arm, the Republican party - will undoubtedly make life miserable for millions of Americans who do not agree with them, and they would be completely fine with that. What conservative Christian Republicans may not expect or even intend to do by voting God's Own Party into power, is that they could literally destroy the United States itself, unintentionally thwarting even their own ambition to control what had been the greatest country on earth.
Further Reading (List courtesy of The Thinking Atheist):
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
You really have to wonder at the arrogance of people who insist that there is a difference between their supernatural beliefs and those of other people. Bah.
|When you understand why you dismiss all other possible gods,|
you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephan F. Roberts
Monday, July 16, 2012
|Rising sea levels? What rising sea levels?|
Another wave of wingnut stupidity from the Know-nothing/Do-nothing brigade:
"Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up. It’s really embarrassing for me to write this, but the legislature of my native North Carolina has made it illegal for public officials to consider current rates of sea level rise as they plan for the future." Relax Outer Banks: NC legislature outlaws sea level rise, Kaid Benfield, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog).
Although scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly, the issue has grown so politicized that skepticism of the broad scientific consensus has seeped into classrooms.
Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom.
In May, a school board in Los Alamitos, Calif., passed a measure, later rescinded, identifying climate science as a controversial topic that required special instructional oversight. Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms, Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau, LA Times.
A survey of U.S. high school biology teachers published in the journal Science in 2011 that found about 13 percent of those surveyed "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light."
The survey found only about 28 percent consistently followed National Research Council recommendations for introducing evidence that evolution occurred.
The rest, about 60 percent, avoided controversy by limiting evolution instruction to molecular biology, telling students they need not believe in evolution to score well on tests, or exposing students to all positions, scientific and otherwise, to let them make up their own minds, the article said. Tennessee teacher law could boost creationism, climate change denial, Deborah Zabarenko, Chicago Tribune.
Here is a link to the cached article in Science Daily which discusses the study findings mentioned in the quote above: High school biology teachers reluctant to endorse evolution, Science Daily, January 2011.
This next article is frankly too depressing to quote. Just go read it and read the sources Ms. Boxall refers to in the article: Earth May be near tipping point, Bettina Boxall, LA Times.
I'll leave it to the finest skeptical wordsmith I know to sum up the last article above. In hir own inimitable style, the Digital Cuttlefish describes our current situation as the industrial and religious agendas dovetail with human apathy and gullibility, creating the conditions for a perfect storm of global crisis for our children and grandchildren in verse:
"We could maybe make a difference
If we alter our behavior—
If we change the things we’re doing that are bad
But it’s easier and cheaper
Just to pray there’ll be a savior
And to put our faith in Jesus and His Dad"
Digital Cuttlefish, We Are All So Screwed
|Now that would just be a waste of time and money, amirite?|
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
"Science has the potential to build a better world; Religion has the potential to destroy it."
"The time is now for atheists to stand up for the future."
|Did you see what thadguy did there?|
via thadguy.com (check it out for more excellent cartoons)
Saturday, July 7, 2012
|“Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.” Carl Sagan|
This post is the first in a series on public education. The next post in the series can be found here.
"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance." Thomas Jefferson (letter to George Wythe, August 13, 1786).
Thomas Jefferson's lifelong belief in the importance of public education as the bedrock of a free Republic was shared by many of the founding fathers. A major reason why most of humanity has lived in virtual enslavement for most of history is that the common people have been historically excluded from the education that was strictly reserved for the wealthy and priestly classes. As students of the Enlightenment, the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America understood from reading history - and through personal experience and observation - that the elusive key to greater liberty and equality for humankind has always been education.
Knowledge is power and education is the great equalizer. The founders knew that public education - the dissemination of the power of knowledge throughout a population of equals - was vital to a free and productive society. They believed that an educated citizenry was one of the foundational "common causes" behind which all citizens ought to throw their full support for the betterment of humankind and for the good of the new nation.
They also knew that this public education - which would become the backbone of a more just and free society, the first of its kind in human history - must be protected from ideological influences and agendas. They had witnessed firsthand the oppression and tyranny that results when religious ideology is imposed upon a people, and they tried - via the establishment clause in the Constitution - to strike a balance between protection of an individual's religious liberty and the protection of the general population from any religious group which might seek to impose its religious ideology on the entire people.
|"...kings, priests and nobles..."|
Wealthy, religious elites - whose wealth is sucked out of the people over whom they have religious power - fear an educated population the most and, when public education is legally mandated (as in the USA), they will do their utmost to undermine and impoverish it. They know that an educated populace will inevitably lead to the disruption of their traditional power structures. They recognise that they cannot exploit the people if the people are educated. Educated people have access to the knowledge once exclusively owned by religious elites, and can separate facts from fiction. Educated people develop confidence, independence and aspirations. Educated people fight back against exploitation.
|A rare, true church sign slogan.|
Jefferson's insight no doubt informed religious conservatives in their strategy to undermine the Republic and reduce the United States to an authoritarian theocracy. They recognized that it really was education, primarily, which enabled millions of people to rise above the poverty and disenfranchisement which has been the fate of "common people" everywhere for all of human history. And it was education of the people which was helping millions of Americans enjoy a better standard of living - earned through their own well-educated efforts - which had been impossible when they were an uneducated peasantry whose life circumstances and well-being were entirely at the mercy of a culture which allowed all power and wealth to be concentrated into the hands of a very few, usually religious, elite groups.
|...which is exactly what conservatives fear most!|
Millions of educated people who are capable of understanding the ideologies and questioning the actions of powerful groups in their midst become far more difficult to control and exploit. Millions of educated people, who have been taught history and critical thinking skills, are able to recognise when the doctrine of a religious elite is immoral, self-interested power-mongering. Therefore, it became the first priority of the religious right movement to undermine and discredit public education while simultaneously spearheading a parallel assortment of pseudo-educational systems with which to replace it. The Christian homeschooling movement is not, and never was, a grassroots phenomenon. Likewise, the private Christian school and college campuses mushrooming up all over the country are a targeted investment in this strategy.
As they insinuated themselves into school boards across the country - running as fiscal conservatives to get elected only to turn around and concentrate on their religious agenda once in power - religious conservatives began a determined campaign to inject religious mythology into public school classrooms, inventing fake "controversies" over established scientific theories which conflicted with Christian beliefs, and often succeeding in forcing grossly misleading "information" into school curriculums. The ongoing effort of Christian conservatives to force the teaching of Biblical creationism in science classrooms, falsely presenting religious belief as a scientific theory to school children is a chilling example of this.
|Who needs public school when all you'll ever need to|
know can be found in the Bible?
Consider this plank in the Texas Republican party platform:
Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. (from a position statement in the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform).
The Texas Republican Party is openly calling for a ban on the teaching of vital critical thinking skills. They are not shy about saying this - it is right there in their published platform statement - and, thanks to the current climate of rising authoritarian anti-intellectualism, they are not shy about saying why they want to deprive Texas students (and ultimately all students) of the right to a full education, including the development of the ability to think for themselves.
|...and only This...|
They intend to change Texas law so that religious belief will replace scientifically verifiable knowledge. They intend to enshrine into law that children cannot learn anything in school which will conflict with Christian teachings. The reference to "behavior modification" is a dog whistle thrown in to arouse right wing paranoia. HOTS have nothing to do with "behavior modification"; that sentence makes no sense whatsoever to anybody who actually understands educational theory, but pseudo-intellectual sounding claptrap is the stock in trade of Christian conservatives justifying their rejection of any secular initiative. Likewise, the jarringly inappropriate reference to "parental authority" and "fixed beliefs" makes no sense, unless the crux of the position is that schools will be prohibited from teaching pupils anything at all other than what parents and churches have already told them is all they need to know. That would make public schools unnecessary and redundant.
Which is exactly the point.
Preventing a generation of children from receiving a proper education is precisely the goal of the religious right. For those children that they have already siphoned off into fundamentalist Christian homeschooling and private Christian schools, the pseudo-education has already been well underway for more than a generation. It is the public schools which still vex them. Limping along, greatly hampered by the constant attacks, the draining of resources through determined conservative legislative attacks on the value and sincerity of public education and teachers, and the bleeding dry of funding and student enrollments via school voucher campaigns redirecting public funds into religious schools, the public school system has been under constant, vicious attack for over three decades. Unless the American people wake up and put a stop to it, the religious right may succeed in completely dismantling public education, leaving students to the deliberate miseducation of religious schooling, thus plunging the country back into a new kind of dark age, with both intellectual and social liberty lost.
|...before it's too late!|
Ironically, although President Jefferson's considered opinion that a free society depended upon a publicly-educated population was the insight upon which the religious right based its attack upon America, as soon as they had achieved their goal of majority influence over school boards and state legislatures, they acted to try to erase Thomas Jefferson and other progressive thinkers from the text books which American children will study, replacing them with conservative idols and religious ideology.
Nearly destroying the public education system in the United States was never simply a mildly-regretted, unintended consequence of the conservative Christian campaign to "take
Recommended reading (No seriously, I'm begging you: read these things!):
A thoughtful, in-depth and very readable article on the conservative Christian strategy to rewrite history, erase progressive contributions and undermine the entire foundation of American society: How Christian Were the Founders? Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine, February 11, 2010
Why public education must be preserved, Valerie Strauss, Washington Post.
Texas textbook standards revision story here.
PBS, School: The Story of American Public Education.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. The moral imperative for education policy.
Dr. P Z Myers, A well informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.
Patrick Murfin's brief history of public education here.
Columbus Dispatch story
Louisiana private (religious) schools voucher story here.
|"...improve the law for educating the common people...the people alone can protect us against...tyranny..."|
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
|Thousands of dead jellyfish wash up on South Carolina beach, 26 March 2012|
On a stroll along a local beach yesterday, my son took the photo above. Thousands of dead jellyfish had washed ashore and were scattered in a broad swath along (at least) eleven miles of South Carolina coast. Not visible in the photo are the thousands of sand dollars which had met a similar fate. Since we had never seen anything like this in the fifteen years that we have been visiting this coast, I expressed my dismayed concern and wondered out loud what could have caused such a massive die off.
My intelligent and intellectually curious son explained to me that many marine animals are very sensitive to what may seem like slight variations in sea temperature or other features of their ocean habitat. The mass deaths of a significant population of two species at the same time probably points to an unusual shift in temperature or some other environmental factor which can probably be measured - as long as there are scientists presently employed to record and study such events.
My son appreciates and understands that scientific research is important to our understanding of ecosystems on our planet. He makes a point to learn about the world around him. Fundamentalist religionists believe that everything they need to know about the world can be found in their holy books. They make a point not to learn about the world around them if it might in any way contradict their holy books. More chillingly, they attempt to suppress any knowledge that cannot be found in their holy books. Knowledge which they fear might undermine the "truth" they believe is contained within those pages - thus reducing the power wielded by those who claim to be able to interpret "god's word" - must be resisted.
The obvious example of this deliberate ignorance is the denial of the fact of evolutionary biology by religious fundamentalists. For well over a century, devout Christians in the developed world have not only refused to accept the truth of evolutionary theory, but have actively worked to ban the teaching of evolutionary science in public schools. Less obvious to me was the connection between fundamentalist religiosity and climate change denial. Yesterday, a flashbulb went off in my mind.
The increased frequency of storms and other unpleasant natural phenomena is caused by global climate change. Global climate change, in turn, is an effect caused by many factors including the impact of human behavior on the planet. There is virtually no controversy within the scientific community on this point. The vast majority of the world's scientists have concluded that it is human behavior which has rapidly increased the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, greatly speeding up what should be a 10-20,000 years long natural warming cycle of the planet. The evidence is undeniable. Yet, people deny it.
The stupidity - the apparent insanity - of climate change denial can be somewhat understood in the context of the overarching irrationality of theism. Some of the most committed climate change denial comes from theists. More specifically, climate change denial is asserted by pseudo-scientific groups created by theists to generate sciency-sounding "explanations" for natural events that can be squeezed into the tiny, primitive scope of their religious texts. These groups, with legitimate-sounding names like The Discovery Institute are financed by an unholy alliance of churches and corporations which benefit from climate change denial through lax environmental protections.
Some corporations - notably energy corporations - have long been fighting a dirty war of obfuscation and outright lies against the global consensus of experts that the human impact on climate change is real. Energy corporations have spent millions over the decades lobbying against environmental protection legislation and enlisting the help of scientists-for-hire to argue against the mounting scientific evidence that global warming is an urgent concern and it is greatly hastened by the consumption of fossil fuels.
|Your friendly "environmental |
think tank" sponsor
Another factor in the fundamentalist Christian role in climate change denial is that the fact that human activity can change the natural cycle of our planet flies in the face of Bible-based creationism. Just like the theory of evolution, the theory of global climate change threatens theists' core belief system. So, just like evolution, acceptance of climate change must be not only denied, but as widely suppressed as possible.
Exactly as with the theory of evolution, the suppression methods of choice were the introduction of false evidence to plant doubt, the hiring of unscrupulous "scientists" to refute both the evidence and the consensus of the worldwide scientific community, and the use of growing political power to prevent accurate teaching about global climate change in public schools while fighting to cut funding to scientific research on the subject. In churches and Bible-studies, Christians were primed with sciency-sounding "research", backed up with scripture, to entrench doubts about global warming in particular and the scientific community in general.
How should a Christian view global warming?
|A god of constant sorrows|
Contrary to the bizarrely slanderous opinion of Mitch Daniels and company, however, Mother Nature is not an unpredictable pseudo-deity who "chooses" to lash at the earth (and its hapless inhabitants) whenever her cruelly capricious whims move her to do so. That would be another, more popular, imaginary deity. Gov. Daniels obviously had Mother Nature confused with his own viciously violent imaginary friend.
"Mother" Nature does not exist. Only "Nature" is a real thing in this world, and it is neither cruel nor capricious. Nature has no intentionality because it is not a being, not a deity, not a self-conscious, supernatural force. No matter how powerfully humankind may wish there to be gods (even a "natural" god like "Mother Nature"), nor how fervently theists may claim we must be "hardwired" to look for evidence of consciousness in the random events in the universe, there is nothing of the sort. Nor, in my opinion, should we waste precious energy wishing for such a thing to exist.
Nature simply is. It is the wondrous and amazing interactions of natural phenomena which make up this vast universe. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; droughts and floods: blizzards, hurricanes and tornados - these are all scientifically explainable events. They are the natural effects of natural causes. And that is far more interesting and amazing than any manmade gods.
The truth about denial, Sharon Begley, Newsweek (13 August 2007)
Evangelical Christians deeply divided..., Heather Goldstone, climatide.org (31 May 2011)
Explosion in jellyfish numbers may lead to ecological disaster, The Guardian, (11 June 2011)
Why conservative white males..., Julia Pyper, scientificamerican.com (5 October 2011)
Greenland icebergs breaking off..., Charles Q. Choi, ourAmazingPlanet.com (11 December 2011)
Marine ecology: Attack of the blobs, Mark Schrope, nature.com, (1 February 2012)
Climate Change: A planet in flux, John P. Smol, nature.com (29 February 2012)
Ocean Science: The power of plankton, Paul Falkowski, nature.com (29 February 2012)
And algae shall inherit the earth, Chris Hillier, Trade Secrets (blog), via nature.com (20 March 2012)
|Damn you, Mother Nature!|