Climate and creationism

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The economist Paul Krugman has come to the “somewhat surprising conclusion” that global warming denial is not mainly about vested economic interests but rather asks us to

think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn'™t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview.

I do not want to be flip, but almost any reader of PT could have told him that; just substitute “Book of Genesis” in place of “Ayn Rand,” make other substitutions as necessary, and you will see what I mean. If Krugman is right, and I am sure that he is, he brings bad news: People will deny global warming with their last breath, and they will not be convinced even by a mountain of evidence or the testimony of the vast majority of experts.

Indeed, there is far more money behind global-warming denial than behind evolution denial, and denialists will fight even quintessentially conservative solutions like cap and trade until, as the columnist Leonard Pitts put it today, the west Antarctic ice sheet falls into the ocean and our grandchildren vie for beachfront property in St. Louis.

Note added approximately 2:50 MDT: See also an article in the Daily Kos linking David Koch to climate-change denial. Mr. Koch, according to the author,

understands the way anti-scientism can be used to fuel a political pushback against science as a mean of undermining support for government regulation. That the science clashes with his economic interests gives him and his brother the motivation [opportunity?] to use their wealth to try to shape the political processes.

For some reason, I was reminded of a comment that Jared Diamond made during a talk, roughly, “The person who cut down the last date palm tree on Easter Island was probably calling for another study.”

77 Comments

Evolution and climate science are both complex, which allows many opportunities to cast doubt on the science. Couple that with the fact that their egos are involved, and one can throw up enough dust to satisfy those who wish not to accept the science. Then too, because the denialists are pre-committed to their positions, that can simply be projected onto the scientists, who thereby become to their minds untrustworthy.

At least climate science denial doesn’t promise an afterlife in paradise for fighting against “materialist science.”

Glen Davidson

No kidding!!!

If anthropogenic global warming is occurring, then the tree-hugging hippies the right has been making fun of all these years would have been correct all along. To admit that would cause a crisis in their worldview. Therefore, AGW can not exist. Some will never be convinced global warming is occurring from any cause. For the ones you can convince global warming is real, until you can prove it is not being caused by a non-human cause (logically impossible), it is economically irresponsible (to them) to take steps to mitigate the problem.

You run into resistance like this from U.S. Senators, e.g., Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma:

“Inhofe often repeats his claim that human influenced climate change is a hoax and impossible because “God’s still up there.” and that it is “outrageous” and arrogant for people to believe human beings are “able to change what He is doing in the climate.” (wikipedia)

I’ve left a post before about Roy Spencer, an actual climate scientist who nevertheless let himself get lulled into denialism. He not only refuses to accept the mainstream view of AGW even though it’s staring him in the face, he’s also gotten onboard with the ID spiel and believes Creationism is just as scientific as evolution.

Motivated reasoning and the endurance of cognitive dissonance in the service of ideology can strike even those who should know better. In his case I think the climate denial is mostly of the political ideology aspect, like Krugman describes, and his anti-evolutionism a product of being a Born Again. The two are probably not that neatly separated, though. He has signed onto a statement endorsing the view that God wouldn’t let us screw up the climate. And there’s the fact that authoritarian personality traits are overrepresented in right-wing American politics, which favors both climate and evolution denial. And once you accept denial in one area, for whatever reason, it’s oh so easy to accept it in others. When you reject the credibility of mainstream science to answer questions just because those answers aren’t to your liking, why stop with just one field? The same tendency has been shown with conspiracy theorists; accepting one conspiracy theory means you’re likely to accept a lot of them. We’ve all seen what conspiracy theories get cooked up among those who deny evolution and those who deny AGW. Roy Spencer has personally advanced conspiracy theories about climate science, at least.

See the Foreign Office approach to all problems, as Humphrey Appleby defined it.

Four steps:

1) Nothing is going to happen. 2) Maybe something is going to happen, but there’s nothing we can do about it. 3) Maybe we could do something about it, but we shouldn’t. 4) Maybe we could have done something about it, but it’s too late now.

He has signed onto a statement endorsing the view that God wouldn’t let us screw up the climate.

God finally realized the Flood was a failure; this time he’s got a better plan. Wouldn’t it be a sin if we tried to thwart his plan? The old and tried method of prayer is how we deal with God. Let’s make everyday PrayDay for climate!

SOURCE; http://www.drroyspencer.com/

Instead of making laws about what can’t be done, scientists should instead invent laws that show us the ways things can be done. The negative character of thermodynamics laws does nothing but stifle and discourage creative and inventive minds from the quest for perpetual motion machines. Scientists nurtured in this climate of negativity have not, and never will, discover the secret of perpetual motion. They haven’t a clue how it might be accomplished.

I have not had many discussions with deniers, but one argument I’ve heard is that ecosystems are stable without top-down regulation, so obviously its not needed in human (economic) ecosystems either. The obvious response to this is that ecosystems only superficially look stable: they naturally go through boom and bust cycles where there are massive die-offs. We don’t want that in our human ecosystems - economic or otherwise. We are actively trying to avoid such individually devastating boom and bust swings. Thus, the need for mechanisms nature doesn’t have in order to fix a problem nature doesn’t solve (to our satisfaction).

Moreover, even after boom and bust cycles and occasional large die-offs, ecosystems don’t always naturally recover back to their earlier state. Sometimes, species just go extinct and ecosystems change permanently. Early on, anaerobic prokaryotes ruled the planet. But they poisoned the atmosphere with their waste products to such an extent that the atmosphere underwent an irreversible and radical change. Now they can’t live on the surface at all, and live in only niche areas where their waste product - free oxygen - exists only in low concentrations. That is an example of how nature responds to atmospheric pollution, and we really, really don’t want to follow their example.

Laughing uproariously at the link provided by Charley Horse.

And I quote:

Thermodynamic laws were invented by engineers and physicists during the industrial revolution to discourage those restless minds seeking alternatives to those incredibly inefficient coal-burning engines. Then physicists tried to add clout to the laws by cloaking them in an incomprehensible mathematical theory called statistical mechanics. Not one in a hundred degree-holding physicists or engineers really understands where these laws come from. Even the great physicist Maxwell had to enlist the aid of a demon to make sense of it all.

Right, right. Just…right.

Pretty sure that post is sarcasm as Spencer isn’t that far gone yet. More likely it’s a snarkful post about his perception of the futility of trying to meet all our energy needs with non-polluting and renewable sources.

However, with a straight face he will claim that the IPCC acts as a “gatekeeper” to prevent oh-so-high-quality papers “skeptical” of global warming from seeing the light of day. High quality papers like his (Spencer and Braswell [2010]), which was so bad (and so heavily spun by Spencer to the media) that the editor in chief of the journal resigned in protest to try and save the journal’s reputation. Obviously, he was made to fall on his sword at the behest of the shadowy cabal at the dark heart of the IPCC for daring to let a “skeptical” paper through!

If Krugman is right, and I am sure that he is, he brings bad news: People will deny global warming with their last breath, and they will not be convinced even by a mountain of evidence or the testimony of the vast majority of experts.

Yes, some people will.

On the other hand, regulations reducing emissions from power plants found immediate high level public approval.

I think that it’s time for a new, and in retrospect, obvious, albeit difficult strategy:

Suggest highly specific policies to address carbon emissions, making it clear exactly how people will be affected.

You can’t win over the nutjobs. I think Krugman is right. It’s an emotional, ideological reaction, disguised as an economic reaction.

But a less toxic reaction that many people have is to become panicked and discouraged. This leads to a less extreme form of denial. They see no realistic solution and convince themselves that there are “doubts”. Presenting reasonable policy ideas helps win these people over.

Dave Luckett said:

See the Foreign Office approach to all problems, as Humphrey Appleby defined it.

Four steps:

1) Nothing is going to happen. 2) Maybe something is going to happen, but there’s nothing we can do about it. 3) Maybe we could do something about it, but we shouldn’t. 4) Maybe we could have done something about it, but it’s too late now.

The problem associated with any new regulations to deal with this ‘invisible’ problem, at least to deniers, is the near-sightedness of the human animal, i.e., “I don’t see any immediate relief from the so-called problem, hence why did you impose these expensive and onerous regulations on the economy and the people?” If you can’t produce immediate resuslts, then obviously what you’re trying to do is not worth the effort or the cost.

DavidK said: The problem associated with any new regulations to deal with this ‘invisible’ problem, at least to deniers, is the near-sightedness of the human animal, i.e., “I don’t see any immediate relief from the so-called problem, hence why did you impose these expensive and onerous regulations on the economy and the people?” If you can’t produce immediate resuslts, then obviously what you’re trying to do is not worth the effort or the cost.

You are right, but that does not make it untractable. We’ve known about “tragedy of the commons” types of problems for decades, and I think there are probably historical examples of both failures and successful solutions. Climate change is really not a new type or category of problem, just a new example of a hard problem humans have grappled with before.

It also can be stated that to some Christians the Earth is ours do to with as we wish and it does not matter how badly the planet is damaged because getting into the “Kingdom of Heaven” is all that matters. However, I heard a talk a few years ago from Randall Balmer, a self-admitted left-wing evangelical, (wrote “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America”) in which he stated that environmentalism might be a path to reach young evangelicals before they turn to the “right-wing side”. He uses the tact that the bible states we are stewards of the Earth and therefore are obligated not to destroy the planet. I am not holding my breath that this will have any effect but you never know.

MWN

What do you do about the fact that India and China are building coal-fired power stations like they’re going out of fashion?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t approve of coal-fired power stations any more than the greenest greenie on the planet. I just want to ask what I think of as Lenin’s Question, though I am assured that it wasn’t actually, but nevertheless: “What is to be done?”

Well, what?

Dave Luckett said:

What do you do about the fact that India and China are building coal-fired power stations like they’re going out of fashion?

It’s a tough problem, especially given that these countries often argue that the west built its industrial power on heavily polluting, cheap power. They see our push to prevent them from using stuff like cheap coal as a type of ‘raising yourself up to high status, then pulling the ladder up behind you.’ Obviously the best solution would be equally cheap, less polluting alternatives, which means (if we are serious about making that happen), a significant investment in energy research. Another option would be giving trade or economic incentives in exchange for these countries using less polluting energy sources (i.e. offsetting their costs for using less polluting energy sources). And hopefully there are many smarter people than I that can come up with even better solutions. :)

Dave Luckett said:

What do you do about the fact that India and China are building coal-fired power stations like they’re going out of fashion?

China is implementing carbon pricing well ahead of us. While their standard of living is going up they’re going to roll out as much generating capacity as they can, and a lot of that is going to be coal. But they’re also the biggest and fastest-growing wind country, and they’re doing practical research into thorium reactors. And less than 48 hours after the Obama administration announced our new EPA regulations, China announced a new carbon emissions cap to go into effect in two years. Pollution in major populated areas has gotten so bad that the government can’t ignore it anymore, so it’s not as though China will be all coal 24/7 for the forseeable future.

China and India are definitely powering up. But unlike the US and Europe 100 years ago, they have the benefit of newer technologies to use in establishing their base of generating capacity. This gives them options for cleaner power from the start instead of being locked into an entirely fossil-burning legacy, and China (at least) is taking heavy advantage where they can.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/KIMtbf0Dp.cr[…]leKvwP#a3fad said:

It also can be stated that to some Christians the Earth is ours do to with as we wish and it does not matter how badly the planet is damaged because getting into the “Kingdom of Heaven” is all that matters. However, I heard a talk a few years ago from Randall Balmer, a self-admitted left-wing evangelical, (wrote “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America”) in which he stated that environmentalism might be a path to reach young evangelicals before they turn to the “right-wing side”. He uses the tact that the bible states we are stewards of the Earth and therefore are obligated not to destroy the planet. I am not holding my breath that this will have any effect but you never know.

MWN

Such an approach is commendable, and may indeed do some good. But at the same time, the enterprising environmental evangelist needs to recognize that evangelicals pledge allegiance not to ideas, but to authority. Even if your reasoning seems sound and convincing, they’ll still go back to their leaders to get validation for it.

The leaders will cite a canned talking point, like “Sure, stewardship of the Earth is important, but that doesn’t mean we have to do everything those tree-hugging liberals tell us! Stewardship means putting the Earth’s resources to good use! Besides, even if it DOES run out, the Earth wasn’t mean to last forever. What are you, some kind of Earth-mother whacko? Creation isn’t eternal. It’s all going to be burned up someday anyway.”

And the sheep will listen to their shepherds, and go back to driving their SUVs.

(I do like SUVs, though. Especially when you have kids. They just feel safer.)

Sadly, many evangelicals seem to have the impression that if they do EXTRA to ruin the environment, it’ll just hasten the Second Advent.

Perhaps, after nearly twenty centuries with no return, we should try a different interpretation of “Watch and pray, for you do not know the hour when the Son of Man will return.” It’s one thing to interpret that on the short end – “stop that, don’t you know Jesus could come back tomorrow” – but wouldn’t it be more of a challenge to interpret that on the long end – “If Jesus doesn’t come back to fix all your problems tomorrow, then you have to be responsible today.”

Maybe that should be my next column – confessions of a former global warming denier. HuffPo would probably run it, if I asked nicely.

david.starling.macmillan said: Such an approach is commendable, and may indeed do some good. But at the same time, the enterprising environmental evangelist needs to recognize that evangelicals pledge allegiance not to ideas, but to authority. Even if your reasoning seems sound and convincing, they’ll still go back to their leaders to get validation for it.

Yes, I agree. I’d also add that I think a very strong component of what’s going on here is ‘religion corrupts politics, while politics degrades religion.’ Most large evangelical groups and organizations are in bed with the GOP. This partnership subtly influences both groups, making them more likely to adopt each others’ positions on peripheral issues. I think two places it’s influenced the evangelicals is that they’ve absorbed or taken on the GOP’s positions towards environmentalism and capitalism. (In the other direction, you see the “small Government” GOP taking on conservative christian notions of regulating sexuality and reproductive rights)

Dave Luckett said:

What do you do about the fact that India and China are building coal-fired power stations like they’re going out of fashion?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t approve of coal-fired power stations any more than the greenest greenie on the planet. I just want to ask what I think of as Lenin’s Question, though I am assured that it wasn’t actually, but nevertheless: “What is to be done?”

Well, what?

1) If China and India actually are demonstrating irresponsible, short-sighted policy, the logical thing to do would be control what we can control - ourselves - set a good example, and use both diplomacy and technological advances to convince them to see the light.

2) As it happens, as mentioned above, both China and India seem to show significant openness to alternate fuels. More so than that US, most likely. The “China and India are even worse” line is mainly right wing propaganda.

eric said:

I think a very strong component of what’s going on here is ‘religion corrupts politics, while politics degrades religion.’ Most large evangelical groups and organizations are in bed with the GOP. This partnership subtly influences both groups, making them more likely to adopt each others’ positions on peripheral issues. I think two places it’s influenced the evangelicals is that they’ve absorbed or taken on the GOP’s positions towards environmentalism and capitalism. (In the other direction, you see the “small Government” GOP taking on conservative christian notions of regulating sexuality and reproductive rights)

There are basically two GOPs right now: the moneyed one, which exists solely to serve the interests of corporatism, and the ideological one, which comprises GOP-libertarians and Tea Partiers.

Neither has any interest in protecting the environment.

It would seem that not every climate-related scientist has converted to the Gospel of Global-Warming.

Therefore the dissenting scientists must be punished, right?

That is how scientific consensus is achieved these days?

A Heated Debate: Are Climate Scientists Being Forced to Toe the Line?

by Axel Bojanowski, Spiegel Online International, May 23, 2014.

———-

Climate researchers are now engaged in a debate about whether their science is being crippled by a compulsion to conform.

They wonder if pressure to reach a consensus is too great. They ask if criticism is being suppressed.

No less is at stake than the credibility of research evidence for climate change and the very question of whether climate research is still reliable.

Full article: http://www.spiegel.de/international[…]-971033.html

Dear Professor Henderson,

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety.

I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF.

I had not expect(ed) such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship, etc.

———-

– Snippet from a copy of prominent research scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson’s resignation letter to Dr. David Henderson. The copy appears in the article “Climate Science: No Dissent Allowed”, by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger, May 14, 2014, Cato Institute “Global Science Report”.

http://www.cato.org/blog/climate-sc[…]sent-allowed

Anyone thinking that there is an open flow of ideas in climate science is 100 percent wrong.

– Michaels and Knappenberger, Cato Institute “Global Science Report”, May 14, 2014.

FL

FL said:

It would seem…

Gods you’re stupid, FL, trying to borrow bad propaganda from the Cato Institute.

But it’s not your argument, is it, FL. Nope, as usual, as ALWAYS, you borrow someone else’s bullshit because you think it supports your religious views. You’re ready to buy into a conspiracy theory of suppression of views by an evil establishment, and even that theory is second-hand from your obsession with anti-evolutionism.

I can’t remember a single instance, FL, in all our years here, when you have actually mustered your own argument for a case.

Naturally, I think you cannot.

As to the structure of the bad propaganda, I can see why it appeals to you, FL. It’s nothing but weak argument from authority, nothing but empty opinion. That’s the kind of argument you like, isn’t it? Unsupported allegation and empty flat denial? ‘Tis so, t’aint so?

It’s all just one big conspiracy. Doesn’t matter if anyone, anywhere can see it for themselves and study it for themselves. If anyone, anywhere can be shown to be behaving at all badly, then all of the scientists must be wrong. After all, we have one E-mail that shows that one scientist might have worded something unfortunately, so we can throw out all of the science and all of the evidence and just believe whatever we want. Typical denialist crap, just like always.

phhht said: Gods you’re stupid, FL, trying to borrow bad propaganda from the Cato Institute.

Hey, I’m happy he did it, because it exactly proves my point. Christian fundamentalists using the argument from authority (Bible) are nothing special. Christian fundamentalists using the argument from authority (Cato) are noticeable for what it says about the movement; it shows how the movement’s been degraded by being too much in bed with a single political party.

FL, if I thought it would make a difference, I could discuss those quotes with you.

Is there a chance that anything I say could make a difference?

DavidK said: “Inhofe often repeats his claim that human influenced climate change is a hoax and impossible because “God’s still up there.” and that it is “outrageous” and arrogant for people to believe human beings are “able to change what He is doing in the climate.” (wikipedia)

And I can just imagine God still up there going “YOU MANIACS! YOU F***ED IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! I DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”

In all seriousness, though, this depresses me to no end. And baffles. I will never understand why someone would insist the Earth was created for him and his progeny and then not care about preserving it.

david.starling.macmillan said: Perhaps, after nearly twenty centuries with no return, we should try a different interpretation of “Watch and pray, for you do not know the hour when the Son of Man will return.” It’s one thing to interpret that on the short end – “stop that, don’t you know Jesus could come back tomorrow” – but wouldn’t it be more of a challenge to interpret that on the long end – “If Jesus doesn’t come back to fix all your problems tomorrow, then you have to be responsible today.”

I would really like to see that message go mainstream. At this point it isn’t about whether the tree-huggers were right; who was right and who was wrong makes no difference to the survival of humanity and countless species that are trapped on this planet with us. It is about taking personal responsibility. And, unfortunately, about taking responsibility for the damaging actions of previous generations as well. Continuing as is and simply wishing for a day that may or may not ever come (and even if it does, you still have no idea when that will be) is a recipe for disaster.

Plus, if Jesus DID come back tomorrow, what would he have to say about the state of the planet, and our part in making it that way? We are talking about the man who said go out into nature if you want to talk to God.

FL, if I thought it would make a difference, I could discuss those quotes with you.

Is there a chance that anything I say could make a difference?

It’s up to you. The purpose of the quotes is simply to expose readers to another, and very real, side of the global warming story.

This situation is happening as we speak. We shouldn’t be trying to ignore it.

FL

FL said:

The purpose of the quotes is simply to expose readers to another, and very real, side of the global warming story.

The purpose of the Cato Institute propaganda you borrowed is not to tell another side of the global warming story. It is to cast doubt on the validity of climate science by suggesting a conspiracy to distort its results.

And you fell for it, stupid. You buy that conspiracy shit because you’re too dumb not to.

The Cato Institute, lap dogs for the Koch brothers.

ID and YECism are science career killers for sure.

Mike Elzinga meant that they kill productive careers in mainstream science, which is true.

Unfortunately, from a more cynical perspective, they are career builders.

It’s a tough time for young people emerging with PhD degrees, if they want to do mainstream science, especially at a major research institution. Long training, long hours, low pay, and massive insecurity - career possibly derailed by a grant denial or something similar for years out - are the norm. The entire world is their competition.

It is NOT a tough time for those few who are willing to use their PhD as a prop while spreading creationist BS.

For them, high paying, low work jobs at right wing creationist outfits are the rule.

Lisle actually has a legitimate PhD. Casey Luskin doesn’t even have that.

It’s a credit to young scientists that so few take this route.

This is basically true for anyone who is willing to use academic credentials to spread right wing reality denial, in any field. A highly relevant analogy is Professor Brat (real name), who recently defeated House Majority Leader Cantor in a Republican primary, running as an extreme right winger. He has eccentric economic views, and is a right wing theologian as well. He has produced almost no mainstream publications. He is one of those Christian theologians who admires Ayn Rand, who was a hard core anti-Christian atheist. His job was created as the condition of a large gift from the Koch brothers to the university. This opportunity was not available to a mainstream economist.

If you have ostensible academic credentials, and can write “academic sounding” English with good grammar and spelling, you can make more money, at near do-nothing jobs, by being an advocate for right wing reality denial, whether science denial, history denial, or other. Not only is there always a place for you at existing “think tanks”, but right wing billionaires will pay universities to hire you.

harold said:

ID and YECism are science career killers for sure.

Mike Elzinga meant that they kill productive careers in mainstream science, which is true.

Unfortunately, from a more cynical perspective, they are career builders.

It’s a tough time for young people emerging with PhD degrees, if they want to do mainstream science, especially at a major research institution. Long training, long hours, low pay, and massive insecurity - career possibly derailed by a grant denial or something similar for years out - are the norm. The entire world is their competition.

It is NOT a tough time for those few who are willing to use their PhD as a prop while spreading creationist BS.

For them, high paying, low work jobs at right wing creationist outfits are the rule.

Lisle actually has a legitimate PhD. Casey Luskin doesn’t even have that.

It’s a credit to young scientists that so few take this route.

This is basically true for anyone who is willing to use academic credentials to spread right wing reality denial, in any field. A highly relevant analogy is Professor Brat (real name), who recently defeated House Majority Leader Cantor in a Republican primary, running as an extreme right winger. He has eccentric economic views, and is a right wing theologian as well. He has produced almost no mainstream publications. He is one of those Christian theologians who admires Ayn Rand, who was a hard core anti-Christian atheist. His job was created as the condition of a large gift from the Koch brothers to the university. This opportunity was not available to a mainstream economist.

If you have ostensible academic credentials, and can write “academic sounding” English with good grammar and spelling, you can make more money, at near do-nothing jobs, by being an advocate for right wing reality denial, whether science denial, history denial, or other. Not only is there always a place for you at existing “think tanks”, but right wing billionaires will pay universities to hire you.

And, although it has mixed success, there’s also the “Behe method” - rather than jump right into creationism immediately upon completing your degree, pretend to be a real scientist a little longer.

When this succeeds, you get the best of both worlds, like Behe, or Dean Kenyon. A mainstream university can’t get rid of you. Your right wing reality denial makes you a wingnut celebrity and brings book contracts and speaking engagements. As an added bonus, the university is likely to reduce your workload! More time on the links, or planning out speaker engagements on creationist cruises.

We haven’t seen as much of this in recent years. Ironically, that’s because the first step - becoming a mainstream scientist - is now harder than it was when Behe and Kenyon were starting out (Kenyon is a product of the 1960’s, a time when you had to work hard to NOT get an academic job). So young “scientifically educated creationists” are now jumping directly into the world of wingnut welfare, right after graduation.

DS said:

In other words, they are just hypocrites who hold their own preconceptions inviolate for no reason whatsoever while still paying lip service to any science they can’t find sufficient reason to denigrate, even though they would be willing to throw it out the instant it seemed to cause any problem for them. This is the exact opposite of the true scientific method. Their duplicity should be pointed out at every opportunity.

While can not understand any person’s motivation or beliefs, what I can point out are the contradictions and other severe difficulties in what they have to say.

1. Geocentrism. Obviously, one rejects Biblical geocentrism solely on the authority of modern science. This may take the form of discovering the “true meaning” of the geocentric passages in the Bible, but no one can seriously doubt that that interpretation was influenced by prior acceptance of modern science. Or the claim may be that the evidence for heiocentrism is so evident that it counts as a rare example of being forced to accept what would otherwise count at “mere human opinion”. Yet I challenge anyone to show how the evidence for heliocentrism is so better than the evidence for common descent. Actually, I suggest that few people could present good evidence for heliocentrism, and most people deny geocentrism only because it is embarrassing to be a geocentrist.

2. Omphalism. The argument for omphalism is strong, if one starts from the hypothesis that there was a sudden appearance of the world of life in basically its present form. If there was a functioning world of life, with social mammals able to function, complex ecosystems, and even such cycles in the non-living as the water cycle, has anyone proposed a scenario of sudden appearance without it having the false appearance of a prior history? Once again, it is “mere human opinion”.

3. Mosaic authorship. Most Biblical literalists/inerrantists claim (a) the Bible says that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and (b) Moses did not write Deuteronomy 34. I am not aware of any claim of the Bible saying that Deuteronomy 34. It is rather the difficulty to accept that Moses wrote of his death, his burial place being unknown, and the status that Moses held by later generations. It is “mere human opinion” being accepted.

If I find a geocentric omphalist who accepts that Moses wrote Deuteronomy 34, then I will have no objection.

(Well, sort of. I do find it interesting to find good evidence for heliocentrism.)

TomS said:

(Well, sort of. I do find it interesting to find good evidence for heliocentrism.)

Job 26:7 does not describe heliocentrism per se, but it’s still a remarkable statement to come out of the Bronze Age. Whatever that verse means, at least there are no turtles all the way down:

He [God] stretches out the north over the void, and hangs the earth on nothing. [ESV]

The final chapters of Job contain a lot of interesting questions about the natural world. Somebody back then was curious.

That reminds me. Yesterday morning during our worship service, the Lector read the creation story from Genesis 1:1 - 2:4. He read from a Bible translation that uses the word “dome” where the KJV has “firmament.” He said “dome” about five times by my count during the Old Testament reading. Dome.

Nobody leaped up and objected, or tried to argue that the word “firmament” was really not meant to convey a solid blue dome. Apparently my (Anglican) congregation accepts that Genesis 1 was written for an ancient audience, and the text describes the natural world as it appeared to Bronze Age people. The sky looked like a big blue dome to them, and it still does. Modern science tells us a lot more about the sky, and we can accept that science without getting all upset about what the ancient text says or does not say about atmospheric scattering of light. How rational!

I’ll note that we did not get to this happy place overnight. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to hear and celebrate the great Hexalogue of Creation in Genesis 1 without all the usual baggage.

Carl Drews said:

That reminds me. Yesterday morning during our worship service, the Lector read the creation story from Genesis 1:1 - 2:4. He read from a Bible translation that uses the word “dome” where the KJV has “firmament.” He said “dome” about five times by my count during the Old Testament reading. Dome.

Nobody leaped up and objected, or tried to argue that the word “firmament” was really not meant to convey a solid blue dome. Apparently my (Anglican) congregation accepts that Genesis 1 was written for an ancient audience, and the text describes the natural world as it appeared to Bronze Age people. The sky looked like a big blue dome to them, and it still does. Modern science tells us a lot more about the sky, and we can accept that science without getting all upset about what the ancient text says or does not say about atmospheric scattering of light. How rational!

I’ll note that we did not get to this happy place overnight. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to hear and celebrate the great Hexalogue of Creation in Genesis 1 without all the usual baggage.

It was accepted fairly long ago that there was no solid dome over the flat Earth. As far as I can tell, in early times there was no particular worry about such things. I don;t think that there was any discussion about adopting a different cosmology from the Bible,

TomS said:

It was accepted fairly long ago that there was no solid dome over the flat Earth.

Yet at some point (apparently solid) nested crystal spheres became necessary to move the heavenly bodies around the stationary Earth. AFAIK, the Church had no quarrel with ptolemaic cosmology, perhaps because the ‘firmament’ could be reconciled so easily with a crystal sphere.

(I once read an ‘alternate reality’ novel in which the ptolemaic spheres were real and the atmosphere extended forever. ‘Space’ flight required slipping through gaps in the spheres necessitated by the epicycles and epicycles-within-epicycles required for the observed motion of the planets.)

I foolishly left Gilgamesh at home this morning (what was I thinking?). Nevertheless, there is the chapter describing how Gilgamesh runs through the tunnel beneath the earth’s surface before the sun sets and fries him to a crisp. As I recall, the dome of the sky rests on the Twin Peaks in the far eastern land of the scorpion people. I guess Atlas holds up the western end.

Matt Young said:

She takes Dr. Tyson to task, correctly, for overstating his case, as when he says that the Cosmos is all that is – a claim that I suspect is true, but it is surely metaphysics, not physics.

Well, it’s really true that the the word is being used the way Sagan put it in the original series: by definition it means everything that is, was, and will be. Whether that’s limited to our little Observable Universe plus whatever we can’t see up to the Big Bang, any hypothetical Multiverse(s), and whether or not that includes things which might hypothetically be “beyond” the anything we think of as a natural Universe and its mechanics, it seems to be implied to include absolutely everything.

Sagan went to lengths to frame our understanding of it all as tentative and provisional, and even our scientific method of studying it as necessarily limited and imperfect (but the best tool we have so far).

NdGT seems to be rolling with that as well, implicitly continuing Sagan’s usage of the term without dwelling so much on the same limitations of our understanding to the extent that he did.

DS said:

In other words, they are just hypocrites who hold their own preconceptions inviolate for no reason whatsoever while still paying lip service to any science they can’t find sufficient reason to denigrate, even though they would be willing to throw it out the instant it seemed to cause any problem for them. This is the exact opposite of the true scientific method. Their duplicity should be pointed out at every opportunity.

My favorite is when AiG claims that a worldview is needed to interpret evidence, and then later in the same article they will claim that that the evidence confirms that their worldview is correct. Here, they did it within one sentence:

“using the Bible as our foundation and starting point we see that observational science actually confirms the Bible.” http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]ntroversial/

davidjensen said:

DS said:

In other words, they are just hypocrites who hold their own preconceptions inviolate for no reason whatsoever while still paying lip service to any science they can’t find sufficient reason to denigrate, even though they would be willing to throw it out the instant it seemed to cause any problem for them. This is the exact opposite of the true scientific method. Their duplicity should be pointed out at every opportunity.

My favorite is when AiG claims that a worldview is needed to interpret evidence, and then later in the same article they will claim that that the evidence confirms that their worldview is correct. Here, they did it within one sentence:

“using the Bible as our foundation and starting point we see that observational science actually confirms the Bible.” http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]ntroversial/

Notice that this was said in an article castigating mainstream science for using “a circle of unverifiable assumptions about ice cores!”

FL said:

FL, if I thought it would make a difference, I could discuss those quotes with you.

Is there a chance that anything I say could make a difference?

It’s up to you. The purpose of the quotes is simply to expose readers to another, and very real, side of the global warming story.

This situation is happening as we speak. We shouldn’t be trying to ignore it.

FL

FL once again shows the disingenuous nature of creationists. They use terms like “side” trying to make it sound like we are missing a message just as big as the one being pressed. I can find a crazy person that talks about unicorns being responsible for women getting pregnant. That “side” of the human reproductive system warrants no attention. When over 98% of the scientist agree and even the majority of the other 2% also agree with most of what is being said the other crazy minority really don’t have a “side”. But FL has never been worried about being intellectually honest.

There are many ‘very real sides’ of FL’s fundamentalist Christianity that he really doesn’t like to air in public – or that he just denies the existence of by ‘interpreting’ them away.

ksplawn said:

davidjensen said:

DS said:

In other words, they are just hypocrites who hold their own preconceptions inviolate for no reason whatsoever while still paying lip service to any science they can’t find sufficient reason to denigrate, even though they would be willing to throw it out the instant it seemed to cause any problem for them. This is the exact opposite of the true scientific method. Their duplicity should be pointed out at every opportunity.

My favorite is when AiG claims that a worldview is needed to interpret evidence, and then later in the same article they will claim that that the evidence confirms that their worldview is correct. Here, they did it within one sentence:

“using the Bible as our foundation and starting point we see that observational science actually confirms the Bible.” http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]ntroversial/

Notice that this was said in an article castigating mainstream science for using “a circle of unverifiable assumptions about ice cores!”

YEC is known for demanding of its adherents what we may charitably call “a short attention span”.

ksplawn said:

davidjensen said:

DS said:

In other words, they are just hypocrites who hold their own preconceptions inviolate for no reason whatsoever while still paying lip service to any science they can’t find sufficient reason to denigrate, even though they would be willing to throw it out the instant it seemed to cause any problem for them. This is the exact opposite of the true scientific method. Their duplicity should be pointed out at every opportunity.

My favorite is when AiG claims that a worldview is needed to interpret evidence, and then later in the same article they will claim that that the evidence confirms that their worldview is correct. Here, they did it within one sentence:

“using the Bible as our foundation and starting point we see that observational science actually confirms the Bible.” http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]ntroversial/

Notice that this was said in an article castigating mainstream science for using “a circle of unverifiable assumptions about ice cores!”

And proudly.

They insist that EVERYONE is circular, and you just have to make sure you’ve found the right “circle” at the outset.

david.starling.macmillan said:

ksplawn said:

davidjensen said:

DS said:

In other words, they are just hypocrites who hold their own preconceptions inviolate for no reason whatsoever while still paying lip service to any science they can’t find sufficient reason to denigrate, even though they would be willing to throw it out the instant it seemed to cause any problem for them. This is the exact opposite of the true scientific method. Their duplicity should be pointed out at every opportunity.

My favorite is when AiG claims that a worldview is needed to interpret evidence, and then later in the same article they will claim that that the evidence confirms that their worldview is correct. Here, they did it within one sentence:

“using the Bible as our foundation and starting point we see that observational science actually confirms the Bible.” http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]ntroversial/

Notice that this was said in an article castigating mainstream science for using “a circle of unverifiable assumptions about ice cores!”

And proudly.

They insist that EVERYONE is circular, and you just have to make sure you’ve found the right “circle” at the outset.

This is what I call the “I know you are but what am I” strategy. Creationist are generally too stupid to evaluate a scientific argument, or to devise any valid criticism. But whatever you say about them, they can accuse you of the same thing. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous or outrageous the claim, it makes it sound like they are on equal footing with the opposition, so that’s good enough. Of well, if they were capable of coming up with anything original, I guess they would have become scientists in the first place. They seem to have enough science envy that it’s obvious that they would have if they could have.

The problem with circular arguments is that they lead to going off on tangents.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on June 9, 2014 1:36 PM.

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