Climate change and biblical literalism

No Planet B
Photograph borrowed from Monash University by AIG with the purpose of promulgating precisely the opposite message to that of Monash University. Credit: Monash University. Fair use.

I sometimes claim that a religious belief that does not contradict known scientific fact is generally harmless. If you ever entertained the possibility that biblical literalism was harmless, you might consider the article Climate change and the Bible, by Avery Foley, published the other day by Answers in Genesis. The article was subtitled, “Top four biblical reasons not to panic about climate change.”

Before we get to the top four biblical reasons (are there more?), I want to note that Ms. Foley has, as far as I can tell, borrowed the preceding figure from an article, A new approach for teachers to engage in climate conversations in the classroom, posted by Jodi Evans of Monash University. Borrowing that photograph (uncredited, incidentally) from the article by Ms. Evans seems a bit tacky in that the article by Ms. Foley promulgates the opposite message to that intended by Ms. Evans.

Reminder: We Believe in Dinosaurs on PBS February 17

Tonight's the night!

As we announced last fall, the film We Believe in Dinosaurs will air on PBS, Monday, February 17, at 10:00 p.m., EST.

The PBS version, provided by Independent Lens, is a slightly shortened version, evidently designed to fit within an hour an hour and a half (actually 84.5 min); we posted excerpts of reviews of the full version here on PT. I have seen the complete film and highly recommend it. Besides the promotional material for the film at the PBS link above, you may also see an interview with the directors “about the, pardon the expression, evolution for this film, how they tried to tell the story in a balanced way, and what it was like to climb a fossil-infused cliff for one key scene” with Dan Phelps.

In an article 2 days ago, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal asks, “What happens when religious ideology clashes with mainstream science in America?” The film goes part of the way toward answering the question.

Buteo lineatus


Photograph by Tom Gillespie.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Red-Shouldered Hawk
Buteo lineatus – red-shouldered hawk (immature), Duluth, Georgia. Mr. Gillespie notes, "For some reason, this little guy decided to try and eat from the sunflower feeder I have on my deck rail."

Private school uses AiG/Ken Ham inspired quiz


Today we received the following quiz, along with the title of this article, from a nameless individual, who writes,

An acquaintance in a rural part of [nameless state] sent me the attached “quiz,” presumably because of the upcoming documentary [We Believe in Dinosaurs]. They send their pre-high school age child to a private school because the local rural [nameless state] public school is so bad. They are rather upset their child received this “quiz,” which appears to be inspired by Answers in Genesis and the bizarre writings of Ken Ham. The parent gave me permission to send this as long as no identifying details were included.

To be safe, we received further permission from the parent to post the quiz publicly on PT. At the risk of appearing paranoid, we left out the name of the state and any other possible identifying material, as well as the name of our contact. I am posting the questions here, above the fold. The “correct” “answers” are given below the fold. Unless I am mistaken, only four of the “answers” are actually correct. Go ahead and take the quiz, and see for yourself.

Test questions
Page 1 of the quiz.
Test questions
Page 2 of the quiz.

OK, OK, stop here and review your answers before you go on to the published “answers.” The quiz has no time limit, so take your time. I look forward to your comments.

Administration's budget hard on science


The New York Times assigned approximately a dozen reporters to read the Administration’s proposed 2021 budget, so I do not have to read it. As the Times notes, ultimately the Congress decides on a budget, but “the document provides a window into the White House’s spending priorities.” These priorities include restricting immigration and building a wall along the southern border, and developing new state-of-the-art weapons. They further include reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance, disability insurance, student loan programs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and more. The Washington Post has a nice graph showing proposed changes by department, from a 37% cut to the Commerce Department to a 12% increase in NASA.

David Malakoff and Geoffrey Mervis write in Science magazine that

federal spending on research would drop by 9%, or $13.78 billion, to $142.185 billion. The government’s investment in scientific infrastructure—large facilities and special equipment—would plunge by 40%, to $3.6 billion. Spending on basic research would fall by 6%, or $2.822 billion, to $40.638 billion.

Here, according to Messrs. Malakoff and Mervis, is a “rundown” of the hits to the science portions of each agency’s budget: