Why Do American Religious Bloggers Deny Climate Science?

 

I’m sitting next to a madman.

No, really. From his perch at the next coffee shop table, he rails aloud at an unseen adversary: “I’m speaking to you in the language of reason, logic and common sense! But to you, it might as well be Swahili!”

His long grey beard and shoulder-length hair fit well with the nonstop Jeremiad. You’d think he’d eventually tire, but the filibuster goes on and on. I relax for a moment while he visits the restroom. But then he’s back, and the tirade resumes. “If it weren’t for premarital relations, we wouldn’t even be here!! … Martin Luther King should have kept his mouth shut!!” Or whatever.

I don’t hear much logic, or much reason. But he does.

Funny, but at the same time, I’m reading comments in the Christian Post in response to the excellent article written by evangelical climate scientists Katharine Hayhoe and Thomas Ackerman. The scientists wrote to rebut the bizarre assertion by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh: that you can’t both believe in God and believe the findings of climate science.

The article is great, as was an earlier rebuttal by Christian pastor Mitch Hescox. But the comments are – for the most part – simply unbelievable. To me, they might as well be Swahili. Maybe my friend at the next table could help me understand. Here’s a sampling:

Comment A: 98% of people who hold to the view of manmade global warming voted at least one time for Barack Obama. I would be surprised if the contributors of this article are not in [that] category. Which makes me wonder why they are even allowed to contribute. Perhaps, they feel the need to just to stir up controversy, instead of Godly edification.

Translation: Even though I don’t know anything about other people’s votes, you don’t have to take evangelicals seriously if I can drop the hint that they might have voted for a presidential candidate that I don’t like – even if he claims faith in Christ, belongs to a Christian church and ran first against a non-church-member and then against a committed Mormon. And the Christian Post shouldn’t even allow scientists to speak up if they agree with the 97 percent of their colleagues who accept mainstream views of manmade climate change.

Comment B: The Christian scientists that I [know] are top PhD researchers in their respective fields of physics, medicine, and chemistry. They all reject the idea of man-made global warming. Not based on politics or the like but based on scientific data. Do the contributors of this article also hold the world view that the earth is billions of years old? And that God created evolution too?

Translation: You don’t need to listen to top climate scientists, or the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, because I know some doctors or chemists who disagree with them. Remarkably, all my friends are among the 3% of scientists who doubt manmade climate change. And worse, these writers probably don’t even join me in rejecting mainstream physics, biology, geology, and astronomy with regard to the age of the Creation.

Comment C: Certain aspects of the modern green movement that is permeating every segment of our society are not about protecting the environment. You don’t have to dig very deep to discover the true beliefs of the influential leaders who are using genuine concerns about the environment to promote an agenda of fear and control.

Translation: Whatever compelling science and faith these authors may seem to offer, you can ignore it because of the real reason they’re writing (I know it, trust me): trying to control you by fear — for some purpose that I’m so sure you know that I won’t even bother stating. (Note: As one who is personally acquainted with both authors, it brings a funny image to mind – picturing these two rigorous professionals waking each morning, not for prayer and coffee, but to concoct new ways to control you!)

Comment D: Sorry guys, I remember in the 70’s when all you guys were predicting an Ice Age. I’ll continue to take what you say with a grain of salt based on past performance and current fraudulent documentation.

Translation: I remember (really? almost nobody actually does) that forty years ago, when climate research was still in its infancy, a few scientists erroneously predicted global cooling, not the warming that has actually happened. Never mind that in 1970, global atmospheric CO2 concentrations were only 16 percent above pre-industrial levels, and have increased every single year since then to a level 43 percent higher, with a much faster current rate of growth. Since those few old guys (with such little data) were wrong in predicting the opposite of what’s happened, you many (with a trove of data) must also be wrong in predicting what is actually happening. Besides, I read somewhere that somebody lied about this, and all the subsequent inquiries probably conspired to cover it up.

Comment E: The absurdity of man controlling the temperature of the earth is ridiculous. China alone demolishes all efforts to contain the global warming religion…. But consider volcanos, sea floor belches of unbelievable amounts of “pollutants” and 90% of the countries that don’t fall for the “climate change” lie.

Translation: I’d really like to have my delicious cake – and eat it too! Global warming is a bogus religion, and all that greenhouse gas stuff is just bunko, even if the basic science is a couple of centuries old now. But just in case, lots of other things emit CO2, and they could be warming the earth too – which they’re not, of course – like China! Never mind that we now measure atmospheric CO2 all the time, and it increases now by lockstep every year, volcanos or no volcanos. Also, trust me that 90 percent of countries think climate change is a lie, even though all of them except the U.S. have signed the Kyoto Protocol; and all National Science Academies of the G8 developed countries (like us) plus the science academies of China, India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico and South Africa have signed a declaration affirming climate science and calling on the world’s governments to act.

Okay, okay. Enough already! I suspect you can’t take much more of this, so I’ll stop. But the guy sitting next me is still going strong: “You’re not listening to me! You haven’t heard a word I’ve said! I’m speaking perfect reason! But to you, it’s all Swahili!”

Oh well. At least he doesn’t claim to be speaking on behalf of Christianity.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy….

7 thoughts on “Why Do American Religious Bloggers Deny Climate Science?

  1. Tom

    Thanks John,

    I got a good chuckle from your translations and your parenthetical note about what I do over my morning coffee. I am definitely not thinking about control of society at breakfast …

    Reply
  2. John Elwood Post author

    C’mon Tom! Confess! You really want to control us all, no? Maybe a Dr. Strangelove thing, or something?

    Reply
  3. Allen Johnson

    A brilliant satire, John. So sadly true that so many evangelical Christians are so duped to believe in pseudo-science and immature theology. And that some grab a microphone to shout out their ignorance. I realize these are harsh words, but then the subject we are dealing with isn’t about the number of angels sitting on a pin. Climate is a deadly serious issue. Yes, serious as in deadly.

    Reply
    1. John Elwood Post author

      In fairness Allen, we can go crazy reading blog comments in many spheres. My son goes nuts over fans of Man. United talking trash on Liverpool FC’s blog. The ability to offer anonymous criticism, without serious fear of rebuttal, that’s appealing to many, for the same reason we tend to like gossip — I think.

      Reply
      1. Allen Johnson

        You mention the virulent criticism that many bloggers offer under anonymity. Which to my mind is cowardly. I always use my own name at the very least, in the rather rate instances when I see blogs and pipe in. I did look at the Christian Post article when I first heard that Ackerman and Hayhoe and written the article, and then re-checked it after your post above to see reader’s comments. That your observation on many of the blog responses is spot on. that there were so many virulent and anti-science responses makes me wonder about the Christian Post’s readership, a publication I am otherwise unfamiliar with.

        Reply
        1. John Elwood Post author

          Allen, of course, I share your alarm about the level of readership and the laughable replies we’re seeing here. It is one sad reason why many people have no interest whatsoever in the Christian faith. But there is a ray of hope. Take, for example, the following silliness from someone who calls himself BornAgainChristian1: “There has been NO actual ‘climate changes’ since 1996 and China has ramped up coal burning quite a bit after that date. So where’s this ‘climate change’ that the brainless money mongers continually cite? This is just another way to STEAL our tax dollars and allow the EPA to make unconstitutional laws that only Congress by the Constitution has that authority. Shut down the EPA and this will all go away.” By contrast, take a look at this simple statement by the National Academy of Sciences: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus. Our BAC-1 friend would love to shut down the EPA, only because he’s never been to China, whose EPA-equivalent is hugely pro-polluter. But he’d also have to shut down NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Armed Services, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Medical Association, American Meteorological Society and the U.S. Global Change Research Program — in other words, THINKING PEOPLE. But, before we throw our hands up about Christian Post readers (and, perhaps, American church people in general), note that a majority of CP respondents took the time to “disagree” with him, and one even reported him as “abuse.” There is huge work to be done for earthkeepers in the Christian church, but it’s possible to overestimate how successful the fossil fuel industry has been in purchasing a voice in the pulpit.

          Reply

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