Evolution and Climate Deniers: Natural Allies?

Wed, 2011-09-28 08:21Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

Evolution and Climate Deniers: Natural Allies?

On the face of things, there is no clear reason why the same person—like, say, Rick Perry–ought to deny accepted science about both evolution, and also global warming. After all, the fundamental reason or motivation for denying these things appears very different.

As has been clear for more than a century, the theory of evolution threatens a certain breed of religious belief. It clearly undermines a literal reading of the Book of Genesis, for instance. It suggests that God didn’t create people or make them out to be anything special. Indeed, if you think about it, it suggests that if God does exist, then God created humans through a bloody and brutal process (natural selection) that is full of death, pain, and cruelty over vast time-scales. (Great guy, this God, eh?)

Climate change has nothing—or at least nothing obvious–to do with this. That’s not to say climate science isn’t threatening; it is, but surely in a very different way. Modern climate science suggests that the free market, the source of so much economic growth and prosperity, also has a dark side. It suggests that humanity, left unchecked to exploit technology and maximize productivity, can really shoot itself in the foot sometimes. It suggests you need governments to step in and regulate, rather than letting the market rip.

In a socio-political vaccum, then, it is not at all clear why these two views should go together.

And yet in the specific political context of America, it’s equally clear that they often do.

Indeed, a new public opinion survey commissioned by the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Service puts quite a fine point on it. The survey looked at views on evolution and climate across political persuasions and across religious denominations. And it found that two groups in particular rejected science on both topics: political Tea Partiers and Republicans, and white evangelical Protestants. More specifically, some data:

  • On evolution: Only 43 percent of Tea Partiers (and 45 percent of Republicans) accept the scientific reality of human and animal evolution, and only 32 percent of white evangelical Protestants do.
  • On climate change: Only a small sliver of Tea Partiers and Republicans (18 percent) accept the scientific reality that humans are causing global warming, and only 31 percent of white evangelical Protestants accept the scientific reality that the Earth is getting warmer and humans are responsible.

What this suggests, of course, is that the evolution deniers and the climate deniers are often the same people. More specifically, it suggests that the political Tea Partiers (who are supposedly free markeeters and want smaller government) are somehow also threatened by evolution. And it suggests that white evangelical Protestants (who are supposedly oh so concerned about social issues, like abortion, the separation of church and state, and so on) are somehow also threatened by global warming.

WTF?

To ask why this is, of course, is simultaneously to ask why the social and economic parts of the political right always seem to hang out together. That is a vast question and an important one, and I don’t think I’ll get to the bottom of it here.

But we can certainly provide some clarity. For instance, the two parts of the right could be acting as team players. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. If a friend tells you something, you’re more likely to trust it, right? On this account, economic and religious conservatives have been hanging out together so long—under the Republican party umbrella—that they’ve adopted one another’s favorite denialisms.

That’s one account, but there’s another possibility. This is that a deeper affinity exists between free market conservatism and religious conservatism than we might presume, so that the denialisms actually are connected, even if not in a logical or obvious way. For instance, I’ve written about how evolution deniers appear to be very closed minded—and Tea Partiers are also very sure that they’re right about global warming, and don’t think they need any more information about it. Could the two share similar habits of mind, and so have a natural affinity?

Honestly, I would postulate that both of these are true, and in a sense self-reinforcing. But I think that there also may be an even bigger motivator still. And that is not the core beliefs of either group, but rather, the dislike or even disdain in that both hold for the same “other”—e.g., a liberal university professor-slash-hippie environmentalist who accepts evolution, doesn’t believe in God, doesn't work hard because of tenure (they think), and donates to the Sierra Club.

Perhaps the two parts of the right are united not only by core affinities, then, but also by a common enemy.

Previous Comments

Chris, don’t you think this tactic, of lumping AGW skeptics in with the evolution believers, is getting a little tired? It may make the ‘true believers’ of the Global Warming mantra feel better when you sling this mud but it really isn’t moving the discussion forward at all.

I encourage ALL readers of this blog, from both sides of the argument, to visit the blog of scientist Judith Curry and read her ‘denizens’ link. There you will see honest descriptions of many of the people that post comments at her blog, it’s a real eye opener, believe me.

http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/12/the-denizens-of-climate-etc/

I visited her blog once. That’s enough. She claimed a scientist’s finding and linked it. I followed the link; it was to herself, not a scientific paper. She linked again – to a newspaper. The headline said what she said; the headline didn’t reflect the article accurately.

I don’t have time to waste on misbegotten newspaper headlines. 

You’ve completely missed my point here. Go to that link and read about the people that post at her blog (not her) and you will see that they are certainly not religious fundamentalists, quite far from it. There are many scientists and engineers, etc that post there.

As for Dr. Curry, she is a well respected Climate scientist that is known to listen to ALL sides of the argument. She is not paid to run that blog, she does it out of her own pocket. Propaganda is one thing you will NOT find there at all.

I did not find intellectual competence there. My judgment. 

You’re not really reading her blog then. She’s visiting MIT today to give a lecture at the Department of the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. I would surely think that counts for intellectual competence, no? Check the link;

http://eapsweb.mit.edu/

MIT = Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It’s THE top school in the country for engineering etc.

I noticed a while ago that whilst there was a lot of commentary about the Republicans’ attitudes towards science, climate and evolution in particular, there was no one place you could go to to find out what each of them was saying. So to remedy this I compiled a list of all 16 candidates and what they said about climate and evolution:

www.lukesci.com/2011/09/06/all-of-the-2012-republican-candidates-on-climate-and-evolution/

I hope it’s interesting/helpful.

Since then the denialism has rolled on, and Michelle Bachmann has denied the safety of vaccines (comments denounced by doctors all round: http://goo.gl/ccPt1), whilst Rick Perry has revealed that God directs his life personally (http://goo.gl/UxXFu). Amongst the tea partiers crazy sells like crazy. Bill Clinton called it right (http://goo.gl/gM8qP), when he said it makes the US look like a joke:

“We look like a joke, right? You can’t win the nomination of one of our major parties if you admit that the scientists are right.”

We have big issues to deal with. And I don’t mean the US. I mean the world. Energy. Climate. Epidemics. It’s not good enough to have some godbot anti-science nutcase running one of the world’s superpowers. The human race needs someone with their brain in the right way round who can lead by example and understand simple concepts. Like why CO2 stands not just to warm the planet up, but destroy the ocean’s ecosystem (http://goo.gl/37HSI), or why humans evolved even if monkeys are “still around”. And someone who did a little better at school than Rick Perry (http://goo.gl/URjde).

Some cranks say the world will end in 2012. That might not be quite right, but we’ll be headed that way if any of the tea-partiers gets into the White House.

comment; it was going to be a thoughtful response to the posed question.  Then I read the prior comments.

There are 1.3+ billion people in China who aren’t getting on board with Mr. Mooney and DeSmog and they are not religious and they do believe in evolution. Reuters has an article explaining that the per person emissions of the Chinese will exceed that of the USA sometime around or shortly after 2017. This mathematically translates to roughly 25.5 billion tons of CO2 per year compared to their 2010 emissions of 8.3 billion tons. For discussion sake let’s say the Republicans and Democrats had gone along with and passed the Waxman-Markey bill which proposed: 

  • 2012: 3 percent below 2005 emission levels (~12 percent above 1990 emission levels)
  • 2020: 20 percent below 2005 (~7 percent below 1990)
  • 2030: 42 percent below 2005 (~33 percent below 1990)
  • 2050: 83 percent below 2005 (~80 percent below 1990)

2005 CO2 emissions were 6 billion tons for the USA which means by 2050 the target would be a reduction of 5 billion tons. China will have added 5 billion tons by the year 2013 which cancels out the USA’s entire effort to reduce planetary industrial CO2. The Chinese already burn 50% of the worlds coal and they continue to build 1 to 2 new coal plants per week. I did not do an economic impact analysis but I did enough research to know that every country shifting to renewables has necessarily caused energy costs to skyrocket which is what President Obama pledged he would do too in the USA.

As Mr. Mooney continues his crusade against a small group of USA folks that don’t feel CO2 is the center of their universe, a significantly larger group of people in China continue to increase CO2 emissions at a pace that will make the reduction of US emissions a non-factor by as early as 2013. I’m not sure what Mr. Mooney thinks he is accomplishing by beating a dead horse and attacking these people (beyond earning a paycheck). I’m sure that Mr. Mooney knows that berating and marginalizing people has never been an effective way to get them to reconsider their position. Maybe Mr. Mooney could better spend his time focusing on the anti-science folks on the left.  Who knows? Maybe if the anti-science left hadn’t killed the US nuclear energy development program in the 70s, we might now be producing cheap clean energy from Gen4 nuclear power and the Chinese would be building Gen4 plants instead of coal plants. If Mr. Mooney could educate the anti-science left on nuclear energy, he might actually accomplish something that would really lead to a reduction of CO2. While he is at it maybe Mr.Mooney will reason with the anti-science left that there will be no climate change rapture just because someone other than BHO may be elected in 2012, but I doubt he will.

Until Mr. Mooney accepts the reality that only when a cheap alternative to coal is developed (Solar PV at a cost of $1.42/watt or Gen 4 nuclear?) and all sides of the political spectrum, including the Chinese and Indians, can be satisfied, there will be no shift away from current energy sources and beating dead horses won’t change that. If you do believe in evolution then you should relax and know that solutions will emerge via technological evolution as they always have.

Some excellent points there. I’m not sure why there is this big push to berate US skeptics other than the ‘play for pay’ factor that is involved with a lot of these blog writers, Desmog and Think Progress, etc. Saying things like “the US needs to take the lead on Carbon emission reductions” is crazy, if anyone thinks that China and India are suddenly going to jump on the economic-suicide bandwagon that is Cap and Trade, they are surely dreaming.

Joe Romm over at Think Progress is fond of pointing out that “China is leading the way with renewables!”, yes, this is true in manufacturing but it’s only so that they can sell those products to the fools in America and the EU that still believe that they are a practical ‘green’ alternative to fossil fuels.

We seriously need some critical, honest thinkers leading the way here or we’ll continue to throw billions of dollars on wasteful programs that go nowhere and on;y line the pockets of greedy investors.

Chas - China banned exporting Rare Earth Elements (REEs) to the USA in late 2010. I think you are absolutely spot on in your contention that the only reason China is gung ho on renewables is because they have an economic monopoly in manufacturing them. The USA has plenty of REEs but by the time that the EPA, OSHA and a multitude of other federal, state and local agencies approves the mining and processing of these minerals, the costs become prohibitive when compared to China, so manufacturers will go to China. That doesn’t even account for the fact that the USA is 10 years away from being able to produce REEs in the USA. BTW renewables is a misleading term because they rely on finite resources that must be replaced every 20 to 30 years in order to continue to function.

I have read the engineering reports from Germany and the Netherlands and wind farm production is 15% and 10% of stated MW capacity respectively which is why no coal plants have been shut down in either country. In fact the anti-science German Greens have succeeded in doing what Jane Fonda and the hippies in the 70s did which is to shut down nuclear development and they went further by succeeding in closing existing nuclear plants. They will be adding more coal plants to help bridge their energy gap but in the mean time they will be buying coal powered energy from neighbors. Mr. Mooney has his work cut out for him with all these anti-science greenies in Germany. :-)

Did you read where this week that the EU is in essence supporting the burning down of villages and relocation of Ugandans to expand biofuel production in order to support carbon trading offsets in the EU. I’m amazed at how easily political elites and wealthy folks in the arts and music seem to rationalize burning food in order to buy “offsets”, which do nothing, in order to continue their extravagant high energy consumption lifestyles while exhibiting never ending hypocrisy by then berating as anti-science dupes the peons who are upset that their energy and food bills have doubled. Kyoto participants have done no better than the USA in reducing CO2 emissions by their use of carbon offsets yet a religious like faith in carbon offsets still exists in the EU to the degree that the Ugandan people are made to suffer so that those who support carbon offsets can feel good about themselves. Hopefully Mr. Mooney can get his neuroscience and ethicist buddies to explain how such irrational, anti-scientific and anti-human behavior is possible. :-)

The vast majority of people believe in evolution regardless of education.

 You believe in evolution because you are smart enough not to question authority and because you’ve been convinced that a close consideration of the fossil record by scientific authorities has established that a living cell can come into existence without any outside assistance of any kind. 

Even though the simplest of living cells is monumentally more complex anything anyone could even dream of designing and building, you believe it happened without any designer or builder. 

The space shuttle is complex and designed and built by brilliant minds buts it’s really more like a rock than a living cell in terms of internal complexity and performance. 

It’s very mysterious and magical what you believe. It’s exactly like religion. 

“The space shuttle is complex and designed and built by brilliant minds”

Folks, note the plural – designed and built by” brilliant minds”, *not* “a single brilliant mind”.

So if something complicated like a space shuttle requires a bunch of designers, how many designers does something *really complicated* like a living organism require?

There’s no way that a single designer could tackle a project like that.

Folks, when it comes down to it, intelligent design proponents are basically “pagans on steroids”.

 

insulting reply and something pretending to be logic is exactly what I expected. sorry to insult your religion sir.  It must be very important to you.

Maybe 1 mind could design the space shuttle. I really don’t know about that but I do know the without at least 1 mind the space shuttle couldn’t exist.

 

Interesting that you consider the term “pagan” to be an insult.

For those who are not religious bigots, the term “pagan” should be no more insulting than “Catholic” or “Lutheran” or “Methodist”.

If someone mistakes me for a pagan, I’ll no more offended than if that someone mistakes me for a Methodist instead…

Pagans, mainstream Catholics, mainstream Lutherans, and mainstream Methodists all have one thing in common – they do not share intelligent-design proponents’ anti-science ideology.

The vitriol hurled at people who subscribe to some variety of faith within their lifestyle by so called adherents to science is always fascinating. I suppose it comes largely due to a perceived threat. Theology is 100% faith and can not be proven right or wrong, that is why it is faith. Science requires faith as well since most scientific endeavors can not be proven as an absolute truth and therein lies the threat.

With AGW advocates this becomes particularly disturbing as AGW belief requires much faith. Especially given the lack of evidence and many times contradictory evidence. A true adherent of logic and reason must admit that AGW is open to debate as the evidence is not certain and in many aspects contradictory. For those adherent to catastrophic AGW faith is the central tenet of their beliefs and in many cases this forms the basis for a new religion. When you masquerade claim to hold an absolute truth and the evidence is fleeting, religion becomes an unflattering comparison.

When AGW advocates attack religion it is simply a form of self loathing. Quite ironic since the AGW movement uses many of the same techniques as religion.

The Republicans in the USA & Conservative parties around the world opposed to the science of AGW remind me of religious folk of last century & to a certain extent, this century.

If they didn’t understand it, it was the devils work. Today, people who don’t understand it , or can’t be bothered to, or are opposing it for political purposes are not so stupid to say it’s the devils work…okay…maybe I’d expect to hear it from Michelle Bachman or Rick Perry, but today, their lack of understanding is manifested as……it’s a scam….it’s a hoax.

 

I don’t think I will read this blog because they bash religion. I have a degree in Soviet Studies and am an expert on anti-religious propaganda, and this post is a real bore.

I think I will go back to reading what the Pontifical Academy of Sciences says about climate change instead of what some kid with a blog says.

 

“I think I will go back to reading what the Pontifical Academy of Sciences says about climate change instead of what some kid with a blog says.”

From what I have seen. Their stance is the exception, not the rule.

Snapple , do you deny that it was very common for religious societies of the past few centuries to torture, kill or imprison people who didn’t agree with church interpretation? Do you deny that people were murdered for “witchcraft”?

Accusations of witchcraft were often for things they simply didn’t understand.

 

Humanity has always been religious to the core and that religion has often proved to be harmful. It’s why some people become devout environmentalists. It’s not really for the planet or the people. It’s just a different outlet for the inescapable religious nature of the human frame.

Do you deny that avowed atheists like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, Ho Chi Minh, Nicolae Ceausescu, or Enver Hoxha, in one single century, tortured, killed, or imprisoned tens of millions of more people than all the religious abuses in human history put together?

Nice red herring David. My analogy was in regards to religion & beliefs. It was about how the church & the gullible would use it as a weapon against things they didn’t understand. Similarly with climate change deniers of today. They don’t understand it, so it’s the devils work….it’s magic…it’ a hoax…. it’s a scam & they refuse to rationally look at evidence.

You diverted the discussion into a discussion on body count. But while you are on the subject, there is a difference between Stalin etc & Christianity/Islam over the past 2000 years. One ( Stalin etc) killed for power, the others ( Christians/Catholics/Muslims) killed for their religious belief and power. Stalin etc was in power & killed for a few years. Christianity/Islam have been in power for the past 2000 years & have never stopped opposing & killings in the name of their religion.


 

“People deny climate change because their is no evidence to prove it”

Can’t see the trees for the forest springs to mind.

 

The word “denier” is awfully general. Who exactly escapes this broad brush label? And who is a “denier”? It can’t just be people who say they aren’t worried about global warming because words are just used with a particular audience in mind. It has to be actions. Anyone who lives a conspicuous fossil fuel consuming lifestyle is to some degree a defacto denier of the science. That’s the guy in your mirror.

Does your minus vote mean you can’t face the truth?  

Do you really need that vacation trip?

Can’t you bike to work tomorrow?

you aren’t really going to buy that meat are you?

it’s not like it’s all talk is it?

“Who exactly escapes this broad brush label? And who is a “denier”?”

Skeptical Science covered your comment nicely:

“http://www.skepticalscience.com/Understanding-climate-denial.html”

“Complaining about the word ‘denier’ can be a form of denial itself, using concern trolling to avoid a serious discussion of the scientific evidence.”

It’s not a broad label. It’s a very specific one. The majority of people who call themselves  AGW skeptics are actually skeptics. Then there are deniers. Like politicians that are being paid by fossil fuel companies through “donations” . They don’t want to stop the rivers of cash to flowing into their pockets from fossil fuel companies, so they will never accept the science while the money flows.

Then there are lobbyists, whose jobs it is to sway public opinion & put a spin on any negative affects of the product they represent. E.g. Tobacco, Fossil fuels. Again, while someone is paying them, they will keep pushing their agenda & spin into the public domain.

Lastly there are the rusted on political followers like yourself, Ralph, David, Recycle not, Rum etc. They listen to every misnomer that their side rants regardless of evidence & they pick & choose , mix & match to suit occasion. You have heard your party say that there is little evidence, or it’s a hoax, or a scam & thats good enough for you. You look no further. You are not interested in “the facts”. In your mind, as you have previously said:

” I think what happened is that the greens from the 70s were desperately looking for an issue that would grab public attention. They had “save the trees” and “save the whales” etc but those things had limited appeal.

Climate change tied to emissions gave them a new issue and they grabbed on.

The thing is those greens were leftists to the core and that was their main motivation and so climate change became a political issue. It became something with which they could battle and demonize the right. The right fought back because that’s what happens in a political battle.”

You identify yourself as a conservative & believe there is a politcal battle, when in reality it’s a scientific blockade. You oppose the “greens” & believe this is their new chosen cause & that the right needs defending against the AGW myth the greens/environmentalists have invented. It’s a call to arms for you.

The Climate Institute covered nicely the difference between skeptics & deniers:

http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/component/content/article/112-blogs/681-be-sceptical-of-climate-sceptics

There is a difference between a sceptic and a denier:

  • Scepticism is part of the scientific process of observation and experimentation; good scientists are sceptics. Good sceptics are willing to be lead by the facts, wherever they lead in the spirit of open inquiry. Good sceptics are motivated by the desire to advance our knowledge in a particular field and are open to changing their minds in light of compelling evidence.
  • Denialism is driven by ideology where the need to maintain the belief takes precedence over the evidence. A denier has decided their position in advance and looks through the data with the aim of confirming their pre-existing beliefs, ignoring the rest of evidence. A denier is not motivated by the desire to improve our understanding; many appear motivated by the desire to promote confusion and doubt about climate change. They are often linked in this case to the fossil fuel lobby or vested interests.

Skeptical science did a great story on it & added more:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/5-characteristics-of-scientific-denialism.html

5 characteristics common to most forms of denialism:

  1. Conspiracy theories
    When the overwhelming body of scientific opinion believes something is true, the denialist won’t admit scientists have independently studied the evidence to reach the same conclusion. Instead, they claim scientists are engaged in a complex and secretive conspiracy. The South African government of Thabo Mbeki was heavily influenced by conspiracy theorists claiming that HIV was not the cause of AIDS. When such fringe groups gain the ear of policy makers who cease to base their decisions on science-based evidence, the human impact can be disastrous.
  2. Fake experts
    These are individuals purporting to be experts but whose views are inconsistent with established knowledge. Fake experts have been used extensively by the tobacco industry who developed a strategy to recruit scientists who would counteract the growing evidence on the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. This tactic is often complemented by denigration of established experts, seeking to discredit their work. Tobacco denialists have frequently attacked Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, for his exposure of tobacco industry tactics, labelling his research ‘junk science’.
  3. Cherry picking
    This involves selectively drawing on isolated papers that challenge the consensus to the neglect of the broader body of research. An example is a paper describing intestinal abnormalities in 12 children with autism, which suggested a possible link with immunization. This has been used extensively by campaigners against immunization, even though 10 of the paper’s 13 authors subsequently retracted the suggestion of an association.
  4. Impossible expectations of what research can deliver
    The tobacco company Philip Morris tried to promote a new standard for the conduct of epidemiological studies. These stricter guidelines would have invalidated in one sweep a large body of research on the health effects of cigarettes.
  5. Misrepresentation and logical fallacies
    Logical fallacies include the use of straw men, where the opposing argument is misrepresented, making it easier to refute. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined in 1992 that environmental tobacco smoke was carcinogenic. This was attacked as nothing less than a ‘threat to the very core of democratic values and democratic public policy’.

Anyone who lives a conspicuous fossil fuel consuming lifestyle is to some degree a defacto denier of the science.

That’s the guy in your mirror.”

There is a difference between having little choice but to use fossil fuel products & denying  there is a problem with using them, or denying that they cause damage to our planet, or standing in the way of alternate clean energy sources.

That is not me….that is you.

 

I personally have no problem with the Label denier, afterall you are in very good company. Deniers are analytically minded people who think for themselves. They deny the BS that is spouted by the Global warming industrial complex and look for the truth within the lies.

Denialism Rocks!

Change often comes through churches in the US, so you should not trash religion. It makes you sound like the anti-clericalist Lord Monckton, who disparaged Dr. John Abraham’s Catholic St. John’s University a “bible college.”

Churches who teach about climate change are being attacked by denialists. The denialists often post “religious” information on the Internet to confuse people about their denomination’s position on climate change.

This young, foolish blogger is mistaking astroturf ”religious” organizations for real denominations. He is falling into the trap of trashing religious people so they will think that climate change is somehow anti-religious.

More mature scientists speak at churches and are well-received.

Are you trying to get support for climate change or are you trying to spread the denialist meme that religion is not compatible with climate change?

You have a picture of the “Church of Christ.” You, like the denialists, are trying to fool people about the position of their churches. There are even fake “Catholic” astroturf sites that deny climate change. Look at the Vatican and the US Council of Bishops. Look at what the denominations say on their official sites.

The position of the United Church of Christ is the same as the Catholics–climate change is happening; the IPCC is right. Please post this and discuss what it says instead of depicting Christians as backward morons:

http://www.ucc.org/synod/resolutions/climate-change-final.pdf

A Resolution on Climate Change 

2  (Resolution of Witness) 

3  Resolution

5  WHEREAS, the impact of global warming, as currently predicted and understood by leading 

6  scientists and scientific bodies around the world in reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel 

7  on Climate Change, as well as in reports of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 

8  and the National Academy of Sciences, will dramatically and negatively alter God’s gracious gift 

9  of creation; 

10 

11  WHEREAS, the effects of global warming are already clearly evidenced in the melting of 

12  glaciers and shrinking of the polar caps, threatening the polar bear with extinction and the Native 

13  Peoples of the Artic with loss of food resources, land, ancient traditions and ways of being in the 

14  world; 

15 

16  WHEREAS, experts speak with a profound sense of urgency and clearly state that the window 

17  of opportunity to avoid catastrophic climate change is rapidly diminishing; 

18 

19  WHEREAS, the predicted impact of global warming will have a disproportionate impact on 

20  those living in poverty, least developed countries, the elderly and children and those least 

21  responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases; 

22 

23  THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Twenty-sixth General Synod of the United Church 

24  of Christ admits Christian complicity in the damage human beings have caused to the earth’s 

25  climate system and other planetary life systems, and urges recommitment to the Christian 

26  vocation of responsible stewardship of God’s creation, and expresses profound concern for the 

27  pending environmental, economic, and social tragedies threatened by global warming, to 

28  creation, human communities and traditional sacred spaces; 

29 

30  WE FURTHER RESOLVE that the Twenty-sixth General Synod of the United Church of 

31  Christ urges the United States Government to respond to global warming with great urgency and 

32  firm leadership by supporting mandatory measures that reduce the absolute amount of green 

33  house gas emissions, and in particular emissions of carbon dioxide, to levels recommended by 

34  nationally and internationally recognized and respected scientific bodies; 

35 

36  WE FURTHER RESOLVE that the Twenty-sixth Synod of the United Church of Christ urges 

37  state and local governments to support and invest in energy conservation and, specifically, in 

38  sustainable, renewable and affordable systems of transportation, and calls on business and 

39  industry to lead in responses to global warming through increased investments in efficient and 

40  sustainable energy technologies that are economically accessible and just;   

41 

42  WE FURTHER RESOLVE that the Twenty-sixth General Synod of the United Church of 

43  Christ urges all segments of the Church to address global warming in their decisions and 

44  investments and in their educational and advocacy efforts; 

45 

46  TO THAT END, the Twenty-sixth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls on the 

47  Covenanted Ministries of the United Church of Christ, specifically Wider Church Ministries and 

48  Justice and Witness Ministries, to address the severe nature of this global warming crisis as one 

49  of the most urgent threats to humankind and, indeed, all of God’s precious planet earth and that 

50  Local Church Ministries develop materials to help churches “green” their buildings. 

51 52  FUNDING

53 

54  Funding for the implementation of this resolution will be made in accordance with the overall 

55  mandates of the affected agencies and the funds available. 

56 

57  IMPLEMENTATION

58 

59  Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries are requested to be the primary 

60  implementer of this resolution. 

 

Four hundred years ago the Catholic Church and also scientists of the time couldn’t get their heads around heliocentrism. Galileo, a proud member of the Vatican’s Academy Lincei, said:

The Bible teaches men how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

That is what many Christians say.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is planning a series of workshops on climate change. The recent workshop on Glaciers in the Anthropocene was lead by Pontifical Academicians Ramanathan and Crutzen.

We are honored that these great men of science are teaching us.

This young blogger is not being helpful. Instead of writing about how the Churches are facing climate change, he is claiming they are the culprits. Even the most fundamentalist, ignorant church did not cook up climate change denialism. It is being fed to them disguised as Christianity.

Seems to me this young blogger could learn a lot if he would read what is happening in churches and encourage the education of people. The denialists are trashing Christians who accept climate change as “cultists.” This is exactly how communists talked about Christians in the former USSR. The amazing thing, is that some poorly-informed Christians believe this anti-religious propaganda.

You are spreading the same anti-religious propaganda as the denialists who are attacking Christians and calling our schools to tell us not to teach about climate change. 

I came to this site to read about science, not to be harangued by ill-informed anti-religious propaganda that I can read on the astroturf ”religious” sites where Lord Monckton hangs out when he is not giving interviews to the Kremlin’s English-language satelllite TV channel Russia Today.

Snapple, there is a lot to go through there, so I will be back for some more discussion on this, as what you say is very interesting & your perspective would be greatly appreciated.

But for the moment, what do you say about the head of the Catholic church (Cardinal George Pell) here in Australia so opposed to the science of AGW that he demanded a letter be tabled in parliament, voicing the churches opposition to the science?

http://www.readfearn.com/2011/02/cardinal-pells-mine-of-climate-misinformation/

http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S13298.pdf

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/pell-row-with-climate-scientist-heats-up-20110313-1bsx6.html

There might be a directive from the top, but it seems few are listening, or obeying. It’s a bit like laws being in place for speeding, or jaywalking, or littering etc. Just because there is a law, doesn’t mean people follow it.


 

I will be giving a presentation to Catholic teachers on the history of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. We will learn about the Pontifical Academy’s workshop on Astrobiology and about the melting glaciers. We will see the Pope talk with the astronauts on the space station from the Vatican library and say that he wants to hear what they say. The astronauts told the Pope about how delicate our atmosphere is and how wars might be prevented by solar power.

I am sure this was no accident.

The Vatican is saying: listen to the scientists! The Jesuit Father Funes who is in charge of the Vatican’s observatory is saying that we should not be afraid of science.

Father Funes observed:

“Faith and science are not irreconcilable…Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI [have said]: faith and reason are the two wings which elevate the human spirit. There is no contradiction between what we know through faith and what we learn through science. There may be tensions or conflicts, but we should not be afraid. The Church must not fear science and its discoveries. As was the case with Galileo.”

 

L’extraterrestre è mio fratello”

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/or/or_quo/interviste/2008/112q08a1.html

Nasty attacks on Churches only makes people believe that they have to choose between religion and science. All you do is make it harder to educate people.

Maybe you should do some research on churches instead of spewing ignorant prejudices. If you have a scientific mind, you should be able to do this.

Dr. Man has gone to events the Vatican hosted and he has spoken before religious groups and had good experiences.

“The Vatican is saying: listen to the scientists! The Jesuit Father Funes who is in charge of the Vatican’s observatory is saying that we should not be afraid of science.”

Yet, one of their most senior members disagrees. How many others are listening to the vatican? It appears the message from the oil industry is much more powerful for them than any church authority or the word of God.

 

Some poster noted that people used to be persecuted by the church. This often involved politics and the ignorance of the times throughout the society. The churches also were centers of learning, art, and science. Many clerics were scientists. The church built hospitals and cared for the poor. They transmitted to Europe the classical heritage. The scientists were often clerics. Some Popes were even astronomers.

During Medieval Times, Christian writers said that people should be compassionate toward people who were transformed into werewolves. Probably the people were suffering from some illness such as ergot poisoning.

http://www.waynecountyschools.org/15062011121338720/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=296411&C=56312

The symptoms of “bewitchment” are the same as ergot poisoning. People actually died in huge numbers after they were “bewitched” and others were frightened. You have to understand that people thought this was witchcraft, not a disease. 

America was the first democracy. We also had slavery.

Martin Luther King was a great civil rights leader, a minister, and a womanizer who cheated on his wife.

All human institutions are a mixed bag.

Those of you who attack religion are damaging your chances of solving global warming.

You need allies, not enemies. Love is patient.

I am a teacher. They listen to me because I treat them with respect and love. I don’t tell them what ignorant, benighted morons they are. Usually…:) 

Here are some statements from religious organizations about climate change. Some are more than 20 years old, when this young blogger was a child. 

http://www.webofcreation.org/ncc/statements/faithstatements.html

Faith Statements & Resolutions on Climate Change

The following is a growing collection of statements and resolutions by faith groups on the issue of climate change. They reflect the beliefs and theology of the particular denomination or faith group. These statements may be helpful, not only to those of the particular faith group, but to all of us as we apply our beliefs to this urgent issue. Congregations may want to use them for study sessions on why climate change is a religious issue. These statements can also serve as models to other faith groups desiring to develop their own statements or resolutions.

Another section of the Web of Creation, Religious Education: Social Policy Statements, also includes more general environmental statements by faith groups.

  • American Baptist Church
  • Church of the Brethren
  • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Commissioners’ Resolution 98-5, On Global Climate Change
  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Overture 99-70, On Climate Change and the Persistence of Its Causes
  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Restoring Creation for Ecology & Justice (an excerpt from the 1990 General Assembly Paper)
  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Synod of the Trinity
  • Reformed Church in America
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Society of Friends (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting)
  • United Church of Christ



Here are the Presbyterians in 1990 making a resolution on climate change.

http://www.webofcreation.org/ncc/statements/pcusa.html

 

Maybe this blogger wasn’t born yet, so he missed this. 

 

Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Statement on Global Climate Change
an excerpt from the 1990 General Assembly policy paper

5. Area Five: Overcoming Atmospheric Instability - Global Warming and Ozone Depletion.

Background information on ozone depletion and global warming may be found in Part I of this report, in “Keeping and Healing the Creation,” pp. 21-25, and in Church and Society Magazine (March/April 1990).

We note that the phenomena determining climate are very complex and that scientific opinion varies with respect to the reliability of models projecting temperature increases. The weight of evidence, however, justifies a serious response to the threat of global warming.

Ozone depletion and global warming have risen rapidly to head the list of concerns about the future of creation. They are significantly different from other problems in several respects. They have to do with global problems that lie ahead and cannot now be measured. No place on earth will be unaffected, however. Without united action worldwide, no nation can do much about global warming and ozone depletion. They represent the unintended consequences of proud industrial achievements. The gases released were not toxic. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have had all sorts of beneficial uses, and we breathe air with CO2 in it. Now in the upper atmosphere these gases are doing enormous damage. But we cannot get them down again. We can only stop sending them up and thereby limit the damage.

In the case of CO2, substantial reduction of emissions means changing the energy basis of our whole civilization. We knew that fossil fuels would not last indefinitely; but suddenly the danger is that they will last too long, that the world will not make the transition soon enough to simpler, more efficient, and renewable energy sources and technologies.

In August 1989, the United Church of Canada and eight European churches came to a “Covenantal Agreement Regarding the Threat of Global Warming.” They did this in connection with the meeting in Basel, Switzerland, of Protestant and Catholic Christians from East and West Europe on the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation theme of the World Council of Churches. They agreed to work together on the problem of global warming and to give particular attention to the role of energy. They have already made an important approach to governments by advocating cooperation on reduction in the use of fossil fuels by means of energy-saving technologies and the development of renewable (solar) energy supplies. They presented comments and policy statements to the October 1989 environmental meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, of governments belonging to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

These are significant developments. An invitation has come to U.S. churches, through their representatives on the NCC Eco-Justice Working Group and through their delegates to the 1990 World Convocation on JPIC in Seoul, Korea, to participate in this international cooperative effort of churches on global warming.

The 202nd General Assembly (1990) recommends:

1. Ecumenical Participation and International Participation

  1. The Presbyterian Church (USA) declares its serious concern, in concert with ecumenical partners, that the global atmospheric warming trend (the greenhouse effect) represents one of the most serious global environmental challenges to the health, security, and stability of human life and natural ecosystems; and
  2. The church affirms its intention to participate in ecumenical efforts to address this challenge cooperatively with Canadian and European churches and the conciliar movement.
  3. The General Assembly affirms its intention to participate in the United Nations International Conference on Environment and Development, to be held in 1992, and requests a report to a subsequent General Assembly as appropriate.

2. Policies on Global Warming

  1. The United States, as consumer of nearly a quarter of the world’s energy, must take the lead in reducing its own combustion of fossil fuels and shifting to renewable sources of energy which do not contribute to the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide.
  2. Appropriate response to the warnings of impending climate change requires an extended frame of reference for decision-making by governments, international agencies, industries, educational institutions, churches, and community organizations. The US government, other governments, the United Nations, and appropriate scientific organizations should increase their capability to monitor and project trends in atmospheric temperature and to make broad environmental and social assessments.
  3. The United States should work through the United Nations and appropriate diplomatic channels to reach firm international agreements and for halting deforestation and promoting reforestation. Some programs already in place should be given an enlarged role and increased funding - the U.N. Environment Programme, for example, and the U.N.’s programs on development and population.
  4. The United States government should adopt legislation and administrative policies, with adequate funding, for vigorously stepped-up research and development and energy-efficient technologies.
  5. The US government should promote the introduction and use of energy-efficient technologies by applying carefully targeted incentives and disincentives.
  6. Similarly, the US government should adopt legislation and administrative policies, with adequate funding, to step up research and development on the various sources and technologies for social energy. Appropriate incentives and disincentives to accelerate the transition to an economy based on renewable, safe, nonpolluting, affordable energy should be developed and implemented.
  7. The United States and other industrialized nations should assist developing countries to achieve the energy sufficiency necessary for the general improvement of living standards that these countries desperately need. This assistance should include appropriate technology transfers for pollution control and energy efficiency. In particular, assistance will be necessary to enable developing countries to find equitable solutions to the problems of debt and land use that figure heavily in the destruction of their forests.
  8. The US Environmental Protection Agency should act promptly to strengthen fuel economy and emission standards for automobiles, buses, and trucks by mandating and consistently enforcing a schedule of energy efficiency improvements, leading to a substantially higher standard of efficiency within a few years. Incentive and disincentives to encourage consumers to choose fuel-efficient vehicles will also be in order.
  9. Comparable standard-setting and incentive-generating measures should be advanced by the US Bureau of Standards with respect to efficiency improvements in lighting, heating, air-conditioning, appliances, building construction, the weatherization of existing buildings, and the co-generation of heat and electricity (with legislation as necessary where the bureau’s powers do not apply). As more efficient technologies become available, public policy should encourage and facilitate their adoption and use by individuals and businesses.
  10. Public policy should encourage alternatives to private automobiles. Alternatives include municipal mass transit, railroads, bicycles, and walking.

3. Policies on Ozone Depletion

To a large extent the kinds of policies needed for reducing the emissions of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-destroying gases parallel the policies required for reducing the buildup of the greenhouse gases. The CFCs, which are the leading cause of ozone depletion, also add significantly to the greenhouse effect. To protect the ozone shield, there is clearly need for international action through

  1. leadership by the United States, which is the largest contributor to the problem;
  2. a longer-term and global frame of reference, with improved foresight capability by governments and international agencies;
  3. strong international agreements and cooperative arrangements; specifically, firm adherence to the Montreal and Helsinki agreements on phasing out the production of CFCs by the end of the century and discontinuing the other ozone-destroying chemicals as soon as possible, with continuing efforts to bring additional nations into the pact;
  4. improved technologies and development of acceptable substitutes for the chemicals that must be phased out; rapid shifts in production processes;
  5. assistance to developing countries by providing them with information, training, funding mechanisms, and technology transfers that will enable them to participate in the Montreal-Helsinki pact and have access to the improved technologies and substitute chemicals;
  6. strict standards, in line with international agreements but enforced by governments;
  7. incentives and disincentives that lead actors in a market economy to make environmentally rational decisions.

4. Church Support Through Personal and Institutional Practice

  1. The American people, beginning with members of our churches, must be challenged to form personal habits consistent with the need to cut back on the emissions of the gases that are causing the greenhouse effect and the depletion of the ozone layer. This means energy conservation and cutting back on the use of fossil fuel energy. It means avoiding foams made with CFCs and making sure that CFC-based coolant is not released when air conditioners are serviced.
  2. The greenhouse and ozone problems reinforce the call to a less materialistic and wasteful style of life. It is unrealistic and self-serving to think that efficient and renewable technologies, now in the early stage of the transition, will take effect fast enough to provide sufficient insurance against the potentially disastrous consequences of global warming - unless there is also a move away from unnecessary and wasteful production and consumption.
  3. The church in its own life must teach, exemplify, and advocate the values and principles, policies and practices that break down the ozone. Obviously the church must be responsible in the construction and maintenance of its own buildings. If habits of conservation and responsible consuming are cultivated consistently, we shall discover many practical applications of our values.

As this report has repeatedly made clear, the affliction of the creation will not be healed unless that human part of creation undergoes significant personal and institutional transformation. Our recommendations suggest something of what the transformation may entail, but they fall far short of prescribing all that is needed. That will be the agenda for the coming years.

[x]

For more than a year, oil giant BP has waged a massive public relations battle to convince Americans that the company has been bamboozled by the oil spill claims process relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout.

This BP PR campaign has involved full-page newspaper ads paid for...

read more