Intelligent Designers Enlist Climate Skeptics in the War on Reality

Thu, 2010-03-04 07:28Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Intelligent Designers Enlist Climate Skeptics in the War on Reality

Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools. The linkage of evolution and global warming  is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general. They are also capitalizing on rising public resistance in some quarters to accepting the science of global warming, particularly among political conservatives who oppose efforts to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases.

Previous Comments

It would be interesting to know if Ian Plimer has made allegiances here considering how he was treated. Maybe he has because he seems to have adopted their debating style - Gish Gallop and evasion.

The political situation in the United States is very worrisome. They are not conservatives. They’re modern-day fascists. By the time they awake from their slumber they’ll find that the Chinese own them - lock, stock and barrel and the American mid-west has become a dust bowl.

I’m all for this idea. People desperately need to learn the critical skills to tell science from nonsense. The best way to do this is giving them tools to decide for themselves between competing theories. All too often, climate change science is pushed on people in a rather patrician way - at least in the UK, the recent government ad was just awful -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w62gsctP2gc

It actually sounds like the govt is talking to people as though they’re children.

Now, am I right to have faith that people - given the tools of critical thinking and a little stats 101 - would be able to tell corroboratable scientific theory from pseudoscience/cuckoo science/cargo cult science?

To be “a science” or just plain scientific as opposed to non-scientific, all you need is a theory whose falsification can be stated. Take Evolution. Darwinism would be immediately refuted were someone to find rabbit fossils in the pre-cambrian layer. But where is the possible refutation of Intelligent Design? I’ve never heard of one, and cannot conceive how it could be refuted. This is because Intelligent Design is not a science, it’s a faith. Nothing wrong with faith mind you - it’s just not the same thing as science.

AGW is clearly a science because a refutation can be stated. For example, while no-one argues with the idea that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (the physics was established ages ago, and is as sound as anything in science can possibly be), what is less certain is the theory of CO2 forcing (the thing that multiplies the greenhousiness of CO2), without which increases in CO2 would be negligible in their effect. Thus the IPCC models implement the hypothesis of CO2 forcing, so that increases in CO2 in the atmosphere will result in (forced) temperature increments of x degrees. Without other considerations within the models, the lack of temperature increase over the past ten years or so - in spite of marked increases in atmospheric CO2 - would invalidate the models, and hence refute the hypothesis that increased atmospheric CO2 will result in significant global temperature increases.

Thus climate science is a science, while Intelligent Design is a faith. It’s not useful to conflate the two.

I’m a non creationist, non ID, evangelical christian and it seems to me that in combating the creationists most people are missing a trick. Instead of trying to debate a creationist on the science try debating them on the theology. Creationism is a simple misreading of Genesis 1 to 3 and ID is also essentially the same just a bit more subtle (hint: find someone who reads Hebrew and ask them if they believe Gen 1 to 3 is talking about a six day creation).

We know the problem when debating the science with a creationist i.e. they are sitting there thinking, “ah, but God’s word is superior to science”. So go with that and instead ask them why they interpret Gen 1 to 3 the way they do and ask them to justify it….. e.g. from the Hebrew.

They will be rattled. Funnily enough a non christian will have better success than me because when I do this with a creationist I get one of two reactions or both. The first is a pouty lower lip because they are upset another christian doesn’t suport them in this infernal battle or they class me as having gone over to the dark side i.e. become a liberal in biblical belief (which I’m not).

Take the fight onto their ground but be careful you aren’t as ignorant of Gen 1 to 3 and its context as a creationist is.