Yes, Rush Limbaugh IS a creationist

And yes, this directly informs his climate denialism. Via Media Matters:

While CO2 does indeed play a role in photosynthesis, the idea (frequently touted by industry front groups) that this process somehow provides an unlimited buffer to the addition of massive amounts of carbon to the atmosphere is simply absurd, as is the idea that humans are incapable of severely damaging their environment.

Some will no doubt consider this to be unworthy of attention and discussion, as Limbaugh (in order to avoid accountability for his disinformation) likes to hide behind the fig leaf that he is only an “entertainer” and has no real political power. This is quite obviously false. Limbaugh is seen by many as the face of conservatism in the United States.

For more on the problematic coupling of antiscience religious sects and climate denialism in the American scientific and political discourse, see Yes, Sarah Palin IS a creationist and Yes, Roy Spencer IS a creationist.

For a look at a path towards replacing religious-based climate denialism with climate reality from faith-friendly groups, see Katharine Hayhoe‘s (and husband’s) A Climate For Change and DaySix.org.

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10 responses to “Yes, Rush Limbaugh IS a creationist

  1. Not only is this bad science, but I’d say it’s bad theology. It’s really just a weird emotionalism, but it is to a large degree linked to their understanding of faith.

    To be fair to Spencer, I don’t think he’s a literal 6-Day young earth creationist. The word ‘creationist’ tends to have that connotation.

    But a ‘creationist’ can span anywhere from young earth crazies, to ID people who allow for and old earth and evolution but think they have a scientific proof that God exists, all the way to Francis Collins (who both believes in God and accepts whatever understanding is brought by science, and rejects ID).

    I see this scale as a gradient from crazy to confused to rational, but all could be called creationists.

  2. Spencer might indeed be better categorized as an ID Creationist, rather than a YEC. It is clear that he has decided to let his religious beliefs distort his understanding of science, which is the ultimate problem.

    This sort of ideology over evidence almost never happens in a vacuum, either- Spencer has in other venues alluded to other fact-less, far right ideological beliefs (the anti-Rachel Carson/DDT myth being one of them).

  3. I’ve babbled about the increasing ties between creationists and climate denialists too. I used to think it was creationists latching on to climate denialism, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s the reverse: the evangelical environmental movement is getting too strong, so the rightwingers are throwing a monkeywrench in the movement by tying it to evolution.

  4. Brian:

    I don’t think there’s any concerted effort by anybody to do anything. It’s just a matter of people’s emotions and inclinations, spoken or unspoken. People in general have trouble getting their heads around the idea that they could affect the climate; those who believe in a highly involved God might think that only God could do such a thing.

    Those given to teleological arguments think the Earth was made expressly for human life; they have trouble thinking that anybody but God could mess it up.

    At least, that’s what I make of it.

  5. Those given to teleological arguments think the Earth was made expressly for human life; they have trouble thinking that anybody but God could mess it up.

    If they think that way then they have major, major issues with consistency of thought, given that the Bible’s main theme is how humans are the ones who have created all the problems, mainly for themselves, but also for the rest of “creation”.

    I think it’s more of just a general reaction against anything that smacks of coming from the “liberal” side of the world–i.e. the lumping of all potential threats to the perceived status quo, or sense of security, together. Logic’s not a big part of it. Still, how anyone can think 6 billion humans can’t wreak havoc on the planet is beyond simple illogic. It’s denial of simple observation.

  6. It is surely no coincidence that the US has the highest proportion of evolution deniers and AGW deniers in the economically developed world. Once people accept that all academic biologists are lying/part of a conspiracy it is an east step for them to accept that most climate scientists to accept that almost all academic climate scientists are lying/part of a conspiracy.

    This due to well-organized conservative evangelical fundamentalists, who are a minority amongst Christians. Catholics account for 65% of those who call themselves Christians.

    Fortunately, Pope Benedict accepts the science of climate change cf his message for Copenhagen here http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20091208_xliii-world-day-peace_en.html and his message to the UN General Assembly also http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/april/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080418_un-visit_en.html

    Vatican City is also the first (albeit tiny) carbon neutral state http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/03/business/worldbusiness/03iht-carbon.4.7366547.html

    John Paul II said to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences “evolution is more than an hypothesis” http://www.saint-mike.org/library/papal_library/john_paulii/addresses/evolution.html

  7. Jim: I think it’s all just emotional, gut-feeling sort of stuff. That, and the greenhouse effect is not easily observed, nor intuitive.

    If I told people I was going to build a giant shield that blocked out the sun’s rays, they’d have a sense that this might have a climate impact, even if they couldn’t work out the maths of what the impact would be. You can’t say that about greenhouse gases.

    • I agree c.e. In fact I think this “if it’s not intuitively obvious to me, the the scientists must have it wrong” attitude explains a lot of the general anti-science reaction we see. They don’t have any idea how far beyond them scientists have gone. Some few do start to get it however, and then realize, oh man, I must’ve looked like an idiot making the arguments I did.

  8. Evidence that my reading is not off-base:

    “NOT long after the flood, when Noah was safely back on dry land, God promised: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man…And never again will I destroy all living creatures.” The implication is clear. “Man will not destroy this earth,” says John Shimkus, a Bible-reading Republican congressman from Illinois. So there is no need to worry about global warming.”

    http://www.economist.com/world/united-states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15453166

    This is the level of thinking we’re dealing with here.

    I’m sorry to say, but it’s just plain dumb in so many ways. It’s even nonsensical, theologically.

    And does he really think the Earth is going to be ‘destroyed’? Rep Shimkus, you’ll be happy to know that while 3 C of warming will have some adverse impacts, the earth will continue to exist, there will still be living things on it, and not everything will be underwater.

  9. “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slightest details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds.”

    This quote from Einstein comes close to my own views. Throughout history and also in the present time there have been those who through their own efforts have experienced what can only be called the ineffable. I am not referring to some occasional experience but one that is reliably repeatable and has a profound and positive effect on that persons experience of reality. Contrary to conventional thought, it does not require belief. When I hear people debating science verses creationism or intelligent design, I think they all miss the point. If there is a creator, he/she is infinite, and infinity cannot be grasped or described by any religious or scientific idea. To me, the intelligent design people are getting warm but still are conceiving of a finite limited creator. Anything that can be conceived cannot be it.

    I say this as someone who is an avid defender of science and has a blog on climate change, which I hope is a contribution to countering anti science climate change denial.

    Oh I have my beliefs, but I recognize them as such, not as absolute certainties.

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