Tag Archives: creationists

Yes, Marco Rubio IS a creationist

Some people around the series of tubes are having a laugh at GOP rising star Senator Marco Rubio for saying not only does he not know how old the earth is, but that the issue is a matter of debate between science and creationism:

I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians… I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Yes, Senator Rubio, we certainly can answer that.

Some people have taken the devil’s advocate position that what Rubio is saying should be defended, because he makes some mention of deferring to experts, and that’s a step in the right direction relative to the broad anti-science sentiment on the American right.

I don’t think even a generous parsing of Rubio’s comments can support that reading, though. It seems pretty clear that he’s saying we should give false balance between reality and creationist twaddle. And when you look at Rubio’s history, his creationism isn’t all that hard to see.

In Florida in 2008, creationists tried to water down teaching on evolution by introducing SB 2692. Marco Rubio voted in support of this creationist legislation. Moreover, although Senator Rubio seems to indicate in the above quote that he thinks children should be taught both the creationist views of the parents as well as what science actually says, in reality, Rubio opposes public schools teaching science that conflicts with creationist parenting:

The “crux” of the disagreement [over teaching evolution in public schools], according Rubio, is “whether what a parent teaches their children at home should be mocked and derided and undone at the public school level. It goes to the fundamental core of who is ultimately, primarily responsible for the upbringing of children. Is it your public education system or is it your parents?”

Rubio added, “And for me, personally, I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.”

Senator Rubio is a creationist, who supports creationist legislation, and does not want public schools to teach scientific reality because it conflicts with creationist parenting.

And just a reminder, creationist Senators are nothing particularly new, nor are they restricted to the Republican party:

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.

Yes, Sarah Palin IS a creationist

Contra some in the comments all those months [edit: over a year!] ago, Sarah Palin’s memoir is unambiguous on this issue:

Elsewhere in this volume she talks about creationism, saying she “didn’t believe in the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or from “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.”

and:

“But your dad’s a science teacher,” Schmidt objected. “Yes.” “Then you know that science proves evolution,” added Schmidt. “Parts of evolution,” I [Palin] said. “But I believe that God created us and also that He can create an evolutionary process that allows species to change and adapt.” Schmidt winced and raised his eyebrows. In the dim light, his sunglasses shifted atop his hear. I had just dared to mention the C-word: creationism. But I felt I was on solid factual ground.

Although this has obviously disturbing implications re: the kind of leader millions of Americans want to see in the White House, there are two finer, interrelated points to be made which actually bring this post back on topic.

The first is that creationism and climate denialism overlap a great deal, not just among the average evangelical Christian and biblical literalist, but also at the highest levels of US legislature and amongst the “foremost” climate change “skeptics”.

The second is that this is no accident, no mere co-incidence of ideologies (i.e. Christianism and anti-regulation fundamentalism). As I wrote regarding Palin previously, people who live in a world where the ultimate cause of everything is literally “God did it” are not going to accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

Palin expresses exactly such a worldview in her memoir:

In everything that happens to her, from meeting Todd to her selection by Mr. McCain for the Republican ticket, she sees the hand of God: “My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over.”

To see how this manifests in climate policy, once again, the great Senator from Oklahoma proves to be an illuminating if disheartening example.

Inhofe:

I think he’s [a radio caller] right. I think what he’s saying is God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles.

And of course Inhofe is neither an inconsequential figure (he was the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for many years and is its current Ranking Member), nor alone in the US Government-

Joe Barton is former Chair and the current Ranking Member of the House of Representative’s Committee on Energy and Commerce, and argued against using wind turbines to generate electricity because it would interfere with God’s regulation of the climate:

Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.

Representative John Shimkus is also on the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as its Energy and Environment subcommittee. He has argued against curbing emissions because:

The earth will end only when God declares its time is over.

As I wrote previously, someone’s religious beliefs do not a priori invalidate what he or she has to say about a subject, scientific or otherwise. However, it is undeniable that there are religious sects that are clearly hostile to reality as described by science, and whose adherents have no trouble either lying about or dismissing scientific evidence when it conflicts with their beliefs. Attempting to convince the Sarah Palins, Roy Spencers, and James Inhofes, et al. of the necessity of reducing emissions simply via the merits of the science is a fool’s errand. They need to be bypassed (or co-opted through a top down religious campaign), as they will not be won over through evidence and reason.

[UPDATE: Palin is of course out promoting her book, and had this to say about climate science on today’s Rush Limbaugh’s radio show:

I think there’s a lot of snake oil science involved in that and somebody’s making a whole lot of money off people’s fears that the world is… It’s kind of tough to figure out with the shady science right now, what are we supposed to be doing right now with our climate. Are we warming or are we cooling? I don’t think Americans are even told anymore if it’s global warming or just climate change. And I don’t attribute all the changes to man’s activities. I think that this is, in a lot of respects, cyclical and the earth does cool and it warms.

Just in case anyone was in doubt about her climate denialism bona fides.]

Ones for the Road II