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IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Are most climate skeptics also Young Earth Creationists?

Asked by IchtheosaurusRex (8661points) December 8th, 2009

The far right are howling over the stolen emails from CRU. Scientists are dismissing them as pests. Sounds familiar. I just wonder if the people who think Global Warming is a massive conspiracy headed by Al Gore are the same ones who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

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120 Answers

stratman37's avatar

As a Christian, I’m tired of being told I’m misled or misinformed just because I believe something that some man told me. What do you think scientists are? Did YOU do the research? No. You’re just believing what some man told YOU, aren’t you?

belakyre's avatar

Um…just to let you know. I am a Christian but I do not think Global Warming is a massive conspiracy at all. Not trying to be harsh, but what you just so flamboyantly displayed was bigotry and misunderstanding of other people just because of their religion.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

You can be a Christian and not believe in biblical inerrancy.

stratman37's avatar

please expound…

Ivan's avatar


“What do you think scientists are?”

You obviously have no idea what the answer to this question is.

belakyre's avatar

Biblical inerrancy? Excuse me? If you are an evolutionist, please explain what initiated the Big Bang, please explain to me how everything came to being when the chances of evolution happening are astronomically low?! Now, before you reply, I believe in micro-evolution (Variations within a species, like say different skin color for humans) but changing from a dog like creature to a whale? No way.

stratman37's avatar

@Ivan, then what IS the answer?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@belakyre, this is not about the Big Bang. It’s about climate change. Stick to the topic, or I will actively ignore you.

belakyre's avatar

@ichtheosaurusRex I was addressing the term “biblical inerrancy”. Forgive me for being rash, but I’m not in a very good mood tonight. Can you please accept my apology?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It’s morning where I am, but I’m long on forgiveness. If my tone seems a bit strident, it’s because I’m very concerned about the Earth’s future.

stratman37's avatar

Ivan, that sounds very official and all, but they ARE just men, eh?

Ivan's avatar


They certainly are. They’re also certainly not telling you what to believe, and accepting scientific conclusions has very little to do with blindly accepting what scientists tell you.

Fyrius's avatar

With all due respect to the topic I’m blatantly not sticking to for the duration of this remark, may I suggest you read up on what it is you’re trying to argue against? Nothing you said holds any water at all against what evolution theory really says.

What makes scientists reliable is that they literally dedicate their lives to ostensibly being as reliable as they can be, that their careers hinge upon their following a strict code of conduct meticulously designed to force them to be so, and that they have gone through years or decades of hard work to get a piece of paper that says they know what they’re talking about. A degree.
There’s nothing wrong with taking someone’s word for it, if you have good rational reason to trust them. But not all humans are equally trustworthy.

Furthermore, what @Ivan said.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It took this discussion around 38 seconds to go off topic. Wonder if that’s a Fluther record.

Ivan's avatar

The answer to this question is probably no. I’d safely bet that most young earth creationists are climate skeptics, however.

Fyrius's avatar

I believe the credibility of scientists is very much on-topic.

stratman37's avatar

Theologians ALSO have a degree, they also follow a strict code, etc. Do you think they want to risk THEIR careers with unfounded truths?

Fyrius's avatar

What exactly do theologians tell you that contradicts science proper?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Fyrius , there is less damage to the credibility of scientists than the people howling about those emails would have you believe. But the YECs have been challenging their credibility all along, which might explain the defensive posturing scientists have taken of late. The Bush Administration was extremely hostile to science.

stratman37's avatar

@Fyrius, I know where you’re headed. But you’re assuming that all of the scientific community thinks alike. They don’t. And just because there are different doctrines doesn’t mean that the truth isn’t in there somewhere.

Ivan's avatar


I’m going to have to deviate from Fyrius here and say that having a degree is not necessarily what makes a scientist credible. It’s science itself that makes a scientist credible. Science is simply a method purposefully designed to ensure accuracy. It happens to work, so we use it. Science is not a bunch of guys in white lab coats telling you what is true and what is false.

stratman37's avatar

And the church is not a bunch of guys in priestly robes telling you what to believe.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Um, so how old is the Earth, and is it getting hotter because of industrial activity? Just a little straw poll here.

Ichy says 4.5 billion years, and yes.

ragingloli's avatar

Scientists take their truths from years of observations and study of the real world and experiments.
Theologians take their “truths” from thousands of years old books of dubious origin and claims of limited to no verifiability.

stratman37's avatar

You’re not gonna trust carbon dating, are you?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Carbon dating is only good for about 30,000 years. You need to go to lead and uranium if you’re talking about rocks.

Ivan's avatar

lol, I’m going to work before this turns into every stereotypical creationism debate ever.


stratman37's avatar

Well, can we just agree that no one is gonna convert anyone here? I’ll try to get back to the topic. I believe that global warming research has a LONG way to go before I’m convinced.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

But we look at tree rings and ice cores to get an idea about past global temperatures. Took humans 500,000 years to invent a good thermometer.

stratman37's avatar

to get an idea – exactly. And that idea is touted as the gospel truth, when it shouldn’t be.

ragingloli's avatar

I believe that global warming research has a LONG way to go before I’m convinced.
And how long would that be? The fact is that we have more evidence for the theory of evolution than for any other theory (including electromagnetism, gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics) in science.
And you don’t believe in the ToE.

Fyrius's avatar

Heh, I know better than to ignore how much different fields can disagree with each other. I’m a generative linguistics student and I think computational linguistics is a load of under-informed baloney.
But I’d like you to answer my question, please. What is the subject on which you would give precedence to your religious beliefs over the results of science?

To join @IchtheosaurusRex’ poll, I think the world is a few billion years old, the nebular hypothesis is probably how the earth formed, common descent is a fact, and there was no magic involved at any point.
And I do think global warming is happening, and I know the climate of Mars shows that global warming can be devastating. Whether we’re causing it or something else is, I’m not sure.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

If scientists are right about climate change, we can’t afford not to act.

stratman37's avatar

@Fyrius, the subject? What is it you felt in your heart when you heard what you now believe? Not that feelings are the end-all, I know, but don’t you “feel” love/hate/frustration?
And who can “prove” these scientifically, yet they exist. I don’t want to sound squirrly here, but when I first heard about Jesus dying on the cross to take away my sins, my heart had hope like never before. Believe me, if I had ever found peace inside from science alone, I’d have bought it hook, line and sinker. Science doesn’t ask you to change the way you do things, for the greater good…

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@stratman37 ,

> Science doesn’t ask you to change the way you do things, for the greater good…

This is precisely what Copenhagen is about.

stratman37's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex, right. I agree. And I’m not catagorically dismissing GW. I’m just saying I’m not convinced yet. But what if what the Word of God says is true? Can we afford not to act? I’m just saying give God and honest try. If you are disappointed (with God, not the church), then you can always go back to what you were doing, right?

gemiwing's avatar

I’m not quite sure how this is an argument about religion vs science

I’m sure that yes, many people who don’t believe global warming is an issue could be creationists and believe the Earth is quite young.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@stratman37 , I don’t have a problem with God at all. I was taught that He gave us stewardship of the Earth, and we’re doing a shitty job of it.

FutureMemory's avatar

I barely skimmed this thread, but it’s tone seems to be one of people actively trying to pick a fight. Am I wrong?

ragingloli's avatar

Science doesn’t ask you to change the way you do things, for the greater good…

Of course it doesn’t. That is the métier of Ideologues, theologians, propagandists and politicians, each with arguments of varying truth.
Science is a method to create verifiable knowledge about reality.
And science tends to destroy the arguments of the former four at times.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@FutureMemory , the question is to be taken literally.

Sabotage82's avatar

Yes. It would only seem logical that all the shit that is disagreeable with popular belief is obviously the work of those damned dirty creationists that dont know shit and are clearly out to cause the end of the world through convincing all of man that the speghetti monster is out to get them and that the world will burst into green house gass flames.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Here’s a bit of news:

“The IOM report, launched on the second day of international climate talks in Copenhagen, estimated 20 million people were made homeless last year by sudden-onset environmental disasters that are set to amplify as global warming increases.”

Why are there still so many skeptics?

FutureMemory's avatar

Sabotage555, your answer doesn’t make much sense, as usual.

Goodnight all

Fyrius's avatar

Excuse me from straying somewhat from the topic again, Ichthey.

I think this proves that you and I are fundamentally completely different people.

I cannot accept a belief simply because of the way it makes me feel. I need arguments. I need rational considerations, and if possible, proof. I decide what to believe purely on a rational basis. Emotions can go take a hike until I’ve made up my mind, or they’ll only make me want to believe the opposite of what they tell me. That’s the way I roll.
I follow this modus operandi because I care too much about the actual truth. Because to believe whatever suits my psychological desires is little short of a guarantee for being wrong.
A nasty fact is no less a fact for being so nasty, and a wonderful fiction is no less a fiction for being so wonderful. The truth is not influenced by our feelings about it.

I know that if I would believe what my feelings would have me believe, I would become a bigoted lunatic. I’ve always been tempted by nonsensical superstitions I made up myself, and even more by bigotry.
This is why objectivity is important to me. Scepticism and the scientific method help me to be objective.

Science does not promise peace, consolidation or psychological support. Only a way to the truth.
And that is all I want from it.

The other stuff I get from elsewhere.

stratman37's avatar

still, you’ve had to take all that “evidence” on faith, haven’t you?

Fyrius's avatar

I think you miss the point of what the word “evidence” means.

stratman37's avatar

still, you’ve had to take all that “proof” on faith, haven’t you?

Response moderated
Sabotage82's avatar

So if global warming was found to be a crock of shit, would they take Al Gores peace prize away?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

If I may interject something here – I have faith in instrumentation. Observation. Deductive reasoning. You measure the heat dissipation of carbon dioxide and methane with a calorimeter, and you observe that it retains heat. An existentialist might argue that you still have faith that the calorimeter exists, but I’m not that heady about such things.

stratman37's avatar

What’s the matter, can’t think past your rhetoric?

stratman37's avatar

If he won it on that “theory” they should

Response moderated
stratman37's avatar

GA, Sabotage82

Fyrius's avatar

I think you miss the point of what the word “proof” means, too.

Taking proof on faith is impossible. Because it’s proof. The very purpose of proof is to show conclusively what reality is like, without requiring anyone to take anyone’s word for anything.
Faith means believing something to be true without having a rational way to know. Proof is a rational way to know. Do you see what I’m trying to say?

I do have well-established faith in the credibility of scientists, for reasons I expounded above. But there’s really no faith involved in seeing for yourself.

Troll detected.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Well, it doesn’t appear to me that this has any chance of staying on topic. Have a nice fight, everyone.

Grisaille's avatar

Midway through this thread, I just started drooling and blacked out.

syz's avatar

[mod says] Further off topic remarks and personal attacks will be removed.

davidk's avatar

Let’s get back to the actual question here…

In my opinion, yes, I do think that Young Earth Creationists tend to be skeptical of global warming. However, there are also people who are evolutionist who are equally skeptical, though, they are probably lesser in number. Can anyone prove this with real statistics? Of course not.

The YEC’s have a natural tendency to be skeptical about global warming because of the religious fervor they sense among many (not all) who accept that global warming is occurring. Religious fervor, you ask? Yes, many YEC’s sense that in the absence of what they would call “genuine faith in God” that science has become the equivalent to a “modern faith.” YEC’s cite the tendency among those in the gw tent to approach science as a faith, and tend to see science as a potential usurper. For example, YEC’s rightly point out that religions have always contemplated the end of the world, and have attributed it to humanities lack of a moral compass—think: the story of Noah. The gw crowd does approach the spreading of the evidence of global warming in a similar (I’m not saying identical) way.

There are OEC too. Old Earth Creationists, that is. They believe in theistic evolution—the idea that God created the universe through evolution. They cite the structure of the story of creation. Pointing out that it is evolutionary if you consider the progression of the creative acts of God on the “days” of creation. They point out that the Hebrew word for “Day” does not necessarily/absolutely indicate a 24 hour period. Consider the first “day” of creation as it is described in the first book of Moses and you will better understand what they might be thinking.

The OEC’s (for the most part) accept that global warming is happening. However, when looking at the evidence of previous periods of global warming and cooling that the earth has experienced over billions of years—as evidenced by the fossil and geological records—they sometimes conclude that human caused global warming may be questionable.

There is a non-religious aspect to this question too. There are those who have a natural bias in favor of gw because of their political worldview. I must admit to falling into this category. Why? Because as a socialist, I believe that rampant, unchecked capitalism is a danger to be avoided. Therefore, any cause that tends to backs up this belief is used as ammunition to support a Marxist political worldview. For example, global warming can be used as a great argument to move away from capitalism. Think: more government control and regulation of the economy can be used to transform a capitalist economy into a socialist one.

There are others that have the opposite, non-religiously informed worldview. They typically tend to be libertarians and strong advocates of unfettered liberty. They naturally are wary of global warming and what it implies—the need for state socialism, for example.

This is only a beginning to thorough discussion on the tendencies of individuals to support or be skeptical of global warming, so please do not take what I have written as the only answer.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the person who asked this question.

Harp's avatar

I puzzled for some time over this apparent connection between religious fundamentalism and global warming skepticism, because I can’t see any theologically based reason for that skepticism. In the end, I just decided that the strong correlation is actually between conservatism and global warming skepticism, and that it just so happens that most religious fundamentalists are also conservatives. I think it’s easy for fundamentalists to buy into the conservatives’ skepticism because they’re already used to being on the defensive against scientists and are eager to demonstrate their fallibility in any forum.

As for why conservatism has adopted this skeptical stance, I’d say that they see Global warming concerns as yet another attempt to regulate business and promote an anti-consumerism agenda.

davidk's avatar

A very thoughtful and insightful response, indeed.

Sarcasm's avatar

@Harp I puzzled for some time over this apparent connection between religious fundamentalism and global warming skepticism, because I can’t see any theologically based reason for that skepticism
Both have extreme distrust for science.

Harp's avatar

@Sarcasm But if scientists were to publish findings that in any way confirmed a biblical assertion, the fundamentalists would be 100% on board. I don’t think that their default inclination is to always doubt science, at least not where it doesn’t implicate their faith. But if their conservative allies start tearing into scientists on other grounds, they seem more than willing to join in the feeding frenzy. It’s a way of trying to indirectly weaken the position of scientists in the debates that matter most to the fundamentalists

Response moderated
Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No way to know unless we poll them all – it does make sense, however, that YECs distrust science and science is on the side of climate change happening in a dangerous way

master_mind413's avatar

you can not compare Christianity to climate change….. and it is climate change not global warming because there is both warming and cooling some parts that used to be warm are now cooler some parts that used to be cooler are now warmer as well as some that are hot are just hotter

but you cant tell me that 32000,000 cars world wide driving at any given time will not have some sort of impact on the planet especially while we are removing more and more tree’s and farm land to replace with houses so more people can drive there car’s

the bible was written what 3000 years ago by prehistoric man, climate change research is found by modern scientists and the scientists are not invisible men or little green men either

fox news and well majority of all republican news are known for making things up or misleading or just bending the truth some how, so who is to say those papers are not fake ?

Qingu's avatar

@Harp, I think the connection is more direct. If you look at the way conspiracy theorists and religious people engage in argument and with evidence, it’s basically identical.

Evidence simply does not play into it. Look at stratman’s responses—it’s authority structures, pure and simple. Both religious and AGW “skeptics” simply buy into the authority of their own tribe and ignore the authority of anything contrary, or (too often) dismiss such authority as an evil conspiracy out to get them.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I saw an article a couple of days ago that mentioned the fervor over the stolen CRU emails “being broadcast on conservative and Christian radio stations.” There was also some mention of how Evangelicals, some of them anyway, believe that the End Times prophesied in the Bible are near (so why bother saving the planet if it will be destroyed anyway). That’s what prompted the question.

The other connection I see is a generally skeptical view of science by YECs. They generally have an explanation for the seeming conflicts between their theories and measurements of the Earth’s and universe’s ages based on things like radiometric dating and Hubbles Law. Does this same skepticism extend to the GW debate as well?

Some background here:

Qingu's avatar

I don’t really like calling the YEC attitude towards science “skepticism.” Because actual science is based around skepticism as a methodology. That kind of skepticism doesn’t motivate YEC’s, not does it motivate AGW deniers.

What they are doing is cherry-picking facts and perceived “holes” in the evidence that line up with their preconceived worldviews. That’s not being skeptical, that’s being intellectual dishonest.

Sampson's avatar

Without reading the above comments…

Being a climate skeptic is not the same as saying that it’s all a massive conspiracy.

filmfann's avatar

I am a climate skeptic, and a Christian (though not a YEC).
I still believe we should control pollution, but I am not convinced the climate problem is caused by man.

Zuma's avatar

Put yourself in the spooky demon-haunted mindset of a Young Earth Creationist and ask yourself, “On what basis would they subscribe to any scientific findings whatsoever?”

Here’s a quote from one such creationist who illustrates the mindset:

“I look at the flat-out mockery that “science” has made of “the science of global warming” and compare it to the similar mockery that “science” made out of “the science of evolution.” And I realize the IDENTICAL crap is going on with global warming that has gone on with Darwinian evolution for decades. It’s not about “science”; it’s about a philosophy or ideology that is IMPOSED onto science which is then itself then called “science.”

“I’m personally very open to a young earth view. I trust what the Bible says far more than I trust what the people who gave Al Gore a Nobel Prize for science say. I don’t see one reason whatsoever anymore to allow “science” to dictate what I believe and what I accept to be true given the terrible history of deception and propaganda that way too many scientists have propagated in its name. They’ve pretty much forfeited all credibility in the “meta” issues.”

And this fellow is a moderate, as these folks go! As the Creationists see it, science seeks to destroy the authority of the Bible and to replace it with “godless” theories so that Science becomes the ultimate go to authority on matters of social policy. Not surprisingly, they see godless science as Satan’s handmaiden. As I have written and documented elsewhere there are well-funded cadres of Christian fundamentalists with a theocratic agenda who have engaged in a stealth campaign to undermine the credibility of science among the general public.

Dick Armey, the former Republican House Majority leader and now astroturf tea party organizer is a lobbyist for polluting industries attacking any effort to transition to a clean energy economy makes an couches his denial of global warming in explicitly creationist terms

“What I’m suggesting is we have a sort of an eco-evangelical hysteria going on and it leads me to almost wonder if we are becoming a nation of environmental hypochondriacs [...] Now these are observations that are popular to make because right now its almost taken as an article of faith that this crisis is real. Let me say I take it as an article of faith if the lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation. [...]”

Sen. James Inhofe who is currently on his way to Copenhagen as a one man “truth squad” denying global warming purportedly has a list of 700 “prominent scientists” who object to the statement that the scientific community has reached a consensus about man-made global warming. One of these “scientists” was Chris Allen a Fox-affiliated TV weatherman who holds no college degree, believes in creationism, and belongs to a Southern Baptist church. Inhofe refers to him as a meteorologist and quotes from his “scientific writings”—a blog—about global warming:

“[J]ust because major environmental groups, big media and some politicians are buying this hook, line and sinker doesn’t mean as a TV weatherperson I am supposed to act as a puppy on a leash and follow along,” wrote Allen. “All of this (global warming alarmism) is designed to get your money and then guilt you in to how you live your life.”

What Inhofe doesn’t quote are Allen’s more explicit religious statements:

“My biggest argument against putting the primary blame on humans for climate change is that it completely takes God out of the picture…”

“It must have slipped these people’s minds that God created the heavens and the earth and has control over what’s going on. (Dear Lord Jesus… did I just open a new pandora’s box?) Yeah, I said it. Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created? Of course, if you don’t believe in God and creationism then I can see why you would easily buy into the whole global warming fanfare. I think in many ways that’s what this movement is ultimately out to do—rid the mere mention of God in any context.”

“What these environmentalists are actually saying is ‘we know more than God— we’re bigger than God—God is just a fantasy—science is real… He isn’t… listen to US!’ I have a huge problem with that..”

Sarah Palin, by the way, is another creationist and global warming denier.

Why claims of global cooling should not be taken at face value.

Why lists of climate warming denier scientists should not be taken at face value.

There is also the problem of quoting contrary to context. Here is a website that purports to present a list of 650 dissenting scientists at a U.N. climate change conference. They offer a list of excerpts from their report, one of which was:

Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly… . As a scientist I remain skeptical.”—Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

It was easy enough to look up the report they cited which was a long and nuanced discussion of the problems of having to make global generalizations from local observations and flawed models. What she actually said was:

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly. What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable. But as a scientist I remain skeptical.”

As a scientist she is right to skeptical of claims based on flawed data sets and imperfect models since the human effect on climate change may be caused as much or more by harmful changes in land use as by CO2 emissions. Current models do not adequately factor in population and land use, particularly in tropical and coastal areas, a defect she hopes will be corrected in a Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Data Set to be presented in February 2008.

That data has since been presented, and so far as I can tell, it does not disconfirm global warming. In fact, Scientific American ran an article in October 2008 that explored the possibility that we may have already passed the tipping point for global warming.

belakyre's avatar

I think it does not really matter who those climate skeptics are, but rather how we can convince them that Earth is going through global warming for real?

FutureMemory's avatar

Zuma can I make a baby with you? Excellent post :)

Anon_Jihad's avatar

I don’t buy into the global climate change hype, history seems to say we’re panicking over nothing and the suns patterns make far more sense than other proposed theories. However I am not a Young-Earther, I won’t discredit them as I have no reason to, I’m not a scientist and I can only put faith in those who claim to have the knowledge, and their model of Earth age makes more sense to me.

filmfann's avatar

The Piri Reis map is unexplainable by those who say the global warming is man-made.
The map is almost 500 years old, and based on much older maps, and details the coastline of Antartica WITHOUT ice. How did they do that? Did they have highly developed sonar, a technology we have only recently aquired? Or was the polar cap melted at the time the original map was made, and what caused that?

ragingloli's avatar


Not so fast, wild horse.
“The map has been used to claim an ancient knowledge of an ice-free Antarctica, transmitted either from extra-terrestrials or an Ice Age civilization. These claims are generally considered to be pseudo-scholarship, and some scholarly opinion is that the region sometimes thought to be Antarctica is more likely to be Patagonia or the Terra Australis Incognita (Unknown Southern Land) widely believed to exist before the Southern Hemisphere was fully explored.”

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@belakyre , I fear that these people won’t be convinced until the effects are so pronounced that there can be no possibility of ignoring them. That may well occur within 20 to 30 years. We can already see effects of global warming all over the Earth, for example, glacial recession in Greenland, but some of these people won’t believe it until their ankles are wet. Even then, they may well continue to deny any human involvement.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Anon_Jihad , if you can believe scientists when they tell you the Earth is billions of years old, why do you have doubts when they tell you it’s getting hotter? The greenhouse effect of gasses like carbon dioxide and methane are easily demonstrated with equipment you’d find in a science lab at any college. I don’t need to take these people on faith. I’m one of them. My field is engineering, not climatology, but the basic physics of it are not in doubt.

Qingu's avatar

@filmfann, you’re actually demonstrating behavior consistent with YEC creationists. In trying to justify your position against AGW, you pick out a single perceived “hole” in the evidence and use this single, relatively inconsequential thing to justify discrediting the mountains of legitimate evidence in support of the theory.

In the same way, creationists claim that evolution can’t be true—despite mountains and mountains of genetic and fossil evidence—because of the “Piltdown man” hoax, or because they can’t conceive of how the flaggelum motor could possibly evolve. (And in your case of the “map,” like the “Piltdown man,” you aren’t even pointing out a legitimate gap to begin with.)

Cherry-picking tiny gaps in an otherwise well-supported theory does not mean the entire theory should be discredited. But that is exactly how religious fundamentalists, conspiracy theorists, and AGW skeptics operate.

Qingu's avatar

@Anon_Jihad, why do you put faith in scientists who claim the earth is old, but not scientists who claim modern climate change is man-made?

Both positions are nearly unanimously accepted within the scientific community, and both positions have tons of evidence to support them. Why one and not the other?

ragingloli's avatar

@Qingu YEC already means “young earth creationist” ;D

mattbrowne's avatar

As far as I know, they are not. Climate skeptics know that the Earth is 4.57 billion years old.

But there two things climate change deniers and young-earth creationists have in common: strong emotional reactions and a hidden agenda!

And I think it’s safe to say that 99.8% of all young earth creationists are also climate change deniers.

mattbrowne's avatar

@belakyre – You said, no way there’s a changing from a dog-like creature to a whale? Reality is in fact far more extreme. Take the fins of a fish and the arms of a human. Same body plan. There’s one bone, then two bones, then an arrangement of small stuff, then a couple of digits. And there are a lot more similarities, see for example

This guy here is our (great)^x-grandfather or granduncle, a fish starting to walk out of the water:

The evidence doesn’t stop there. Now we analyze genomes. And we compare genomes. The science is called comparative genomics. This science completely finished what might have been left of the nonsense (or pseudoscience) called creationism. Accept evolution. Sorry to say this, but denying it makes people look like complete fools.

The majority of the human genome evolved about 500 million years ago. We are not talking about fossils here. We are talking about sharks and frogs and crocodiles and eagles and humans. It’s all there. Look into the microscope. Read the sequence of base pairs.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, the hilarious thing about @belakyre is that if you ask him about the “kinds” that Noah brought into the ark, he’s going to say that there were only a few kinds and they later evolved to become the millions of individual species.

So, a hippo can’t evolve into a whale in tens of millions of years, but the few “kinds” of insects that Noah found the time to gather and bring on the ark evolved into the 1 million+ species of insects found today… in a few thousand years.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – Yes, these kinds of inconsistencies make it even more ridiculous. Denying evolution is an emotional reaction, not a scientific one. Humans are supposed to be special. Well, when accepting evolution there’s still tons of characteristics that make us human beings very very special. Chimps and dolphins and snakes and spiders don’t log onto Fluther to have debates about climate change and creationism and gods and freethought and spirituality and multiverses and genomes.

Lord Jesus Christ, isn’t this something highly valuable and unique about us?? Why would an almight God not love his children when they figure out evolution? Which is creation in progress. I’d say he’d be proud of that. Watching his children realizing their full potential.

Our universe is bursting with evolutionary possibilities. It’s a wonderful and marvelous universe. And we are part of it. Capable of understanding it. Wanting to believe in God or not.

filmfann's avatar

@ragingloli I am not saying the map is a result of ET. I am suggesting that the polar ice cap has melted before, and that it is possible this is a cycle that takes hundreds, possibly thousands of years to complete.

Fyrius's avatar

He has a point, though. It’s far from “unexplainable” to those who support man-made global warming. There is little basis for claiming that the mapped continent you’re talking about is actually Antarctica.

Furthermore, what @Qingu said.

Qingu's avatar

@filmfann, it is obviously a cycle. There have been ice ages. Earth’s climate has changed over and over again in its 4.5 billion year history.

What on earth does this have to do with the idea that humans’ greenhouse gas emmissions are currently speeding global warming?

It’s like saying your living room has been hotter before and colder before, so therefore we shouldn’t believe that burning a fire in your living room is going to make it hotter now.

filmfann's avatar

@Qingu I am saying it’s a good idea to control greenhouse emmissions, but that I am unconvinced that this warming is caused by man.
Keeping in mind planetary size, man is a minor problem.

Qingu's avatar

@filmfann, “Keeping in mind planetary size, man is a minor problem.”

What an incredibly naive thing to say. Man has completely reshaped the majority of Earth’s surface through agriculture. We have erased a huge amount of fishing stocks. We made a giant hole in the ozone layer in the space of a few decades.

Besides that, almost all scientists disagree with your statement.

Do you have any support or basis whatsoever for what you said?

ragingloli's avatar

Keeping in mind the butterfly effect, the susceptibility to even tiny changes, the interconnectivity and interdependency of ecosystems, the fact that humans have destroyed almost half of the entire planet’s rainforests and the crapload of crap and poison we keep on pumping into the rivers and into the air (we have been burning and releasing almost the entirety of the combined global mass of hundreds of millions of years of fossilised biomatter, which itself consumed trillions of joules of energy in its creation, within less than 200 years) I’d say man is a damn major problem to life on this planet.

filmfann's avatar

@Qingu says: Man has completely reshaped the majority of Earth’s surface
¾’s of the Earths surface is the Oceans. Have we reshaped the Oceans?

Anon_Jihad's avatar

@Qingu Because what I do grasp about science and am able to understand through my own observations, all I see is politics.

Qingu's avatar

@filmfann, well, I meant dry land—most of which has been reshaped by agriculture (look at satellite photos of the North American plains).

But yes, we have also reshaped the oceans. We’ve depleted fish stocks, ruined entire ecosystems at the bottom of the ocean with our giant trawling nets, ruined entire shorelines (where most life in the ocean lives). Fertilizer runoff from our farms drains into rivers and then into the ocean, creating gigantic algal blooms that result in “dead zones” in the water for miles.

Shit, we’ve even created floating garbage islands.

@Anon_Jihad, what does your “grasp of science” and “your own observations” tell you about the nature, quantity, and effects of an invisible greenhouse gas? (I’m guessing “Jack” and “Shit.” And Jack just left town.)

Anon_Jihad's avatar

@Qingu I also have no way of verifying even a fraction of one percent of what the science community assures me as fact. So when some scientist stops and says, “Hey dudes, i don’t think this is quite right . . .” and he or she is essentially blacklisted, I also have no reason to not hear them out. When you compare the multiple models without the knowledge necessary to figure out which is right for sure, you’ve got to go with the one that makes the most sense, especially where there is evidence that shows temperature records dating many centuries back which argue that this is a rather normal uncontrollable process, and that everything is gonna be a-okay.

Critter38's avatar

I think society is unfortunately at a stage where we’re hitting a wall created by having 100s of millions of people possessing the cumulative technological and scientific advancements of previous centuries, and all the associated power over natural resources and ecological processes that this entails, while concurrently having no way of fostering anything like cumulative wisdom or critical thinking among the very same general masses who wield this power.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the electronic media might have fostered a more educated populace. But all it seems to have done is provided a means by which people can selectively pick and chose among the flood of misinformation, disinformation, partial truths, and lies to shore up their own prejudices, bigotries, and ideological cul-de-sacs.

It would be really amusing if it wasn’t so fucking scary.

I’m resigned (after years of trying to argue with them) to generally leaving the creationists to their own dogmas.

But the climate change deniers are a different kettle of fish. Their ignorance of the scientific evidence for climate change has repercussions for all of us, themselves included (not that they are even aware of it).

So what can any of us do who are not reality challenged?

We can keep playing the information deficit model, where we throw a ridiculous weight of scientific facts at people..and for some reason assume that the other person’s worldview is equally influenced by scientifc evidence….(a questionable assumption considering an appreciation of scientific evidence is usually at the heart of the issue being discussed or argued)

But the average person often doesn’t have the knowledge base to separate hard won scientific evidence from easily-digested ludicrous factoids that they can readily parrot back in response. It unfortunately seems to be a fast food approach to knowledge, if it ain’t simple and easy (not to mention consistent with how someone “feels” the world should be), it can’t be true or worth knowing.

So fox “news” pieces, mockumentaries, misleading op-eds, right-wing blogs, or even speeches by Palin are seen as equally valid sources of knowledge, as a joint statement from the world’s major national science academies, or the IPCC, or even thousands of peer-reviewed scientific articles.

And the thing is, it’s not that those who don’t want action on climate change need large masses of the scientifically undereducated to say categorically that we aren’t the cause….they just need sufficient doubt to foster inaction or at least slow it down.

I don’t have an answer. I’m nervous that there really isn’t one other than to hope that there still remains sufficient critical thinking capacity among the general populace to mostly keep the climate change illiterate out of positions of power. Post Cop15 and the legally binding agreements that arise over the next couple of years will indicate whether such hope is warranted.

Anyways, my only wish would be that wisdom was as cumulative and easily disseminated in society as our scientific advancements.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”
D.P. Moynihan

“The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power…has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false.”
T. Adorno.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Anon_Jihad , do you mean these temperature records? Look at the graph, spit out the Kool-Aid, and divest yourself of any real estate you might own in coastal regions. It’s gonna get wet.

Qingu's avatar

@Anon_Jihad, if you are unable or unwilling to look at and evaluate the evidence presented by the scientific community to support their ideas, then you really have no business pretending you have an informed opinion.

Science isn’t this opaque mystery that we have to just take on faith from the high priest scientists. You can look at their arguments, look at their data, and become more informed.

And for someone who knows less than 1% of the issues involved, you shouldn’t even bother talking about temperature records dating “centuries back,” which is both false and besides the point. As I said to filmfann, the fact that your living room has been hotter or colder in past years doesn’t mean that burning a fire in the room now isn’t going to make it hotter.

mattbrowne's avatar

@filmfann – I think we should trust what the vast majority of climatologists are saying:

It’s very likely that human greenhouse gas emissions significantly contribute to the observed global warming effect. This means that natural cycles are also in effect. But they alone can’t explain what has happened over the past decades. The observed changes happen way too fast. Climate predictions are extremely complex. The are no conclusive findings what our climate will be in 2050 exactly. But what most of the scientific models tell us: the potential harm is immense.

Humanity as a whole would be extremely stupid not to apply the precautionary principle!

What do you want your grandkids telling you in 2050?

That you were part of the problem?

Or part of the solution?

We have to act.


Zuma's avatar

I just finished watching the three-part NOVA series Becoming Human, and it appears that adapting to rapid climate change is what drove our evolution to a point that we developed language and culture, and became uniquely adapted to change.

All the people now alive today are the descendants of a small group of 600 breeding individuals who survived a great drought in Africa by living off the land much more intensively than other hominids. When the drought receded, their population exploded and they migrated everywhere, pushing the Neanderthals and other hominids to the ecological margins and then into extinction.

We will survive, with or without the modern day Neanderthals.

Qingu's avatar

@Zuma, there has never been any question that humanity will survive climate change. Advanced civilization will survive climate change. Life on earth will certainly survive climate change.

But a shitload of poor people, especially ones living near deserts and along coasts in Africa and Asia, are not going to survive climate change. And a huge number of species are not going to be able to adapt in time to avert extinction.

For me, that’s all the moral reason I need to justify doing something about it. But for the conservatives out there, less poor people living means less cheap labor and consumers to buoy our economy, so it’s in your selfish interests as well.

Zuma's avatar

@Qingu I agree with you and didn’t mean to imply “bring it on” (if I did). See my long post above. What conservatives are against is any expansion of the state that might shift the balance of power away from blood-sucking corporations in favor of ordinary people, even though that would be in their material interest. A more equitable world would mean sharing society’s wealth with everyone, instead of a privileged few. They would rather scuttle the whole life boat than share it with people they don’t consider “real Americans.”

Qingu's avatar

Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply I thought you were one of the conservatives :)

filmfann's avatar

@mattbrowne I have no problem endorsing cleaning our environment, but I refuse to trust the scientists who just got caught fudging their numbers.

filmfann's avatar

I watched the video, and found it interesting.
Oddly, the thing that might convince me that I am wrong in this matter is that I am hearing my position being taken by Sarah Palin.

Critter38's avatar

@Anon_Jihad “history seems to say we’re panicking over nothing and the suns patterns make far more sense than other proposed theories.”

Just to make sure this comment doesn’t slip under the radar.

Incoming solar radiation has been virtually constant (other than a slight decrease) over the past 50 years, accepting 11 year solar cycles. Trends in solar irradiance over the last 20 years (a period of rapid warming of the Earth leading to the hottest decade on record 2000–2009 have been in the opposite direction needed to account for warming. Furthermore, globally winters are warming faster than summers, and nightime minimum temperatures are increasing faster than daytime maxima….once again the exact opposite of what would be predicted if increased solar irradiance was the cause.

Over the last three years the sun’s output has decreased to its lowest observed since direct measurements began in the 1970s.

We can safely state that there is no convincing evidence that variations in solar output are contributing to the majority of warming over recent decades, because all measurements and predictions directly contradict such an explanation.

Likewise, there is no viable alternative explanation to account for the majority of recent global climate change (last 50 years) that can withstand independent scrutiny in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Finally, any such alternative cause would have to negate basic principles of physics that have been known for 150 years (since John Tyndall) regarding the capacity of CO2 to absorb long wave radiation (infrared heat) as reflected from the Earth’s surface (hence, the greenhouse effect). We have increased concentrations of CO2 (not to mention other greenhouse effect causing gases eg. methane), by over 35% above pre-industrial levels to the point where they are likely to be higher than at any time for approximately 15 to 20 million years, and certainly higher than in the last 800,000 years.

I’d just add to Ragingloli’s link by saying that every video in that series is excellent. It starts here.

Great history of climate science here

Now I have little hope that any of that information will make the slightest dent in anyone’s opinion… Consider it displacement activity for someone who unfortunately gives a shit and hopes like hell that more people will finally get it.

mattbrowne's avatar

@filmfann – You mean a few black sheep are proof that the vast majority of reputable climatologist are wrong? Come on. Whatever happened at that institute in the UK, if some individuals contemplate how the problem can be exaggerated and write emails about it, such behavior is unacceptable. Suppose there are some folks at the CIA who circulate emails saying that Al-Qaeda is planning to detonate a nuclear bomb in Washington DC. It turns out to be a fraud to scare people and get additional funding. Does this mean the whole threat from Al-Qaeda is an illusion?

The dangers of climate change are not an illusion.

And I agree homo sapiens will survive, whether it’s 3 more degrees or 6 more degrees in 2100. The issue is how many of the projected 9 billion people in 2050 will be gone because of the disrupted food chains. Many species won’t be able to adapt quickly enough. Our ecosystems will change very dramatically. This is the real problem, not extreme weather and rising oceans (which might not rise very much at all).

ragingloli's avatar

Whatever happened at that institute in the UK, if some individuals contemplate how the problem can be exaggerated and write emails about it, such behavior is unacceptable.
But they did not even do that, as that video shows.

Critter38's avatar

Just a couple of points..

Frankly I’d be amazed if there weren’t some black sheep amongst the thousands of climate change contributing scientists, but that’s besides the point, and wouldn’t change one iota the overwhelming evidence for climate change.

That said, I don’t thing anyone is in a position to claim that those emails are evidence of nefarious behaviour. Some of them raise questions as to what was being implied (what do you expect from emails between colleagues being interpreted by politically motivated strangers?!), but nothing more at this stage (the only criminal behaviour verified is that people stole private emails and posted them). And from what I’ve read of the OH MY GOD…LOOK WHAT THEY WRITE…quote mining, it’s pure hype.

Ditto to what ragingloli just posted.

Second, current indicators are that the IPCC has (due to the inability to include certain factors back in 2006–7) greatly underestimated potential sea level rise this century.

Current projections are for 0.75 of a metre or higher (1.8m upper end), which is easily enough to cause havoc for millions of coastal dwellers, not to mention many island nations. For example 1 m sea level rise would inundate 17% of Bangeldesh, displace millions of people, not to mention causing massive effects via salt water inundation of rice fields.

Ecosystem change, rising oceans, ocean acidification, and extreme weather are all major causes for concern.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It’s rather disturbing what the public think of this issue. The problem is that the science is just too hard for most people to understand, so they defer to the talking points of their political leadership. Or they just figure it’s cold outside, so it can’t really be happening.

mattbrowne's avatar

So some redneck climate change deniers actually fabricated a new conspiracy theory, because they think drilling is our way of life and this should never change. I’m speechless.

Critter38's avatar

Only if the rednecks are caused by expensive starched shirts.

Far too effective PR and entirely consistent with “muddying the waters” “doubt is our product”, not to mention the timed release just before COP15, for this to be just a back of the shed job.

Then check the timeline of events here..

Nice reality check here

Also, I just got back from the Copenhagen march. Just a small thing but check the reporting.

I’d say well over 60,000 (the police say 30000, organizers say 100,000..hard to know I admit). But in all I saw maybe 50 people dressed like anarchists. The police arrested over 900 people they say. Then released all but a handful.

I was marching with my two young kids, the atmosphere was warm and positive despite the zero celcius temperatures. People were dressed in happy colours, some as clowns and polar bears, etc..

What does the ABC Australia show?

Critter38's avatar

Anyways, my point was that the reality was so entirely different from the impression given by the media. Frankly it gave me some hope to see so many different generations (toddlers, prams, grandmas, etc), and so many nationalities united by a common cause. ANd as I said the vibe was positive. With two young kids I would have bailed if the feel was anything different.

I heard fireworks about an hour or so into the march and have a feeling the arrests took place around then a long way away from where we were (it’s hard to describe that many people and not being able to see the end of crowds at any time in any direction during 5 hours).

But as I said, looking at the media reports the next day, no one who wasn’t there would get the feeling that the vibe was a positive one, and by and large one of peace for 99% of participants.

But that isn’t a story. Cute kids and grandmas smiling as they walk, that’s boring.

Find the freaks, find the few in balaclavas, find the broken window, there’s the shot, front cover.

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