Yesterday, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (where else?) spoke at a hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline and revealed his divine justification for denying the science behind climate change. Barton’s source for his reasoning was the biblical story of Noah and the great flood:
Barton: “I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.”
That’s correct. There is no evidence that the flood was caused by hydrocarbon energy exploitation. However, that does not mean that it wasn’t caused by mankind in some other manner. Barton may be listening to too much of Glenn Beck.
Let’s take a look at the factual basis for the argument that Barton is propounding. The bible’s account of Noah asserts that sometime after he was 600 hundred years old he was singled out by God as the only righteous man of his generation and was instructed to build an ark that would preserve the continued existence of every species of life on the planet. So Barton’s opposition to the findings of 1,000′s of atmospheric scientific studies begins with an angry deity, a 600 year-old man, and a magical boat.
More to the point, according to the bible, God was motivated to destroy the vast majority of Earth’s lifeforms due to the prevailing “wickedness of man.” Therefore, it was indeed the behavior of humans that resulted in the climate change that occurred in Noah’s day. That would set the precedent for faithful Christians to concede that humans are responsible for climate change in the present, just as they were in the past. And it could even be the result of the same divine umbrage at our species, because it would be difficult to argue that there isn’t an abundance of wickedness here on Earth today. And for all we know, that wickedness, from God’s perspective, might be related to our defiling of the planet for which he commanded us to be “good stewards.”
In addition to Barton’s rejection of science, his ideological compatriot, Rush Limbaugh, also entered the fray in defense of his science adviser, a thirteen year old kid who called his radio program. Limbaugh proclaimed that “much of science today” is “just a branch of the Democrat Party.”
Rush: “The global warming scientists are just Democrats, folks. They all have a political preference. They’re all part of an agenda … at the end of the story they have to put in this snarky comment that basically implies this kid Alex doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Science responded by noting that Limbaugh is a yet unproven hypothesis who, if he exists, also has an agenda and a political preference. Science further states that they will put up their rigorous, peer-reviewed studies against any ill-informed opinions from children and drug-abusing talk radio hosts.