Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

The Bible and Climate Change

March 12, 2012

One of the most vocal and cynical deniers of climate change science, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says the Bible backs up him up:

“Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

Hat tip: Right Wing Watch

2011 in Quotes: The War on Science

December 26, 2011

The assault on science and science education continued throughout 2011. Today’s review of quotes from the past year shows that evolution and climate change were major targets in the right’s war on science, especially in Texas. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“The controversy over science standards was actually the result of an attempted hijacking of science for ideological purposes by evolutionists. Their agenda was much more about worldviews than biology. The standards reflect real science and challenge students to study some of evolution’s most glaring weaknesses in explaining the fossil record and the complexity of the cell.”

– Don McLeroy, former Texas State Board of Education member, writing in an op-ed column about the board’s record over the past several years. Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 2011

“If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.”

– Ken Mercer, member of the Texas State Board of Education, in another installment of his argument that evolution is bad science because there are no cat-dog and rat-cat hybrids. TFN Insider, October 28, 2011

“Evolutionists will go ‘Oh, it just happened by chance.’ Today we know that’s false. Today we know that even a single-celled organism is hugely complex. When was the last time we’ve seen someone go into a windstorm or a tornado or any other kind of natural disaster, and say ‘Guess what? That windstorm just created a watch.'”

– Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, responding to a question about whether or not he is a creationist. Zedler proposed legislation to bar “discrimination” against college faculty and students who promote creationism. It failed to pass. Mother Jones, March 21, 2011

“Are you kidding me, Earth Day in the schools? We’ve got to save the Earth? I mean, that’s like a tick . . . trying to save a whole heard of cattle. I mean, ticks go along for the ride, they don’t manage the cattle, they don’t tell them where to go. And that’s our arrogance in thinking that we can do something to save the planet and control where the planet goes. You know, we’re just along for the ride and we’re insignificant peons on this thing.”

– David Barton, president of the religious-right group WallBuilders, on human attempts to slow climate change. RightWingWatch, April 26, 2011

“As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!”

– David Barton, the religious right’s favorite fake historian, on the Founding Fathers and their opinions on teaching evolution and creationism/intelligent design. Mother Jones, June 9, 2011

“I hear your mom was asking about evolution and, you know, it’s a theory that’s out there. It’s got some gaps in it, but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools. Because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, talking to a young boy in New Hampshire during a presidential campaign stop. National Public Radio, August 18, 2011

“I think what you’re advocating for is censorship on the part of government. So the government would prohibit intelligent design from even the possibility of being taught in questioning the issue of evolution. And if you look at scientists there is not a unanimity of agreement on the origins of life. … Why would we forestall any particular theory? Because I don’t think that even evolutionists, by and large, would say that this is proven fact. They say that this is a theory, as well as intelligent design. So I think the best thing to do is to let all scientific facts on the table, and let students decide.”

– Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, at an Iowa forum where she explained her views on teaching creationism in public schools. Think Progress, November 30, 2011

“I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

– Gov. Rick Perry, again in New Hampshire on the Republican presidential campaign trail, making a claim that was a contender for Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.” Politifact Texas, Austin American-Statesman, December 5, 2011

Gov. Perry and the Father of Science

September 8, 2011

There we were, almost at the end of last night’s Republican presidential debate, ready to declare that Texas had gotten off embarrassment-free. Then the moderator had to ruin it all by asking Gov. Rick Perry a question about science.

Asked about climate change, Gov. Perry repeated his claim that the idea of man-made global warming is increasingly in dispute in scientific circles (not really), and ….

“Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”

Here’s the video:

Buried somewhere beneath this flat, 6,000-year-old Earth of ours, Galileo spun in his grave.

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Perry: Scientists Are Money-Grubbing Liars!

August 17, 2011

Those weren’t the exact words Texas Gov. Rick Perry used, but that was the gist of his comments in New Hampshire this morning. Already an acknowledged evolution denier, Gov. Perry made clear that he is also an anti-science fanatic on the problem of climate change. A Union Leader editor tweeted the following quote from Gov. Perry:

Perry “I do believe the issue of global warming has been politicized”

The same editor, Drew Cline, followed up with another tweet about the governor campaigning in New Hampshire:

Perry says “a substantial number of scientists has manipulated data to keep the money rolling in.”

A New Hampshire public radio reporter also tweeted about the new presidential candidate’s science denial:

#perry on climate change: “Scientists are “coming forward daily” to disavow a “theory that remains unproven.”

It’s worth noting that at least two of the people Gov. Perry has appointed to chair the State Board of Education in Texas are also climate-change deniers. Just after presiding over the revision of controversial new science curriculum standards that called the existence of climate change into question in 2009, then-Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, told a reporter:

“Conservatives like me think the evidence (for human contributions to global warming) is a bunch of hooey.”

After the Texas Senate refused to confirm Gov. Perry’s renomination of McLeroy to another term as chair, Gov. Perry appointed Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, in 2009. Lowe was already on the record as denying the science of climate change, telling a reporter in 2008 that she would vote to reject any textbook that discussed human actions that add to the problem of global warming:

“That’s another textbook that will be turned down by me — political agenda and not solid objective science.”

Talking Points

April 28, 2011

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“Are you kidding me, Earth Day in the schools? We’ve got to save the Earth? I mean, that’s like a tick . . . trying to save a whole heard of cattle. I mean, ticks go along for the ride, they don’t manage the cattle, they don’t tell them where to go. And that’s our arrogance in thinking that we can do something to save the planet and control where the planet goes. You know, we’re just along for the ride and we’re insignificant peons on this thing.”

— David Barton, head of the Texas-based religious-right group WallBuilders, arguing that it’s silly to think human beings can do anything to lessen problems caused by pollution and climate change (problems he doesn’t recognize anyway).

Stay informed with TFN News Clips, a daily digest of news on issues involving religious freedom, civil liberties and public education. Subscribe here.

Faith and Climate Change

November 24, 2010

We told you earlier this month that Texas Congressman Joe Barton, R-Ennis, could become chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January. Such a possibility worries climate scientists because Barton is hostile to efforts to reduce carbon emissions as a way of slowing global warming. For example, Barton bizarrely opposes even replacing the “traditional, incandescent light bulb” with more environmentally friendly and efficient CFL bulbs — or, as Barton calls them, “the little, squiggly, pig-tailed ones.”

So would climate scientists be more comfortable with the other Republicans vying for same committee chairmanship? Not necessarily. The Toronto Star reports that one possible chairman of the committee, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, is an evangelical Christian unconcerned about dangers to the environment because of his religious beliefs. The Star reports that Shimkus dismissed the issue of climate change at a hearing in 2009. The congressman recited a Biblical passage (Genesis 8:21-22) about God’s promise to Noah (after the Great Flood) never to permit the destruction of life on Earth:

“I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation,” Shimkus said.

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Who Are the Real Radicals?

February 4, 2010

The departure of Cathie Adams to become Texas Republican Party chair hasn’t left Texas Eagle Forum without its fringe characters. TEF’s new president, Pat Carlson, is carrying on in Adams’ tradition of spouting extremist nonsense.

Case in point: a Carlson-bylined article in last month’s edition of the TEF’s Torch publication warns that efforts to protect the environment — and particularly efforts to stop or slow global climate change — will lead to “one world” government. And she drops in this absurd paragraph near the end of the piece:

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McLeroy, Science and ‘Hooey’

March 28, 2009

As we noted yesterday, evolution wasn’t the only target of social conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education this week. New public school science curriculum standards approved by the board also weaken instruction on climate change.

Board Chairman Don McLeroy told a reporter that he thinks the standards, including a measure suggesting there is no scientific consensus on global warming, “perfectly good”:

Conservatives like me think the evidence (for human contributions to global warming) is a bunch of hooey.

As with evolution, however, the mainstream scientific community thinks McLeroy’s position is “hooey.”

Changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps now show unequivocally that the world is warming due to human activities, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in new report released today in Paris.

The IPCC, which brings together the world’s leading climate scientists and experts, concluded that major advances in climate modelling and the collection and analysis of data now give scientists “very high confidence” – at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct – in their understanding of how human activities are causing the world to warm. This level of confidence is much greater than the IPCC indicated in their last report in 2001.

Climate change isn’t one of the issues the Texas Freedom Network follows closely. But Chairman McLeroy’s comment reveals precisely the problem we are working to overcome: ideologues trying to promote personal and political agendas over honest science, research and facts in public school classrooms.

It Wasn’t All about Evolution

March 27, 2009

The Texas State Board of Education did more than open the door to creationist attacks on evolution when passing new science curriculum standards today. It also watered down a section on global warming in the standards for the environmental systems high school course.

The environmental systems curriculum standards drafted by a writing team in December had included the following standard:

(9)(G) discuss the positive and negative influence of commonly held ethical beliefs on scientific practices such as methods used to increase food production or the existence of global warming

The measure was changed to read: “analyze how ethical beliefs can be used to influence scientific practices such as methods of increasing food production.” Then the board added the following standard: “Analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.” As with evolution, there is consensus in the mainstream science community on the existence of global warming. The debate revolves around the mechanisms causing it.

The Environmental Defense Fund sent out the following press release:

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Gail Lowe: Promoting Political Agendas over the Interests of Schoolchildren

October 8, 2008

Gail Lowe, a member of the far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education, has demonstrated once again her true agenda for public schools.

The State Board of Education is responsible for developing curriculum standards and approving textbooks that help our kids succeed in school and prepare them for college and the jobs of the 21st century. Lowe, R-Lampasas, appears to see the state board as simply another avenue for promoting her own personal and political agendas. As reported by the Graham Leader:

[All emphasis here is ours.]

Gail Lowe, Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education, told the Young County Republican Women she will continue to fight for conservative values Monday.

How about fighting for a good education for Texas kids instead of a political agenda for ideologues?

Lowe said her core values are to fight for strong curriculum standards, insure a thorough textbook adoption process, exercise prudent financial management and represent traditional values in education.

Traditional values? Like censoring textbooks? No thanks.

On the topic of certain books, Lowe said she is opposed to those exposing children to alternative lifestyles such as Heather Has Two Mommies in schools.

Does Lowe believe there are no gay or lesbian students in our public schools? Or no children with families headed by gay or lesbian parents? Is she that out of touch with our society today?

“I think public education should be family-friendly. I think it should be based on principles of free-enterprise… We should emphasize patriotism in our public schools,” she said.

Of course, when Lowe says she supports family-friendly schools, she really means so long as she gets to approve the families to which they’re friendly.

She said the last science textbook turned down [by the state board] was an environmental science book. Lowe said she guarantees she will turn down any book encouraging population removal or blaming global warming on the normal activities of everyday people.

“That’s another textbook that will be turned down by me — political agenda and not solid objective science,” she said.

Great. So Lowe — a weekly newspaper editor — isn’t just part of the board faction that wants to water down instruction on evolution in science classes. She also opposes teaching students established, mainstream science about one of the critical issues of our time: climate change and how human activity is influencing it. And she’s supported by a radical state board faction whose members have little or no experience in the classroom.

All of which raises a question: Why is the State Board of Education filled with people like dentists, real estate brokers, insurance salesmen and political activists who are hostile to a sound public education? Some have even rejected public schools by home-schooling their own children or sending them to private schools. Another question: When will Texans decide that they’ve finally had enough of this nonsense?