Monthly Archives: October 2022

Creationism and climate – birth of a new pseudoscience

The usual creationist nonsense is just tedious. But creationist “climate science” is toxic, disastrous in its implications for policy, and frighteningly well-connected politically

Major eventDate (using Ussher)1
Creation4004 BC
Curse4004 BC (Day 10 after creation)
Global Flood2348 BC
Tower Babel2242 BC
Egypt beganAfter 2242 BC but prior to Abraham going to Egypt (Genesis 12)
Call of Abraham1922 BC
Ice Age peak1848 BC (500 years after the Flood)
Time of the Judges (Moses was first)1491 BC (God appearing to Moses in the burning bush)
Time of the Kings (Saul was the first)1095 BC
Split kingdom975 BC
Christ was born~4 BC
Timeline of major events, according to Answers in Genesis

We are all too familiar with creationist life science (theory of kinds) and creationist Earth science (Flood geology). As I explain in an article at 3 Quarks Daily, recent decades have seen the emergence of a creationist climate science, which is a direct attack on the “secular” climate science of climate change. Creationist climate science rejects, as it must, the palaeoclimatology that helped establish the existence of positive climate feedbacks, and from this draws the inference that our present concern about human effects on climate is unbiblical, unscientific, and exaggerated. This fits in directly with the agendas of the organisations opposing fossil fuel restraint, and even involves some of the same people. We need to pay attention.

Creationists cannot avoid accepting a single Ice Age, which they have to regard as more recent than Noah’s Flood. So with great imagination they have devised theories that make the Ice Age an actual consequence of the Flood, and in the process they come to believe that their own theories are biblical. They can then call into play the entire creationist rhetorical apparatus, invoking arguments about biblical versus secular, God’s word versus man’s word, and a conspiracy of secular scientists deliberately hoodwinking the public by ignoring the biblical evidence.

But it is this secular science that lies behind our models of the climatic effects of human activity. In particular, the ability of the Milankovitch cycles to cause such large changes in Ice Age climate shows the existence of positive feedbacks, as further confirmed by detailed ice core studies. The creationists, whom we must not to dismiss as ignorant or ill informed, are well aware of this, and draw the implication that the appeal to positive feedbacks is an artefact of the secularist viewpoint, and should be rejected. They argue from this that current concerns about where the climate is going are misplaced. As I show in my 3QD article, all this is explicitly spelt out in the creationist literature, which links directly to the Cornwall Alliance’s climate change denial literature. This is no accident. The director of the Cornwall Alliance is an active contributor to Answers in Genesis, and the right wing political philosopher Jay W. Richards, who over at the Discovery Institute pours scorn on evolution science and global warming concerns alike, is a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and a former adviser to Cornwall.

For all these reasons, I regard creationist climate science as a much more pressing threat than the usual annoying creationist nonsense. How should we respond?

Milankovitch cycles and climate
420,000 years of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica, research station. Current period is at left. From bottom to top: insolation at 65°N due to Milankovitch cycles (connected to 18O); 18O isotope of oxygen; levels of methane (CH4); relative temperature; levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). From Wikimedia Commons, public domain

This post first appeared at PandasThumb. Fuller version at 3 Quarks Daily

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