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Bad Day To Be A Climate Change Denying Christian Creationist?

May 23rd, 2008 | by Daniel DiRito |

Try as they might to undermine science, those who reject evolution and downplay the impact of man-made climate change will have to work overtime to deny newly revealed evidence of both.

Time and again, creationist’s contend that the fossil record lacks the transitional forms of life to support the theory of evolution. Unfortunately, time isn’t on their side since each passing day seems to reveal another piece of the evolutionary puzzle. With the discovery of a creature that seems to be a combination of a frog and a salamander (frogmander), creationists will have another formidable hurdle to overcome.

From Yahoo News:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The discovery of a “frogamander,” a 290 million-year-old fossil that links modern frogs and salamanders, may resolve a longstanding debate about amphibian ancestry, Canadian scientists said on Wednesday.

Modern amphibians — frogs, salamanders and earthworm-like caecilians — have been a bit slippery about divulging their evolutionary ancestry. Gaps in the fossil record showing the transformation of one form into another have led to a lot of scientific debate.

The fossil Gerobatrachus hottoni or elderly frog, described in the journal Nature, may help set the record straight.

“It’s a missing link that falls right between where the fossil record of the extinct form and the fossil record for the modern form begins,” said Jason Anderson of the University of Calgary, who led the study.

The fossil suggests that modern amphibians may have come from two groups, with frogs and salamanders related to an ancient amphibian known as a temnospondyl, and worm-like caecilians more closely related to the lepospondyls, another group of ancient amphibians.

Many of these same individuals have also taken to denying the existence of man-made climate change…arguing that God is in charge and has a plan for his creation and that means we needn’t spend time and money fretting about carbon emissions or minor shifts in temperature that scientists consider significant. With the finding that western oceans have a rapidly expanding acidity as a result of greenhouse gas pollution, these deniers may want to consider the possibility that God, in granting us free will, expects us to use our brains to preserve the planet on which we live.

From Wired:

Greenhouse gas pollution has acidified the coastal waters of western North America more rapidly than scientists expected, says a study published today in Science.

In a survey of waters stretching from central Canada to northern Mexico, researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Richard Feely found cold, unexpectedly low-pH water “upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf.” In some locations, the degree of acidification observed had not been expected to occur until 2050.

Ocean acidification is a side effect of excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide, lesser-known but no less troubling than climate change.

In September of 2005, Feely was among the authors of a Nature article predicting that acidication would claim Antarctic Ocean waters by 2050, spreading into the subarctic Pacific by 2100. “Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously,” they wrote.

“Water already in transit to upwelling centers is carrying increasing anthropogenic CO2 and more corrosive conditions to the coastal oceans of the future,” write the authors. Ocean acidification “could affect some of the most fundamental biological and geochemical processes of the sea in the coming decades.” If anything, the clinical language of science only makes their words more disturbing.

No doubt these two findings are part and parcel of the march towards science fully eclipsing the validity of Bible based beliefs that often form the basis of religious doctrine. Regardless, each discovery appears to generate a new rationalization intended to preserve the literal interpretations that have proven so effective in granting and maintaining the authority of religious leaders and the institutions they promote.

I suspect these two items will simply give fuel to those religious leaders who suggest that we are entering the period that will culminate in the Rapture…the final piece of an end of days prophecy that is also derived from the Bible. Nothing like bending each and every fact to fit a faith based fallacy.

Unfortunately, I’m not yet convinced that the manipulated masses will be willing to follow these zealots into their vision of the fatalistic abyss…even if they promise to deliver the lot of them into the perpetual happiness they guarantee is just beyond the horizon. In the end, I expect most mortals will choose the surety of science over the abstract assertion of an after life.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

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  1. 14 Responses to “Bad Day To Be A Climate Change Denying Christian Creationist?”

  2. By Gorbe on May 23, 2008 | Reply

    You underestimate the creativity of creationists, which stems from the same mindset that needs gods to explain the seemingly unexplainable or unacceptable.

    The very essence of a “god did it” approach is that it posits no falsifiable conditions for its own “theory.” So, any evidence can be seen in light of the creationist worldview. In short, nothing exists outside of it.

    A creationist will never say, “If you discover X or Y, I will revise/discard my beliefs.” Nor does creationism predict anything — i.e. “If my beliefs are true, the following will or will not be found in the natural record.”

    Creationism is upside down, operating in a reactive mode of explaining the natural record to match their theology. As opposed to telling us what their “science” says about the natural world.

    As an example, compare that with Einstein who made predictions about his theory or relativity that would demonstrate the greater likelihood of his ideas being correct; or re-visiting/revising/rejecting those ideas if his predictions did not come to pass. With improved methods of astronomical observation, much of what Einstein predicted has been demonstrated by astronomical findings.

    If only creationists would operate in this pro-active/predictive mode. But alas, it’s not the nature of the beast because creationism is not science. We shouldn’t expect a “god did it” and no-matter-what-you-find-fits-my-model to be compatible with science.

  3. By bubicarus on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    The discovery of the “frongmander” means only that there are now 2 new gaps in the fossil record! Ah ha! Take that!

  4. By MemphisFlyer on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    You make a fantastic point and it’s well presented. Your comment is almost as good as the original story itself.

    It’s a shame when someone has been brainwashed into believing in a deity. They use it to explain everything simply to avoid ever having to say “I don’t know.”

  5. By RASTA on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    1. Ur-Fascism relies on mass ignorance and unexplainable “wisdom”.

    This new culture had to be syncretistic (The combination of different forms of belief or practice) but also a combination that must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a sliver of wisdom, and although they seem to say different or incompatible things. As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth already has been spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.

    Fourteen Warning Signs of a Fascist State
    -by Umberto Eco

  6. By J on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    How was the causal connection between fairly localized low pH water and global CO2 emission established? Did they eliminate other possible or likely sources of acid in the water?

    Cold water holds more CO2 and would be more acidic than warm water containing less CO2. So was there some upwelling of cold, dense, acidic water from the bottom of the ocean along the coast that had nothing to do with recent atmospheric CO2 levels?

  7. By J on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    Also, ocean acidification does not equal global warming.

  8. By edgecity on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    What I find so interesting is the black and white thinking of people on both sides of this issue. As if there are only two choices here, either I am a silly creationist trying to impose my ridiculous unprovable beliefs on others– or an evil darwinist devoid of faith and understanding, trying to bring secular humanism and the fall of man to an ignorant world.

    Try looking past the tip of your nose and narrow vision for a change. Maybe there is an intelligent force behind creation and maybe darwinsism is essentially true, understanding that science is based on on further revision when new information is revealed.

    Can you hold another view that’s not your own without contempt?

  9. By ctrofunvrs on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    Warming shwarming,
    What is most troubling is that the law of unintended consequences will produce an unforeseen concatenation of seemingly disparate forces = biospheric death spiral.
    eg arctic permafrost melting and consequent methane release + ? = …

  10. By Scott on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    Edgecity — when the topic is science, I’m going to have to side with the scientists and find faith to be completely lacking in the topic. I would find it equally offensive to plant scientists in a church and have them debate the priest/minister on theology using science. Apples. Oranges. Science. Religion.

    This is not a black-white issue. It is a one-sided attack on science by religious people who clearly do not understand that they are in the wrong arena. Look no further than Dover, PA to see how ridiculous this can get. Better yet, ask the very religious science teachers (and lay ministers) at Dover what happened.

    It used to be safe to believe in your own religion and/or science, but now many scientists and teachers are rightfully upset that they have to explain to school boards that Noah’s Ark is a parable and not science.

    So yes, there are two very separate choices, and they are to be made independent of each other. Black and white. You may have both (nobody on the science side seems to be arguing this), but I fail to see why religious folk insist on making both into gray.

  11. By Charley H on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    “You don’t understand… I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it happening. The ocean is dying, the plankton is dying… ” - Soylent Green

  12. By futzinfarb on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    You seem to be approaching the anti-science guerilla war being waged by idealogues and fundamentalists as though everyone will use the same principles in interpreting evidence, reaching conclusions, and applying their implications - the scientific method. That is emphatically NOT the case. The elegant scientific evidence that you see in these reports will just be distorted, misinterpreted, misrepresented or dismissed, without so much as a nod to the principles that govern the process of science. As was pointed out by the comment above, for example, the evolution evidence just gives the creationists two more “missing” transitional forms. Effective guerillas don’t fight by the principles of war.

    I think you seriously overestimate the impact of compelling scientific evidence on the positive outcome of this war. Scientists are following a losing strategy in this fight by relying on the formal and conventional tactics of science. After all, let’s be honest: there is a crushing weight of extraordinarily compelling evidence ALREADY supporting both the theory of evolution by natural selection and concerns about human-induced global climate change. Two more bricks in the edifice of the soldiers garrison will not prevent bloody attacks by guerillas in the marketplace, and two more pieces of scientific evidence are not going to miraculously dissolve the bloody guerilla assault on science.

  13. By futzinfarb on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    I failed to note, in quickly laying out my guerilla analogy above - but feel it important and appropriate now to point out - that it is at least an unfortunate coincidence that your blog name recalls the remarkably inapt comments of President Bush as he faced a ragtag guerilla movement as the commander of an overwhelming military force, and the subsequent tragic consequences of his extraordinarily deep misunderstanding of the dynamic driving the situation.

  14. By manapp99 on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    I admit to having been a skeptic of climate change but this has changed my mind:

    “Jupiter’s recent outbreak of red spots is likely related to large scale climate change as the gas giant planet is getting warmer near the equator.”

    Damn those SUVs.

  15. By Steve O on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    futzinfarb, as a site admin I would like to point out that we chose the blog name as a slap inn the face to the stupid comment and a challenge from a group liberals responding by saying “Oh yeah, Bring it On”

    I find it most fitting that we rose to his challenge. We are just a little blog but we can scrap with the best of them. Ask around, it’s been rumored that I elbowed Kos in the chest at the last Yearly Kos :-)

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