If you’re one of those wacky people who thinks the opinion of 97% of scientists counts for something, you may want to grab a stick, wrap it in leather or a leather equivalent, and place it between your teeth. One of those mouth guards for people who grind their teeth in their sleep would also work. A stress ball would help avoid damage caused by clenching hands. If you’re prone to pounding surfaces when frustrated to the point of apoplexy, please acquire a pillow or punching bag before continuing.
Yep. Earth Science 4th Edition is about to present itself as the voice of reason by misrepresenting, misconstruing, misunderstanding, and otherwise manipulating all the data they possibly can. Because God. Brace yourself as you’re told how to “formulate a Christian perspective of climate change.”
They move very quickly to assure us climate has changed in the past. They also pose four questions that look reasonable on their face:
In any discussion of climate change and global warming, we need honest answers to four questions:
1. Is the earth warming?
2. If so, are people causing it to warm?
3. If it’s warming because of human activities, is that bad?
4. Will solutions that politicians and scientists suggest actually fix the problems?
Considering their tendency to put rational, well-evidenced answers to those questions down to “radical environmental bias,” I don’t think we’re going to get honest answers from this source. Of course, they claim their textbook can’t answer them. But that certainly doesn’t make them hesitate with the right-wing speculation: See, for instance, this remarkable bit of Pollyanna thinking in their sidebar on melting polar ice:
The effects of changes in polar ice may surprise you. Many people are concerned that melting glaciers may raise sea levels to dangerous heights. But the results of melting glaciers may not be all bad. In the Arctic, the long-sought Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Canada may actually open up. Icebreakers and merchant ships may be able to steam through Arctic ice in the summer. Around Greenland, oceans that are now ice-free for more of the year than they were before are exposing long-hidden sources of oil.
Unmentioned are several sobering facts which may have served to bolt their unbounded optimism to the floor, if they could be persuaded to accept any such thing as a fact:
- The Arctic’s temperature is increasing twice as fast as everywhere else.
- Remember that hideous kink in the Polar Vortex that froze a huge part of America in the 2013-2014 winter? Yeah, get used to that, since it’s related to the loss of sea ice.
- Sea ice reflects all but 10% of incoming solar radiation. Dark ocean water absorbs 90%. Guess what will happen to ocean temps as that ice melts? Hello, accelerated global warming!
- When Arctic temperatures were last 2-3 degrees Celsius higher than modern temperatures and all the ice was gone (120,000 years ago), “sea levels were 4-6 meters higher.” Goodbye, communities lower than ASL…
- Even in 2007, the IPCC didn’t forecast how drastic the sea ice losses would be. So all their gloom-and-doom conclusions in that report? Way too optimistic.
- If the Greenland ice sheet melts, we’re talking up to 20 feet of sea level rise. Dude, there are already cities and nations being wiped out by the modest rises we’ve seen. Do these blinkered godbots really not see the problems this will cause for the United States, not to mention the world?
- The Jet Stream will likely shift northward, causing droughts in some places, floods in others, changes to hurricane tracks…yuck.
- You know that lovely current that makes Europe’s climate so friendly? Hasta.
- Polar bears, birds, seals, whales, and other creatures dependent on sea ice will find their habitat destroyed. That will end the traditional way of life for humans who depend on those creatures. Entire cultures will go extinct, along with a lot of species.
- Increased coastal erosion will ruin those cities and hamlets not already wiped out by rising sea level. And where’s the money gonna come from to relocate all those people?
- As permafrost warms, it won’t be able to support structures – so goodbye anything built on it, not to mention entire ecosystems.
- Oh, and all that lovely new drilling they’re salivating over? Before the sea ice is completely melted, it’ll wreak havoc as free chunks of it rip about, making drilling operations extremely risky or near-impossible. So much for that.
- As the land and water warm, more methane gets released, which contributes to warming, which contributes more methane. Repeat until planet fried.
- Stalled weather systems and patterns caused by changes to the jet stream will have all sorts of adverse impacts on agriculture, and y’know, people gotta eat – even Christianists.
- Warmer polar waters will accelerate the melting of outlet glaciers for Greenland and Antarctica.
- Wave goodbye to coastal highways, communities, and ports as they go underwater or get attacked by rising seas.
- And where do these folks think desperate, displaced people are going to go?
This is just a short list of the consequences either already happening or likely to happen as the ice melts away. There’s so much more…
So getting giddy over the prospect of Arctic shipping routes, lotsa drill-baby-drill, and an actually-green Greenland is like celebrating the prospect of celebrity if you should lose your legs in an historic thousand-car pileup on the freeway. Sure, junkyards will see a surge in available stock, and funeral directors will enjoy booming business, and you may have exciting opportunities as an inspirational speaker… but it would be better, on the whole, if the entire wreck was prevented to begin with.
All this wrong, and we’ve barely dented this section. Sigh.
Next we are treated to “A History of Climate Change,” in which we get the worldview bullshit slathered on thick and hot. Both old earthers and young earthers know the climate’s changed dramatically in the past, but the explanations obviously differ. One group explains the evidence by noting “global climate depended on the amount of continental surface area exposed above the ocean surface, the amount of heat received by the sun, volcanic activity, and even the kind of life existing on Earth during a given geologic time-frame.” Why, how silly is that, when every good Xtian knows Goddidit:
A young-earth view of history involves global climate change, too. God created a world completely suited for His purposes. It was a world with a climate ideal for life. But our sin brought God’s curses on the earth and all its processes. The earth’s climate drastically changed because of God’s judgement through the global Flood. We believe that the Flood set up the conditions for a global cooling period that produced a single Ice Age.
Since then, they say, outside of a few assorted mini-Ice Ages, the earth has gotten warmer and warmer. And the Bible sez it’ll keep changing! But don’t worry! Because Genesis 8:22! Here endeth climate history!
At this point, I would like to remind you that this utter poppycock is being presented as actual science to Christianist high school students. Kids who are, in fact, being told they can go to college and earn STEM degrees and become real live scientists after studying this nonsense.
This is nothing short of educational neglect and negligence.
And it’s making our survival as a species much more precarious than it would otherwise be. In large part, it’s this fucked-up fundamentalist thinking that’s got the United States shirking its duty on combating global warming, and arguably aggravating the problem. We’ve lost time we can never make up because of these people. And they’re the same ones who will ensure our politicians do nothing to help the people suffering the effects of their ignorance, yet scream like banshees if their own comforts aren’t seen to. They’re the ones sinking the boat, then taking every life jacket for themselves – of which there aren’t enough because they didn’t believe in the need for safety measures to begin with.
Gah. I’m too pissed to finish, and besides that, I have a feeling the BS factor is about to increase exponentially. Until next time…