Nel's New Day

May 7, 2014

Climate Change Naysayers Won’t Face Facts

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:51 PM
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The release of a scientific report on climate change yesterday has brought out the naysayers, who are working hard to keep people from being educated.  Bill Nye, who debated Kenneth Ham about a variety of issues including climate change, went on CNN Crossfire to talk about the existence of global warming. Ham may be remembered as the founder of a state-supported museum in Kentucky that purports people and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

Although the debate was supposed to be with conservative Nicholas Loris, host S.E. Cupp joined Loris in bashing global warming. She accused Nye, co-host Van Jones, and President Obama’s administration of using “scare tactics” against the public regarding climate change. Both Loris and Cupp used the tired argument that only 97 percent of scientists agree that human driven global climate change is real.

Bill Nye is a scientist; Cupp and Loris aren’t. Loris works for the Heritage Foundation, leader of the climate change denying that is funded by the Koch brothers. Among the wealthiest people in the world, the Kochs oppose any belief in human-caused climate changed to keep adding to their vast wealth. Their money comes from polluting industries that plunder the earth’s resources. Heritage Foundation would lose substantial donations if they didn’t present Nye as an alarmist with the goal of destroying Big Business.

Loris tried to take the middle ground by saying:

“I’m not a denier, I’m not a skeptic. What I’m saying is, climate is changing—yes, man-made emission are in some part to that—but we haven’t seen these extreme weather event trends. The observed data doesn’t prove that.”

He ignores the extreme high temperatures, droughts, floods, and super storms across the United States within the past few years. The following map shows a frightening increase in temperature.

temperature increase

 

Paying attention to the facts of climate change, however, detracts from his bottom line that he thinks regulations would hurt the nation’s economy. He may have missed the following paragraph from the NCA report:

“Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience. So, too, are coastal planners in Florida, water managers in the arid Southwest, city dwellers from Phoenix to New York and native peoples on tribal lands from Louisiana to Alaska.”

Other changes identified in the NCA for just the Northeast:

Sea levels are eight inches higher on average–in the Northeast, a foot higher—changing the frequency of coastal flooding. This compromises the aging infrastructure along the Northeast coast such as I-95, railroads, electrical substations, and wastewater treatment plants.

Downpours from intense storms have a 70-percent increase since the middle of the last century.

precipitation

About 40 percent more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than before the Industrial Revolution warms the planet, changing the amount of moisture in the atmosphere and causing the expanding oceans to rise.

In response, New York City is considering such possibilities as elevating the critical infrastructure, raising homes, expanding wetland areas, planting more trees, and putting in cooling centers for times of heat waves. Maine is expanding the size of drainage pipes to accommodate heavier rainstorms.

At one point, Cupp argues that only 36 percent of people in the United States think that climate change demonstrates a negative impact. Nye answered:

“How do you want to get public consensus? By saying that it is not happening? That is not serious? That shorelines aren’t flooding?”

He asked Cupp and Loris what would change their minds about the threat posed by climate change. Loris answered better science—which can be found in the NCA. Nye pointed out that he and Cupp didn’t agree on the facts, but she interrupted him to blame the “science guys [who] attempt to bully other people. Nick here had to say, ‘I’m not a denier.’ He had to get it out: ‘I’m not a denier.’ Because really, the science group has tried to shame anyone who dares question this, and the point I’m trying to make is, it’s not working with the public.”

By “public,” Cupp means Republicans. Last fall, only 50 percent, probably because of the misinformation from CNN and Fox,  said there was solid evidence of rising temperatures on earth. At least that’s down from 59 percent in 2006.   Jon Huntsman, GOP presidential candidate in 2012, wrote for The New York Times:

“If Republicans can get to a place where science drives our thinking and actions, then we will be able to make progress. Republicans need to get back to our foundational roots as catalysts for innovation and problem solving.”

The public may start worry when they run out of water. The following maps don’t even consider the loss of water to the ever present fracking.

water stress use this oneThe public response to climate change most likely comes from the ignorance that is spewed on conservative networks. George Will said on Fox network that is no evidence for the increase in extreme weather.

Always looking for a conspiracy, Fox network suggested that the climate report, a legally-mandated document, might be intended “to distract Americans” from the “multiple scandals swirling around the administration.” Another co-host of the program repeated Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) claim that the climate change report is “part of the game the president is playing” to distract Americans from “his unchecked regulatory agenda.” Fox always attributes any news other than the conservative-manufactured scandals to a cover-up. Other presidential “distractions,” according to Fox, are efforts to reduce  income inequality, reform filibuster, and change immigration policies.

Like human rights, climate change comes down to a vote. Limiting human rights may not be constitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled that a vote of the people in Michigan is good enough to eliminate affirmative action. If enough people don’t agree that something should be done about climate change, then the United States should just let the planet disintegrate, according to conservatives.

One small victory for slowing down climate change came from a recent Supreme Court decision. Much to the amazement of most people in the nation, six justices supported an EPA policy to regulate power-plant pollution cross state lines. According to SCOTUS, states such as Connecticut and New York can be protected from Rust Belt and Appalachian states blowing soot, smog, and other toxins in the west-to-east winds. Justice Antonin Scalia said the regulation was Marxist, but he was one of only two voting against the decision, the other—of course—being Clarence Thomas. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself.

February 9, 2014

Nye Debates Creationist, Fundamentalist Christians Divorce

Ken Ham, left, and Bill Nye, debate science and creationism.The biggest talk in religion this past week is the debate between scientist Bill Nye and Creation Museum Founder Ken Ham (left) about evolution. The thought processes of these two men can be summarized by their answer to just one question—could anything change their minds about their beliefs. Ham said that no one could ever convince him; Nye said that just one piece of evidence could change his position that the universe is evolving. The answers show that Ham started with his conclusion whereas Nye works on the evidence.

The debate demonstrates how useless a debate with creationists can be. Nye used his customary science: Neanderthal skulls that point directly to evolution; layer upon layer of rock formations, each millions of years apart; carbon dating and fossil records; even the impossibility of fitting 16 million species on a single ark made by eight humans with no power tools.

Ham justifies his narrow position by claiming that “we weren’t there, and we didn’t observe it.” Neither was he, so he relies on “the biblical account of origins”—what he calls observational science and historical science. Now is the observation, and the bible is the history. Ham calls radioactive dating “assumptions” and uses biblical genealogy to “prove” that this planet is 6,000 years old.

Despite Ham’s belief in his personal infallibility, his life-size “replica” of Noah’s Ark is hurting for cash with a current shortage of about $30 million. He may be able to deny evolution, natural selection, uranium-lead isotope dating, fossil records, and basic physics, but he can’t deny the financial ruin facing him.

Something else Ham surely won’t believe is a recent discovery by researchers Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef (Tel Aviv University) who used carbon-dating to determine the age of the oldest-known camel bones.  Their investigation shows that camels first came to Israel about the 9th century BCE. The Old Testament places camels in that region at the time of Abraham, considered by biblical scholars as the 20th century BCE.

Dr. Robert Harris, an Associate Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, said through his associates:

“While these findings may have been published recently, those of us on the inside have known the essential facts for a generation now. This is just one of many anachronisms in the Bible, but these do not detract from its sanctity, because it is a spiritual source, not a historical one.”

Several years ago, archaeologist William Dever said:

“We want to make the Bible history. Many people think it has to be history or nothing. But there is no word for history in the Hebrew Bible. In other words, what did the biblical writers think they were doing? Writing objective history? No. That’s a modern discipline. They were telling stories. They wanted you to know what these purported events mean.”

Ham’s belief is even too extreme for right-wing fundamentalists like Pat Robertson. The TV evangelist said, “There ain’t no way that’s possible…. To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible…. Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Robertson’s points were similar to those made by Nye: “Anyone who is in the oil business knows he’s drilling down, 2 miles, 3 miles underground, you’re coming into all these layers that were laid down by the dinosaurs. And we have skeletons of dinosaurs that go back like 65 million years. And to say that it all came around 6 thousand years ago is nonsense.”

Someone might want to point out to Robertson that he and his Christian network sell materials arguing that the earth is 6,000 years old and that the Bible says dinosaurs and humans lived together, a premise of Ham’s museum.

Nye’s goal in debating Ham was to protect children:

“I say that to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe that’s fine, but don’t have your kids do it because we need them, we need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”

Parents in the United States are not allowed by law to starve their children’s bodies, but they are permitted to starve their minds.

Pundits in the U.S. were disgusted because Nye gave creationism credibility by debating Ham. On the other side of the pond, however, the audience of Britain’s Christian Today website reports that Nye won the debate: 92 percent of almost 50,000 responses found for “the science guy.”

At this time, adults are teaching these young people a literal version of the bible—at least when it suits the adults’ needs. For example, in their desire to maintain dominion over women, men cite 1 Corinthians 14, in which Paul tells the church of Corinth that women should be silent during the service. Fundamentalists use this verse to deny women the right to become pastor, even to pray aloud during services. Nye’s debate with Ham was not about religion; it was about politics. Ham takes the position that evolution leads to “lawlessness, homosexuality, abortion, etc.”

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) presents this connection between religion and politics in his new memoir, Just Fly the Plane, Stupid!

“The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice. The husband’s part is to show up during the times of deep stress, take the leadership role and be accountable for the outcome, blaming no one else.”

Pearce refers to the New International Version book of Ephesians, which says wives should “submit to their husbands in everything.”

Evidently many fundamentalist women are not submitting to their husbands. Evangelical Christians have higher than average divorce rates, more so than people in the United States who claim no religion. This research was part of a study by the Council on Contemporary Families at Baylor University on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to examine changes in the past half century for groups affected by the law.

Other findings:

  • The number of people in the country who do not identify with any religious tradition has grown from three percent to 20 percent.
  • Protestants as a share of the adult population has shrunk from 70 percent to 50 percent, primarily because of the decline of such denominations as Methodists, Lutherans, and Episcopalians which have had their numbers cut in half.
  • Evangelical populations rapidly grew until the early 1990s when the population began to decline.
  • The percentage of Catholics has kept steady, but the ethnic composition has dramatically changed because of increasing Latino immigration.
  • The number of people who affiliate with non-Judeo-Christian religions has doubled.

Another study found that all couples who live in predominantly conservative Protestant areas have higher divorce rates. Religiously conservative states Alabama and Arkansas have the second and third highest divorce rates in the U.S., while religiously liberal New Jersey and Massachusetts have two of the lowest. Atheists and agnostics have the lowest divorce rates of all.

map_conservative_regional_divorce-650x501

While the GOP tries to woo people back as their followers, the extremist Republicans, like Pearce, are determined to drive them off. Susanne Atanus, an Illinois Republican trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky this year, puts God first. In so doing, she thinks that God controls the weather and put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth to punish people for LGBT rights and legalized abortions:

“God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

Mary Helen Sears, a candidate for a Michigan seat on the Republican National Committee, wants to have LGBT people “purged” from the GOP and believes that homosexuality is a “perversion” created by Satan. Her post on the Schoolcraft County GOP website is prefaced by a warning asking readers to “please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog.” For good reason because Sears claims that homosexuals prey on children.  Last month, former state GOP lawmaker Dave Agema was asked to step down from his position with the RNC “for the good of the party” because of his anti-gay comments.

Sears is, according to Macomb Daily columnist Chad Selweski, “if anything, to the right of RNC Committeeman Dave Agema on the political spectrum.” According to Sears, Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory “gave rise to Hitler’s Third Reich, Mussolini’s Italy and Stalin’s Russia.”

This is the party that wants to run the country.

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