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Happy Eliminating All References To Him Day!

earthday

It’s Earth Day today, and I had no idea this was an atheist holiday. Ken Ham sets me straight, though, explaining that Earth Day is actually an anti-christian plot.

You see, God made humans stewards of the earth, which basically means that we’re supposed to turn it into farms and gardens. There are also bad things that were brought about by the Curse of the Fall, and icky things that don’t help people be fruitful and multiply are supposed to be removed.

Meanwhile, Earth Day is just a bunch of pagans elevating the universe over the imaginary being he claims created the universe, so it’s bad. Furthermore, it’s…evolutionary.

But we must be cautious of putting the creation over the Creator. Romans 1 warns against worshiping the creation rather than the Creator—and many Earth Day celebrations are founded on evolutionary ideas, where man’s opinions are lifted above God’s Word. And we must remember that “nature” is not perfect. In fact, we read that God cursed the ground in Genesis 3:17. That will dramatically affect how we understand farming and gardening. Also, in Genesis 3:18, thorns and thistles came into existence as part of the Curse. Thus, man can help improve things by working against the Curse.

So, see, the tallgrass prairie that once dominated where I live, and was home to bison and prairie dogs and prairie chickens and passenger pigeons and numerous small lizards etc. etc. etc. better serves God’s purpose when we plow it down and replace all that diversity with endless fields of corn and soybeans. That’s Earth Day to an evangelical Christian: chop down that copse of trees, rip out that inhuman habitat, replace it all with a fecal lake for the nearby pig farm. That lake glorifies God!

There’s also the inevitable denial of scientific facts. Global warming is a myth, his “Christian perspective” says so.

As a biblical creationist, let me illustrate how I would deal with a specific issue like climate change, which can serve as a useful example of how we should use biblical principles when we approach any issues associated with Earth Day.

I argue that the earth’s climate has gone through a few major periods of change, but in every case, humans did not produce the change. Ever since the Flood of Noah’s time, about 4,400 years ago, people have seen an unsettled earth in its sin-cursed state. Many smaller climate changes have occurred and continue to occur (perhaps in cycles). Whether humans have contributed significantly in a detrimental way is just not suggested by the evidence we have at hand.

What a nice, succinct explanation for why we shouldn’t want Christian dogmatists in charge of anything to do with maintaining the planet’s life support system. They’re all just slacking, simultaneously declaring that nothing can go wrong because of God’s will and everything is screwed up anyway because God cursed it. Christians and Libertarians: a hellish combination of oblivious destructiveness.


By the way, I promised yesterday that I’d try another Google+ Hangout tonight, at 9pm Central time. I’m hoping I’ve got the bugs worked out this time, so we’ll give it another shot. This time around, though, in keeping with the day, let’s focus on a theme — “Earth Day: Atheism+Environmentalism”. Be prepared to explain why you think the environment is an appropriate topic to have on atheism’s agenda, and why you think the godless (or at least, the non-libertarian atheists) ought to be better than anyone else at being stewards of the planet. Keep in mind, though, that not all religious people are as batty as Ken Ham and his ilk. Maybe it would work if all the bureacrats in the US Department of the Interior were required to be druids? Let’s discuss the intersection of religion and the environment!

Comments

  1. quarky2 says

    Yeah, there was some real climate change during Noah’s time. To cover Mt. Everest (29,000 ft) it would have to rain 25 feet per hour all over the entire earth’s surface for 40 days and nights. That would only require about 1.5 times as much water as the oceans currently hold. What a wet dream!

  2. Scott de Brestian says

    I argue that the earth’s climate has gone through a few major periods of change, but in every case, humans did not produce the change. Ever since the Flood of Noah’s time, about 4,400 years ago, people have seen an unsettled earth in its sin-cursed state.

    The ironic thing is according to a strict reading of Genesis, both the “sin-cursed state” of the world and the Flood are directly caused by human actions. So humans did “produce the change”, from a fundamentalist point of view.

  3. says

    Pig farm fecal settling ponds for Sky Daddy! I love it!! One of my many supervisors spouts the same “Man cannot do anything bad to the planet because Gawd made it” bullshit. I once pointed out several good mechanisms by which we might screw ourselves by mucking about with the planet or more specifically, the ecosystem, and he dismissed me with a wave of his hand and went back to watching Faux News, content that the world was safe for him, his Gawd, and his Mercedes sedan.

    We are sooooooo frakkin’ doomed.

  4. noastronomer says

    Thus, man can help improve things by working against the Curse.

    But isn’t that what satan would want us to do? Work against god’s plan. Why does Ken Ham hate god?

  5. says

    By the way, I promised yesterday that I’d try another Google+ Hangout tonight, at 9pm Central time.

    That should be 12pm on 23/4 if I have it right, I’ll try to be awake for it. Do I need to send you an ask for invite?

  6. mikeyb says

    I propose a constitutional amendment whereby each state can decide if they want to be part of Liberal America or Conservative America. Each new country will form its own laws according to whatever constitutional principles and election processes they decide. People will have 5 years to move to either a conservative state or liberal state in the two Americas, with money set aside for the process. Then, if conservatives want to teach creationism, carry around assault rifles, ban abortion, implement radical libertarianism more power to them, just leave us alone. Everyone who wants can settle in the America they feel most at home in.

  7. says

    “Nature is not perfect”…wait, what? Isn’t it a big talking point of creationism that the perfection of the body and its constituent parts (the eye!) is slam-dunk evidence for a creator?

  8. snafu says

    Then, if conservatives want to teach creationism, carry around assault rifles, ban abortion, implement radical libertarianism more power to them, just leave us alone.

    History has repeatedly demonstrated the ‘leave alone’ part does not work.

  9. says

    By the way, I promised yesterday that I’d try another Google+ Hangout tonight, at 9pm Central time.

    oh fun. that might be a nice little study break!

  10. stanton says

    Thus, man can help improve things by working against the Curse.

    But isn’t that what satan would want us to do? Work against god’s plan. Why does Ken Ham hate god?No, Satan works to remind Christians that the Bible states that the punishment for eating pork is death.

  11. says

    “Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
    ― Aldo Leopold

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    …which basically means that we’re supposed to turn it into farms and gardens.

    …and strip mines, and toxic waste dumps, and landfills, and fertilizer factories built right next to retirement communities…

  13. says

    Everyone who wants can settle in the America they feel most at home in.

    and by “everyone” you mean everyone except children and poor people. good call there.

  14. says

    “Nature is not perfect”…wait, what? Isn’t it a big talking point of creationism that the perfection of the body and its constituent parts (the eye!) is slam-dunk evidence for a creator?

    And every imperfection is evidence of the Fall! Don’t forget that other component, or you miss the true beauty of the theological circle-jerk.

  15. stanton says

    Thus, man can help improve things by working against the Curse.

    But isn’t that what satan would want us to do? Work against god’s plan. Why does Ken Ham hate god?

    No, Satan works to remind Christians that the Bible states that the punishment for eating pork is death.

    Pardon the double post

  16. karpad says

    So, he objects to Earth Day on account of it not being sufficiently religious. Even though it’s basically a Saint’s Day.

    It’s April 22. The day after John Muir’s birthday. This is not a coincidence. John Muir, famed naturalist and highly religious man, whose is a genuine Episcopal Saint. Whose saint day is… April 22.

    Ken Ham might well deny the “Christianity” of Episcopalians. But it would be nice for him to do so out loud in so many words, where everyone might hear and he might alienate fellow travelers.

  17. w00dview says

    I argue that the earth’s climate has gone through a few major periods of change, but in every case, humans did not produce the change. Ever since the Flood of Noah’s time, about 4,400 years ago, people have seen an unsettled earth in its sin-cursed state.

    Brilliant, I always imagined that at least a fundy christian AGW denier would not blurt out the “but climate has always changed” line but change the timescale from millions of years to thousands and voila! another excuse to twiddle our thumbs and do nothing. Also it makes me realise that theocrats running the show would fuck the planet up even more than the free market worshipers are doing at the moment. This is why these people should never be in any position of power at all.

    So, see, the tallgrass prairie that once dominated where I live, and was home to bison and prairie dogs and prairie chickens and passenger pigeons and numerous small lizards etc. etc. etc. better serves God’s purpose when we plow it down and replace all that diversity with endless fields of corn and soybeans.

    That’s the mystifying thing about Ham and his ilk. You would think they would appreciate the beauty and diversity inherent in God’s creation but apparently God made all this so humans can replace those ecosystems with a less productive, polluted, bland homogeneity. These goons must consider the few pristine habitats that still exist on the planet to be utter blasphemy. Just think of all the Walmarts that could exist if that old growth forest was plowed down!

  18. Akira MacKenzie says

    Having been an anti-environmentalist (I did a whole speech on how environmentalists are crypto-communists back in high school forensics) I don’t remember reading a lot of religious rhetoric in the screeds of Dixie Lee Rae and the other bullshit artists, but I’m sure I’d find it if I was looking for it. I was more concerned that environmental invented the “junk science” of climate change, ozone depletion, acid rain, overpopulation, et al. as an excuse to dismantle American freeeeeeedom and plunge us into a tie-dye-and-granny-glasses version of the USSR Therefore, I focused on the “science” and the cherry-picked rhetoric of some of the more extreme monkey-wrenching groups.

  19. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Isn’t Ham a Dominionist? That’s an extra-special brand of anti-environmentalism.

  20. David Marjanović says

    It’s Earth Day today, and I had no idea this was an atheist holiday. Ken Ham sets me straight, though, explaining that Earth Day is actually an anti-christian plot.

    Anti-Christian, yes, but by no means atheist. Just look at that picture again: Ham, like many American fundies, accuses “environmentalists” of Gaia worship: of taking Lovelock’s Gaia literally as a goddess and worshiping “her”. Earth Day is by no means not religious enough for him, it just belongs to the wrong religion. He accuses “environmentalism” as being more-or-less-stealth heathen/Satanist.

    (Of course, he probably doesn’t believe there actually is such a thing as an atheist, so…)

    By the way, I promised yesterday that I’d try another Google+ Hangout tonight, at 9pm Central time.

    *sob* *whine* Still too little advance warning for me.

    -And the day of Lenin’s birth!

    Oh snap! :-D

  21. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    It is pretty straightforward, WMDKitty.

    Step 1: Make a Google account.
    Step 2: Activate G+ on your Google account.
    Step 3: Tell PZ what your G+ nym is.
    Step 4: PZ invites you to join a Hangout.

  22. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Wife and I celebrated Earth Day by working in our yard. Our own little bit on non-nature. I also smoked a Gurkha Ninja.

    Did see a t-shirt today.

    Celebrate Earth CREATION Day!
    6,000 years of Creation.

    On a ~ten year old child.

  23. says

    I guess I should pipe in here a little and flesh out some thoughts bouncing around in my head re: the intersection of environmentalism and atheism.

    For one, I don’t see how a theist who believes in an afterlife can really give a damn what happens to the earth 100 years from now. They will be comfortably numb up in Heaven and the suffering of those stuck on the barren wasteland they leave behind will just get to paradise that much quicker right? Whats a brief period of suffering compared to eternity in Heaven?

    Where as an atheist presumes we get one life, that future generations get one life, and as empathetic human beings we should give a crap what kind of planet we leave for future generations to live that one life on.

  24. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    erik:

    When James Watt was the Secretary of the Interior, he said, in a speech at a National Park, that it was imperative that all natural resources must be utilized to their fullest because when JC Zombie comes back, he’ll be real mad if we haven’t used up the earth (obviously paraphrased).

  25. says

    icky things that don’t help people be fruitful and multiply are supposed to be removed.

    The idea that I might have a child like Ham (eeeew, neck-beard!) is why I got my pipes clipped. Who do I call to remove him?

  26. skaduskitai says

    How hard is it to understand global warming as a fact of physics and chemistry? CO2 is physically proven to be a greenhouse gas. This is not up for debate, it was settled among chemists more than 80 years ago. If we take a bunch of coal that has been deposited in the ground for many millions of years and burn it we add to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. More greenhouse gases means more greenhouse effect, it’s how these gases operate.

    How are humans not responsible when we dig up and add coal to the system that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t dig up and burn it in the first place?

  27. says

    About the hangout (which will be starting in about an hour): 58 people are on the invite list. Only 9 can be on at a time. It’ll be first come, first served, and maybe if you feel you’ve said enough you can step out and let someone else in.

  28. says

    About the hangout (which will be starting in about an hour): 58 people are on the invite list. Only 9 can be on at a time. It’ll be first come, first served, and maybe if you feel you’ve said enough you can step out and let someone else in.

    Dammit, I need a computer machine that has the amenities that would make such a thing possible.

  29. says

    I don’t get it. Genesis 3:17 says the ground will suck when we toil on it for food.

    I don’t understand how that means we should toil the entire earth for food. Then the whole earth will suck! WTF.

    It also says we shouldn’t eat tree fruit least it make use thorny. (The passages vary in order from version to version). I don’t see them saying we shouldn’t have orchards.

  30. says

    Dammit, I need a computer machine that has the amenities that would make such a thing possible.

    I could come over with my Google Glass and just stare at you and broadcast it. ;^)

  31. microraptor says

    For one, I don’t see how a theist who believes in an afterlife can really give a damn what happens to the earth 100 years from now. They will be comfortably numb up in Heaven and the suffering of those stuck on the barren wasteland they leave behind will just get to paradise that much quicker right? Whats a brief period of suffering compared to eternity in Heaven?

    Actually, I’ve talked with religious nuts who’ve used more or less that exact line of reasoning for why there shouldn’t be any environmental laws or regulations about when, where, or how much they can take when hunting and fishing. Rapture’s going to happen any day now so why worry about saving for the future.

    Strangely enough, none of them were willing to follow my suggestion that they go ahead and spend all their retirement account money rather than saving it for retirement.

    How are humans not responsible when we dig up and add coal to the system that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t dig up and burn it in the first place?

    I believe that the people you’re talking about have this careful procedure that they follow whenever they might be subjected to evidence that Anthropological Climate Change is real.

    It goes something like this:
    Step one- hide under security blanket
    Step two- suck thumb and tell self that the scary thing doesn’t exist, the scientists who say otherwise are a bunch of meany poopooheads who are part of the conspiracy to take away all your toys.

  32. David Marjanović says

    When James Watt was the Secretary of the Interior, he said, in a speech at a National Park, that it was imperative that all natural resources must be utilized to their fullest because when JC Zombie comes back, he’ll be real mad if we haven’t used up the earth (obviously paraphrased).

    But what if we use up the Earth before JC Zombie returns?

    Then we’re shit out of luck, eh?

    Or does the fact that everything’s used up force JC Zombie to return? Do we have power over JC Zombie? Isn’t that blasphemous to even think? How about Mk 13:32 in particular?

    Watt’s train of “thought” is fucked either way.

    58 people are on the invite list. Only 9 can be on at a time.

    Ô merde.

  33. theignored says

    Whoops. I found a better post for that last comment. Never mind. Ignore it here.