Well, I Guess if God Promised..

One of the candidates for the chairperson of the House Energy Committee believes that global warming is not a problem, because God promised he wouldn't destroy the earth. He goes on to quote the Bible as if it were some sort of scientific record, and not the made up scribblings of someone telling us what some invisible allmighty being told them.

Does anyone think that using the Bible (which has had more ghost writing done to it over the ages than an athlete's "autobiography") as any sort of factual record is a good idea? The Bible is only slightly more historically accurate than the Book of Mormon (which I remind posits that a really lost tribe of Jews was in South America, despite any archaeological evidence to the contrary) or anything from Scientology.

Can I enter Ragnarok into the Congressional record, since it is as well sourced and historically likely as anything God said? We are so screwed.

Last 5 posts by Ezra


  1. says

    I will refrain from responding to Ezra's religious commentary and merely point out that Rep. Shimkus is a poor Bible scholar. God's covenant with Man, in the person of Noah, is much narrower.

    nd I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

    So. Unless one takes God's words to be allegorical or metaphorical, God is only promising not to drown us in floods. Hence the words of the traditional spiritual Oh, Mary Don't You Weep:

    God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
    No more water but fire next time.

    God's promise leaves Him perfectly free to take us out via other hardships, some of which might or might not be related to global warming. For instance, death through plaintiff's lawyers, Snooki, and irradiation would be completely within the letter of the covenant.

  2. MadRocketScientist says

    It is always good to remember that bible quotes are not a crushing rejoinder in a scientific debate.

    Or from any other holy text, either

  3. says

    Stupid website. I had a nice long comment ready, and the web server ate it. So, I'll try to be brief.

    First, I'll agree with the other commenters: the Bible promises that Man won't die off, not that men in specific won't (quite the opposite, in fact). Just because the whole world won't be flooded (sorry, Waterworld) doesn't mean that New York City won't.

    Second, I'm old enough to remember when the 80s was the Decade of the Coming Ice Age. The Sun radiates more energy some decades, then "cools off" others. (The observed temperatures of Mars and Jupiter are varying almost in unison with the observed temperatures on Earth.) It is hubris to think that we're in more control of the Earth than the Sun is.

    Third: a quick question. What changes?

    Bible scholars acknowledge 4 "major" textual issues with the New Testament (the Adulteress's story, the "long ending of Mark", the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7-8), and Cainan son of Arpachshad in Luke). The first two don't exist in the oldest copies of the book in question, but still don't conflict with Christian theology. The Comma Johanneum is clearly medieval in origin, but states an idea (the Trinity) clearly existing well before it did. The Cainan line is probably an error by a scribe very early in the history of the book of Luke, which was probably compounded by a deliberate error later in "correcting" some copies of the Septuagint.

    OK, there's four big "changes" to the New Testament. Three occurred before AD 500, one occurred before AD 900. None introduce serious theological issues, nor do they offer any conflict with Christian theology (orthodox or heretical). There's other well-known issues, but these boil down to bad spelling, lazy and/or incompetent writing, or different phrasing.

    Now, name one significant change to Christian scriptures that I've missed. You said they exist. Heck, you said they were common "over the ages". Name that tune.

  4. John David Galt says

    It seems to me a cheap shot to point to one crackpot Congresscritter as if his were the only good argument against AGW/Climate Change. Montford's "The Hockey Stick Illusion" is the argument to address, whether you agree with it or not.

  5. says

    Packrat – There is no consensus on who wrote what in the Bible or how many times it has been conveniently overhauled. For instance, Moses himself did not write the Torah. The Bible could not be considered a primary source.

    But, this post wasn't about who wrote the Bible, or even really about global warming. It's about (as MadRocketScientist notes) the lunacy and danger of taking any religious text as a source document. By your logic, the Dalai Lama's thoughts on global warming are just as important to the scientific record as God's. Hint – they seem to disagree.

  6. Piper says

    Ken, I'm thinking we have a Reese's moment here. We can simply change the definition of blackened fish, and serve with a jug of BP crude – "Hey, you got oil on my snapper!… mmm" Maybe get Homer Simpson, Joe, and Tony together?

  7. Bishop Hill says

    Thanks to John Galt for plugging my book in an earlier comment. JDG is also correct about the silliness of mentioning people's religious convictions in contexts like this. Sir John Houghton, who did so much to promote the global warming scare around the time of the IPCC's Third Assessment Report, believes that global warming is God's punishment for mankind being bad (or something along those lines). Best just to roll your eyes when you hear this kind of thing.

  8. says

    Again, my issue isn't that Shimkus is being stupid (he is.) It's that anyone could consider a religious text as any sort of concrete evidence of anything. The Koran, the Bhagdvita, The Encyclopaedia Shatnerica (my own personal religious text) or golden disks only you can read are all unworthy of any sort of serious citation. Until one can prove the existence of all powerful deities they must be treated as fiction.

  9. Piledriver says

    I'm hoping you just copy and paste that bit from a text file, Kentucky Packrat, as it's wasted effort on anyone who is harping generally about changes and errors in translation in the Bible. Even the most casual scholars wouldn't make such a broad, and frankly pointless, claim.

    Those people who would, like Ezra, aren't even impressed that people do actually take that kind of scholarly interest in religious texts. To make a graphic analogy: it's no different than if you told them you have a comprehensive knowledge of toilet paper patterns (no, I don't agree… I just want to clearly illustrate the lack of respect involved).