Over the weekend, I discussed the way that atheists often fetishize science and overstate its power. But better that than the total disregard for any inconvenient science that gets in the way of the religious fundamentalists’ Iron Age dogma. And pity the once great empire that relies on such nonsense to govern itself. It will find itself needing to relearn how to smelt metal. Good people of America, I offer for your consideration and concern: Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
Inhofe is known for his highly publicized claims that global warming is a hoax. Does he actually know any science? Of course not! But it doesn’t take much to go to The Heartland Institute website and grab a bunch of cherry-picked data and argue that global warming is just a communist plot to trick people into believing collective action is sometimes necessary. (Funny how conservatives never have a problem with the draft!) But Inhofe’s interest is not in the modern science but in the “science” of the 6th century BC.
Earlier this month, Right Wing Watch caught Inhofe on Crosstalk, a show on Voice of Christian Youth America. He explained that climate change just couldn’t be happening because God wouldn’t allow it. Again, this is because an Iron Age book, put together by countless writers, tells him so:
Three thousand years ago, people told stories around the fire at night. Someone wrote them down after hundreds of years. And James Inhore is now using those stories to explain that science is just a great big hoax. It’s an entirely typical game that he is playing. The fundamentalists know that they can’t be honest and just admit that they believe what they believe because they learned it in Sunday school when they were six. Instead, they pretend to do science. It is despicable.
If this isn’t depressing enough, Digby brought my attention to a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll. It asked what they thought the reason was for increased storms. Among white evangelicals, 49% said that they thought it was due to global warming. That’s actually pretty good. But here’s the freaky part: 77% thought that it was a sign of the End Times. This would not be a problem if these people were living in a cave somewhere. But they probably vote more consistently than readers of this blog. I think I might make a bumper sticker, “I’m a religious freak: And I vote!”
I’m sure if you asked Joni Ernst, the new Iowa Senator-elect, she would provide the same answer. But for the media to report on her extremist views during the campaign would have been rude. So the media do what they always do: error on the side of allowing right wing extremists to get away with everything. After all, there was reporting to be done on her challenger’s fight with his neighbors over chickens. We’ve got to stay focused on what’s important. And the fourth estate knows what’s important: total nonsense. But don’t worry: it will all work out fine. If you’re super rich.