I tend to avoid religious matters. As a student, I somewhat enjoyed debates with creationists, but that eventually waned when it became obvious that questions of faith and hope will remain forever beyond a reasoning that conflicts with such views. I am not an atheist either; I remain happy on my fence with the view that whatever spirituality truly exists, it is left up to the individual to work out for themselves while all religion (in my view) is nothing but a tool made by our kind.
That said, I don’t often allow myself to get into much debate over what, in essence, cannot be argued between people but (at best) within oneself. This of course changes when ideology steps into the realm of science, with nothing but an old book as a reference and works in a way that has potential to damage ecological systems further.
This occurred recently when US Republican John Shimkus argued on climate changed relying on Genesis and Matthew, (I became aware of this by Ken on Open Parachute here). “I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for His creation,” he states on God’s word that He will never again cause events like the biblical flood. Referring to Matthew, Shimkus states that man shall not destroy the Earth.
Pretty good news! We can do what we want because God said so and that neither He nor humanity will destroy the world in the process! Pretty sweet huh?
Now, where in geological history did God stop mass extinctions? Ok, following Noah, we could say that only relatively recently did God said such a thing… I’ll stop there for a second.
Humanity is unable to destroy the world huh? We’re sure giving it a damn good durability test – one we seem unwilling to stop until it breaks! It could be argued that we’re causing our own mass extinction event and one we’re not doing a great deal to stop (see here for a good write up or here for the PDF UNEP report regarding world governments failing to meet biodiversity targets).
So God apparently said that His wrath is over and that we too will skip along and all will be rosy, but yet look at the species loss going on around us, look at the various wars, plagues and natural disasters that have taken huge chucks off our population size. How is that the “infallible word of God” when the evidence says otherwise?
Having read the old testament myself, that old God character was certainly a temperamental bloke and I would argue the bi-polar swing of life on this earth would question the clarity of this chaps statement. He’ll not rain down hell – not unless he’s had a bad day. As for our impact; we’ll we’ve proving the old man wrong hey?
I personally feel that such ideological statements should be left outside the policy making arenas as they are kept outside of environmental science research.
I’m happy for John Shimkus to believe the “infallible” words, but I tend to regard evidence higher and fear that views like his will continue us down a path where we will never be able to meet any biodiversity targets.