Saturday, May 04, 2013

Religious Based Ignorance Stifling Climate Change Action in U.S.A.

Hatteras Island looking north from Buxton
UPDATED:The May 5, 2013, Virginian Pilot has a lengthy article on what rising sea levels are doing to North Carolina's Outer Banks.  Unfortunately, the North Carolina GOP refuses to have any discussion about climate change and global warming.

Our home in 2009 - the entire block and many other parts of the neighborhood were flooded

As yet more evidence that fundamentalist Christianity and the embrace of ignorance that goes with it constitutes a threat to America's future and security, a new study has found that fundamentalism and belief in the "end times" is preventing America from taking much needed action on climate change.  Here in Virginia and GOP controlled North Carolina where rising sea levels and the increasing intensity and frequency of tropical storms is a very real problem, the Christianist controlled Republican continue to refuse to admit that global warming and the related sea level rises and storms is even happening.  It's lunacy and dangerous public policy, especially for those of us who live in coastal areas.  Here in Tidewater Virginia, coastal flooding is a growing problem and we've had four serious storms and flooding in the last 10 years.  An article in The Raw Story looks at the study findings:
The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change thanks in part to the large number of religious Americans who believe the world has a set expiration date.

Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing climate change.

“[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study, which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly.

“[I]t stands to reason that most nonbelievers would support preserving the Earth for future generations, but that end-times believers would rationally perceive such efforts to be ultimately futile, and hence ill-advised,” Barker and Bearce explained.

That very sentiment has been expressed by federal legislators. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said in 2010 that he opposed action on climate change because “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.” He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

Though the two researchers cautioned their study was not intended to predict future policy outcomes, they said their study suggested it was unlikely the United States would take action on climate change while so many Americans, particularly Republicans, believed in the coming end-times.

“That is, because of institutions such as the Electoral College, the winner-take-all representation mechanism, and the Senate filibuster, as well as the geographic distribution of partisanship to modern partisan polarization, minority interests often successfully block majority preferences,”

To these religious zealots, the writings of unknown, uneducated and ignorant nomads and herders trump modern scientific knowledge and the objective evidence that we see all around us.   What's amazing is that these same folks ridicule and condemn fundamentalist Muslims for the same knowing embrace of ignorance of which they themselves are guilty.  They are a menace plain and simple.

As for the picture of our home, it was built in 1958.  Yet the serious flooding issues have only arisen in the last 10 years.  Obviously, something is happening whether the cretinous Christofascists want to admit it or not.  I'm sorry, but religious belief has no place in the civil laws or in public policy.

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