Creationism and Climate Change

What do creationism and climate-change skepticism have in common?

A lot, according to the leading young-earth creationist organization Answers In Genesis.

This morning we see an argument from AiG’s Elizabeth Mitchell about the dangers of climate-change science.  Dr. Mitchell is responding to the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Why do Christian creationists care about climate change?

Dr. Mitchell’s essay offers a few ideas.

First, Mitchell warns that climate-change science is based on “dubious sources.”  She asks if mainstream climate-change scientists might build their case on mistaken assumptions.  Skepticism about evolutionary science, it seems, bleeds over into suspicion of all mainstream science.  If mainstream science has been proven, from creationists’ perspective, to be a naked emperor, then its conclusions on every topic must be treated warily.

Second, young-earth creationists are committed to the idea of a young earth and, for many, a catastrophic global flood.  Arguments about the changing climate from outside the circle of young-earth creationists assume a much older earth.  Climate-change science must rest on such assumptions.  Young-earth creationists, then, have a keen interest in making climate arguments that insist on a short lifespan and a global cataclysmic flood.

Finally, we see an important difference in the issues of evolution and climate-change.  Dr. Mitchell, at least, takes a much more irenic position toward Christians who DO agree with the mainstream science of climate change.

Christians, Mitchell argues, must weigh the evidence and make up their minds about the science of climate change.  It does not do violence to scripture, she implies, to believe the mainstream science on this issue.  The most important issue, Mitchell concludes, is that

Whatever position a Christian citizen chooses to take, he or she needs to understand the present in the true light of biblically documented, scientifically affirmed history rather than uniformitarian assumptions about the earth’s past—and future.



They’re Coming for your Children

Beware!  The State is coming for your children.

That is the reminder recently from some conservative Christian commentators.

As we’ve noted here at ILYBYGTH, the struggle for control over children between parents and the state has a long and bitter history.

The cover of Sam Blumenfeld's 1981 Is Public Education Necessary depicted a teen being forcibly abducted from his home by agents of the State.  His crime?  Learning outside of government schools.

The cover of Sam Blumenfeld’s 1981 Is Public Education Necessary depicted a teen being forcibly abducted from his home by agents of the State. His crime? Learning outside of government schools.

Recent warnings have come from Elizabeth Mitchell of Answers in Genesis and Roger Kiska of the evangelical Alliance Defending Freedom.

The lesson from Germany is stark, both insist.  In that country, homeschooling parents have had their children taken away by the government.

Mitchell tells the story of the Wunderlich family.  By German law, the four children of this homeschooling family were arrested for violating a school-truancy law.  Mitchell warns that such threats are not limited to Germany.  “Those of us,” she insists,

who maintain that the Word of the Creator of the universe can be trusted from the very first verse work to provide answers to equip children and adults to understand science as well as the suffering in the world in the light of God’s Word. At the same time, we as Bible-believing Christians must not take for granted our freedom to speak the truth. . . .  we need to remain vigilant to guard against encroachments that chisel away at the freedoms we have in our own country.

Writing for the Alliance Defending Freedom, Kiska similarly warns, “today, the suppression of parental rights to teach and influence their own children isn’t restricted to overtly fascist regimes.”  In Sweden and Germany, “a land once shrouded under the Nazi flag,” homeschooling families have been attacked by government forces.  Such threats are not limited to Europe, Kiska insists.  He asks,

So, could Europe’s degree of intolerance and crackdown on homeschooling reach American shores anytime soon? It all depends on how vigilant we are in opposing decisions like the one in New Hampshire—and it’s precisely why ADF is fighting to protect parental rights in that case and abroad so that a very nasty cancer is not allowed to grow.

For outsiders like me, this anti-state rhetoric can seem strangely hyperbolic, even a “paranoid style.”  But dismissing these fears as mere social neurosis misses the point.  For many Americans of a conservative bent, the dangers of government aggression are of primary concern.  So, for instance, when pundits such as Allison Benedikt make an aggressive case for public education, many conservative writers express alarm.

This is more than just a paranoid style.  This is a thorough-going distrust of government power.  This distrust lies at the heart of conservative thinking in the United States.  Many conservatives still relish the pithy expression of this central idea by Ronald Reagan.  As Reagan put it, the most terrifying words in the English language are these: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

For some conservatives, that government “help” might include the forcible abduction of children.  Folks like me might scoff at the extreme paranoia of such ideas, but we will be wise to understand that such warnings resonate with large numbers of Americans.


Creationists Love The Bible

The young-earth creationists of Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis endorse The Bible.  Not just the Good Book, but now also the Good Movie.

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell (MD) reviewed the new ten-hour History Channel film on the AiG website today.

I believe the folks at AiG will agree with me when I say this: they have a tendency to be extremely particular about the company they keep.  They only endorse those who agree on the importance of a young earth and a six-day creation.  Even other conservative Christians will come into AiG disfavor if they dispute those ideas.  Recently, for instance, founder Ken Ham took the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson to task for making nice with evolutionary science.

So when an AiG reviewer praises the new Bible film as something that “allows the plain truths of biblical history from the time of our origins to speak and connects those truths to the relevant issues of life,” it says a great deal about the content of the film.

Mitchell notes that the film depicts a literal world wide flood.  “Even in its opening scene,” Mitchell writes,

“a believable Noah recounts the six days of creation for his seasick family in a massive, storm-tossed Ark in a Flood that is clearly global. The worldwide scope of the Flood is portrayed by the graphic of a flooded planet and the narrator’s confirmation that the floodwaters had ‘engulfed the world.'”

Mitchell notes the necessary shortcuts that a ten-hour film must make in condensing such a massive set of books.  In the end, however, Mitchell believes that the film is true to the original.  The best proof of the film’s merit will be, in Mitchell’s words, that

“The Bible will likely lead many to Christ. Why? Because it presents the Bible’s history as real history—instead of eroding trust in God’s Word from the very first verse. Because it demonstrates the relevance of the Fall of mankind soon after creation to all the evil that has ever cursed our world. Because it depicts the Old Testament sacrifices that God intended to prefigure the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). And because it presents the Bible’s history as a continuous narrative of God’s plans for us from creation through the covenant people of Abraham and Moses to Christ and the early church, thus showing how Jesus Christ is indeed God’s answer for the sin-guilt of the entire world.”

As long as important doctrine is respected, it seems, including the truths of a young earth and a six-day creation, Answers in Genesis is happy to endorse any work that will lead to more conversions.

As we’ve been discussing lately, the Hollywood Christian power couple behind this film have advocated for more Bibles (books, that is, not films) in public schools.  If ardent young-earth creationists can endorse the film, what does that tell us about the sectarian intentions of the filmmakers?