Congressman Cites Biblical Flood As Proof That Global Climate Change Isn’t Human-Made

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act which deals with the Keystone pipeline. If approved, the pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada into the U.S. Many environmentalists don’t want to see the pipeline approved because they fear that the increased access to petroleum products could accelerated global climate change. Whether you agree that the pipeline is a bad idea or that the benefits outweigh the risks, the scientific consensus regarding global climate change is that the current spike we’re seeing is, at least in part, caused by human activities.

But Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) disagrees. He believes that Noah’s Flood is proof that global climate change is not human-made:

I think you can have an honest difference of opinion on what’s causing that change without automatically being either all in that it’s all because of man kind or that it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence. I would point out that if you’re a believe in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

Certainly the Biblical story of Noah’s flood would count as an example of global climate change, if it had actually happened. But, even if you suspend your disbelief regarding the Biblical flood story, it’s an embarrassingly blatant fallacy to say that a past example of environmental changes caused by a deity is proof that the current climate change is not due to human actions.

I wonder what Bible-believing Christians will assert next. Maybe: “God made the serpent in the Garden of Eden slither on its belly. That’s evolution! So Darwin’s natural selection idea couldn’t possibly explain the diversity of life on earth.”

Or how about: “Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God’s wrath. That’s proof that Pompeii must have been destroyed by God, not because of a nearby erupting volcano.”

Or even: “when people think they’re experiencing an alien abduction, they’re actually seeing demons. If you’re a true believer, you’ll just pray and the demons will disappear.”*

Of course, this isn’t the first time a Bible-believing Christian has said something ignorant regarding global climate change. And it likely won’t be the last time. 

If you’d like to watch the entire hearing, you can see it here. Barton’s flood comments begin at the 1:03:25 mark.

*Technically, this assertion has already been made by my “Bible-believing Christian” uncle. He’s a very intelligent man but he happens to believe some crazy stuff.

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson

  • DougI

    The GOP has their stupid stuck on 11.

  • Mackinz

    There has got to be a way to get this guy out of Congress. He doesn’t understand science a lick, so why is he even on this subcommittee?

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.westley Brian Westley

      Yeah, Republicans who are totally ignorant about science belong on the House Science Committee.

      • Mackinz

        And not just ignorant of science.

        Ignorant of history.

        Noah’s Ark and the Biblical Flood never happened. Historical fact.

        :|

    • Stev84

      The same why Paul Broun is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

    • Birdie1986

      Trying to turn Texas blue. Really trying.

  • Skeptosaurus

    Any surprise that this dimwit is from Texas? When are they going to secede? It’s long past due.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      :( I like Dallas. And Austin’s awesome. Can’t we keep those two cities?

      • Lurker111

        They can be Texas’s “West Berlins.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

    Why do they keep electing the banjo player from “Deliverance” to congress?

    • Marco Conti

      It’s more like a fucking Banjo orchestra. And just as unpleasant to listen to.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1847253344 Mike Oakley

      I don’t know if this is an apt comparison. The banjo player had a discernable talent.

  • busterggi

    This is why I’m tempted to push for a religious litmus test for candidates – anyone who believes religious fairy tales should be excluded from office.

    • mdenis46

      One of the early constitutions of Kentucky specifically banned ministers from being members of the Legislature. They had it partly right in 1799! Unfortunately, the reason was that most ministers were against slavery, and most Kentuckians were pro-slavery.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    This is the same man who apologized to BP for getting our ducks covered in their oil.

    • http://twitter.com/maxbingman1 Max Bingman

      I knew I’d heard his name somewhere before.

  • Georginafs

    So they are actually admitting that their god, the one that watches a sparrow fall without lifting a finger to help it, is killing off the polar bears on purpose?

    Weird.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    But obviously the lesson from the story of Noah is that we must respond to global climate change by taking proactive measures to preserve the species threatened by it.

    • woot

      Let’s hope your god doesn’t pull a dick move and flood the world again.

      • Stev84

        But he promised not to. Why a pretty rainbow and all.

    • woot

      Let’s hope your god doesn’t pull a dick move and flood the world again.

      • C Peterson

        Well, the flooding is real. It has begun, and it will get worse. That seems like a pretty good argument against their god, who promised it wouldn’t happen again.

  • baal

    Rep. Barton is a pet for the oil industry. Small wonder he’s derailing the conversation and a climate change denier.

  • mikespeir

    This man helps run our country. People put him in that position. People, alas, from my own state.

    *sigh*

  • Rain

    But, even if you suspend your disbelief regarding the Biblical flood story, it’s an embarrassingly blatant fallacy to say that a past example of environmental changes caused by a deity is proof that the current climate change is not due to human actions.

    The only thing I can figure is that he was strutting his creationist feathers. He just felt like flaunting his creationism at the moment. He just took the opportunity for some reason. Good job looking like a fool I guess. Way to go.

    • woot

      What’s particularly depressing is that comments like that will actually increase the likelihood that he will remain in office. It’s more the voters’ faults than his.

      • Rain

        Actually, now that I look at more youtube videos of him, I wouldn’t doubt if he sincerely thought he had a valid point. What that point is, is anyone’s guess. Not exactly a rocket scientist…

  • SeekerLancer

    Yet he probably thinks global warming punishment because of gays, so in a way it’s man-on-man made.

    Also the world was supposedly flooded as punishment so even if God did it, you could still say it was man’s fault, no?

  • Bdole

    Even if you accept his premise, the flood was a perfect example of anthropogenic climate change. Man’s sins caused god to flood the Earth. The ultimate cause is still mankind behaving badly.
    Maybe god is flooding the world with CO2 this time.

  • Daniel

    defenitely a facepalm!

  • Roger Peritone

    Hah! As for

    “Or even: “when people think they’re experiencing an alien abduction,
    they’re actually seeing demons. If you’re a true believer, you’ll just
    pray and the demons will disappear.”* ”

    comment? Guess what? Many more other than just your uncle believe that!

    Check out this site, especially the bottom:
    http://www.alienintrusion.com/main.html


    © Creation Ministries International (Australia),
    2006.
    Contact Us:
    please direct general enquiries to Creation Ministries International (Australia).

    Please
    direct website enquiries to the Webmaster at Creation Ministries International (Australia).

    • TheBlackCat13

      Not entirely inaccurate, since both or probably cases of sleep paralysis.

  • Bdole
  • Peter Guerin

    Practically every known culture has some account of a worldwide flood that happened in the past. To write it off as mere coincidence is to do so at one’s peril.

    However, I always thought, as Flip Wilson always said, “The Devil made me do it”. :-P


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