Monday, April 15, 2013

Joe Barton, Climate Change and Noah's Flood: More Beclowning

U.S. Representative Joe Barton, of Texas (do I need to give the party affiliation?), has made the news based on his views on climate change. It is not just that he disagrees with the consensus about climate change, it is why he disagrees. As the Star-Telegram puts it:
Environmentalists have railed against the Keystone pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Canada to refineries in Texas.

"I would point out that if you're a believer 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," said Barton, chairman emeritus of the energy committee.

Barton's allusion to the Great Flood and, by extension, Noah's Ark, sparked lots of online commentary and a jab from 2012 Democratic opponent Kenneth Sanders.

"Joe Barton is a disappointment to Texans who count on him to represent their interest; his understanding of God's holy word is somewhat suspect as well," Sanders said in a statement. "As a person of faith, I'm personally disappointed that he has looked into the Good Book and found evidence to deny any human impact on climate change.
I am always a bit suspicious when people use the phrases "person of faith" and "The Good Book" because it usually means they don't take much stock in either. However, Barton's interpretation of the scriptures is suspect and his understanding of climatology even more so. Here is what you find when a real geologist examines the geological record:
No geologic evidence whatsoever exists for a universal flood, flood geology, or the canopy theory. Modern geologists, hydrologists, paleontologists, and geophysicists know exactly how the different types of sedimentary rock form, how fossils form and what they represent, and how fast the continents are moving apart (their rates can be measured by satellite). They also know how flood deposits form and the geomorphic consequences of flooding.1
How do you make a reasonable assessment of climate change when you have Noah's Flood as your point of reference? The scientific problems in accepting that version of events are insurmountable. He has no basic understanding of modern geology or climatology. How do people like this get on science and energy committees in the first place? We need a basic science literacy test for these committees. As Glenn Reynolds would say "Faster, please."

1Hill, Carol A. (2002) The Noachian Flood: Universal or Local? Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith, 54(3): 170-183


  1. Hey, but that great earth scientist Shakespeare may be believed in the vapor canopy. I just noticed recently that he has Hamlet say:

    this most
    excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
    o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
    with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
    me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.

    Certainly expresses himself better than your average YEC, anyway.

  2. That's really, really funny. Thanks.