If you have any doubts that right wingers can be contemptuous of science, allow Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann to put your mind at rest. From Religion News.com:
"I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians," the Minnesota Republican said Sunday (Aug. 28) at a campaign rally in Florida. "We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, `Are you going to start listening to me here?"'
As you would expect, the Press jumped on that. The Washington Post has a video clip of Bachmann making those remarks, under the heading "Bachmann: Hurricane is Message from God". The Backmann organization says she was just joking.
I watched the clip which was, amusingly, preceded by an energy industry ad promoting fracking. It didn't look like a joke, but it didn't look the least bit serious either. It was obvious rhetorical flourish.
Suppose she had been serious. Is it offensive to science to suggest that a natural disaster is part of God's plan and is a punishment or a warning? No. If there is any offense here, it is against religion for presuming that one knows the mind of God.
On the other hand, there is Billy McKibben. From his column in The Beast:
Irene's got a middle name, and it's Global Warming.
Just out of curiosity, what is Irene's last name?
Category 3 Storms have rarely hit Long Island since the 1800s; one was the great unnamed storm of 1938, which sent 15-foot storm waters surging through what are now multimillion-dollar seaside homes.
I admit to some curiosity about how rare Category 3 storms were before 1800, but the fact that a much worse storm hit in 1938 might mean something. What was that storm's middle name?
Critics of the climate change agenda have frequently argued that the agenda amounts to a pseudo-religion. Boy did McKibben step up to be the poster child. It is hard enough to mine decades of climate records for a coherent pattern. To claim that a single weather event is due to global warming is utterly unscientific. Maybe Irene was a harbinger of coming climate disasters. Maybe it is just the case that rare events happen rarely, but occasionally.
McKibben's pompous alarm is no more rational than Bachmann's Biblical rhetoric, but if Bachmann abuses religion, McKibben abuses science.