An Evangelical Climate Scientist Wonders What Went Wrong

Nice interview with Katharine Hayhoe from the NY Times. You have free access to this article.

Read here: An Evangelical Climate Scientist Wonders What Went Wrong


Good article. Shared on my Facebook page. By the way, Dr. Hayhoe is one of the speakers at the Biologos conference this spring in San Diego. It would be nice to see some of the posters here in carnate.


I think she could use some support. She must feel all alone!


How was it good? It raises many serious questions without any answers.

What went wrong? The obvious answer is bad theology that allows evangelicals to teach that the universe was created in 6 days and the letter of the law is more important than the spirit of the law.

What went wrong? Evangelicalism is guilty of the heresy of Bibliolatry

  1. It was accurate.
  2. It humanized both the climate crisis and Christians, showing that not all are part of a monolithic mass who are anti-environment, hopefully allowing some to take Christ more seriously.
  3. It held a mirror up to us as Christians to allow us to see ourselves as others see us, so that we might do better.
  4. It did give some practical advise, but you are right that the answers are difficult and hard to find, but giving answers was not the purpose of the piece.

Most important, the article seems to confuse Christianity with Evangelicalism. The Black Church is Christian, but it does not support Trump or climate change denial, while the evangelicals do.

It would seem that those who are interested in finding out what went wrong with the Evangelical Church should see how the E.C. is theologically different from the Black Church.

The answers are not difficult and hard to find. They are very obvious to those who are willing to see them. The answers are hard for those who are unwilling to admit they are sinners and admit their mistakes.


Awesome article! Thanks for sharing!


Here is a European view of climate science. From this address:

A narrow and mistaken, denialist head-in-the-sand view which happens to be from Europe.

In late September 2019 the group produced an open letter which stated that there was no climate emergency and repeated a number of claims that were inconsistent with the scientific evidence on climate. A fact check performed by climate scientists for Climate Feedback gave the letter an overall scientific credibility of “very low”, and tagged it as “Biased, Cherry-picking, Inaccurate, Misleading”. The analysis also added that, out of the roughly 500 signatories, only 10 self-identified as climate scientists. Guus Berkhout - Wikipedia


Why would “Climate Feedback” be any less biased than anyone else? Who checked on “their fact-checkers”? There now about 1000 signatories on the list. The notion that only people identified as “climate scientists” can understand the data and consequences of the measurements involved in understanding how the climate evolves would be similar to the notion that only theologians can understand and interpret the Bible.

Because Berkhauts crew’s heads are in the sand? It’s too bad that literal sand is being washed away, and they’re not seeing it. And the uptick, a very large and loud tick, to mix metaphors, in radically more severe weather events that they are neither seeing nor hearing, and apparently not even reading about. A thousand signatories are not a thousand climate scientists! Specialties do matter, but feel free to go to a chiropractor for heart surgery.


Not all climate scientists and out of how many tens of thousands of actual climate scientists in the world that agree?


In a recent comment, the statement appeared
A narrow and mistaken, denialist head-in-the-sand view which happens to be from Europe

That is one way to characterize the presentations by Dr. Heyhoe adding in “shallow” and “largely hand-waving”. “Narrow”, by focussing only on temperatures at mid-lattitudes [it is always warm at the Equator] since 1880 at the end of the “little ice age”. Of course the earth has warmed since that point, back when Hans Brinker was skating on the frozen canals in Holland. Prior to that point the earth had cooled from the Medieval Warm Period when the Vikings were growing grapes in Greenland.
“Denialist”, by ingoring data showing that at 400 parts per million CO2 concentration in the atmosphere the absorbtion of energy has saturated. This can be illustrated by considering a flashlight shining on a wall producine a circle of light. Then, put a piece of black construction paper in front of the flashlight and observing that no light falls on the wall. Then, put another piece of black construction paper behind the first piece…nothing new is observed, as all of the light has already been absorbed. So it is with the current situation, additional CO2 will not add to heat absorbed by the atmosphere, nothing is left to be absorbed.
“Head-in-the-sand”, but ignoring all other effects. Ask an alarmist to explain how the temperature oscillations that took place in the Younger Dryas period when the CO2 concentration remained largely constant. At the end of the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, the earth started to warm up, slowly at first, then a large jump at about 14,000 years ago, followed by a series of lower temperatures and finally warmed toward current levels about 12,000 years ago. Throught all of these changes, the CO2 levels changed little.
Guus Berkhout and his colleagues have been labelled as “missing the point”. Would the world’s top climate scientist, Richard Lindzen, be given a similar label? He is one of the signatories of the Berkhout statement. Lindzen has held endowed chairs at Chicago, Harvard and MIT. He would be the first to note that there has been a waming of the earth in the last 140 years, but note that scarecly more than 1/4 of that warming could be attributed to human activity.
One of my father’s sayings was that “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion, still”. That raises the question of “what kind of data and analysis would lead to a change of opinion?”

Then he wasn’t convinced, was he.

You can disrespect Dr. Hayhoe, misspell her name, and play with your construction paper all you want. At the end of the day, I’m listening to the over 97% of climate scientists who tell us that the earth is warming due to human activity.


Greetings and welcome. I found this entertaining and insightful, if you enjoy Randal Munroe.


Love that. The telling part is that the rise was gradual until we started burning large amounts of fossil fuel, then abruptly goes up.


…who can read a graph (actually multiple graphs).

Thanks for sharing the article! She mentions the many people who identify as Evangelical believers that don’t attend church, but attend the church of a preferred media outlet and how there is little catechizing going on. However, there’s also a potential issue from those who do attend church and catechize. When responding to the questions about the things we know to do, Dr. Hayhoe says:

“ It is, but we’re so individualistic that it affects our perspective on climate solutions. “

I think this is what keeps American evangelicals from acknowledging and dealing with climate change in our churches. We are likely to be catechized with the notions that we aren’t individually the perpetrators, and that God will as an Individual deal with any threats to the planet. I appreciate her point that we often conflate our societal preferences and behaviors as Biblical theology. People need to hear within their churches, and learn to discern, the cultural relativism that we read our Bibles through. An individualistic culture can be advantageous, but it needs to be surrendered, from the relevant aspects or all of it, when it becomes destructive to people’s lives and anything else in God’s creation.

She also demonstrates what Christian leaders must:
“It does not make me doubt the existence or the goodness of God. It makes me doubt God’s ability to act in people who call themselves his followers… I’m thinking, God, what are you doing?”

Dealing honestly with our doubts can bring us closer to each other and closer to understanding and experiencing whatever the truth is. Isn’t this what we want of church? Isn’t this how the world is supposed to be witnessed to?

1 Like is a site dedicated to teaching climate change science and fighting climate change denialism.

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