Yesterday I presented a transcript of an exchange between McMorris Rodgers and a geologist at Green Bluff on May 29th. I wish to highlight one part of that exchange:
CMR: Well, you look at the history of the world…and we’ve been through…we’ve been through times when the earth warmed and then also we’ve been through times when the Earth…there’s been more ice on…in the world. So look at the history of the world and there’s been some changes in the climate. Now…the human contribution to that?
Geologist: …I’m a geologist. I know all about global scale warming going back 4.5 billion years ago, but we’re arguing about something that has happened in the last sixty years and it’s incontrovertible that…
These words ring in my ears: CMR: “we’ve been through times when the earth warmed and then also we’ve been through times when the Earth…there’s been more ice on…in the world.”
I have no doubt McMorris Rodgers believes sincerely the doubts she expresses. My question is this: what is the worldview from which she makes her statement? From what background does she approach the evidence of climate science?
We have some clues. (See CMR–Who is She Really?) Prior to high school she attended a series of Christian schools. At age fifteen her family moved from remote British Columbia to a farm near Kettle Falls. There her education continued at the Columbia River Christian Academy, part of the Columbia River Bible Church. The “Statement of Faith” at their website states:
We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24 hour periods. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin (Genesis 1-2; Ex. 20:11).
McMorris Rodgers went on to study at the Pensacola Christian College in 1986. Pensacola Christian is an “Independent Baptist liberal arts college.” Amid the gleaming modernity depicted on Pensacola Christian’s website is a document entitled “Articles of Faith.” Among those articles is the following:
We believe that God created the heavens and the earth in six literal days, and that God created all life (Gen. 1). We reject the man-made theory of evolution occurring over millions of years and believe that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old.
A “young earth” literally created in six days about 6000 years ago are precepts of McMorris Rodgers’ entire formal education through college. (The age of the earth is probably not a topic of concern in her lengthy pursuit of an Executive MBA.)
The time frame lighting up in McMorris Rodgers mind when she refers to the “history of the world” in her Green Bluff exchange with the geologist is very short. It is likely an earth history contained in six millennia. In the audio you can almost hear her straining to acknowledge there actually have been times when “there’s been more ice.” Can she let herself even hear, much less comprehend, the idea of an earth 4.5 billion years old?
Here’s the crux: All credible scientists understand the earth’s climate has changed over geologic time. Ice cores allow us to track those changes over hundreds of thousands of years. The present concern with global warming is expressed by the geologist when he says, “we’re arguing about something that has happened in the last sixty years.” It is not the fact of change, it is the rate of change driven by man’s release of greenhouse gases that should be ringing alarm bells.
If McMorris Rodgers believes the earth is 6000 years old or has never grappled with the concept of geologic time, any warming or cooling she is willing to acknowledge has to have happened in a really, really short time period.. Sixty years to a young earth believer is a long period of time. To a geologist it is less than a blink. McMorris Rodgers is educationally and doctrinally ill-equipped to comprehend how the rate of change is a concern.
I believe that Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a sincere, good person who means well, is a good mother, who feels she is working hard, and who tries to do what she believes is right. She is socially pleasant. However, until she clearly demonstrates otherwise, we have every reason to conclude her very narrow education and all the hints we have of her worldview prevent her from intelligently assessing and responding to climate disruption.
Keep to the high ground,