2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 154-14
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM-12:00 PM


GREER, Penny and DURBIN, James M., Department of Geology and Physics, The University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Blvd, Evansville, IN 47712, greerpen@gmail.com

Global climate change is often portrayed as a controversial topic not because of the scientific data that supports it, but because of the public perception of its ambiguity. Recent surveys have revealed that despite agreement among scientists that global warming is occurring; only a minority of those surveyed agrees that most scientists hold that position. Geoscientists respond with renewed commitment to teach the physical science with its data, analysis and interpretations. And they should. But despite their presenting the science clearly, many may reject or resist it and some for religious reasons.

Many branches of Christianity and their constituents accept the data that scientists are presenting. However, some Christians of a more fundamental orientation do not. This is because they regard time according to separate dispensations established within the Bible. Within this view, the creation is now within the sixth, or premillennial dispensation, which precedes the return of Christ that will usher in 1000 years of peace before time’s end. Taking certain Biblical passages literally, there will necessarily be climatic chaos and grave discomfort as the end approaches.

But for any Christian, even those who understand and seek to mitigate global climate change, tension exists because of the very structure of the faith. Any believer who affirms some version of divine providence espoused within the Bible and the tradition takes seriously the claim that God is the primary agent within creation, history and any natural law. Would God then allow something to happen that could make the earth uninhabitable for humans?

While there are a variety of more recent understandings of divine providence among Christian theologians that wrestle creatively with these questions and while other theologians create a context for the findings of science, most do not know this. It is important not to use up valuable classroom time needed to present the science but geoscience educators would benefit in understanding all of these positions to help lessen resistance to the essential science.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 154
Exposing Myths and Misrepresentations of Climate Change and Evolution Science: Strategies and Case Studies for Geoscientists, Educators, Policy Makers, and the Press
Colorado Convention Center: Room 503
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 382

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