When the Right spins Darwin there’s bound to be trouble

Fri, 2006-07-14 10:58Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

When the Right spins Darwin there’s bound to be trouble

If intelligent design wasn’t strange enough, the right-wing is now looking to use Darwin and evolution to spin climate change. Charles Darwin

Thomas Brewton at the Conservative Voice has decided to make the illogical leap of faith (read: spin) between scientific predictions of mass flooding, intensified storm, wildfires and drought caused by global warming and the concept of catastrophism, defined as “… the doctrine that at intervals in the earth’s history all living things have been destroyed by cataclysms and replaced by an entirely different population.”

I am not even going to get into the fact that this is not the conventional definition of catastrophism, and that his quoted definition doesn't actually appear in his Wikipedia source.

Brewton claims that the scientific predictions of the effects of global warming fit his definition of catastrophism and are therefore incompatible with the theory of evolution.

Problem is, the vast majority of scientists do not make the claim that all living things will be destroyed. Brewer uses a statement by Al Gore as the underpinning evidence for his argument: “… great numbers of species will perish and the world as we know it will cease to exist within ten years.”

Nowhere in this statment does Gore state that all living things will be destroyed. Will a lot bad things happen due to the effects of global warming? Most likely. Will all living things perish? Most likely not. In other words, Brewton bases his entire argument  on an assumption that just isn’t there.

Finally, Brewton attempts to create the impression that today's geoscientists do not accept the concept of catastrophism, when in fact the very source he uses for his defintion of catastrophism shows something very different: “… most geologists combine catastrophism and gradualist standpoints, taking the view that Earth's history is a slow, gradual story punctuated by occasional natural catastrophic event that have affected Earth and its inhabitants.”

Confused? I am, but I am assuming that is the effect Brewton is going for. Keep us confused on climate change to avoid any real action on the issue. Classic PR tactic.


Compounding the absurdity of Brewton's logic games, he relies on a confusion of tenses. Even assuming that some lone voice cried out that all living things _will be_ destroyed by climate change, and even if his asserted definition of catastrophism (that all living things _have been_ destroyed) was accurate, still the two aren't even compatible.