U. S. congressman: God promises that global warming won’t happen

John Shimkus is a U.S. congressman representing Illinois’s 15th District, in the southern part of the state. He is a climate-change denialist and constantly makes dumb statements based on his reading of the Bible.  Now you can argue that, in the following video from 2009, he’s merely using the Bible to defend economic interests, but he may actually believe that God promised Noah that his flood would be the last one. If this isn’t a conflict between what science tells us and what religion tells us, I don’t know what is.

This is from a March 25, 2009 hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. I have a bunch more statements from congressmen (yes, all men, and all Republicans) denying global warming on Biblical grounds, but this one is on video:

64 Comments

  1. francis
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    …this guy is a moron…

    • Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:13 am | Permalink

      The problem isn’t that he’s a moron. The problem is that he’s a congressman.

  2. gbjames
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    sub

  3. redlivingblue
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Wow… On a lighter note, when Mr. Shimkus breaks out genesis, the young lady’s expression was the same as mine! Insert face palm here.–> [ ]

  4. lezurk
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I live in this knucklehead’s district. I moved down here from Chicago about 8 years ago to start a hobby farm for my retirement. The sad truth is he pretty much reflects the views of most of the people in his district – mouth breathing conservative religious tea party types who deny evolution and global warming. It just amazes me how someone who could be in such denial when recent evidence of climate change, such as the recent flash droughts, are staring them in the face.

  5. jamesgart
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    This congressman has no knowledge of what he is talking about! He doesn’t know science and he shouldn’t be using the Bible for these political statements. Also, he doesn’t have knowledge of interpreting the Bible!

  6. Darth Dog
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Wow. It doesn’t even matter if you are an atheist or a fundamentalist. His argument makes no sense. The Bible promises that God will never wipe out on Earth. So what? How does that disallow disasters like the Xmas 2004 tsunami that killed over 200,000 people?

    I am always amazed when I hear religious people say that “man cannot destroy the earth”. No kidding. The earth is just a rock, and it will do fine no matter what the climate is. I would think Rep. Shimkus might care though if his home state of Illinois turned into an uninhabitable desert.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    There should be a “no dumb ass superstition for making decisions” clause for people in positions of power like this.

    • gluonspring
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Not only is there not one, for the most part you can’t hold a position of power if you don’t hold to some dumb ass superstition since people would rather vote for a serial killer than an atheist.

      • gluonspring
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        The linked poster image says:

        “Being an atheist: It’s kinda like being the only sober person in the car and nobody will let you drive.”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Very sad. It’s funny too because if you believe in the Xian god who gave man dominion over the earth & all the beasts, would you not want to be nice to the stuff god gave you. As my friend says, “god gives you a nice shirt; would you get it all dirty? No, you’d treat the shirt nicely”.

          I am told there are some Xian groups who actually do think this way though so that’s maybe a good sign.

  8. Old Rasputin
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Best line (although I hope he simply misspoke): “There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet…”

    • Dan
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      He probably didn’t misspeak. I grew up learning that in the days of early Genesis there was probably much higher Co2 levels, which somehow explains why people supposedly lived so much longer. It’s a pretty common claim among some of the young-earth creationist groups. I’m pretty sure I heard Ken Ham say it, and some people from ICR definitely made that claim in anti-evolution church services I had the misfortune of attending.

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Ahhh… That explains the rise of life expectancies we’ve seen in most countries. How did I fail to put all this together?

  9. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    As I always say, the ability to tell fact from fiction should be a pre-requisite for holding public office…

    • lezurk
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Actually, the ability to tell fact from fiction should be a prerequisite for voting.

      • Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Actually, both.

      • gluonspring
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        There’d be, like, one voter per precinct.

      • Dave
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

        You’d think. Actually, I had to pass a test to be able to vote in this country – native born citizens do not have to pass it. And some might say the test is easy, to which I reply: OK, let’s see YOU rattle off the colors (colours!) on the American flag when the pressure’s on!!

        • Dave
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

          “… native born citizens do not have to pass it” Or even make the attempt, for that matter.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, there should be a test….

  10. krzysztof1
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    “. . . there is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet.”

    Incredible to hear something like that in a public forum in the 21st century.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Reality be damned. Feelings matter.

  11. Jim Thomerson
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    He was my representative until I moved back to Texas. I thought better of him in his early days in public office.

    • Dave
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Frying pans and fires come to mind!

  12. bacopa
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Does anyone really say that climate change is going to destroy the earth? No we just think it’s going to become hellish for a lot of people. That right here in the US the cities of New Orleans, Galveston, and Miami will be destroyed, that food prices will become unstable and on average much higher.

    What he says about his God could be perfectly true. The earth may abide without God destroying it until he chooses to. That doesn’t mean that humans cant make a hellish mess of it.

    • lezurk
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Some people, such as Guy McPherson (http://guymcpherson.com/2012/06/were-done/ ), are more than a bit worried that a massive methane release could lead to a Permian like extinction event. An article in the Guardian discussing the issues: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/05/7-facts-need-to-know-arctic-methane-time-bomb

      • Richard Olson
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        The blind faith beliefs of Shimkus et. Al. ( damn you, iPad) insure that disaster from melting polar ice & thawing permafrost will have to be irreversible reality before they will permit unopposed consideration of existing inherent risk, or it’s magnitude.

        Yet methane deserves more attention than it’s received so far because, as you note, it’s arguably more deleterious to the environment than the widely feared CO2. The Environmental Protection Agency uses a statistic called Global Warming Potential (GWP) to assess the threat posed by various greenhouse gases. GWP measures how much heat one molecule of a gas will trap relative to a molecule of carbon dioxide. Methane has a GWP of 21, which means it’s 21 times more effective at preventing infrared radiation from escaping the planet. So, although methane emissions may be relatively piddling, they’re definitely a cause for concern. (Their one saving grace is an atmospheric lifetime of just 12 years, versus between 50 and 200 years for carbon dioxide.)

        http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2007/11/the_other_greenhouse_gases.html

        • Graham Lyons
          Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          Have methane emissions been reliably measured? Cattle are non-stop methane factories. Not only has the number of cattle increased by a large factor since the industrial revolution but breeding programs have hugely accelerated the production of meat and milk per cow.
          Methane is easily the lightest atmospheric gas and my guess is that methane climbs until it meets the ozone layer where it instantly reacts to form CO2 and water vapour. But just imagine the protests if people were asked to reduce their consumption of meat to save the planet.

  13. Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    It is mind boggling to imagine the fellow believes what he is reading as true! Where does he live?

    • Kevin
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      He lives in an astral plane that has no communicable lines of reason to my (and probably your) universe.

  14. Dominic
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    This guy is out of touch with reality – but then it seems most world leaders are, or that short term political aims override any sensible long term ways of looking at the world.

    See this from the Observer yesterday

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/16/climate-change-pledges-rich-nations
    :(

  15. Lianne Byram
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Yikes!

  16. Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    It boggles the functional mind…

  17. Ken Elliott
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    “. . . even though every inclination in his heart is evil . . . ” . That passage alone should be enough to discount what this book (the bible) purports to provide us.

  18. Eli Siegel
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The Lord gave Noah the rainbow sign,
    No flood but fire next time.

    Is not global warming like fire?

    • kennyrb
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Babies and bastards, pandas, pythons and pachyderms– gassing out a stinking savor wafting up to Yahweh.

      Oh,look!!! A rainbow!

  19. Genghis
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I’m having trouble reconciling his “in the time of the dinosaurs” factoid with his Biblical literalism.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      “in the time of the dinosaurs”

      If I’m not mistaken, that’s from Adam to Noah.

    • Scott
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Yeah, the “time of the dinosaurs” is recent history in his fictional timeline. Didn’t you hear about the fossil find of a T-rex wearing a saddle?

  20. gluonspring
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “he may actually believe that God promised Noah that his flood would be the last one”

    I think is is very likely he does. My old evangelical friends on Facebook frequently scoff at global warming precisely on the grounds that we are just puny humans and God is in control. In fact, just two days ago one friend posted a Washington Post article about Antartic sea ice hitting a 35-year high. The comments were all things like “Cannot out guess God, right.” They see the whole issue as another smack down between god and the arrogance of man.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      35-year “high”? Maybe in area, def not volume.

      • gluonspring
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes yes. I’m just relaying what the caption said. The mendacity is unending.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Jeez, what happened to “god helps those who help themselves”. The Xian god is sitting back laughing about how stupid his followers are. He’ll probably let atheists into heaven just for not being foolish.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        LOL! Love it.

  21. Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Is this the same God that recently devastated the Philippines with a typhoon? If so, can he be trusted?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Well, if God is going to decide when the earth will end, I suggest we nuke the bastard quick when He’s not looking…

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure – Ridley. :)

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:02 am | Permalink

          One of my favourite movies.

          (As I’m sure you know, it’s Ripley – I mention that only to save someone else the obligation of posting to point this out – ‘someone is wrong on the Internet’ and all that ;)

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Ha ha thanks :) It’s one of my favourites too but the franchise goes bad after Aliens.

            • Posted November 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              The first 70% of IV ain’t too bad.

              /@ | LAX

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                Ugh no that was the worst!

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

                I have to agree with Ant. I liked most of Alien 4.

                What threw me was Junior getting sucked out through a small hole a couple of inches across in the window of the ship. Couldn’t happen. Assuming the pressure was earth-normal 15psi (and it could have been less, wouldn’t be more) that’s only maybe 50 pounds force. Would 50 pounds squeeze you through a hole? If Junior was made of Jello it might, but then if he was that squidgy he’d be no danger to anybody.

                (These details from memory, I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong :)

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

                Ugh. It was all awful.

      • Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        But He sees EVERYTHING (so they claim).

  22. George Hand
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Don’t make so much of this.

    This isn’t “a conflict between what science tells us and what religion tells us”. Most religions do not tell us this.

    Nor is this a conflict between what science tells us and what A religion (Christianity) tells us. Many if not most Christians don’t agree with this. I’m sure this fool gets his share of eye-rolls in his audience.

    This is merely a conflict between what science tells us and one person’s quirky religious views.

    Nothing more.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      The voting fraction of the 712,000 people who John Shimkus represents don’t roll their eyes so much thst 69% of them couldn’t bring themselves to vote for the idiot – pretty much as they have been for many years.

      • George Hand
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Tim; true but irrelevant. The claim was that this is an example of “a conflict between what science tells us and what religion tells us”. It is not; it’s just the comments of one guy. That this guy is a congressman is troubling, but it’s not new. Fools in Congress is an old story.

    • Dave
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Come again? This guy is one of our federal lawmakers. If you’re not afraid then I guess I’ll have to be afraid for both of us.

      • George Hand
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Dave; please see my reply to Tim above. Nothing special here. Fear what you wish.

  23. Posted November 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Amazing stupidity! First of all religion has no place in a scientific hearing. Secondly, the feared economic results of global warming have nothing to do with whether it is true or not. For example, if discussing the theory of gravity, we should judge its truth or falseness on the fact that people fall off cliffs and die.

    • teacupoftheapocalypse
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      As if Shimkus airing his crazy views in a science hearing weren’t bad enough, why are there “members of the clergy as members of the panel” of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment?

  24. Mobius
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Just to point out to this idiot, the Bible says that God promised not to destroy the world by flooding, which most take to mean the entire world flooded. There was no promise that floods would not occur (as clearly they have).

    Global warming/climate change does not claim the world will be destroyed by flooding. What it claims is that there will be major, MAJOR flooding along the coastlines as the ocean rises.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:16 am | Permalink

      Good point. In fact, technically, whatever happens to the climate, the world will not be destroyed by it. It might be uninhabitable (like e.g. Venus) but it will still exist…


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