Sorry to be the harbinger of [climate] denier disappointment, but there is every reason to expect that the virus crisis will strengthen and accelerate the imperative to transition to a low-carbon world by mid-century.1,2
However, it is not clear how the coronavirus, per se, would be directly related to the subject of climate change. After all, there’s no obvious connection between a virus and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.
Mr. Hewson uses the epithet “denier” to describe those who are not convinced that climate change is a serious issue. The use of this word is insulting, because the same word is used to describe people who deny that the Holocaust occurred. Thus the use of the word “denier” is a guilt-by-association rhetorical tactic.
The editorial is quite political. Hewson takes numerous jabs at leaders on the other side of the political spectrum. It is rather remarkable that such a politicized editorial would be republished on a website that is ostensibly devoted to the subject of physics! However, this is just one more example of the way that science has become increasingly politicized in recent years.3
So, why is ICR skeptical of climate change alarmism? The Milankovitch (or astronomical) theory of ice ages is one of the main arguments for catastrophic anthropogenic (man-made) global warming, or CAGW. This theory holds that ice ages are caused by slow, gradual changes in Earth’s orbital and rotational motions over many thousands of years. These changes alter the way that sunlight is distributed on the Earth with season and latitude, supposedly resulting in past ice ages. However, these changes in sunlight are very tiny, and it is hard to see how they alone could be the cause of significant climate change. For this reason, proponents of the Milankovitch theory have convinced themselves that our climate is inherently instable, and that our climate system can somehow amplify these small changes in sunlight in order to bring about major climate change.4,5
However, actual evidence for the theory is weak at best and non-existent at worst. Most secular scientists believe the Milankovitch theory because of an iconic paper entitled “The Pacemaker of the Ice Ages” published in the journal Science in 1976.6 The validity of this proof depended upon an assumed age of 700,000 years for the most recent flip, or reversal, of the Earth’s magnetic field, despite the fact that secular scientists now claim this reversal happened 780,000 years ago!7-9 This age revision is large enough to call the original results into question, as revealed by original ICR research.
In fact, there is good reason to suspect that secular scientists became aware of this problem five to seven years after they made this age revision and that they then tried to quietly fix the problem.10,11 However, this sounds like a desperate, after-the-fact attempt to get the right answer. Did secular scientists ever seriously consider the possibility that the Milankovitch theory might simply be wrong? And even if one accepts the validity of this after-the-fact fix, there was still a five to seven year gap in which there was no “smoking gun” evidence for the theory, even by secular reckoning. Why then did the scientists most acquainted with this problem never candidly, during that time, reveal this problem to the larger scientific community or to the world?12
This is just one way that old-Earth and evolutionary beliefs are contributing to global warming alarmism. Of course, they are contributing in other ways, too, because they deny the existence of an all-knowing Creator who designed the Earth and its climate system for our benefit, and who is greatly concerned with our well-being.13
For those who would like to learn more about the ways that evolutionary and old-Earth beliefs are driving climate change alarmism, as well as the details behind the problems with the iconic “Pacemaker of the Ice Ages” paper, we have a booklet called The Climate Change Conflict, that is available both as a hardcopy and a digital download.14
1. Hewson, J. Buckle up climate change deniers: Coronavirus makes the low-carbon transition even more urgent. Phys.org. Posted on phys.org April 6, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
2. Hewson, J. Buckle up climate change deniers: Coronavirus makes the low-carbon transition even more urgent. The Conversation. Posted on theconversation April 5, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
3. Bergman, J. Is Climate Change an Existential Threat? Creation Evolution Headlines. Posted on crev.info March 26, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
4. Hebert, J. 2016. Milankovtich Meltdown: Toppling an Iconic Old-Earth Argument, Part 3. Acts & Facts. 46 (1).
5. Hebert, J. 2019. Climate Alarmism and the Age of the Earth. Acts & Facts. 48 (4).
6. Hays, J. D., J. Imbrie, N. J. Shackleton. 1976. Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages. Science. 194 (4270): 1121-1132.
7. Shackleton, N. J. and N. D. Opdyke. 1973. Oxygen Isotope and Palaeomagnetic Stratigraphy of Equatorial Pacific Core V28-238: Oxygen Isotope Temperatures and Ice Volumes on a 105 Year and 106 Year Scale. Quaternary Research. 3 (1): 39-55.
8. Shackleton, N. J., A. Berger, and W. R. Peltier. 1990. An alternative astronomical calibration of the lower Pleistocene timescale based on ODP Site 677. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences. 81 (4): 251-261.
9. Creation scientists, in contrast, think these magnetic reversals, in which the north and south magnetic poles switched places, were caused by the upheaval of the Genesis Flood. See Humphreys, D. R. 1990. Physical Mechanism for Reversals of the Earth’s Magnetic Field During the Genesis Flood. In Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism. R. E. Walsh and C. E. Brooks, editors. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 129-140.
10. Monastersky, R. 1997. The Big Chill: Does dust drive Earth’s ice ages? Science News. 152 (14): 220.
11. Raymo, M. E. 1997. The timing of major climate terminations. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. 12 (4): 577-585.
12. ICR seems to have been the first to publicly point out what is, in retrospect, a glaring problem for this iconic paper. See Hebert, J. 2016. Revisiting an Iconic Argument for Milankovitch Climate Forcing: Should the “Pacemaker of the Ice Ages” Paper Be Retracted?— Part 1. Answers Research Journal. 9:25-56.
13. Genesis 1:31, Genesis 8:22.
14. Hebert, J. 2019. The Climate Change Conflict: Keeping Cool Over Global Warming. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.
*Dr. Jake Hebert is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.