Friday, August 26, 2011

The problem in Oklahoma and Texas

Here's an article in the Los Angeles Times about the extreme weather this year. I noted particularly the situation in Oklahoma and Texas:
Oklahomans are accustomed to cruel climate. Frigid winters and searing summers are often made more unbearable by scouring winds. But even by Oklahoma standards, it's been a year of whipsaw weather. ...

Oklahoma's heat wave has so far claimed 14 lives. Since 2000, Oklahoma has had more federally declared weather-related disasters than any other state. ...

Drought-caused agricultural losses in Texas have been tallied at $5.2 billion so far. Some of the state's water-starved cities are beginning programs to recycle treated sewage for household use, a practice known as "toilet to tap."

The Lone Star State has been so beset by weather emergencies that Gov. Rick Perry has made a state disaster declaration every month since December.

So how do you explain this? Well, climatologists can't say that any particular weather event was caused by global warming, but they do point out that this is exactly what they've predicted to happen. But most people in Oklahoma and Texas don't "believe" in science.

Texas governor - and Republican presidential candidate - Rick Perry claims that global warming is some giant conspiracy by greedy scientists. And Oklahoma's Tom Coburn is one of the most notorious global warming deniers in the Senate.

But they do believe in God. So the explanation is obvious. People in Oklahoma and Texas have clearly angered the big guy. Now maybe just electing Republicans did it. That would be enough to anger any reasonable deity, I'd think.

But my guess is that there's just not enough of them worshiping Allah. Or maybe they're not facing Mecca when they pray. Every governmental body in both states holds a prayer before getting to business, but how many of them are Islamic prayers? Maybe they should be praising Mohammed, not Jesus.

Well, I don't know what else it could be. OK, maybe I do, but these people believe in faith, not science. From their point of view, this must be divine punishment, right? I've certainly heard warnings of that from them often enough. So maybe both states should become majority Muslim and see what happens.

Or maybe it's the Hindu deities who are upset. Well, they can try that next. In fact, there are all sorts of different religions they could try. Unfortunately, Christianity just doesn't seem to be working for them - not when they're being plagued with extreme weather and Republicans both!


Anonymous said...

And just think, the same God that brought drought to Rick Perry's Texas (along with its number 1 ranking in people 25 and older without a high school education) has been called on to save their exceptionalist America from its economic and cultural crisis.

Similarly, Oklahoma's Gov recently turned to the almighty:
"Climate-Denying Oklahoma Governor Tells Residents To Pray For Rain"

Maybe the big man (in memorial - no offense Clarence) is just too busy with theocrat Bob McDonnell's earthquakes and hurricanes to get to the parched interior.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of praising Allah and not Jesus.
Here's a newly released report, dragging into the light the hate for profit industry driving Islamophobia. Many hate mongering names you'll recognize:
"REPORT: $42 Million From Seven Foundations Helped Fuel The Rise Of Islamophobia In America"

AJ said... is predicting 103 degrees F for Ojai today. Am I being punished? Is this town being punished?

My friends lost another family member to a cruel accident earlier this week. The family is so distraught, wondering why God is punishing them...or they use platitudes like "God took them home" or "God needed them by His side." I don't see this kind of thinking helping them get through their grief. Just like politicians who think praying will solve state and national problems. And my friends live in Texas.

WCG said...

Anonymous, that's the big problem with faith-based thinking. I'm often asked, what's the problem if people want to believe in something that's not actually true? What's the problem if they just believe a comforting fantasy?

But when you accept faith as a valid way to believe, when you dismiss any evidence which contradicts your existing beliefs, then when won't you do that? So what if some believers do accept science? This basic situation of denying global warming, while praying for rain, is caused entirely by faith-based thinking.

The big problem is not so much what they believe as how they believe.

AJ, I'm sorry for your friends' loss. And you're right. I've never noticed that believers grieve any less than we atheists do, in this kind of situation.

At worst, they blame themselves (if they've been taught that disease is caused by a lack of faith, for example). But even at best, those platitudes don't seem to be especially comforting.

If prayer actually works, then why do bad things happen to good people? There's a reason why this is a difficult problem for believers. (Note that I posted about that in my Non-belief series. The relevant post is here.)