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Sunday, February 18, 2018

There's a big difference between fact and faith

Guest Opinion By Anthony Varriano

I wrote an editorial praising House District 36 candidate Mike Ruddy’s attempt to solve the eventual end to Montana’s coal industry and the loss of roughly $57 million in tax revenue as a result. This end is a forgone conclusion given the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and I chastised Republicans Alan Doane and soon-to-be State Senator Steve Hinebauch for failing to provide a solution.

Hinebauch again failed to provide a solution in a response to the Ranger-Review and denied climate change as a theory because he was once told by a teacher when he was 11 that global cooling would bring on an ice age. 

Hinebauch said I was too young to remember the “fact” of global cooling. He’s right. But I am old enough to know just because one theory is debunked, it’s no reason to dismiss new information.

Even when Hinebauch was learning about global cooling, there was never a scientific consensus on the theory and “the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then,” according to a 2008 report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Results of a 2014 study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics Discussions “provide additional evidence for an early greenhouse cooling signal in the lower stratosphere before the 1980s” which “could have provided an early warning of man-made climate change.”

Hinebauch said we “shouldn’t kill business,” and cited The Bible’s call to “multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it.” He wrote, “God designed the earth to replenish itself and no man-made theory will change that fact.” But it’s not a fact. 

The idea of God’s existence and creation of the Earth isn’t even a theory. It’s faith — and that’s a fact. The definition of faith is a “strong belief in God or the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” 

Hinebauch took convenient shelter in the same fox hole as most Republicans, hiding behind religion and avoiding the question entirely. I can even find Scripture just a few pages after Hinebauch’s chosen quotes in support of conserving the Earth. A chapter later in Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

So which is more important: God’s creation or wealth creation? We know what Republicans think, which is why I already voted for Mike Ruddy for HD 36. I left the circle next to Hinebauch’s name empty and will do so again when he’s up for reelection.

Anthony Varriano may be reached at varriano34@gmail.com.

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