Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Following After a False God

Readers of my blog may know that I am unimpressed with the evidence for threats to mankind caused by Global Warming.

So when a group of Evangelical leaders published "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action." I was annoyed by several issues on several levels.
  • As I review the list of signatories I see many names that I know by reputation, some leaders that I have heard teach or preach, many that I admire. But I see none with the technical qualifications to sift through the mountains of ambiguous data on global climate trends and arrive at a coherent, defensible conclusion.
  • The signatories have relied for their conclusions on government agencies that have a vested interest in promoting Global Warming as a crisis. If you create a body named the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is inevitable as day follows night that they will produce document validating their existence as a body.
  • Is global warming caused by human industrialization? What caused the Medieval Climate Optimum? What caused the cooling the followed, called the Little Ice Age? And what, oh Mighty Brain Trust, caused the warming following the Little Ice Age which began in the 1850s, before industrialization had added significant amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere?
  • All predictions about global warming are based on computer-based simulations. The climate of the planet Earth is massively more complex than can be recreated within a computer. Thus, any climate model must require massive simplification of the actual physical process. Unfortunately, these simplifications inject an unacceptable amount of human judgment into the process. They often multiply short-term fluctuations that are of interest to the modeler into long-term trends.
Back in the early days of recreational computing, there was a simple program called Biorhythm. It purported to track various physical cycles in your body and, calculating the time elapsed from your birthdate, tell you when you would be having an optimum day. It was all crap. It was pseudoscience based on 19th-century numerology. But because it spewed out of a computer, people started arranging their days around these rhythms.

The Call to Action states:
Even small rises in global temperatures will have such likely impacts as: sea level rise; more frequent heat waves, droughts, and extreme weather events such as torrential rains and floods; increased tropical diseases in now-temperate regions; and hurricanes that are more intense. It could lead to significant reduction in agricultural output, especially in poor countries. Low-lying regions, indeed entire islands, could find themselves under water. (This is not to mention the various negative impacts climate change could have on God’s other creatures.)
And Michael Crichton is pilloried as a sensationalist for his potboiler, State of Fear!

Ladies and gentlemen, nobody knows what the result of global warming will be. It may produce more rain, longer growing seasons, greater crop production, less reliance on fossil fuels for heat. How dare you stand in the way of the poorest benefiting from the great boon! Is my speculation nonsense? No less so than what is predicted in the Call to Action.

Why is this a matter to be addressed by theologians at all? Is it a matter of the nature of God? Is it the undoubted result of scriptural scholarship?

The reason that I have named this entry "Following After a False God" is because that is how I see this petition. In it, Evangelical leaders are not calling people back to God, they are calling Evangelicals to follow a social and political movement. In it, noted Evangelical leaders join with people who are advancing a viewpoint based on material self-interest (grants, jobs, and noteriety). These leaders are placing a bet that the transnational "Ecology" movement is right about the reality of global warming, the causes of global warming, and the reversability of global warming.

But if global warming is real, what can we do? According to The Independent, it's already too late! It's the Apocalypse!

Can you tell I'm upset?

Of course, this being a church-related matter, we can't just say thanks, I'll pass.

Oh, no.

We have to have a crackpot circulate a petition refuting the claims made in the Call to Action. Of course, the contrary petition had to have more signatures that anybody else's petition, so the petition, supposedly signed by 15,000 scientists was "signed" by posting the text to a website and having unrestricted access to the "signing":

Several environmental groups questioned dozens of the names: "Perry S. Mason" (the fictitious lawyer?), "Michael J. Fox" (the actor?), "Robert C. Byrd" (the senator?), "John C. Grisham" (the lawyer-author?). And then there's the Spice Girl, a.k.a. Geraldine Halliwell: The petition listed "Dr. Geri Halliwell" and "Dr. Halliwell."

Asked about the pop singer, Robinson said he was duped. The returned petition, one of thousands of mailings he sent out, identified her as having a degree in microbiology and living in Boston. "It's fake," he said.

"When we're getting thousands of signatures there's no way of filtering out a fake," Robinson, 56, said in a telephone interview from Oregon.

A May 1, 1998, AP article reported that the petition also bore the signatures of "Drs. '[Maj.] Frank Burns' '[Capt. B.J.] Honeycutt*' and '[Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye"]Pierce'" -- three characters from the hit sitcom M*A*S*H.

Thanks guys. Thanks a pantfull. Please stay off my side in the future, ya hear?

People worrying about crafty Fundamentalists undermining the government in their infinitely subtle ways? Don't make me laugh. I'm much more worried about the Cub Scouts staging a coupe d'etat.

What if the prediction of global warming are as bogus as they seem to me? The transnational progressive scare-mongers will have moved on, just as they did when the predicted "population bomb" turned out to be a dud, when the Club of Rome models failed, and when the "global cooling" didn't occur. But Evangelical leaders who support false prophets should be held accountable for their leading their followers astray.

If this is truly an issue where these men and women wish to speak with the prophetic voice, let them be held accountable to the prophecy. If it all depends on science which is out of their control or understanding, let them be silent.

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