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Tuesday, May 24, 2011



This is certainly food for thought. As someone who does follow climate science in a nonpartisan way, rejects the Paul Ehrlich's of the world, I will have to say that there is a difference. And I think it has to do with discipline.


There is some difference. There is at least a facade of reasoning behind predictions based on things such as global warming and class struggle. By contrast, a prediction based on the Bible alone is predicated not on reason but solely on authority (even if the authority is claimed to be "scientifically" interpreted). Doesn't St. Thomas say that authority is the weakest justification for an argument? Even William Happer's First Things article acknowledges that global warming is occurring, that CO2 has increased and that increased CO2 is a cause of warming. I am no global warming alarmist (I have no developed opinion about the science), but I would have to say that there is a more reasoned basis for global warming concerns than there are for Camping's theories.

Barb Heyrman

I want to know why we are so exercised about this, especially the global warming controversy. If the science does not accurately predict a timeline of the demise of planet earth, then we will see we have been wrong. In the meantime, if people's awareness of how to be more respectful of creation and how to share resources and how not to pollute the lands of other people with the toxins of our way of life is that harmful? (and heaven knows we can't say that the people who left New Orleans as a result of the major flood after the Hurricane, or the Haitians still living in tent cities, and the Pacific Islanders who have to move to NZ and Australia can't be called environmental refugees....)

Carl E. Olson

Dan: I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but simply say that I think the difference is more of degree than of kind.

Barb: Being more respectful of creation is one thing. Setting about to radically change societies and economies based on theories that are controversial at best and quite flimsy (and ideologically driven) at worse is another thing. This really isn't so much about pollution and toxins as it is about an ever-increasing control by "experts" of every aspect of peoples' lives. Put another way: I believe a person can readily acknowledge some amount of global warming without buying into the sort of hysteria promoted by Al Gore and Co.--and also question the motives of Gore and Co. in the process.

peter l

An interesting piece indeed.I know and accept science has come a long way in the last century,us "Religionists" are always accused of living in the centuries past and stifling scientific advances,this coming from the usual suspects.If science cannot predict an accurate weather forecast,only weeks into the future then it takes more than blind faith to believe their Apocolyptic predictions that our little blue planet is going to freeze over or melt in the long term future.

One thing is for sure,scientists get more than an easy ride for their "predictions".I mean,who is in a position to challenge these intellectual mountains?.The scientists did not predict Japan's demise,nor did Camping.My conclusions are thus,humanity did not cause the last ice age nor will it cause the next one,we teeter on the brink of one extreme to the other,heating up too much or cooling down too much.That sounds natural to me.

Steve Cianca

Carl, I think your analysis is correct.

I also think Mr. Happer's article in First Things is a breath of fresh air, that everyone would do well to read and understand. It certainly clears away a lot of the propaganda behind the global warming (climate change, whatever) hysteria of the past decade.

Finally, it is always important to remember that secular crusades are not about the purported issue--climate change, overpopulation, exploitation of the workers, etc. It is always about power--political power--to rule over and control other peoples' lives. This goes back to Marx and Lenin, to Danton and Robespierre, and to Cromwell (at least). It is part of our original sin, the human desire to be (play) God.


I agree that it is about power, but we have to recognize that maintaining the status quo is also about maintaining power. Oil subsidies, oil company profits, that is not exactly meek.

Also, the climate science deniers have a particular air that smells a bit like the tobacco companies denying the link between smoking and cancer, which sends up huge red flags for me. I don't think that they are so much fearful of controlling people's lives, Americans seems rather complacent to allow corporations to do that (Finance, etc.) and the "freedom" rhetoric is a nice smoke screen (also very much like the arguments used around anti-tobacco legislation).

It is when climate scientist begin to make claims about population growth, such as Ehrlich's, and all of the other tiny echoes of him, that I stop listening. It isn't the number of people it is the amount of consumption that is the problem. I've had insane arguments with environmentalists who insist that consuming meat is a horrible injustice, but aborting a living human in the womb is justified. I don't want to have anything to do with that sad, sick logic.

And as Catholics, I am always surprised that we are hostile to the notion of conservation, which is just the practice of temperance. Why would we not favor natural materials (as opposed to more and more petroleum derived plastic products) which bring us closer to the Creator?

And, following on the Camping debacle, there is a whole branch of evangelicals that think that it is their God given right to "use up" creation because then the rapture will occur. Like the "rapture" I find this to be a very selfish, abuse of religion and the Word.

I think as Catholics we should be very aware of whose "Camp" we are really in. We don't really fit in one, or the other.

Carl E. Olson

And as Catholics, I am always surprised that we are hostile to the notion of conservation,...

We are? I am? I'm not sure who this is directed at, but I hope it isn't aimed as Catholics such as myself who are rightly wary of those--whether oil companies or environmentalists--who would misuse power and political heft in order to unjustly control or influence economies and societies. I am especially suspicious of those scientists/environmentalists who attempt to silence or smear other scientists/researchers who question the means by which data is obtained, the meaning of that data, and so forth.

Catholics are called to be good stewards. But they are not called to be political stooges for anyone. I think we're agree on that, right?

Barb Heyrman

Follow the money.

Charles E Flynn

Fundamentalist and secular false prophets invest in different stocks.


Here's one thing I say to deal with the Global Warming = Doomsday crowd: Climate change is not the biggest threat to the environment, invasive species are.

That's not actually a hard point to make. Remember the American Chestnut? Practically wiped out by chestnut blight, an invasive species. Think of fire ants. Think of kudzu. Think of zebra mussels. Think of pythons in the Everglades. Think of all the island wildlife pushed to extinction by feral cats and rats. Everyone can agree this is serious.

OK, then: What are you willing to do to eradicate the fire ant from North America? How much money is it worth? What kinds of chemicals are you willing to use? How about importing pathogens -- even though they will kill native plants, too? A little thought shows that it's debatable if we even can eradicate the fire ant, and if we can, the price might be too high.

The same thing is true about climate change, because environmentalism is a hobby of the rich, and THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL ON EARTH IS A HUNGRY MAN. When men got hungry enough, they started looking at the woolly mammoths and thinking, "I bet that tastes mighty good fried up with a little bit of garlic."


Carl, yes, we don't have to be political stooges for anyone.

But if we widen the view of this debate beyond our boarders, because if there is a global disaster as a result from climate change, it will be the Global South that suffers--not the Global North.

Americans may not even see the effects in our continent--but it doesn't mean they are not there.


That was kind of a poorly formed thought. Carl, when you state scientist are changing the data, are you referring to the two researches who allegedly fudged data? The "climategate'? Who were then 'cleared' of the alleged misuse?

I understand that there is a distinction between the data and then conclusions/predictions/policies formed based on the data. I agree that there is abuse and attempts at manipulation on "both" sides (assuming there are only two).

Anyone interested might find this group a worthwhile read:

Carl E. Olson

Laura: I'm confused that you criticize my "poorly formed thought" about some scientists changing or misusing data, then state that you "agree that there is abuse and attempts at manipulation on 'both' sides..." Regardless, I'm not naive enough to think that there isn't a lot of politics being played on every side of this topic. But, as I stated a bit earlier, "I believe a person can readily acknowledge some amount of global warming without buying into the sort of hysteria promoted by Al Gore and Co.--and also question the motives of Gore and Co. in the process." And it is Gore and those using similar tactics who are, in my opinion, the Harold Campings of the environmental doomsday movement, especially when you consider how fast and loose Gore plays with the facts, to the point that a British high judge ruled that An Inconvenient Truth contained a substantial amount of "alarmism and exaggeration". To put it as clearly and simply as possible: I am always wary of anyone--Catholic, atheist, Muslim, Australian, Swiss, etc.--who screams and shouts of impending, unavoidable doom.


Bottom line on the Global Warming debate? Cut away all the rhetoric, the chaff, the irrelevant hyperbole, the doomsday preachers, etc., etc., and one real question remains;

Are higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere a cause, or a result of global temperature increase? The preponderance of science, including all manner of scientific disciplines including but not limited to archeology and astronomy, not just atmospheric science, falls to the latter conclusion.

As to freedom and control, if you control CO2, you control not only all of human activity, but human existence itself, because CO2 is a bi-product of breathing. Do you really, regardless of your belief level in the global warming doomsday scenario, want to cede that kind of control to men like Al Gore, Prince Philip, Rajendra Pachauri, et. al.?

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