Skeptical Uses of ‘Religion’ in Debate on Climate Change

‘Religion’ and religion-inspired terms — savior, prophet, priests, heretic, dogma, crusade — are regularly used in efforts to influence public attitudes about climate change. But how does this language work, and on whom?

Over the past several months The Yale Forum has published a series of articles describing how major religious groups across America address climate change. Within the broader societal debate on this issue, however, the voices heard in these pieces may be outnumbered by those of a group with a very different take on the connections between religion and the environment: climate skeptics.

Since 2005, in op-eds published in newspapers (The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times), in magazines (Forbes, National Review, The Weekly Standard), and online (Fox News and Townhall and also climate-specific websites like Watts Up with That), conservative commentators have repeatedly described global warming as a religion.

So how does this use of religious language affect the public understanding of climate change? To answer this question, the Forum analyzed more than 250 op-eds, blog posts, and books published between 2005 and the present. The results suggest that this religious language may be most effective in fortifying the opinions of those using it: Calling global warming a “religion” effectively neutralizes appeals to “the scientific consensus.”

Taking the Measure of the Meme

To take your own quick measure of the global-warming-as-religion (hereafter GWAR) meme, try two related searches at Google: first search for “climate change” and “religion,” then for “global warming” and “religion.” The top ten items from the Forum‘s two most recent searches (20 items in all) broke down as follows:

  • 10% were by religious groups calling for action on climate change,
  • 25% were about religious groups calling for action on climate change,
  • 10% were against religious groups opposed to action on climate,
  • 50% described concern for global warming as a religion, and
  • 5% rebutted those who described concern for global warming as a religion.

Based on this sample, one is more likely to encounter an article or op-ed about global warming as a religion than an article or op-ed explaining how or whether a particular religious group addresses climate change.

The dominance of the GWAR meme is even greater when one looks specifically at conservative venues. Over the past year, approximately 100 op-ed pieces that touched on global warming were published in nationally recognized conservative newspapers and/or by nationally syndicated columnists whose work is aggregated by Townhall. Ten of these pieces equated accepting the science on global warming with religious belief; none offered a religious argument for action on climate change.

During the peak years of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006–2008), the ratio was far higher. Roughly 40% of the more than 150 conservative op-eds penned in response to the documentary, to its Academy Award, or to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize included language (prophet, priests, savior, crusade, faith, dogma, heresy, faith, etc.) that framed concern for climate change as a religious belief. Some drew that analogy explicitly. (See, for example, Richard Lindzen’s March 8, 2007, op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Mail (UK) — “Global Warming: The Bogus Religion of Our Age.”)

And since then several climate skeptics — Christopher Horner (2007), Iain Murray (2008), Roy Spencer (2008), Christopher Booker (2009), Ian Wishart (2009), Steve Goreham (2010), Larry Bell (2011), Brian Sussman (2012), and Robert Zubrin (2012) — have included the GWAR meme in their books.

A Brief History of the Global-Warming-as-Religion Meme

The global-warming-as-religion meme is an offshoot of the environmentalism-as-religion meme, which, according to New American Foundation fellow and Arizona State University Law Professor Joel Garreau, can be traced back to religious critiques of Lynn White’s 1967 essay in Science, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” By pinning the ecological blame on the Judaeo-Christian tradition’s instrumental view of nature, these authors argued, White seemed to call for the revival of nature worship.

Elements of these early critiques were reworked in what is perhaps the most well-known instance of the environmentalism-as-religion argument, Michael Crichton’s speech to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco in 2003.

The first* example of the more specific global-warming-as-religion claim appears to be the aside in Republican Senator James Inhofe’s January 4, 2005, “update” to his “greatest hoax” speech: “Put simply, man-induced global warming is an article of religious faith.” Using slightly different language, Inhofe repeated this charge a few months later in his “Four Pillars of Climate Alarmism” speech.**

In between these two speeches, in a February 16, 2005, editorial for Capitalism Magazine by American Policy Center President Tom DeWeese, the GWAR meme gained titular status: “The New Religion Is Global Warming.”

But the most fully developed version of the global-warming-as-religion analogy is the nearly 5,000-word essay published on the Web in 2007 by retired British mathematician John Brignell — who cites Crichton’s 2003 speech in his opening paragraph.

The more generic environmentalism-as-religion meme now seems confined to Earth Day, which Emory University economics professor Paul Rubin described in an April 22, 2010, WSJ op-ed piece as environmentalism’s “holy day.” Two recent examples, from this past April, were provided by former business consultant W.A. Beatty and by Dale Hurd, a “news veteran” for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The GWAR meme appears as opportunities — cool summers; early, late, or heavy snowstorms; or scandals — arise. And its meaning can vary accordingly.

Nature/Climate as Sacred

Some of the first American “environmentalists” — David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir — often used religious language. Nature was where they most vividly experienced the presence of God. But when contemporary environmentalists use quasi-religious language without explicitly avowing a particular faith, their opponents may suspect that nature itself has become the object of their worship. When James Lovelock named his homeostatic model of the planet and its atmosphere after the ancient Greek earth goddess, Gaia, he provided a new ground for this suspicion.

For conservatives, there are strong and weak versions of this charge.

The strong charge is “paganism,” that environmentalists or climate activists/scientists worship nature in ways akin to the practices of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman empires in which the ancient Jews and early Christians lived. This strong charge is typically leveled by evangelicals who publicly profess their own faith. Physicist James Wanliss and his colleagues — whose book and dvd, Resisting the Green Dragon, offer “A Biblical Response to One of the Greatest Deceptions of the Day” — provide perhaps the most vivid example.

The weak version reduces the charge of paganism to misplaced values. Very arch religious language may still be used, but the meaning is now metaphorical. In these more frequent instances of the GWAR meme, conservatives accuse climate activists/scientists of essentializing climate, of being too willing to slow or even disable our economic engine because they believe Earth has an “optimal climate.”

Climate Science as Cult

“Cult” implies that a given set of beliefs or practices is arcane, outside the mainstream, and insular. Someone embedded in a cult will not acknowledge conflicting evidence. So whenever new facts or dramatic events challenge the validity of climate science, at least in the minds of conservative skeptics, “cult of global warming” op-eds appear. Major snowstorms, cold snaps, and years that fail to surpass 1998′s average annual temperature provide these new “facts.”

Odd religious news can also prompt “cult of global warming” op-eds. The third no-show of Harold Camping’s apocalypse provided the prompt, last fall, for op-eds by Michael Barone and Derek Hunter. (The “cult” in the title of Michael Barone’s piece, however, may be the work of the Post’s editor; the same piece appeared under a different title in The Washington Examiner.)

Climate Science as Corrupt Orthodoxy

But it’s hard to depict a thoroughly institutionalized effort like climate science as a cult. The international undertaking that is science is more plausibly compared with the Roman Catholic Church. And for climate skeptics, the best of the many possible instances of that church is the Roman Catholic Church of the late Renaissance, the church that condemned both Luther and Galileo.

The very Nobel public profiles of Al Gore and the IPCC, from 2006 to 2008, prompted many comparisons with priests and popes, cardinals and curia. Add in carbon offsets and the Reformation riffs practically wrote themselves. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer’s March 16, 2007, column in Time exemplifies this subgenre:

In other words, the rich reduce their carbon output by not one ounce. But drawing on the hundreds of millions of net worth in the Kodak theatre [for the "carbon-neutral" 2007 Academy Awards], they pull out lunch money to buy ecological indulgences. The last time the selling of pardons was prevalent — in a predecessor religion to environmentalism called Christianity — Martin Luther lost his temper and launched the Reformation.

(It should be noted, however, that climate activists and environmental journalists have themselves sometimes written about their ecological “sins.”)

While green hypocrisy was the primary target of Krauthammer’s 2007 column, orthodoxy and dogma are always at least secondary targets in this use of the GWAR meme. And shots were taken at them in a February 9, 2007, National Review column by Rich Lowry; a May 30, 2008, Washington Post column by Charles Krauthammer; a March 9, 2009, Townhall piece by Robert Knight; a January 13, 2010, Townhall column by Walter E. Williams; a November 29, 2011, Wall Street Journal column by Bret Stephens; and, most recently, an April 26, 2012, post by David Solway. This is the most common use of the GWAR meme.

Dissenting Religions and the Scientific Consensus

But one might argue that by depicting climate scientists and activists as members of an aloof and self-serving (and possibly self-deluding) priesthood, conservatives are themselves engaged in religious posturing, for self-righteous dissent is part of the DNA of the western religious tradition.

Ancient Israel was a small country surrounded by much more powerful empires. Some heroes of the Bible — e.g., Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — worked as trusted bureaucrats within state-ecclesiastical systems based on cosmologies they did not believe in. When ordered to consent to the beliefs of their rulers, they refused.

During the Protestant Reformation religious dissent often became political dissent. Today’s evangelicals are dissenters from mainstream denominations that dissented first from the Church of England and then from King George. Now they dissent from Washington.

But in the U.S., Roman Catholics too can view themselves as a dissenting minority, as, for example, when the Catholic Bishops objected to parts of the new healthcare law.

In fact, Americans are so primed for dissensus that both sides in the climate debate find it plausible to claim the mantle of Galileo.


In the run-up to the December 2009 conference in Copenhagen, cartoonists Michael Ramirez and David Horsey published cartoons that drew exactly opposite conclusions from the history of science, including Galileo’s conflict with the Roman Catholic Church regarding Copernicus’s heliocentric model of the solar system.

Within this charged religious history, a steadfast minority (of Jews, early Christians, Protestants, or Puritans) has been correct more often than the majority, than the broader cultural consensus (of Egyptians/Assyrians/Babylonians/Persians, Greeks/Romans, Roman Catholics, or Anglicans). Thus the GWAR meme not only legitimizes dissent (because everyone is entitled to his or her own religious views), it also provides emotional reinforcement for it (because the “official” religion is almost always “false”). The Protestant vs. Catholic variant of the meme also reinforces climate skeptics’ narratives about greedy and scheming scientists and/or self-serving elites. For those who use it, the GWAR meme effectively inoculates them against “the scientific consensus.”

Managing the Meme

Much has been said and published by religious leaders trying to promote action on climate change. But these messages must compete against the global-warming-as-religion meme reinforced regularly in op-eds sent out by The Wall Street Journal to its two million plus subscribers and, more frequently, in columns posted by Townhall for its two million unique monthly visitors.

Are there counter-measures for this meme?

In his summer 2010 article in The New Atlantis, Joel Garreau, New American Foundation fellow and Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values (Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University), traced the emergence of environmentalism as a secular religion. In that piece, Gerreau speculated that “the two faces of religious environmentalism — the greening of mainstream religion and the rise of carbon Calvinism — may each transform the political and policy debate over climate change.” In response to an e-mailed query from The Yale Forum, after stressing that he did not “conflate faith-based environmentalism with the scientific study of climate,” Garreau explained his “pragmat[ic]” outlook:  ”I just lay out the facts (as startling as they may be to some), observe that faith-based systems are ubiquitous in history, and then ask, in public policy terms, how you deal with this situation.”

Garreau said he is not surprised that “climate change deniers [might] wish to point out the ironies of faith-based environmentalism rising up in parallel with scientific environmentalism.” But he said he does not think that would have much effect. He suggested no countermeasures but did anticipate a possible line of attack: “It would hardly be surprising if there were a few under-examined pieties in their own world view.”

From the title of University of Maryland School of Public Policy professor Robert H. Nelson’s 2010 book, The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America, one might infer that the playing field for climate policy might be leveled by calling attention to the equally religious faith in economics, in economic growth in particular. But what would be gained from a “religious” standoff between economics and environmentalism? In response to an e-mail question, Nelson listed three benefits:

First, … it helps us to understand … the … intensity of the disagreements about climate policy. Second, it offers a note of caution to all participants, given [that past] religious disagreements have too often escalated beyond all reason …. Third, … [s]eeing economics and environmentalism as religions, and discussing them as such, [would bring their] core value assumptions to the surface.

In other words, pushing back with the same religious language might be an effective countermeasure, at least initially. Then, Nelson added,  ”a secular religious ‘ecumenical movement’” could perhaps resolve the tensions between economics and environmentalism.

One clearly should proceed with caution in pursuing any “religious” countermeasures. The cultural and historical associations evoked by religious language do not necessarily favor “consensus,” especially a consensus presented in authoritative terms. In American history, religious groups have splintered far more often than they have united.

Bottom line: Climate communicators should expect and prepare for religious language. But they should weigh the subtle cultural messages religious language carries before deciding whether or how to use or respond to it.

*If readers know of an earlier example, please send the reference and/or the link to the author.
**Brian McCammack’s September 2007
American Quarterly article, “Hot Damned America: Evangelicalism and the Climate Policy Debate,” pointed the way to these two speeches by Senator Inhofe.

Michael Svoboda

Michael Svoboda, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Writing at The George Washington University with a long interest in climate change communications. (E-mail: msvoboda@yaleclimatemediaforum.org)
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34 Responses to Skeptical Uses of ‘Religion’ in Debate on Climate Change

  1. Dan Rogers says:

    You say that Doctor Svoboda “tracks and analyzes efforts to communicate climate change . . . .” How does one “communicate climate change”? That makes it sound like a contagious disease.

    When you think about it, though, the widespread notion that carbon dioxide is causing the climate to change unnaturally and harmfully is very much like an infection that has afflicted a great many people, rendering them incapable of rational skepticism.

  2. Joe Joyce says:

    Dan, what evidence do you have for your rather remarkable statement? If your opinion is correct, then you’ve just overthrown hundreds of years of science, and invalidated the very thing we’ve built our current civilization on. Could you give us a hint as to your reasons for supposing hundreds of thousands of scientists, generation after generation of them, is wrong and you are right?

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and this is demonstrated by our most accurate theory, Quantum Mechanics. QM is even more accurate that the theory of gravity – it’s predictions have been calculated to and checked across more decimal places than even the Theory of Gravity. The computer you wrote your remarks on works by QM. Publish your paper overturning all this and be acknowledged the greatest scientist *ever*! Seriously. I will be one of the ones bowing to you, if you can back up your statement adequately.

    • Martin Lack says:

      Fake sceptics will never admit they are not like Galileo no matter how many times it is pointed out to them that the Church of Rome is no longer the arbiter of scientific orthodoxy and/or that the only obscurantist and anti-intellectual institution today is the fossil fuel lobby.

  3. Dan Rogers says:

    Joe, the burden of proof has not shifted. You people who think that carbon dioxide is the driving force behind climate change have the burden of proving that that is in fact true.

    The response to that challenge has always been that “the debate is over,” and that everyone with an ounce of intelligence will just fall into line, either sincerely believing what Al Gore has told him or her, or “going along with the gag” as a means to hasten the day when humans will abandon fossil fuel energy sources and switch to nuclear power. No real proof is ever presented; just fatuous claims that such proof has long been known to exist.

    Lest I be misunderstood, I am enthusiastically in favor of nuclear power. It is clearly the energy source of the future. But fossil fuels are abundant in the United States and Canada and we should continue to exploit them while we make a sensible transition to nuclear power. Al Gore’s religious crusade to bully-rag the world into dogmatic acceptance of “scientific” absurdities is doing serious harm to our ability to deal with climate change realistically, and even more serious harm to the environmental cause in general.

    • John D. Swallow says:

      Dan Rogers: I totally agree with your thinking but do not expect any “facts” to emanate from Martin Lack because those are things that he totally Lacks due to his unwavering believe in his religion that he can produce no proof of the effects of the current amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and therefore that constitutes the same as another religion or cult.

      Now on nuclear power and I assume that even though it produces no green house gases, the cult of AGW doesn’t like it.
      In 1973 U.S. utilities ordered 41 nuclear power plants, a one-year record.
      http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/history/timelines/nuclear.html

      But due to the unwise and not thought-out pressures of the environmental community in the U.S., this is what happened:
      “After completion, Shoreham received a low power license and underwent low power testing, but never produced any commercial electric power, due to the fact that New York Governor Mario Cuomo’s representatives did not sign the Emergency Evacuation Plan. This meant that it could not receive a full power license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
      On May 19, 1989, LILCO agreed not to operate the plant in a deal with the state under which most of the $6 billion cost of the unused plant was passed along to Long Island residents.[1] The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), headed by Richard Kessel, was created in 1986 specifically to buy the plant from LILCO (which it did in 1992). The plant was fully decommissioned in 1994.
      The electricity that would have been generated by the plant is now produced by fossil fuels instead.[1][2][3]
       
      In 2005, two 100 foot high wind turbines with 25 foot blades were erected at the plant and attached to the electric grid, generating a peak power of 50 kilowatts each (1/8000 of the power that the nuclear plant would have generated).”
       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoreham_Nuclear_Power_Plant
       
      This is the type of action that the Martin Lacks of the world condone and they have little idea why.

      “The average age of U.S. commercial reactors is about 32 years. The oldest operating reactors are Oyster Creek in New Jersey, and Nine Mile Point 1 in New York. Both entered commercial service on December 1, 1969. The last newly built reactor to enter service was Watts Bar 1 in Tennessee, in 1996. In 2007, the Tennessee Valley Authority voted to complete construction of Watts Bar 2. This reactor is planned to begin commercial operation in 2013.
      U.S. commercial nuclear reactors are licensed to operate for 40 years by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Prior to termination of the original license, companies may apply to the NRC for 20-year license extensions.”
      http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=228&t=21

      If there is a question of safety, as far as I know there has never been a nuclear related fatality in a U.S. power plant but this is what happed to an uncompelled gas powerhouse in Connecticut.
      “February 7, 2010
      An explosion that sounded like a sonic boom blew out walls of an unfinished power plant and set off a fire during a test of natural gas lines Sunday, killing at least five workers and injuring a dozen or more.
      The explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown, about 20 miles south of Hartford, could be heard and felt at least as far away as 10 miles from the plant.”
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123467361

  4. Martin Lack says:

    Thanks Michael, for this excellent analysis. I did an MA in Environmental Politics last year and chose to do a discourse analysis of climate change scepticism in the UK for my dissertation. The 300-word abstract is on the About page of my blog, this is the relevant extract from it:
    “…the majority of sceptical journalists focus on conspiracy theories, the majority of scientists and economists equate environmentalism with a new religion; whereas politicians and others analysed appear equally likely to cite denialist and/or economic arguments for inaction…”

    If you would like me to email the entire 15k word document (with another 15k words in Appendix), please let me know; I would love to think that my research could be of use to others in academia.

    • Akindeji Falaki says:

      Hello Martin Lack. I see your work will make a great reading. Will like to have a read of the entire document (Appendix included). I am defending my doctoral thesis next month, and its on climate change perception and adaptation by smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

      • Martin Lack says:

        Hello Akindeji, I would have no objection to Michael forwarding it to you. Alternatively, please visit my blog and post a comment on my About page (so that I have your email address).

  5. Akindeji Falaki says:

    Does religion influence perception about climate change? you bet it does.

    • John D. Swallow says:

      I see that Martin is on here trying to blow his own horn, as usual. Go to his sad site and make sure that you give him a good massage while there and do not bring up his encounter with Dr. Richard Lindzen.

      To the question: “Does religion influence perception about climate change? you bet it does.” especially when it becomes a religion on to it’s self.

      “IS BELIEF IN AGW A CULT?
      Our Global Warming cultists deny they are well, cultists.
      Okay, let’s examine record:
      They worship a pantheon of gods, starting with Mother Gaia. They even opened
      their latest congregation at Canned Corn by offering a prayer to one of the
      local Deities. Remember, these are the same people who claim to have science
      on their side (H/T Andrew Bolt).
      They have a Prophet in the form of Al Gore – the Goracle, who has many
      mansions and travels the world in a big jet, spreading their Gospel – “Do as
      I say, not as I do”.
      They have a Holy Book – the IPCC Report, which is infallible, even when it
      is proved wrong. Don’t mention melting Himalayan glaciers to a Believer. It
      sends them into a religious frenzy.
      They have a Devil called CO2, which they hate with all the passionate,
      religious fervor they can muster. This devil, CO2, is responsible for all the
      evil in the world, and will cause the gods to rain down any manner of
      plagues – droughts, floods, locusts, acne etc. – if all of humanity does not
      rise up at once to banish it.
      They are driven by an all-consuming urge to erect tall monuments to their
      gods, in the form of windmills. These don’t actually do very much at all,
      except imbue the Faithful with a sense of religious righteousness for having
      been erected.
      Nonetheless, construction of these useless religious artifacts has meant the
      diversion of vast amounts of finance, materials and labor from being
      employed elsewhere – for instance to build REAL power stations.
      This means many people are now going to die from exposure to the elements.
      Consider them human sacrifices to the gods. Just as is practiced by other
      pagan cults.
      They have Holy Water in the form of biofuel. If only enough people used this
      sacred elixir, the devil CO2 would be cast out and the world would be saved.
      One way or another, biofuel is manufactured at the expense of food. This
      means many people will now starve. More pagan cult human sacrifices.
      They have holy places where they go to gain enlightenment from their
      Priests. Principal amongst these sacred sites is RealClimate, but there are
      many others.
      They believe in the dispensation of sin through monetary penance. One can
      gain forgiveness for the sin of invoking the Devil CO2 by buying a
      dispensation in the form of a carbon credit. They are incensed that the
      heathen masses are somewhat reluctant to take up this practice.
      They quest endlessly for a “sign in the heavens” – their Holy Grail – the
      mythical “hotspot” in the troposphere over the equator.
      They speak in tongues, chanting irrational religious utterings – such as –
      “global warming causes global cooling causes global warming causes global
      cooling” and still expect to be taken seriously.
      So, in summary:
      They have Gods, a Prophet, priests and sacred sites, an infallible Holy
      Book, a Devil, a Holy Grail and a Quest. They preach of impending doom by
      plagues if they are not believed and followed.
      They divert scarce resources to the construction of useless religious
      monuments and the creation of sacred Holy Water. They practice human
      sacrifice, they believe in the dispensation of sin through pecuniary
      penance, and they chant meaningless dogma.
      Sure the heck sounds like a cult to me.”

  6. @Dan Rogers,
    I think you are misinterpreting the point. This is not about climate change or your opinion of it. This is about communications of science and how religion influences the debate. Your own words provide a great example of exactly what Dr. Svoboda is saying.

    This has implications beyond climate change. We see the same behavior in the manufactured debate over Intelligent Design Creationism, which at least has a more obvious reason for religion to enter the debate. Climate change has a much less obvious connection to religion, but religion enters the debate anyway. How many other issues are there where religion enters the debate, and there is no connection at all?

  7. Dan Rogers says:

    The global warming hypothesis as put forth by Albert Gore & Co. is, quite definitely, a form of religion. As with most or all of the other religions in the world, past and present, congregants are presented with a set of preposterous “facts” which they are told they must believe, (or at least say they believe), in order to be in step with truth and virtue.

    I am, by the way, an agnostic as far as ordinary religion is concerned. There is no way that I can know what happens to one after death or how the universe came into existence. My suspicion is that the universe has always existed, so it had no beginning, but I have no suspicions at all about life after death. However, I have very substantial doubts, bordering on certainty, about virgin birth, a fellow riding to heaven on a winged horse, burning bushes, Urim and Thummim, and the planet’s climate being controlled by a minuscule gas in the atmosphere. They are all very likely to be absurdities dreamed up by mortal men for the purpose of hoodwinking other mortal men.

    • Martin Lack says:

      That is a ridiculous assertion, Dan, and I think you really ought to know it: There is absolutely no similarity between faith in God and acceptance of anthropogenic climate disruption. No matter how much you protest that this is just opinion stated as fact; it is an opinion that is supported by 150 years of scientific inquiry (and observational evidence).

      This contrasts very clearly with your own opinion stated as fact (above), which can only be arrived at by dismissing the majority of scientific evidence that has given rise to the consensus understanding of our predicament; and choosing to rely upon a tiny minority of studies of carefully-selected data that appear to contradict it.

      The existence of God cannot be proven by science; whereas the existence of the Greenhouse Effect is a self-evident fact (because we would not be here if it were not). Furthermore, the effects of our doubling the CO2 content of the atmosphere (as we are well on the way to doing) were predicted; and (having been masked by the cooling effects of other industrial pollution) are now becoming obvious.

      Therefore, it now takes a great deal of blind faith to believe that what is happening is not primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels.

      • John D. Swallow says:

        Now Martin I will get to the theme of this site and that is religion and anthropogenic global warming. You say: “The existence of God cannot be proven by science; whereas the existence of the Greenhouse Effect is a self-evident fact (because we would not be here if it were not)”

        It is true that John Tyndall discovered the greenhouse effect in 1895; but, I challenge to you to provide a current scientific experiment that shows that the amount of CO2 in the earth’s present atmosphere can influence the climate the way you seem to think that it can. At least Svensmark and Kirkby are carrying on experiments to demonstrate whether or not their hypotheses is correct regarding cosmic rays and the sun while the AGW crowd just goes by blind faith, it seems, with their unproven hypotheses regarding this trace gas, CO2, and that amounts to the same faith required to believe that what a religion tells you is true. I doubt that these examples will put this into perspective for you; but, they demonstrate just how insignificant CO2 is at present in the atmosphere.
        At 392 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth’s current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.
         
        Also note that one part per million is the same as one inch in 16 miles, one drop in the fuel tank of a mid-sized car, about one minute in two years, one car in a line of bumper-to-bumper traffic from Cleveland to San Francisco, one penny in $10,000. Could that be why this is happening?
        You will notice that since around 2003 the annual series smoothed with a 21-point binomial filter shows a distinct drop in temperature and I guess they were not able to hide this decline.
        HadCRUT3 Diagnostics: global average (NH+SH)/2 http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh%2Bsh/index.html

        You will notice when you open this link below that atmospheric CO2 has been steadily increasing since 1960 and, if this is true and you maintain that it is the driver of the earth’s temperature, then why have these temperature now dropped and why was the Medieval Warm Period warmer than the temperatures of today?
        Full Mauna Loa CO2 record
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

        You can look at this link and imagine at what clouds might have to do with the climate and the assertion that 95% of the green house effect is due to H2O in various forms in the atmosphere.
        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/01/science/earth/0501-clouds.html

        I can imagine that you have never wondered at why the coldest nights of the winter happen when there is no cloud cover or why it can get to extremely hot temperatures in the deserts during the day time and freeze at night; again, no cloud cover to hold the heat or to shade the desert area in the day time.

        This is an interesting site to look into and it coincides with the above fact about carbon dioxide being one and one half times heavier than “air”. This point was sadly proven on Aug, 21, 1986 when Lake Nyor in Cameroon released about 1.6 million tons of CO2 that spilled over the lip of the lake and down into a valley and killed 1,700 people within 16 miles of the lake.
        http://www.neatorama.com/2007/05/21/the-strangest-disaster-of-the-20th-century/

        ppm of CO2 with altitude and mass of CO2 in atmosphere to 8520 metres beyond which there is practically no CO2
        http://greenparty.ca/blogs/169/2009-01-03/ppm-co2-altitude-and-mass-co2-atmosphere-8520-metres-beyond-which-there-practic
        (It is strange that I happened on this above at the Green Party of Canada’s site)

        It appears Martin, that much of what you put forth requires belief in something that you can not prove exist regarding CO2 and that places it into the category of it being a religion.

      • John D. Swallow says:

        Martin, once more I ask you to PLEASE provide an scientific experiment that proves that this ubiquitous, odorless, colorless, and benign trace gas essential for life on earth, CO2, that is one and one-half times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere (maybe there is intelligent design after all because everything that utilizes CO2 is on the surface of the earth) and basically ALL life on earth exist because of plants and photosynthesis (other than that life that surrounds deep sea volcanic vents) and be reminded that it constitutes only .037% of the total atmosphere of our planet can have basically anything to do with the earth’s climate.

        This is what REAL scientist do. They devise and carry out experiments to either prove or disprove their hypotheses. Why are none of your heroes doing similar experiments regarding CO2?
        Prof. Dr. Henrik Svensmark, Center for Sun-Climate Research des Danish National Space Institute
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxstzCXSMH0&feature=player_embedded

        “CERN is no fringe laboratory pursuing crackpot theories at some remote backwater. CERN, based in Geneva, is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, a 50-yearold institution, originally founded by 12 countries and now counting 20 country-members. It services 6,500 particle physicists — half of the world’s total — in 500 institutes and universities around the world. It is building the $2.4-billion Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. And it is home to Jasper Kirkby’s long-languished CLOUD project, among the most significant scientific experiments to be proposed in our time. Finally, almost a decade after Dr. Kirkby’s proposal first saw the light of day, the funding is in place and the work has begun in earnest.”
        http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=975f250d-ca5d-4f40-b687-a1672ed1f684

        • “The atmospheric greenhouse effect essentially describes a fictitious mechanism.
        • If a CO2 greenhouse gas warming effect existed, then it would show up in laboratory experiments (involving concentrated CO) as a thermal conductivity anomaly, manifesting itself as a new kind of “superinsulation” that violated the conventional heat conduction equation. Such CO2 anomalous heat transport properties, however, have never been observed.
        • The atmospheric greenhouse mechanism is a conjecture, already disproved in concrete engineering thermodynamics by Alfred Schack, who wrote a classical textbook on the subject, and who (in 1972) showed that the radiative component of CO2 heat transfer, although relevant at the temperatures in combustion chambers, is negligible at atmospheric temperatures.”

        I’m not asking for too much, Martin, just a link or evidence that an experiment has been carried out that shows that the current amount of CO2 in that atmosphere is responsible for all of the climatic events that you claim it causes. Without that, your believes are on the same par as any other monotheistic religion or cult and you look to an unproven deity for your guidance and humanities salvation.
        I know that this truth fits into Martin’s conspiracy theory approach to anyone that questions his cult of anthropogenic global warming; but, so what.
        “The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it” — H L Mencken

        “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” – Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

        “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

        “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” – Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

        “The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.” – emeritus professor Daniel Botkin

  8. Dan Rogers says:

    Trot out your scientific evidence, Martin, and let’s have a look at it.

    I think I know what your scientific evidence is.

    First it is the fact that infrared radiation excites the dipolar activity of carbon dioxide molecules and causes them to give off heat.

    Second it is the fact that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the Mauna Loa observatory — as expressed in the “Keeling Curve” — has steadily increased in concentration ever since meaurements began to be taken there.

    Have I left anything out that you can describe in roughly the same way as I have described the two items above? I expect you to say “hundreds of studies” or words to that effect, without being specific. That’s how these discussions usually go.

    • Martin Lack says:

      To be honest, Dan, I was thinking more in terms of the super-exponential increase in CO2 since the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago; and the fact that CO2 is the only plausible explanation for the exponential increase in temperature and sea level that was predicted; and which is only now beginning to become obvious… In other words the only thing that the Sun can possibly explain is the regular pauses in an otherwise relentless upward trend in global temperatures.

      • Dan Rogers says:

        What does “super-exponential” mean? If the growth of something is exponential, I think that it means the thing is growing by the same percentage each succeeding time period. If something is growing in a super-exponential way, I think that it means that the thing is growing by a greater percentage each succeeding time period. Do I have that right?

        I believe that most people familiar with this CO2 debate are agreed that the CO2 content of the air in pre-industrial times was about 250 parts per million and that now it is about 400 parts per million. Has that growth been exponential or super-exponential?

        Do you know how much more methane there is in the air today than was in the air during pre-industrial times? Are you aware of the greenhouse gas “power” of methane? (Today there is much less of it in the air than CO2, but it is increasing exponentially in percentage as tundra thaws and seabed clathrates are affected by warmer seas.)

        • Martin Lack says:

          Dan, I think MacKay’s graph speaks for itself: When you stand back far enough, you realise that the “Keeling curve” is the near vertical part of a J-curve. So yes, the growth has been and is super-exponential. Despite all UNFCCC attempts to reduce emissions, they keep on growing. Jevons Paradox is not helping either (look it up on Wikipedia).

          Livestock produce methane and methane is >20 times more powerful as a GHG (yawn)… Just remind me, why are there so many more livestock on the planet today than 250 years ago?

          If you know what a positive feedback mechanism is, can you please tell me why you mention methane escaping from permafrost or the deep ocean in a way that implies it affirms your “sceptical” position?

          • Dan Rogers says:

            Martin, thanks for educating me about the Jevons Paradox. “The more efficiently we are able to utilize a resource, the more of that resource we utilize.” That doesn’t seem particularly paradoxical, but who am I to judge. If William Jevons thought it was a paradox, he was entitled to his opinion.

            You ask: “If you know what a positive feedback mechanism is, can you please tell me why you mention methane escaping from permafrost or the deep ocean in a way that implies it affirms your “sceptical” position?”

            I do know about positive feedback mechanisms.

            Increased methane escaping to the atmosphere from clathrates and from melting permafrost neither affirms nor denies my skeptical views about carbon dioxide and its effect on atmospheric temperatures. It simply is something that is happening, and it must be increasing whatever greenhouse gas forcing effect methane has in the atmosphere. It seems to me that methane is probably just as important as CO2 in global warming.

            If we are going to take foolish measures to capture greenhouse gases, don’t you think we really ought to capture methane instead of CO2? Methane is easier and less costly to capture, and once you have captured it you have a useful fuel at your disposal. There is no need to store it away, is there?

            But capturing methane and/or water vapor would not be at all useful in driving the fossil fuel industries out of existence, would it? Therefore the global warming people are not interested at all in capturing those greenhouse gases. Their objective is NOT the reduction of greenhouse gas warming at all. Their objective is, primarily, the demise of the American coal industry. As long as American coal can continue to be used as a very low cost source of safe and efficient energy, their dreams of rapid profits from nuclear power will not come true as rapidly as they would like.

      • John D. Swallow says:

        Martin, your assertion regarding the sun is strange indeed in that you seem to want to disregard the “Solar Cycle 24 [that]will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.”

        Here is what happened in the past and it means that there are many more things that the sun can explain other than your implying influencing a rise in global temperatures.

        “The 1859 storm–known as the “Carrington Event” after astronomer Richard Carrington who witnessed the instigating solar flare–electrified transmission cables, set fires in telegraph offices, and produced Northern Lights so bright that people could read newspapers by their red and green glow. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause $1 to 2 trillion in damages to society’s high-tech infrastructure and require four to ten years for complete recovery. For comparison, Hurricane Katrina caused “only” $80 to 125 billion in damage.”
        http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/29may_noaaprediction/

        I would have hoped that you would be somewhat up to speed on the Milankovitch Cycles that has to do with the earth and the sun’s interactions such as:
        Eccentricity: Over a 95,000 year cycle, the earth’s orbit around the sun changes from a thin ellipse (oval) to a circle and back again.
        Obliquity: On a 42,000 year cycle, the earth wobbles and the angle of the axis, with respect to the plane of revolution around the sun, varies between 22.1° and 24.5°.
        Precession: 12,000 years from now the Northern Hemisphere will experience summer in December and winter in June because the axis of the earth will be pointing at the star Vega instead of it’s current alignment with the North Star or Polaris. This seasonal reversal won’t happen suddenly but the seasons will gradually shift over thousands of years.

        It appears that there are many things that the sun can explain and one of the more important to look into is “A 1976 study, published in the journal Science examined deep-sea sediment cores and found that Milankovich’s theory corresponded to periods of climate change. Indeed, ice ages had occurred when the earth was going through different stages of orbital variation.”
        http://geography.about.com/od/learnabouttheearth/a/milankovitch.htm

        It also appears that in addition to not being too sure about what influence on the earth’s climate the sun has, you are not correct about the sea levels either.
        “Sea Levels are barely rising 0 – 3 mm per year according to the NOAA website Tides and Currents.”
        http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/sea-levels-are-barely-rising/

      • John D. Swallow says:

        I’m not sure if this is the false point that Martin was trying to get across with his “the super-exponential increase in CO2 since the Industrial Revolution” There has been NO exponential increase in temperature and sea level as I attempted to point out to him at this site.
        “Sea Levels are barely rising 0 – 3 mm per year according to the NOAA website Tides and Currents.”
        http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/sea-levels-are-barely-rising/
        “Our most recent estimate of changes in global averaged sea level since 1993 are estimated from satellite altimeter data (red) and since 1880 by combining in situ sea level data from coastal tide gauges and the spatial patterns of variability determined from satellite altimeter data (blue).”
        http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/

        I would like Martin to notice that the red line on the graph is in decline and also be appraised of some “climategate” type altering of the tide gauge readings of late since it is a known that the levels are not increasing like your models have predicted. Also b e aware that if one travel to various parts of the world where limestone such as in Halong Bay, or as is the case with Zanzibar, coral formations are at sea-level or in the ocean there is undisputed evidence that sea levels were much higher at some point during earth’s 4.5 billion year history.

        “Exponential growth (including exponential decay when the growth rate is negative) occurs when the growth rate of the value of a mathematical function is proportional to the function’s current value. In the case of a discrete domain of definition with equal intervals it is also called geometric growth or geometric decay (the function values form a geometric progression). The exponential growth model is also known as the Malthusian growth model.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_growth

  9. Nullius in Verba says:

    I’ve seen the term used to describe the majority of believers in climate catastrophe who do so on the basis of their trust in authority, rather than having critically examined the evidence. The term doesn’t apply to the climate scientists themselves, but there are millions of other people who nominally believe, but who are not scientists, don’t understand how the greenhouse effect works, can’t explain the science quantifying the climate feedbacks, and instead rely on the authority and expert reputation of scientists (priesthood), the peer reviewed literature (scripture), consensus (ad populam, following the crowd), and incline towards the extreme demonisation/persecution of those who disagree, ‘heretics’ and ‘unbelievers’ holding other beliefs or views.

    It’s not a criticism of climate science per se, but of the social movement of blindly faithful followers, activists, zealots, politicians and pundits outside the scientific community, for who it has become a shibboleth of ‘civilised society’. Nobody is very bothered by the majority of adults who do not know how electricity works (like, when you flick the light switch, how fast do the electrons in the wire move?), or who cannot differentiate the logarithm of a polynomial, or cannot explain to their children why the sky is blue. But on a small and very specific subset of scientific subjects, ignorance and agnosticism are unacceptable. It’s very like a religion in that regard.

    • Martin Lack says:

      A perfect example of what Michael wrote about. However, your argument falls over because the Church of Rome is no longer the arbiter of scientific orthodoxy and, therefore, climate change “sceptics” are not like Galileo.
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-skeptics-are-like-galileo.htm

      Furthermore, a large proportion of the population may not be able to explain why it is blue but, at least they do not go around saying that the sky is pink instead!

      • Nullius in Verba says:

        “However, your argument falls over because the Church of Rome is no longer the arbiter of scientific orthodoxy and, therefore, climate change “sceptics” are not like Galileo.”

        I don’t follow your reasoning there. The argument is not specific to the Church of Rome, but applies to any example of argumentum ad verecundiam.

        Locke defines it thus:

        “The first is, to allege the opinions of men, whose parts, learning, eminency, power, or some other cause has gained a name, and settled their reputation in the common esteem with some kind of authority. When men are established in any kind of dignity, it is thought a breach of modesty for others to derogate any way from it, and question the authority of men who are in possession of it. This is apt to be censured, as carrying with it too much pride, when a man does not readily yield to the determination of approved authors, which is wont to be received with respect and submission by others: and it is looked upon as insolence, for a man to set up and adhere to his own opinion against the current stream of antiquity; or to put it in the balance against that of some learned doctor, or otherwise approved writer. Whoever backs his tenets with such authorities, thinks he ought thereby to carry the cause, and is ready to style it impudence in any one who shall stand out against them. This I think may be called argumentum ad verecundiam.”

        Whether it’s priests and scripture or scientists and peer-review, if you accept it because of who and what they are, if you accept it solely because the social convention is to accept what such people say, the basic reasoning is the same. It pushes the same buttons. And the flaws are the same too.

        Science differs from religion because it places evidence over authority. You believe because that’s what the data says, that’s what the calculation says, that’s what the logic says. You don’t believe it because that’s what the scientist says. A scientist is simply a person who knows and can summarise for you what the evidence is.

        It was this primacy of experimental evidence over authority that Galileo provided, amongst other things. Galileo provided detailed explanations and arguments to explain and demonstrate all the things he said. You can read his books and understand for yourself exactly why it has to be true. You’re not supposed to accept it “because Galileo said so”, you’re not supposed to take his word for it – that would be directly contrary to his message.

        Things have slipped, lately. Science education does not teach according to the principles of science, but by rote authority. Children are told that Newton discovered that the force of gravity followed an inverse square law, but they are not told how he knew. They’re not shown the argument and evidence. You take the teacher’s word for it, reproduce the equation in the exam, and then it drifts away into one of those half-remembered factoids from school that is of no Earthly use to 99% of the population.

        It’s not science, and it’s got so bad that most people wouldn’t be able to cope now if they did get given real science – they’re not used to it. It’s a list of facts to be memorised and accepted. And there’s a social stigma attached if you don’t.

        And now it’s got mixed up with political ideology, acceptance of the appropriate list of scientific factoids now a shibboleth for ‘tribal’ membership in the culture wars. They’ve still no idea why, but “their” experts have said so, and it would show a disturbing disloyalty to dissent.

        Religion is simply a useful metaphor. It’s really more complicated than that.

        • Martin Lack says:

          You are simply validating everything Michael wrote; it is as if you did not read it. However, sadly, I think you are so far down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole; you have lost the ability to recognise reality when you are confronted with it.

          You are treating the IPCC as if it were the Church of Rome, but it is not. If anything, because of the way it was set up and its reports reviewed, the IPCC has consistently been too optimistic. Therefore, there is no scientific conspiracy trying to close-down discussion regarding dodgy science. There is only fossil fuel scepticism trying to perpetuate doubt regarding extremely well-understood science.

          If that sounds familiar, it is because that is exactly what the tobacco industry did for decades too. So, hopefully, we do not have too long to wait until the fossil fuel executives end up in court as well.

          • Nullius in Verba says:

            I’m still failing to see any connection between your comments and what I wrote.

            I wasn’t discussing the Church of Rome until you mentioned it, I hadn’t cited or alluded to Galileo until you did, I have neither proposed nor implied any conspiracy theory, and I don’t see any material response to any of my points in any of your comments.

            Instead, you’ve accused me of being a conspiracy theorist (without evidence), of being unable to recognise reality (with no evidence, presumably simply because we disagree), and you have advanced your own conspiracy theory regarding the oil industry orchestrating scepticism (again, with no evidence). I can assure you I have received absolutely no funding from the oil industry, and nor have 99% of other sceptics. This story has no connection to reality.

            On the other hand, the climate scientists at CRU have received funding from the oil industry, the environmental concern industry, the insurance industry, and other industries that stand to profit from climate concern. Not that I’m suggesting that has any bearing on the correctness of their arguments or evidence, but surely by your own ad hominem arguments you ought to be dismissing climate scientists as untrustworthy because they’re funded by vested interests? Or is there a reason you only apply this criterion to one side?

            You describe it as “extremely well-understood science”, but you offer no evidence that you understand it yourself, and indeed the very fact you think it’s well-understood strongly suggests you don’t understand it. (If you think you do, we can test that.)

            Some parts are well-understood, but other parts are not, and the outcome depends on some of the latter.

            It was this sort of blind faith in climate scientists on the part of the activists and believers that I was talking about. They are people who don’t understand any of the science themselves, but are utterly confident that their scientist-priests do, and that unbelievers must therefore either be insane or working for the devil. It’s an interesting worldview.

          • Martin Lack says:

            Despite everything Michael Svoboda has written, you are merely asserting that he is wrong; and that concern regarding anthropogenic climate disruption is a matter of blind faith (all without presenting any ‘evidence’ yourself).

            Your response, it seems, is always to assert that black is white; so all I can do is wish you the best of luck crossing the road…

          • John D. Swallow says:

            Martin says: “There is only fossil fuel scepticism trying to perpetuate doubt regarding extremely well-understood science.”

            The oil Companies do far more for me than a few fools running around crying that the sky is falling while continuing to use all of the conveniences that are made possible by the use of fossil fuels.
            “A partial list of products made from Petroleum (144 of 6000 items)
            One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like:”
            http://www.ranken-energy.com/Products%20from%20Petroleum.htm

            Why would the oil industry have to fund anything regarding this when, at present, there is nothing to take the place of oil for transportation (LNG should be used for this more than it is now in the U.S.) and be reminded that oil only provides .8% of the US’s electrical needs? The oil companies do fund alternate energy research and be reminded that Shell and BP founded CRU in 1972. Also be reminded of how many different new ways the oil companies employ to recover more oil from old fields. This information may be disagreeable to you but it is true.

            Martin could also wonder at why RK Pachauri is still a director of GloriOil and also why Shell and BP founded CRU in 1972. I doubt that Martin wants to address this regarding his hero, Al Gore and his ties to Occidental Petroleum. There is sure no hypocrisy showing here, is there Martin.

            “For much of the campaign year, environmentalist groups have dogged the Gore campaign over the fate of the U’wa, an 5,00-strong indigenous Colombian tribe who’ve threatened to commit mass suicide if Occidental goes ahead with a plan to drill oil on land they hold sacred. Just last week pro-U’wa hecklers disrupted a University of Missouri speech by Karenna Gore-Schiff, and a second group were arrested trying to enter a Gore campaign office in Washington state.
            http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,55826,00.html#ixzz25kOyyXfx

            Why does Martin and others of his persuasion keep bringing up the tobacco companies as thought that has any bearing what so ever on this topic?

            How do you like it Martin when you are not able to redact what I write that proves you totally wrong?

          • Nullius in Verba says:

            “Despite everything Michael Svoboda has written, you are merely asserting that he is wrong; and that concern regarding anthropogenic climate disruption is a matter of blind faith”

            I don’t think I had asserted that he was wrong. He notes that religious allusions were a part of the debate, explores some of their history, and suggests that using religious perspectives to push back might be effective.

            I was simply explaining the reasons for the religious analogy as sceptics see it, pointing out that it arises from over-use of authority and ad verecundiam arguments, and implied that an obvious strategy to counter them would be to stop using those styles of argument, to put scientific and unscientific reasons for belief into perspective, and to stop treating agnosticism as unacceptably heretical.

            That doesn’t mean you should stop presenting the scientific evidence and explanations, and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use experts and publications you trust as sources for such explanations. You can still explain why you think sceptics have got it wrong. But it does mean that you ought to stop demanding everybody trust the same experts you trust, and demanding everyone believe without them having examined the evidence and explanations for themselves. Those behaviours are more characteristic of religions. They’re counterproductive with a significant portion of the general public, too.

            If you want to believe without evidence, you can. That’s freedom of belief.

            Saying that most believers in the climate orthodoxy believe without themselves understanding the science does not imply that the belief is untrue or the science does not exist. It just means their reasons for belief are not entirely reliable. And that it would be wise for them to at least tolerate perspectives different from their own.

      • John D. Swallow says:

        I understand from this post how Martin Lack can be so confused. The group that is lacking facts to support their claims are the anthropogenic global warming crowd of chicken little’s at his favorite site, “Skeptical Science”. I also see that Martin is opposed to fracking which comes as no surprise, well maybe a slight surprise because he claims to be a geologist and therefore should know better, if not for his brainwashed stance on most matters of energy.

        This that follow shows, thank heavens, that there are people out there that can and do THINK and understand what is happening in the world.

        “Fracking will save us: Cabinet drops moratorium
        07 Sep 2012 12:27
        Cabinet has lifted the moratorium on exploring for shale gas in the Karoo, saying “fracking” may well be needed to solve SA’s energy woes.”"
        http://mg.co.za/article/2012-09-07-cabinet-breaks-ground-on-fracking

        Below is the kind of news that makes the Martin Lacks of the world rejoice and shout in glee, but how about the resources users of the nation? It is easy to see that the Obama administration could care less about them and does not seem to realize that energy is the key stone to any and every economy, be it man power, animal power, wood or coal or nuclear. How else does one power industry that makes human life better?
        “EOG Says U.S. Fracking Rule to Cost $1.5 Billion a Year
        September 07, 2012 “The Obama administration’s plan to tighten regulation of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on public land may cost more than 20 times U.S. estimates, energy companies and local governments said.”
        http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-07/eog-says-u-dot-s-dot-fracking-rule-to-cost-1-dot-5-billion-a-year

        Some FACTS that Martin Lacks on fracking and I do not know if this requires a belief in an unseen deity or just good engineering and science at work and that is unknown to Martin and those of his persuasion.
        “Typically, of the fracturing fluid over 98–99.5% is water and sand with the chemicals accounting to about 0.5%.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing

        “The depth of most shale gas deposits drilled is 6,000–10,000 feet; water aquifers exist at an average depth of 500 ft.
        99.5% of the treatment is water and sand. Much of the remainder is made up of a maximum of 12 or so harmless gelling agents like guar gum and household chemicals.”
        http://www.theenergyreport.com/pub/na/9373

        Maybe Martin would have been better off had he researched this issue, PINK SLIME and allow those that desire to supply for the needs of society alone.
        “Processed scraps of beef trimmings and fat, treated with ammonia. That’s what pink slime is, in a nutshell. It doesn’t sound appetizing, but then again, neither does most of what goes on behind-the-scenes in bringing meat to the table, including the use of synthetic hormones and antibiotics in cattle and livestock.”
        http://www.pinkslime.biz/

  10. David L. Hagen says:

    For a major Evangelical position on stewardship of the environment, see the Cornwall Alliance

    A major step was taken in the spring of 2000 when a coalition of scholars and religious leaders put forward an ethical statement of belief called the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. This declaration has so far been signed by over 1,500 clergy, theologians, policy experts and other people of faith, – including such well-known leaders as Dr. Charles Colson, Dr. James Dobson, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, and Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy, among others. It has come to be viewed as one of the most significant expressions of belief about religion and the environment in modern times. . . .
    In November of 2005 the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA) formed to take the principles of the Cornwall Declaration and apply them to specific public-policy issues in the environmental dialogue. The group changed its name to the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation in May of 2007 to more clearly reflect the tenets of its flagship document.

    An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming

    See Articles e.g.,
    Pascal’s Blunder: Miscalculating the Threat of Global Warming (September 7, 2005)

  11. John D. Swallow says:

    Michael Svoboda said: “But when contemporary environmentalists use quasi-religious language without explicitly avowing a particular faith, their opponents may suspect that nature itself has become the object of their worship. When James Lovelock named his homeostatic model of the planet and its atmosphere after the ancient Greek earth goddess, Gaia, he provided a new ground for this suspicion.”

    I do believe that James Lovelock is a creative thinker and one could add a person that uses logic and not the normal nonsense that one encounters when dealing with this subject from so many that have an agenda that benefits no one.

    He goes to show that thinking adults can change their minds when the evidence shows that their previous hypotheses are incorrect. Adults are able to admit their mistakes while delusional folks just maintain the misconceptions, it seems forever.
    “James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.
    It will also reflect his new opinion that global warming has not occurred as he had expected.

    “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

    “The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.

    “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.
    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/04/23/11144098-gaia-scientist-james-lovelock-i-was-alarmist-about-climate-change?lite

    “Gas is almost a give-away in the US at the moment. They’ve gone for fracking in a big way. This is what makes me very cross with the greens for trying to knock it: the amount of CO2 produced by burning gas in a good turbine gives you 60% efficiency. In a coal-fired power station, it is 30% per unit of fuel.”

    “We rushed into renewable energy without any thought. The schemes are largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant. I personally can’t stand windmills at any price. Hydro, biomass, solar, etc, have all got great promise, but they’re not available tomorrow, or even in 10 years.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-fracking-greens-climate?intcmp=239

    “If wind turbines really worked, I wouldn’t object to them. To hell with the aesthetics, we might need them to save ourselves. But they don’t work – the Germans have admitted it.”

    “I’m in favour of nuclear for crowded places like Britain for the simple reason that it’s cheap, effective and exceedingly safe when you look at the record. We’ve had it for 50 years, but I can understand the left hating it because it was Thatcher’s greatest weapon against the miners because we were then getting 30% of our electricity from nuclear.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock/print

    James Lovelock is indeed a wise and flexible person to be able analyze the situation and see that maybe he was mistaken and to admit to that mistake; unlike, the Martin Lacks of the world that hang on to their distorted believes no matter what evidence is presented that debunks those delusional believes.