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Christianity and climate

Started by peter_speckhard, August 22, 2022, 10:26:51 AM

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peter_speckhard

I receive (unsolicited) a blog from a prominent (at least online) ELCA pastor whom I personally know only a little bit. Recently one of the articles mentioned his increasing despair about climate change and our inadequate response to it. I think he is not alone, and that many people deal with personal despair and/or meaninglessness because of climate politics. So you'd think the following would offer a glimmer of hope:

https://clintel.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/WCD-version-06272215121.pdf

But I don't think it will. I think it is the sort of thing that those who despair because of the climate will react to with anger or disdain. Note: they aren't denying that the climate is changing, nor that mankind could have something to do with it. They're saying it isn't an emergency and doesn't justify the common responses to it. They're claiming the response to the news is not data-driven but faulty-model-driven.

So why wouldn't that idea be good news to those despairing over the climate? I think it is because it questions a religious dogma. I also think that for many people, the response is the point. The actual climate it is the pretext. If someone invented an amazing carbon-scrubber that eliminated carbon emissions from the atmosphere, these people would find some other reason to oppose development and to call for for global control of first world economies.   

Terry W Culler

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what the best climate would be.  The assumption that we have lived during the best climate period reminds of me one of my mother's comment, don't pat yourself on the back you might hurt your arm.
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

SomeoneWrites

Forgive my intrusion. 

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/1/8/5610806?login=false

Top of the article. - "Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to "tell it like it is." On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency."

https://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/ 
over 14,500 signatures stating there IS a climate emergency. 

Years ago I think I posted about climate change being real and that humans were a significant contribution.  I remember a lot of kickback. 
I'm please as punch that you said

"they aren't denying that the climate is changing, nor that mankind could have something to do with it."  This is progress, and I'm grateful.  I'm looking forward to the day we have further agreement on what's going on, and that I hope you continue to investigate it from a large number of reputable sources. 

Rather than purge my post, I'm hoping someone adds it to theirs for the sake truth, honesty, and integrity.

Blessings to all regardless,

SW

LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

JEdwards

#3
Quote from: peter_speckhard on August 22, 2022, 10:26:51 AM
I receive (unsolicited) a blog from a prominent (at least online) ELCA pastor whom I personally know only a little bit. Recently one of the articles mentioned his increasing despair about climate change and our inadequate response to it. I think he is not alone, and that many people deal with personal despair and/or meaninglessness because of climate politics. So you'd think the following would offer a glimmer of hope:

https://clintel.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/WCD-version-06272215121.pdf

But I don't think it will. I think it is the sort of thing that those who despair because of the climate will react to with anger or disdain. Note: they aren't denying that the climate is changing, nor that mankind could have something to do with it. They're saying it isn't an emergency and doesn't justify the common responses to it. They're claiming the response to the news is not data-driven but faulty-model-driven.

So why wouldn't that idea be good news to those despairing over the climate? I think it is because it questions a religious dogma. I also think that for many people, the response is the point. The actual climate it is the pretext. If someone invented an amazing carbon-scrubber that eliminated carbon emissions from the atmosphere, these people would find some other reason to oppose development and to call for for global control of first world economies.
I don't have any expertise in this area, and I'm certainly open to the idea that current models are flawed.  But my thinking on the subject isn't really changed by a document with one page containing six conclusory statements and 37 pages of artwork and signatories.  Many of the signatories list various relevant credentials, while others identify themselves as "IT consultant," "Radiologist," or "Organizer of a Critical Climate Group."  One of the signatories, Dr. Richard Lindzen, has been accused of lying about whether any of his research was funded by energy companies.  In 2004, he offered to bet that the Earth's climate would be cooler in 20 years, but when someone took him up on it, he demanded 50-to-1 odds in his favor.

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Richard_S._Lindzen

Peace,
Jon

peter_speckhard

The point of it is how people react. All of the argumentation is appeal to authority. "Oh yeah? Well even MORE experts says this!" This shows right up front that we're dealing with a matter of trust/faith. It also shows total lack of open-mindedness. If someone confronts me with what they claim to be a contradiction of Christianity, I ignore it because I accept Christianity by faith and am no longer open-minded as to whether it might be wrong. I'm up front about that fact. But if someone challenges something else I presume to be true, I do not rush to contradict them. I'm not religiously invested enough. So if a headline says, "It turns out reading to children is bad for them," or some such, I'll be skeptical because I've always thought the opposite. But I'll read the article and consider it more or less dispassionately. That isn't how people react to those who question climate models.

More importantly, look at what they're arguing about-- not temperatures, data, models etc. The thesis is that this isn't an emergency, and the counter-thesis is that it is. That's all my link and the ensuing counter-links debate. There is not one bit of scientific data that the dueling sides dispute in the links. The whole disagreement is about whether our current situation constitutes a crisis. Are people really so passionately devoted to the definition of crisis? Of course not. They're passionate about the policies that depend on whether people think of it as a crisis or not. "You don't need to understand it, you simply need to know it is a crisis that justifies empowering the people who do know to tell you what to do. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot." It isn't a disputed model, it is a disputed definition of crisis that is really heretical.

If we were in a war and getting news from the front about our troops retreating, and someone said, "I think we still have a chance. If you look at it historically, our current situation isn't unheard of. And here are some people saying it isn't as bad as the newspapers are saying," I wouldn't expect everyone to necessarily adopt the same view, but I would expect everyone to see it as a hopeful view, something we all wished were true. The guy saying that is someone who is reliably on our side, and if he is deluded, he is deluded by hope. By the same token, someone who made everything sound as bad as possible-- "We're doomed! It would take a miracle to survive this! The newspapers are whitewashing it because the reality is much worse and they know we have no chance!" -- I wouldn't expect everyone to listen to that guy, either. But I would at least begin to question the degree to which he was even on our side.

I don't know anything about the signatories of the declaration I linked to to begin this thread. My purpose, as I stated, was not to agree or disagree with them, but I show how people's take on climate does not resemble a scientific dispute but a clash of religions. If your initial, gut reaction to an article saying we're not in a crisis was not to get a glimmer of hope and look into the hoping it was true, but was instead immediately to think it can't be true and that it was wrong for anyone to publish such things, then I think you have a religious investment in climate change.
   


JEdwards

I guess you're welcome to think that.  As someone who lives in the suburbs, drives every day, and owns 4 gas-powered vehicles, I sure hope that climate change is a less severe problem than some are forecasting, because I would rather not make dramatic changes in my lifestyle.  But I submit that you would not start worrying more about climate change if the following declaration attracted thousands of signatures:  "In just the last three months, we have had unprecedented floods in Kentucky.  England and Portugal recorded their hottest temperatures ever, and thousands of heat-related deaths have occurred in Europe.  It's time to stop allowing financially-conflicted, entrenched interests to stymie needed policies to combat climate change."  Not that you necessarily should.  My point is that some arguments are simply too weak to move my emotional barometer one way or another.  Not because I want them to be false, but because I don't have the energy for the emotional roller-coaster of hope and despair every time anyone issues a new declaration about anything.

Peace,
Jon

Dan Fienen

All my life I have heard the apocalyptic warnings of imminent disaster and the end of the world. The wolves have been howling for a long time, but we are still here. In the 70s we were assured that we were headed for hyperinflation like that of the Weimar Republic of the 30s. Also in the 70s, The Club of Rome confidently assured us that natural resources we just about played out, we had at most another decade or so before the world would run out of oil and food would soon run short. Around that time, we were also warned of the impending ice age, although that was to be simply the natural climate cycle, not human caused.


The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most sever on record up to that time with four cat 5 hurricanes including the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. But that was just the warmup. Because of global warming, hurricane seasons would just keep getting progressively worse. The next year, the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season was the mildest on record since 1967 with no hurricanes reaching the United States shores. More recently, AOC has assured us that without draconian intervention the world will end in 12 years.


We have been lectured by government types like John Kerry and celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio of the pressing need for everybody to make drastic changes in how they live to reduce our carbon foot prints or, wait for it, we are headed for a climate apocalypse. They make these pronouncements as they jet around the world in their fossil fuel guzzling private jets, going about their business and pleasure, and flying to climate conferences and to receive awards for their efforts at combating climate change. Even if they just switched from private jets to commercial, their carbon footprint would be drastically reduced. But I guess the everybody needs to make sacrifices and change their lifestyles does not include them. Their contribution to saving the world is hectoring the rest of us, not reducing their carbon footprint.


I could go on, but these are some factors that makes the clarion call to save the planet and ward off climate change by making drastic changes (drastic reductions) in our lifestyles less persuasive for many people.


The danger of climate change is real. And it seems clear that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses play a role in it. But apocalyptic, hysterical warnings have ceased to be believed or effective. Prescriptions for how the rest of us need to lower our standard of living and drastically change the way we live made by those whose carbon footprints far exceed those of the rest of us and who show no appetite for changing their way of life are not going to be welcome. As any parent could tell you, "Do as I say, not as I do," is ineffective for motivating behavioral change.


Much progress has been made in developing cleaner energy and cleaner energy consumption. More effort needs to be expended. The problems are real and need realistic, not hysterical solutions.



Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

peter_speckhard

Quote from: JEdwards on August 22, 2022, 01:20:15 PM
I guess you're welcome to think that.  As someone who lives in the suburbs, drives every day, and owns 4 gas-powered vehicles, I sure hope that climate change is a less severe problem than some are forecasting, because I would rather not make dramatic changes in my lifestyle.  But I submit that you would not start worrying more about climate change if the following declaration attracted thousands of signatures:  "In just the last three months, we have had unprecedented floods in Kentucky.  England and Portugal recorded their hottest temperatures ever, and thousands of heat-related deaths have occurred in Europe.  It's time to stop allowing financially-conflicted, entrenched interests to stymie needed policies to combat climate change."  Not that you necessarily should.  My point is that some arguments are simply too weak to move my emotional barometer one way or another.  Not because I want them to be false, but because I don't have the energy for the emotional roller-coaster of hope and despair every time anyone issues a new declaration about anything.

Peace,
Jon
I agree that we bring a hope-bias to what we read. My point about the climate religion is that it stems from a hope-bias against rather than for our civilization. I don't deny having a hope bias for civilization. I think lack of such a bias is a character flaw, like looking at your own parents with objective detachment. And a bias in the other direction is dogmatic madness, like rooting for the tumor on a visit to the oncologist.

JEdwards

#8
Quote from: peter_speckhard on August 22, 2022, 03:24:39 PM
Quote from: JEdwards on August 22, 2022, 01:20:15 PM
I guess you're welcome to think that.  As someone who lives in the suburbs, drives every day, and owns 4 gas-powered vehicles, I sure hope that climate change is a less severe problem than some are forecasting, because I would rather not make dramatic changes in my lifestyle.  But I submit that you would not start worrying more about climate change if the following declaration attracted thousands of signatures:  "In just the last three months, we have had unprecedented floods in Kentucky.  England and Portugal recorded their hottest temperatures ever, and thousands of heat-related deaths have occurred in Europe.  It's time to stop allowing financially-conflicted, entrenched interests to stymie needed policies to combat climate change."  Not that you necessarily should.  My point is that some arguments are simply too weak to move my emotional barometer one way or another.  Not because I want them to be false, but because I don't have the energy for the emotional roller-coaster of hope and despair every time anyone issues a new declaration about anything.

Peace,
Jon
I agree that we bring a hope-bias to what we read. My point about the climate religion is that it stems from a hope-bias against rather than for our civilization. I don't deny having a hope bias for civilization. I think lack of such a bias is a character flaw, like looking at your own parents with objective detachment. And a bias in the other direction is dogmatic madness, like rooting for the tumor on a visit to the oncologist.
Sure, with the caveat that I'm not sure exactly what viewpoints you include in "the climate religion" or what degree of proactive adaptation one can advocate without being guilty of rooting against civilization.  At one extreme, I think we would agree that someone who argues, "The evidence for impending climate catastrophe is so unequivocal that the whole world needs to adopt a forced one-child policy" is a dogmatic fanatic who is rooting against civilization, or at least doesn't value critical elements of civilization.  On the other hand, someone who says, "I find the consensus climate models to be sufficiently concerning that I support a modest carbon tax" may or may not be advocating sound policy, but I wouldn't consider such a person to be a dogmatic zealot who is rooting against civilization.

Centuries after the fact and enlightened by God's Word, we know that the prophet Jeremiah had a hope-bias in favor of civilization.  But it probably didn't seem that way to those who couldn't envision the survival of civilization apart from the continued reign of Zedekiah or at least the continued existence of the Temple and the Kingdom of Judah.

Peace,
Jon

Tom Eckstein

#9
I realize there are a ton of of books on "climate change" - some well done, some based on anecdotes and others just moronic.

However, this book is written not only by a climate scientist (so he's speaking within his field of expertise!) but also worked in the Obama administration and was under great pressure to "toe the line" when it came to how he needed to view climate change.  This book gives his expert insider view on this issue and he backs it up with tons of scientific data which he explains as best he can for us layman.  In a nutshell, he argues the following: 1.  Is there climate change?  Yes.  2.  Do humans contribute to climate change to some extent?  Yes.  3. Can we humans do much to alter climate change?  No.  4.  Do we need to worry that there is a climate change crisis that will result in catastrophic suffering?  Not at all.    I encourage you to read this book!

https://www.amazon.com/Unsettled-Climate-Science-Doesnt-Matters/dp/1950665798/ref=sr_1_1?crid=MK8I8EDT5V90&keywords=unsettled+steven+koonin&qid=1661214078&s=books&sprefix=Unsett%2Cstripbooks%2C116&sr=1-1
I'm an LCMS Pastor in Jamestown, ND.

Dave Benke

Quote from: Tom Eckstein on August 22, 2022, 08:25:29 PM
I realize there are a ton of of books on "climate change" - some well done, some based on anecdotes and others just moronic.

However, this book is written not only by a climate scientist (so he's speaking within his field of expertise!) but also worked in the Obama administration and was under great pressure to "toe the line" when it came to how he needed to view climate change.  This book gives his expert insider view on this issue and he backs it up with tons of scientific data which he explains as best he can for us layman.  In a nutshell, he argues the following: 1.  Is there climate change?  Yes.  2.  Do humans contribute to climate change to some extent?  Yes.  3. Can we humans do much to alter climate change?  No.  4.  Do we need to worry that there is a climate change crisis that will result in catastrophic suffering?  Not at all.    I encourage you to read this book!

https://www.amazon.com/Unsettled-Climate-Science-Doesnt-Matters/dp/1950665798/ref=sr_1_1?crid=MK8I8EDT5V90&keywords=unsettled+steven+koonin&qid=1661214078&s=books&sprefix=Unsett%2Cstripbooks%2C116&sr=1-1

The articles I've read recently agree on points one and two, and in some regards on number three - that is, there are methodologies, policies and strategies that can cut down carbon emissions, use land wisely, etc., etc. that can and should be undertaken, and that move the needle, so to speak, but they are not so substantial as to make a dramatic difference.  On point four, however, ask the citizens of Texas this morning, with their 15 inches of rain, or the folks in Kentucky, or pick twenty more just in our country over the summer.  The 1000 year flood plain becomes the ten year flood plain, and so on down the line.  Catastrophy doesn't have to be global to be catastrophic.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Dave Benke on August 23, 2022, 08:26:39 AM
Quote from: Tom Eckstein on August 22, 2022, 08:25:29 PM
I realize there are a ton of of books on "climate change" - some well done, some based on anecdotes and others just moronic.

However, this book is written not only by a climate scientist (so he's speaking within his field of expertise!) but also worked in the Obama administration and was under great pressure to "toe the line" when it came to how he needed to view climate change.  This book gives his expert insider view on this issue and he backs it up with tons of scientific data which he explains as best he can for us layman.  In a nutshell, he argues the following: 1.  Is there climate change?  Yes.  2.  Do humans contribute to climate change to some extent?  Yes.  3. Can we humans do much to alter climate change?  No.  4.  Do we need to worry that there is a climate change crisis that will result in catastrophic suffering?  Not at all.    I encourage you to read this book!

https://www.amazon.com/Unsettled-Climate-Science-Doesnt-Matters/dp/1950665798/ref=sr_1_1?crid=MK8I8EDT5V90&keywords=unsettled+steven+koonin&qid=1661214078&s=books&sprefix=Unsett%2Cstripbooks%2C116&sr=1-1

The articles I've read recently agree on points one and two, and in some regards on number three - that is, there are methodologies, policies and strategies that can cut down carbon emissions, use land wisely, etc., etc. that can and should be undertaken, and that move the needle, so to speak, but they are not so substantial as to make a dramatic difference.  On point four, however, ask the citizens of Texas this morning, with their 15 inches of rain, or the folks in Kentucky, or pick twenty more just in our country over the summer.  The 1000 year flood plain becomes the ten year flood plain, and so on down the line.  Catastrophy doesn't have to be global to be catastrophic.

Dave Benke
The problem, though, is that asking the people emotionally involved in a particular problem and answer, and then taking their answer as the true answer, leads to irrational decision-making. What the people experiencing a flood think about whether global warming makes flooding worse is irrelevant. We can objectively measure such things as the frequency of heat waves, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, etc. There is scant evidence such things are getting worse unless people skew the years under consideration. The 1930's were incredibly hot. We don't know why. We ought not pretend we know why floods are happening. To say it is because the climate is changing is, even if true, merely to restate the issue. To say that we know why the climate is changing is at best extremely misleading. To propose some action plan that will alleviate the situation is at best to propose a placebo, a salve to angst and guilt that won't affect the climate. It is a little like selling indulgences.

RF

To the question:
'Why is the climate changing?', I respond, 'Why not?  The whole creation is cursed because man wanted to be like God, what do you expect?  Not much has changed.' 

Fcdwyn

Quote from: Fletch1 on August 23, 2022, 09:50:44 AM
To the question:
'Why is the climate changing?', I respond, 'Why not?  The whole creation is cursed because man wanted to be like God, what do you expect?  Not much has changed.'

Genesis 8:20-22 "Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

K.S. Hahn   CSL '72

Dave Benke

Quote from: peter_speckhard on August 23, 2022, 09:15:46 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on August 23, 2022, 08:26:39 AM
Quote from: Tom Eckstein on August 22, 2022, 08:25:29 PM
I realize there are a ton of of books on "climate change" - some well done, some based on anecdotes and others just moronic.

However, this book is written not only by a climate scientist (so he's speaking within his field of expertise!) but also worked in the Obama administration and was under great pressure to "toe the line" when it came to how he needed to view climate change.  This book gives his expert insider view on this issue and he backs it up with tons of scientific data which he explains as best he can for us layman.  In a nutshell, he argues the following: 1.  Is there climate change?  Yes.  2.  Do humans contribute to climate change to some extent?  Yes.  3. Can we humans do much to alter climate change?  No.  4.  Do we need to worry that there is a climate change crisis that will result in catastrophic suffering?  Not at all.    I encourage you to read this book!

https://www.amazon.com/Unsettled-Climate-Science-Doesnt-Matters/dp/1950665798/ref=sr_1_1?crid=MK8I8EDT5V90&keywords=unsettled+steven+koonin&qid=1661214078&s=books&sprefix=Unsett%2Cstripbooks%2C116&sr=1-1

The articles I've read recently agree on points one and two, and in some regards on number three - that is, there are methodologies, policies and strategies that can cut down carbon emissions, use land wisely, etc., etc. that can and should be undertaken, and that move the needle, so to speak, but they are not so substantial as to make a dramatic difference.  On point four, however, ask the citizens of Texas this morning, with their 15 inches of rain, or the folks in Kentucky, or pick twenty more just in our country over the summer.  The 1000 year flood plain becomes the ten year flood plain, and so on down the line.  Catastrophy doesn't have to be global to be catastrophic.

Dave Benke
The problem, though, is that asking the people emotionally involved in a particular problem and answer, and then taking their answer as the true answer, leads to irrational decision-making. What the people experiencing a flood think about whether global warming makes flooding worse is irrelevant. We can objectively measure such things as the frequency of heat waves, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, etc. There is scant evidence such things are getting worse unless people skew the years under consideration. The 1930's were incredibly hot. We don't know why. We ought not pretend we know why floods are happening. To say it is because the climate is changing is, even if true, merely to restate the issue. To say that we know why the climate is changing is at best extremely misleading. To propose some action plan that will alleviate the situation is at best to propose a placebo, a salve to angst and guilt that won't affect the climate. It is a little like selling indulgences.

An action plan is not a bad thing.  To have a hasty pudding action plan can be a bad thing.  Reactive - in the sense that disasters are events to which humans react, that's part of the deal.  But to have no strategic plan of response and mitigation is, well, dumb.

And some of that planning includes strategies and policies involving areas that should not have human habitation (there's something brewing in Utah at this time in a suburb that's splurging out when there is basically no water resource available, for instance), involving aquifer use (viz this lovely deal the Saudis have made to feed their cows in Arabia through the Arizona aquifer - https://azpbs.org/horizon/2022/06/saudi-water-deal-threatening-water-supply-in-phoenix/), involving rules for house-building (see Superstorm Sandy in NY), and of course disaster response policies and procedures.

As Bill Ackmann used to tell his young charges, "don't pooh-pooh it, guys."

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

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