The science is settled. Global warming is happening. Humans are very likely the cause. “Very likely” means with 90 percent certainty, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s up from “likely” in the panel’s 2001 report.
You can bet that the next report will say “extremely likely.” Unfortunately, scientific near-certainties get muddied up when theological guesses are thrown in.
I like to listen to conservative talk radio. Hearing gibberish makes me appreciate truth more, just as a string of cloudy Oregon days produces an Ah! when the sun finally comes out.
This week I’ve heard both Michael Savage and Victoria Taft (a local Portland talk show host) say, either directly or indirectly, that global warming is God’s will. Humans shouldn’t have the gall to believe that they can change it. Got to go with the divine flow, even if this means embracing catastrophe.
Crazy. I’m pretty sure Savage and Taft would go to a doctor if they broke a bone. Isn’t that interfering with God’s will? Every self-initiated action should be heresy according to this nonsensical theology. Including hosting a talk show.
Ah, but the doctrine of theistic science says that it is possible to sort out what is God’s will and what isn’t, thereby adding in a healthy supplement of divine revelation to the degrading scientific stew of hypothesizing, observing, experimenting, and communicating naturalistically.
A Swedenborg inspired version of dualistic theistic science holds that God manages every detail of two domains, the natural and the spiritual world. You can’t discover how this happens, but the truth is “transmitted through scientific revelations that are extracted from the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture.”
Like, the Old and New Testaments. So just as George Orwell said in Animal Farm that “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others,” fundamentalists would have us believe that everyone is subject to God’s will, but some people know what this is and some don’t.
Because those special ones have faith in the literal words of the Bible. Or Koran. Or some other supposedly incontrovertible book of revelation. Of course, you have to pick the right revelation, since holy books don’t agree on what God’s plan for us is.
I guess you have to trust that God’s plan for you includes putting you on the right course to figuring out God’s plan, sort of like needing to trust that a GPS device is well-designed before having confidence in the route its telling you to take.
The problem, though, is that you get quick feedback from a GPS device. If it doesn’t get you to where you want to go, you know something is wrong with it. Revelation, on the other hand, isn’t open to being tested. You’ve got to take it on faith, trusting that after death all will be revealed.
Bullshit. That’s my one word assessment of theistic science, even though I’m entirely open to the possibility that reality includes more than the physical. What I can’t accept is confusing two distinct conceptions about the natural world. These are nicely described in a book I’m reading (and enjoying), “The Top 10 Myths About Evolution.”
This view, called philosophical naturalism, rejects the existence of anything that can’t be explained—at least in principle—by natural laws or by purely natural methods of investigation. Philosophical naturalists deny that there can be such things as immortal souls, angels, and even God, since none of these can be investigated scientifically.
Some ID [intelligent design] proponents claim that if we rely strictly on the natural methods of science, we’re forced to deny the existence of souls, angels, and God. But this is not the case. All that’s required of scientists is that they recognize that science is limited to using natural methods and natural explanations for what it studies.
This view is called methodological naturalism, and it has nothing at all to say about things that can’t be investigated using natural methods, such as souls, angels, or God.
Except, of course, when true believers claim that a divine being is intervening in natural processes. Then science does have a role to play in debunking religious dogma, as noted in my “Does God exist? Science says no” post.
How humans are causing global warming has been accurately modeled mathematically. No extra God factor required. Yet this doesn’t stop the religiously-minded from seeing global warming as part of God’s plan for the world. We’re told not to worry about climate change because “God’s still up there.”
The Rapture Index creeps me out. In large part it’s based on “the worse things get, the nearer prophecy is to being fulfilled.” Global weather change is part of the Rapture Index’s Prophetic Top 10. This helps explain why many fundamentalists are so opposed to taking steps to deal with human-caused global warming.
Bring on the catastrophes, they believe. Jesus will soon follow. (Fortunately, eco-evangelists are providing a countervailing balance to the fundies.)
The bottom line for me is that nature is natural. If there’s something transcending the material world, it figures that God would be godly. Why conflate the two? Global warming, like evolution, can be explained by purely physical processes. Theology has noting to do with climate change.
Heck, even Pat Robertson has come to accept the reality of global warming. It’s good to see a little light entering closed minds.