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Hello, my name is Bob, and I’m a climate change denier.

Pope Francis, in an interview to the press (9/11/17) opined that “Humanity will ‘go down’ if it does not address climate change”.   Now, despite the title of this post, I don’t deny that climate changes.   It has changed and will change.  There was the Medieval Warm Period, when the Viking colonized Greenland, and there have been glacial and inter-glacial changes.    I will deny that man-made production of CO2 has much to do with such climate change, and I’ve justified that in a number of blog posts (see here, for example), as have other scientists.

What concerns me is that the Church, in the person of the Vicar of Christ,  takes a  position on unsettled science;  and, despite some of Pope Francis’s statements–the verdict, in terms of model predictions being empirically justified, is not proven at all.

Let me go to a different case, where the science was more established.   Abbe LeMaitre (and the Russian mathematician Friedmann) had shown that Einstein’s General Relativity Field equation yielded  a time dependent solution with a singularity at the beginning of time, t=0, an expanding universe.  And lo, and behold, the galactic red shift relations shown by Hubble were in accord with that expanding universe.    And thus we knew about the “Big Bang”.    Supposedly Pope Pius XII wanted to use this science as evidence for the doctrine,  Creatio ex Nihilo, but was dissuaded from doing so by Abbe LeMaitre, who argued that science changes but faith does not.  (The incident is discussed in much greater detail here.)

My point is that the Church is not competent to judge whether science is good or bad, and science can not say whether Doctrine or Dogma are true or false.  The Church can certainly weigh in on the morality of  applications of science–for example, Designer Babies, fetal cell research–but it can’t and shouldn’t make judgments on what science is true and what is not.

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Bob Kurland, Ph.D.

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/ and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland). Extraordinary Minister of Communion, volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC. Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

24 Comments

  1. DACA, climate change…what we really want to know is what is his position on US corporate income tax rates?

    Early on during his reign I called him Pope Bozo; thankfully he never lets me down.

  2. Bingo.

    As you said, “climate change,” the political version, is “unsettled science.” At best, I think.

    Details of how and why Earth’s climate is changing at the moment are not, to my knowledge, completely understood.

    That Earth’s climate has changed, and is changing – that seems quite certain. I suspect that industrial activity over the last century or so may have had an effect on climate.

    I am more certain that continuing our efforts to reduce emissions and clean up the mess we made makes sense.

    About what Pope Francis said – I have not seen a transcript, and do not know details of the context in which he spoke. I’ll agree that our current Pope has a distinctive personal style.

    I also agree that science isn’t religion, or shouldn’t be. That’s why I look to scientists for information about science, and what the Pope actually says to learn about our faith.

  3. Gravity is still a theory. Yet, there aren’t gravity deniers out there. It seems pretty pretty straight forward that just enough doubt has been spread to the uneducated masses (or less significantly uneducated) that there is “no real evidence” in order to keep making money. Do the Tobacco companies ring a bell? There were plenty of people then, like now, that denied the health risks of smoking. Silly to argue that in this day and age. Climate change doubt/denial is the same tactic that the tobacco company used to keep selling cigarettes. As long as nothing was getting done, there was still being money made. Just like today with that very same argument. So if the church, which I really think is a crutch anyway, is saying what 97% of scientists and 98.5% of countries know for “almost” fact (like gravity) is happening with the climate I’d be inclined to set aside my stubbornness and listen. I would not however agree with some no name blogger who says what I want to hear to feel more comforted.

  4. When President Obama disenfranchised his constituents and signed the climate change treaty in Paris, Obama did so as a private citizen. Obama inadvertently put climate change as an issue on the individual citizen voter with his phone and pen.
    Since there is not enough scientific data to call climate change, climate models are put forth as scientific data. These scientific models are conjecture.
    So too with pollution, the individual citizen must examine his conscience and decide what he can do to remedy pollution where he is and how he might act with good will for the common good.
    It is not for the government nor any unelected bureaucracy to overrule the conscience of the sovereign person who is a citizen.
    Atheism denies the conscience of the rational human soul and “their Creator”. Atheism enslaves the sovereignty of the person, his enfranchisement as a citizen and freedom, all person’s freedom.
    Atheism is NOT a person, not a sovereign person, not enfranchised as a citizen as atheism as an ideology enshrined by government is unconstitutional. Persons, sovereign persons institute government. Atheism deconstructs the government, the Law of the Land, our constitution and all good will for the common good.

  5. Gravity is still a theory. Yet, there aren’t gravity deniers out there.
    D, would you bother to look up what you’re trying to use as a gotcha, please?

    It’s called the theory of gravity because there are several competing theories about how it works. Not because what the lay-person recognizes as the evidence for gravity is under question– the theory is there to explain it, and make testable theories.

    If you transplant the “climate change denier” stuff over to gravity, the best match for anthroprogenic climate change would be quantum gravity theories, then there are “gravity deniers.”
    It just requires that you ignore all other theories and declare the one involved to be factual and uniquely beyond question or scientific test.

  6. D, you’re neglecting one important part of how science works: it’s confirmed empirically by repeated experiments or observations. That has not happened with the climate change models; for one thing, the primary data is manipulated and twisted to conform with preconceptions. And with respect to Al Gore’s dire predictions of a tipping point in 2006, see
    http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/03/an-inconvenient-review-after-10-years-al-gores-film-is-still-alarmingly-inaccurate/
    (Like Foxifier, I dislike using videos as evidence, but …why repeat what someone else has said better?)

  7. If only the Pope spoke as passionately about the actual persecution of Christians as he did about potential climate change. But if he did that, he would not be adored by the world via the media. What are his priorities?

  8. I did an electrical project at a very large American University, as part of or because of expansion to laboratories studying climate change, (from fossil and ice core records). I can tell you that if you go out for a beer with these scientists they’ll tell you: “no one really knows… we’re going to eventually run out of fossil fuels … and that’s where the study grants are..”

  9. When I was a kid in the mid 1970s, the climo-scare du jour was the coming ice age. Then, what, about a decade later it was global warming? Now, it seems to be a matter of just plain common sense that human activity could not change the earth’s core temperature so radically in such a short period of time.

    And since then they have changed to the more ambiguous term “climate change”. And they tweet the language like that you can bet you are being lied to.

  10. I must relate something that happened earlier this evening after I restored patio furniture in the aftermath of what we received from Irma. It relates to this post on global warming nonsense which has been used as a basis to foist on an unsuspecting public useless, worthless so-called renewable energy. A man hawking solar photovoltaic (PV) cells for the roof of houses approached me as I was bringing the trash out by the walkway for morning garbage pickup. He was polite and asked to talk to me about a solar PV installation. I told him that I prefer my electricity from the nearby Catawba nuclear power plants. He said, “Power plants. Now that’s safe and clean.” And I responded, “Yes, they are nuclear.” He promptly walked away muttering under his breath the word “nuclear.” He was unaware that I had been a submarine reactor operator and I am a 40+ year commercial nuclear energy professional.

    My dear friends, if solar were so great, then we would still be baking bricks in the sun like the ancient Sumerians. And if wind were so great, then we would still be cross the seas in sail boats as the ancient Phoenicians did. No sunlight on cloudy days and at night, no energy. No wind on in windless days, no energy. 30% capacity factors compared with nuclear’s 92+ % capacity factor. And nuclear emits none of those dreaded greenhouse gases.

    If you are a renewable energy advocate, then frankly, you are a darn fool and you deserve to freeze in the cold snowy dark of winter and sweat in the boiling heat of summer time. I got no time for political correctness. 40+ years of nuclear industry experience completely disarmed that renewable energy salesman, and rightly so. If these people really and truly believed in anthropogenic global warming, then they would fight for nuclear energy tooth and nail. But they oppose nuclear. So they don’t believe in what they say after all. Therefore, why should I believe?

  11. “When I was a kid in the mid 1970s, the climo-scare du jour was the coming ice age.”

    If I recall accurately, there was an attempt to time such an ice age to nuclear war. If there was a nuclear war, then there would be an increase in cooling. Thus America was evil for having nuclear weapons. Of course this was only applied politically to force America to disarm. Never such claims for Russia.

  12. What’s depressing about the Pope is that he’s a recycler of the kultursmog, full stop. It’s difficult to imagine he’s ever had an original observation in his life.

  13. I can’t imagine that PF1 would be stupid enough to fall for AGW theory. Nor do I think he’s merely grossly uninformed. (Though that’s a distant possibility). So, what is he really up to? Or, has someone put him up to it? Whatever it is.
    I’m afraid to know the real answer.

  14. Are we soon going to seek honorable sainthood for Al Gore for spearheading, on behalf of the UN, the prevention of the terminal crisis the world is about to face because it continues to utilize the carbon fuels that nature’s God has provided?

  15. “Humanity will go down if it does not address climate change.” -PF

    St.Louis Marie de Montfort

    Be one of the small number who find the way to life, and enter by the narrow gate into Heaven. Take care not to follow the majority and the common herd, so many of whom are lost. Do not be deceived; there are only two roads: one that leads to life and is narrow; the other that leads to death and is wide. There is no middle way.

    Seems to me that this is what PF should be considered about. The decent that lasts FOREVER!

  16. Since Francis tows the same line as our esteemed USCCB, it begs the question, what is his take of the almost billion dollars they get for their stand on Immigration. Their stand is contrary to the Catechism. May God have mercy on them.

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