Time Lapse Evidence Shows an Increase in Carbon Dioxide Does Not Harm Vegetation

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

[Updates at the bottom of this post.]

Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant.

And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.  And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.  And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.  And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat:  And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done.

–Book of Genesis 1:26-30

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27 Responses to Time Lapse Evidence Shows an Increase in Carbon Dioxide Does Not Harm Vegetation

  • Um, Tito … plants breathe carbon dioxide. They release oxygen into the atmosphere as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

    Some plants also love phosphates, and when Dow or some other company dumps them into a pond or a swamp, some species will love it. And crowd everything else off.

    The biblical command to dominion is a two-way street, and involves, unlike our corporate masters, a reciprocity of care and stewardship.

    Agreed the penguin and bear photos are silly. But I wasn’t aware you were a priest who wore a biretta. Who knew?

  • Not sure I understand the post. The AGW argument, right or wrong, is that increased quantities of CO2 will heat up the Earth’s atmosphere. What does the effect of CO2 (which plants absorb and process) on plants have to do with this?

  • Todd,

    Thanks for the 3rd grade science refresher.

    So tell me how a rise in CO2 levels will kill plants again?

  • John Henry,

    Your straw man is unproductive here JH.

  • Tito,

    Don’t think there was a straw man. I just don’t see what this post proves. What do you think the study proves?

  • John Henry,

    I’ll play along this one time only.

    Al Gore disciples are promoting Global Warming/Climate Change as a catastrophe of immense proportions, ie, destroying our environment.

    So this video disproves one of the many whacky theories that Global Warming/Climate Change alarmists are bandying about in order to increase the role of government in our lives.

    Which of course violates our free will.

    If you want to continue down this train of thought, then go ahead and post your own column and stop distracting from my post.

  • So this video disproves one of the many wacky theories that Global Warming/Climate Change alarmists are bandying about

    I’d never heard about this particular theory, I guess. The main line of argument is that CO2 emissions cause the atmosphere to heat up, which, over time, will raise sea levels and damage low-lying areas. And the concern is that this is a one-way ratchet; something we can’t undo. That all may be wrong, but that’s the argument I’d heard, rather than the claim that CO2 damages plants. As you’ve requested I stop commenting on this thread, I won’t comment any further.

  • Tito,

    I’m a little confused as to what the video is getting at.

    It’s certainly true that CO2 is great for plants, and that higher CO2 levels would mean more plant growth. In this sense, greater CO2 emission would be great for “the planet”. There have been periods when, for natural reasons, the planet has had much higher CO2 levels than we have now, and plants (among other things) were just fine. The claim of global warming advocates (or at least, those who don’t think that The Day After Tomorrow was a documentary), however, is not so much that “the planet” would be destroyed by more CO2, but that it would become very inconvenient for us, with oceans rising, weather patterns changing, etc. Since it’s hard to move large populations from where they are without a lot of suffering and death, it is pretty clearly true that if they are right in their predictions about the climate (which I think is open to question) the results would be bad for civilization, even though plans would very happily grow over the abandoned cities.

    I do share a certain annoyance with calling CO2 a “pollutant”, since it’s a perfectly natural gas which appears as part of our atmosphere. But then, “a weed” is simply a plant growing where you don’t want it to.

  • John Henry and Darwin,

    I’m at a loss of words of where you two are coming from.

    So you’re both telling me that global warming alarmists have never said that a rise in CO2 levels will destroy the environment?

    This whole time that rising ocean levels, plants dyeing, changing weather patterns, etc. is not what they’ve been saying?

  • John Henry and Darwin,

    I will admit that I failed to explain the sarcastic elements of my post, for that I’ll take the blame.

    By mocking them I sowed more confusion.

    And when I have to explain a post then I’ll be the first one to admit that the message wasn’t conveyed properly.

    With that thanks for being patient in explaining to me your confusion.

    Tito

  • My recollection certainly is that the global warmist claim is that among the ill effects of increased CO2 concentration is deforestation and crop loss. (Gore famously Photoshopped a NASA photo of Earth to suggest this in one of his books.) The truth is, as the video demonstrates, increased CO2 levels enhance plant growth.

    But to me, the real lesson of the video should be the role of planetary vegetation in the dynamic control of O2 and CO2 levels, which global warmists totally ignore. As CO2 levels rise (and O2 proportionately declines), plants consume more CO2 and produce more O2, helping to restore balance.

    And not just any balance, but one perfectly suited to the need of humanity. Many of our global warmist friends think that’s just an accident.

  • “So you’re both telling me that global warming alarmists have never said that a rise in CO2 levels will destroy the environment?”

    Got it.

    I confess: I never read Al Gore’s book. I had a 200-level college course in climatology, and I follow the science on the issue, less the politics.

    More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases heat retention near the surface. Most climatologists are less worried today about rising sea levels–and that’s enough of a problem for obvious reasons–than the planet hitting a tipping point where climate will change rather quickly. The scenarios include a shift in the monsoon climates of South Asia, the Gulf Stream redirecting toward Africa because of increased freshwater melt in the North Atlantic.

    The environment will survive most anything we can throw at it. The survival question would be rioting hundreds of millions in India, SE Asia, and Indonesia. Or Europe getting Canada-style winters. Plant and animal life can and will adapt to change. Since you’re very concerned about the economics of it all, let me remind you that in the long haul, western economics and politics are very, very fragile compared to the long-term survival of the planet.

    By the way, I don’t know of any environmentalist that took those polar bear and penguin images any more seriously than as an icon. Sorry if others thought they were any more than that.

  • Pingback: What Do You Mean It Was Just A Symbol? « Catholic Sensibility
  • I am also familiar with the CO2 will destroy the environment and kill plants. Vaguely remember writing several replies about it four-five years ago.

  • Tom, Foxfier, et al.,

    Thanks, I’m sure I’m not the only one that read it that way as well!

  • Symbol,

    Fake but accurate?

  • Phillip,

    LOL!

    It’s amazing how we are accused of believing in myths, yet progressives and their Catholic enablers continue to propagate falsehoods.

  • Symbols to elicit an emotional connection?

    Of course they were; same way PETA use to put out those stupid comics like “Daddy tortures fish to death” and “mommy boils bunnies” or whatever.

    It’s admitted openly, now?

    (In defense of the lay folks that believed CO2 was killing plants, I do know that up by Mammoth Lake that’s happening– trees don’t like volcanic gas hitting their roots.)

    I personally really, really hope we’re causing global warming, since the reconstructed pattern of ice ages says we should be hitting one about now. Talk about a difficult change to adapt to!

  • “It’s amazing how we are accused of believing in myths, yet progressives and their Catholic enablers continue to propagate falsehoods.”

    It’s one thing to literally believe in a myth, and another to utilize mythology properly as either moral teaching or cultural rooting.

    The polar bear/penguin on an ice raft isn’t too much different from the Stupak poster Donald puts up now and then. It’s meant to elicit an emotional reaction from the base. It’s political PR. No more, no less.

    Some climate change deniers refuse to be swayed by either logic or emotion. They cling to their own views of and desire for a static world, in which nothing ever changes, and one’s environment never changes.

    Well, the universe doesn’t work that way. The planet’s climate is changing. Once that was denied. But even today we see that carbon dioxide levels are rising faster than plants can absorb it.

    If you’re interested in the serious science on climate change, there are places to go. If you want to keep it political, you’re also free to do that. But don’t complain that you’ve been left behind in the serious debate.

    Last word, gents: all yours.

  • Todd,
    You are wrong. The Stupak poster is obvious propaganda. The bear/penguin photos and videos are contrived to be deliberately misleading. Most people assume they are true and actual events captured on camera or video, and that is exactly what is intended. That is not comparable to the Stupak poster.

  • To be fair, the polar bear was actually captured, as I remember…it’s just usually used as evidence that polar bears are dying off, and they’re…um… not.

    Some climate change deniers refuse to be swayed by either logic or emotion. They cling to their own views of and desire for a static world, in which nothing ever changes, and one’s environment never changes.

    Now this is ironic, given that the folks who claim climate change is going on assume a static world is good (without evidence) and that the evidence for real climate change is somewhat shaky.

  • Todd,

    Here’s some pretty hard science with this conclusion:

    “Although carbon dioxide is capable of raising the Earth’s overall temperature, the IPCC’s predictions of catastrophic temperature increases produced by carbon dioxide have been challenged by many scientists. In particular, the importance of water vapor is frequently overlooked by environmental activists and by the media. The above discussion shows that the large temperature increases predicted by many computer models are unphysical and inconsistent with results obtained by basic measurements. Skepticism is warranted when considering computer-generated projections of global warming that cannot even predict existing observations.”

    Full link here:

    http://brneurosci.org/co2.html

    Now people can and do discuss the merits of this article. Bottom line though, reasonable people do disagree.

  • “The polar bear/penguin on an ice raft isn’t too much different from the Stupak poster Donald puts up now and then. It’s meant to elicit an emotional reaction from the base. It’s political PR. No more, no less.”

    Actually Todd it’s giving Stupak the benefit of the doubt, by assuming that he actually believed that the meaningless executive order that he got from Obama meant anything. I could put up a poster of Stupak saying “Liar”, but I never like going beyond the evidence before me.

  • Todd and everyone else,

    The polar bears are actually having a population boom that they are now moving into areas that have never seen polar bears in centuries and interbreeding with grizzly bears.

    As one polar bear biologist was quoted as saying, “There aren’t just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears,”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1545036/Polar-bears-thriving-as-the-Arctic-warms-up.html

  • Stupid bears! They don’t know they’re supposed to be dying.

  • “polar bears in centuries and interbreeding with grizzly bears”

    Time for a mind scrub to erase that particular image!

  • Echo Phillip

    More CO2 means more heat potentially (not that mankind is doing all that much), means more evaporation/transpiration (which reduces the heat energy of the ocean/land/plant by kcal/g water and reduces the water level but we get more rainfall and snowfall which returns water to the lands and oceans and ice to the poles), means better plant growth which converts CO2 into Carbon compounds (wood, stem, leaf, fruit, nuts, food, wheat, corn) which reduces CO2 in atmosphere and increases O2. So we’re going to get woozy from all the higher O2! And need more kids to eat all this food!

    Entropy is positive – AHHHHH!

    So God had a plan – and earth’s ecosystem isn’t so man-dependent as our narcissistics want to believe. Do you really think He would trust earth to our free will? We’re weak idiots. I have dominion over my children and wife – as long as I concur with practically everything they do! And Thank God for the 4th Commandment to help me with that family dominion think too. As God Designed.

Overpopulation Myth

Thursday, March 18, AD 2010

And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.

— Book of Genesis 9:7

Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth.  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

— Book of Psalms 127 [126]:3-5

Biretta tip Rusty Tisdale via Google Buzz.

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16 Responses to Overpopulation Myth

  • 90% of all humans inhabit 3% of all the land on the earth..

    http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/populationgeography.htm

    Say this everytime someone dares to say we are “overpopulating” the earth.

    I suspect these statements are usually by people living in a huge and crowded city, who never see the rest of the State, let alone the rest of the nation or world.

  • I believe they are called New Yorkers.

  • Perspective,

    We are overpopulating the Earth.

    If you want to hit me with the statistic that the entire world’s population can fit into Rhode Island, that’s fine. Because the problem is that only a small percentage of Earth’s total land mass is suitable for living. Plus you have a limited supply of resources like water and fossil fuels, which are nonrenewable. In fact, if everyone on Earth led a typical American lifestyle, we would only be able to sustain 1-2 billion people. To sustain 6 billion would require all of us switching to a vegan diet. Even if we did that, the global population is projected to reach 9 billion…

    If you have any other arguments, please post.

  • And you know, I hate to say it but any information from here on the topic of overpopulation has to be carefully evaluated since the website is very biased (being Catholic and all). Please try to look at things from the other perspective too. I myself researched extensively on the issue and found that most overpopulation deniers were either Catholic, or had shallow arguments easily combated by scientific data.

    Oh, and I do want to add that population control does not have to involve forced abortions/sterilizations…

  • Azelais, go google birth dearth, do some reading on the subject, and then come back when you have something other than bigotry and ignorance to contribute.

  • Plus you have a limited supply of resources like water and fossil fuels, which are nonrenewable.

    Um, I’m pretty sure that water is a renewable resource. I mean, it literally falls from the sky.

  • @Donald R. McClarey: Falling fertility rates are mostly only present in industrialized countries (though the U.S. is not one of them with a perfect replacement rate of 2.1). The key point, however, is that the fertility rates of third world countries are rising much faster than the dropping fertility rates of developed countries. Obviously, this equates a net increase in world population.

    Perhaps it is you who needs to “do some reading on the subject” and “come back when you have something other than bigotry and ignorance to contribute”. 🙂

    @Blackadder: I meant that fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources, not water. My apologies for the misleading sentence, which should probably be revised to “Plus you have a limited supply of resources like water, and nonrenewable fossil fuels.”

  • Still haven’t done that reading have you Azelais? Fertility rates are plunging around the globe. For example Iran’s fertility rate is currently 1.7. Keep trying Azelais.

  • Still haven’t done that reading, have you Donald?

    1. For every country with a dropping fertility rate, there is a country with an even faster rising rate. That’s why the UN projects the world’s population to *continue rising* to 9 billion in 2050. According to the CIA World Factbook, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Somalia, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, etc. all had fertility rates of over 6 in 2009!

    2. Even if fertility rates were declining, that’s a good thing (for now and the near future). China is an example of a country whose population might decline in the future (thanks to their one-child policy). This would only prove beneficial to them, as the country is too crowded at the moment.

    So overall, the world is already overpopulated. This is why we are seeing resource wars in poor countries fighting over water and food. As I stated before, if everyone were to live an American lifestyle (which I suppose is the ultimate goal- a high standard of living for everyone), we could only sustain 1-2 billion people. The UN Development Program reports that the 20% of the world’s highest-income earning countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures, and the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%.

    Keep on trying Donald. 🙂

  • Azelais,

    1. No, the reason why the population is expected to continue rising is not because “For every country with a dropping fertility rate, there is a country with an even faster rising rate.” It’s because the fertility rate is a measure of how fast people are being born — it doesn’t take into account how long they live. Given that the world population has been rising for the last 100 years, even if every country on earth instantly went to a 2.0 fertility rate, the population would continue rising for another 50 years or so before leveling off. Further, the fact that the countries you listed has fertility rates over 6 in 2009 does not mean that their rates are rising, it just means they are high. The total fertility rate for the world as a whole has fallen from 5 to 2.5 over the last 50 years:

    http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=total+fertility+rate+world

    2. You can theorize that countries are “too crowded” and would thus do better if they had fewer people, but that doesn’t change the fact that having far more old people than workers is generally very unhealthy for a society.

    Also, your math on the claim that the world can only support 1-2 billion people with an American lifestyle rests on the assumption that the amount of wealth/resources in the world is fixed. This is, however, generally false.

  • “China is an example of a country whose population might decline in the future (thanks to their one-child policy). This would only prove beneficial to them, as the country is too crowded at the moment.”

    What a truly bizarre comment. China is an immense country and is definitely not too crowded. Additionally being crowded and economic performance have little to do with each other as Taiwan, Singapore and the Netherlands amply demonstrate.

    Additionally the one child policy is producing a demographic imbalance in China with far too many males for the available females. That spells looming disaster for any society.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89572563

    Keep trying Azelais. The law of averages indicates that eventually you make a comment that is not risible.

  • @DarwinCatholic: You’re right that I shouldn’t have said “rising” fertility rate. What I meant was that for every country with a replacement rate below 2.1, there is a country with a rate above it, sometimes way above it. Like you stated yourself, the population is supposed to continue rising for another 50 years.

    http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_pop_totl&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population+chart

    This is a problem because who’s to say that we can sustain 9 billion people? Yes, natural resources are not necessarily fixed, but that doesn’t guarantee that there will be enough for the future. We can’t count on technology to create resources out of thin air- food production is increasing, but not as fast as the population is increasing. Even if we could take a technological optimist point of view, we have to face the very real possibility that a large expansion of agriculture would have a terrible effect on the environment. Further deforestation, species extinction, and pollution from pesticides as farming intensifies are just a few consequences. Additionally, fresh water supplies, on which agriculture depends, are running low worldwide. This water crisis is only expected to worsen as population increases. Finally, fossil fuels simply aren’t renewable at all.

    As for the comment regarding a disproportionate number of old people to workers, we actually see low life expectancy in countries with the fastest population growth. Bottom line is that when a country’s population reaches its limit, natural controls are triggered. They will be the usual- epidemics, wars, famines, etc. – but do we really want to wait for that fate?

    @Donald R. McClarey: It goes without saying that China is “immense”, both in land mass and population. The fact that you claim that they are “definitely not too crowded” causes me to ask whether you have ever visited the country personally. I have been there a few times, and my mother was born and raised in that country. She agrees that it is a very crowded place!

    You point out Taiwan, Singapore, and the Netherlands as countries with a high population density but good economic performance. However, those are all small countries whose cases are the exception, not the norm. They are able to provide for a high standard of living because they “borrow” resources from other countries. In other words, they import massive amounts of resources from other countries because they are not able to produce those amounts in their own country. So in reality, they have a “borrowed” standard of living.

    Concerning the demographic imbalance, enforcing a ban against sex-selective abortions could normalize the sex ratio in the future. This is an option that should be considered, in light of the various benefits of the one-child policy.

  • “They are able to provide for a high standard of living because they “borrow” resources from other countries. In other words, they import massive amounts of resources from other countries because they are not able to produce those amounts in their own country. So in reality, they have a “borrowed” standard of living.”

    Now we get to the heart of your misunderstanding of populations and prosperity. The populations of Taiwan, Singapore and the Netherlands “borrow” nothing. They are successes because the economic politicies and the political systems they have in place allow their populations to buy what they need. Economic and political systems are the decisive factor in human prosperity and not population density.

    As to China, there are huge areas for population expansion within China’s borders. The Chinese have not done so because physical crowding is not the problem in China and never has been. China’s curse has always been governments that have misused the natural intelligence and hardworking cultural qualities of the Chinese. This is seen quite graphically in the fact that Chinese populations in the Chinese diaspora are invariable wealthier than the host populations.

  • Of course those countries don’t literally borrow their standard of living. They buy the products, like you said. But again, the fact that they are all small countries further proves that not everyone in the world could model after them. So while I agree that they do have excellent economic policies and political systems that allow them to buy what they need (and more, to be honest), it would be unfair to claim that those are the ONLY factors in human prosperity. When I replied to DarwinCatholic’s comment, I pointed out that the Earth has a very limited supply of certain resources. That amount is not enough for every country to prosper like Taiwan, Singapore, and the Netherlands, even if they all had the same economic and political systems. So if we cut down to the bare necessities for living- food, water, and shelter- we inevitably conclude that the world’s population cannot continue to multiply.

    As to China, there are definitely not “huge areas for population expansion”. Half of China’s territory is considered uninhabitable, and desertification is on the rise. The government-implemented one-child policy contributed greatly to the country’s economic growth and reduced unemployment caused from surplus labor. It also benefited the individual by causing improved health care, among other things.

  • I find in reading those sites that say that population problems are a myth that their evidence is very sparse and inconclusive. Recently I read Book 1 of the free e-book series “In Search of Utopia” (http://andgulliverreturns.info), it blasts their lack of evidence relative to their calling overpopulation a myth. The book, actually the last half of the book, takes on the skeptics in global warming, overpopulation, lack of fresh water, lack of food, and other areas where people deny the evidence. I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to see the whole picture read the book, at least the last half.
    That ancient 2.2 or 2.1 fertility level is shown to be in error because we are living longer.

  • Projections are NOT scientific Azelias! This is the problem with pseudo-scientific lay people, they assume they can project numbers (which were only gathered during a tiny time fram and therefore are not a suitably large sample to be reliable in the real world) out infinitely and view the speculation as fact. The real world is not a controlled laboratory experiment. You are assuming the only varaible is rate of reproduction. This is ludicrous. Besides–human behavior changes based on circumstances! This is why condoms can lead to increased pregnancy and STD’s. People who use birth control have usually begin to have more sex…ALOT more! If a condom protects you 99% of the 100 times you have sex thats 1 pregnancy (still not good odds-especially with AIDS!) But if the user has sex 1,000,000 times that is 10,000 pregnancies or STD’s. The projections are virtually IRRELEVANT because behavior changes. Then again Progressives tend to deny free will and self-control, but the truth is the truth even if nobody believes it!

The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2010

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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12 Responses to The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

  • Since when is pro-abortion Brown “the truth”?

  • Who said he was? I never mentioned his name in the article. However, when the people of Massachusetts (the only state who voted for George McGovern) can see the craziness of the left, you can rest assured that they are not alone.

  • “As evidenced by the stunning results in the Massachusetts special election seat vacated following the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, even in the most liberal of locales the public will eventually clamor for the truth.”

    You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.

  • “You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.”

    Hmm, I didn’t get that from this statement. In any case, one doesn’t have to be impeccable to demonstrate the principle that the mind of the people is changing. Brown is obviously not perfect, but I don’t think Dave is talking about his politics or theology so much as the change that his election represents.

  • The change the election represents I don’t think is exactly as Republicans are making it out to be; while some of it might be on Obama, and other aspects of it might be on health care, another aspect people have to remember is Coakley assumed the seat was hers and didn’t campaign properly. That, I think, is the lesson all sides might want to remember: don’t assume you are a sure-win and do nothing because of it. Nothing, however, to do with “truth.” Nothing in the results shows truth wins — since abortion does.

  • I agree with Henry.

    Brown did make the centerpiece of his campaign as a referendum on ObamaCare, though other factors such as Coakley’s poor campaigning certainly played a factor into it.

  • “I agree with Henry.”

    Tito, that’s the first sign of the apocalypse!

  • The truth that believing Catholics shouldn’t be barred from working in emergency rooms certainly won.

    Brown is quite problematic (and it’s not like I sent him money), but at least we are spared the spectacle of another Massachusetts Catholic baying for abortion in DC.

    I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them.

  • Dale

    So, what silver linings do you find for Obama? Can you find some?

  • I questioned authority relentlessly. Holy Mother Church had all the answers.
    Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.
    Inquisitive mind + Road To Damascus (TM) moment = conversion/re-conversion. Sweet.

  • Despite the badly-concealed sneer with which you pose your question, Henry, sure. Haitian relief, support for a limited range of renewable energy sources, uniting (briefly) the country after the Fort Hood terrorist massacre, helping a limited range of distressed homeowners and credit card and equal pay protection come quickly to mind.

    But, as you know, he’s been a pro-abortion stalwart–deceptively so–when it comes to the protection of human life and issues of conscience.

    Thus, my great relief that a putative sister in the Church–one who expressly finds the Catholic faith disqualifying from life-saving work–will not be able to work on a national stage to implement her bigotry, nor be able to lend her support to the most problematic parts of the President’s agenda.

    Your mileage evidently varies.

Why I Don't Believe in a Young Earth

Monday, November 23, AD 2009

Some time ago, someone asked me:

Suppose–just for the sake of argument–you were convinced that an honest reading of the Tradition of the Church required you to believe that the initial chapters of Genesis were historical. Would you be able to do it, or do you think that Darwinism is so irrefutable that you would have to abandon or radically redetermine your faith?

I think this is the question that worries a lot of Catholics without a strong scientific background as they watch the evolution/creationist/ID debate on Catholic blogs. Here are these otherwise solid Christians taking common cause with the likes of the Richard Dawkins against their brother Christians. What gives? Are these folks really Christian? Do they care more about science than about faith? Do they only accept Catholicism so long as it agrees with science?

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24 Responses to Why I Don't Believe in a Young Earth

  • IMO it’s quite easy for Catholics to reconcile science and the Bible. My trust and understanding of the Bible relies entirely on the Church. My faith in the Bible comes from Christ and His Church. I accept Genesis as sacred scripture because it’s part of the deposit of Scripture that served God Incarnate, but mostly because the Church Christ established and gave authority to said this is Scripture. If we’re going to accept the Church’s authority on that, it’s equally as important to understand it as the Church understands it.

  • I studed geology and ended up a young-Earther myself. The geologcal evidence for a young earth was too great to ignore. But this hasn’t threatened or altared my Faith. I don’t see science and religion as opposed to each other or as each other’s bed fellows because science is a ***tool*** that is used to understand Creation. It’s one of **many** tools that we use to understand Creation and the meaning of life etc. People keep elevating science far above what it is meant to be and that’s when the trouble starts.

  • Ooops, hit submit to fast. I was going to end with:

    It’s like trying to elevate the tech pub (Science) to the same level of importance and greatness as the actual helicopter (Creation)… (I was a helicopter mechanic in the Navy.)

  • St. Augustine wrestled with this same question when he was a Manichean. The Manicheans taught all sorts of doctrines that are quite familiar in New Age thought today and could easily be revived as a whole, and astrology was a big one. Despite what people mistakenly think today, back then astronomers had pretty good methods of observing and recording the heavens. St. Augustine was no dummy, and he noticed that astrology did not account for either how people’s lives worked out or how the heavenly bodies actually behaved. For a while he hoped that when he finally got to talk to the really smart Manicheans, they would be able to explain why this was so. But when he discovered that they couldn’t, he had to give up the Manicheans because he saw quite rightly that one simply could not be expected to believe what was obviously not true.

    It has always been a great comfort to me that one of the smartest men who ever lived stood up for that obvious principle long, long ago, and became one of the greatest Catholics of all time. He would not expect anyone to remain a Catholic if it required people to believe things about the physical world that are obviously not true. I think that he knew a lot more about how to read and understand the Bible than I do and he did not consider Genesis to be a treatise in natural history. People who do simply do not understand how to read the Bible. They are doing the best they can to reconcile faith and reason, and because they can’t do so with their mistaken way of reading the Bible but they intuitively realize that faith must inform reason, they choose to disregard what reason would otherwise show. The solution is of course to get a better handle on Scripture and reason.

  • Your post kind of put God in a small box.

    After all, isn’t anything possible with God?

  • In all truth it doesn’t matter if the earth is 10,000 years old or 4.5 billion. What difference does it make if the universe is 1.5 million years old or 15 billion? God stated, “I AM WHO AM”. He is now! Not yesterday and not tomorrow. RIGHT NOW! So we can conclude that time is a construct for our benefit and if called to Judgment right now do you think Christ is going to ask you how old you think the earth is?

    Our faith in Christ does not require a scientific understanding. Most Christians throughour history were ignorant and illiterate. Clearly salvation does no hinge on knowledge of the world or the universe. Know Christ – that’s it.

    Now He also made us curious and I beleive this to be true even before the Fall. It is what we are curious about that needs to be corrected, not the curiousity itself. He also gave us dominion over Creation, which we know includes all we can see no matter how many billions of light years afar it is.

    I find it difficult to square the evidence (I am not a scientist) with a 10,000 year old earth. That doesn’t mean we won’t find evidence to the contrary and either way it will not change the most pivotal point in all of histroy, Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross.

    I don’t think God would deceive us into thinking the universe is 15 billion years old as some kind of trick. I also don’t think it matters to Him if it is 1.5 million years old or 150 trillion. He is very patient – we are not.

    I alos think that in order for our temporal reality to unfold and be reasonably perceptible by our limited minds it has to be 15 bil years old because our Sun and our location in the Milky Way would not be logically possible in a shorter period of time. Creation itself is a miracle; however, it unfolds in a natural and rational manner for us to understand which is totlaly necessary for us to even notice miracles.

    If God placed us right here in this vast universe suddenly, without context we would have to accept that as a miracle and miracles would then be facts and not mysteries. If miracles are not mysteries then they are not special and if not special then the Incarnation is nothing more spectacular than a lepton.

    Where’s the adventure in that?

  • Tito,

    To say that the earth is 6,000 years old is to make God a liar. Not a good idea.

  • BA,

    I wasn’t saying or agreeing with the young earth theory, more with some of the scientific propositions that were offered.

    God is capable of creating the speed of light at approximately 186,282 miles per second, instantaneously.

  • Good post, Darwin. If you get a chance, check out the blog of David Heddle. He’s a physicist–and a Reformed Christian who takes the same tack. One of his themes is that if the Earth is indeed 10K years old, God is attempting to deceive us through His act of Creation. Which, lest we forget, is a form of revelation itself.

    I think the distinction between the miraculous and the idea the universe is 10000 years old is this:

    (1) the first inverts/suspends/makes an exception for the natural law/order, (2) the second suggests there is no such thing as natural law or a natural order. Or certainly no way to discern the latter.

  • Good post, Darwin. If you get a chance, check out the blog of David Heddle. He’s a physicist–and a Reformed Christian who takes the same tack. One of his themes is that if the Earth is indeed 10K years old, God is attempting to deceive us through His act of Creation. Which, lest we forget, is a form of revelation in and of itself.

    I think the distinction between the miraculous and the idea the universe is 10000 years old is this:

    (1) the first inverts/suspends/makes an exception for the natural law/order, (2) the second suggests there is no such thing as natural law or a natural order. Or certainly no way to discern the latter.

  • Sorry about the double post!

  • Dale,

    No problem.

    I need to read most things twice in order to ingest the information, reminds me of my college days.

  • Tito,

    It is possible that God created the world five minutes ago, complete with fake memories of the past and fake evidence indicating that the world was much older. He could do that, but the question is why He would do so, and whether believing this is consistent with what we know about His nature.

    Similarly, God could have created the world 6,000 years ago, but planted evidence to make it look like the world was much older. He could do that, but it’s hard to see why He would do that, nor is it clear that His doing so would be consistent with what we know about His nature.

  • Tito,

    Perhaps this will help clarify a bit: I certainly don’t mean to say that God _could not have_ created the world ten thousand years ago. God, in his infinite power, could create the world in any way that he chose. Though of course, God being eternal, I think there’s merit to the Augustinian idea that God exists in a single, eternal present. And so from a God’s-eye view, this moment is one with the incarnation, and is one with Adam and Eve’s fall, and is one with both the instant of creation and the end of the world. The stretch of billions of years which to us looks like the long and gradual development of the universe is in God’s mind an instant of ever-flowering creation — and it’s only our view, trapped within the temporal timeline of creation, that makes it look like “God sat around for a few billion years before single celled life even developed”, as some complain.

    So my point is not that God could not have created the world another way than he did, or indeed tha we are definitely right in our current understanding of the physical history of the world (in that I’m sure there are a lot of things we don’t know or are wrong about) but rather that I have a lot of trouble with the idea of that all the indications that the world is ancient (from seeing objects millions of light years away, to geological strata, to continental drift, to radioactive decay, to the apparent history of the other planets, to fossils, to DNA, etc.) are misleading or explained by processes totally different from what we see acting in the world today (and in some cases, incompatible with the physical laws on the universe as we currently observe them.)

    I certainly don’t think our current understanding of the universe is perfect, but I do think that as rational creatures we’re called to use our reason as best we can — and so I don’t think it would be in keeping with our calling as rational creatures made in the image of God to refuse to use our powers of reason and our senses to understand creation as best we can (and accept the conclusions of that study) just as it Augusine’s day it was his calling to understand the world through the best philosophical and scientific insights of his day, and Aquinas in his.

  • Darwin,

    Thanks for that articulate response.

    I don’t have much to offer to this intriguing debate which I have been enjoying reading (and learning a lot).

    But where I stand is that I do believe we are descended from Adam and Eve. Hence why I find it difficult to digest that we are descended from monkeys if we are made in His image. Not rhetorically or symbolically, but literally. We are made in His image.

    Not there isn’t anything wrong with eating bananas and hanging out on tree limbs, but we are special and are God’s most special creation.

    That’s my lens that I use.

    Sometimes a simple understanding can lead to the Truth.

  • Coffee Catholic writes Monday, November 23, 2009
    “I studied geology and ended up a young-Earther myself. The geological evidence for a young earth was too great to ignore”.

    In a nutshell. It is a question of scientific evidence. The Bible has nothing to do with the matter except for the non-scientific question of creation.

    Let geologists present the facts and we can go from there. The meaning of “day” and the order of creation do not affect the geological facts.

  • Darwin’s point was the same point as Pope Benedict in his Regensburg lecture — God has given us reason, which, though limited, is not to be dismissed for something sub-rational. God’s qualities, as revealed through revelation, indicate a God who does not contradict himself; reason of course is used to determine this — but if we say “don’t limit God,” then I guess we can all end up in the nominalist-voluntarist dream of God who is not limited, even by his own self-limitations.

  • Henry beat me to it… I thought of Regensburg as well.

    Tito, we are made in the image of God because we have an intellect, free will, and are made for relationship; God could’ve taken a pre-existing creature an infused these things (parts of a rational soul) at any time.

  • Interesting post, Darwin – and also interesting commenting.

    Chris, your point concerning the fact that the “image of God” is a good one. Are we to understand that being made in the “image of God” is describing a picture of a human? It seems clear to me that the human form as an image cannot be what is referenced in what we read in the Bible. What of people who are born with missing limbs or other deformities? To the outside observer, some of these people may not even appear human, yet we would not say that they lack the “image of God” we describe. Moreover, our bodies can be changed virtually at will by accident or design, yet I would argue that the image God placed in us is left unchanged, for God Himself is the only one with that power.

    For these reasons I have always equated our creation in the “image of God” to be the fact that we are given a soul that is indeed in the image of God.

  • No more they do.

    I guess I’m a bit confused as to what you mean by that in this context, though.

    As a Catholic who thinks that evolution is basically correct in regards to the history of life on Earth, I would say that at some point in history (when I would not presume to say) God infused our ancestors with immortal and rational souls, making them truly “human” in the sense that we mean the term (something which I would say is not reliant on a biological form, but rather on our nature). Not until that infusion of souls into what were, before that, bipedal and rather clever primates, did we become truly persons, truly made in the image of God, etc.

    At whatever point that divine spark entered humanity, we were permanently and irreparably set apart from the rest of the animal world, because we were no longer strictly animal, but rather both animal and rational, both animal and divine.

  • Darwin,

    Thanks for the explanation.

    I’m going to hang out in my neighbors tree house and eat some banana’s now.

  • “Gorillas don’t have souls.”

    Where in the world do you get this kind of nonsense from? By the fact that they are animals, they have souls — indeed they have a specific kind of soul which transcends the souls of plants (according to classical definitions). Catholic teaching has always said this.

  • Animals do not have rational souls. They have a vegetative and a sensitive soul that perish when they do. A good summary of Catholic teaching on this subject is linked below.

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/soul-2.htm