Your probably thinking, “what i thought this was a blog about environmental problems!” It is. However, I’m not completely convinced that climate change is totally at the whim of CO2; and me driving my car (I am now a skilled hypermiling). It seems that other factors influence things a lot more than “mainstream pop-science” might suggest. Check out this article about glacial advances. Or if you have some serious time, watch the History channel video about the global climate cycle. It mentions sunspot cycles as playing the major role in climate change in the past, but then says that C02 has influenced climate more since the industrial revolution. This is somewhat hard to believe from the logistical point of view. How could such a small amount of change (which is well within the bounds of normal fluctuations) become the new driving force? What if the lack of sunspots which we are currently experiencing (article) causes global cooling?

If you read James Gleick’s book Chaos (which is about Chaos theory) then you would have less confidence our current mathematical ability to predict climate change. Discussing climate research he says, “To push the earth’s climate into the glaciated state would require a huge kick from some external source. But Lorenz described yet another plausible kind of behavior called “almost intransitivity.” An almost-intransitive system displays one sort of average behavior for a very long time, fluctuating within certain bounds. then, for no reason whatsoever, it shifts into a different sort of behavior, still fluctuating but producing a different average. The people who design computer models are aware of Lorenz’s discovery, but they try at all costs to avoid almost-intransitivity. It is too unpredictable. Their natural bias is to make models with a strong tendency to return to the equilibrium we measure every day on the real planet. Then, to explain large changes in climate, they look for external causes – changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun, for example. Yet it takes no great imagination for a climatologist to see that almost-intransitivity might well explain why the earth’s climate has drifted in and out of long Ice Ages at mysterious, irregular intervals. If so, no physical cause need be found for the timing. The Ice Ages may simply be a product of chaos.”

I stumbled across this while reading about Chaos Theory for fun (a bit of bedtime reading). But I thought this paragraph had huge implications for my research on Christian Ecology.

Based upon the findings I’ve mentioned, I don’t think that a reactionary, response to a problem, type of environmentalism is valid. This is because it is very hard to prove the validity of the problem beyond doubt. In fact, the only valid system I see for having earth care in mind is a religious one. I am not alone in this perspective, in fact Carl Sagan called for a joint commitment by “science and religion” to preserve and cherish the earth. He said, “we understand that what is regarded as sacred is more likely to be treated with care and respect. Our planetary home should be so regarded.” (Carl Sagan, “Guest Comment: Preserving and Cherishing the Earth -An Appeal for Joint Commitment in Science and Religion,” American Journal of Physics 58 (1990): 615).

My point is that Christians should only value creation (nature, or the earth or whatever) on the basis of God’s care for and valuing of his creation. The texts of Genesis 1 and 2; along with Psalm 19; and the last verse of Jonah make this clear. This is a true Christian basis for ecology, and the only basis I have found which logically makes sense within its system (or meta-narrative).

One comment on “undecided about climate change

  • Justin, I am so glad I stumbled across this blog. I saw you mention it on Myspace, which I hardly ever check, and was so glad to read it. I have been struggling (I’m not sure I can even call it that) with the idea of being more environmentally friendly for a couple of years, but the only other people who seem to care are all “hippie” and “granola” types… so I thought there was really nowhere for me to fit in. Your blog puts into words what I have felt in my heart. So, thanks a lot!! And I think it is an excellent idea for a thesis. Good Luck!

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