Global Warming

Several comments in the general discussion have related to the global warming question. We’re going to move them here so that the topic is easier to find. This turned out to be one most controversial topics on the ASA email list during November and December of 2009. We recognize that there is a diversity of views in the ASA on this issue. We also recognize that as part of creation care or stewardship of the environment that is an important faith/science issue. We hope that the discussion here will not turn into rancorous partisan politics or to simplistic arguments between so-called global warming “believers” vs. global warming “skeptics”.

33 comments to Global Warming

  • Randy Isaac

    Bill,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your myeloma. We’ll be praying for you as you battle this enemy. Please keep us posted on your progress.

    We’re delighted to have dissent. The essence of the ASA is to foster discussion among various perspectives. We ask only that the dissent be civil and respectful, demonstrating Christian love. That means there should be no ad hominems, but dissent based on thoughtful analysis of the data.

     

    The claim of “consensus science” should never be used as an argument for a particular viewpoint, nor should it ever be used as a means to silence dissent. Nor should it be scorned as a means used by scientists to suppress the real truth. None of these is an appropriate or acceptable use of the concept. Rather, it is an indication of the status of a paradigm or theory. It means that the vast majority (though not necessarily all) of the professionals whose careers are based on publishing technical work in this field have come to the same conclusion about the validity of a particular theory or perspective. Any dissent from an amateur is most likely to have been assessed and addressed by the experts.

     

    I don’t know how trying to avoid politics puts us in danger of adopting a position as “received doctrine” and labeling anything else as “politics.” The ASA need not apologize for being an organization that seeks to integrate science and Christian faith, referring to the mainstream orthodox understanding of each of them. Dissent is most welcome, as long as it is honest and respectful without any ad hominem. We’ll continue to do our best to respect dissent that meets those criteria.

    Randy

  • John Burgeson

    Seems as if the global warming discussions have died down. Perhaps this is for the better, though I still cannot fathom any person with even a small bit of science knowledge who will not admit that the case is serious enough to take seriously.

    I keep reading the articles on realclimate.org and they are much persuasive. About a year ago Randy asked me what made me take my confidence level in the IPCC thesis down from 95% to 67%. I was ill most of last year and missed that question, but I’ll address it now.

    The reason is that I see those defending the IPCC thesis as behaving politically. Any person posting on realclimate.org with any skepticism whatever, or sometimes with just a question, gets savaged.

    I keep reading “both sides,” and the denialist side is very very weak, indeed, and the IPCC side has all of (todays) science behind it. But I am still just a little bit skeptical. Science has been wrong before.

  • Preston Garrison

    I would just like to note that a recent talk by David Rutledge, former chair of the Engineering Div. at Caltech, titled Hubbert’s Peak, Coal and Climate Change, is available on Youtube. It’s about 45 min. total. He points out what should be obvious, that the amount of warming depends on the total amount of recoverable fossil fuel and whether we burn it all or some fraction. The rate that we burn it doesn’t really matter very much. His conclusion is that there is far less recoverable coal in the world than the IPCC has assumed. The result is we have probably already experienced about 2/3 of the anthropogenic temperature increase that we would see if we burned all the fossil fuel. What follows is that, although there are going to be some difficult consequences of the remaining temperature increase, our real problem is  finding alternative energy sources.
     
    Of course the energy necessary for making nitrogenous fertilizer so we can keep ag yields up is a big part of this. I draw the conclusion that we really need to make progress on engineering cereals to fix N2. There have been several recent articles on this, one in Science, which you can easily find. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who is involved in this and really knows where we stand.

 

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