God's Politics

God's Politics


Brian McLaren: Anti-Anti-Global-Warming Group’s Silver Lining

posted by gp_intern

I am sitting in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I just read Jim Wallis’ recent post about global warming, responding to the recent letter written by several leaders of the Religious Right. The version of Christianity represented in that Bauer/Dobson/et al. letter indeed seems far away and rather odd in relation to the conference I was part of today, an energetic and diverse group of vibrant, (mostly) young Malaysian and Singaporean Christians – evangelicals, pentecostals, mainline Protestants, and Roman Catholics. Their passion for the environment was palpable, and deeply rooted in their Christian commitment.

My experience here in Asia matches what I’ve heard around the world over the last year, in 21 countries in all. Again and again, chagrined Christians ask me, “Is it true that some Christians in the U.S. still oppose taking care of creation? Is it true some of them still deny the threat of human-induced climate change? Is it true there’s a pro-Hummer, pro-SUV mentality among American Christians?” I try to explain that some very famous and powerful people feel this way, but that many of us ignore them and pursue our passion to positively call people to care for God’s beautiful world in every way we can. Then I often tell them of the courageous and important work of Christian leaders like Richard Cizik, Cal DeWitt, Matthew Sleeth, Peter Illyn, Melanie Griffin, Lyndsay Moseley, and many others … and organizations like A Rocha, Florista, and Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). My friends around the world are always encouraged to hear this, because it brings them no little embarrassment when their brothers and sisters in the U.S. declare, as they did in this letter, that there are only two or three moral issues Christians (or evangelicals, anyway) are allowed to speak out on, global climate change NOT being one of them.

But looking on the positive side, the Bauer/Dobson/et al. letter will single out one courageous leader who deserves our support; their villainizing of Rich Cizik marks him as a hero to more and more of us.

Another positive note in their letter: they asked an open-ended question! “We ask, how is population control going to be achieved if not by promoting abortion, the distribution of condoms to the young, and, even by infanticide in China and elsewhere?”

Sadly, the question had a nasty snap on Richard Cizik tacked on, and sadly, the question reflects a rather limited imagination, implying that nothing good can be done about the hopeless threat of overpopulation. But fortunately, their unanswered question can draw attention to some very good answers, including 1) improving education and employment opportunities for poor women, 2) improving health care for poor children, 3) helping poor families earn a livable wage so they can provide for their own retirement expenses, and so on. (My upcoming book might help them understand the relation between these interventions and the slowing of population growth.) Someone should send the writers of the letter a copy of the Micah Challenge Document, and they could learn a lot about what’s being done on this issue, along with others – all of which, to many of us, are truly moral issues.

There’s more to celebrate in the letter. They make a startling admission: “It does appear that the earth is warming.” This is a major leap ahead from where many of these folks have been in the past, so I think we should applaud their progress. They have let the nose of the camel of inconvenient truth into their very small tent, and we know where that will lead: an opening of the tent party.

Unfortunately, they preface the admission with a questionable assumption: “The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world.” (The “heated controversy” pun was quite cool, I thought.) My sense in my travels is that the existence of global warming is no longer a subject of heated (or cooled) controversy around the world at all, but only among certain religious and semi-religious radio preachers, along with some fundraisers and lobbyists in the U.S. Everywhere else people are debating what to do about global warming, not whether it is or isn’t a problem.

Another positive sign: Bauer/Dobson/et al. are becoming aware of diversity in the evangelical world when they say, “We acknowledge that within the NAE’s membership of thirty million, there are many opinions and perspectives about the warming of the earth. We are not suggesting that our beliefs about it necessarily reflect the majority of our fellow evangelicals.” This is a powerful realization, a relatively new one, I think, for which they should be rewarded with loud “amens.”

When they “oppose the efforts of Mr. Cizik and others to speak in a way that is divisive and dangerous,” they seem to express a desire to speak less divisively themselves and maybe even to consider the dangerous unintended consequences of some of their own actions and statements. Again, these are significant and positive moves if they are taken seriously.

Perkins, Bauer, Dobson, et al. are also setting an example of dialogue among evangelical institutions. Perhaps their example will inspire other organizations to write similar letters to one another. Communication can be a good thing.

So, although I thought their letter represented in many ways the perfectly wrong way to respond to Rich Cizik’s courageous leadership, there are some positive features of the letter that help one indulge the desire to make sweet lemonade from lemons. You may find some more if you give it the careful read it deserves.


Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is an author, speaker, Red Letter Christian, and serves as board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal. His most recent book is The Secret Message of Jesus, and his next book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, will be released later this year.



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kevin s.

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:11 pm


And I take as a positive the fact that Sojourners can identify Cizik, a self-described pro-Bush conservative as a hero.That said, the implications of global warming for mankind have been cause for heated discussion on this board, and I’m not sure any one of us agrees exactly what the implications are for mankind.



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Blake

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:20 pm


Brian,Please read:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=440049&in_page_id=1965 and http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=2f4cc62e-5b0d-4b59-8705-fc28f14da388 Why do McLaren, Wallis, et al demonize those that see this issue differently? A page straight out of the Falwell, Robertson camp. There IS debate on this. What does McLaren fear in admitting this? It doesn’t mean his side’s not correct, but the conversation is indeed ongoing. To ignore the debate diminishes his credibility.



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:20 pm


Brian, I truly appreciate that you do not demonize Dobson et al… though I do think some of your language makes it sound like you’re dealing with a particularly daft child who’s just figured out that he can tie his own shoes :)… granted, many here probably think that’s an accurate depiction… — “The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world.” Well, they used a singular verb, so I assume they are taking the existence AND implications as a single entity… so in that sense, they are very correct. The implications question is huge and not definitively answered in any sense of the word, so when you take them as a joint issue, it’s a true statement. If you split them into two separate (which might be more accurate than the letter, but which the letter itself does not grammatically allow), then you can say the existence is not terribly controversial anymore except to the 15-20% of Americans who deny it.



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:50 pm


Brian McLaren wrote: “My experience here in Asia matches what I’ve heard around the world over the last year, in 21 countries in all. Again and again, chagrined Christians ask me, “Is it true that some Christians in the U.S. still oppose taking care of creation? …” This isn’t directly about the topic at hand, but when I read what you wrote above, Brian, I had to say something. I continue to find it fascinating (and somewhat distressing) how Christians around the world seem to know so much more about Americans than we know about them. Last September my wife and I were in El Salvador and were teaching grade school kids in an evangelical Christian school. I taught English grammar and my wife taught history. It was amazing how much they knew about US history; I felt foolish because I know so little about Salvadoran history. When my wife began a detailed discussion about slavery, discriminaton, and the civil rights movement, she was asked several revealing questions. One of the most pointed was, “Why do black Christians and white Christians in the US worship separately?” Of course, we didn’t have a very good answer to that question. I think we learned more from those kids than they did from us. It just seems that we Americans are so insular and so unaware of other cultures and attitudes around the world. In contrast, they seem to be so aware of us and our attitudes. Thank you for your report. Peace,



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:56 pm


Don, I agree we’re too insular, but I think it makes sense that it is this way and not the other way around. For better or worse, every major American event resonates throughout the entire world… El Salvador events don’t exactly effect my life. Not an excuse, because it is very America-centered in a bad way, but it is an explanation.



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Wolverine

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:57 pm


Brian McLaren wrote: My experience here in Asia matches what I’ve heard around the world over the last year, in 21 countries in all. Again and again, chagrined Christians ask me, “Is it true that some Christians in the U.S. still oppose taking care of creation? I hope you set them straight on this point: Hardly anyone here is opposed to “taking care of creation”. What is driving conservatives here is a sense that the science is being misused. To give but one example: the “final report” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that Jim Wallis linked to not too long ago was, in fact, a summary for policymakers, issued well in advance of the actual scientific report. Now I’m not aware of any other field that issues “summaries” so far in advance. In almost every other field of inquiry if a report has a summary or digest or abstract, it comes out more or less concurrently with the full report. Why is this being done for climate change? A cynic would say that its a clever political play, done by government officials so they can decide what the report will say, instead of the scientists. This is based on the assumption that most reporters will at most skim the main report when it comes out. The thing about cynics is: they’re right more often than most of us want to admit. In a related thread, we were asked why the US was the country with the highest level of skepticism about global warming. Global warming advocates theorized that this was because the US was the biggest user of energy, and I’ll admit that’s possible, but there’s another possible explanation: the US has the most independent media, and relies the least on government-run news networks. PBS is nowhere near as pervasive as the CBC or BBC in Canada or Great Britain, and neither of those countries has the equivalent of Fox News. Maybe our skepticism comes from hearing more of both sides of the debate. That doesn’t make us better, but it would explain the difference. Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:09 pm


“It just seems that we Americans are so insular and so unaware of other cultures and attitudes around the world. In contrast, they seem to be so aware of us and our attitudes.” But is the average Italian aware of the average, say, Peruvian’s attitudes? Probably not. Our attitudes and culture are on display in every single country via television, the Internet etc…We also speak a language which a large portion of the world is required to learn, which makes it easier to disseminate our cultural norms.



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Wolverine

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:15 pm


Don wrote: I continue to find it fascinating (and somewhat distressing) how Christians around the world seem to know so much more about Americans than we know about them. I find it distressing to read how so much of what the world “knows” about Americans is false. I repeat: Hardly anyone here doubts that there is an obligation to take care of the environment. Our pquestion is about the reliability of the science. Wolverine



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mark

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:24 pm


Wolverine said: “…we were asked why the US was the country with the highest level of skepticism about global warming. Global warming advocates theorized that this was because the US was the biggest user of energy, and I’ll admit that’s possible, but there’s another possible explanation: the US has the most independent media, and relies the least on government-run news networks. PBS is nowhere near as pervasive as the CBC or BBC in Canada or Great Britain, and neither of those countries has the equivalent of Fox News.” I see that as evidence that the US has the _least_ independent news media of any developed nation – controlled by corporate interests with their own axe to grind, and not subject to any of the careful balancing that an organisation like the BBC has to do. To describe Fox News as fair, balanced or unbiassed would be to enter the realms of fantasy, and the other US networks aren’t much better. And yes, I think that is probably a big reason why there is so much resistance in your country to doing anything much about climate change mitigation – you’ve been fed so much propaganda by the corporate bosses that you’ve not been able to hear sound science. Mark (Brit in Canada)



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HASH(0x11844f84)

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:27 pm


Assuming, of course, that the science is sound.



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Wolverine

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:41 pm


Mark, our Brit in Canada, says that the US media is less independent because it is controlled by corporate interests with axes to grind. Of course, he assumes that government controlled media will not have axes of their own to grind. He also forgets that, whatever its other disadvantages, the variety of news outlets (FOX, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg — and those are just on cable) means that “the truth” has a better chance of seeing the light of day, simply because there are several different news operations out there looking for it. Plus, for those who distrust all for-profit companies (not a totally unrealistic way of looking at things) the government supported, not-for-profit PBS is available. Competition is perhaps the best guarantor of accuracy and fairness — far better than any government bureaucrat’s attempt at “careful balancing”. Programmers at these networks know that viewers have choices, and if your show becomes a too-predictable shill for this interest or that, they have somewhere else to go. Anyway, thanks to the internet, the number of options, both left and right, for news readers will continue to expand way beyond the government-run news channels, so in a few years time it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a worldwide explosion in global-warming skepticism. It’ll be good for you. Wolverine



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Cads

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:56 pm


Blake, Thanks for recognizing there are two sides to this debate and providing articles to prove your point. You appear to be the wisest person posting to this site.



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Eric

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:27 pm


While I have some concerns about what Dobson, et al have said, I think they raise a good point about climate change distracting Christians from other (agruably more important) missions such as evangelism, defending the dignity of human lives, the poor, etc. Just look at all the type spent on the topic of global warming on this blog. I just started reading it about a month ago, but it’s like a “global warming from a Christian perspective” blog with some Bible quotes and inspiration sayings thrown in. Not a broader blog on the many important topics Christians might be interested in. Don – Did the El Salvadorian students ever mention anything they’d been taught that led them to have a positive view of America? It’s been my experience with foreign students that they are fed a healthy diet of things that reflect poorly on America. Kevin – Good point about the Italians and Peruvians. I’d suspect you’re right.



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carl copas

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:50 pm


“It’s been my experience with foreign students that they are fed a healthy diet of things that reflect poorly on America.” In some 25 years of working and studying in higher education, and coming into contact with many foreign students, I find they know good and bad things about the USA. And I’m sure that most American students have been fed a steady diet of things that blinds them to U.S. warts and flaws.



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Eric- Thanks for asking. The Salvadorans we met were quite positive about the USA. But the church we visited has close ties to some evangelical churches here in the States, and some of them have even visited the US. A lot of their bible study material, and some of the textbook material they use in the school, comes from the USA. Therefore, I’m not sure they are a good representation of how the average Salvadoran feels about us. But I think you are probably right about their getting a diet of unhealthy things about the USA. Our very first afternoon we received some indication of the pervasive and possibly negative influence of US popular culture. On the way from the airport to the home where we were staying, the pastor (who was driving) stopped at a restaurant so we could all buy a snack. While there, I watched a TV on the wall, just to see what kinds of programs were on. During a commercial break, an advertisement for a US TV show came on: “Esposas Desperadas” (“Desperate Housewives”). I shook my head and thought to myself that if this is the face of American culture they are exposed to, it wouldn’t surprise me that they might have a negative view of our culture. I didn’t see that negative view among the people we met, though–they all seemed very positive. And although the influence of US popular culture is pervasive, I was still surprised at their knowledge of certain facts of US history, which isn’t so often reflected in our popular media. I mentioned their study of slavery; the fifth graders were all reading a Spanish translation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Neither I nor my wife have actually read it–I wonder how many of us have! To get back to the main topic here, I do not feel at all that Christian involvement with climate change is a distraction. In fact, I would argue that caring for creation is part of defending human dignity, care for the poor, and other similar actions. Environmental degradation destroys human dignity and harms the poor more than it does the wealthy. You might want to read some of the posts from Squeaky in the previous thread on this topic, especially the things he said about mountaintop mining. Signing off again,



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:06 pm


Eric: I reread your question and realize that I probably didn’t really answer it! The story we were told, and I haven’t tried to verify it independently, is that American Christians are heroes to evangelicals in Central America because evangelical missionaries brought the Bible to them in their language back in the early 1900s. Before that the only Bibles were in Latin, and individuals didn’t own them (some even told us they weren’t permitted to own them). So even if one could read Latin, one didn’t have direct access to God’s Word unless one was a Catholic priest. So the evangelicals there love Americans because we brought the Bible to them. At least that’s what we were told. Peace,



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Eric

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:11 pm


Don, Thanks for the indepth response! I too worry about the effects of American culture on the rest of the world. The are definitely some aspects of American culture I’d want others to replicate and definitely some others I wouldn’t (pop culture and our materialism are two). Sorry if I conflated global warming and more general environmental degradation. I firmly believe we, as Christians should take a stand against think like pollution, explotation and over-utilization of natural resources and the environment. But I’m worried that so many Christians have jumped on the “global warming is the biggest threat the environment has ever faced” bandwagon. There is no certainty to this but it’s received enormous “airtime.”



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:19 pm


Eric: From what I know, what’s uncertain is primarily the extent of the threat. The facts are pretty well established, despite some who have desparately tried to argue otherwise. “The biggest threat the environment has ever faced” may not be an exaggeration if one just considers massive glacial melt and a resulting rise in ocean levels–just that alone, not to mention other possible effects. And from what I have read, the melting is taking place at a faster rate than even some of the most pessimistic earlier forecasts had predicted. Once again, as we have previously pointed out, one must consider the source of the argument. Peer-reviewed science is not in much doubt about the causes of the warming. Those who publicly proclaim doubt are usually in the pay of special interests. Peace,



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Payshun

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:44 pm


Blake please explain how Dobson and the others were demonized. The tone of this post never called them names or even insulted them. p



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:06 pm


Payshun: I wanted to ask the same question.



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Anonymous

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:38 pm


“I’m worried that so many Christians have jumped on the ‘global warming is the biggest threat the environment has ever faced’ bandwagon. There is no certainty to this but it’s received enormous ‘airtime.’” Is this necessarily a problem? Jerry Falwell was quoted on Jim Wallis’s last post as saying that “global warming is a tool of Satan being used to distract churches from their primary focus of preaching the gospel.” Why don’t we try assuming that the opposite is the case: that this is an opportunity that God has handed us to help bring order and unity of purpose to a chaotic world, and remind ourselves of the meaning of the Gospel in the process. If it turns out to be a false alarm, so what? How often does an opportunity like this come along?



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Mike English

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:54 pm


I am wondering why McLaren chose to avoid the two main issues in the letter: The issue of a single individual speaking for a group without authorization, and the issue of the science to support a firm conclusion on the issue in question.On the first issue, no one would object if the individual speaks for himself, but without a clear mandate from the organization Cizik is guilty of the very same indiscretion that taints all Christian organizations – he misrepresents his opinions as those of a group and confuses the listeners. Without a clear authorization from the group he is abusing his position. On the second issue, it would be helpful if the science to support either side of the global warming issue would be made clearer. I would like to know the science that links voluntary human actions (those other than breathing) to the warming of the planet.



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kevin s.

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:58 pm


“If it turns out to be a false alarm, so what? How often does an opportunity like this come along?” Sure, and lets invest ourselves in the issue by practicing what we preach. Buy fuel efficient (ar at least reasonably so) automobiles. Live close to work and church. Take the bus. Carpool. Eat organics. Do all of those things in Christ’s name. That, to me, would seem to be more impactful than simply demanding the same of others through legislative fiat.



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Wolverine

posted March 5, 2007 at 10:44 pm


An anonymous poster wrote: If it turns out to be a false alarm, so what? So Christians jump on board an environmental bandwagon that turns out to be based on faulty science. Money is spent on technology that isn’t needed, money that could have been spent on feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. Precious time is spent on political initiatives that are not needed. The gospel is linked to environmental projections that turn out to be false, damaging our reputation. Look, if you’re convinced that global warning is such a dire threat that’s one thing, but “so what if we’re wrong as long as we’re in the lead” is an invitation to recklessness. You wouldn’t accept that sort of reasoning about WMDs in Iraq, why should anyone accept that sort of thinking on the environment? Wolverine



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Mike: Is it established that Cizik is speaking “for the group” and without authorization? I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think it was established anywhere that he is. The Dobson letter implies it, but does that make it true? And one other poster indicated that Cizik does have the full support of the NAE president. Again, I don’t know if that’s true, but it was reported.



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Payshun

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:08 pm


Sure, and lets invest ourselves in the issue by practicing what we preach. Buy fuel efficient (ar at least reasonably so) automobiles. Live close to work and church. Take the bus. Carpool. Eat organics. Do all of those things in Christ’s name.That, to me, would seem to be more impactful than simply demanding the same of others through legislative fiat. Me: You and I agree for once. p



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Anonymous

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:27 pm


Also agreed. Just remember that it’s not an either/or; it’s a both/and.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:31 am


Wolverine, “Hardly anyone here doubts that there is an obligation to take care of the environment.” I teach college freshman, and in my course about energy and earth resources, I gave them a pre-quiz. By and large, the majority of them didn’t know where oil came from, had no clue who or what OPEC was, didn’t know why it was important to recycle, and essentially don’t have any idea of the impact they are having on the environment. If it were true that the majority of us in this nation felt obligated to take care of the environment, then why is the dominant car you see on the highway an SUV? Most people don’t feel connected to the environment anymore, see it more as a nuisance than anything else, and have no idea why it is important to preserve it. Wolverine also writes: “Money is spent on technology that isn’t needed, money that could have been spent on feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. Precious time is spent on political initiatives that are not needed.” First of all, money saved would more likely be spent on feeding our extravagant lifestyles than it would be spent on feeding or housing the poor. Or, and even worse, money would be spent on fighting wars over oil rather than on feeding and housing the poor (aren’t we seeing a slash in social spendind, and in education in this country?) So, turns out it was all a hoax–what we’ve done by jumping on the global warming band wagon is we will have freed ourselves from the tyranny of OPEC and save money and lives which will otherwise be spent in war, we would reduce the amount of air and water pollution thus increasing worker productivity and saving loads of money otherwise spent on healthcare, we would live longer, we would have a viable energy source in place for when oil becomes so scarce its cost truly reflects its true cost, we would leave God’s pristine wilderness pristine so that future generations can enjoy His beautiful creation. Even if it turns out to be false, the rewards would far outreach the costs.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:42 am


“First of all, money saved would more likely be spent on feeding our extravagant lifestyles than it would be spent on feeding or housing the poor.” See, this attitude is why I have a problem with the leftist approach to the whole issue. The notion that government should intervene, lest we squander our precious economic resources on plastic jewelry and bundt cakes, runs counter to the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Government has a number of social obligations. Saving us from ourselves shouldn’t be one of them.



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carl copas

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:47 am


“Government has a number of social obligations. Saving us from ourselves shouldn’t be one of them.” Legalize _all_ drugs?



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:52 am


Legalize _all_ drugs? Legalize EVERYTHING. If government isn’t supposed to save us from ourselves, why do we have laws in the first place?



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:54 am


Or better yet, get rid of all laws altogether.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:55 am


Dang it D4P–you posted right as I was writing that response! You snaked my snappy comeback!



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:56 am


BTW: I sometimes wonder why terrorism is seen by some as such a huge threat, while climate change and associated environmental problems are dismissed. I guess the bottom line under our current leadership is essentially wealth over health: We can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on killing people in Iraq because it’s good for the economy. We can’t reduce carbon dioxide emissions because it would be “bad for the economy.”



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Anonymous

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:07 am


“See, this attitude is why I have a problem with the leftist approach to the whole issue. The notion that government should intervene, lest we squander our precious economic resources on plastic jewelry and bundt cakes, runs counter to the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.” Kevin, the leftist approach is born out of desperation. If people actually did these things themselves, you’d see a lot of leftists with nothing to complain about. Freedom doesn’t mean a license to do whatever you want.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:08 am


“…My experience here in Asia matches what I’ve heard around the world over the last year, in 21 countries in all. Again and again, chagrined Christians ask me, ‘Is it true that some Christians in the U.S. still oppose taking care of creation? Is it true some of them still deny the threat of human-induced climate change? Is it true there’s a pro-Hummer, pro-SUV mentality among American Christians?’…”. Brian, Beyond that reaction among Christians in Asia, I recall that some non-Christian persons in far eastern cultures wonder why western Christians “hate Jesus”…They describe us that way because, in their eyes, we do not express or demonstrate the concern for others that they interpret to be the essence of Christian scriptures… maybe they have a better understanding of Christian scriptures than do western Christians… Maybe Jim is right… maybe it is time for a new revival…



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:16 am


It has been/will be interesting to continue to watch how the conservative/Republican perspective on climate change changes over time. Initially, they denied it completely, essentially branding the other side as alarmist, extremist, crazy, stupid, secularist, etc. Then, some of them have gradually come to acknowledge certain trends (e.g. warming), but deny that they are anything out of the usual. Then, some of them will gradually come to acknowledge that the trends are actually unusual, but deny that human activities have had/can have any impacts on climate. Then, some of them will gradually come to acknowledge that human activities can have and have have a significant impact on climate, but will deny that we need to change our activities because it would “hurt the economy.” And, rather than changing their own behavior, they will point to behaviors from those on the “other side” that are less than 100% environmentally perfect. On a related note, some who are Christians will argue that Jesus is returning soon, so we don’t have to worry about global warming. They will not, however, apply the same reasoning to terrorism… Throughout this whole process, they will deny that they ever denied what they denied, and will deny that the “other side” was ever right and that they were wrong. Just as President Bush denied ever being “Stay the course” (despite being filmed over 20 times saying “Stay the course”), they will deny ever being “Climate change is a hoax.” This kind of process is all very predictable, and happens all the time, on both sides of the political spectrum.



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:21 am


I just remembered this report from a couple weeks ago. Did anyone else see it? The CEOs of several major corporations were calling on the Bush Administration to begin taking some steps on climate change. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17257868/ We know the environmental movement is mainstreaming when we see corporate execs on the bandwagon. Sort of makes Dobson & friends look even more like they’re on the outside looking in. FWIW



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:24 am


Sort of makes Dobson & friends look even more like they’re on the outside looking in. They obviously don’t want to have to admit being wrong, especially when the secular-humanist-liberal-homosexual-hippies are right.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:31 am


Don– I recently saw a report on how Walmart is “going green.” On the one hand, this is welcome because of course, they are huge and everywhere, and hopefully they will influence education on the matter in a positive way. My fear is that it will just be a passing fad. But if it works, we may begin to see what would be the best means of us moving into a greener economy–the move would be market-driven. I wonder if Bill Gates would be interested in investing in green technology to be developed in 3rd world nations. The very frightening aspect of all of this is that even if the US goes green, it will have an impact in the short term, but 3rd world nations will more than likely turn to cheap, inefficient, fossil-fuel based vehicles and appliances because they can’t afford the high tech green energy. And as they develop, they will pump out even more pollution than the U.S. does. No one dares to sink huge investments in green energy in general because we don’t know what the next energy economy will look like. But the third world seems like a natural laboratory for experimentation, at least for someone with deep pockets who can absorb some potential financial losses.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:55 am


I liked Brian McLaren’s post because it saw the positive in the Dobson letter and sought common ground rather than demonizing Dobson et al. A truly Christ-like response. It remains to be seen if Dobson will reciprocate. Personally, I doubt that he will. I also like the fact that based on his past statements, Brian McLaren would not be among those who would sacrifice future generations for some unbridled capitalistic model and then try to couch it in some sort of religious rhetoric. A good post, Brian. My hat is off to you as usual.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:59 am


From what I have read of McLaren (Generous Orthodoxy, etc), he is practicing what he preaches here. I know in the past couple of years in my own climb out of fundamentalism, I haven’t been able to appreciate nor have I been very generous towards fundamentalist Christians, and McLaren reminds me we are all loved of God, and must act appropriately based on that fact, even in areas we disagree on.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 2:08 am


“Legalize EVERYTHING. If government isn’t supposed to save us from ourselves, why do we have laws in the first place?” To protect us form each other, which is another matter entirely. I cannot simply dump my garbage on your lawn. With regard to drug legalization, a number of drugs cause people to become unsafe to society. As such, we ban them. But the notion that government should approach regulation with the attitude that they know best how to spend our money is another matter entirely. That’s the stuff of tyranny.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 6, 2007 at 2:10 am


Don: It just seems that we Americans are so insular and so unaware of other cultures and attitudes around the world. In contrast, they seem to be so aware of us and our attitudes.” Don, you hit the nail on the head. I often listen to Radio France International and I used to watch a Mexican news transmission called Eco. When I compare the breadth of coverage offered by those news services compared to what I see on US evening news, there is no comparison. They consistently provided in-depth coverage of many different stories in all regions of the world. I think that their practice of providing a wide breadth of coverage is very instrumental in their people being attuned to these issues. In many instances it also helps serve as a check on their churches being beholden to either a left or right wing political agenda. Americans, and especially American churches, could learn a lot from this.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 2:37 am


kevin, “To protect us form each other, which is another matter entirely. I cannot simply dump my garbage on your lawn. With regard to drug legalization, a number of drugs cause people to become unsafe to society. As such, we ban them.”We buy a lot of oil from Nigeria. In the recent National Geographic is a story about how the oil companies there have totally ruined the fishing industry on the coast of Nigeria, destroying the livelihoods of countless fishing villages. This is but one example of how the world’s addiction to oil harms others. I should also point out that the revenues Nigeria receives from this oil doesn’t trickle down to these villages, so although they should see benefit from it in an increased standard of living, they do not–they are more impoverished than ever before. So, no, it isn’t another matter entirely.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:03 am


“So, no, it isn’t another matter entirely.” The anecdote you offer is another matter entirely. Clearly, I am not expecting you to entirely cede the argument against ANY environmental regulation. However, we cannot simply discard any measure of respect for the decisions people make and decide, therefore, that government knows better. If you see all manner of law through the lens of government knowing better, well, we have reached an impasse. But I suspect you’ll find a similar impasse with the American people, if nothing else than for the reasons you describe.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:15 am


If the argument is that laws are meant to protect us from each other, well, when someone’s living environment and livelihood is harmed by the actions of others, whether they be by individuals, corporations, or government, then we need laws to protect those people from others as well. I’m just following your reasoning of why laws exist. If they are truly to protect us from each other, then we need laws that will protect the Nigerian fishermen from the destructive consequences of our thirst for oil.



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Anonymous

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:16 am


“If you see all manner of law through the lens of government knowing better, well, we have reached an impasse.” Kevin, you’re attacking a straw man. Personally, I don’t know anybody who assumes that government knows better than they do, or who makes the a priori assumption that the government should control how their money gets spent – and I’ve been a leftist, living among leftists, all my life. However, if I knew my house was sitting on top of a toxic waste dump, I wouldn’t try to clean it up myself, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for private business to do it, either. That’s what we’re talking about here.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:31 am


Squeaky: “If they are truly to protect us from each other, then we need laws that will protect the Nigerian fishermen from the destructive consequences of our thirst for oil.” I agree with your approach. It brings Christ into all aspects of our life- both as a society and world community. It repudiates the crass laissez-faire mentality that has caused so many problems. That is why this blog is enjoyable to read. It offers such a wider vision of what it is to be a Christian- speaking to our personal interactions with others and our interactions as a nation with other nations in the world community. I can see that the message and the spirit of this blog were not lost on you!



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:36 am


Squeaky, I am in the same boat. Dealing w/ fundamentalists and evangelicals has been really tricky for me especially since I go to an evangelical church. But we have to learn to deal w/ people that disagree w/ us right? I am glad I am no longer an evangelical but I am also coming to understand the beauty of it. It is not enough to ever call me back to it but it is enough for me to at least respect and admire the few that do it right. p



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:37 am


Thanks Timbuktoo! I have to say the blog has been particularly enjoyable, and rather reaffirming–this has been a new way of looking at Christianity that has been very refreshing, and it is helpful to know there are like-minded Christians out there who, like you, see their faith in a much broader sense, not just in terms of simply spreading the Gospel, which is vitally important, but who see the ways we do that accomplished not only by what we say, but what we do!



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:40 am


Payshun,Yeah–it’s hard–it’s hard not to feel isolated when one embarks on this path that is in a direction away from the mainstream. But it’s worth it, and I’m starting to get the impression there may be a sea change occurring here.



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:51 am


Squeaky, You are so right. It has absolutely been worth it. Not only has it healed me of a lot of my crap but it is helping to heal my evangelical family as well.So I am glad I chose the mystic way. It is rare and it really doesn’t do much to bring people into it but it’s designed that way and I am glad that I am a rare jem among so many precious diamonds.Sounds like you are too. p



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:10 am


Thanks Payshun–be at peace on your path.



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:48 am


“if I knew my house was sitting on top of a toxic waste dump, I wouldn’t try to clean it up myself, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for private business to do it, either.” If you paid them, I promise you it’d get done a lot faster and far more efficiently than via the government. But I understand the sentiment, because the costs, of course, would probably be out of the league of the average private citizen.



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Anonymous

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:57 am


Amen to that. In fact, I would put paying them in the same category with doing it myself: things I wouldn’t, because I couldn’t, try to do. Can we get past the idea that there’s some group of left wingers out there who have made an idol out of government? I don’t see any hint of that in Brian’s post, and I don’t see it in real life either. But then I don’t watch Fox news.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:17 am


What if the budgets that we all have for charitable contributions could be more effectively utilized for “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” persons first (Oxfam, Heifer International, Second Harvest, etc.), and then for expenses of our local churches and environmental causes? Maybe then the US government budget as a source for those causes would be unimportant… we wouldn’t have to ask others to support those causes… it would be entirely up to them to decide whether to contribute… or not…



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Joseph T

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:32 am


You guys who claim to”question” the science are doing nothing of the sort. You address no specific data; you cite no major collaborative reports. You provide no evidence that you are familiar with the basic data or hypotheses. It is hard to believe you have taken the time to read the research or even good summaries of the case for the reality of human influence on the global climate. Isn’t it time you went offline and did some reading and research? At least go see Al Gores movie(you can probably borrow it from a science teacher or the library for free) and argue with that.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:38 am


But, but, I can’t watch a movie by Al Gore! He’s just a bleeding heart liberal Democrat who can’t possibly have spent any time whatsoever studying this problem. And besides, isn’t it just a theory he concocted? Hopefully you caught the dripping sarcasm there. We watched the film at our school, and some students dismissed it because it was Al Gore, in spite of the fact that I have never seen anyone connect the dots of global climate change quite as elegantly as he does in the film. Frustrating…



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mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:22 am


Wolverine writes: “Mark, our Brit in Canada, says that the US media is less independent because it is controlled by corporate interests with axes to grind. Of course, he assumes that government controlled media will not have axes of their own to grind. He also forgets that, whatever its other disadvantages, the variety of news outlets (FOX, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg — and those are just on cable) means that “the truth” has a better chance of seeing the light of day, simply because there are several different news operations out there looking for it.” Wolverine, our rightwing ideologist in the US, is misrepresenting me, probably because he doesn’t understand how the media work in countries other than his own. The BBC, CBC, etc are not “government-controlled media”. They have an arms-length relationship with government, but they do have charters which ensure that (i) they are adequately funded (unlike your PBS) to do quality investigative reporting worldwide, (ii) they actually do quality investigative reporting instead of the sort of lazy shallow analysis that I see on all the US networks that broadcast here in Canada, (iii) they check their facts and can be held to account if they don’t, and (iv) they are expected to provide some balance in their reporting, not just the views convenient to Rupert Murdoch or Conrad Black or some other plutocrat media baron. (And if the government tries interfering directly with the BBC then the government’s popularity starts to drop. And if you want an interviewer who will ask tough questions of government, you’ll be hard pressed to find better examples than the BBC’s John Humphries or Jeremy Paxman. None of the cowed deference that I see in US interviewers.) In Britain, there are 4 main terrestrial TV companies, all doing news and investigative programmes (though some more than others). (There are also a number of cable and satellite channels, which tend to be more downmarket in their approach.) Of these four companies, only the BBC is government-sponsored. At least 4 of the 5 terrestrial channels have a quality of international news reporting (breadth of coverage, diversity of stories, depth of analysis, discussion of what it means, etc) far superior to anything I have seen in North America. Because the BBC has to maintain certain quality standards, the others don’t want to look bad, so they follow suit. (I find it notable that the BBC dumbs down its coverage for the American market.) As far as global warming is concerned, this means that the issues have been aired and discussed publicly for a couple of decades in the popular media. It means that the message is finally getting through that there is a genuine scientific consensus on global warming, and that a lot of the elements necessary to mitigate it are reasonably familiar ideas. The climate change deniers have had plenty of opportunity to present their position – for a long time journalists interpreted “balance” as giving equal air time to representatives of the tiny minority of climatologists outside the consensus and the vast majority inside. But that is changing now, not least because some of the scientists themselves are speaking out more, having got fed up with hearing journalists and economists and ideologically-fixated commentators repeatedly pretending to be experts in a field they clearly know nothing about. A climate change denier got massive coverage last year in the most respectable of the rightwing London dailies, and was forced to eat his words when challenged on the science. So, Wolverine, don’t assume that more “competition” in the British media would result in more climate change deniers. Most British people are far too media-savvy, too well educated, and too sceptical by nature to be fooled by some Exxon-funded presentation on the subject. And most British people are deeply suspicious of those who think they can pick and choose their science to fit their ideological faith commitments. Especially when they can look across the Atlantic and see what that looks like. Mark



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:49 pm


Mark wrote: “I find it notable that the BBC dumbs down its coverage for the American market.” Sadly, I have to concur with this. I often give op-ed columns and essays on current issues to my composition students and often find it frightening how ignorant so many are. I could give examples, but in the interest of time, I won’t here. I enjoy BBC coverage when I have the chance to hear or read it. And even the ‘dumbed-down’ coverage is far superior to what most of the US media dish out. Thanks Mark, for your thorough explanation of how British media operates. d



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t.mc.cool

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Whenever I read anything about global warming, my mind returns to my high school biology class. In that class, we studied bacteria cultures in petri dishes and charted the growth of the culture. At first, the culture grew and grew, until it reached a kind of critical mass. At some point, more bacteria died than was produced. As the bacteria produced waste, the waste reached a point where it began killing off the bacteria and reversing the growth. I’m not a biologist, and I’m not saying this proves anything, it’s just a memory that returns to me when I read about global warming.



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:03 pm


Can we talk… “Is it true that some Christians in the U.S. still oppose taking care of creation? Is it true some of them still deny the threat of human-induced climate change? Is it true there’s a pro-Hummer, pro-SUV mentality among American Christians?” Oppose – no but we believe that decisions should be made based on fact and not so much theory. Deny – no but just because we do not agree with what we see as ‘flawed data’ we are smeared by those that push ‘global warming’ – oh…excuse me…’climate change’. pro-Hummer, pro-SUV – oh, are we talking about Kerry-Edwards? later – .



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:00 pm


“Why do McLaren, Wallis, et al demonize those that see this issue differently? A page straight out of the Falwell, Robertson camp.” Blake Can I take it that Falwell et all demonize anyone who doesn’t agree with them?



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:16 pm


“simply because there are several different news operations out there looking for it.’ As I listen to the news on a variety of sources none seem to do in depth study of the story that I find on things like PBS Frontline. Many in News point out the reductions of staff because it is not needed to make money. Which means, if true, that we will watch pseudo news without considering the source. Interesting that O Reilly has been found to give inaccurate information almost daily while Rather has one story that he didn t actually do the basic work on is gone.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:23 pm


“Our attitudes and culture are on display in every single country via television, the Internet etc…” Kevin I agree and we should be more careful what we say and do. That’s a laugh coming form me.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:32 pm


And I’m sure that most American students have been fed a steady diet of things that blinds them to U.S. warts and flaws. carl copasAs consumers and parents we have to control what comes in. I watched one of the Major News stations about every night in the run up to the war. Even if the story was opposite the visual in the background was warplanes, soldiers on patrol. I know it may be an easy production method but not accurate. I noticed the same message coming out of the White House. A statement with a tag-a-long line like we have to “fight them over there” attached to something completely unrelated.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:39 pm


“global warming is the biggest threat the environment has ever faced” Eric One firm business principle is consider the down side risk and make sure it is covered. What if it is the “biggest threat”?



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mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:50 pm


Squeaky said: “But, but, I can’t watch a movie by Al Gore! He’s just a bleeding heart liberal Democrat who can’t possibly have spent any time whatsoever studying this problem. And besides, isn’t it just a theory he concocted? Hopefully you caught the dripping sarcasm there. We watched the film at our school, and some students dismissed it because it was Al Gore, in spite of the fact that I have never seen anyone connect the dots of global climate change quite as elegantly as he does in the film. Frustrating…” I was given a copy of the Gore DVD a couple of weeks ago. Being suspicious of any politician who tries to present himself as expert in a scientific field, I was not expecting to be impressed. Well, I was. There are a couple of rather self-indulgent bits, and at a couple of points I think he oversimplifies, but apart from that it is excellent. In fact, like Squeaky, “I have never seen anyone connect the dots of global climate change quite as elegantly as he does in the film.” Probably the best public presentation on the subject that I have seen. And I’ve seen several.I write as a scientist (PhD in building physics), and as a former university lecturer who 10 years ago was having to read IPCC reports cover to cover plus other key references and then reduce them to a 90-minute summary for my students. (and who also at the time kept track of the debate between the consensus and the more plausible of the deniers) So, although I’m not a climatologist, I think I know something of what I’m talking about. I would recommend anyone to see the film. Don’t be put off by the fact that the presenter “used to be the next president of the United States”, nor by the intrusion of his personal history. The science is basically sound. But don’t stop there – read more about how climatologists have come to their present understanding on this issue. I suggest John Houghton’s “Global Warming: the complete briefing” (the author didn’t choose the title…) John Houghton is a former director of the UK’s Met Office, and a former chair of the IPCC scientific committee. He is also a committed Christian, whose faith informs the way he goes about his work. Mark



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:52 pm


moderatelad, “Deny – no but just because we do not agree with what we see as ‘flawed data’ ” You see it as flawed data. So, tell me how. What research have you done into climate change to make that assessment? What is your scientific background–have you had many classes in science beyond high school? Do you read scientific journals? Have you spoken to climate scientists? Are you a climate scientist? I’m just want to get an idea of with what authority you feel you can dismiss the data, or even if you know what the data actually says.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:56 pm


Thanks Mark–well-said! A lot of the students were also put off by his personal reflections. I didn’t mind them because they help us see where he is coming from—that he doesn’t pretend to be a scientist, but that he has been concerned about the issue for a long, long time, and as such, has actually spoken to climate scientists, reveiwed the literature, and even travelled with them on their climate investigations. He has taken the time to learn what it is he is talking about, unlike most people here who just write it off because it is “just Al Gore.”



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Mark, I’m sensing a lot of colony condescension, if you will. Sure, the American public is ignorant and uninformed, but let’s not pretend everyone in Britain is discussing the latest scientific theories over tea and biscuits. Confession: I do get most of my news from the BBC online….



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:02 pm


PS: Not to be a turd, but I think the mere existence of the Guardian as a news-source-taken-seriously does much to bring the British news media down to the level of ole Fox NEWS.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:07 pm


On the second issue, it would be helpful if the science to support either side of the global warming issue would be made clearer. I would like to know the science that links voluntary human actions (those other than breathing) to the warming of the planet. Mike English It just isn’t the scientific way; they collect data to prove something, etc and move on while policy people decide what to do. I think the real debate is with various policy groups with agendas even if those agendas are the right ones. Lets say Exxon sees the global warming question as a problem then they will try to make the problem go away. Never ever expect large corporations to have a Christian conscience. Of course someone will give me an example and I can give you ten on the other side of corporations acting in their self-interest. I don’t want corporations to try to do good work, if they do that is fine. All one has to do is look at the tobacco companies to see the inside workings of large corporations. Who remembers the presidents of every major tobacco company standing and swearing before congress that cigarettes do not cause cancer? They will all work this way unless we legislate to protect the public. Lets set up an example, company X learns (from its own research) its most profitable product harms people, the environment, etc. Now the officers of said Corp. must either continue or stop production and go bankrupt. Day one they keep going while they try to fix the problem, what do you expect if the problem can t be fixed.



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mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:12 pm


Wolverine: “In a related thread, we were asked why the US was the country with the highest level of skepticism about global warming.” I want to revisit this one with another idea. Just speculating here, but… I suspect that settler societies have a different approach to creation from settled societies. In a settled society (e.g. nearly all of Europe), people are aware of natural limits to their expansion because they come up against them every day, as their ancestors did for many generations. In a settler society (USA, Canada, Australia, much of Russia, etc), there is more of an underlying assumption that there’s always more land, more water, more resources, and it’s just ours for the taking if we make the effort. So to a European the idea that there really are natural limits to what we can do is rather less scandalous – so that the science of climate change is more credible to a European mind. If this analysis has any validity (and I don’t know if it does), it raises questions as to how unconscious assumptions and national myths can get in the way of understanding. Mark



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carl copas

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm


This has been a great discussion thread. Sojo blog at its best. Thanks to all for measured, thoughtful comments from all sides.



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm


squeaky | 03.06.07 – 11:57 am | #Over the years have read a lot on the WWW and other publications. I find AL ‘Father of the Internet’ GORE not to be a credible person. I have listened to several ‘chicken littles’ over the past few decades and if I had believed half of what they said – I would have drunk the Kool-Aid long ago. There are many more scientists that disagree with AL & CO.I know that the truth is somewhere in the middle – just not on AL’s side of the middle. Later – .



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:20 pm


squeaky | 03.06.07 – 11:57 am | #Maybe we should define ‘Global Warming’ vs ‘Climate Change’ for any future discussions that might happen. Later – .



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Wolverine

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:25 pm


Squeaky wrote: First of all, money saved would more likely be spent on feeding our extravagant lifestyles than it would be spent on feeding or housing the poor. Not necessarily. The energy and political capital that the Christian left in particular is using on global warming could instead be used on aid to poorer nations. At which point, they will be able to join forces with at least some Christian conservatives (I won’t claim the entire CC movment here, but there are some) who are inclined to support assistance with anti-AIDS work in Africa, among other things. Wolverine



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John

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:27 pm


PBS is nowhere near as pervasive as the CBC or BBC in Canada or Great Britain, and neither of those countries has the equivalent of Fox News. Maybe our skepticism comes from hearing more of both sides of the debate. That doesn’t make us better, but it would explain the difference.”” You gotta be kidding!! We actually get Fox here in Canada the same way you do. We also get CNN, CBS, NBC plus Canadian private networks Global, and CTV, etc. etc. etc. From my observations, BBC gives a much more believable story on most issues than you ever see on Fox.This post is another example of how insulated and unaware of the rest of the world many Americans are.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:31 pm


Mike English said at some point in this thread: “it would be helpful if the science to support either side of the global warming issue would be made clearer. I would like to know the science that links voluntary human actions (those other than breathing) to the warming of the planet.” Well, alright then, I’ll bite (first of all–if you want it seen presented clearly, then see Inconvenient Truth). 1. CO2 is a natural gas in the atmosphere which is important because it traps heat and warms our planet. This is the greenhouse effect, and it is the same reason a greenhouse, or your car on a hot summer day (never get vinyl seats and wear shorts, she says from painfed experience) is hot. Short wave energy from the sun comes in, traveling easily through the glass, or plastic, or atmosphere, and warms the objects inside. The objects give off long wave energy which can’t get through the glass or plastic or atmosphere. Instead, they are trapped, and the greenhouse, or car, or planet are warmed. 2. Plots of climate data (obtained from information from historical data, ice cores, sea sediment cores, tree rings, etc) show that the earth has gone through natural swings of climate throughout its history. 3. Plots of CO2 data show that variations in CO2 match these temp changes EXACTLY. The correlation here is strong–the more CO2, the warmer the planet. The less CO2, the colder the planet. 4. The earth is used to dealing with CO2 in the carbon cycle. It goes from the atmosphere, to plants and animals, and some of it goes into the ground (from incomplete decomposition of organisms) where it converts into rock and we mine it for coal or drill it for oil to fuel our vehicles. This carbon, until the industrial revolution, was taken OUT of the carbon cycle. 4. Since about 1800 or so, with the start of the Industrial Revolution, we have been burning fossil fuel at ever increasing rates, thus putting more and more CO2 into the atmosphere. As I said, the atmosphere is used to dealing with CO2–usually it is absorbed in the oceans or in the trees. BUT, we are adding CO2 that had been removed from the carbon cycle for hundreds of millions of years at a rate far, far faster than it formed, and the earth can’t adjust to this sudden addition quickly enough. Hence, the plots of ever increasing CO2 compositions in the atmosphere. 5. We have been seeing an overall increase in temperature in the last 150 years. It may not seem like much–just a couple degrees F, but, it doesn’t take much to melt ice at the poles, and this is an AVERAGE temp–the increase in temp is more profound at the poles. Hence, the ice caps are melting (which is very well documented–google polar ice caps for before/after graphics). 6. Because the correlation of CO2 and temp has been so strong in the past, and because we have seen a huge spike in CO2 composition, it is reasonable to predict that temperature will also increase as it has in the past. 7. Given the fact we are seeing these increases already, it seems like the global warming hypothesis is consistent with the predictions, which is the strength of the hypothesis. 8. It should be noted, by those of you who have lived in an icebox the last several weeks, that climate change doesn’t only result in higher temperatures, but also in weather extremes. And we have seen that as well. 9. I should also point out that one warm year doesn’t mean the earth is warming, as variations do exist on the short term. However, it should be noted that the warmest years on record have been over the last ten years, and when we start to see a climate trend in a longer time span, we can begin to say climate is changing.



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mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:31 pm


moderatelad: “Maybe we should define ‘Global Warming’ vs ‘Climate Change’ for any future discussions that might happen.” A red herring. But here are some rough definitions anyway: “Global warming” refers to the findings that mean global surface temperature has been rising and on the basis of the best models is expected to rise further as atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide etc increase. “Climate change” refers to the “knock-on” effects on the ground – not just temperature changes (which are and will be unevenly distributed), but more bouts of extreme weather, stronger winds in a lot of places, increased incidence of drought in some places, increase rainfall in others, changes in seasonal patterns, and so on. So “global warming” refers to the average effect over the whole globe, and “climate change” to effects in specific areas of the globe. “Radiative forcing” is the mechanism which the mainstream scientific community believes (on the basis of current evidence) is the principal means by which global warming is happening. Anything else you want defined? Mark



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:40 pm


This post is another example of how insulated and unaware of the rest of the world many Americans are. John “America love it or leave it” Wait you aren’t here now, I’ll get back to you on that one. We are right, that much I know for sure but I’m not sure why?



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:55 pm


“But, but, I can’t watch a movie by Al Gore! He’s just a bleeding heart liberal Democrat who can’t possibly have spent any time whatsoever studying this problem. And besides, isn’t it just a theory he concocted?” Here’s why I haven’t watched the Al Gore movie.Me: Wanna watch the Al Gore movie? Wife: Al Gore’s in a movie? Me: Yeah, “The Inconvenient Truth”. It’s about global warming. Wife: Sounds boring. Me: You voted for him. Wife: Doesn’t mean I want to watch his movie.



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:01 pm


Kevin–how well-informed your opinions are. If you are going to pan Gore’s film, then see it. You can’t form an opinion based on hearsay or your impressions.



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:17 pm


moderatelad– “Over the years have read a lot on the WWW and other publications. I find AL ‘Father of the Internet’ GORE not to be a credible person. I have listened to several ‘chicken littles’ over the past few decades and if I had believed half of what they said – I would have drunk the Kool-Aid long ago. There are many more scientists that disagree with AL & CO. I know that the truth is somewhere in the middle – just not on AL’s side of the middle.” This is pure prejudice. I’ve never been a fan of Al Gore, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t done his homework. And just because he hasn’t been credible (in your view) before doesn’t mean he isn’t here. Watch the movie before evaluating whether it’s valid or not. No, I haven’t seen the movie myself, mostly because I haven’t needed convincing, but maybe I will. Later,



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:33 pm


“Kevin–how well-informed your opinions are. If you are going to pan Gore’s film, then see it.” I didn’t pan Gore’s film.



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HASH(0x118c0be0)

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:56 pm


Mark P the (presumably) American said: “Mark, I’m sensing a lot of colony condescension, if you will. Sure, the American public is ignorant and uninformed, but let’s not pretend everyone in Britain is discussing the latest scientific theories over tea and biscuits.” And Mark B-P the Canada-dwelling Brit says: No, not condescension. Just what I find in my own experience. Brits have a much higher quality of investigative news media available to them if they avail themselves of it. The fact that Americans don’t is sad not just for Americans but for the rest of the world as well. Mark



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Mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:10 pm


Wolverine says: “The energy and political capital that the Christian left in particular is using on global warming could instead be used on aid to poorer nations.” At least in Britain and Scandinavia (I haven’t researched further), aid agencies, both Christian and non-Christian, are now recognising that: (i) Some of the crises they’re already having to deal with would have been a lot less likely to happen were it not for global warming. (Take for example northern Kenya, where an unusually long drought last year led to inter-tribal conflict over resources; and was followed by flash floods which leached out nutrients from the soil. Precisely the sort of thing that the climate models say will happen more often as CO2 levels build.) (ii) A lot of the work they are doing now will be wasted if CO2 emissions levels are not reduced rapidly. Search the websites of Christian Aid and TEAR Fund, and read the reports in the “Up in Smoke” series on the New Economics Foundation website. Mark



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Pauli

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:18 pm


We have to hope and pray that Dobson et al will find a way to make money off the global warming thing in the same way that more globally aware Christian non-profits have. Then they won’t be as afraid to warn people about the impending doom, etc. Maybe they could utilize creative fronts like Sierra Club and Earth First to “throw some bones” as it were. Alas, the right-wing fundies are not very creative.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:23 pm


I didn’t pan Gore’s film. kevin s Normal, sneaks in the pan and blames it on his wife assuming we can’t see through ruse. Might have gotten away with it if you had added a gentle jab at Pelosi.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:33 pm


“Normal, sneaks in the pan and blames it on his wife assuming we can’t see through ruse.” How did I sneak in a pan? That it’s boring? Even if that is a pan, that is not germane to this conversation. I was just explaining (lightheartedly) that the reason I haven’t seen the film has nothing to do with Gore being a bleeding heart liberal.



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:34 pm


Don | 03.06.07 – 1:22 pm | #I will be seeing it in a little while. I am giving a friend my copy of Celsius 41.11 and they will get me a copy of Gore’s doc. My friend said that this movie is better than Moore’s F-911…but that is not raising the bar much in my opinion – saw that one the first weekend it came out. Later – .



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:03 pm


moderatelad- I’m glad you’re going to see it. I wasn’t trying to be hard on you. I’ve never liked Gore much either. but FWIW, I didn’t like his opponent in the 2000 pres. sweepstakes any better–and my fears about the latter have proven to be valid, unfortunately. :-( It just wearies me that so many people dismiss this doumentary out of hand without watching it first, just because Al Gore produced it. The documnetary ought to stand or fall on its own merit (or lack of it), not on how one feels about the personality behind it. I don’t think I would be wise to dismiss the message just because I don’t like the messenger. I think I’ll rent it out from our library this weekend and watch it also. Peace,



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:33 pm


How did I sneak in a pan? That it’s boring? Even if that is a pan, that is not germane to this conversation. Kevin Obvious pan but you put it off on your wife, what about yours kids or mother blame them next time.



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:36 pm


Don, Of course it’s stupid to decide something is (whatever) without seeing, but when you experience someone’s work in the past, it’s perfectly acceptable to use that as a barometer for how much effort you should put into seeing their work in the future. For example, having read two Dan Brown novels, I will probably not make an effort to read a third. Having seen all but one of M Night Shymalan’s films, I will go out of my way to see his next. Having seen the O’Reilly Factor, I don’t care to pick up one of his books. And I think that’s perfectly legitimate. Now, I have no right to pass judgment on a new Dan Brown novel or Shymalan film or O’Reilly book until I’ve seen it, but I can decide whether my past experience leads me to value work by the same person. I haven’t seen the movie, and thus have no opinion. — I also didn’t see the dig in kevin’s post. I think he was saying he didn’t see it because his wife didn’t want to watch it with him. Where’s the dig? She didn’t even snub the film; she just said it sounds boring… and kids, a film about global warming DOES sound boring :). I’m not saying it is, but it’s not exactly Friday-night-date-with-the-wife material. — Mark the Brit (this is confusing :) ), “I suspect that settler societies have a different approach to creation from settled societies.” -Sounds interesting. I also don’t know if there’s validity or not, but it’s certainly worth exploring.”Just what I find in my own experience. Brits have a much higher quality of investigative news media available to them if they avail themselves of it.” -I tend to agree there; as I said, my main news source is BBC online. If you were to look at my blog, you’d see that evidenced, so I’m not just blowing hot air. My implication of condescension didn’t have to do with whether the British media is superior, but more to do with the idea of the superior British who “are far too media-savvy, too well educated, and too sceptical by nature to be fooled…” As opposed to the Americans, who are naive, uneducated, and gullible? -Sure, there are a lot of dumb Americans, but my main point is that I’m not sure that the British public is in some super league of education and intellect. I don’t doubt that there is a gap of separation to some degree, but I think you’re overstating the gulf.



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:36 pm


Don | 03.06.07 – 3:08 pm | #I wasn’t trying to be hard on you.Don’t worry – I have tough skin and being asked the hard questions is just fine. (just don’t like the labeling that goes on here on this site) I just find Mr. Gore someone who will say almost anything. Father of the internet – Love Story was written about him and Tipper – etc. I find him the perfect ‘do as I say – not as I do’.Go ahead and watch it I will soon as my friend gives me their copy. Have a rgreat day – .



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:43 pm


It just wearies me that so many people dismiss this doumentary out of hand without watching it first” Age old form of attack, attack the messenger!



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:55 pm


I also didn’t see the dig in kevin’s post.” Mark P If you pay attention it slips out even when it isn’t intended. Trust me it is always there



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Mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:59 pm


Kevin says: “How did I sneak in a pan? That it’s boring? Even if that is a pan, that is not germane to this conversation. I was just explaining (lightheartedly) that the reason I haven’t seen the film has nothing to do with Gore being a bleeding heart liberal.” Kevin, when I read a lot of your posts I think of you as a machiavellian rightwing spindoctor. Reading this exchange has helped me see you more as – well, a human being. And hence beloved of God. Thank you Kevin. Maybe I’ll listen a bit more carefully to what you say in future. (Yes, I know God loves machiavellian rightwing spindoctors too, but it’s a bit more of a hurdle for me.) Mark



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:13 pm


Machiavellian?



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Mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:30 pm


Mark P said: “My implication of condescension didn’t have to do with whether the British media is superior, but more to do with the idea of the superior British who “are far too media-savvy, too well educated, and too sceptical by nature to be fooled…” As opposed to the Americans, who are naive, uneducated, and gullible?” Fair comment, Mark. Up to a point. I wasn’t trying to make a comparison, but the thrust of my message is such that some sort of invidious comparison is inevitable. I do, though, want to say the following in my defence: (1) We Brits are a cynical lot, so I think we’re less prone to naivete (though we probably enjoy life less). (2) When presented with low-quality broadcasts (and the Fox clip that appeared today on Gods Politics is a case in point), the fact that we have regularly seen something better means that our response is more likely to be horror or (probably) laughter than acceptance of the shouty interviewer’s belief system. (3) As for levels of education, I don’t know. Both Britain and the US perform rather poorly compared to most of Europe in terms of the educational achievement of the general population. Probably I shouldn’t have included that one. Though a typical Brit is, I think, better educated about the world outside his/her own country than most of the Americans I’ve met are about the world outside theirs. [Which really does put the US in a bad light, because the British view of the world is still a bit insular when compared to the Germans or Dutch or Scandinavians or... well, most of Europe.] [I'm also tempted to say: of course a nation that elected the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush is naive. But then we kept reelecting Thatcher and Blair, so maybe we're not that different...] Mark



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Wolverine

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:34 pm


John wrote: You gotta be kidding!! We actually get Fox here in Canada the same way you do. We also get CNN, CBS, NBC plus Canadian private networks Global, and CTV, etc. etc. etc. From my observations, BBC gives a much more believable story on most issues than you ever see on Fox. Maybe. Lemme ask you a couple questions: 1. Is there a Canadian equivalent to Fox? (Remember, I spoke of a Canadian or British equivalent to FNC.) I was aware that some cable systems up there do have Fox News, I was under the impression that the majority did not. Perhaps I was mistaken; maybe FNC is doing better than I thought. (In which case, the conservative revolution is just that much closer — Hurrah!) But Canada is supposedly another country and consequently the value of Fox News, even for my ideological brethren, is limited. Is there something with a similar outlook but focused on Canadian affairs? 2. Do Global and CTV have news outlets? If they do, do they have sizeable staffs, or 24 hour news channels? This post is another example of how insulated and unaware of the rest of the world many Americans are. I took a class on Canadian Government back in college, though that was many moons ago. While I do my best to keep up, it’s possible that some of my info on Canadian media was dated. I repeat: Possible. I await your answers. Wolverine



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Elisabeth Newman

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:48 pm


I think in debates like this it is important not to fall into the trap of “othering”. Let’s not make this an Us vs. Them type of thing that we see split churches around the country all the time. Although we may have different opinions, we need to address this issue in terms of Christ’s love without resentment.



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Mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:03 pm


Kevin challenges me on the word Machiavellian Yes, Kevin, I think you’re right on that one. I hope you understood that I was talking about my impressions of you from past posts, not making an accusation. But Machiavellian is the wrong word for several reasons: (1) Despite having possessed a copy of that gentleman’s “The Prince” for some years, I have never read it through. Hence I probably don’t know what Machiavellian really means. (2) From what I understand of what I did read, he is basically about acquiring and maintaining power. My impression is that you are less interested in personal power than in getting your ideology accepted. But maybe we should ask your wife on that one. (3) I just bunged it in because I needed an adjective to make the sentence sound better. I didn’t think too much about the meaning. Which is probably a spindoctorish kind of thing to do – though the less competent type of spindoctor. Mark



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Mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:11 pm


Wolverine: “conservative revolution” Now there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one. One to go alongside “military intelligence”, “mature student” and “family holiday”. Mark the cynical Brit



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Paul

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:20 pm


Wolverine I can not answer all of your question, but a couple of data points.It took a long time before the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) would allow Fox news to be broadcast in Canada. This may give you some insight into the political issues regarding freedom of the airways here in Canada.Also, the notion that the CBC is unbiased is an absolute joke! cheers, Paul



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Mark

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:45 pm


I can’t help wondering just _why_ Wolverine thinks that the presence of poorly-researched poorly-analysed propagandistic news coverage is so important to our welfare. Even if I could get Fox (I live in a cable-only area, and opt for the cheapest package), the only reason I’d have to watch it would be sociological, and even then I could only do it after an extensive period of prayer. Actually, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Give us Fox and we pinko lefty cheese-eating surrender monkeys will spend more time in prayer… maybe… Mark



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squeaky

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:35 am


Hey Mark,Machiavellian means “the ends justify the means.” I don’t think I read “The Prince” either, but I do remember Mr. Stackpool teaching us about it in my junior year of high school…I don’t remember if we read any of it, or just discussed it. But it stuck with me. Cheers



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:00 am


The Machiavellian label just seemed a bit much. At any rate, my attempt here is not to spin anything, but rather to argue my convictions. “I can’t help wondering just _why_ Wolverine thinks that the presence of poorly-researched poorly-analysed propagandistic news coverage is so important to our welfare.” I’m not sure this is what he was saying. I think his point is that the competition among viewpoints sharpens news coverage in general, by virtue of free market forces. An empirical study place CBS news and FOX news on approximately opposing ends of the spectrum in terms of political bias, with the others falling in between. Ironically (for Wolverine’s viewpoint) National Public Radio was squarely in the middle.



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:52 am


“I see salvation a little more important than the environment” Moderated This is the strangest view of Christianity I’ve ever heard. Salvation and the environment are in some type of competition where you can’t have one without the other?



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:03 am


“The Machiavellian label just seemed a bit much. At any rate, my attempt here is not to spin anything, but rather to argue my convictions.” Kevin That would not trouble me if it was honest rather than clever spin. Constantly attempting to move the subject or manipulate the discussion. Will your convictions not stand the light of straight forward exchange of ideas?



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:50 am


Butch I agree completely. it’s one organism not some pie that one can carve up. p



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Mark

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:29 am


Kevin: “I’m not sure this is what he was saying. I think his point is that the competition among viewpoints sharpens news coverage in general, by virtue of free market forces.” Hasn’t worked, though, has it. North America, with its free market forces, has a substantially inferior news service to Britain, which is more regulated. Mark



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:31 am


Pay I see everything connected and inter-related symbioticly. I can’t separate my faith from the environment and child health care or any other important matter. I have been alternately conservative and liberal, now I’m on the side of the US, because I can’t fix Iran, etc.It is also not a parlor game for me and it makes me angry when some seem to be playing with us.



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Mark

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:33 am


Kevin: “The Machiavellian label just seemed a bit much. At any rate, my attempt here is not to spin anything, but rather to argue my convictions.” For reasons I’ve articulated above, I wish to withdraw the adjective machiavellian. If it hurt your feelings, I apologise. Otherwise I stand by what is a description of my impression, not an accusation. Mark



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:07 am


“a substantially inferior news service to Britain,” The only place I feel I get any real information is from public television and public radio. Charlie Rose is great; he has a public figure on long enough to get detailed information from.I don’t think it is possible to get real news in the 30 sec spots on ABC, etc. Meet the Press is not bad but that is it for me. Just rambling, the press leading up to the Iraq War clearly did not serve us. They seemed more like stenographers spitting it back out exactly the way the administration said it without analysis or vetting any of the stories before they go with it.



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:14 am


For reasons I’ve articulated above, I wish to withdraw the adjective Machiavellian. If it hurt your feelings, I apologize. Otherwise I stand by what is a description of my impression, not an accusation. Mark Does the spin-doctor part still stand?



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Joseph T

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:20 am


In my opinion Fox does not provide news; they provide war propaganda, sensationalism, and right wing baloney. I would bet that everyone who likes Fox news on this board supports the Iraq war and most favor an unprovoked attack on Iran also.In 2003 a U of Maryland poll tested the accuracy of Americans knowledge about WMD in Iraq, Pre 9-11 Iraq /Al Qaida connections, and world opinion on the invasion. They then correlated the results with the information providers of the poll takers, Fox news had the most inaccurately informed audience at 20% correct answers, and NPR/PBS had the most accurately informed audience at 77% correct answers. Propaganda is not news, and in my opinion promoting war on false premises is a moral crime whether it is done by Fox News or any other leftist , rightist, Islamist, nationalist or non partisan news provider.



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm


butch | 03.06.07 – 10:57 pm | #No – I was slapped by someone for my comments to someone else about salvation and asked to cool it because the topic should stay more focused on ‘climate change’. They are not in competition. There are many of us that do our part trying to improve the world we live in so that we give it to our children in better shape than we got it from our parnets – even if we do not buy into AL’s Truth. So I just agree to stuff the slavation talk. Later – .



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John

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:32 pm


Wolverine wrote “Maybe. Lemme ask you a couple questions:” Sorry for the delay. Whether we have a Fox equivalent is not the issue. We probably have a pale imitation, but I wouldn’t watch it. Sometimes we watch Fox for entertainment, just so we get the joke on the Daily Show. We have access to virtually all the news and entertainment in Canada that is produced in America. My point is that you don’t watch anything produced and broadcast in Canada, because you don’t even know the networks and broadcast channels we have. Not that ours as a whole are better or worse. Just that we watch yours, and you don’t watch ours. Therefore, our opinions of you and American life and culture may be more up to date and informed than yours of Canada. Nothing wrong or right, just a reality. But don’t go making outlandish statements in comparison to others when you don’t understand the other.



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Wolverine

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:08 pm


We can go around all day about which news network is the best, and in the end we’ll mostly tend to choose — surprise! — the news program that most closely mirrors our worldview. I don’t think of Fox News Channel as infallible, and I’ll admit they can be sensationalistic. But I don’t see any evidence that they’re any worse in terms of research and fact-checking than the other major channels. (Hey! Looky what I found! Memos from the Texas Air National Guard!) Just in terms of keeping the debate open I’m glad they’re out there. Kevin S. is right, as I see it the main thing is having a diversity of viewpoints. Wolverine



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John

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:46 pm


“We can go around all day about which news network is the best, and in the end we’ll mostly tend to choose — surprise! — the news program that most closely mirrors our worldview.”” That may be true!. However, I remember that leading up to the invasion of Iraq I closely watched a favourite provincial public affairs program every evening call Studio 2 on TVO (TV Ontario). It was by watching a wide variety of highly informed guests from around the world, including Washington, that I formed my opinion that the invasion was bogus, and doomed to failure. The same opinion many Americans now share, but were unwilling to either accept or acknowledge back then. Perhaps because they were watching those that fed them what they wanted to hear, not what they should have heard. Sensationalist, tabloid style, news as entertainment is rampant on most TV networks. I don’t watch them for news, and try to avoid letting them shape my worldview. I would rather read the Guardian, or a selection of newspapers. And it is hard, even here in good old Canada.



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John

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:53 pm


Butch Wrote “The only place I feel I get any real information is from public television and public radio.” Good post. Personaly I like Public radio as well. We are truly blessed in Canada to have the CBC. A publicly funded national network that often struggles to get it right, but in spite of attempts to sabotage it, underfunding, and sometimes poor management, it is the glue that holds this vast, diverse country together. And no commercials or fundraising appeals!!



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Mark P

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:16 pm


Mark the Brit: Though a typical Brit is, I think, better educated about the world outside his/her own country than most of the Americans I’ve met are about the world outside theirs. -Surely, though it s easier to be nationally minded when you live in a nation of 300 million that stretches the width of a continent and is a superpower not arrogance, but we are not forced to be involved internationally (particularly overseas) terribly much.there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one -Agreed, but conservatives do need to become far more active or else they won t have anything left to conserve.the presence of poorly-researched poorly-analysed propagandistic news coverage is so important -It s a big deal that the Canadian powers that be get to decide what kind of news coverage Canadians get to hear control the education and the media —- Squeaky: Machiavellian means the ends justify the means. -I d say that s an oversimplification, but accurate insofar as it goes. BTW, I have read the Prince and parts of Discourses. —- Butch: . Salvation and the environment are in some type of competition where you can’t have one without the other? -I think he clarified that this is not the case that both are very important I saw his point as, If I have to choose between saving a rainforest and saving a human soul, I ll go with saving the human soul. I would concur, but I do think (to an extent I m no liberation theologian) that creation is redeemed and regenerated with us just as she fell with us. I agree with the comprehensive view of reality that doesn t let faith have a competitive compartment away from politics or conservation. However, we as humans (rather than God) are forced to make priorities and to occasionally sacrifice one thing for another. I think what he s saying and again, I d agree is that if he were forced to pick, he d go with salvation even if that hurt the environment. Of course it s not really an either/or though, so it may be a pointless point (Department of Redundancy Department). — Hasn’t worked, though, has it. -Of course it has. I can pick from any number of two dozen news sources in America. The fact that the Canadian government decided whether Canadians could have the option of FOX News or not is scary. I can pick the BBC, but if something there seems a bit skewed, I can look up the same story on FOX News, Yahoo! News, CNN, CBS, blahblahblahblah. And it s the free market competition, particularly strong in North America, that offers me the opportunity to select from numerous options. — Joseph T: I just got a series of journals via email from a close friend serving as a Marine infantryman in Iraq. Based on his journals (this is the third time he s sent a block of them), I don t think the war gets a clean rap on ANY network. Not even close. — Wolverine: I disagree about picking closest to our viewpoint. I deliberately read BBC News and the New York Times so that I get something that isn t particularly close to my viewpoint. When I feel manipulated, I ll hit up Google News to get the spectrum. I even read the Guardian upon occasion, though I ve found it to be so warped as to be blatantly deceptive at times and thus often not worth my time. — And guys, public television/radio is useful a close friend is doing an NPR internship this summer, and he makes me listen to numerous programs but it is definitely agenda-driven in its programming.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:39 pm


But I don’t see any evidence that they’re any worse in terms of research and fact-checking than the other major channels. In fact, Fox is. I subscribe to Media Matters for America (which, truth be told, does consider itself “progressive”), and it says that, as of the end of last year, in its two years or so of existence it found nearly 1,500 specific instances of false, misleading or distorted information on FNC (and it keeps a record). It is so thorough that no one from the right-wing Media Research Center will even go on the air to debate it.



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:59 pm


moderatelad, No moderatelad I asked you to cool it because most of the time you post you post about how much Sojo is about bashing republicans and evangelicals. That’s why I asked you to cool it. p



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:07 pm


Moderatelad, I am sorry that you feel that evangelicals are always getting slammed on this site. But I don’t see how portraying yourselves as victims will increase discussion or even be healthy for you personally. p



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:11 pm


Payshun | Homepage | 03.07.07 – 1:12 pm | #I AM NOT A VICTIM!!!!!!! It goes with the ‘sticks and stones’ idea.As for the ‘bashing’ – I have yet to read where Sojo has backed – supported – or even encouraged a republican or a conservative. It is not a complaint from me, it is more a fact. Why is Wallis going after Dobson? Wallis has great things to say and he has established a soapbox to do it from. So has Dobson. They are separate groups with different ministries or visions. They are on parallel tracks as I see it. I have not read where Dobson has said one fourth of the negative things that Wallis has. Why does Wallis have to bring Dobson into the conversation? Does he need a scapegoat to get his message out there – I don’t think so. Good Grief – the DNC asked him to get the Saturday rebuttal to the Pres. address – something that the RNC never did when Clinton was in office. (ie. asking Graham – Farwell – Dobson or D. James Kennedy)One of Wallis’ greatest failings in my book is that he has caused more discord within the brethren than any other person in the past 50+ years. I wish Wallis would stay on task / topic and not use fellow believers as whipping boys. Talk Mr. Wallis and let me know what you are thinking and doing. Just do not bring in other Christian leaders and disrespect them. Let your ideas and issues stand or fall on their own merits and not be compared to your ‘scapegoat of choice’ for that day.Later – .



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:53 pm


Well to be fair. Sojo has defended conservatives that agree w/ helping the environment, the disenfranchized… Look at Rich Cizik.I know I don’t know who he is either. But there are others that Sojo has defended before so I can see your point that Sojo is critical of Dobson’s view on environmentalism I can also see that it is trying to address it so that there can be growth and development for all Christians. Contrary to what you are saying Sojo is not bashing him personally just his view on the environment. Even then I would not call it bashing either. Just questioning it and wondering where it comes from.p



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 8:05 pm


One more thing. Please talk about salvation. I want to hear your views on it. p



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 8:45 pm


If I have to choose between saving a rainforest and saving a human soul, I ll go with saving the human soul.One, I don’t think anyone but me can save my soul, save your own if you can. So, you think you’ve saved a soul by destroying a rainforest and the dead rainforest causes thousands of deaths. This is all silly, just terrible arguments. These are the arguments I always have with the religious right that they are going to save the world. Who in the hell do they think they are?



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butch

posted March 7, 2007 at 8:59 pm


Kevin S. is right, as I see it the main thing is having a diversity of viewpoints. Wolverine I don’t want diversity if one or more of the different viewpoints is simply wrong!



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 9:33 pm


Damn good question. i don’t get it either. I did not know we had the power to save souls. Who knew? p



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 10:22 pm


Payshun | Homepage | 03.07.07 – 4:38 pm | #I did not know we had the power to save souls. Who knew? Breaking my no ‘s’ word statement. We as humans and individuals can not ‘save a soul’. But we can introduce the person of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of a Heavenly Father.It is an introduction – the individual has to make the decision whether to submit their will / heart to an Almighty and Loving God. A simple example of what ‘s’ is to me. Later – .



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 11:37 pm


Thank you see no pain there. p



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Mark P

posted March 8, 2007 at 12:50 am


I certainly misspoke on the salvation issue. As a Edwards/Piper reformed Protestant, I certainly don’t buy into the idea that I can save your soul :) In any case, the point still stands that if my actions will either influence a person to Jesus Christ or to the recycling bin, I’ll pick Jesus Christ. But like I already clarified (but thanks for reinforcing the point), it’s not a dichotomy, though we do have to establish priorities as humans. The point never was that you have to destroy a rainforest to save a soul, but if you have to choose between the salvation of a soul and the salvation of a rainforest… it’s not a difficult choice to me. butch: “One, I don’t think anyone but me can save my soul, save your own if you can.” -Personally, I think you are just as incapable of saving your own soul as I am of saving it. Biblically speaking, grace saves you by faith — and that’s not even yours. You definitely are not capable, Biblically, of saving your own soul (but, to agree with you, neither am I :) ).



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HASH(0x118faae0)

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:46 am


The one thing I never see Wallis talk about is what the implications of his solution are. Why doesn’t he ever discuss this.And, for the record, McLaren should stick to mystery because he does not know how to argue. Create a straw man? Yep, he knows that.



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HASH(0x118fc490)

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:49 am


So, someone admitted the earth is warming. I don’t know of many who claim that it is not. The issue is what is the cause. Another straw man, Brian. Why don’t you dialog with a real person for a change?



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Mark P

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:58 am


“The issue is what is the cause.” -Maybe, but once you sort that out (and some will argue that it’s been sorted), the issue will be, “What do we do about it?”



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Sharon Comly

posted March 13, 2007 at 9:08 pm


Brian, Wow! You have to get out more! Do a little research. Did you happen to know that Micheal Crichton, does not believe there is any scientific evidence of humans causing global warming? Nor does Dr. Timothy Ball, a climatoligist. Both were Harvard educated. I wish you would do a little more investigating before you say that most people believe that global warming is caused by humans. Let’s lift up Jesus in our integrity. Thanks.



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John Zylstra

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Just to highlight a couple of points regarding correlations between global warming and CO2 rising. Yes, there appears to be a correlation between the two. However, a simple correlation does not prove a cause. Furthermore, it seems that the increase in CO2 actually follows the rise in temperature, according to some analysts. Which is just as logical as the otherway around, since an increase in temperature will cause increased organic matter degradation, which is the largest global source of CO2. An increase in CO2 also causes an increase in plant production, which is a mitigating factor. What most people ignore, is the contribution of methane, which has 21 times the impact of CO2, and NO2 which has 310 times the impact of CO2. Under a cooler wetter climate, peat bogs will store carbon and produce methane, while under a hotter drier climate, peat will degrade to CO2. No doubt that the CO2 we produce has an impact, but whether we can change it enough to change the increase in temperature is extremely doubtful, and will have a 30 to 100 year timelag. If we expect the developing world to reduce their energy output, when they are just getting to the stage of increasing production and improving their standard of living, we have our heads in the sand. In other words, the most immediate solution to global warming caused by humans, would be to keep the third world as poor as possible so that they will not buy vehicles, build bigger houses, etc. This has implications for our Christian response to third world poverty as well, with no easy answers.



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the fundamentalist

posted May 25, 2007 at 4:14 am


if the bible says “there will always be seed time and harvest time” and Global warming would surely create distress in the seasons, hindering the planting and harvesting of crops. then i’m going to take my chances with the Absolute truth of the word of God. chances are, either Global Warming is a Liberal media hot topic used to get ratings, and a left wing political agenda to try and create a nasty stain on the conservative side, or by the time this Global warming thing takes place, the christians will be raptured out and His wrath will be poured out on the earth, aka the literal fulfillment of Revelations. “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” “not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of the father” seems to me God has this thing taken care of.



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the fundamentalist

posted May 25, 2007 at 4:16 am


oh, and one thing i see missing from the liberal “christian” side is their reference of scripture. but hey, if scripture is fluid, and it’s doctrines are not concrete, then a quote or paragraph from a Brian Mclaren Book would be sufficent.



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David

posted March 7, 2008 at 12:06 pm


There have been a couple of statements made about the bias of the corporate media and global warming. I don’t totally disagree with this, by the way! But, it has been my experience that I only get one side of this argument,for the most part, and that being from the pro-global warming side. I have read and heard that there are scientists out there that disagree with the “doomsday” mindset of most of the scientists supporting man-made global warming. If our news sources are so controlled by the corporations and governement, then why don’t I ever hear or see a dissenting media work from that side, since this would strengthen their case? Also, I was around in the mid 1970s, when scientists were claiming a new ice age within a few years. What happened to that scenario? I don’t even remember an “Ooops” coming from the science community at that time, let alone a, “We messed up!” I think most Americans believe that climate change is occuring. But where they differ from the folks who hop on board every new scientific find, is in their skepticism, which is due to the “CRY WOLF” science that most of us have experienced over the past thirty years or so!



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Chief_Cabioch

posted September 16, 2008 at 8:59 pm


When some one tells me, that an increase of around 100 ppm of CO2 is going to change this worlds Weather, and Climate over all I have to look at them and say, you are a Nutcase, and you might need to seek some Therapy,
Since 1700 the Atmospheric CO2 content has increased from 275 ppm to around 383 ppm thats (ppm = Parts per million) and from 1700 to 1900 around 25% of the Increase occured without the “Aid of the Internal Combustion Engine. you all want MORE trees, you have to feed them More of what they thrive On, thats CO2,
we are comparing Apples and Oranges in this debate, and most Mathmaticians will agree you cant Logically compare the few Data points of the Past with Thousands of Data points being taken today, not to mention the Data being Taken is being slanted by methods no real scientist would accept, things such as sampling temps 4′ from an Air Conditioner Condenser Exhaust, to accept all the Hype about “Global Warming” as “Fact” is insanity, there are as many “Facts” that show it’s a False Conception as there are infavor of it,
the simple “Fact” is, the Earth is In constant Change, it always Has been, and It always will be, and No matter how Hard we try, we cant Compensate for mother nature, if this Planet needs to cool off, it will have Volcanos and fill the Air with soot and darken it’s skys to cool itself off, look at the Statistics, they are out here, dont be led by any ring in your nose to some “Agenda”
why is it, if the “World” Concern is so high, they are willing to exempt China, and India” (nearly Half the Worlds Population) from this Idea ? and allow them to continue spewing all the Polution that was easily Visible during the Olympics ?
http://www.ki4u.com/free_book/s73p31.htm



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