Is there any good news for the environment among Evangelicals?

by Ken Wilson

It’s not been a good year for the environment or for evangelicalism. I received an especially pained email from Carl Safina, our church’s  “adopted scientist.”  Carl and I, secular scientist and evangelical pastor, have worked together to bridge the historic divide between our respective communities. But my team isn’t making that easy lately. Case in point: Carl bemoaned the fact that prominent evangelical presidential candidates are anti-science; Governor Perry of Texas, for example, denies climate change while calling constituents to pray for rain in a time of drought (a predicted effect of climate change.)

Yes, well, what can I say?  The anti-science posture of many Evangelical Christians in the United States is a major reason that we’re sitting idly by while the climate warms, threatening future generations and the vulnerable poor. I must confess the truth: The good news people are bad news for the environment.

If they had a voice those future generations would say, “Could you let up a little on the fossil fuels?”  In response, many of my co-religionists insist on absolute-incontrovertible proof (rare in science) that climate change is caused by human activity.  “I need absolute proof that I’m hurting you” is not a morally responsible response to someone who says, “What you are doing is hurting me.”  When morality is thrown into the polarized cauldron of a culture war, moral reflection suffers.

But I could also say simply: some evangelicals don’t read their Bibles enough. That’s right. In a recent Baylor University study, the more people actually read their Bibles (which is a different activity than asserting without evidence,  “The Bible says!”) the more likely they are to support modern science.  Go figure.

That bit of encouraging news from Baylor University got me thinking. Is there any good news that I can offer scientists who are befuddled by what seems to be an electrified fence of resistance to science from people of evangelical faith?

Yes, in fact there is.   Mind you, it doesn’t make me giddy.  I wish I didn’t have to look so hard for some encouraging news for you.  But we have to work together to keep our spirits up.

First, younger evangelicals are getting older and will eventually take over leadership from Baby Boomer evangelicals steeped in a culture war mentality.

Boomers are the children of the last “good war.”  We adopted the culture war as a ruling metaphor, and rule it has through us.  Younger evangelicals have lived with the fruits of inflamed polarization in a community.  They are the children of divorce run wild. Problems that might have been addressed by their Baby Boomer parents will get worse and require more suffering and heroic leadership from younger generations as a result. So they are tired of the culture wars and don’t consider them worth winning.  They realize one can win a culture war and lose a culture. They are more interested in culture repair.

Younger evangelicals are friendlier to science and the environment than are their elders. Yes, even that dread word “evolution” is losing its sting for younger evangelicals.

Major breakthroughs in this old and wearying fight are quietly emerging. For example Billy Graham, the progenitor of modern evangelicalism said this about evolution:  “I don’t think there’s any conflict at all between Science today and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren’t meant to say. I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course, I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man….whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.” (Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, by David Frost and Fred Bauer)

Francis Collins, a scientist of evangelical faith received the Christianity Today Book of the Year Award in 2007 for The Language of God: A Scientists Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006).  In his book, Collins offers a compelling defense of evolution as posing no threat to faith. This book is making its way through the evangelical world, especially among younger evangelicals tired of their parents’ culture wars.

Second, evangelicals who care about the spread of the gospel (which is supposed to be a concern of our movement) are waking up to some brutal facts.

Evangelicalism’s growth surge is over. Robert Putnam and David Campbell report in their recent demographic tour de force, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, that evangelicalism stopped growing in 1993 and is now in a period of slow decline.  At the same time, the fastest growing group on the American religious landscape is called “the nones” (the religiously unaffiliated.) This group is right behind Roman Catholics and Evangelicals as the third largest “religious group” and gaining on them both because it’s the fastest growing group on the landscape.  Somehow the current presentation of the evangelical good news is not perceived to be good by a growing number of people.

And the last time I checked, those receiving news have a vote on whether or not it is perceived to be good news or bad. (Theological aside: What would be the point of describing one’s message with the term “good news” if it weren’t perceived as good by those who hear it? Better to call it something conventional like “the way things are–so get used to it.”)

I’m in touch with hundreds of evangelical pastors.  A growing number of them  (especially younger ones) aren’t content to gather the already saved into evangelical ghetto churches.  They want to learn how to be and bring good news to those on the outside of faith looking in.  They know that hostility to science is not the way to do it.

Third, major evangelical leaders are rethinking the culture war approach.

They don’t know what to replace it with, but they know it’s not working and that’s the beginning of wisdom for those who believe that it is in the nature of good news to spread.  These leaders may not be ready to come out and say, “We need a reboot” but they are thinking more deeply than ever about what’s wrong with their movement that it is not growing.

You’re simply not learning about this through the media.  Religious coverage is getting worse, not better. Many newspapers have laid-off excellent religion reporters who specialized in this part of our world. (The same phenomenon has affected science reporting.) Much of the “new media” simply aggregates old media reporting and there’s not much left to aggregate.  One notable exception to that rule: if you’re looking for a new media news source on all things religious, try www.readthespirit.com, run by David Crumm, one of the top religion writers who left the old media for the new.

Finally, there’s been a shift among American evangelicals in recent years: creation care is on the radar screen again.

Even those who deny climate science (and there are still many among us—and they have a media megaphone in this election year) are beginning to realize that environmental stewardship is a biblical mandate. In fact, in order to deny climate science, many evangelicals feel a need to add, “But we do have a biblical mandate to care for creation.”  The felt need to acknowledge the legitimacy of creation care is new. Or better said, recovering. (Before the culture wars took hold, evangelicals supported conservation.) But once it’s (back) in the camp, creation care will exert its own logic; the burden of proof will slowly but inexorably shift toward facing, not denying environmental abuse.

An Appeal to Scientists to Have Mercy on Evangelicals

So it might appear to you that American evangelicalism is a monolithic powerhouse that’s entrenched in it’s cultural alignment with a political conservatism that has lost it’s way on conservation. Good Lord, it seems we are doing everything possible to give that impression.  But beneath the surface the tectonic plates are shifting.  Leaders who are aware of the big trends are thinking new thoughts and new thoughts do eventually lead to new actions.

So if you are person of science who cares about the moral implications of the global and growing environmental crisis, don’t give up on evangelicals. Don’t count on us just yet, but don’t give up on us.  Our movement has a history of surprising people. It has a paradigm for change called “repentance”—a turning, a change of course.

I know it’s asking a lot.  I’m asking for your mercy and your patience (mercy over time) at a time when urgency is the order of the day. I would understand if you decided not to extend it.  That’s why it’s mercy I’m asking for.

Don’t believe the worst about us—it may only empower the worst in us.  Keep the faith in building bridges.  Reach out.  Speak the truth in love to evangelicals you know.  That will require looking for openness to conversation with evangelicals wherever it can be found.

We all should have been building this bridge fifty years ago when the impact of this divide and it’s potential for harm was clear.  We’re paying the piper now for the fact that we didn’t then.

Besides, we simply have no other rational choice.  The world is getting warmer and smaller.  Blessed are the peacemakers, whoever they are.

Biosketch: Ken Wilson is the senior pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. He is the author most recently of Jesus Brand Spirituality: He Wants His Religion Back and Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer.    Carl Safina and Ken Wilson are co-founders of the Friendship Collaborative, bringing together evangelical pastors and environmental scientists on University campuses.

JC note:  As discussed on the previous evangelical thread (see also here),  I attended a retreat in 2006 that included both faith leaders and scientists on the issue of global warming.  The two faith leaders that made the biggest impression on me were David Gushee and Ken Wilson.  I am delighted that Ken Wilson has agreed to engage with the Climate Etc. community.

506 responses to “Is there any good news for the environment among Evangelicals?

  1. Thanks for this article.

    I agree: There is no basic conflict between science and spirituality. Both are used to understand the great reality that surrounds and sustains us.

    Enlightenment, insight, discovery are synonyms for new findings about reality:

    http://www.tparents.org/library/unification/books/world-s/WS-10-06.htm

    Science does not have a monopoly on grasping truths about reality. Nor do any particular religions, cults, politicians or scientific organizations.

    Dogmatic scientists and dogmatic religionists are identical twins hiding under different cloaks of respectability. When politics and propaganda is added to science or religion, the mix is explosive.

    That seems to where we are today.

    • Rev. Wilson: Environmental stewardship is not the issue. Manipulation of science threatens self-government, a precious but fragile gift we received from our founding fathers 235 years ago:

      1. Dr. Michael Crichton’s speech on Environmentalism as Religion (September 15, 2003): “I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.”

      http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/commentaries_essays/crichton_three_speeches.html

      2. Thomas Jefferson’s letter to John Holmes (22 April 1820): “”I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it.”

      http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=461

      3. “Deep roots of the global climate scandal (1971-2011)” http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

      • Unscrupulous politicians (propagandists) used the mistrust that

        a.) Scientists have for religionists, and
        b.) Religionists have for scientists

        To take away citizens’ control of their governments.

        “Let’s you and him fight over environmentalism, evolution, Genesis, etc while I and my associates take control of your government.”

        Regretfully,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

  2. Personally, I deplore the generalization of people’s opinions based on these types of prejudicial generalizations. The post wrongly summarized Perry’s position (and I don’t support Perry but thought he was correct on this one issue).
    The post stated “Governor Perry of Texas, for example, denies climate change while calling constituents to pray for rain in a time of drought (a predicted effect of climate change.” If fact, Perry has said: “The science is not settled on this.”, and not that there is no climate change.

    How about if you are going to make broad prejudicial generalizations, at least be honest and accurate in quoting people.

    • I agree, Rob. Dogmatic scientists that dismiss prayer and dogmatic religionists that dismiss science are identical twins.

      That conclusion is based on 50+ years of research on “Scientific Genesis” by this initially angry, arrogant, atheist.

      The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)

      http://journalofcosmology.com/BigBang102.html

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

      http://myprofile.cos.com/manuelo09

    • Missionaries have been routinely used as invaders of the least cost to defeat a people that could not be subjugated by force. Defeat the people first by destroying their belief system and replacing it with another better suited to the aims of the invaders.

      We lived a year in Tonga in the Pacific and attended a Wesleyan church service in one of the outer islands. We had been invited by one of the families we had met. During the service, the church elders announced publicly how much each family had contributed to the church, and the people were left to scramble to borrow from each other so as to not be shamed in front of their neighbors. All the while the elders sat at the head of the church counting the money. We left in disgust.

      Give us your money or you are going to burn forever in Hell. Under the law, making threats to obtain money is extortion. Telling someone they are damned to burn in Hell is certainly a threat.

      Climate science has now adopted this technique for its own purposes. Give us your research monies, give us your carbon taxes or the earth will burn in the fires of CO2.

      • Another year we live in Papua New Guinea. I was on a flight from Port Moresby to Goroka in the Highlands. On this occasion the flight was overbooked, and quite a mess at the airport with people jumping the queue to get seats. Until the missionaries started kneeling down and preying for the flight to crash. Witchcraft and superstition still runs strong in PNG and this quickly cleared the crowd. We were able to board without further incident which just goes to show religion does have its benefits.

  3. This is really wonderful. I’ve written about Wilson previously. His insight is badly needed.

  4. For the US (and for the US alone) it does all look like a repeat of the establishment of the anti-darwinism movement between the late 19th century and the 1920s. Like then, there is a scientific theory that gets hijacked by people with an anti-individualistic agenda: as such, it is bound to find a formidable obstacle on being accepted in America, especially by the Evangelicals. And the fight can last for decades.

    I know people like to talk about evolution in scientific terms but its story in the USA truly is different than, say, in most if not all of Europe. I strongly recommend finding and reading this 2006 essay from the pages of the New York Review of Books, explaining how the very roots of current-day Democratic Party exactly belong to the anti-darwinism of William Jennings Bryan, because it wasn’t darwinism they were concerned about, rather social darwinism and its underlying idea that people are born winners or losers, hence cannot be redeemed: the most undemocratic idea of them all, akin to the authoritarian dreams of many of today’s archwarmists.

  5. Repent Ken, there is no climate crisis. I also question the doctrine of stewardship, as is suggests that Nature belongs to God, not to Mankind. I prefer the doctrine of dominion. Mankind should not sacrifice itself for Nature.

    • Hello David. Actually the Bible mentions both dominion and stewardship:

      Genesis chapter 1 verses 26, 29 – let them have dominion.. … and subdue it..

      Genesis chapter 2 verse 15 And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.

      The doctrine of dominion is often the prevailing doctrine, to the expense of stewardship, which is usually ignored. There is no mention in the Bible of man being sacrificed for nature, nor is there permission to destroy God´s works. Man is put in a position of authority and charged to look after creation.

      • “charged to look after creation”

        And this doesn’t mean looking at highly contrived squiggly lines going up and down. That would be avoiding taking care of God’s creation. His creation is out there in real life, not in a drawing.

        Andrew

      • Guess you are talking about the temperature record?? How is taking the Earth´s temperature avoiding taking care of creation?? It´s a pretty basic thing to do when caring for something or someone- ask a nurse- or an engineer..

      • sj,

        You aren’t “taking the earth’s temperature” when you sit at your computer looking at drawings. You don’t even know what you’re looking at. You don’t know what the line means, other than what’s in your imagination. I’d say that’s a waste of time.

        Andrew

      • Andrew said “You aren’t “taking the earth’s temperature” when you sit at your computer looking at drawings. You don’t even know what you’re looking at. You don’t know what the line means, other than what’s in your imagination. I’d say that’s a waste of time.”

        Would you also suggest that taking the temperature of say, a nuclear power station or a jet engine is a waste of time? Do you have a temperature gauge in your car ?

        Are you perhaps suggesting that we can measure nothing whatsoever?-that all graphic representations are just squiggly meaningless lines, figments of our imaginations?- there goes objective scientific method then.

        Perhaps you are hinting at some deeply philosophical problem regarding epistemology.

        Or perhaps you just don´t like the temperature records.

      • sj,

        I’m not suggesting anything you are suggesting I am suggesting. Measuring the temperature of the things you mentioned is not equivalent to measuring the “temperature of the earth.”

        Sigh.

        Andrew

      • So.. one can measure the temperature of a car engine, but not the temperature of a planet- is that it?

        Still comes down to squiggly lines!

        Anyway- my bad- this is so off topic…

      • sj,

        Let’s just say I doubt you have any skill at measuring “the temperature of planets” or determining if someone else has any skill at it.

        Andrew

      • All measurements inherently incorporate error.

        Some folks, however, seem to want to arbitrarily choose a particular margin of error to conclude that measurements of the Earth’s average global temperature are fatally flawed and thus to be regarded.

        It’s all about confirmation bias, baby.

      • Thanks SJ, an intelligent, on-topic comment at last! I see the issue between dominion and stewardship this way. Dominion suggests that man is under God and nature is under man. Stewardship sounds like nature and man are each separately under God. In the stewardship case man is like a shepherd tending someone else’s flock, not his own flock. Thus nature would seem to have a value other than its value to man, such that man might have to sacrifice his interests for the interests of nature.

        Note that the theme of nature having intrinsic value, apart from and potentially above its value to mankind, is quite loud in environmentalism, and stewardship sounds to me like the theological form of that view. As such I reject it.

        I must mention too the irony that in environmentalism this theme sometimes approaches pantheism. Some environmentalists argue that “the Earth” (that is, nature) would be better off if there were far fewer humans. This is the kind of sacrifice I am referring to. The notion that humans per se are bad for nature is inconsistent with the doctrine of dominion, but it seems easily derived from the doctrine of stewardship.
        But then theology is not everyone’s cup of tea.

      • David, I don´t agree with this analysis: “Dominion suggests that man is under God and nature is under man. Stewardship sounds like nature and man are each separately under God…”

        God creates an Eden- an Earth, Nature- what you will. God creates a man and gives him dominion, or sovereignty over this creation. Creation still belongs to God, man is simply given control over it. And as Genesis 2 verse 15 explicitly states, man is also given the responsibility for looking after – or keeping it. There is nothing to suggest that God gives his creation to man in the sense that creation then belongs to man and not to God. Once this sense of ownership is cleared up, there is no need to postulate “separation” .

        As regards the intrinsic value of nature- if nature is seen as being man´s domain- another meaning of the word dominion, then it is inseparable from its value to mankind. Nature is valuable to mankind in its entirety for the simple reason that we cannot live separately (that word again) from nature.

        I think it is impossible to separate dominion from stewardship, especially as it is so stated in Genesis. To have dominion over creation without the requisite admonition to take care of it and keep it, dominion descends into barbaric plundering with impunity. Not, I think, what God intended by ” to dress it and keep it”.

        This evidence of barbaric plundering of nature while conveniently ignoring responsibilty of care is what so upsets some environmentalists.

      • SJ, if stewardship simply means taking proper care of what we own then I have no problem with it. But I see the concept being used by those who think that nature has value over against the value of mankind, such that these two values have to be balanced somehow.

        For example, by arguing that we should not use paper bags in order to save the trees. This suggests that the life expectancy of trees is of value in the same way as the life expectancy of people. And if God loves the trees as he loves us then this might in fact follow. I think that Genesis is not precise enough to resolve this issue.

      • Therein lies the problem- “two values have to be balanced somehow” – Once you see past this false dichotomy of contradictory values you have conjured up, you realise that Nature has value, not over and against the value of mankind, but for mankind. What value the oceans, if not to provide us with endless food, rainfall, weather patterns… Rivers, mountains, forests.. what do they give us? Nature is there for the taking, its webs of life that knit together to form a whole living Earth that supports and nourishes us.

        You do not own the Earth- that is a complete misconception, yet its abundance is there for you. The oxygen you breathe is freely given, the replenishment of the soil by simple organisms, the plants, the pollinators, the beasts, the fish, the fowl, the heat and light of the sun, the moon by night. You want me to go on? You don´t value these things? You value them more than your own life, or less? Or you value them because without them there would be no life for you.

        Man´s exístence and Nature are inextricably bound together- you cannot separate them. Those who attempt to explain the intrinsic value of life are trying to make you see this. But if you persist in polarising value into separate and distinct categories, then you will never understand.

        As for paper bags and trees. Trees, as living things, have immeasurable value for us. I doubt whether turning them into paper bags has more value. The key to this issue isn´t about a hierachy of mutually exclusive values that must be balanced, the key is to understand and appreciate the value of nature and thus to respect it and care for it.

        The first chapter of Genesis is crystal clear about this. God´s creation is simply and elegantly described, and man´s place in creation and his responsiblity to that creation is clearly and unambiguously stated.

        Your confusion is in your own mind, not in Genesis.

    • The separation of man and nature is one of man’s most arrogant constructs. My disagreement with a certain brand of environmentalists is that they repeatedly characterise our impact on the environment as a moral question. If we view ourselves as part of nature, a product of nature and not cast judgement on ourselves anymore than nature herself does, then we are perfectly entitled to do whatever we like in our quest maximise our comfort and survival, just as any other creature within nature does.

      Framed that way we can also make the fair less arrogant observation that anything we do to impact our environment impacts on ourselves and the quality of our survival with in it. The reason we should look after the environment should not be a moral calling but intrinsically linked to our own well being. Symbiosis NOT stewardship.

      • ian (not the ash)

        Agnostic, I suppose it would also depend on your definition of morality. For instance the utilitarian philosophy of, say, Peter Singer would suggest that because environmental ‘stewardship’ is intrinsically linked to the quality of human survival, than acting for the good of the environment is a moral concern. For example, in replying to the question: Why should we behave morally? Singer states:

        I mean, the sound bite answer is you should be moral because in the long run, looking at your real interest, it will be better for you…

        http://bigthink.com/ideas/13784

      • A “sound bite answer”. My sound bite answer is “symbiosis not stewardship”. Framing it as a moral question is ironically morally questionable at best. The consequence of that is that man puts his fellow man below life. What follows is that certain people will value an ideal of protecting life at the expense of of life – the life of his fellow man.

        It is arrogant to separate yourself from nature IMO. We are part of nature, an expression of it, and our prime duty is to ensure and maximise our survival within it. If we want to rape our environment and destroy everything in our wake and leave nothing behind that is entirely our prerogative and morality does not come into it. Nature won’t care, our time on earth will end and it will just go on and do something else. Our concern for our environment should be driven by pure self-interest and framed that way we are more likely to be rationally responsible.

      • ian (not the ash)

        Agnostic, you state:

        It is arrogant to separate yourself from nature IMO. We are part of nature, an expression of it, and our prime duty is to ensure and maximise our survival within it.

        Are you suggesting that if our only imperative is to ensure and maximise our survival within nature any notions of morality are redundant?

        The reason I ask is that you also state:

        What follows is that certain people will value an ideal of protecting life at the expense of of life – the life of his fellow man.

        Which appears to suggest that ‘fellow man’ is a level above the rest of nature and hence acting against ‘fellow man’ in defense of the rest of nature is an immoral act.

      • Agnostic- you say “ If we want to rape our environment and destroy everything in our wake and leave nothing behind that is entirely our prerogative and morality does not come into it”-

        It is not your prerogative . And who is we?

        You also say “Our concern for our environment should be driven by pure self-interest and framed that way we are more likely to be rationally responsible”.

        We seem to be straying into Randian territory here. I ´m not sure I agree that we are more likely to be rationally responsible if we acted out of pure self interest , though acting out of pure self-interest a good basic description of how humans generally behave. I object that this is framed as an imperative- should be driven-as a substitute for morality. The idea of Selfishness as a Virtue is a repulsive attempt to make morally sound, and thus somehow justify, self seeking, self aggrandising and self serving behaviour. Which may be the purpose of a man´s life, who knows, but is hardly a virtue.

        That we are primarily selfish is without doubt, that it ensures our own personal survival is true up to a point. That it leads to rationally responsible behaviour? Not always the case.

        A sense of responsiblity, in first place towards oneself, is not the same thing as selfishness. It also incorporates the idea of being accountable for the consequences of one´s actions.

        It is the act of assuming responsibilty that make us more likely to be rationally responsible, not selfishness.

      • ian (not the ash)

        And then there’s the counter-perspective of Kantian philosopher Susan Neiman who argues that we should not be urged to live morally due to our own self-interest:

        Such arguments leave us helpless whenever morality and self-interest part company; in the times when they don’t, we don’t need morality to move us.

      • I think this is lucidly put.. And I would agree that the purpose of caring for the environment is a practical consideration `intrinsically linked to our own well being´, rather than exclusively a moral question.

        Whether it is a moral question is debatable, but it seems sure that taking the moral high ground leads to David´s interpretation of such ideas as `nature as above man´ and `man sacrificing himself for nature¨, which make no sense.

        However, just to have a quibble, stewardship simply means taking care of the environment. Of itself the word has no moral connotations beyond that of taking responsibilty and personally I find it a better description of our human responsibilities than the word ‘symbiosis’ .

      • ian (not the ash)

        sj, always good to have a quibble! I suppose in the end it’s not a great deal more than sematic word play; moral imperative, stewardship, symbiosis…The end result is that we are aware of our interdependence with the natural world regardless of our differing philosophic inclinations.

      • Hello Ian- that end result would be a good start!

        A note on quibbling. Quibbling about what words mean is very important activity. Words represent concepts which reflect our views of reality, which in turn affect what we do and how we do it. So it is more than just semantic wordplay. If we do not define words like responsibilty, respect and so on sufficiently, we will not be able to communicate effectively with each other- and that`s what words are for.

        It is not the words that constitute our philosophy, but our actions. We may well `be aware of our interdependence with the natural world regardless of our differing philosophic inclinations´ but it is what we do with that information that interests me.

  6. Stewardship isn’t going to matter if Christianity continues it’s decline in America like in Europe. If you want to know what the prevailing religious view in this is going to be in 2050, ask an imam.

  7. Willis Eschenbach

    My favorite parts of Ken’s essay? Well, I was overjoyed at the good news, viz:

    … evangelicalism stopped growing in 1993 and is now in a period of slow decline …

    Heck, that bit of new information cheered me up so, it’s worth the price of admission all by itself. Then we have

    Don’t believe the worst about us [evangelicals]—it may only empower the worst in us.

    Unfortunately, from my perspective, the worst about evangelicals is the truth about evangelicals, and that ugly truth has empowered the worst in you for centuries, since you were burning witches in Salem. So you are asking us (as evangelicals always seem to ask) to believe in your pious platitudes and not in what you actually do. It’s like Groucho said, “Who ya gonna believe? Me … or your own lying eyes”.

    Sorry, Ken, I’m going to continue to believe my own lying eyes, which means I’ll believe the truth about you, which means I’ll believe the worst about you. I’ve seen a bunch of evangelicals tear a peaceful third world village right down the middle, claiming young children were “sinners”, putting brothers at the throat of brothers, and telling people that they were all going to hell for doing what they’d done all their lives. It turned my stomach.

    So spare me the pious platitudes, Ken, don’t bother saying those folks that tore the village apart don’t represent evangelicals. They are the essence of evangelicals—they are people obsessed by the gnawing, hidden fear that somewhere out there, someone is actually having fun, and by God, you and your good, kind, loving Christian followers are just the folks to find that person having fun and stop them and punish them in whatever way you can. Your mush-mouthed assertions of good will do not begin to offset the damage your narrow-minded flock has done around the world.

    And Judith, this pandering to the religious fringe element … sorry, but you’re way off the climate reservation here. Ken may be a nice guy. Lots and lots of his co-religionists are not nice guys in the least, they’re only a few steps from the Oklahoma City bomber’s brand of kind, loving Christianity. Acting like they are actually decent, caring human beings is a step too far.

    And Ken, consider Mark 6:5

    And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets and on the internet, that they may be seen of men and get their name on the blogs. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    w.

    PS—Ken, your pet “scientist” Carl Safina believes without reservation in the oncoming climate Thermageddon, which he says is caused by the fact that humans destroyed the climate Eden by eating of the apple of the fossil fuel tree … you really should hang out with a better class of losers, Ken. I mean, I can see why you two would have a lot in common, but a guy who quotes extensively from Stefan Rahmstorf and from Nicholas Stern? That’s the best imitation of a scientist you could find to support your cause? Actually, on second thought, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised …

    • Science cannot give anyone real mercy; that comes from above & His is greater. He wrote a book to you, telling about his resurrected son. Accept what was written to be true and ask for understanding and wisdom as you begin reading. Cut out any middleman. Follow the simple directions laid out for all people in: I Corinthians, 15:1-4. Once you have honestly done that, you are in. No one is hurt. Thank God. Read a little every day and you are good… What could be easier than this? Whosoever will, will & whosoever won’t, won’t. There you are. Free from the law, that is killing us all.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Tom. The “book” you refer to, presumably the Bible although you seem curiously loath to mention that, is likely responsible for more deaths and torture and pain than just about any book you can name. People making your exact claims about “mercy” enslaved the New World and killed hundreds of thousands. Herr Shickelgruber said he was following your book exactly, as did Timothy McVeigh. Savonarola quoted it while ripping out people’s fingernails, he, like you, thought he was a noble follower of the book.

        So you’ll forgive me if I handle that book like radioactive waste. It has caused the death of too many good people to treat it as anything other than dangerous in the hands of fools … a location of which the book seems inordinately fond.

        w.

        PS—The only two books that have I’d say have seen more folks killed in their name than the Bible are the Koran and Das Kapital … and that’s not good company.

      • Mr. Willis Eschenbach, Just so we are clear. My response was to any reader, I also stand by what I wrote. Your thoughts are your own. I meant no disrespect to you or your views. Experience can be very painful.
        Sincerely,

        Tom

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Tom, for your good thoughts. I know you stand by what you wrote. That’s the discouraging part.

        w.

      • Willis,
        Not from where I stand, I have joy. We all can.
        All the best,
        Tom

      • “PS—The only two books that have I’d say have seen more folks killed in their name than the Bible are the Koran and Das Kapital … and that’s not good company.”

        The bible is a pretty old book, eg.
        “[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin biblia, from Greek, pl. of biblion, book, diminutive of biblos, papyrus, book, from Bublos, Byblos.]”

        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Bible

        Basically bible is book or paper. It was the book you had if you could afford or obtain any book.
        I have been reading the bible of late. I am on page 414. I have never read before and I doubt I will read it twice. Normally I don’t skim thru any book but this book kind of forces you do this- with it’s pages of the children of so and so children- I can’t read this and names I can’t pronunciation or the vaguely normal names- and seemingly of zero importance to know. Plus all the counting bullocks, sheep, etc and counting of populations of 12 jewish tribes, etc. And same story is usually repeated over and over.
        So far it seems to me the Jews loved barbecues and eat mountains of various kinds of carcasses [bullocks, sheep, etc]. A vegan wouldn’t be holy.
        So far, the story is Jews were herdsman, and apparent a Jew went to Egypt [the closest civilization] and had the king store grain for coming famines, and during the famine the Jewish herdsman went to the city and got the grain to eat – and the Jews were enslaved and then they left to be herdsman again. The Jews have this tent church they drag around with them and has box of sand in it. And evenually God decides it’s ok to have a Jewish King- and that leads to lots of wealth and a lot misery- and the building a non tent church.
        Anyhow.
        The point is I haven’t finished reading it yet.
        And my question is why do you say the bible has caused much death.
        The god of the Jews apparently did insist the Jews fight wars of extermination- in the the early wars, and Jews were punished by God for not killing everyone and not destroying all their possession. But after the first period of wars keeping the booty [possessions- which included woman and children] didn’t seem to be as much of a problem anymore.
        Suppose once the Jew herdman started living in towns and cities it made less sense. But they still were required to destroy other religions- and severely punished for adopting of religions and employing the various magicians and such.
        Taking no prisoners and destroying temples of other religions is certainly not considered moral today- but bible is a history.
        If you are goat herder living 2000 years ago, you might draw some kind lesson from it. Or you might understand that goat herders or large numbers of homeless people could cause some problems for those living in houses and towns.
        But you can’t say that these wars of extermination were caused by the bible, as the bible only partially if at all existed at that point.
        So what massive slaughters do you think the bible caused?
        .

      • gbaikie: I see you have been bogged in the “begats”. I’ve been bogged down there, myself. I found the following helpful as a sort of “Cliff Notes” on what it is trying to get across.

        Lewis, C.S. 1960. Mere Christianity. Collier

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Wow Willis Eschenbach. I have to say, the next time you get lumped in with “deniers,” I won’t feel any sympathy for you. This is about as close to bigotry as you can get while still having any sort of deniability.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Judith and Brandon, I say again, if you disagree with what I said, QUOTE MY WORDS. The objections from the two of you mean nothing without specifics.

        Judith, I thought you were a scientist. Point out your objections. Just going “me too” marks you as a dittohead, particularly when the comment you are “me too”ing to is content free.

        w.

      • Unnecessary insults and generalizations.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | October 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm
        Unnecessary insults and generalizations.
        As a response to a request for specifics, that is an insulting generalization.

        w.

      • Willis, your comment made mention at collide-a-scape

        http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/10/28/have-mercy/

      • Willis Eschenbach

        And I should care why? Kloor has made a specialty out of rubbishing my name on various false grounds. Why would today be different?

        But heck, if I’m on a roll, let me explain my position, that should make Keith wet himself in his excitement at being able to attack me again. So Keith, listen up, here’s my position.

        Some otherwise normal people hold a bizarre belief. They believe that a being from somewhere, outer space or some other dimension or something, came to the earth and somehow got a human woman pregnant.

        Now, you’d figure that would be outré enough, but no. To pile Ossa on Pelion, they believe that the being from another dimension didn’t do it in the normal way. Perhaps he wasn’t into the “missionary position”, or maybe it wasn’t invented yet, but he somehow miraculously got a virgin pregnant.

        These are scientists that believe these outrageous claims, mind you, folks who say that they are convinced by observation and experiments and data and logic … at least part of the time.

        Then when the result of this hypothetical pre-Columbian artificial insemination was was born, the being from outer space let him live about thirty years and then killed him. Yep. Slapped him dead. But the being from another dimension didn’t kill his son himself. Didn’t want to get his hands dirty I guess … if beings from another dimension have hands. Instead, the being from another dimension enlisted a whole bunch of humans to do the dirty deed, they killed his son in a spectacularly unpleasant fashion. They probably felt bad about it afterwards, but heck, the being from another dimension made them do it, so it wasn’t their fault … of course the being didn’t tell them that, he let them stew in their bad feelings.

        Not bizarre enough? Wait, there’s more. In some unspecified fashion, the mere fact that the being from another dimension killied his son made it possible for me to burn down an orphanage with nuns and children inside, and then go to some guy in a dress and say I’m really, really sorry, and he tells me it’s all OK, nothing to worry about, I’m forgiven, and I can go about my business with a clean soul, freed of my guilt and my sin.

        Heck, I can do it again, burn down another one and be cleansed as pure as the driven snow. The actual work is done by some kind of magic water or some invisible “divine spirit” or something, I can’t really figure out the thermodynamics of it, doesn’t make sense to me, but there it is.

        Now Judith, I don’t mind that you and Ken and Tom subscribe to this nonsense. That’s your choice, and for most people, it doesn’t stop them from doing science. I don’t know how they fit science and nonsense together in their heads, but they do, and it doesn’t stop them from doing good work.

        But when you start to discuss these fevered fantasies about beings from another dimension as though they were real, when you want to bring these bizarre claims about a virgin getting pregnant into a scientific discussion on a scientific website, I will point out the idiocy of the beliefs. Look, it obviously gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to believe all that rubbish, that’s fine by me. Like the song says, “maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep”.

        But when you are the one bringing it up and pointing it out on a scientific website, I will take exception, and I will tell the truth about superstition. Superstition is very valuable to some people. It makes them feel good. That don’t make it a good thing, and it doesn’t make it science.

        Religion has been the root of huge amounts of dissension, disagreement, and loads of violence, throughout human history and up to this very discussion, Why you want to bring it up at all on a scientific blog, knowing that history, is beyond me.

        w.

      • I agree with you willis, on the absurdity of the story, as it appears to those of us who won’t believe it. But I would rather live amongst good religious people, of whom there are many, than heathens like you and myself. And yes I will dare say it, I am talking about living amongst good Christians and Jews. If you think that the adherents of those religions invented hatred and strife, you haven’t been around as much, or as long, as I have :)

      • Willis should stick to climate science, his knowledge of theology is…embarassingly lacking.

      • It might surprise Willis to hear that I’m an atheist (have been since a teenager), and agree with the thrust of what he’s saying. But because his language and tone is so offensive, he ends up turning everybody off. But hey, Willis, you’d definitely win over P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins. Incidentally, I think they’re mostly dead-on, too, though their stridency, like yours, is counterproductive.

        Why? Because a majority of people have some sort of religion and belief in their life. Yours (and their) approach–which is heavy on insult and mockery– just alienates all those people–needlessly.

      • but he somehow miraculously got a virgin pregnant.

        Back in the 70s, I also got a virgin pregnant, and for a while she thought I was like a god.
        But ten years later she divorced me.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Willis Eschenbach, it’s cheeky to claim you are saying something to Judith and I again when you haven’t said it here before. In fact, I’m relatively certain you’ve never said it to me at all. Either way, demanding people make specific references while making extremely questionable claims about what you’ve actually said is peculiar.

        Regardless, I have no intention of making any specific references to what you said. If you need more information as to what in your comment I disagreed about, try this starting point. Everything you said which had any connection to religion.

        In any event, I have no idea why you’d ask for people to explain what they disagree about. You were basically accused of spouting off bigotry. I’d think that would be a far more pressing concern than points of disagreement.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Apologies for my lack of clarity, Brandon. I have said it many times and many places, which is why I said “I say again”. My error.

        However, you then go on to say you won’t tell me what I said that you object to, saying:

        I have no intention of making any specific references to what you said.

        OK, you’re just going to make vague accusations with no reference and no content.

        Thanks for playing. I’m not going to try to guess what goes on in your mind when you object to “everything”. I can’t respond to that kind of mushy statement, it means nothing.

        Bye.

        w.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Willis Eschenbach, it is hard to believe you failed to understand what I said so completely. You asked for specific references. I said I wouldn’t give such, but said I would give you a starting point as to where my disagreement lies. That starting point was, “Everything you said which had any connection to religion.” You now say you aren’t going to try to (effectively) read my mind, and that you can’t respond to “mushy” statements like the starting point I provided. You claim the statement means nothing.

        This couldn’t be more wrong. When I say I disagree with “everything,” it means I disagree with everything. In this case, I disagree with everything you said which had any connection to religion. That means every sentence you typed which had any bearing on religion. I’m sure you’re capable of figuring out which sentences those are, so you have all the references you need.

        I have no idea why you would be incapable of figuring this out, and I cannot imagine what lead you to conclude my statement meant “nothing.” Quite frankly, I don’t care. The meaning of my comment was perfectly clear, and it was nothing like you described.

        If all it takes to make you leave a discussion is your inability to understand simple sentences, so be it.

      • “…since you were burning witches in Salem…”

        “…don’t bother saying those folks that tore the village apart don’t represent evangelicals. They are the essence of evangelicals….”

        “…you and your good, kind, loving Christian followers are just the folks to find that person having fun and stop them and punish them in whatever way you can.”

        So do you believe that Wilson was actually present in Salem and burning witches, or is this an example of bigotry?

        big·ot·ry/ˈbigətrē/ Noun:
        Bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

        Or how about this one from Merriam-Webster:

        Definition of BIGOT
        : a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

        Your tirade makes the rantings of Hansen and Mann against deniers seem tame.

        I’ll make you a deal, I won’t blame you for the tens of millions killed by progressive atheists in China, Russia and Cambodia, if you don’t blame me for a couple dozen murders in Salem.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        GaryM | October 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Reply

        So do you believe that Wilson was actually present in Salem and burning witches, or is this an example of bigotry?

        How could Wilson be there, it was centuries ago. However, the evangelicals of that time burning witches is assuredly an example of bigotry.

        Did I say Wilson was present in Salem? Lemme look … nope, that’s your fantasy.

        w.

      • Uhhh, the people who killed the girls in Salem, were the same race and religion (and some of the same gender) as the girls and women they killed. The bigotry I referred to was, of course, yours. But then everyone who read the comment, except you, probably got that.

        Your lack of English comprehension and knowledge of history and theology seem to be surpassed only by your lack of humility, and impulse control. Once you engage your mouth (or fingers in this case) you are unable to stop. Like I wrote elsewhere, you are better off sticking to science.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Pwnd.

        w.

      • Willis is starting a new blog – http://www.skepticaltheology.com It will be characterized by complete ignorance of his opponents positions, and more than anything, infatuation with his own spurious straw man arguments.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willis,

        I would say, just for starters, that the things that are most objectionable in your treatment are the following.

        1″Unfortunately, from my perspective, the worst about evangelicals is the truth about evangelicals, and that ugly truth has empowered the worst in you for centuries, since you were burning witches in Salem. ”

        The issues here are ahistorism and guilt by association. As an old student of both theology and literature ( haha Hawthorn) I think you do a great injustice to the actual history of evangelicals ( starts with Edwards 1740– the great awakening) by conflating them with the New england Puritans. (1690s) Of course one can find similarities.. they both believe in god for christs sake, but to tar modern day evangelicals with the sins of their third cousins removed is horrible scholarship. Even if there were a greater agreement between the two branches it would be rather odd for you to hold today’s evangelicals responsible or to suggest that they should be best understood by reference to the past actions of others is just bizarre. Personally, I don’t want to be held resposible because some nut who read my book went out and killed children in Norway, but as Robert has pointed out, the kooks on the skeptic side of the debate have done some killing. Maybe they read you? I object to Robert when he makes that argument so I have to be consistent my good friend. Since you believe in individual responsibility find you engaging in collective “guilting” shows that even the best of us have blind spots.

        Second, The McViegh comment. Next thing you know we will go find a mass murderer who agrees with you on something and say that he is a few steps away from you and make stupid generalities. It’s not that hard.

    • Rachel Carson. DDT ban. 100 million dead. The perfect environmentalist.

    • Willis,
      I would be interested in hearing more about that village.
      Broad brushes, as a general rule, are not useful except for covering distinctions over.
      Collective justice and collective punishment are not really ever justified.

    • Willis writes:

      “They are the essence of evangelicals—they are people obsessed by the gnawing, hidden fear that somewhere out there, someone is actually having fun, and by God, you and your good, kind, loving Christian followers are just the folks to find that person having fun and stop them and punish them in whatever way you can.”

      Do you believe that all evangelicals are this way? Surely, what you meant to say is that some evangelicals are this way, that Ken and friends seem to belong to this crowd, and that you are criticizing this crowd but not all evangelicals. If I am wrong and you mean to criticize all evangelicals, what separates evangelicals from other Christians? What you call “the essence of evangelicals” has nothing to do with Christianity, in my humble opinion, and most likely nothing to do with evangelicals.

      Someone else asked why Saint Judith would even post this topic. Simple, she permits posts on Postmodern Science. In truth, the reason is that she has a real interest in our culture’s communications about climate science, among her many interests.

      • Theo,
        I think Willis is much more than the caricature he paints himself into on this topic.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Theo Goodwin | October 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Reply

        Willis writes:

        “They are the essence of evangelicals—they are people obsessed by the gnawing, hidden fear that somewhere out there, someone is actually having fun, and by God, you and your good, kind, loving Christian followers are just the folks to find that person having fun and stop them and punish them in whatever way you can.”

        Do you believe that all evangelicals are this way?

        Nope. And I didn’t say they all are. But given the repeated spectacle of the Bakkers, or Ted, given the amount of time that some evangelical preachers spend haranguing the world about the “sins of the flesh”, while secretly filling up their spare time sniffing coke off a rentboy’s johnson … yes, I’d say that enjoyment (AKA “sins of the flesh”) and punishing people for enjoying themselves looms very large in their cosmology.

        How else do you explain the amount of time that evangelical preachers spend railing against “sinnahs cavorting with Jezebels” or “people lost in lust” or whatever the enjoyment of the day might be? They know that those people are enjoying sex, and they want to stop it.

        w.

      • Willis,
        Have you ever thought to look for evangelicals who compassionate and live as Jesus taught? They do exist. I could point you to some if you wish.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Ron Cram | October 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Reply

        Willis,
        Have you ever thought to look for evangelicals who compassionate and live as Jesus taught? They do exist. I could point you to some if you wish.

        Thanks, Ron. Yes, I know some good evangelicals. Good people are found everywhere, even in prison. There are undoubtedly good members of every religion I know of.

        I was talking, not about individuals, but about Christianity and evangelical Christianity. I do not see that kind of superstition as a good thing in either case. As I said before, it’s not Christians, the Muslim superstitions are worse in my estimation.

        All across the Pacific there’s a host of evangelical churches. And far and wide they are known as “God botherers”, because they spend their time bothering people about God, and when their not doing that, their bothering God with a limitless succession of requests. Requests for the men and women of the congregation. Requests for the people of the island. Requests for more rain, or for less rain, for the poor and suffering of the world, requests for money for church projects, requests for the pigs and domestic animals. An evangelical preacher that can’t bother God with his pitiful desires about the weather and the pigs and such for half an hour can scarcely hold up his head in polite society.

        So when a God-botherer pops up on what purports to be a scientific website, and starts by lecturing us that if we don’t believe in climate change we’re anti-science … no, I’m not sitting still. I’m gonna comment.

        w.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Grrrr … “their” for “they’re”, not only once, but twice … aaaargh. Hate that.

        w.

      • Willis,
        I don’t mind you commenting on Ken’s foolishness, but it is wrong to paint all evangelical Christians as foolish. There are good people who believe what Christ taught and live by it. The world is a better place because they do. I could point you to some if you wish. It might help you so you did not paint with such a big brush.

      • Steven Mosher

        Ah Willis, you just paid attention to the wrong preachers. It was the early 80′s in LA, the punk and ska scene was being memorialized in the Harry dean Stanton cult classic –Repo Man, Moshpit was bouncing between the Atomic cafe, Madame wongs, doing the grad school thing and crashin at Henry Fonda’s BelAir mansion, driving Jane into Westwood and lounging by the pool, reading Derrida and Life in Hell (http://www.futurama-area.de/LiH/OComics/2.gif. ). Flipping though the TV stations at 4am, I found the greatest tv preacher ever. Herzog made an excellent film about him. Years later I would meet him in Chester California, but that’s a different tale. The anti nomian…

      • Steven Mosher,

        I remember the great Dr. Scott. He was brilliant. I didn’t buy a word he said, but he was good. Did the Lord take him, before the IRS could get to him?

      • While I agree completely with Willis’ views (because I’m a seminary educated, former bible-study teaching but now atheist skeptic), I really don’t like how he attacked religious evangelicals. I much prefer to attack religious evangelicals on the ridiculous imaginary fantasies that they believe. The problem with attacking the behavior of other historical religionists (crusaders, inquisitors and others), is that it’s too easy and predictable for religionists to claim “well, those people clearly weren’t correctly following the religion I believe in.” There’s no inarguable response to this because it involves what dead people believed on one hand and the believer’s own understanding of their personal beliefs on the other.

        It’s better just to cut to the chase. In the case of a self-professed christian just ask “do you believe the bible is the inerrant word of your god?” Either way they answer, at this point it’s trivial to demolish their unfounded beliefs with simple logic and irrefutable evidence (a copy of the version of the bible they claim to believe in is needed).

        I can understand Willis’ frustration because religionists believe fervently in something that has zero evidence (making CAGW look like Gravity in comparison). However, my personal style is to avoid slapping christians upside the head or laughing at their childish belief in fairy tales. Doing so tends to halt the conversation and that doesn’t help me deconvert them, which is what I prefer to do. I want to help them by leading them toward the light of reality, rationality and reason. Over the years, two different pastors heard I was an atheist and came to “save” me. I ended up saving both of them instead (they both deconverted and eventually found more productive careers). I’m proud of the dozens of people I’ve saved but it’s simply not good deconversion technique to start by swearing or giggling at them.

        To be clear, Willis has no obligation to refrain from mocking christians. Doing so is his a personal choice. It is an absolute fallacy that religion deserves any special respect or deference. People certainly deserve a basic degree of respect but their crazy beliefs are fair game. Our culture is a fabulous marketplace of ideas and no one’s ideas get a free pass (despite religionists attempts to gain special “off-limits” protection for their weird ideas). It seems like if god would put his ‘big boy’ pants on in the morning he wouldn’t need to be protected from the mockery and derision of non-believers. That seems more like the self-defense of a fragile idea-virus that stops existing the moment its host stops believing in it.

        P.S. to whoever said that they’d rather live among religious folk. Check your data. About 14% of the population are atheists (and growing) but less than 3% of prison inmates are atheists. So either atheists are far more ethical and honest than religionists (who apparently talk one way but act another) or perhaps it’s that atheists are so much smarter that they rarely get caught.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Mark, this isn’t the place to discuss the issue, but I feel obliged to point something out. What you call “crazy beliefs” are not crazy, at all. They may seem strange or unbelievable, and they are certainly unprovable, but that doesn’t make them crazy. In fact, by calling them crazy, you are being rather offensive, and despite what you claimed, both you and Willis Eschenbach are obliged to avoid excessive offensiveness (it’s a blog rule). Of course, what qualifies as “excessive” is debatable, and I’m not going to dwell on the matter.

        If you want to discuss this matter, or if you want me to show you you are completely wrong when you say “it’s trivial to demolish their unfounded beliefs with simple logic and irrefutable evidence,” I’d be happy to continue this exchange somewhere appropriate. Otherwise, just accept this comment as me disagreeing with you, strenuously.

      • Mark,

        So you were headed to prison, but you were saved by your conversion from bible-study teacher to atheist skeptic. You sound like a reformed drunk. The most self-righteous boring people in the world. One question: Were you a bad person, when you were in the seminary and teaching bible-study? I am an atheist too, but you people who found the light, and then found another light , make me laugh. Find something you believe in, and stick with it next time.

      • God has moved various men to write what we call the Bible, over thousands of years. Starting back in time with Job and his pride, ending with the book of Revelation and looking out into our future. The Bible makes many promises to the reader. The Bible is prophetic also and lets the reader know what lies ahead as history plays itself out in rough 500 year cycles (night/day=1000 years). The Bible says that God has provided through His work a means of reconciliation with his creation. He has paid the price for all of mankind’s sin in one act of love for all of us (2,000 years ago), He paid the sin price of Adam. All that is required of us, is to believe in His promise. We all need the daily washing of His word. The ekklesia (church/called out body) have been changed in heart and mind though we know we will still fail daily, we are human until He comes for those who believe and then the world will be headed into another new age that will be full of signs and wonders, that will last a thousand Earth years while the Father, rests (my view). What is so hard to understand is why everyone does not read & do what the Bible, asks us to do. He wants your faith in Him first, then he will open your eyes and the Bible will become new again. This is a miracle that involves you. The more the merrier. As we check our watches for the time… lets look at days 5 & 6 of creation, in Geneses (Gen 1:22,28). The only two days (see: II Peter, 3:8) that were blessed, do you wonder why? Remember now, this is a gift to you, free for the taking. Enjoy.

      • For any new disciples, may I suggest to you:

        http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm

        KJV or King James Version / with Strong’s checked (for word studies)

        NLT or New Living Translation / for a good read (just personal)

        Have fun. Live for a change… Read & understand, Romans, Chapter: 8

      • It’s better just to cut to the chase. In the case of a self-professed christian just ask “do you believe the bible is the inerrant word of your god?” Either way they answer, at this point it’s trivial to demolish their unfounded beliefs with simple logic and irrefutable evidence (a copy of the version of the bible they claim to believe in is needed).

        I don’t understand that. Maybe you could elaborate.

        It seems to me that if you believe that the bible is the inerrant word of god, then you have the premise required to logically conclude that god exists. What you can or can’t prove logically depends on your starting premises.

        As an agnostic, I don’t think that either the existence of god nor the lack thereof can be proven logically. That’s why I’m an agnostic. IMO, belief in god or the lack thereof are both reliant on assumptions that can’t be proven.

        That said, I don’t think that belief in god can validly be said to rest on “scientific evidence.” And I don’t think that Intelligent Design can validly be claimed as a “scientific theory,” as I have read on these threads.

      • Joshua, I believe that if you will apply the imputs. You will feel the outputs.
        Whosoever…

      • No doubt, Tom.

        I would never question the viability of someone’s faith. If I could apply the inputs, I would. Life would be much easier with clear answers to questions such as “Why am I here.” Just can’t quite pull it off, however. I have trouble getting over that whole notion that an omnipotent god would want children to starve to death before spending eternity in hell.

      • Joshua, he died because of me. You too.
        All the best,
        Tom

      • What a precious comment. A former seminarian turned evangelical atheist who converted two “pastors” with his brilliance, and “demolishes” Christian theology with the question “is the Bible the inerrant word of God.”

        The only core belief of atheism is in one’s own self-perceived intellectual superiority. I find those who believe they can disprove the existence of God with the same humor I view those who believe they can prove the contrary.

    • This is what you get when you try to surrender in the “culture war.” I won’t bother reciting the comparative body counts of atheists vs. religious, it wouldn’t be fair. But this kind of ignorant religious bigotry and hatred says much more about Willis Eschenbach than it does about religions, or religious people.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Another person who wants to clutch his pearls and moan heard from … Gary, QUOTE WHAT I SAID if you disagree with it, otherwise, you’re just bitching to hear yourself bitch.

        w.

      • My “bitching” response somehow got inserted above at 7:19.

      • And I don’t wear pearls, they would clash with my mauve skirt and pink stilettos.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        GaryM | October 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

        And I don’t wear pearls, they would clash with my mauve skirt and pink stilettos

        Loved it, I fell out laughing.

        Seriously, though … what did I say, exactly, that you object to?

        w.

    • The flaw in your reasoning is implying that, absent religion, the villiage would not have been descended upon by proseltyzers or that people would not have used violence justified in the name of some other belief system. During the 20th century empires dominated by secular creeds accummulated an impressive array of atrocities of their own. More than one small Chinese villiage was torn asunder by Little Red Book thumpers who cast memberes of their community as enemies of the people. What you have identified is not something specific to a belief system, but something that is inherent to the social behavior of human beings.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Bob K, this is a good point, and it is one which applies to most “atrocities” attributed to Christianity. Christianity rarely is the cause of any of them. Sometimes it is a catalyst, and often it’s an excuse, but that’s quite different from how people like Willis Eschenbach portray things.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Brandon Shollenberger | October 28, 2011 at 6:56 p

        Bob K, this is a good point, and it is one which applies to most “atrocities” attributed to Christianity. Christianity rarely is the cause of any of them. Sometimes it is a catalyst, and often it’s an excuse, but that’s quite different from how people like Willis Eschenbach portray things.

        I agree, Brandon, about the cause. In human life, it is vary rare for anything to have a single “cause”.

        I do note, however, that many wars have started from religious schisms or between religious factions and flavors. Heck, for a while we had two Popes fighting over who was the Popiest of All. Surely Christianity must have played more than a bit part in that movie.

        Then we have the Spanish Inquisition, and lots of lesser local inquistions involving horrendous, brutal, unending torture. In those, Christianity was hardly the “catalyst” or the “excuse” that you would like to downplay it into. Christianity was the main actor in that novel.

        Please don’t think I’m anti-Christian. The Muslims have the same history, only more so. Shiites and Sunnis have been killing each other off as brutally as possible at a rate of knots for 1400 years, since a few hours after the death of Big Mo. They and the Koran bear responsibility for a huge amount of violence and ugliness.

        But the Crusades were a Christian invention, not a Muslim invention. Driven solely by their belief in the story of the being from another dimension having the hots for a Jewish virgin, a heap of Christians, both nobles and the polloi, marched a quarter of the way round the world to go pound on some poor Muslim folks’ heads and burn down their houses and loot their cities and torture the inhabitants to reveal the hiding places of their valuables. So you have to give Christianity some big props for that production, motivating people to undertake an arduous and possibly fatal walkabout like that is not easy.

        Truth is in the middle somewhere, I don’t think you can support your claim that “Christianity rarely is the cause of any of them.” The good Christians sure burned out the nest of corruption that was the followers of the Latter Day Saints, drove them all the way to Utah in the name of love and brotherhood … and the violence done by the Saints and their followers? Don’t get me started. Religions breed violence. I don’t know why. I just look at history. My theory is that when people build their identity around a shared set of … mmm … let me call them “unusual” beliefs, as a result of that they can’t tolerate the “other”, the “stranger”, the “non-believer”. It is a threat to their and their worldview, so they attack it and drive it out.

        But that’s just my theory, to try to explain why religion and violence and torture and war have been handmaidens since before the Aztecs were cutting out the hearts of sacrificial victims …

        w.

      • Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition…

      • But the Crusades were a Christian invention, not a Muslim invention.

        sorry Willis, but you’re just making crap up now. Go get a history book. Do you know what happened at the gates of Vienna in 1389? How about Pointers, or Lepanto? The truth is, Christian Europe came within a couple of spears of being completely extinguished by the Muslims. And despite all the propaganda from CAIR, that would have meant no Renascence, and no science as we know it.

        You heard me; science as we know is was a Judeo-Christian invention. If they had succeeded, we’d still be riding around on donkeys watching the sun revolve around the earth. Yeah, maybe we wouldn’t have all this CO2, since the internal combustion engine wouldn’t have been invented, because thermodynamics wouldn’t have been invented because physics wouldn’t have been invented, because some imam says that everything we need to know is in one revealed book, so that heretic Newton should be stoned.

        Get real.

        Get real, man.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Willis Eschenbach, if you truly think Christianity was the cause of inquisitions and the like, you know too little about this topic for any discussion here to be fruitful. There is no better example of Christianity being used as an excuse than those, yet you cite it as one of the examples of Christianity being a “main actor” in an atrocity.

        So I’ll let this be the focal point of our disagreements. Anybody who truly believes Christianity was the “main actor” in the inquisitions, rather than just an excuse, can side with you. Anyone who doesn’t believe that can “see” you are full of it.

        In the meantime, since we’ve clearly established where the disagreement lies, I’ll leave you be.

      • “I just look at history. My theory is that when people build their identity around a shared set of … mmm … let me call them “unusual” beliefs, as a result of that they can’t tolerate the “other”, the “stranger”, the “non-believer”. It is a threat to their and their worldview, so they attack it and drive it out.”

        But I would assume you would realize that this was human nature not something due to being Christian.
        You live in a world of some 2 billion christians. Much of what you know of history is written by Christians. And what was important was wars and other horrible things.
        What disappears is all that wasn’t written down- tree falling in the woods.
        You mention Aztecs- not christian and a very gruesome civilization- but actually fairly normal.
        How about those Syrians and there non christian and non muslim leadership? Not pretty.
        N Korea and whatever weirdness they got going- not Christian.
        Cambodia killing fields- not Christian.
        Rwanda genocide- perhaps Christians involved but nothing to do with the religion.
        Hitler- not christian
        Stalin not christian.
        All the wars in Africa- christian involved but not caused the religion.
        Drug wars in South America- obviously about wealth from drugs.
        But with 2 billion Christians in modern world- the world is fairly peaceful- in comparison to history.
        Slave trade- minor enterpise in comparison to history.
        A lot countries democratic- a rare form government in history.

      • P.E.

        You say:
        “The truth is, Christian Europe came within a couple of spears of being completely extinguished by the Muslims. And despite all the propaganda from CAIR, that would have meant no Renascence, and no science as we know it.

        You heard me; science as we know is was a Judeo-Christian invention”

        I think that’s highly debatable. One of the roots of the Renaissance was Europe’s rediscovery of mathematics and science, which had laid dormant in Europe for centuries, while they thrived in the Muslim world. They gave us algebra, and the numerals that we use, for a start.

        From good old Wikipedia:
        “In the 12th century, European scholars traveled to Spain and Sicily seeking scientific Arabic texts, including al-Khwārizmī’s The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, translated into Latin by Robert of Chester, and the complete text of Euclid’s Elements, translated in various versions by Adelard of Bath, Herman of Carinthia, and Gerard of Cremona.[98][99]

        These new sources sparked a renewal of mathematics. Fibonacci, writing in the Liber Abaci, in 1202 and updated in 1254, produced the first significant mathematics in Europe since the time of Eratosthenes, a gap of more than a thousand years. The work introduced Hindu-Arabic numerals to Europe, and discussed many other mathematical problems.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_mathematics

      • Willis,
        Maybe people have a big herd instinct, and that religion and alarmism in general are essentially variations of groupthink and moral panic

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_panic

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

        Andre

      • P.E.: “You heard me; science as we know is was a Judeo-Christian invention”

        James Evans: “I think that’s highly debatable. One of the roots of the Renaissance was Europe’s rediscovery of mathematics and science, which had laid dormant in Europe for centuries, while they thrived in the Muslim world.”

        Well, all you well educated self absorbed atheists have not just Christianity, but that evil empire the Catholic Church to blame for your intellectual superiority. The university itself was a creation of the Catholic Church. The oldest universities were in fact begun by the Church and most of the rest grew up in and around Catholic monastic teaching communities.

        The scientific method was incubated and grown in an intellectual greenhouse created by theists. How’s that for irony?

      • Gary M:
        “The scientific method was incubated and grown in an intellectual greenhouse created by theists. How’s that for irony?”

        Given that being a theist was mandatory at the time, I don’t think it’s that ironic.

      • “Given that being a theist was mandatory at the time, I don’t think it’s that ironic.”

        And this non sequitor has what to do with the fact that the modern university (and therefore the scientific method) are essentially products of the Christianity that seems to horrify you so?

      • Gary M,

        How is it a non sequitur?

        Given that being a theist was mandatory in the mediaeval period, the intellectual/academic tradition would obviuosly have its roots in a theistic society.

        It would be ironic if Western culture had a history of widespread theism and widespread non-theism, and yet it was the theistic part of society that started to examine the world in a scientific way. But that’s obviously not true. Academic study had to exist within a theistic framework, because that was the only frame work that existed.

      • Theism was no more “mandatory” in Europe than anywhere else. I must admit I was unaware of any census taken in the 300s to 1200s, particularly regarding church affiliation, that establishes this purported universal membership. Was it by Rasmussen or PPP?

        The university didn’t “have its roots in a theistic society.” The Catholic Church created monastic societies, then universities. The Church was a catalyst for and supported (and still does, want a list of US Catholic universities?) the development of arts and sciences.

        Where are all the Muslim European universities that contributed to the Renaissance? They certainly controlled a large swath of the European continent at the time. The Catholic Church for all the perfidy of some of its leaders at the time, kept intellectual thought alive in the west. But I know, while the Church is culpable for the revisionist view of the Crusades, its creation of the university as a western means of advancing thought was just a happy accident.

      • “I agree, Brandon, about the cause. In human life, it is vary rare for anything to have a single “cause”.”

        yes, but you had no trouble indicting a whole group. Now, as the know the climate is a very complicated thing. And the rise in temperature has many causes. What do you think of people who focus on just one aspect–like c02?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Bob K. says:

        What you have identified is not something specific to a belief system, but something that is inherent to the social behavior of human beings.

        You are quite correct, and it is anathema in whatever guise it appears, religious or secular …

        w.

    • Michael Larkin

      Willis,

      I’m one of your biggest fans, but here you have gone completely overboard. The emphasis of the article is not on Christianity per se – it’s more about one particular Christian’s take on climate science. Whilst I think it legitimate, as I have done in my own posting, to draw parallels between religion and belief in CAGW, it’s not about going off on an unbridled rant about the iniquities of the Christian religion.

      For what it’s worth, I think there’s some merit to your arguments, but they simply don’t belong here. And if I might express an opinion of my own, you seem to fall into the same trap as religionists have alway tended to: you take scripture too literally. The God you don’t believe in so vehemently is the same as the one others do believe in so vehemently.

      Based on other writings of yours, I think you might lean towards Eastern spirituality. But if one reads the bible, or at least the NT, in a certain way, one sees much concordance between it and Buddhism. Jesus isn’t responsible for what men have done to his message. They’ve mangled and distorted, abused and misused it and you are angry with them. Fair enough. I’m sure there are forums all over the web where the anger is on-topic.

      • “….the article is not on Christianity per se….”

        While I don’t propose to speak for Willis, the article is at the heart of what I object to most about both religion and AGW climate science. Namely, a belief in a deterministic universe, in which everything can be known. Determinism is what many people are responding to when they say they see a parallel between AGW and religion.

        Remember, the essence of religious belief is faith, i.e. belief without evidence. How simillar is this to a belief in AGW?

      • It’s more accurate to say belief without evidence is fantasy, not faith. Faith is belief with evidence, but without certainty. The gist of much of the argument here is that “the faithful” are much too certain of their own righteousness. Sad, true, and condemned many places in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Throughout a long history — beginning perhaps 5,000 years ago in oral tradition — those scriptures have called for every individual to strive for perfect righteousness based on a faith that there is an absolute morality. The evidence for that faith? Everyone who is mentally capable has a concept of right and wrong and a choice to make.

    • Willis makes some fair points.

      To make a connection between science and religion is fraught with peril. Likewise for science and art connections or other metaphysical subjects. It probably is better left as a personal matter.

      The only take away from the article is that we are stewards of the earth but this is nothing new. Being stewards of the land has been discussed since ancient times and is a part of many cultures and religions. Who does not know this?

    • Thanks for that Willis, I could not agree more. You have put to words what many feel on this subject. IMO, this post by Ken Wilson was nothing but self serving bs of the kind that is preached every Sunday around the US.
      I have a bit of news for you brother; no one cares what the religious right thinks about Climate change or any other thing, ok? All I need to know about your kindness and decency can be seen in the documentary “Jesus Camp”. There ought to be a law against that kind of preaching!

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486358/

      • Jeepers. More? What’s with you guys? Evangelicals are a sizable chunk of the US population, and the vast majority of them are good, decent people by all accounts. As opposed to people who seem to be seething with hatred, just under the surface, just waiting for anyone to mention the group they hate for it to bubble up and out. Sad.

    • BlueIce2HotSea

      Willis –

      Your anger is so over the top, it is alarming. If there is something else bothering you, I hope it works out for the best. If you are drunk, good. (But wait to apologize until you are sober.)

    • Yes, I can’t see that Wilson adds anything of value to this blog. Next post, please.

    • What a bigot. And I’m Jewish. Just change the world evangelical to the word Jew, and this would read beautifully for an anti-semite.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        miker613 | October 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply

        What a bigot. And I’m Jewish. Just change the world evangelical to the word Jew, and this would read beautifully for an anti-semite.

        Miker, if I changed “evangelical” for “Jew”, my accusation would read:

        My objections to Jews mostly involve their spreading of superstition, shame, and dissension among the peoples of the South Pacific, while at the same time stealing their land and taking over their country.

        Yeah, those Jews, always going out and trying to convince people that they should become Jewish, always evangelizing on the street corner and witnessing for David, going to Tonga and spreading the Jewish faith …

        In other words, miker, your accusation is nonsense. However, I do note that all you guys who believe in invisible beings will band together to attack someone like me. Kinda curious, since the rest of the time you’re at each other’s throats.

      • Willis,

        Did you allow your children to believe in Santa Claus? That’s a rhetorical question. I won’t be looking at this thread again. Time to move on.

      • Good point. And Jew doesn’t start with an E like Evangelical, so that’s another good point. Sheesh. I can just imagine myself talking to a Klansman, with him trying to explain that the case of blacks is _different_ and therefore everything he is saying is okay.

        No thanks. In modern civilized society, bigots are unacceptable. Haters are unacceptable. People who hate Jews, and people who hate Muslims, and people who hate blacks and Latinos, and people who have gays, and people who hate Christians – all unacceptable. They keep their nasty views to themselves, or they ruin their reputations among decent people.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        miker613 | October 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply

        Good point. And Jew doesn’t start with an E like Evangelical, so that’s another good point. Sheesh. I can just imagine myself talking to a Klansman, with him trying to explain that the case of blacks is _different_ and therefore everything he is saying is okay.

        miker, I see you didn’t get the point, my apologies for my unclear writing.

        My point was, you can’t mistake Jews for evangelicals for a simple reason—Jews don’t evangelize. You don’t come knock on the door of my house to try to sell your superstitions.

        Evangelicals do that. Not only do they do that, they believe they are directed by God to do it.

        Which is why you can’t “just change the world evangelical to the word Jew” … because Jews don’t do the things evangelicals do. I had hoped to make the point by changing the words in my actual statement, to show the foolishness of the idea of Jews sending missionaries to the South Seas to convert the heathen … but I guess that fell flat.

        In any case, miker, I’m not anti-Jewish or anti-semitic, I’m anti-superstition. However, that doesn’t mean that you guys superstitions are interchangeable, or that you can substitute “Jew” for “evangelical” if you are feeling neglected.

        w.

      • “you can’t mistake Jews for evangelicals for a simple reason—Jews don’t evangelize. You don’t come knock on the door of my house to try to sell your superstitions.” Got it. You hate them because they try to convince others of their point of view. Despicable! Who would do a thing like that? Fortunately, Jews don’t, so we’re okay.

        I really think you’d be better off sticking with the Klansmen’s claim that black men want to rape white women: easier to understand.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        miker, I don’t hate anyone. You seem to be determined to be offended no matter what I say. Play the victim much?

        w.

    • Willis, like you I have travelled the world. I grew up in East Africa and witnessed much death and suffering. My family narrowly escaped from an explosive ethnic driven civil war under a hail of bullets, wielding spears, and clubs. I witnessed brother kill brother over minor trivialities. I’ve witnessed how tribal, feudal, Marxist, Hammurabic, and Shari’ah law denies human rights and condones unjustified death in unfathomable numbers with Christians being prime targets among other designated undesirables. The experience has left me with a very different set of conclusions from yours. There is no need to blame Christians for what humanity is indeed capable of when we loose perspective of the value of life for whatever reason or cause.

      Choose any religion, culture, class, ethnicity, race, tribe, or ideology you want. You’ll find human suffering at the hands of humans under each banner. We are capable of so much good but yet have capacity for the worst of atrocities. To ascribe atrocities as being the hallmark of Christianity is an unfair and uninformed criticism.

      You are free to express your vitriol towards Christians for whatever reason provokes it but you are not entitled to ignore the forever violent narrative of human history so that you can blame Christians or religion as it’s root cause. The capacity to do evil is inherent to all men and, despite your efforts to elevate yourself to superior moral ground, you are no different than those you despise.

      In following your contributions to the climate debate, I trusted that you were an objective and fair minded individual. However after witnessing your behavior here, I have formed a different impression.

  8. Latimer Alder

    I doubt anyone woudl be interested, but in UK this dicussion has zero resonance with our public discourse. You might as well be talking Swahili or Chinese. We share no common points of reference. It is a non-issue.

    AGW or CAGW as some sort of proxy for religion may be true in the US, but not on this side of The Pond.

    • Latimer Alder, You are right, science is concerned about consenseus & polls. God is interested in our cast ballot.

    • AGW and CAGW are not a proxy for religion in the US, any more than they are in Europe. They are political at their core in both places.

      There are political progressives in Evangelicals, the Roman Catholic clergy, pretty much everywhere. The elitism that leads one to become a progressive is not limited to the secular. And religious progressives, like progressives everywhere, are progressive first and everything else second.

      When someone claims he has special authority as an Evangelical (or Catholic Bishop for that matter) to apologize for all the the supposedly stupid science deniers in his faith, he is simply putting his politics ahead of his purported faith.

    • On your side of the pond, AGW is a substitution for the failures of Socialism. Socialism has many of the hallmarks of religion.

    • …in UK this dicussion has zero resonance with our public discourse.

      Latimer: Are you sure? You don’t seem to be the sort of person who would be conversant with the flavors of evangelicalism in the UK or anywhere really. That’s not bad — most participants on this blog aren’t either.

      Or perhaps you mean that this discussion doesn’t appear in your major publications. It barely appears in America either. Few Americans outside of spiritually conservative Christians themselves can distinguish between evangelicals and fundamentalists, or are aware of the further splits within evangelicalism itself.

      FWIW, while fundamentalists are mostly conservative, evangelicals cover a spectrum between conservative and liberal politics. In fact one American evangelical group, Sojourners, is solidly progressive.

      Here is a large Vineyard church in London. Ken Wilson is a highly-placed leader in The Vineyard and there are over 100 Vineyard churches in the UK and Ireland.

  9. Bruce Cunningham

    Since we are on the subject of religious leaders and their stance on climate change, I think this essay by an Australian Cardinal is very appropriate.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/pell-2011_annual_gwpf_lecture.pdf

    I hope that future generations will appreciate the role of present day “deniers” in preserving the scientific method and the way of life and prosperity that has brought better health and happiness to so many.

  10. The claimed Science vs Religion battle is nothing but a red herring.

    Atheist Statists vs. Christians… now that’s more like the real issue.

    Andrew

  11. Ken,

    Religion is one one the factors that science was shaped to fit into society through history.
    This in turn has generated a vast amount of confusing and conflicting theories with no merit to evidence.
    Faith without evidence is in much of science today which has closed many minds to thinking in a logical and sensible way toward using actual facts.

  12. It seems it should required of the believers of climate change that they need to study science, and understand such things as heat flows from warm to cooler.
    And the believers of there not being a god, need to acknowledge that there is no evidence that human descended from monkeys or apes. Nor that science has provided evidence that merely chance created life.
    Or that the “theory” of chance in general is not supported by science, and is as non scientific and similar beliefs of other gods.
    And in general if believers in descended from monkeys, chance evolving our world, and man will cause a great flood, would stop insisting their their religious beliefs be the sole indoctrination material for children in public schools. there would less protests from other religious faiths.

  13. Latimer, Yes, how true. Thanks for the sanity check. Ken Wislon

  14. Latmer, That would be Wilson, not Wislon. I’m still working on the proper spelling of my own name.

  15. Norm Kalmanovitch

    There is no conflict between science and religion because religion is based entirely on belief allowing may religions each having different beliefs to be valid religions as long as these beliefs provide proper moral guidance, whereas science is based strictly of fact and belief plays no part in science other than help with the thought process in developing hypotheses.
    The conflict comes when there is an attempt to refute beliefs with science or as in the case of climate change the attempt to refute science with beliefs.
    People believe that the world is warming to catastrophic levels because of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, and science states that this is not happening with measurements telling us that there is no current global warming in spite of the con tinued increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
    The Earth only radiates a limited amount mof energy in the 14.77micron band that is affected by CO2, and at the current concentration of 390ppmv well over 80% of the energy in this band that can be affected by CO2 has already been affected and ther is not enough energy remaining in this band to be affected by increases in CO2 to cause any more than a small amount of pleasant warming. Considering that over 90% of the greenhouse effect of 33°C results from clouds and water vapour and that a large part of the 10% of the greenhouse effect from CO2 is merely the transference of effect from clouds and water vapour to CO2; even this small amount of possible pleasant global warming from increased CO2 is highly unlikely to actually occur.
    The one aspect of all religions that is in common with science is that all forbid lying as in #9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” of the ten commandments which is present in some form in all religions
    The moral question in all this is how did people ever come to believe the impossible when to state falsehoods is contrary to the very fabric of proper scientific practice.
    Science serves only to advance human understanding and as such scientific proclamations are considered absolutely truthful to the extent of available knowledge and it is morally reprehensible when the sanctity of science is violated to serve a political agenda as has been the case with the fraudulent claims of human caused global warming which many uninformed people have come to believe to be true and based on valid science.
    How shameful is it when the President of the United States is still under the false belief that we have to arrest global warming nine years after the world had already started cooling and the same people who falsely advise the President that the Earth is still warming refuse to even make any proclamation of when the current global cooling will end.
    Religion is a very powerful tool because it demands blind faith and when blind faith is used to falsely portray religious doctrine as in the case of clerics defaming Islam by convincing suicide bombers to kill innocent men women and children in the name of Islam which is contrary to the most fundamental principle of the Islamic faith.
    This is not much different than those who violate the ethical principles of science and use the authority of their scientific stature to falsely convince the public of catastrophic global warming to serve their own ideological agenda.

    • Norm,

      Rather than climate scientists opening up their theories on how they came to their conclusions, they are using presidential ideology.
      Using their status and expertise status to deflect the issues.
      Sayings such as “patriotism” and “god” is thrown in to persuade rather than show the science for what it is.

    • Norm
      When you state “scientific proclamations are considered absolutely truthful”, you misunderstand human nature. See the obvious evidence to the contrary shown in .

      Re: “religion is based entirely on belief . . .it demands blind faith and when blind faith”
      You set up a staw man. You misunderstand Christianity which is based on objective eyewitness evidence confirmed by personal evidence. e.g., see New Evidence that Demands a Verdict Josh McDowell; and Who moved the stone Frank Morrison etc.

      It is atheists/humanists who demand belief that there can be nothing besides matter, and that there must be nothing besides matter, and thus that “science” must a priori exclude even consideration that there might be intelligence behind the universe.

      Truly objective science allows that such might be possible, and that objective evidence could be evaluated for evidence for such intelligence.

      So too, objective science weighs the evidence and uncertainties involved. It is always open to better theories that explain the evidence.
      Catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is still “unproven”.

  16. Ken,

    I have many friends that if the bible said to walk on a “hot bed of coals” daily, they would for the amount of faith they have in the words written in that book. Many other religions have the same people who have just as strong beliefs.

    • Latimer Alder

      There seem to be quite a few who invest the same level of faith in the outpourings of the IPCC as well :-(

      Personally I believe that the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is 42…as foretold in the Hithchikers Guide to the Galaxy

      Now I’ve seen it again the parallels are quite striking……

      • The sequel, IIRC was very interesting. Our intrepid questioners set out to find the question to which the answer was 42, After many trials, they found a stone tablet on which was inscribed the question. Only problem is that is was in a strange heiroglyphic language. More trials and tribulations as they sought to find somebody who could interpret the question. FInally (they really spun this out) they found a long-haired old geezer who knew the language. He laboriously went through an interpretation exercise, and finally presented the question to which the answer given was 42. The question was: (drumroll……….). “What do you get when you multiply 7 by 8?”

  17. Not sure what the point of this post is except to get the dogs howling on a topic that’s guaranteed to create a lot of howling. I’ll just state that those who take a Spock-like stance and assert guidance purely on the basis of evidence-based, rational thought ignore how much belief is guided by faith outside of any overtly religious framework.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      My point exactly. What does Judith gain by introducing religion into a scientific discussion?

      w.

  18. Ken,
    If your goal was to bridge any gaps between theists and secularists, you failed when you called the Republican candidates anti-science and implied there was something wrong with praying for rain.
    Why not attempt a bit of reflection and try again?
    If you cannot consider this, then there really is no point in commenting further.
    Respectfully,
    hunter

    • hunter, fools wade in……for the record: praying for rain is fine by me, not that it needs to be.

      • Ken,
        Thank you for the response. I wish it had been more germane to my points, however.
        I hope you can reflect more on what your actual role here is: an Evangelical? If so, where is the evangelization? If it is to imply that praying for rain is a foolish exercise, I would ask for the scriptural support for that conclusion. As to anti-science Republicans, that is a very shallow, if not two dimensional caricature of a complex issue. If you equate being skeptical of climate consensus with being ‘anti-science’, I would suggest that you read and think about the backgrounds of many skeptics who post here and elsewhere, and ask if you can still claim ‘anti-science’ is appropriate at all.

  19. Ken Wilson,

    I’m curious why you are so lacking in curiosity. This one statement of yours — ” The anti-science posture of many Evangelical Christians in the United States is a major reason that we’re sitting idly by while the climate warms, threatening future generations and the vulnerable poor.” — demonstrated to me that your understanding of the issues is superficial, at best.

    It shows a complete lack of understanding of global politics, economics, and the current state of climate science. Ignorance cubed. I would advise you to learn a little about your subject before you next attempt to lecture those who have a better understanding.

  20. I think it is interesting that the ethics of Christianity and science coexist very well together, which is not something you can take for granted with the anti-Judeo/Christian AGW atheists. For example:

    “[T]here are a large number of punters [Australian for "customers" or "gamblers"-in this case, skeptical customers who may or may not buy what the government's selling] who object to being treated dismissively as stupid, who do not like being told what to think, who value independence, who resile from personal attacks and have life experiences very different from the urban environmental atheists attempting to impose a new fundamentalist religion. Green politics have taken the place of failed socialism and Western Christianity and impose fear, guilt, penance, and indulgences onto a society with little scientific literacy.” (Ian Plimer)

  21. I consider global warming alarmists to be the anti-science crowd. It’s the shenanigans of Michael Mann, Phil Jones et al that is the real attack on science – not the work of Steve McIntyre, Roger Pielke or Anthony Watts (whatever their religious faith may be).

    I am happy to identify myself as a Christian who reads a great deal of science, even if I cannot make the claim to be a practitioner. All truth is one, whether the truth comes from God’s Word or from nature. No one should expect truth to be in conflict with itself.

    One of the best science-faith books I have read was written by an agnostic. I highly recommend God and the Astronomers by Robert Jastrow, founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (I think he would be rolling over in his grave if he saw the work of Jim Hansen). It’s a fabulous book with an insightful look into an important episode in the history of science and what it means for the future of cosmology.

  22. This is like tossing meat to hungry animals. Of course the real “anti-science” is being practiced by Ken Wilson. Sir, why not give your bible a rest for a few weeks and do the hard work (though not all that hard) it takes to educate yourself about the other side of the climate debate. Granted, Gov. Perry’s an easy target, but you’re not being fair. I don’t think he “denied” anything. Read the previous thread on this very blog “Candid Comments From Global Warming Scientists,” and see if Perry might actually have been right when he said the science is not settled.

    • The Bible is no more responsible for the progressive group think of Wilson than it is for the brutality of others who claimed it as authority for their actions that Willis Eschenbach likes to wallow in.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        GaryM | October 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

        The Bible is no more responsible for the progressive group think of Wilson than it is for the brutality of others who claimed it as authority for their actions that Willis Eschenbach likes to wallow in.

        Touched a nerve there, did I, Gary?

        If you’d quote my words or be specific about what “actions … Willis Eschenbach likes to wallow in”, your words might be more than just empty symbols of your injured dignity,

        So … what actions do I like to wallow in, Gary? I haven’t a clue what you are talking about. I don’t even know how you’d wallow in someone else’s actions, that makes no sense.

        w.

      • Stick to science dude. How can you quote what I wrote and stil not comprehend it? It couldn’t be your emotions controlling your intellect could it?

        In case they didn’t teach you English comp in science school – what you like to wallow in is “the brutality of others,” as justification for your ignorant bigoted opinions.

    • Well, my hope was that the grown ups in the room could have an interesting and intelligent discussion. Looks like the children haven’t gone to bed yet. This is a beautiful essay, whether or not you are religious and whether or not you are convinced or unconvinced about AGW. Maybe they can have a intelligent discussion of this essay at collide-a-scape, or maybe it will be picked up elsewhere.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Once again, Judith, you have not quoted anyone’s words or made a single point. Instead it’s just dismissive nastiness (“Looks like the children haven’t gone to bed yet.”) Calling people you disagree with “children” that is so beautiful and inspirational, it embodies the entire Christian ethic of “if they don’t believe, insult them.”

        If you object to something someone has said, broad brush snide comments like that go nowhere. Tell us what you object to.

        w.

      • I believe Judith is saying that people have started a food fight, Willis.

        She’s our host and she says we’re behaving like kids.

        I can offer you quotes, if you wish. Here is one:

        > I was overjoyed at the good news [...]

        Nice figure of speech.

        Here is two:

        > Heck, that bit of new information cheered me up so, it’s worth the price of admission all by itself.

        Mocking.

        Here is three:

        > [T]he worst about evangelicals is the truth about evangelicals, and that ugly truth has empowered the worst in you for centuries, since you were burning witches in Salem.

        Irrelevant guilt by association.

        Here is four:

        > So you are asking us (as evangelicals always seem to ask) to believe in your pious platitudes and not in what you actually do. It’s like Groucho said, “Who ya gonna believe? Me … or your own lying eyes”.

        Pious platitudes indeed.

        And this is the first half of your first post on that page.

        You want more, or we could consider at least agree that there is at least one person that is throwing food for at least one half of one of his comment?

        Enjoy your meal,

        w

      • Sorry Dr Curry it is not a beautiful essay it is a medieval religious rant. The only good thing about it is that it confirms all the reasons why I’m an atheist.
        It people want to believe in God or fairies at the bottom of their garden fine by me, but please don’t insult my intelligence by expecting me to also believe.
        It’s your blog and you can do what you like but sorry this is the worst post I’ve read here, if it had been the first it would have been my last.
        If you want to lose an argument the easiest way is to bring religion into it.

      • Beautiful?
        ““I need absolute proof that I’m hurting you” is not a morally responsible response to someone who says, “What you are doing is hurting me.” ”

        When someone says you are hurting me by breathing. That is not moral.
        When someone says there is too many people. And China’s one child program is good. That is not moral.
        Instead it is the definition of immoral.
        Collectivism. Or the idea that have pretend there isn’t leadership when
        some insist they only their voice should heard- is immoral.
        Elitism, enacting “equality”. Is immoral but more importantly it’s just excessively stupid.

        Leadership job should be to solve any problems of “overpopulation” and
        if they not up to this challenge they should not be in leadership. Prison would a better place for them- to provide company to other axe murders
        who did their part to lower the population.

      • Judith,

        The notion that Evangelicals in the US are the only thing stopping meaningful action against global warming is simply absurd. There is nothing that the US can do which will stop greenhouse gases. China, India, and the rest of the world will not stop, regardless of anything the US does. So if the US has no power to do anything about CO2 (even assuming that CAGW is true), it is a matter of simple logic that lack of support from Evangelicals cannot be responsible for what Wilson alleges.

        Let’s move onto economics. His argument seems to be that the world should cause massive suffering among the world’s poor today in order to alleviate the possibility that the poor in the future might suffer. Ignore the bizarre moral calculation underlying that notion and just focus on the economic foolishness. It’s economic nonsense, plain and simple.

        I have no idea what you find beautiful about the essay, but I can’t imagine it is the logic. I don’t think pointing out logical errors is childish.

      • Indeed Dr. C, I tried to introduce a relevant theological topic, stewardship versus dominion, but got no takers. Bigotry is a lot more fun, or easier anyway.

      • Stereotyping must be fun. I’m reminded of an old line I heard from a Presbyterian minister — if you put 5 Presbyterians in a room you will usually find at least 8 different theologies. Kind of tough to accurately summarize the thought of people when we can’t even agree with ourselves.

  23. “Case in point: Carl bemoaned the fact that prominent evangelical presidential candidates are anti-science; Governor Perry of Texas, for example, denies climate change while calling constituents to pray for rain in a time of drought (a predicted effect of climate change.)”

    If the point of this is that praying for rain is a waste of energy, I’d be inclined to agree. I just find it odd that a pastor thinks so. If your point is that the drought in Texas was caused by climate change, I’d like to see your evidence.

    • Steven, our most excellent state climatologist recently blogged on that subject.

      • JCH,
        Do you mean where Dr. N-G said this:
        “Also of note is the fact that precipitation in Texas has increased overall, by over 10% since 1895. (Note: the 2011 precipitation is not included in these graphs, but one year won’t change the overall pattern much.) This includes the past 40 years, when global warming was under way in earnest.”
        or this:
        “So it appears that global warming, if it has affected mean precipitation, has had a minor impact compared to other influences, and even the sign of its effect on precipitation is unknown. Until we learn more, it is appropriate to assume that the direct impact of global warming on Texas precipitation has been negligible, and that the future precipitation trend with or without global warming is unknown.”
        or this:
        “Until we learn more, it is appropriate to assume that the direct impact of global warming on Texas precipitation interannual variability has been negligible, and that the future variability trend with or without global warming is unknown.”
        Seems pretty clear to me.

      • Geez Hunter, the point is to get people to click on his blog so N-G can rake in those ad dollars.

      • Yes, I actually linked that several posts ago.

  24. I have to say I pretty much agree with everything Willis has said. I’ve long believed that religion is one of the greatest destructive forces we know…in large part by giving bad people something to hide behind…that is committing evil acts in the name of “good.”

    That said, I regret my snarky bible comment, which is typical for me. I always end up feeling badly for stuff like that because in a way I’m doing the very thing I despise in religious hypocrites, that is hiding behind the truth (or my version of it) in order to hurt.

    I’m sure Mr. Wilson is well-intended despite his manifest ignorance on climate issues. I shouldn’t have done it, and I apologize.

    • Ignorant displays like Willis Eschenbach’s (and to an much lesser degree your comment above), do not hurt, though they are intended to. But they do tend to prevent communication and cooperation on other issues. Most people who make broad anti-religious or anti-Biblical generalizations do it for the same reason progressive climate activists are so fond of the term “denier.” They establish (in their own minds) their perceived superiority to others, and attempt to marginalize those others at the same time.

      It doesn’t really take much effort to be polite (though a scintilla of humility helps, which accounts for Eschenbach’s inability to retreat from his more outrageous rants when he makes them). But don’t worry about hurt feelings. Worry about alienating natural allies. Conservatives are more religious on average than progressives, and it is conservatives who are turning back the tide of the progressive CAGW juggernaut.

      Superfluous anti-religious comments by secular skeptics might make the speaker feel good, but it does nothing to advance their arguments.

      However stupid or anti-science we seem to you, people with religious faith are the majority of the electorate, and we have a massive impact on the culture and economy. Think about it the next time an ambulance takes you or a loved one to a Catholic hospital for treatment, or you send your children to a religious grade or high school because the secular schools in your city are incapable of teaching children to read.

  25. Michael Larkin

    What a strange place the USA is. In general, the more advanced a society in technological terms, the less religious it is. Then there’s another confounder: It’s a huge country with global influence, and yet in some ways it’s so parochial.

    Like Latimer, I’m a Brit and am bemused by this article. Contrast it with the tenor of one recently written by the Australian cardinal, George Pell: http://www.thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/pell-2011_annual_gwpf_lecture.pdf

    Pell has a fair grasp of science, and a critical mind. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with his sceptical views on AGW, plainly he has modern sensibilities and is able to think for himself. Ken Wilson, apparently inured to the need for faith, applies it to AGW – after all, he simply accepts alarmist rubric as if on biblical authority.

    If there are things for which faith is required, science isn’t one of them. My personal view is that there is nothing that requires faith, not excluding matters spiritual. In spirituality no less than in science, one seeks the truth; and if one does not find it, then the object of interest is moot, pending further evidence: it should neither be believed nor disbelieved.

    That said, faith abounds on both sides of the AGW debate. My suspicion that AGW (or at any rate CAGW) is a crock is just that – a suspicion. I haven’t let it degenerate into an article of faith. But as a matter of simple observation, some, be they pro- or anti-, be they ever so technically aware, have become believers. And belief breeds hostility – dissenters are “anti-science” – hardly a loving, Christian sentiment, yet in accord with a worldview that divides humanity into the saved and the damned. Such hostility throttles conversation, which in turn throttles progress.

    If there is one sin that doesn’t seem to be much mentioned in religion, it is impatience. That is, in the current context, the tendency to assert one knows before one actually does or even can – it has a kinship with pride. Ken Wilson is doing himself no favours by asserting he knows the truth of CAGW; because thereby he makes more doubtful any assertions as to the truth of his religious beliefs.

    • Larkin,

      Kinda makes you wonder how we saved your asses from the Germans a couple of times, and kept the Soviets off your asses, until we drove them into bankruptcy.

      • Michael Larkin

        You had John Wayne.

      • John Wayne never served, except as a symbol. Google Medal Of Honor awardees, and you can find a list of some of those to whom you owe thanks.

      • Michael Larkin

        Priceless.

      • Oh, the smugness of the endangered upper-class pommy twit. When are you going to pay up on that Lend-Lease thing?

      • Michael Larkin

        Upper class? I was born in a two-up, two-down terraced house with an outside privvy, in the North of England. You probably wouldn’t be able to understand my spoken dialect, which many an upper class pommie twit has ridiculed.

      • Mikey,

        Then you have acquired great pretensions and little wisdom.

      • Michael Larkin

        Never apologise. It’s a sign of weakness.

      • Mikey,

        I apologize, for whatever I have said that upset you. I was only Joshin’ ya. I actually have a great affinity for you limeys. You make great soldiers. My ancestors lived there for about 6 centuries, 1066 to 1640, or so. Before coming to America our name was spelled Montfort. I think they changed it, to not sound so froggy. But it wasn ‘t frog, it was Norman, who were Vikings. Now don’t make any more dumb cracks about the greatest nation in the history of our planet and I will leave you alone. I like Australians too. I go there often. When the immigration guy screening arriving passengers asks me I have a criminal record, I say, do we still need one?

      • The Don Rickles of Climate Etc.

      • Don’t be bitter, Josh. And no, I am not going to re-read your posts. I have been through enough already.

      • I think I read a few years ago that they completed those repayments.

      • Michael Larkin

        Gosh, Don,

        You didn’t upset me. I enjoy a game of tennis.

  26. The Universe can exist without God, and God can exist without a universe. God exists as a construct in our mind; arises when we have self-awareness and ceases when we die. Science exists as a process that gets revised through our human history & awareness; more recently science took substance with Sir Frances Bacon. There may be evangelical religions as there can be evangelical science. Climate science reflects such an evangelical movement and ethos. Each inhabits disparate worlds of thought, and really never the twain shall meet. There in lies the confusion. Francis Collins can believe in God yet pursue the Human Genome. Whether one describes what one is doing as “revealing the exquisiteness of God’s plan” or just peeling away the onionskin of nature’s complexities matters not. Evangelicalism is a self-described label that confuses the mind into believing there is a dichotomy when, in reality, there is not. Science is just as much a human construct as is God. How comfortable one is in carrying these two independent uncertainties along at the same time, speaks only to one’s self-confidence in living a life without certainty. For me, I can live with both uncertainties and move forward.

    • RiHoo8, when one posts a blog entry, one scans for comments to respond to. Yours caught my eye. Lucky you :)

      Whether the universe can indeed exist without God seems impossible to verify from within the universe (if God is conceived of as a being-presence- force-whatever) who/which is beyond the universe. Of course, it may be so that the universe can exist without God.

      But that’s a quibble. Your first line reminded me of a little Stephen Crane ditty: A man said to the universe, “Sir, I exist!” “That may be,” the Universe replied, “but it creates in me no sense of obligation.”

      The yearning for something in but also beyond the universe that does care about our existence is the impulse behind much religion. It is, I think, an understandable yearning given our frailty. The fact that we are creatures who experience such yearnings in such terms–in light of a universe which we in some sense can be aware of!–does make one wonder if the yearning is to no avail whatsoever. Perhaps not. Perhaps the yearning is a little hint from the universe to keep looking.

      Regarding uncertainty: Living with uncertainty is something believer and skeptic share. Faith is only faith within the context of uncertainty. Any “faith” which says otherwise is mere dogma.

      • “Regarding uncertainty: Living with uncertainty is something believer and skeptic share.”

        Ken, I could not disagree more.

        In my unbelieving, skeptic, atheistic world view, when I flip a coin, I cannot ever know if it will land heads or tails. In a “believer’s” world view, there is an omniscient being that can know if it will land head or tails.

        This is a very fundamental, ontological difference which cannot be bridged — nor should one try.

      • Sorry, but I’m missing the unbridgability. I am the one experiencing the uncertainty, not God. I experience the same uncertainty that you do. The fact that another being may have knowledge that I don’t doesn’t change my state of uncertainty. Does it?

      • But you created “God” because of your inability to accept that the universe is not determined, has no purpose and is not governed by some “diety” greater than yourself.

        You have faith that there is some greather purpose, even if you don’t know what that purpose is.

      • Steven Mosher

        Actually Jim, aetheism, the belief that there is nothing beyond the materialistic world (in one version) , is not skeptical. It states positive knowledge that “god” does not exist. The skeptical position is that one cannot know either way or that the question, “is there anything but the material world” doesn’t make any sense.

        Further, not all religious systems ascribe omniscience to “god”.

      • Actually Steve, an atheist can state that no coherent, non-contradictory definition of God has ever been put forth — rendering any value assigned to the concept as meaningless.

        And yes, there are some sects that tortuously (and apologetically) try and resolve the inherent, illogical contradictions of omniscience, but I’m not buying them either.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Exactly. This used used to be called agnosticism. It is the position that most scientists seemed cluster around. I cringe when a ‘scientist’ declares their atheism – where’s the proof? To me, it’s just another religion.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Max, if it is not clear, I am agreeing with Steven Mosher. :)

      • Jim S yes an athiest could state, wrongly, that no coherent non contradictory definiton of of God has ever been put forth, but that would amount to a statement about what had been done and not what existed or not. So, technically atheisim is an ontological claim and not a statement about language.

        God is a paper cup. There. That’s a coherent non contractory definition.
        So that not what you meant by your claim. You’ll need to be more precise and spend a couple decades studying the problem. But Im patient

      • Jim S,

        What are the inherent, illogical contradictions of omniscience?

      • CAGW is dogma.

      • Yes, I want to be loved and cared for. Yes, I want some powerful being to be concerned with my existence such that its power will intervene on my behalf. Ahhh, that is my earth centric view. What I have found, is that I find love and someone to care for me here on earth and at this time. I really can’t wait for an afterlife that might provide for me. So my timeframe and needs are earth bound and do not rely upon a projection into an uncertain future. Everything about death speaks to its finality; everything ceases for the organism where time has run out. So I make hay while the sun shines and it matters not what comes after, at least for me. When I read climate science, I read skillful obfuscation. When I read climate science, I read Templar Knights waging a rearguard action against an inevitable reality: nature takes its course. An we? We are observers of nature, not protagonists.

    • I look forward to a scientific explanation of “First Cause”. IMO, not even faster-than-light neutrinos will do. Good luck on your quest. :-)

  27. Ken, Most skeptics who blog on this page (and also most warmists, if that is an acceptable term) probably believe as they do because of their understandings of the science. That is probably much less true of the general public. The problem is you, like many, are making an assumption about something that is generally realized as being very uncertain, and becoming more uncertain with more knowledge.
    –And shame on any and all of us if we fall into either category because of religious or political beliefs.
    –An Willis, I have read much that you have written here, at WUWT, and elsewhere. You have always seemed to be very objective and logical.
    Now you choose to write about what is in the minds (and hearts) of people, most of whom you nothing at all. Nor do know of anything we do, have done, or will do. Although I am reluctant to mention this, I was in Cancun at the time of the Science Get Together, drove by armed tanks, to meet with people who have a very different lifestyle than us. I will add that most of all those that I know spend no time talking (or bragging) about what they do
    “in the synagogues or the streets or the internet”
    When overt egos get involved. the purpose is diminished. The same can be said of some (but not all) of the climate science community. They made it about themselves and not the science. In either religion or science, when that happens, it destroys that which it is trying create.

  28. I’m sorry, is this screed from Bill McKibbben under a pseudonym?

    I’m only vaguely a Christian and certainly not an evangelical, but I find the post above to be the kind of bigoted tripe that’s been issued daily and weekly for decades by leftists under the aegis of “progressive” Christian strains.

    Sorry, no sale, At least in my neighborhood of Metro DC the Christians are smart, well-informed, educated, vehemently pro-science, and very clear on the animist anti-science of the CAGW religion.

    I guess this must only apply to the “bigoted Christian hicks” who are not of Northeast or California urban culture.

  29. Willis Eschenbach

    RiHo08 | October 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    The Universe can exist without God, and God can exist without a universe.

    Man, I gotta see the scientific experiment that established that little factoid …

    w.

    • Willis,

      I think you are suffering from the religious belief that “science” can answer all questions, or even all the important ones.

      Andrew

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Bad Andrew | October 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm

        Willis,

        I think you are suffering from the religious belief that “science” can answer all questions, or even all the important ones.

        Andrew

        Thanks, Andrew. I see you think that.

        It’s not true. I hold no belief of that type at all.

        w.

      • Willis,

        OK. But I suspect you have your own set of unscientific beliefs. Welcome to the rest of humanity. Glad you could stoop down this evening and join us. ;)

        Andrew

    • Before there was man, there was a universe; hence, the Universe can exist without God. God is a human contract, we hold it in our mind as long as we are aware. Afterwards, when we have died, the Universe still exists yet our construct of God has died with us. If our construct of God is an omniscient presence our sun and earth will disappear, yet God will remain. The earth centric view is currently all we have, you know Galileo Galilei. Maybe I should wait for another telescope like invention so that I can peer both into the past and future. I am stuck with the empiricism I have today. Factoids are relative, aren’t they?

      • RiHoo8,
        Before there was man, there was a universe; hence, the Universe can exist without God.

        This does not follow. God can exist without man.

        God is a human contract, we hold it in our mind as long as we are aware.

        What are you trying to say? Are you trying to say God is only mental concept and has no reality outside of our consciousness? Really? How do you know that?

        Maybe I should wait for another telescope like invention so that I can peer both into the past and future.

        With a good telescope you can peer into the past now. Google WMAP project and you can see what the universe looked like when it was only 380,000 years old. I’m afraid a telescope that can see into the future will be invented. It would ruin the odds in Vegas.

  30. Willis Eschenbach

    Don Monfort | October 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    I agree with you willis, on the absurdity of the story, as it appears to those of us who won’t believe it. But I would rather live amongst good religious people, of whom there are many, than heathens like you and myself. And yes I will dare say it, I am talking about living amongst good Christians and Jews. If you think that the adherents of those religions invented hatred and strife, you haven’t been around as much, or as long, as I have

    I, like you, would rather live among good people, whether they are Christians or not.

    I don’t see what wanting to live among good people has to do with religion. Everyone wants to live among good people … so what does that prove?

    w.

    • Willis,

      The people who have tried to kill me in my previous lines of work, were either Godless Communists, or of a certain religion that we cannot tell the truth about, to avoid inciting them to further violence. No Christian, or Jew has ever tried to do me serious harm, that I know of. Most of my friends are Christians and Jews. I can’t prove it, but it is my theory that most of the people committing mayhem in our society, and in the world, are not good Christians and Jews. Are you following me on this Willis? I am just playing the percentages. I want Christians and Jews around me and my family.

      I will also add, that most of the Christians and Jews that I know, are not as dogmatic as the more flaming type of atheist, who feel compelled to rail against the evils of religion, and put religious people down as superstitious pinheads.

      I like your writing, and many of your ideas on climate. But you are going overboard with this hyper-reaction to the religion topic. Let them have their thing. All in my very humble opinion, of course.

      • Don,
        You are quite right. Atheists killed hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century, usually under the banner of communism – but atheism was one of the strongest tenets of the communist belief system.

      • The leap you seem to be making, that these governments were evil BECAUSE they were atheist, is not logically supportable.

      • pokerguy,
        I think it follows directly. If a government does not recognize the existence of God, then there is nothing to limit government’s power and no right or wrong except power itself. This is exactly the lesson of communism from history.

      • I’m with Ron, generally speaking.

        Any government that doesn’t acknowledge the omnipotence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is doomed to end up like Russia.

      • That’s all of them, isn’t it? And the UN, too.

      • randomengineer

        The 20th century body count claimed as attributable to “atheist government” being superior to “religious government” is nonsense; this is solely due to modern (usually atheist/agnostic developed) technology, not a lack of moral fibre. In other words give the modern arsenal and population density to medieval christian europe and the resulting death count would be the same. Humans as a rule have enough IQ to fight and kill and maim and torture and rationalise reasons for doing so, but rarely exhibit the requisite IQ to prevent and avoid it. Any claim of christian exception to the human condition is absurd. It’s the stupidity, stupid (to steal one from Clinton…)

        The “look at Stalin’s body count” argument is specious and a diversion bvy christian apologists and has more to do with population density and available weapons moreso than whether Stalin reckoned there was a god.

  31. Don wrote: “I will also add, that most of the Christians and Jews that I know, are not as dogmatic as the more flaming type of atheist, who feel compelled to rail against the evils of religion, and put religious people down as superstitious pinheads.”

    I that that most people… of all stripes… are decent and well-meaning. And of course “the more flaming type of atheist” you mention is going to feel compelled in the manner you describe, just as the more flaming type of religious person ( I think you must agree) is going to feel compelled to rail against non-believers. So what have we gained from your statement?

    My problem is with the evangelist, because it implies a certain potentially dangerous arrogance. The proselytizer by definition believes he or she has the way, the truth, and the light and others need to be shown the error of their ways. All manner of mischief has been known to follow upon this line of reasoning.

    By the way, just because I have a deep mistrust of evangelism, and religion (as an institution,) it does not follow that I am therefore an atheist. I simply have no idea whether there’s a God or not, though I think that if there is one, he’s not the kind of being who’s going to be crucifying his only son. In fact, in my opinion the very notion that God would have a son seems absurd to me.

    But that’s just me. I celebrate the right of all to worship as they like. I just don’t see the need for spreading the word.

    • pokerguy,

      Let’s be practical, and current. Willis is talking about the freaking Crusades, and you are talking about dangerous proselytizing by evangelists, presumably some form of modern day Crusade. That’s BS. The Crusades happened a long time ago. The danger in the world today is not from Christian evangelicals.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Don Monfort | October 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm

        pokerguy,

        Let’s be practical, and current. Willis is talking about the freaking Crusades …

        Actually, I’m talking about being lectured by an evangelical Christian who thinks that if you believe in “climate change” you are “anti-science” … while also noting that he believes in praying for rain. I loved the contrast.

        Where I got into trouble was when I pointed out that what is actually odd is believing that an invisible omnipotent unseen being from another dimension, who knocked up a Jewish virgin and then killed their son two thousand years ago, both actually exists and what’s more, pays the slightest attention to Rick Perry’s pathetic little desires about the weather.

        It was the contrast between that and the idea that disbelief in “climate change” marks one as “anti-science” that prompted my reply.

        From there out, it was lash down the spare sails, wind’s gonna blow …

        w.

      • randomengineer

        The danger in the world today is not from Christian evangelicals.

        Rubbish. While the christians are enjoying the benefits of modern tech provided to them by their agnostic bretheren, the “other” you obliquely allude to are wallowing in a low tech low science world due primarily to a distinct *lack* of healthy agnosticism. Put the shoe on the other foot and the result is close to the same thing. Evangelicals without the benefit of modern society provided for them by agnostic scientists and technologists aren’t inherently any different than mullahs. Different religion. Big deal. Same BS.

  32. Willis Eschenbach

    Michael Larkin | October 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Willis,

    I’m one of your biggest fans, but here you have gone completely overboard. The emphasis of the article is not on Christianity per se – it’s more about one particular Christian’s take on climate science. Whilst I think it legitimate, as I have done in my own posting, to draw parallels between religion and belief in CAGW, it’s not about going off on an unbridled rant about the iniquities of the Christian religion.

    Ah, my lack of clarity strikes again.

    I am pointing out that bringing in an evangelical pastor or elder to lecture us on climate science has huge contradictions on so many levels. I’m tired of being lectured by useful fools. He brings nothing of science to the table, he has drunk the koolaid of AGW … why is he here? What does he add to the discussion? I read his words. I found virtuous platitudes and scientific errors in about equal proportion. He starts out with saying his science advisors bemoans that

    … prominent evangelical presidential candidates are anti-science; Governor Perry of Texas, for example, denies climate change while calling constituents to pray for rain in a time of drought (a predicted effect of climate change.)

    Now, consider his starting position. He’s an evangelical Christian, meaning one of his tasks in life is to bother us with the “good news”. The good news here is, if you “deny climate change”, whatever that might mean in Ken’s head, you are “anti-science”. But presumably all three people (Perry, Ken, and his advisor), believe that telling an unseen being from another dimension of your wishes for rain might be enough to alter the space-time continuum enough to make it rain.

    My point is, the emphasis of the article is on Christianity. He starts by noting that, because of their religion, the three people believe that whispering words in the ear of some never-seen, all-pervasive being can make it rain.

    Normally, I would ignore that. But in this case, that kind of belief is what Ken is talking about. And that’s why I talked about Christianity.

    Hey, I’ve been writing for the web for a while, and I hardly refer to it. I know many people hold beliefs in unseen beings of a whole host of kinds. I do my best to ignore it. But when a scientifically illiterate evangelical Christian is propped up as some kind of example and starts with palpable nonsense, I’ll speak my mind.

    w.

    • Willis,

      That pretty much clears it up for me. Now that you have narrowed your complaint to Wilson’s foolishness, I am with you. What a load of crap. He is a smarter evangelical, than the non-science believing evangelicals. And presumably more virtuous for adhering to the consensus climate science dogma, including the ole precautionary principle. Juvenile nonsense.

  33. This thread was doomed from the start.

    A progressive evangelical begins by crticising other religious who disagree with him as “anti-science,” attempting to lend the moral authority of his “faith” to his political beliefs. It is just another version of an appeal to authority.

    His Obamaesque apologizing for the purported intellectual, and moral, sins of those with whom he disagrees, opened the door for charges of hypocrisy and religious intolerance. His “apology” for others, combined with his disdain for skeptics, invited the response he got from Willis Eschenbach.

    His need to show that even though he is a “pastor,” he is till a good CAGW believing progressive, was an insult to skeptics for whom he has no right to apologize, and was an invitation to similarly dismissive beliefs of others.

    Maybe someday this blog will host a post by someone who is actually religious, and actually conservative, at the same time. But I won’t hold my breath.

    Mr. Wilson should consider apologizing for his own intellectual hubris, and his insult to religious skeptics. Anti-science my a….

    • “Maybe someday this blog will host a post by someone who is actually religious, and actually conservative, at the same time.”

      I volunteer to write such a post. Dr. Curry doesn’t have the stones to take me up on it though. ;)

      Andrew

    • Every religion has these self-haters. The Jews have Michael Lerner. The Catholics have various liberation theology groups. If you go looking, you’ll find them,

  34. John Carpenter

    Well, if there was anything that could erupt as a more volatile subject than politics and climate change… it would be religion.

  35. Nullius in Verba

    I think it’s a shame we seem to have got diverted onto discussing Willis and religion generally, when Ken Wilson’s specific views are more problematic for a different set of reasons.

    The article seems to be trying to reach out to non-religious scientists by slamming evangelists – which seems an odd approach to “building bridges”. You don’t win friends with “The anti-science posture of many Evangelical Christians in the United States is a major reason that we’re sitting idly by while the climate warms, threatening future generations and the vulnerable poor.” or talking of “an electrified fence of resistance to science”. Evangelists are not going to be happy about being told that “some evangelicals don’t read their Bibles enough.” And “I wish I didn’t have to look so hard for some encouraging news for you” is not designed to enhance one’s popularity with them, especially when the good news is that they’re losing power and influence. This is supposed to be bridge building?

    The sentiment that ““I need absolute proof that I’m hurting you” is not a morally responsible response to someone who says, “What you are doing is hurting me.”” can be turned round, of course. What you advocates for action on climate change are doing is hurting me. You want proof? That’s not a morally responsible thing to say. You’re supposed to just roll over and agree with me. This one-sided attitude would appear to demonstrate the truth that “When morality is thrown into the polarized cauldron of a culture war, moral reflection suffers.”

    The closing paragraphs calling for building bridges and reaching out are indeed fine sentiments – but as an atheist scientist I don’t think I’d find the foregoing arguments for listening to evangelists either appealing or persuasive, as a sceptic I don’t appreciate being lumped in once again with anti-evolutionism and the religious, and I can quite see that it would likely annoy evangelists too. So what did it achieve?

    • Ken Wilson’s article strikes me as incongruous too.

      Wilson eschews the “culture war” of Boomer evangelicals while signing up for the same culture war on the side of climate scientists against fellow evangelicals, then preaching the importance of reaching out and building bridges, but clearly not with evangelical skeptics or secular skeptics.

      I am also struck by the title of Wilson’s latest book: Jesus Brand Spirituality: He Wants His Religion Back. Wilson seems to have a habit of complaining that others have appropriated God and Truth for their side as Wilson swoops in to do the same for his side.

  36. Dear Professor Curry,
    I was brought up in a family that said that you should never discuss Politics or Religion. It would be good if the time and passion of the participants here was put into better scoping details of the Uncertainty Monster and a strategy to address uncertainty issues.

    • I remember that old rule, too. Maybe it needs to be updated – never discuss religion, politics or climate science in polite company.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I disagree with this, completely. There is nothing wrong with discussing any topic. That people will have vigorous disagreements doesn’t mean they should be quiet. All that can do is make things worse.

      People should feel free to discuss their views, whatever those may be. The only reason this doesn’t work is because some people choose to ignore basic aspects of civility, and often, nobody stops them. That’s what needs to be changed. Civil discussions can be held about any subject as long as people choose to remain civil.

      Of course, in a forum like this, it’s difficult to enforce civility. Good moderation could accomplish such, but that takes time and effort.

  37. There is nothing anti-science about my feelings re AGW. I am offended on so many levels by AGW, but I continue to support basic science. Where the wheels come off has to do with what ends the science is put to. In the case of AGW, this is when money starts being shiiped by the boatload overseas to governments of questionable reputation to say the least. I heartily object to the anti-science meme that continually riases its ugly head. I doubt there are many, if any denizens of this blog who do not wholeheartedly support basci science and exepnditures on it.

  38. Michael Larkin

    You lacked no clarity, Willis. You lacked restraint. That’s often entertaining and witty in your prose, but IMO not in the present case.

    • Willis is clearly venturing into an area he knows little about. He needs a more scientific approach about this instead of the overly-emotional one.

      Andrew

    • BlueIce2HotSea

      Bad Andrew -

      You may be right. Both Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson implored Thomas Paine not to publish his anti-Christianity manuscripts. Here’s an excerpt from Benjamin Franklin’s letter to Thomas Thomas Paine:

      I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.

      Wikipedia thinks Paine’s anti-Christianity tirades were wildly popular. On the other hand, only five people showed up for Paine’s funeral. The good news for Willis is that people nowadays are more tolerant towards anti-religion bigotry.

      BlueIce

  39. Interesting thread.

    I haven’t read all the comments, but here’s what strikes me so far.

    I find it interesting that people seem surprised by Willis’ comments here, as they are in many ways very similar in nature to many of the posts that writes at WUWT, and to many of the comments that he writes here at Climate Etc.

    I find it interesting that some people seem to find his comments offensive in this specific context but not when he makes similar comments in other contexts.

    I find it interesting that Judith characterizes this comment of Willis’ for being “childish,” or “unnecessary insults” and “generalizations” when many of Willis’ comments and posts at WUWT are notably similar in all three respects – and in fact when I have asked her what her response was to Willis’ similar comments that were directed at other targets.

    It reminds me of the reaction that Willis got at WUWT when he made similar generalizations about Republicans. Selective “concern” about the nature of Willis’ comments were posted at WUWT because many of the readers there -who ordinarily are aligned with Willis’ perspective -identified, instead, that time with the target of his focus.

    For those who find Willis’ post in this thread objectionable, I would ask that you consider that I see nothing about this post of his that is markedly different than any number of other comments he makes here or in his posts at WUWT – with the exception that the specific topic is different, and his invective is targeted toward people who many Climate Etc. readers Identify with, when typically those Climate Etc. readers don’t identify with Willis’ targets.

    I would also add that Willis’ comments in this thread are not entirely dissimilar, in the many of the ways that people seem to be finding objectionable, to the comments made by quite a number of other “denizens.” And remarkably, a number who have comment in this thread in objection to Willis’ comments.

    • Joshua,

      So you are saying that readers should have the same reaction to Willis’ posts, regardless of what the topic is. If he says that he enjoys beating his wife and we generally agree with Willis, then we have to start enjoying beating our wives too. That is just dumb, Josh. Wiliis’ initial posts were rather childish generalizations; painting with a broad brush, as you often do. But when he focused his scorn on the gullibility of the evangelical tool of the secular-left, he made perfect sense. At least in my very humble opinion. Do you share Willis’ opinion of religion and the religious, Josh? If you do, then you have to be in favor of everything else he says. Right?

      • Interestingly, Don, you and I have already discussed my views about religion, to some extent, in the past. You mis-characterized them then, so I see little reason to elaborate any further at this point. The fact that you asked if I shared Willis’ opinions on religion is evidence that you either failed to understand, or deliberately mis-characterized my views previously.

        If you’re really interested in a good-faith discussion, re-read my posts on the topic and come back and demonstrate that you can summarize my views without distortion. Under those circumstances, I’d be more than happy to exchange views going forward.

      • Joshua,

        I was just funnin’ you Josh. Because I had noticed that you inquired about another commenter’s religiousness, in a snide attempt to put him down as a dumb right-wing Christian climate science denier. You and temptttt are the type of birds with two left wings. You can only fly around in circles. I address you this way Josh, because you don’t want to have an honest discussion. You are squandering your intelligence and communication skills. Reminds me of what bankrupt football great George Best said, when asked about what happened to the fortune that he made in his prime: “I spent most of it on booze, cars, and birds. The rest of it I squandered.”

      • I had noticed that you inquired about another commenter’s religiousness, in a snide attempt to put him down as a dumb right-wing Christian climate science denier.

        You don’t yet understand my views on religion. The best I can offer at this point is for you to try re-reading my posts again. Summarize my views without distortion, and I’ll be more than happy to exchange views going forward.

      • Josh,

        You want me to re-read your posts? I might have to take back some of the kind things I have said about you. I really don’t judge anyone by their non-homicidal religious beliefs, although I am a firm non-believer. As I have said on this thread, I like Christians and Jews. Maybe Buddhists too. I don’t know any well. I have some Muslim friends over to the house often for dinner, but I don’t let them use knives. My wife’s maiden name is Cohen, and after 20 years together she still accuses me of being anti-semitic, if I don’t compliment her appearance every twenty-minutes. So you can keep your religious beliefs to yourself, or talk about it. I am tolerant of benign religion, if not much else.

      • Don Monfort,

        You must admit that Joshua as learned.

        He has refused your bait. His response was proper.

        I now see you were “funniying him”.

        And then you talk about having an honest discussion.

        Joshua does not want an honest discussion, according to you.

        To have an honest discussion, we should follow your path, I presume.

        If you want an honest discussion with Joshua, I could suggest you discuss his

        > snide attempt to put him down as a dumb right-wing Christian climate science denier.

        I’m not sure you have proven your case. In fact, I believe you present it as to be beyond discussion. You have seen through Joshua, and his snide attempt is fatal. You just can’t have a discussion because of this snide attempt you take for granted.

        So instead you are funnying him.

        Have you lost faith into your teaching powers, Don Montfort?

      • willard –

        I’ve been thinking (unusual, I know) a bit about the nature of my assertion that Don “misinterpreting” my comments is his responsibility and contrasting that with my argument that despite Willis trying to blame “misunderstanding” of his comments on other people, in reality the responsibility lies with him.

        In American/English spoken discourse, the onus of clear communication lies on the speaker/writer. I like the expression, in writing, of “writer responsible prose.” With other cultures/languages, the onus for reaching clarity (particularly those with a more hierarchical social structure as in many Asian countries) falls more on the listener/reader.

        Given my culture/language, my first reaction when I feel that something I’ve written has been misunderstood, is to accept responsibility for the confusion and to attempt to to clarify my meaning. Sometimes multiple efforts for clarification are necessary.

        Willis, on the other hand, routinely assumes that when he feels he has been misunderstood, it is the reader who is at fault. He feels this way even when, as we see with this thread, quite a number of intelligent and rational people (let’s say Judith, as one example), interpret his writing in a way he feels is inaccurate or unfair. IMO, it speaks to lack of accountability for what he writes (and implies that all of his writing, no matter the topic, should be viewed in that light).

        But anyway, back to Montford (who no doubt is reading this because he’s still following me around like a puppy with a hard-on). Even when I have tried to clarify my views on religion to him multiple times – after he summarized them in ways that I felt were in contrast to what I wrote – he persists in his “misunderstanding.” So it becomes clear in that case that the problem is not in my writing, but either in his ability to comprehend (which I doubt) or his intent (most likely, I guess is that he has no interest in understanding my views and a good-faith discussion, but only in attacking my views because of our differing political orientation).

        And yet, despite being unable to comprehend what I write, or having any real intent in understanding what I write, Don continues to ask me about my views on religion (or other issues), and then laughably claims that he doesn’t really care (after asking me those questions).

        I can recall that he has told me that he’s “done with [me],” or that what I write is beneath his interest, multiple times. Yet he still chases me around threads like a puppy with a hard-on.

        Curious fellow, that Don Monford.

      • Joshua,

        The simplest explanation of Don behavior is that he’s bullying. He has taken you as his boy for his own whipping pleasures.

        If you stopped saying things that create that behavior, he’d stop, as he said to Michael Larkin.

        Notice how he framed it: Michael Larkin Made Him Do It.

        Perhaps he knows from experience the success of pedagogical retaliation void of rational content.

      • I have no wish to make him stop, Willard.

        It’s fun to watch him jump through the hoops I hold up.

        It’s rather like the enjoyment I get when I tell my dog to sit and she follows my instructions. Not a big deal, but fun nonetheless.

      • You two boys need to get a room.

      • Was this latest snide meant for me and Joshua, Don?

        You promised to ignore me, Don.

        Perhaps I was wrong to believe in your promise, Don.

      • You promised to ignore me, Don.

        He’s promised the same to me, many times. Obviously, he can’t help himself.

        It’s useful. Use it to manipulate him like I do.

      • Joshua,

        You already know where I stand regarding Goblins. This applies to Goblin Kings too.

        More focus would save you lots of energy.

        More focus would gain you allies.

        You have better things to do than to manipulate Goblins or Goblin Kings.

      • Don Montfort,

        I predicted you’d be the first to teach Willis a good lesson in manners.

        It does seem that I was wrong.

        You’re here instead, chatting again with Joshua.

        Joshua has a point here. (If Willis wants quotes, Willis will have quotes.)

        Instead of conceding that he has a point, and that Willis’ first post is what you can read from Willis at Tony’s, you prefer to say that Willis makes sense when he’s bashing the left.

        And then you switch the focus of the discussion on Jushua himself.

        I hope you do you realize that by asking about Joshua’s opinion on religion you are not addressing the the topic of Jushua’s comment. You simply are changing the subject. You simply are committing a tu quoque. You are using a trick.

        This is a fallacy, Don Montfort. Do you want to teach immature debaters fallacies, Don Montford?

        Ah, I now see your point. You want to test Joshua. You want to bait him, to see if he’ll accept the switch.

        Very pedagogical, Don Montford!

      • willard,

        Thanks for the publicity, willard. But try to spell the name correctly. Please excuse me if I don’t respond to any more of your pointless annoyances. I don’t have time to train everybody. At least Josh has got potential.

      • I sincerely apologize for having spelled your name the way your ancestors did, Don. We might share some ancestors, by the way.

        I don’t mind if you stop targetting me with these unresponsive jests of yours, Don. Yet again, you have yet to answer anything I raised, your latest tu quoque for instance.

        I suppose we’ll let the audience decide what this is supposed to mean, shall we?

    • Joshua: “I find it interesting that some people seem to find his comments offensive in this specific context but not when he makes similar comments in other contexts.”

      Yes, the difference is rather glaring. When the vitriol is directed against one’s enemies, it always feels so much more justified and “right” than when it’s directed against ourselves.

      Often the people who cheer the loudest when their champion is smiting the evildoers become the most offended when the champion turns his attentions towards his allies.

      The charismatic individual has the potential to cause a lot of grief to a group, but usually only if they have gathered a following within the group. That doesn’t seem to be happening here, not yet at least.

    • As a friend of Willis who disagrees with him about science I find his comments above to be objectionable. I found his comments about republicans to be objectionable, comments about Judith, comments about Muller.. heck, every time Willis talks negatively about a group or individual this person comes out that i don’t really recognize. Quite different from the genial dinner companion I know, quite different from the kind soul who has offered his help those I would help ( charity work).

      For me it comes down to who I want to defend, not who deserves a defense, but where I choose to spend my time. When he goes off on Judith, I’ll spend some time. When he went off on Jones, I spent some time. Going off on republicans.. Im not gunna waste my time, others can. He goes off on Christians, not gunna waste my time, others can. I do believe I also defended Muller when he went off on him. I’m not convinced you can conclude anything from how people respond selectively to Willis’ rants.
      Well you can try, but its largely just speculation to make some point that is probably better supported by other evidence

      • “For me it comes down to who I want to defend, not who deserves a defense, but where I choose to spend my time.”

        Hmm. Interesting.
        It seems to me that describes politics.
        I don’t think Willis or Judith needs my defense.
        I don’t anyone posting needs it. Nor any public figure.
        Not sure I know how I would do this exactly if I wanted to.
        I appreciate what Willis and Judith do.
        I think they serving the public interest. And it’s nice
        they find enough time to do this and are willing to brave
        the storm.

      • not politics at all for me

  40. My take on the claim that religion has caused wars etc,no it hasn’t.man has.It’s always been man,it will always be man,no matter what excuse is used for the atrocities.Some of the christian teachings filtered through to us over the centuries,otherwise we would be living in societies that care nothing for fellow man.For me,even though I am not a christian,christianity has been a force for the good.
    Christ was the man,he inspired the good,mythical or not,I am glad his teachings are still practised in our countries.
    Not so sure about God.Awful man at the start,but went through an epiphany,and realised how awful he had been.hehe
    Joshua I find his comments totally different to what he writes at WUWT.His hatred of christianity shines through.
    He doesn’t hate you,he doesn’t hate me,he hates the idea of christianity.

    • Noelene,

      His posts at WUWT are often have similarly insulting comments. Within the last week or so, he’s written posts with insults directed at Hanson, Muller, and the BEST team. Read his post about hitchhiking and the comments in response.

      Same style, same level of vitriol, same propensity for distortions and inaccurate generalizations, same conclusions drawn without sufficient evidence that you’ll see in the majority of his posts and comments.

      I would suggest that the reason why you find them totally different is not the quality of the thinking evidenced or the rhetoric, but because you feel differently about the target. Perhaps you think his typical target is “deserving” of his insults, and accordingly don’t recognize the similarities in his comments here. Some might think the target of his comments in this thread are “deserving.” But that doesn’t change the quality of his rhetoric or his thinking.

  41. I have almost nothing to say. I’m done.

  42. Judith,

    This post is actually non-spiritual in any rational sense.

    John

  43. Interesting article.

    I’ve never really understood the allure of religion and certainly do have mixed feelings. On the one hand its hard to be too anti-religious when you see religious groups being among the first to lend a hand when others are in difficulty. On the other, it hard not to be anti-religious when its the cause of so much division in the world and we see the antics of the most extreme of the right wing Christian evangelicals and religious fundamentalists of all kinds.

    It tempting to bait the most obnoxious of evangelical types, Richard Dawkins style, and I must admit I’ve probably crossed the line at times. It’s probably counter productive. If those of an evangelical persuasion wish to align themselves with 21st century science, they should be welcomed, even if they might have some odd ideas about wanting to protect “God’s creation”.

    • Some people enjoy and benefit from believing that their life has a purpose. I think it’s good as long as it works for them and doesnt hurt me.

      If willis told me he believed in the great pumpkin I have no issue with that as long as he doesnt knock on my door with great pumpkin literature, pass laws to prevent pumpkin eating, and if it doesnt make him miserable, cause he’s my friend and I hate to see him suffer.

  44. tempt,

    It is interesting that you have singled out the most extreme of the right-wing Christian evangelicals. Worst example you could think of? Can you give us an estimate on the size of that group, and describe the ten worst things that they have done to you, lately? I haven’t had any problems with them. Did they mug you or something?

  45. As for this man commenting on climate science,I don’t see the point,as I am not a christian I don’t pay any attention to what he says,he’s a preacher,not a scientists.I would ask him a few questions,like did God give man the power to see the future?
    Not being a scientist why did you choose to believe a particular scientist over another?Why believe Jones etc as opposed to Linzden etc?
    Isn’t it a matter of who you believe,not what you believe?
    How do you reconcile the cutting back of fossil fuels with the poverty and death for some that leads to?
    Nobody gets asked hard questions.I notice Judith does sometimes on this blog,often she chooses not to answer.
    Silence speaks volumes.

  46. Tell me if you dare,
    Whose spirituality
    Stampedes herd human?
    ==========

  47. Religion and the science of climate change……..Hmmmm. It occurs to me that just like religion and the science of evolution they have nothing to do with each other.

  48. No Joshua that is not it,I have read the threads on hitchiking,I was flamed by him on that thread,his insults were mild compared to what he has written here.I don’t care if Willis attacks religion,I am well aware that some people hate it with a vengeance(you included,I’m guessing)you may have a point about Muller,but he was reacting to what the BEST team had done to Anthony(let’s not argue about that,just agree to differ)maybe Muller deserved it,you think not,I think he deseved criticism.Keep your head down,he may react to our posts,he may ignore us,if he reacts,it will be cutting,but it can only be cutting if you allow it to be.

  49. Ken Wilson”..we’re sitting idly by while the climate warms, threatening future generations and the vulnerable poor…”

    Another faith based believer in that old time religion of AGW with “the science is settled”

  50. Willis Eschenbach

    Noelene | October 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    He doesn’t hate you,he doesn’t hate me,he hates the idea of christianity.

    Thanks, Noelene. That is not true. First, hate is far too strong a word. There are some things I do hate, but Christianity is far, far from being on the list.

    I find it curious and bizarre that in the year 2011, people believe that an invisible omnipotent being from another dimension cares enough about them personally, them individually, that the being is constantly listening out for them to state their desires. Not only that, but they believe the being from another dimension not only listens to them, but occasionally grants their wishes, sometimes in defiance of the ordinary laws of probability.

    I have no problem with you believing that, Noelene. That’s your choice. However, I’m not blind to the damage done by your and similar beliefs. You guys who believe that kind of stuff about various invisible beings from another dimension often tend to get fanatical about them, and try to convince people to believe as you do, and to argue about who the being is and what the being wants, and whether the other person is really following the being’s instructions … and far too often, that leads to bad feelings, disagreements, schisms, splits in the church, and at the fringes, inter-and intra-religion violence. Sunnis and Shiites killed each other for fourteen freaking centuries, noelene … and it’s still going on today.

    Even when it doesn’t cause damage, it’s not science. Belief in an invisible all-powerful being from another dimension who is always listening out for you to ask it for some boon? An invisible companion of yours who sometimes grants your wishes if you ask from your heart? Really?

    Aaaaaah … OK, I finally get it, the little light bulb comes on. It must be hard for scientists, I never really thought about that. It must be hard, and that explains what to me is huge over-reaction against my words. It must be difficult to be reminded of the absurdity of the belief in an invisible being fulfilling your wishes, when IRL you’re a scientist. You would never say “an invisible being put their thumb on the scales in my scientific experiment, that’s why it didn’t work”. And yet, and yet … you also believe in an invisible being with a thumb on the scales …

    Must be hard. But dang it … that’s why you’re scientists …

    w.

    • It must be hard, and that explains what to me is huge over-reaction against my words.

      Willis – do you ever tire of blaming others for that which is your responsibility?

    • Reading what passes for Christian theology in Willis Eschenbach’s fevered brain is like reading the musings of Yasir Arafat on on the the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    • Willis,

      You seem to think that science and religion cannot co-exist. There have been many famous scientists, who were religious. Wasn’t Newton a Christian? Not Huey, he was Jewish, the other Newton. What about Galileo? He was a Christian, right? He damn well had to be, Willis. So don’t say Christianity and science can’t go hand-in-hand. What about the Christian Scientists, and the Scientologists? Come on Willis, Lighten up.

      • Scientologists??????

      • You are not from around here, are you Jim. Church of Scientology, Jim. They are called Scientologists. Hello! Tom Cruise, John Travolta. I am pretty sure that both of them have played scientists in the movies. You need to get out more, Jim S. Haven’t you ever been in a supermarket checkout line?

      • Sorry Don, didn’t pick up on the sarc.

  51. I recently accumulated a series of quotes from scientists about their beliefs about the possibility of God and his design of the universe and the planet. It makes for interesting reading. These are not all evangelical Christians, in fact, I’m not sure any of them are, they are scientists. But if you read the quotes, I think you will agree that they do not think it unreasonable to believe in the existence of God or of God’s design.

    My own opinion is that it is incredibly arrogant to assume one knows everything necessary to conclude God does not exist, especially when there is so many great scientists see evidence of His design in the universe. The mere fact the universe had a beginning is compelling evidence that it had a cause.

    Quotes on the Cosmos and the Hand of God

    I find it improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something rather than nothing.
    - Alan Sandage, Winner of the Crawford Prize in Astronomy

    My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
    - Albert Einstein

    A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.
    - Sir Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and cosmologist

    Science wants to know the mechanism of the universe, religion the meaning. The two cannot be separated. Many scientists feel there is no place in research for discussion of anything that sounds mystical. But it is unreasonable to think we already know enough about the natural world to be confident about the totality of forces.
    - Charles Townes, 1964 Nobel Prize winner in Physics

    I belong to the group of scientists who do not subscribe to a conventional religion but nevertheless deny that the universe is a purposeless accident. Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute force. There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation. Whether one wishes to call that deeper level “God” is a matter of taste and definition.
    - Paul Davies, The Mind of God

    What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to govern? … Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question: Why does it bother to exist? I don’t know the answer to that.
    - Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes

    I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
    - Galileo

    After close on two centuries of passionate struggles, neither science nor faith has succeeded in discrediting its adversary. On the contrary, it becomes obvious that neither can develop normally without the other. And the reason is simple: the same life animates both. Neither in its impetus nor its achievements can science go to its limits without becoming tinged with mysticism and charged with faith.
    - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man

    Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect deliberate… It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect… higher intelligences… even to the limit of God.
    - Sir Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and cosmologist

    There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all … It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. … The impression of design is overwhelming.
    - Paul Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint

    Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”) plan.
    - Arno Penzias, Nobel Prize winner in physics

    As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?
    - George Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe

    If the mass of the neutrino were not precisely tuned, there would be no Earth-like planets and hence no life as we know it. We are indeed the children of stardust, stardust powered on its journey through the cosmos on the wind of neutrinos.
    - Sharon Begley, The Hand of God

    The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.
    - Albert Einstein

    I find it difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science. And there is certainly no scientific reason why God cannot retain the same relevance in our modern world that He held before we began probing His creation with telescopes, cyclotron and space vehicles.
    - Wernher von Braun, Creation: Nature’s Design and Designer

    It was clear in the 1970s that some very basic features of the universe remained completely unexplained – indeed, they were positively mysterious. First, and most obvious, was the problem of what actually caused the big bang. A related question was why the big bang was just that big, rather than bigger or smaller: what, precisely, determined its oomph? Then there was the puzzle of why the large-scale geometry of the universe is flat and the related mystery of why the total mass-energy of the universe is indistinguishable from zero. But the biggest puzzle of all concerned the extraordinary uniformity of the universe on a grand scale, as manifested in the smoothness of the CMB radiation. As I have pointed out, on a scale of billions of light-years the universe looks pretty much the same everywhere. And similar remarks apply to the expansion: the rate is identical in all directions and, as best we can tell, in all cosmic regions. All these features were completely baffling in the 1970s, yet they are all crucial for creating a universe fit for life. For example, a bigger bang would have dispersed the cosmological gases too swiftly for them to accumulate into galaxies. Conversely, had the bang been not so big, then the universe would have collapsed back on itself before life could get going. Our universe has picked a happy compromise: it expands slowly enough to permit the galaxies, stars, and planets to form, but not so slowly as to risk rapid collapse.
    - Paul Davies, Cosmic Jackpot

    We know the universe is expanding… In the past it was smaller. If we run the expansion in reverse for 13.7 billion years, then the ball shrinks to a single point, a single, sizeless dot. And then …? Nothing. The ball has vanished! Play the sequence forward, and the universe appears from nothing at a single point, balloons out, and eventually expands to cosmic proportions. Now, let’s consider what is meant by “nothing” in the foregoing description. Clearly it is empty space. If this account captures the essential manner in which the universe came into existence, then we are left with a puzzle. Why should a ball of matter suddenly appear out of nowhere, at some particular moment in time and at some particular location in preexisting empty space, when this event has not happened for all eternity up to that moment? What would cause it to happen, and happen just then just there? There is no satisfactory answer.
    - Paul Davies, Cosmic Jackpot

    I described the singularity in the movie-in-reverse account as “the vanishing point” of the universe. But why did it have to vanish? Could the singularity not have just sat there? In forward-time description, there would be a singularity – think of a point of infinite density if you like, a structureless, sizeless cosmic egg – existing for all eternity, when suddenly it went “bang!” In that case, what came before the big bang would no longer be “nothing;” it would be “a singularity.” Some popular accounts of the origin of the universe promulgate this dubious notion. However, it won’t do. The theory of relativity links space and time together to form a unified spacetime. You can’t have time without space, or space without time, so if space cannot be continued back through the big bang singularity, then neither can time. This conclusion carries a momentous implication. If the universe was bounded by a past singularity, then the big bang was not just the origin of space, but the origin of time too. To repeat: time itself began with the big bang. This neatly disposes of the awkward question of what happened before the big bang. If there was no time before the big bang, then the question is meaningless. In the same way, speculation about what caused the big bang is also out of place because causes normally precede effects. If there was no time (or place) before the big bang for a causative agency to exist, then we can attribute no physical cause to the big bang.
    - Paul Davies, Cosmic Jackpot

    Either the cosmic origin is a natural event, or it is a supernatural event. (By the latter, I mean that it has no complete explanation from within science alone.) But with what justification can we declare it to be a natural event if it has happened only once? A natural event is one that can happen in conformity with the laws of nature with a probability greater than zero. Which is a careful way of saying that if a universe can pop into existence from nothing, thanks to the laws of physics, it can do so again… and again. As the Canadian philosopher John Leslie has pointed out, it would be exceedingly odd if the physical process behind the creation event bore the label THIS MECHANISM OPERATED ONLY ONCE. In other words, whatever physical theory one may invoke to describe the origin of the universe, that same theory describes the origin of many universes – indeed, of a limitless number of universes. As it happens, just such a theory stems from the inflationary scenario.
    - Paul Davies, Cosmic Jackpot

    • Thanks, Ron, great quotes.

      The idea that God became the Universe removes much of the criticism of the criticism that God made the Universe.

      In my opinion, the Great Reality that surrounds and sustains us is what religionists call God and scientists call Cosmos or Universe.

      • Correction: The idea that God became the Universe removes much of the criticism of the concept that God made the Universe.

      • Actually Oliver, to think the creator becomes the creation is muddle-headed. It doesn’t happen. The potter doesn’t become pottery. The poet doesn’t become the poem. The playwright doesn’t become the play… although he may become a player.

    • After reading the quotes and letting settle them on the mind a little, I think it might be helpful to add some deductive reasoning to what we have learned from our scientific observations.

      Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
      The universe began to exist.
      Therefore, the universe has a cause.

      Timespace did not exist without the universe
      Timespace began as the universe began and has the same cause
      The cause of timespace must be outside of timespace
      Therefore, the cause of timespace is eternal and immaterial.

      Does anyone have a problem with the logic so far?

    • Ron, I do not personally accept the validity of your statement:

      “The mere fact the universe had a beginning is compelling evidence that it had a cause.”

      Observations suggest that the Universe that is both infinite and cyclic, without any beginning in time or space.

      The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)

      http://journalofcosmology.com/BigBang102.html

      The Great Reality is called God by religionists.
      The Great Reality is called Universe by scientists.
      I.e., the “Universe” or “Cosmos” is simply “God.”

      • Oliver, there are no observations suggesting the universe is cyclic. As far as we know, there has only been one big bang. It is true that some have surmised the universe might be cyclic, but observations show this idea and your article not to be a viable hypothesis.

        The rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating, a discovery worthy of a Nobel Prize. See http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2011/

  52. A far more mature Christian perspective on climate change can be found here: http://thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/pell-2011_annual_gwpf_lecture.pdf NB pdf file.

    • Thanks, Alex, for the link.

      I was pleased to see that some religious leaders are awake to the dangers of dogmatic science.

      Many scientists seem overly sensitive to dogmatic religionists – seemingly unaware of their resemblance to close-minded, dogmatic scientists.

  53. I don’t believe anything Willis.I know that people need to believe in something,religion is a good choice.Given a choice between following a man like Hitler or following a man like Christ,Christ wins.Simple as that for me.I don’t have to worship Christ,I just recognise the good he brought to the world.Man being man there will always be fakes,who are in it for the money,kinda like science,No?

  54. Many scientists seem overly sensitive to dogmatic religionists – seemingly unaware of their resemblance to close-minded, dogmatic scientists.
    Agree Oliver.
    Judith is whispering in my ear telling me to believe,believe in science,it has all the answers, I choose to believe there is no answers,just questions.

  55. Examining any issue via logical syllogistic s completely is impossible We all make assumptions in every issue. It’s how humans learn to survive .If a ballplayer had to think about the countless actions his body has to perform to hit a ball he would be overwhelmed. Imagine if you had to consider the placement of each finger on the bat, the exact angle of each limb and on and on. It’s called muscle memory but it’s really a path worn in the neuro synapses. It helps us survive but the same process effects us in how we perceive political , scientific and ethical issues. The same process can also hinder us, hence it is very difficult to correct a defective golf swing or an addiction. I know in my own case I’m on the conservative side of the spectrum and when I read anything from a liberal democrat my first impulse is to reject it. Now I could be wrong but my impression of Willis is that as smart as he is, and he is brilliant, he suffers from an ingrained assumption when it concerns Christianity, especially the evangelical side. But here he is mistaken. First most suffering and violence in the world is not about religion. Violence is almost always about land, resources or control. Certain systems do perpetuate a higher frequency of mass violence and control. I would submit that societies that promote individual freedom and responsibility find less need for violence to control the masses. Christianity has evolved and today largely supports these ideals. Finally this notion that Timothy McVeigh was evangelical Christian is false. Really it’s dubious to call him a Christian since he at certain times professed agnostic views but he was certainly not evangelical. But when you’ve heard the fallacy repeated over and over by people equating religious conservatives to terrorists and your synapses have been engrained with this picture it’s easy to understand why it is accepted.

    • chuckr –

      he suffers from an ingrained assumption when it concerns Christianity,

      Perhaps.

      But it’s interesting that you describe a complicated dynamic that underlies the process of all opinion formation – a process of worn pathways amongst neural networks – yet conclude that Willis’ opinion formation processes are categorically different in one context than they are in the next.

      You think he is “brilliant.” Indeed, he has boasted of his IQ (FWIW, I think that IQ is a limited measure in only one domain of cognition), but let me ask you this: What % of Climate Etc.’s “denizens” might have predicted rather precisely the kind of reaction Willis would get from his post? Yet Willis says that in his opinion, the response he has gotten from many is an “over-reaction.” I would say that the response he has received is directly proportional to the over-generalizations, insulting tone, and simplistic reasoning contained in his comments. Very easily predictable. Particularly when you consider that this is far from the first time that Willis has written comments and posts that share many characteristics with his contributions on this thread, only to later say that the reactions were misinterpretations of his intended meaning or “over-reactions.” I find it tough to understand how someone who is “brilliant” would be so unaware of likely consequence from cause. What is it they say about doing the same thing repeatedly and always expecting a different outcome?

      Now you say that Willis is “brilliant,” no doubt because you are impressed with his analysis on other issues – but I would suggest that his opinion-formation displayed on this thread is characteristic of his opinion-formation more generally. Maybe he is “brilliant” and just has a particular blind spot to what is (most likely)obvious to the vast majority of Climate Etc.’s readers (that his comments would prove offensive to many), but then his “brilliance” is rather remarkably narrow in scope.

      Another possibility is that he’s “brilliant,” but cares not a bit about who he might offend. I have read him attribute negative reactions to his writing to his upbringing on a ranch, where he learned (paraphrasing), John-Wayne-and-macho-like, to be bold in his statements and to let pantywasted, overly-sensitive people who are offended by his brave willingness just endure their reactions borne out of lesser-enlightenment. But I know people who have grown up on ranches who consider common courtesy to be a foundational attribute..

      Or consider that he’s not as “brilliant” as you think, and the facile reasoning you see in this thread is characteristic of his reasoning more generally. Consider that, perhaps, the next time you read his diatribes about “media whores” and his stream of personal insults against scientists whose analysis he disagrees with. Just maybe his writings on climate science are no better reasoned than his writings on religion – the product of the same habits of mind?

      • Joshua’s mentor:

      • Very instructive.

        I see that teaching Joshua a lesson is an ongoing process.

      • Most every thing you say is true. I have read similar comments from Wills in the past so this is not a total shock to me. My point about the processes of the mind is that we all are tremendously influenced by these worn pathways, sometimes we are self aware but mostly not. There is no amount of “brilliance” that can totally overcome this. And it is true my perception of Willis’s “brilliance” is coincidentally related to my agreement with his opinion. My regard for your intelligence has increased per this thread, I wonder why? I suppose “brillant” can be a somewhat relative term. I probably should have not used it in this case.

      • chuckr-

        My regard for your intelligence has increased per this thread, I wonder why?

        lol! And suddenly my regard for your intelligence increased once I read that comment.

        Amazing, isn’t it?

      • Joshua,

        You say:

        > Another possibility is that [Willis is] “brilliant,” but cares not a bit about who he might offend.

        Here is what he says:

        > [W]hen a scientifically illiterate evangelical Christian is propped up as some kind of example and starts with palpable nonsense, I’ll speak my mind.

        Here you go. Willis only speaks his mind.

        I’ll let others judge Willis’ mind, including Willis himself.

      • I read somewhere that Feynman’s IQ was 126, which on a good day for me is darn near 30 points higher than mine.

      • Oh, and Joshua:

        Do you happen know Richard Feynman’s IQ?

  56. Carbon dogma is bad news for the environment.

  57. Ken Wilson

    Thank you for your contributions.

    I have fond memories of Ann Arbor seem to recall the appropriate greeting is Go Blue!

    Fascinating how accurately you pegged the war culture behaviors that emerged so immediately and spectacularly in the thread among those of a certain generation.

    I’ll take that as evidence you have more interesting things to say.

    That’s pretty much they highest praise I offer a person, short of remarking that their scientific reasoning appears valid.

  58. Willis Eschenbach

    Noelene | October 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    .

    … Keep your head down,he may react to our posts,he may ignore us,if he reacts,it will be cutting,but it can only be cutting if you allow it to be.

    Indeed, keep your head down, for I am Willis the Merciless, and you should hope that my all-seeing eye passes over you and skewers some other hapless victim …

    Really? I think you’re taking this a bit too seriously, Noelene.

    I think your belief in an invisible being from another dimension that occasionally grants your wishes is a superstition well past its use-by date.

    My question to you, and to the others is … so what? Has no one ever mentioned to you that some people think it’s a superstition? Is it a social faux pas to mention that?

    Indeed, why is the whole roomful of people so upset, when all that has happened is that a guy on the web has said that what they believe is an outdated superstition?

    Like I said … the type of folks that believe in various invisible beings from another dimension tend to be a touchy crew, willing to do me verbal violence for suggesting their beliefs might make them prone to violence …

    Dang, I thought you guys were Christians, what’s with the abuse? What ever happened to “love your enemies, it’ll drive them nuts”? I believe that, and I’m not a Christian …

    w.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Indeed, why is the whole roomful of people so upset, when all that has happened is that a guy on the web has said that what they believe is an outdated superstition?

      Of course that is all that happened. All you said in this comment is people believe in an outdated superstition. Nothing else.

    • Willis: the type of folks that believe in various invisible beings from another dimension tend to be a touchy crew, willing to do me verbal violence for suggesting their beliefs might make them prone to violence …

      As it happens, whenever I want to increase traffic on my non-climate blog all I have to do is write about atheists.

      Why…the type of folks that don’t believe in any kind of spirituality tend to be a touchy crew, willing to do me verbal violence for suggesting their beliefs might make them prone to violence …

      ps this perfect mirroring between the arch-Atheists and the holier-than-thou obsessed people of Faith applied more often than, I am sure, Willis and several of the commenters here will ever admit.

      • I’m with you Maurizo. I find the behavior of those who fervently believe in atheism every bit as emphatic, emotional, and yes even irrational, as those who believe in spiritual deities. I know Willis personally and now I must live in fear. Please don’t hurt me Willis, I promise to introduce you to Misti next time!

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Dang, CTM, that’s a great deal! Heck, I’ll go you one better. You can be my High Priest, and I’ll promise not to hurt anyone on this thread, if they’ll just leave offerings of food and money with my High Priest. Is that a brilliant plan or what? Yes, I know it’s not a new plan, it’s the plan of many religions, but I’m willing to stand on the shoulders of giants …

        So what say, Charles, we’ll go with a three way split of the food and money, you, me, and of course our High Priestess Misti. Pony up the bucks, thread inhabitants, or you’re all going to Heck!

        w.

      • Sigh, by the time all High Priestesses are cut in, there will be naught but crumbs left for for us Willis. That is the one universal truth.
        However, the phone lines ARE open and operators are standing by.
        CALL NOW!
        555-555-5555

      • Willis Eschenbach

        charles the moderator | October 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

        Sigh, by the time all High Priestesses are cut in, there will be naught but crumbs left for for us Willis. That is the one universal truth.

        Tru dat …

        However, the phone lines ARE open and operators are standing by.
        CALL NOW!
        555-555-5555

        I thought the area code for the project was 666 …

        w.

    • Willis,
      Your belief that religion is an outmoded superstition flies in the face of many scientific observations which indicate the universe had a beginning. In short, you have to reject the standard cosmology to believe otherwise.

      I simply don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. It flies in the face of all the evidence.

    • Willis, if you want to play Chris Hitchens/Pat Condell, at least do what those two have done, and learn your world religions. You’re sounding more like Charles Johnson, and that’s pretty bad.

  59. Willis

    You talk sense. Don`t ever be discouraged (not that you would) by the volume of opposing views. There are too few plain speaking folk about and more than enough obfuscation in science without the cloudiness of one sort or another of “toothfairyism”.

    Well done! Keep it up…

    and thanks

    Dave G

  60. I’m with Willis E on this one.

    If I told you that I thought Grimm’s Fairy Tales were true, you’d probably laugh, or recommend that I seek help.

    But some of the stories that Christians believe are equally daft. They tend not to strike us as odd because we are so familiar with them. Worshipping statues of someone being slowly tortured to death on a piece of wood seems pretty normal to us because we’re so used to it. The idea that some bloke’s painful death helps us in some sort of metaphysical fashion doesn’t strike us as being grotesque (or barmy), because it’s a common idea in the society that we have grown up in.

    It’s a real puzzle to me why so many Americans are so religious.

    • Latimer Alder

      Its a real puzzle to me why anybody from any nation is religious at all.

    • John Carpenter

      “It’s a real puzzle to me why so many Americans are so religious.”

      No puzzle at all. Look at the early europeans pioneers that settled here. Many left europe because of religious dogma and corruption. They were seeking religious freedom… freedom from persecution from the power of the catholic church. Freedom to interpret the bible as they saw it. Freedom to question, freedom from servitude. The ‘new’ world offered them the perfect escape. Many ‘new’ versions of christianity sprang out of the new found freedom. Having a religious choice was a new concept and it flourished. No puzzle why Americans ended up being so religious when you study the history of this country.

      • John C:

        “Having a religious choice was a new concept and it flourished. No puzzle why Americans ended up being so religious when you study the history of this country.”

        I’m not sure I quite get the argument. People are more religious because they have more religious freedom? People are more religious because they have more flavours of religion to choose from? I don’t quite see how that follows.

    • You seems to absorbed that CAIR fairy tale about Muslims inventing algebra, when they simply expropriated it from the Hindus. Everybody has their fairy tales.

      • I have no idea what CAIR is, and I don’t care. (Geddit?? :))

        I was saying that the Muslim world was in may ways more mathematically and scientifically advanced than Western Europe during the Middle Ages. And the absorption of that knowledge from Arabia was an important element in the genesis of the Renaissance. Being a cosmopolitan and learned people, I’m sure that Muslim society had in turn accumulated knowledge from many places and influences.

  61. Willis – you agreed with Bob K on this:

    What you have identified is not something specific to a belief system, but something that is inherent to the social behavior of human beings.

    However, that pretty much invalidates your idea that religion would be the cause of hateful behavior by people against people.

    If there hadn’t been religion, or communism, or the Tamerlane’s dreams of conquest, or Hitler’s Lebensraum, or Nero’s sadistic pleasures, or or or…well, humans would have found some other reason to kill each other. Agreed?

    ps Alcohol is another “cause” of a great number of deaths. Would you seriously write tirades against C2H5OH?

    • However, that pretty much invalidates your idea that religion would be the cause of hateful behavior by people against people.

      Exactly right. He spouts nonsense upthread, and then agrees with a comment that invalidates that nonsense.

      “Brilliant!”

  62. “Worshiping statues of someone being slowly tortured to death on a piece of wood seems pretty normal to us because we’re so used to it.”

    I didn’t go to any, do they all worship statues?
    Or that a Catholic thing?

  63. Mauritzio

    Would you not consider that, as, I think, Christopher Hitchens argues, horrific acts are capable of being done by all, but that they are most readily carried out by those who do so in the name of religion (he words it more succinctly than I do). Instructions received from a supreme being could ultimately, even though bad to mere human perception, be justification for all sorts of naughtiness. For those who adhere to logic and reason (and, perhaps to the maxim of “do no harm”), it is more difficult to justify. Insanity of one sort or another may also be a factor.

    Dave G

    • Would you not consider that, as, I think, Christopher Hitchens argues, horrific acts are capable of being done by all, but that they are most readily carried out by those who do so in the name of religion

      Correlation – not causation, and I think that observation has the causal relationship backwards.

      Does religious belief create how someone thinks or how be/she acts, or does how someone thinks and act create their religious beliefs and what they do in the name of their religion?

      IMO, there is no valid causation going from someone’s religious beliefs, or a religion, to what they do in the name in their beliefs or religion. People do all manner of things in the name of any particular religion – even Buddhism.

      The causation that drives people’s actions lies in how they think, how they reason, what their formative experiences were, what their influences were, etc., and those same factors also drive how they form their religions beliefs (or lack of religious beliefs).

    • “horrific acts are capable of being done by all, but that they are most readily carried out by those who do so in the name of religion ”

      This gets it almost exactly backwards. Atheism takes away the basis for morality. If you want to cite an atheist, Nietzsche was a little more coherent on the issue. (Hitchens is a great, albeit verbose, writer, but he is thin on actual theology.) Without God, all there is, is the will to power.

      Atheism does not cause barbarity, but it provides no check on man’s barbarous nature. The last century showed us what a fine world that can lead to. Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot, all were acting in ways designed to accumulate, and maintain, power. Purges, forced famines, genocide, none of these are antithetical to atheism.

      While Christians through history (being people) have shown the same capacity for barbarity, it has been inconsistent with their professed beliefs. Christianity does not negate man’s capacity for evil, but at least it seeks to. Atheism is agnostic on the matter.

  64. Speaking of “religious faith” and “global warming”, here’s a quote from Al Gore:

    “The fate of mankind, as well as religion, depends on the emergence of a new faith in the future. Armed with such a faith, we might find it possible to resanctify the earth.”

  65. The topic here has been climate environmentalism and religion.

    Back in the days when the Roman Catholic Church defined Christian dogma for most of the Western world, life was pretty easy. Popes and other religious leaders were often a worldly lot, indulgences were dished out to those who could pay – in short, the religious process had become corrupt. The dogma was fixed – if you disagreed with it, you were a heretic, doomed to torture, execution or at least banishment and eternal damnation.

    The whole operation was basically funded on the backs of the poor believers all over the world.

    Then there was a heretic named Martin Luther that gave folks a second opinion. Others followed. And finally, after a bit of mutual blood-letting, the RC Church reformed.

    One could argue that the “Climate Change Business” is going through a similar upheaval today.

    Climate change, like the RC Church of old, has become a very rich and powerful big business. The process itself has become corrupted. Climate change leaders, like Al Gore, enjoy all the worldly pleasures while they preach environmental abstention to the masses. At the same time, they purchase modern “indulgences”, sometimes from their own carbon trading companies.

    The dogma is fixed (by IPCC scripture). Those who dare question any aspect of it (our host?) are branded “heretics”. These may not be drawn and quartered or burned at the stake as in earlier days, but they are attacked and marginalized (unless they have the internal strength and conviction of a Martin Luther).

    The whole operation is funded on the backs of the common taxpayer and the ultimate goal is the implementation of a universal carbon tax.

    Sure, there are differences between today’s “Climate Change Business” and the RC Church of pre-Reformation days.

    But there are also striking similarities.

    The question now is whether or not the “Climate Change Business” will be forced to reform or whether it will simply become irrelevant and replaced by something else in today’s more open and democratic society.

    Max

    PS My opinion, and I have not picked either side in the “Reformation/Counter-reformation”.

  66. The London Missionary Society systematically and forcibly destroyed the culture of my people across the South Pacific, including rape of innocents, deceitful subornation of the leaders and the theft of important cultural objects that they sold for profit.

    None were ever prosecuted for their crimes.

    Why should we think that the current crop of dis-respectful, culturally destructive evangelicals have anything better than that to offer for Gaia’s humans?

    • orkneygal,

      That happens with any invading society.
      Invoke what another society wants on the “ignorant” as their society is the correct order and want to show their people how good they are by generating a “mini-me” clone of the structure in their country.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Orkneygal, in Hawaii they say “When the missionaries came, we had the land and they had the book. Now they have the land and we have the book” …

  67. Ken,

    In some ways religion has damaged our societal knowledge base. Society today lives in much fantasy from what they see on television to what they read to what is taught.
    Many politicians push technology not even created in the hopes that by the time they have wasted vast fortunes, the technology being pushed is created.
    Even Willis has been damaged. The push of dimensions falls into quantum theories that have no basis when applying actual parameters.

    We seek the truth but close our minds to what we do not want to hear or ignore the “common sense” approach in science as it does not fall under the structure we have created. Anything beyond a few thousand years is conjecture even though there is evidence of what was by way of the remains and resides.
    Any approach to correct this is ignored and ridiculed as it might interfere with the funding or careers created around these hypothesis.

    • Blaming religion for genocide, rapes and pillaging is one thing. But when you blame religion for TV, you have just gone too far.

      • Is not todays top shows undead, vampires and zombies not have some religious parts to it?
        And they are absolutely, 100%. true and accurate for showing what happens when you come across these characters or are bitten by one.

        “Give me a break!”

      • God caused the invention of the TV. Satan caused the stuff on the TV. They have this symbiotic thing going on.

  68. Ken,
    Thank you for this conversation. I deeply appreciate your vision and common sense approach to combining old wisdom with science and progressive thinking.

    cheers

  69. Does the system mark as spam any comment containing the word Torque…mada?

  70. Most of my comments are still disappeared, let me try one last time to make two simple points:

    (1) Seems like we’re rediscovering the obvious…people do awful stuff if they believe it serves a higher purpose. Doesn’t matter if the Purpose is a divin ity, or the betterment of the human race, or building a Greater Germany (or saving the planet from Thermageddon). Focusing on religion as the source of hatred is like focusing on the color white as the source of placebo, just because many times placebo is in the form of white sugar pills.

    (2) Christ ians should go easy on Willis. He’s showing a lot of hurt, a LOT of hurt indeed, especially against Evangelica ls. As a Christ ian, there’s enough hurt shown that as far as I am concerned, Willis can shout his heart out against Christ ians for the next century.

  71. Willis
    Are you assuming I am Christian because I believe Christ existed?He may or may not have existed,he may have simply been a revolutionary,the point is, his teachings exist,no matter how they came to be.I do not go to church,I am agnostic,I really don’t care if God exists.I expected you to flame Josh and me because we were discussing you,I felt it was a bit rude,expected you to point that out.
    It’s interesting that it is taken as a given that you are a Christian if you defend Christianity..Am I a murderer if I support the death sentence?It’s simple,you don’t like most religions,you see only the bad,I see the bad,but I also see the good.
    I’m finding it hard to see any good in climate science.All I see is scientists setting themselves up to be the saviours of the human race.
    I also noticed the sneer in this post by Carl who mentioned Perry praying for rain,and if Perry was a native American,and called for a rain dance,would he sneer at him?

    • Are you assuming I am Christian because I believe Christ existed?

      Purely as a point of clarity, if you think Jesus existed but are not Christian, it’s probably better to refer to Jesus as Jesus and not as “Christ.” Christ is a title, not a name, and is usually translated as “Messiah.” So while believing Jesus existed does not imply you are a Christian, using the term “Christ” to apply to him does tend to suggest that.

    • Noelene,

      If you had the knowledge to know what is incorrect or not, how would you bring that forth to a person(ignorant?) that knowledge without insulting their faith, beliefs or upbringing?
      No, you would not as you respect the other persons feelings for the societal circumstance they were brought up with.
      This is how science screwed up and went with just generalizing rather than going for precise and accuracy. This then was passed down generations and created a vast amount of experts on bad theories which are being paid by our politicians by way of the tax dollars and grants.

  72. One good thing about the mostly boorish comments on this post, is that they show that skepticism is not centered on the so-called religious right, as some warmers claim. Many skeptics are apparently anti-religious.

    • David,

      It isn’t “anti-religious”. It is using faith that something exists that must be followed by way of rules generated out of some guys head who wrote the book and their interpretation.
      Jesus as a person did exist. As a divine deity?
      Not from my world of science.

    • It’s not so much about being anti-religious, it’s more about struggling to find any relevance whatsoever for religion in climate science. Max came the closest further upthread. To my mind, this whole thread and many of the comments say more about religion in US culture and politics than anything else. I don’t want to offend anyone who holds any faith, however, having been brought up to be polite about such matters. :)

    • Oh, certainly. That’s one of the several straw men in this piece. Skeptics tend to be libertarians, and libertarians tend to be agnostic/atheist. In fact agnosticism is a form of skepticism.

      • Skeptics tend to be libertarians, and libertarians tend to be agnostic/atheist.

        Have you read the polling on “skeptics” and their political ideology/religious beliefs?

      • libertarians may well tend to be “skeptics,” and libertarians may well tend to be agnostic/atheistic – but it really depends on how you distinguish someone to be a libertarian – a rather vague term.

        But there are data that would suggest that those who identify as “skeptics,” as a group, are less likely to be agnostic/atheist than those who don’t identify as “skeptics.”

  73. “…we’re sitting idly by while the climate warms…”

    This implies that there is something we could or should do to prevent warming. But the climate has been warming for 12,000 years while we sat “idly by” adapting to the earth’s natural variability. Now people like Wilson want to attempt redirecting a climate we only dimly understand!

    Perhaps “sitting idly by” is exactly what we should be doing; man has done more than enough ‘playing god’ to screw up the earth’s environment. As Goethe said, “there is nothing so frightful as ignorance in action.”

    • Jack,

      Man has not understood that our Universe is in constant change every second and what we do does NOT have a lick of difference to it’s changing.
      This planet will eventually be a dried up old prune in the end.

  74. Hi, Judith: Ken Wilson’s post was truly thoughtful …excellent…and has stirred quite a conversation. Why is that not surprising? Anyway, as a scientist and a Christian, I find myself wishing frequently that my scientist friends would take faith more seriously, and that my Christian friends would take science more seriously. I’ve blogged on the first part this morning. You can find it at: http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=435
    I’ll blog on flip side tomorrow. Thank you for opening up another important discussion.

  75. Ken Wilson is in the unenviable position of being a pastor who doesn’t like Christians. Even if one is convinced the world is warming and that warming is going to be catastrophic, it is difficult to see why someone would hold his flock up to ridicule in this way, especially without any evidence.

    Most evangelical pastors are concerned about global warming. I know my pastor, Rick Warren, is. He is wrong, of course, about the science. But he is concerned and wants to do the right thing. Where did this concern come from?

    In large part, it came from the writings of Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer. Francis died about 27 years ago, but he wrote a book titled Pollution and the Death of Man which called Christians to fulfill their biblical mandate to care for planet earth.

    It seems to me that if Ken Wilson is concerned about global warming, he should speak out about his concerns, the solutions he sees and our biblical mandate to take care of the planet. But throwing stones at Christians while in front of a non-Christian audience does no good at all and leads to him being mocked and Christians attacked and ridiculed.

    • Ron Cram,

      This is a good point. It’s like when scientists appeal to Consensus.

      Why wouldn’t a scientist appeal to the science?

      Andrew

    • The other thing this essay does is to presume that Evangelicals or Christians are more monolithic in beliefs and behaviors than they really are. Actually there probably is more diversity among them than among skeptics about CAGW — at the very least because they’ve had more time to speciate. Although Christianity is seen as a movement, at the core it’s individual. Much if the time those who view themselves as leaders of the “organization” forget this.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Ron Cram | October 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Ken Wilson is in the unenviable position of being a pastor who doesn’t like Christians. Even if one is convinced the world is warming and that warming is going to be catastrophic, it is difficult to see why someone would hold his flock up to ridicule in this way, especially without any evidence.

      Most evangelical pastors are concerned about global warming. I know my pastor, Rick Warren, is. He is wrong, of course, about the science. But he is concerned and wants to do the right thing. Where did this concern come from?

      In large part, it came from the writings of Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer. Francis died about 27 years ago, but he wrote a book titled Pollution and the Death of Man which called Christians to fulfill their biblical mandate to care for planet earth.

      Ron, you raise a thoughtful point. Some among the evangelical movement do feel a sense of stewardship for the planet. I disagree with Rick Warren about many things. Whatever else you might say about the man, he does good works with the disadvantaged, the poor, addicts, convicts, and the bottom layers of society. He also supports the sense of stewardship regarding the planet itself. His vision of that is far too paternalistic and “Daddy knows best” for me, and he is wrong about the science, but you’re right—it beats the alternative all to … well, all to heck, I guess.

      Thanks,

      w.

      • Love your sense of humor, Willis! If I remember correctly, heck is the realm of Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light.

    • So how’s that supposed to work, when the majority of the population of the earth isn’t Christian, including the most rapidly industrializing parts? Sounds like tilting at windmills to me.

  76. Don M. writes: I agree with you willis, on the absurdity of the story, as it appears to those of us who won’t believe it. But I would rather live amongst good religious people, of whom there are many, than heathens like you and myself. And yes I will dare say it, I am talking about living amongst good Christians and Jews. ”

    Don, You imply that religious people have a greater moral health than non-believers and in my experience it is the opposite..though perhaps you’re being somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    I find that religious people tend to be much more intolerant than non-believers, and way more apt to want to impose their moral beliefs on others. There’s a real danger in this country of slipping back to a more repressive time in which abortion (even when the mother’s health is in danger, and even in the case or rape) will once again be made a crime. In Mississippi they’re trying to declare a fertilized egg a person, which of course would make abortion murder. I’ll give you 1 guess who’s behind that. You’re right of course, the Crusades were a long time ago (I think it was you who made that point), but that doesn’t mean the bible thumpers don’t continue to make mischief.

    And where do you suppose we’d be with respect to gay rights if it were left to the bible thumpers? How’d you like to go back to the day when you could be thrown in jail for sodomy?

    Granted, I’m taking extreme examples, but when it comes to religion there’s a continuum. Those who wear their religion lightly are not the trouble makers, but as faith becomes more passionate, and more literal in its view, problems begin to arise. ONe could argue that religion in too much concentration becomes a kind of social poison. How’d you like to be living in Afghanistan, or any one of those benighted countries where they still behave as if it were the 12th century,..

    Personally, I’m much more comfortable hanging out with the non-believers. In my experience they tend to be a much more mellow bunch.

  77. If an evangelical climate scientist would write a convincing and comprehensive paper using observations that answers all the questions I have about clouds, aerosols, upper atmosphere warming, urban heating, and the TOA thermostatic effect (or lack thereof), I would read it carefully and treat it equally as with a convincing and comprehensive rebuttal by an atheist.
    While working in a corporate R&D lab for 45 years I eventually learned to ignore the characteristics of “people who weren’t like me” and listen to what they had to say. It is not always easy, but it sure kept me focused on the job at hand.

  78. Please allow me to sum this up: Not too many are impressed by the alarmist views on global warming, of a left-leaning nominally Christian semi-secular evangelist. What the hell is this post about?

    Some here are revolutionary athiests, who see most of the evils of the world as having sprung from the practice of religions. I think they would like to stamp out religion. Good luck with that. Others have pointed out that without religion there would have been other superstitions or belief systems that would have allowed human kind to carry on with our wars and murder anyway, and there is ample proof of that.

    I am not religious, but I appreciate and even encourage religion. As long as it is the right kind; I prefer Christians and Jews. Sorry if I ain’t politically correct. This is an over-simplification of history and I am taking some literary license, but our Democratic Western Civilization exists because of the 300 Spartans who held up the Persian invasion long enough to save Greek civilization from destruction, and the moral code that was handed down from the Jewish religion and the religion that resulted from the Jewish virgin somehow getting impregnated and giving birth to Jesus. Can I get an Amen!

  79. I have belonged to one church, a ways back. Reverend Ike’s Church of the Almighty Greenback Dollar:

  80. AGW causes droughts; AGW causes floods; AGW causes too much snow; AGW causes too little snow; AGW causes large, infrequent hurricanes; AGW causes smaller, more frequent hurricanes, and so on and so on….

    How many on this post accept the above line of reasoning as true? Probably not many.

    Now, substitute AGW with the word God.

    How many would now accept the above line of reasoning as true?

    It’s this type of thinking that lead Popper to develop his concept of falsifiability as the demarcation between scientific and non-scientific thought. His specific example was the rejection of the Marxist view of historical determinism — which claimed to be able to interpret every historical, social or political event as as proof of the validity of Marxism. I have little doubt that Popper would reject the claims made of AGW.

    This post is, in may ways, one of the most important posts that Judith has ever started. It shines a light on the ontological foundation that our knowledge rests upon.

    • Jim -

      AGW causes droughts;

      There’s a basic flaw in your reasoning there, IMO.

      People who believe in AGW say that humans cause anthropogenic climate change (among other variables).

      I suggest that you change those other clauses to reflect that modification.

      • Joshua – “anthropogenic” literally means “human caused.” Your modification is simply a redundancy.

      • I don’t see it that way, but let’s assume what you say is true.

        It doesn’t negate the basic flaw in Jim S’s reasoning.

        To say that people who believe in AGW say that “AGW causes drought” is a misdirection. They believe that one potential cause of drought is human activity. That is the more accurate parallel with those who say that god causes drought.

        Just out of curiosity, which do you estimate more likely?: That god causes drought or that human activity has the potential to cause drought?

      • Joshua,
        You are missing the point of the post. At issue is the flawed reasoning behind the construction of a hypothesis which can never, under any circumstances, be dis-proven. In which every observation is an affirmation of that hypothesis. Whether it’s AGW or the existence of God.

        This type of thinking is profoundly flawed and is based upon an ontological world view that the universe is deterministic, and that with the right model and big enough computers we can understand anything and make any prediction regarding future events – whether it’s in economics or the climate. It’s also flows from a mis-understanding of statistics and probability as applied to non-linear, historical, non-replicable data (i.e. the temperature record). The notion that we can know that there is X% chance the the global temperature anomaly in 50 years will be Y is just wrong.

      • You see Joshy, I don’t have to re-read your posts to confirm that you are a bigoted religion baiter:

        “Just out of curiosity, which do you estimate more likely?: That god causes drought or that human activity has the potential to cause drought?”

        Test him Joshy. Give him the simple quiz. Is he a dumb Christian?

        You are a flaming hypocrite. Are you ever going to stop yammering about Willis?

      • Joshua,
        Have you really not understood that AGW mean Anthropogenic (ie human induced) Global Warming? And that when someone says he’s skeptical of AGW he is not necessarily questioning GW, but only A-GW. This could go a long ways to explaining the confused nature of your posts.

  81. This thread starts with a post from an Evangelical (self-labeled) preacher who complains about and apologizes for the political views regarding climate change of many of his co-religionists. An interesting little commentary and peek into the politics of the Evangelical movement.

    The firefight started by w.’s attack on Christianity and Religion-in-general reminds me of discussions in the Student Union in college, in which students with barely a brush of exposure to a subject rant back and forth displaying their near total ignorance of the subject, all-the-while thinking how brilliant and deep is their knowledge and analysis. ‘Sophomoric’ is the usual word used for this behavior.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but those with opinions based on ignorance should take care when expressing themselves, as it becomes all too clear very quickly. Many people here seem to suffer from this, on both sides of the issue, but few seem willing to admit the limit of their knowledge. The worst cases even claim that there is nothing to know.

    My advice is simply this: If you wish to discuss religion, you should study the subject first — the whole subject — and learn at least something about it before taking a fanatical position on either side.

    In religion, like climate science, the more one knows, the more one realizes how much more there is yet to be known.

  82. At the risk of getting bashed by both sides for wanting to break up a fight, I’ll add a few words.

    Hey folks, take it easy on Willis. He has simply expressed his opinion rather directly in his own style.

    Based on these views plus his previously posted stand on the current AGW debate, it appears that he is a rational (or scientific) skeptic, in the true sense of the expression (see Wiki).

    These bothersome types demand empirical data as evidence for scientific (or religious) claims.

    The word of prophets, oracles or computer models alone just aren’t good enough for a rational skeptic, even if they are compiled in voluminous scriptures (Bible, Koran, IPCC TAR).

    A rational skeptic has problems accepting religious beliefs and, in the same fashion, also rejects scientific hypotheses that are not backed by empirical evidence.

    When someone uses the mantle of religion to warn about a “global and growing environmental crisis” (referring to AGW) it hits a hot button with Willis.

    Forgive him, for he is human…

    Max

    • At the risk of getting bashed by both sides for wanting to break up a fight, I’ll add a few words justifying the bigotry of one side and telling the other to get over it.

      I am sure if Wilis Eschenbach had used the same vitriol to paint a caricature of Black Americans, women, the disabled or others, Manacker would still consider his diatribe merely an expression of rational skepticism. Right?

      Bigotry is not skepticism. Even when it is the last socially acceptable bigotry in modern, “polite” society. Oh wait, I forgot, anti-semitism is coming back in vogue with progressives again. Just look at the OWS geniuses (not to mention the UN and large swaths of the Democratic Party). OK, so there’s two….

      • And if he had used the same vitriol to bash leftists, or progressives, or climate scientists, you would have been standing aside with manacker, applauding and shouting “Bravo!”

        Good thing that Willis has never written anything like his comments here directed at any of those targets, right?

        Oh.

        Wait.

      • Thanks for reading, but oops, wrong again.

        The last time Willis flamed out here he was incensed that Dr. Curry about a post that included some CAGW activists’ criticism of those who made a big deal about Climategate and other data hiding issues. He went off about how she was endorsing their attacks on skeptics like himself.

        I agreed with his views on the hypocrisy of those “scientists,” but objected to both his tone and his disparaging of Dr. Curry’s post. I agreed with his basic point, but not how he expressed it.

        I responded to that as well. Even finally got him to re-read part of her post to see that she had indeed criticized those comments, rather than simply posting them without comment as he had claimed. I was just as critical of his tone then though it was nowhere near as vituperative his comments in this thread.

        As for what he has written elsewhere, I can’t tell you. I have read some of his posts at WUWT, and can’t recall anything like what he wrote here yesterday, but I am not an Eschenbach stalker so who knows. I don’t care for bigotry of any kind. How about you?

      • Gary -

        I seem to remember when, specifically in regard to Willis, you defended his personal attacks on the integrity of Muller. It seems that your objections to Willis’ personal attacks (and tone) is highly selective.

        Perhaps I am wrong in that regard – but I have seen you write many posts that are similar in tone – except that they have a different target. A simple search will return post after post where you denigrate tens of millions of people who hold differing ideological orientation to yours.

        I take you at your word that you don’t care for bigotry of any kind, and in that spirit, I suggest that you examine your own posts to see if they are indeed, consistent with your underlying principles.

      • You remember wrong. I was arguing that criticizing Muller’s motivation for testifying was not an attack on his integrity. First, Willis’s comments were not the subject i was discussing. Second. I had not read him as directly attacking Muller’s integrity (although he apparently did so in another discussion, I think on WUWT).

        Here is Willis’s comment on that thread:

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/04/04/reactions-to-mullers-testimony/#comment-59533

        Here is the long (boring) colloquy I engaged in with you. (This was the only time I allowed myself to get sucked into one of your interminable, pointless arguments over semantics, thankfully.)

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/04/04/reactions-to-mullers-testimony/#comment-59588

        Show me where I “defended his personal attacks on Muller’s integrity?” Other than in your fevered imagination.

      • Show me where I “defended his personal attacks on Muller’s integrity?”

        His comments then (here and at WUWT) were completely consistent with the most recent examples of his comments about Muller and BEST – that they are “media whores.”

        I was arguing that criticizing Muller’s motivation for testifying was not an attack on his integrity.

        Bingo!

        Your rationalizing that Willis’ comments in that thread were not attacks against Muller’s integrity are an example of just that, IMO.

        In the thread you reference, Willis called Muller “power-grabbing,” testifying to pursue an “agenda,” “forfeiting neutrality” when testifying before Congress, failing to supply a “scrap of evidence” for his claims, “sandbagging,” making efforts not consistent with an “ethical, honest broker,” “publicly piss[ing] in Anthony’s punchbowl,” “rephrehensible,” disregarding a confidential agreement, etc. Willis acknowledges “trash[ing] Muller.” The list goes on and on, and that’s only from quoting a few of many comments one thread here at Climate Etc., without even quoting his more vitriolic posts at WUWT.

        I get that in your book, Gary, that isn’t questioning Muller’s integrity – and so you think that you aren’t defending Willis’ attacks on Muller’s integrity.

        I disagree.

        It is what it is.

      • “I was arguing that criticizing Muller’s motivation for testifying was
        not an attack on his integrity.

        Bingo! ”

        OK, so from now on, every time you accuse someone of being motivated by politics, tribalism, or confirmation bias, we now know you are calling him a liar. Good to know.

        You sure attack a lot of people’s integrity, don’t you?

      • Last comment since this appeared before I signed off –

        OK, so from now on, every time you accuse someone of being motivated by politics, tribalism, or confirmation bias, we now know you are calling him a liar.

        Gary – it is my contention that everyone is necessarily influenced by tribalism, ideology, motivated reasoning, etc.in their assessment of complicated issues in the face of controversy. Including myself. That does not, in and of itself, imply that they lack integrity.

        But the comments I highlighted from Willis’ writing about Muller are directly impugning Muller’s integrity. I don’t reject the possibility that someone might question someone’s motivations yet not question their integrity. I reject the possibility that in the example of Willis’ comments on Muller, he wasn’t attacking Muller’s integrity – in both his comments about the specific nature of Muller’s motivations (“media whore,” “sandbagging,” “pissing in Anthony’s punchbowl,” etc. as well as in the comments directly on point to Muller’s character and, er. freakin’ integrity (not being ethical, not being honest, not providing evidence to back up claims, etc.)

      • I asked for examples of my defending or engaging in anything close to the vituperation on this thread. You can’t, that’s fine.

        “I don’t reject the possibility that someone might question someone’s motivations yet not question their integrity.”

        But that was precisely what you did before, and just now on this thread, until your brilliant analysis was applied to yourself. You can’t post any comment from me defending any of the particular offensive comments Willis made against Muller, because there aren’t any. I was defending the principle you now claim to embrace. Read the thread again, my discussion wasn’t about him at all

        But maybe at least you are capable of learning. If in fact you now actually accept that questioning someone’s motivation or tactics (since you do it all the time), is not an attack on his integrity. Only time will tell.

        This will be my last comment, so you may have the last word.

      • Joshua,

        While I agree with you that Willis’ screeds should be reviled, regardless of the target of his bigotry, might it not be more useful to wait until Gary actually acts in a hypocritical manner? If this is an “ah ha” moment for someone, it’s counter-productive to take the opportunity to slam them when they agree with you.

      • might it not be more useful to wait until Gary actually acts in a hypocritical manner?

        You would be absolutely correct, Gene, if I hadn’t already read many of Gary’s posts where he acts in a way that stands in contrast to his stated perspective on Willis’ comments on this thread.

        You have been helpful in pointing out flaws in my reasoning in the past, so I’m not inclined to take your rebuke lightly – if you still think I’m wrong here, please elaborate.

      • My point was that perhaps this latest outrage might lead him to re-evaluate his opinion of Willis. Taking the opportunity to rap him across the knuckles for past comments isn’t likely to encourage that.

      • OK – point taken.

        I assume that given the level of vitriol that Gary had directed my way, it’s highly, highly unlikely that anything I do or don’t do will affect his perspective on anything.

        But again, point taken.

      • I wait in eager anticipation for Joshua to post an example of my support for vitriol. Including my own against against him. One example comment would suffice.

        Oh, and you boys know that Willis Eschenbach is a progressive, right? You knew that didn’t you? I believe he once boasted of never having voted for a Republican candidate.

        Gene,

        I am experiencing no epiphany here about Wiliis’s tendency to engage in vituperative attacks, nor do I need one. I outlined the only prior example I could think of, and have seen no response yet. His immaturity on some issues has nothing to do with what he writes om the science, which I generally find very informative and with which I almost always agree. I have learned a lot from his posts and comments on matters scientific. On matters of theology…not so much.

      • Gary –

        I wait in eager anticipation for Joshua to post an example of my support for vitriol. Including my own against against him. One example comment would suffice.

        You have characterized me (along with tens or millions of Americans) as a “progressive,” and you have attributed all manner of negative attributes to “progressives.”

        I suggest that you go back and re-read some of you discussions about “progressives” with the understanding that you have characterized me into that category. No quotes, if they are offered by me, will convince you of anything.

        Oh, and you boys know that Willis Eschenbach is a progressive, right?

        I am saying that regardless of his target, Willis’ written analysis should
        be judged on the quality of his discourse. Even if he were a “progressive” – which from my reading he isn’t, it wouldn’t change my analysis of his reasoning one iota. It is what it is.

        Oh, and you boys know that Willis Eschenbach is a progressive, right? You knew that didn’t you? I believe he once boasted of never having voted for a Republican candidate.

        Interesting logic. So – by that logic an extremist libertarian who never votes for Republicans because he thinks they are “statists,” is necessarily a “progressive?” (I’m not putting Willis in that category, btw).

        I have read some of Willis’ comments on politics, including those were he discussed not voting for Republicans – and I would disagree with the assessment that he is a “progressive” in the common usage of that term. If other aspects of your opinion that he is a “progressive” are based in the similar reasoning that concludes he’s a “progressive” because he has never voted for a Republican – I suggest that you might want to re-evaluate your opinion.

        Anyway – have a nice day, Gary. I need to go shovel ice and snow after a freak October snowstorm. Global Cooling!!!!

      • Gary M

        I am sure if Wilis Eschenbach had used the same vitriol to paint a caricature of Black Americans, women, the disabled or others, Manacker would still consider his diatribe merely an expression of rational skepticism. Right?

        No – wrong.

        Max

      • Manacker,

        Right, you wouldn’t find it acceptable at all in such cases. Which was exactly my point.

        I must be losing my touch if my sarcasm isn’t getting through.

    • Willis went well beyond that. I’m not saying that he’s right, wrong, or some of both, just that he went well beyond skepticism about religion.

      • Nothing that he wrote here was uncharacteristic of much of what he writes focused on other targets.

        The depth of reasoning, the vitriol, is identical.

      • P.E.

        Willis expressed his skepticism of religion in his own words and style.

        He has expressed his skepticism of alarming AGW in a similar style.

        Get over it.

        Max

      • The difference, of course, is that religious people usually mind their own business. Despite what’s conventional wisdom in many circles, most of the time, religion tries to stay away from policy and politics. This piece in this thread is the exception, not the rule.

        The rules are different when there’s policy involved. That’s hockey. Pucks fly. You don’t want to get hit by a flying puck, stay off the ice.

  83. Global warming is not a problem it is a symptom. In his own way Dostoyevsky described the problem: “the West has lost Christ and that is why it is dying; that is the only reason.”

  84. BlueIce2HotSea

    Ken Wilson –

    This 2007 article by The Guardian is an example of what may be fomenting anti-science attitudes by some evangelicals.

    Scientists fear ice caps melting faster than predicted

    Today leaders of Christian, Shia, Sunni, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist and Jewish religions took a boat to the tongue of the glacier for a silent prayer for the planet. They were invited by Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

    This mission by media, religion and science gave support to the IPCC’s 2007 report on the melting of Himalayan glaciers, which turned out to be maliciously incompetent. Note that the recent estimates of Greenland melt rate by the Times Atlas turned out be 150 times too high, although it appears to be caused by the good kind of incompetence. :)

    Perhaps a little ‘healthy’ skepticism of media, religion and science will help ease the anti-science stance in your community. Some of anti-science attitudes may simply be resentment at political manipulation by what former Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore claims are Marxists. Given what Marxists did to Christians in your lifetime, this should be a nervous alliance.

    • BlueIce2HotSea

      The Illulissat glacier story is pure Guardian hype.

      Glaciers are slow flowing rivers of ice that flow to the sea like all rivers.

      These are fed by snow that falls into the interior.

      The snow comes from evaporation of water from the sea.

      It’s a continuous dynamic process.

      The Illulissat ice flow into the ocean is not going to cause a rise in sea level any more than the much larger flow of the Mississippi River.into the Gulf of Mexico.

      Illulissat happens to have a temperature record that goes back to the late 19th century. This record shows that the temperature at Illulissat was higher in the 1930s and 1940s than in 2000-2005.

      It warmed in the first half of the century, then cooled until the 1980s, and has warmed again since then.

      Continuous 24/7 satellite observations have shown (Johannessen et al 2005 and Zwally et al. 2006) that the Greenland Ice Sheet gained mass over the 10-year period 1993-2003, because mass gain from snowfall in the interior increased more than mass loss at the edges.

      Don’t fall for every climate catastrophe report you read in the newspapers – especially not those in the Guardian.

      Max

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Hi Max –

        My post which was a supposed to be a criticism of hype from the Guardian, religious leaders and IPCC science. Did I really express myself that poorly?

        At any rate, thank you for providing the additional information.

        BlueIce

  85. For those who don’t pay attention to evangelical Christianity, Ken Wilson isn’t just some evangelical pastor who does some writing. He is one of the leaders of the Association of Vineyard Churches, which has over 1500 churches worldwide and is a powerful evangelical movement. Wilson is comparable to an archbishop within that world. He is also one of the leading thinkers in The Vineyard.

    So this article is more than one Christian’s opinion. It is a significant statement emerging from current evangelicalism.

    I write this not to convince anyone of Wilson’s authority, much less correctness, but to provide perspective.

  86. Wagathon

    Re your Dostoyevsky quote: I thought the USA – the leading western power-was a very religious country. Am I wrong? Would any politician be re-elected if he embraced atheism? What is global warming a symptom of?

    Dave G

    • Wagathon : Hot World Syndrome—fear of a hotter, more intimidating world than it actually is prompting a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat.

  87. I was reading the ridicule and jeers aimed at Judith and Anthony Watts over at the Church of Climate Progress about the new BEST studies…. that David Koch was “tricked” into funding this. hahahahaha!

    So. I posted a modest comment, inquiring about ostensible political agendas, support of real, honest, show-me-the-data science. I asked about possible support for the archiving of data for NSF-funded studies, as the rules have demanded — for decades. hahahaha!

    My modest little comment is languishing “awaiting (until Hell freezes over) moderation,” while other verbal “high fives” toot and hollar beneath mine.

    I wonder if, just as imagining something from outer space *did* impregnate a virgin, Romm et al are honestly blinded by the depth and intensity of their convictions about right. They — honestly — are unable to separate real, honest science from their agenda, their beliefs.

    ….Lady in Red

  88. It does surprise me that that evangelicalism are making common cause with the peddlers of CAGW. Both groups think the world is about THEM. God gave his only son to die for THEM and only THEY can protect Gaia from wickedness.
    Neither group can live without sky pixies.

  89. Willis Eschenbach

    Noelene | October 29, 2011 at 9:36 am | Reply
    Willis

    Are you assuming I am Christian because I believe Christ existed?He may or may not have existed,he may have simply been a revolutionary,the point is, his teachings exist,no matter how they came to be.I do not go to church,I am agnostic,I really don’t care if God exists.I expected you to flame Josh and me because we were discussing you,I felt it was a bit rude,expected you to point that out.
    It’s interesting that it is taken as a given that you are a Christian if you defend Christianity..Am I a murderer if I support the death sentence?It’s simple,you don’t like most religions,you see only the bad,I see the bad,but I also see the good.

    Noelene, I sincerely apologize for mistaking you for a Christian. My error.

    I’m finding it hard to see any good in climate science.All I see is scientists setting themselves up to be the saviours of the human race.

    Sadly true …

    I also noticed the sneer in this post by Carl who mentioned Perry praying for rain,and if Perry was a native American,and called for a rain dance,would he sneer at him?

    Excellent question.

    w.

  90. Willis Eschenbach

    Joshua | October 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

    … But the comments I highlighted from Willis’ writing about Muller are directly impugning Muller’s integrity. I don’t reject the possibility that someone might question someone’s motivations yet not question their integrity. I reject the possibility that in the example of Willis’ comments on Muller, he wasn’t attacking Muller’s integrity …

    Of course I was attacking Muller’s lack of integrity. Roger Pielke did the same thing, in a letter published in Nature magazine. And Nature itself also called Muller’s integrity into question. Now I’m a reformed cowboy, so I called him a “media whore”. Nature magazine made the same statement in refined and elegant language. The best comment was from someone who worked with Muller. He wrote me to say that the most dangerous place around Richard Muller was between him and a microphone.

    I call them like I see them, Joshua. My honesty gets me into trouble all the time. Telling the truth about the belief in an invisible being who is just waiting to hear your wishes and fulfill some of them has definitely gotten me into trouble here. I say the wrong words and the room erupts into an uproar, you start in on what a terrible, terrible man I am … all because I pointed out that many of you believe in a childish fantasy.

    Many of you believe that you have an invisible companion who travels with you and is always listening out for your every wish. My friend’s daughter did that for a while. But she grew out of it. Many of you tell me with a straight face that when you ask this invisible companion to do something for you, sometimes your invisible companion rearranges the space-time continuum so that your wishes actually happen.

    Not only that, but many of you believe that your invisible companion has the power to temporarily suspend the physical laws of nature in order to fulfill your wishes.

    Joshua, that’s a prototypical child’s fantasy to help him deal with his feelings of powerlessness. No one here has a scrap of evidence that their invisible companion exists.

    But when I have the infernal audacity to point it out that many of you believe a ridiculous childish power fantasy and at the same time you believe in science … hoooeeee, better mount up bareback, boys, the herd has stampeded and is heading my way …

    If you’d like to contemplate something, Joshua, contemplate the storm that my comments have initiated … because gosh, from the number of people like yourself hyperventilating and clucking about my thought-crimes and screaming that I’m a horrible man, you’d think that I’d touched a nerve. From the over-the-top response from you and many others, you’d think that I’d committed a social faux pas by telling the truth or something …

    w.

    • …and Wills’ Rant-A-Thon continues into Day Two… ;)

      Andrew

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Bad Andrew | October 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

        …and Wills’ Rant-A-Thon continues into Day Two…

        Hey, I’m having fun watching you guys twist your knickers into knots as fast as you can. Keep the expressions of outrage coming …

        w.

      • “watching you guys twist your knickers into knots as fast as you can. Keep the expressions of outrage coming …”

        Willis,

        You may want to start reading your own comments or go back and read your own comments again more closely.

        Andrew

    • You have rendered little Josh speechless, but he will recover soon. That boy can do hiself some yammerin’. I don’t think Josh is a believer, unless he is lying about the reason for his self-loathing. But to verify that I would have to agree to his entreaties to re-read his posts. However, I am really busy right now and don’t have time to get sick.

    • Of course I was attacking Muller’s lack of integrity.

      Thank you for acknowledging that, Willis. Now maybe Gary will be able to accept that notion – after these many protracted discussions with me where he asserted that you weren’t.

      I will point out that as I recall, you have also stated that you weren’t attacking Muller personally – only his science or some such nonsense. But I’ve come to see that those kinds of contradictions can often be found in what you write from one occasion to another.

      I call them like I see them, Joshua. My honesty gets me into trouble all the time.

      Honestly is not mutually exclusive with careful reasoning, and well-tempered communication, Willis. And over-generalizations, facile conclusions, and vitriol are no prerequisites for honest communication.

      I say the wrong words and the room erupts into an uproar, you start in on what a terrible, terrible man I am …

      Willis – I doubt that you’re a terrible, terrible man. I have read some stuff of yours that makes me think you’re actually a pretty decent fellow – but I haven’t met you so I don’t presume to be in a position to judge your character.

      What I do know is that you write over-generalized, vitriolic, and poorly-reasoned nonsense at times. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes your scientific analysis likely influenced by the same kind of motivated reasoning that is abundantly apparent when you write on other topics.

      • Joshua

        What on earth started off this series of comments on Willis? Ive been away and it seems like there’s been two days of claim and counter claim over something

        tonyb

      • Willis:
        ” Of course I was attacking Muller’s lack of integrity.”

        Joshua:
        “Thank you for acknowledging that, Willis. Now maybe Gary will be able to accept that notion….”

        I never rejected that notion. I had forgotten that exchange, but was able to find it rather quickly. Here is the actual exchange where you accused me (not Willis) of attacking Muller’s credibility:

        You:
        “You said his testimony showed ‘only a concern with PR, not science,’ and that it he was trying to ‘preempt’ coming publications. That isn’t questioning his credibility and his integrity?”

        Me:
        “No.
        Nor would anyone else who understands the English language think it does. Being political, engaging in public relations, nor even disseminating propaganda is not immoral. Lying is. If I wanted to call the man a liar, I would have.”

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/04/13/scientists-often-pigeonholed-by-political-debates/

        To the extent I discussed anything Willis wrote, I discussed a particular comment of his at WUWT, not everything he ever wrote on the issue anywhere. I had forgotten the while exchange until you brought it upon this thread.

        Here is that exchange, which occurred in the same thread shortly before the above linked comments:

        “The only post I saw at WUWT questioning Muller’s personal credibility was by Willis Eschenbach (that shrinking violet of the skeptic camp). He wrote:
        ‘But to give that kind of erroneous testimony, not in a random paper he might written quickly, but to Congress itself, marks him to me as a man driven by a very serious agenda, a man who doesn’t check his work and who pays insufficient attention to facts in testimony.’

        Even here, Eschenbach is not questioning Muller’s integrity (which is perhaps the word I should have used), but his accuracy.”

        These types of exchanges were common back when you regularly misrepresented the comments of others. I stand by everything I wrote then, including my impression of the single quote from Willis that I discussed.

        As my final word on the matter, I will now quote your own admission on this thread:
        ““I don’t reject the possibility that someone might question someone’s motivations yet not question their integrity.”

        It only took you six months to come around, but I give you credit for moving away from your earlier pedantry.

  91. When it comes to impugning the credulity of those with faith, perspective is a virtue. My own perspective on credulity as a measure of human rationality is something I won’t advertise here, because I’m more taken with the perspective written by playwright George Bernard Shaw in the preface to his 1923 play, “Saint Joan”, the story of that brave young woman who saw visions, heard voices in the church bells commanding her to rescue France from the clutches of the British, and was later burned at the stake for heresy. Shaw saw nothing exceptional about Joan’s credulity, or that of others who inhabited the Middle Ages. Comparing our times with hers, he wrote:

    “Our credulity” [includes faith, according to Shaw, in] “physicists who balance Betelgeuse by describing the incredible smallness of the atom, and a host of other marvel mongers whose credulity would have dissolved the Middle Ages in a roar of skeptical merriment. In the Middle Ages people believed that the earth was flat, for which they had at least the evidence of their senses: we believe it to be round, not because as many as one per cent of us could give the physical reasons for so quaint a belief, but because modern science has convinced us that nothing that is obvious is true, and that everything that is magical, improbable, extraordinary, gigantic, microscopic, heartless, or outrageous is scientific.”

    “I must not, by the way, be taken as implying that the earth is flat, or that all or any of our amazing credulities are delusions or impostures. I am only defending my own age against the charge of being less imaginative than the Middle Ages. I affirm that the nineteenth century, and still more the twentieth, can knock the fifteenth into a cocked hat in point of susceptibility to marvels and saints and prophets and magicians and monsters and fairy tales of all kinds. The proportion of marvel to immediately credible statement in the latest edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is enormously greater than in the Bible. The medieval doctors of divinity who did not pretend to settle how many angels could dance on the point of a needle cut a very poor figure as far as romantic credulity is concerned beside the modern physicists who have settled to the billionth of a millimetre every movement and position in the dance of the electrons.”

    Shaw didn’t live long enough to marvel at our belief in quantum superposition and entanglement.

    We all compartmentalize, separating our rational selves from the more irrational elements of our psychology. I have no trouble admiring the overall rationality of individuals who may have faith in something different from where I place mine. How they act counts for more.

    • Thank you Fred.

    • As it happens, I have read five biographies of Joan of Arc. As generous as Fred M is in allowing for the faith of others, which he and Shaw term “credulity” (not so generous actually), Joan of Arc is not easily understood and pigeonholed.

      There is a genuine mystery in Joan, a teenage girl who came out of nowhere, trained herself to ride horses over one summer on her uncle’s cattle, then presented herself to the future king of France and his military, persuaded them to let her lead the French armies into battle against the English, and ultimately triumphed. There is no one like her in all of human history.

      Joan was not able to do these things because of her credulity or, as some would have it, her insanity. It’s easy to believe things on account of either, but rather more difficult to achieve what Joan did.

      Here’s Vita Sackville-West, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, a lover of Virginia Woolf, and most certainly not a Christian, who wrote a biography of Joan:

      [Jeanne] was an essentially practical person, and the only unusual element in her life appears in the voices which commanded her to go into France, turn out the English, and crown the Dauphin. Apart from that she was a very ordinary girl….

      It would seem, then, as though these strange manifestations were indeed imposed upon her from the outside, without any preparation or intention on her own. They happened, as it were, accidentally, and again we are left to wonder why…. But why the choice should have fallen upon Jeanne, remains a mystery it seems impossible rationally to solve.

  92. Willis Eschenbach

    P.E. | October 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    P.E., if you want to claim I have not “learn[ed] my world religions”, please have the common decency to quote what I wrote that revealed my vast ignorance of the world religions.

    I read the bible when I was a kid, not end to end, and was brought up as a kind of non-denominational Christian. There wasn’t enough folks of any single religion in the scattered cattle ranches where I grew up to make up a church, so all the Christians in the area held an inter-denominational service every Sunday. Most Sundays, a different person led the service. They were just farmers and ranchers. Each one did his best to explain Christianity the way his particular religion understood it.

    In high school I read the Koran, this time end to end. And the Book of Mormon. End to end. I also read about the other major religions. In part, this was because after we moved to town my mother was, wait for it … the Religion reporter for the local newspaper.

    She made it a practice to visit a different church every weekend, and I was interested, so often I went with her. Staid Catholic services, enthusiastic evangelical congregations, black Baptist churches with amazing choirs and bursting with energy, dried-out country folk in tent revivals with people talking in tongues, I’d seen them all before I turned 18.

    In my thirties I became a Zen Buddhist, and remained one for many years. I like the practice of sitting Za-zen.

    I have lived and worked all over the world. As a result I know personally and have worked with everyone from Hindudes and Mussulmen to Sikhs and Animists.

    I was living in the Solomon Islands in 1990 when they held their census. The census taker came to our house. He asked my religion. “Buddhist”, I said. He looked puzzled, and didn’t write anything down. “Wanem nao Buddhism”, he asked in Pijin, the local language. That means “What name now Buddhism?”, or “What’s Buddhism?”

    Hmmmm. How to explain Buddhism in the thousand-word vocabulary of Pijin. I speak Pijin very well, but still … so I said it was a religion, like the SSEC and the SDA. I said it was possible that some of the numerous Chinese population in the Solomons were Buddhists.

    His face brightened. “Ah”, he said, and in the space on the form for my religion, he wrote down “Chinese”.

    So if you want to claim that I haven’t learned my world religions, P.E., I’m gonna ask you for evidence of that, because I’m Chinese by religion.

    Seriously. What is it that you think I don’t know about world religion? And in that regard, what can you tell us about the SSEC?

    w.

    • Well, Willis, I got you beat, at least when it comes to Islam. I lived in the “Magic Kingdom”. I heard the nasal call to prayer five times a day. I won’t bore you with the “army stories”, but I assure you, from first hand experience, you don’t know doodly about the real Islam. It’s not the same thing as Judaism and Christianity. And it’s certainly not the same thing as being Chinese.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        P.E., again I ask, QUOTE MY WORDS. I don’t have a clue what are you objecting to regarding my understanding of Islam. All I have is your honest assurance that I “don’t know diddly” about Islam.

        You then assure me that “It’s not the same thing as Judaism and Christianity. And it’s certainly not the same thing as being Chinese.”

        I have said the same many times. I have warned people that Islam is not just another religion, my words were, “it’s not just Christianity with funny headgear”. It is a warriors religion, and a cruel one.

        Still think I don’t know Islam? I worked in Islamic countries, I’ve seen how they do what they do, I, like you, have heard the call from the muzzein …

        w.

  93. When I was a child, I read a story in “Guideposts” magazine about a mother whose child was (somehow) pinned under a truck. She prayed, “Oh, Lord! I can’t pick this truck up — but you can!”

    Then, she lifted the truck off her son.

    Damned, if I know how, but — *if* you believe — *sometimes* you are capable of more than otherwise. The mind? Mind/body? Something else? If you fake the belief, it doesn’t work, but…

    Is it magic? ….Lady in Red

    • In WWII the Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mosquitoes had over sized carburetors. The throttles were fitted with copper wires that allowed a pilot to set the throttles to 100% power. In an emergency a pilot could push the throttles through 100%, breaking the wires. This produced more power, of course the manifold gasket could give way, the engine was red-lined and could over heat very quickly and on if he landed the engine, which had been damaged beyond repair, was pulled (and would be down rated and fitted in a tank).
      We have a similar system. We have all manner of pain receptors in our muscles, tendons and bone. They report to the brain when we are doing damage to ourselves.
      Flood the body with adrenalin and natural opiates, which happens during child birth and in the flight/fight reflex and the pain isn’t there. The stories of little women picking up cars are true. I know some one who witnessed a motorcyclist with two broken legs walk away from an accident. These stories don’t tell you the massive amount of tissue damage that happens when a little old lady picks up a car. The person will have extensive tissue and bone damage.
      I have personally had the ‘time slows down’ state where I was in a life threatening situation. Whilst climbing a rock I had placed my weight on slide out the cliff like a book common out of a shelf. I was in an absolutely untenable position. Time did appear to slow down, by a factor of about 10. It was not an invisible man who came to my aid, slowing down time, but 4 billion years of evolution which allowed by brain to shut down vast amounts of things it was busy doing and really concentrate on the quite important problem. There was a cost to that two. As soon as I was safe I had a bit of a breakdown and basically couldn’t move. The term ‘my legs turned to jelly’ is about as good a description as i could manage.
      Science is the investigation of the rules for the interaction of matter.
      Religon is what?
      If the supernatural entity you worship can intervene but doesn’t, the deity is an asshole.
      If the supernatural entity you worship can’t intervene then you are the asshole for praising a looser.
      The only difference between an Atheist and Jews, Christians and Muslims is that we believe in one less God than you do.

      • “Religon is what?
        If the supernatural entity you worship can intervene but doesn’t, the deity is an asshole.
        If the supernatural entity you worship can’t intervene then you are the asshole for praising a looser.
        The only difference between an Atheist and Jews, Christians and Muslims is that we believe in one less God than you do.”

        Religion is:
        Word comes from:
        “Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back ”
        So, something that binds you:)
        It’s system of control. It’s a worldview. It’s a discipline. It something people can agree about. It’s a culture and method of passing down culture.
        As to your view of God. I think it’s a bit childish. One aspect of most religion is to somehow deal with issue of death. Generally believers think they might go to heaven. And the non believer don’t go to heaven. Wonderful sales glimick. But point is there the hope if you doing things right you will go to heaven. And getting to Heaven is important- heaven is forever, life on earth is short. about 1/2 the world believes people are re-incarnated- though if do everything right you released from this world [you go to heaven].
        Of course long before there existed any current religion, humans have been concerned about death. Humans didn’t consider the human body the same as some dead animal. We have found a Neanderthal burial with flowers in it. And elephants and other creatures also treat their dead in strange ways.
        Anyhow, I know of no religion that regards any of the gods as magical supermen- or impotent supermen. Though it seems common to ask gods to do things for you. But normally not save you from truck running over you- maybe pray you don’t find yourself in the position of a truck running over you- or being in situation of no apparent hope, it’s something to hope for.
        Anyhow god stopping you from dying, isn’t much of issue. God not stopping from endless pain and suffering- more of problem. Or for the Jews [and others] the Holocaust – is a significant problem in terms of their faith. Because it’s a matter of Justice, it’s something one could rationally consider as something that God should do something about or not have permitted. Or I guess more importantly, a severe and constant pain for living Jews.

    • Makes a good story. If she picked up a locomotive, it would be an even better story.

  94. Willis Eschenbach

    Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) | October 29, 2011 at 5:00 am | Reply

    … ps this perfect mirroring between the arch-Atheists and the holier-than-thou obsessed people of Faith applied more often than, I am sure, Willis and several of the commenters here will ever admit.

    Maurizio, if I were an “arch-Atheist”, or even a garden variety atheist, I’m sure that would be of interest to me.

    However, since I’m not an atheist of any kind, flavor, or stripe, I fear it is meaningless to me.

    In any case, I find your “mirroring” totally specious.

    You see, evangelicals like Ken think that they are directed by an invisible being to bother me with their claims about the invisible being. Funny how that meme works to perpetuate itself. In any case, supposedly, getting me to agree with their rubbish gains them points on their galactic report card or something.

    I know of no group of atheists who believe anything like that. Like evangelicals, atheists may talk passionately about their beliefs. But unlike evangelical, atheists don’t believe that converting everyone to their point of view is a holy mission that God himself has sent them on personally. And that’s a huge difference.

    How huge? Evangelicals put together multimillion dollar outreach and missionary programs to convince the credulous that they too have an invisible companion.

    I know of nothing even remotely similar being done by atheists.

    So it’s not a “perfect mirroring”, it’s a multimillion dollar difference, and if you add up the evangelical effort to spread superstition worldwide, it’s likely a multi-billion dollar difference.

    w.

  95. I don’t know Willis. Some athiests can be very preachy and as annoying as reformed drunks. But I will say that no atheists have knocked on my door holding little atheist newspapers in front of them. How much longer are you going to continue this little episode, Willis? Hasn’t it just about been played out?

    • You haven’t learned about pigs and mud wrestling, have you?

      You can’t beat a pig at mud wrestling, because he likes it.

  96. BlueIce2HotSea

    Willis -

    It is my understanding that many Buddhists believe they will be eternally resurrected to endlessly working on uncompleted projects and to enduring yet another round of suffering – unless and until they can at last reach enlightenment – then finally they can die and be done with it, consciousness and awareness extinguished forever.

    Is that true for all sects?

    BlueIce

    • Willis Eschenbach

      BlueIce2HotSea | October 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Willis -

      It is my understanding that many Buddhists believe they will be eternally resurrected to endlessly working on uncompleted projects and to enduring yet another round of suffering – unless and until they can at last reach enlightenment – then finally they can die and be done with it, consciousness and awareness extinguished forever.

      Is that true for all sects?

      I’m hardly an expert on Buddhism, the only flavors I’ve really studied are Tibetan and Zen. I think it is generally true, although without the idea of “consciousness and awareness extinguished forever”. In general it is described as “getting off the wheel”, but as to what happens after one steps off the wheel of karma, the Buddha himself didn’t answer that question even when asked.

      At least that’s what I was told, I wasn’t there at the time …

      Thanks for the question,

      w.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Willis –

        Thank you for disabusing me of my ignorance regarding awareness.

        However, eternal existence, without extinction of awareness, is consistent with omniscience. Would such a being be a wholly passive observer? Otherwise, omniscience combined with the ability to interact over an infinite amount of time becomes omnipotence. Do any Buddhists speculate that they might become god-like? And if so, wouldn’t that contradict the Buddhist principal of non-theism?

        Also, I want to apologize to Judith Curry for polluting her thread with my off topic comments. I am sorry, please forgive.

  97. Re: Bruce Cunningham’s Oct 28 posting –

    A very illuminating clerical perspective on climate change, indeed.

    But first, let’s take a look at the Academic Advisory Council list. It would appear that the jury has been stacked. I find not a single name that I would recognize as being an active research scientist in climate science. The climate system is not really so transparent that a couple dozen of armchair philosophers would be able to deduce what is happening with the climate system from the confines of their armchairs.

    Perhaps the good Cardinal was being misadvised by his Advisory Council. Or perhaps the Advisory Council may have been selected on the basis of their climate convictions aforethought. Nonetheless, it does appear that the Cardinal may have some vested interest in the climate change outcome by having bought into God’s promise to Noah that “never again shall all living things be destroyed by the waters of a flood”. (OK, but look at the fine print. Whatever happens, not all living things will be destroyed.)

    There are all kinds of data out there that may be relevant to some aspect of global climate change. Moreover, it is possible to cherry-pick just that data that will support whatever conclusion that you may have chosen to support. And the good Cardinal has clearly done that.

    When Cardinal Pell begins his narrative by citing Lord Monckton (a well-known British crackpot) as quoting Edward Lorenz (an early climate science pioneer) that “prediction of the sufficiently distant future is impossible by any method, unless the present conditions are known exactly”, and that “precise, very-long range weather
    forecasting would seem to be non-existent”, followed by Mark Twain’s often cited remark that “Climate is what you expect: weather is what you get.”, and then concluding that “Neither is predictable.” (a clearly false conclusion, being as we make both weather and climate predictions with a measurable degree of success), it is not difficult to see where the good Cardinal is headed.

    The Cardinal tries to appear knowledgeable and even handed. He cites the ice-core record of the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods. Also that the climate has been changing “ever since that first Thursday 4,567 million years ago when the Earth began and the atmosphere began to form”. (Could have sworn it was a Monday, but never mind.)

    But it is the mixture of the half-truths with the un-truths that is designed to produce the desired erroneous inference. Some examples: “While causal physical principles such as the greenhouse effect are known, much else has not been established definitively.” OK, so, . . . “The influence of various solar mechanisms such as sunspot activity and changing ocean circulation, which are poorly understood, are omitted from the climate models, as is the influence of major volcanoes.” Undoubtedly, some climate model somewhere may have made such omissions. But this statement leaves a deliberately false impression since current climate models do indeed account for the radiative effects of both solar variability and all major volcanoes. “During the decade since 2001 carbon dioxide has increased by five per cent, but the atmosphere has failed to warm.” Actually, the global surface temperature (and atmosphere) did warm during the decade since 2001 compared to the previous decade. Do check the actual temperature data (GISS, or BEST) before deciding to quote someone who is making a deliberately erroneous statement.

    In his “Battle for Public Opinion”, the good Cardinal decries the use of inflammatory language such as “climate change denier”. But, just to be fair, seeing climate science being characterized by prominent public officials as the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated”, I tend to follow that time-tested Christian maxim of “do unto others, as they do unto you”. (Or was it “do unto others, before they do unto you”.)

    Cardinal Pell concludes his narrative by stating that “The debates about anthropogenic global warming can only be conducted by the accurate recognition and interpretation of scientific evidence.”, and that “The evidence of historians is also vital because this is not simply a mathematical problem, not ‘pure’ science.”

    This seems like an agreeable enough statement. The global warming problem needs to be addressed as a problem in physics, which is what climate science is doing. Understanding the physical basis for the historical record of Minoan Warming, Roman Warming, Mayan Droughts, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, etc., is very important, and are topics that climate science is actively working on.

    Cardinal Pell ends by citing the Latin Maxim ““in dubio non agitur”:
    don’t act when in doubt.” To this I would suggest that he follow his own maxim – i.e., don’t agitate when you really don’t know what you are talking about.

    Cardinal Pell also makes reference to Galileo when Galileo was placed under house arrest primarily because of his claim that the earth moved around the sun, he is said to have muttered “Eppur’ si muove” and yet it moves. Here, I can visualize Cardinal Pell as the Grand Inquisitor tormenting Jim Hansen (a scientist in the same sense as Galileo) to have him recant his stance on global warming. Whatever you may want to believe is your problem, but the Earth keeps on warming.

    • I agree that different views of the data support different conclusions. This means no conclusion should be drawn at this time. The science is ambiguous.

      • I agree that different views of the data support different conclusions. This means no conclusion should be drawn at this time. The science is ambiguous.

        Given that Cardinal Pell is not a climate scientist but an officer of the church, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the religion is ambiguous? As it was in Galileo’s day? Galileo was brought down by a single cardinal who took an intense dislike to his theories. Within two decades the church was quite contrite about that ridiculous episode.

    • In his “Battle for Public Opinion”, the good Cardinal decries the use of inflammatory language such as “climate change denier”. But, just to be fair, seeing climate science being characterized by prominent public officials as the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated”, I tend to follow that time-tested Christian maxim of “do unto others, as they do unto you”. (Or was it “do unto others, before they do unto you”.)

      Touche. Though the maxim predates Christ by as much as Christ predates holocaust deniers (code of Hammurabi, Torah, etc.).

  98. “Whatever you may want to believe is your problem, but the Earth keeps on warming.”

    It’s observable that temperatures on the earth go up and down. They are not static. So that the earth’s temperature is allegedly going up is a “so what?” because there’s only one other thing it could be doing.

    I just pretty much summed up Climate Science in 3 sentences. Where’s my grant money?

    Andrew

    • Wrong. It could be going sideways, rather than up or down, which is pretty much what it’s been doing lately.

      • M. carey,

        Please show me a temperature graph where the squiggly line is flat.

        Andrew

      • Think no statistically significant change.

      • “Think no statistically significant change.”

        OK…

        Now I’m *really* bored with climate science.

        Andrew

      • That’s easy Andrew. Man’s activities add to atmospheric CO2, a greenhouse gas, which in turn adds to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a warming influence.

      • Well, not “no statistically significant change” forever.

        Climate drivers are “man” and “not man.”

        “Not man” can be a warming influence or a cooling influence, or no influence (i.e., self-canceling).

        ‘Man” also can be a warming influence or a cooling influence, but on balance likely is a warming influence.

        So, I expect more warming in the long term, rather than more no change, or cooling. But I expect it to be slow, probably slow enough to bore you.

      • “Climate drivers are “man”…”

        I don’t think this has been established. If it has, please provide the relevant evidence, because I’ve never seen it.

        Andrew

      • I’m sorry, Andrew, but I put my reply in the wrong place. Here it is again in more succinct form:

        Man’s activities add greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. The additional greenhouse gas is a warming influence.

    • Where’s my grant money?

      Excellent question. I can answer that if you can tell me where your proposal is and who’s your contract monitor.

  99. Willis Eschenbach

    steven mosher | October 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply

    As a friend of Willis who disagrees with him about science I find his comments above to be objectionable. I found his comments about republicans to be objectionable, comments about Judith, comments about Muller.. heck, every time Willis talks negatively about a group or individual this person comes out that i don’t really recognize. Quite different from the genial dinner companion I know, quite different from the kind soul who has offered his help those I would help ( charity work).

    For me it comes down to who I want to defend, not who deserves a defense, but where I choose to spend my time. When he goes off on Judith, I’ll spend some time. When he went off on Jones, I spent some time. Going off on republicans.. Im not gunna waste my time, others can. He goes off on Christians, not gunna waste my time, others can. I do believe I also defended Muller when he went off on him. I’m not convinced you can conclude anything from how people respond selectively to Willis’ rants.
    Well you can try, but its largely just speculation to make some point that is probably better supported by other evidence

    Thanks, Mosh. The part I love is the people who call me all kinds of names, who describe me as some kind of scabrous, sub-human person, because I did something like calling Muller a media whore.

    It’s not OK for me to call Muller anything unpleasant even when as in this case it’s true … but it’s perfectly fine for them to make the most outrageous statements about me, regardless of truth???

    But that’s OK with me. I serve an important function in the discussion. I say what I actually think. Folks may not like my ideas, but they are in no doubt about where I stand, because I don’t hide behind false faces and honeyed words. If I think someone is a skunk, I’ll tell him he smells. If I think he’s a good guy like yourself, I’ll say that as well.

    Contrast this with the actions of the AGW scientists after Climategate. They saw the Climategate co-conspirators covered in their own excrement, and all anyone wanted to talk about is how it all smelled like the finest attar of roses … I’ll take “too honest” over that any day.

    Me, I wish more folks would tell the truth. That way I wouldn’t be the lightning rod for everyone’s failed Rorshach test anxiety. I was greatly overjoyed in that regard that Dr. Pielke and Nature magazine both faulted Muller for his spotlight-grabbing ways … but of course they did it all in the best collegiate manner, and I did it in the best cowboy manner.

    Finally, folks who see me as someone who unpredictably erupts in a rant mistake the situation entirely. My rants are all very carefully chosen and calculated, they have a clear and different purpose for each one, and my aim is to weigh and ponder each word and each tone and think about what they will do. People who go “we’re all offended, how can you say those things” miss the point. I say those things to get people interested, to get them to state their own truths, to get them upset and passionate about what they believe in, and to reveal to the world the fragility of their belief in invisible beings, beliefs so weak that they can be “offended” by my mere words.

    Take the current post. I think it is a huge mistake to mix religion and science, particularly when the religious person is clueless about the science. It’s gonna go pear-shaped. We have far too much passion in the climate debate already, adding religion is only going to make it worse. It’s like the old rule about talking religion at the dinner table. Won’t end well.

    Now, I had a choice of how to respond to that. I could have said something like “I think it is a huge mistake to mix religion and science, particularly when the religious person is clueless about the science. It’s gonna go pear-shaped. We have far too much passion in the climate debate already, adding religion is only going to make it worse.”

    Or I could demonstrate that in a practical manner. Which I proceeded to do by pointing out the historical link between religion and violence, by saying I’m glad the number of people who believe in invisible beings is dropping, and by ridiculing the idea that we have an invisible companion who will sometimes fulfill our inmost wishes. The resulting storm of abuse heaped on my head, along with folks advising me to keep telling the truth, showed, not claimed but demonstrated, that mixing religion and climate science is a very bad idea.

    Do I hate Christians? I don’t hate anyone, life is far too short for that nonsense. I’m willing to make fun of anyone, including myself. I tell the truth as much as I can. Regarding Judith, the title of my first post still holds—“I love ya, Judith, but you’re way wrong”. I have great respect for Judith, and sometimes I find her actions incomprehensible. Like wanting to talk religion at the dinner table.

    Mosh, if the AGW climate scientists were as honest as I am about the actions of their leaders, they would be trusted by the public. They don’t have to be cowboys about it, that’s my failing, but they do have to be honest about what the leading lights of climate science did and are still doing.

    Instead, two thirds of the US public thinks that climate scientists have falsified research. Yeah, you’re right, I’m over the top, most people are. I’m just the guy who is foolish enough to cop to it, I’m the idiot who says what other folks are thinking

    You have to realize that it is a deliberate choice. I am of the opinion that there is far too little outrage in the field of climate science. By stating that outrage in no uncertain terms, I bring it into the public conversation. I also get very publicly beat up for it, both here and at other blogs. They think they are pounding me into submission by that.

    What Keith Kloor and folks like that seem to not realize is that I want my outrage discussed on his blog. I want my over-the-top statements put out there and prominently displayed, I think its great that Joshua spends so much time abusing me. Whenever that happens, it is my outrage which is the subject of the discussion. It’s not Joshua’s ideas or Keith’s ideas that are the topic. It is my ideas, my claims, that they are talking about.

    Finally, I don’t mind being over-the-top because my position shelters other, less extreme positions. Because compared to me, they look very reasonable … and folks haven’t figured out yet that those positions are quite acceptable to me. I’m happy to get the Pielke and the Nature reactions to Muller, and I hold (perhaps totally incorrectly) that my outrage helped to make that happen.

    Anyhow, I hope that clears up the question of the “rants”, as you call them. Look at my “rants” and ignore the content, just look at what they actually accomplished. They have helped frame the entire discussion, they have made headlines, they have stirred up and encouraged that discussion. I make no apologies for any of them. From my perspective, they have been very successful and have done what I expected (OK, you’re right, “done what I hoped” is more accurate).

    w.

    PS—Lest anyone get the wrong idea, my “rants” are my honest ideas and beliefs. They are not fake or false or made up for the effect. They are one of many ways I could state my true beliefs. For example, I truly do think that Muller is willing to trample his friends if he sees publicity in it. I truly do think that an invisible but powerful companion who occasionally fulfills your wishes is a childhood fantasy unfit for a mature scientist. All that I regulate is the choice of the words and the tone in which I describe that. I am being honest, and I am also consciously directing that honesty towards a chosen objective or outcome. People mistake me badly when they think I am driven by emotions, that I do things because I “hate” something. Everyone would do much better in understanding my actions if they assumed that I do what I do for a carefully thought out objective, and that in most cases, I have been successful in achieving just that objective.

    • Willis,
      Hate is in the eye of the beholder.
      You sound indistinguishable from someone who hates Christians.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        It does not surprise me when you behold hate in me. After all, as a wise man told me … hate is in the eye of the beholder.

        w.

    • Thanks, Mosh. The part I love is the people who call me all kinds of names, who describe me as some kind of scabrous, sub-human person, because I did something like calling Muller a media whore.

      I guess a whore knows a whore.

      I am being honest

      Yeah, honest people don’t really need to claim they’re being honest.

      I’m surprised people call you names. Not because you don’t deserve it, but because your only function in any discussion is to spout scientifically ignorant nonsense and repeat the standard denier lies.

      Is anyone here surprised Willis is vilifying Muller after celebrating him? Who would be surprised by that. The shocker would be if he had the integrity to admit Muller proved him wrong.

      You’ve never really pretended to be anything other that what you are, Willis, so it’s hard for me to imagine anyone working up the ire to call you names. Personally I find you a very useful idiot: wearing your habitual dishonesty and scientific ignorance on your sleeve, as you do, makes you an ideal poster child of the anti-science movement.

      You just keep on shining your light.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Robert | October 30, 2011 at 1:17 am | Reply

        Thanks, Mosh. The part I love is the people who call me all kinds of names, who describe me as some kind of scabrous, sub-human person, because I did something like calling Muller a media whore.

        I guess a whore knows a whore.

        Q.E.D.

        w.

  100. One dead, thousands without power and the first October snow in London in 74 YEARS as Arctic blast sweeps across UK By DAILY MAIL REPORTER and DAVID DERBYSHIRE

    • Wagathon – can you tell me what year your news report comes from as it doesn’t seem to refer to this year. Weather news here in the UK is ‘unseasonably warm’.

      • Willis Eschenbach
      • Hmm … I see that’s 2008. I wonder how many reading Wagathon’s post would have thought it was a current news report?

        I read a good analogy for global warming today: Think of how the tide changes, each wave comes and goes with varying heights but you need to observe quite a few to see the underlying trend.

      • Reuters – Rare, deadly Oct. storm hangs on in Northeast U.S. Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:17am EDT

  101. Two thoughts- First: a nerd like me very much liked Star Trek characters Spock and Data. Why? On a logic vs emotion scale they were 100% logic, 0 % emotion. They were always 100% on task. The task presented here was the bridging of a divide between science (climate specifically) and religion. The problem several of us put forward was the implied suggestion that a person will always be skeptical because of religious beliefs. In fact, most skeptics with a scientific background are skeptical for reasons that are 100% logical. The science itself.
    Those who have become skeptical because of study are not anti science.
    Second: Whether from a secular perspective (nobody’s perfect) or a religious perspective (all have sinned) (are they not the same?) This thread digressed when individuals started to deviate from logical considerations of the task at hand and delved into emotional characterizations of individuals or groups of individuals. Where, in Ken Wilson’s writing was there shown a need to label, characterize behavior, or suggest that one’s own beliefs are superior.to that of anyone else?
    I am suggesting that we, all of us, do that from time to time; and it is very wrong, mean spirited, and it is an implied statement that we think of ourselves as being superior-whether strongly religious, atheist or anything in between.
    Once the emotions started coming to the surface, the original question was lost. Can we view ourselves as competent scientists when we do that?

    • “In fact, most skeptics with a scientific background are skeptical for reasons that are 100% logical.”

      Most “skeptics” would not know a logical train of thought if it were emblazoned in fiery letters in the sky.

    • very much liked Star Trek characters Spock and Data

      The very theme I promised Judith for a post to Climate Etc. back in April when BEST first came on the scene. I even had a nice graphic featuring a standoff between Spock and Data. Like so many of my projects, still circling to land. Sigh. :(

      (Just to be clear, I’ll be playing Spock to Muller’s Data at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in December. Although my training was in physics and statistics, my career for some decades has been in logic. These days I’m back in physics and statistics.)

  102. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | October 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Willis,

    I would say, just for starters, that the things that are most objectionable in your treatment are the following.

    1″Unfortunately, from my perspective, the worst about evangelicals is the truth about evangelicals, and that ugly truth has empowered the worst in you for centuries, since you were burning witches in Salem. ”

    The issues here are ahistorism and guilt by association. As an old student of both theology and literature ( haha Hawthorn) I think you do a great injustice to the actual history of evangelicals ( starts with Edwards 1740– the great awakening) by conflating them with the New england Puritans. (1690s) Of course one can find similarities.. they both believe in god for christs sake, but to tar modern day evangelicals with the sins of their third cousins removed is horrible scholarship.

    You are certainly historically correct. It was a throwaway line, because I needed to highlight the Christian past. The evangelicals have their own separate history, involving the struggle of a group who thinks they have been given a “mission from God” to convince everyone on the planet of their bizarre beliefs. My objections to evangelicals mostly involve their spreading of superstition, shame, and dissension among the peoples of the South Pacific, while at the same time stealing their land and taking over their country.

    But yes, you are right, I was wrong to accuse the evangelicals of the sins of their cousins. As Nixon famously said, “That statement is no longer operational”.

    w.

    • Willis,
      I urge you to stick with the excellent analytical skills you have demonstrated regarding climate hype and leave religious issues alone.

  103. Willis Eschenbach

    Joshua | October 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Reply

    … I will point out that as I recall, you have also stated that you weren’t attacking Muller personally – only his science or some such nonsense.

    And I will point out that you are making a totally uncited and unsupported allegation, as is your ugly habit. If you object to my work, have the balls to quote my words, don’t bore us with your dim recollections of what you thought I might have meant.

    w.

    • Are you denying having said that, Willis, or are you again playing fetch?

    • If you object to my work . . .

      Your comment diarrhea on various denier blogs hardly deserves to be called a body of work.

      Please don’t bore us with your ideas of what dignity a scientifically ignorant motormouth like yourself is entitled to.

    • Willis’

      looked through a couple of threads of your comments on Muller. Amidst the paragraph after paragraph demeaning his integrity, character, intelligence, motivations, etc., I did not find you stating that you weren’t attacking his personality.

      So, my recollection was wrong. I was wrong.

      So how ’bouts you explain your comment about Quakers?

      And the Quakers mostly sit around and quake and don’t bother anyone

      In particular the “mostly sit around and quake” part.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Of course you didn’t find it. You had made that false memory up out of the whole cloth.

        Now, if you were a curious man, you’d think “Why am I inventing nasty untrue things about someone I never met? What’s going on here?”.

        Regarding Quakers, it was an attempt to indicate that the Quakers were one of the few groups of folks who believe in invisible beings but don’t thump their neighbors on the heads. That’s the “don’t bother anyone” part.

        As to the “sit around quaking”, my understanding was that the name referred to the Society of Friends “trembling at the word of God”, and that the quaking referred to their praying. My point was, they pray (“sit around and quake”) rather than thumping their neighbors, either literally or figuratively. Kind of unusual for believers in an invisible being.

        You need to get a life and dial down the insane suspicion, Joshua. I’m just a guy, not the Evil One as you seem to think. The line about the Quakers was to commend them for being pacifists, and your strange beliefs about me twisted it around into … heck, I don’t know what, but certainly not what I said. You’ve just had evidence that your obsessive suspicion is leading you to invent false memories about what I did … not a good sign, my friend.

        w.

      • Willis –

        I’m just a guy, not the Evil One as you seem to think.

        I don’t think you’re “evil” Willis – and as I told you before, I don’t think that you’re a “terrible, terrible man.” I’ve never met you Willis, and I never said either of those things about you.

        What I do know about you is that you spout nonsense, and then double-down when you’re called on it. Anyone who would describe Quakers as mostly sitting around and quaking knows nothing about Quakers.

        and your strange beliefs about me twisted it around into … heck, I don’t know what, but certainly not what I said.

        Yet another of your mistakes, Wiliis. I didn’t “twist” what you said into anything. Your knowledge about what I believe about you exists in your own head. I asked you what you meant. And your answer proved that as you often do, you spouted off nonsense. And rather typically, doubled-down after doing so.

  104. Somebody else brings up the topic of abortion,I’m going to do a Willis here,and probably get my post deleted,but when the push for legalised abortion was being debated in Australia,I agreed that it was a womans right to choose,that it was ok as a last resort,and it wasn’t too stressful for the baby if done in the first trimester.Now I see it as having opened Pandora’s box.These people that are so gung ho against the death sentence for murderers stand by and applaud when an 8 month fetus is aborted,”live birth abortions”,the most disgusting term in modern lanuage.I read a story in the Mail the other day about a priest in Italy who blesses the aborted babies(somebody cares)to his great horror he found a little boy alive,he’d been there one day,they took him to hospital,but he died.His crime?He had a hare-lip.So come to me now and ask me what I think of abortion,you don’t have to be christian to say,stop!It’s enough,I never signed up to mothers using abortion as birth control,I never signed up to babies being killed at 8 months,I never signed up to mothers uding abortion to choose a boy or gir,I never signed up to babies being aborted because of hare-lips.land all the selfish women in the world can go back to abstinence or birth control.The world is becoming an ugly place,and maybe it is because of Atheists.

    • The law of unintended consequences does not only apply to economics. Something progressives and liberaltarians alike are loathe to even consider.

  105. Are you sure it is unintended consequences Gary?It’s easy to change is it not?
    My mind wanders to euthenasia and I wonder in the future will somebody write a post like mine on euthenasia?
    Like I never signed up to old people being euthenased because they are useless now,that sort of unintended or intended consequence.

  106. Willis Eschenbach said, “It’s gonna go pear-shaped.”
    Not quite sure why, but that made me fall out of my chair laughing; thanks! (Undefinable mental image, or some such.)
    I cannot say I think Ken Wilson’s post was aesthetic, nor useful. Still, this is Dr. Curry’s blog.

  107. Willis Eschenbach

    Robert | October 30, 2011 at 1:17 am

    … Is anyone here surprised Willis is vilifying Muller after celebrating him? Who would be surprised by that. The shocker would be if he had the integrity to admit Muller proved him wrong.

    If you’d quote where I “celebrated” Muller, that would help. If you could show where Muller “proved me wrong” that would be even better.

    Because until then, you’re just a small man with a small mind making unsupported, ugly charges with no foundation and no facts. Typical for AGW supporters, all mouth and nothing to back it up.

    w.

    • Because until then, you’re just a small man with a small mind making unsupported, ugly charges with no foundation and no facts.

      Spoken by a small mathematician with a defective abacus drawing unsound inferences with no principles and dubious axioms.

      Sorry, Willis, I didn’t mean that any more than you meant it of Robert.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Vaughan, Robert made unsupported unpleasant allegations about me. I have asked him to quote my words that support his claims of what I said.

        He has not done so. This is the action of a small man. He has not said what his objection is, he just wants to insult me without standing behind his words or giving us a chance to clear up the misunderstanding.

        You at least quoted me. But then all you did was a “tu quoque”, one that didn’t even make sense. Robert doesn’t even get that far. He just makes accusations. I cannot defend myself without knowing what he is talking about. He refuses to clarify the matter.

        I meant what I said about Robert. He’s willing to accuse me of something, but he won’t tell me what. That’s the actions of a small man. You accuse me of doing the same thing … but I have said and quoted what I object to, and why. So there’s no parallel, I’m not doing what he is doing.

        w.

        PS—You really should fight your own fights, and leave Robert out of it to fight his. What you’ve done is like taking sides in a bar fight … not generally a good idea, small upside, big downside. Fight for what you want, not what Robert wants or whether Robert is a jerk or not.

  108. Willis Eschenbach

    Brandon Shollenberger | October 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm |

    Willis Eschenbach, it is hard to believe you failed to understand what I said so completely. You asked for specific references. I said I wouldn’t give such, but said I would give you a starting point as to where my disagreement lies. That starting point was, “Everything you said which had any connection to religion.” You now say you aren’t going to try to (effectively) read my mind, and that you can’t respond to “mushy” statements like the starting point I provided. You claim the statement means nothing.

    This couldn’t be more wrong. When I say I disagree with “everything,” it means I disagree with everything. In this case, I disagree with everything you said which had any connection to religion. That means every sentence you typed which had any bearing on religion. I’m sure you’re capable of figuring out which sentences those are, so you have all the references you need.

    I have no idea why you would be incapable of figuring this out, and I cannot imagine what lead you to conclude my statement meant “nothing.” Quite frankly, I don’t care. The meaning of my comment was perfectly clear, and it was nothing like you described.

    If all it takes to make you leave a discussion is your inability to understand simple sentences, so be it.

    Brandon, I disagree with everything you said there. There’s nothing in there that I agree with. If you said something, I disagree with it. So let’s discuss my disagreements.

    Do you see how meaningless that is, Brandon? It leaves no room for discussion. It leaves no room for conversation. If you disagree with everything I say, and you refuse to say why or what, then what is there to discuss?

    So no, I’m not leaving the discussion, you’re the one walking out. I’m happy to have the discussion. It is you who don’t wish to say what you really object to. Or at least that’s what I thought. However, it now appears that you don’t object to anything, because as you say, “quite frankly, [you] really don’t care”

    You frankly don’t care but you want to tell me in no uncertain terms that I’m wrong … a curious contradiction. Given that, I’ll assume that lack of caring is why you are walking away from the discussion.

    w.

  109. Willis Eschenbach

    P.E. | October 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm |

    But the Crusades were a Christian invention, not a Muslim invention.

    sorry Willis, but you’re just making crap up now. Go get a history book. Do you know what happened at the gates of Vienna in 1389? How about Pointers, or Lepanto? The truth is, Christian Europe came within a couple of spears of being completely extinguished by the Muslims. And despite all the propaganda from CAIR, that would have meant no Renascence, and no science as we know it.

    P.E., thanks for the quotation. It allows me to identify where we’re talking about different things. I was talking about the Crusades. That was a Christian invention. The Muslim push to the Gates of Vienna and their attempt to take over Europe? That was a Moslem invention.

    And yes, the Muslims almost wiped out the Christians back then … yet everyone claims that religion and violence aren’t linked.

    Thanks,

    w.

    PS “Making crap up?” I don’t do that, P.E., better check for mirrors in your vicinity cause it ain’t me.

    • Willis,

      You are making an ass of yourself. Move on to something substantive.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Don, you’re acting like a jerk. Go talk to someone else.

        w.

        PS—Don, what I said is nothing more or less than you said.

        Do you see why that kind of blanket denunciation is meaningless? Do you understand why it doesn’t go anywhere?

        PPS—Once again, I advise people to consider my motives before making rash judgements about my actions … read this comment of mine upstream end to end and think about it. I’m many things. A fool is not one of them

  110. Thanks Anthony. This should be newsworthy enough to get Willis off the hook. Now why did those of us with a little sense not believe the Muller narrative that his “study” was the last nail in the coffin for climate skeptics.

  111. I just finishes reading the Mail article. Girl got balls.

  112. Ouch!

    “Yesterday Prof Muller insisted that neither his claims that there has not been a standstill, nor the graph, were misleading because the project had made its raw data available on its website, enabling others to draw their own graphs.

    However, he admitted it was true that the BEST data suggested that world temperatures have not risen for about 13 years. But in his view, this might not be ‘statistically significant’, although, he added, it was equally possible that it was – a statement which left other scientists mystified.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2055191/Scientists-said-climate-change-sceptics-proved-wrong-accused-hiding-truth-colleague.html#ixzz1cFIwS0QK

  113. Willis Eschenbach

    gbaikie | October 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    “I just look at history. My theory is that when people build their identity around a shared set of … mmm … let me call them “unusual” beliefs, as a result of that they can’t tolerate the “other”, the “stranger”, the “non-believer”. It is a threat to their and their worldview, so they attack it and drive it out.”

    But I would assume you would realize that this was human nature not something due to being Christian.

    I thought I’d made myself clear. In fact, in my quote, you don’t see the word “Christian”. i’m referring to people who believe in invisible beings who occasionally fulfill their wishes. I say nothing about Christians, it applies to every group that has that kind of bizarre shared belief. When you believe something that strange, anyone like myself who doesn’t believe as the group believes is a huge danger to the group.

    This, of course, is the explanation for the frenzied, angry, over-the-top nature of the assault on my for my having the dang nerve to tell the truth …

    But no, it’s not just Christians that do that. Any group believing in invisible beings can fall in that trap, and most seem to have done so. Oh, the Bahai’s historically have been beat on so often and so hard they’ve never gotten around to thumping on anyone. And the Quakers mostly sit around and quake and don’t bother anyone, I can get behind that.

    But far too often, people who believe in invisible beings also believe that the invisible beings tell them to do mean things to other people. When that happened with Son of Sam we said “He’s nuts.”

    What the invisible beings of whatever variety seem to tell their followers far too often is “Go thump your neighbor on the head, he’s a heathen”. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindudes, somehow they all seem to tune in to that same frequency from time to time.

    So you are right that it is not Christian. It seems to be a common trait of all the folks who believe in an invisible being that, given the entire universe to play in, instead is listening out 24/7 in case they might wish for something.

    God save us from people with God on their side, I say …

    w.

    • And the Quakers mostly sit around and quake and don’t bother anyone

      Willis – you really don’t ever tire of making nonsense statements out of ignorance, do you?

      I come on here to read some about some nice dirt-flinging between Judith and Muller and you’re still trying to dig your way out of your hole by posting nonsense?

      Well – Judith hasn’t commented on the dust-up yet – so let’s hear more from you about how Quakers “mostly sit around and quake and don’t bother anymore”

      Too funny.

  114. OK, the info in that article and Anthony Watts’ post…THAT casts serious doubt on Muller’s integrity.

  115. Willis Eschenbach

    Dang, mondo big props to Judith Curry, very well done. She has said what needed to be said.

    The amazing thing is this. If I were putting together a team to do an analysis like the BEST analysis, I’d definitely want Judith on that team. I say that because I know I could depend on her to tell the rest of the team unvarnished truth as she sees it.

    But that’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that after (apparently) having the good sense to have Judith on the team, they then left her totally out of the loop. And not on some internal or less important questions.

    They left her out of the loop in the question of how to present their message to the public. That’s Judith’s field, fools, that’s what she does better than anyone else on the AGW side. How could you not talk to her about how to release the results?

    Three choices. a) They’re really clueless, or b) They only wanted her prestige, not her advice, or c) both of the above. I don’t know which option I like less.

    Although I’d shoot the newspaper person that chose her photo, she’s much better looking than that.

    Judith, seriously, assuming the news reports are correct you took a calm and clear and strong and principled stand on the questions.

    You also took a chance, because what you said will undoubtedly be misunderstood and twisted, with people protesting what you didn’t say.

    In any case, If my commendation means anything to you, I certainly commend you for your statements, your honesty, and your willingness to take the chance and accept the inevitable abuse that comes with taking a public stand.

    Sincerely,

    w.

  116. Willis Eschenbach

    Keith Kloor | October 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    It might surprise Willis to hear that I’m an atheist (have been since a teenager), and agree with the thrust of what he’s saying. But because his language and tone is so offensive, he ends up turning everybody off. But hey, Willis, you’d definitely win over P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins. Incidentally, I think they’re mostly dead-on, too, though their stridency, like yours, is counterproductive.

    Why? Because a majority of people have some sort of religion and belief in their life. Yours (and their) approach–which is heavy on insult and mockery– just alienates all those people–needlessly.

    Keith, thanks for your comments. I fear I’ve never considered your religious persuasion. In my life, that hardly ever comes up, I generally don’t ask. So there is no surprise possible if you’re an atheist, because I had no preconceptions.

    I’m glad to hear you don’t believe you have an invisible companion who listens for your every wish.

    In response to your question about my methods, please read my post upthread. It covers the issues you raise about the efficacy of my approach.

    All the best,

    w.

  117. Willis, i have just read the whole thread of comments and agree with you completely on everything you said (if I agree does that absolve me from the requirement to quote you?). It is also clear that those who have a dogmatic view of the world do not address the points of the argument in any meaningful way, but invariably attack the person making the argument. My theory is that logic and dogma are inversely proportional in a person for any particular topic and so the more you have of one, the less you have of the other. Therefore, those who live in a world of dogma do not have logic as a tool to debate the argument. This leaves them with nothing but attacks on the other person as the only tool in their toolbox.

    The only “emotional” responses that I read were from those that were speaking from a position of dogma. Logic tends to dampen emotion.

    • “It is also clear that those who have a dogmatic view of the world do not address the points of the argument in any meaningful way, but invariably attack the person making the argument.”

      There was an argument in amongst all that verbiage? I musta missed it because we superstitious religious folks were all so busy quaking in fear at Willis’s awesomeness to argue with his calm clear logical analysis of theology. I hear the Pope, the Dalai Lama and a number of Rabbis have hired extra body guards.

      • “There was an argument in amongst all that verbiage? I musta missed it because we superstitious religious folks were all so busy quaking in fear at Willis’s awesomeness to argue with his calm clear logical analysis of theology. I hear the Pope, the Dalai Lama and a number of Rabbis have hired extra body guards.”

        No argument in this verbiage either …

  118. In the uk we say you should never discuss religion and politics in the pub. I stated before, in too harsh terms sorry, that I did not think the post had merit that of course is my opinion it is your blog.
    Since my original comment I have read the posts and for once managed to avoid pouring oil on troubled waters. What a good boy I am.
    My suggestion is you rename the post the ” Tit for Tat Special” :-)

    • Stacey,

      I enjoy giving the fire a little poke once in awhile as you never know what may come out of the flames.
      Most of the time it is nonsense but occasionally some good pieces of information or strategies in different thoughts can be a good thing.

  119. I believe the question of evolution is going to smack a near-future generation right in the face when it comes to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

  120. Willis
    When African tribes invaded another tribe’s land and raped,pillaged and burht,were they doing it in the name of religion?
    If you believe in evolution you must believe that man learnt survival by taking from others,surely?
    Are we not all that savage man that roamed thousands of years ago underneath the veil of civility we have donned?

    • Latimer Alder

      A fallacy there.

      That not all wars are caused by reilgion does not mean that no wars are so caused. And many have been, are now and ever shall be.

      Its also interesting to observe that in any religious war, both sides believe that they have their god(s) on their side. Weird huh? They can’t both be right…….

  121. This is absurd. I can comment in other threads but not in this one.
    Very frustrating.

  122. N-th attempt. Latimer – I’ve been trying to post here for two days but most of my comments disappear. Must be a new fool’s detector on this site. :)

    Anyway : to focus on “r” as the “cause” of awful behavior is like to.focus on the color white as the “cause” of placebo just because placebo works also by using white sugar pills.

  123. Latimer – I’ve been trying to post here for two days but most of my comments disappear. Must be a new fool’s detector on this site. :)

    Anyway : to focus on religion as the “cause” of awful behavior is like to.focus on the color white as the “cause” of placebo just because placebo works also by using white capsules.

  124. I strongly recommend against using the word “p i l l” !!!!

  125. If you wish to learn how to hate religion you all are going to have to read Dawkins and Hitchens diatribes. I’ll summarize from these authors of lets hate religion a) first you must dehumanize those on whom you wish to exercise your bigotry b) first step in dehumanizing is to posit that they are not intelligent c) you now have free reign to execute your bigotry
    Blaming Evangelicals for the sorry state of climate science indicates we have reached the apex of climate ridiculousness.

    • I completely agree. It’s like they finally figured out that Big Oil and Big Coal are not funding Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts so they have to blame someone! How much more ludicrous can this blame game get?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      If you wish to understand my writing you are going to have to learn to read. I said nothing about hate. I don’t hate Christians, how could I? They are so ridiculous with their little invisible allpowerful companions to fulfill their wishes, how could anyone hate them?

      Second, not one person here was “blaming Evangelicals for the sorry state of climate science”. That’s your fantasy, 100%, it has no point of contact with reality.

      w.

  126. Thank you Ken Wilson for your post and Judith Curry for inviting it. We humans have a very, very difficult time dealing with uncertainty and with ambiguity. Climate science, like much religion, demonstrates this human flaw that is so common. I am some sort of religious humanist agnostic with many church friends who are secular humanists or atheists and many who are theists. Theology is not an issue at our church, and does not divide us. A few years back I spent three years on Scott McKnight’s “Jesus Creed” blog and found his brand of “emerging church” evangelicals throughly decent folks. I learned a lot about biblical scholarship and theology, and more important, community, from a group I had mistakenly written off as anti-science and as anti-intellectual. Evolution was not a stumbling block for most emerging evangelicals; neither was biblical criticism based on scholarship and reason. These were kind people, even my kind of people who saw Jesus’ message of loving ALL others, inviting all to the table, and helping the disadvantaged and poor as Jesus’ important message. Some, including Scott McKnight, was not yet willing to extend new biblical scholarship to accepting gays, loving yes, but not accepting, but I saw movement in that direction. All the while, more conservative evangelicals , and especially fundamentalists were condeming McKnight and this new breed of emerging church evengelicals as ignorant or even followers of Satan. Fast forward to today. Ken Wilson, your heart and your intent are praiseworthy. Your knowledge of climate science is not. I am a teacher of environmental science who is not afriad to say I love god’s critters (even we human critters) and your desire to be scientifically au courant is not courant enough. Yes, there was very significant warming for 20 years from 1978-1998, and yes, climate scientist James Hansen, first, and soon after, IPCC climate scientists, expressed very human fears and concerns about our human role in the warming. As it turned out, that very significant warming for 20 years ended about 14 years ago. With hindsight, we can see that it was not unprecedented, but very much like earlier warming periods such as 1914- 1934. Ken Wilson, your desire to lead your flock into the age of science is to be commended, but you, like most of the journalists and politicians and pastors and laymen, are a decade out of touch with climate science. We so called science deniers are in no way denying science; the whole denier label is textbook ad hominem attack. We are criticizing a James Hansen or IPCC model- a hypothesis- that a doubling of CO2 will cause catastrophic warming. That model is not supported by the temperature trend of the past 14 years or by the slight decline in temperature of the 30 years preceding 1978. Criticizing an hypothesis, one of many, is not denying science. Understanding this isn’t easy from our media sound bites and over-the-top polititical statements on both sides. It requires the type of study that biblical scholars are familiar with. Please involve yourself with this study. You’ll find many on both sides who are uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity and have adopted a position of certitude. Certitude in religion and in science is not evidence of certainty. Catastrophic anthropogenic warming might still be a a problem for god’s children- and I use this phrase as an agnostic hoping the Let There Be Peace on Earth line , “With God as Our Father, Brothers all are we” will unite us in kindness and charity for each other and our planet. Right now, the temperature record indicates that catastrophic anthropogenic warming is not a problem, not even close, and is diverting our efforts from real problems.

  127. I’m sorry Dr Curry but you have made a mistake in allowing religious points of view to stand in a technical thread. IMO the initial post by Willis should have been moderated for relevance and the thread then could have provided an interesting take on climate science by Keith Wilson to be discussed.

    • Sorry, It should have been Ken Wilson.

    • I agree that Willis hijacked the thread. there were a bunch of interesting issues that Ken raised that didn’t get discussed. I’m not sure if there is interest in a follow on thread?

      • When Ken Wilson writes, it comes off as an attack on Christ-followers. As a Christ-follower, I don’t need Ken asking scientists to have mercy on my puny little mind. It’s offensive. Most Christians I know have fine scientific minds and we understand the science better than Ken does.

        I agree with the writings of Francis Schaeffer who called the church to honor the biblical mandate to take care of the planet. I just don’t see atmospheric CO2 as a catastrophe-causing pollutant. The evidence is not there. It’s been 20 years. The catastrophe was supposed to have happened by 2010. It’s still not here.

        A review I once read describes Ken’s writings well. “It was both good and original. But the parts that were good were not original. The parts that were original were not good.”

        Ken should stick to quoting Billy Graham.

      • Dr. Curry: I’m curious what interesting issues Ken Wilson raised that weren’t discussed.

        Once the reader gets past the surprise of an evangelical publicly apologizing to scientists and offering to make common cause on climate issues while throwing other evangelicals under the bus, there wasn’t much else to Wilson’s article.

        I liked it because I have an “inside baseball” interest in Christianity and see Wilson’s article as part of current tectonic shifting within American Christianity.

        Perhaps you have in mind a larger exploration of religion and science with respect to climate.

  128. It is less religion, but tyranny, that is most deadly. Religion becomes deadly when expropriated by tyranny. In contrast, liberty in the United States takes its text from the Bible: “proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” — Leviticus 25:10.
    Matthew White compiled some statistics for the 20th century. You may notice that the “winners” in the barbarity ranking are some form of Marxism (corporatism, national socialism, communism).

    White, Matthew. 2001. Historical Atlas of the 20th Century. Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century. http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/20centry.htm

    White, Matthew. 1999. Twentieth Century Atlas – Most Evil Dictator. Necrometrics. September. http://necrometrics.com/tyrants.htm ———. 2010.

    White, Matthew. 2010. Twentieth Century Atlas – Worldwide Statistics of Casualties, Massacres, Disasters and Atrocities. September. http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat8.htm

  129. Christianity has taken some knocks here on account of the Crusades. It wasn’t entirely motivated by greed.

    The Crusades (~1095) occurred after the Muslim Conquests (632 – 750). Led by Charles Martel, the battle of Tours (France ~732) ended expansion into Europe, but Spain remained under the Umayyad Caliphate a while longer.

    For the Muslim Conquest, see The Encyclopedia of World History. 2001 under III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > B. The Middle East and North Africa, 500–1500.

    For more light reading, trace the Crusades in The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

  130. If evangelicals are somewhat skeptical about “climate science” in its mainstream form, it may have something to do with False Witness.

  131. Helpful information. Fortunate me I found your web site unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  132. Hi there, I discovered your blog by means of Google even
    as searching for a comparable subject, your site came
    up, it looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, just was aware of your weblog via Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna
    watch out for brussels. I will be grateful should you continue this
    in future. Numerous other folks might be benefited out of your writing.
    Cheers!