Faith, not Shrubs

I was right and we’re all still doomed! Okay, we’re not doomed. Earlier, I’d said that I was a climate change skeptic. Not that I doubted something was going on but that I was skeptical of the reasons being offered for the change. I lacked evidence to back up my sneaking suspicion but I didn’t buy the notion that humanity was destroying the earth quite so easily nor was I impressed with the idea that nothing is going on and the scientific community was in cahoots to get grant money to study a non-existent problem.

I now have the scientific proof from none other than CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. According to a post at the Financial Post,

63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth.

What that means is that the current increase in global temperatures is more dictated by the current solar cycle than by my Saab 9-3 or the 1969 AMC Rambler I drove in high school. We are not the primary cause of global warming.

However, that doesn’t mean we can go back to pumping waste into our rivers and lakes and pollutants into our atmosphere like we did in the 1970s (or whenever we supposedly did that). God created the universe and it was very good when he was done. We started polluting it when Adam sinned and brought sin into the world (Romans 5). That didn’t erase the command to have dominion that God had given mankind at creation even though sin did mess us up in executing that command. We still have the responsibility to care for and cultivate this globe. A demonstration of how important it is to God that we care for the land is found in why He sent Israel into exile for 70 years. The reason for the exile was idolatry but the reason God chose to send them away for 70 years instead of 92 or 853 was explained in 2 Chronicles 36:21, “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.”

You see, God had commanded Israel to let the land rest every seven years. Don’t plow it and don’t sow it. It was an act of faith to do that just like it was to not pick up manna on Saturday. Just like it is to not try to work for our salvation but to rest in Jesus. So what’s at stake is faith not shrubs but it is instructive that God told us to have dominion and that he metered Israel’s exile by their misuse of the land. A specific lack of faith that has to do with ecology. And so it is today. We may not be causing the polar ice caps to melt, though melting they be, but that doesn’t liberate us to use and abuse at will. We may not worship the earth as goddess nor may we faithlessly rip all the resources from it for our immediate consumption because we don’t think God will provide tomorrow.

Print This Post Print This Post


  • I agree with this post except for the second half of the last sentence regarding faithlessly ripping resources from the earth for our immediate consumption. It doesn’t really work that way. I can’t offer as good an explanation as Russ Roberts does here:

    Read the part about the room full of pistachios, approximately the first half of the page. It does not, however, go against anything else you wrote.

  • The sun’s activity does contribute to the Earth’s climate and weather. It’s the major driver of our weather patterns for heaven’s sake! But solar cycles do not correlate to the recent increase in average temperatures nearly as well as does the industrial revolution and the increase in CO2 (and other greenhouse gas) liberation. See the article quoted below. Humans are not the only factor, but our actions have been the largest contribution to climate change for the last century.

    “When global warming has happened at various times in the past two million years, it has taken the planet about 5,000 years to warm 5 degrees. The predicted rate of warming for the next century is at least 20 times faster. This rate of change is extremely unusual.”

  • That is a really cool illustration Jon! I don’t see it conflicting with what I’ve said though. I really agree with it. I don’t think we’re going to run out of oil but it is getting harder to get to. I hope it does push us to some other form of energy as burning oil is pretty stupid.

  • I was careful to not say that we’re not having an impact. But I think the newer research points to a different source for the driving factor in climate change. Probably too early to say for sure either way. I’m just sticking with “I was right” because I like the way it sounds. :)

  • The article referenced in the FP article indicates that we are learning more and more about the myriad factors that effect the largest molecular system we have access to study. It does not indicate that solar effects trump any other. That’s simply the inference of the author placed upon the data.

    Think about it. Solar cycles do not correlate to the hockey stick graph. There is a certain amount of repetition on the small scale, but we’re talking about an overwhelming increase to the slope of this graph, but not an overwhelming increase to the UV output of the Sun. It’s one of the few intuitive factors of climate change.

    But other than that you were totally right.

  • I don’t want to start a big fight but I think I’m going to. I’m still dubious of the hockey stick. Not so much because of email gate from a few years ago. Part of it is because Canada took the gold medal in the Winter Olympics. But also because they changed the data set at the point the hockey stick heads up. I know the gods (or popes) of science have blessed this data change and I’m to reverently receive this with appropriate humility but something still bugs me.

  • Yeah, climategate was total smoke. It’s been reviewed by multiple independent councils and no one has found a hint of foul play.

    What convinces me is the fact that we’re constantly increasing the resolution and accuracy of our data sets. When we realize that we’ve got something wrong, we change our conclusion to fit the data. Period. I’m not quite sure what change you’re referring to, but it sounds like science doing science. It would be a bit suspicious if we could get everything right the first time.

    But seriously. We had to let Canada win. It was the gentlemanly thing to do.

  • Also, remember not to allow your conclusion to be based on personal incredulity. The overwhelming consensus of professional climate scientists (a hard to understand bunch on the best of days) points to one conclusion. Just because it’s not intuitive or the data don’t make perfect sense to laymen like us doesn’t mean that these scientists don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • We made sure Canada didn’t walk away with it, that’s for sure. As far as the changed data set, I can’t recall the specifics (I am old after all) but where they gathered the temperatures had to be changed for some reason. The old source wasn’t available any longer I think? Can’t recall the specifics.

  • Well we’ve certainly lost data from certain collection points to fire. The changes were probably just statistical adjustments to account for KNOW missing data. Stats are weird. Without the original source, that would be my best guess.

    That doesn’t help encourage your trust in the professionals? The fact that they admitted data had been lost and tried their best to account for it? Either way, we have such robust data that I find it pretty tough to discount small changes as crippling to climate change theory as a whole.

  • It was a change of data set and there were statistical adjustments made to compensate. I’m sure they were all done on the up and up but I’m skeptical. When I see a major change AND a change in the source of the data it just seems too coincidental.

  • Found a likely candidate data correction. Someone did a statistical examination of the data collected so far and noted a likely incongruency. It turned out to be a calculation error, not a collection error.

    “The corrections made almost no difference to global temperature trends, NASA reported, while U.S. mean annual temperatures from 2000 to 2006 were all reduced by about 0.15 degrees Celsius. Most significantly for climate change skeptics, however, the year 1934 now edges out 1998 as the hottest year in the United States.”

  • Does that sound like what you’d heard?

  • Tim, you are on a roll! That’s two from today . . . I have read elsewhere about the cosmic rays, and I liked the way you said that didn’t exonerate us from being better stewards of the earth. Nice jub . . .

  • No, that wasn’t it. It was a change in the data source, not an error in the calculations. I’ll have to see if I can figure out what I’m talking about.

  • Thank you Ruthann! Does that make up for my commenting on the creation thread without reading the article? I still feel guilty over that.

  • Yeah, go spend some time with Google. I don’t like hunches and half-remembered articles. Data must be quantified to be useful. Curious to see what you turn up.

  • It is stretching my memory and my give a hoot.

  • It’s the defining point of your doubt over a critical scientific issue with very real-world consequences and you’re having a hard time giving a hoot? That’s troubling to me.

  • Ben, my suspicion is there are things you don’t give a “hoot” about which are even more “critical” that Tim might find “troubling” . . .

  • You boys need some coffee and cheesecake while ya’ll talk?

  • I don’t need anything to shorten my attention span any further.

  • makes you both funner to read.

  • And here I thought it was the beer or wine that did that.

  • Getting back to the sabbath for the land: I have it in my mind, that I read very long ago in grade school about how in the middle ages crop land was divided into 7 portions. Each year a portion would be allowed to lie fallow and crops would only be planted on the other 6. The portion to lie faloow was rotated year to year so that every seven years a field would get its rest.

  • That’s kind of cool Bill, I hadn’t heard it. Still, kind of a cheat on what God commanded Israel…

  • “I’m sure they were all done on the up and up but I’m skeptical. When I see a major change AND a change in the source of the data it just seems too coincidental.”

    You’re absolutely right, Tim, it does seem too coincidental. On top of that, if they were confident of their assertion that global warming exists, they would make the data available so that anyone could run regressions on it. Interesting podcast that touches on this:

Join the Discussion

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>