48 thoughts on “Video of the Day

  1. John,
    Well, Alex did say that creation care will be the only concern of the church in heaven. That’s a far cry from the beatific vision of orthodox Christianity.

    I did locate my N.T. Wright book you suggested. Just doing an introductory scanning was interesting and this week will be an appropriate time to read it. The style is layman-oriented, so I should be able to finish it quickly.
    I suppose that a red flag went up when I pulled the book off the shelf. My hardback copy, published by Harper One, has five endorsers on the backside; not a one of them is without heterodox or heteroprax tendencies. It gives me cause to wonder If Bishop Wright was unable to line up any traditional theologians to recommend his book.
    James

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  2. I don’t think Wright or Alex is “equating creation with deity” and if you go into this book with such a mindset you will miss Wright’s central message.

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  3. John,
    I think I have an unread copy in my library. Will attempt to take a look at it this week. You have inspired me.

    If N.T. does indeed equate creation with deity, he will fall a couple of notches in my estimation.

    With that being said, I have not always previously agreed with him. When he was Bishop of Durham, I wrote him about something in one of his other books and never got an answer. He obviously was a very busy man but one would like to think he had a secretary who could at least respond with a form letter to serious inquiries. Maybe I am naive.
    James

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  4. Alex,
    Your perception of heaven is rather creation-centered rather than Creator-centered. Most orthodox theologians would view that as a serious misplacement of emphasis.
    James

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  5. Alex,
    Maybe I am missing something but I still don’t follow the point about greater than 100% of the warming being man-made.
    James

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  6. Jim in STL,

    If you have ever been around a major military headquarters, you will see mega-multiple staff officers running around pushing papers up, down, and laterally. You can even stand in the hall with a bullhorn and yell, “Hey Colonel” at which time half of the office doors will fly open. In other words, the military has uniformed bureaucrats orchestrating responses for every scenario under the Sun. The pyramidal structure of the tactical units will only allow for so many field officers so the others are sent to do all manner of paper dills and studies.

    As far as John Kerry’s knowledge of science and his value testifying on a scientific matter, we will just have to disagree, Jim. His opinions on diplomacy are welcome, albeit in an alternate venue.

    James

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  7. Jim in STL,
    I agree with most of what you say in the final paragraph about science, but please allow me to expand upon it. You rightly state that, “Science is not a debate about opinions, but a debate about the validity of the data and how that data is interpreted…”. Why stop with science here? For example everyone in the court agreed that O.J. had a cut on his hand. One faction saw the cut as the result of a glass breaking in the bathroom while another faction believed that O.J. cut his hand while murdering two people. Obviously, scientific data is greater than one cut, but the basic principle of interpretation still holds.

    As far as debating, it strikes me as cowardly for an official or a private citizen to holler endlessly about a controversial subject while steadfastly refusing to engage in an honest, open, moderated debate. If a man does not have the confidence to defend a position, he ought not be vocal about it. I always had a lot of respect for the late Caspar Weinberger who went to the Oxford Debating Society and won a formal debate about U.S.-Soviet moral equivalency at the height of the Reagan military build-up.

    James

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  8. If you don’t think destroying God’s creation and killing his children is relavent to our witness, relavent to loving God and our neighbor, or relavent to glorifying God and enjoying him forever than I don’t see any reason you should reply to my comments in the future. I also want to you to consider if Eden is any indication of what heaven will be like then creation care will be the only concern of the church in heaven. Better prepare your heart for an eternity of creation care.

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  9. James,
    It’s not a statistic. It’s a quantity. If I give you $10 and you spent $1, you’d have $9. What percentage of your wealth have I contributed? I contributed $10 of your $9 of wealth. $10/$9=111%. Like I said, natural forcings are actually working to cool the Earth.

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  10. In the end our government is by the people and for the people. In that sense, an informed John Kerry is as qualified to represent the climate change scenario as anyone in congress is qualified to hear it and to make informed decisions. His “job” was to convey the strong scientific consensus. Committees have had top qualified scientists testify before congress in the past and I hope that they will continue to do so. Deniers seldom seem to find their testimony any more credible. You have to ask yourself why the US military takes climate change seriously and are planning accordingly.

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  11. A face to face debate is hardly the realm to settle a complex issue. But deniers of every stripe seem to see them as the holy grail. There is a much larger debate that has occurred in public view and that is the one that is happening right now and in writing by scientists at the heart of climate change study. And that debate is dominated by scientists that predict dire consequences from the effects of detrimental man-made climate change.

    Of course, the way to discredit them is to call them names and make up wild conspiracy theories about their motives. Which would be exactly the outcome of any Al Gore or John Kerry debate.

    PS: It’s not hard to find skeptical and contrarian scientists as science is all about challenging the dominant theory. For instance, they are still testing Einstein’s work and it still seems to be holding up. Science is not a debate about opinions but a debate about the validity of data and how that data is interpreted and this always leads to some amount of contention within a discipline as well as across disciplines but a strong consensus based on the high probability of outcome is a pretty good indicator that that outcome is something to take seriously. It’s not the absolute certainty that some people like but it works better than guessing or blind skepticism or consulting witch doctors and sooth sayers. Every year that a data-based model is refined and modified to account for ever more complex scenarios is a step toward greater reliability and more certain predictability. It’s a lot like rocketry where a few decades ago they could barely get one off the ground without exploding and now we’re exploring the farthest reaches of the galaxy. If I only had a dollar for every “rocket scientist” that said that they’d never work.

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  12. Alex,
    I respect the fact that you are sensitive to various animals and to the place of science in the world. I don’t believe in cruelty to animals either and am very supportive of science. That is, however, not the main theme of the Bible nor has it been the principle concern of the historic Church.

    James

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  13. Alex,
    You are getting back to that whole peer-reviewed abstract statistical figure again. As far as the 80% of “internal documents” figure, where was that one? I couldn’t locate it in your link.

    James

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  14. James,
    I admire you for stating “It’s just that I do a good bit of reading and have never taken the time to really dig into this climate subject. There are simply other matters which I consider more interesting and vital.” I should state that this applies for me in any topic other than science. Science is how I worship. Engineers can learn about other engineers by studying their work. And the more I learn about God’s creations the more I’m in awe of God. When an animal goes extinct, it kinda feels like losing a verse from the Bible. But science is only what got me aware, it’s not why I speak out.
    Last week I was unable to shake the image of my son drowning in a storm, and starving in a droubt, and dying in a war. It was like something new every day. And I thought I was crazy because logically I know my kids will have the resources to avoid the deadly consequences of climate change. But then this week I realized it wasn’t my children, it was God’s children, and I cried. And I haven’t had the feeling since. What am I supposed to do with that??

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  15. James,
    All due respect, but your conspiracy theory is ridiculous. Are you suggesting a multi-trillion dollar industry doesn’t have funds for research grants to protect their business? We are
    Talking about all of the largest companies in the world. Exxon and BP and the like actually employ arguably the best climate scientists in the world! It’s very valuable knowing when new regions of the Arctic will be available for drilling, they need to know how to make their infrastructure adaptable for climate change and sea level rise, and a significant amount of their Arctic sea infrastructure is built using the sea ice as temporary land during the winter. It’s worth noting there’s a consensus among climate scientists employed in the fossil fuel industry, who’s research is funded by the fossil fuel industry. They all also publicly state climate change is man-made. Check out the website of any of the supermajors.
    Specifically Exxon climate scientists from 1977-2014: “83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused”
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=exxon+scientist+consensus+on+climate+change&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DuMV55fKEfmMJ

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  16. According to Katherine Hayhoe the prevailing understanding is that over 100% of the warming is man made. The Earth had been cooling for millennia and natural forcings should be making it cooler still. Keep in mind natural forcings happen at a rate slower than 0.1C per centry. What we’re seeing is 10C per century. The rate of change is unprecedented in human history and is totally unnatural.

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  17. Jim in STL,
    I will give you that Rep. Massie might have laid the Bachelor of Arts degree ambush for Secretary Kerry. If you want to call it showboating, I am sure you would not be alone. By the same token, the larger question should be, “Why was John Kerry testifying on the science of the matter.” He certainly has a place testifying regarding his diplomatic reasons for advocating the Paris Peace Accord. If he had spoken on that very subject, Rep. Massie would have had no cause to question Kerry’s academic credentials.

    The link posted here did not show the secretary’s other testimony. He might well have spoken of his opinion on the accord’s value in our diplomatic world. That would have been appropriate. He is, however, not qualified to delve into the hard science. I fault the committee for inviting him if he was supposed to be appearing in that latter role.
    James

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  18. Jim in STL,

    Have you ever seen Al Gore or John Kerry actually debate an opponent of the man-made position, Jim? Maybe there is a formal debate on YouTube but I am given to understand that Mr. Gore, at least, has refused offers to defend his position in formal debates. It’s easier to make movies where he can control the content. These offers, incidentally, were not from talk radio hosts but rather from scientists.
    By the way, wasn’t Mr. Gore telling us in the 1980s that we were going to have a climate apocalypse in ten or fifteen years? When it didn’t occur, he said that we made the requisite changes which forestalled the death of the Earth, but then he set new dates. (These elastic dates are eventually going to run out.) Some might agree with him while others might call that “moving the goalpost.” It is the same sort of thing people like Alex Jones are wont to do, albeit when dealing with other types of conspiracies.
    James

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  19. Alex,
    There are lots of skeptical scientists who believe that the climate is changing. That’s not the issue. Those who believe that it is changing but that it is not necessarily man-made can can be divided into three groups: unknown causes; natural causes; questioning the causes. I am sure there are links to these groups and I will attempt to locate them, Alex. I don’t know of a specific site right off the top of my head simply because the subject holds little interest for me. Please don’t think I am trying to be snarky here. I am not. It’s just that I do a good bit of reading and have never taken the time to really dig into this climate subject. There are simply other matters which I consider more interesting and vital.
    James

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  20. “That doesn’t mean, however, that the grandstanding is necessary.”

    I assume that you are referring to Thomas Massie. Kerry was called to testify which he was attempting to do. Whether premeditated or off the cuff, Massie was showboating for the base to Kerry’s consternation.

    Kerry was correct, Massie was no longer being serious in an attempt to discredit the witness and was derailing a serious subject of inquiry.

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  21. Alex,
    I briefly examined your link. Thank you for supplying it and I realize you have strong convictions on this matter. I need to read it in greater detail—perhaps tonight or tomorrow.

    From what I could glean on a cursory review, the sample only takes into consideration those with published extracts. If this is true, that gives me greater cause for alarm. As you probably know, this type of academic research generally requires funding and an academic umbrella of some sort. Very few grants are awarded to proposals which hint at skepticism of man-made global warming. Researchers know they can obtain grant funding if they toe the accepted line. Furthermore, there is a McCarthyism of sorts toward climate skeptics in the academy. Distinguished scientists have been blackballed for suggesting that we might need to rethink this whole thing. (The Army Air Corps went mercilessly after Billy Mitchell for suggesting that air power could be used effectively against large warships. He was ultimately proven correct against the general consensus of military experts but suffered greatly because he was not a part of the groupthink of his period.)

    The study also denigrates the work of Dr. Tol, who is hardly a tool of global oil. All Tol was saying was that the equation of climate change with fossil fuels or other man-made factors was far from established by current science.

    As you know, the climate has changed before. I think you mentioned that you live in PA. One doesn’t have to go far in your state, especially in the northern parts to see the effects of the retreating glaciers. Unarguably, this melting occurred long before the invention of the internal combustion engine, aerosols, or other allegedly villainous products.

    The IOP has an agenda just like most organizations. Our job is to weigh their analysis against other studies, polls, and findings. Didn’t the IOP attempt to defend the bogus data coming out of the East Anglia University data security breach several years ago? Even if they didn’t, many within the climate change community did try to defend the doctored statistics.

    In any case, Alex, please give me time to read your link once more in depth.

    James

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  22. Jim in STL,

    You are correct that politicians translate information into statute. That doesn’t mean, however, that the grandstanding is necessary. It seems to be even worse if these guys and gals know that the camera is rolling. That gives them a chance to make the cable or the nightly news. I had to chuckle back in the 1980s when Democrats and others accused Ronald Reagan of being “an actor.” The fact is that most politicians of all parties are actors and actresses with varying skill levels.

    As far as John Kerry’s specific comments, he undoubtedly had those prepared by staff members and was essentially reading off a cue card of some sort. His GOP interlocutor was probably doing the same thing until he decided to go off script and challenge the academic qualifications of Secretary Kerry. This unprecedented action threw Kerry off balance. The standard pro forma hearing template was broken.
    James

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  23. Please don’t conflate politics and science. Science is very important to our christian faith because we need science to understand the consequences of our actions to know if we are being loving to our neighbor and God. For example, giving your moody teenager a lobotomy today would be a sin. Giving your moody teenager a lobotomy in the 1960’s was not a sin. Science is the difference.

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  24. Now please find a scientific foundation or scientific organization who denies that climate change is real and caused by human activities.

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  25. “…who qualifies as a ,climate scientist?'”

    The correct answer is the scientists who professionally study climate science. Thanks for asking. “John Kerry, Al Gore, and certain others” have made themselves informed by taking seriously those that professionally study climate science and ignoring the fox news ignoramuses, the “Uncle Rustys” of outrage radio, and the Alex Joneses of the extremoshere, and et al.

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  26. I am dismayed that so many Christians have defined ourselves and others by political ideas. I admit I don’t grasp the science of climate, but I don’t see how an opinion on the subject ine way or the other is critical to where we stand as Christians.

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  27. James – You do realize that they are in the political arena? You know, where politicians do things like translate information into policies and laws? Plenty of scientist are employed by the government that will back up what Kerry is advocating. Plenty of non-governmental scientists will back up what Kerry is advocating. Plenty of scientists will testify to the validity of Kerry’s position if invited. I assume that you would not be satisfied with the outcome.

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  28. Alex,
    Please cite a disinterested, comprehensive poll which also details an objective measurement for the title of “climate scientist.”
    James

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  29. James,
    First, there have been numerous peer reviews studies of the consensus. There have been so many that someone even wrote a study showing there is a unanimous consensus that there is an overwhelming consensus.
    Second, here’s another statistic for you: 0%. That’s the percentage of scientific foundations and scientific organizations who deny that climate change is real and caused by human activities.

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  30. Unicorn,

    Good insight from you on John Kerry.

    But I would guess that his nuanced answers and purposely ambiguous statements endear him to the folks who are chauffeured to the Brie and Chablis affairs which Secretary Kerry likely attends.

    James

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  31. John,
    The 99% figure you use would be difficult to prove. I realize it is bandied about by many voices in this debate, but it’s highly questionable. First of all, who qualifies as a “climate scientist?” As far as I know there is no national or state certification for this professional title. Second, even if there were such a designation, no disinterested pollster has surveyed them objectively.
    By the way, I agree with your statement that liberal arts does stimulate critical thinking. That still does not make John Kerry, Al Gore, and certain others correct in their analysis of the climate matter.

    James

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  32. Jim in STL,

    If you are correct, then maybe both men need to step aside and let two more studied authorities hash these problems out. Politicians of both parties are pretty good at grandstanding.

    James

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  33. Ha! My diploma says I’m a doctor too, but when the flight attendant gets on the PA system and asks if there is a doctor on board, I won’t be ringing the call button.

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  34. Hey everyone, my diploma says I’m a doctor and a lover of wisdom, so if anyone needs an organ removed or some propositions implanted, have your people call my people and we’ll set something up. Have your payment ready, please.

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  35. John, you are right about the humanities. Although mine are science degrees I took an abundance of humanities courses from philosophy, to religion, history, literature and the arts. And all the courses emphasized critical thinking about ideas and information. I think that I’m both a better science thinker and a better person for the humanities.

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  36. When climate science comes up around evangelicals they often act and approach the topic just like Rep. Messie. Aside from the fact that politics is the only source of climate denial, that unique demeanor and approach to science is how I know evangelicals are getting their climate science from politics. Kind of like how plants prefer a specific isotope of carbon, and so by tracking the concentration of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere we can know very precisely how much of the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is coming from fossil fuels (dead plants) and how much is coming from geological sources. Spoiler alert, all of it. All of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere has come from fossil fuels.
    Side note, *before* Rep. Massie got into politics he installed solar panels on his house.

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  37. Back when I was in college (Majoring in IT with a secondary major in Dungeons & Dragons), we used to call this “Intelligence 18, Wisdom 3”, i.e. Maxed-out Intelligence coupled with Minimum Wisdom on how to use it.

    And with all today’s emphasis on STEM and “Learn to Code”, it’s only going to get worse.

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  38. John F Kerry is a cartoon of himself.
    As well as an obvious JFK Celebrity Impersonator.
    I’m surprised he never appeared on South Park.

    Two observations from the time he ran for Prez:

    1) His much vaunted “nuance” sounded more like “Analysis Paralysis” to me, i.e. “But on The Other Hand… But on The Other Other Hand… But on The Other Other Other Hand… But on The Other Other Other Other Hand… etc ad infinitum”. I recognize the symptoms because I am very prone to it myself.

    Confirmed when in one statement from a campaign-interview he said something about his favorite restaurant having “only one special” so you didn’t have to decide. This is also a corollary of Analysis Paralysis — when your mind is thrashing between “But on The Other Other Other Other Other Hand…” and “But on the Other Other Other Other Other Other Hand…” ad infinitum, you want somebody else to actually make the decision, be told Exactly What to Do, Exactly What To Think, just to make the thrashing stop.

    2) Did You Know John F Kerry Served in Vietnam(TM)?

    This always reminded me of the fortysomething loser from Married With Children always telling everyone he meets over and over about how “I was a Football Star in high school; once I scored three touchdowns in one game!”. Not much of a stretch to “Did you know I Served In Vietnam? Once I scored a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts in one tour!”

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  39. Actually, a liberally educated person is not an expert on everything, but they know how to think critically about sources and understand where to go for sound information. In this case, Kerry is on board with 99% of climate scientists. Finally, Massie represents everything that is wrong with American discourse right now. He made a fool of himself here.

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  40. I see this all the time Gregory. Smart people who went to MIT but seem to be incapable of understanding how to function in a democratic society. I can’t think of a better case for humanities and liberal arts education.

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  41. Kerry does not need academic credentials in the sciences to ably and accurately represent the scientific consensus on global climate change and its consequences. If you want to make that argument, Massie has insignificant academic credentials (engineering) to understand or advocate for anything to do with climate science or geological processes. And boy, does he sound like a dolt trying to regurgitate the anti-global climate change line. And, your academic credentials are?

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  42. Makes me wonder whether MIT provides any liberal arts foundation at all. “…self-proclaimed authority on a subject in which he has no academic credentials,” – much like our president and his cabinet…

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  43. My impressions were a bit different. The video clip made me understand why John Kerry was never elected as president. He is a self-proclaimed authority on a subject in which he has no academic credentials.

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