The current edition of Time Magazine (April 3) warns us that global warming is not just a vague fear, but a reality. The 14-page article contains disturbing photography of displaced animals and receding glaciers. The cover warns us to be “Very Worried.”
Even though I’ve often seen publishers use hyperbole to sell magazines, I am truly concerned. I am concerned even though many environmental worries have been overstated in the past.
On the other hand, I know that past warnings have generally been wrong only about when, not what. I also know that the great majority of scientists are in accord on this issue. global warming is occurring and human use of fossil fuels is a major culprit. Prudence, then, would cause reasonable people to be concerned.
I wanted to be sure to consider all perspectives, though, so I tuned into my local 24/7 Christianity radio station, KJSL, to hear the wisdom of syndicated radio host Paul McGuire.
McGuire addressed the Time article directly. “Global warming is mere mythology and propaganda of the left.” The problem, he solemnly said, is that the sun is in one of those hot cycles. That polar bears are being stranded has nothing to do with fossil fuel. He cited the work of Michael Crichton and Climate Scientist John Christy in support of his denial of global warming. Christie, according to McGuire, holds that Co2 is not a “pollutant,” and that it is a “gift to plants.” McGuire repeatedly asserted that there was “no real science on global warming.” Well, more on this in a moment.
[Wikipedia contains an article on Christy in which he is quoted as follows: "It is scientifically inconceivable that after changing forests into cities, turning millions of acres into farmland, putting massive quantities of soot and dust into the atmosphere and sending quantities of greenhouse gases into the air, that the natural course of climate change hasn't been increased in the past century."]
McGuire called global warming a “lie.” Environmentalists were termed “brain washed Moonies.” He urged his listeners to learn for themselves by going to www.junkscience.com on the internet. I did so and saw lots of screechy anti-global warming headlines. After a bit of investigation through Google, I also noted that a contributor of junkscience.com is ExxonMobil. Strange, I thought, but not surprising.
But McGuire was just getting started. What’s really going on, he claimed, is that we are living out a prophecy set forth in Genesis Chapter 11. We are about to begin the “seven year tribulation.” Among certain Christians, this is a time when believers will rebel against the Antichrist and his minions. Exactly when this would begin, McGuire wouldn’t say. But he kept reiterating this point with great concern. Liberal environmentalists, in his view, are “trying to scare you to form a world global government—it’s a scare tactic.” We are re-living the episode of “the Tower of Babel.” God is getting ready to sort us out into those who are good and bad – let the gnashing of teeth begin!
I wondered why McGuire cared, though, since he readily characterizes our planet to be “a temporary Earth.” He told his listeners that, after the “tribulation,” there will be a whole new Earth. He really wouldn’t seem to have any reason to worry, no matter how crapped up the Earth got. His soul is certainly safe: he constantly reminds his audience that he has accepted Jesus as his savior and he’s therefore sure to go to heaven. Our Earth is a throw-away planet to people like McGuire. Why is he so glum, I thought? It’s cursed non-Believers like me who should be trembling (and I am), not Christian nihilists like McGuire. The Earth is the only home I’ll ever have. This frail body of mine is the only life I’ll ever have. I’m not complaining, mind you. I feel extraordinarily lucky to even be here.
What’s interesting about many (though not all) conservative Christians is how readily they play the science shell game. Science is a horrible thing whenever it gets in the way of their archaic oxymoronic beliefs. But they love to selectively pull it back off the shelf whenever they can cite it to prop up the cause of the moment. They do this whenever they need airplanes that really fly, real email, real medicine or, as here, whenever they drag out or misquote a few contrarian people with scientific credentials. They ambivelently flutter around science like moths around a lightbulb.
There is a way to characterize the sorts of people who strive for internal consistency, who work hard to integrate their beliefs: these are people with integrity. It takes a lot of hard internal work, a lot of self-critical effort, to become such a person.
On the other hand, there are those dishonest souls who strategically deafen their ears to the scientific method based on particular conclusions to which the evidence naturally leads. I fear that McGuire ought to prepare himself to live next to people like me once he’s finished with his incredibly contrived, manipulative, fear-mongering Earthly existence. Dante, for one, placed dishonest people like McGuire distinctly south of heaven.
Hey Paul: your emotions served as your confession.