More Sense on Climate Change

Environmentalism has become a new religion, with zealous crusaders pushing their cause. Often the facts are few and far between, while zeal for the cause becomes the main consideration. And often the science behind the green warriors is far from conclusive. There is so much hysteria, fear-mongering and bad science being promoted, that it gets hard to sift through competing claims.

This becomes all the more apparent when politicians speak out on the issue. Most politicians of course have no science background, so they can be out of their depth on these issues. Of course most of us do not have science backgrounds either, so we must rely on the expertise of others.

But I here want to focus on two politicians, one with a science background, and one without. Both are speaking out on the issue of climate change, but it seems one is more up to the task than the other.

Consider the recent green paper put out by Climate Minister Penny Wong. She happens to be the MP without any science qualifications (her academic degrees are in law). One scientist, Bob Carter, has taken Wong and her paper to task for its shoddy science.

He argues that she has managed to make no less than seven scientific errors in her opening sentence! That is “almost one error for every two words”. Here is the sentence in question: “Carbon pollution is causing climate change, resulting in higher temperatures, more droughts, rising sea levels and more extreme weather.”

Let’s look at just the first two errors. Says Carter: “First, the debate is not about carbon, but human carbon dioxide emissions and their potential effect on climate. It makes no more sense for Wong to talk about carbon in the atmosphere than it would for her to talk about hydrogen comprising most of Sydney’s water supply. Use of the term carbon in this way is, of course, a deliberate political gambit, derived from the green ecosalvationist vocabulary, and intended to convey a subliminal message about ‘dirty’ coal.”

Second, “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring, beneficial trace gas in the atmosphere. For the past few million years, the Earth has existed in a state of relative carbon dioxide starvation compared with earlier periods. There is no empirical evidence that levels double or even treble those of today will be harmful, climatically or otherwise. Indeed, a trebled level is roughly what commercial greenhouse tomato growers aim for to enhance growth. As a vital element in plant photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is the basis of the planetary food chain – literally the staff of life. Its increase in the atmosphere leads mainly to the greening of the planet. To label carbon dioxide a ‘pollutant’ is an abuse of language, logic and science.”

After detailing the remaining five errors, Carter concludes with these words: “Never has a policy document of such importance been released in Australia that is so profoundly out of touch with known facts of the real world. It is a matter for national alarm that the Government’s advisory channels should be clogged with the rent seekers, special pleaders and green activists who have so obviously misadvised Wong on the content of her green paper on climate change. Time for some due diligence, Minister.”

Now contrast Senator Wong with WA MP Dennis Jensen, who does happen to have a strong science background. Writing in today’s Australian, he warns that the “Climate mafia has us fooled”. He notes the almost religious nature of the greenies: “Vested interests have hijacked the climate debate, and taken Australia’s future hostage. The ransom they demand? Simple agreement or, at the very least, compliance. Voices of dissent face derision. Legitimate questions are met with ridicule.”

But he reminds us that “any detailed scrutiny of scientific data shows that the environment is quite stable. There are even suggestions the world’s temperature has decreased in recent years. Any real climate change in the past century has been at a glacial pace (that is, the speed of a glacier that is not melting because of the globe’s supposedly soaring temperatures). Far greater periods of environmental change have been recorded in history without any human intervention. The Ice Ages, anybody?”

One way to proceed is to consider nuclear power as part of our future energy mix: “The truth is that hundreds of nuclear reactors around the world have long been efficiently pumping out electricity, with no significant environmental impact. And more are coming on-stream all the time, using cleaner and more cost-effective models. Where is the incontrovertible evidence that nuclear power is a dangerous or unsafe option?”

And he notes the very real costs which every one of us will have to bear with an emissions trading scheme. “If all carbon in the stationary power sector were to have a $50-a-tonne price of carbon dioxide imposed (as is the case for the European price for CO2), it would mean a cost burden of $660 a year for every Australian, or more than $2500 per household, according to data I have received. These would not all be direct costs from the emissions-trading scheme, but also from higher prices of products that would flow through as a result of increased production costs. Those higher costs would make some businesses unviable, and they would have to close or move offshore. In short, emissions trading will have an enormous effect on every Australian. And glib assurances of compensation for some are no substitute for well thought-out, responsible policies.”

He concludes, “The history of mankind has been marked by repeated cautions against accepting populist claims as truth and is littered with the corpses (both real and metaphoric) of those who failed to heed the advice. And it continues. We laugh today at those who once believed the world to be flat, but see no irony in the widespread acceptance now of equally spurious claims made in the name of science, as in the climate debate. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do hope the issue can be subject to broad-ranging rational debate so that we do not fall as just another victim of history. The subject is too important for us not to ask questions.”

Indeed, the questions must be allowed. But in too many quarters, discussion and debate have been shut down, and those raising objections are treated as heretics. But the stakes are too high to stifle debate, and treat this as some religious crusade. That is why I and others will continue to allow the contrarian voices a hearing, since they are often not being heard in much of the mainstream media.

business.theage.com.au/business/wongs-climate-paper-clouded-with-mistakes-20080728-3md1.html
www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24098313-7583,00.html

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87 Replies to “More Sense on Climate Change”

  1. Well put Bill. You need to put up more on this issue, because it is both a religious and moral issue:
    1. Moral in that the torrent of lies about GW is far more of a serious crisis than any supposed environmental impact;
    2. Religious in that the green crusaders want their pantheistic enviro-worship adopted by the community at large as well.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  2. Hi Bill

    There are many unknown variables, causes, effects and consequences in the GW scenario. And as with most debates, points are scored by greed, self-promotion, rejection, ignorance, deafness and blindness.

    Dennis Jensen may be a scientist – apparently with a nuclear energy barrow to push. His question: “Where is the incontrovertible evidence that nuclear power is a dangerous or unsafe option?” has an obvious answer – Chernobyl! About 50 direct deaths and possibly 10 000 related cancers and birth deformities. Most would conclude that is “incontrovertible evidence”. It is also evidence of the short memory and limited attention span which seems to be a prerequisite for most politicians? Oh, I think the yellow signs, radioactive suits, buried concrete waste silos etc might also be a clue.

    Let’s take another piece of Jensen political brilliance, and show it can easily be the argument for GW. He argues: “We laugh today at those who once believed the world to be flat …” Well, will we be laughing tomorrow (while we sit on arid slopes, riddled with cancer and starving to death) at those who once thought GW was fiction?

    And I would also suggest his statement: “Far greater periods of environmental change have been recorded in history without any human intervention. The Ice Ages, anybody?” is highly sarcastic, ignorant and patronizing. The planet does experience natural climate change over extended periods (partly to do with the changing angle of its axis, which I don’t believe mankind has influenced to date.) The fact remains though, that in no time in the planet’s history, artificially, and in such a short time frame, has so much vegetation been removed, vast landscapes dramatically altered, fossil fuels burned, pollutants released, species lost etc. Logically, this range and rate of change cannot possibly be “cost neutral”. We are, as a planet, still leaving the last ice age. The question is: In what ways and to what degrees have industrialization, modernization, transportation, degradation, commercialization, monopolization, urbanization, globalization … interfered with the balance of nature, and if the interference is significant, is the balance recoverable?

    Surely, in respect to GW, there must be scientists and ecologists out there who can offer facts – the most significant would seem to be “comparative rate of change” and “cause of change” in the various measures, and possibly, “solution”.

    It may not time to panic, but it would be great to ensure there is never a time to panic.

    Cheers

    Trevor Putland

  3. Thanks Trevor

    If longterm GW is actually taking place, there are indeed many variables. The issue is how much anthropic input, if any, accounts for it. That is a huge unknown.

    As to Jenson, attacking a person is certainly one way of ignoring his argument.

    Nuclear energy is certainly safe where it is properly practiced. The Soviet Union couldn’t properly manage anything.

    Climatic change and upheaval have been a continuous feature of planet earth. Some will share your alarmism. I don’t.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. I must take issue with Trevor Putland’s comments on Chernobyl. SBS ran a UK documentary of Chernobyl about a year ago, pointing out that most of our fears and predictions of radiation until 1986 were based on the 1958 Report on rate of cancer deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki accumulated up to a decade after the bombing (i.e. until 1955) That report showed linear relationship between death rate and radiation dosage from medium to high dosages measured at the A-Bomb sites. That linear relationship was extrapolated to the lower doses experienced after Chernobyl to predict at least 5000 deaths in Kiev alone up til 1996. Despite stringent studies, only 9 deaths from cancer throughout Europe can be traced to Chernobyl in that 10 years, apart from deaths of 46 very brave emergency workers who went in with minimal protection to stabilise the reactor.

    The program went on to point out that airline pilots and attendants who spend a significant part of their lives exposed to extra radiation at altitude, show no extra death rate from radiation than those of us at sea level, nor do those who live at higher altitude locations.

    Factually Chernobyl has proved a major disappointment to the anit-nuclear lobby, but they don’t want to mention it.

    Stephen White

  5. Thanks Bill

    I agree with your first paragraph above – I hope it is pretty much what I wrote. It’s the question that needs answering.

    As to my view of Jensen, surely I have indicated I have not ignored his argument – I just wish he would make one based on facts as a scientist should, not opinion. If an “expert” is prepared to tear someone else’s argument apart, he should have a cohesive, credible, balanced and rational counter proposal, not one that is itself so readily torn apart.

    Everything is safe until something goes wrong – the problem is complicated by the fact that systems are built by the cheapest tender. Who will control which countries are deemed safe and can therefore build nuclear reactors? If the Soviet Union is fair game, so is Jensen.

    My last statement calls for studious inquiry, not panic. I am not an alarmist – just a rationalist. I have tried to make the point that no solution will be found all the time opposing camps employ irrational, inaccurate and alarmist policy. Let’s get the facts, and see if we can answer the question both you and I have asked. And then, IF there is a problem, let’s consider ALL possible solutions.

    Cheers

    Trevor Putland

  6. Hi Stephen

    Thanks for your comments – I think they reinforce the problem with “experts”.

    Depending on which “expert” you believe or which TV station you watch, Chernobyl could have been 10 times more devastating than Hiroshima, or 10 times less. I do recall a “60 Minutes” report many years ago that showed the damage in the area of Chernobyl, people with lingering injuries (often over-looked in the statistics) and many cases of horrific birth defects. The fact that it happened in the Soviet Union may mean we never know the full truth. And if it has happened once, it may happen again.

    You may say “but we’ve learned from the mistake so it won’t happen again.” NASA learned the hard way to use better o-rings, but it took another disaster to get them to check the tiles.

    There are also reports that “prove beyond doubt” that pilots and flight crew are of much greater risk of radiation poisoning and associated diseases.

    Again, I am not being alarmist nor critical of your view, and certainly not of your right to have that view (as long as I can have mine – which is actually a “non-view”!). But with the various arguments being proposed by many experts on issues such as GW, radiation and nuclear energy, the only fact that seems to emerge is “we don’t know.” I would prefer to be cautious rather than regretful. And the Bible does encourage us to question, and not to follow blindly.

    I have an open mind on these issues – I would like to think those debating and making decisions also have open minds and are not blindly pushing agendas. Not sure where I read this quote recently – may even have been on Bill’s site: “You cannot teach a man that which he thinks he already knows.” I think it might be referring to some “experts”!

    Cheers

    Trevor Putland

  7. Jensen’s article is a good one and his statement that “It has been an article of faith for many years that humans are gradually destroying the environment, and are specifically responsible for global warming via man-made carbon emissions” is worth repeating. This is the real motivation behind many of the “climate-change mafia” as Jensen calls them. To adherents of this view the facts don’t matter because it is self evident that any human activity must by definition be harmful to the environment. It is essentially a misanthropic outlook which is wholly at odds with a Christian worldview.

    Bob Carter does a good job injecting some reality into the nonsense espoused by Rudd, Wong and others promoting the Emissions Trading Scam. The only issue I would take with Bob and many others also promoting science based rebuttals of man-made global-warming beliefs, is that many times aspects of uniformitarian ‘science’ are invoked. Both sides of the AGW debate base part of their case on such claims but it is a philosophically weak argument given that there are many assumptions involved with claims such as the “past few million years” demonstrate that (insert argument here depending whether you are a believer or a skeptic).

    Although the Bible nowhere tells us how much CO2 existed in the originally created atmosphere or for that matter how much is optimum, a carbon history can be developed from what the Bible does tell us about the history of the planet. Although still involving assumptions, a biblical history of CO2 makes as much sense and I would argue a whole lot more sense than any naturalistic uniformitarian history. Following is my summary of what might be considered a biblical history of carbon and CO2. It is a work in progress so I would appreciate comments.

    Most of the apocalyptic scenarios of global climate change are predicated upon a false understanding of the history of the earth. Evolutionists have the mistaken belief that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that it has therefore taken vast ages for the planet to have arrived at the present state of climate equilibrium. The corollary of this belief is another belief that human action in mining and burning fossil fuels will upset this fragile long established balance and lead to potential climate catastrophe.

    However, the biblical history of the planet is much different and therefore leads to different conclusions about these things. Unlike the philosophical naturalists, a biblical creationist would reasonably assume that God created a robust life-sustaining climate with built-in self regulating mechanisms, and that there is good reason to believe that the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere was much higher in the relatively recent past. According to biblical history, the fossils from which fossil fuels are derived were formed only about 4300 years ago during Noah’s Flood when vast volumes of biomatter were buried. Consequently, the volume of carbon freely circulating within the biosphere was greatly reduced which would lead to the assumption that since that time the atmosphere has contained a lower proportion of CO2 than existed in the originally created pre-Flood atmosphere.

    This last assumption fits with real observational science which has determined that human and animal life can tolerate without any deleterious effects much higher concentrations of CO2, and that plant life responds positively to increased CO2. Indeed commercial greenhouse operators artificially increase the percentage of CO2 by as much as three times the natural level to maximise crop productivity. CO2 is an efficient and cheap natural plant fertiliser. So it would appear that life was designed for an atmosphere containing higher concentrations of CO2.

    Real observational science also demonstrates that CO2 has a minimal contribution towards the greenhouse effect due to its very small proportion in the atmosphere and the fact that the relationship between CO2 concentration and any greenhouse effect is not linear but logarithmic. In other words, the increasing greenhouse effect of increasing CO2 diminishes as the CO2 concentration increases. The only way computer climate models can conclude a run-away global warming effect from increasing CO2 is by exaggerating the positive feedback (or forcing) factors and by discounting the negative feedback factors. Such an assumption is counter-intuitive from a biblical perspective which believes climate processes to be designed rather than randomly derived. So if we discount the alarmist assumption that more CO2 equals more warming, then burning fossil fuels should be a win-win scenario.

    Ewan McDonald.

  8. Climate change is forever perennial it seems but don’t let Mr Gore and his fellow cultists know that.

    Whilst working away the other day I listened with one ear to a documentary running on the TV. It concerned the Moche Indian Empire in Peru and its eventual collapse about 750AD. Apparently one of the contributing factors that led to the eventual collapse was climate change. Studies of ice cores drilled from glaciers in the Andes reveal climatic events between 536 to 594 AD, possibly a super El Niño, that resulted in 30 years of intense rain and flooding followed by 30 years of drought, part of the aftermath of the climate changes of 535–536.

    It was an agrarian based civilization so any major adverse climate change would have brought devasting effects. But then again they didn’t have Kyoto did they? If only they had switched from wood fires and candles to solar/wind power and reduced their emissions! Sigh!

    Since 1998, CO2 concentration levels have increased but there has been no corresponding increase in temperature at all. Further actual facts also show that the 1930s were a much warmer period than we have experienced recently and CO2 levels were nowhere near as high then as they are now. 700 years ago, the medieval (Middle Ages) extended warm period was much hotter than it has ever been in modern times. The world population was significantly smaller and factories, cars, air-conditioners, refrigerators and the like did not then exist. This very warm period was quickly followed by the Little Ice Age which continued for another 200-400 years. What caused the warming then? Prolonged excessive flatulence from domesticated farm animals maybe? Yeah, Right! What caused the onset of that Ice Age which finally came to an end about 1850 only 150 years or so ago? Science has yet to determine the answers to those questions.

    In recent years what caused the Artic Ice to melt then? Possibly undersea volcanoes in 1999 as recent evidence suggests or a multitude of other possible causes as our knowledge of the weather and climate is in its infancy if not embryonic. Look at those pushing the climate change issue; they are politicians, commentators, lawyers, and many others whose personal positions ie wealth, prestige etc are improved in leaps and bounds by doing so. Al Gore is not a scientist but a failed politician whose wealth has increased by at least US$35 million since the start of his campaign – his registered assets prior to this amounted to only $2 million.

    Ah, if only we all could climb aboard the gravy train!

    John FG McMahon

  9. Bill,

    I am a student at a Christian secondary college in Brisbane. My fellow students and I have followed the climate debate with much interest, not just for academic project research but also because it is an issue of such critical importance to my generation. It disappoints us greatly to see the issue become so politicised and so many ignorant and uninformed statements made about the topic. Everybody seems to have an opinion, even if they have little actual knowledge about it.

    I am unhappy that so many of my fellow Christians of the older generation have adopted a contrarian view on the matter, seemingly based on their right wing politics. This issue should be beyond politics!

    It looks to me that people are assuming a contrarian viewpoint and then seeking out only those opinions that support their preconceived position. It is one thing to express doubt about anthropogenic warming, it is quite another to claim that global warming isn’t even occurring, as your previous article on this topic suggests. Even if they haven’t seen the technical data, aren’t people aware of what is happening with ice shelves and glaciers around the planet? Or the drying up of our river systems? Have those who claim that burning fossil fuels doesn’t create pollution see the images of Beijing on TV? If more CO2 is good for the planet, why are we seeing droughts, poor crop returns and food shortages?

    I don’t know of a single person in my school who is sceptical about global warming and the part played by greenhouse gases. Yes, we are not yet mature adults, but most of us would have a greater knowledge of the scientific evidence and the mainstream scientific consensus than lay people of older generations. We are also the generation that is most likely to be living with the consequences during the next 50 years or so, and frankly it scares the living daylights out of us.

    In not too many years, we will be in a position of having to decide whether to bring children into the world. That should be a time of joy, but there are so many problems that your generation is bequething to us that this decision will be fraught with worry about their future.

    I plead with my elders here to examine your conscience and ask yourself whether your position on this issue is based on a truly balanced and unbiased examination of the facts, or whether you are merely seeking to bolster a preconceived political judgment. If we get this wrong, it is my generation that will suffer. Most of you will be long dead.

    How can we face God on Judgment Day if we have sided with those who are destroying his beautiful creation?

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  10. Thanks Shelley

    But with all due respect, all you have done here is to say your mind is made up on the issue, and you will not listen to any countervailing arguments. You have not offered one scrap of evidence for your position, and certainly not a scrap of evidence as to whether anthropic activity is responsible for any climate change.

    While Christians are certainly called to be good stewards of the environment, they certainly are not called to throw out their brains and simply jump on the latest trendy bandwagon. Loving God includes loving him with our minds. That means we are to carefully weigh the evidence for everything. We are to test all things, as Scripture tells us. Have you done this? If so, you have not presented any evidence here. And might I ask, just what are your scientific qualifications, that you can blast others with such certainty?

    And again with all due respect, warning me of future divine judgment because I do not happen to agree with your version of events on climate change seems hardly edifying or Christlike. And please inform me as to how exactly it is that I am “destroying his beautiful creation”?

    A mere twenty-five years ago scientists were fairly united in the belief that the world was heading for a new ice age. I was sceptical then of that gloom and doom message. If you were alive back then, would you have written to me a similar criticism, slamming me for disagreeing with what was being said, and suggesting that I was somehow being responsible for destroying the environment?

    But thanks for sharing your concerns.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  11. Shelley,
    With the utmost respect, I must ask you some pertinent questions:

    1. What are the major “greenhouse gases”? It can hardly be CO2, since that is a mere 0.03% – 0.04% of the atmosphere – and stable. That percentage has not changed substantially in the last 50 years. In other words, it is a trace gas. If for example, it has increased from 0.03% to 0.035% then that is a 17% increase. By itself that would sound alarming, but that would be an utter misuse of statistics. Yet it is precisely this sort of alarmism that is peddled by the green lobby. The most significant greenhouse gas is…wait for it…water vapour! This is present in the atmosphere in varying quantities: it varies from day to day. The stuff you see in media shots coming from factory chimneys is mostly steam, but of course the mendacious media don’t tell you that.

    2. You mention ice sheets, drying rivers, and images of Beijing. Have you ever heard of the “post hoc” fallacy? That occurs when one looks at phenomenon a and phenomenon B and concludes that because B follows A therefore A has caused B. The most obvious example is when some primitive tribesman claims that the beating of his drum ’causes’ the sun to reappear, or that the thunder stops ‘because’ he has offered a sacrifice. In these claims we have the same fallacy: diminishing ice sheets (supposing for the moment that is true), ‘therefore’ global warming; droughts and dry river beds, ‘therefore’ global warming etc. “Therefore” nothing of the kind!

    Good science uses experimental controls to determine what other factors may be involved to produce a certain phenomenon; in this case there are several possibilities, one of which (surprise, surprise!) is solar activity! And there is much evidence for this, including the observational evidence of “global warming” on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s moon Triton, and even Pluto (observed by the Hubble telescope).

    3. You appeal to the “consensus” of scientists”. have you heard of “the Oregon petition”, now signed by 31,000 scientists with degrees (at least 9500 with Ph.D.s) in science, who reject the GW hype on scientific grounds. Only last Saturday I entertained a friend of mine here at home: he is a retired meteorologist from the Bureau of Meteorology (with a doctorate as I recall), who not only rejects but ridicules the whole scenario.

    Another point: droughts are a cyclic phenomenon, not necessarily related to alleged global warming at all. Again, beware of the post hoc fallacy.

    The above is basic science, such as one would get (or at least used to get) at high school level. How much basic science do you know? It is because I know some, although I am NO expert at all – but I can certainly recognise steam when I see it! Thus I am very sceptical of GW and the lies and hype. That is where a Christian should be very concerned: lies, in the interests of what is ultimately a political agenda, not a scientific one.

    See the page on my site: http://www.adamthwaite.com.au
    and go to the bottom tab marked ‘G-Warming’. My friend, mentioned above, looked at it and gave it his approval.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  12. Shelley Atherton demonstrates an unfortunate truth about the state of many ‘Christian’ colleges these days and that is they tend to be Christian in name only and have a curriculum deviating little from that of the secular public schools. The fact that Shelley doesn’t know of a single person at his/her school who is skeptical about man’s role in global warming speaks more about the views of the teachers and the curriculum than it does about the merits of the AGW issue. I don’t blame Shelley for this, I blame the quality of his/her education. Shelley is a victim if you like who has not been taught critical thinking.

    If the AGW issue was based upon fact alone then it would not be so politicised, but the fact that it is so politicised is simply reflective that it is more based upon ideology than science. I could just as easily say that I am unhappy that so many of my fellow Christians especially of the younger generation but certainly not confined to them, have adopted the misanthropic AGW agenda, seemingly based on their left wing politics.

    I don’t know of too many AGW skeptics who doubt some amount of global warming has occurred over the past century, but we claim instead that it has been gradual and not unprecedented or likely to cause harm. Shelley mentions a range of alleged evidence of AGW none of which support the case of catastrophic GW. Global sea ice is at present showing an increase not a decrease. The fact most of Australia’s MDB is currently in drought doesn’t prove AGW. We have had droughts before and anyway other parts of Australia and the world are getting plenty of rain.

    Shelley also demonstrates a poor understanding of science in repeating Penny Wong’s error of suggesting that CO2 is pollution. As Bob Carter says in his article, CO2 should not be considered pollution. The photochemical smog in Beijing and in other parts of the world is not due to the colourless and odorless CO2, but is due to other gases and particulates. Emission standards in China are not as stringent as in developed nations hence the worse smog there.

    Rather than undermining the future of Shelley’s generation, those who challenge the many baseless assumptions of the climate change alarmists are more likely safeguarding the future. Shelley talks about the possibility of having children in the future but if the climate change alarmists have their way that decision may well be taken out of our hands and made for us by the government under some kind of one child policy. Also, if economic policies like the ETS are implemented without cause, then the next generation will indeed suffer but not from global warming, but rather from an impoverished economy.

    Ewan McDonald.

  13. My remarks are addressed to the commentary of Shelley Atherton of Brisbane. There are a number of areas of concern with respect to the points that she raised.

    Firstly she argues “I don’t know of a single person in my school who is sceptical……..”. This argument implies that a seemingly majority opinion must be correct because of the “apparent overwhelming” numbers. This implies that so many people can’t be wrong. This position is quickly refuted when one is reminded of a similar situation of “majority” opinion in Hitler’s Germany where so few raised an eye-brow let alone an objection to the ethnic segregation, isolation, persecution and then finally ethnic cleansing in the form of Death Camps in which more than 6 million people needlessly suffered and violently died. A majority “consensus” means nothing as it can be easily argued that many say nothing at all simply out of fear whether for personal safety or simply derision which means a lot for any teenager who eagerly wants to be “accepted” and “popular”. A supposed majority does not necessarily translate into meaning that apparent superiority in numbers thus makes one’s position factual, truthful and correct. We need only look at the life our Lord to note that He was not out to win a popularity contest nor to make an argument that because He had the apparent numbers that His message was correct. In fact on the eve of His crucifixation most had deserted Him including His Apostles who were too afraid to defend Him.

    Secondly this issue remains topical simply because it has become politicized not by the “sceptics” but because of atheists of the like of Al Gore, Tim Flannery and so many others who are replacing the emptiness in their Souls with a secular empty “theism”. By our nature we are Spiritual and in the absence of of our Christian Faith, such faithless, empty Souls seize upon issues of this nature.

    Thirdly to assume and state that “but most of us would have a greater knowledge of the scientific evidence and the mainstream scientific consensus than lay people of older generations…” is over the top indeed. I would be very interested in learning of the subjects that Shelly and her schoolmates are studying. Are these subjects advanced complex studies over many years of science, history, geology, geography, logic, philosophy etc that is required to be honoured with the title of “Professor” or “Doctor”? One of those so-called sceptics is Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University in Townsville, Qld. I’m sure that in a scientific debate with Professor Carter that at present Shelly and her schoolmates would remain mute and astounded at their lack of knowledge let alone their debating ability.

    Humility invites and promotes learning but arrogance and pride slams the door shut. Jesus was all about being humble, listening and engaging of others.

    Fourthly, forming and stating an opinion that is contrary to one held by another does not make one “right wing”.

    Lastly, in most cultures the younger generation have a great respect for the wisdom and experience of their elders and are humble enough to accept that they, the young, have so much to learn. In fact this is the very way that young minds, which remain open, absorb learning and wisdom and go onto being learned and respected. Those whose minds remain closed and who lack respect for their elders usually find themselves relegated to the margins.

    My final comment addresses the fluency and eloquence of Shelley’s argument. One can only admire that for one so obviously young she has a more than reasonable command of English for her age particularly given the paucity of such talent or skill amongst the youth in general at present. I note the absence of such mindless, meaningless expressions as “Like”. For that she deserves congratulations and encouragement.

    And I might add this almost 3,000 year-old pearl of wisdom: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. Aristotle

    John FG McMahon, Kolonga, Qld

  14. Oh, I meant to leave Shelly with this almost 3,000 year-old pearl of wisdom: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. Aristotle

    John FG McMaon

  15. Like John McMahon, I, too, was impressed with Shelley’s grammar and eloquence. (And I even included a “like” in my first sentence).

    However, I would hope that Shelley continues to apply such aptitude to all areas of her life and her faith / worldview in particular.

    A few quick points I wish to note. Firstly, the reference to the lack of knowledge of the elders is not being respectful of our elders as we are commanded to do. In addition, as we grow older ourselves we learn some of the wisdom of this command and look back at ourselves as being a ‘know it all’.

    Secondly, any concerns about the future must be placed in the context of the hope and confidence in Christ’s sovereignty. I might also note that I am not aware of any change to the command to “Go forth and multiply – rule the earth and subdue it”.

    Jeremy Peet

  16. Thanks guys

    I had better point out that it is certainly not our intention to gang up on Shelley or anyone else here. She/he may be feeling a bit besieged at the moment, so I want to point out what my real concern is. That Shelley has a strong view on this issue is fine. All sorts of people do. What really bothered me however is what one reads between the lines.

    When Shelley says “I don’t know of a single person in my school who is sceptical about global warming and the part played by greenhouse gases,” that certainly raises some questions. How is the school presenting this issue? Is it pointing out the differing views and allowing students to think for themselves and form their own opinions? Or is it instead simply promoting one side of the story? That is the impression one gets from reading this remark. I could be wrong, but it seems like this school has simply decided that there is only one correct view to take on this, and all dissenting views should be treated with disgust.

    For example, when Shelley says that those who disagree with her are guilty of making “so many ignorant and uninformed statements made about the topic”, one sees dogmatism, not a proper debate. A genuine education should be about presenting the facts, not pushing an agenda. It is bad enough when a secular school moves from teaching to indoctrination, but when a Christian school allows propaganda instead of education to rule, then it is a sad situation indeed.

    It may or may not be of any comfort to Shelley, but our real concerns are with the state of modern education, including that found in Christian schools. But she and like-minded peers are welcome to make their case here or anywhere else.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  17. Hi Bill,

    I agree with you that is quite worrying when Shelley made her point about other kids in her school. The Global Warming issue has almost become an us or them situation. Thats what causes wars! Much of the rationality has been removed from the debate and now debate has become such an ugly word when used in the context of GW. I was at a function the other week and I was surprised by the number of people that just accept GW as it is defined be the government as fact. When I tried to engage in a discussion I was all but shouted down. These people honestly think that the carbon tax Krudd and clan wan to impose on us will once again fill the Murray. The research for GW is far from conclusive and I think it is disgraceful that the Gov. is trying to lure Australians into a false sense of security. The earth may or may not be getting hotter. If it is there are many reasons for it and many of those reason are beyond out control. To focus on just one is quite myopic and risks missing the real reason for fluctuation’s in climatic conditions. This is not to say we should not be trying to be more efficient and looking for sustainable energy sources. We have future generations to think about. Creating panic and using what I would call propaganda amongst the populous is not the way to go about it.

    Ben Green

  18. Hi Ben!
    The sort of thing you report is all too typical of the GW “debate”, which only proves that it is not about science at all; it is a religious and political agenda, driven by ‘green’ believers and zealots. If it were about science there would be a rational exchange of views, appeal to evidence, a willingness to be led by evidence and argument, and discussion of possible theories to explain discrepancies with evidence. None of this exists in the GW debate.

    Moreover, when we are told, “The science is settled! There is consensus!” we are not hearing a scientific statement, but a piece of verbal bludgeoning. Let me make two comments about that oft-repeated claim:
    1. Truth is not determined by counting heads! In the history of science there are many, many examples when there was so-called “consensus”, and one researcher came along and said, “That’s bunk!” and plotted a new path which overthrew the consensus. As Einstein once remarked, “It takes only one person to be right!”

    2. The consensus on GW is illusory. Already 31,000 qualified scientists have signed on to the Oregon Petition which repudiates GW notions; at least 8,000 scientists attended the anti-GW conference in New York in March. That conference, for obvious reasons, was not reported by the mainstream media, but it was highly successful. According to Chris Monckton, the IPCC’s report is based on a mere four papers (not the 2,500 they claim), and these are not representative of the broad range of literature on the subject at all.

    Sometime, somewhere down the track, the alleged scientific basis will unravel totally, probably sooner rather than later. But that will not mean that the scaremongering will cease. Too many are in far too deep, and there is too much at stake to forsake it all now. This is the best chance the Left have had for their agenda of totalitarian big government, indeed global government, to be achieved. They’re not going to give that up now.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  19. A couple of days ago, when this blog first started, I was attending a talk entitled “Intelligent Disobedience.” That term originated in the Guide Dogs arena where the guide dog has a rigid harness that allows the master to give it signals, and vice versa. If the master happens to be at some traffic lights, and wants to walk out in front of traffic, the guide dog has to display “Intelligent Disobedience” to avoid having its master walk in front of a truck.

    One of the hardest tasks in politics is opposition. Oppositions can be perceived to be purely negative and attract bad press – especially in a time when a popularist prime minister is achieving high ratings. However, without wishing to also gang up on Shelley – and Bill’s remarks are well made – comments such as “this is beyond politics” highlights another very dangerous modern technique for getting one’s way.

    For starters, this comment is invariably made by people from the left wing of politics (or at least by people influenced by them) – with the usual dig at the right wing and its implicit assumption that those from the right wing must, almost by definition, be without any logic and are simply outdated and wrong. However, it is also typically made by people who DON’T have the facts to support their argument. Mention has been made above that only 30 years ago, we had already, supposedly, entered another Ice Age and scientists were pleading for vast funds to prevent this (sound familiar?)

    Equally, during the last period of Labor rule, the republican debate had supposedly ‘gone beyond’ whether we should have a republic (even though I must have missed that point somewhere down the line) and was now a matter of what form it should take. Then of course, we have ‘true’ scientists asserting that evolution has been proved and yet who cannot provide any real proof to support their assertion and merely throw ad hominem attacks against those who persist in asking questions to probe their assertions. This is particularly relevant for Christians in the current GW debate when assessing the worldviews of those making certain claims.

    My concern about Shelley’s comments are not that she made them, after all, we’re all entitled to our view, or that I might disagree with them. Ironically, I can fully empathise with the concerns Shelley raised having being in school during the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s when the fear was that we would all be annihilated in a nuclear war and that I would be denied the opportunity to experience life fully.

    What is of more concern are the implications of what is being taught in the schools, especially the Christian ones. I am fully aware that the universities are totally dominated by humanistic thinking but what our Christian youth need to be taught is that ‘consensus’ politics is not always good. After all, it we accepted humanistic consensus, then Christianity would be banned. As someone who falls into Shelley’s category of ‘elder,’ my appeal to Shelley’s generation is to learn some ‘Intelligent Disobedience’ and not follow mob thought! Learn about critical thinking and the principles of logic and argumentation – and how mobs can be led. Also, start to realize that words like ‘opposition’ and even ‘skeptic’ are not always bad.

    Prior to the ill-fated Challenger launch, there was a debate as to whether the already delayed launch should proceed, especially as there was a major change in weather coming through. However, the very strong consensus was to proceed with the launch because of the political ramifications (and cost) of not doing. One of the very few opposing this view was the engineer responsible for the solid rocket launchers who expressed concern over the o-rings which had shown a history of failing in colder weather. Unfortunately, his ‘Intelligent Disobedience’ was overruled by the group dynamics that wanted the launch to happen and disaster occurred.

    Shelley is right when she says “If we get this wrong, it is my generation that will suffer.” However, where her logic is less certain is that people of my generation will be long dead. The reality is that if we don’t all apply some Intelligent Disobedience we might well walk into a very different type of disaster, namely an economic one where we will all suffer. How will Shelley and her generation look upon us then if the worlwide economy is destroyed and they have no jobs?

    Roger Birch

  20. Hi Bill

    This is a surprisingly emotive issue, but I suppose it will remain that way until complete facts replace emotions and feelings as the centre for the debate.

    Some observations from the discussion to date – I have tried, and again failed, to be brief. Note that I am in the middle of young and old (but rapidly heading in one direction only), have a very limited scientific background and I am undecided on GW. All I am decided on is the need for rational debate. As Christians, we should lead the way, and not allow ourselves to be drawn into the emotional aspect of the debate, supported with narrow-mindedness (except in relation to the Truth), red herrings, misinterpretations and misrepresentations.

    Many great scientific discoveries are not made in laboratories, under microscopes or through computer generated models – they are made by observing and feeling nature. “What Isaac; you formed a scientific principle because an apple fell on your head? You fool!” Good scientists use the senses God gave them.

    In a review by William Blake, Newton is described as a “divine geometer”. He believed God was the master creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. In an attempt to silence contemporary “doomists”, Newton examined the Bible and his knowledge of natural science to predict the world would end sometime after 2060.

    The Bible speaks the Truth. One of those Truths is that the world will end. We don’t know when. We just know it will not be by flood. God has many devices at his disposal, including man. It would be poetic justice for the sins of man (ignorance, greed, lust etc) to destroy the planet.

    So Ewan, the world would therefore not need to be indefinitely robust and life-sustaining – it has a pre-determined use-by date. A practical God – as He is repeatedly shown to be – would not over-engineer his creation.

    And John, Al Gore may be getting richer through his campaign, but so are the multi billion dollars companies with a vested interest in the continuation of mining and use of fossil fuels. Money is not a direct factor in the possibility of GW, but it is a motivating factor in both camps. Money is irrelevant – facts are all that matter. I whole-heartedly agree with your final quote from Aristotle (but note it would be around 2 300 years old) which could be extended to include “… nor immediately understand it.”

    Elders should not claim respect as a right – but rather something that should be earned. Dennis Ferguson is an elder – he deserves no respect – only pity and prayer. The Bible states that you reap what you sow. Christ taught us to respect the children and to listen to them … and that is key to elders receiving respect. It is often the innocence of the young that sees the truth, even if they cannot define it.

    Shelley, both your passion and eloquence are indeed rare gifts – even rarer in combination. Do not be put off your beliefs, but rather, do as scientists do and look for the evidence to support your established theory. The gift of wisdom will ensure you do that with an open mind.

    GW is only a piece of the puzzle – a single and possibly irrelevant indicator as to the health of the world. Should a GP conclude you are healthy just because your temperature is OK? Surely his conclusion would be based on other tests and observations, lest you die of stroke, albeit with a perfect temperature.

    Further, CO2 is merely a portion of the piece. Evidence suggests particulate pollution (also just a portion of the piece of the puzzle) could be more significant. One theory suggests that particle pollution is blocking the suns heat from entering the atmosphere, thus offsetting the effects of greenhouse warming factors. Hence, temperature looks good, even though the world may be facing a stroke.

    Science is not exact – development is based on theory and research. Research and faculties require funding. The source of funding predetermines the parameters of research and the published results. (eg Do the trees planted by X power station make it carbon neutral? Published research conclusion – Yes! Secondary observations and findings – atmospheric particulate emissions, heat and chemical changes to the river, land clearing, erosion … all quashed.) No doubt, a “green” funded investigation would return a contrary report.

    Even good science is only as good as contemporary knowledge allows. My father was taught at school to prove scientifically / mathematically that escaping the earth’s atmosphere was impossible.

    There are trade offs in all known forms of power generation – some more than others. Fact is, coal, oil and gas are finite sources (oil being quantity and price controlled by the Middle East / Muslims – that’s an economic disaster in the making). Uranium too is a finite entity.

    If we should naturally be sliding into another ice age, but aren’t, is man’s influence keeping the planet’s temperature artificially stable? Is that why results are inconclusive?

    At least perhaps a period of “restraint” (not total darkness) is required while the facts are examined. Apathy is as un-Christian as ignorance.

    Murray, what is the significance in 31 000? How many scientists did not sign? Not that it really matters; as you state in your previous paragraph, numbers do not equate to truth. Nor does the particular view of a friend – however qualified. He would have many colleagues who agree with his view, and many equally qualified who don’t. At this point in time, science is not providing conclusive answers either way.

    Roger, not sure if I would rather be unemployed or suffocating. It is counter-productive to re-butt one fear (emotion) with another – except to make a point about irrational emotion. Without “intelligent disobedience” against the nature of man, and an holistic approach to directives within the real Truth, it may well be both. They are linked. We live in an interactive and reactive world – that’s how it was designed. What’s the big picture? Part of God’s Law – Universal Law – but in scientific language states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

    Jeremy, please be careful when quoting the Bible in isolation and out of context. “Go forth and multiply” is as much an argument for indiscriminate over-population as it is for promiscuity. “Rule the earth and subdue it” does not mean “rape and abuse the planet”. The Bible teaches humankind the virtues of good “rulership” which include logical, rational thinking, common sense, empathy, consideration, observation, care, respect. God gave us many gifts – some of those gifts he gave us so that we might protect all our gifts.

    Trevor Putland

  21. Firstly, by way of clarification, I am female. This shouldn’t be relevant, but some of you have seen fit to address me in the third person, which by the way comes across as quite discourteous.

    Secondly I’m 17 years old, so kindly discontinue the patronising comments about my “eloquence”. Some of you are obviously stereotyping teenagers quite unfairly. Most of us aren’t as illiterate, immature and irresponsible as the media likes to portray us.

    It’s hard to know where to start in addressing the comments. I most certainly don’t feel under siege as Bill suggested, since I am confident that my stance is correct, and I have seen no arguments here that I can’t answer.

    Bill asks me for evidence, but evidence of what? There are many different aspects to the GW problem, and it’s by no means clear to me which parts of the story each of you has doubts about. The scientific evidence for global warming has been published in hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers, the various IPCC reports, and in publications by CSIRO and similar bodies. There are numerous books explaining the science. It is unrealistic to expect me to set out that evidence in a forum like this, but I can provide references to some relevant material if anyone wants it.

    I’ll address some of the points that I found particularly wrong-headed.

    Murray, you blandly assert that CO2 can “hardly” be a greenhouse gas, because its concentration is so low. I’m sorry, but that is a profoundly false and unscientific statement. You might equally claim that CO2 can’t be the main source of plant carbon for the same reason. The mechanism by which CO2 reflects infrared radiation back to earth has been studied for over 100 years and is well understood. The infrared absorption contributed by CO2 can be measured, as can that of the other main greenhouse gases, i.e. water vapour, methane, and nitrous oxide. (It’s unfortunate that we’re stuck with the “greenhouse” tag, because the mechanism is totally different from a plant greenhouse). And if you think the concentration of CO2 is too low to have an effect, what do you have to say about methane, which is less than 2ppm (as against a CO2 concentration of 384ppm) but whose total effect is about a third that of CO2? The greenhouse effect is what has made this planet habitable at an average temperature of 15C, instead of the -18C which it would be without any infrared absorption in the troposphere. This is well established physics that should be beyond dispute. For if you do refute it, to what gases do you attribute the greenhouse effect instead, and where are the published scientific results that support your assertions?

    You also claim that CO2 is stable, yet since the beginning of the industrial era greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased by 37% for CO2 (from 280ppm to 384ppm), 250% for methane, and 16% for nitrous oxide. These are well established and incontrovertible measurements.

    You invited me to look at your website, but that only confirmed for me that your opinion is based on political and emotional rather than scientific grounds. You mention the Oregon Petition, which has been well and truly discredited. A Scientific American investigation found that there were many fake names on the petition, and the number of actual scientists with relevant research experience was very small (about 200). It has also been recently revealed that the project was funded with a large donation from Exxon, which has also funded many other climate denial campaigns. Shades of the tobacco lobby!

    Murray, you also claim on your website that Y2K was a scam, which shows how uninformed and biased you are. I was too young to remember, but my father is an IT specialist who was heavily involved in projects modifying systems to fix the problem. It was a very real problem and major system failures were only prevented because the problem was recognised early and measures were undertaken to overcome it. You obviously have no understanding of this issue, and the fact that you label it a scam on the basis of such ignorance only serves to cast doubt about your sense of judgment.

    Similarly your website reference to an alleged global cooling prediction in the 1970s is unfounded. My research indicates that while there was certainly some speculation about this at the time, it never attracted any serious scientific support. All in all, your credibility leaves a lot to be desired. You seem to be attracted to conspiracy theories.

    Ewan, you claim that “life was designed for an atmosphere containing higher concentrations of CO2”. This is only true of plant life. For humans and animals, CO2 is an asphyxiant. It can cause headaches, drowsiness and loss of ability to maintain concentration, although we are a long way should of the level where it becomes dangerous. But the argument about plant growth does nothing to allay concerns about its heating effect in the atmosphere.

    I have been criticised by some here for mentioning the Beijing smog. But nowhere did I say it was caused by CO2. What I said was that it was caused by burning fossil fuels. I mentioned it only because it is yet another reason for reducing our consumption of fossil fuels. Please pay attention to my actual words if you wish to criticise me.

    There have been a number of claims recently, and re-quoted here, that warming stopped in 1998. This is simply false, because it ignores the El Nino/La Nina cycle. Once this cyclical effect is allowed for, the trend line remains firmly upward. Similarly there are claims that the sun is the culprit, yet solar effects are specifically calculated and allowed for in the published data.

    It is telling that the climate denial campaign is being conducted through the mainstream media by way of bland assertions rather than with robust scientific arguments. If there are scientists with genuine reasons for doubting the published evidence and projections, why aren’t they publishing their views in scientific journals and backing up their arguments with research data? Signing website petitions is hardly a legitimate or recognised way to conduct a scientific debate.

    I would summarise the basic claims about global warming as follows, all of which can be backed up by published scientific evidence:

    – greenhouse gases are known to cause warming of the atmosphere.

    – the mechanism is understood and the radiative eating caused by different gases can be measured.

    – warming has been observed to have accelerated markedly in the last few decades.

    – greenhouse gas concentrations have also increased sharply in recent times.

    – global temperatures in recent years are the highest they have been for at least 650,000 years, i.e. longer than human history.

    – the increase in greenhouse gases is a consequence of human activity, including land clearing, domestication of farm animals, extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

    – some of the predicted effects of global warming are already being observed.

    If any of you reject any of these claims, please explain why, and indicate the source of any evidence that supports your assertions.

    And I’d appreciate some response to the central tenet of my previous posting, i.e. that the climate denial campaigns are being conduced on political rather than scientific grounds.

    Apologies Bill for the length of this posting.

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  22. Thanks Shelley

    But if the “central tenet” of your previous posting was “that the climate denial campaigns are being conduced [sic] on political rather than scientific grounds”, then you have still left us with no evidence. Where is the proof that everyone who does not agree with you does so for some political or other agenda? Indeed, we could play that game as well, and argue that folks like Gore stand to gain financially by an ETS, and therefore simply have an agenda they are pushing.

    You do the same with the Oregon Petition, shooting the messenger instead of dealing with their position. Instead of actually dealing with the arguments, you simply dismiss those making the arguments. And the shortcomings of the IPCC reports are now well known, including its exaggerations and what many experts have now noted: its politicisation! Indeed, Sir John Houghton, the inaugural IPCC chair, admitted the early exaggerations, saying that “unless we announce disaster no one will listen”!

    I repeat, real science will approach these issues with an open mind, and follow the evidence where it may lead. It will allow differing opinions and recognise the limitations of climate change models. True believers, on the other hand, have their minds already made up, and no amount of counter evidence will be persuasive. With all due respect, you sound like an evangelist for AGW. It seems to be an article of faith for you, and any dissent is seen as heresy.

    As I and others have noted, that is our real worry. You are certainly entitled to your beliefs, but if this Christian school is turning out such true believers, than there are some real concerns here. As mentioned, we expect such dogmatic zealotry from non-believing schools, but Christian schools? Why has this become such an article of faith, adhered to so religiously, when there is so much genuine scientific debate and uncertainty? Indeed, I trust that students at this school will as vociferously and determinedly defend and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. Does it?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  23. Trevor,

    You did not address all my relevant points including past examples of climate change. You mention that Newton observed science at work when he noted the fall of the apple – a fact indeed. Gravity is the cause for all apples falling; thus it must be the cause for all other objects to fall. However isolated incidents of ice melting here or there or some other periodic event cannot be unscientifically extrapolated to conclude that one and one only factor, ie man-made global warming, is the cause for all climate change or on-going changeable weather patterns..

    My points raised are well established observed facts. My main point with Mr Gore is that he is not a scientist at all (a fact) but is making a luxurious living solely dependent on this issue from selected skewed occasional happenings and wilfully, knowingly drawing skewed conclusions. Newton used scientific methods and scientific training to make his conclusions (a fact). Mr Gore employs neither (a fact).

    Mr Fergusion deserves our respect as a person. God still loves him. It is his acts which are contemptible. That should not be overlooked. Our Lord publicly chose such sinners as His daily company to be a Light to them. Walking away from them, despising them or driving them out of your neigbourhood is not the action of a Christian.

    Children and youth should not presumptuously and arrogantly deny respect to their elders simply that in the first place they are older. Give respect first and later withdraw it in need, whether it be to an elder, a peer or one younger. That is the humble, Christian and civil way to go about our lives. As well, all elders should not be denied respect in the first instance simply because one older person among their ranks has not proven worthy whether in the past (another generation perhaps) or present. Should we disrespect and condemn all Germans, Japanese and Serbians because of the act(s) of one or a few among their number whether in the past or present? Should we disrespect and condemn all the people of Israel for the murder of Our Lord 2000 years ago? Give respect first is my point here. The sin(s) of the father should not be visited upon the son is the second point.

    The significance with respect to the figure of 31,000 scientists who signed the declaration is that it clearly demonstrates that there is no “consensus” among scientists at all and therefore the argument that the “science is settled” is baseless.

    I view your reasons for engaging in the debate on this website to be mischievous and suspicious. Your contribution is very wordy, poses further distracting and non-pertinent questions or points and is of a lecture style as one would expect from a great teacher, mentor and sage attempting to return his students to the line of thinking or conclusion he desires from them. It is notable that you presented no real facts but further red herrings. Clouding and confusing the argument I would suggest is the purpose of such an approach.

    Your style also seems partly “ad hominem”. To cite an example I quote: “your final quote from Aristotle (but note it would be around 2 300 years old)”. This is a petty unnecessary non-pertinent distraction the purpose of which, it appears, is to lessen my credibility and thus that of my argument or conversely to strengthen your own by establishing your apparent superior knowledge.

    Finally Trevor, no-one can sit on the fence forever; “Man who stands in middle of road get run over”. One side or the other is set to do irreparable harm to the planet, God’s creation, and to our lives. Vacillating or treading water leads to one chasing one’s tail forever or being swamped and drowning.

    John McMahon

  24. Shelley, you’ve made a number of bold claims in your last post. I’d like to invite you to reflect on some of them a little:

    >> warming has been observed to have accelerated markedly in the last few decades.

    Are you aware that it hasn’t in the past 10 years? Are also you aware of the ‘urban heat island’ effect which has an impact on the temperature statistics?

    >> global temperatures in recent years are the highest they have been for at least 650,000 years, i.e. longer than human history

    I put it to you that this is demonstrably false. Are you aware of the warm period in the middle ages, which was demonstrably warmed than today (Greenland was green then you know).

    >> some of the predicted effects of global warming are already being observed.

    Can you be more specific on this? What has been observed … and how do you know that it was caused by human-induced increases in CO2 levels? Are you aware of the principle that correlation does not equal causation?

    I can recommend that you read The Doomsday Syndrome by John Maddox, former editor of Nature magazine. It was written back in the early 70s and its content is very pertinent today.

    Stephen Frost
    Melbourne

  25. Shelley,

    All your arguments have been soundly and comprehensively refuted and no repetitious baseless denials or wishful thinking on your part will change those facts and the conclusions already presented on this site and elsewhere.

    Battering and bruising your opponent into submission, whether physically or orally, does not establish the veracity or validity of your argument.

    Our Lord did not act that way.

    John McMahon

  26. The climate change debate is liable to make the lay-man’s head spin, and mine is spinning like a top!

    The arguments from both sides are very convincing, and especially so when they are laid out as clearly and articulately as they have been here (kudos to the debaters indeed – most forums like this descend into grammarless name-calling pretty quickly!) My view is therefore that of the moderately informed layman, and specifically, a Christian layman.

    Firstly, it is plainly obvious that we humans can make a lot of mess. We begin as children, and it is left to our parents to clean up after us, and gradually to teach us to clean up after ourselves. In many ways, our modern lives fail to properly acknowledge this duty to keep things tidy. We consume a great deal, most if it packaged, and we send the rubbish off to where we can’t see it.

    If nothing else, the great global warming debate is a timely reminder that God created the earth and saw that it was good. We should be diligent – perhaps MORE diligent than we have been – in ensuring that we do not take it for granted or carelessly ruin it.

    Having said that, I do not believe that apocalypse-by-anthropogenic-global-warming is nigh. I certainly don’t believe mankind will be destroyed by flooding, and that IS an article of faith!

    One constant in the history of the human race has been the fear that the end is near; Henny Penny has had many faces. Today she is a “climate zealot”. With all due credit to the wonders of modern science, it cannot be denied that what we know about this planet amounts to very little – an infinitessimal fraction of all that there is to know. Yes we are pumping out CO2 at a rate of knots. Will this single change in the unimaginably complex equilibrium of the planet cause it to bubble and boil, resulting in widespread destruction and death? I doubt it. Should we move towards better, less-polluting ways of living? Of course we should, and in earnest, but without neglecting our duties to present generations (who often seem to get overlooked in the debate), and without succumbing to the temptation to despise humanity as a world-wrecking parasite.

    Unfortunately many on the “climate change” warpath are showing signs of genuine misanthropy, in deference to “mother earth”. Specifically under attack is the family, given the “climate cost” of having children. Three days ago, in a discussion on global warming, an acquaintance of mine said: imagine how bad global warming would be if China hadn’t implemented a one-child policy. I was floored. It seems the human race is afflicted with a deep sense of self-loathing.

    (Indeed, I have been thinking lately that the rabid fear of global warming is in some ways merely a symptom of this human self-loathing – disbelief at how much damage people are capable of. This self-disgust is not all bad: add a dash of humility, and a sprinkling of faith, and the world is ripe for conversion! After all, Christ came to save those who most need a saviour. We fit the bill. Never have there been so many opportunities for Christians to share the healing love of Christ!)

    Ultimately, if the planet ever does boil over, all we can do is trust in God, and be willing to do our bit to look after one another in the fallout. We are a resourceful bunch, and there is no limit to the things that mere mortals can achieve at God’s bidding and with His grace. After all, when it began to rain, Noah didn’t just kick back with a coldie and say “God will save me”. He built an ark according to Divine specs, and by his faith, became a central cog in the wheel of the Divine plan!

    Bit of a ramble, but there’s my two-cents!

    Tim Cannon

  27. Shelley, I assumed your gender to be female but since an internet search on your Christian name showed it to also be listed as a possible male name, I instead used “he/she”. No offense intended.

    Regarding your comments about Y2K, I completely agree with you and that is why I never compare AGW scares with the Y2K scare. If anything, as you point out, the comparison works against the AGW skeptic position.

    You misrepresented me somewhat by suggesting I don’t think CO2 is toxic to humans and animals. Of course CO2 is toxic in very high concentrations, but my point was that humans and animals can tolerate much higher concentrations of CO2 than presently exist in our atmosphere and without any deleterious effects. My point for mentioning this was to show that this real world observation fits with my hypothesis that maybe the originally created atmosphere had a higher percentage of CO2 than it has at present. I note you have not attempted to refute my biblical CO2 model or offered an alternative.

    I also note in your reply your acceptance of an anti-biblical history of the earth: “– global temperatures in recent years are the highest they have been for at least 650,000 years, i.e. longer than human history.” This reinforces two of my points: that your Christian school is promoting secular evolutionary history instead of biblical history (Does your school also teach that evolution is true?); and that it is an inherently weak argument to base your beliefs about the present climate on a history that involves myriad assumptions. Anyway, even documented human history of the period known as the Medieval warm period (MWP) would strongly suggest that your claim here is false. In other words, it was warmer in the MWP than it is now.

    Trevor, true this world will not last forever, but I don’t see any biblical evidence that it will be ended by man caused climate change either (not that you said it might but others have said these kinds of things to me before). Biblical descriptions of the end of the world are quite cosmic in their implications (e.g. Heaven and earth will roll up like a scroll) so I doubt very much this is talking about anything caused by man. It would be quite supernatural. So the fact that this world will end someday, does not contradict my suggestion that “God created a robust life-sustaining climate with built-in self regulating mechanisms.”

    You also seem to be suggesting that other indicators besides CO2 are showing that man is damaging the environment. I presume you have heard of Bjorn Lomborg who suggests otherwise. You also talk about fossil fuels being finite. Whilst this is undoubtedly true, there is no risk of any of them running out anytime soon. It is government restrictions, in the name of radical environmentalism, on the exploration and mining of fossil fuels that is keeping the supply scarce and the price high.

    Ewan McDonald.

  28. Let me get this straight, just so I understand what the popular media tell us to be true. The Earth is 70% water, Land is 30%, man occupies approximately 10% of the total available landmass (our children do this apple analogy in their Socialist…sorry…Socialized Public School, so i KNOW this must be true), … of this 10% human occupation we also know that at least 2/3rds live in abject poverty (i’m sure these are going to be old stats very very soon). That means ‘No industry’ or very little. But it’s our fault the weather is changing! Have I got that right?

    Let me just straighten this out another way. 1/3 of 10% of 30% (i believe i am being more than generous) are responsible for the changing weather patterns on the entire planet! Have we all completely lost our minds? Someone needs to start switching off the television and try reading a book for a change. THE ISSUE AT HAND IS NOT THE CHANGING WEATHER, BUT IS MAN THE CAUSE? I think that is a fair question. This seems like man again believing he is more important than he is.

    Shelley, if you do not begin to QUESTION EVERYTHING and learn to swim upstream (that is, against the flow) at such a young age, if you do not begin to think for yourself and recognize the crowd almost always goes in the wrong direction, then this country will just have another Lemming statistic, take one look at our government and tell me they were not put there by Media influence, anyone see the “worm”? By the way, I have a vested interest in the propaganda of AGW: the construction industry is set to make huge profits in this stuff, but as a skeptic in anything the herd believes, my personal studies led me to reject its premise. When i look at the state of our hospitals/Crime/Education/Poverty etc i cant believe this country is not willing to check things for themselves and put first what matters to families today. It wont be long before we are going to be more concerned about feeding our families than we will trying to drop the temperature .4 of one degree on the entire planet. Oh please come Lord Jesus…..now would be good!

    Edi Giudetti

  29. Shelley
    Carefully analysis of both sides is necessary in evaluating any issue. As a former secondary school teacher, I would have thought students would be required to research both sides of an issue before presenting a conclusion. If you have done that regarding ‘global warming’, it doesn’t show in your postings.
    When others have pointed out further information, you have immediately disputed their references and statements.
    Did your school watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth’? Many secondary schools around the nation watched it – including some Christian schools.
    Students have told me that, unfortunately, they weren’t often given the other side of the story:
    A recent UK High Court decision noted that there were numerous errors in the film, and concluded that students who had been shown the film should be given information to counter the errors.
    Christopher Monckton, of the International Climate Science Coalition, analysed the film and documented 35 errors of fact. He analysed Al Gore’s speech at Bali earlier this year and documented 50 errors. References for these three are linked from our website:
    http://www.saltshakers.org.au/html/P/382/B/474/
    Gore even used a scene from the animated film ‘The day after tomorrow’ and intimated it was real footage of ice sheets in the Antarctic.
    Tim Flannery also inflates the global warming scenario – he has promoted the notion that the sea level could rise by 25 metres, the height of an “eight-storey building”.
    See “Climate’s last chance”, by Tim Flannery, The Age, 28 October 2006.
    At http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/climates-last-chance/2006/10/27/1161749313108.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1
    Even the fourth IPCC Report has an upper estimate of 43 cm (suggesting a possible 28-43 cm rise).
    If you want to promote a global warming scenario, you need to be objective enough to analyse the data and realise that not everyone who supports such a scenario is right on every point, and should be defended.
    People, including scientists, have changed their mind on this issue. For example, David Evans, the scientist who prepared the models for the Australian Greenhouse Office, once thought that man-caused carbon dioxide was the reason for ‘global warming’. Now he has changed his mind.
    Why? He says “But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html
    His first reason is that the ‘greenhouse signature’ in the atmosphere 10 km up, is missing.
    You dismiss the Oregon Petition. Have you read the Manhattan Declaration?
    It is a formal document signed by numerous scientists questioning the global warming scenario.
    See http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=1
    Shelley, this is not necessarily an issue that Christians should be on one side or the other. Careful stewardship of resources and discerning analysis of information is required from all of us.
    However, what concerned me most about your posts was not your statements about global warming but your reference to “650,000 years”. What happened to the Biblical view of creation? If we dismiss the Biblical account, what do we believe?
    Jenny Stokes

  30. Regarding Climate change.
    Some of the facts

    1. Austrlaiia produces about 1.5% of the worlds CO2, so what Austtralia does will not make any real difference to the world’s CO2 emmissions
    2 Sheep and Cows in Australia emitt methane which is far more potent green house gas than CO2. This gas has been ignored in this debate
    3 Water vapour in the atmosphere also affect the green house. What are the global warmwers think about that.
    4 Professor Garnaught has expertise in economics not Science.
    5 Emmission Trading will increase the costs of most activities we do in Australia and send business overseas to countries like China which does not have this scheme.
    6 the Earth has been cooling in the last 7 years
    7 A lot of Scientists disagreed that global warming is occuring
    8 If the pier at South Melbourne is underwater and the depth of the water is increasing daily over it then I would be concerned that Global warming was occurring. But seeing the water is where it is normally is not a concern to me.
    9 We do know the plants grow better when there is more carbon in the atmosphere

    Neil Herbert

  31. John

    I’ll address your post paragraph by paragraph.

    I did not address all your points because, as you later note, my contribution was already very wordy. In a previous post, I stated that natural climate change is normal. I have presented no unscientific extrapolations as you seem to suggest. Quite the opposite in fact; I even wrote the word “IF” in capital letters.

    I have never stated Gore was a scientist, but I have never ASSUMED that makes his point of view incorrect. After all, many scientists agree with him. Yes, he has become wealthy. I do not ASSUME wealth (or any other agenda) is his sole motivation, so I do not automatically discount the possibility he may be right, or at the very least, well-intentioned. Scientists often draw skewed conclusions. I expect Mr Gore employs scientists. There are many not in his employ with skewed views.

    I clearly state that I don’t despise Mr Ferguson, and for the record am totally against the media-driven vendetta.

    I totally agree with your views on respect – it seems we both agree it should be earned, by everyone, regardless of age or ethnicity or whatever. Just as all members of a group should not be denied respect due to the wrongful actions of some members, the converse is also true in that individuals should not take respect for granted simply because they are members of a particular group.

    I totally agree with you that the science is not settled, and apologise if I misinterpreted your point.

    You falsely accuse that my motivation in contributing to this discussion is mischievous, suspicious, distracting and non-pertinent. (I admit to “wordy” and am working on it.) That would seem to be an arrogant ASSUMPTION. I have previously and very honestly admitted to being no scientific expert, and no great theologian. Fact is, I am involved in the discussion to learn. For your information, I am a good teacher (but not a great one) and the three things I pride above everything else with respect to my teaching are: 1. I am also a learner. 2. I encourage students to be their individual and confident best. 3. I assiduously encourage my students to be critical thinkers. If returning my students to what I desire from them, to be critical thinkers, to question all (including me) is a sin, then I am guilty. Your comments are themselves a personal attack, and prove you missed the point of my comments completely. To quote Bill: “attacking a person is certainly one way of ignoring his argument.” I made no attempt to present real facts, because I DON’T KNOW THEM. I was hopeful this site would enlighten me. As has been discussed at length, the facts are unknown. For every expert fact, there is an expert counter fact. So what’s the point? I presented no red herrings, but pointed out those already present in the discussion. On my tone; on reflection, agreed. Not the tone intended – I shouldn’t write hurriedly while tired – far too reactive. Please consider the tone to be one of questioning rather than lecturing – I have every right to question; no right to lecture.

    Apologies – the 2300 year thing was probably a dig. Certainly not to boost my credentials though, because you and I have both admitted I have none. (I did have to check my hunch though – I’m also not an historian.) I was trying to make the point that in all the back-and-forth about who is right or wrong or inaccurate or disillusioned, just as you have done to others, any error will be pounced upon, whether relevant or not. Shelley sure copped a pasting for her perceived inaccuracies, but her facts, quotes, research and references are as valid as any others cited, and her opinion just as relevant.

    And finally, through expressing my views, I have been accused of being both an alarmist, and now of fence-sitting. It is difficult to see how these two descriptors can be applied to the same argument, and probably indicative of the emotion involved. What I would really love is a “time-out” while the real facts are assembled, but that isn’t possible. I have previously quoted: “You cannot teach a man that which he thinks he already knows.” I’m begging to be taught and longing to be convinced. I have argued against apathy, complacency and ignorance. There is no proof that man’s actions are destroying the planet, but there are plenty of reasons to investigate. There is also no valid reason of which this discussion has made me aware – scientific or Biblical – to simply assume “she’ll be right” and to just carry on regardless. So, once again, I agree that if we get this wrong, irreparable damage to the planet will result. I want us to get it right. That means moving beyond wealth, power, prestige, egos, politics, assumptions, agendas etc and getting to the facts, which by your own admission are to date inconclusive. Is asking questions and wanting answers before a major decision termed “fence-sitting”? I call it logical, rational, responsible and critical thinking.

    Trevor Putland

  32. It’s certainly nice of Shelley and her classmates at her churchian school to give Ph.D.s like Dr Adamthwaite and me the benefit of their inexperience.

    I know from my own speciality of vibrational spectroscopy that we try to exclude water vapour as much as possible from infrared spectrum measurements. A simple analysis of such a polar and low-symmetry molecule makes it obvious that it would be a great contributor to the (beneficial) greenhouse effect.

    It’s also obvious that the global warming spuikers that impress Shelley and her classmates don’t really believe their own propaganda, since they are such hypocrites. alGore lives in a mansion that guzzles 20 times more energy than the average American house. Of course, he pays carbon indulgences, oops sorry, credits — to a company he owns! And his producer Laurie David holidays twice a year on her private jet, which spews as much CO2 in a single trip as most people drive in a year.

    Shelley is a perfect example of the variously attributed aphorism: if you’re not a lefty when you’re a teen, you haven’t a heart. If you’re not conservative by the time you’re 40, you haven’t a brain. It’s thus no accident that the various fascist movements around the world have targeted the young, including the “don’t trust anyone over 30” slogan (see Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, documenting the thoroughly leftist nature of fascism).

    Jonathan Sarfati

  33. Hi again Edi

    Seems I am getting shot for doing as you ask – “questioning everything.”

    I’ll try not to be misinterpreted again, and admit to trusting your numbers and speaking in round figures.

    In terms of climate change, man’s direct influence on the oceans is probably negligible.

    The earth is about 30% land of which 10% is inhabited. (I suspect the figure for “inhabited and used” is higher.) Reason; most of the rest is uninhabitable. So, in actual fact, man occupies and uses maybe 50% (???) of useable land, and that figure is growing. Some of the uninhabited land is barren (desserts / ice / mountains etc) so is also a constant. Some of the uninhabited land is still forest. Where man has decided to settle is in the good spots which are fertile and were forests. So, while it is true man occupies a small portion of the planet, his activities have affected what are potentially the most sensitive environments. Clearing 20% of forested land is not 20% of 30% (6%) – it’s 20% of 100% of what was once treed (20%). That’s a full 20% of the earth’s trees.

    Perhaps too, man assuming he is NOT the cause of climate change is an indication he feels he can do as he pleases, and is therefore overstating his importance and negligent in the caretaker role bestowed upon him.

    OK. Fire away!

    Trevor Putland

  34. Trevor,
    My point with regard to the issue of respect is that it should be given in the first instance. For instance respect is demonstrated in the form of courtesy and general good manners eg stepping back and allowing another regardless of their sex or age to enter a doorway/room ahead of yourself. In a debate respect is demonstrated when one courteously affords the other side due respect and doesn’t assume that the other person is stupid or lacks knowledge because they are an older person. Respect does not need to be necessarily earned particularly in the situation just described. In some instances it is but often it is not, as it is a Christian’s duty to be respectful of others at all times. That is one of the most important matters to be imparted by a Christian education and Christian school teachers and Christian school authorities. It remains open to debate whether it is important at all in today’s Christian education. The basic tenet of our democracy is that I may disagree with your opinion but I will defend to the death your right to express it. That right is seriously under threat even now as we engage in this discussion.

    With respect to the issue of AGW, the alarmists are saying that “we have all the facts, the science is settled and no further discussion will be entertained. You know nothing and we don’t want to hear a word out of you. Now we’ll unilaterally implement the remedy (designed solely by us) and you’ll lump it or like it”. This line is unacceptable at anytime in a democracy but particularly so when actual established scientific eveidence available contradicts their claim. The facts are not “unknown” at all to the critics of AGW. It may apply however to the proponents of AGW which is one of our points. The facts have long been assembled, are certainly not “inconclusive” and have been readily available to any reasonable minded person to explore.

    Shelley’s facts, quotes, “research” and references are not valid in most instances. They are mostly rehashed political propoganda constructed and driven by the AGW militants.

    Yes it is imperative to ascertain the facts without undue delay and to make a decision either way as the AGW extremists are in a rush to implement their agenda. Believe it or not this debate has raged for more than ten years and the pro-AGW lot are gaining ascendancy and securing positions of power. So the sands of time are running out for the poor, the marginalized and the ordinary bloke in the street who is set to be king-hit with massive increases in the prices of food, fuel, power and invariably all other essentials whilst savings in the form of superannuation and property values are eroding dramatically and are obviously on the slippery slide. It is also very possible that our democratic rights will be eroded as well, now demonstrated by the very fact that they won’t tolerate debate, criticism or dissent.

    Emotion rages on the side of the AGW mob. Facts and evidence is are produced by the sceptics and critics.

    The AGW lot made their decision almost ten years ago and since then their only other agenda has been to action it regardless.

    Lastly there is one positive outcome of this matter to date which is very important. So many people are learning how important it is to be stewards and trustees of God’s Creation and to care for it and respect it.

    John McMahon

  35. I have not read anything about the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field and its varying strengths over time which also may contribute to climate change. But I believe there is some material ‘óut there’. If that is true there is nothing that humans can do to stop it, just like the sun.

    Oh by the way, is anyone aware that the Labor Australian Federal Government is considering a ‘methane’ (read fart) tax on bovine animals ie cows, sheep, horses, camels, alpacas, lamas, antelopes, buffaloes, yaks, bison, eland. This will be a tax per head and not on what is produced. It will be a wealth tax, not an income tax. If it is applied across the board, it may well send farmers broke. And what will happen to our iconic zoos suchas Taronga Park and the Western Plains zoo?

    Greg Brien

  36. Bill, Ewan, Jenny and others,

    You seem to assume that I have considered only one side of this issue, and that my school’s teaching standards should be questioned, even its Christian teaching of all things. All this because I have formed an opinion that differs from that of most contributors here. I find this a very curious way of addressing my arguments.

    Contrary to some of the criticisms of me, I have indeed been taught to have an open mind, to think critically, to think for myself and not to succumb to peer pressure, and not to slavishly follow fashionable trends. We have done an assignment where we were specifically required to objectively evaluate the claims of the prevailing scientific view, and that of those who question it. I was genuinely curious to know both sides of the story.

    But it was that very exercise that led me to my current views. I was unable to find any substantial scientific evidence that falsifies the basic AGW hypotheses. There are certainly plenty of sceptics and contrarians out there, but when you look into their claims they are pretty superficial, anecdotal and unscientific. It is very hard to find any genuine scientifically sound information that refutes the prevailing paradigm, although there are plenty of journalists’ op-eds and subjective opinions on self-published websites.

    Jonathan, I’m sorry but I don’t recall criticising you or your work as a physical chemist. I specifically mentioned water vapour in my previous post, but it only accounts for about 50% of the greenhouse effect. The other gases have a much higher radiative forcing effect per unit of concentration (Global Warming Potential), and that’s why the increase in the levels of those gases is causing so much concern.

    I certainly did criticise Dr Adamthwaite because he was not presenting a scientifically-based opinion. He seems to be a history teacher. I am not in thrall of anyone just because they have “Ph.D” after their name. I would want to know what institution awarded it, what field they work in, and what relevant research they have published.

    You accuse me of being a “lefty” which has me totally baffled, since I am more interested in science than in politics. But it supports my original point that the sceptical side of this debate is political rather than scientific. The frequent mention of Al Gore is also telling. He speaks only to a lay audience, and I am well aware of the criticisms of his methods. But those criticisms are mere distractions that do little to address the claims of the fundamental science.

    I note that not one person has so far attempted to answer my previous challenge. I set out some of the basic propositions of the global warming hypothesis and asked:
    “If any of you reject any of these claims, please explain why, and indicate the source of any evidence that supports your assertions.”

    Please don’t humour me by quoting newspaper articles or making bland assertions like “this has been refuted”. What I want to know is: Where are the serious science reports that refute the theory?

    Stephen, I recognise that at least acknowledged the propositions I put forward. If Bill will indulge me, I will answer your questions in a separate post.

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  37. Thanks Shelley

    But it seems that no matter how many scientists we mention, refer to, or quote from, if they do not agree with your position on the subject, you simply dismiss them out of hand. Recall that this article featured a scientist to begin with, and many of my other articles on this topic cite world class scientists. As I say, you seem to be a true believer, and no amount of countervailing scientific data will suffice. Thus we seem to be at an impasse here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  38. One must wonder whether Shelley’s churchian school teaches manners. Not that long ago, schoolchildren would not address adults by their first names unless requested, and would be very careful before they accused them of ignorance and acted like know-it-alls.

    It’s notable that she and apparently her fellow schoolkids criticized adults who dare to question global warm-mongering for their “right wing politics” then wonders why I think that she is a lefty.

    As for politics v science, it’s notable that the biggest scaremongering comes from politicians who are unqualified in science, like alGore and Penny Wong. They are also the ones who declare “the debate is over”, and appeal to “consensus“; neither of these is a scientific attitude. Nor are the shrill calls to prosecute dissenters.

    Conversely, scientific dissenters include Fred Singer, atmospheric scientist and (First) Director of the U. S. Weather Satellite Center; meteorologist Richard Lindzen of MIT; Professor Bob Carter, researcher at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University; and Dr David Evans, one of the main modellers for the Australian Greenhouse Office who changed his mind because of the evidence.

    One glaring example of alGore’s deceit is showing a graph of CO2 increase v temperature, and neglecting to tell his audience that the temperature increase occurred before the CO2 rise. This is not surprising if there is an external cause of temperature increase, since that would decrease the solubility of gases (including CO2) in water.

    Quite aside from this, there is the crass stupidity of crippling our economy although our CO2 emissions are 1.5% of the world’s. This won’t make a blind bit of difference as long as China and India keep on increasing their own emissions, since they actually want to climb out of poverty. It’s absurd even on the face of it, because Australian companies would likely move to places like China and India, so the world emissions wouldn’t change.

    Bjørn Lomborg is not a dissenter, but in his book Cool It!, he points out the gross opportunity cost of spending billions of dollars on preventing warming. This means money that can’t be spent on far more effective life-saving measures such as providing sanitary water, immunization, micronutrient suppliments and deworming programs.

    How can Shelley face God on Judgment Day if she has contributed to policies that would cause much human misery just to reduce the world temperature by a few degrees (see, I can play her game :P) ?

    Jonathan Sarfati

  39. Trevor, you said that “There is also no valid reason of which this discussion has made me aware – scientific or Biblical – to simply assume “she’ll be right” and to just carry on regardless.” But surely any argument against the man-made global-warming hypothesis is by definition an argument that also says it is OK to continue using fossil fuel. So are you in effect saying there is no valid argument on the side of the AGW skeptics?

    Shelley, I challenged one of your alleged proofs of global warming on two levels. I said your assertion that “global temperatures in recent years are the highest they have been for at least 650,000 years” is clearly false because actual recorded human history from the MWP strongly suggests that that period was warmer than today. You yourself say that 650,000 years ago dates from before human history so how could anyone possibly know how hot is was supposed to have been back then? The answer is that no one knows, it being based on nothing more than speculation and assumption. And more importantly, from a Christian perspective is that such dates contradict the Bible’s history anyway. So what is a Christian school doing teaching a history that contradicts the Bible? I would be interested to know if your school also teaches evolution as fact.

    You will probably complain that I provide no “source of evidence” to back up my claim that the MWP was warmer than today. It’s not that I’m unable but given that you provided no “source of evidence” to back up any of your own assertions, I might wonder how it is that you expect your opponents to so?

    Greg Brien raises a good point about the effect of the earth’s magnetic field on the temperature of the planet. We know from real observational science that the earth’s magnetic field is decaying over time. That rate of decay has been measured. If we extrapolate the rate of decay backwards in time we soon reach a point about 10,000 years ago when the strength of the magnetic field would have been so great as to melt the earth. Although this was not Greg’s point, the earth’s magnetic field is cited as strong evidence against an old earth.

    Ewan McDonald.

  40. Bill,

    I’m sorry, but all I can find in your writings on the subject are newspaper articles, which don’t carry much weight in scientific circles. I would be very grateful if you or someone else could point me to some relevant published scientific papers in recognised journals. If global warming theory is actually 20-30 years of bad science, as many here seem to suggest, it should have been well and truly countered by now by better science. So where is it?

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  41. Thanks Shelley

    But to be honest, one wearies of such zealous AGW fundamentalism. Jonathan has mentioned a few of the many scientists who have questioned AGW and have written prolifically on it. The real question is, have you actually read any of their works, be they journal articles or books? Or is your mind already made up?

    And simply because a fully-credentialed scientist chooses to use a more popular approach such as newspapers, you dismiss him together. But there may be a good reason for this approach. I dare say if there were peer-reviewed scientific journals back, say, during the first millennium AD, a dissenting scientist would have been hard pressed to get in an article questioning geocentrism. Likewise today it is very difficult for a scientist to have published an article on Intelligent Design, since it goes against the reigning paradigm of philosophical naturalism and materialism.

    It seems your whole approach is fallacious, assuming that sheer weight of numbers determines scientific truth. Minority positions in the past often struggled to get a hearing, but that did not mean the majority view has always been the correct one.

    By your reasoning, the anti-supernatural science and scientism being pushed today must be the correct view, and any competing view wrong, since they seem to have the numbers and a stranglehold on these publications. With all due respect, your worldview seems to be much closer to that of the secular Enlightenment than that of Biblical Christianity.

    We live in a fallen world, and scientists, just like anyone else, can get things wrong. Paradigms can and do change. What is scientific orthodoxy one day becomes heterodoxy the next. You might have a read of Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in this regard.

    Scientists can and do have vested interests and agendas just as anyone else. There is heaps of research money for the AGW camp, with much less for the dissenting camp. There is always a temptation to go with the received wisdom when careers and income are at stake. The history of science is replete with such examples.

    Your faith in a science that can do no wrong and tolerates no dissent is, as mentioned, not exactly in the spirit of true science, but is instead all about true believers pushing a crusade. We have tried to present some dissenting views here, but you seem uninterested. It appears your mind is made up on this one, and no amount of discussion will convince you otherwise.

    So as I say in my commenting rules, if you simply want to use this site as a soapbox for your agenda, then you might set up your own site. To be honest, I encounter the same obstinacy and resistance to countervailing views when I debate atheists here. It seems that true believers of any stripe are simply not open to debate or counter-evidence.

    But thanks for sharing.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  42. Hi Shelley, you ask why “ … (your) school’s teaching standards should be questioned, even its Christian teaching of all things.” Christian teaching is supposed to relate to the Truth. If your school, like many Christian schools, teaches that evolution is fact, then it is well down the track to accepting falsified history that:
    Adam and Eve never existed; Noah’s flood never happened; The Earth is billions of years old; The Bible is wrong; Genesis 1 contradicts Genesis 2; The two genealogies of Jesus contradict each other; The human eye and back are poor designs; If there is a God, he causes death, disease, parasites and tsunamis etc: If Jesus ever existed, he certainly didn’t rise from the dead, so who needs him; Christianity is responsible for atrocities such as the Inquisition, Apartheid, Slavery; Crusades; and the suppression of Galileo, science and women.
    Atheists use such arguments to logically ridicule Christianity. The only logical defense is to know the real history that all claims in the previous paragraph are false or misleading.
    What do you believe about Christianity now? Universities often report that the percentage of students who believe in God drops markedly by the end of second year? What will you believe then? Few Christian schools teach that evolution requires blind faith: that life arose from non-life against the known laws of experimental science; that mutations somehow produce upward evolution despite evidence that mutation and natural selection produces downward devolution.
    As far as AGW is concerned: The evidence is that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that the climate (unrelated to man’s energy use) has been both much warmer and cooler than at present. Our massive coal and fossil deposits show that there was a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, yet plants and animals thrived. Noah’s flood also explains the trigger for the ice age and many extinctions.
    BTW, I’m a retired Engineer, became a Christian after uni, initially believed in billions of years of evolution, but now believe in creation in six days about 6,000 years ago. I’ve studied The Green House Effect and global warming since about 1980 – it seems to me that AGW is not supported by current or historical fact – rather it is ideological worship of mother earth.
    Peter Newland

  43. Hi Trevor, good to hear from you again.

    We all get shot to pieces when we ask questions, thats why many people are so afraid to stand, worrying they’ll be shot down by majority opinion. We often think we won’t make a difference to anyone by speaking truth, so we don’t bother. Hence, your and my experience in the modern Church (thoroughly enjoyed our theology discussion by the way, amazing how similar our experiences with todays church is).

    Back to the point, all the information we have must be filtered through our ability to think and research, not feel. We only discerned that our Church ‘experiences’ where un-biblical because we checked the Bible (Acts 17:11).

    Same with this issue, I am no expert by any stretch, but I’m not a teenager anymore either, I KNOW I don’t know it all. My parents once told me as soon as I know it all….I can move out (although 12 was a little young).

    The numbers I quoted where based solely on total land mass, not habitability, my point was, our impact and our ability is so minute compared to the Sun for example, as to discredit any notion of man made weather without coming up with rock solid EVIDENCE.

    Please understand, when I decided to question, I looked first to the points of view and considered their merit, then the actual hard evidence, then I looked for an agenda behind the popular view. (Shelley, I have media driven climate change fear mongering news paper clippings and front pages from the 1800’s, more than happy to make them available)

    But I also noticed something very stark that completely blew my mind, THERE IS ONLY EVER ONE VIEW PROMOTED!

    Other than the internet and perhaps Andrew Bolt, there are very few public dissenters. The other point that could not be explained is not dissimilar to the evolution debate. (Jonathan Safarti can vouch for this). One side presents the science and hungers for debate while the other side presents passionate dismissal and avoids debate. WHY?

    Trevor, this was where the rubber hit the road for me, do not misunderstand, we have a clear mandate by God to be good stewards of this world, there should be no better carer for the environment than a Christian. But I also know that the end will not come via some form of food shortage or drowned cities or melting ice caps or overpopulation or a meteor, in the end God will judge this world by fire, it will be as sudden as Gomorrah and as complete as Sodom.

    But when the data from so many scientists is ignored, with the promoters unwilling to enter debate, and laws being flippantly introduced into every western country by an unaccountable world body that affects the sovereignty of every nation, its our duty to ask and debate.

    If I can add another quote, and I am not for one moment suggesting this is you Trevor, but it does describe many today.

    “There is a certain barrier to all knowledge, a way of keeping man in everlasting ignorance, a bar against all truth, ….it is the (un-investigated) presumption we already have it!” anonymous

    Edi Giudetti

  44. The opening paragraphs of an article in Monday’s Australian by Arthur Herman nicely make the case for AGW scepticism:

    It has been a tough year for the high priests of global warming in the US. First, NASA had to correct its earlier claim that the hottest year on record in the contiguous US had been 1998, which seemed to prove that global warming was on the march. It was actually 1934. Then it turned out the world’s oceans have been growing steadily cooler, not hotter, since 2003. Meanwhile, the winter of 2007 was the coldest in the US in decades, after Al Gore warned us that we were about to see the end of winter as we know it.

    In a May issue of Nature, evidence about falling global temperatures forced German climatologists to conclude that the transformation of our planet into a permanent sauna is taking a decade-long hiatus, at least. Then this month came former greenhouse gas alarmist David Evans’s article in The Australian, stating that since 1999 evidence has been accumulating that man-made carbon emissions can’t be the cause of global warming. By now that evidence, Evans said, has become pretty conclusive.

    Yet believers in man-made global warming demand more and more money to combat climate change and still more drastic changes in our economic output and lifestyle. The reason is that precisely that they are believers, not scientists. No amount of empirical evidence will overturn what has become not a scientific theory but a form of religion.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,24122117-7583,00.html

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  45. About Shelley’s naive trust in peer review, this can be used as a gatekeeper for the paradigm. Richard Lindzen has noted the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. The editors of leading journals Science and Nature, commonly refused such papers (without review) as being without interest. And:

    ‘ … even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I [Lindzen], with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an “Iris Effect,” wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2 . Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as “discredited.”’ [Climate of Fear, OpinionJournal, 12 April 2006]

    Robert Higgs points out in Peer Review, Publication In Top Journals, Scientific Consensus, And So Forth, History News Network, 7 May 2007:

    ‘Peer review, on which lay people place great weight, varies from important, where the editors and the referees are competent and responsible, to a complete farce, where they are not. As a rule, not surprisingly, the process operates somewhere in the middle, being more than a joke but less than the nearly flawless system of Olympian scrutiny that outsiders imagine it to be. Any journal editor who desires, for whatever reason, to knock down a submission can easily do so by choosing referees he knows full well will knock it down; likewise, he can easily obtain favorable referee reports. As I have always counseled young people whose work was rejected, seemingly on improper or insufficient grounds, the system is a crap shoot. Personal vendettas, ideological conflicts, professional jealousies, methodological disagreements, sheer self-promotion and a great deal of plain incompetence and irresponsibility are no strangers to the scientific world; indeed, that world is rife with these all-too-human attributes.’

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  46. I hope Shelley keeps a copy of what she has written in this debate so that when she reaches my (old) age she will look back and be able to say “what a pompous teenager I must have been”.
    It should be noted that the IPCC report left out information that had been agreed to which is why many scientists opted out. If you believe everything that comes out of the UN as gospel them you are in trouble
    And before you question how I, an oldie, could make such a statement Shelly, let me assure you that for the past 6 years I have represented an NGO at the UN in New York.
    Follow the money trail and you will see how Al Gore has made and continues to make millions by conning people with his carbon credit schemes.
    When my daughters were at school and Uni they quickly learnt that you have to give back to teachers/lecturers what they want not what you think. You kept your ideas to yourself until you got into the workforce. If the whole class agrees with what Shelley states then it would seem that nothing has changed.
    Madge Fahy

  47. Shelley, I must make a defence of my website against your allegations, and also press the questions I raised in my original post.

    Y2K: I heard various estimates in the lead-up to 2000 on whether this was all a beat up or not. While there may have been some substance to it the verdict I heard was that it was largely a beat-up, and the way it so quickly disappeared off the radar screen in the aftermath seemed to vindicate that judgment. Again, I had a reputable scientist examine my website a little over a week ago and he gave it the all clear, that aspect included.

    The “climate crisis of the mid-1970s: You obviously do not remember this whole beat-up. It was relentless at the time, and it was supported by many reputable scientists. I remember it all too well. The ABC was on-side, and they were interviewing various scientists; likewise the other main media outlets. The predictions were just as gloomy: fossil fuels were going to run out, we were headed for a new ice age, because we had stuffed up the environment, etc. etc.

    I may not be a scientist, but I never claimed to be. My bleat is that the very simplest high-school level science is being ignored in this whole business. For example: the CO2 composition of the atmosphere is 0.03%, or at a stretch 0.04%. is this a fact or not? If so then what is all the fuss about? We are talking about a trace gas! Never mind your ad hominem dismissals (my credentials forbid me the right to speak, etc.). Just answer the question.

    Again, I may not be a scientist, but I did history of science to 3rd year level at uni, and I have done science subjects at university 1 level. Also, I do claim to know about logic and clear thinking, and I regret to say that your offerings display a lack in this regard. The post hoc fallacy I mentioned, and there are others.

    In regard to the history of science, I mentioned that claims of consensus ultimately mean nothing in science. In the C18th for example, the firm consensus was that combustion just was the release of a substance called phlogiston, which after it had gone left a residue behind. But a chemist called Lavoisier came along and said, “That’s bunk!” and showed that combustion was instead the combination with a gas which he called oxygen, and thus the former consensus was overthrown. The history of science is replete with such examples.

    In closing, might I remind you of a little wisdom from the Book you claim to follow: “You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honour the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.” Lev.19:32. We have too many youthful, know-it-all upstarts today, for whom the wisdom of years means nothing. Please, Shelley, do not go down that track.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  48. Hi Edi

    Great to hear from you. And pleased you used soft rubber bullets!! I too enjoyed our previous discussion – for 2 reasons. Firstly, you accepted questions and graciously answered them. Secondly, you apologised. That is in no way intended to be patronizing – it is a complement and in my eyes, a true indication of integrity. In essence, it is these same 2 reasons and hypocrisy (that’s how I perceive it) on both sides which leave me disillusioned with the current debate. More on that when time permits.

    You were ahead of me – I didn’t think I knew it all until I was about 18. By the time I was about 25, my position had changed completely!!!

    And your quote is almost a paraphrasing of one I have now posted twice. Hence my questions. To rework a couple of accusations already thrown my way …

    “Man who stands in middle of road get run over”.

    Yes, but man who stand on median strip have great and safe view in both directions: once man step into lane, his attention need to be in one direction only.

    And this: “Vacillating or treading water leads to one chasing one’s tail forever or being swamped and drowning.”

    Yes, but man who stay on boat until he know whether it is likely to be swamped or run aground far wiser than man who abandon ship then frantically search for life buoy.

    I don’t know it all. I’m not afraid of majorities, minorities, politicians, lawyers, judges, PhDs … or even Satan. And while I’m not interested in what Satan thinks, all others are welcome to convince me – just a shame no one has. Sadly, given the excellent opportunity this site offers for a convincing argument, I am probably not alone in feeling disappointed.

    You’re more than welcome to have a go!

    Cheers

    Trevor Putland

  49. On the issue of Y2K, it seems to me that although the ramifications of doing nothing were undoubtedly grossly exaggerated, the comparison with the present AGW scare is unhelpful to the cause of the AGW skeptic.

    With Y2K there was a genuine problem and it was of human origin. With global warming I say there is no problem and the anthropogenic influence is very minimal. With Y2K human effort was employed to address the problem and there is reason to believe those efforts averted some problems. With global warming I say human solutions are futile and would produce no measurable effect in any case.

    So the warming believer could say with some justification that Y2K is an example where a problem was identified, addressed and averted. They would say that action to address Y2K is a precedent for action to address AGW, but I would say the comparisons are invalid.

    Ewan McDonald.

  50. Bill,

    I am finding this forum very frustrating and confusing. On the one hand my requests for people to clarify which parts of the global warming hypotheses they reject are being largely ignored. Furthermore, I, my school and my teachers are being attacked and I feel I should have the right of reply. On the other hand you refer me to your commenting rules and accuse me of using the forum as a soapbox, even though my views are heavily outnumbered by opposing opinions. Bill, if you only want to hear comments that agree with your position you should say so. It’s an odd way to run a forum though.

    I would like to thank Jonathan who at least provided a few links that have some scientific basis, even though they are self-published opinions. I refer particularly to David Evans’ and Bob Carter’s opinion pieces.

    Both authors phrase their words carefully, and neither is prepared to say outright that the prevailing theories are completely false. Evans is leaning towards CO2 not being the major cause, and wants to bet against it. He has at least reassured me that science is not as corrupt as some here are claiming, by his statement that “The integrity of the scientific community will win out in the end, following the evidence wherever it leads.”

    Bob Carter’s piece led me to his website, where I was surprised to found just one conference paper that he has published on this topic. This is the kind of properly referenced paper that I have been asking for here without success. It carries a lot more weight in my mind than opinion pieces or newspaper articles. But it hasn’t been peer reviewed, so my next task will be to look for critiques of his paper to see what others have to say about his claims.

    There’s a lot of data in his paper and I have yet to fully review it, but his main concern seems to be whether the observed warming is “dangerous”. He concludes:
    In summary, there is almost universal agreement that significant carbon dioxide increases – human-caused or otherwise – will cause gentle planetary warming. But scientific opinion remains strongly divided as to how great a warming would accompany a real world doubling, and whether any such warming will on balance be beneficial or harmful.

    It was interesting that both Evans and Carter rely on temperature and atmospheric data obtained from ice cores stretching back several hundred thousand to several million years. Yet those who approve of these authors’ views also imply that I am not a good Christian if I don’t accept their biblical interpretation that the earth is 6000 years old. This seems incongruous to me.

    Stephen Frost recommend that I read The Doomsday Syndrome written by John Maddox in the 70s, which I actually read last year. I recall it was mostly about over-population concerns at that time, which the author claimed were invalid because food production was well below the earth’s capacity. But the trends we are seeing today are that arable land areas are shrinking in major farming countries such as Australia and the US, water supplies are under stress, and some food shortages are occurring, although the latter is not necessarily related to global warming. The claims by some here that higher CO2 is great for plant growth are certainly not being borne out with increased crop yields, rather the opposite.

    In the USA, some of the land that was being used for food is being redirected to ethanol production because of the oil crisis. It’s certainly not doomsday yet, but the future is not looking all that promising for my generation. Perhaps if some of you were my age you might understand better.

    I note that evolution has also been mentioned here, although I am utterly perplexed about its relevance to this topic. If someone can explain how it is relevant, I will be happy to explain how it is dealt with in my school.

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  51. Thanks Ewan,
    I used the Y2K scare as an example of hype and scaremongering, which indeed it was. It may have been a man-made problem, which was then fixed, but it was grossly exaggerated at the time, what with predictions of mass-shutdowns of electricity generation, and even planes falling out of the sky. Nor was this all media hype: There were scientists warning of these scenarios.

    I am plain tired of scaremongering, and when green preachers shout in my ear, and impute sin to me, even warning of Divine judgment if I don’t follow the hype, my response is, “Yeah, yeah! Rave on! I’ve heard all this sort of thing before. I was not born yesterday, and I did not come down in the last shower.” Strange that we hear these apocalyptic forecasts of doom on a daily basis, yet often the same people will scoff at the real apocalyptic disaster which is coming on this earth at our Lord’s second coming. Let us pay heed to God’s real agenda for this earth, and not the one warned about by these Johnny-come-lately green preachers!

    One other thing: I am equally tired of green preachers teling me and others like me that I am guilty of gross sin against their green commandments, when God’s real commandments they, if the truth be known, have set aside. “By the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom.3:20). What law is that? Not the environmental law lately cooked up by a coterie of green preachers, but God’s Ten Commandments, which enshrine His requirements of His creatures. And you won’t find in those anything about global warming.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  52. Thanks Shelley

    It seems that for the most part you are just covering old ground here. But let me pick up on one point you made: “neither [of the sceptics] is prepared to say outright that the prevailing theories are completely false”. But that is just the point. No one is saying they are completely false. So why do you even think that way? There may be much truth in the AGW claims. All that the sceptics are saying is that the scientific community is far from united on all this, that serious questions remain, and that there is much uncertainty in many areas, such as climate modelling, and so on.

    With all due respect, it seems that the only ones who have been trying to argue for some black/white polarisation are people such as yourself. You seem to be making the claim that this entire subject is all sown up, there is no debate, the science is absolutely settled, and that any dissent must be rejected out of hand, or regarded as heretical.

    And the sceptics are saying that every benefit has a cost. If there is genuine AGW taking place (and that alone is surrounded with many questions and much debate), then there is the issue of what should be done, and at what cost. One way, presumably, of maintaining a pristine environment would be to argue for the extermination of all 6 billion humans on planet earth. That is one option, but most people (except for a few radical greens) would find the costs too high for the proposed benefits. Thus there are not only scientific questions which have to be dealt with here, but economic, social, legal, and a whole host of other questions.

    If things were so simple here that some 17-year-old kid could figure it all out, that would be one thing. But when some top scientific minds around the world have real and legitimate questions about the actual science of AGW, then surely we should be a bit cautious, and not rush headlong into a radical course of action.

    To be honest, that is why the true believers seem so annoying: they want everything in black and white (as you just implied with your statement) when things in fact are far more complex, nuanced and difficult. And they want action NOW, even though the costs of such actions may not have been fully thought through yet.

    Sceptics are willing to concede that some aspects of the AGW scenario may well be true. The question is, will the AGW proponents be willing to concede that some of what the sceptics are saying may also be true? Or will they be treated as heretics who must be burned at the stake?

    That is all we really are trying to say here. We simply bristle when someone (whether an 80-year-old scientist, or a 17-year-old schoolgirl) implies that the scientific debate is over and there is no room for disagreement. That is not science, that is fundamentalist blind faith.

    And by the way, you and other AGW true believers have been given a pretty good run here, so please spare us the silly suggestion that I only allow “comments that agree with [my] position.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  53. Hi Shelley, its great that you’ve read The Doomsday Syndrome! But I am interested in what you seem to have taken from it … namely that it was “about overpopulation”. Yes, that was the particular bit of scientific subject matter that was broadly being discussed. But Maddox was also making the point that the doomsayers have a dreadful track record of over-estimating potential disaster scenarios and under-estimating either the earth’s or humanity’s resourcefulness in dealing with those scenarios. That’s why the book is titled the way it is. The Doomsday “cultists” are alive and well today in the global warming scaremongering that is going on.

    Still interested to know your thoughts on the Middle Ages warm period, which was approximately 2 degrees Celcius warmer than the world today. Then you could factor in the Little Ice Age several hundred years ago, which was 2 degrees Celcius cooler than the world today. That’s a spread of 4 degrees Celcius in global temperatures over that period (roughly 500-600 years). Barely a trace of human-produced CO2 in that time, so clearly that 2 degree warming followed by 4 degree cooling wasn’t human caused. That’s why I am sceptical about the most recent 2 degree warming (since the Little Ice Age) having being predominantly to do with human causes.

    The sun is entering into a very, very quiet phase. Hence the current cooling trend. If it continues, we might need to pump more CO2 into the atmosphere, in order to avoid a much bigger catastrophe than global warming is likely to be.

    (If that’s what happens, remember you heard it here first!).

    Stephen Frost
    Melbourne

  54. Shelley wants to be thought of as a good Christian. But she has not shown, at least on this forum, a tenth of the zealousness for Christ as she shows for global warm-mongering. It’s clear that she disbelieves Christ’s statement “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), which must logically include the Fourth Commandment’s justification:

    Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. … For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8–11)

    Shelley also relies on the notoriously anti-Christian Scientific American, which regularly pushes radical pro-abortion, human cloning and population control policies.

    There are also glaring double standards: Exxon funding bad, (much greater) government funding good.

    Finally I note her comparison with the tobacco lobby. This is ironic, because her apparent hero alGore grew up on a tobacco farm, worked on it, and continued to accept checks from that farm for years after his sister died from lung cancer. In 1988, while running for president, he defended tobacco farmers while campaigning in Southern tobacco states. Gore accepted contributions from tobacco companies as late as 1990.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  55. When I was a teenager in the early 1970’s the media were full of media sponsored hype over the supposed threat of annihilation by nuclear war. We were doomed they said day after day after day. Nothing would save us! Urgent action needed! Demonstrations in the streets! It sold newspapers but did not worry Christian students such as myself and so many others. With optimism springing forth from our Christianity as well as our youthfulness we did not allow ourselves to despair over the issue. Likewise the young today should measure the issue of climate change through the prism of their Faith and through the optimism of their youth. Go out and enjoy the life Our Lord has given us. How many of those proponents of AGW are practising Christians? I’d guess few if any. Thus their despair. A quiet read of the Australian poem “Said Hanhrahan” by John O’Brien (aka Patrick Hartigan) epitomises the absurdity of the doomsayers and the climate change argument. It is a good read. For all those involved in the discussion it is a must read.

    John McMahon

  56. SAID HANRAHAN by John O’Brien

    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    In accents most forlorn,
    Outside the church, ere Mass began,
    One frosty Sunday morn.

    The congregation stood about,
    Coat-collars to the ears,
    And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
    As it had done for years.

    “It’s looking crook,” said Daniel Croke;
    “Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
    For never since the banks went broke
    Has seasons been so bad.”

    “It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
    With which astute remark
    He squatted down upon his heel
    And chewed a piece of bark.

    And so around the chorus ran
    “It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

    “The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
    To save one bag of grain;
    From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
    They’re singin’ out for rain.

    “They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
    “And all the tanks are dry.”
    The congregation scratched its head,
    And gazed around the sky.

    “There won’t be grass, in any case,
    Enough to feed an ass;
    There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
    As I came down to Mass.”

    “If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
    And cleared his throat to speak –
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “If rain don’t come this week.”

    A heavy silence seemed to steal
    On all at this remark;
    And each man squatted on his heel,
    And chewed a piece of bark.

    “We want an inch of rain, we do,”
    O’Neil observed at last;
    But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
    To put the danger past.

    “If we don’t get three inches, man,
    Or four to break this drought,
    We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

    In God’s good time down came the rain;
    And all the afternoon
    On iron roof and window-pane
    It drummed a homely tune.

    And through the night it pattered still,
    And lightsome, gladsome elves
    On dripping spout and window-sill
    Kept talking to themselves.

    It pelted, pelted all day long,
    A-singing at its work,
    Till every heart took up the song
    Way out to Back-o’-Bourke.

    And every creek a banker ran,
    And dams filled overtop;
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “If this rain doesn’t stop.”

    And stop it did, in God’s good time;
    And spring came in to fold
    A mantle o’er the hills sublime
    Of green and pink and gold.

    And days went by on dancing feet,
    With harvest-hopes immense,
    And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
    Nid-nodding o’er the fence.

    And, oh, the smiles on every face,
    As happy lad and lass
    Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
    Went riding down to Mass.

    While round the church in clothes genteel
    Discoursed the men of mark,
    And each man squatted on his heel,
    And chewed his piece of bark.

    “There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
    There will, without a doubt;
    We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

    Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921

    John FG McMahon

  57. Mr Frost,

    I wonder whether your surname gives you more insight into the very real prospect of global cooling giving rise to a new Ice Age? Is there something that you are hiding from us? A little humour and playful jesting does a lot to cool the heat from a debate doesn’t it? I do agree wholeheartedly with your comments. A new Ice Age would be so much more catastrophic than any degree of global warming. We have so much more to fear from ice than warmth.

    John FG McMahon

  58. Hi Shelley, I’m concerned with how you will survive uni – that may depend on your belief re evolution. Evolutionary time-scale, rather than evolution per se, is relevant to GW.
    First: the tension between evolutionary time-scale and Biblical Christianity. Evolution claims a 4.5 Billion-years-old earth – a million times older than a straight-forward reading of the Bible, in historical context, says. If 6,000 years is ‘interpretation’: then ‘interpreting’ days 1 to 6 of the Bible creation-sequence as: myth; allegory; or as aeons in a different sequence; is illogical ‘double-speak’ that atheist delight to ridicule. If Christians don’t defend Genesis then what happens to the Gospel?
    You write that: “- global temperatures in recent years are the highest they have been for at least 650,000 years, i.e. longer than human history”. That’s a hundred-times longer than the whole history of the universe according to the Bible. Now I don’t want to shake your faith as a Christian (and I’m not implying that you are not a Christian) but we need to be ready to defend our beliefs in old- or young-earth creation.
    OK, relevance to GW? The carbon currently locked in coal is about 16-times that currently in the CO2 cycle. Noah’s flood suggests how the year-long flood laid down most of our coal. It also explains how the pre-diluvian 14C/12C radio/normal-carbon ratio may have been 16-times more dilute than at present. This is because 14C generation-rate dependents on Nitrogen rather than on CO2. Hence radio-carbon dates for pre-diluvian material may be 22,800 years older than actual.
    Considering that CO2 is THE key point of the GW argument, how can we take GW predictions seriously if the evolutionary ‘history’ of CO2 in the air is grossly wrong?
    Shouldn’t you check it out? Also check out what your school teaches (or perhaps avoids, like many in the church) re answering the challenges I listed in my previous post.
    If you think that 6,000 years is ridiculous, so did I when I first became a Christian. Check CreationOnTheWeb.com for more info on carbon and other dating methods as they relate to the Bible. There are many real examples where radiometric dating can be proved to be wrong by very large factors. E.g. all coal and some diamonds contain measurable 14C and hence must be less than 100,000 years old but evolutionists claim them to be millions of years old.
    Peter Newland

  59. Many people people believe that the great Amazon and similar sized jungles in Africa are the lungs of the Earth from which which we derive our oxygen. This is erroneous. These massive jungles do indeed contribute of course to the oxygen supply of the planet but the lungs of the world are in fact the great oceans and seas which comprise some 70% of the surface of the Earth. Whilst these waters do absorb CO2 they also contain monstrous areas of algae, phytoplankton, sea grasses and the like which convert the majority of the world’s CO2 to oxygen. This is the source of the oxygen that we breathe.

    Thus it can be argued that as the oceans supposedly rise and expand from melting ice and heated by global warming, an accompanying expansion of the areas of algae, phytoplankton etc will likewise absorb the additional CO2. Is this the control mechanism on climate change that we have been seeking? I wonder whether the AGW mobb have factored these elements into their climate models.

    Only lately the mainstream news services have brought to us the discovery that the giant trees in our (Australian) old growth undisturbed forests absorb many more times the amount of carbon than previously thought. It must be emphasized here that science is always discovering more and more that until now has remained hidden to our eyes.Thus the science cannot ever be settled on any aspect as our embryonic knowledge grows days by day. Thus our knowledge of the climate and weather is minuscule. There is so much more to learn.

    Another matter to consider is the massive billions of tonnes of carbon locked up in coal, oil and shale oil deposits and others such as diamond lodes. These deposits are the result of plant material (carbon) laid down aeons ago. So aeons ago before this plant material was laid down, the Earth’s atmosphere then must therefore have had an exponentially higher percentage of carbon or carbon dioxide than now. But as the Earth has since flourished there could not have been any deleterious effects. So logically it can be argued that the Earth and its atmosphere therefore can now absorb much more carbon dioxide. Logic, reasoning and scientific fact of course are not the cornerstones of the arguments put forward by the militants and alarmists on the AGW side of the fence.

    John McMahon

  60. Thanks Jonathan

    I have to agree – I have been thinking the same thing. We all should have a healthy concern for being good stewards of God’s creation. But when environmentalism – or anything else – becomes a consuming passion which is zealously, fanatically and even religiously championed, it can in fact become idolatry. CS Lewis warned about the dangers of “Christianity and…” Whether it is Christianity and socialism, or Christianity and capitalism, or Christianity and environmentalism, we make those things idols. It always must be Jesus alone who has our sole allegiance and passion.

    It is a genuine matter of concern when believers fervently and passionately promote the AGW gospel, but the real gospel of Jesus Christ is never even mentioned. Again, one wonders what Christian schools are on about if they can crank out zealots for climate change who seem silent about their Lord. I hope that this school is educating students to be more passionate about their Lord and about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ than about any other causes, worthy as they might be.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  61. Shelley, there is nothing “incongruous” about me and others who are young earth creationists to be referring to the AGW skeptic arguments of people who happen to believe in an old earth. The ‘secular’ AGW skeptics rely upon many different arguments, only some of which involve hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Obviously we take those with a ‘grain of salt’ so to speak. As I said above:

    The only issue I would take with Bob [Carter] and many others also promoting science based rebuttals of man-made global-warming beliefs, is that many times aspects of uniformitarian ’science’ are invoked. Both sides of the AGW debate base part of their case on such claims but it is a philosophically weak argument given that there are many assumptions involved with claims such as the “past few million years” demonstrate that (insert argument here depending whether you are a believer or a skeptic).

    The reason I asked if your Christian school teaches evolution as fact, was to determine if it has fully sold out to naturalistic science. The reason this is relevant to your view on AGW is because if your school’s science curriculum does indeed differ in no discernable way from that of a ‘secular’ public school, then it is no wonder every student and teacher at your school agrees with your beliefs about AGW. If your school does teach evolution as fact, it would indicate that it is a very liberal ‘Christian’ school and therefore would most likely be promoting the liberal view of AGW, which is uncritical acceptance.

    John McMahon’s hypothesis of the earth’s early history of atmospheric CO2 and fossil fuels, holds some merit, but he has the time line wrong. See my more biblical hypothesis on that subject above (31.7.08).

    Ewan McDonald.

  62. Bill, John, Jonathan et al

    Please understand these are my views and feelings – expressed as someone who joined a learned and Christian debate in order to gain knowledge and understanding. If this is what you intended, perhaps there are lessons in it for all of us. (Note that “you” may not always be singular, but refer the cohort in the discussion.)

    It seems I misunderstood the focus of this discussion. Under a heading of “Climate Change” I was initially arguing a greater cause – along the lines of “World Change” and “World Custodianship” If that misconception on my part has caused angst, I apologise. If the whole debate is specifically over the politics of AGW, with its focus on CO2, water vapour, and carbon credits, then I am a strong skeptic – if for no other reason than the questions I initially raised, namely; that temperature cannot possibly be the only relevant indicator of a planet’s state of health, and that one gas cannot possibly be the only determinant of that temperature? Surely, we need to look at the big picture, surely we should be questioning everything, surely we should be looking at all scenarios and all possibilities – positive and negative / for and against? I also showed skepticism of politics – in the third person, and was rebuked. Again, your words: “So many people are learning how important it is to be stewards and trustees of God’s Creation and to care for it and respect it.” All I wanted to know was “How?”

    John, unfortunately, in a democracy, it is the majority that rules; so I guess if the majority gets its way, democracy has been successful. Whether the majority was right is a separate issue.

    I perceived this debate to be a perfect platform to erode the majority. Unfortunately, the debate seems to have turned into an example of what you claim are AGW strategies, and is filled with emotion, defensiveness (often through attacks), egotism, and avoidance.

    The perception is that while you plead for “critical thinking”, what you are really saying is “We’re right; they’re wrong. Criticize them. How dare you question us.”

    I have expressed that I agree with you on the issue of respect. I open doors, help with prams, stand on buses … and I assume (often to my own detriment) that others are as respectful and respecting and as trustworthy and trusting as I. However, to “In a debate respect is demonstrated when one courteously affords the other side due respect and doesn’t assume that the other person is stupid or lacks knowledge because they are an older person.” I would hope one could add “or younger person or disabled person or person of different beliefs …” I have demonstrated my rigid adherence to these principals, and my Christian humility, by apologising to you when it was perceived I had been disrespectful. However, I must admit that it seems highly hypocritical that you felt you had the right to personally, prejudicially and presumptively attack my very character. I would like to think that Christians walk the talk.

    Dr Sarfati’s contribution was most devastating. Given the opportunity he had to make a valuable contribution of a scientific nature and to harness the potential of knowledge-seekers (me) or GW sympathizers (Shelley – for whom I don’t speak as she has shown a commendable willingness to do that for herself), Dr Sarfati chose to attack Shelley personally. Such an emotional, belligerent attack, featuring sarcasm and ego, from one Christian to another does little for the world view of Christianity or for this cause.

    Dr Sarfati; to quote from Bill’s more recent article: Herman concludes, “Real science rests on a solid bedrock of scepticism, a scepticism not only about certain religious or cultural assumptions, for example about race, but also about itself. It constantly re-examines what it regards as evidence, and the connections it draws between cause and effect. It never rushes to judgment … “

    And this from your own post: “Personal vendettas, ideological conflicts, professional jealousies, methodological disagreements, sheer self-promotion and a great deal of plain incompetence and irresponsibility are no strangers to the scientific world; indeed, that world is rife with these all-too-human attributes.’ Is it any wonder Shelley is skeptical. Is it any wonder she asked questions, as she has been encouraged and has the right to do?

    I would think this to mean that all scientists should question even themselves, and welcome the chance to answer questions from others. I would have enjoyed scientific debate on the issues Shelley raised.

    Instead, for whatever reason, you attempted to bludgeon her to death. That kills off a potential enemy, but it also kills off a potential advocate.

    Shelley obviously isn’t “playing games”, but this is where the debate became ugly and fell into the AGW framework. Because once ego and emotion rule a position, rationality is lost. One of the ways in which adults demonstrate they are deserving of respect (without having to earn it) is to lead by example. With all due respect Dr Sarfati, apology in advance, and simply to make a point, let me use your words:

    It’s certainly nice of Dr Sarfati and his equally be-lettered zealot colleagues to offer me the wrath of his ego … Dr Sarfati is the perfect example of the variously attributed aphorism: Universities are simply a sheltered workshop for people with Asperger Syndrome. It’s thus no accident that his narrow-minded outlook and social ineptitude regularly earn him the contempt of his perceived subordinates … It’s clear that he disbelieves Christ’s statement: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

    My point being – there is no point! If I may be so humbly (sincerely!) bold as to suggest an alternative approach:

    “Shelley, it’s great that you are concerned with protecting the gift of Creation. As you have discovered, it is a minefield of opposing views out there, and one I too have battled through. The scars have taught me to question everything, because often what looks right and convincing and Christian, is cleverly disguised deception. Let me explain …”

    Some final questioning comments:

    Stephen, I assume that since the group’s argument largely hinges on the arrogance of mankind to think he can influence the climate on God’s earth, that your statement re creating more CO2 to combat the sun’s inactivity is facetious.

    Murray, “melting ice DOES NOT increase water level” unless the ice was not in the water to begin with. (It’s from a “critical thinking” / “think outside the square” activity I do with year 7 students.)

    Ewan, my position, whether within the parameters of this discussion or not, has been to consider the health of the planet, to question man’s POTENTIAL influence, GW as a conclusive indicator, CO2 as the only significant factor, and the limited range of offered alternatives to fossil fuels. There are reasons beyond GW for investigation into other energy sources.

    And John again, the poem “Said Hanrahan” is in no way a reflection on climate change or of Biblical-type doomsayers – it is a humourous (perhaps satirical) reflection on the ethos of farmers of the time and on the SEASONS – nothing more. From a review …

    “O’Brien … is … indeed tenderly affectionate toward Australia’s harsh brown land and its seasonal cycles. O’Brien’s poems are deeply and lovingly embedded in the farming life of the Irish community in rural Australia, of which he was a part.”

    ”’Said Hanrahan’ paints a wonderful portrait of Australian-Irish bush culture, together with its church, the land, the climate and the seasons which constitute its core. Hanrahan (a quintessentially Irish name) expresses unconquerable Irish pessimism about the prospects down on the farm. Hanrahan has a point however: the lush growth from spring rain can indeed dry out into fuel which poses a serious fire risk in summer.”

    The world is full of pessimists and people for whom the glass is, at best, half empty. Having spent most of my life around cane farmers, beef farmers, dairy farmers and produce farmers, I have listened to the same self-pitying, irrational and futile complaints year after year and learned to ignore them. Smart farmers learn to accept what can and cannot be controlled, and to adjust their practices accordingly. (Cane farmers budgeted for a cyclone wipeout every 5 years. A produce farmer, predicting a cyclic drought, grew hay instead of watermelon.) They flourished, while those who adopted an optimistic “she’ll be right” approach or a pessimistic “we’re all doomed” stance or a narcissistic “it’s the government’s fault” mind set or an apathetic “what can I do?” attitude all perished.

    Those concerned with the issue of climate change – on both sides of the fence – need to look well beyond seasonal fluctuations, 10 year droughts and even mini ice ages in either promoting their view or discounting another’s. I would hope the argument is against those who complain on a grand scale, and not wasted on those who lament their dead rose bush.

    These quotes from the (I assume) secular site

    http://forum.weatherzone.com.au/cgiin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=007014;p=111

    Posted by “Arnost”

    Consider two quotes from John Stuart Mill “On Liberty”, (1859);

    “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind.”

    “We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”

    This is a forum with decorum, which has been running since February and comprises 114 pages. Opinions are welcomed, information is provided, respect is shown. It is of concern to me that their climate change debate – at least in how it has progressed as a forum and in the information provided – seems far more Christian and far more true to their endeavour of an open discussion through the beliefs expressed above, than the Culture Watch debate.

    I turn to elders (thankfully, there are still plenty older than I) for guidance, modeling, knowledge, justification, answers etc. Yet now I am feeling: “What is wrong with the elders in our church today?” Since I doubt that was your intention, and since the church needs the young (and middle aged) and elders in unity, perhaps there are lessons to be learned in all this for the benefit of all.

    Trevor Putland

  63. Ewan,

    No I don’t have the time line wrong. Being an evolution sceptic (there’s that “word” again) or should I say “scoffer” and favouring the story of Creation as being the real beginning of the Earth, the meaning of “aeons” for me is not in terms of millions of years but a mere and meagre few thousand possibly 3-4,000. Thus in comparison to our fleeting lifespan of 70-80 years then 3-4000 years is “aeons” ago in my estimation. I trust I have clarified myself.

    John McMahon

  64. The poem demonstrates that Hanhrahan no matter whether it is a drought, a flood or whether the paddocks are full of wheat he is a doomsayer crying “we’ll be rooned”. Recent history in particularly is littered with his modern counterparts, Gore et al, who are constantly crying “Calamity” whether it be with respect to global warming, a new ice or nuclear annihilation. In 1921 the country had already experienced extreme climate variability with prolonged droughts, excessive rain, warm Winters, short Summers, raging floods and other events. In 2008 these events continue to occur. The man on the land, well accustomed to these happenings, is assured that there is no climate change just a continuing pattern of variable weather from one year to the next, from one decade to the next and if we lived long enough we would witness the same from one century to the next. The essence of this poem comprises two elements. Firstly there are always doomsayers and secondly there is always changeable weather patterns or some might describe it as “climate change”. It is not difficult to discern these points but it seems that you managed to overlook them. I offered this poem to demonstrate these two points and not to simply provide an amusing ditty.

    Having lived in the bush (still there) and having grown up in sugar cane country I can assure that cane farmers do not “budget” for a cyclone every five years. I must also emphasize that it is decidely unChristian to be unsympathetic to the plight of another particularly the man on the land. The life is very hard and it has driven many to suicide. So I suppose whenever you read or learn of a farmer or a grazier committing suicide you would likely then comment “he had it coming”? Farmers just can’t switch from one crop to another (you cited watermelons), year in year out. There’s the matter of costly licences, suitable soil types, costly infrastructure such as irrigation equipment, suitable tractors and harvesters etc etc. Of course where they are engaged in a contract with a Co-Operative mill there are also certain duties and responsibilities to fill. It is not a simple matter of being “smart” but being patient and enduring. A cattle grazier can’t switch from cattle to say goats overnight-there would a millions of dollars in new type of fencing for a start. And the soil would not be suitable for watermelons and the like and then there’s the issue of water and irrigation for him. The “smart” thing is to pray, be hopeful and endure as best as you can. Those in the academic world are often so far removed from earthy issues that they find it very difficult, if not impossible, to be empathetic. Words are easy; but life’s not so.

    John McMahon

  65. Bill,

    Nowhere in this forum have I “implied the scientific debate is over” as you claim. Go back to my post of 4.8.08 12am where I set out the basic scientific claims that are being made. I asked for information about which of these claims are in dispute by AGW sceptics here, and why. Very few of the claims have been disputed, let alone backed up with rigorous facts as opposed to assertions, but instead there have been many personal attacks on me and my Christian faith, which is completely irrelevant to this issue in any case. If this had happened in a debating competition at school, the adjudicators would surely have marked down the sceptic team quite severely. I have tried, within the limitations of this forum, to conduct my arguments in the same way as I do in the school debating team, where we are often required to argue the logic of a position irrespective of whether we agree with it.

    But putting aside my exasperation at the quality of the debate, I gather that you are quite concerned about what action our government might take to attempt to reduce global warming. Obviously there will be many different views here, and this is not an area of the debate to which I have devoted much study as yet. However, this is clearly a risk management scenario. The scientific assessment uses much future modeling, and indeed there are many diverse views because we are in uncharted territory and climate models are incredibly complicated. The latest IPCC reports have reported a 90% statistical probability estimate of serious impacts, which in lay terms is called “most likely”. Bob Carter believes it is more like 20%, and there are no doubt many other opinions in between. I don’t know enough to even form a personal estimate, so I am obliged to learn as much as I can and evaluate which views seem more convincing. But let’s say I adopt a conservative estimate of 50%. Everyone here should have some kind of risk figure in mind if they have thought
    about the issue seriously. Maybe some of you think the risk is zero, but that would be a brave stance to take, as would the other extreme of 100%.

    So the question is, what risk level should be considered the threshold at which we take out some insurance against the risk? I postulate that it is quite low, because the consequences of getting it wrong could be disastrous. I assume most of you would own or mortgage houses, and that you take out house insurance, even though the risk of fire or other disaster is quite low. In other words, you are prepared to incur an expense now in order to cover yourself against a potential disaster in the future. So my point is, unless you think the risk of serious damage to the environment is absolutely zero, there is a case to be made for some kind of action, such as reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. I realise that this argument is more complex than can be expressed here, and I also realise that there will be other debates about what results government action can actually achieve, but I hope this puts a different perspective on the matter.

    Stephen (Frost):
    Information I’ve read from many sources indicates that the Medieval Warm Period was of regional rather than global impact, and mainly affected Europe. This then comes down to a debate about how one determines a global average, but the data indicates that the current situation is affecting temperatures everywhere. If you have contrary information I’d certainly appreciate a reference to it.

    Peter,
    I disagree that “Evolution claims a 4.5 Billion-years-old earth”. Evolution is a theory about the development of human and animal biology, whereas estimates of the age of the earth and the universe come from geology, physics, paleontology, astronomy etc. I’m well aware that some Christians prefer to believe in an estimate of about 6000 years derived from Genesis, but I can’t accept that because it starts with a preconceived answer and then has to bend every observation to force the data to fit the theory. That’s hardly following the evidence where it leads. I’ve read what both you and Ewan have said, but I think it is a huge stretch to relate this to the current debate. Equally I think this is an issue on which Christians should agree to disagree, rather then hurling abuse at one another. I believe we’re saved by God’s grace, not by our contemplations about rocks.

    Trevor,
    I agree with you that this debate would be far more useful, and more in the spirit of Christ, if it were conducted without the ad hominem attacks.

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  66. Thanks again Ewan. I continue to regard a day with an energetic son of just six years to be an “aeon” let alone a day with a teenage daughter or son. So the measure of years is relative I suppose. But we do agree that the time spans are mere thousands of years rather than millions/bilions of years. As to whether it is four/ five/ six or more thousand years I am not able to determine. I’m sure that given the mercy and forgiveness of Our Lord that upon our arrival/entry into Heaven such details will be irrevelant and mean nothing in any case,

    John FG McMahon

  67. Stephen, I assume that since the group’s argument largely hinges on the arrogance of mankind to think he can influence the climate on God’s earth, that your statement re creating more CO2 to combat the sun’s inactivity is facetious. –Trevor Putland

    It was … very much tongue in cheek.

    Mr Frost, I wonder whether your surname gives you more insight into the very real prospect of global cooling giving rise to a new Ice Age? Is there something that you are hiding from us? A little humour and playful jesting does a lot to cool the heat from a debate doesn’t it? I do agree wholeheartedly with your comments. A new Ice Age would be so much more catastrophic than any degree of global warming. We have so much more to fear from ice than warmth. –John McMahon

    Heh heh … yes, many’s the time I’ve listened to the weather report promising “widespread Frosts” or “severe Frosts” … but they’d never even met me, so how did they know?

    Re: cooling … I’m not a scientist … so I am like most people who’re trying to make sense of all the competing claims. Using plain ol’ common sense, it stands to reason that the primary source of heat for the earth is the sun. Without it, we’re just a frozen ball of ice, yes? So I would rightly expect that changes in the sun’s output would have an impact on earth’s temperature. I believe this is beyond reasonable dispute.

    ref: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/

    ref: http://www.dxlc.com/solar/
    (see especially the table at bottom of page)

    The new solar cycle is not starting up as quickly as even the most pessimistic predictions believed. The longer it delays, the more the likelihood (statistically) that we are heading for a prolonged period of reduced solar output, therefore a cooling planet.

    ref: http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/Solar_Arch_NY_Mar2_08.pdf

    I would encourage everyone to read that paper (link above) and calmly consider its contents. I can’t tell you whether the data in the paper is correct, nor can I tell you whether the author is to be believed (I don’t know him). But if cooling is coming, then food production will be severely affected, and that will cost lives. This possibility is receiving virtually no attention. I think that’s a bad thing.

    Anyway, that paper (amongst many others) gives me cause to question, to be sceptical about, AGW. This claim oft put about that “the science is settled” is not a scientific claim (science is NEVER settled) but a religious/political claim … and it is a claim made by people who are clearly upset that anyone would have the temerity to question their religious AGW beliefs.

    A more reasonable perspective is to say either “I think AGW is probably right” or “I think AGW is probably wrong”, but allow more questioning. If the Bureau of Meterology cannot accurately forecast the local weather a week or so ahead, then I have no confidence that ANYONE has any real idea what the climate globally is going to do one year ahead … let along 20, 50 or 100 years ahead. That’s bunkum, because its all based on computer models that are demonstrably imperfect.

    So I withold belief in AGW for now. But I still turn off my lights at home when not used, I still turn down the heating or turn off the cooling … I’m not religious about that, but it makes sense to save money, and it makes sense to be prudent about using resources.

    What I don’t like is being made out to be an idiot by AGW ‘zealots’. I also don’t like my kids being indoctrinated with a single point of view on anything (whether scientific, historical, theological or philosophical) … I want them to be informed of the best arguments FOR and AGAINST the AGW scenario.

    Stephen Frost, Melbourne

  68. John

    (Firstly, with thanks to Bill for his patience.)

    Thank you for reinforcing my previous points.

    Since I identified and discussed the elements of the poem you describe, it is difficult to see how you can suggest “I managed to overlook them”. My Literature Major, years of teaching secondary English, and an independent review see the poem as being about seasonal weather change. My point is that “weather whiners” are not “climate change doomsayers.” Are you suggesting that everyone who greets you with a comment about the weather – usually how hot or cold or windy or wet it is – is a doomsayer. As I stated previously, I would hope you focus your energy on people who really believe in GW, not those who make throw away comments about the weather.

    Before making such a categorical statement, it is a shame you didn’t meet my two uncles – both cane farmers – and a few of their friends who eventually caught on to the idea of “seasonal and predictable weather patterns” and learned to budget for them. Or my very good friend who did sacrifice a lucrative Wesfarmers watermelon contract he knew he would struggle to meet, to become a successful and independent hay farmer. I don’t and you should not assume that your experiences represent all that life has to offer – that is extreme arrogance. I never referred to “year in, year out”, but to long term planning through critical and creative thinking. Farming is a tough life that requires tough work and tough decisions. With relatives, in-laws and friends as farmers, do you really think I would be un-sympathetic to their plight? I have worked on farms for a week at a time, and left in awe of how these people do it every day of their lives – even Christmas day.

    You assume me to be un-Christian and unsympathetic – false assumptions and accusations are extremely un-Christian. You fail to appreciate the difference between discussing and debating an issue or even an opinion, and discrediting someone’s character. You lectured me on the rules of debating – then failed to follow them yourself. You raise the “red herrings” through assumptions. You have turned the debate towards me and not the real issue. The issue is bigger than you and me, and your ego and mine. I have already apologised. And I am Christian enough to accept your apology. But rather than assume you are too un-Christian to apologise for your almost slanderous comments, I’ll offer you the opportunity to do it.

    Because I don’t say something is, it does not mean I believe the opposite. You have not rejected adultery at any time in this debate – does that mean I should assume you condone it or engage in it? And before you say “It wasn’t the topic” – that’s the second part of my point.

    With Bill’s permission, here is the public release a poem I wrote. It’s nothing special, no great piece of literary genius, but it does I hope show an empathy for farmers. I guess from your perspective, the only remarkable thing about it is that I wrote it when I was 16 – apparently at the peak of my irrational, self-centred, obnoxious phase.

    The Farmer’s Lot

    In a country that takes more than it gives
    Men leave a toughened womb already as men
    And girls become helpers and life-givers – that’s all!
    They’ve no time for beauty, and no one’s the time to look

    A day starts at sun-up and ends when
    Trained eyes can no longer make out
    The engulfing landscape in failing light.
    But an owl would be proud of those eyes.

    And the missus has one hell of a time, what with
    Washing and cleaning and other seemingly futile chores.
    ‘cause no matter how much effort a day consumes
    The next is just as fierce on body and time

    And between dawn and dusk he has plenty to do;
    Horses to tend and field to plough, and as if
    That’s not enough, fences and roads to keep and crops …
    All tending to make the day quite complete.

    And yet the hardened soul who labours all day
    Arriving home in dress of mud from dust and sweat
    He’s still ploughing, riding and typically strong
    Well after city counterparts are long since departed

    But at the final sunset, he has the pride and privilege
    Of looking over his shoulder and marveling at the
    Result of his life’s gritty work, having transformed
    The desolate earth, green with new life, before closing the door.

    On suicide – I have faced it myself, so would appreciate not being accused of such heartlessness. And even in the depths of my depression, with friends and family on “suicide watch”, I had planned it to be “an adventurous accident” so as not to disgrace my family. I prayed for many things, questioned God, questioned my faith. But God indeed works in mysterious ways. He sent my atheistic YOUNGER brother with His message. I was praying for all the wrong things. God had other plans. Just 10 months after I intended to end my life, my mother passed away. And suddenly I realized why I had to endure such suffering and rebuild my life – suddenly, having experienced loss, I could understand and support my father and family, and travel with them through their (our) grief. I have thanked God for that gift.

    The other lesson I learned John, was that God certainly did not want me to just “pray, be hopeful, and endure the best I could.” That wasn’t working, so it could be what He wanted. He wanted me to develop the conviction and fortitude to save myself, (and it took my brother to quite literally give me a “kick start”) because I would need that strength to serve Him and others. I wonder how many of those poor farmers tragically took their own lives because they took your advice, instead of taking action.

    “Those in the academic world are often so far removed from earthy issues that they find it very difficult, if not impossible, to be empathetic.” I couldn’t agree more John. That’s precisely why I have questioned the academics in this debate, it’s the very reason I fled academia, and it was the motivation behind my change from being a teacher of Maths and English and Science to a teacher of CHILDREN. And before you let your presumptuous nature run riot, that means I don’t teach Maths, I teach them to be mathematicians, I don’t teach Science, I teach them to be scientists etc. And I teach them to be citizens, to value learning, to think critically and creatively …

    Words are easy – but actions speak louder than words. It’s when one’s actions match one’s words that life becomes easier, more purposeful, more rewarding … and more Christian.

    Trevor Putland

  69. Thanks Shelley

    The pros and cons of AGW can of course be debated purely is secular terms, without reference to religion. I and others have done that and can do that. But may I remind you that it was you who raised the issue of Christianity here. You not only informed us of your Christian school and the unanimity of your fellow students on this issue, but you implied that those who did not agree with you on this topic would face the judgment of God.

    So we have been responding to something you raised. Indeed, I nowhere mentioned Christianity in my article. But since you did raise the issue, and since you did seek to imply that your take on the issue was the only acceptable Christian position, that is why we have been dealing with issues of Christianity.

    And since I and others here are in fact Christians, your remarks have raised some concerns here. One concern was that it is quite arrogant and presumptuous to claim that a particular view on AGW is the only Christian view, and those who do not hold to it are somehow less than Christian. That was the clear implication of your initial comment.

    And we have also been greatly concerned that a person who claims to be a Christian, or a school which claims to be Christian, seems far more intent on promoting the gospel of AGW than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every new comment you post simply reinforces that perception.

    As I said, the environment is an important issue, but if it becomes more important that the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ, then it becomes idolatry. We are concerned that individuals and schools which should first and foremost champion Jesus Christ instead seem to become evangelists and fundamentalist zealots for one particular view of a complex scientific issue.

    And again with all due respect, if you are so exasperated with the quality of debate here, why do you keep coming back, and with such religious fervour? No one is forcing you to. But again, thanks for your thoughts.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  70. Thanks Trevor and John

    While poetry and literature are important areas, some of your debate is beginning to stray from the original topic. And please try to keep comments short where possible, as per my blog rules. Thanks again for your contributions.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  71. Bill,

    I keep coming back because I am hoping that someone will tell me what is wrong with the science. But everyone just attacks me for asking the question instead of addressing the question. You have done the same once again with your response.

    I will happily discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ if the topic relates to it, but I am mystified about the relevance of the gospel to the global warming debate. And I am not an evangelist for AGW, merely a seeker after truth. The longer this debate goes on without anyone being willing or able to refute the basic AGW thesis, the more likely I am to accept that the consensus scientifc opinion is correct.

    Does anyone have any comment to make about my remarks on the precautionary principle? Why is it such a bad idea to reduce our CO2 emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels?

    Shelley Atherton, Brisbane

  72. Thanks Shelley
    But all of your comments thus far have indicated that you (and perhaps your school) may be more true believers than seekers after the truth. You have simply dismissed every countervailing claim here so far. It certainly seems like your mind is made up.

    And we have already discussed the “relevance” of the gospel here, noting that it in fact it was you who first raised the issue.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  73. There is an interesting letter in today’s Australian by Professor W.J. Collins of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University. The last paragraph is worth reprinting:

    “As the climate change debate moves from the scientific to the political, it is important to stay with the facts. The bottom line is that humans cannot prevent global warming. Therefore, we should not be forced into emissions trading schemes, or any other scheme that sacrifices Australia’s economic advantage and standard of living for the wrong reasons. Sure, let us try to lessen our environmental impact and develop a sustainable economy, but we should not be carried away by misconceptions about what is driving climate change. It’s with the Earth itself.”

    Of course I am aware that certain true believers will likewise dismiss this out of hand, since it does not appear in a scientific journal. But I have already dealt with that furphy.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  74. Shelley,

    The precautionary principle is all very well except that in this case the alleged cure looks to be much worse than the alleged problem. We shouldn’t be willing to wreck the economy and with it people’s living standards if the problem an ETS is supposed to fix has been greatly exaggerated.

    Ewan McDonald.

  75. Shelley states:

    I’m well aware that some Christians prefer to believe in an estimate of about 6000 years derived from Genesis, but I can’t accept that because it starts with a preconceived answer and then has to bend every observation to force the data to fit the theory.

    Yes, some Christians do prefer to believe in Genesis because Christ affirmed it. I.e. they have this radical idea that being a Christian means believing what Christ affirmed!

    As for preconceived ideas, how about evolutionary geneticist Richard Lewontin:

    ‘We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  76. Andrew Bolt reports here on some of the global-warming propaganda being force fed to secondary students. It’s this sort of thing that gives many of us commenting here reason to doubt that there is any attempt to present both sides of the AGW debate to school students.

    Ewan McDonald.

  77. I keep coming back because I am hoping that someone will tell me what is wrong with the science.

    I’ve done so … a couple of times now … did you have a look at the material at the links I posted, and if so, what is your objection to the proposition that most of GW is linked to solar output and is therefore not anthropogenic in nature? Have you made a study of how computer models are produced? If you have, you would discover that they only way a programmer can know whether his/her program is working properly (not bug-ridden) is if the output matches the pre-stated desired outcomes (i.e. the specification). Wonder what that specification said … oh yes, that’s right, something like “we need a computer model that shows us how much global warming is occurring and how much is caused by humans”. Computer models are (to me) of the same order as wish fulfillment. In other words, self-fulfilling prophecies.
    — Stephen Frost, Melbourne

  78. If I were a betting man, I would wager that Shelley’s unnamed churchian school showed alGore’s deceitful film, although a British court found 11 serious errors. Of course, alGore didn’t reveal that his graphs show that temperatures rise before CO increases. One must also wonder whether her all-knowing classmates have swallowed Propf. Michael Mann’s discredited hockey-stick. Not only is it wilfully ignorant of the historically documented Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, but also Prof. Ross McKitrick found that Mann’s computation method produced the same stick pattern when pure noice was inputted!
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  79. “I have listened to the same self-pitying, irrational and futile complaints year after year and learned to ignore them.” Such complaints are often the cry of those pleading for help and when it is ignored, as it is by so many, that so many then go onto self harm, alcohol, drugs etc or worse still, suicide. In the surrounding circumstances families break up and children suffer irreparable emotional and psychological harm. Everyone, farmer, scientist or a teacher expressing such sentiments/complaints are too often severely depressed and cannot see a way out of their plight. They deserve and rightfully demand our Christian understanding and assistance. They are ignored at our Spiritual peril.
    John FG McMahon

  80. Gentle readers who might be alarmed at my doubts about the ability of climate modelling to predict anything particularly sensible, and who might therefore doubt my doubts about the efficacy of climate modelling to accurately predict AGW over multi-decade timeframes, try this peer reviewed paper:

    http://www.atypon-link.com/IAHS/doi/pdf/10.1623/hysj.53.4.671?cookieSet=1

    “On the credibility of climate models”
    published in the Hydrological Sciences Journal
    Abstract:

    Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.

    Stephen Frost, Melbourne

  81. Shelley Atherton,

    You have been provided with so many references, material, signposts, websites and other information that if you are genuinely and sincerely seeking an answer to the whole of the issue, you would retire to study this voluminous material and return after possibly say (6) months at minimum to address those queries consequent upon such studies and research. There is much for you to study and to digest in the meantime.

    John McMahon
    Burnett District, Qld

  82. Lord Monckton Thrashes DeSmog Blog Editor in High-Profile Global Warming Debate: DeSmog Blog editor Richard Littlemore concedes defeat.

    No wonder the warm-mongers are reluctant to debate: the previous major debate actually changed the minds of the audience (57.3% to 29.9% in favor of believing that Global Warming was a “crisis” to 46.2% to 42.2% in favor of skepticism) and we can’t have that!

    Skeptical quotes from Novelist Michael Crichton:

    “I would like to suggest a few symbolic actions that right—might really mean something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition, [APPLAUSE] “Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [electrical] grid. They must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously? [APPLAUSE]”

    “I suddenly think about my friends, you know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is mouth a few platitudes, show a good, expression of concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while and give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers and you’re done. Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it.”

    “I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board their private jets to fly to their second and third homes. [LAUGHTER]”

    “Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water. We have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to what’s going on now. I think that’s unacceptable. I think that’s really a disgrace.”

    Skeptical quotes of University of London’s emeritus professor of biogeography Philip Stott:

    “What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a very serious point.”

    “In the early 20th century, 95% of scientists believe in eugenics. [LAUGHTER] Science does not progress by consensus, it progresses by falsification and by what we call paradigm shifts.”

    “The first Earth Day in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling, the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would good it were. [LAUGHTER] It’s nonsense and very dangerous. And what we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes.”

    “And can I remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors behind climate change. Well let’s use an engineer; I don’t think I’d want to cross Brooklyn Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of the forces on that bridge. [LAUGHTER]”

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  83. I have just stumbled on this post as part of my own researching of GW. My research began when I saw how the education system and media had indoctrinated my own children with environmental, climate and evolution propaganda. The result is a generation of young people who “worship” the creation rather than the creator. Satan gets their hearts and minds and if he can get them to also doubt Genesis, they doubt the integrity of the whole Bible. Now just how sneaky is that?

    Shelley appears to be part of this generation but from her writing style and content, I suspect she is much older than she lets on.

    Charles Melville

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