29 August 2007

Africans to Bono: 'For God's sake please stop!'

Within my mind, several different factions have different reactions to this article.

Libertarian: Of course, simply giving people or nations money breeds dependency and laziness in individuals and governments, not innovation; it turns workers into beggars. Charity is not the solution; the real solution will be found in investment, a truly free market, and people willing to take responsibility for their actions and future. No one knows better how to improve the status of the nations of Africa better than the citizens of those nations.

"If a man will not work, he shall not eat." -II Thessalonians 3:10

Conservative: The United States should not intervene in other parts of the world unless it serves our best interests. To say that the best hope for Africa is the "the ingenuity and determination of its own people" might be like telling the same thing to women under Taliban rule, girls "circumcised" in Ethiopia, or the Christians of North Korea. If they really want us to stop sending aid, maybe it is time we removed our presence from the African continent and let the Africans deal with the consequences.

"You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you..." -Exodus 22:21

Neoconservative: Every time we try to help another nation, it seems we are rewarded with a firestorm of criticism. In the minds of the rest of the world, can a superpower get anything right? Africa has many problems, as the opening paragraph of the article succinctly states, and we have the ability to help solve them. The corrupt, kleptomaniac governments must be held accountable for their actions. Perhaps taking money away from them and investing it in African businesses would be a good way of making them accountable.

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." -Proverbs 14:34

Centrist: While many nations in Africa are advancing more that we in the West realize, the image conveyed by Ms. Brea is slightly too positive. Only five nations are home to active conflicts, but those conflicts have killed millions and left millions more raped, mutilated and homeless. Rwanda was not on the list, and many more similar tribal conflicts might be waiting to erupt into genocide. History seems to show that simply donating money to kleptomaniac governments is not helping Africa. The article claims that investment is a superior alternative, so perhaps the influence of the One Campaign that Bono advertised at InterVarsity's Twenty-First Student Missions Convention should be used to secure investment in appropriate businesses and infrastructure.

"You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." -Deuteronomy 5:32

Liberal: Chinese leaders do not see Africa as a continent of business partners; they see it as a source of oil and mineral wealth with few labor unions or human rights laws. Also, Ms. Brea being based in Beijing raises questions about her objectivity regarding China and its activities in Africa. American charities and aid agencies care more about the Africans than the Chinese businesses. America and the West are largely responsible for the current state of Africa; therefore, we have a duty to help undo the damage we have done.

"They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed...Now then, I will crush you as a cart crushes when loaded with grain." -Amos 2:6-7,13

Socialist: The kleptomaniac governments in Africa are robbing their citizens of aid intended for them. The workers of Africa must organize, arise, unite, take back their nations, and distribute the profits from the continent's vast mineral and natural wealth into the hands of all rather than a privileged few. As for capitalism and private investment, if you want to know if it can make people rich, ask the former employees of Enron or any coal miner with black lung disease.

"Thus says the LORD, 'Let my people go, that they may serve me.'" -Exodus 8:20

27 August 2007

Fun Photographs

A bird was perched on a neighbor's roof, and I took its picture.

Then, I switched to my 200mm zoom lens and took another picture.



During the winter, my roommmate Chris decided to try writing in the snow with his boots.

24 August 2007

Camping

Tonight, I leave time of refreshing, bug spray (98.11% deet), and fire. CGSA will be taking its annual camping trip. I am on the sub-committee planning it. We will be going to Lake Hope State Park. I have never been there before, but it has been highly recommended by several trusted sources. We will be bringing our own food, and I will be in charge of lunch on Saturday.

I am looking forward to swimming (well, wading) in the lake and seeing the stars outside of the city. Unfortunately, the moon will be almost full, which will wash out many of the stars.

Independence Day 2007

I know this entry is quite late. I am trying to be more prompt and timely in my blog. For Independence Day 2007, I attended two fireworks shows. The first was Red White, and Boom, which is the official City of Columbus display; it was on July 3. More details coming as soon as I get some pictures from a friend.

The second show was on July 4 in a suburb north of Columbus; a group of us was hosted by Dale and Kara. While the display was smaller and shorter, we were able to sit much closer. We could hear and feel the fireworks. I also brought a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read its opening paragraphs to the group.

Before the fireworks began, we noticed a beautiful natural light show in the west. The shadow is being cast by an unusually high cloud.


Oooooh!

Aaaaaah!



These always remind me of willow trees.

Unfortunately, I ran out of film before the grand finale!

22 August 2007

Political Discussion at CGSA

UPDATE: The final paragraphs were altered in the hopes of creating greater clarity at 3:57 pm on Aug. 22.

I shall be leading a discussion at a CGSA meeting later this summer; my topic will be "Thinking Out Loud," which is about applying our Christian minds in action to the world around us. It is based on the chapter of the same name in the book A Mind For God by James Emery White.

Following White's lead, I have chosen to use political action as the focus of our discussion. Specifically, I shall use the Columbus Mayoral race between incumbent Michael B. Coleman and challenger Bill Todd. To provide fodder for this discussion, I sent a letter to each candidate asking the following questions.

  • Why should a thoughtful evangelical Christian graduate student vote for you?
  • How do you plan to respond to potentially conflicting desires and opinions from the religions and scientific communities on issues of importance to Columbus?
  • Specifically, do you accept the scientific conclusion that anthropogenic global warming is real; in either case, how would you address the issue if you are (re)elected as Mayor?
For reasons that will remain a surprise until the discussion, I am writing to solicit responses from members of CGSA and other interested readers for more specific forms of the second question. Please answer the questions below in a message to me or in a comment on this entry. Answer them as if you were presenting issues to the mayoral candidates; I will use the responses (if I receive any) from the candidates as fodder for our discussion. Please be sure that your answers are relevant to municipal politics rather than solely state or federal politics. I would like your answers before noon on this Friday (Aug. 24).

What areas of conflict do you see between the Christian and scientific communities? If you are not a scientist, what conflicts do you see between Christians and members of your field?


21 August 2007

Surprising Levels of Praise for my Hayes Forum 2nd Plance Finish

I have been repeatedly honored an complimented for my Hayes Forum Prize. I have been hesitant to post this entry for fear that it would appear arrogant or prideful. However, I have decided that since I am repeating the accolades of others and not directly honoring or praising myself, this is no more prideful than my original announcement about winning the prize or my first journal article.

I thank God the Creator for creating me with the abilities and giving me the opportunities to compete in the Hayes Forum.

  • Greg (the 1st place winner) and I were featured on the Physics Department Homepage.

  • Since the deadline for submitting abstracts to the Forum was extended more than once, I thought that few people were applying to enter the competition; however, as you can see above and in the full departmental article, the Forum, "which is based on both written and oral presentations, involved approximately 40 students from the College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences." So, even being selected as one of the 10 presenters in my College was an honor. I am glad I did not know how competitive this was before I presented, otherwise I would have been even more anxious.
  • Both a professor and one of my fellow graduate students asked for copies of my presentation.
  • The ΣΞ science research honor society invited me to a banquet in which guests would pay $30.00

  • Normally, an aspiring ΣΞ member must be nominated by two current members to be eligible for membership, but Hayes Forum winners receive those nominations automatically.
  • I received a congratulatory letter, which had a bit of gender confusion in my address, from the Dean of the Graduate School.

20 August 2007

Physics & Music

One is a science; the other is an art. However, they are connected in myriad ancient and fundamental ways. Some time ago, a band director told me that the pitch of a brass instrument sharpens (gets higher) when the temperature rises. I wondered why and performed a basic calculation to verify his claim.

Recently, I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine who is a music graduate student, specializing in the flute. I decided to write a more formal and permanent explanation of my calculation. You can read it here.

19 August 2007

Free Geek

Yesterday, about a dozen members of CGSA volunteered at an organization called Free Geek. People donate old or unneeded computers to them, and volunteers either disassemble them for recycling or repair them for re-use. Reusable computers are given to non-profit organizations and volunteers.

15 August 2007

What is Wrong with Christians Believeing Young-Earth Creationism? Answer #4

Answer 4: "Love the LORD your God..."

This may seem contradictory, but staunchly defending a YEC interpretation of Genesis can be unloving towards God. Specifically, it can lead to discrediting God via postulating a "God of the gaps," misinterpreting scripture, and diminishing our awe for the Creator and Creation.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary "God of the gaps" is "God adduced as an explanation for phenomena not yet explained by science." This is dangerous because when such a phenomenon is explained by science, God appears to be rendered less necessary and credible. Francis Collins insists that a "word of caution is needed when inserting specific diving action by God in this or any other area where scientific understanding is currently lacking. From solar eclipses in older times to the movement of the planets in the Middle Ages, to the origins of life today, this 'God of the gaps' approach has all to often done a disservice to religion (and by implication to God, if that's possible). Faith that places God in the gaps of current understanding about the natural world may be headed for crisis if advances in science subsequently fill those gaps." (Language of God)

The essay touted by Answers in Genesis as the winner of their War of the Worldviews competition contains a clear example of the God of the gaps. The essay (written by high school student Paul Lamicela) claims, "God created matter in the beginning, but He did not create much antimatter. God did not want all the matter to annihilate with antimatter. He designed the universe to function." Physicists do not yet know why the universe contains mostly matter and almost no antimatter, but several active searches for the answer are ongoing and in preparation; I am one of many physicists engaged in this effort. Mr. Lamicela claims that the matter-antimatter asymmetry is evidence of God's providence for a functional universe capable of supporting life. If we physicists discover a natural scientific explanation for the asymmetry, that will eliminate this alleged piece of evidence and therefore reduce the credibility of Christian faith.

Many Christian leaders, including some who vigorously reject biological evolution, agree that scripture does not force us to accept a YEC model. As Edward J. Larson reports in Summer for the Gods, William Jennings Bryan, who was a key instigator and witness against evolution in the Scopes Trial of 1925, did not accept YEC. He "interpreted the six days of creation to symbolize vast periods of time." William Dembski, in the book Intelligent Design, argues that "it doesn't follow, logically or otherwise, that by rejecting fully naturalist evolution you automatically embrace a literal reading of Genesis 1 and 2. Rejecting fully naturalistic evolution does not entail accepting young-earth creationism." Further examples of Christian leaders rejecting YEC can be found at a page dedicated to the topic at Reasons to Believe.

Most or all of these leaders believe that scripture allows us to accept the current scientific measurements of the age of the universe. I agree, and I believe that the account in Genesis is not completely consistent with a literal YEC interpretation.

Genesis 2:4 summarizes the creation account with "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven." Notice it says "the day" not "the six days." Was it one day or six, and why would God inspire such an apparent contradiction? Gleason L. Archer, of Reasons to Believe, writes that a 24-hour interpretation becomes "complex" if we carefully examine both Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis 1:23-28 indicates that God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day. However, Genesis 2 states that between the creation of Adam (2:7) and the creation of Eve (2:22), God brought all of the animals to Adam to be named, Adam realized that he was alone, God removed his rib, and God created Eve. If one adheres to the YEC position, all of this must have happened in less than 24 hours.

Interpreting other passages of scripture in the same manner as the Young-Earth Creationists interpret Genesis leads to other problems. J. P. Moreland gives two examples of this. First, the Bible uses the word "sunrise" multiple times (e.g. Numbers 2:3). This word clearly denotes that the sun is in moving around Earth. Does this refute the scientific claim that the Earth revolves around the sun and rotates on it axis once per day?

Second, the Bible speaks of the "four corners of the Earth" (e.g. Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7:1). Is this irreconcilable with the photographs that show Earth as a round object? Isaiah 40:22 might imply that Earth is round, but this does not solve any problems. A literal interpretation leads only to Isaiah contradicting himself in similar way to the "one day vs. six" contradiction in Genesis. Does Isaiah 55:12 require that we expect to see trees voluntarily slapping their branches together? Should we expect to meet fire-breathing dragons based on Job 41:19-21?

In addition to forcing an unmerited interpretation on scripture, replacing the eons of cosmic history with 144 hours diminishes the awe we should feel when we contemplate the magnificence and vastness of the universe and our own origins. Our awe at the magnificence and complexity of the Creator is similarly diminished. In Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan wrote,
"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?' Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge."
I think Dr. Sagan, though he was an atheist, was correct. I believe God has many reasons endowing me with the ability, desire, and opportunity to become a scientist. One of those reasons is to answer Dr. Sagan's challenge by conveying to my fellow Christians why this is better than we thought, how grand the universe is, how grand and complex are the atoms of which we are made, and why the story scientists have uncovered is cause for reverence and awe that I can not yet properly put into words.

For one example, look up at a clear, dark night sky; you can see 2000 stars at most. Astronomy has revealed that more stars exist in the universe than grains of sand exist in all the beaches and deserts of this planet!

Of course, I am neither the first nor the only Christian God has called to do this. Prof. John Polkinghorne is an Anglican priest and theoretical physicist who has been writing about the interface between physics and Christianity for many decades. In the chapter on Creation in The Faith of a Physicist, he reminded us that "Every atom of carbon in every living being was once inside a star, from whose dead ashes we all have arisen." All elements heavier than lithium, helium, and hydrogen were produced by nuclear fusion in the cores of stars; when those stars died, they expelled the heavy elements they had produced. The stellar remains collected in interstellar gas and dust clouds, sections of which collapsed to form new solar systems, including ours. On at least one planet in our solar system, some of these heavy elements were incorporated into living organisms that developed from molecules into increasingly complex and diverse forms.


Prof. Polkinghorne continues the story, and I close with his words. "Archaic forms of homo sapiens appeared a mere three hundred thousand years ago, and the modern form became established within the last forty thousand years. The universe had become aware of itself."

11 August 2007

My experience at the Ohio State Fair:

  • A delicious smoked turkey leg roughly the size of my forearm
  • A chocolate shake
  • A life-size cow, calf, and piece of Swiss cheese sculpted out of butter.
  • A deep-fried Snickers bar
  • Weird Al Yankovic, in concert
  • Photographs coming as soon as I get them developed

10 August 2007

Zombies! Life Stages

Infancy


Childhood


Grade School



High School


College


Romance


Middle Age

07 August 2007

100 Entries! Weird Al!

The concluding part of "Climate Change and The Truth" was my 99th entry on this blog, which makes this entry number 100.

The first entry was on Nov. 25, 2006, so I have been writing this blog for 257 days. Therefore, my mean posting rate is 1 entry per 2.57 days or 2.72 entries per week. I will leave any value judgements about these numbers to my readers.

Coincident with this milestone, some friends and I will be going to the Weird Al concert at the Ohio State Fair tomorrow.

06 August 2007

Climate Change and The Truth: Conclusion

Points of Agreement?

I noticed several points in your blog on which I hope we can agree. We must carefully examine each proposed solution to AGW for possible negative effects and asses whether those effects are worthwhile. The burden of any solution must not fall disproportionately on the poor in this nation or any other.

Dr. Gray agrees that we "should be putting money into alternate energy sources and making more efficient use of our fuels. But we should be doing that for its own sake" (Prendergast). This is one of several contermeasures to AGW that are good ideas for many other reasons.

Another, more radical, contermeasure was proposed by Mark Steyn for reasons of U.S. security and sovereignty. He "is very much in favor of destroying the oil industry and finding a new energy resource to make us no longer reliant on other countries. However, Steyn feels that ethanol and most of the current fads aren't going to be that solution." Could destroying the oil industry and finding new sources of energy be accomplished with acceptable economic consequences? With the proper new sources, such as solar, wind, or nuclear fission, it could drastically reduce human greenhouse gas emissions.

As a final example, you review of A Simple Plan refers to the "Biblical idea that 'the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil' (I Timothy 6:10). I suspect we would agree that greed and general materialism are doing damage to Western culture. One way to combat this sin is to live more simply, buy less, and prove to ourselves that we can lead holy lives without all the luxuries of Western society. These changes would also reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help us fulfill our duty to keep and rule this world rather than consume it.

Bibliography

Bacon, Francis. Advancement of Learning (1605), Bk I.

"Drying up and flooding out," The Economist. Vol. 303, no. 8528. May 12-18, 2007, p. 49.

Editorial. "
Medal of Science," The Columbus Dispatch. June 2, 2007, p. A8.

Evans, D. J., R. M. Adams, G. F.
Carrer, R. N. Cooper, R. A. Frosch, T. H. Lee, J. T. Mathews, W. D. Nordhaus, G. H. Orians, S. H. Schneider, M. Strong, C. Tickell, V. J. Tschinkel, and P. E. Waggoner (Panel on Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming), 1992: Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming: Mitigation, Adaptation, and the Science Base. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Francey, R.J., Allison, C.E., Etheridge, D.M., Trudinger, C.M., Enting, I.G., Leuenberger, M., Langenfelds, R.L., Michel, E., Steele, L.P., 1999. "A 1000-year high precision record of δ13C in atmospheric CO2." Tellus 51B, 170–193.

Gwynne, Peter. "The Cooling World," Newsweek. April 28, 1975, p. 64.

Jansen, E., J.
Overpeck, K.R. Briffa, J.-C. Duplessy, F. Joos, V. Masson-Delmotte, D. Olago, B. Otto-Bliesner, W.R. Peltier, S. Rahmstorf, R. Ramesh, D. Raynaud, D. Rind, O. Solomina, R. Villalba and D. Zhang, 2007: Palaeoclimate. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Mead, Frank S., ed. and comp., 1967: Encyclopedia of Religious Quotations. Revell, Old Tappan, N.J., p. 176.

Prendergast, Alan. "The Skeptic," Denver Westworld. June 29, 2006.

Rubin, E. S., R. N. Cooper, R. A.
Frosch, T. H. Lee, G. Marland, A. H. Rosenfeld, and D. D. Stine, 1992. "Realistic mitigation options for global warming," Science 257, 148.

Solomon, S., D.
Qin, M. Manning, R.B. Alley, T. Berntsen, N.L. Bindoff, Z. Chen, A. Chidthaisong, J.M. Gregory, G.C. Hegerl, M. Heimann, B. Hewitson, B.J. Hoskins, F. Joos, J. Jouzel, V. Kattsov, U. Lohmann, T. Matsuno, M. Molina, N. Nicholls, J. Overpeck, G. Raga, V. Ramaswamy, J. Ren, M. Rusticucci, R. Somerville, T.F. Stocker, P. Whetton, R.A. Wood and D. Wratt, 2007: Technical Summary. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Somerville, R., H. Le Treut, U. Cubasch, Y. Ding, C. Mauritzen, A. Mokssit, T. Peterson and M. Prather, 2007: Historical Overview of Climate Change. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Lindzen, Richard S. "There Is No 'Consensus' on Global Warming," The Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, NY: Jun 26, 2006. p. A.14

Lindzen, Richard S. "Why So Gloomy?" Newsweek. April 26, 2007.

Climate Change and The Truth: Politics & Economics

Politics & Economics

As a consequence of a Christian worldview, your advice is that whenever "popular opinion is leaning one way, almost always lean the other way." This statement makes some intuitive sense, but isn't it contrary to the concept of a "moral majority?" More broadly, if popular opinion is almost always wrong and democracies are governed directly or indirectly by popular opinion, are they not inherently doomed to moral and spiritual failure?

Clearly, from your point of view, the political motivations and economic consequences of measures to curtail AGW are at least as concerning as the science. For instance, "While it may seem harmless to believe that global warming needs to be addressed, it is not. The remedy that is now being promoted by Gore and his liberal brethren will destroy the world's economy and kill millions of people if allowed to be fully enacted."

Statements like this raise a series of questions. If the problem is not real, and the science shows that it is not, then no action of any kind is merited. Why then place so much emphasis on the proposed actions? By directing so much bile at the supposed "leftist agenda" behind AGW and the possible economic consequences of fighting it, skeptics themselves open to the accusation that their logic is backwards. Specifically, they may be thinking that since the reality of AGW is being claimed by liberals, the solutions seem liberal, and the economic consequences of those solutions seem dangerous, AGW must not be real. You leave your self vulnerable to the accusation that your political and economic interests have corrupted your interpretation of available data, which is exactly the accusation you are making against climate scientists.

Apparently, "Had the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty on GW, been 100% ratified, and all the countries actually complied, global temperatures would have lowered by .07 degrees Celsius by 2050. That's right, it would have had no statistically significant effect." Does this statement concede that reducing greenhouse gas emissions can lower global average temperature, which means that the converse is true and AGW is real? Similarly, "I don't mind trying something in the off chance that it might work; as long as it doesn't hurt others in the process." For what could it work? If AGW is not real, how could any solution "work" on a problem that does not exist?

A rather perplexing assertion is that "even if humans have caused some GW in the past, nothing we do can really make a difference to affect future global temperatures." The IPCC responds to this assertion, "Given this daunting picture of increasing greenhouse gas abundances in the atmosphere, it is noteworthy that, for simpler challenges but still on a hemispheric or even global scale, humans have shown the ability to undo what they have done" (Somerville et al.). Also, how could we have caused climate change in the past but not now? More to the point, is non-existent or unstoppable?

Another political attack alleges that "Mr. Gore wants to have his cake and eat it too. He purchases 'carbon credits' from his own company so he can continue using more power than a small third world country." If Mr. Gore truly is a hypocrite, then my response is the same as the response of Jesus to some of the hypocritical leaders of his day, "all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds" (Matthew 23:3).

Attacks on the economic consequences of combating AGW often address the economies of the developed and developing world. Specifically, the "main solutions Mr. Gore has proposed could severely hurt the developed world's economies," and if the Kyoto Protocol had been implemented, "the United States GDP would have been cut by 20% by 2010." In short, effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions is impossible if we wish to maintain a healthy economy.

In my opinion this view is, among other things, unpatriotic. The United States is well known for its history of innovation and technological advance. If our national creativity and engineering prowess can be tapped to develop nuclear energy, send people to the Moon, and create the Internet, I think a case can be made that we are capable of solving the problem of AGW without severe damage to our economy.

Studies have indicated that reducing our emissions may not be prohibitively expensive. A 1992 study, published in Science, found that
"Cost-effectiveness is a key measure for comparing a broad range of options to mitigate the effects of greenhouse warming. Although the full cost of many mitigation measures is difficult to assess, analysis suggests that a variety of energy efficiency and other measures that are now available could reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases by roughly 10 to 40% of current levels at relatively low cost, perhaps at a net cost savings" (Rubin et al.).
In this paper, the authors divided proposed measures to reduce greenhouse emissions into two categories. The first category contains measures that are relatively easy to implement with little or negative net cost. Of course, many of them would require a significant initial investment that would be recovered by cost savings over time. For example, a fluorescent light bulb is more expensive than an incandescent bulb, but it uses less electricity and therefore is less expensive to operate. These are the solutions that could achieve a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at a net savings.

The second category contains solutions that "are costly or that have significant other benefits or costs that are not readily quantified," such as switching from internal combustion to electrical power for our cars. Included in this category is elimination of halocarbons, which included the CFCs that were causing damage to Earth's ozone layer. This paper was written in 1992, when protocols and laws banning halocarbons we first being enforced. We have accomplished that goal, and yet I do not recall feeling any economic hardship because of new refrigerants. Based on that experience, we could probably implement most or all of the changes in the first category without damaging the economy; we might even improve it!

One can rhetorically ask, "how exactly does it matter if I (or ten million Americans for that matter) switch in more energy efficient light bulbs?" According to this study, replacing 3.5 incandescent bulbs per residence with compact fluorescent bulbs would reduce US emissions of greenhouse gasses by the equivalent of 39 million metric tons of CO2 annually (Ruben, et al.). That is a small fraction of the 7.2 billion metric tons of CO2 emitted by humanity annually from 2000-2005 (Solomon, et al.); however, expanding the implementation of energy efficient lighting to all commercial fixtures would reduce emissions by 117 million metric tons.

This discussion is not merely about changing light bulbs; this is about being conscious about our duty to care for God's creation. Efficient lighting is but one of many ideas we can implement to fulfill that duty.


Some solutions to AGW may not be as easy to implement as those I have mentioned above. Some may require real and painful sacrifices. Doing the right thing often does; the cross of Christ makes that unambiguous, regardless of the allegation that implementing the Kyoto Protocol or other anti-AGW program would cause severe damage to the economies of the developed world "thus seriously hindering those countries' ability to care for the undeveloped world."

When did Jesus ever promise economic prosperity? He warned us not to become his disciples unless we were aware of and willing to pay the cost (Luke 14:25-33). If a drop in US GDP or our personal financial portfolio is part of the cost of being a disciple of the Creator, are we willing to pay it? In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus commanded his disciples not to worry about food, drink, or clothing; why then should we be worried about how our obedience to him will affect our nation's GDP?

Regarding the abilities of the developed world to assist the developing one, if combating AGW does entail economic costs, we are morally obligated bear them rather than passing them on to the developed world. Also, I believe we must avoid taking too paternalistic an attitude towards the developing world because that would only breed counterproductive resentment.

Allowing AGW to continue would be most detrimental to the world's poor. Rich people and nations have the resources to flee rising sea levels, follow changing rainfall patterns, or pay for air conditioning. Poor farmers do not. This recently led Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda to declare "climate change an act of aggression by the rich world against the poor one" (Economist).

In addition to economically damaging and evangelically unhelpful, most proposed AGW solutions are accused of being socialism in disguise. David Limbaugh is "sure many are convinced of the benign intentions of the global alarmists and discount any conspiratorial design on their part to radically compromise our capitalism, liberties and sovereignty, it's hard to understand how they would proceed differently if they were active conspirators." What exactly makes anyone think that scientists are capable of a conspiracy of this magnitude?

An unlikely ally in the fight against AGW, Newt Gingrich, addressed this issue in a debate with John Kerry; he noted that "the environment has a been a powerful emotional tool for bigger government and higher taxes. And therefore if you're a conservative, if you hear these arguments, you know what's coming next....So even though it might be the right thing to do, you might end up fighting it because you don't want the bigger government and the higher taxes." Despite this, he still agreed that we must reduce our emissions of CO2. He is in favor of a market-based "green conservatism."

I do not know enough details of the former speaker's proposals to comment on them in detail. However, I do realize that many solutions to AGW may not be practical, useful, effective, moral, or advisable. I realize that we must be very creative and ambitious in our response to AGW. I also acknowledge that socialism is destructive and dangerous, as the examples of the Soviet Union and North Korea terribly demonstrate.

Another politically surprising development occurred recently here at Ohio State involving Prof. Lonnie Thompson. His ice core research has been a major component of our understanding of AGW. I attended a lecture he gave in May, and he did an excellent job of explaining his research. He also mentioned that he provided much of the ice core data used by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth. He will receive the Medal of Science from President Bush for his research on climate change (Editorial).

Climate Change and The Truth: Science

Science

If we accept that the Lord cares about the environment and holds us responsible when we damage it, his benevolence and justice imply that he gave us the ability to understand when we are damaging his Creation. As Chris wrote, "we are in some way, if not entirely, responsible for creation, [regardless] of the fall. Additionally, God would not have given us this responsibility if he thought we were without the mental capacity and moral responsibility to carry it out." I believe that science and reason are the primary tools through which we can understand the Creation so that we can be the best possible stewards and keepers of it.

As I mention above, I am not a climatologist, but reading your blog and doing the research necessary for this reply have forced me to become much more informed about the evidence for AGW. I invite all readers to do as much research as they can on their own, since I have neither the expertise nor the time to cover all of the details here. For all those who, "welcome any evidence that contradicts" their opinion but "have yet to find any," I suggest two sources for such evidence that are not hysterical and are written by experts. One is RealClimate.org, which is a blog written by several climatologists, meteorologists, and other knowledgeable scientists. One of the contributors is Dr. Michael Mann; I attended a very informative colloquium that he gave on global warming at the Ohio State Physics Department. The other source is the Physical Science Basis of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is a long document, so if one is pressed for time, I suggest starting with the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Regardless of one's opinion of the United Nations, these FAQs address most of the objections and arguments presented in your blog.

Dr. Richard Lindzen and Dr. William Gray are prominent sources for skepticism of AGW. Imagine for a moment that they were to both reverse their positions and state that, after careful re-examination of the evidence, they had concluded that AGW is real and requires some action from humanity. Would that change your opinion on the subject?

Some
tension is inherent in relying on both Gray and Lindzen, given their disagreements with each other. "Lindzen's and Gray's arguments have been widely challenged -- including by each other. Gray has referred to Lindzen's theory as a red herring, while Lindzen has termed Gray's grasp of the theoretical as 'frustratingly poor'" (Prendergast). Why should someone embrace their disagreements with the vast majority of the scientific community but not their disagreements with each other?

One of Dr. Gray's colleagues "says he's eagerly awaiting Gray's first peer-reviewed contribution to the discussion. Gray says he's working on it" (Prendergast). If he had submitted a paper to a peer-reviewed journal and been rejected, one might argue that he is the victim of some scientific conspiracy. As my roommate Chris noted, that is not the case; in fact, he has not yet tried to submit a paper! This forces me to seriously question the validity of his claims.

Conservative Christian leaders "Colson and Dobson seem to understand is that it is the height of man's arrogance to say that we can't predict next Tuesday's weather but we can tell ya how warm the earth will be in 2239." The two skeptics also claim that scientists' inability to predict the weather proves that scientific predictions of future climate are similarly unreliable. According to Dr. Lindzen, those who accept the reality of AGW assume "that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week" (Lindzen 2007). Dr. Gray "is wary of any methodology that claims to accurately track weather more than a few days ahead" (Prendergast). So am I, but weather and climate are two different things. The AR4 answers explains this nicely in FAQ 1.2.
"Climate is generally defined as average weather, and as such, climate change and weather are intertwined. Observations can show that there have been changes in weather, and it is the statistics of changes in weather over time that identify climate change. While weather and climate are closely related, there are important differences. A common confusion between weather and climate arises when scientists are asked how they can predict climate 50 years from now when they cannot predict the weather a few weeks from now. The chaotic nature of weather makes it unpredictable beyond a few days. Projecting changes in climate (i.e., long-term average weather) due to changes in atmospheric composition or other factors is a very different and much more manageable issue. As an analogy, while it is impossible to predict the age at which any particular man will die, we can say with high confidence that the average age of death for men in industrialised countries is about 75. Another common confusion of these issues is thinking that a cold winter or a cooling spot on the globe is evidence against global warming. There are always extremes of hot and cold, although their frequency and intensity change as climate changes. But when weather is averaged over space and time, the fact that the globe is warming emerges clearly from the data" (Somerville, et al.).
Many skeptics cite fears of Global Cooling from the 1970's as evidence that climate science is untrustworthy, computerized climate models are unreliable, and current warnings of AGW should not be taken seriously. However, atmospheric scientist Dr. Jerry "Meehl says the models have helped explain one of the great climate mysteries of the twentieth century. The earth warmed significantly in the first five decades of the century, then cooled until the mid-1970s. The industrialized world was pumping out increasing levels of greenhouse gases during the latter period, so why wasn't the temperature increasing? The answer, researchers concluded, was that increased industrial pollution after World War II blocked solar radiation, lowering temperatures and prompting some short-lived speculation about a coming 'ice age'" (Prendergast).

In other words, the cooling trend was real, and it was caused by human behavior, specifically the pollution of the atmosphere by aerosols like soot and dust. The trend was eliminated by a change in behavior when "North American and Western European countries started cleaning up their emissions," which "reduced the load of the aerosols while the greenhouse gases were relentlessly increasing, and it's been warming ever since" (Prendergast; see Somerville, et al.). Interestingly, that change in behavior was made for reasons completely disjoint from the cooling trend. AGW is also real, also caused by human behavior, and also can be ameliorated by a change in human behavior.

When I asked what evidence of AGW would be convincing, the response was, "If it were solid, scientific evidence (rather than the tripe currently trotted out as 'undeniable' fact), I would much more seriously consider it." That is not an answer to my question. It is an accusation against Al Gore and the scientific community of fraud for political gain, ignoring evidence, and conspiring to suppress unwanted data and doubting scientists. So, I ask again in the hope of actually receiving an answer. What experiment could be performed, measurement made, observation reported, or evidence gathered that would not be comparable to an animal's stomach?

The response to my question about what would be necessary to convincingly demonstrate the sincerity of AGW experts begins with "the fact that sincerity has no effect on veracity." That is correct, but sincerity does affect the type of accusation directed towards the scientists. If they are sincere, a skeptic should accuse them of incompetence. If they are insincere, a skeptic should accuse them of fraud. Given the repeated statements that the flaws in AGW are so obvious that non-scientists can spot them and the claim that "doubting scientists [are] being fired and de-funded for speaking their minds," your accusation against the scientists is apparently outright fraud. That is not an accusation to be made lightly; proof of deliberate fraud will end the career of a scientist, as vividly demonstrated by the case of Hwang Woo-Suk.

Contrary to those accusations, Dr. Lindzen has not been silenced or fired; he is still a professor and member of the National Academy of Sciences, which is the most prestigious scientific body in the United States. I met him in 2003 when he came to Ohio State to give a colloquium on global warming; he presented the week before Dr. Mann. Before the colloquium, I had lunch with him, another professor and several other graduate students.

Your blog entries accuse climate scientists of fraud when they scientifically test hypotheses about AGW because, "To scientifically test something, you need a closed, controlled environment. Last time I checked, the atmosphere and related stuff such as the earth and space are about as open and uncontrolled of an environment possible." A closed, controlled environment is the ideal setting for scientific testing, but it is not the only one. The AR4 explains further in section 1.2.
"A characteristic of Earth sciences is that Earth scientists are unable to perform controlled experiments on the planet as a whole and then observe the results. In this sense, Earth science is similar to the disciplines of astronomy and cosmology that cannot conduct experiments on galaxies or the cosmos. This is an important consideration, because it is precisely such whole-Earth, system-scale experiments, incorporating the full complexity of interacting processes and feedbacks, that might ideally be required to fully verify or falsify climate change hypotheses....Nevertheless, countless empirical tests of numerous different hypotheses have built up a massive body of Earth science knowledge. This repeated testing has refined the understanding of numerous aspects of the climate system, from deep oceanic circulation to stratospheric chemistry. Sometimes a combination of observations and models can be used to test planetary-scale hypotheses. For example, the global cooling and drying of the atmosphere observed after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo (Section 8.6) provided key tests of particular aspects of global climate models" (Somerville, et al.).
Does the assertion that the nature of "atmosphere and related stuff such as the earth and space" make scientific tests impossible contradict the claim that "solid, scientific evidence" would be worthy of serious consideration? In other words, has solid scientific evidence not been presented, or is it impossible to obtain? If it is the latter, then no scientific evidence could convince a skeptic that AGW exists.

Another accusation is that scientists ignore "other OBVIOUS and documented likelihoods, such as that the earth has been cyclically warming up and cooling down since it was formed many years back and is just currently in a warming period." According to this article, rather than accepting these cyclical temperature fluctuations, "the post-Christian West seems to have decided that, if the here and now is all there is, then we have to keep the here and now right here and exactly as it is now for all time." Dr. Lindzen alleges that a "general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing" (Lindzen 2006).

The sun, volcanic eruptions, shifts in Earth's orbit, and other natural factors do affect the climate; I know of no serious scientist who has claimed otherwise. However, contrary to Dr. Lindzen, these are all external forcing. This is especially obvious in the case of the sun, which can hardly be considered to be internal to Earth's atmosphere. Earth's climate does change over time, but this shows that the climate system is susceptible to external influence. Climate researchers have strong evidence that human activity is becoming a new and very important force affecting climate.

Scientists have noted that changes currently being attributed to human influence are qualitatively different than the variations documented in the geological and historical records. "It is very likely that the global warming of 4°C to 7°C since the Last Glacial Maximum occurred at an average rate about 10 times slower than the warming of the 20th century" (Jansen, et al.). Under the IPCC definitions, "very likely" means greater than 90% probability. In other words, we are heating up the planet 10 times faster than natural variations have done during the past few millennia.</font>

Another difference between the prehistoric world and the modern one is that millions of people were not living near or below sea level before the Last Glacial Maximum. So, scientists are not, as Dr. Lindzen alleges, making "the false assumption...that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise" (Lindzen 2007). They have noted that AGW, especially at these rates, will have a much greater impact on human civilization than past natural climate changes.

The most serious accusation made against climate scientists is that they have abandoned the scientific method. The basic steps in the scientific method are Observation, Hypothesis, Predictions, and Testing. Actually, multiple hypotheses are often advanced, and some or all of them are eliminated by tests. AGW satisfies this method, and I shall examine two examples. The first assesses the scientific validity of the claim that humans are responsible for increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere; it is primarily taken from Francey et al.

Observation: CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 379ppm, and has increased from 280 ± 20 ppm in 1750. (Somerville, et al.)

Hypotheses: According to mainstream climate science, human burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the excess. I shall call this the anthropogenic hypothesis.

According to your blog, "There is no consensus regarding humanity's involvement in the increased CO2 levels." Instead, "there are some other natural reasons for the uptick in carbon dioxide." Specifically, as "the post-glacial thaw progresses, the oceans warm up, and some of the dissolved carbon emits into the atmosphere, like fizz from soda."

Predictions: Plants preferentially photosynthesize the lightest isotope of carbon (12C), which contains six protons and six neutrons. Heavier isotopes are present and nature that contain seven (13C) or eight (14C) neutrons; these are less easily absorbed by plants. These preferences lead to fractionalisation, which increases the ratio of heavier to lighter isotopes.

Oil and coal are ultimately derived from plant matter, so combusting them will produce CO2 with an altered isotopic ratio. "In contrast, the fractionalisation associated with diffusion across the air-sea interface is an order of magnitude smaller" than that caused by photosynthesis. The isotopic ratio of CO2 produced by human burning of fossil fuels or biomass will be measurably different than CO2 bubbling out of the ocean.

The paper defines a quantityThe subscript R refers to a reference gas sample and S refers to the sample taken from the present or past atmosphere.

Using this definition, we can make predictions. If the increase is due to oceanic release of CO2, δ13C should be constant over time. If the increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2 are anthropogenic, the increased concentrations should be accompanied by a decrease in δ13C beginning at the start of the industrial era in the late 1700's or early 1800's. Further, δ13C should decrease with increasing CO2 concentration.

Testing: Measurements of the ratio in tree rings, ice cores, and coral reefs are summarized in the following graphs.

As predicted by the anthropogenic hypothesis, δ13C drops dramatically beginning in the early 1800's.

Again, as predicted by the anthropogenic hypothesis, δ13C decreases with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration.


A major allegation raised by both skeptics is that "we do not understand the natural internal variability of climate" (Lindzen 2006). Therefore, Dr. Gray is "convinced that the climate is far too complicated for even the most powerful computers to forecast accurately years in advance" (Prendergast).
As I recall, the primary point of contention between Dr. Lindzen and Dr. Mann in their colloquia was the reliability of computer climate models. Alexander Cockburn more bluntly asserts that "greenhouse fearmongers rely on unverified, crudely oversimplified models to finger mankind's sinful contribution." The accuracy of these models is a legitimate and important topic, and it is the bases of our second example of the scientific method in action.

Observation: Global average temperatures rose 0.6 degrees C between the beginning of the industrial era and 1998 (Lindzen 2007), and they continue to rise.

Hypotheses: According to Drs. Gray and Lindzen, this increase in average temperature is solely due to natural variability.

According to the IPCC, this increase is primarily due to human activity.

Predictions: Dr. Gray predicts "that within a few years the earth will begin to cool again" (Prendergast) Specifically, he predicts Earth will begin cooling "in the next 5-10 years." Computer models predict that if current trends in human activity continue, Earth will continue to warm for at least the next century.

If global average temperatures are higher in 2017 than they are now, will that change your opinion of AGW? Answers can be provided in words here or in dollars on Long Bets. However, we need not wait that long to test the predictions of computer models.

Testing: The figure below is taken from Somerville, et al. The blue, green, and dark yellow bands show the predictions made by computer models for the first (FAR), second (SAR), and third (TAR) reports of the IPCC. The blue band shows the predictions made by relatively simple versions of these models in 1990. The black points show the actual observed global average temperature from 1990 through 2005, relative to the mean of the 1961 to 1990 values. The black line "shows decadal variations obtained by smoothing the time series using a 13-point filter," which is similar to a running average.
The upward trend predicted by the models is verified. The observed average is almost always within the predicted range. These models are intended to predict long term trends rather than the average temperature in any individual year. In that respect, this model does well.

Regardless of any criticism, incredulity, or accusations of oversimplification, these results show that the relatively unsophisticated models of the late 1980's correctly predicted global temperature trends for the next 15 years. I think we can reasonably expect the more sophisticated models and computers developed since then to make more accurate predictions.

01 August 2007

Climate Change and The Truth: Christian Worldview

Christian Worldview

An early entry on AGW expressed gratitude that some "Christian leaders, including Dr. James Dobson and Chuck Colson, wrote a rebuttal letter" asked other Christian leaders not to join the Evangelical Climate Initiative. What if Dobson, Colson, etc. were to say "we have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians;" would their acceptance change your opinion?

Another claim is that AGW is possibly "one of those issues to which Jesus referred when he said that 'false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible' (Mark 13:22)." I think this comment verges on parody, but I hope to provide respectable evidence that acceptance of AWG is not a deceitful great sign or anything supernatural; it is the product of decades of good science.

One is correct to state that "we are told repeatedly in Scriptures that man's wisdom is NOT God's wisdom" (e.g. 1 John 4:5). However, John warned against worldly wisdom, which may not be the same as human wisdom and understanding. The world is, by definition, opposed to God. Humans have a choice about whether to follow divine or worldly wisdom (e.g. Deuteronomy 30:19).

Claiming that human and divine wisdom are mutually exclusive presents a false dichotomy. In Proverbs 8:22-31, we learn that one expression of God's wisdom is the Creation. Wisdom, personified as a woman, was present "at the first, before the beginning of the earth." She says, "I was beside him, like a master worker" during the creation of the Universe. Therefore, by exploring and understanding the physical creation, humans can access God's wisdom. This also means that scripture is not the only source of truth. Francis Bacon famously recognized this when he admonished, "let no man upon a weak conceit of sobriety or an ill-applied moderation think or maintain that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works, divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both" (Bacon). Kepler when considering his exploration of creation wrote simply, "O God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee" (Mead).

Scripture, the book of God's word, says nothing about the existence of microbial life, and understanding of which is essential to modern medical advances such as vaccines and antibiotics. Scripture does not mention the electron, but an understanding of its behavior is essential to powering this computer and designing its microchips. Understanding of bacteria, viruses, electrons, and anthropogenic global warming is the result of our God-given ability to understand Creation.

The second round of answers to my questions contains the admission, "that, science aside, I am usually quite skeptical of anything anyone claims as truth; either about this world or the next. I try to 'test everything and hold onto the good'" (I Thessalonians 5:21). That Biblical command has much in common with the scientific method. Tests are a critical part of science, and to the best of my knowledge, the hypotheses and models dealing with AGW have been tested and found true. I will share two examples in a later section.

At the end of this round of answers, Matthew 6:25-34 is quoted, in which Jesus says that we should not worry about tomorrow, for each "day has enough trouble of its own." Your warning against fearing tomorrow seems contradicted by other elements in your blog. The Draft Fred Thompson banner shows that considerable worry about the results of primary elections which will not occur until many months after tomorrow. The plots of Saudi Arabia's future population indicate worry about the population of that nation 45 years from tomorrow.

I am not suggesting panic or fear is the proper reaction to AGW any more than they are the proper reaction to the possibility of Rudy Giuliani being elected president. The proper reaction to the possibility of an undesired candidate being elected is the use of appropriate tools, such as a web banner, to elect a more desirable candidate. Similarly, I think we should respond to AGW with the proper tools, such as energy efficiency and duly considered mitigation measures, to prevent it from becoming a more serious problem for us and future generations.

Skeptics, such as yourself, "fail to see how worrying about how warm a piece of ice in the Arctic has gotten or running out to buy a hybrid vehicle furthers the kingdom of God or brings even one person closer to finding eternal life. I neglect His kingdom enough as it is, why throw another distraction in my way?" This implies that bringing people to eternal life is our sole duty as Christians. However, I believe God's role for us is much broader than that; Scripture tells us that before God said anything about evangelism or eternity (or capitalism), he made humans rulers over this planet (Genesis 1:28). AGW is not a distraction; combating it is part of our mission on Earth. Combating it will also aid evangelism because flooding half of Bangladesh or causing droughts in Uganda is unlikely to help the people of those nations find eternal life.

In many passages and contexts, scripture indicates that God does care about the environment. By the "environment," I mean the atmosphere, land, water, rock, and ice on Earth and the lifeforms sustained by them. In other words, Scripture is in strong contrast to the claim that Al Gore "says that the polar bears aren't having fun anymore. Now, instead of sitting back and enjoying an ice-cold Coke with her cubs, a mother polar bear now has to watch as her dear ol' iceflow melts out from under her."

God cared enough about the cattle of the city of Nineveh that they were one of the reasons he sent Jonah to preach repentance unto that city (Jonah 4:11). When the LORD was demonstrating his greatness and might to Job (38:39-41), he rhetorically asked "Can you hunt the prey for the lion,/ Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,/ When they crouch in their dens/ And lie in wait in their lair?/ Who prepares for the raven its nourishment/ When its young cry to God/And wander about without food?" Again, in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus said, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them....See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Of course, Jesus' point is that God cares more about us than about the sparrows or lilies, but he does care about the young lions, ravens, sparrows, lilies, cattle, and polar bears.

Scripture also declares that all of Creation, not just humanity, is included in his redemptive plan. Jesus "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:13-20, emphasis mine). From the Fall, "the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:20-21, emphasis mine). The physical Creation will be brought into eternal life with us.

The most obvious reason for his care is that the environment is part of his Creation, over which he claims ownership (I Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 24:1; I Corinthians 10:26). Earth is his property, and we disrespect that property to our peril. God has also entrusted humanity to care for this planet, beginning with Adam being placed "in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15). More specifically, he famously commanded the Israelites to let their land lie fallow every seventh year as a sabbath for the land (Leviticus 25:2-7). Less noted is that their refusal to obey this command determined the length of their exile in Babylon (Leviticus 26:43; II Chronicles 36:21). For more examples of scriptural Creation Care, read the scripture page of the Evangelical Environmental Network website.

A skeptic might respond to the land sabbath with an argument similar to the one used in response to my question about methods to curtail AGW. "Also, reducing our energy bills and reducing smog only helps ourselves and our pocketbooks, it doesn't make an iota of difference to the environment." That is another false dichotomy. The sabbath, one could argue, was designed to keep the land productive so the Israelites could stay fed, but it didn't make an iota of difference to the environment. However, caring for the environment and caring for ourselves are not mutually exclusive; they are closely related, as the land sabbath example shows. We depend on the land, sea, air, and lifeforms for our survival; if we damage the environment, we damage its ability to give us air, food, and water. If we damage the environment, we damage ourselves.