Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

a year of morning thanks

If the joke's on us. . .

Some of us anyway. I admit to knowing next to nothing about global warming. I also must admit to taking a side on the issue on the basis of politics, therefore often favoring those who claimed it was and is a reality. But then I also must admit that I was never a big Al Gore fan, didn't even see his movie. But you have to admit those those pictures of the melting polar ice cap plunging into the sea are memorable. Okay, okay--what do I know? Nothing. When pressed, certainly I'd never fight.

This morning it's bitter cold again--temps submarining. Hope springs eternal, however: the weekend looks promising, temps back into the forties. Besides, it's February. There's more frigid temps behind us than before us. I must admit that making an argument for global warming after a winter like this one takes some strong-arming. And it's not just here either. New Orleans had snow. The whole blame country froze.

Let's just say Al Gore was dead wrong. Let's just say that Oklahoma's Sen. Jim Inhofe ends up being the oracle here, a voice in the wilderness, the only true prophet--I can live with that. I'd have to swallow some pride, but then I never pitched a battle over the issue, never went to war.

What it might mean, of course, is that the planet itself isn't so imperiled. I could live with that. What it would mean additionally is that tons and tons and tons of us--including the scientific team that did up Al Gore--would end up eating crow.

But I could live with that too, because, I admit, a bit grudgingly, that it's good for all of us every once in awhile to be flat-out, dead wrong, to have our pride crunched like the blasted frozen snow beneath the boots.

Science is fun, but it ain't a savior. This morning I'm thankful for a little egg on the face. Once in awhile. Not all the time.

Besides, it's just cold.


beim said...

Whether we believe in global warming or not (although I don't think I know anyone who actually thinks we can sustain our lifestyle without it impacting creation) maybe isn't the issue; maybe we just need to consider what it means to live more faithfully each day and adjust our lifestyles accordingly. But that would be inconvenient, I suppose.

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

What's so inconvenient about right living? I wouldn't say inconvenient at all. Right living actually does us a lot of good. But a slippery slope is to judge against lifestyles based on an arbitrary line. I own several jeans for instance...someone could judge against me based on the need for only one pair of jeans. Maybe I only need one pair, but did I sin because I own 4? Am I over-consuming the earth's resources? Were those jeans made by 11 year-old third-world slaves? I own a motorcycle and use less fuel...does that compensate for my jean overage?

I'm interested in the people that assume that creation is ours to destroy? Do we have the power to destroy earth before the day of the Lord? Will our resources be used up, and THEN will Christ come back?

Dan said...

Thank you, Jim, for your honesty regarding your acceptance of the claims of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I admit to a similar relative ignorance about the true science pertaining to the issue. My skepticism about the claims of AGW arises from noting that the movement is a classic illustration of how "knowledge" is socially conditioned.

Thomas Kuhn, the late Princeton-based historian of science who wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), told us convincingly what Abraham Kuyper had proclaimed to his followers at the end of the 19th century: "science" as mediated to us by its human practitioners and their media popularizers, is not an entirely objective endeavor. When our new president promises to "restore science to its rightful place", we can legitimately ask "Whose science?" and "Whose rationality?"

By nature of our human limitations and predilections, our scientific endeavors are much like taking a photo. We may think we are uncovering and displaying nature as it really is, but in fact we are both consciously and unconsciously composing the photo as we choose our subject, select a camera speed, alter the depth of field, and widen or narrow our focus to deliver the image of what we deem important. So with global warming. Having heard my father speak of Minnesota's apocalyptic weather extremes in the 1930s, when the temperature reached 114 degrees F in July 1934, followed by 46 degrees below zero near his home in January 1936, I am skeptical that the last ten years represent something unprecedented in the realm of high temperatures or temperature extremes. The "Little Ice Age" which spanned the period from about 1350-1850, and its immediate predecessor, the Medieval Climate Optimum (during which Greenland was settled by the Norse and vineyards thrived in England), provide historical perspective on the changeability of climate quite apart from human causation. The manner in which "true believers" in AGW assail the intelligence and character of those who dare to express disagreement or reservations about their "science" indicates to me that the emotional investment in, and the political benefit to be derived from the issue are running ahead of the real science here. Al Gore may coincidentally be right about something, and it may possibly be this particular topic, but I'm not betting on it. As others have noted, creation care and stewardship, with all they entail for thriftiness and restoration, have a much deeper, far sounder basis and a more legitimate claim on our attention than contemporary hysteria about global warming or cooling.

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