Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Posts Tagged ‘Global Warming

Best Links of the Week

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Planned Parenthood - Eugenics is still alive and kickin'

1.  World Magazine goes undercover at Planned Parenthood.

2.  Some pretty shocking statistics from Mark Driscoll of 18-23 Protestants who attend church at least 2-3 times per month.

3.  Newsweek article on the monetization of privacy:  Google and Facebook.

4.  John Frame’s thoughts on Francis Schaeffer’s thought.

5.  Video Timeline of unemployment figures by county since 2007.

6.  Obama administration pushing for unrestricted and warrantless access to cell phone tracking.  Create fear, expand government, push for less freedom on altar of ‘security’… (Bush did it too).  I’ll take my chances because I don’t worship security.

7.  A scathing and apt critique of George Barna’s ridiculous book Pagan Christianity.

8.  UK’s top climate scientist (and same figure in the center of climategate scandal) says there has been no global warming in last 15 years.

9.  On Friday (2/12/10) 49 of 50 states had snow on the ground.

10.  Potential genetic link between Jews and Taliban – it seems that one of the 10 exiled Northern tribes of Israel/Ephraim went over to India.

11.  Millionaire Says Money ‘Prevents Happiness’ and gives away all money and property.

12.  Atlantic Monthly on What Makes Great Teachers and on the subject of education, Justin Taylor has a nice write up on Fred Sanders book Education for Human Flourishing.

13.  Marine Lance Cpl. walks away from sniper shot to the head.

14.  Pew Research Survey


Climategate: Over-realized Anthropology and The Biggest Story Getting NO Mainstream Press

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Global Warming: Over-Realized Anthropology

The Story

This post is a brief departure from the Top XX lists.  No major tv news network has yet to pick up this story over two weeks after it broke.  The gist of the story is the Climate Research Unit had their email servers hacked.  1000 emails and 3000 documents were taken from the servers.  These emails and documents allegedly reveal highly incriminating evidence implicating many of the world’s top ‘climate researchers.’  Notable figures at Penn State University, University of East Anglia, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have been implicated.  Here is one quote (via Wikipedia):

The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem“–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommended not using the post-1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

Copenhagen hosts a world summit on climate change from December 7th-21st.  Climategate will/ought to cast a long shadow over the Copenhagen summit.

My Analysis

This is a major story and the lack of coverage is deplorable.  I think how the information has come to light is reprehensible, nonetheless is has come to light.  I think the main reason why Global Warming has had traction as an idea, is that it puts MAN at the center of the world.  WE have caused this problem, now let US show our greatness and sovereignty by fixing it.  I have yet to see good scientific data on Global Warming.  I think Global Warming has been successfully marketed by a handful of people (Al Gore… et al) and it struck a chord with our heavily man-centered society/world.  The problem is that if Global Warming was founded on rhetoric, conjecture, and marketing, then it was a deck of cards waiting to fall.  For me, Global Warming is at its essence and over-realized anthropology.  Politicians decided that they could use climate change to their advantage.  Big corporations found a new marketing tool:  being ‘green.’  It is pretty rare that a major corporation be gift wrapped a completely new thing that they can market themselves with, especially with a lemming public clamoring and groveling to eat it up.  I am tired of shoddy science, whether Neo-Darwinian drivel or Global Warming.  Someone please email me when you there is some good data.

Further Reading

Many of you probably already know about “Climategate“, but in case you have not, here is a survey of internet stories:

Washington Times Editorial:  “Hiding evidence of global cooling”

Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’?

Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row

BBC NEWS:  Inquiry into stolen climate e-mails

Secrecy in science is a corrosive force

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: Despite research dispute, ‘climate change is happening’

Saudia Arabia calls for ‘climategate’ investigation

FOXNEWS:  Obama Ignores ‘Climate-Gate’ in Revising Copenhagen Plans

Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges

FOXNEWS:  Bah Humbug! Christmas Trees Axed From Copenhagen Conference


Justin Taylor has a nice article that concisely explains the UN role and Copenhagen conference in the whole climategate debacle.  It is a worthwhile read.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 4: Urbanization

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What is the Evangelical to do with Urbanization?

Urbanization potentially poses a serious threat to (American) evangelicalism.  Indulge me in first explaining a few trends and then providing some highly speculative analysis on why I think urbanization could be problematic for the evangelical:

1.  Urbanization

It is no big secret that in the United States and particularly abroad that urbanization is rampant.  As countries industrialize and modernize the population becomes less agrarian as the same volume of food production is done by fewer and fewer people.

2. Peak Oil Theory

Peak Oil is when the world highest rate of getting oil from the earth is in the past.  There are numerous opinions about Peak Oil and often they are tied to how “Green” or how not “Green” you are.  I am not an alarmist about Global Warming.  Honestly, I don’t think there has been much good science on this issue, further, it has been strapped with all kinds of political baggage and become central in the Culture Wars.  Irregardless, I think conventional methods of extracting oil (ie. sucking it from deep in the earth) have peaked.  Given, there are other methods of extracting oil, namely, the massive amounts of oil shale in Canada.  It is more expensive to extract and process this kind of oil.

In my view, the rise of energy (particularly oil) costs may have a polarizing affect on how people choose to live.  A small portion of the population may elect to move from the suburbs to begin a micro-farm.  A larger portion of the population may elect to move from the suburbs closer to their work.  If this occurs, the makeup of the suburbs could see a substantial shift in the next 50 years.  Consider the following scenario:  You are a family of 4 living in the suburbs.  You bought your home in 1998 for $160,000 is $950 a month.  Your mortgage payment on the house is t   it is 2013 and oil is $8 per gallon.  You are spending $1000 a month on oil (3125 miles traveled across 2 vehicles, that average 25mpg means 125 gallons of oil used x $8 = $1000) .  Say, your home is now worth a conservative estimate of $190,000 and you have paid $45,000 of the principle – equating to $75,000 in realistic equity.  Would you consider doing an inventory of all the places you drove:  work, school, shopping, social, and other and see if there was a locus that was more central to all of these areas?  If I could save $500 a month in gas by buying a slightly more expensive home in a more central area I would strongly consider it.

3.  So, what does all this have to do with evangelicalism?

In my view, evangelicalism is by-and-large a suburban movement.  I am not sure many people who would dispute that.  The operative question is what would people do if energy costs rose substantially?  Would there be a suburban flight back to urban areas as some have suggested:  AARP, CNN, and others?  If we see a large-scale demographic shift away from the suburbs to urban areas this is problematic as evangelical churches are primarily geographically located in the suburbs.  So much for the church growth movement and megachurches…

4. Caveats

I am skeptical of a full-scale demographic change.  I think some people will leave the suburbs for the city.   I think innovation will keep the trend from making suburbs the new slums.  I think the rise of telecommuting will have a very strong correlation to the rising cost of oil.  I think new software will accommodate this telecommuting (think Google Wave and other things not yet created).  I think the architecture of new homes built will start to reflect the necessity of a home office.

5.  Final Analysis

Irregardless of Peak Oil, energy costs, or whether the city center is the new suburb; urbanization is taking place.  Moving forward, evangelicals need to plant churches in these urban areas.  If we fail to do this we will become further marginalized.  Further, regardless of demographic shifts, the city center is the hub of culture and cultural influence.  Please do yourself a favor and read this thoughtful article by Tim Keller entitled “A New Kind of Urban Christian: As the city goes, so goes the culture” and/or watch him speak on the subject.  The Bible starts in a garden and ends in a city.  Moving forward, evangelicalism needs to be more proactive and less reactive.

Up next we will look at the challenges that increasing geographic movement (specifically globality and mobility) affect for evangelicalism.


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