If we caused global warming, we can cool it down

The Washington Post reviews two  Books on geoengineering: ‘How to Cool the Planet’ and ‘Hacking the Planet’.  The idea is that since human beings have caused global warming, we can put other stuff into the environment to cool the planet down:

As the prospect of drastic warming evolves from worst-case scenario to virtual certainty, the notion of some kind of technological quick fix is more and more appealing. It’s still in the speculative stages, but it has already produced two highly unsettling books.

Among the ideas that have been broached is dumping various odd substances into the sea, such as iron filings (to promote growth of CO2-consuming plankton) and — no kidding — Special K cereal, which would supposedly increase the sea’s reflectivity, thus keeping it cooler. One of the least crazy possible methods is the Pinatubo Option, in which we would somehow cloak the Earth’s atmosphere in a layer of reflective particles, which would block the sun and cool the planet just enough to maintain some kind of climatic equilibrium. . . .

As the climate heats up, and if scientists’ predictions of scary, sudden changes come true, such options are going to look more attractive. Especially the Pinatubo Option: We could scatter particles into the stratosphere with a fleet of high-altitude planes, for the (relatively) low price of a few billion dollars. Or, as another scientist has suggested, we could seed the stratosphere via miles and miles of hoses, held aloft by blimps and spraying tiny particles into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Other scientists have looked at methods of “cloud brightening,” with much the same goal.

The reviewer and these books, while raising the possibility of creating even greater climactic disasters, are taking this prospect in dead earnest.  They apparently do not consider their solutions ludicrous.  (Putting Special K cereal into the ocean?  We’re having enough problems with British Petroleum, but we want Kellogg’s to do the same thing?)

I guess those who think human beings are so powerful with all of their technology that they can destroy the world also assume human beings are powerful enough with all of their technology to  fix the world.  Some of us, though, believe human beings are far more limited in their power, both for worse and for better.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo the possum

  • Pete

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo the possum

  • Amy

    I just don’t get it. What hubris to assume that everything that happens on the planet is under the control of humans. Yes, I do believe that we have done (and continue to do) considerable damage to the planet with our wasteful tendencies. I do believe that we should respect the gift that God has given us and do our best to limit our waste and toxic output. But global warming is at least in part a natural phenomenon, and we can’t stop it completely. We could completely halt emissions today and the planet would still be in a destructive cycle. This is the cycle of nature. Nothing is static. And to suggest that putting foreign bodies into the air and oceans might be HELPFUL — that’s completely preposterous. If anything, that would cause more damage. Can you imagine how those actions might affect our weather cycles? Plant and animal life, both on land and in the sea? Our health?

  • Amy

    I just don’t get it. What hubris to assume that everything that happens on the planet is under the control of humans. Yes, I do believe that we have done (and continue to do) considerable damage to the planet with our wasteful tendencies. I do believe that we should respect the gift that God has given us and do our best to limit our waste and toxic output. But global warming is at least in part a natural phenomenon, and we can’t stop it completely. We could completely halt emissions today and the planet would still be in a destructive cycle. This is the cycle of nature. Nothing is static. And to suggest that putting foreign bodies into the air and oceans might be HELPFUL — that’s completely preposterous. If anything, that would cause more damage. Can you imagine how those actions might affect our weather cycles? Plant and animal life, both on land and in the sea? Our health?

  • Winston Smith

    Anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is a myth. The planet may be warming slightly, as part of a pattern occurring over centuries. Also, solar radiation is not an insignificant factor.

    Furthermore, just wait until some of these volcanos start erupting in earnest (Katla and one or two others are on the brink). One massive Indonesian eruption in 1815 gave the world the “Year Without a Summer” in 1816, when frost was reported in Virginia on the Fourth of July.

  • Winston Smith

    Anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is a myth. The planet may be warming slightly, as part of a pattern occurring over centuries. Also, solar radiation is not an insignificant factor.

    Furthermore, just wait until some of these volcanos start erupting in earnest (Katla and one or two others are on the brink). One massive Indonesian eruption in 1815 gave the world the “Year Without a Summer” in 1816, when frost was reported in Virginia on the Fourth of July.

  • Mike Westfall

    Let’s do it!

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Mike Westfall

    Let’s do it!

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Tom Hering

    Welcome to Planet Frankenstein.

  • Tom Hering

    Welcome to Planet Frankenstein.

  • Dan Kempin

    ” (Putting Special K cereal into the ocean? We’re having enough problems with British Petroleum, but we want Kellogg’s to do the same thing?)”

    Maybe that’s the stimulus plan to bring some jobs back to Michigan!

  • Dan Kempin

    ” (Putting Special K cereal into the ocean? We’re having enough problems with British Petroleum, but we want Kellogg’s to do the same thing?)”

    Maybe that’s the stimulus plan to bring some jobs back to Michigan!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Can someone please tell me “the ideal temperature for the earth”?

    So I can purchase the correct amount of Special K, and drive accordingly.

    ‘Eco-fools’ is what they are.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Can someone please tell me “the ideal temperature for the earth”?

    So I can purchase the correct amount of Special K, and drive accordingly.

    ‘Eco-fools’ is what they are.

  • kerner

    The irony here is we just spent tons of time and money trying to eliminate particulate matter from all our industrial emissions. Now they say we should be putting particulate matter INTO the atmosphere. Client science is beginning to remind me of dieting advice. Something that we were told was bad for us 10 years ago is now supposedly good for us. Which proves, they don’t really know.

  • kerner

    The irony here is we just spent tons of time and money trying to eliminate particulate matter from all our industrial emissions. Now they say we should be putting particulate matter INTO the atmosphere. Client science is beginning to remind me of dieting advice. Something that we were told was bad for us 10 years ago is now supposedly good for us. Which proves, they don’t really know.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I suggest we mine a comet for giant ice cubes and drop them in the ocean that should cool the earth down.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I suggest we mine a comet for giant ice cubes and drop them in the ocean that should cool the earth down.

  • Winston Smith

    Cocoa Krispies, or possibly Cap’n Crunch.

  • Winston Smith

    Cocoa Krispies, or possibly Cap’n Crunch.

  • sg

    I think we all see the faulty premise of being able to control the average global temperature by any means

  • sg

    I think we all see the faulty premise of being able to control the average global temperature by any means

  • kerner

    Oops, I meant “climate science”. But at least putting the particles into the atmosphere would be easy enough. Just remove the scubbers from all our coal furnaces. Electric power AND a cooler planet; it’s definitely win-win!

  • kerner

    Oops, I meant “climate science”. But at least putting the particles into the atmosphere would be easy enough. Just remove the scubbers from all our coal furnaces. Electric power AND a cooler planet; it’s definitely win-win!

  • WebMonk

    For every action there will be at least three unintended consequences. This is a law just as powerful as that of gravity, and just as unavoidable.

    DLi21C, just to use your example (I realize, made in jest) -

    Dropping a giant chunk of ice sounds like it would cool things down, but actually it would heat things up. A body above the earth has a lot of potential energy which gets changed to kinetic energy as it is pulled down toward the earth. The energy gained by a giant chunk of ice falling down to earth is an order of magnitude larger than the cooling effect of the ice itself. The kinetic energy gets turned into thermal energy as it hits the earth’s atmosphere and impacts the surface. If we used braking rockets of some sort, we would just be generating the energy with the rockets instead of with the friction/impact of the comet chunk.

    Unintended consequences all around.

    If it makes anyone feel better, most of the ideas listed have been ROUNDLY derided and shown to be nonsense by the vast majority of scientists. And both Eli Kintisch and Jeff Goodell are writers only – no scientific credentials of any sort aside from writing those books.

    The books were written to sell and makes lots of noise, but the vast majority of scientists on both sides of the climate debate loudly and vehemently deride and disprove the nonsense put forward by those books and this article.

  • WebMonk

    For every action there will be at least three unintended consequences. This is a law just as powerful as that of gravity, and just as unavoidable.

    DLi21C, just to use your example (I realize, made in jest) -

    Dropping a giant chunk of ice sounds like it would cool things down, but actually it would heat things up. A body above the earth has a lot of potential energy which gets changed to kinetic energy as it is pulled down toward the earth. The energy gained by a giant chunk of ice falling down to earth is an order of magnitude larger than the cooling effect of the ice itself. The kinetic energy gets turned into thermal energy as it hits the earth’s atmosphere and impacts the surface. If we used braking rockets of some sort, we would just be generating the energy with the rockets instead of with the friction/impact of the comet chunk.

    Unintended consequences all around.

    If it makes anyone feel better, most of the ideas listed have been ROUNDLY derided and shown to be nonsense by the vast majority of scientists. And both Eli Kintisch and Jeff Goodell are writers only – no scientific credentials of any sort aside from writing those books.

    The books were written to sell and makes lots of noise, but the vast majority of scientists on both sides of the climate debate loudly and vehemently deride and disprove the nonsense put forward by those books and this article.

  • DonS

    “As the prospect of drastic warming evolves from worst-case scenario to virtual certainty, the notion of some kind of technological quick fix is more and more appealing.”

    This premise, upon which the conclusions of the book are derived, is faulty. In the past year, the evidence for global warming has been impeached, and there is far less certainty that it is actually occurring at all, let alone that it is human-derived. I guess it doesn’t hurt to be imagining solutions to the problem if its certainty is re-established by reasonable evidence, but at this point such a book seems an utter waste of time.

  • DonS

    “As the prospect of drastic warming evolves from worst-case scenario to virtual certainty, the notion of some kind of technological quick fix is more and more appealing.”

    This premise, upon which the conclusions of the book are derived, is faulty. In the past year, the evidence for global warming has been impeached, and there is far less certainty that it is actually occurring at all, let alone that it is human-derived. I guess it doesn’t hurt to be imagining solutions to the problem if its certainty is re-established by reasonable evidence, but at this point such a book seems an utter waste of time.

  • Mike Westfall

    Manipulating the weather (er, um… “climate,” I mean…).

    Isn’t that what we used to claim the Godless communist Soviets were doing?

  • Mike Westfall

    Manipulating the weather (er, um… “climate,” I mean…).

    Isn’t that what we used to claim the Godless communist Soviets were doing?

  • http://joshschroeder.blogspot.com/ Josh Schroeder

    Dr. Veith, this high view of man sounds like the modern worldview, not post-modern. Your thoughts?

  • http://joshschroeder.blogspot.com/ Josh Schroeder

    Dr. Veith, this high view of man sounds like the modern worldview, not post-modern. Your thoughts?

  • Louis

    As Webmonk points out here, the problem is not science or the scientists, but “science” journalism. The state of science journalism is exceptionally bad.

  • Louis

    As Webmonk points out here, the problem is not science or the scientists, but “science” journalism. The state of science journalism is exceptionally bad.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Some of us, though, believe human beings are far more limited in their power, both for worse and for better.” Right. This is why I’ve never personally worried about terrorism or nuclear weapons. Human beings just aren’t that powerful. They could never do anything bad on a large scale.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Some of us, though, believe human beings are far more limited in their power, both for worse and for better.” Right. This is why I’ve never personally worried about terrorism or nuclear weapons. Human beings just aren’t that powerful. They could never do anything bad on a large scale.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The argument for man-caused global warming is in tatters due to the clear evidence that its fervent “scientific” proponents have rigged the data.

    However, moving aggressively in the direction of alternatives to oil and gas makes sense in order to defeat our savage Arab Islamic enemies whose main financial strength comes from their luck of sitting on top of petroleum and gas. Of course, this motion would come best from the private economy. Just now the main problem has to do with the lithium battery that is in the process of being intensively researched by a few private firms. The company that best deals with this will end up being a fabulous investment. [Sorry to intrude the evil of capitalism.] Another way to defeat the Arabs would be, like the French, Germans and Chinese, to build nuclear power plants.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The argument for man-caused global warming is in tatters due to the clear evidence that its fervent “scientific” proponents have rigged the data.

    However, moving aggressively in the direction of alternatives to oil and gas makes sense in order to defeat our savage Arab Islamic enemies whose main financial strength comes from their luck of sitting on top of petroleum and gas. Of course, this motion would come best from the private economy. Just now the main problem has to do with the lithium battery that is in the process of being intensively researched by a few private firms. The company that best deals with this will end up being a fabulous investment. [Sorry to intrude the evil of capitalism.] Another way to defeat the Arabs would be, like the French, Germans and Chinese, to build nuclear power plants.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, being apparently a congenital liberal, of course, you have no conception of the sort of radical evil humans and their nations are rather routinely capable of wreaking.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, being apparently a congenital liberal, of course, you have no conception of the sort of radical evil humans and their nations are rather routinely capable of wreaking.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Peter (@20), you’re apparently as ignorant of my political leanings as a youth as you are of what sarcasm is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Peter (@20), you’re apparently as ignorant of my political leanings as a youth as you are of what sarcasm is.

  • Puzzled nonLutheran

    Can someone explain why so many fundamentalist American Christians react so violently against global warming? You’ve already explained that you doubt and reject the science behind it. Fair enough. So what is it about this topic (of all topics) that sets so many of you off?

    I suspect I know why, but my conclusion has nothing to do with Christianity. I could be wrong.

  • Puzzled nonLutheran

    Can someone explain why so many fundamentalist American Christians react so violently against global warming? You’ve already explained that you doubt and reject the science behind it. Fair enough. So what is it about this topic (of all topics) that sets so many of you off?

    I suspect I know why, but my conclusion has nothing to do with Christianity. I could be wrong.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    According to the doctrine of original sin, it can be argued that we are truly responsible for our planet’s problems seeing as the fall has affected all creation. It would also stand to reason from that same doctrine we are powerless to fix our planet.

    And yes, the ice cube idea was truly in jest, and I wish I could claim the idea. Credit goes to the writers of Futurama.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    According to the doctrine of original sin, it can be argued that we are truly responsible for our planet’s problems seeing as the fall has affected all creation. It would also stand to reason from that same doctrine we are powerless to fix our planet.

    And yes, the ice cube idea was truly in jest, and I wish I could claim the idea. Credit goes to the writers of Futurama.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, rhetorically you claim to be not a liberal, though your positions on issues, when occasionally you are made to state them, are routinely liberal. Your usual approach on this blog is to carp and nit-pick conservative views while pretending to be merely a dispassionate observer of the scene.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, rhetorically you claim to be not a liberal, though your positions on issues, when occasionally you are made to state them, are routinely liberal. Your usual approach on this blog is to carp and nit-pick conservative views while pretending to be merely a dispassionate observer of the scene.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Puzzled Non Lutheran, what exactly do you mean by “fundamentalist” American Christians. What is it that that sets you off about these presumably evil people.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Puzzled Non Lutheran, what exactly do you mean by “fundamentalist” American Christians. What is it that that sets you off about these presumably evil people.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Again, Puzzled, though as a Lutheran rejecting the label “fundamentalist,” I think it’s because conservative Christians have a relatively low view of human power. Modernist hubris thinks human beings can do EVERYTHING with our science and technology, usually towards a utopian end; postmodernists are skeptical of that kind of progress, but tend to keep the assumption of human power. It’s just that they believe that science and technology will bring on an Armageddon. Those who hold to the older view that human beings are part of a much larger reality and that nature is far mightier than we are, are going to be skeptical that human beings can either improve things or ruin things all that much.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Again, Puzzled, though as a Lutheran rejecting the label “fundamentalist,” I think it’s because conservative Christians have a relatively low view of human power. Modernist hubris thinks human beings can do EVERYTHING with our science and technology, usually towards a utopian end; postmodernists are skeptical of that kind of progress, but tend to keep the assumption of human power. It’s just that they believe that science and technology will bring on an Armageddon. Those who hold to the older view that human beings are part of a much larger reality and that nature is far mightier than we are, are going to be skeptical that human beings can either improve things or ruin things all that much.

  • Puzzled

    Thanks, Veith, but I do not understand your answer.
    I still don’t get what it is about, specifically, global warming that gets such a reaction from American Christians. It is the ‘global’ aspect? Being uncomfortable with the theory that climate change can affect the entire planet?

    tODD, above, mentioned nuclear weapons. In my view, the threat of nuclear destruction is more imminent than that of global warming, but American Christians (conservatives) strongly object when the US talks of merely reducing its stockpile of such weapons. Talk about the assumption of human power!

    But isn’t the belief that humans can’t improve things at odds with our obligation as stewards of creation? Why bother trying to fix causes of worldwide water or air pollution?
    I don’t get it.

    If I may, my theory is that American Christians tend to support what’s good for American business. American business rejects global warming because the cost and responsibility of dealing with climate change is too great. Thus, the effort to discredit it. And American Christians follow. American Christians also are uncomfortable with the natural sciences, and distrust scientists who propose changes to their lifestyle. I know this is a bit cynical, but I honestly can’t find better reasons to explain this obsession with mocking global warming.

  • Puzzled

    Thanks, Veith, but I do not understand your answer.
    I still don’t get what it is about, specifically, global warming that gets such a reaction from American Christians. It is the ‘global’ aspect? Being uncomfortable with the theory that climate change can affect the entire planet?

    tODD, above, mentioned nuclear weapons. In my view, the threat of nuclear destruction is more imminent than that of global warming, but American Christians (conservatives) strongly object when the US talks of merely reducing its stockpile of such weapons. Talk about the assumption of human power!

    But isn’t the belief that humans can’t improve things at odds with our obligation as stewards of creation? Why bother trying to fix causes of worldwide water or air pollution?
    I don’t get it.

    If I may, my theory is that American Christians tend to support what’s good for American business. American business rejects global warming because the cost and responsibility of dealing with climate change is too great. Thus, the effort to discredit it. And American Christians follow. American Christians also are uncomfortable with the natural sciences, and distrust scientists who propose changes to their lifestyle. I know this is a bit cynical, but I honestly can’t find better reasons to explain this obsession with mocking global warming.

  • DonS

    Puzzled @ 27:

    If I may, you are a bit off in your theory. Christians are opposed to the postmodernist tendency to substitute governmental power for an almighty God. They also resent and oppose the ever-increasing scope of government into every sphere of modern life, and the requirement imposed by modern jurisprudence that such government expansion be accompanied by a retreat of religious expression from those spheres now occupied by government, in furtherance of the misguided cause of “separation of church and state”. Therefore, rather than tending to support “what’s good for American business”, what they really support is what’s good for individual liberty and freedom. Governmental power is corrosive and coercive, and necessarily diminishes liberty wherever it is applied.

    It has been clear to many of us for a long time, particularly given the attempts by establishment elitists to declare the matter “settled”, despite the paucity of scientific evidence, that the theory of global warming is being misused to increase governmental power and authority in our everyday lives. Fortunately, this effort is being discredited and exposed.

  • DonS

    Puzzled @ 27:

    If I may, you are a bit off in your theory. Christians are opposed to the postmodernist tendency to substitute governmental power for an almighty God. They also resent and oppose the ever-increasing scope of government into every sphere of modern life, and the requirement imposed by modern jurisprudence that such government expansion be accompanied by a retreat of religious expression from those spheres now occupied by government, in furtherance of the misguided cause of “separation of church and state”. Therefore, rather than tending to support “what’s good for American business”, what they really support is what’s good for individual liberty and freedom. Governmental power is corrosive and coercive, and necessarily diminishes liberty wherever it is applied.

    It has been clear to many of us for a long time, particularly given the attempts by establishment elitists to declare the matter “settled”, despite the paucity of scientific evidence, that the theory of global warming is being misused to increase governmental power and authority in our everyday lives. Fortunately, this effort is being discredited and exposed.

  • Mike Westfall

    Puzzled,

    Why do so many Liberals recoil at the notion of economic liberty? What is it about “Global Warming” that causes them to fear being fried by next Tuesday if we don’t DO SOMETHING NOW!, even in spite of the revelation that the data upon which the politics relies has been fudged? Why do liberals seem to have so little discernment where economic upheaval is being proposed?

  • Mike Westfall

    Puzzled,

    Why do so many Liberals recoil at the notion of economic liberty? What is it about “Global Warming” that causes them to fear being fried by next Tuesday if we don’t DO SOMETHING NOW!, even in spite of the revelation that the data upon which the politics relies has been fudged? Why do liberals seem to have so little discernment where economic upheaval is being proposed?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Puzzled, I really didn’t receive orders from Wall Street to tell me what to think about global warming. I am familiar with the Marxist view that explains all beliefs and all cultural artifacts as masks for economic oppression–specifically for America, as justifications for bourgeois capitalist corporations–but surely that view is even less scientific than anything the “fundamentalists” would dream up, in the sense of lacking evidence. There actually are different opinions about various ideas, and the reasons are not necessarily sinister or the function of capitalist conspiracies. Skepticism about the capacity of human beings to create either utopias or Armageddons does not mean that we shouldn’t do what we can to improve things or not struggle against our destructive tendencies. That all or nothing mindset is what breeds extremism of every kind. We could and should work to eliminate war, for example, but even if we are successful, chances are that in another generation or so, wars will break out again, so there will always be moral causes to work for. I don’t think I’m uncomfortable with the natural sciences. I’m fascinated by them, as this blog will show. I guess I don’t find the evidence for human-caused global warming that compelling, especially in light of the recent data-manipulation scandal. Do you think that putting Special K in the oceans and particulate matter in the air with giant hoses suspended on blimps can cool the earth down and reverse climate change, the subject of this thread?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Puzzled, I really didn’t receive orders from Wall Street to tell me what to think about global warming. I am familiar with the Marxist view that explains all beliefs and all cultural artifacts as masks for economic oppression–specifically for America, as justifications for bourgeois capitalist corporations–but surely that view is even less scientific than anything the “fundamentalists” would dream up, in the sense of lacking evidence. There actually are different opinions about various ideas, and the reasons are not necessarily sinister or the function of capitalist conspiracies. Skepticism about the capacity of human beings to create either utopias or Armageddons does not mean that we shouldn’t do what we can to improve things or not struggle against our destructive tendencies. That all or nothing mindset is what breeds extremism of every kind. We could and should work to eliminate war, for example, but even if we are successful, chances are that in another generation or so, wars will break out again, so there will always be moral causes to work for. I don’t think I’m uncomfortable with the natural sciences. I’m fascinated by them, as this blog will show. I guess I don’t find the evidence for human-caused global warming that compelling, especially in light of the recent data-manipulation scandal. Do you think that putting Special K in the oceans and particulate matter in the air with giant hoses suspended on blimps can cool the earth down and reverse climate change, the subject of this thread?

  • Tom Hering

    Whole lot of statements, all around, that “Christians are” or “Christians this” or “Christians that.” And I’m sitting here thinking, “Huh? Says who?”

  • Tom Hering

    Whole lot of statements, all around, that “Christians are” or “Christians this” or “Christians that.” And I’m sitting here thinking, “Huh? Says who?”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Puzzled (@22), I’m an American Lutheran (many commenting here, by the way, are not, including Peter Leavitt, DonS, and SG), and like Dr. Veith, I reject the label “fundamentalist”. That said, I tend to take a different view than most here when it comes to global warming. Which is to say: We’re not all obsessed with mocking it — even among the theologically conservative. Most of us (them), yes. But not all of us.

    I’d love to believe that this obsession with mocking global warming came from a reasoned rejection of the science, but frankly, I see little evidence of that. Of the few people here who show a good grasp of scientific principles, they may not all agree about everything on global warming, but they nor do I see them simplistically mocking or making ridiculous claims that the “argument for man-caused global warming is in tatters due to the clear evidence that its fervent ‘scientific’ proponents have rigged the data.” As an example.

    I’m not sure, though, that your “what’s good for American business” theory is the best explanation. I think a better fit is that American “conservatives” are scared of the government telling them they have to live their lives differently. There are many reasons for this feeling, some good, some bad. But, best I can tell, most “conservatives” here (or elsewhere) honestly see global warming as a vast conspiracy to make them give up their freedom to live how they want. Any data that contradicts this idea is mocked as merely being part of the conspiracy, while that which reinforces this idea is clung to as the lone island of truth in a vast sea of (liberal, one-world-government) lies. So it goes with conspiracies.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Puzzled (@22), I’m an American Lutheran (many commenting here, by the way, are not, including Peter Leavitt, DonS, and SG), and like Dr. Veith, I reject the label “fundamentalist”. That said, I tend to take a different view than most here when it comes to global warming. Which is to say: We’re not all obsessed with mocking it — even among the theologically conservative. Most of us (them), yes. But not all of us.

    I’d love to believe that this obsession with mocking global warming came from a reasoned rejection of the science, but frankly, I see little evidence of that. Of the few people here who show a good grasp of scientific principles, they may not all agree about everything on global warming, but they nor do I see them simplistically mocking or making ridiculous claims that the “argument for man-caused global warming is in tatters due to the clear evidence that its fervent ‘scientific’ proponents have rigged the data.” As an example.

    I’m not sure, though, that your “what’s good for American business” theory is the best explanation. I think a better fit is that American “conservatives” are scared of the government telling them they have to live their lives differently. There are many reasons for this feeling, some good, some bad. But, best I can tell, most “conservatives” here (or elsewhere) honestly see global warming as a vast conspiracy to make them give up their freedom to live how they want. Any data that contradicts this idea is mocked as merely being part of the conspiracy, while that which reinforces this idea is clung to as the lone island of truth in a vast sea of (liberal, one-world-government) lies. So it goes with conspiracies.

  • Puzzled

    Thank you for that cogent response, tODD. And thanks for recognizing that my “American business” theory was just that, a theory, and not, as Veith seemed to think, a Marxist critique. I’m a Christian but I do not fit within DonS’s characterization of “Christians” as, if I may, government-fearing paranoiacs.
    Cheers.

  • Puzzled

    Thank you for that cogent response, tODD. And thanks for recognizing that my “American business” theory was just that, a theory, and not, as Veith seemed to think, a Marxist critique. I’m a Christian but I do not fit within DonS’s characterization of “Christians” as, if I may, government-fearing paranoiacs.
    Cheers.

  • DonS

    Puzzled:

    Nice characterization, that (“government-fearing paranoiacs”). Very charitable.

    I don’t fear proper government. But, I also do not see bigger and more intrusive government as a panacea for the ills of the world. You don’t have to be a “paranoiac” to recognize that as government continues to grow, it continues to further push any faith expression further out of the public square. We Christians should be putting our faith in God, not government. We should be taking personal responsibility for the orphans and widows, not punting those responsibilities to an ever growing, indebted, and militantly secular government. We should prize the liberty and freedoms our forefathers fought so hard to bring to this unique and blessed country, not give them away in exchange for a cheap government entitlement, and the illusory security we are duped into believing a government having some $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities and debts can bring. We should not be selfishly seeking to further enslave our children to debt in order to satisfy and fund every “need” we think we have now.

  • DonS

    Puzzled:

    Nice characterization, that (“government-fearing paranoiacs”). Very charitable.

    I don’t fear proper government. But, I also do not see bigger and more intrusive government as a panacea for the ills of the world. You don’t have to be a “paranoiac” to recognize that as government continues to grow, it continues to further push any faith expression further out of the public square. We Christians should be putting our faith in God, not government. We should be taking personal responsibility for the orphans and widows, not punting those responsibilities to an ever growing, indebted, and militantly secular government. We should prize the liberty and freedoms our forefathers fought so hard to bring to this unique and blessed country, not give them away in exchange for a cheap government entitlement, and the illusory security we are duped into believing a government having some $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities and debts can bring. We should not be selfishly seeking to further enslave our children to debt in order to satisfy and fund every “need” we think we have now.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, you said (@34), “I don’t fear proper government.” The question then becomes: has a “proper” government ever existed in your lifetime? Has it existed ever? I mean, no one fears a proper government. They just define “proper” to mean “those things I want and don’t fear”.

    “We Christians should be putting our faith in God, not government.” A fine sentiment. But utterly unnecessary. Who is suggesting otherwise? No one. What you intend by that statement is obviously not what that statement says.

    “We should be taking personal responsibility for the orphans and widows, not punting those responsibilities.” Now, I’ve truncated your statement, but for a reason. The popular “conservative” Christian notion is that it’s wrong to let government help people, since that’s our “personal responsibility”. Except that I’ve never met a person who suggests such things that honestly believes it’s literally his personal responsibility. Because every one of those people I’ve talked to then goes on to donate to charities to take care of the orphans and widows. On average, they don’t actually take the orphans or widows into their own homes (though a few actually do this).

    Now, I’m not criticizing this approach — even the early church charged a small subset with taking care of the widows (Acts 5; though of course if the widows had relatives, the relatives were held responsible, as in 1 Timothy 5).

    But I do have a hard time seeing a huge difference between this group of people taking care of “orphans and widows” (and it’s a good thing) and that group of people taking care of them (and it’s a bad thing). Oh, I know the arguments you’ll raise, Don. But the “personal responsibility” thing doesn’t ring completely true, either way.

    And, of course, government-fearing “conservatives” are always free to up their private giving to the point that government aid is no longer necessary. They haven’t yet, obviously, and they typically respond that they would give more to charity, but they’re being taxed so much! I have a hard time believing that wouldn’t be the response no matter the taxation level. But I guess if I were inclined to mirror your response, Don, I would say that we Christians should be putting our faith in God, not our money.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, you said (@34), “I don’t fear proper government.” The question then becomes: has a “proper” government ever existed in your lifetime? Has it existed ever? I mean, no one fears a proper government. They just define “proper” to mean “those things I want and don’t fear”.

    “We Christians should be putting our faith in God, not government.” A fine sentiment. But utterly unnecessary. Who is suggesting otherwise? No one. What you intend by that statement is obviously not what that statement says.

    “We should be taking personal responsibility for the orphans and widows, not punting those responsibilities.” Now, I’ve truncated your statement, but for a reason. The popular “conservative” Christian notion is that it’s wrong to let government help people, since that’s our “personal responsibility”. Except that I’ve never met a person who suggests such things that honestly believes it’s literally his personal responsibility. Because every one of those people I’ve talked to then goes on to donate to charities to take care of the orphans and widows. On average, they don’t actually take the orphans or widows into their own homes (though a few actually do this).

    Now, I’m not criticizing this approach — even the early church charged a small subset with taking care of the widows (Acts 5; though of course if the widows had relatives, the relatives were held responsible, as in 1 Timothy 5).

    But I do have a hard time seeing a huge difference between this group of people taking care of “orphans and widows” (and it’s a good thing) and that group of people taking care of them (and it’s a bad thing). Oh, I know the arguments you’ll raise, Don. But the “personal responsibility” thing doesn’t ring completely true, either way.

    And, of course, government-fearing “conservatives” are always free to up their private giving to the point that government aid is no longer necessary. They haven’t yet, obviously, and they typically respond that they would give more to charity, but they’re being taxed so much! I have a hard time believing that wouldn’t be the response no matter the taxation level. But I guess if I were inclined to mirror your response, Don, I would say that we Christians should be putting our faith in God, not our money.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 35: “I would say that we Christians should be putting our faith in God, not our money”.

    AGREED! And I’ll take it a step further. We should not be putting our faith in money, whether it is our’s or whether it comes in the form of government entitlement programs. That is my biggest objection to liberalism — its insistence that societal problems can be solved by government money and programs.

    You have reduced the arguments I made to a straw man — that of my (presumably) selfish desire to be taxed less and to keep my money for my family and my private purposes, including private charitable priorities. However, that is not my primary concern. My primary concern is that big federal government, that which goes far beyond its limited constitutional mandates, is intrusive, liberty-robbing, and anti-faith. Secular government in its intended limited role is fine, because it still allows the functioning of private faith-based activities and expression in the public square, but secular government on steroids, intruding ever more into every sphere of public life necessarily forces those institutions and activities more into the margins of life, away from exposure to most of the citizenry.

    My other major concern is that our government has no sense of limits or budgets. It is indebting us beyond measure, at the insistence of a panoply of residents insisting that their “needs” are paramount, and should be satisfied with public funds regardless of the impact on future generations. I deplore that, and there is nothing godly or Christian about it.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 35: “I would say that we Christians should be putting our faith in God, not our money”.

    AGREED! And I’ll take it a step further. We should not be putting our faith in money, whether it is our’s or whether it comes in the form of government entitlement programs. That is my biggest objection to liberalism — its insistence that societal problems can be solved by government money and programs.

    You have reduced the arguments I made to a straw man — that of my (presumably) selfish desire to be taxed less and to keep my money for my family and my private purposes, including private charitable priorities. However, that is not my primary concern. My primary concern is that big federal government, that which goes far beyond its limited constitutional mandates, is intrusive, liberty-robbing, and anti-faith. Secular government in its intended limited role is fine, because it still allows the functioning of private faith-based activities and expression in the public square, but secular government on steroids, intruding ever more into every sphere of public life necessarily forces those institutions and activities more into the margins of life, away from exposure to most of the citizenry.

    My other major concern is that our government has no sense of limits or budgets. It is indebting us beyond measure, at the insistence of a panoply of residents insisting that their “needs” are paramount, and should be satisfied with public funds regardless of the impact on future generations. I deplore that, and there is nothing godly or Christian about it.

  • Frank H.

    DonS,
    “..my (presumably) selfish desire to be taxed less and to keep my money for my family and my private purposes, including private charitable priorities.”
    Finally, I get it.
    I’ve read your posts here for awhile with some dissonance. I’ve concluded that you’re not so much a conservative as you are an authoritarian. You have no concern when government intrudes into the lives of others. You love tax cuts yet claim to hate the debt and deficits they cause, while pretending to be fiscally responsible; you raise no protest when the government engages in racial profiling and torture because those things won’t be done to you. You support two failed and grossly expensive wars, which cost lives every day. Even your disgust with global warming science has no basis in fact; it’s all about your fear that steps taken to decrease global warming will “increase governmental power and authority in [y]our everyday li[fe].”
    You’ve got, in short, no sense of the common good.

  • Frank H.

    DonS,
    “..my (presumably) selfish desire to be taxed less and to keep my money for my family and my private purposes, including private charitable priorities.”
    Finally, I get it.
    I’ve read your posts here for awhile with some dissonance. I’ve concluded that you’re not so much a conservative as you are an authoritarian. You have no concern when government intrudes into the lives of others. You love tax cuts yet claim to hate the debt and deficits they cause, while pretending to be fiscally responsible; you raise no protest when the government engages in racial profiling and torture because those things won’t be done to you. You support two failed and grossly expensive wars, which cost lives every day. Even your disgust with global warming science has no basis in fact; it’s all about your fear that steps taken to decrease global warming will “increase governmental power and authority in [y]our everyday li[fe].”
    You’ve got, in short, no sense of the common good.

  • BirdBrain

    The only “cure” for “man made” global warming is to get rid of man. Duh!!

  • BirdBrain

    The only “cure” for “man made” global warming is to get rid of man. Duh!!

  • DonS

    Frank H. @ 37: I don’t think you “get it” at all. First, you quote a sentence from my post without noting that I labeled it as tODD’s straw man, not as my actual point of view. Second, where do you get the idea that I am an “authoritarian”? An authoritarian is someone who wants to impose regulatory control on others to achieve his own purposes — I am the opposite of that. What I fight against is the authoritarianism that runs rampant in our elitist government circles today, in favor of personal liberty. You, yourself, contradict your own claim that I am an authoritarian when you state: “…it’s all about your fear that steps taken to decrease global warming will “increase governmental power and AUTHORITY in [y]our everyday li[fe].”” If anything, it would be more accurate to label me an ANTI-authoritarian, at least insofar as we are talking about secular government.

    The rest of your comment is pure conjecture and caricature, evidencing that you have not actually been reading my comments at all. I indeed care that government intrudes into the lives of others — I am generally libertarian with regard to social legislation at the federal level, and strongly support rigorous due process rights for those accused by the government of crimes. I have not supported tax cuts absent government spending cuts — my issue is eliminating government entitlement programs. Absent this, neither tax cuts nor tax increases will help to correct what is a seriously threatened economy because of runaway entitlement liabilities. This statement: “you raise no protest when the government engages in racial profiling and torture because those things won’t be done to you” is offensive and utterly false. I don’t understand what you mean by this statement: “You support two failed and grossly expensive wars, which cost lives every day”. To what two wars do you refer? President Obama has declared the war in Iraq a success and is winding things up with Iraq as a nascent democracy. President Obama is pursuing with vigor the war in Afghanistan. I have expressed guarded support for the Iraq effort in the past, but have also expressed my serious doubts about our efforts in Afghanistan. Mostly, I’ve remained silent about that war, because we are there and I want to support our president and our troops. As for “global warming science”, it has been discredited by the very scientists who have been ringing the alarm bells. My only contention is that before you seek to re-make an entire economy, you had better be 100% sure the problem a) exists and b) can be corrected by the remedial measures you are proposing, without causing more suffering and death to the world’s poor. So far, the “science” is pitifully short of meeting both goals.

    You, Frank H., are guilty of conflating the so-called “public good” with an ever-increasing and indebted federal government. It’s not that I have no sense of the common good, it’s just that I don’t have YOUR sense of the common good.

  • DonS

    Frank H. @ 37: I don’t think you “get it” at all. First, you quote a sentence from my post without noting that I labeled it as tODD’s straw man, not as my actual point of view. Second, where do you get the idea that I am an “authoritarian”? An authoritarian is someone who wants to impose regulatory control on others to achieve his own purposes — I am the opposite of that. What I fight against is the authoritarianism that runs rampant in our elitist government circles today, in favor of personal liberty. You, yourself, contradict your own claim that I am an authoritarian when you state: “…it’s all about your fear that steps taken to decrease global warming will “increase governmental power and AUTHORITY in [y]our everyday li[fe].”” If anything, it would be more accurate to label me an ANTI-authoritarian, at least insofar as we are talking about secular government.

    The rest of your comment is pure conjecture and caricature, evidencing that you have not actually been reading my comments at all. I indeed care that government intrudes into the lives of others — I am generally libertarian with regard to social legislation at the federal level, and strongly support rigorous due process rights for those accused by the government of crimes. I have not supported tax cuts absent government spending cuts — my issue is eliminating government entitlement programs. Absent this, neither tax cuts nor tax increases will help to correct what is a seriously threatened economy because of runaway entitlement liabilities. This statement: “you raise no protest when the government engages in racial profiling and torture because those things won’t be done to you” is offensive and utterly false. I don’t understand what you mean by this statement: “You support two failed and grossly expensive wars, which cost lives every day”. To what two wars do you refer? President Obama has declared the war in Iraq a success and is winding things up with Iraq as a nascent democracy. President Obama is pursuing with vigor the war in Afghanistan. I have expressed guarded support for the Iraq effort in the past, but have also expressed my serious doubts about our efforts in Afghanistan. Mostly, I’ve remained silent about that war, because we are there and I want to support our president and our troops. As for “global warming science”, it has been discredited by the very scientists who have been ringing the alarm bells. My only contention is that before you seek to re-make an entire economy, you had better be 100% sure the problem a) exists and b) can be corrected by the remedial measures you are proposing, without causing more suffering and death to the world’s poor. So far, the “science” is pitifully short of meeting both goals.

    You, Frank H., are guilty of conflating the so-called “public good” with an ever-increasing and indebted federal government. It’s not that I have no sense of the common good, it’s just that I don’t have YOUR sense of the common good.


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