Prophecies from 1986

Back before it was called “global climate disruption”, “global climate change”, or even “global warming” it was called the greenhouse effect and we were all assured 2000 was going to inaugurate the environmental Judgment Day:

The conclusion, conveyed with great authority by several big-league climatologists from government and private research organizations, is terrible: by the year 2000, the atmosphere and weather will grow warmer by several degrees and life – animal, plant, human – will be threatened. The experts say that melting ice caps, flooded cities, droughts in the corn belt and famine in the third world could result if the earth’s mean temperature rises by a mere two or three degrees.

I am constantly struck by how the climate change argument perpetually arrays itself in the language of faith and not science. Priests in white lab coat vestments utter prophecies “with great authority”. Apocalyptic language abounds. People perpetually speak of their belief and disbelief in global warming. Indulgences called carbon credits are offered. As somebody who knows little of the science but something of the language of faith, I find it fascinating. Nobody ever asks me if I believe in hydraulics or jet propulsion.

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  • Joseph

    I wonder if the ‘Church of Climate Change’ apologists are going to start commenting.

    • Dan Berger

      Why should we bother? Y’all aren’t arguing honestly anyhow.;

      • Joseph

        The Earth has been around a long, long time… and the only accurate data you have on global temperatures date back a couple of centuries at most?
        I remember the coming *ice age* scare of the late 70s/early 80s. Then it was the *global warming* scare. Then the religious movement changed to the *climate change* scare, but when it was pointed out that everyone *believed* in climate change because the climate changes, it became the *climate disruption* scare which is ambiguous enough to cover all bases (and save the jobs and research dollars of thousands of psuedo-scientists). So, if it snows particularly hard… told you so, climate disruption… if it is particularly hot… told you so, climate disruption… if temperatures remain relatively the same… told you so, climate disruption.
        From a Catholic perspective, we necessarily believe that all creation is God’s creation. To deliberately destroy God’s creation is to offend God. If the world was Catholic and all Catholic’s behaved according to how they were actually taught, there would be a lot less man-made pollution… but I have a feeling that the *climate disruption* zealots would still be around… whether their founding father’s emails requesting the data be fudged would’ve been leaked or not.

        • Dan Berger

          As I said…

          • Joseph

            I know you are but what am I?

        • Dan Berger

          This doesn’t count as “honest argument,” since all the points you raise in your first two paragraphs have been debunked elsewhere. For example, we have good data on global temperatures dating back nearly a quarter of a million years, based on ice core studies and other indirect measurements. But the last one or two centuries have been exceptional: global average temperatures are well above the average over that entire span.

          Climate disruption caused by burning fossil fuels is a straightforward consequence of the conservation of mass and well-known radiative physics.

  • http://www.capgb.org Brother Paul

    Good point, Mark. It is interesting, although not unique – you get the same language of faith, for example, around the theory of biological evolution. It’s got a lot to do with the fact that scientific theories are rarely proven – they are merely shown to be more compatible with the available facts than any competing theories are.

    • Andy

      So true -a theory is a plausible explanation of observed phenomena – it is usually based on having more facts – either experimental or multiple observations.

  • AquinasMan

    Great observations. In general, people are hard-wired to seek out mystery and then build something vaguely religious to surround it.

    Meanwhile, the Christian religion was built by the Mystery in order to surround the people.

    (Digression: Reminds me of the secular “High mass” that takes place on Super Bowl Sunday. No one has time for ritual Mass at your local parish, but they’ll gather as a community in one place (living room), wear ceremonial vestments (jerseys), eat ritual food (wings), drink ritual drink (beer), have the offertory (for the spread/beer run), tell stories about what’s gone before (legends, miraculous outcomes, feats of strength), put their faith in someone of paramount importance (Payton Manning, Tom Brady), and anticipate eternal glory (etched on the Super Bowl Trophy — the NFL Book of Life). Needless to say, the winning team’s glory is the losing team’s Good Friday, entombed until next September … when hope is resurrected and all things are made new.. )

    Deep down, we all hunger for God.

  • Dan Berger

    Notice that the prediction was (a) that the Earth’s temperature would rise 2-3 degrees by 2000, which didn’t happen because temps are rising a little more slowly than that and (b) what would happen once temperatures did rise 2-3 degrees, which is still considered a reasonable prediction.

    • Bill

      all I know is
      it’s been way colder than normal the past couple of years

      • Dan Berger

        Define “colder than normal.” Global temperatures are a good solid 6/10 of a Celsius degree (about 1 Fahrenheit degree) higher than they were in 1940-1980, and it’s part of a general upward trend that goes back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. “Colder than normal” right now is part of the noise in the data, and incidentally IIRC was projected for North America 10 years ago. We’re one of the few places in the world projected to see a temporary fall in temps.

        You might tell e.g. the Aussies about how things are “colder than normal.” They just had record-setting heat waves over their summer.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp shows temperatures since 1880 based on surface temperature measurements, but if you look at ice core and other data back a ways you can see a serious upward trend starting around 1800.

        If you don’t like the GIS global temperature data, there are plenty of other data sets available there, and explanations of what they all are as well.

        Temperatures aren’t rising as fast as they predicted thirty years ago. That’s OK; the general physics and climatology are correct, but the system is complex enough that modeling the details isn’t going to work all the time.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          “Global temperatures are a good solid 6/10 of a Celsius degree (about 1 Fahrenheit degree) higher than they were in 1940-1980”

          And a good solid degree DOWN from where they were 1980-2000.

          What is normal background noise? We don’t know. We’d need a few thousand years more data to figure out.

          • Dan Berger

            Mr. Seeber, I suggest you look at the graph again. Global temperatures are in no wise “down” from 1980-2000 unless you are indulging in serious cherry picking.

            Graphs are a good way to distinguish signal from noise. The rise is signal, and I’m using simple visual averaging to see it.

            The fall is noise; there is no fall in temperatures since 1900, though there is a plateau (roughly 1940-1980). A 5-year running average shows what might be a plateau from 2000-present, but it’s too soon to tell. The other thing the 5-year average does is make the rise much more apparent.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              hahahah, you’re using a graph from “wood for trees”. Could you at least use an UNBIASED data set, or can you not see the forest for the trees?

              In addition, look at the left side of your graph, the scale is so incredibly small as to be USELESS for prediction.

              • Dan Berger

                Nonsense cubed. The scale is not “incredibly small.” It’s a lot larger than the noise in the data.

                And you get to have your own opinions, but not your own data. Where’s the “unbiased data set”?

                WoodforTrees uses AFAIK *all* of the standard climate data sets. Want to refute them? Publish it and get it past peer review, and I’m sure WoodforTrees will include your data set too.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  3 degrees on a scale that in any given year can run from 0 to 100 in my area of the country. That is indeed incredibly small.

                  And my point is that the “unbiased data set” doesn’t exist yet, and *can’t*. We haven’t had science long enough to collect the data to create the sort of accuracy that climate models claim to have- and keep being completely wrong in their predictions when compared to real life.

                  “WoodforTrees uses AFAIK *all* of the standard climate data sets. ”

                  WoodforTrees also claims to be a Green Party Member.

                  • Dan Berger

                    3 degrees on a scale that in any given year can run from 0 to 100 in my area of the country. That is indeed incredibly small.

                    The kindest word I can find for this is “disingenuous.”

                    The graph is of global average temperatures, from pole to pole. You would not expect them to vary much over the course of a year, however wide the temperature swings in any one place. So again, a rise in the past 100 years of about 2-3°F is quite significant, and is in fact a lot smaller than the noise.

                    As for your dismissal of Wood for Trees, I wasn’t aware that you were a fan of the genetic fallacy. It’s not even a proper genetic fallacy; whatever the guy’s politics, he’s just posting as many peer-reviewed data sets as he can find. He’s not the source of the data, just the messenger, and he claims not to have a dog in the fight anyhow, since he thinks reducing fossil fuel use is a good thing regardless of whether it disrupts the climate.

                    I’m sorry to have taken this long to reply. Life intervened.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      He is picking the datasets he likes without regard to whether the model presented is anything close to reality. Climate modeling has been wrong more than it has been right, on predictability alone it is not a science yet. It may be one day, but the data is not anyplace close enough yet.

                    • Dan Berger

                      The datasets are not from models; they are from measurements. The climate models’ job is to match the data. Whether they do a good job or not is irrelevant to what the data says.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      All datasets are from models- if they weren’t, they’d have to be much, much larger. You would need a second planet to hold the data, because you effectively would need to measure every atom on the planet. Averages are simply not good enough for the job.

                      Men choose what to measure, and in so doing, affect what is measured. The *reason* the climate models never match all real world measurements is because they fail to take into account all real world measurements; the dataset is much too small in comparison to what it is trying to measure.

                    • Dan Berger

                      I will try to laugh at this in the gentlest way possible, Mr. Seeber. But you simply don’t understand how science works: specifically, you don’t understand the validity of induction, and you especially don’t understand the truth that “all data are theory-laden.”

                      Induction means that you never know anything for sure, because induction means that you are reasoning from less-than-perfect data sets. This is true of everything in science, because there are no perfect data sets. It’s impossible to have a truly representative data set

                      “All data are theory-laden” means that data must be interpreted; they are not self-evident as the positivists assumed. For example, temperature measurements might be laden with the theory that a particular substance expands and contracts uniformly with changing temperature; or the theory of the dependence of the spectrum of a black-body on its temperature. (Both of these theories, by the way, were established by data that were laden with some other theory, and were known to be so empirically before any successful theory that explained how they worked.)

                      But that’s no excuse for paralysis, or for refusing to face data that say what we don’t want them to. You don’t get to pick the theory that a given datum is laden with; that’s a matter for investigation. In this case, the data are laden with rather well-established theories, which are not based on climate modeling.

                      Essentially, you’re making the argument that because something isn’t 100% correct it can be rejected tout court. To quote the late, great Isaac Asimov, “When they said the Earth is flat, they were wrong. When they said the Earth is a sphere, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is a sphere is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, you’re wronger than both of them.”

                      I think you are just fishing around now for an excuse to reject something that you don’t want to be true. I don’t want it to be true, either. That doesn’t change anything.

                      And now, I’m done. You can have the last word if you like, but I will no longer respond.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      You still misunderstand me, because you’re worshiping science.

                      I’m saying that scientists when they become politicians, abandon science, as you have done by assuming that climate models are correct when they simply make incorrect predictions.

                      You’ve also overlooked the possibility of adaptation rather than attempting to resist nature.

      • jroberts548
        • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

          Ha ha ha, I was going to post that myself!

  • Rachel

    This is also why its helpful to do some research. There is so much alarmist stuff in the media, from tin pot dictators making outlandish comments to very “certain” predictions such as this. When one looks at how many times such predictions have been made, it gives a wider perspective. However, most don’t do research and get alarmed by the latest “study”, etc.

  • Jamesthelast

    I’m curious if any of you that doubt climate science can produce studies that disprove it that aren’t funded by fossil fuel companies.

    Climate change is real, and is going to have dramatic effects. It might not wipe humanity out, but it’s going to be a huge challenge to our current mass consumption lifestyles.

    Believe what you guys will about climate science, but always remember God told us to be good stewards of the earth, not to destroy it with pollution.

    • Benjamin2.0

      Do you dismiss all of Christianity because some goofy groups predict the end and fail?

      That could be a good point if it weren’t for the fact that future predictions aren’t a terribly substantial part of Christianity whereas climate doomsday is exactly that in essence.

      I’m also curious if any of you that doubt climate science can produce studies that disprove it that aren’t funded by fossil fuel companies.

      Aaaaand here’s the genetic fallacy.

      Climate change is real, and is going to have dramatic effects.

      Regardless of whether the climate has changed (not really a point of contention – it’s the cause that’s disputed, particularly after the term ‘warming’ had to be dropped), the proposition of dramatic effects is exactly the unsupported (never supported, actually) assertion Mr. Shea is mocking.

      It might not wipe humanity out, but it’s going to be a huge challenge to our current mass consumption lifestyles.

      More assertion…

      Believe what you guys will about climate science, but always remember God told us to be good stewards of the earth, not to destroy it with pollution.

      The pollution problem is practically nonexistent in this country. Where do you live?

      • Benjamin2.0

        Aaaaand here’s the genetic fallacy.

        It just occurred to me that if the genetic fallacy were applied in both directions, the whole issue would be nullified. Researchers get funding from government agencies which get funding for the sake of averting the disasters researcher predict. [Scathing Sarcasm]Perhaps the data should be scrutinized for the sake of that convenient symbiosis![/Scathing Sarcasm]

      • Jamesthelast

        This point is silly.
        “The pollution problem is practically nonexistent in this country. Where do you live?”
        That is false. How about the famous LA smog? The fact that an entire city such as Toledo Ohio had to shut down their water system because industry on Lake Erie is causing toxic algae bloom? Or all those communities that have had their water supplies poisoned by fracking? Or the BP gulf oil spill, which is one of numerous oil spills?
        Real environmental damage by man is very possible, just look up the Lake of Aral region to see just some of the damage the Soviets caused. Pollution is also a global problem, it doesn’t care for man’s silly borders.

        • Benjamin2.0

          How about the famous LA smog?

          I hear that’s much better than it used to be. Catalytic converters. Who knew?

          Or all those communities that have had their water supplies poisoned by fracking?

          I don’t think that was ever established. Last I heard, people were reporting strange water events which turned out to actually have occurred before any fracking was done.

          Or the BP gulf oil spill, which is one of numerous oil spills?

          I think billions of dollars were spent cleaning that up, too.

          Real environmental damage by man is very possible

          Not a point of contention. I’m saying we already bend over backwards to minimize it.

    • chezami

      Where did I dismiss climate change?

      • Jamesthelast

        Sorry, I made a false assumption from your tone.

  • honzik

    In the alienated mindset of a gnostic, the world is not a wonderful, beautiful place created by a loving God, but rather, a locus of malice and dysfunction setup by a sadistic and capricious demiurge. This outlook spiritually disfigures the gnostic in number of ways:

    1) He tends to see himself set apart and superior, believing his superior intelligence and spiritual sensitivity allows him to see the world as it really is, unlike the dim-witted masses with their childish belief in a loving God and an ordered world. (e.g., red pill / blue pill in the Matrix).

    2) His sense of being at odds with the society in which he lives, coupled with his pride, makes him feel entitled to set upon a project of reordering his world – even at the objection of his fellow man – in order to set aright what he believes is wrong with it, with the hopes of recreating the paradise of which he has been cruelly deprived.

    The danger of this, of course, is that the mass movement that the gnostic launches, being predicated on his fundamentally defective perception of reality, will falter. Most, faced with this eventuality, will reconsider their views, but the gnostic, whose pride tells him he can’t possibly be wrong, will double down, typically with disastrous results. The final step is the realization that he was not altogether right, but often the gnostic will continue to pursue his vision as his sense of entitlement as a member of an elite group (and if he would admit it, his lust for power) justifies the swindle as an appropriate punishment for the masses who, at best, refused to go along with his crusade and who, at worst, actively impeded it.

    It strikes me, therefore, that the whole Climate Change project is essentially a gnostical mass movement. It posits as inconceivable that the world should have feedback mechanisms that would compensate for man’s activity and keep the climate in check. Rather, it expounds that the climate is set to spin wildly out of control at any minute. It posits that most are too stupid to get this, so the rhetoric must be ratcheted up in order to prod an obtuse world into action. It also seeks to enact policy that would empower just the “right” kind of people to reorder the lives of the hoi polloi to usher in a new era of ecological harmony. This does not sound like paradise in the making. It has the ring of despotism to me.

  • AquinasMan

    My take on “Climate Change” is simple:

    Nature rebelled at the persecution and crucifixion of the “first” Body of Christ; Nature is rebelling again at the persecution and crucifixion of the “second” Body of Christ, the Church. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, etc. etc. etc.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ross-heckmann/6/202/187 Ross S. Heckmann

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/weather-climate/temperature.html Looks like temperature did go up. We definitely have suffered serious adverse effects already, albeit not yet to the extent of the 1986 prophecy. In making predictions, isn’t it proper to error on the side of caution? We aren’t out of the woods yet, either. At this time, the situation still isn’t under control and things are still getting worse. Doesn’t it stand to reason (and isn’t it in accordance with revelation) that there may end up being Hell to pay when natural resources are used irresponsibly, heedless of the reasonably anticipated consequences?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      The temperature went up in line with predictions right up to the turn of the century, give or take. There’s been a growing divergence in the past 15 years between predictions and reality. The given chart (besides being US, not global temps) makes it hard to spot trend changes of a 15 year duration.

      Right now we’re right in the gray zone of whether all the predictions have been invalidated or are they just barely within the limits of statistical plausibility. At such a time, it stands to reason, you take a bit of a break on drastic action and see whether we’re in the middle of a 15 (or 12 or 17) year fluke or are we running climate policy based on mistaken predictions and creating bad policy because of the mistakes.

  • Joe

    You would think that environmentalists would try to point out the positive reasons for getting away from fossil fuels. There are plenty of concrete reasons to stop using fossil without all the global warming hysteria.

    • Joe

      *fossil fuels without all the global warming hysteria.

  • Vicq Ruiz

    Anyone who seriously believes that carbon dioxide emissions are going to bring about an unlivable (at least for humans) planet should be supporting (1) increased construction of nuclear plans (in geologically stable sites), (2) replacement of as much coal and oil as possible with natural gas, (3) additional hydropower (dam) construction wherever possible.

    These three are the only sources of large scale base-level power currently available to us (geothermal, tidal and orbital solar are extremely immature technologies). Anyone who claims to be concerned about global warming, but is against (1) (2) and (3), above has a deeper agenda, and should be candid about it.

    • IRVCath

      I support all three within reason. Satisfied?

  • David Naas

    I have no doubt there is a phenomena called “climate change”. It’s cause is another matter.

    Scientism suffers the “positivist fallacy”, which is essentially that, while cloaking itself in reason and empirical data is largely a matter of faith to start with.

    But, I remember Criswell Predicts. (Hey, he was in Plan 9 from Outer Space, after all.)


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