Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Unacceptable Truth?

I am baffled.

I understand why fundamentalists reject Darwin: their literalist Bible fetish is all they have and Darwin stands foursquare against the version of creation (actually two different versions) in the Book of Genesis. As a Catholic, and not chained to biblical literalism, so evolution isn’t a theological issue to me, but at least I understand why it is to fundamentalists.

But Global Warming — why do an over-whelming number of Traditionalist Catholics reject the possibility of greenhouse gasses causing climate change?

I can see no theology behind this, nor have I ever heard any such reasons cited. The facts would seem to be pretty straightforward:

• An overwhelming preponderance of scientists believe that carbon emissions from industrial activity are causing potentially catastrophic climate change.

• The only scientists who don’t are bought-and-paid-for by energy companies.

Facts are facts and why the facts themselves should be subject to a Liberal/Conservative divide is beyond me. Liberals and Conservatives both agree that teen-age pregnancy, STD’s, poverty, terrorism, war, and economic collapse are all problems, even if they disagree profoundly over what to do about them. Why Conservatives should discount the very existence of this problem is beyond me.

Could it be — wishful thinking?

Most Traditional Catholics live a suburban life-style that is highly dependent upon automobile transport and high-energy consumption. Such a life-style would be morally unjustifiable were they to accept the scientific consensus on global warming. It would be, as Al Gore has said (to much derision) —An Inconvenient Truth. One that requires radical changes in the kind of life they lead.

Is it uncharitable of me to think this? Perhaps, but just the other day I was talking to a friend from church. He’s pious, a conscientious grandfather, good sense of humor, intelligent, a fine fellow all around. But he said to me, in all seriousness, that he felt it was pointless to conserve oil because he thought oil was a natural product, continuously being produced beneath the earth’s surface. Wow — is that wishful thinking or what?!?!

I would really like to see comments on this, because it just baffles me.


C. Willingham said...

One would think that, being pro-children and all, us Catholics would feel universal concern over the state we are leaving the earth in for our kids.

I sure am!

John Jansen said...

I have no problem acknowledging that human activity may be contributing to global warming.

But I remain unconvinced.

I'd have to say I'm with Mark Shea on this one:

When you are a layman like me approaching a quarrel among High Priests about the arcana of the inmost workings of their cultus, you pretty much have to wait around until the quarrel has settled. Rushing off to join the partisans of one party when you have no more idea than a Hottentot what they are talking about nor what data they base their dogmas on is, well, rash. Which is why I am and remain a Global Warming agnostic who is, if anything, slightly inclined to disbelieve simply because the Chattering Classes, who are so desperately wrong about virtually everything they dogmatize about, have been utterly dogmatic here. But even stopped clocks are right twice a day. So I will wait until the high priest conclude their quarrel and not let the earth cultists in the media and low demagogues like Al Gore sway me either.

Silex said...

Global climate change is extremely complicated. It is pretty well agreed between climate scientists that the world IS warming. It is also pretty well agreed that burning fossil fuel contributes to the warming of the earth. What is really up in the air is how much of a role does burning fossil fuel contribute to global warming? Scientists don't seem to be able to agree on this part of the discussion.
It can only be healthy for our culture to move away from fossil fuel though, the price will continue to go up (not so good for our economy), it pollutes our air, and it exports a lot of our wealth to other nations (a couple of them I would prefer not to give any extra money).