Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bringing Catholic science to the climate change fight

Don't know how I missed this video, but definitely worth watching.

I planned to write something the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, that the Pope has a strong scientific backing for tomorrow's encyclical, but Bloomberg already did it.

The leaked draft sounds good and is stirring up trouble. We'll see what happens. Catholic support played a role in Nebraska's repeal of the death penalty, so there's still some political heft in religious affiliation. Probably more of a long-term effect, but it's a marathon.


Russell Seitz said...

Now we know the meaning of 'praying mantis style'

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, it takes 198 pages for an idiot who dresses up in funny clothes and preaches insane beliefs, to state the obvious.

To you. My opinion of you just dropped several orders of magnitude.

Wither science.

Susan Anderson said...

Let me get this straight. You feel your insult laden rand is a comprehensive indictment of real science. Not so; this from the New York Times, with apologies for pasting from a comment there:

The outcry and political PR continues to be unskeptical about denial and fight against admitting the simple truth (Gillis today):

"did the pope get the science right?

"The short answer from climate and environmental scientists is that he did, at least to the degree possible in a religious document meant for a broad audience. If anything, they say, he may have bent over backward to offer a cautious interpretation of the scientific facts."

The endless proliferation of misinformation and outliers come from a mirror infrastructure, supported largely by the wealthiest industries on earth, derived from techniques honed since the era of big tobacco. It's much easier to imitate and distort than to do original work. As a result laypeople can easily be confused and are tempted to take the easier path and do nothing. "The world's most popular" is not a guarantee of truthfulness or quality, but of a preference for the political over the real.

In the end, nature is part of real reality. We cannot go on abusing our only and finite planet, exploiting its limited resources and dumping our waste, without consequences, in the service of ever more stuff and more and more people. As for space travel, have you looked at the costs and difficulties? We live on a still inhabitable planet; let's treasure it.

Anonymous said...

Religion is trivially false and demonstrably at fault with this problem.

Why should I have to indict religion when it has criminalized itself?

Susan Anderson said...

Monbiot is PDG too:

Who wants to see the living world destroyed? Who wants an end to birdsong, bees and coral reefs, the falcon’s stoop, the salmon’s leap? Who wants to see the soil stripped from the land, the sea rimed with rubbish?

No one. And yet it happens. Seven billion of us allow fossil fuel companies to push shut the narrow atmospheric door through which humanity stepped. We permit industrial farming to tear away the soil, banish trees from the hills, engineer another silent spring. We let the owners of grouse moors, 1% of the 1%, shoot and poison hen harriers, peregrines and eagles. We watch mutely as a small fleet of monster fishing ships trashes the oceans.

Why are the defenders of the living world so ineffective? It is partly, of course, that everyone is complicit; we have all been swept off our feet by the tide of hyperconsumption, our natural greed excited, corporate propaganda chiming with a will to believe that there is no cost. But perhaps environmentalism is also afflicted by a deeper failure: arising possibly from embarrassment or fear, a failure of emotional honesty.


Is this a version of the religious conviction from which Pope Francis speaks? Or could his religion be a version of a much deeper and older love? Could a belief in God be a way of explaining and channelling the joy, the burst of love that nature sometimes provokes in us? Conversely, could the hyperconsumption that both religious and secular environmentalists lament be a response to ecological boredom: the void that a loss of contact with the natural world leaves in our psyches?

Of course, this doesn’t answer the whole problem. If the acknowledgement of love becomes the means by which we inspire environmentalism in others, how do we translate it into political change? But I believe it’s a better grounding for action than pretending that what really matters to us is the state of the economy. By being honest about our motivation we can inspire in others the passions that inspired us.

(and if anyone wants to weigh it at the NYT, here's the link:

Susan Anderson said...

insult laden rants nevermind here ... don't waste your pixels.

Anonymous said...

Too little too late from the prime benefactor of unrestrained population growth. When I think religion in the Western world, I think 'Mafia'. Seriously, what is not to like about a tax free cash economy that profits from ignorance at the expense of the environment?

Fernando Leanme said...

The Pope isn't an "idiot", he's a religion dude. The supreme leader of Catholics, believes himself to represent the wishes of a supernatural being on earth. This means he doesn't have to be tied to logic or secular common sense. Jesus was a big time primitive communist, so Francisco is just putting 21st century style communism back into his religion. This is going to turn communists into practicing Catholics, I suppose.

And the key to all of this is the irrationality of it all. This doesn't have to have logic, because it's based on belief in supernatural beings and nonsense "Marxist economics". And this is fine with me as long as he uses all the credit he gets to fight human rights abuses by leftist regimes like the Cuban dictatorship. In the end, the world can use a lot more sympathy for poor people, the question is whether those poor include the poor kept in grinding poverty by the communist jackboot. If this only about advocacy for communism and religion, then the Pope will fail.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention threatening you with eternal damnation if you don't believe and don't pay up. I wish you all short and miserable lives in the hell that you have created for yourselves and your children.

Anonymous said...

Symbol-salad at AOL (that tells us something already),

Tommy? That you?

Anonymous said...

I don't write the blogspot software and I don't make the posting rules. And I certainly don't sign up for personal information exploitation for profit. I just call them as I see them. And what I see is a wealthy old nut trying to cover his ass for his tax free cash only criminal mafia operation.

Nigel Franks said...

OK, we get that you don't like the source, but what's your reaction to the facts?

Anonymous said...

Wow, how do I react to the fifty year old facts?

Yawn. Like I said, he needs to cover his mafia extortion racket ass.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

8c, this is primarily a climate blog. Please take your antireligious trolling somewhere else.

LM: And the key to all of this is the irrationality of it all. This doesn't have to have logic, because it's based on belief in supernatural beings and nonsense "Marxist economics".

BPL: I think you have "rational" confused with "empirical." Catholicism is totally rational; which is to say, its conclusions follow validly from its premises. The idea that religion is per se "illogical" or "irrational" does not hold up. BTW, I'm not a Catholic.

Russell Seitz said...

Some demonic pop-ups came with this thread !

Before immersing your keyboard in the local baptismal font try Adware Medic -- it
exorcised mine.

Anonymous said...

I'm not anti-religious. That's like being anti-superstitious. There is nothing to religion to be anti about, it's just another false archaic dangerous belief system based upon fabrication and threat of force. the world is filled with fascists and gangsers, religious is just another tool from their repertoire of methods. Kind of like science and scientist but different. Scientists hurt people too, but its more subtle and since it's state sanctioned it's taxed, as religious should be as well. Nobody is trying to regulate religious belief systems here.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

8c, what part of "take it somewhere else" do you not understand? Do you have something to say about global warming?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the part where you have anything to say about whether or not I post, what I have to say, and why you think you would.

Perhaps Jesus might have a problem with you thinking you speak for anyone but yourself. That's your religious indoctrination talking.

Sure I do. If the pope insists that his sheep have to give up their lifestyles for the good of the planet they will ditch him in a second and find a new gangster to pay their tithes to. It's well beyond that point and anyone with any brains at all should have been able to figure out for themselves that global warming as ecological devastation was already well underway at the beginning of the space age 50 years ago. This is far beyond a lifestyle change and now requires technological solutions. Fortunately I've done some due diligence in this area, and so I am confident I can speak with a bit more authority than the pope on this matter of billions and billion of humans, egged on by the urging of their clerics to reproduce, and the inevitable results thereof, and what now can be done about that.

Please excuse the typos of the previous rant, that's what you get when I write without my reading glasses. Yes, I've been around a while. I do find it amusing my belief system is considered outrageous.

Brian said...

This thread is why I'm proud to be an agnostic instead of an atheist (I know, not fair to most atheists....)

I'm glad 8c got back on topic - fwiw, the Church has a blind spot on birth control and population, and it will apologize for that someday. On the rest of the encyclical, AFAICT, it's great.

Hank Roberts said...

I just want to thank whoever made it possible to click on the word "Said" after the userid and have the comment disappear. Killfile it ain't, but it's an improvement.

Anonymous said...

What I find most amusing is the only person who seems to be advocating restrictions on expressing any particular belief systems here is Bart, a born again Christian, who also feels he can speak for 'nobody', lol.

Back to the subject at hand, besides the reusable rocketry and space colonization, I have also recently published (or written) a summary of my due diligence on this problem, current to the first of the year. There have been considerable advances in this area since then.

As always, expressions of your disbelief are welcome.

jrkrideau said...

"I'm not anti-religious"

Of course not.

Jim Eager said...

H'8c, what the f is your problem? The pope's encyclical wasn't written for you, it was written for practicing catholics. If it motivates them to accept and act on addressing AGW then what's skin off your nose? Grow up.

EliRabett said...


IEHO it is wrong to think that the encyclical was written only for Catholics

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's not my problem that those practicing catholics are dickwads of the highest order, who happen to live on the same planet as I. And get this, the pope is their leader! So yeah, big improvement, but then again, not enough, and far too late. And I have no problems with me saying that in any manner that I choose, in my own inimitable style.

In the very near future it will be simpler to leave the planet entirely than have to deal with religious and delusional dickwads, not entirely inclusive of the catholic church. In lieu of that, I offer solutions.

I wasn't expecting polite thank-you's for my efforts.

Any remaining problems are your own.

Jim Eager said...

H'8c wrote... but then I clicked on "said" and didn't waste time reading it.

And for the record Eli, I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Just because I occasionally insult religion does not mean I am anti-religion or that I am offended by nutty beliefs. People have a right to their beliefs in a perfect world. And I did not write this 198 page indictment of the Catholic church and it's beliefs. From my understanding, this was entirely an internal affairs investigation.

I'm only commenting because this is the affair de jour and I remain skeptical that the Vatican will give up their cash cow to help solve this problem, and his followers will give up their creature comforts to follow the pope's lead on this. And of course, I believe that anything that involves money, including mafia extortion schemes, should be taxed, in order to pay for the damages and assist the poor. And I'm a firm believer in balancing the books while repairing the damages. Within the pope's scheme for salvation that ain't happening.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a FLIGHT to catch.

Fernando Leanme said...

Eli, if the encyclical was written for people other than Catholics then Pope Francisco is trying to become a political agent. Like I wrote before, I don't mind a Red Pope because I've always thought Jesus was a primitive communist. Since I'm agnostic I try to study the different religions, and I concluded all of them evolved to be tools of the state used to provide legitimacy to illegitimate rulers and support whatever caste system prevailed.

I just finished having a discussion with a Catholic about this document, and we discussed the church's attitude towards contraception, equality for women, and gay rights. This individual thinks the church is wrong, and has lost moral authority given past history. Therefore this document would have a much larger impact if it's followed up by deep reforms, including a profound change in the family planning controversy. The core reason for the mess we are making is overpopulation, it's bound to get worse, and all of these good intentions will fail miserably if that's not handled. You see, communism is contrary to human genetics, in the end the approach he proposes will fail until he leads by example and has a comprehensive package.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

8c: I don't understand the part where you have anything to say about whether or not I post, what I have to say, and why you think you would

BPL: You can say whatever you want, and I can criticize it to whatever extent I feel like. Most of us are here to discuss climate issues. You're here to spread anti-Catholic hatred. You fit Winston Churchill's definition of a fanatic--"a man who will not change his mind, and will not change the subject."

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Thanks for that click-and-ignore trick! It's wonderful. I just clicked 8c's last two posts. Maybe if we all (and I know I'm an offender) stop responding to him, he'll eventually go away.

Bernard J. said...

"In the very near future it will be simpler to leave the planet entirely than have to deal with religious and delusional dickwads, not entirely inclusive of the catholic church."


It would be simpler to re-engineer the Earth after a few tens of thousands of years of climate devastation than it would be to colonise with anything resembling a functional ecology anything beyond our atmosphere. And frankly, I doubt that humans will ever have the wherewithal to repair the planet if mean global temperature ever breaks through 17 C - as a result of a number of other cofactors there will at that point be too much breakdown of our complex technological systems for humanity to reaquire the technological and social momentum that has brough us to this point in our development.

The crackpot pseudoscientific jargonism aside, your "due diligence" fails at the first thermodynamic hurdle. It always amuses me when people use this term, especially in this context, when it is quite apparent that they have in fact not been diligent at all in understanding so many fundamental issues to which they are both blind and impervious.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more religious irreverence. I just think its amusing that a born again Christian like yourself would request silence from anyone in any conversational setting. It is so unlike Jesus. But then again, your faith is false, but if it makes you happy, then go for it. My approach is either to confront, flee or take flight from unsavory circumstances, and have the technical ability on hand to do so in an expedient manner. Thus, reusable rocketry, cryogenic liquid fuels, etc. Too bad Amurka and NASA are too stupid to figure that out.

And as far as recreating an entire biosphere, I wasn't implying that. Those are the kind of idiotic approaches that Biosphere II took and I know how that turned out. You work with what you have and conserve energy and minimize entropy production using intelligent decisions.

Some unintelligent decision making has suddenly rendered Earth as an unsavory place to retire, and so I expect you will see a mass exodus just as soon as the technical capabilities are developed and in place. A mish mash of stable nuclides, interacting under the laws of physics as we know them, are easily capable of pattern formation, self assembly, self organization and self replication, without the intervention of any higher deities, and so life on this planet looks promising just as soon as billions of miserable religious gangsters and fascists kill themselves off. And even if life totally expired we could plant a seed in orbit and then automatically reinoculate it, not that it would be necessary. Think differently. Act quickly.

Because quite honestly, your civilization if fucked. The pope agrees.

luminous beauty said...

Given that effective birth control methods are used by 98% of Catholic women in the US, Church Doctrine on the issue is moot.

Anonymous said...

And of course, the United States is the whole world.

What about third world and Asian catholics?

What about non-catholics?

jrkrideau said...

"then Pope Francisco is trying to become a political agent.

How bloody stupid can you be?

He is the ruler of a state.

Kevin O'Neill said...

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

Fight the real enemy!

luminous beauty said...

"What about third world and Asian catholics?

What about non-catholics?"

No significant difference between Catholic and non-Catholic women worldwide.

Technological advances in human reproduction are likewise leaving Catholic Doctrine in the dust.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's talk about third world Christians in general then. What you appear to be claiming is that population is not rising and it's not going to peak out at roughly twice where it is now in the near future.

You are in denial. Clearly in denial. What is required here is both a cultural revolution, he got that right, as well as getting the magnitude of the crisis correct, but it also requires a technological revolution. It is in that area that I have pointed out that you only have two choices, which obviously are space colonization and quantum physics. And I have clearly outlined all of your options there too.

Good luck with the cultural revolution. That worked so well in China.

Mal Adapted said...

BPL, what "click-and-ignore trick"? I'd love to be able to do that. FWIW, I'm using the latest version on firefox, on the latest version of Fedora Linux.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Mal, if you click just to the right of "Idiot-boy said..." the post by that person disappears.

luminous beauty said...

"Ok, let's talk about third world Christians in general then."

The evidence is strong that women everywhere will use effective contraception to control their reproduction, when available and in their perceived material interest to do so, regardless of religious proscriptions.

Appearences can be misleading.

"I have clearly outlined all of your options there[,] too."

The question arises; is this statement a product of super human genius or all too human lack of imagination?

Anonymous said...

You're right, I'm seeing widespread use of latex and birth control both in the population data and in the Muslim world as well.

Your delusions fall to pieces the minute one looks at the data. But I do admit the solutions are rather simple. Change your behavior and use latex. Clearly the pope has embraced this approach to population control and I expect the entire world will follow his lead on this, lol. And of course, that will change everything. No more mass extinction, pollution will magically disappear and there will be a fast drawdown of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The pope rules.

Clearly the Vatican has been on top of this problem for decades now.

Anonymous said...

Idiot-boy? lol.

No wonder so many people hold born agains in such low regard.

You are so unlike Jesus.

Mal Adapted said...

I suppose I'll acknowledge that not everything 8c says is ranty, strictly speaking (although I'd like to know how to work that click-and-ignore trick). As an atheist I have no personal use for the Pope's theology either. And to the extent that the church hierarchy supports itself by parasitism and its doctrines promote population growth, enable paedophilia, oppress women, and so forth, I agree that Catholicism is a pernicious institution.

Having said that, Thursday's encyclical has enormous historical importance IMO. In 1967, when the ecological costs of economic development were becoming impossible to ignore, Science published The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis by historian Lynn White. White laid the blame at the feet of Christianity:

"What did Christianity tell people about their relations with the environment? ...Man named all the animals, thus establishing his dominance over them. God planned all of this explicitly for man's benefit and rule:no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man's purposes...Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen."

He argued that God's injunction to Adam and Eve to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" was being interpreted as divine approval to plunder the earth without counting the costs.

YMMV, but I'd say White nailed it. Apparently the Pope does too, because on Thursday he explicitly repudiated that interpretation of Genesis:

"The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations. This in turn distorted our mandate to 'have dominion' over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), to 'till it and keep it' (Gen 2:15)."

As a non-believer I'm less inclined to let the alleged Author of Genesis off the hook, since the language is certainly ambiguous enough to support self-serving dominionist interpretations. What matters, though, is that millions of Roman Catholics are required to accept no interpretation but the Pope's. We can hope it will make a difference.

Mal Adapted said...

Heh. I just stumbled across the click-to-ignore thing myself. Nifty!

Mal Adapted said...

BTW, I forgot to include a link to the encyclical, for anyone who's interested.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Mal, quoting some scientist talking outside his field of expertise: "What did Christianity tell people about their relations with the environment? ...Man named all the animals, thus establishing his dominance over them. God planned all of this explicitly for man's benefit and rule:no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man's purposes...Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen."

BPL: I suggest the man read the Bible more carefully.

"The Earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof." --Psalm 24:1

"The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land." --Lev. 25:23-24.

"Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet." --Ezekiel 34:18-19.

The Bible NOWHERE says that mankind OWNS anything. God owns it. We are supposed to be taking care of it for him, not trashing it.

Mal Adapted said...

BPL: "The Bible NOWHERE says that mankind OWNS anything. God owns it. We are supposed to be taking care of it for him, not trashing it."

As Brian said over at Stoat's, "words are slippery." While you may think "the" Bible is unambiguous, biblical scholars do not. Again, IMNSHO, even within a single translation the language of Genesis supports contradictory interpretations.

For devout Roman Catholics, though, only the Pope's interpretation counts. That's why I'm so encouraged by his pronouncements on Thursday. It's as if he has ordered his divisions to lay down their arms in their war against nature!

Susan Anderson said...

Click and ignore works on this Mac, but not on the PC in Boston. sigh. VERY nice!!