Science comes from the Latin word scientia which means, simply, ‘knowledge.’ Scientists should be simple purveyors or knowledge. Unfortunately, we inhabit an incredibly complicated world where nothing is simple and everyone is biased (though not everyone is willing to admit their bias). One of the biggest problems that I’ve seen with so much ‘science’ is a lack of admitting prejudices and presuppositions. No one approaches any body of evidence void of presuppositions. When I walk along a wooded trail and take in nature’s sights and sounds, I find evidence for a masterful creator. Others see vestiges of nothing more than natural processes which have been working for billions of years. How can we come to such contradictory conclusions? We have the same evidence.
The fact is that when we begin with different beliefs, we’ll very often come to different conclusions. Think of it this way: A man finds a note that says, “Head west 40 paces. The treasure lies two feet down.” There’s only one location where he can begin and end up in the proper location. If he begins walking from the wrong spot, he’ll never find the buried treasure. The place where we begin intellectually has a huge impact on where we’ll end up in our thinking. Depending on whether I’m a theist or an atheist or a pantheist or a polytheist, I’m going to come to different conclusions. And then, depending on whether I’m a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim, I’m going to come to different conclusions. And even whether I’m Catholic or Baptist or Charismatic or non-denominational, I’m going to come to different conclusions (on certain issues).
The late Grant Jeffrey’s book, The Global-Warming Deception, brings this universal truth out and shows the bearing it has on the whole issue of man-made climate change (or Anthropogenic Global Warming as the book terms it). Jeffrey begins the book by discussing the socialist and atheistic beliefs of many of the most strident advocates of a belief in man-made global warming. Unfortunately, there are places where he seems to take this to an unnecessary extreme. He makes a very broad generalization when he claims that “the worldview of those who embrace the global-warming theory holds that the existence of the earth, its solar system, and its extremely complex climate system are simply a random accident” (pg 13). I have numerous Christian friends and acquaintances who have a firm faith in the Creator God of the Bible but still believe in “global-warming theory.” Thus, it seems slightly unfair to characterize all believers in global warming as atheists.
Another problem that I had with the book’s opening pages were its focus on apocalyptic scripture found in the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation. I am not a premillenialist and the author of this book most certainly was. He goes on for what seemed like ten to twenty pages discussing the Antichrist and his coming kingdom. Then, he tied the global warming propaganda into the coming of the Antichrist and basically claimed that when he comes, he’ll use the global warming issue to consolidate power. I’ve never spent a considerable amount of time studying eschatology, but I have a healthy skepticism toward anyone who claims to have all of the details mapped out.
Fortunately, the first two chapters merely serve as a slightly bitter appetizer. The main course is where the book gets delicious. Chapters three through nine are excellent and detail, with a plethora of citations, the lies that are being perpetrated by many climate scientists and the alternative, more compelling causes that seem to explain the way our climate fluctuates over time. He notes the fact that carbon dioxide accounts for a mere 0.0000114% of the earth’s atmosphere. Then, he reveals that there are numerous other factors that impact the temperature of the earth such as sunspots, water vapor, cloud cover, etc. None of these, though, can be changed by humanity. As a result, Jeffrey believes that many climate scientists focus solely on CO2 because this is something that humans can change and which gives people on the left a means to achieve changes which they desire anyway. What they seldom discuss is how little CO2 in the atmosphere is actually the product of humanity. Jeffrey quotes one source as claiming that termites give off more CO2 than all human activity combined. There are several chapters in the middle of the book where Jeffrey details facts and statistics about the various possible causes of global warming.
Another chapter of note is one in which Jeffrey discusses the famous Climategate scandal which occurred in 2009. Hundreds of private e-mails between well-known climate scientists were released which made it obvious that there were certain pieces of data which they did not want becoming public. This issue should upset people whether they believe in man-made global warming or not. Science should be an open process in which information flows freely. Dr. Tom Wigley is right when he writes in one of the e-mails, “The trouble here is that with-holding [sic] data looks like hiding something, and hiding means (in some eyes) that it is bogus science that is being hidden” (pg 116). He’s completely right! If I know something that runs contrary to my belief and I make sure no one else knows, wouldn’t you assume that my belief is actually less supported by the facts than what I’ve made out? And that’s the problem with much of the climate science that Jeffrey discusses. There are many great claims; unfortunately, the long-term data doesn’t bear it out as clearly as what many would have people believe. There have been times in earth’s history when temperatures have been greater and less. There have been times in the past when CO2 has been greater and less. This time is not particularly unique in the history of the world.
One of the problems I had with Jeffrey is also a problem I have with the climate change alarmists: they have something of an obsession with the apocalyptic. Like any good religion, environmentalism has a detailed eschatology. However, in their version of the end times, there is no return of a savior. In fact, there’s no salvation at all. Instead, there’s only utter desolation brought on by the sins of mankind. The eleventh chapter of Jeffrey’s book focuses on how radical environmentalism resembles religion. This was probably the part of the book that most interested me and the one that I most recommend to other Christians. It will open your eyes to the rise in pagan religion which Paul prophesied in Romans 1 and which can clearly be seen today in so much of Western culture.
The book is filled with a number of statistics and quotes that I wish I could mention but I simply don’t have the time. Instead, I recommend that if you’ve had doubts about man made climate change you check this book out. There will probably be places you can skip over (especially if you’re not interested in his end times theology), but the bulk of the book is full of facts about the weaknesses in many of the arguments for a belief in man-made climate change. Overall, it was a good overview of the global warming skeptic’s arguments.