Conspiracy, correlation and causation

It looks like climate change is going to scupper one man’s ambition to be the next leader of our country. While Malcolm Turnbull considers this inconvenient truth, some might be thinking “at last, climate change has done something good”…

Some are looking forward to the day that climate change does away with our particular stretch of the Great Barrier Reef so that North Queensland can have waves.

And those who sell air conditioning are rubbing their hands together and counting their pools of money ala Scrooge McDuck.

This whole climate change phenomena has me thinking…

Many of my friends are skeptics. Some of my friends are believers. Most of the skeptics believe that the climate is changing (as it always has) though not because of human intervention. I oscillate between the two positions. I do think it’s funny that we’re worried about how much carbon dioxide is in the world when I always thought the net mass of chemicals everywhere was a constant… anyone who remembers photosynthesis lessons in high school science knows we just need to plant more trees…anyway. I’m not a climate scientist and do not intend to talk about what I don’t know in this post…

I have a theory that there are links there are between a few different philosophical outlooks on life.

I’m wondering about what correlation there is between the following beliefs and climate change.

  • Christianity
  • A “young earth”
  • The effect of sin/the fall on the planet
  • An old earth
  • Atheism

Biblical Christianity suggests that God intervenes in the workings of his creation, that it is under his control (particularly the Psalms) and that sin has tainted the planet as well as its people. There is an obvious link between humanity and any problems with the planet.

Because Atheism rejects the idea that anyone is in control – and must therefore assume that our finely balanced universe is always on the cusp of imploding under its own improbable existence* – atheists should be more concerned about climate change and therefore more ready to jump in and lend an environmental hand even if they’re not convinced by the science. Just in case.

My friends who believe in a young earth should find it heaps easier to believe that humans are partly responsible for what happens to the environment because we’re a more significant part of the planet’s history – and the change is occuring over a much faster period of time if the hockey stick graphs are to be believed. This has to be balanced against the fact that many of them are really good at ignoring scientists anyway.

Answers in Genesis has an article that pretty much sits on the fence, and one that suggests claims of our impending demise are greatly exaggerated

My Christian friends who believe in an old earth probably fall into one of two categories – they’re either the most skeptical of all when it comes to climate change, or they’re died in the wool believers. For the skeptics, the assumption that God’s sovereignty extends to the planet, meets the assumption that humans haven’t been around for long enough to have had a remarkable impact on the planet’s health.

For the Christian “climate change disciple” the idea that humans have wrecked the planet is consistent with the Bible, and the idea that scientists can teach us about how everything works is consistent with the way they understand the world.

I don’t understand atheist climate change skeptics. Where does their justification come from?

Regardless of these philosophical positions the suggestion that Australia should introduce an emissions trading scheme before the rest of the world is just silly. It comes from some sort of cultural aggrandising that suggests that somehow whatever our relatively small nation does will have an impact on the global scene.

From what I understand of the issue – particularly with relation to energy production (a fair bit at that point) – there are two things we could do that would have a major impact.

  1. Stop exporting coal
  2. Start exporting more uranium

I can’t see either of those happening any time soon.

*Not really what atheists think…

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

7 thoughts on “Conspiracy, correlation and causation”

  1. I'm a Christian, young earther, climate change skeptic. I agree that given man's fallen nature it's easy to understand man's knack for destruction, but those calling for action to combat climate change are advocating something far worse: the global redistribution of wealth, forcing everyone into a lifestyle of their choosing.

  2. Why is that in the most exciting week in politics in a long while, I have to concentrate on work…

    So we know that I'm a Christian, old earther climate change 'believer' (dislike that term). But we've already gone into this argument and I'm not going to do it again. But I will point out that in terms of who I am going to listen to on this – climatologists who have studied this their whole lives, or politicians who have a somewhat vested interest in keeping their funders happy (would that be the coal/mining lobby????)

    1. Again, debatable. There is plenty of evidence the other way (and there are inaccuracies in that particular article especially claims about Monbiot's response). This is what happens when journalists/politicians/the public expect experts to dumb down their findings to make it comprehensible to the layman – when really you need PhDs in climatology and many years of experience to have any real grasp of the meaning of the data.

      Electric hybrid cars are a stop gap until hydrogen fuel cells are fully implemented which will be very soon (already underway in California) so I don't know that the coal lobby can rely on that for long.

  3. I'm now wondering what the correlation between climate change and Calvinism.

    It seems the staunchest Calvinists I know are all vehemently opposed to the idea of human orchestrated climate change.

    I probably touched on this idea in the post but didn't develop it.

  4. I've never considered that correlation. My opposition to human orchestrated climate change always had to do with the sheer lack of evidence. Human impact on the environment tends to be localized rather than global. I'm all for good stewardship of the environment, but what we're seeing played out on the international stage has more to do with politics than saving the planet.

Comments are closed.