A Gathering Voices post by David Maxwell
A teenage woman named Erin was recently interviewed by This American Life director Ira Glass. Erin listens to Glen Beck and says that despite what her science teacher says about the effect humans are having on global climate change she, like Glen, thinks it is all propaganda. She just doesn’t believe in global warming.
Erin is not alone. American public opinion on climate change has dramatically shifted in recent years despite the dramatic increase in temperatures and climate disasters around the world. In 2006 seventy-nine percent of Americans believed the earth was warming. Just three years later the number dropped to fifty-seven percent. Bills have been introduced in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and passed in South Dakota, to force teachers to teach “both sides.”
Erin agreed to talk with Ira on a show where he brought in a high school science teacher who gave her best arguments to explain global climate change. Erin was then asked to question the teacher and say what was or was not convincing to her.
The teacher laid out two general lines of reasoning. First, when we look around the world we see temperatures rising continuously both on land and in the oceans. Polar ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. This has all been proven with measurements. Secondly, she explained how scientists have proven that this is linked to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Again, scientific data now exists to show this.
Erin listened, but said she was not convinced. She repeated arguments the other side has made and one by one the scientist responded convincingly to one who trusts the scientific method. One of the common arguments of skeptics lately has been that global warming is a hoax because we have recently had record snowfalls in parts of the U.S. The science teacher answered that in fact, there is more moisture in the air now given the melting of the ice caps and we expect more storms, including snow storms for the time being.
What was troubling about the interview was that in the end, there was not much science could say to convince Erin. For her, global warming, like evolution, is a belief. It is a he said/she said argument, a mind exercise.
Those who trust science are not sleeping well at night. For good reason.
Personally, I try to find hidden agendas.
The science community and those who believe the scientific method works, are trying desperately to explain to the world that we are on a disastrous course. Unless humans immediately slow activities (like burning coal and oil) that heat the planet, species will continue to disappear, including human beings eventually. I do not see agendas from the scientific community that can potentially harm us. Indeed, they are trying to save God's earth.
On the other hand, the money going into the political campaigns and educational battles where science is being questioned often come from the very corporations and individuals who directly benefit from an economy based on oil and coal.
I used to rest my hope in future generations who would see behind some of the abuses of a capitalist democracy overly influenced by corporate money. Now, I am not so sure.
Check Out This Week's Earth Day Resources from www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com