By Anthony Horvath
I need to admit from the beginning that I have not personally investigated the data said to be for or against Global Warming. That said, I have been watching carefully how Global Warming is being promoted and defended and as a long time observer of how Evolutionary Theory is defended, the similarities are striking.
Examples of censorship against skeptics of Evolutionary Theory are now so numerous that Ben Stein just produced a whole movie on how those who advance ‘Intelligent Design’ are castigated and even have their careers threatened for taking a view that is not strictly Darwinian. Have we not seen similar tactics employed in the Global Warming debate? There are many examples, including comparing skeptics of Global Warming to holocaust deniers, threatening to fire climatologists, and more.
There is one unique difference between Evolutionary Theory and Global Warming, and that is that each of us, as ones living on the globe, can get a sense for themselves whether or not it is warming or cooling in any dramatic fashion, but we do not all have access to all the fossils.
I can tell you that in Wisconsin it was a cold winter and it lasted long! Anecdotal, to be sure, but it makes one wonder when the Global Warming talk begins and hearing that long cold spells are exactly what you can expect from a warming globe certainly raises eyebrows. What would you expect from a cooling globe? Hot spells?
It is very telling that promoters of Global Warming have resorted to tactics long employed by Evolutionists. Rabid Darwinist Richard Dawkins famously said, “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” It is not long- indeed, the day may already be upon us- before those who are skeptical of Global Warming make the same kind of statements.
We must ask ourselves why the proponents of Evolution and Global Warming feel like they need to advance their positions by using such hostile methods. In the case of Evolution I think the answer is obvious: the science itself isn’t nearly as conclusive as we are led to believe. As such, the position needs to be advanced with blunt force since the evidence is not as self-evidently persuasive as other, less controversial, scientific facts. Might it be that Evolutionary Theory is actually propelled by philosophical naturalism and not the evidence as illustrated by another quote by Richard Dawkins, that evolution made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist?
Science has certainly done great good, although it has handed us numerous ethical dilemmas as well. Yet few probably understand that what passes as science these days isn’t always like the science they learned in high school. There we learned that science proceeded along a method: first you make some observations, then you hypothesize about those observations, then you craft experiments which will tell you more about your hypothesis, and you do this a number of times, testing different explanations and challenges to the data you are generating, and eventually you come to the point where you can generate a theory out of it all.
It is here that the similarities between Global Warming and Evolutionary Theory become uncanny. All of the really controversial aspects of Evolution happened in the past, outside of observation and beyond experimentation. We have fossils, which must be interpreted, and we have small scale examples of variation within similar organisms, but the rest of extrapolation. Nor can we make any precise predictions on what kind of organisms will emerge in the future, since the biggest driver of evolutionary change is change to the DNA code itself- which is random. The theory is impotent in offering anything more substantially concrete beyond predicting that species will change, which anyone who has seen a baby and noticed that it is different than its parents will observe.
Moreover, you can’t falsify the theory because uncomfortable data merely calls for a revision of it, with no realistic hope that anything would actually refute it.
Global Warming seems to be developing along similar lines prompting us to wonder if it too might be agenda driven. We observe the weather all the time, but as far as performing experiments at a scale that could actually tell us whether or not humans are causing the putative warming, that is an entirely different matter. Short term weather forecasting has improved a great deal but attempts to predict how many major hurricanes there will be in a season have been embarrassingly off. The year 2008 is producing a fair number of tornados, many more than previous years (though not all years), but as near as I can tell, there were not siren calls in 2007 telling us to watch out this particular year.
There is also the curious fact that according to the same data, the earth has endured numerous warming and cooling cycles with no help or hindrance from human activity. What kind of experiment is being proposed that will help us distinguish between a global temperature change brought about by public policies and a change brought about by natural processes alone? I am aware of none. I am not even aware that Global Warming proponents think it important.
So whether it is hot or cold Global Warming is a scientific fact just as Evolution is a scientific fact whether it happens fast or slow (see Punctuated Equilibrium). And don’t you dare question whether it happened! Your job is at risk if you do. That is perfectly justified, since if you do, you are ignorant, stupid, or insane- or possibly wicked. Naturally, you don’t reason with stupid and insane people, and wicked people you must oppose as a matter of course. Right?
No, I have not yet formed an opinion on Global Warming, but it appears that skepticism is called for. If others were to become more skeptical- even of scientists- who knows what towering theories would tumble.
Anthony Horvath is the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries. He is the author of the Birth Pangs series and his apologetics website, sntjohnny.com, is frequented by both believer and unbelievers.