As Reasons To Believe science scholars travel and speak, audiences ask about global warming perhaps more often than any other issue. RTB does take a position and we’ve got a statement right here on our Web site, but if you’re looking for an exhaustive treatment of a very complex phenomenon, you won’t find it in this column. However, since RTB has developed a scientific model that attempts to explain natural history, I thought I’d ask the science guys where global warming fits into the model.
By way of background, anyone familiar with Reasons To Believe can readily determine how RTB’s model accounts for the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of humanity. Several RTB books spell out details on many of the big questions. But as a layperson I’m not sure what the model says or doesn’t say about global warming. I even checked out Hugh Ross’ 89 predictions in Appendix F of Creation as Science. Nothing jumped out at me, so I asked RTB astrophysicist Dr. Jeff Zweerink a couple of specific questions. (I’ll paraphrase his answers.)
- “If RTB’s model claims to explain nature’s record, how does it accommodate the current phenomenon”?
Human beings have been given a charge to rule over (care for) creation and they have been endowed with the tools to know how best to do so. Human contribution to global warming is scientifically unclear at this time, and may in fact be minimal. It would be premature to extrapolate a 30-year period of warming to a thousand years. Many other natural processes such as the tilt of Earth’s orbit, the brightness of the sun, plate tectonics, and the sequestration, recycling, and absorption of carbon govern the global climate. RTB’s model would hold that the Creator has exquisitely designed the planet’s climate for the benefit of human civilization, and it would be in our best interest to understand the mechanisms responsible for this sophisticated, yet delicate system.
- “I’ve read or heard you and other RTB scientists describe a good scientific model as one capable of directing research and predicting future discoveries. How would RTB’s model direct scientific inquiry, and what predictions arise when considering global warming”?
With a better understanding of Earth’s features, we would predict to find an increasingly robust design of the global climate. RTB’s model would direct research efforts into physical, biological, and atmospheric processesâ€”one area of fruitful discovery being carbon sequestration, recycling, and absorptionâ€”to comprehend their complex interrelationships. And more insight can come from studies of Earth’s volcanism and plate tectonics. The point is that much more can be learned before we make confident pronouncements about who or what is responsible for short- or long-term global warming.
Scientific advance results from dogged pursuits of poorly understood phenomena. Such quests not only indicate whether models are correct but can also lead to breakthroughs that benefit humanity.
There you have it. Again, remember that Jeff is not trying to explain everything about global warming. My questions, and perhaps yours, comes in light of the opinion that RTB’s forte is the testable model approach to harmonizing the records of nature and Scripture.
Let’s see how this shakes out. Maybe in the coming months or years we’ll know more.