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Climategate: Less Heat, More Light Needed

by Hugh Ross, Jeff Zweerink and Kenneth Samples

Recent dissemination of private emails from influential scientists associated with a leading climate research center has raised the temperature of an already hot debate. Is global warming contrived? Are scientists and politicians acting in collusion to ensure a political agenda—one that is detrimental to the economic sovereignty of the United States? What does the Bible say or not say about stewardship of the planet?

Reasons To Believe scholars Hugh Ross, Jeff Zweerink, and Kenneth Samples respond briefly to these questions and more in this Science News Flash podcast.

In the case of the hacked emails revealing apparent skullduggery Zweerink notes that “science is incredibly objective; but scientists are not necessarily. The reason why science works is not because scientists are some better group of people who are smarter, more knowledgeable, more objective, more ethical. It’s because science has an inherent set of checks and balances built into it that ferrets out that lack of objectivity.” Zweerink adds that the unethical behavior eventually comes to light as part of the scientific process, which serves to correct and eliminate errors.

Nevertheless, nonscientists who are also careful thinkers can come away with the notion that worldview plays a great part, says Samples. “A lot of Christians look at this and . . . it seems very political. It seems that the environmentalists have a particular agenda . . . a particular worldview.” People should ask, “Where is this data derived from? Can I trust it? What are the best interpretations?” Samples says that Christians should “resist the idea of accepting big political theories without asking tough questions.”

RTB science scholars would agree that scientific data establishes that Earth has warmed in recent decades and anthropogenic (human-caused) warming makes up a significant percentage. Ross cites the shrinking polar ice cap and the opening of the Northwest Passage as two strands of evidence for global warming.

What about proposed solutions that call for sacrifice and possible economic hardship? Ross asserts that draconian solutions are not necessary. Shrinking the Sahara and Gobi deserts (by planting vegetation, for example) would be an economic boost for Africa, Europe, and Asia and would soak up a fair amount of greenhouse gases. Also, ostrich farming––Ross says it’s nutritious and tasty––as a replacement for beef would eliminate much of the gases produced by cows.

Such measures require effort and cooperation, but not privation, and remain consistent with a biblical view that holds humans responsible as stewards of God’s creation, with God providing solutions that are both ethical and economically beneficial.