Posts Tagged 'Science and religion'

Ocean Acidification Scam


The evidence is inexorably mounting that the climate alarmists have been taking us all for a ride. It is only be a matter of time before their agenda is exposed as one of the biggest con tricks of all time. Thus they are already scrambling to breathe new life into the CO2 emissions scare. It will become obvious (by the passage of years if nothing else) that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not, after all, cause any significant climate change, thus it will be necessary to blame CO2 (and hence man) for some other catastrophic event. So, prepare yourself for the coming “ocean acidification” scam.

The media have already entered the fray with lying narratives that sound like science fiction scripts, warning about the catastrophe of ‘acid oceans’ and ‘toxic seas’. The BBC have churned out headlines such as ‘Marine life faces ‘acid threat”, ‘Acid oceans ‘need urgent action” and ‘Acidic seas fuel extinction fears’. Newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and the Times have got in on the act with scary headlines such as ‘Mussels face extinction as oceans turn acidic’, ‘Pollution to devastate shellfish by turning seas acidic’ and ‘Acid seas threaten to make British shellfish extinct’. Just recently, it has got all the more strident: the Sunday Times (March 8, 2009) chimes in under the headline The toxic sea:

Each one of us dumps a tonne of carbon dioxide into the oceans every year, turning them into acidified soups — and threatening to destroy most of what lives in them.

And from the Guardian (March 10, 2009) under the headline Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs:

Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs…The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon belched out from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean…the pH of surface waters, where the CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere, has fallen about 0.1 units since the industrial revolution, though it will take longer for the acid to reach deeper water.

Note the continual use of the word acid. Yet there is not the slightest possibility that seawater will turn to acid, or even become mildly acidic, so this is drivel. Note also the claim that pH has changed by 0.1 units over the last 200 years: it was not possible a hundred years ago, never mind 200 years ago, to measure pH to the accuracy necessary to support that assertion, so it’s just posturing. Finally, notice that CO2 is branded ‘human pollution’, though CO2 is an entirely natural and absolutely essential nutrient for plant photosynthesis, without which all life on earth would certainly become extinct very quickly.

As an aside, we should note that if lower alkalinity per se were so unfavourable to shellfish as is claimed then we would have no freshwater shellfish and snails – but we do. The freshwater mussel has lived for thousands of years in waters that are genuinely acidic and with highly variable pH, not only seasonally, but geographically. With spring snowmelt and high rainfall, the pH of rivers and lakes can fall to below pH 5, and experiments have shown that mussels can survive this acidity indefinitely without any deleterious effects to their shells. Note: a pH of 5 has 1,000 times as many ‘acidic’ H+ ions per litre as seawater, and 100 times more than pure water. This is not to say that sea creatures can survive in fresh water – they are adapted to a radically different saline environment – the point at issue is that the idea of a small change in ocean pH due to increased dissolved carbon dioxide having a deleterious effect on marine shells of living organisms is not as obvious as the alarmists make out.

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Atheist Mythology

Every belief system has an account of origins, and atheism is no exception. Narratives for atheists include the Big Bang (origin of the universe) and evolution (origin of variety and complexity of living organisms). Instead of man being formed out of the dust of the ground by God, man is formed out of the dust of the ground by evolution. It never ceases to amaze how those who espouse naturalism can poke fun at the Biblical account of origins, and yet be unable to see the ridiculous nature of their own position.

One who has studied a great deal about mythology is Raphael Madu. In his work African Symbols, Proverbs, and Myths: the Hermeneutics of Destiny he refers to earlier work by Earl MacCormac in Metaphor and Myth in Science and Religion, and Madu points out (footnote, page 96):

Because men have traditionally assumed a dichotomy between myth and science, it might be shocking to talk of scientific myths… Scientific explanations are known for being falsifiable and thus temporary, but to forget these qualities of science and assume that they are absolute and final, is to create a myth. The dissimilarity between religious and scientific myths is largely on the level of content. While the former are replete with descriptions of legendary heroes and deities, the latter are filled with mathematical symbols and references.

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Christianity and Science

It is commonly believed that there is a war between modern science and Christianity, but such a view has long been discredited by historians and sociologists. No less a figure than Steven Shapin, Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, notes that

In the late Victorian period it was common to write about the “warfare between science and religion” and to presume that the two bodies of culture must always have been in conflict. However, it is a very long time since these attitudes have been held by historians of science.

Moreover, Gary Ferngren, a professor of history at Oregon State University, adds that

Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour.

It is certain that there is a war between Christianity and atheism, but to portray the Christian faith as being at war with science is nonsense, because the Christian faith pursues, embraces and delights in all truth, since it teaches that all truth is from God. Natural science is simply one aspect of the universe of truth: the truth about the natural world, which God created and upholds. Accordingly, there can never be any truth or fact found by natural science that is inimical to the Christian faith. Neither is there, strictly speaking, such a thing as ‘Christian science’ because such a term implies that truth can be institutionalized, whereas truth is universal, and should be universally disseminated and applied.

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Phoney War

The premise that science and Christianity are in conflict is without foundation. Many atheists have a vested interest in promulgating the idea, to the extent that it has become a myth. As with all propaganda, if a falsehood is repeated long enough and often enough it erodes and eventually supplants the truth.

Vocabulary is very useful in propaganda. At school I was correctly taught that the period known as the ‘Dark Ages’ is called thus by historians because there are few extant writings from that period – its history is dark and obscure for us. This is the view of sensible historians, but unscrupulous popularizers, and those with particular axes to grind, would prefer to put it the other way around, that the ages were ‘dark’ because the populace were superstitious and unlearned. By pushing this line, it becomes easier to get acceptance of the word ‘Enlightenment’ to describe the so-called Age of Reason in the eighteenth century, as if light came in and dispelled darkness when ‘reason’ was elevated to the highest authority, displacing divine revelation. But, of course, this ushered in unitarianism, deism, and eventually atheism, which, from a Christian worldview, were wandering in ever-increasing darkness, the blind leading the blind so that both are now fallen in the ditch.

Edward Gibbon, described by the historian Franco Venturi as “The English Giant of the Enlightenment” makes a good examplar of a prejudiced historian in his famous and highly influential work in 6 volumes (1776-88) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Not only does Gibbon excoriate Christianity for its enfeebling effect on a virile civilization (a theme recapitulated with a good deal less learning and erudition in the nineteenth century by the philosopher and God-hater, Nietzsche) and for supplanting “the great culture that preceded it”, but he also describes the Middle Ages as “the triumph of barbarism”, which is an utter travesty. Gibbon ignorantly writes off the Roman Empire that continued in Byzantium for a thousand years after the western part of the empire was overrun in the fifth century as “a tedious and uniform tale of weakness and misery” which bequeathed nothing to posterity, and his definition that “wars, and the administration of public affairs, are the principal subjects of history” is excessively narrow. To Gibbon’s credit, he did immense research on primary sources, but this simply makes his end product the more blameworthy. As J.C. Stobart pointed out

…this is one of the cases which prove that History is made not so much by heroes or natural forces as by historians.

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God cast out

The eminent chemist, Peter Atkins, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, Senior Member of the Oxford Secular Society, Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and outspoken atheist, has the following to say about science and religion,

Religion, it’s just fantasy, basically…and is evil as well.

But Atkins demonstrates that he himself is the fantasist (or else ‘ignorant, stupid or insane’, to use the language of Richard Dawkins against those who do not share his beliefs) by making the laughable declaration:

…there is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence

According to Atkins

You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don’t think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word…

So what are you then: an unreal scientist, a fake scientist, an imaginary scientist? And an evil fantasist to boot?

Thus, according to Atkins, in the subset of scientists who are ‘real scientists’, none can be theists. Only atheist scientists, like Atkins, are “beacons of rationality, and intellectually honest”. That excludes Robert Boyle, the ‘father of chemistry’ – that discipline of which Atkins is a practitioner – Newton, Hooke, Franklin, Priestley, Dalton, Faraday, Maxwell, Thomson and Einstein, to name a few. Well, if these folk were not real scientists, one should be very happy to be not a real scientist, as it’s very good company to be in.

Robert Merton (Social Theory and Social Structure, 1949) determined that a majority of the founder members of the Royal Society were distinctively Puritan. Certainly, a considerable number of them were Calvinists. It was very largely the Calvinist constituency who brushed away the dead hand of the pagan Aristotle, and gave birth to modern science. They developed the necessary motivation and the methodology, logical and experimental. Modern science would never have got any traction without the Calvinists, and today’s scientists are simply building on the foundations and superstructure that they have inherited from the Christian worldview. Atheist scientists have to sit on God’s lap to be able to reach up to slap him in the face.

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