Science v. Religion

“Now, Al Gore is no scientist, so he could claim that he was brainwashed or bamboozled into his scientific swiss-cheese opus. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the world’s best known scientists – an astronomer by trade. Tyson is the television host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a sequel to the PBS program Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, hosted by Dr. Carl Sagan in 1980. Tyson, like Sagan, believes that the mindset needed for a healthy science understanding is the same mindset needed for a healthy democracy – don’t just accept what authority tells you, as intellectual and moral docility – is suicidal.

 It is, therefore puzzling, why he thinks Venus is the way it is due to the greenhouse effect – which is another way of saying global warming. Venus is almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit and the clouds are sulfuric acid. Even the most aggressive climate change models and their 20-foot ocean rises don’t predict that for Earth.

 We can allow that catchy buzzwords make something timely and that they are a snapshot of the culture of the period. For example, if this sequel to Cosmos had been made in 1989 the screenwriters of Cosmos would have invoked acid rain on Venus instead of global warming.

Regardless, CO2 did not cause the poisonous conditions on Venus; instead, CO2 is an effect of the poisonous conditions on Venus. Invoking the greenhouse effect when talking about Venus is like blaming ocean liners for inventing barnacles.

The controversy between science and faith was also brought to the front inadvertently by Tyson on Cosmos. Early in the fifth episode, Tyson discusses the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, whose ideas included “early stirrings of the scientific approach,” as well as innovative political theories encouraging peace, love, and egalitarian values. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mozi’s followers were later persecuted by a government that wanted power.

Tyson said that Mozi wrote a book titled Against Faith, as if Tyson intended to suggest that Mozi was some early anti-religious visionary. The actual title was Against Fate – according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which describes it as an essay rather than a book, titled “Rejecting Fatalism.”

So, what did Tyson actually say in the episode? Is this another historical inaccuracy in Cosmos? It could be argued that he says Mozi’s work was titled “Against Fate,” Certainly, the context has nothing to do with fate or fatalism, but it has everything to do with a supposed triumph of rational investigation over faith-based thinking.

These programs are of course taped and meticulously edited, so it’s not an unscripted live performance where verbal stumbles or ambiguities are unavoidable and difficult or impossible to correct. Perhaps Tyson made a Freudian slip. Whatever the case, it’s unfortunate because it means viewers will be misled into thinking Mozi opposed religion [which is not true].

One statement by Tyson that is clear comes when he praises Mozi for promoting a philosophy “against blind obedience to ritual and authority,” attempting to cast Mozi as some kind of a secular innovator. Once again, Tyson left out a crucial, inconvenient fact: Mozi was a monotheist whom, scholars have recognized, promoted a “Christian”- like view of God. You might even call Mozi an apologist for a form of monotheistic religion in his day.

As historian Klaus Schlichtmann puts it: Mozi advocated a monotheistic religion, in which God reigned as King in Heaven, a universalism based on principles of equality and justice, as well as the concept of “unbound (i.e., undifferentiated) love” (jian’ai), which was also said to be of “mutual utility,” quite similar to the Christian idea in many ways.

The Chinese scholar and reformer Hu Shi (1891-1962) remarked in 1919 that Mozi was “probably the only Chinese who had founded a religion” and “possibly one of the greatest spirits China ever produced.” Hu Shi came to the conclusion that “though it is to Confucius that his countrymen paid lip service, it is Meh Tse [Mozi] who has – unknown to them –  really molded their thought.

 Mozi’s practical philosophy contains elements of what one might call political science as well as fundamentals of a political and individual ethic. Among the main goals of his political ethic is the elevation of the welfare of the people and the general cultivation of law and good administration. The utilitarianism of the Mozi school is everywhere emphasized in the literature as a main characteristic: “His aim is the mutual balancing of needs, based on equality … The principle, however, that supports people’s relations to each other is, for Mozi, not blood relationships and not ritual, but love.”

 Far from being against faith, Mozi founded a monotheistic religion where a supreme and loving God reigned over the Earth from heaven. No wonder he also promoted scientific methodologies – after all it was also a monotheistic culture – a Christian one – that gave birth to science in the West, where people believed in one God who reigned supreme over the universe and gave it intelligible, discoverable laws.

 Once again, we see that monotheistic religion in conducive to science and democratic values. Tyson’s Cosmos not only ignores this, but seeks to give the [false] impression that religion and science stand opposed to each other.

 The connection between politics, specifically PLDC political correctness, and science in modern America was never more evident than when Tyson waded into the 9/11 issue in 2003. According to Tyson, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush uttered the phrase, “Our God is the God who named the stars.” According to Tyson, the President made that claim as a way of segregating radical Islam from religions like Christianity or Judaism.

TYSON: [Sounding snarky – a popular PLDC style of speech when not addressing acolytes] Here’s what happens. George Bush, within a week of [the 9/11 terrorist attacks] gave us a speech attempting to distinguish we from they [sp – should be “them”—but, that’s a minor detail]. And who are they? These were sort of the Muslim fundamentalists. And he wants to distinguish ‘we’ from ‘they’. And how does he do it?

He says, “Our God” — of course it’s actually the same God, but that’s a detail, let’s hold that minor fact aside for the moment. Allah of the Muslims is the same God as the God of the Old Testament. So, but let’s hold that aside. He says, “Our God is the God” — he’s loosely quoting Genesis, biblical Genesis — “Our God is the God who named the stars.”

Tyson’s story has three central claims: 1) Bush uttered that precise phrase, 2) in the days immediately after 9/11, 3) in order to distance American religion from that practiced by radical Muslims [and 4) that the Judeo/Christian God is the same being as the Islamic Allah – which we discuss in much detail elsewhere]. As you have probably already guessed, every single claim is false – as is Tyson’s aside that Bush’s quote was a “loose quote” of the book of Genesis.

Fact checkers could not find any account of Bush having said anything remotely resembling the quote in the days following 9/11, and Bush’s speechwriters deny this is something the President said.  There is, however, a short speech on Islam as a religion of peace, which takes a very different tack than that which Tyson suggests. The closest thing to the quote Tyson attributes to Bush is from remarks the President gave in 2003.

The only similar quote came in February of 2003 after the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, when the president said; “The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today.” However, contrary to what Tyson has repeatedly claimed, the Columbia space shuttle comment – which was wholly different in purpose, content, and timing than the alleged 9/11 quote cited by Tyson – was meant to unite the nation following a horrible tragedy, not divide it based on religion.

And contrary to Tyson’s claim that the alleged quote was loosely taken from Genesis, the actual quote was taken from the book of Isaiah. A similar verse can also be found in Psalm 147. It is important to note that the claims are not casual remarks in conversation or responses to questions, but planned and repeated accounts.

Finally, a quote from famed astrophysicist, Dr. Lawrence Krause of Arizona State University, to illustrate the mindset and arrogance of the modern, secular scientific community in the Western Tradition and their bona fide (read the e-mails) conspiracy to derail the progress of our civilization for their own narrow-minded and self-centered interests. He states:

“The more we learn about the workings of the universe, the more purposeless it seems.”

What this statement actually reveals is the incapacity to conceive of thought greater than his own, apparently limited, mind can comprehend. How sad! Fortunately, most of Western Civilization has no problem with accepting the fact that there are things that they will never be able to comprehend – and that’s alright.”

In my humble opinion, the scientific method and its practitioners like Einstein, Hawking and Newton pale intellectually when compared to those seekers who are practitioners of faith – not religion – faith – like that set down by Paul of Tarsus, Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas – who said that “…nature is a preamble to the gift of grace.” (Think about that concept for a minute, if you dare.) “Blessed are those who don’t see, and yet, believe”, said The Christ.

After all, isn’t what the secular scientific minds throughout history are merely doing is describing things that had already been created? Can you see gravity? Do you believe in its power? But, here’s the real question! Where did it come from? That’s the puzzle that secular scientists will never be able to explain with their equations.

To then just ignore this intellectual dilemma is small-minded – no, feeble-minded – indeed.

So, what is the point of this discussion about our secular savants Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Al Gore and the rest? It is to demonstrate that the line between science and politics has been breached and the sea of questionable science, or questionable judgement by renowned scientists or those posing as scientists before an adoring cabal, is pouring into America, threatening to drown us all in ocean of lies disguised as scientific truth.

When the most prominent scientific voices in America, the “go-to guys” about science (the quest for unambiguous truth) for the infotainment industry – pronounce on politics, faith, religion and science with impunity from the truth, we desperately need our own life (truth) preserver – and that is the real shame.

But the real danger comes when the power of government is employed to assist in the perpetuation of the lie. To wit, this absolutely stunning 2016 report:

 “TV journalist Doug McKelway reports that five Republican senators are fighting back against what they see as heavy-handed tactics by the Department of Justice to silence climate change skeptics.

 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., may have unintentionally shed light on the DOJ tactics at a Senate hearing in March when he pointedly told Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “Under President Obama, the Department of Justice has done nothing so far about the climate denial scheme.” Lynch replied, “We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI.”

 Within days of that exchange, Democratic attorneys’ general from more than a dozen states fired off subpoenas seeking decades of records from climate change skeptics. Among them: university professors, scientists, corporations and think tanks including the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It’s already had a chilling effect since we got the subpoena 45 days ago,” said CEI’s Sam Kazman. “This was a subpoena issued by the attorney general of the Virgin Islands for some reason.” “It’s way more than a chilling effect, it’s an absolute freezer effect,” he added, citing outside legal fees CEI has paid to fight the subpoena.

 ExxonMobil was subpoenaed last year by New York Democrat Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is seeking the oil company’s 40-year-old in-house research about fossil fuels and climate. He told PBS’s “News Hour” on Nov. 10 that he believes ExxonMobil may have withheld information that could have hurt the company’s shareholder value. “We have to see what documents are in there, but certainly all of the claims would lie in some form of fraud,” Schneiderman said.

 The company’s shareholder value, of course, has nothing to do with this blatant witch hunt being perpetrated by Democrat government officials that are hell bent on completing a political agenda [while shredding the Constitutional protections against restraint of speech and unreasonable search and seizure – why would the government have any right to any professor’s or researcher’s privately funded work without cause?]

 When asked during the same program whether it defrauded the public, Kenneth Cohen, ExxonMobil’s vice president of public and government affairs, said, “The answer is a simple no.” Cohen added, “The discussions that have taken place inside our company, among our scientists mirror the discussions that have been taking place … by the broader scientific community.”

 While the recent actions involve state attorneys-general, five Republican senators wrote Lynch on May 25 demanding DOJ cease its “ongoing use of law enforcement resources to stifle private debate on one of the most controversial public issues of our time – climate change.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), author of the letter, said: “I sent the letter because the attorney general of the United States should not be threatening criminal investigation with respect to someone who chooses to simply exercise their First Amendment rights.”

 First Amendment rights aside, accusations of distorting climate science for political advantage run both ways.  That was demonstrated when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled Aaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club, over satellite data that is at sharp odds with predictions of a rapidly heating planet. “The computer models say there should be dramatic warming,” said Cruz, “and yet the satellite measurements don’t show any significant warming.”

 A flustered Mair responded, “But senator, 97 percent of scientists concur and agree there is global warming.” That 97 percent figure, like so much else about the science of global warming, is the subject of vigorous debate.

 Meanwhile, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is fighting back, asking a D.C. Court to fine the attorney general of the Virgin Islands for allegedly violating its First Amendment rights. In a small, unexpected victory for CEI, the Virgin Islands AG withdrew his subpoena two weeks later, but not before CEI had incurred considerable legal costs.”

 Finally, it is that statement that “97 percent of scientists concur and agree there is global warming [mainly caused by modern industry, most severely by the United States]” that is most troubling about the global warming debate. Scientists cannot even agree on the history of global climate change much less pretend to have the ability to predict the future of our climate. Once again, we refer to the facts:

 “Recent findings reveal that the Medieval Warm Period, a balmy season that Europe experienced from 950-1250 AD, was not felt elsewhere, including Greenland. Records show that Vikings first sailed from Iceland to Greenland in 985. They settled there in the 10th Century and anywhere from 3,000-5,000 settlers lived on Greenland, farming and harvesting walrus ivory.

 “It’s becoming clearer that the Medieval Warm Period was patchy, not global,” said lead author Nicolás Young, a glacial geologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The concept is Eurocentric – that’s where the best-known observations were made. Elsewhere, the climate might not have been the same.”

 The research not only challenges climate theories about the time when Greenland was settled by Vikings, it also calls into question long-held beliefs about the disappearance of the Viking settlers a handful of generations later. It was once believed that the colonies, which vanished sometime between 1360 and 1460, succumbed to a colder climate. The Vikings’ disappearance was thought to have followed the onset of the so-called Little Ice Age, which ran from about 1300-1850. Experts, however, have questioned this theory, noting the lack of early historical climate records from Greenland.

 While the disappearance of the colonies remains a mystery, other theories now include hostility with the native Inuit, a decline in ivory trade and soil erosion caused by the Vikings’ cattle.  “I do not like the simplistic argument that the Greenland people went there when it was warm, and then ‘it got cold and they died’,” said Astrid Ogilvie, a climate historian based at Iceland’s Akureyri University. “I think the Medieval Warm Period has been built on many false premises, but it still clings to the popular imagination.”

 Also, snow that began piling up 10,000 years ago in Antarctica is adding enough ice to offset the increased losses due to thinning glaciers, according to a NASA study. The latest findings appear to challenge other studies including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2013 report, which found that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

 “We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30, 2015 in the Journal of Glaciology, said in a statement.

 “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”  Zwally said, adding that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”

 According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008. The mass gain from the thickening of East Antarctica remained steady from 1992 to 2008 at 200 billion tons per year, while the ice losses from the coastal regions of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula increased by 65 billion tons per year. [This data show a net overall gain in ice of 129 billion tonsper year over the entire continent of Antarctica between 1992 and 2008 or 2 trillion tons overall. What global warming?]

 To quantify whether ice sheets are growing or shrinking, scientists measure changes in surface height with satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.

 To assess the amount of snow accumulation, the researchers used meteorological data beginning in 1979 to show that the snowfall in East Antarctica actually decreased by 11 billion tons per year. They also used information on snow accumulation for tens of thousands of years, derived by other scientists from ice cores.

 “At the end of the last Ice Age, the air became warmer and carried more moisture across the continent, doubling the amount of snow dropped on the ice sheet,” Zwally said. The extra snowfall that began 10,000 years ago has been slowly accumulating on the ice sheet and compacting into solid ice over millennia, thickening the ice in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches per year.

 This small thickening, sustained over thousands of years and spread over the vast expanse of these sectors of Antarctica, corresponds to a very large gain of ice – enough to outweigh the losses from fast-flowing glaciers in other parts of the continent and reduce global sea level rise.

 “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”

 Earlier this year, a study in Nature Climate Change found that global sea levels were rising faster than previously thought. Researchers used satellite data combined with tidal gauge information and GPS measurements to overturn previous suggestions that rates had slowed in the past decade.

 Another study by Harvard University’s Carling Hay and his colleagues in Nature examined rates of sea level rise before 1990 and found they had been overestimated by about 30 percent. That means the acceleration in sea-level rise in the past two decades is greater than previously thought. Most researchers blamed the rising seas on melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica and shrinking glaciers, triggered by the rise in heat-trapping, greenhouse gas emissions.

But even if Antarctica isn’t part of the mix now, that could change in the future. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years – I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses,” said Zwally.”

 The Obama administration claimed that “global warming” caused by man-made activity was the greatest threat to America’s national security. I agree! But, not for the same reasons. The prostitution of America’s scientists for their own personal and professional gain will destroy our nation’s ability to lead the world’s democracies and ultimately defend ourselves from true scientific advances that may be used against us by non-politically correct nations.

There seems to be more chaos than consensus in the scientific community than the federal government’s “97 percent” would indicate! Just another classic example of the PLDC’s “Big Lie”.

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