Science likes the Pope for a Week
Ok, granted, the “climate change is caused by us and we’re all gonna die” folks need credibility help, because they really are terrible missionaries for their cause. They look, talk, act, and breath like they’re hiding a grand conspiracy. I think that most of that is just institutional arrogance, but who can tell the difference? Of course ignoring planetary science, and climate change on other planets, just because they “muddy the message” is just stupid, but there is plenty of stupid on the issue to go around.
People have to stop treating scientists like they’re incorruptible. They like money and renown just as much as anyone else with house payments, and they speak a lot of lemming-speak back and forth betwixt themselves, especially when an issue becomes popular enough to make funding easy. Opportunism and a whole ‘nother flavor of the denialism surrounds them on a variety of issues.
On the other hand, will Conservatives who continue to deny that the climate changes ever get a clue? Maybe. At some point, someone may ask, “Why are they being so stupid?…” Of course the obvious answer is, “…because big oil pays them to be stupid”. Now there are so many good, honest and important issues that Conservatives stand for, and those issues are all in danger because of this idiotic, almost lunatic view that the climate does not change. Satellite to that is the unsubstantiated claim that if the climate does change temperature then humans have no influence on it. Ok, listen! You can’t say that your opponents cannot support their claims due to a lack of data to support their models…and then hold an equally reticent position based on even less data…especially when your PR is worse than your opponent’s.
Pope Francis was said to be preparing a statement called an “Encyclical Letter“, which is essentially an official position paper from the Catholic Church, making climate change reversal a moral prerogative. I think it’s a stretch to call it that, it was released on Thursday and I don’t think it said that. It says “…a very solid scientific consensus indicates” that climate change is happening and has a variety of assigned causes, including human activity. I can’t argue with that. It also touts that environmental responsibility is important…I agree with that also.
My fellow Conservatives should not criticize the Pope for taking sides against them. It is not his job to agree with them. The document is carefully worded to not claim expertise on the issue. In fact, it seems to carefully avoid sourcing itself for its conclusions about climate change. Many non-experts…like myself, the news media, and politicians…take no care to do that. For a Conservative politician to say that the Pope is no expert on climate change, or for the news media to say that a Conservative Politician is no expert on climate change, or for me to say that any of the above is no expert on climate change…takes comedic irony to a whole new level.
Environmental and cultural responsibility do seem to be major themes of the Encyclical. However, out of the 246 numbered paragraphs in the document, only 8 or so specifically mention climate change. News sources everywhere seem to like quoting out of those sections only. Interesting. It’s as if the world’s most influential religious leader had nothing else important to say.
The document also speaks out against the usual topics of war and moral decline, but folks don’t seem to be interested in talking about that. I saw 3 or 4 paragraphs in the Encyclical Letter which spoke of the disintegration of the family unit. I Googled it…nope, no mention. My Google search did spider several links to articles saying that the Pope is going to theme the next meeting of the Synod on the topic of families, and supposedly talk about it on an upcoming U.S. tour. The family unit has been confirmed, by both science and religious leaders from the whole of Christiandom (that can’t seem to agree on much else), to be very important to our culture at several levels…and at least one science writer remembered to mention that today.
So maybe there is hope. 😉
Update: News critic Bill O’Reilly made a similar comment regarding myopic Liberal support for the Pope when he came to visit… http://www.billoreilly.com/column/The-Pope,-The-President,-The-Press,-and-Politics?pid=46483