Former NASA scientists warn Pope off climate change bandwagon
ROME, June 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) –A group of scientists, some retired from NASA, have joined with Evangelical Christian theologians and laity to warn Pope Francis in two open letters about the anti-life pitfalls of the climate change ideology.
The letter, written in anticipation of a promised encyclical on climate change, laments: “Today many prominent voices call humanity a scourge on our planet, saying that man is the problem, not the solution. Such attitudes too often contaminate their assessment of man’s effects on nature. Naively claiming ‘the science is settled,’ they demand urgent action to protect the planet from catastrophic, human-induced global warming.”
But the authors respond that “good climate policy must recognize human exceptionalism, the God-given call for human persons to ‘have dominion’ in the natural world (Genesis 1:28), and the need to protect the poor from harm, including actions that hinder their ascent out of poverty.” They argue that not only has the heavy use of fossil fuels eliminated much of the world’s poverty over the past few centuries, but CO2, though often identified as a harmful byproduct, actually has a beneficial, greening effect by promoting plant—and crop—growth.
The two groups behind the letters are the Right Climate Stuff Research Team, two dozen retired scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a self-described “coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.”
The first letter dated April 27 is much longer, appearing on the Cornwall Alliance’s webpage, and the second one dated June 1 is actually addressed to “Pope Francis I, Apostolic Palace, 00120 Vatican City.”
The second letter has little theology, but it has plenty of scientific argument about why Global Warming predictions are fallacious and still some theology about how the Catholic Church, given its “preferential option for the poor” must not endorse United Nations climate policies that would restrict fossil fuel use and impoverish humanity, hitting the poor the hardest.
The authors tell the pope that they were “compelled to write you” by a statement from the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) supporting United Nations proposals to mandate world-wide C02 emission restrictions to prevent “a climate disaster.” But “such statements ignore a large body of empirical evidence that calls this recommendation into serious question,” they state.
Elsewhere the letter warns that the models predicting the disaster “are wrong. They therefore provide no rational basis to forecast dangerous human-induced global warming, and therefore no rational basis for efforts to reduce warming by restricting the use of fossil fuels or any other means.”
The longer version argues that honest science supports the sceptics, and explains that this kind of empirical, evidence-based science grew out of the Christian Middle Ages and its firm belief in the order and predictability in Nature, based on an even deeper belief in a rational Creator.
“What has delivered much of humanity from absolute material poverty is a combination of moral, social, political, scientific, and technological institutions,” the longer letter argues. “These include science and technology grounded on a view of the physical world as an ordered cosmos that rational creatures can understand and harness for human betterment.”
There is only one signator to the shorter letter released June 1: Harold H. Doiron, a Ph.D in mechanical engineering and a longtime NASA scientist. Right Climate Stuff contact person Ted Peacock, another ex-NASA scientist, told LifeSiteNews that the IDs of most team members were kept secret to “avoid repercussions” from Global Warming proponents within the scientific community. Speaking in lay person’s terms, Peacock added that most, “so-called” evidence of man-made climate change was “a load of crap.”
Doiron told LifeSiteNews that his group are all volunteers, with no outside funding, but plenty of experience creating computer models at NASA that the lives of astronauts ultimately depended on. “I believe in computer modelling,” said Doiron. “But we wouldn’t dream of using models that hadn’t been checked against other physical data. So we validated our modelling of how the lunar landing vehicle would behave by constructing actual scaled-down vehicles and dropping them on different sites here on earth.”
None of the computer models used to project Global Warming have been tested against physical “proxies” for temperature change over the last 10,000 years, said Doiron. “We checked that data and came up with thousand-year cycles and 60-year cycles that have nothing to do with CO2 variations.” Recent warming appears to be evidence of the latest 60-year cycle reaching its peak about a decade ago, said Doiron.
The man behind the Cornwall Alliance, and “co-ordinator” of the open letter to Pope Francis, is Calvin Beisner, a non-scientist who was a professor of social ethics at Knox Theological Seminary, and a leading organizer of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, a group of clergy who are climate sceptics.
Triggering their concern was the joint statement of The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences issued after a Vatican conference on sustainability and climate change held at the end of April. It endorsed new United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals,” and drew speedy condemnation from Voice of the Family, an alliance of pro-life groups that includes LifeSiteNews, created last year to promote pro-life values in the Vatican. Several SDGs promote “reproductive rights,” a euphemism for abortion and artificial contraception. One advocates for the rights of young children, but fails to mention unborn children.
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The Cornwall Alliance’s web page also refutes environmentalist claims to link their agenda to the pro-life cause. In part, it states, “Two fundamental principles distinguish truly pro-life issues (like abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research) from environmental issues.”
“First and foremost, truly pro-life issues are issues of actual life and death, while environmental issues tend to be matters of health. Second, truly pro-life issues address actual intent to kill innocent people, whether the unborn, the gravely ill, or the aged, while environmental issues do not.”
An even stronger argument has been made by humanist and rocket scientist Robert Zubrin in his book, "Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism". Zubrin links a long chain of “antihumanist” thinkers who have argued that overpopulation and over-development would destroy life on earth, or at least human life. While such unlikely allies as the Catholic Church and Marxists resisted, 20th Century Malthusians, eugenicists, Nazis, and liberal Protestants called for the suppression of ethnic groups deemed genetically inferior, while scientists such as those at the Club of Rome and environmentalists called for a halt to development.
Zubrin notes with amusement that soon after doomsaying scientist Paul Ehrlich wrote his 1968 bestseller "Population Bomb", predicting overpopulation, starvation, and world war unless inferior races were suppressed, he added to his despairing picture by predicting a global cooling disaster caused by pollution. “Paul Ehrlich warned that particulate pollution from ‘overdeveloped countries’ like the United States could cause ‘another ice age,’ and it was for this reason that industrial growth needed to be stopped.”
Global warming, supposedly caused by man-made carbon dioxide, arrived intellectually just in time, writes Zubrin, to save “the antihuman movement,” because the predictions of the Club of Rome that natural resources and food supplies would run out in the ‘70s and ‘80s were being disproven one by one.
But while other kinds of industrial pollution could be filtered out by technology, “CO2 emissions cannot be stopped without radical restrictions on modern civilization,” Zubrin writes. And chief among them is a restriction on population.
Such restrictions are the goal of antihumanists, argues Zubrin, while freedom to innovate, invent, and create are the aims of the true humanist. In such creativity, he predicts, will be found the answer to depleting fossil fuels, global warming, and poverty.