Last night a friend of mine completing a degree in the sciences from Emory University and I engaged in a spirited debate over climate change.
We also talked about evolution and the creative hand of God. We conversed while we waited for the results of the vote counting for the Humane Society of Forsyth County’s 2011 Board elections meeting.
The room was packed with many voters, so it took a while for the counting to be completed. We had time for a nice long chat.
Our discussion initiated regarding the legitimacy of global warming theory but “evolved” into a discussion of natural selection and creation by a divine entity. While we agreed in advance that we would probably disagree in opinion on certain issues, my friend and I were able to communicate cordially, showing respect for the opinions of one another by taking the time to hear them, rather than simply shouting him down or vice versa.
My friend and I agreed that Rajendra Pachauri is a terrible choice to lead the IPCC, but he remained unconvinced that the organization itself was useless and corrupt.
When the debate turned to the “science” of climate change debate, my friend asserted that he believed the recently believed statistical prediction found in a study published by AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science) of a global rise in temperature ranging anywhere from 0.2C degrees to 2.4C degrees, in a best-to-worst case scenario.
This writer cited with the “latest” announcement found in Yahoo News, which claims the best case scenario listed in the AAAS study is actually the worst. The article reported:
Scientist Scott Mandia forwarded to AFP an email he said he sent to Hisas ahead of publication explaining why her figures did not add up, and noting that it would take “quite a few decades” to reach a warming level of 2.4 degrees Celsius.
“Even if we assume the higher end of the current warming rate, we should only be 0.2C warmer by 2020 than today,” Mandia wrote.
“To get to +2.4C the current trend would have to immediately increase almost ten-fold.”
Mandia described the mishap as an “honest and common mistake,” but said the matter would certainly give fuel to skeptics of humans’ role in climate change.
A simple an honest mistake? In orders of magnitude? Really?
Okay, for the sake of argument, let’s say that’s true. This isn’t really all about cap-and-trade legislation and carbon taxes in our future, but legitimately about protecting the planet.
In that event, this writer heartily supports good stewardship of the Earth with which we’ve been blessed. But can’t we know what we’re doing before running around like Chicken Little, declaring all Western economic growth should be halted for the next two decades?
Why don’t we admit the truth: solar flares and the sun have far greater influence on the temperature of our planet than carbon dioxide, which literally comprises a miniscule portion of our atmosphere? This writer pointed to evidence like that above and the accurate meteorological predictions of Piers Corbin, who studies the sun to forecast weather properly an astounding 85% of the time.
My fellow animal-loving friend made a compelling argument that legitimate concern should be placed on evaluating the acidic content of our oceans rather than temperature. He suggested that shellfish and algae were adversely affected by higher than normal carbon content in the water.
He did concede that it is correct to say that more CO2 is emitted by a single volcanic eruption than every car on earth.
Lacking enough information to counter his argument about acid oceans (though acid rain was supposed to melt off our skin about twenty years ago), this writer agreed more research was necessary if aquatic wildlife is really endangered. My friend mentioned an intriguing proposed solution involved dumping iron into the ocean to absorb excess carbon.
If it works, why not?
He seemed to find my theories of reconciled creationism with evolution interesting, and particularly seemed to be astounded that creatures such as polizzies, zedonks and wholphins exist.
Our conversation was so stimulating, my friend expressed interest in reading Divine Evolution by the end of the meeting. Perhaps my last copy here at the house will make a good graduation gift for him in a couple of months.
It was…different, not to be called a liar, a moron, etc. A pleasant change, to be sure.
One could get used to exchanging ideas without vitriol. Just don’t expect to see it on television, in the political arena, or the comments section after my articles.
The beauty of our dialog last night was it was unscripted and unplanned; a spontaneous exchange of ideas and information took place without either person feeling belittled by the other because of what he believed as we shook hands and said goodbye.
No human being has all the answers. Most of us don’t even bother to think about the questions. Some of us know a good bit about one particular thing, but nobody knows a whole lot about everything.
Not even Emory University can’t teach a comprehensive knowledge of our universe and the life within it.
The reality is that we haven’t really scratched the surface of discovering its secrets.