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Climate Change Conclusion

Counter-CutResearching the climate change issue has been an interesting experience, not only from the scientific perspective but also from the spiritual perspective because it confronted me with a number of unanswered questions regarding  some very fundamental issues.  I’d like to share those issues with you, but will not attempt to answer them at this time.  I may, however, come back to them at a later time.

Scientific loose ends

Questions abound regarding the scientific methods applied to obtain the graphs included in this series of essays on climate change. Here are some outstanding concerns:

  • What is the cause of the sawtooth pattern in Figure 1 of “Climate Change Examined” and how does it work?  We must first understand this phenomenon to know what we need to be measuring, since that is overwhelmingly the dominant effect.
  • What is the cause of the noise in the system?  Perhaps we can examine in more detail the curve in Figure 2 of “Climate Change Examined” to get a better understanding of the noise sources and levels.  But one must establish causation – not simply correlation!  See humorous correlation of federal debt with global temperatures. Furthermore one must remember that we are still only studying the noise, and not the signal.
  • What is the source data, and how reliable is it?  All global climatic and temperature data are derived.  Some are derived from ice cores, others from tree rings, still others from satellite sensors; there are other sources as well.  Each source has its limitations and requires significant interpretation.  What assumptions were made during that interpretation?  What mathematical models were applied?  Were they correctly executed and appropriate for solving the problem?
  • How accurate are the instruments collecting thermal data, and do they provide a truly representative sample?  There have been reports of data pollution due to unreliable measurement, calibration, and maintenance procedures.  There have also been reports of significant geographic extrapolations being made from a single sensor possibly located in a thermally polluted location.
  • How are the effects of localized thermal phenomena eliminated from the source data?  Satellite based global thermograms clearly show significant geographic variations of temperature.  How are these variations “averaged” and how does that process distort the conclusions?
  • Can we reliably extrapolate measurement results gathered within a period of less than 100 years to 100,000 years and more?  Can we be certain that the conditions we observe today consistently existed that far back?  Can we assume that the small changes we observe today are accurate representations of large changes over long periods of time?  Not necessarily…
  • What is the zero (reference) temperature, and how is its consistency ensured across different, unrelated data sets?
  • How do the climatic data and theories conform to other bodies of knowledge and to independent sources such as geologic formations, paleontologic records, and data from other disciplines?  If these different data are incoherent with our climatic findings, we have a serious problem somewhere.
  • …and more and more questions will invariably arise in our quest for truth and knowledge.  Thus sooner or later we must simply admit, “I don’t know.”  Sooner or later everyone will reach the limits of personal knowledge.  At that point everyone must depend on the integrity of other researchers to provide accurate conclusions faithfully, including limitations.

Unfortunately many researchers fail this integrity challenge.  The global warming email hoax casts serious doubt on the integrity of all the research, and places all data into question.  It’s unfortunate, because now all data must be independently verified, but one doesn’t have the time to do so.

So we each must ultimately make our personal decisions based on faith…

Spiritual questions

Which brings us to a spiritual quandary.  Can a Bible believing, faithful Christian accept the scientific data we have been examining?  Is there an irreconcilable conflict between the Biblical accounts and history as depicted by the data presented in the charts?

Let me answer that by telling you of my geologist friend who makes a very good living locating large oil deposits.  He is a Christian, and much of his life he wrestled with a serious problem:  He was looking for signs of oil based on rock formations apparently millions of years old, formations apparently in conflict with the Biblical record.  He was confused and frustrated.  Ultimately he posed the following series of questions and received the following answers:

“Can the omnipotent God (who created the heavens and the earth from nothing) create a rock?”
“Of course He can do that!”

“Can He make that rock of iron, gold, pyrite, granite, or whatever He chooses?”
“Of course He can do that!”

Then my friend realized, “Wait a minute!  I can make a new chair that looks 100 years old.  I also know a builder who can build a new house that looks 100 years old.” So he asked,

“If man can make new things that look genuinely old, can God make a rock look a million years old if He so chooses?”
“Of course He can do that!”

Finally the answer hit him.  The issue is not a matter of knowledge, but a matter of faith.  He can choose to have faith in himself and his own personal, unreliable, limited knowledge; or he can choose to have faith in the omnipotent and omniscient LORD of The Bible, who is perfection and truth itself.  Suddenly my friend knew the answer:

“God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth from nothing, can make a rock and make it like anything He pleases – including millions of years old!”

“Why would God do such a thing?” the geologist asked himself.  He thought up all kinds of theories:
“Perhaps the only way God can create oil deposits without violating His own laws is to place them in million year old rocks.  Perhaps He wanted to create a puzzle for us.  Perhaps… “

Then my friend received his response:  “God is God and you are not.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:9)

It’s immaterial whether or not we understand everything God does and how He does it.  What matters is our faith in Him, His Word, and Christ Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

There is no choice.  We must have faith in someone because we don’t know what we don’t know.  The only outstanding question is, “Faith in whom?  Ourselves?  Or our Creator, The LORD?”

I choose The LORD instead of dishonest researchers.  If God chose to make this earth 6000 years ago and chose to make it appear very old, that’s OK with me.  If He actually created the earth millions or billions of years ago, that’s OK with me.   God is God and I am not.  He was there and I was not.  He is Truth and I am a wretched sinner.  My job is to honestly search for Truth and simply tell people about what I found:  Christ Jesus.

The non-believer will say, “Oh, that’s a cop-out.  Your Jesus is a myth.  You can’t be certain God exists.  ”
Actually, I can be certain God exists, because I’ve personally experienced Him through Christ Jesus and because

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  (Psa 19:1)

But that is a discussion for another day.  In the meantime, I challenge the non-believer to provide a better explanation for the miracle of creation, life, beauty, and goodness without faith in someone – even if it’s just himself.

Not as it looks

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