A Skeptical Humanist and his Newspaper
In this post, I will bemoan the faltering of two of our institutions: marriage and science. The newspaper provoked me this week; the bulk of this concerns global warming and healthy skepticism.
Kardashian Makes a Mockery of the Institution of Marriage
Another pretty face that was built up by the machine has mocked marriage again. It only took 72 days for Kim Kardashian to do so. Seventy-two days? Rather than speculate about the relationship, I want society to look at the PR marketing machine that builds ordinary folks into media magnets.
Some poor in spirit but wealthy media continue to unwisely invest in characters to show the world how things shouldn't be done. Are they THAT lacking in discernment or are they intentionally seeking to demoralize society? This wasn't intended as a rhetorical question! Character should count for something. What, are they suggestively trying to get us to accept the degradation of the "stars" they run through the machine as normal? Is this what these media perverts want our youth to aspire to? Our media institutions are broken down!
My suggestion for the media is this. First do some background checks into the character of the individual BEFORE you build them. If they pass and later are found to set a bad example for society then by all means the media should "pull the plug" upon them just like a disgraced minister receives when they are found to violate trust.
Global Warming, Climate Change and the Institution of Science
Buried well behind the front page of the November 2, 2011 Washington Post was a piece written by Martin Weil entitled "Snow, cold make October one for the record books." Contained within is a paragraph worth noting:
At least four tornadoes touched down in the Washington area last month, and snow fell in October for the first time in many years. In addition, it was the first month since March with a below-average temperature.
Either we are facing an oncoming calamity or we are being manipulated for a swindle. Laymen have no way of knowing which scientists to believe about global warming, climate change or whatever new designation is chosen to describe what is in dispute. Weil's paragraph squares with climate change but is at odds with global warming. Two months of below average temperatures provokes skeptical questions within reasonable people. Skeptics notice aberrations!
I frequently observe Internet searches that lead to this website asking questions such as, "Why are Christians reluctant to accept global warming?" Science should be objective, but whenever scientific luminaries get into other things such as killing religion... . credibility is lost, especially within the Christian community. Still, some dimwits can't seem to see any correlation between the two.
Look at atheism's most recognizable leaders (Dawkins & Myers); scientists at war with religion. That warfare with religion comes with a high price tag that impedes scientific instruction of many within religion. Wouldn't it have been a more prudent decision for science to have avoided religious warfare altogether and have religion friendly scientists deliver the case for global warming and evolution? Too late now, they have already blown it!
This ex-minister doesn't know whom to trust upon global warming. On one hand, I think we are screwed if the issue falls along partisan lines. On the other, I think we are already screwed if global warming is true simply because of the alienation of the faithful by scientific hybrids moonlighting as hatemongers. Basically, we would need the faithful's cooperation to help solve the problem. As it now stands, that cooperation isn't there nor do I see this changing in the near future due to the breakdown of convention within science and it's warfare with religion.
Am I skeptical about global warming? Yes, I am especially whenever the pitch states a consensus scientific opinion rather than a unified one! Science itself is divided upon the subject. Which scientists are we supposed to believe these days?
Last year, my curiosity spurred me to visit NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) to gain a better understanding. Turns out that they weren't receptive or interested in furthering inquisitive minds. Living in DC, I have frequented institutions and organizations and without fail all that I have visited were pleased that someone showed interest and made you feel welcomed. Plus, most wanted to hand you a packet to get better acquainted with their cause or mission.
NOAA was standoffish and wouldn't show a human face. When I visited, rather than speaking face to face with a live person they asked you what you were doing there and gave me the third degree. It was rather unpersonable having walked into their building in a good expectant mood to only have someone tell you to speak to a person on the telephone that treated me like a Russian spy. Needless to say, I left with a different impression that made me wonder why they were so uptight and rude.
I wasn't skeptical about global warming on that September 1, 2010 date when I walked into NOAA; I was aligned with the majority position inclined to side with what they said. However, my experience has been to question whenever a group doesn't want to talk about something. Red flags go up! I embrace skepticism and welcome questions that might challenge the reasons that underpin stances that I hold; I suspect those that can't do the same.
The consensus opinion loses traction with me when I compare it with a field in which I cut my teeth... religion. My religious skepticism is a minority position amongst current clergymen. I'm well aware that the crowd can be wrong about something they are passionate about!
If you're reading this trying to ascertain my position upon global warming you are missing the big point. Let me answer the last sentence by saying that this discussion is largely about the breakdown of our scientific institutions that cannot send out a clear signal to society! I still suspect that we have a dire problem and want to point out how this unwarranted sacred - secular conflict has exacerbated/complicated potential solutions.
From my vantage point, both science and religion have a peculiar chip upon their shoulders. Too often sides become unglued with healthy skepticism that starts with a question. It is like a sales objection that flusters a poor salesman; that same objection is a buying signal to a closer. How one responds sets up the perception of the inquisitor.
If I have learned anything from fundamentalism, pedophiles Dr. Bob Gray and Donald Domelle it is that they all despised critical inquiry. Turns out that my skepticism was right. Rather than science becoming unglued with my skepticism of temperature aberrations and religion being offended by inquiry... seems that I'm really digging at something not easily recognized. I'm speaking of the spiritual problem of PRIDE!!! Simply put, questions shouldn't offend us!
So what do I suggest? A dose of General Patton is prudent... ."know what you know and know what you don't know." Personally, I know the Bible but upon global warming I have two differing views to choose from. I can't think of another issue like global warming that is so dependent upon trust.
In closing, trust is in question because our day is so laden with rampant GREED! Greed is a spiritual problem. If you ask me, I think it is likely the greatest problem upon our planet. We can't cure greed with science. If you ask me, religion is the best tool to combat greed! Nor will we be able to solve global warming as long as skeptics combat religion. The sacred - secular dualism works in our best interests; dueling doesn't. Think about it!
Worley November 11, 2011 Ex-minister.org
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