05 May 2008

Utter nonsense

This morning in the mail I received two copies - I'm not sure why - of Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition: Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant Wisdom on the Environment (with two DVDs) from the Acton Institute (2007).

On the cover the institute boldly proclaims, "OVER 80,000 COPIES IN CIRCULATION." This is largely due, no doubt, to their free and uninvited mailings.

The book is largely concerned with the so-called "global warming" and in the introduction we are asked four questions:
  1. Is the planet warming?
  2. If the planet is warming, is human activity (like CO2 emissions) causing it?
  3. If the planet is warming, and we're causing it, is it bad overall?
  4. If the planet is warming, we're causing it, and it's bad, would the policies commonly advocated (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol, legislative restrictions on CO2 emissions) make any difference, or would their cost exceed their benefit?

This may well be the worst case of presumptive logic I've ever seen! The answer to each question, as you can tell simply from the questions themselves, requires a positive answer to the previous question. Talk about a set up! The good news about this sort of (il)logic is that it is very easy to refute.

The presumed answer to the first question is, "Yes, the planet is warming," which, of course, flies in the face of the scientific data. The planet isn't warming, but cooling. (The archives of the American Papist are an excellent place to browse for more information and good commentary.)

If the basic and primary premise of the book is false it does not bode well for the remainder. I'll read no more of this book.

Certainly we should be concerned about the environment and should do our part to live as good stewards of the part of the earth entrusted to our care, but we should do so based on true morality - remembering that we are stewards who have dominion over the earth - and on scientific fact, not media hype, exaggeration and the latest passing trend.

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