Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Southern Baptists Turn Green (or at least Go Green)

In a move that will surprise many, various Southern Baptist leaders have decided to support a declaration on climate change. This involves some 44 significant Baptist leaders and it marks a departure from the position on global warming adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention itself.

Here is the article in the NY Times---

These leaders, which include Rev. Frank Page, the current leader of the SBC, are concerned that the Convention position is too timid, and does not address or recognize the seriousness of the case for global warming and climate change. There is now a Southern Baptist Climate Change Initiative as well. Dr Timothy George of Beeson Divinity is one of the signers and supporters of these new stances that take issue with the 2007 declaration by the SBC itself. SBC watchers have noted that this initiative is being spear-headed by some of the younger and rising leaders in the SBC.


Israel said...

How so very very sad that now even the Church is being conned by the world.

Avey said...

Maybe they are searching for a greener way for creation..... or maybe a greener way of carrying out their support of Capital Punishment... are they really concerned about creation?

Falantedios said...

I appreciate their concern for God's good creation, but buying into voodoo meteorology is not the way.

You don't have to buy into "An Inconvenient Truth" to believe that air pollution and big-business farming practices are corrupting and prostituting the beautiful creation of God.


Ben Witherington said...

I'm sorry but to characterize the hard work of the majority of climate scientists, including many Christians as 'voodoo meteorology' is inappropriate, never mind incorrect.

I have personally seen the clear evidence of climate change in the polar regions, and I have watched how the pollution has not only destroyed the beautiful firs that once stood on top of Mt. Mitchell, but how it has eaten holes in the ozone.

Honestly the evidence for global warming, in part caused by human pollution is so overwhelming it really isn't even a point of debate any longer for the vast majority of the scientific community, including my wife the biologist and botanist.
You don't have to take Al Gore's word for it, but most of what he says is reasonably on target and accurate.

Christians do themselves no great favors by sticking their heads in the sand and pretending like this does not exist or isn't happening. It just worsens the image of Christians in the intellectual community.



James Gibson said...

Christians are to be good stewards of God's creation as an expression of our reverence for God. God has promised a new heaven and a new earth in which the corruption and imperfection of the present order will be wiped away. As Christians who believe in the sovereignty of God and his promise to renew his creation, we are to live our lives in the present in a way which points to that glorious future.

This does not mean, however, that we are to buy into the propaganda of global warming alarmists whose agenda is, shall we say, something wholly other than Paul's vision that creation "will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Repeating Al Gore's talking points or dismissing other views on the grounds that the issue "really isn't even a point of debate any longer for the vast majority of the scientific community" is a closed-minded (and transparently anti-intellectual) ruse to avoid having to deal with a few "inconvenient truths" that Al Gore failed to mention. It wasn't that long ago that the same "vast majority of the scientific community" was warning about "global cooling" and the coming of another ice age.

Human arrogance concocted the global warming hysteria. A little Christ-like humility will open our eyes to the realization that stewardship of God's creation involves something far deeper and more spiritually substantive than buying carbon credits or driving hybrid cars.

Michael Gilley said...

Couple of points need to be made here I think.

First, let's not read environmentalism and such issues into the Bible. The authors of Scripture were not aware of such issues in their pre-scientific world, nor did they really care. (They didn't drive around cars and fly planes and they didn't know this would be done later.) What this issue really comes down to is simply intelligence. The planet earth is all we have for the time being for however long the Lord must tarry and now that globalization is a huge factor in the raping of the planet's resources we need to take that into consideration not as much for us, but for our children and our children's children. Banking on the theological maxim that we are to be good stewards of God's Creation (man made as God's image) then we ought to act as God would on earth.

Secondly, the majority of climate scientists do agree that global warming is at least presently a reality to the point that they don't argue it anymore. I believe it would be arrogance on my part to disagree with that being that their combined education and experience in the field far exceeds any that I could have or really any that disagree. This is an anti-intellectualism that preaches the same old "don't get no education, all you need is the Bible!" The best we have to deal with is the evidence if front of us now. We cannot afford to keep traveling down the road we're on based on a whim that it'll all pass.

Thirdly, I'd just like to know what those who oppose global warming are so scared of? Are they scared that we are going to stop burning fossil fuels or stop putting black smoke in the air? Oh no, perhaps things might actually change! Heaven forbid that. The same resistance to scientific advancement and understanding has pervaded church thought even since the days of Galileo and his telescope.

billy said...

Ben, with all due respect, I don't think you are giving credit to the many scientists (particularly climatologists; Just because your a scientist in another field, that does not mean that you understand climatology that well) who disagree with the more alarmist elements of the global warming movement. I agree that it is unfair to call it 'voodoo meteorology', but it is certainly fair to criticize some of it's conclusions.

I take offense at your statement that taking a cautious stand is 'sticking my head in the sand'. I am simply trying to make sure that the evidence supports any actions that I take (and I'll say it again, even a cursory reading of the mainstream media reveals disagreement in the scientific community).

Let's all take a step back here. Christians have greater things to worry about than claiming someone they disagree with is 'being conned' or 'sticking their head in the sand' on an issue like global warming

Carrie Ann said...

I highly recommend that everyone read the book, "Serve God, Save the Planet" by Dr. Matthew Sleeth. It is a great look at this issue.

David A Booth said...


Thanks for the post.

This is a tricky issue in some ways. As Christians, we should be very clear that protecting the environment is a Biblical mandate.

On the other hand, my Doctorate is in Theology. I absolutely don't want the President taking my advice on climate change (or that of a group of prominent Southern Baptist pastors). I want the President to be listening to our top scientists who have dedicated their lives to the field of climate change. Surely, they will make errors in judgment - but I don't stop going to my Physician when I'm sick just because he isn't perfect.

It might be wiser for us to frame the issue in terms of: (1). Our responsibility to care for the environment; and (2). Our desire that policy makers listen to the scientific experts in this field; rather than tying ourself to any particular conclusion reached on by our best contemporary scientific minds.

I am aware that there is a significant consensus among the experts in this area that man-made climate change is a real problem. Yet, don't we have more moral credability advocating for the right process than for any particular conclusions when we are speaking outside our sphere of expertise?

Best wishes,


David A Booth said...


One follow-up comment that grieves me:

Many of the Christians whom I've heard treat Global Warming as though it is some left-wing political conspiracy, seem motivated in part by an unwillingness to pay the price that might be required to protect and even improve the quality of the environment.

Once it becomes clear what the right thing to do actually is; Christians ought to be at the forefront of those who are willing to pay whatever price doing the right thing entails.

I fear that we evangelicals have become far too comfortable with our comforts.


David A Booth

Tom 1st said...

As a Southern Baptist attending Asbury Seminary, I finally have something to be proud of my denomination for. That God for these young leaders willing to glorify God in their stewardship of His creation.

billy said...

Concerning this 'scientific consensus' about global warming, a few things. First, a majority of scientists agreeing on something does not make it true (do I really need to go back through the history of science and produce examples where 'the majority' has been wrong). Second, science involves both the collection and Interpretation of date. Interpretation involves presuppositions which can be wrong. This is why there is in fact disagreement among scientists about global warming. Some disagree that a warming is taking place and others recognize some kind of warming but dispute that there is any evidence to conclude that mankind is the, or even a, cause. I am not saying I can understand all the arguments (because quite frankly I can't) but other scientists can and some disagree with the alarmist wing of the global warming movement. Here are just a few links that show some disagreement in the scientific community.,2933,316914,00.html,2933,317946,00.html,2933,316499,00.html,2933,307456,00.html,2933,333710,00.html

Michael, let me respond to some of your points. But first, let me just say I think the ad hominens are unnecessary. Not everyone who disagrees with al gore is an anti-intellectual or against scientific advancement. Those are simply ways to scare people from dissenting. Let me encourage everyone to stick to the issues at hand without the improper generalizations and attacks.

I'm not personally 'scared' of the response to global warming. However I do think that some of the actions suggested by some are short sighted. I think we should let scientists come to a consensus before doing things on an international level that are not economically viable by third world nations who are simply trying to survive day by day. I am also not a big fan of over-restricting car features (like fuel efficiency) that hurt the economy and ultimately force people to be laid off.

Furthermore, from a religious standpoint (I am on staff of an SBC church) I don't think the SBC needs to even begin thinking about things like global warming until we stop dishonoring God by lying about our membership numbers (check out Tom Ascol at the founders ministry blog for more information on this problem). That is an incredibly serious problem that the convention seems unwilling to discuss, and quite frankly I think we need to spend all our time and energy on a convention level fixing that before we move on to other areas.

In the end, I am not against those who believe that global warming is a more serious issue. It may well be, I am just trying to point out that in reality there is not a true scientific consensus. And until that time comes, I think we have bigger issues to worry about in the church right now (racial harmony, lack of biblical/theological understanding, corruption/moral failures, etc.)

Ben Witherington said...

No, human arrogance did not concoct global warming. The empirical evidence has convinced the vast majority of scientists who have actually studied the evidence.

And please, lets not be citing stories from Fox News which is about as objective as Al Jazeera.

Try looking at the evidence in both secular and Christian scientific publications. A good place to start would be actually reading some articles from Scientific American.


Ben W.

Bob said...

The fact of global warming during the past 35 years is irrefutable, just as was the fact of global cooling during the 30 years prior to that. But the evidence that the recent warming (or the previous cooling) was man-made is less compelling. In fact, considering that Mars has seen even greater temperature increases in the past ten years, one has to wonder how much of Earth's warming should be attributed to human activity.

Either way, I rather doubt that the burning of fossil fuels is actually one of the sins from which Jesus redeemed us. But even if I'm wrong about that, I'm a bit hesitant to do penance by leaving the power grid. (It's just so Roman Catholic.) Regardless we can be assured that the environmentment will be perfect when Christ returns.

billy said...

Ben, I am grieved by your response. I was hoping you would be much more open minded. Instead you resorted to attacking fox news rather than dealing with the evidence. Quite frankly, that is below you and I think you know that. Are you arguing that those stories are false? that the scientists don't exist? Please don't simply reject my point of view because I disagree with you. I was not attempting to argue the specific scientific points (in which case I would cite from directly from scientific journals) I was simply pointing out that there are scientists who have publicly disputed the effects of global warming. That is true regardless of the news medium that conveys their words.

Kevin said...

my experience as a former southern baptist is that most love to blindly follow the mandates sent down from on high. such as boycotting disney which led my uncle and his family to burn all of their disney movies - i'm serious.

so if this is what it takes to get them to start recycling then praise the sbc now that is something i never thought would come out of my mouth or fingers.

Luke said...

To simply dismiss this phenomenon and say we need to be worrying about other things is immature and selfish at best. Christians should be the most environmental people in the world, because it is our God who created the earth and gave us dominion to rule over it. He shares his power with us, and quite frankly, we've screwed up.

I praise God that these Southern Baptist leaders are taking a stand. I've attended a Southern Baptist church my entire life and it has been nothing but right-wing propaganda. We never, ever cared about the environment, preached about it, taught about it, etc. All we cared about were souls getting saved, and I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but Christianity is a little more than that.

When the Republicans, and George Bush in particular, start noticing global warming as a growing threat and problem, then our ears should poke up. To say "lets worry about other things" and "there are some scientists that don't agree with it" when the evidence is quite conclusive is like saying Governor Spitzer is innocent.

Michael Gilley said...


Thank you for pointing out my shorthandedness. I should have been a little more careful with my wording. I was not referring to anyone who opposed or disagreed with Al Gore. I don't care for a lot the man has to say. However, I was speaking more about hard liners who do indeed portrait a fear of the unknown and uncomfortable (or perhaps the higher price). Often this crowd preaches what I referred to as anti-intellectualism, citing what was said earlier about Ben. In lieu of 'scare' I probably should have used 'fear' since it is a little softer. Either way, it is the route of what keeps from action when its consequences would be beneficial whether the problem at hand is a reality or not (i.e., aiding the environment). What's the harm in aiding the environment anyway? Whether there is global warming or not, fuel efficient cars among other things would do the environment good.

As for the economic issues of change, there's a whole slew of topics and avenues this could take. First of all, if the United States spent the money it does on war helping third world countries develop then they wouldn't be used as an example. I haven't done the math but you get my point. While the fuel industry would be hurt by fuel efficiency measures it would also create stimulus in alternative fuel markets. Obviously, people have to travel and traveling takes fuel and cash. It's not simply deleted when restrictions on hazardous practices are put into place. The cash flow is diverted into other areas that can be of better benefit for us all. Not to mention new jobs would be created. And don't even get me started in oil companies and the Bible.

The idea of let's-wait-and-see is much like the boy who stumbled on a mountain lion. Figuring the lion might be dead he waited around to see what would happen getting closer and closer to see if it would wake. The prudent boy would probably act right away and treat the thing as though it was still living because if it is it would be deadly. This brings to mind "better safe than sorry." We also can almost always find excuses to hold off things that should be done now. Why not all those issues and environment? While it would be foolish to just issue new decrees and hope the transition goes well, I believe the change has to be made whether now or in the future. I'd prefer we begin now.

FrankDG said...

In a United States Senate report released on December 20, 2007 over 400 scientists signed on as having rejected man-made global warming.

What I find interesting is the refusal of the pro man-made global warming group to consider historical climate data. The evidence clearly shows that the earth goes through distinct warming and cooling trends. For example, the period 1000-1500 AD was 3-8 degrees warmer than present global temperatures. The Norse colonies in Greenland produced crop surpluses that were exported back to Scandinavia. Grapes were grown in Britain.

This period was followed by 400 years of significant temperature decline. 1816 was known in the US as the year with no summer. The planet has experienced at least two distinct cooling and warming cycles since 1800.

Hayne Begley said...

I find it quite a relief that the SBC decided to change their stance on this particular issue. It is also good to hear them encouraging pastors to consider teaching on environmentalism, and members to even think about it.

I believe the core of the issue still remains in the hands and decisions of every christian on the planet. We are called to care for creation, and wether you believe the environment is heating up or not, our landfills are filling up.

I hope this encourages people to take the small steps necessary to help prevent the larger problems we will face if we continue to consume at this rate.

grace and peace,

Ben Witherington said...

Several Points---First of all, there is no scientific data about temperatures from before the 17th century, so apart from general remarks in literature we have no accurate evidence about cooling and warming cycles in the period 1,000-1,500 A.D. This is a myth.

We do however have modern hard evidence about ice ages, but that is another matter, and quite the opposite of the issue of evidence for global warming.

Secondly, I am sorry but on an issue as significant and important as global warming, you need to look at the actual data, not listen to propaganda or anecdotal evidence, whether it's propaganda from the right or the left.

Now about those 400 scientists. Who do they work for--- hmmm? Guess what? A lot of them work for the oil companies!! They are not disinterested scientists at all. This is however the kind of witnesses we would expect this regime to produce, a regime which has gutted the EPA, and indeed made a person head of environmental matters who had no concern for the environment and then went off and worked for a major oil company. This is the sort of nonsense we have had to put up with in the last 8 years, and scientists are fed up with it, and rightly so. No more pseudo-science to support the economic interests of major American polluting companies--- no more.

Fourthly, it is of course true that the Bible was written before the scientific era, and it is thus all the more remarkable how much is in the Bible about earth care and appreciating the world God has made for us. Romans 8 even informs us, as does Rev. 21-22 that God intends to redeem the creation, even creation gets in on salvation. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Unless we believe in Gnostic Christianity and think God is only interested in saving souls, not resurrecting people and creating a new creation, these issues are important.



Falantedios said...


You're right, it isn't "voodoo meteorology." I was making a play on words off of a rhetorical ploy used by the elder President Bush. What he called "voodoo economics" was still up for vigorous debate. The warming trend across our solar system, coupled with your admitted complete lack of evidence with which to compare our current findings, suggests to me that we should approach global warming with the same caution with which global cooling should have been approached a few years ago.

Sending me to a botanist, or to a generic scientific journal like Scientific American, to learn about the climate is like sending me to a podiatrist for an ear infection.

I'd rather listen to the ENT doctor, if it is all the same to you. And the climatological consensus is simply not as strong as Mr. Gore (and the scientists working for cash that is just as biasing as oil company cash) would have us believe.

My point is this: why risk the already poor image of the church before the watching world by signing on to what MIGHT be simply cyclical in nature, when we already have strong Biblical mandate to do what needs to be done?

Dr. Ben, are you really suggesting that the most hated Republican White House since Nixon (if not ever!) forced a Democratic Senate to release such a report in such polarized times as these? Which regime are you talking about?

Christians are to be peacemakers, and signing on to either side of such a polarized and politicized issue serves no righteous purpose. We alienate as many as we ally ourselves with. Being a peacemaker means we willingly stand in the middle, getting pelted by both sides, as we strive to do God's will.

:mic said...

So, let me review:

I am supposed to ignore the actual scientific debate and believe your position because you have seen some trees on a mountain. And I can't watch my own news source because (aside from not buying your position per se) they are not "objective" as are all of the other mainstream media outlets. Aaaaand every scientist/meteorologist who provide facts for why global warming is not happening (i.e., the ice footprint of Antarctica GROWING over the past ten years) obviously has big oil in their back pocket.

And if I still don't think this is a legitimate threat, then I probably don't believe that God is going to restore the world and will use it as my personal trash can for all of my gnostic propaganda. This doesn't appear to be honest intellectualism, frankly.

Still, I will probably be the one who is out of line to suggest that if this is the way in which arguments are approached and defended in your mind, then I should reconsider taking any of those commentaries without a really big grain of salt!

PS - Algore on target?!? Even he has been accused of inflating the UN figures (now THERE's a group not driven by money :p) over FIVE TIMES their best estimate in order to get more fear into the world. It seems to me that this isn't a demonstration of the Gospel either.

Sam Riffell said...

Several years ago, I taught an environmental science course that examined global climate change (among other things). We estimated the amount of carbon that one major state power company put into the atmosphere in one year. It was equivalent to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Now, put that in perspective - equivalent carbon to a major volcanic eruption in every state *each year*! We did not even consider China, Russia, and the rest of the world. Proper levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is part of the Earth's regulatory mechanism, and there is no doubt that we have greatly altered this mechanism (and continue to alter it further still). In this light, warnings of environmental disasters hardly seem alarmist.

PS. The Noahic covenant included animals as equal parties in the contract (as I read it). If God can covenant with the rest of his creation, then surely we should care for them. Dr. Witherington, based on some of your previous posts on covenants, could you discuss how you think this covenant relates to a proper Christian environmentalism?

Sam Riffell

Hollands Opus said...

the debate has not really been allowed yet. Each time I find an article on the web, I save the link. Among the more important notable ones of late is the founder of the weather channel's disgust with the claims of Gore et al. North America has received more snow than any other year since 1966. Today an item came out by the NOAA (hardly a big oil lackey) noting the coolest climate since 2001, globally.

Also, to group together all those against the argument as being supported by or representing big oil is unfair unless you can demonstrate a necessary correlation, and you must demonstrate that, even if they do represent oil, that the commitment thereto has prejudiced them against the evidence that speaks clearly of a different reality.

Finally, I have come to be quite disappointed in Pres. Bush, whom I voted for twice. But to speak of his administration as a "regime" (if indeed you are alluding to him, forgive me if not) seems deliberately inflammatory and emotion laden, and detracts from the quality of the debate.

I presently reject the findings of man made global climate change interlocutors, and find their claims specious in light of those that disagree, especially those with a witch hunt modus operandi.

Finally, I invite you to take a look at Pres. Bush's ranch for a fine example of good stewardship - then compare it to AL Gore - regardless of the climate - a tree is known by its fruit!

Ben Witherington said...

O.K. Friends we're getting a little touchy here. My wife teaches both environmental science and ecology as well as biology and botany. We've made the trip to Kangaroo Island south of Australia and we've personally seen the damage both in Antarctica and in Alaska with its glaciers as well. It is absolutely false to say that the ice footprint in Antarctica is growing-- not true.

I am suggesting that popular news media, which I work with all the time (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and yes Fox) are not very reliable sources on this issue, and Fox is the worst offender. That is what I am saying.

I do not want anyone to ignore the scientific debate, just the opposite. The problem is there is not much debate. Why not? Because the vast majority of scientists worldwide are utterly convinced by the hard evidence. And unfortunately I wish I could tell you that it was not the case that many of those who reject these conclusions have a dog in this fight, but most of them do. An oil sniffing dog at that in many cases.
This is not a mere academic debate because millions of dollars of profits are at stake if we become more ecologically responsible as a country.

I would suggest you listen to some Christians who are leading scientists on this matter. One that comes to mind, though he is not a climate scientist is Francis Collins.



Bill said...

The only thing more fun than scientific speculation (or pontification from some!!) from a bunch of theologians is theologic speculation from a bunch of scientists!


FrankDG said...

With all respect Ben, there is hard scientific evidence about climatic conditions in Greenland and Europe during the periods stated. Forests grew where they don't grow today. Iceland turned to fishing as cereal crop production failed because of global cooling. Sea Ice increased. The oxygen isotope composition in the tooth enamel of Norse skeletons in Greenland indicate rapid cooling during the little Ice Age. There is a whole lot more.

But then you have your evidence and I have mine.

On another note--John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel and opponent of man-made global is considering a law suit against Al Gore and companies that sell carbon credits for fraud. Should be interesting. There is also a growing group of climatologists predicting that we are entering a cooling period. We'll see??

Ben Witherington said...

Sorry but this is not a matter of speculation, it is a matter of facts plus interpretation. We may interpret the data differently, but the satellite photos of the two polar caps absolutely do not lie-- and they show the grim picture of them decreasing at rapid rates, especially the North Pole.

This evidence must count against the supposed evidence that we are entering a new ice age, something which is highly unlikely considering the greenhouse gas issue, which is only worsening.

Hmm, I wonder why exactly melonoma rates keep going up? Has suntan lotion suddenly become less effective? Probably not.


Hollands Opus said...

with all due respect, sir, the lack of debate is certainly not owing to the unanimity of agreement regarding the hard science. I would strongly recommend

Also, since you mentioned Australia, you may be interested in this quote from the Sydney Herald of Oct 14, 2007"

"Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.

His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.

"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."

This is not unlike the Intelligent Design controversy - wherein the freedom to articulate the failings of Darwinian theory is sorely lacking, and that not due to a unanimous scientific understanding. Interestingly, Francis Collins is wrong in this area where he does indeed have scientific credentials, fully embracing theistic evolution in direct violation of the scripture.

All that said, I need to express my great appreciation for your theological concern with this. I have such respect for your profundity in other areas that it almost pains me to argue against you here. But argue I must!

By the way, I recycle, drive a car that gets 35MPG, empty my wood stove burnings in the garden to nourish the soil, and let most spiders live! So like you, I have a great concern that we treat the earth and all of God's creatures with that amount of respect due their natures.


Ben Witherington said...

Yikes, an anti-global warming lecture at my alma mater UNC. But then again, I am proud of my school for doing their best to present all sides of a healthy debate, which is part of what this blog tries to do. One of the functions of having a lively discussion is to see how far certain arguments can be pushed, and where their weaknesses, so thanks for all of your posts. And in closing--- God is an ecologist, and he commissioned all of us to tend the garden not trash it. We need to get on with it.


Israel said...

"Honestly the evidence for global warming, in part caused by human pollution is so overwhelming it really isn't even a point of debate any longer for the vast majority of the scientific community, including my wife the biologist and botanist.
You don't have to take Al Gore's word for it, but most of what he says is reasonably on target and accurate."

Sorry Ben, but this is the 2nd time I've heard you say things that make my jaw drop. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest there is ANY evidence for Anthropogenic Global Warming. With all due respect, you sir, are gullible.

I'm betting money that next you'll be telling us that the evidence for neo-Darwinian Evolution is also overwhelming.

Israel said...

Upon reading some of your further comment BW, I need to say goodbye.

"Secondly, I am sorry but on an issue as significant and important as global warming, you need to look at the actual data, not listen to propaganda or anecdotal evidence, whether it's propaganda from the right or the left. "

Ben, YOU are the one ignoring the actual data. Data like this:

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.
No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.


And THESE scientists do NOT work for oil companies:

Watch this:

There has now been several things you have said that have caused you to simply lose any and all credibility in my eyes.

You are promoting fear and intimidation. And there's only one source of such things.

The DATA IS IN, and global warming has stopped, and is now rapidly reversing. THAT is the data BW. By ignoring it you become the perfect hypocrite. Promoting only the data that supports your a priori. You not only adopt, but propagate the propaganda.

This is the last time I expect to be commenting on your blog. THough I will refresh this page to see if you have the guts to post it.

Knowledge truly does puff up.

Good bye.

Ben Witherington said...

Well Israel, your puffiness seems to also be showing and it doesn't become you.

Blessings on you anyway,

Ben W.

James Gibson said...

I keep wondering what might have happened if Moses had accepted the conclusions of "the vast majority" of the members of the advance team he sent to spy out the Promised Land.

Ben Witherington said...

Actually, Moses did, remember, which is why they wandered around a lot longer :)


billy said...

Michael, thanks for your response. I guess this issue basically comes down to where we think the 'bear' is. Using your example I would say the bear is a few miles away and really the little boy (with apparently superhero like sight according to my take on the analogy :) can't tell whether its a bear with killer intentions or a cute little puppy.

As silly as that sounds, I think that probably gets to the heart of our difference. If I saw global warming as an imminent and certain threat, I would take it much more seriously.

And beyond that, I am not against individuals who have convictions different from my own on this matter. Individual convictions are between an individual and God for it is God that everyone must answer to not me or anyone else on this board. Being a southern baptist however, I am concerned that we have many issues to work on and I just don't think this one is important enough to warrant any of the convention's time (again due to my understanding of the 'bear').

Ben, I must say that I am surprised by your responses on this board. In my opinion the types of arguments you are using just don't match up with your published works. First you attack a news station (quite unfairly I might add; those remarks revealed much more about you than fox news) rather than consider the actual information in their reports, then you attack the scientists rather than dealing with their data and their conclusions (which by the way you gave absolutely no evidence for their supposed bias, simply your opinion).

And before I leave this point about 'biased' scientists alone, let me remind you that every scientist has someone paying them, it is simply irresponsible to assume that just because someone is paid, they are fudging the numbers for there employers. Furthermore, a spokeswoman for Al Gore accused 25 or 30 of the 400 scientists of being employed by exxon mobil (link below this paragraph). Even if they were paid to ignore the facts and take this position (again, something which you are assuming) that hardly constitutes 'a lot' of them. I simply can't understand why you are trying to belittle those who disagree with you so much (go back and read through your comments, that is exactly what you are doing)

Why is it so hard to believe that there might be credible scientists who disagree with global warming? I simply don't understand. I readily admit that there are men smarter than me who believe in man made global warming, however there are also those who do not. Why are we as Christians arguing about something that is not scientifically a settled issue?

I hope that in future debates opinions of those who disagree are not just pushed aside and belittled. If that is all that will happen, why even have a blog like this?

Ben Witherington said...

Dear ALL

In regard to Fox, I have first hand and inside evidence of exactly how they work. And boy have they duped conservative Christians--- repeatedly. Consider the following story---

I was scheduled to appear on the O'Reilly Factor at Easter a couple of years ago. On the way to the local affiliate where the taping was to take place I received a long lecture from the producer of the show--- "Don't say any thing theological, and don't quote any Bible verses" The show was to be about Easter and the resurrection. "Don't do anything but answer directly and briefly Mr. O' Reilly's question." This went on for a long time. I asked him "Aren't you afraid of offending your conservative Christian audience by muzzling people who speak for them?" His answer was stunning---

" Oh no, we know we have them. They have nowhere else to go for news that suits their conservative bias. We are more concerned with offending our secular conservative audience." Do you know what this was really about? O'Reilly was worried I might show him up on some theological or Biblical issue-- so I was muzzled, as was the other guest John Dominic Crossan, who got the very same lecture before the show. Instead O'Reilly comes on and asks "Have either of you seen the Shroud of Turin"? We both said no. He replied "Well I have....." So he could show he had one up on his religion experts. Pathetic and pure egotism.

So much for free and open inquiry. The show, like the News network is controlled from the top down to suit its ideology and it does not allow free and open inquiry. Instead, if it is afraid some guest will alienate some part of its most loyal audience, it tells them what to say!!!

Now I have never, ever had this treatment by the major news networks, or their specialty shows like Dateline etc. Never. They always allow me to share my views, uncensored--- indeed they encourage me to do so. Not Fox. Its all about control.

So, there is good reason to ignore that network. They are not interested in the truth, only what promotes their point of view.

Enough said,


:mic said...

Let me apologize for referring to an ice 'footprint' as it is probably not an accurate way of describing it, but rather the quickest way I tucked it into my own mind - I heard it in a passing interview and have since went and found the facts for myself. All in all, I am not a scientist. . .but according to one particular climatologist who has specifically been studying Antarctica:

"The ice in Antarctica, this is the sea ice surrounding Antarctica, floating on the sea, is currently at a greater extent, it is the largest area that it has been since observations began about 30 years ago. Now, that's not to say it's the greatest it's ever been in the past. Here in the last it was much greater still but in terms of modern, recent climate history, Antarctica at the moment is cooling and the apron of sea ice around it is wider than it's ever been in the last 30 years or so." (Bob Carter, 2008)

Again, I must confess that I take this research over your own particular observations on a visit to the region. Sorry. However, I hope you would employ the same perspective in your research methodology.

Michael Gilley said...

Although CNN is not unbiased, this is an interesting short on the Heartland Institute. The IPCC numbers are also good scientific analysis to look at.

K. R. Carson said...

In all honesty, I'm incredibly shocked. A part of me wants to say, "It's about time." But a part of me can't believe I lived to see it (and being only 26, that's quite a statement). As a Quaker, I can't believe I'm saying this, but go Baptists! ;)

And I do not understand the radical Christian view that global warming is a myth. I'm young and still I can see a great difference in climate from when I was a child to now.

Ralph said...

Are we jumping on this Global Warming thing because we want to appear caring, cool, and hip? This “evangelical concern” appears to be mostly a young evangelical concern – people who haven’t been alive more than 35 years – long enough to have been exposed to a steady stream of ill-advised alarmism.

For example, The New York Times in 1895 predicted widespread global cooling. In 1924, the paper reported "Signs of New Ice Age." But in 1933, 1952, 1959, and 1969, the Times declared global warming. Then in 1974 and 1975, the Times decided that the new ice age was coming, with catastrophic consequences: "the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure in a decade" leading to "mass deaths by starvation and probably in anarchy and violence."

The Washington Post announced a "New Ice Age" in 1970, and, in 1974, Fortune agreed, touting a scientist who predicted that a billion people would die from starvation caused by global cooling. Time magazine declared global warming in 1939, global cooling in 1974, and currently believes in global warming.

We remember Carson’s “Silent Spring” that never sprung and Erdman’s “Crash of ‘79” that never crashed. We 40 and 50 somethings have seen and hear it all. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Although prediction of weather is extremely complicated and perhaps impossible. One thing the historical record does establish is that it's hard to go wrong by ignoring or the alarmism of journalists warning about extreme climate change. Anxiety sells.

Furthermore, the idea that there is a “consensus” on this issue is misguided. I keep hearing about the debate being over, but is it really? I think a lot of denominations are signing on with a “me too, look, I’m cool, come to our hip church” mentality. More prayer and revival is what we need – we’re well stocked on vacuous trendiness.

But here’s the main problem I have with this “Global Warming” fashion statement. It's really oppressive to the working class. Permit me to explain.

I worked in the Steel Industry for nearly two decades. More importantly, I visited many of the larger steel plants in the US, Mexico, and South America. What U.S. environmentalism has accomplished, in a nutshell, is a net increase in Global pollution. In the face of increased costs in labor and production (due to tighter legislation), more modern, more productive, and cleaner U.S. plants close and guess where the production goes? To Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile. These nations do not have the same tight pollution standards. I watched Venezuelan mills spew out tons of pollutants into the air and the rivers of that nation at levels that would have immediately closed the plant, and sent their U.S. counterparts to jail for 20 years.

The outflow of this “greening” of Evangelicals will be more misery for the US worker – more plant closings, fewer high paying jobs, more lost U.S. production, and in the end more pollution for the world.

Ben, please, leave this stuff to the guys with the dyed spiked hair, tattoos, thick frames, and Priuses.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Ralph:

I refer you to the article in today's Lexington Herald Leader, the Business section, about the Toyota Plant in Georgetown going green. Instead of costing jobs, its led to more blue collar hiring. You need to rethink this. Being environmentally concerned has nothing to do with being weird or liberal. It has to do with recognizing 'this is my Father's world' not ours, and we should be its caretakers, not its spoilers.



Ralph said...

Ben, this is not about being environmentally concerned. Who isn't? This is about Evangelicals being co-opted by the left into a political agenda that will destroy our economy and pollute the earth more. The Chinese and Indians will not reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Environmentalists with their Kyoto-Like schemes seek only to disproportionally hurt our economy.

By the way, have you read the details on the "outflow" of the Kyoto accords? Spain, Japan, and for instance, signed the treaty, failed miserably to keep their "unkeepable" emissions commitments, were consequently slapped with 33 billion (that's in real money - Euro's) in fines by the UNFCCC which, if they ever pay, will be passed on to their taxpayers.

Come on Ben, why are you on this bandwagon? We know why large denominations are signing these accords. But why you? Fess up now. Are you being put up to this by the ATS "brass?" (Is this a ploy to draw a fresh crop of public school indoctrinated Gaia worshiping Gore clones?)

Ben Witherington said...

Ralph I have to assuming you are joking. My administration at ATS is composed of conservative Republicans. , some of whom are also quite concerned about the environment, and some less so.

I'm sorry but I don't know any Evangelicals who have been co-opted by anyone's political agenda on these matters. Most of them are pretty independent minded folks. I do think the Kyoto accords are worth discussing as an important step forward, and of course you are right that China, India etc. also need to be part of the conversation.

If you want to know what's ruining our economy, that would be the war in Iraqi which costs about a billion a week. It would not be environmental concerns that are ruining our economy-- so rethink your position please, and look at where the actual dollar drain is happening to our U.S. budget, which is billions in the hole thanks to this war.


Ralph said...

Ben...of course I'm joking..about you that is. I know you are a person of integrity. There is, however, this annoying "me-too" trend in conservative evangelical ranks. It's all pervasive. Maybe you're immune. I know I am ;)

Yeah, Iraq costs a lot - but that isn't the only reason why our economy is in the present condition. Might Congress have something to do with it? Could it be that no politicians have done anything to reduce our trade deficits with China, and cut back on imported oil from such humanitarian luminaries as the House of Saud, and the FARC coddling Chavez down south?

BTW where's all the oil we were supposed to get from Iraq? I thought it was all about the oil. Wasn't it?

Were do you stand on ending the Iraq war? Do you think Al-Qaeda will back off once we pull out. You think we'll all be singing Kumbaya a year from now?

Maybe if we're nice to them now they won't blow up anymore of our tall buildings and kill innocent American citizens.

lance said...

To begin, I am not very passionate about this either way. I am more concerned with our "waste" than global warming. I have "pasted" a letter written to the Sec. General of the UN. Additionally, I am providing a link that adds to this letter. There, all of the Scientists agreeing with these comments are referenced. You will notice there are also links to peer reviewed articles on this as well.

Take care

I was hoping you may comment on this information I read back in December. I could very easily be missing something, but it appears there is quite a bit of dissent from prominent scientists regarding the cause(s) of global warming.

Open Letter to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the UN Climate conference in Bali:

Written by 100 Prominent Scientists
Friday, 14 December 2007, ScienceandPublicPolicy
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis.

While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by ¬government ¬representatives. The great ¬majority of IPCC contributors and ¬reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:
*Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
*The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.

*Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the "precautionary principle" because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.

The current UN focus on "fighting climate change," as illustrated in the Nov. 27 UN Development Programme's Human Development Report, is distracting governments from adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms they may take. National and international planning for such changes is needed, with a focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens adapt to conditions that lie ahead. Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.

Mark said...

29 July 08. After the news first broke on many of the SBC's leaders were following after Egore's 'the sky is falling' nightmare, I wrote my thoughts to the care takers of the green SBC site, three times, and let them know true facts to counter the worldly global warming scam. I had to walk away from the SBC. I could not see myself following a cult to aid in bringing about world socialism. I do know what I am talking about when I state that. I could not bring myself to contribute a nickle of the Lord's money to such a farce. As it is evident today, a lot of Egore's teachings have become false. Who and what are people going to fall for next? If you're curious to find the truth, it is out there, everywhere. Seek and you'll sure find it. Are true people of the Lord so ignorant today that we have lost faith on who controls every drop of rain that hits the earth, who counts the hairs on your head and knows our every thought? Seems to me that many are looking for a fad to follow instead of the Living God. Now I can imagine how people will blindly follow the beast after the rapture. This evidently hasn't happened yet but people are already so easily swayed and deceived today. I suppose it's part of the 'falling away' that is to take place before His return.
Mark Acts 10:31