Archive for category National Politics

Improper use of Scripture by Senator James Inhofe

Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) says that the Bible refutes climate change. From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, March 9, 2012:

On a radio show yesterday, Inhofe explained: “Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

Senator Inhofe’s comments were in reference to his recently published book: The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

What we have here is a politician using the Bible to make a political point. Unfortunately, Senator Inhofe is wrong. He claims that since God controls the earth’s climate, we human beings cannot possibly change the climate, and it’s arrogance to think that we can. But Genesis 8:22 does not say that.

This verse occurs at the end of the Flood story. Here is Genesis 8:20-22 in the English Standard Version:

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

God’s covenant here refers to what God has promised to do, not what mankind can do. God will not send another Flood that destroys civilization. Verse 22 is not a guarantee that God will preserve the earth from the consequences of man’s poor stewardship.

Suppose we were to take this covenant as some kind of “assurance of stability” as James Inhofe wants us to do. What exactly does verse 22 say? And what does it mean? Here are the points God makes about the earth’s climate and weather system:

  • seedtime and harvest: There will always be seasons.
  • cold and heat: There will always be variation in temperature.
  • summer and winter: There will always be seasons.
  • day and night: The earth will continue to rotate.

No climate scientist anywhere is suggesting that seasons will cease. This is a straw-man argument by Senator Inhofe. No climate scientist anywhere is suggesting that temperature variation will cease. Scientists are suggesting that there will be more heat and less cold. Genesis 8:22 does not contradict that.

Is there any indication in the Bible that humans can drastically affect the earth? Yes, there is. Consider Genesis 1:28:

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God’s command in Genesis 1:28 to “subdue the earth” is meaningless if mankind cannot possibly accomplish this. But God does not give meaningless commands. According to the Bible, we are capable of changing what’s going on here. Our actions have effects and consequences.

Stewardship of the earth

We are stewards of the earth. We are supposed to take care of this planet. But that relationship as stewards is not for our benefit, contrary to what Rick Santorum has suggested. Consider the Parable of the Wicked Vineyard Tenants in Luke 20:

13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

The tenants don’t own the vineyard. The vineyard is not for their benefit! The Master owns the vineyard. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1, ESV) We really can mess up the earth through poor and sinful stewardship, and if we do, we really won’t like what happens when the Master returns.

Christology, not climatology

Senator James Inhofe would do much better to read the Bible not from a climatological viewpoint, but from a Christological viewpoint. All Scripture points to Jesus Christ. The Flood was an early attempt by God to rid the earth of sin. The human race was re-started with a righteous man (Noah), but fell back into sin again. The Law was given at Mt. Sinai, but that too failed to make mankind righteous (Romans 3:19-20). But Jesus Christ came, and Christ succeeded in making mankind righteous. (Romans 10:4)

Genesis 8:22 does not point to climate science. Genesis 8:22 points to Jesus Christ.

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I Voted Today

he wife and I got up at the usual time and went straight to the polls – well, almost, I took a shower, which just goes to show I do have some regard for my fellow man. Still, we were there about 15 minutes before the polls opened – early enough to beat those poor canvassers standing outside handing out literature. But there were oh, about 75 people in line in front of us, but at least we were indoors, unlike a lot of my coworkers.

A good chunk of the neighborhood was there, so while I held her spot my wife would wander off to chat with the neighbors or even see the baby twins one family brought. I got stuck with the talkative older lady who doesn’t seem to get out much. Eventually we made our way in to vote where we passed up the fancy touch screen systems and went for the paper ballots. I’ve never actually voted beside my wife before, and we were a bit chatty while voting. It took about an hour for us to vote – not too bad, but it did seem longer than it has in a while (I remember the Clinton-Bush-Perot vote as particularly lengthy).

I live in a purple neighborhood in a purple state (Missouri), although I noticed only 1 family with both an Obama and a McCain sign in the front yard – one of those mixed marriages. I keep hearing about the enthusiasm gap and all, but I think McCain voters turned out too – in part because we’re getting more polarized – and I don’t see either outcome of this election changing that one bit, Palin helped provide some enthusiasm (certainly here in Missouri), and just to show the media and the pundits they’re not as smart as they think they are – a reason the media never seems to pick up on, let alone report, but an important one, nevertheless.

You know, while we all say we like to vote for the person, people sure seem to be just as enthusiastic to vote against the other person.

Once In A Lifetime

You may ask yourself

well…

how did I get here?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tom Daschle, head of HHS.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

PS Still in the tank as much as ever

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Congratulations, President Obama

You won the election, now what?

PS: My condolences on the loss of your grandmother.

Is That Much Straw A Fire Hazard?

Tom Maguire is a joy to read, not just for his insight, but for his language as well. When I came across another instant classic of his I just had to check, and sure enough, he’s the only one who shows up for the quip “Is that much straw a fire hazard?” – at least until this post does. And yes, the whole post is as good as the quip.

I think I’ll start pushing the Liberal:Conservative as Woman:Man analogy after Tom documented how a liberal woman reading a conservative man’s writing simply didn’t understand him. At all. And neither Tom or I had any trouble understanding him.

Can’t Drill Our Way Out Of It

At first blush I didn’t much care for the response that we “can’t drill our way out of” high gas prices, but then I read the full text of Sen. Obama’s remarks and was somewhat mollified. But then I thought for a moment, and I was back to thinking the remarks are wrong:

“If we reduce our consumption of oil, that’s what will reduce gas prices, the presumptive Democratic nominee said in a one-on-one interview with The Post-Crescent during a campaign stop in Kaukauna.”There’s really no other way of doing it.”

“We can’t drill our way out of the problem because there’s just a finite amount of oil out there and you have got increasing demand from countries like China and India.”

Ok, so what’s my beef. Well for one thing, back when I took my Econ 101 class from a Marxist I learned that both a decrease in demand and an increase in supply will lower cost. So to say that a decrease in consumption (i.e. demand) is the only way is flat wrong. But I was temporarily molified by his modifier that there’s just a finite amount of oil out there. And then I thought and realized that there is just a finite amount of anything out there (wherever you draw your boundary since ultimately the Universe is a closed system) so really the only time that makes any sense is if you are currently up against a limit in your ability to increase supply.

Are we there? No way, not with all the oil in the US that is politically out of reach, and the refining capacity we don’t have because of political considerations, and the inefficiency in the government oil producers which control most of the oil right now, we could increase supply without much difficulty. So in the short term, i.e. my lifetime, we can in fact “drill our way out of it”. In the long term, the economics of something else will make more sense than oil and we will switch over to that. Again and again.

So while I wait with anticipation for solar energy to get cheap and efficient enough to power all our energy needs, I say drill away.

Today’s Quote: A Trio From Mencken

“There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

“The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

“I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.”

————— H.L. Mencken (I’m guessing after a politician was nominated to run for President)

An Unforgiving God

Eamon Fitzgerald reflects on the Pope’s visit to America :

Yes, of course, many crimes have been committed in the name of God, but no Christian leader was ever as barbaric as Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot or Saddam. Those monsters were not constrained by a moral order based on the dominion of a forgiving God. They were God. They were unforgiving.

My Debate with Senator Obama

Barry:

The AP reports Obama “dismissively” talked about the debate yesterday “and the line of questioning from ABC News’ moderators, arguing that it focused on political trivia at the expense of the problems facing average voters.” At a rally in North Carolina, Obama “drew roars of approval” when he “mocked” the “tough questions” sent his way during the event. ABC World News reports Obama “took issue” with the nature of the debate questions, saying, “”Forty-five minutes before we heard about health care; 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq; 45 minutes before we heard about jobs; 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices.”

Kevin:

Birds of a feather flock together

Clinton Agonistes

I have to feel sorry for Hillary Clinton. Only just a teensy bit, though. Here she was inevitable, Obama left for dead before Iowa, and now she’s on the brink of losing the nomination. And so she fights back with her “experience” and her “who do you want to answer the phone at 3AM at the Whitehouse” – but left unsaid is that John McCain wins both those battles. If those arguments persuade you, then why not vote for McCain in the general if you vote for Hillary for those reasons in the primary. I have real problems with McCain-Feingold, but at least it’s major legislation. What’s the legislation with Clinton’s or Obama’s name on it? John McCain has a huge track record in the Senate – Clinton has some, and Obama has what, if anything? McCain isn’t my first choice (Thompson), or my second choice (Romney), but I certainly feel comfortable with him answering the phone at 3AM, and I certainly feel comfortable with his track record of leadership and experience in office.

So when Hillary hammers Saint Barry on his experience and dovishness, all McCain has to do is replace Obama with Clinton and Clinton with McCain and he’s set.