Quotes from link below: “Hayden’s paper reinforces the findings of W. A. van Wijngaarden and W. Happer (W & H): adding CO2 to today’s atmosphere will not cause significant (or dangerous) warming… As the concentration increases, the strength wanes. Somewhat like the acceleration of a car, without gears. Initially, it will accelerate quickly but as it reaches maximum speed, acceleration slows, no matter how hard the driver presses the gas petal to the floor. As the concentration of CO2 increases the influence of each molecule declines.
“The lesson here is that at low concentrations, CO2 is a very effective Infrared Radiation (IR) absorber, hence a very effective greenhouse gas. By this, we mean that if a bit more CO2 is added, the greenhouse effect increases substantially.
“At higher CO2 concentrations, adding more CO2 does little to increase the greenhouse effect, for the simple reason that most (not all) of the IR that CO2 can absorb is already absorbed.” When CO2 ceases to be an effective IR absorber, the wavelengths are said to be saturated. Additional absorption requires absorption by other IR wavelengths, which are not absorbed as readily.
“In other words, at very low concentrations, CO2 is a strong Greenhouse Gas (GHG); at the present concentration, CO2 is a weak GHG. This information has been around since long before Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and long before the First Assessment Report FAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…
“The paper reinforces the research showing the relationship between CO2 and temperatures are logarithmic. Adding CO2 to the current atmosphere will cause little warming, and carbon dioxide capture and sequestering is an exercise of little value.”
Section topics: The liberating role of blasphemy; The contradiction between the theology of Historical Jesus (non-retaliatory deity) and Paul’s theology of ultimate divine retaliation; The transformation of an ultimate ideal/authority- deity; Common shared values; Ongoing hysteria (panic-porn) over the natural world and natural change in climate; Basic climate facts; Two best things happening today (more plant food in a CO2 starvation era and more warmth in a suboptimal ice-age era); Deliver a death blow to humanity’s greatest monster and enemy- threat theology; More on climate change; Don’t scare the kids with apocalyptic nonsense. Help them know the true state of life as improving (Julian Simon); Rejecting the oppositional dualism of either religion or materialism/atheism as the two alternatives available to humanity; and more…
Blasphemy as defense of freedom
Most definitions state that blasphemy is “not respecting, insulting, or showing contempt for God, religion, or sacred things”. And it offends religious people.
These definitions miss a larger point. Blasphemy when done well is not primarily about offending, hurting, or humiliating religious devotees but about serving the larger purpose of protecting human freedom.
Comedians, artists, and social agitators (stir-the-shit-pot types like Charlie Hebdo) are most commonly accused of blasphemy. These people fulfill a critical role in our societies by ensuring that the doors of freedom are kept open. They fulfill the critical function of pushing back against the intolerant spirit of those that would to subject populations to restricted freedoms with the claim that their right to not be offended overrides the freedom of others to express offensive speech (and who defines offensive speech for all?).
Taking up the project to blaspheme requires courage to not kowtow (give the knee to the mob) in the face of threat that may even involve violence. The Danish cartoonist and Salmon Rushdie are notable examples here.
We protect what religious people call blasphemy because of its important upside- “the benefits of blasphemy”. The “blasphemous” challenge to religion liberates us from the unwarranted fear of religious authority and religious threat. Blasphemy dismisses the religious claims of divine origin for religion and reduces religion to the same manmade status of all human creations. Religion and religious belief must be subject to the same ongoing processes of re-evaluation that all other areas of life are subject to (i.e. discerning good from bad, making necessary corrections, and ongoing improvement over time).
Blasphemy helps break the enslaving grip of irrational religious mythology and the metaphysical monsters of religion (deities) that are presented to humanity as ultimate ideals and authorities, sacred things placed above the natural realm as the untouchable and unquestionable divine.
The “monster gods” of religious traditions (Harold J. Ellens’ term, ‘The Destructive Power of Religion’) exhibit features that are typical to all threat theology- i.e. this-life or after-life retaliation, tribal exclusion (believers favored and blessed, unbelievers rejected and cursed), domination by lords/kings, and punishment/destruction (apocalypse, hell).
We know today where the monstrous features of the gods originated. (Note: Over the long history of humanity creating God theories, varied features both humane and inhumane were projected onto gods. Our responsibility is, with ever-improving understanding, to discern between good and bad, true and untrue, to separate the humane from the inhumane, throw out the dirty bathwater, and continue to improve the remaining product. The comment just below is not a denial of the human sense of wonder at life that was also part of early religion.)
The gods of religion (see also ‘Cruel God, Kind God’ by Zenon Lotufo) were created by primitive superstitious minds to, quite simply and basely, incite fear and control others. Prehistorian John Pfeiffer, for one, traces the origin of religion in the earliest efforts of ancient tribal elites to frighten, dominate, and control their fellow tribesmen (Explosion: An inquiry into the origins of art and religion). Ancient shaman/priests claimed to know the secrets of the invisible world and used that claimed knowledge of the secrets to gain power and control over their fellow tribesmen. They created threatening metaphysical monsters and the basic features of those early monsters were eventually passed down and incorporated into our contemporary world religions.
(Note: This is not to deny that the sense of “the numinous” and the human impulse for meaning were also part of the early human creation of religion.)
When you go after religious gods you take the struggle for freedom to the innermost reaches of human consciousness/subconscious (mental, emotional) where history’s most powerful ideas have long enslaved humanity with deeply rooted fear.
Most of us have watched with horror and disgust at the violence in France (Oct. 2020) against the teacher who exercised the freedom to discuss and challenge a religious tradition, just as the Danish cartoonist and Charlie Hebdo people did before him and suffered similar violence. They were exercising a critical function that has to do with maintaining the freedom of all of us. To poke fun at the sacred.
Humor is one of the most potent means of deflating religious claims to supreme authority and the use of divine threat to subjugate and control others. Humor helps to reduce the sense of threat, to deflate the misguided claim to ultimate and unchallengeable authority and put those claims in their proper place. In this regard, comedians and other critics play a vital role in relation to overall freedom, notably in standing for freedom of speech. As Kaveh Shahrooz reminds us, “Speech rights are the cornerstone of a free society because they serve as the primary corrective to all other breaches of rights”.
Blasphemy serves this function of protecting freedom for everyone. Nothing should be outside of the range of good healthy blasphemy, especially not the ultimate-scale claims of religious traditions.
Blasphemy is not primarily about trying to hurt others or offend unnecessarily but is about the larger issue of challenging things considered untouchable, notably the sacred, things that have too long enslaved human minds with unnecessary fear and the claim to protected exceptionalism and ultimate unchallengeable authority.
Religion, like all human creations, should not be protected from challenge. Early humans created the basic ideas, gods, and structures of religion long before we had attained a mature understanding of reality, during the era of our infancy when we embraced things that today we know to be wrong. We know more today about truth and falsehood, bad and good, and humane/inhumane. Hence, religion must be subject to the same processes of re-evaluation, correction, discarding of untruth/error, and general overhaul and ongoing improvement that all other areas of life are rightly subjected to. Blasphemy can assist this project to discern truth from falsehood, good from bad.
And as a comedian said, people are more receptive to looking at the correction of some fault if they are made to laugh while doing so. When you poke fun at the sacred/religion that itself frees people from enslaving fear as they then cautiously turn their eyes to the skies and find that no lightning strikes will follow.
Especially, the gods of religion must be subjected to the same scrutiny, critique, challenge, and falsification as all other areas of life. As someone once said about the discipline of philosophy- “Even God must present his credentials at the door”. No matter that offended devotees will defensively decry such challenge as blasphemy.
(Insert: The following comment is not denying the existence of deity in some form. It is the denial of the cruel features in the God theories of the major world religions- again, the separation of the humane from the inhumane. Overhauling deity involves replacing retaliatory justice with restorative justice; replacing tribal division of humanity with oneness; and replacing domination with the relating of equals; and replacing punitive destruction with forgiveness. Further, others think of Ultimate Reality more in terms of Consciousness, Mind, Self, and the categories of scientific discovery.)
The angry, retaliatory deities of religious minds do not exist. They never have existed except in religious minds. For example, the longing for the violent destruction of an enemy, in the name of a supreme authority like deity, has a lot to do with vengeful human minds seeking ultimate or divine validation against those enemies. People have long projected features like retaliatory justice onto deity to validate their efforts to punish their enemies (a kind of defensive shifting of blame to something outside oneself, an abdication of personal responsibility- i.e. “God willed me to do it”). The myth of hell, the product of over-heated religious minds, has been the ugliest expression of hatred for enemies and lust for their destruction.
And of course, blasphemy is offensive. It cannot be otherwise. Offensiveness is not reason to avoid tackling difficult areas of life, though of course in normal conversation with neighbors and friends we may choose to avoid such offense for personal reasons. But I have often wondered at the liberty that religious people take in freely airing their views while then resisting the expression of contrary opinions through shunning, banning, excluding, or denouncing as heresy, etc..
Comedians and social commentators like Charlie Hebdo fulfill the critical public function of blasphemy and we must support them, always ensuring that nothing is permitted to demand off-limits protection through threats of violence. Nothing in human society should demand exceptionalism to being poked at with humor.
An interesting aside in the case of Islam: Historians have noted that when Mohammad began his proselytizing missions for his new religion he was met with taunting and mockery. Poets created ditties mocking Mohammad and gave them to local prostitutes to sing. Offended at the humiliation, Mohammad wrote into the Quran numerous threats of punishment for such mockery, including violent retaliation. This helps to understand the Muslim rage years ago at the Danish cartoons. https://www.answeringislam.org/Authors/Arlandson/mockers.htm. Also, see the section on “Shame and aggression” in ‘Heaven on Earth’ by Richard Landes (pgs. 427-430).
We should never lose sight of the Classic Liberal standard- “I may be offended at what you say, but I will protect to the death your right to say it”. This Liberalism understands that censoring the offensive speech of others may eventually rebound and also entrap the censors of today. Again, who sets the limits of freedom in such areas as speech? Others note that offensive or wrong speech should not be banned but challenged by better speech in open debate and discussion. Such an approach maintains freedom for all and provides a great learning experience for entire societies.
Across the spectrum today speech and freedom are being censored by offended groups- in climate science, in varied social areas, and political arenas. Speech that merely disagrees with others is classified as offensive and free speakers are censored, banned, and cancelled. This is the intolerance of ‘creeping totalitarianism’ and is an attack on the freedom of all.
To those claiming to be offended- Understand the larger issues of human freedom. There are too many touchy folks that cannot tolerate being upset or irritated by diversity and disagreement. Recognize this as the intolerant and totalitarian spirit of the pouting child. It is not mature human adulthood. Unfortunately, life is well-stocked with little control freaks, wanting to meddle and control others, to coerce others to speak and act just as they demand. As someone said, the little dictators are the worst ones in life. You can escape the big central dictators but not the little ones scattered throughout local situations.
Recognize the larger issues in relation to freedom. Put aside your personal discomfort for a critical greater good and remember that this slippery slope of censoring speech may also take you down in the future. You may get your way now in censoring the disagreeing other but then you have opened the door that unleashes the creeping totalitarianism that eventually takes victims all across the spectrum.
“I may be offended by what you say but I will protect your right to say it because such freedom is critical to maintaining the freedom of all.”
Added notes: Kaveh Shahrooz https://nationalpost.com/opinion/kaveh-shahrooz-justin-trudeau-just-doesnt-get-liberalism
Shahrooz argues that “speech rights are the cornerstone of a free society because they serve as the primary corrective to all other breaches of rights”. He challenges Justin Trudeau’s argument that our primary concern ought to be not hurting other’s feelings.
“Contrary to what Trudeau seems to believe, our free speech laws are drafted not to prevent hurt feelings or impose respect. They exist to protect thought, dissent, and unpopular views. And yes, that includes blasphemy.
“If Trudeau’s comments are interpreted generously, he likely meant that decent people should not use their free speech to needlessly hurt the feelings of others. That may be a good moral rule, but it should not be conflated with a legal principle, just as mocking a religion should not be confused with attacking the people who adhere to it.”
Note: Similar to the religious claims of offense at blasphemy (offense taken at disrespectful portrayals of religion), we are currently suffering a college generation that expresses a too easily aroused sense of offense and shows little tolerance for difference of opinion/speech. We have seen these people try to ban, silence, criminalize, and erase those that they view as offenders. There is an element of the infantile, intolerant totalitarian in people that want to cancel other’s rights and freedoms, that try to control others, to coerce them to follow some highly restricted vision of what is allowable in society.
Qualifying notes to blasphemy comment: Subconscious roots of felt guilt/shame/fear
Our ancestors embraced themes/ideas to define their understanding of reality and life. Those ideas were originally mythical or religious ideas/themes because that is where human understanding of reality and life was at that time. Those primitive ideas formed the worldviews of early humanity, becoming embedded in human belief systems and religions.
Those ideas/themes of the ancients then became hardwired in human subconscious, in what some call the shared “collective subconscious” of all humanity (the realm of archetypes). The human subconscious stores things from the long-term inherited past of human ideas, and from our own life experiences. The subconscious is about things that we do not always consciously hold in mind. And those things exert a powerful influence on our daily lives (some claim the subconscious is determinant of over 90% of all we feel and do). Our subconscious shapes our emotions/feelings, how we view things (perceptions), our attitudes, and our responses/actions.
Long-embedded subconscious themes also continue to generate instinctive but often indefinable fears over things not consciously understood but more just felt. For example, we may hear some public theme like apocalyptic, whether expressed in a religious version or the many secular/ideological versions of today, and we may intuitively respond to and embrace that theme as truth, without questioning why. It just seems or feels intuitively right.
Conscious and intentional “blasphemy” (poking fun at, putting something in its place) of such ideas can help to liberate our subconscious and break the grip of their influence on our emotions and attitudes. And that is the important project that comedians, artists, social agitators, and others should take on. This is what I mean by taking human freedom to the deepest depths of our psyches. Too many people claim to be physically free but are still enslaved to very primitive ideas buried deeply in human subconscious, ideas that people may not even be aware they are embracing because they are not held in daily conscious awareness.
Further, I do not accept some kind of predetermined inevitability in regard to the subconscious and inherited archetypes. We can free ourselves of the old and reprogram our subconscious with new themes as we transform our worldviews/narratives. See “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in next section below. (Note: Agreed, there are other features in the realm of the subconscious and archetypes that have to do with more fixed elements of being human.)
Conclusion: Challenge those instinctual feelings and fears. Ask yourself- What they are really about, and from where? What are they really based upon? Go to the inherited themes and change them.
Qualifier on hate speech: There is a legitimately defined category of speech that we call “hate speech” which tries to incite ill will and even violence toward differing others. I would suggest that it may be more helpful to deal with such speech by engaging it in open debate and confrontation rather than by criminalizing it outright. Efforts to criminalize such speech can fall prey to partisan politicization and undermine general freedom when partisans step outside the agreed boundaries of legitimate categories and use “hate speech” accusations to label, demonize, and silence opponents.
Qualifier on universal, unconditional love: “Love your enemy” is not advocating that victims must “like” (i.e. feel mushy or warm toward) their offenders. It is urging that we love them in the sense of love, not primarily as a feeling, but as treating others humanely no matter how we feel toward them (intention and action over feeling). Much like professional police and military are obligated to treat prisoners humanely despite their crimes.
Deaths of despair
Add to this the YouGov survey (‘Ten Global Trends’, Bailey and Tupy) showing that majorities of world populations believe that the world is getting worse.
Some thoughts on the “Despair deaths” report: Shame on fear-obsessed news media (panic-porn) for endlessly pushing exaggerated alarmist narratives- e.g. endless apocalyptic narratives of looming catastrophe as per climate change, and more. Media do this in direct contradiction to amassed evidence that shows all the main features and trends of life are improving over the long-term. Life on Earth, while never problem-free, has never been so good and the future will be even better.
Alarmist scientists, politicians, celebrities, and media deny this evidence and continue to irresponsibly push fear narratives and the consequences are devastating to populations. (To understand more of media’s obsessive-compulsive fixation with inciting public hysteria and panic over problems/issues that are far from “apocalyptic now”, see Sociologist and media specialist David Altheide’s ‘Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis’. It has something to do with gaining audience eyes, income, and social control.)
Bad things are happening all over, just as they have across history in an imperfect world. But be careful how you present such things. It does not help public understanding and mood when scientists and media exaggerate problems out to apocalyptic-scale, claiming the problems portend the end-of-days as Congresswoman AOC irresponsibly claimed in 2018- i.e. that “the world is going to end in 12 years” (2030).
All things must be placed in full context in order to understand the true state of a thing. That involves presenting the complete big picture and the long-term trends related to the thing that you are looking at. The evidence affirms that, despite ever-present problems, life is improving over the long-term. I have illustrated this below with climate change and climate warming (See “Two best things happening today”). There is no climate crisis. The world is not burning. We are enjoying a mild warming in an abnormally cold era on Earth and life will flourish/prosper with more warming.
Plants, animals, and human societies flourish during warming periods. Life prefers warmth to cold. “There is more biodiversity at the equator than at the poles”. In cold Canada, most of the population huddles within 100 kilometers of the 49th parallel, hoping to catch some warmth coming up from the south. Also, more people migrate to warmer areas than to colder regions.
For comprehensive detail on life flourishing with more warmth see professor Ian Plimer’s history of paleo-climate in ‘Heaven and Earth’.
More than 97% of us believe that climate is changing. And we believe that CO2 plays a role in global warming. Further, these facts have never been doubted by the vast majority of scientists. The core disagreement in the climate debate has always been- What exactly is the influence of CO2 on climate and will that effect cause catastrophic outcomes as CO2 levels rise? What does the evidence show?
The two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures have resulted in a much greener Earth and life flourishing in response.
Climate activists, news media, and politicians claim that rising CO2 levels and rising average temperatures are the two most threatening things happening on Earth today. I would argue to the contrary that they are the two best things happening on Earth today. How so?
Basic plant food
CO2 levels have been dangerously low over the past few million years of our ice-age era and that has stressed plant life. Over the past several hundred thousand years, CO2 levels have even dipped below 200 ppm, once down to 180 ppm. Plant life dies at 150 ppm. Normal and optimal levels of CO2 over the last 500 million years were in the multiple thousands of ppm. https://www.thegwpf.com/video-of-patrick-moores-gwpf-lecture-should-we-celebrate-co2/
During the Cambrian era life exploded with CO2 levels over 5000 ppm. There was no harm to life, or catastrophic collapse, with CO2 in multiple-thousands of ppm. Instead, life flourished.
“During the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods when our most useful plants evolved, CO2 levels were about five times higher than today… Our crop plants evolved about 400 million years ago, when CO2 in the atmosphere was about 5000 parts per million! Our evergreen trees and shrubs evolved about 360 million years ago, with CO2 levels at about 4,000 ppm. When our deciduous trees evolved about 160 million years ago, the CO2 level was about 2,200 ppm – still five times the current level”, (http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Rising_CO2__Food-Security-2-21-19-1.pdf). See also “CO2 feeds the world” at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/08/05/watching-co2-feed-the-world/
Note the paleo-climate graph of CO2 and its relationship to temperatures at https://www.adividedworld.com/scientific-issues/co2-levels-in-air-dangerously-low-for-life-on-earth/. This history shows, for instance, the remarkable lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature over long periods (i.e. undermining the widely accepted hypothesis that CO2 is the main driver of climate change). For example, when CO2 levels were high over paleo-climate history, surface temperature was often low. Similarly, over shorter historical periods, temperatures warmed first and were followed by rising CO2 levels https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/06/news-from-vostok-ice-cores/. More importantly the history of CO2 shows the great benefit to life when atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today.
Contemporary plant response to more food
With the slight rise in CO2 levels from pre-industrial 285 ppm to the 400-plus ppm of today there has been a 14% increase in green vegetation across the Earth over the past 30-40 years. This is the equivalent to adding land covered in green vegetation twice the size of the mainland US. https://www.thegwpf.com/matt-ridley-rejoice-in-the-lush-global-greening/ . Other studies note that there has been a “31 percent increase in global terrestrial gross primary production since 1900” (Matt Ridley “Against Environmental Pessimism” at PERC). In light of this incredible news on the massive greening of Earth, where are the celebrating Greens, the self-proclaimed advocates for a greener world?
A warming planet is a more optimal planet
There has been only a mild 1 degree Centigrade warming over the past century. This is part of the longer warming trend that began 300 years ago when Earth began to emerge out of the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age of 1645-1715. This longer warming trend is due to natural influences on climate, and that did not change during the past century (i.e. the same natural factors continue to overwhelmingly influence the present phase of this 300-year-long period of warming).
Our current world average surface temperature of 14.5 degrees Centigrade is still far below the normal and optimum 19.5 degrees C. average of the past hundreds of millions of years. For over 90% of the past 500 million years there has been no ice at the poles. That is a more normal and healthy Earth. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/03/earths-ice-ages/
With much higher average temperatures in the past there was no “climate catastrophe” or threat to life. To the contrary, life flourished.
A much warmer Earth will not “fry” because the planet has an efficient energy distribution system where heat rises at the tropics and is carried north and south toward the poles. In a warming world the Equator does not become excessively hotter but rather the colder regions warm more and that benefits all life with extended habitats and less severe storminess because of less severe gradients between warm and cold regions. https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/how-weather-works/global-air-atmospheric-circulation. In a warmer world there is also less difference between seasonal temperatures and between night and day temperatures.
Note also that researchers have discovered tropical tree stumps in the Arctic from past warmer eras. The more recent discovery of tropical tree stumps in Antarctica further corroborates the evidence of tropical forests in the polar regions. That evidence affirms the much warmer world of most of the past 500 million years with average 19.5 degrees Centigrade world surface temperatures versus the average 14.5 degrees Centigrade of today’s much colder world. Again, a much warmer world means vastly extended habitats for life, not a “frying” world that destroys life.
Physicist Freeman Dyson summarizes this uneven distribution of warming in the following: “’Global warming’. This phrase is misleading because the warming caused by the greenhouse effect of increased carbon dioxide is not evenly distributed. In humid air, the effect of carbon dioxide on the transport of heat by radiation is less important, because it is outweighed by the much larger greenhouse effect of water vapor. The effect of carbon dioxide is more important where the air is dry and air is usually dry only where it is cold. The warming mainly occurs where air is cold and dry, mainly in the arctic rather than in the tropics, mainly in winter rather than in summer, and mainly at night rather than in daytime. The warming is real, but it is mostly making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter. To represent this local warming by a global average is misleading because the global average is only a fraction of a degree while the local warming at high latitudes is much larger” (The Scientist as Rebel).
Remember too that cold weather kills 10-20 times more people every year than heat does. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/20/moderate-cold-kills/ , https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm .
Plants, animals, and humans are benefiting immensely from this massive greening of our planet and the return to more normal and optimal conditions for all life. “Average increase of 46% of crop biomass owing to increased CO2 fertilization”, Gregory Whitestone on Craig Idso research. See http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php
Further, the actual influence of CO2 on climate warming is still not settled because many other natural factors have shown a stronger influence on climate and stronger correlations to the climate change that we have seen over the past few centuries (i.e. cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, ocean/atmosphere relationship).
Fact: There is no good evidence to support fear of looming catastrophe (i.e. “climate crisis”) in a warmer planet with much higher levels of CO2. The benefits of more plant food and more warmth outweigh any potential negatives.
Consequent to this evidence, there is no good scientific reason for people to decrease their use of fossil fuels or to ban them. It is unscientific and irrational to “decarbonize” our societies or to embrace policies such as carbon taxes. CO2 is not a pollutant or poison that must be restrained. It is the most basic food of life and it has been in desperately short supply for millions of years. We should celebrate with all plant and animal life at the greening of our planet.
The above evidence affirms that there is no climate apocalypse on the horizon.
Note this press release (Sept. 18/2020) from the Global Warming Policy Foundation: “Official US Climate Data Reveals No Cause For Alarm”
“A new paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation shows that U.S. climate has been changing very gradually, and mostly in a benign way.
“The paper, by British climate writer Paul Homewood, examines official US weather sources and finds almost nothing to justify alarm.
“The temperature has risen a little”, says Homewood, “but temperature extremes are still a long way off the levels seen in the 1930s. And there has been a reduction in cold spells and climate-related deaths, so in many ways, the US climate has become less extreme compared to previous ages.”
“It is the same story for rainfall. There has been an increase overall, but the wettest year on record was nearly 50 years ago. Droughts were mostly far worse in the 1930s.
“It’s hard to find anything in the records of recent weather in the US that should give anyone any cause for alarm” says Homewood.
“It’s mostly rather reassuring. From heat to cold to storms and tornadoes, there is no trend that is out of the ordinary.”
“Homewood’s paper, entitled The US Climate in 2019, can be downloaded here- https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2020/09/US-Climate-2019.pdf?utm_source=CCNet+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4c6226b7d3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_09_18_09_56_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe4b2f45ef-4c6226b7d3-20139177&mc_cid=4c6226b7d3&mc_eid=bbd9cad85f ”
MIT climate physicist Richard Lindzen’s summary presentations on climate and the minor role of CO2:
Quotes from “Climate Advice: Don’t worry, be Happer”. https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2019/11/28/climate-advice-dont-worry-be-happer/
“Contrary to the predictions of most climate models there has been very little warming of the Earth’s surface over the last two decades… the discrepancy between models and observations is most likely due to (the exaggerated climate sensitivity to CO2 in the models)”.
“More CO2 in the atmosphere will be good for life on planet earth. Few realize that the world has been in a CO2 famine for millions of years… Over the past 550 million years… CO2 levels have averaged many thousands of parts per million (ppm), not today’s few hundred ppm, which is not that far above the minimum level, around 150 ppm, when many plants die of CO2 starvation”.
“All green plants grow faster with more atmospheric CO2… Of equal or greater importance, more CO2 in the atmosphere makes plants more drought-resistant…. More greening and greater agricultural yields can be expected as CO2 concentrations increase further.
“Summary: The Earth is in no danger from increasing levels of CO2. More CO2 will be a major benefit to the biosphere and to humanity… more atmospheric CO2 will substantially increase plant growth rates and drought resistance.
“Historians in the future will write learned papers on how it was possible for a seemingly enlightened civilization of the early 21st century to demonize CO2”.
From “Richard Lindzen lecture at GWPF: Global warming for the two cultures”. Richard Lindzen was the Professor of Meteorology at MIT until his retirement in 2013.
Lindzen presents the complex variables that influence climate change- i.e. ocean and atmosphere circulation patterns, energy transformations related to water vapor (water vapor and clouds being the most important greenhouse gases), among many others. As he notes, CO2 is a very minor variable in this complex mix and is not the dominant or sole driver of climate change.
The Earth receives about 340 watts of energy from the sun per square meter of surface. 140 watts are reflected back by clouds. The other 200 watts has to be emitted (radiated back out from the surface as infrared radiation) to re-establish balance, and the blockage of some of that amount is what warms the surface of our planet. Water vapor does most of the blocking of the radiation leaving the surface (“absorbing infrared radiation sufficiently to block radiation from the surface being transmitted directly to space”, from ‘On Climate Sensitivity’, CO2 Coalition). CO2 is another minor gas blocking the returning radiation but its effect is small. A doubling of CO2 would cause only a small 2% perturbation in these energy flows (i.e. the 200 watts per square meter that radiate back out) with clouds and other variables accounting for the rest.
To claim that the complex, multi-variable climate system can be summarized in just one variable- CO2- is irrational and unscientific. Lindzen says the claim that CO2 is the controlling variable borders on magical thinking. And humankind’s CO2 contributions are even smaller compared to the natural exchanges of CO2 between oceans and biosphere.
Lindzen’s point? Many are mindlessly joining the crusade to plan for the suicide of industrial society based on the shoddy and unsettled science that has been promoted by climate alarmists. The hysteria that has demonized CO2 is “backed by false evidence and repeated incessantly until it has become politically correct ‘knowledge’ that is being used to promote the overturn of industrial civilization” (i.e. the decarbonization of our societies and the entire control of all aspects of life and society- behavioral changes, new governance arrangements, new social values).
He adds that the mild 1 degree C warming since the end of the Little Ice Age some two centuries ago has been significantly beneficial, resulting in “the greatest increase in human welfare in history”. Further, there is no good evidence of much more warming coming. Lindzen says the outcome from a doubling of CO2 would be limited to about 1 degree C of warming, not the 1.5-4.5 degrees predicted by models. Again, that has been a beneficial amount of warming.
This site embraces the project to challenge the irresponsible promotion of fear with good counter evidence on the overall improving trajectory of life. The human family has suffered an endless series of alarmism eruptions, notably over the past 70 years- alarms over changes in nature, mass starvation, resource depletion, disease threats, and others. While it is reasonable to be concerned about any threat, alarmism irresponsibly exaggerates threats to apocalyptic-scale thereby distorting the true nature of things. Alarmist exaggerators claim, against good evidence to the contrary, that life is declining toward some catastrophic collapse and ending.
We are watching this apocalyptic lunacy play out daily in the endless series of end-of-days predictions coming from the climate hysteria movement. The latest date for the apocalypse- 2030. The father of the climate alarm movement, James Hansen, had previously set the end-of-days at 2013. He stated in 2008, “Its all over in five years”. Others, like Al Gore and Prince Charles, have set their own dates for the apocalypse. And the dates keep passing and life continues to improve. Al Gore has stated that we are now living out the apocalypse of the book of Revelation.
Even Stephen Hawking fell for the lunacy of apocalyptic in the last 2 years of his life. He stated in 2016 that humanity only had 1000 years left. Then he moved the date up in 2017, claiming humanity only had 100 years left. Bright man. It was enough time for him to vacate the scene and avoid the humiliation that comes to all apocalyptic prophets when their end-of-days dates pass.
Social scientists have probed the motivations of the alarm promoters, noting, for example, that alarmist news media seek audience share and income (David Altheide in “Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis”, or Matt Tiabbi in “Hate, Inc.: Why today’s media makes us despise one another”). Politicians frighten populations as a means of social control and support, and military/police use fear to generate financial support. Scientists also use exaggerated alarm scenarios to gain or maintain funding.
The consequence of such fear-mongering is populations where majorities now believe that things are getting worse, not better (See the Youguv surveys of the world population in “Ten Global Trends” by Bailey and Tupy). Frightened populations are then susceptible to embracing policies that will severely damage our civilization, such as the plans to rapidly decarbonize our societies (“The suicide of industrial civilization”, according to climate physicist Richard Lindzen). The decarbonizaton suicide-crusade continues to gain traction with the public.
It is critical to counter alarmism with natural world evidence but then also go after some of the deeper influences behind age-old human fears, notably the long-embedded myths of metaphysical threats vented on humanity through the natural world. These conscious/subconscious influences have to do with the pathology of ‘threat theology’- i.e. that there are angry Forces/spirits threatening to punish bad people through natural disaster, disease, or human cruelty. Nancy Pelosi recently (Sept. 2020) voiced this primitive mythology, stating, “Mother nature is angry” (angry at us sinful consumers enjoying the good life too much). The myth of divine anger expressed through natural disaster was similarly expressed by the Japanese lady after the 2011 tsunami, “Are we being punished for enjoying the good life too much?”.
See “Patterns and outcomes of alarmism eruptions” in fifth section below for more detail. These brief video clips illustrate the “creation of fear for social control” issue. Such fear-mongering is a direct assault on freedom. See following links…
STUDY SUGGESTS NO MORE CO2 WARMING, OCTOBER 26, 2020, By David Wojick
“This astounding finding resolves a huge uncertainty that has plagued climate science for over a century
“Precision research by physicists William Happer and William van Wijngaarden has determined that the present levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor are almost completely saturated. In radiation physics the technical term “saturated” implies that adding more molecules will not cause more warming.
“In plain language this means that from now on our emissions from burning fossil fuels could have little or no further impact on global warming. There would be no climate emergency. No threat at all. We could emit as much CO2 as we like; with no effect.
“This astounding finding resolves a huge uncertainty that has plagued climate science for over a century. How should saturation be measured and what is its extent with regard to the primary greenhouse gases?
“In radiation physics the term “saturation” is nothing like the simple thing we call saturation in ordinary language, just as the greenhouse effect is nothing like how greenhouses work. Your paper towel is saturated when it won’t pick up any more spilled milk. In contrast greenhouse gases are saturated when there is no more milk left to pick up, as it were, but it is far more complex than this simple analogy suggests. See full report at…
Insert note: The steep decline in the warming influence of CO2 on climate. This quote from the October 31st, 2020 ‘Weekly Roundup’ report on Wattsupwiththat.com
“In the current atmosphere, with CO2 at about 400 parts per million (400 ppm), the influence of adding a molecule of CO2 is “suppressed by four orders of magnitude”, or about one-ten thousands that of the first molecules. Using the language common to those who study this field, both CO2 and water vapor are saturated; increasing these gases will not have a significant impact on the climate of the earth. Such an effect can be described by a logarithmic function, not its inverse, an exponential function which has been used in IPCC reports. Humanity’s addition of CO2 to the atmosphere is not causing a “climate crisis.”
“As stated by Lindzen previously, doubling of CO2 will have little effect on the earth’s climate, a few percent (perhaps “a 2% perturbation”) of the total energy flowing onto the earth and out to space. Again, the exponential functions used by the IPCC are pure fantasy. Further, as will be discussed next week, cutting existing CO2 in half will have little effect and the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is not particularly meaningful. Carbon dioxide capture is of little or no value.” Detail in this link…
The influence of God theories:
We have inherited some nasty features from our primitive past- i.e. impulses to tribally exclude differing others, to dominate others, and to punish/destroy others as enemies. Embracing and believing in gods with similar features is to embrace ultimate ideals/authorities that incite and validate our worst impulses. Point? Make sure your god is fully humane. ‘No conditions love’ humanizes God as nothing else can.
Explanatory note on “the transformation of deity- humanity’s ultimate ideal and authority”:
Historical Jesus (someone quite different from Christian “Jesus Christ”) had overturned a defining feature of all the gods of ancient mythology and religion with his “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God”. All previous gods were retributive in some manner, meting out eye for eye justice with either this-life or after-life punishment. Jesus rejected that age-old deity theory with his statement, “Let there be no more eye for eye justice, but instead, love your enemies because God does”.
He offered an entirely new view of deity that did not exclude anyone (“sun and rain given to both good and bad people”) and did not punish or destroy anyone. Jesus eliminated entirely the features of retribution, exclusion (of unbelievers), judgment, and punishment from deity. He then oriented human understanding of God to one scandalous thing- ‘no conditions love’. He also rejected conditional salvationism- i.e. sacrifice, payment- with his new theology. (Note his Old Testament quote: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” and his Prodigal Father story where the father unconditionally dismisses misdeeds with a celebration.)
Two decades later Paul rejected that new theology of Jesus and re-established retaliation as central to his Christian God (see his Romans 12:17-20 view of deity as retaliatory, affirming this with an Old Testament quote, “’Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord”). Paul buried the breakthrough insight of Jesus under his retaliatory God and his apocalyptic Christ myth (apocalypse as the ultimate act of retaliation). He then restored highly conditional salvation mythology as essential to deity- i.e. Christ as supreme sacrifice, payment. Paul thereby buried the single most profound discovery ever- the non-retaliatory, no conditions God of Jesus- that would have liberated human minds and spirits from the age-old curse of ‘threat theology’, humanity’s greatest monster and enemy.
This is the great contradiction at the heart of Christianity- between the entirely opposite theologies of Jesus and Paul.
Critical here is the nature of our ultimate ideals and authorities- Are they fully humane or not? And how do our ultimate ideals/authorities influence human attitudes, emotions, and actions? (Detail below)
This comment on the Christian contradiction is based on Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel research, and Historical Jesus research in general. Very little material in the New Testament gospels is original with Jesus. Much that is attributed to him was added later by the gospel writers but that material contradicts the core teaching of Jesus. Hence, the problem stated by Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy of “the diamonds of Jesus buried in the muck/dung of added material”.
End note: Why go after such a sacred icon as Paul’s Christ myth? Because it is primarily responsible for embedding the pathology of apocalyptic mythology in Western consciousness and life and apocalyptic has been the “most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence).
Note also that Paul affirmed his retaliatory deity theory in his Corinthian letters where he claimed that the Corinthians were being punished by God with disease and death because of their sins. Contrary to Jesus, eye for eye justice dominates Paul’s thinking.
See section five below: “Patterns and outcomes of alarmism eruptions”. Alarmism: The irrational exaggeration of problems/changes in life out to apocalyptic-scale thereby distorting the true state things.
And a brief but good video presentation on climate patterns, “Every 172 years, just like clockwork”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZw4DdocxN0. It was much warmer than today during the Early Holocene (Egyptian), Roman, and Medieval warming periods. Our inter-glacial warming periods are on a long-term decline toward less warming, not more. Cold is becoming the real threat to life (cold kills 16 times more people than warmth does every year). Watch the 5-minute video in this link.
A central project on this site involves the pathology of apocalyptic mythology and the perverse theology (God theory) behind that- i.e. the myth of a punitive, destroying deity. This project engages the latest historical eruption of apocalyptic in the environmental alarmism movement. Apocalyptic fever has focused over recent decades on climate alarmism with its associated endless “end-of-days” prophesies. The latest prophesied date for an apocalypse is 2030.
The irrational prophesying of the end of the world incites fear, despair, fatalism/resignation, and nihilism.
Many like to think that we have abandoned the irrational beliefs of our primitive past and most of us have embraced a modern secular/scientific view of life. But consider that most of humanity (85%) still affiliates with a world religion and apocalyptic themes are prominent in those religions. Most in the remaining “unaffiliated” sector of humanity (15%) also hold apocalyptic themes in “secular/ideological” or scientific versions as is evident in the widespread embrace of environmental alarmism narratives with their endless setting of end-of-days scenarios.
Add to the mix that the entertainment industry and news media obsessively promote some version of apocalyptic as the unavoidable future of life.
While religious traditions embrace punitive, destroying God theories, the punitive, destroying gods of “secular” apocalyptic movements like environmentalism include vengeful Gaia, angry Planet or angry Mother Earth (voiced most recently- Sept. 2020- by Nancy Pelosi), retributive Universe, and payback karma.
Because most moderns still embrace some version of apocalyptic mythology, hence many people instinctively yield to confirmation bias acceptance of bad news as presenting the true state of life. The primitive myth of apocalypse has been deeply embedded in human narratives for millennia and it has become hardwired in human subconscious. That myth continues to influence many to believe that life is declining toward something worse, toward some great collapse and ending.
Surveys affirm the widespread acceptance of the apocalyptic view that life is declining toward something worse (declinism being a central idea in apocalyptic). A 2016 survey by YouGov found 58% of respondents in 17 countries thought the world was getting worse and only 11 % thought it was getting better. 65% of Americans thought the world was getting worse and only 6% thought it was getting better.
The embrace of apocalyptic themes orients people to fatalism and resignation over life. Consequently, people will embrace policies that may ensure the dangerous self-fulfillment of apocalyptic beliefs. Note, for example, the current movement to decarbonize our societies that will be “the suicide of industrial civilization” (Richard Lindzen). Apocalyptic narratives of fear and despair have led entire societies to embrace movements that have led to mass-death outcomes as in the Marxist, Nazi, and environmental alarmism movements of the past century (Environmentalism as mass-death movement? Yes. Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring helped shape the anti-DDT alarm that cost millions of lives).
Charles Krauthammer was right when he stated that “decline is a choice.”
It is critical to counter apocalyptic narratives with good scientific research and evidence that shows life has been improving on all fronts. For amassed detail on the main features and trends of life, see Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on The Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, Szurmak and Desrocher’s Population Bombed, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, and the Humanprogress.org site, among others.
But such evidence does not change the minds of many committed to apocalyptic. You then need to go to the root of the problem of apocalyptic alarmism and confront the religious myth that has long been the anchoring core of human narratives. Go directly to the worst idea in the apocalyptic complex- that of some punitive, destroying Force or deity.
There is no such reality behind life. There never has been any such reality. The alternative? See ‘Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives’ just below.
No matter the apparent intractable problems of any era, with the application of human creativity, life will continue to improve as it has across history. And more important (responding to primal human fears)- there is no ultimate threat behind life. We are all ultimately safe in love.
Site project: To deliver a death blow to humanity’s greatest monster and enemy. The monster/enemy is not some other person(s). Our great enemy/monster is embodied in the “cruel-God” features that have long been foundational to human God theories (i.e. ultimate reality/ultimate meaning beliefs). These features- e.g. judgment, retaliatory punishment, final destruction- promote unnecessary fear and bury the creating/sustaining Love that is at the core of reality. The darker features of divinities- humanity’s highest ideal and authority- have long incited the worst impulses in people to harshly judge imperfect others, to retaliate with punitive justice, and to destroy “enemy” others.
Punitive, destroying God theories anchor entire complexes of supporting bad ideas (see Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below). This “threat theology” can also be traced behind contemporary alarmism movements like environmental alarmism. Note a recent example of threat theology from Nancy Pelosi (Sept. 2020), claiming that “Mother Earth is angry” and threatening to punish and destroy us bad people. Other contemporary versions of threat theology include vengeful Gaia, retributive Universe, angry Planet, and payback karma.
Threat theology is primitive mythology at its worst- the belief that there is some ultimate threat of punishment and destruction that is manifested through the natural world. These myths generate unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, and even violence. Arthur Mendel was right that apocalyptic has been “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Vision and Violence). How so? Apocalyptic threat incites the survival impulse in populations. It then arouses tribal hatred that is focused on some threatening other, some enemy that must be coercively and even violently purged in order to “save the world”. This alarmism becomes a direct assault on human freedom as frightened people believe that the threatening enemy must be silenced, banned, cancelled, and worse. See patterns and outcomes of alarmism movements in sections below.
My project may seem Quixotic, as in Don Quixote running his lance at windmills. But the monster is real. My intention is to promote liberation from primal fears of divine punishment through the natural world and from the primal human fear of after-life harm. This pathology has long buried the truth of a stunning no conditions Love at the core of reality, a love that is also our essential nature as human persons. We are not the fallen creatures of religious mythology that deserve divine punishment or destruction (i.e. apocalypse, hell). We are most essentially beings of love and light, inseparable from the great Love and Light at the core of reality.
This is a “go-to-the-ultimate-root” project that deals with the most fundamental pathology of all.
“MIT atmospheric science professor Richard Lindzen (ret.) says that many claims regarding climate change are exaggerated and unnecessarily alarmist”
Intention in material below? I want people to feel ultimately safe because there is no ultimate monster. Tell your children this and re-assure them.
The transformation of humanity’s highest ideal and authority. Eliminating from deity the primitive features of retaliation, domination, punishment, and destruction. And then re-defining God as unconditional love. Point? Its about the nature of the ideas that we hold and their influence on our attitudes, emotions, responses, and actions in life (inciting/inspiring, guiding, validating). Notably, our ideas of humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity. How does that influence human thought, emotion, and behavior/ethics?
I have repeatedly presented on this site the single most profound insight or discovery ever made. The insight or discovery that goes to the core human idea or ideal- deity (the embodiment of ultimate meaning for humanity across the millennia). And it transforms that reality entirely, as never before in history. I refer to the central statement of Historical Jesus that should have been the message of Christianity and would have made it a movement of “Jesus-ianity”. But the early Christian church blew it and took up Paul’s contrary message instead, making that religion a movement that promoted Paul’s “Christ-ianity”, his Christ myth.
Decades earlier (circa 27-36 CE) Jesus had rejected the traditional view of justice as eye for eye and urged that, instead of engaging payback/retaliation, we should forgive and love our enemies. Most critically, he rejected the theological basis for retributive justice- i.e. the idea of a retaliatory God (see his statements of his main message in Matthew 5 and Luke 6, Luke being the better version of that same message). He set forth his point in the form of a behavior based on a similar belief, an ethic based on a similar theology. “Do this because God is like this”.
He presented it this way: “Love your enemies because God does”. How does he establish this stunning new theology of a God that does not ultimately retaliate against human wrong but instead loves enemies? Jesus argued from the evidence of the natural world, stating that “God gives the good gifts of life- sun and rain for crops- to both good and bad people alike”. That is to say, God does not retaliate against God’s enemies but God forgives all people the same, includes all the same (no discrimination between righteous or unrighteous people), and generously loves all the same. We are all safe in the end, safe in an inexpressibly wondrous unconditional love.
This stunning new theology of a “non-retaliatory God” was the scandal and offense of Jesus’ teaching. He illustrated the offensiveness of an unconditional deity in his short stories/parables where the unconditional treatment of human failure offended good, moral people who wanted to see “proper payback justice for wrong done” meted out. Jesus made this point, for example, in the parable of the vineyard workers who were offended at the generosity of the owner toward the latecomers, and the older son offended at the unconditional love of the Father toward the prodigal son.
The discovery that “God is unconditional love” is a profound liberation from the long history of ‘threat theology’ that has generated endless unnecessary fear of divine punishment, whether through the harsh realities of the natural world (i.e. God punishing through natural disaster, accident, disease) or the unnecessary fear of after-life harm (i.e. hell myths). The gods of all previous mythology and religion, along with some kinder and nicer features, were the ultimate guarantors of ultimate justice as some form of payback punishment and destruction. None of them had been non-retaliatory, unconditional deities.
But Jesus, rejecting that long history of cruel God theories, said that the great reality of deity, the ultimate embodiment of human ideals and meaning, was “no conditions love”. No religion has ever communicated this wonder an unconditional God to humanity. All religions have presented the non-negotiable conditions of right beliefs, required rituals and religious lifestyle, and demanded sacrifices/offerings as necessary to appease and please religious deities (necessary for inclusion among the favored insiders- for salvation).
(Qualifiers: While the Jesus insight clearly points to no ultimate or after-life retaliation, in this imperfect life we experience the natural and social consequences of our actions, as we should. For example, violent people must be restrained to protect innocent others. This is all part of normal human development and growth in this life. But even justice here should rightly and humanely be restorative/rehabilitative and not punitive. Further, Jesus was not advocating that we feel mushy or warm toward horrific acts of human cruelty but that we treat offenders humanely no matter how we feel about their offenses.)
Think through the implications of an unconditional ultimate reality for all areas of thought and life. On the negative side, it means the rejection of entire complexes of bad ideas that have dominated world religions and whose core themes have even been embraced in secularized systems of human meaning- see Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below. Those bad ideas, or cruel God theories, have wreaked immense damage across history, both psychic and physical in the form of unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame/guilt, despair/depression, and violence (once again, see psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s excellent “Cruel God, Kind God” or Alex Garcia’s “Alpha God”).
Paul, about two decades later (circa 50s CE), rejected that new unconditional theology of Jesus and retreated back to re-enforce the age-old theology of retaliatory deity and punitive justice. He stated his view of God using this Old Testament quote, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-20). Paul re-established retaliatory theology as the basis for ultimate retaliatory justice.
Paul encouraged suffering Christians to be nice to their offenders in this life (“Do not repay evil with evil, do not take revenge”), based on the hope that they would get ultimate vengeance against their enemies through God’s ultimate destruction of those enemies.
Note that Paul used the same “behavior based on similar belief” relationship that Jesus had used. But contradictorily, Paul used a very opposite belief from the ethic that he appeared to advocate. He told Christians to not retaliate in kind but to be nice to their enemies because God would be the one to retaliate and punish their enemies in the future. There was no “love your enemies because God does” in Paul’s statement. It was rather a statement of “be nice to your enemies now because God will get them soon” argument. Hold your lust for vengeance in check because it will soon be satisfied by God.
While Paul’s non-retaliatory ethic seems similar to the non-retaliation ethic of Jesus, Paul’s ethic is actually motivated by the desire and hope for vengeance because it is oriented to the belief in a vengeful God. That makes the behavioral part of Paul’s argument actually retaliatory in intent similar to his retaliatory theology.
And I believe Paul used this behavior/belief relationship to directly counter and contradict the very same pattern of a “behavior based on a belief” that Jesus had used in his core teaching as per Matthew 5 and Luke 6.
Remember also that Paul rejected and belittled the wisdom tradition that Jesus had belonged to (see Paul’s first Corinthian letter, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/jesus/stephenjpatterson.html).
Further, Paul embedded retaliation in the Christian deity and that feature of divine retaliation would be given its most potent expression in Paul’s embrace of apocalyptic mythology. Apocalyptic is an expression of the ultimate act of retaliatory vengeance- i.e. to destroy all things, to destroy the world. Paul’s apocalyptic Christ then became most responsible for re-enforcing the ancient pathology of apocalyptic in Western consciousness and belief systems over subsequent millennia. See James Tabor’s book Paul and Jesus.
Theology, or God theory, is the reality that embodies humanity’s ideas of ultimate meaning. And the pathology of retaliatory deity continues even in the gods of many moderns- e.g. vengeful Gaia, angry Planet or pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma.
Accepting a fundamental oneness of all, especially a human oneness with deity, means that we are not the fallen, corrupt creatures of religious mythology. We share the same essential nature of deity that is no conditions love. This love is the core nature of our human spirit or self. Meaning- we are most essentially good.
Unfortunately, we have inherited an animal brain with some dark animal impulses from our animal past. That makes the real enemy in life something that resides within each of us. And that is where life’s greatest battles take place- inside us, as our true self struggles to overcome our inherited animal impulses (i.e. impulses to tribally exclude and oppose others as enemies (small band orientation), to dominate others (alpha male/female), and to punish and destroy others as enemies). Recognizing and embracing our true self as unconditional love energizes our struggle to overcome these base animal features. Unconditional orients us to include all as equal members of the one human family. It orients us to respect the freedom and self-determination of others. And it orients us to take a restorative justice approach to all human imperfection and failure.
The struggle here is not about attaining perfection but about humane ideals that orient us toward things that help us become more truly human.
Much of the other material in the gospels that is attributed to Jesus was added decades later by the gospel writers, material that Jesus never actually taught. That material, which is conditional in nature, contradicts the unconditional message of Jesus as per Matthew 5:38-48, or better Luke 6:27-36 (Matthew adds some distorting glosses that make Jesus’ comments appear conditional). Hence, the problem noted by Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy of “the diamonds of Jesus buried in the dung/muck of surrounding material”.
The gospel writers (Mark wrote around 70 CE, Matthew and Luke about 80 CE) were affirming Paul’s earlier letters (50s CE) and contributed to Paul’s endeavor to restore the theology of a retaliating deity (thereby overturning the project of Jesus to reject retaliatory justice and retaliatory theology).
Most of us embrace limited and subhuman tribal forms of love- love for family, friends, and limited social circles. But as Bob Brinsmead has said, “If love is not unconditional and universal, then it is not really love”. Love of enemies is the marker of truly unconditional and universal love. Such love characterizes a mature person, according to Joseph Campbell.
Campbell added, “For love is as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending from ‘loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s ‘love your enemies’) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost… ‘Man must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths to Live By).
A non-retaliatory deity is a non-apocalyptic deity. Apocalypse is the supreme act of retaliation against wrong, an act of payback judgment and punishment. Apocalypse is the ultimate expression of ‘eye for eye’ justice.
The central discovery from the Near-Death Experience movement affirms the Jesus insight that God is unconditional love. Most NDErs return to detail their frustration at not being able to enunciate the inexpressible wonder that the Light or God that they encountered is a stunning no conditions Love. As one lady said, “There is no angry God, no judgment, no punishment, and no hell. Only this inexpressibly wondrous unconditional love”. Others have affirmed this also, saying, “God’s very atoms are love. The very substance of God is unconditional love”. That love is the core of all reality.
Fundamental shared values for a healthy society
What are the fundamental shared values that all can agree on as basic to a humane, civilized society? The ‘social contract’ stuff that we can all affirm. I could also frame these as principles that we live and die by. Principles that would successfully organize human society to do the most good for the most people. What are the markers of mature humanity, the basic shared values that all could agree on?
Love would be my first and foremost value as humanity’s highest ideal but it needs more tightening of specification just as to what kind of love we are defining.
I would define love with the following three basic features: Inclusion of all, freedom from central or elite control/domination, and restorative treatment of human failure.
(1) The inclusion of everyone equally. This is not equality of outcome as that is never possible and when coercively legislated in collectivist approaches it has resulted in devastating outcomes that have impoverished many and divided societies into privileged insider elites with disillusioned and disenfranchised outsider masses. Inclusion and equality are better served by maintaining a level playing field with “democratic politics, strong property rights, the rule of law, enforcement of contracts, freedom of movement, and a free press” (Ten Global Trends, Bailey and Tupy).
(2) Freedom- the primacy of individual freedom is the critical element here. This is contrasted with collectivist approaches where the individual is subject to some collective as primary. As Frederick Hayek noted, dispersing power among competing individuals is the best way to protect against the concentrating of power in collectivist elites. The centralizing of power in collectivist approaches (the state and state elites as representing the will of the collective) has historically undermined individual freedom.
(3) The restorative treatment of human imperfection and failure as most potent for lowering recidivism rates and protecting the innocent. This is contrasted with punitive, destructive justice approaches that produce more harm than good (see Karl Menninger’s ‘The Crime of Punishment’).
I know suffering (Seriously- I kid). I have endured the misfortune of being born into a religious family. Or maybe I chose it from beyond if Natalie Sudman’s experience of the beyond (Application of Impossible Things) is anywhere near true- i.e. that we choose such things before we come here in order to learn something. My experience of a Christian Evangelical upbringing left an overwhelmingly sour taste in my psyche. Not from the many good people affiliated with that religion and not from the good things they advocated like love, mutual support, and unselfish service. The sourness comes from the many irrationally bad things in the mix like the tribal exclusion of unbelievers, the slave-like worship of a dominating Lord, and the threats of ultimate exclusion and destruction via apocalypse and hell, just for being imperfectly human.
Retrospection of my firsthand experience in religion has led me to understand more of how ideas can impact and shape human emotions, response, and behavior, for good and bad. See psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s ‘Cruel God, Kind God’ for a detailed dissection and analysis of the impact of religious beliefs on human personality.
But the other option left me just as psychically soured- the materialist nothingness or meaninglessness that is embraced by so many of our contemporaries. Dogmatic atheism, especially, seems to me to be just as irrational as religious dogmatism, a kind of mirror-imaging. Dogmatism of any kind is especially unwarranted given the mystery of this reality that we inhabit. And that mystery grows ever more profound with ongoing scientific discovery. As Freeman Dyson smiled shyly and cautioned Daniel Dennett during a panel discussion (following one of Dennett’s dogmatic materialist assertions), “We don’t know that. This universe is weird”.
But I get that materialism/atheism is a sort of contemporary ‘cool’, much like pessimism was considered “deep” or cool in US academia after WW2 as a reaction to post-war ‘Boosterism’ (Martin Seligman notes this in his books, that in academia optimism was considered “shallow”).
I take an independent stance in response to the two above prominent options offered humanity- religion or atheism. I have concluded that most of humanity across history has got the basics right, just as moderns also understand- i.e. that we belong to some greater surrounding/interpenetrating invisible reality. We know of this reality, for example, from physics with its speculations on dark matter/energy, quantum fields/forces, surrounding realms and multi-verses.
However, most people have understood that the greater reality is more than just energy, forces, or something primarily defined by natural law. Most of humanity across history has intuitively understood that the greater reality has something to do with Mind, Consciousness, Intelligence, and therefore with Personhood or Self. Even the early quantum theorists concluded that the universe was more a great Mind than a great Machine. Consciousness as the foundational nature of ultimate reality. Unfortunately, the ancients projected all sorts of subhuman features onto their gods that turned them into cosmic monsters. Those features, long deeply embedded as essential definitions of deity, continue to shape the ‘threat theology’ of the world religions that has caused incalculable damage to people across history, both psychic and physical damage.
Most important, to counter the long history of threat theology, is to recognize that greater reality has something to do with ultimate Goodness or Love. At its best- it must be a stunningly “no conditions love”. Because that is the highest good that we can imagine. And that is exactly what the NDE people keep telling us- that they encountered an unconditional Love that they could not express in words. It was beyond bliss and wonder. Better than the best that anyone could imagine or describe. As one lady with a theology degree (Catholic) said after having her near-death experience and returning, “My religion (Christianity) is all wrong. There is no angry God. There is no judgment, no punishment, no hell. There is only a wondrous unconditional love”.
I can embrace this understanding of Ultimate Reality/deity without reserve. It makes most sense. And it seems most rational and true. But that’s the big background picture stuff. What about here and now reality, daily life?
I long ago concluded that how we think shapes how we respond, how we act or live, and critically, how we treat others. Holding ultimate ideals/authorities (i.e. gods) that are tribally dividing and excluding (gods favoring believers and rejecting unbelievers), that promote domination/submission forms of relating (God as Lord, King, Judge), and that are punitive and destroying (apocalypse, hell)- holding such ideals has repeatedly lead followers of those ideals/gods to act and live accordingly.
Hence, we get the sorry history of such deities influencing much inhuman and ugly behavior among people all across history, including today. We see the influence of inhumane features embedded in divinities when people reject the oneness of all humanity to tribally oppose and exclude others that differ from them. We see the same influence when people dominate and coercively control others- “for their own good” of course. And we see it when people embrace punitive, destructive justice responses to human failure and imperfection. The outcomes of how people think have covered the spectrum from just making others uncomfortable (shunning unbelievers) all the way to the horrors of mass-death movements- i.e. crusades, inquisitions, and wars. People do become just like the god (ultimate ideal or authority) that they believe in.
The darkest years of my sojourn in Evangelicalism occurred during the early 1970s when hysteria over Lord Jesus returning was at fever pitch with people setting dates to scare the bejesus out of one another and to push one another to more fervent devotion. Jesus will return at any moment, they claimed, so you better be right with God, or else the apocalypse and final judgment will happen unexpectedly and it will be too late for you.
Later in life I felt that I had left that religious mythology behind till I found myself in a grad program at UBC where I had became caught up in environmental alarmism with its angry Gaia or Mother Earth that was going to punish us with an environmental apocalypse. A friend commented on environmental alarmism in general, stating that he did not believe it, and that sparked a re-evaluation of the basic ideas of my personal worldview. I came to the realization that I had only left the outer trimmings of my religious past but I still held to the core beliefs and myths of apocalyptic mythology, now expressed in new “secular” versions such as environmentalism.
Quite uncomprehendingly, I had exchanged one set of beliefs (religious) for an identical set of beliefs, but that were framed in new “secular/ideological” categories and terms.
Environmental alarmism today, along with contemporary Christianity and most other major religions, has embraced the myths of a better past (original paradise, Eden), corrupt people have ruined that paradise, and now life was declining toward something worse, toward some collapse and ending, or apocalypse, where bad people will be punished. Therefore, it is critical to embrace a salvation scheme and make an appeasing sacrifice to the new gods- i.e. embrace the low consumption simple life (return to primitivism)- in order to restore the lost paradise. Nothing has changed in terms of the core themes.
Joseph Campbell summarized the history of mythology, religion, and ideology in stating that the same themes have continued across all history and across all the cultures of the world. Humanity has had a difficult time finding liberation from the same old, same old.
The realization that I still held a very mythically-oriented view of life then led to a radical rethinking and overhaul of my worldview. See the outcomes of this re-evaluation in “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives.”
I make the regular argument on this site that moderns, even those claiming to be secular materialists or atheists, are no different from our primitive ancestors in terms of the core ideas or themes that they hold. The only difference is that moderns express those core themes in new “secular” versions. But the content or meaning of the basic ideas that many moderns embrace is the same old mythical stuff as ever before. Note, for example, the shift from primitive apocalyptic mythology to modern environmental apocalyptic (or 19th Century Declinism) that occurred during the larger shift of humanity away from worldviews with still prominent mythical features to the more scientific and ideology-oriented worldviews of the modern era.
My complaint above is not against the good people in Evangelical Christianity that are friends and relatives, but my complaint is how Christianity has buried the single greatest insight in history, an insight that could liberate minds and spirits more than any other.
Historical Jesus (a person quite opposite to Christian “Jesus Christ”) had broken with all past deity theory of all religious history that had always included the ‘Cruel God’ features of retaliation/retribution, exclusion of unbelievers, gods as ruling Kings/Lords, and ultimate punishment and destruction in apocalypse and hell. Historical Jesus rejected all that in his central statement that there should be “no more eye for eye but instead we should love our enemies because God did”. How so? Evidence from the natural world. God “gave sun and rain to both good and bad people”. Meaning- God included all, forgave all, and loved all. It was a profoundly humane new theology or God theory unheard of anywhere in previous history.
Let me spell this out even more. A no conditions deity means no ultimate judgment from deity (though judgment is still part of human experience in this imperfect world, with self-judgment as perhaps the most devastating kind of judgment). It means no ultimate separation or exclusion of anyone, and no punishment or destruction. And most critically, no conditions means no demand for sacrifice or payment to appease angered deity. There is only a stunning no conditions Love waiting for everyone in the ultimate future. Interesting that the NDE movement has been stating this for decades.
Historical Jesus offered an entirely new theology or God theory- that of a non-retaliatory deity.
But this insight was buried subsequently by Paul’s retaliatory Christ myth. See Romans 12:17-20 for Paul’s statement of his theology- “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”. There is nothing of “no more eye for eye” in Paul’s God theory. Instead, we find Paul promoting a cosmic eye for eye retaliation in his teaching of an apocalyptic and retributive Christ with a soon coming final judgment and destruction of all things temporal (see also the Thessalonian letters).
Widespread promotion of the Historical Jesus insight would have brought humanity unprecedented liberation of mind and spirit- liberation from the primal fear of after-life harm that has always added an unnecessary sting to death fears. Instead of such liberation, we have the major world religions still promoting retributive God theories today with secular ideologies now adding their support to such pathological mythology (i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry Planet or pissed Mother earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma).
And an update on the pandemic:
The promotion of hysteria over climate change (“panic-porn”) continues across the world. There are deeply embedded beliefs behind these eruptions of hysteria, notably, myths of divine retribution through nature… as punishment for our “sins”. A recent restatement of this fallacy: Nancy Pelosi’s comment (Sept. 2020) that the fires in California were due to “Mother Earth being angry” at us for our sin of enjoying the immense improvements of life in societies based on fossil fuels. So also the Japanese woman expressed the same fallacy after the 2011 tsunami when she asked, “Are we being punished for enjoying the good life too much?”
Alarmism movements embrace ancient ideas that, while still dominating the world religious traditions, are also now given “secular” expression in movements like environmental alarmism.
Eruptions of myth-based and apocalyptic-scale alarmism have repeatedly led to devastating outcomes for humanity as we saw in the past century in Marxism, Nazism, and early environmentalism. Marxism/Nazism as “myth-based alarmism”? Yes. See the research of Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles, and Arthur Herman that details the influence of ‘apocalyptic millennial’ ideas on all these mass-death movements of the Twentieth Century.
Alarmism movements manifest in the following patterns: First, there is the promotion of fear over some purported threat and that incites the survival impulse in populations. The purported threat in Marxist alarmism is capitalist society, in Nazism it was Jewish Bolshevism, and in environmentalism it is industrial free-market society. Frightened people are then easily manipulated to support policies that the panic promoters claim will “save their threatened world”.
Alarmist’ policies undermine freedom with the demand to silence critics or doubters as dangerous life-threatening heretics trying to prevent the salvation of life. Then follows the demand for ‘coercive purging’ of the threat and the demand for the ‘instantaneous transformation’ of life, as in the proposals to entirely decarbonize our societies as quickly as possible with the latest apocalyptic deadline set for 2030. Climate scientist Richard Lindzen calls decarbonization “the suicide of industrial society”.
Alarmists claim that these measures (i.e. the overturning of industrial civilization) are necessary in order to save the world and to restore some lost paradise, or to install a utopia (i.e. utopias as in Marxist collectivist society, Nazi Third Reich, or a renewed environmental paradise).
Because the threat is always “imminent” and “existential” there is no time for normal democratic processes. End-of-days dates are endlessly set (and endlessly reset as they always pass unfulfilled) to re-enforce the imminent factor.
So the same old totalitarian impulse now validates itself as necessary for the salvation of our world.
The element of sacrifice to appease an angered Force or deity is also part of the alarmist package (i.e. sacrifice our modern lifestyle and comforts to appease an angry Mother Earth). This is a call to return to primitivism or the “morally superior” simple life.
The stunning thing here is that amassed evidence shows that there is no great threat to life. All the main indicators show that life has never been better and continues to improve.
Site project: Bring down the real monster
The greatest monster and enemy of humanity has long been lodged in humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity. I refer to the “Cruel God” features of domination, tribal exclusion, punishment of imperfection, and violent destruction of unbelievers (apocalypse, hell). There are also ‘kind God’ features in most versions of deity but the darker features have persisted in defining God across the millennia and still dominate human consciousness today. (See, for example, “Cruel God, Kind God” by Zenon Lotufo)
The darker features in God theories have anchored a full complex of related, supporting ideas- i.e. the tribalism that divides the human family into believers/unbelievers (with ultimate exclusion of unbelievers), divinity as modelling domination/submission relationships (i.e. God as Lord, King, and religious hierarchies and priesthoods as ultimate authorities), the religious demand for conformity of thought/belief, behavior, and lifestyle, and the eventual violent destruction of this world and unbelievers. This last feature (destruction of unbelievers) re-enforces the myth that humanity is essentially corrupt or sinful and deserves punishment and destruction via apocalypse and hell.
These pathologies, long hardwired at the subconscious level, have endlessly incited and validated the worst of human impulses to engage tribal opposition toward disagreeing others, to dominate others, and to exclude and punish/destroy others as enemies.
(Insert: Note especially that the religious belief in the believer/unbeliever division of humanity affirms the primitive animal impulse to small band or tribal enmity between people and undermines the fundamental oneness of all, and hence undermines the equality of all people in the one human family.)
There has never been a punitive, destroying God that punishes people through the natural world (i.e. via natural disaster, accident, disease, or the cruelty of others). There has always and only been love at the core of reality.
Embracing love- no conditions love- to define Ultimate Reality then reshapes humanity’s ultimate ideal and authority entirely, and changes everything. Unconditional Love as an ultimate ideal and authority cannot incite anything subhuman/inhuman. It cannot incite or validate the darker/baser human impulses. To the contrary, it operates to inspire the best of the human spirit. It inspires, for example, the inclusion of all as free equals (honoring the self-determination of others, non-dominating/non-controlling), and it inspires us to take non-punitive, restorative justice approaches toward all human imperfection.
Let this love replace the old myths of punitive, destroying God and become the new transforming core of human consciousness and subconscious. Enjoy the liberation that it brings from primal fears- i.e. fear of deity punishing humanity through the natural world, and freedom from fear of death. The sting of death has long been intensified by the fear of after-life harm from deity (i.e. fear of judgment, exclusion, punishment, and destruction).
As humanity’s highest ideal and authority, the myth of God as punitive and using violence to destroy all things, has become a permanent background fixture in human narratives and consciousness. It is still prominent in the great world religions and now embraced in “secular” versions for the modern era- e.g. vengeful Gaia, retributive Universe, payback karma, and angry Planet/Mother Earth (e.g. Nancy Pelosi’s recent- Sept.2020- comment that angry Mother Earth was punishing us through the California fires).
We can do better and move beyond such primitive myths. Love is all and love changes everything. See Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below.
In all your endeavor to correct wrong and to make life better include those powerful ideas that still reside at the core of human consciousness, and subconscious, and continue to shape humanity’s belief systems both religious and “secular/scientific”.
Here is a compilation of comments on NDEs: Reminders of what is real around us.
The central insight from the NDE movement is that Ultimate Reality, Consciousness, or Mind (long called God) is love, only love, and love of a stunningly unconditional nature. That is the core of all reality and life. Here are a few comments from the compilation linked just below…
“Judgment and punishment are things humans do. We judge ourselves. We judge others. We punish ourselves. We punish others. God doesn’t do that. God just loves. God admires us for coming here and giving it a go. We have so much support. We just can’t see it. Tune in and feel the love around you all the time. Every single human being is loved in the same way. We are all safe.”
The two worst ideas to have ever entered human consciousness and then become lodged in human narratives and subconscious are the myth of a punitive, destroying Force or deity behind life, expressed through natural disaster, disease, accident, or human cruelty. This primary fallacy is paired with the equally perverse myth that we are essentially corrupt beings that deserve punishment and destruction. These two are “the root of all evil” in human minds and mythologies.
Complexes of related bad ideas have been constructed around these two and these complexes of ideas have long shaped the major systems of human thought across history and still do today (i.e. world religions and “secular” ideologies).
We have long had the alternatives to these two ideas- see Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below.
More on climate change
The most severe swings of climate change occurred from 50-20,000 years ago. The climate changes since the beginning of our inter-glacial some 20,000 years ago have been mild in comparison. You get periodic swings between warming and cooling periods like the severe cold of the Little Ice Age from 1645-1715, a cold period that we are still recovering from. Nature throws all sorts of nasties at us like periods of extended drought, severe hurricanes and of course wildfires. But all such events must be placed in context in order to be properly understood. And all the factors involved in such events must be included in order for us to understand the actual root causes and true state of something and how to rationally respond.
Over the past three decades apocalyptic types have pushed a distorting narrative with hysterical exaggeration that focuses on only one element to the neglect of all others (i.e. CO2 as largely or solely responsible for climate change). They claim that the destructive events we are experiencing are due to an angry nature punishing bad people for their abuse of nature and they frame that almost solely in terms of our use of fossil fuels as the great evil to be banished.
Again, as Nancy Pelosi claimed recently (Sept. 2020), “Mother Earth is angry” and then promised to enact policies to eliminate fossil fuels. This is mythology at its distorting worst. Credible scientists have noted that poor forest management is largely responsible for the severity of the California wildfire season, not the worst on record by far. See reports at Wattsupwiththat.com, notably, Richard Lindzen’s research on the minor role of CO2 in climate change.
Point? There is no “settled science” or “consensus” that CO2 is the dominant driver of climate change. Conclusion? There is no good scientific reason to decarbonize our societies and abandon fossil fuels.
Our struggle with imperfection and its influence on the early creation of mythology
The earliest human mythology reveals our struggle to understand and explain imperfection in our world and in our lives. Look at one of the earliest myths of the Sumerian city of Dilmun. These original perfection myths (original golden age or paradise, Eden) are found all across the world. They are stories of the ancient belief in original perfection and then the blaming of humanity for the ruin of that perfection (our ancestors commit an original error or sin) and therefore we deserve subsequent punishment with suffering in life- illness and thorns and death are all introduced to make our lives miserable, as punishment for our ancestor’s original sin.
In the Dilmun story: the early man Enki eats the original forbidden 8 plants and then becomes ill. Paradise is ruined.
Over subsequent millennia, Jewish and Christian theologians affirmed the belief in original perfection. Christian theologians, for example, were stunned, after the telescope was invented, with the discovery that the orbits of planets were elliptical (not “perfectly” circular as the Greeks had imagined) and the planets were pock-marked with craters. They had believed that the cosmos was created perfect, as was the earth. And they had long affirmed that the ruin of our originally perfect world was due to an original human sin.
This primitive mythology continues to dominate human consciousness today- i.e. the more general belief that the past was better (the pristine paradise of a wilderness world) but corrupt, greedy people have ruined that with industrial civilization. The ruin of the better past is due to our wanting a better life. The Japanese lady summed this belief after the 2011 tsunami, asking rhetorically, “Are we being punished for enjoying the good life too much?”
Much distorting mythology has resulted from our struggle to understand and explain imperfection in our world and our lives. This struggle with imperfection has been one of the central driving motives behind the creation of mythology and religion.
Science has now shown us that there was no original imperfection. But many still accept the core reasoning of primitive mythology (core themes) and continue to blame humanity for fucking things up, or more politely, for ruining things. Surely, we deserve punishment. Example: Nancy Pelosi’s affirmation recently that “Mother Nature is angry” and was punishing us for ruining things. The past was better (original paradise), we have ruined it (our bad), so we deserve punishment. We are subjected to endless browbeating with this primitive thinking.
This distorting narrative ought to be rejected. We are born imperfect in an imperfect reality, and imperfection was “built-in” originally for some overall higher reason. We struggle with our imperfection and to become something better. We struggle against imperfection all through life. But we must learn to do so without excessive guilt and shame and not beating ourselves up over remaining imperfection. There is a healthy recognition of our failures, and endeavor to become better, and an unhealthy shame and guilt that goes too far in self-recrimination.
Our personal experience of imperfection should be an empathy-generator and ought to make us more generously merciful toward the imperfection of others.
A new narrative will overturn these old themes and primitive reasoning and will embrace original imperfection as part of an original creation and the recognition that imperfection exists for some good purpose (i.e. providing an arena for human struggle and development, to bring forth the best of the human spirit). See Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives.
Note: We strive endlessly for a more perfect life, society, and world. But our struggle for improvement ought to be via the “gradualism” of messy democratic processes that maintain human freedom. The revolutions of the past century that used coercive approaches to “instantaneously transform” societies and achieve some utopia, ended in horrific harm to billions. See Arthur Mendel’s good treatment of these issues in ‘Vision and Violence’.
Looming climate catastrophe? 16 times more people die annually from cold than from warmth. With the mild one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century, animal life has benefitted with expanded seasons and habitat.
Also, the world is much greener today thanks to the small increase in basic plant food (i.e. more CO2 has resulted in adding green vegetation across the world equivalent to twice the size of the continental US). Small increase in CO2? Yes, from the pre-industrial 285 ppm to the 400 plus ppm of today. This is small compared to the multiple thousands of ppm of atmospheric CO2 that existed over much of the past 500 million years with little effect on world temperatures https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/09/15/cooling-the-hothouse/
The increase in plant food has resulted in increased crop productivity, more plant food for animals, overall a return to more optimal conditions for all life. More warmth and more plant food has resulted in net benefits for all life.
So yes, 97% of us agree climate change has been occurring. But so what? The outcomes have been largely beneficial, not “catastrophic” as the apocalyptics claim. Hence, there is no scientific basis for reducing human use of fossil fuels.
More on site projects:
A central project here is to contribute to widespread endeavors to disarm contemporary alarmism (e.g. climate alarmism) with evidence on the true state of life as overall improving across the long-term. The intent is to affirm a rational basis for hope in the future. This site probes the root ideas behind alarmism- i.e. the persistent embrace of apocalyptic mythology in contemporary worldviews, both religious and “secular”. This site traces the historical roots of this pathology and locates the origin of apocalyptic in Western history in Paul’s Christ myth (see “The great Christian Contradiction”).
The project here is about responding to primal fears, primal impulses for meaning/purpose, and offering more humane alternatives than those offered by either religious traditions or materialism. This is about finding new ways forward to a more humane future. It is about probing the creation of more humane meta-ideals which is to say, for one, more humane God theories. Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives offers examples of more humane features for a new narrative of hope.
On the flip side: A central project here has been the endeavor to bring down the real monster and enemy in life- i.e. the monster gods of the past and present such as the punitive, destroying deities of religious traditions, and the contemporary versions of deity such as vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, punitive Universe, pissed Mother Earth, and payback karma. These larger Forces/Spirits are the cohering centers for entire sets of bad ideas. They continue to dominate human belief systems, both religious and “secular”, which is to say, they dominate the consciousness of most of humanity (the 85% affiliated with a world religion and the 15% that are still “spiritual but not religious”).
Freeing minds from “threat theology” is about liberating human consciousness from unnecessary fears. There is enough to fear in life, what with natural disaster, disease, accident, and human cruelty. We don’t need the added burden of mythically-based fear that there are angry gods or punitive forces behind the destructive elements of the natural world. Alarmists (modern apocalyptic prophets) take the harsher elements of our world to proclaim the final end of all things, endlessly setting end-of-days dates (the latest being 2030), and shamelessly claim that their apocalyptic scenarios are “science”. The costs of alarmism have been horrific, mostly for the poorest people in our societies (see Bjorn Lomborg’s False Alarm).
Further note: Apocalyptic with its punitive, destroying deity has been the most violent and destructive idea in history. The outcomes of apocalyptic have been traced in modern mass-death movements. The pattern in apocalyptic movements is as follows: The prophesying of the apocalypse incites the survival response populations and pushes people to embrace the apocalyptic salvation schemes that cause more harm because they demand “coercive purging” of some imagined threat- capitalist society in Marxist apocalyptic, Jewish Bolshevism in Nazi apocalyptic, and now in environmental apocalyptic the great threat to be purged is industrial, fossil fuel civilization. Apocalyptic movements also urge the abandoning of democratic processes with the silencing and banning of skeptics and shutting down open debate. Alarmism does not tolerate dissent and is a direct assault on freedom.
Also common to alarmist revolutions like Marxism, Nazism, and now environmentalism, is the push for the “instantaneous transformation” of society (e.g. rapid decarbonization), the total restructuring of societies in order to “save the world” from the always “imminent threat” and to restore some imagined lost paradise. Decarbonization will devastate societies with higher energy costs from undependable renewables (i.e. the “intermittency issue”).
A further project: Focusing on the real enemy in life and the real battle in life- the one inside us all, the battle of our human spirit against our inherited animal brain and its dark impulses. See “Framework for human story”.
Don’t scare the kids. Approach every apparent problem in life with rational skepticism and a commitment to understand the true state of any issue under concern. Remain open to all evidence related to a problem, even evidence that contradicts your beliefs and counters your own personal ‘confirmation bias’.
I am a father and from the earliest years of my children’s lives I have wanted to re-assure them that there is nothing to inordinately fear, no great monsters in life. Of course, there are the healthy fears of natural disaster, accident, disease, and human cruelty. But then there is the irresponsible and unnecessary fear that is incited by people exaggerating things, whether in the physical realm or by appealing to metaphysical threats.
Example: One day my oldest son, only about 5 years old, rushed into the room to tell me that he was scared for me because a religious lady had just told him that I was going to hell. I had left my Christian religion, and in her view, I was now an eternally-condemned unbeliever. Such is a distorting metaphysical threat. There is no such thing as hell.
And then there are the fears that come from exaggerating and thereby distorting physical or natural things. Our world is awash in ongoing hysteria over the apocalyptic claims that the world is coming to an end. Example: Nancy Pelosi’s recent ‘metaphysical’ claim that “Mother Earth is angry” and trying to punish us ‘evil’ people through natural disasters. That affirms other recent hysterical prophecies such as Greta Thunberg’s claims that the world is soon to end.
And this hysteria continues in the face of good contrary evidence that the disturbances and changes that we are seeing (e.g. in climate) are natural and mild compared to past eras of more sudden and severe changes in nature. Exaggerating such things to apocalyptic-scale distorts the true state of things and is highly irrational, irresponsible, and dangerous. See “Patterns and outcomes of alarmism eruptions” below.
Point? Re-assure your children that there are no real monsters out there, just the exaggerated bogey-men of hysterical alarmists whose minds are clouded by the pathology of apocalyptic myths. Alarmism is inexcusable in the face of so much good evidence on the true state of life as improving toward something better.
An affirmation: Rejecting the oppositional dualism of either religion or materialism/atheism as the two prominent alternatives available to humanity.
Let’s start by affirming the many good ideas in the complex of religious traditions. Ideas/practices of forgiveness, love, and generosity, among others. But the bad features in the mix- e.g. tribal exclusion of unbelievers, domination by gods as Lords, Kings, Rulers (and by their priesthoods), with the punitive destruction of unbelievers- these bad features in the context result in the conflict identified by both Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy as the problem of “diamonds buried in dung”.
That is to say, the good features in religious traditions are too often distorted and buried by the bad themes. Trying to affirm the good in a context that includes prominent inhuman features too often leads to the distortion of the good and results in oxymoronic “cognitive dissonance” (i.e. the confusion that arises from trying to hold opposites in some merger). We have to treat religious traditions in the same way that we have treated all other areas of life by separating the good from the bad and getting rid of the bad stuff in the mix.
(Religious oxymoron: The Christian claim that that God can now show unconditional love to sinners after demanding the supreme condition of a cosmic god-man sacrifice- i.e. the Christ- to pay for human sin. Huh? First demand a supreme condition and then claim unconditional love? And distortion of the good? Yes, the great human ideal of love in the Christian religion is reduced to a tribal form of love, reserved more for true believers but not so much for recalcitrant unbelievers that are consigned to the ‘big barbie down under’. Such religious love cannot be authentic unconditional love, or universal love, especially if Paul’s condition that faith in his Christ is necessary for salvation. Overall, Christian belief does not affirm the oneness, and hence equality, of all humanity. So yes, the bad stuff in the mix undermines and distorts the good stuff.)
We humans are a creative bunch and we can come up with better options to meet the human meaning and purpose impulses. Religion has had its chance for millennia and (pardon my Canadianese) fucked up royally. No religion has ever clearly communicated to humanity the inexpressible wonder of the unconditional nature of Ultimate Reality/deity. For a further example, see the “Christian Contradiction” below on how the Christ myth of Paul (conditional salvation) buried the unconditional message of Historical Jesus- someone entirely opposite to the Christian “Jesus Christ”. (See the ‘Q Sayings Gospel’ research).
After all, the issue is true liberty, that is the liberation of human minds and spirits at the deepest levels of consciousness/subconscious. You can have physical/material freedom and still be a slave, just as many moderns today. They identify as materialist, secularist, and even atheist, often highly educated too, but are still enslaved to primitive mythological themes like apocalyptic that dominate their “secular/scientific” belief systems.
Note: In the complexity and often confusion of life we all find some irreducibles to hang on to, to restore our equilibriums, and to make some sense of life when it sometimes seems to get senseless. My two irreducibles are (1) the Love at the core of all reality, the stunning “no conditions love” of the NDE movement, and our fundamental oneness with that. Secondly, that same Love is our most essential self or person. We are one with it. It defines our human spirit.
That means, contrary to religious myths of human fallenness and essential sinfulness, we are all most essentially good persons.
What then about what we see all over- so much human failure and imperfection and even downright criminality? Well, we have inherited some nasty animal drives that we struggle to overcome and keep at bay. On the other hand, how do we bring out our better self and this better self of others? Punitive or retaliatory approaches toward human failure do not have a good record of helping much except to continue destructive eye-for-eye cycles. Rehabilitative or restorative approaches work better to bring out the better self of others and our better self. Note how Nelson Mandela used this restorative approach with his enemies in South Africa and how that approach “turned enemies into friends and brought out the best in others” (his words).
Added note: Even if there was no NDE movement with its affirmation of ‘no conditions love’ in deity, I would still project that feature out as defining the essential nature of deity. Unconditional love is simply the highest and best form of love that we know. It is the best of being human, the ultimate in goodness, and so it best defines the Ultimate Goodness that is deity (i.e. the best ‘theodicy’).
This related snippet of conversation from the movie ‘Interstellar’:
The Anne Hathaway character defending her love for a certain man: “Love isn’t something we invented. Its observable, powerful. It has to mean something…”
The Matthew McConaughey character dismissively interjects: “It (love) has social utility…”
Hathaway’s character continues: “We love people who have died. Where is the social utility in that? Maybe it means something more, something we can’t yet understand. Maybe its some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension we can’t consciously perceive. I’m drawn across the universe to someone I haven’t seen in a decade who I know is probably dead. Love is the one thing we are capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that even if we can’t understand it”.
Another note: A popular “fad” that many engage in the defense of religion is to reframe the bad ideas of their tradition as “metaphor”, as though that takes the sting out of those pathologies. Metaphorists believe this approach frees them from literalist fundamentalism. And good for them if it works to some extent to free them from dogmatism and literalism issues.
But is it really an improvement to shift to metaphor? I would argue that it does not fundamentally change the core themes of what you are metaphorizing. Those are still subhuman or inhuman themes. To still embrace, for example, the idea that an angry God casts sinners into hell, or that such a deity demands a blood sacrifice as payment for wrong done (note the “wrathful” God of Romans demanding sacrificial payment), even as metaphor, such is not much improvement on the core meaning.
More qualifiers: Regarding the defense of the good features in a religion like Christianity. The good ideals/practices advocated by Christianity are actually common human features, common to the human spirit of all people, whether religious or atheist. Features like forgiveness, inclusion, generosity, and love are not unique to religious traditions. In fact, most religion undermines and weakens such commonly humane practices with religious conditions and limits.
Another: I appreciate some of Paul’s material such as his Galatians insight that we are not to be slaves to law. Bob Brinsmead argues that when Paul stated that we are free from law (Gr. Nomos) he meant that we are also free from scripture and religion.
But Paul messed up badly with his overall Christ myth (see “Christian Contradiction” below). He rejected, retreated from, and buried the single greatest insight in human history- the message of Historical Jesus that there was no ultimate threat (no eye for eye justice) but only Love, no conditions love, at the core of reality. And all humanity was forgiven, included, and safe in the end.
Historical Jesus had stated this point when he said, “Do not engage eye for eye retaliation but love your enemy because God does. How does God love God’s enemies? God gives the good gifts of life (sun and rain) to both righteous and unrighteous people”. With an unconditional God there was no discrimination between believers and unbelievers. There was only full inclusion of everyone.
Common sense from a leading German environmentalist: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/10/07/german-prof-climate-science-politicized-exaggerated-filled-with-fantasy-fairy-talesparis-accord-already-dead/
German Prof: Climate Science Politicized, Exaggerated, Filled With “Fantasy”, “Fairy Tales”…”Paris Accord Already Dead”!, Charles Rotter / October 7, 2020
Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt – one of the founders of Germany’s modern environmental movement – said that we have in fact three generations time to revamp the world’s energy supply system to one that is cleaner and sustainable. He rejects the Fridays For Future claim that there are only 12 years left.
Climate catastrophe not taking place
In the interview, moderator Tichy reminded that civilization began 7000 years ago, a time when it was “3°C warmer than today”, and Vahrenholt responded saying he expects civilization to continue for another seven thousand years. There was no tipping point back then, why would there be one today? “Warmth and moisture have always been good for mankind,” said Vahrenholt. “Cold has been man’s worst enemy.”
Plenty of time to move rationally
The German professor also said that the claimed catastrophe “is not taking place” and that policymakers are trying to use “panic and fear to get the people to act.” Much of the warming measured since 1850 is the result of natural warming taking place due to the end of the Little Ice Age, he explained.
Germany’s green fantasy
Later the German professor of chemistry calls the belief that wind and sun are able replace fossil fuels “fantasizing” and that Germany, with its 2.3% share of global CO2 emissions, can rescue the global climate “a fairy tale”.
Meanwhile, the warming of the last 150 years is in large part caused by natural cycles. “In the 20th century the sun was more active than at any time over the past 2000 years.”
Economically, Vahrenholt believes that a frenzied rush to renewables will lead to “horrible” economic consequences from European industrialization.
On the topic of a scientific consensus, the German professor says this is a claim made by the IPCC, which run by the UN with an agenda behind it.
Electric cars a “crackpot idea”
Vahrenholt also believes electric cars powered by batteries is not a feasible technology, and that other experts quietly call it “a crackpot idea”, and don’t speak up for fear of losing research funding. The vast majority of funding comes from the German government.
“Paris Accord already dead”
The professor of chemistry, co-author of a recent bestseller, also describes Germany as a country in denial when it comes to the broader global debate taking place on climate science, and declared the Paris Accord as being “already dead”.
“The Accord is already dead. Putin says it’s nonsense. […] The Americans are out. The Chinese don’t have to do anything. It’s all concentrated on a handful of European countries. The European Commission in massively on it. And I predict that they will reach the targets only if they destroy the European industries,” said Vahrenholt.
He characterizes Europe’s recent push for even stricter emissions reduction targets to madness akin to Soviet central planning that is doomed to fail spectacularly.
Basic Climate facts:
Climate is warming. CO2 has a warming influence on climate. There is no disagreement on these basic facts. But there has been only a 1 degree C warming over the past century in a still very cold ice-age era. 16 times more people die from cold every year than from warming. The current mild warming is part of a now three century long return to better conditions following the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age of 1645-1715. This return has always been due primarily to natural factors.
We do not know the actual CO2 effect on climate as natural variables repeatedly overwhelm the CO2 effect. CO2 is a minor variable in a complex multi-variable system. Further, the exchange of CO2 between surface biomass and atmosphere overwhelms human CO2 contributions. The exchange between ocean CO2 absorption/emissions and atmosphere also overwhelms human CO2 output. Add here the emissions from 3.4 million submarine volcanoes that also dwarf the human contribution.
(Insert: These two exchanges- land/atmosphere and ocean/atmosphere- are not in some perfect balance, hence the claim that human CO2 emissions since industrialization began account for all the rise in CO2 since then. We do not know this.)
There is no evidence of a multi-degree warming coming soon as predicted by now falsified climate models (falsified by real world observation of climate). Over most of the past 500 million years, Earth’s average surface temperatures were 5 degrees C higher than today and life flourished (average 19.5 degrees C, versus average 14.5 C today). Both poles were tropical areas. Over 90 percent of the past 500 million years there was no ice at the poles. A much warmer world is a more normal and optimal world.
Over much of the past 500 million years CO2 levels were in the multiple-thousands of ppm and life flourished. Earth is currently in a CO2 starvation era with dangerously low levels of CO2 at only hundreds of ppm. Some 300,000 years ago CO2 dipped below 200 ppm down to 185 ppm. All plant life dies at 150 ppm. Using fossil fuels and adding CO2 to the atmosphere may be our most important contribution to life. More of this basic plant food- CO2- has greened the planet immensely over past decades. Since 1980 Earth has added green vegetation comparable to twice the size of the continental US.
(Insert: Just one sample of research on the lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature in paleo-climate history- http://www.co2science.org/articles/V3/N23/C1.php)
There is no rational scientific need to reduce our use of fossil fuels. CO2 is not a pollutant or poison. It is the basic food of all life and is currently greening our planet. Plants, animals, and humans (more crop growth from more CO2) are benefitting from this increase in food production.