Section topics: Speculation on death; Monstrous ideas; Two basic approaches to organizing human societies (collectivism and the individual approach); Pushback against panic-porn; The profound contradiction between Jesus and Paul’s Christ myth; Why I reject panic over rising CO2 levels; and more…
Who said that to live life properly and fully each of us has to personally resolve the issue of death and our natural fear of death? The comment below continues the general anti-fear tone of this site as this applies to all facets of human life.
Speculating on the “unknowable” (countering the ultimate fear- death) Wendell Krossa
(Note: There is unhealthy speculation, and there is healthier speculation, more humane forms of speculation. But we all speculate in varied ways, especially in regard to the great questions that are related to our fundamental impulse for meaning/purpose.)
Recently, I have been hearing people making the comment that “we don’t know what happens to us when we die”. Yes, in some sense that is true. Or maybe not.
It depends on how much credit we give to first-hand witness testimony. Certainly, it appears more rational to state that we have no idea what happens at the point of death. But is contemporary rational (as too often defined by materialist dogmatism) the only approach that gets us to what is most true, especially in regard to the great questions that science has no way of answering? While I affirm rationalism/empiricism generally as the most important stance to take in regard to most issues in life, with regard to the death issue it may be helpful to remain open to other approaches to getting answers, notably being open to the insights from our fellow human beings, insights from personal experience.
Across history, end even today, the vast majority of people have given ultimate authority to first-hand witness testimony. Consider that the majority of humanity still affiliates with and believes the doctrines of the great world religions. 85% of the world population today affiliates with either Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. Most of the other 15% are unaffiliated or identify as “spiritual but not religious”.
These religions are all grounded on the personal “spiritual” experiences of their founders. Moses’ mountain-top revelations, Buddha’s tree experience and enlightenment, Paul’s Damascus Road revelation (the Christ myth of Christianity), and Muhammad’s cave experiences and visions. Billions of followers have subsequently accepted such experiences as ultimate authorities of truth, and still do.
Point: Don’t disparage and dismiss personal experience because it is “subjective”. It can also be very real and true. Just have your criteria ready for evaluating such experiences.
Now what about a more recent movement of personal “spiritual” experiences- i.e. the Near-Death Experience (NDE) movement? The experiences of this movement offer some fascinating insights into dying and after-death realities.
First, I take personal conscious experience seriously as it is the most real thing that we know, and perhaps the only “real” thing in the cosmos. Remember, Einstein’s “realism”- the belief in a material reality that exists aside from conscious observers- has not been affirmed in physics. As Jim Baggot noted in “Mass: The quest to understand matter from Greek atoms to quantum fields”, after centuries of exploration and experimentation, we still don’t even know what material reality is. This is just to give some background to the issue of what is real/reality.
My conclusion is that consciousness is not a product of the material (i.e. material brain) but it is the most fundamental reality and has something to do with creating material reality. Conscious human selves exist in some tight relationship with material reality, perhaps something of the nature of the “dualist interactionism” of Nobel laureate John Eccles. Hence, I believe that consciousness, or the conscious human self, can exist aside from the material. I would go further than David Chalmers’ suggestion that consciousness is another fundamental reality like gravity and not “supervenient” on the material (my definition- not ‘dependent’ on the material for its existence).
Consciousness is the most fundamental reality of all.
But then I come to all personal experience with my own criteria for evaluating the ‘truthiness’ of other’s experiences.
I note that many NDEs affirm that after-life reality is a stunningly inexpressible “unconditional love”. Something infinitely better than the best that we can imagine or know. People cannot find words to express it.
That resonates as true to me because love is humanity’s highest ideal, and unconditional love is the highest form of love that we have discovered. I then reason that the highest good that we know is the most true and the most real thing that we can know.
I do not accept all that the NDE people recount in their experiences because some of them try to affirm religious beliefs like Hell. That ultimate expression of hatred for disagreeing others is so entirely contrary to love that it must be out-rightly rejected as false. NDE researchers note the possible reasons for the minority of such distressing experiences (i.e. personal beliefs shaping perception/interpretation of an experience). The negative experiences usually resolve into positive experiences.
Deity as unconditional love undermines entirely most mythical and religious beliefs from across history. Deity as unconditional love means that there is no angry, punitive God that judges, excludes unbelievers, punishes, or destroys people. That means that there will be no apocalypse, no judgment, and no hell.
There is only inexpressible love at the core of reality and life. And the love that is creating/sustaining deity does not forget or abandon those that it loves.
So I accept the testimony of people that God is a love transcendently beyond love as we know it. As some state, “The very substance or atoms of God are inexpressible unconditional love”.
Also, the statements in the better NDEs that God is no conditions love resonates with the central message of Historical Jesus that God was a non-retaliatory, unconditional reality (see comment below “The profound contradiction between Jesus and Paul’s Christ myth”). Contrary to Historical Jesus, Paul’s Christ affirmed the highly conditional theologies of all previous historical mythology and religion.
Further, I see comment in many NDEs that the state of consciousness they experienced on separation from their material brains was “hyper-lucid”, far more real than awake consciousness here in this life. One possible explanation for hyper-lucidity is that consciousness is freed from the limiting factor that is the material brain.
People having near-death experiences also state that the reality they experienced was far more beautiful, far more peaceful, and far more blissful than anything we can imagine.
No religion has ever communicated such wonder to humanity. To the contrary, all religions have terrorized humanity across the millennia with myths of monster gods- angry deities threatening judgment, condemnation, exclusion, punishment, and destruction.
Consequently, all religious traditions have buried the wonder of unconditional with endless conditions of the correct beliefs necessary to be included among the tribe of the “saved”, demanded sacrifices/payments, essential religious rituals, and the required religious lifestyle that is the marker of true believers.
The NDE movement, as the latest historical movement in human personal “spiritual” experiences, offers something far better than any religion has ever offered. It points to a love beyond wondrous that takes the sting out of the fear of death. The sting of death has always been the fear that has been incited by religious threats of after-life harm that is based on myths of angry deities threatening exclusion, punishment, and destruction.
Some have suggested that fear of “after-life harm” has long been humanity’s greatest fear.
I come to the NDE movement with my own criteria and skepticism. But I listen carefully to their affirmation of the best thing that we know in this life- unconditional love. There is nothing better, nothing more true, and hence nothing more real. It gives ultimate hope in response to the fundamental human impulse for meaning and purpose.
And maybe we have been granted these NDE accounts to help alleviate our fear of death. That would be another plus argument for a theodicy of Ultimate Good, Ultimate Love.
The most dominant ideas that have influenced human minds across history, and still shape most people’s worldviews today, have been ideas derived from someone’s personal experience. Think of religious ideas like apocalyptic. Or punitive gods. These ideas have dominated human belief systems from the beginning. They continue to influence both religious and secular minds today. Look at the prominence of apocalyptic themes in ideologies like environmental alarmism, a worldview that is held by so-called secular types, and even scientists like Stephen Hawking.
The greatest systems of belief have always been based on someone’s personal experience- e.g. Buddha, Paul, Moses, Mohammad, and many more. Don’t fear then to consider Near-Death Experiences- the personal experiences of people today. NDEs offer better alternatives to the mythical/religious beliefs that have come to us from across history. Don’t dismiss NDEs outright as just personal, subjective experience. It’s the content of any experience that is important. Ask yourself what is being communicated. Is that content “truthful” as measured in relation to the love that most essentially defines what it means to be authentically human?
So… healthier speculation? Yes, embrace the view of dying as “dying into love”. View death as liberation back into the Love from where we originated. Not that we are ever distant from that Love in this world. If God is the sustaining reality at the core of all things, then we live and move and have our being in Love, though we may not be aware of its constant presence. As some have said, God as love is always closer than our own breath or atoms.
At a minimum, embrace the truth that there is no monster beyond death.
As always, my use of the term “God” is entirely non-religious.
Monsters (monstrous ideas) Wendell Krossa
If you are going to slay the monsters that have terrorized humanity across the millennia, then go after all the shape-shifting versions of those monsters. I refer to a complex of ideas/themes that people have embraced in mythical, religious, and “secular” versions across human history. As Joseph Campbell said, the same mythical themes have been repeated all across history and across all the cultures of the world.
Why go after these themes? Because they have been used to frighten people and alarmed populations then abandon rationality and embrace destructive salvation schemes that are not just a waste of time and energy/resources, but are positively harmful. Note Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism as examples of this correlated process of creating fear, abandonment of rational thought, consequent embrace of destructive salvations schemes, and then mass-harm and even mass-death outcomes.
Environmental alarmism as mass-death movement? Examples: Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring influenced the ban on DDT that resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths, many children (see The Excellent Powder). Greenpeace activism to ban Golden Rice (GM crops) contributed to the unnecessary deaths of 8 million children over a recent 12-year period (Bjorn Lomborg).
Self-delusion: Note that many young moderns, even those claiming to be more purely “secularist… materialist… atheist”, still mouth the very same themes of primitive people of past millennia.
Here is a rehash of the monstrous ideas that have distorted the true state of life and frightened people to embrace harmful salvationism responses and outcomes. This is a reality-distorting/life-distorting complex of related ideas/themes.
1. The past was better than the present (original paradise/Eden myths).
2. Corrupt people ruined the original paradise and deserve to be punished.
3. Life is declining toward some disastrous collapse and ending (myth of the world getting worse, apocalypse).
4. There are angry gods behind nature that are threatening to punish and destroy humanity (i.e. wrathful God, vengeful Gaia, angry planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, payback karma).
5. Humanity must make a sacrifice (give up the good life in modern civilization), and embrace a salvation scheme to save the world.
6. Salvation schemes involve the purging of corrupt humanity (humanity the virus/cancer on the planet, population-reduction programs), and the purging of the human civilization that destroys nature (de-industrialization).
7. Salvation schemes must be enacted immediately (“instantaneous transformation” of society) because the apocalypse is imminent. Dates are repeatedly set to affirm the imminence of catastrophe. Dates that are just as repeatedly passed because the apocalypse never arrives. Looming apocalypse is a false narrative of reality and life.
Terrorizing people with “imminent threat” narratives, and the consequent need for coercive purging of the threat (instantaneous transformation), incited the survival impulse and resulted in the mass-death movements of Marxism and Nazism.
The mantra of “Imminent threat” (along with the endless setting of “end-of-days” dates) has been used as justification to shut down democratic processes and ban/silence, even criminalize skeptics to the alarmist narrative of looming apocalypse (Example: Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, trying to criminalize skeptical science in 2016). Imminent threat excites and validates the totalitarian impulse.
Contrary to the above mythical themes, early life on this planet was a brutal reality and things have improved immensely since. Humanity also had origins in the brutal reality of past animal existence but has gradually improved over time. The development of human civilization has been the best thing that has happened on Earth. The long-term trajectory of life and civilization shows continuing improvement on all fronts. Researchers have amassed evidence that life is rising toward a better future and they have detailed the factors behind such long-term improvement.
Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon, A Moment on the Earth by Greg Easterbrook, Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg, The Improving State of the World by Indur Goklany, The End of Doom by Ronald Bailey, Population Bombed by Szurmak and Desrochers, Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley, History of Force by James Payne, Better Angels of our Nature by Stephen Pinker, Ten Global Trends by Bailey and Tupy, Enlightenment Now by Stephen Pinker, Humanprogress.org by Marian Tupy, Birth of Plenty by William Bernstein, and more.
Another poke at materialist dogmatism
Despite the confident (dogmatic) assertions of materialists like Daniel Dennett that we are on the verge of explaining consciousness by way of materialist assumptions, there is not a shred of credible evidence that the meat in our heads produces the wonder of mind/consciousness. Materialist “leaps of assumption”, similar to religious “leaps of faith”, are based on descriptions of brain functions, functions that are detailed even down to the molecular and atomic levels. But that is not evidence of meat producing mind. Far, far from it. See, for example, David Chalmer’s counter points to Dennett’s arguments.
I affiliate more with John Eccles’ “Dualist interactionism”. Consciousness is the most fundamental of all reality and uses the brain as a mediating organ that enables us to have an experience in this material realm. The material is produced by a creating Consciousness, long referred to as “deity”.
Some of the main issues in the climate debate:
Growing evidence affirms that CO2 is a “bit player” and not the main control knob for climate change. CO2 has already reached its maximum effect on warming. The warming influence of CO2 is now “saturated” in terms of its ability to absorb and re-emit infrared radiation. More CO2 will not cause more significant warming. Further, to the plus side, rising atmospheric CO2 has greened the Earth massively over past decades.
Evidence also affirms that climate change has not been and will not be “catastrophic”. Additionally, Earth is still in a sub-optimally cold “ice-age era”. Again, to the plus side, a few more degrees of warming will benefit life immensely.
Conclusion? There is no need to reduce CO2 emissions. We do not need to enact carbon taxes.
We do need to dial down the hysteria over what we now know has been “natural climate change” (i.e. mainly due to natural factors, not human). Humanity is not causing an “existential crisis” in climate. The “climate crisis” narrative is exaggerated apocalyptic nonsense.
Note: Levels of CO2 have been much higher for most of the past 500 million years and life flourished during those times. Temperatures were also much higher for most of the past hundreds of millions of years and life benefitted in a warmer world with expanded habitats.
Recent years have not been “the hottest on record”. The hottest years of the past century were during the 1930s. And the hottest times during our interglacial were during the Holocene, Roman, and Medieval Warm periods.
Human civilization and life in general thrived during these warming periods. But our current warming is the coolest of the four major warm periods of our interglacial. Our interglacial has been on a long-term cooling trend over the past 5000 years, the “Neo-glacial period”. Conclusion: We are not facing a “climate crisis or catastrophe”.
Our Holocene inter-glacial is also part of an even broader long-term cooling trend because the past two inter-glacials were warmer than our interglacial. Conclusion? We should value any warming period in this dangerously cold ice-age era that appears to now be on a long-term cooling trend.
The ongoing tug between the two basic approaches to organizing human societies Wendell Krossa
(Note: You can claim the righteous motivation of being “for the people” but if history shows that your policies and approach have consistently harmed the people, then that ought to give you pause for second thought.)
There is an ongoing battle between the two basic approaches to organizing human societies- i.e. collectivism or the orientation to the individual. It has often been a healthy tug of war between valid concerns on both sides and varied societies have come up with mixed versions that incorporate elements of both approaches. Arthur Herman presents the long-term history of these two approaches in ‘The Cave and The Light’. See also ‘The Birth of Plenty’ by William Bernstein, or ‘Inventing Freedom’ by Daniel Hannan.
The varieties of Collectivism include Robert Owen’s communalism, Marxism, Socialism, and modern forms of Democratic Socialism that give prominence to the Socialist element.
The more extremist collectivist approach has again been surging to prominence via the climate alarm movement with its push for more central control of populations (massive expansion of coercive environmental regulation). Add to this the increasing taxation and regulation trends of bigger government advocates. While we all agree to some level of taxation and regulation, excessive expansion of these two features indicates the unhealthy expansion of the centralizing of power that has been common to collectivist approaches. Collectivist busybody meddling in people’s lives is most evident in central governments regulating people’s lives more and more. Watch these two trends as indicators of creeping collectivism (creeping totalitarianism)- i.e. more taxation and regulation.
Extreme forms of Collectivism argue that individual rights and freedoms must be subject to the collective as the primary good. The collective (often framed as the “greater good or common good”) takes precedence over individual rights and freedoms.
Collectivist approaches inevitably unleash the totalitarian impulse as an elite group has to run the collective, those who believe they are the enlightened vanguard that know what is best for all others. Collectivism centralizes power in the state and state powerholders/elites as the representatives of the collective. In its worst versions, collectivism bans private property and private contracts between individuals. Historically collectivists have also banned free speech that criticizes or challenges the ideology or authority of collective elites.
When the collectivist approaches dominated in the past century, we saw the mass-death horrors of Communist regimes with their 100 million deaths (notably the collectivist movements of Stalin and Mao). An interesting side note: Both Marx and Mao despised peasants while claiming to struggle for their good.
We see the collectivist urge to control others in growing government taking more and more of citizen’s money via excess taxation and state spending because big state advocates believe that state bureaucrats know better how to spend citizen’s income.
Some redistribution of citizen’s income is agreed to by most people- a sort of social contract. But it requires constant vigilance to counter such trends as governments tend to expand endlessly if not restrained and powerholding bureaucrats are extremely reluctant to give back power/income once it has been taken from citizens.
The meddling and control of government bureaucrats evidences a disturbing lack of trust in ordinary people and their natural right to self-determination. We are watching this now with re-opening after Covid lockdowns. We hear government officials talking of how they will give us back our freedoms as though that were something that they have the right to grant. Absolutely not. Our freedoms belong to us alone as fundamental rights and are not privileges that governing bureaucrats grant to us.
The collectivist approach has to be countered with the affirmation and protection of individual rights and freedoms as primary. Most truly democratic states have developed the institutions and laws that do this. See Daniel Hannan’s “Inventing Freedom” for a great account of the history that led to the development of the institutions that protect individuals.
The Protection of individual freedom
The approach that is oriented to protecting individual freedom and rights has unleashed human creativity as nothing ever before in history. The surge of unleashed human creativity has been especially notable since the institutions and laws protecting individuals became more widely operational in the early 1800s (1820 is pegged as the “takeoff” year). Such institutions respect the motivation of individuals to improve their lives and that benefits all with people inventing, innovating, building businesses that employ others, creating products and services that benefit others. The individually oriented model lets people enjoy the reward of their labor and effort, protecting them from the state bureaucrats that would confiscate it.
Socialist advocates have never understood human motivation to improve life and instead have distorted such motivation as “greed and selfishness” that must be constrained with social engineering programs to create collectivist-oriented citizens (e.g. the “new man” of communism).
The individual-oriented model has most successful in countering the horrors of unleashed totalitarianism as in Marxism and extreme Socialist societies. As Frederik Hayek argued, we best prevent totalitarianism by distributing power among competing individuals/entities.
Collectivists sincerely believe that their model is superior because they frame the differences between the two approaches in caricatured extremes of “greater good” versus “selfish” individuals.
But sharing for greater good/common good should be more the voluntary and free choice of individuals. Protected individuals do share their good and do so from a position of protected freedom of choice (e.g. Gates, Buffet, and many more). Nonetheless, we all agree to some level of taxation to share the costs of common public infrastructure, to help the less fortunate, and so on.
Today, there is a strong push from the extreme Left to promote collectivism again as the answer to varied social ills. Leftists still present the disproven argument that the individual model destroys the greater good, the common good. But historical evidence has long affirmed that the protection of individual rights and freedoms actually promotes the common good more effectively with billions lifted out of poverty over past centuries, and most of humanity today escaping poverty and moving into middle class status.
And evidence also shows that the free individual model with its immense wealth creating capacity enables humanity to protect the environment more effectively (see ‘Humanprogress.org’). We saw in the past century how collectivist central planning led to horrific waste of resources and environmental destruction under Communist regimes. Venezuela is offering the most recent example of the unworkable and destructive outcomes of centralization of power and control over citizens.
We see the ever-shifting balance between the two approaches to organizing human societies by noting government as a percentage of GDP (Bernstein in ‘The Birth of Plenty’). The key indicators of government size and intrusion are visible in levels of taxation and regulation.
One of the best economic minds, Milton Freidman, suggested that the “most good for the most people” would be achieved when government was around 15% of GDP, including federal, state and local levels of government.
Surveys have shown that many of us support mixed approaches to organizing our societies- a mix of social liberalism and economic conservativism, or Classic Liberalism, which is sort of Libertarianish.
Further note: Research shows that individualist societies are more generous/altruistic than collectivist societies.
Support for a sinking ship
Its an interesting question why so many Socialists continue to affirm their belief in a system that has so repeatedly failed and ended in disastrous outcomes. I would suggest the continued advocacy is because Socialists sincerely believe that their system is morally superior and is humanity’s only moral option. Socialists frame their moral superiority in the distorting contrast between what they call “greater good” and what they believe is the damaging ‘selfishness’ of societies oriented to individual self-determination.
But then we must ask for historical evidence: Which approach to organizing human society has actually achieved the greater good in a more widespread manner? Undoubtedly, history shows the individual orientation in the free-market approach has advanced the greater or common good more. It has lifted billions out of poverty because it provides the best environment for unlimited wealth creation.
Nonetheless, it seems that some ongoing compromise merger that honors the concerns of both approaches will be most satisfactory to most people, as long as the worst features of the extreme collectivist approach can be restrained.
This from p. 123 of ‘Ten Global Trends’ by Ronald Bailey and Marian Tupy.
“Dematerialization refers to the process of declining consumption of material and energy per unit of gross domestic product… Dematerialization is good for the environment… people can grow in numbers and affluence without a proportionally greater environmental impact…
And this from https://www.cato-unbound.org/2021/04/27/gale-pooley-marian-l-tupy/how-dematerialization-changing-world-response-giorgos-kallis
“To that process we may also add dematerialization, which refers to declining consumption of material and energy per unit of gross domestic product (GDP).
“According to Jesse Ausubel from Rockefeller University and Paul E. Waggoner from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, “If consumers dematerialize their intensity of use of goods and technicians produce the goods with a lower intensity of impact, people can grow in numbers and affluence without a proportionally greater environmental impact.”
“Why would people do that? Dematerialization replaces atoms with knowledge and makes economic sense to producers, since spending less on inputs can swell profit margins and make outputs cheaper and therefore more competitive. It makes sense to consumers as well. Consider, for example, the growing use of smartphones. The product combines functions that previously required a myriad of separate devices, including a telephone, camera, radio, television set, alarm clock, newspaper, photo album, voice recorder, maps, compass, and more.
“Replacement of many devices with one produces substantial efficiency gains. How substantial? In 2018, a team of 21 researchers led by Professor Arnulf Grubler from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria estimated the “savings from device convergence on smartphones … for materials use (device weight) and for its associated embodied energy use.” They found that smartphones can reduce material use by a factor of 300. They can reduce power use by a factor of 100 and standby energy use by a factor of 30. That means that we use 99.67 percent less material, 99 percent less power, and 97 percent less standby energy…
“As Ausubel and his colleagues noted in their 2013 article “Peak Farmland and the Prospect for Land Sparing,” if the productivity of the world’s farmers increases to U.S. levels, humanity will be able to restore at least 146 million hectares of cropland land to nature. This is an area two and a half times that of France or the size of ten Iowas. As Bailey observed, “the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that land devoted to agriculture (including pastures) peaked in 2000 at 4.915 billion hectares (12.15 billion acres) and had fallen to 4.828 billion hectares (11.93 billion acres) by 2017. This human withdrawal from the landscape is the likely prelude to a vast ecological restoration over the course of this [21st] century.”
“In fact, as we write, many of the problems identified by the pessimists are being addressed or are on the cusp of being addressed. The forest coverage is growing in rich countries, species are being protected at record levels throughout the world, freshwater reserves are being replenished through desalination in the Middle East, soil erosion is being reduced through precision agriculture in Israel, and CO2 emissions have fallen in nuclear-friendly France and Sweden. In the future, genetically modified crops could lead to a decline in the use of nitrogen and phosphorus, and wild fish stocks could bounce back through greater use of aquaculture, which is rapidly expanding in China. What’s needed to address current and future problems is freedom and brainpower.”
Willis Eschenbach, “I can defend my own words. I can’t defend your interpretation of my words. So when you comment, please quote the exact words that you are referring to.”
Humanity halting climate change?
There is an astonishing level of ignorance and arrogance (i.e. over-assuming/overstating the human influence on nature) in statements like this one from the ‘Weekly Roundup’ at the link below. Such statements express the unfounded assumption that we can turn a CO2 knob and control climate.
“…more than half of the world’s economy is now committed to the pace of action we need to limit warming to 1.5-degree C…”
This comment expresses the unproven assumption that CO2 is the dominant influence on climate change and that our contributions to CO2 are dominant.
Two more quotes from the above link:
“The greenhouse effect of CO2 is ‘saturated’, meaning that virtually all the warming it can do, it is already doing. Thus, the claim CO2 may cause runaway greenhouse is contrary to the physics…
“(Climate physicist William) Happer suggests that the major problem in models is that they do not treat clouds correctly, water vapor increasing cloudiness and cooling overwhelms any warming from CO2.”
Here is another expression of the anti-scientific belief that CO2 is the control knob for climate and that all we need to do is turn it (reduce emissions) and thereby control change climate,
“Scientists say the world needs to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 to meet the agreement’s aim of keeping temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.”
Pushback against panic-porn (alarmism)
Regarding Covid: What happens when media, over an entire year, present daily headlines of sickness and death counts without a full context of factual evidence? Once again, to understand the true nature of news media see sociologist David Altheide’s “Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis”.
As Julian Simon showed us in his brilliant ‘Ultimate Resource’, good science presents the full evidence on any given problem and that enables us to understand the true state of that problem. Exaggeration of certain elements/features, usually negative ones, produces distortion. This applies especially to climate alarmism.
Further on my pushback against media distortion and alarmism– the previous two interglacial periods were warmer than our current Holocene interglacial. We are on a long-term cooling trend over the past 100s of thousands of years.
And the previous three warm periods of our Holocene interglacial (i.e. the Holocene Optimum, the Roman warm period, the Medieval warm period) were all warmer than our present modern warm period. We are on a long-term cooling trend over the past 5000 years known as the “Neo-glacial Period”.
A cooling future presents more harm to life than a warming future. Consider that every year 15-20 times more people die from cold than die from warmth. See Lancet study below.
This good report on Covid from https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/unjustified-fears-when-covid-19-anxiety-stops-making-sense
Issue? How to now calm populations overly alarmed by the “panic-porn” from news media over the past year of this pandemic.
Quote from above article: “… as our pandemic deliverance approaches, physicians and researchers are now warning of a new public health challenge: When normalcy arrives, many may refuse to accept it.
“A familiar pattern has emerged whenever a pollster asks the public to gauge the risks of COVID-19: Across the board, people think the disease is deadlier and more pervasive than it really is.”
Facts from https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/05/17/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-445-3/
First, on the fact that ‘natural variation’ explains climate change…
“The cries of a climate crisis from the Biden administration are based on long-term forecasts by global climate models that fail to describe both temperature trends and the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo describes other reasons for a warming and cooling of climate on this globe: Earth.
“D’Aleo explains that last summer a cold shift occurred in the Pacific Ocean, which led to a delayed, sudden drop in atmospheric temperature trends. Over the past two months they have been below the 30-year mean. How long this continues remains to be seen. According to NOAA, the cold shift (La Niña) in the Pacific has just ended. [A transition to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) of neutral is likely in the next month or so, with ENSO-neutral then favored through September-November 2021.] The drop in the atmospheric temperatures is a direct contradiction that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary cause of global warming (now called climate change). Other than the usual annual change, the atmospheric CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa did not fall. In April 2021 it was 419.05 parts per million volume (ppmv) compared with 416.45 ppmv in April 2020.
“Both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans go through phase shifts that are not fully understood. When both the Pacific and Atlantic are in a warm phase or a cool phase there is a global warming or cooling trend.
“From the late 1950s to the late 1970s both oceans were in a cool phase. This led to predictions of an oncoming ice age. Later, those who made such predictions tried to cover them up by claiming they were never made. In the late 1970s a warming began. It was not until the 1990s that historical research of the salmon and other fisheries in the Pacific off the coast of North America showed recurring cycles. Similar cycles are found in the Atlantic. The causes of the cycles are not fully understood but are suspected to be related to solar cycles.”
“Searching for the Control Knob: One of the notions advanced by Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA-GISS and a member of the Biden Climate Team, is that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the control knob for global climate. However, this claim is directly refuted by ice core evidence of the Earth emerged from glacial periods. The temperatures rose first and were followed centuries later by rising CO2. The average separation between them is about 800 years. The CO2 came from warming of the oceans. CO2 is the atmospheric gas most readily absorbed by water, and cold water more readily absorbs gas than warm water. Heating a pot of water, one can see gas bubbles forming well before the water begins to boil. There are causes of climate change other than CO2.
“The IPCC relies on global climate models to estimate the impact that carbon dioxide is having on global temperatures. However, as D’Aleo shows in his presentation, these models grossly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere where the greenhouse effect occurs, thus the models are not credible for forecasting.
“Further, the IPCC and its followers test their models against other models rather than atmospheric data where the greenhouse effect occurs. How should we describe this fetish for comparing models against models instead of models against appropriate data?”
Further on the ‘logarithmically’ declining warming influence of CO2:
“Decades of laboratory experiments show that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas and that, initially, carbon dioxide is a highly absorbent gas. But the ability of CO2 to absorb additional infrared radiation diminishes rapidly as its concentration increases from the first 20 parts per million volume (ppmv) to 100 ppmv, well below the concentrations before the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, adding CO2 to today’s atmosphere will have little effect on temperatures. Observations of the atmosphere confirm these laboratory experiments. The effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is largely depleted. (To use a fashionable term: the greenhouse effect of CO2 is not “sustainable” as concentrations increase.)”
“The IPCC and its followers including the Biden administration ignore geological history and decades of laboratory experiments and observations in declaring a climate crisis for political, not scientific, reasons. The question is what to call this deliberate action. The frequently used term consensus suggests bandwagon science, but the term does not convey the full panoply of scientific misbehavior of climate alarmists. Borrowing a theme from Richard Feynman, we can define the use the term carbon cult to describe the alarmists who believe that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and that CO2 is the dominant cause of climate change.”
One more– on the fact that previous interglacial periods were warmer than our Holocene interglacial…
“Greenland Sediments: A study of ocean bottom sediments off Greenland shows that summers have been warmer than today during previous interglacial warm periods. This supports prior studies of caves in Greenland that suggests the previous interglacial periods had temperatures at least +3.5°C warmer than today. There is nothing new about the warming of the Arctic.”
Now some comment on the millennia of panic-porn pushed via the primitive mythology of apocalyptic…
Why tackle the highly venerated Christ myth of Paul and possibly offend good Christian people? Well, the following reasons…
With his Christ myth, Paul buried the single most profound insight in all of human history. That is the real scandal of the version of Christianity that we inherited. Paul could have brought liberation to billions of people in succeeding generations if he had embraced and affirmed the central insight of Jesus that God was a non-retaliatory reality, a reality that was “no conditions love”. That “stunning new theology” presents the hope that, ultimately, we are all safe in love. There is no ultimate judgment, no threat of ultimate exclusion, and no ultimate punishment/destruction. Such hope goes to the core of human meaning and reverberates all through human consciousness, life, and society.
The stunning new theology of Jesus countered entirely one of the most destructive ideas of history- i.e. the myth that natural disaster, disease, and predatory cruelty (animal, human) were divine punishment for human sins. Jesus countered that myth with the insight that there was no punitive, destroying deity behind the natural world, no God punishing people for their failures. To the contrary, God gave the good gifts of life- sun and rain for crops- to all like, to both good and bad people, inclusively and universally.
On top of unbearable physical suffering, people had long felt cursed with the added burden of psychic suffering (mental, emotional) that came with the sense that there was a punitive deity behind life causing their suffering. That has long been the single most consciousness-darkening burden heaped on already unbearable physical suffering.
Paul could have liberated humanity from that excessive burden of psychic suffering by affirming the non-retaliatory theology of Jesus. Instead, he retreated to the same old threat theology of all past mythology and religion. He chose to promote the same mental and emotional slavery of all previous ‘threat theology’.
Paul affirmed the primitive myth of punitive deity behind disease/death, in his first Corinthian letter, when he told the Corinthian Christians that their illnesses and deaths were punishments from God for their sins.
Further, Paul further shaped modern consciousness and life for the worse by embracing the myth of apocalypse in his Christ myth (see, for example, Paul’s Thessalonian letters). His apocalyptic Christ has been most singularly responsible for bringing the curse of apocalyptic thinking into the modern world.
Apocalyptic mythology blinds people to the amazing progress that life has been making on all fronts, over the long term. Apocalyptic mythology feeds the nihilist alarmism that life is in decline toward something worse and that distorted worldview undermines hope and engagement of life to ensure that it continues to improve. Apocalyptic nihilism (fatalism, resignation) pushes people to embrace irrational salvation schemes that have destroyed societies and life.
Sources: James Tabor (Paul and Jesus) on Paul’s dominant influence on our modern world, and his orientation to apocalypse. Also, the apocalyptic millennial scholars on the powerful influence of apocalyptic ideas on Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism- Arthur Herman in The Idea of Decline in Western History, Richard Landes in Heaven On Earth, Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence, and David Redles in Hitler’s Millennial Reich.
Note: Jesus’ statement on abolishing ‘eye for eye’ response to human offense, reveals that he was not apocalyptic and his God was not apocalyptic. A God that does not engage eye for eye justice will not engage the ultimate expression of eye for eye justice that is the apocalyptic destruction of the world.
Additional: Whatever the suffering in this life means, be assured there is no divine threat behind it. There is only the inexpressible wonder of “no conditions love” at the core of reality and behind life. We live and move and have our being in such love. I will put everything on that ‘theodicy’.
We (humanity) have discovered that the highest form of love is unconditional. “Ultimate Good” is infinitely and inexpressibly better than the best that we know. That is my theology of ‘transcendence’.
Qualifier: Any challenge to beliefs that are held widely by many people and have the odour of authority and gravity that comes with long-term tradition, such challenges are naturally met with offended outrage and defensiveness. The indignant “How dare you” sniff that is reflexively given to skeptics/heretics. If it helps, let me clarify that I affirm the positive features in religious traditions- love, forgiveness, generosity, etc.
My complaint is that, in religious traditions, these great human ideals are often merged in contexts with lesser features that undermine and distort the higher ideals in such oxymoronic mixes. For example, love in Christianity is notably tribal in orientation- i.e. believers are favored while unbelievers are ultimately excluded and punished for being infidels. That is not authentic universal or unconditional love. There is no “love your enemy” at the final Christian judgment, and certainly not in the Christian hell. The attempt to merge great human ideals with religious conditions and threats only ends in ‘cognitive dissonance’- the confusion that arises from combining essentially contradicting things.
Most egregious in the Christian mix is that the profound insights/statements of Historical Jesus have been distorted and buried in the merger of Jesus with Paul’s Christ myth. Paul’s Christ embraces some of the worst features of primitive mythology- i.e. wrathful deity, exclusion of all who dare disagree, ultimate punishment and destruction, etc. (see Thessalonian and Roman letters, along with Revelation, for examples). I argue that in freeing Jesus from the Christ myth you can then bring out the rightly-celebrated humane contributions of the man.
Another qualification (to pacify those who dismiss any comment on an unconditional treatment of offenders as akin to “letting the psychopaths go free”):
Any comment on the unconditional message of Historical Jesus (“no more eye for eye, but love your enemy”) needs qualification with the recognition that in an imperfect world we are all held responsible/accountable for our behavior. There are natural and social consequences to behavior. Example: Those unable or unwilling to restrain their worst impulses will have to be restrained by others in order to protect the innocent. Nonetheless, love (despite how we feel) obligates us to employ humane, restorative approaches toward offenders. As per, for example, “Justice Not Vengeance” by Simon Wiesenthal. And any further unconditional treatment of offenders is the free-choice prerogative of victims.
The profound contradiction between Jesus and Paul’s Christ, Wendell Krossa
Disclosure: I am not a follower of Jesus. I don’t “believe in Jesus”. I was raised in an Evangelical Christian family and earlier in my life I attended and graduated from an Evangelical Bible college. But I left that Christian religion some 4-plus decades ago. I left all religion. Nonetheless, I still think that the person called “Historical Jesus” offered the single most profound insight in all history and he should be respected for that “most important contribution to the history of ideas” (James Robinson). I hold this view based on research that makes a clear separation between Historical Jesus and the Christian “Jesus Christ”, also known as Paul’s Christ myth (his “Christology”).
I affirm the approach of people like Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy who stated that there are “diamond/pearl” statements of Jesus in the New Testament but they are buried in the larger context of New testament material that they referred to as “dung… garbage”, etc.. As a polite Canadian I shudder to say anything so offensive, hence my cautious hiding behind the blunt quotes of others (I kid). Their point was that there was a lot of added material in the NT that was the product of “inferior minds”; i.e. material/statements that are attributed to Jesus but that contradict his central themes.
You have to dig out and separate the diamonds from the rest that is dung. Lasering the point a bit more: Not all things in the gospels that are attributed to Jesus are his actual deeds or words. And many other things throughout the New Testament directly contradict Jesus’ main theme/message as stated in places like Matt.5:38-48, or Luke 6:27-36. (His main theme/message? Yes, according to my version of ‘Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel’ research.)
What did the man actually say? One central thing that he offered, and I would argue that it is the cohering theme that should be the criterion with which to evaluate all else that has been attributed to him, was that there should be “no more eye for eye response to offenders (getting even, hurting back in response to initial hurt given), but instead we should love our enemies because God does”. Now spell out what that means.
It means the rejection of the most dominant themes from historical mythologies and religions: No retaliation, no judgment, no exclusion of anyone, no punishment, and no destruction of your enemies/offenders (no apocalypse, no hell). In that Jesus’ statement we are told that the humane thing is to respond to the failures and imperfections of others with no conditions love, a love that includes everyone with the same generous forgiveness and restorative treatment.
How does Jesus argue his point that God loves all the same? He illustrates it from nature: Because sun and rain are given to both good and bad people. That non-discriminating inclusiveness points to a universal love that affirms all will be safe in the end.
That unconditional treatment of all is also affirmed in the parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20). All get the same reward in the end. And that is offensive and scandalous to people who believe that justice should be “fair”. Good should be rewarded and bad should be punished. People should get according to what they have done. That is “justice” in this life, but not ultimately with the reality that is God. A reality that is offensive “no conditions” love (offensive to traditional and conventional notions of justice).
Much material in the rest of the NT contradicts this central unconditional theme of Jesus. Note the Jesus Seminar book “The Five Gospels: What did Jesus really say?”. That study argues that if Jesus said “Love your enemy” in Matthew 5, then he could not have damned his enemies to hell just a few chapters later in Matthew 11. Those later added statements were not made by Historical Jesus but were put in his mouth by gospel writers like the author of Matthew. Such added statements contradict entirely Jesus’ central theme of unconditional forgiveness and love for all.
Historical Jesus, in his central message or theme, is someone entirely opposite to Christian “Jesus Christ”, Paul’s Christ myth. The New Testament is valuable for providing us with the stark contrast between these two opposite persons or opposite messages.
This contradiction is especially clear when you look at several key passages that present the two entirely opposite theologies of Jesus and Paul- i.e. their entirely opposite views of God. Views of God hold prominent position at the core of belief systems. All else is shaped by the way that people view their God. Deity long being humanity’s highest ideal and authority.
Jesus presented “the stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory deity” (James Robinson). He was the first person in history to do so. All the gods of previous mythologies and religions across history were presented as ultimate arbiters of retaliation in some form. Gods were final judges positioned at the end of life, in the courtrooms of after life realms. Hence, across history those punitive gods had affirmed human understanding of justice and justice systems as retributive in some sense- i.e. reward for good performance, punishment for bad performance.
Jesus overturned that central ideal of retribution, entirely. He stated there should be “no more eye for eye” justice. Instead, you should “love your enemy”. Like God does. Because God does that. The evidence for such a non-retaliatory, unconditional deity? Sun and rain (the good gifts of life) are given to both good people and bad people alike. That stunning ‘no conditions love of enemy’ means universal inclusion of everyone, limitless forgiveness, and scandalous generosity for all.
Jesus set his non-retaliatory ethic forth in the pairing of “a behavior based on a similar belief” relationship. He stated his ethic as based on a similar theology. Do this (non-retaliatory, unconditional love) because God does this (non-retaliatory, unconditional love). This is what God is like. Be like God. As he said in Luke 6, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful”.
Paul intentionally and directly confronted and contradicted that pairing of behavior with a similar belief in Romans 12:17-20. At first glance Paul appeared to give the nod to an ethic or behavior that was similar to the non-retaliatory ethic that was advocated by Jesus. Paul said, do not retaliate against your enemy. So far, so good. That seems to affirm the “no more eye for eye” ethic that Jesus advocated. But then Paul bases his ethic or behavior on an entirely different theology- a theology of divine retaliation. That’s confusing and contradictory.
What Paul is really affirming is the essential impulse for retaliation but arguing that any action to retaliate should be held in abeyance till God does it in some ultimate manner. Paul is saying, hold your desire for vengeance in abeyance because God is going to retaliate for you in the future. God will mete out supreme vengeance. Paul quotes an Old Testament verse to affirm his retaliatory theology- “Vengeance is mine, I will repay”, says the Lord.
Paul further detailed the believer’s desire for vengeance in his Christ myth. Paul’s Christ would return to punish and destroy all those who did not believe his gospel of the Christ, all the enemies of Christianity. See, for example, his Thessalonian letters. “Lord Jesus will return in blazing fire to punish and destroy, with everlasting destruction, all who do not obey Paul’s gospel of the Christ”. Unbelievers would face ultimate eye for eye justice in an apocalypse and eternal destruction.
So Paul’s argument for Christian non-retaliation in this life is that it will ensure ultimate retaliation. Your non-retaliation will “heap burning coals of fire on the heads of your enemies”. Which is to say, your response of non-retaliation will ensure the future judgment and punishment of your enemies. That means the basic motivation is retaliatory.
Paul’s vengeful God is a stunning rejection of the new theology of Jesus and a retreat to the same old retributive gods of all history and all religion. You cannot reconcile or merge the theology of Jesus with that of Paul. They are entirely opposite theories of the basic character of deity.
This great contradiction between Jesus and Paul is at the heart of the Christian New Testament. It is the scandal at the heart of Christianity. Christianity as we have inherited it, is Paul’s religion, and is entirely opposite to the message of Hist. Jesus. The issue is retaliation vs non-retaliation. Forgiveness vs vengeance. Love vs ultimate and eternal hatred. You cannot reconcile these two opposites. That only results in the ‘cognitive dissonance’ of merging opposites.
The project here?
I would go to ultimate sources of historical human fears, to the mythological and religious themes of all threat theology, and deal with the primitive ideas that have long incited humanity’s ancient fears, as part of a strategy to counter contemporary destructive alarmism movements, both religious and “secular”.
Another note on the behavior/belief relationship: “People become just like the God that they believe in”, Bob Brinsmead.
Keeping it together
During periods of intense tribalism and division, how do we contribute to holding our societies, and overall civilization, together? How about some prominently successful principles from across history that have served humanity well?
1. First, nothing is more basic to human survival (peace, harmony) than developing the response of forgiving the failings and imperfections of others. How much forgiveness? A well-known sage urged, “Seventy time seven”, which is to say- limitless. Bitterness and the lust for vengeance will ruin relationships and darken life.
2. Including all as equals because they are human. Affirming the equality of all is based on the fact we all share the same human consciousness and common human spirit. The Oneness of humanity is the essential reality behind all appearances of duality and difference in life.
3. Approaching every person with love, not only as a feeling (not primarily as emotion), but as the intention to treat all humanely, even offenders, because it is the right thing to do, the human thing. This points to restorative/rehabilitative justice.
4. Respecting the freedom and self-determination of all others. Non-domination. No vertical relating (domination/submission relationships), but instead horizontal relating with all others as equals. Not meddling in other’s lives, controlling others.
Loss of personal control is horrifically damaging to human beings.
5. Affirming diversity/difference as good and healthy. Celebrating the success of others.
6. And then this insight pulled from mythologists and the personal experiences of others (e.g. Near-Death Experiences). Even in our “righteous” struggles we must remember that our “enemy” is our brother. Consider- What if before we came here to live our stories, perhaps we chose to be “actors on God’s stage” (Joseph Campbell). Some playing good guys, some volunteering to play bad guys. What if we chose to leave our Oneness to come here to help one another learn lessons like forgiveness and love, in order to experience, grow, and develop as authentically human. But in the end, we all return to the same Oneness and love that is our ultimate and true home. What if dualism, division, and opposition are temporary features of this physical realm. (see also Natalie Sudman’s ‘Application of Impossible Things’)
This does not lessen the importance of engaging righteous struggles here on Earth but just to consider that our life experiences may be temporary and may be part of something greater, some greater purpose with greater meaning.
Just suggesting other ways of viewing and understanding our human experience in this imperfect world.
Consider the following things:
1. A 2017 YouGov survey revealed most people believe the world is getting worse (Intro, ‘Ten Global Trends’ by Bailey and Tupy).
2. Declinism (the myth that life is declining toward some disastrous collapse or ending) is “the most dominant and influential theme in politics and society in the twentieth century”, Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline in Western History).
3. Most people on earth (85% of humanity) affiliate with a religion that promotes some version of apocalypse- Christianity, Islam, Hinduism (great cycles of rise and then decline to disastrous ending), Buddhism (the human lifespan decreases across history- Mircea Eliade), etc.
4. Apocalypse dominates Hollywood story-telling. See lists of movies with the theme of apocalypse and note the increase in such films over decades. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apocalyptic_films
5. Apocalypse dominates climate alarmism with endless setting of dates for the end-of-days (2030 is a recent prophesy for the end of the world).
Even Stephen Hawking fell for the apocalypse myth in the last two years of his life.
6. Many children today suffer from severe “eco-anxiety”, because they have been told the world is going to end and they are going to die.
7. Depression is the world’s number one illness.
Do you notice any possible correlations between the above things?
Apocalypse is the most failed myth in all history. It has a 100% historical failure rate. Note the contemporary lists of failed apocalypse predictions. Contrary to the primitive myth of apocalypse, life is on a rising trajectory of improvement toward an ever-better future. Apocalypse is an entirely false and distorted view of life.
Skeptics of the anthropogenic warming narrative (i.e. human-caused climate change) rightly try to counter climate alarmism with good evidence but also bemoan the fact that their evidence does not seem to change many minds. Resistance to an alternative narrative is partly because the larger alarmism narrative sways human emotions with ancient mythical themes that have been long deeply embedded in human worldviews and consciousness/subconscious (i.e. mythical and religious belief systems).
Insert: People who have suffered in life, as victims of crime, natural disaster, or other, are the ones to tell the rest of us what forgiveness and love really mean. Those who have suffered the worst, e.g. Holocaust survivors, Rwandan genocide survivors, family of crime victims, have the credibility to tell the rest of us what forgiveness really costs. And we do well to shut up and listen to them. Let them tell us what pain really is and how costly love and forgiveness really are. I doubt the practice of these ideals has much to do with feeling and a lot to do with intention to do the right thing, the godlike thing.
I am reminded here of the African mother in the Bill Moyer documentary on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa who screamed her pain at the camera after a South African police officer refused to admit personal responsibility for shooting her child in the back at a demonstration. He excused himself with, “We were just following orders”, much like the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials in post-war2 Germany.
She wailed this response, “I know God wants us to forgive but its so hard”.
Why I reject the panic over rising CO2 levels. Climate facts. Wendell Krossa
First, an affirmation to respond to the irrational claims of alarmists that humans are causing catastrophic climate change and that people skeptical of this narrative are “deniers or unbelievers”. Skeptics all agree that climate has warmed roughly 1 degree C over the past century. And CO2 has a warming influence and has probably contributed to this mild warming. Probably? Yes, among the mix of varied natural factors that influence climate we do not know the actual role of CO2. Good evidence shows that it appears to be only a “bit player” in climate change. The CO2 influence on climate is repeatedly overwhelmed by other natural factors.
Note the disconnect between CO2 and temperature in paleo-climate history. When CO2 levels were high, temperature was often low or vice versa (temperature high, CO2 low). The Vostok ice cores show that temperature rises first and then CO2 levels subsequently rise in following centuries.
The recent mild warming has occurred during an abnormally cold ice-age era on Earth and this warming has been a benefit to life. It helped bring us out of the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age of 1645-1715 and back to more beneficial conditions for life. Further warming of several degrees will also benefit life more as we are still far below the average temperatures over the past 500 million years (an average of 5 degrees C warmer than today). For over 90% of the past 500 million years, Earth has been entirely ice-free and life flourished during such times with expanded habitats.
But rising CO2 will not do much more to assist further warming because the research of climate physicists tells us that CO2 has reached “saturation” as to its warming influence (e.g. Richard Lindzen, William Happer). For example, an increase of CO2 from 400 to 800 ppm may only contribute to another 1-2 degrees of warming because the warming influence of added CO2 will decline “logarithmically”. More CO2= far less warming influence. Again, that further warming in net terms will be beneficial to life.
Further warming does not mean that tropical areas become hotter because added heat energy is distributed more to colder regions (polar areas) by convection currents in Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. Heat is also distributed to colder seasons and cooler times of day (i.e. night).
Lets end the irresponsible panic-porn over rising CO2, the food of all life that has been in historically short supply. Look at the many benefits of this amazing element in greening our world. More food for animal life, increased crop production for humanity. The apocalyptic climate change narrative has distorted entirely the true state of life.
Added note: Climate alarmists (“we are facing a climate crisis/catastrophe”) have repeatedly made claims that recent summer hot spells were “the hottest on record”. But the record they refer to is only the last few decades, or the past century or so of the modern weather record. When you place the climate vagaries of recent decades within the larger climate record of past millennia, and even further back, you see clearly that our climate change episodes are mild in comparison to the more sudden and more severe swings seen in long-term climate records (i.e. paleo-climate). Recent years are no where near “the hottest on record”.
For example, the 1930s had the hottest years of the past century and a half. And since 2016 we have been in another extended “warming pause”.
Humanity halting climate change?
There is an astonishing level of ignorance and arrogance (i.e. over-assuming and overstating the human influence on nature) in statements like this one from the ‘Weekly Roundup’ at the link below, that we can turn a CO2 knob and control climate.
“…more than half of the world’s economy is now committed to the pace of action we need to limit warming to 1.5-degree C…” Such statements assume that CO2 is the dominant influence on climate change and that our contributions to CO2 are dominant.
Two more quotes from the above link:
“The greenhouse effect of CO2 is ‘saturated’, meaning that virtually all the warming it can do, it is already doing. Thus, the claim CO2 may cause runaway greenhouse is contrary to the physics…
“(Climate physicist William) Happer suggests that the major problem in models is that they do not treat clouds correctly, water vapor increasing cloudiness and cooling overwhelms any warming from CO2.”
Disagreements: clearing up distortions in the climate debate
We all agree that climate is changing. We do not all agree that it will be “catastrophic”.
We all agree that CO2 contributes to climate warming. We do not all agree that CO2 is the main driver of climate change. We do not all agree that human emissions are the main source of rising CO2 levels.
We all agree that it may warm a few more degrees. We do not all agree that “mild” warming will be bad for life (an “existential crisis”) in an abnormally cold world where 15-20 times more people die from cold every year, than die from warmth.
The world continues to suffer from the irrational hysteria of apocalyptic thinking applied to natural changes in climate, modern era changes in climate that have been mild compared to past periods of climate change. See the paleo-climate evidence of more severe and sudden climate changes in the distant past detailed in, for example, Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven and Earth’ (p.33).
An anti-alarmism project
This is an anti-alarmism site. It goes after some of the more foundational mythical themes in human narratives that incite unnecessary alarm, themes often deeply rooted in relation to subconscious impulses/fears. Such themes are among the most primitive of mythical/religious ideas. They are primitive ideas whose core meaning has remained unchanged across history, though the terms used to express these ideas have changed across time. They are ideas now even given expression in secular/scientific versions. But they remain as primitive as the ancestral versions of the ancient past, as primitive and distorting of the true state of life as ever before.
It won’t do to self-identify as “secular” or “rational materialist” today if the essential narrative themes that you embrace are no different from the most primitive Sumerian/Babylonian myths of some 5000 years ago.
Point: Consider the basic themes of our personal narratives. Do they express observed reality, the true state of things, or have we considered that they might express more mythological realities? We often subconsciously embrace and hold primitive ideas from the past without engaging serious conscious evaluation as to their truthfulness. If it comes to our attention that some of the ideas that we hold do not express proven reality then we are obligated to replace them with alternative ideas that do express the truth of reality as we understand it to be. “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”, in sections below, challenges some of the common myths that many people continue to embrace today.
Apocalyptic would be the foremost mythological idea/theme to reconsider. It distorts reality entirely.
My own journey over past decades has been from religious apocalyptic, to environmental apocalyptic (a “secular humanism” version), to a more realistic and optimistic understanding of life as a rising/improving trajectory toward a better future.