The World’s Christians Are Global Warming Believers But Does It Matter?

destroying creation

by Des Pensable copyright 2015

The world’s Climate Science community through the IPCC reports has declared a world emergency over Global Warming. Nearly a third of all the people of the world are Christians so it’s worth examining how the Christian churches are accepting the science and how they are reacting to the challenge.

So where do Christians as a whole stand on the Global Warming issue. Well it’s more complex than at first it might seem. The Christian religion is fragmented into four main groups Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican.

These are further divided into smaller subgroups each interpreting the religious doctrine of the Bible in slightly different ways and they don’t always agree with each other on political and social problems.

Added to the problem is that several factors such as Geographic region, Education level, Demographics, Political Affiliation, Individual risk Assessment, Ideology and the mass media all affect public opinion on Global Warming.

So what we might expect to see is varying degrees of response to Global Warming depending upon the above factors and upon the attitudes of the local leaders of each individual religious group in each country.

But will the attitudes of the religious leaders have much of an effect on the individual Christian’s response to Global Warming?  Does it even matter?

The good news is that all the leaders of the main religions of the world including the leaders of the four main Christian groups agree that Global Warming is real and caused by human actions and they have all made statements supporting actions to mitigate Global Warming. That does not mean that all of their followers will necessarily agree.

The belief in Global Warming and action against it in the USA in particular is seen largely as a part of the ongoing culture war between the progressive liberal Democrat left and the conservative traditionalist Republican right. A similar cultural war is taking place in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Two recent surveys (2014 and 2015) have been made in the USA on religious attitudes to Global Warming. Both showed that the predominant factors were the culture war; both showed the religious Christians were more split along political party and ideological lines than religious lines.

In the figure below from the 2015 survey showed that the largest group of religious people (about 40%) were politically moderate with slightly higher numbers of Catholics leaning liberal / Democratic while more Evangelicals leaning conservative/ Republican.

religion vs politics survey

In the 2014 survey the attitudes on Global Warming were broken into three groups: Believers, that both believed Global Warming was true and caused by humans; Sympathizers, that believed Global warming was happening but NOT caused by humans; and Deniers (incorrectly called skeptics), that refused to believe anything was happening.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of religious Democrats are climate change Believers, 20% are Sympathizers, and 13% are Deniers.  Less than a quarter (22%) of Republicans are climate change Believers, 28% are Sympathizers, and nearly half (46%) are Deniers. Similar results were found in the 2015 survey.

The demographic attitudes to concern over the effects of Global Warming were even more interesting with a low proportion of either white Protestant or Catholics worried about its effects on them (see 2014 survey graph below).

Global Warming by US demography

So it might appear that religion takes third place to politics and ideology when it comes to belief in Global Warming. This has led to a great deal of pessimism whether Global Warming can be contained.

religious optimism on Global warming

But what if a powerful religious leader such as the Catholic Pope Francis were to strongly advocate for Global Warming action, would it make a difference?

In the 2015 survey, three in four Catholics (76%) have a very or moderately positive opinion of Pope Francis and only 2% have a negative view of him. Over half of non-evangelical Protestants (57%) also have a positive opinion of the Pope. Few (4%) have a negative opinion of him. About one in three evangelicals (35%) view Pope Francis positively. Relatively few (13%) view him negatively.

Over the last year we’ve seen a growing number of reports about the Catholic Pope Francis who represents 1.2 billion Christians becoming a champion of action to mitigate Global Warming. He believes all good Catholics have a moral and religious obligation to help mitigate Global Warming.

The 2015 survey showed Large majorities of Christians say global warming is a major environmental and scientific issue. Some consider it a major moral issue (22% of Catholics, 21% of non-evangelical Protestants, and 16% of evangelicals), but few currently consider it either a major religious (5%, 6%, and 9%, respectively) or spiritual issue (8%, 6%, and 9%). So what are the Pope’s chances?

He is going to release an encyclical shortly to both educate and convince the followers of the Catholic religion in all countries to seriously consider supporting actions to mitigate Global Warming as a matter of priority.

This has created both positive reactions from the scientists, environmentalists and many people from all around the world but negative reactions from the fossil fuel / global warming denier lobby centred in the USA.

The fossil fuel lobby are worried as they are concerned that the Pope’s message could motivate more action for mitigation than is currently the case but the Pope doesn’t seem worried.

The more conservative Catholic Republican congressmen are not so sure “In today’s Congress, party matters much more than the faith tradition you come from,” said Geoff Layman, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic institution in South Bend, Indiana. “Catholic Democrats tend to vote like any other Democrat, and Catholic Republicans like any other Republican.”

However, in the 2014 survey, Americans who say their clergy leader speaks at least occasionally about climate change are more likely to be climate change Believers than Americans who tend not to hear about climate change in church (49% and 36%, respectively), so it’s possible that the Pope might have an effect.

Judging from the graph above Pope Francis leading a religion crusade to fight for a greater effort to combat Global Warming could well have a positive effect on convincing a significant proportion of the white Catholic sympathizers and deniers that Climate Change is real, human caused and action is necessary and more urgent than they originally believed.

This would be especially important with those in state or federal parliaments and middle corporate management as it could significantly change the balance of power towards more action to mitigate the problem in the USA.

However, even doubling the number of white Catholic believers might not be enough as three quarters of the US religious population are Protestants. Many of these are fundamentalist evangelists, who are relatively anti-science presumably because of their rejection of the scientific theory of Evolution.

The religious fundamentalists are strongly represented in the US congress by vocal overtly religious conservative anti-science, Global Warming denying Republican congressmen who currently control both houses of the US parliament.

These Republican congressmen state openly that they will fight against any efforts of the USA to curtail the growth of the fossil fuel industry, block the growth of renewables and cancel any legislation designed to mitigate Global Warming. This policy position could have disastrous consequences for the whole world.

Still there is hope. A look at the religious breakdown of the current 2015 congress suggests that if half of Catholic Republicans changed to Global Warming believers in line with the Pope it would give both houses a pro Global Warming vote.

So in conclusion, at present Global Warming action is hostage to the politicians. Whether religion through the efforts of the Pope can make a difference is a question that we will all have to wait to see.

The question arises then who is controlling the Republican Party’s anti Global Warming agenda? Is it fundamentalist religious zealots pushing a religious agenda or billionaire fossil fuel barons like the Koch brothers and their right wing think-tanks funding the Republican Party or perhaps an alliance of the two or some other insidious influence.

This question will be examined in a future Blog.

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Monsanto Gene Therapy Vaccination for Increased Survivability to Global Warming

origin of man

by Des Pensable copyright 2015

A whistle blower has revealed the most amazing story about genetic research being carried out by researchers at the secret Harvard University Military Research facility located somewhere on the campus.

The research brief was to produce a simple vaccination that could be used to make US soldiers smarter and more robust to enable them to survive the approaching Global Warming apocalypse.

Monsanto have already patented new economic plant varieties including wheat and corn that will grow in warmer drier climates and animals with modified genetic code allowing them to be resistant to higher temperatures expected in the world of the near future.

So the scientists at Monsanto decided that it was time to try and make a product that could modify people to improve their adaption to higher climates as it was likely that the politicians would be unable to reach a consensus on mitigating Global warming until it was too late.

It appears that a large medical team have been carrying out research into the use of an injectable attenuated virus that could be used to carry DNA gene clusters relating to specific human characteristics such as aggression, muscle mass and intelligence and had some remarkable success.

The researchers also claim that it is the first vaccination of its type to by fully composed of natural ingredients and contain no artificial colour, preservatives, radionuclides or mercury.

Initial tests in animal models showed the concept worked but the surprises came when they started using the vaccine that was theoretically capable of increasing the analytical functioning of the neocortex, which basically means making the test subjects more intelligent.

The first test subjects were monkeys and the researchers used various intelligence tests including tactical and strategy simulations such as playing chess. The surprise came that after the first vaccination the monkeys chess ability improved out of sight and the monkeys were able to beat the best of the human players after a couple of months.

One monkey was able to simultaneously play against four humans and beat them all. A few weeks later there was an apparent break in by animal rights protesters and all the monkeys escaped and have not been seen since. Security was tightened at the facility but nobody has yet been arrested as the military police are still puzzled as to how the animal rights people gained access to the facility.

The vaccination was also tried on dolphins at the US Naval Dolphin Research facility at Pearl Harbour where they have been training dolphins to carry explosive charges to enemy submarines and detonate them. Unfortunately the results of the trial are inconclusive as the animals all disappeared and have not responded to the usual underwater sonic signals to return.

As the vaccination was theoretically safe to use being made of all natural products, a request was put out in the military journal for volunteers. Twenty civic minded mainly Republican voting service men and women were accepted and first measured using a battery of intelligence tests. None were found to suffer any medical problems.

Six months after vaccination the servicemen were due to return for intelligence testing but unfortunately sixteen of them had left the military and joined the Democrats working on mitigation of Global Warming projects. The remaining four were busy studying environmental science at the Military university and apologised for not being able to make it. So at this stage the results are unknown.

The researchers requested that another larger group of several hundred be vaccinated but the commander of the unit cautioned that it would be advisable to wait until they could get the results from the first group before expanding the study. The unit commander was a little concerned that there might have been some relationship between the vaccination and such a large number of people quitting the military.

On a humorous note, the researchers have a pet parrot in the laboratory where the studies were carried out. It’s believed that it may have been inadvertently exposed to the vaccine. The bird has developed an incredible vocabulary of expletives which it uses constantly when any of the researchers go near it.

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This story is a hoax story and a satire. These type of conspiracy stories are generally written to reinforce people’s biases against some target. They are very common on main stream news. The target here is Monsanto, vaccination and animal testing and Global Warming. The start of the story is feasible, a whistle blower, secret military research on a well known university campus, global warming, a few medical science words. The scene is set.

The vaccine is only made from natural ingredients with no artificial colors. Really? How does this make it work? The vaccination accidentally makes the monkey super smart. One monkey can now outplay four humans then they work out a way to escape confounding their military jailers.   Very little in science is accidental. This is very highly unlikely.

They vaccinated dolphins. You have got to be kidding! The dolphins escaped never to return. Doubtful. They vaccinated 20 Republican soldiers. What has the soldiers voting or their civic duty got to do with volunteering to be a guinea pig. The suggestion is  that Republican voting soldiers are stupid.

After vaccination most of them became much smarter and joined the Democrats working on mitigation of Global warming. We could wish for this but miracles like this don’t happen. The parrot bit at the end was purposely humorous to give you a good feeling at the end.

A good story worth believing will have lots of reference links to other stories, it will name real people at reputable organisations that you can check to ensure they exist. A genuine science story will not mention religion or politics. A satire Is generally written to ridicule someone or some organisation. They are common in politics and religion. They will generally not give reference links and if they do they will generally be fake.

Another hoax story I wrote on April fools day a few years ago. Everyone I sent it to believed it because they wanted to believe in it and I generally write factually true stories. The moral is be skeptical. Use critical thinking. Be aware of the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

You can learn more on how to tell real stories from fake ones here and here.

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You can also find other stories and satires at www.despensable .com.au

A Quick and Easy Guide to E-Publishing

boring reading

Des Pensable, copyright 2015

Ever wanted to publish your own book about your pet’s love for poetry, your advice to the Prime Minister on how to run the nation, an illustrated guide to women’s smoking habits, your best fishing story or perhaps how to hold a beer glass correctly so that you didn’t look like a bogan. Then here’s a quick guide of how to do it.

Step 1   Write your masterpiece on a computer in Microsoft Word as most publishers only accept it as a word doc or docx file. Some also accept it in Adobe pdf format. Note that ebooks don’t have page numbers only chapter headings. The reason is that in an ebook you can change the size of the text which would normally change the page numbering.

Step 2   Get two or three friends to proof read it and make suggestions about its content, the layout, the grammar and so on. Beware! Friends and family are good for finding spelling errors but bad for judging quality. They are afraid of hurting your feelings. If it’s a “vanity” project – you just want to see yourself in print then keep going skip the professionals and do it all yourself – it’s fun and inexpensive

If you’re serious about writing a novel then get a professional reviewer to read it and make suggestions. This will cost you money. The rate is based upon the number of words – $100 to $400 is not uncommon. This is probably where you’ll get annoyed, dispirited and think the reviewer is an idiot or you can take their advice and rewrite the whole story again and again and again until it’s great.

You’re also going to need a cover. E-publishers generally supply a cover designer program so that you can do it yourself or you can pay for a professional which will cost $50-$ 300 depending on what you want.

Step 3   Log onto Smashwords.com and read their how to publish your own story guide. They will tell you that 95% of people never make any money out of their books. Many NEVER sell a book. If it’s mainly for friends and relatives then there is no problem. If it’s to provide shelter and sustenance you’ll probably perish.

They have a written and a video format guide that you need to read as your work will end up running through their format checking machine. If it’s not right the machine will send it back to you saying please read the format guide and resubmit your work. So you can’t dodge out on reading or seeing it.

The cost of producing an ebook is free. You will have to agree to give them a small percentage of any sales you have. They don’t produce paperbacks so you’ll have to go to the next step if you want to have a book for the coffee table.

Step 4   If you want to see your masterpiece in paper it will cost you money. The cheapest option is the use a Print On Demand (POD) publisher like Lulu.com who do both ebooks and print on demand paper books. They can produce books in a wide variety of sizes. They have a very neat format guide for each book size. If it’s mainly text like a novel or poetry then you cut and paste your work into their format guide and hey presto you have it.  They also have a format checking program but it’s mainly to check that the layout is correct. It assumes you have had it proof read and reviewed.

The next step is to add a cover of your own. Lulu supplies a cover design program which is quite easy to use or it allows you to provide your own to its template specifications.

If you want to publish a book with lots of coloured pictures, the layout is more important than with text and it will take you more work and the final product will cost you more. The cost per book as expected reduces with volume. If you’re interested in a small number of black text on white paper books with a coloured cover, say 1- 20 think about $5 upwards per 100 pages. If you want dozens or hundreds then you can get substantial discounts for volume. Coloured illustrations will add to the cost.

Lulu will also sell your book for you in their on line store and if approved on the general world market through other book stores such as Amazon. They will however, take the lion’s share of the profit. They have neat program that tells you their share and your share.

One final comment worth considering is that both Smashwords and Lulu are US companies. If you sell anything though them the US government will withhold 30% of the sales value for taxation purposes. It is possible to get a tax waiver form and send it to them and they will only keep 5% of your sales value. Inevitably you’ll have to chase them to get it back.

There are lots of other e-publishers that you can find on Google and the services obviously vary. The two I have talked about here I have tried and found their services very easy to use and give very professional results.

E-publishing is VERY EASY these days. Why don’t you try it?

Check out my new fantasy novel Visions of Chaos published in both ebook and paper.

or my web site site www.despensable.com.au for more stories.