How Alarmists undermine Science and Theology
by Lewis Loflin
Prophecy secular and religious sells in America. A Humanist would scoff at biblical prophecy, yet will follow an almost identical "prophecy" if it could be shown to have a non-religious basis. For Christians it's the Bible and guidance of the Holy Spirit. For atheists it's science and now computer models have replaced holy books in revealing the future.
Christians read their faith into the Bible, and discard those biblical (literal) facts that don't support their beliefs. Atheists do the same thing, reading their "faith" in an eco-apocalypse into the science, then distort the science to supporter the faith. Faith is about emotion, not reason. There is a place for faith, but in the realm of politics, it's often bad news for everyone.
Since the 1960s and the rise of the "counter-culture", environmentalists have predicted one failed doomsday scenario after another that should have wiped out the earth dozens of times. It was James Hansen and ice ages in the 1970s, the failed prophecies of The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich (1968), ozone holes, and acid rain, and the modern craze of man-made global warming.
Like Christian fundamentalists rewriting their prophecies every few years to fit the real world, the computer model doomsday prophets reprogram their computers and try again. And we thought Hal Lindsey (and related writers that also arose at this time) and his constant revisions and updates to The Late Great Planet Earth was a farce. Eco-extremists are discrediting science in the way Lindsey discredits Christianity.
To quote Ronald Bailey author of Eco-Scam (1993), in regards to Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Carl Sagan and other eco-doomsayers, "As soon as one predicted disaster doesn't occur, the doomsayers skip to another...why don't [they] see that, in the aggregate, things are getting better? Why do they always think we're at a turning point -- or at the end of the road?" Crisis sells, reason doesn't sell, and selling religion requires crisis. See Origins of modern environmental religion.
To quote another critic on the abuse of science by groups such as the 9/11 truth movement, applies equally to many environmentalists:
These people use the "reverse scientific method"... they determine what happened, throw out all the data that doesn't fit their conclusion, and then hail their findings as the only possible conclusion.
Regardless of their notoriety in subjects such as global warming, etc. these subjects properly relate to climate and earth science, yet neither Ehrlich, Lester Brown, nor Carl Sagan have any expertise in any of these fields. Brown has a masters degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland and in public administration from Harvard, plus forty assorted "honorary" degrees. Sagan is an astronomer, and Ehrlich is an entomologist specializing in butterflies. While Lindsey did attend Dallas Theological Seminary in 1958, he has no credentials in theology.
(Extracts from Wiki)
The Late, Great Planet Earth is the title of a best-selling 1970 book co-authored by Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson. The Late, Great Planet Earth (LGPE) is a popular treatment of literalist, premillennial, dispensational Christian eschatology. As such, it compared end-time prophecies in the Bible with then-current events in an attempt to broadly predict future scenarios leading to the "rapture" of believers before the "tribulation" and Second Coming of Christ to establish his thousand-year (i.e. millennial) Kingdom on Earth.
Focusing on key passages in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, Lindsey originally suggested the possibility that these climactic events might play out in the 1980s, which he interpreted as one generation from the foundation of modern Israel in 1948, a pivotal event in most evangelical (especially conservative evangelical) schools of eschatological thought.
Cover art on the Bantam edition boldly suggested that the 1970s were the "era of the Antichrist as foretold by Moses and Jesus," and called the book "a penetrating look at incredible ancient prophecies involving this generation." Descriptions of alleged "fulfilled" prophecy were offered as proof of the infallibility of God's Word, and evidence that "unfulfilled" prophecies would soon find their denouement in God's plan for the planet.
Like many previous books, LGPE postulated an Antichrist ruling over a ten-member or ten-nation European confederacy. He believed that what was then the six-member European Economic Community (now the twenty-seven member European Union) could be a forerunner of this confederacy, which he considered to be a revival of the Roman Empire.
He also foretold a Russian invasion of Israel, as well as an increase in the frequency of famines, wars and earthquakes, as key events leading up to the end of the world. He found little in the Bible that could represent the United States of America, but he suggested that Ezekiel 13:13 could be speaking of the United States in part.
Although Lindsey did not claim to know the dates of future events with any certainty, he suggested that Matthew 24:32-34 indicated that Jesus' return might be within "one generation" of the rebirth of the state of Israel, and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.
Lindsey asserted that "in the Bible" one generation is forty years. Some readers took this as an indication that the Tribulation or the Rapture would occur no later than 1988. In his 1980 work The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon, which was essentially an updated version of LGPE, Lindsey predicted that "the decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it."
And secular prophecy also fails
The Population Bomb (1968) is a book written by Paul R. Ehrlich. A best-selling work, it predicted disaster for humanity due to overpopulation and the "population explosion". The book predicted that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death", that nothing can be done to avoid mass famine greater than any in the history, and radical action is needed to limit the overpopulation.
History proved Ehrlich wrong, as the mass starvations predicted for the 1970s and 1980s never occurred. (Note a big follower of this nonsense is billionaire Ted Turner of the UN Foundation. See Beware of Environmental Hysteria and Exposing the UN Climate Change Panel and Its Politics.)
Critics have compared Ehrlich to Thomas Malthus for his multiple predictions of famine and economic catastrophe. The leading critic of Ehrlich was Julian Lincoln Simon, a libertarian theorist and the author of the book The Ultimate Resource, a book which argues a larger population is a benefit, not a cost.
To test their two contrasting views on resources, in 1980, Ehrlich and Simon entered into a wager over how the price of metals would move during the 1980s. Ehrlich predicted that the price would increase as metals became more scarce in the Earth's crust, while Simon insisted the price of metals had fallen throughout human history and would continue to do so. Ehrlich lost the bet. Indeed such was the decline in the price of the five metals Ehrlich selected, Simon would have won even without taking inflation into account.
In Ehrlich's books, many predictions are made, for example, The Population Bomb begins "[t]he battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines -- hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death," while in "The End of Affluence", Ehrlich stated, "One general prediction can be made with confidence: the cost of feeding yourself and your family will continue to increase. There may be minor fluctuations in food prices, but the overall trend will be up".
According to Ehrlich, the United States would see its life expectancy drop to 42 years by 1980 because of pesticide usage, and the nation's population would drop to 22.6 million by 1999. (Note the population is 300 million in 2008 and life expectancy continues to go up.) Criticizing Ehrlich on similar grounds as Simon was Ronald Bailey, a leader in the wise use movement, who wrote a book in 1993 entitled Eco-Scam where he blasted the views of Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Carl Sagan and other environmental theorists.
While of the repeated theorizing Simon complained "As soon as one predicted disaster doesn't occur, the doomsayers skip to another... why don't the [they] see that, in the aggregate, things are getting better? Why do they always think we're at a turning point -- or at the end of the road?"
In his book Betrayal of Science and Reason, Ehrlich discussed these earlier predictions of his and re-affirmed his stances on population and resource issues.
There has been much criticism of the book from demographers today (chiefly Phillip Longman in his 2004 The Empty Cradle) who argues that the "baby boom" of the 1950s was an aberration unlikely to be repeated and that population decline in an urbanized society is by nature hard to prevent because of the economic liability children become.
The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg disputes many of the claims in the book. Various Indices of Economic Freedom claim that lack of property rights, not high population density, is the real cause of famine.
Thus, countries such as China, India, South Korea, and Botswana were able to eliminate their famines by adopting property rights. Likewise, countries such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and North Korea created famines when they abolished property rights. Ehrlich's book does not explain why South Korea is so much better off than North Korea, but an analysis of property rights explains this difference very well.
Additional note: Lester Russell Brown (born 1934) is an environmental analyst who has written over twenty books on global environmental issues. His works have been translated into more than forty languages. He is the founder of the Worldwatch Institute and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute which is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. (Research as in public policy, not science.)
One of his best known works is Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. The recipient of forty honorary degrees and a MacArthur Fellowship, among numerous other awards, Brown has been described by the Washington Post as "one of the world's most influential thinkers." In 1991, the American Humanist Association named Brown the Humanist of the Year. He has no science credentials, he is more a humanist' philosopher.
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