August 30, 2009

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS: Global Warming, the god-like Power of Humanity and Supernature

On global warming:

a) Human actions, especially in the last two centuries have had a profound impact (note – I refuse to use the newEnglish phrase “profoundly impactful effect”) on the global environment.

b) Human actions, especially in the next 200 years, will have a profound impact in reducing and in some cases reversing, the damage to the global environment.

The last time I addressed this subject, I was viciously attacked in writing by a PhD in astrophysics. He attacked my stance, my intelligence, my work, my religious beliefs and my personal integrity. He had a profound impact on me.

I will try once more to say what I intended to say then: some individuals have substituted a belief in the inevitable victory of correctly applied natural science for a belief in a supernatural God who has both a longer view than Humanity and more absolute power. Some individuals have replaced God with an omnipotent Humanity robed in science and technology.

Some the these individuals believe that Humanity is effective and that God is ineffective; in fact for many of them, God doesn’t exist at all. Their belief is that the future’s shape is solely up to us (though the “us” is often men and a few women armed with Western science) to save the planet.

I disagree: God exists, God is effective and the future’s shape is up to God, who has already saved us.

The simple astronomical fact is that nothing can be done to save this natural Earth. In four and a half billion years, Earth will be consumed by our sun in its death throes.

Based on various models, natural life on Earth will end substantially before that. There is a steadily increasing likelihood that Earth will be “profoundly impacted” by a comet or asteroid resulting in an extinction event. In this case, the event will cause the extinction of Humanity on Earth. Alternately, there is a slowly increasing likelihood that natural diseases will evolve whose end result will dwarf the death toll of the Black Plague.

To answer the threat of global warming, heavenly extinction event or plague, trillions of dollars MUST be appropriated and spent by all of Humanity to ameliorate or eliminate natural Humanity-threatening catastrophe. But no matter what we do, the end of Humanity will eventually come. Even after the singularity perpetuates a version of Humanity forever, natural Humanity will become extinct with the heat death of the Universe.

Sooner or later, organic or singularity Humanity with no supernatural aspect will become extinct. I completely agree that we should fight against that to the distant end. But without God, we will become extinct. If there is nothing of us that is supernatural (literally “above nature”), then our Earthly Humanity will disappear someday.

But if there is a God who is supernatural and three-in-one, and we live within His supernature, then God promises that we will never die and we will not become extinct. If we intend profound natural effort to put off the extinction of Humanity, then shouldn’t we consider taking profound supernatural effort as well?

1 comment:

Luc said...

Not everyone can step back enough from a situation to learn from someone who's attacking them. Kudos on that.

I'm having some difficulties with the comparison of death by global warming to extinction with the degradation of the sun or the heat death of the universe. Even if we're still around by then, we will have had billions of years to think about the problem (as opposed to the few decades we've had so far), and billions of years to evolve into something very different, so cosmic-scale disasters seem to me like a very different animal from something we're doing to ourselves that could cause worldwide devastation within our or our children's lifetimes.

I'm not greatly worried about planet-killer comets or meteoroids, either, since we've made it about 225 million years since the last one and are likely to come up with all kinds of fancy inventions to detect and protect against them before the next one comes around.

But then, I'm widely known as an optimist ...