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Christian Scientists Counter Popular Warming Beliefs

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By Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post Reporter
December 18, 2006|2:53 pm

Scientists from a California faith think tank said that although global warming is real, they disagree with the popular notion that global warming is caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels.

“We tend to think Earth’s climate will always be optimal for human civilization if we just take better care of it,” stated astronomer Hugh Ross, founder and president of the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe, in a statement Monday. “When we put emotion and politics aside and take a rational look at our planet’s history, we actually see something quite different.”

According to Ross, the earth’s ice and sediment cores show that the global climate has “oscillated” many times over the past four million years and changes are caused by alterations in the Earth’s orbit.

“Each cycle lasts about 100,000 years with an ice age typically taking up 90,000 of those years, and a global warming effect, the other 10,000 years,” he noted.

UCLA astronomer Dr. Jeff Zweerink, who recently joined the ministry, agreed that there are many causes to global warming beside human activities. He said that fossil fuel burnings, contrary to what many believe, is not the main cause of global warming. Zweerink, as example, said the breeding and domestication of cows and cultivation of rice is more harmful than “driving too many SUV’s.”

The scientists pointed to the “Journal of Quaternary Science,” which states that over the last 8,000 years cattle farming and rice crop cultivation have nearly doubled the quantity of methane in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, deforestation has increased the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. Both methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s heat.

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“The bottom line here is that there are dozens of physical, chemical, and biological processes that contribute to both heating and cooling the planet,” said Ross. “When any one of these factors gets out of balance with the others, Earth is at risk of losing its optimal climate for human civilization.

Recently, evangelical Christians have become more concerned and active in the global warming issue.

In November, 30 college students representing more than 1,500 young evangelicals from 41 states presented a statement in the nation’s capitol urging the government and religious leaders to take stronger action against global warming.

Earlier this year, the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI), an initiative by evangelical leaders to fight global warming, was launched with 85 influential Christian leaders as signers. ECI now boast 102 signers including Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and Jack Hayford.

The ECI statement differs with Ross and his team at Reasons to Believe by stating the main cause of global warming is human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels. The statement cited the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPPC), a leading global body of scientists and policy experts on the issue of global warming, for support that “most of the warming” is due to human activities.

The Reasons to Believe founder concluded by emphasizing the “delicate balance” needed among “multiple and diverse natural processes and human activities.” He noted it would be “naïve at best” to believe global warming can be stopped by simply reducing fossil fuel combustion and altering industrial processes.

“Scientifically speaking this intricate balance, designed specifically for humanity’s benefit, is no accident,” concluded Ross. “The amazing fine tuning observed in all these complex processes gives us a clear picture of a Creator who exquisitely prepared a place for humans to live in and to launch-at least for awhile-a global high-tech civilization.”

 

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