Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How To Be a Hypocrite

Those who have been following my blog know by now that I am not a bible-thumper. To me the “good book” has some very good parts; others, not so much.
But in the United States, whether on the left, center or right of the political spectrum, a majority of people profess to be Christian. And considering the animosity that both fringes have toward each other I sometimes wonder, not whether they have read the entire Bible, because I am sure that most of them have not, but whether they have even read Genesis, the first book.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis1:27-28)

Now let me put that into perspective. Suppose that on the entire earth only one person was made in the image of God. If you were to meet that person, how would you treat him? I am sure that you would look at that person differently from the way you would look at an ordinary, non-imaged person. At the very least, you would probably treat that person with much more respect than you would treat anyone else.
But Genesis says that God created man[kind] in his own image. Not just Adam and Eve, but mankind. So if you would treat a single God-imaged person with respect, then it follows that everyone, male, female, black, white, rich, poor, Christian, Jew, liberal, conservative . . . is to be treated with respect. And this implies, no, it demands, that every member of mankind, should be treated equally.
I realize that this is a bitter pill to swallow, particularly for politicians. Whether you follow the mandates of the tea party or the labor unions, it’s OK to disagree with the other side, but your Bible says you must treat them with respect. Name-calling and otherwise denigrating them is not respect.
And all your constituents must be considered equals – you cannot favor the rich over the poor, or the straights over the gays, or the CEOs over the workers. They are all created in God’s image.
It does not matter how much lip service you give to the Bible, or how regularly you attend church, or how much you donate to charity – every act of disrespect or inequality you commit toward any of God’s children is pure hypocrisy.
It’s in the book.

My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Let’s Get the Climate Change Terminology Right

A recent letter in the local newspaper included a remark which is practically an article of faith for climate change deniers. I believe it is also a problem for many believers.
The writer stated that because “weather forecasters today can’t predict the weather accurately for the next two weeks,” computer models attempting to follow climate change are also inaccurate.
Such models may well be inaccurate, but not because of any connection between the two disciplines; meteorology and climatology are completely unrelated studies. According to Wikipedia, meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere, while climatology is the study of weather conditions averaged over a period of time.
Meteorologists work with the degrees and interactions of variables that exist in the atmosphere – such things as temperature, air pressure, water vapor, etc. Their range of inquiry is restricted to the short term: days or weeks.
Their tools consist of sensors of all kinds: anemometers, thermometers, barometers and hygrometers, as well as visual examination of cloud covers, sunsets, etc.
Major breakthroughs came in the twentieth century with the real-time monitoring of the upper atmosphere through the use of weather balloons and weather satellites. For the first time ocean currents and their effect on the weather could be continuously monitored through the use of permanent sensors mounted on the ocean floor. High speed communications also made possible the creation of current weather maps and the exchange of other pertinent data.
Climatologists seek to reconstruct past climates by examining data locked in ice cores and tree rings. These same records are used to help determine hurricane frequency over millennia. The study of contemporary climates incorporates meteorological data accumulated over many years, such as records of rainfall, temperature and atmospheric composition. These studies are used to develop algorithms to determine the future climate change.
Think of it this way: Climate is similar to one’s personality; weather compares to one’s mood. A person with a wonderful personality is bound to wake up occasionally in a bad mood.
Nelson Mandela said “I am fundamentally an optimist . . . [but there] were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested.” And sour personalities have their good days - think Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas day.
Presently the world’s climate (personality) is going through an unusual period (mood) - a rather prolonged one because of the time scale involved.
At last count about 5% of the experts who devote their lives to the study of climate are unconvinced that human activity is a large factor in climate change. If one wishes to follow the lead of that group, or any other self-proclaimed “expert,” that’s fine – the seriousness of the problem cries out for dialog, not for name-calling. Getting the terminology right will avoid discussion of irrelevancies such as the TV weatherman’s inaccuracy rate.

My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.