Reconciling With Nature – God And Qantas (ARC Part 1, Arriving London)

Written by:
30 October 2023
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Originally Appeared In

Research into this topic have been published in the IPA Climate Change The Facts Publications

There is a tendency, that must be resisted, for 21st century Western scientists to claim every discovery of mass death as a catastrophe and unprecedented – to imagine that the entire Earth is convulsing, when it is not. I am thinking of coral reef scientists such as Terry Hughes from James Cook University who fly in airplanes at great altitude over corals that show signs of bleaching and announce that this is equivalent to the Louvre in Paris burning – the Mona Lisa lost forever.

In fact, the processes that impact the natural world today are arguably no different to what has occurred through geological time – and it is the case that the same coral reef Hughes claimed as being lost forever back in March 2020 was fully recovered within three months, though that was never reported.

Whether it be bleaching of corals at the Great Barrier Reef, or even the eruption of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai Hunga Tonga volcano in the South Pacific on January 15, 2022, there is reason for Western scientists to show more humility in their interpretation of natural phenomenon.

This current excursion to London to be part of the very first conference held by the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) has caused me to remember the humility of the 19th Century biologists including Charles Darwin and arguably his greatest advocate Thomas Huxley.

Huxley, was not a Christian. He nevertheless famously wrote in a letter to nineteenth century Anglican priest, Charles Kingsley,

My business [which is science] is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.

Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this. [End quote]

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga volcano was unprecedented in that it injected more water vapour into the stratosphere than have ever been observed, at least since the satellite record began. A recently published paper in Science explaining the work of Stephanie Evan, concludes that this eruption has caused very rapid depletion of ozone with implications for climate change. I am wondering whether this ozone depletion has contributed to the recent spike in global temperatures as reported by the satellite monitoring program lead by John Christy and Roy Spencer.

We had been warned repeatedly by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that rising sea levels would very gradually wipe small Pacific Island nations from the map of the world thanks to climate change; that they are particularly vulnerable to human-caused emission of carbon dioxide.

Not so the island of Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai. It wasn’t overtaken by rising sea levels. Rather it blasted itself into the sky! Obliterated in an instant. The massive volcanic eruption caused sonic booms, tsunami waves, spectacular lightning bolts, and a giant umbrella cloud that rose to a height of 30 kilometres and reached 500 kilometres in diameter in less than 2 hours. It also caused a dramatic drop in stratospheric temperatures; has this translated to a spike in global surface and tropospheric temperatures that may persist for some years – but not forever?

I am reminded of the exhaustingly long novel Hawaii by James Michener who was my favourite author growing-up – it begins with comment about the relentless surge of the universe, the violence of birth, the cold tearing away of death; and yet how promising was the interplay of forces as an island struggled to be born, vanishing in agony.

Yet since the twentieth century a hubris has developed within scientific communities in the West, and they now tell us that an extraordinary commitment from humanity is needed to save the Earth from imminent catastrophe. In particular, we are told that the processes driving climate change today are fundamentally different from anything that has ever occurred in the past.

The idea that something is fundamentally different in nature to anything that has gone before, and particularly with concern to climate, is a bold claim. Not least of all because it is possible to find evidence of tremendous upheavals in the strata of the earth’s crust including extensive ridges of dead coral stretching almost the length of Queensland, the gigantic bones of extinct dinosaurs from a time when the Earth was warmer and sea levels higher, and in more recent strata the bones of giant also now-extinct wombats from a time when it was much colder and sea levels were 120 metres lower that was also when there really was so much mass death of corals.

There were nineteenth biologists, working within the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition including Thomas Huxley (who did not identify as Christian), who went to great lengths to differentiate themselves from the then ‘catastrophists’ by insisting that the causes now in action are sufficient to explain the current distribution of living organisms, fossils and rocks and landforms – even huge erratics whose distribution had previously been used as evidence for supernatural intervention causing mass flooding.

The principle became known as uniformity as champion by the geologist Charles Lyell, who had a tremendous influence on the work of Charles Darwin. These Christian scientists (who include Charles Darwin but not Thomas Huxley), attempted to explain geological and evolutionary change in terms of existing causes.

Twentieth century evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould, suggested this was in essence an acceptance that natural processes are constant across time and space: the past is to be explained by processes acting currently in time and space rather than inventing extra esoteric or unknown processes without good reason, otherwise known as parsimony or Occam’s razor.

Change is typically slow, steady, and gradual. There may be catastrophes including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods, but these are strictly local. They neither occurred in the past nor shall happen in the future, at any greater frequency or extent than they display at present. In particular, the whole earth is never convulsed at once!

To understand this requires some humility and also some patience and attention to detail. And also, a capacity to organise the evidence in such a way that the recurrent cycles have an opportunity to emerge, which they do most often first regionally. But this is becoming more and more difficult to discern as the official data, especially the measures of global temperature, are continually remodelled or otherwise corrupted.

I am now in London after a somewhat challenging and long plane trip that began with the notification that the first, of my three flights, was delayed. In fact, it would arrive in Brisbane sometime after the scheduled departure of my second flight. On the Qantas app I was assured that his discrepancy had been noted, and that the team at Qantas was monitoring the situation. Monitoring?

Such was the situation Friday night, as I attempted a few hours’ sleep before my Saturday morning departure from Rockhampton, a regional centre just a little to the west of Keppel Island, part of the Great Barrier Reef fringed by those corals that Terry Hughes flew over back in March 2020 making the false analogy with the Louvre burning.

Saturday morning, I awoke to the news that rather than reconciling the discrepancy in departure and arrival times into Brisbane, Qantas had decided to not even continue to monitor, it was now cancelling my entire schedule of flights to London and return, and was instead offering me a refund; if only I would click the relevant button. That I knew would be the end of this opportunity to visit London and learn about ARC and the emerging politically conservative leadership hoping for a revival of some of the best in the Western Christian tradition.

I had just learnt that one of the founding members of ARC, Mike Johnson, a committed Christian, originally a southern Baptist, now described as an evangelical Christian, was the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States. He is a man fearful that our moral, cultural, spiritual, and economic heritage needs renewal – or it will be replaced. He is also a foundation member of the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) though I am not sure he will be in London for this first conference.

The ARC website repeats the claim that,

The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.

It has emerged as one of their guiding principles.

If this is indeed the case, then the deceit that has overtaken Western science over the last 100 years can perhaps be reversed. Not only could there be an acceptance that evolution is real, but that science can not be successful and also downstream of a culture that has no regard for integrity and in particular reliability. There will begin to be a realisation amongst my colleagues, I hoped, that we must even unpack and examine the official temperature statistics, and also what it is to be a woman.

The corruption as it pertains to the historical empirical temperature data, must stop along with the increasing unreliability even of what is understood by biological gender. There will need to a differentiation of what is real and what is fiction. This is fundamental to science and also the survival of Western cultural traditions that facilitated the birth of modern Western science as well as the Louvre and all its art work.

If a new movement of conservatives is to save Western civilisation, it will need to acknowledge the central role that science has played as a force for good over the last four centuries and that this has always involved immersion in the detail. Always.

Central to science is evidence, and it has never been found in official statistics. Conservative economists and scientists need to accept this and desist with their claims that we must work from the official science, from the official statistics. This has been long been a claim of Bjorn Lomborg and implicit in his work, so far.

That I query and reject many of the official climate statistics has caused many to suggest that I am lost down rabbit holes, not seeing the wood from the trees, as the Louvre burns.

I would argue that there can be no denying the official global temperature reconstructions that have become the symbol of catastrophism. They must be unpicked, however, tedious that undertaking because it is being repeatedly claimed that there is no greater moral issues confronting the West today, than climate change, with the global temperature reconstruction showing continuous warming since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution a rallying symbol. This issue of understanding and addressing rising temperatures is claimed to be paramount to addressing issues of justice as well as economics. So, we must have our own story as it relates to the historical temperature record.

It is not enough, as so many sceptics try and explain otherwise to me, that I should accept the current official temperature measurements because we can still use them to show there is nothing exceptional about the current rate and magnitude of climate change; work from the remodelled data or otherwise using the satellite record of temperature change even if it only begins in 1979. I reject this approach. There must be integrity from the beginning, and the beginning must go back more than 100 years, and after that more than 1,000 years, and after that more than 140,000 years. (I will explain the significance of this in Part 3, if not Part 2 of this new series.)

Unpicking that which is unreliable will require some patience and a new plan with a new beginning. And so, I was determined to be patient, and did not click the refund button on my Qantas app. As I watched and waited, and refused to admit defeat, my Qantas app eventually came up with an alternative, it would reroute me via Dubai.

I did eventually arrive here in London. Qantas eventually transferred my booking to Emirites – but only after I first flew to Brisbane on trust. When I got to London, I was so tired I decided to get into a taxi rather than try and remember from which train station I would need to transfer from the Elizabeth line if I was to make it to Docklands – only for the Motorway as we exited Heathrow to be suddenly closed to traffic from the south; that is rare commented my London cabbie. But apparently not unprecedented. There must have been a fatality, he commented, but hopefully not mass death I thought.

I made it to the hotel, eventually, only to be told there was no booking, at least not under my name. But eventually I was given a card to a room. I’m hoping tomorrow will be better. I am hoping that I will find John Roskam in the foyer of this hotel bright and early. He tells me he knows how to get a tube to the ARC conference venue, you can find some of the program for the next three days here.

If only I can now get some sleep except it is already 5 am in London, even if it is still dark. The Sun will hopefully be shining tomorrow, eventually.

… a perspective, tonight, from London.

* I have only just posted this note, my part 1, and I have an email already protesting that, ‘The whole earth was convulsed at once when the dinosaurs died. … that event was caused by an object from space that shifted the crust of the earth. Before that event, all land was tropical …’
I encourage discussion in the thread following.
And for me discussion is best when it includes detail.
What do I mean by ‘at once’. How long is a time frame that refers to ‘at once’?

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