Saturday, January 28, 2012

Obama and the Colleges

In his State of the Union address, President Obama declared his intention to cut federal funding for colleges and universities where tuition rises too much.
His plan makes plain three things:  (1) He thinks rising tuition is caused by colleges; (2) He thinks government is the solution to the problem, not one of its chief causes; and (3) He thinks he knows how much tuition all colleges and universities ought to charge and, therefore, which ones are charging too much;
He is trebly wrong:
(1) As everyone who ever studied economics ought to know, all other things being equal, when the demand for a good or a service rises, its price rises as well.  By providing grants and low interest loans to millions of students, the government has driven up the demand for college enrollment dramatically, thereby driving up the price as well.  When colleges must educate more students, they must build new classrooms in which to teach them, new dormitories in which to house them, new dining halls in which to feed them, new health facilities in which to care for them, new athletic facilities in which to keep them fit and entertained, and new parking lots for their cars.
Colleges also must hire new admissions counselors to handle their applications, new campus police to keep them safe, and new maintenance crews to keep them comfortable.
They also must hire new faculty members.  Those faculty members require not only competitive salaries, but also health insurance, retirement funds, research sabbaticals, offices, parking lots, and secretarial staff.  The secretarial staff requires salaries, retirement funds, insurance, vacations, offices, and equipment.
Did I mention bigger libraries, more books, and more librarians?
What colleges cannot get from donors to cover these crushing new expenses, they must get from students. 
Of course, government intervention and the rising costs it entails are not limited to the demands of expanding enrollment.  Government intervention also includes government regulations that tell colleges and universities whom to hire, whom to enroll, and what to teach.  If colleges do not comply, federal funds are cut off.  To avoid that cut off, institutions of higher learning must hire whole departments full of educational bureaucrats to implement, to assess, and to enforce government mandates.  Those departments of compliance must be housed and supplied.  The bureaucrats who administer them require salaries, retirement funds, insurance, and vacations.  If colleges opt out of hiring teams of bureaucratic overlords to manage compliance, they run the risk of falling afoul of the laws, in which case they invite not only the loss of government funds but also possible lawsuits, the costs of which are rising along with everything else.
The heavy expense associated with meeting the needs of more and more students -- and the heavy cost of government mandates on colleges and universities -- can exceed many millions of dollars per campus, depending upon the size of the school.  The aggregate costs to colleges and universities nationwide are perhaps incalculable.  In order to meet these rapidly expanding financial burdens, colleges must raise tuition, sometimes quite dramatically.
In other words, government itself has done things that drive college costs into the stratosphere.  And now that it has, Obama wants to punish colleges for the soaring prices he and his ilk helped produce.
I am not saying that by opening up access to college for millions of service men and women via the GI bill that the government did wrong.  I am saying it costs colleges and universities enormous amounts of money.
(2) Expensive as those forms of government intervention are for colleges, they are not alone, and they are perhaps not the worst.  By printing many trillions of dollars in fiat money, and thereby shrinking the value of every American dollar on the planet as a result, the government makes it necessary for colleges and universities to charge ever greater amounts of money for the services they provide just to break even.  Because it takes more newly shrunken dollars to buy what old dollars used to, more dollars are needed.  Even if all colleges and universities decided against raising tuition in order to cover the costs involved in servicing more and more students, the government’s monetarist chicanery still drives up prices dramatically over time.
(3) Finally, I cannot imagine upon what possible basis Barack Obama thinks he knows how much tuition every college and university in America ought to be charging, or how much that tuition ought to go up each year.  But if he plans to punish colleges whose tuition rises too quickly or too much, then know it he must. 
Suffice it to say that I am continually amazed at how much community organizers know, or think they do.
Finally, to ask the obvious question:  Where in the Constitution does the president have either the power or the repsonsibility to control college tuition?  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Socrates, Interrogation, and the Liberal Arts (by Robert P. George)

“. . . Socrates’ method of teaching was to question.  He is the great exemplar of what the late Allan Bloom labeled “the interrogatory attitude.”   The liberal arts ideal assumes, to be sure, that there are right answers to great moral and existential questions.  It is the enemy, not the friend, of moral relativism.  But liberal arts teaching is not fundamentally about telling students what the right answers are -- even when we are justifiably confident that we have the right answers.  Nor is liberal arts learning merely a matter of receiving and processing information, even if it’s great information, such as historical facts about the Western tradition or the American founding.  Nor is it merely a matter of reading Aristotle, or Chaucer, or Shakespeare, or Tocqueville and knowing what these great writers said.  Liberal arts education is about engaging with these things, wrestling with them and the questions they suggest.  It is about considering arguments and counter-arguments, examining competing points of view . . . The point of the interrogatory attitude, rather, is precisely to move from ignorance to truths -- truths that can be affirmed and acted on.”

Robert P. George, “Academic Freedom and What it Means Today,” in Roger Scruton (ed.) Liberty and Civilization (New York:  Encounter Books, 2010), pp. 86, 87

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why Martin Luther King was a Republican (by Frances Rice, Human Events)

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S's: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism.

It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

During the civil rights era of the 1960s, Dr. King was fighting the Democrats who stood in the school house doors, turned skin-burning fire hoses on blacks and let loose vicious dogs. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower also appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation. Much is made of Democrat President Harry Truman's issuing an Executive Order in 1948 to desegregate the military. Not mentioned is the fact that it was Eisenhower who actually took action to effectively end segregation in the military.

Democrat President John F. Kennedy is lauded as a proponent of civil rights. However, Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while he was a senator, as did Democrat Sen. Al Gore Sr. And after he became President, Kennedy was opposed to the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King that was organized by A. Phillip Randolph, who was a black Republican. President Kennedy, through his brother Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI on suspicion of being a Communist in order to undermine Dr. King.

In March of 1968, while referring to Dr. King's leaving Memphis, Tenn., after riots broke out where a teenager was killed, Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, called Dr. King a "trouble-maker" who starts trouble, but runs like a coward after trouble is ignited. A few weeks later, Dr. King returned to Memphis and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Given the circumstances of that era, it is understandable why Dr. King was a Republican. It was the Republicans who fought to free blacks from slavery and amended the Constitution to grant blacks freedom (13th Amendment), citizenship (14th Amendment) and the right to vote (15th Amendment). Republicans passed the civil rights laws of the 1860s, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Reconstruction Act of 1867 that was designed to establish a new government system in the Democrat-controlled South, one that was fair to blacks. Republicans also started the NAACP and affirmative action with Republican President Richard Nixon's 1969 Philadelphia Plan (crafted by black Republican Art Fletcher) that set the nation's fist goals and timetables. Although affirmative action now has been turned by the Democrats into an unfair quota system, affirmative action was begun by Nixon to counter the harm caused to blacks when Democrat President Woodrow Wilson in 1912 kicked all of the blacks out of federal government jobs.

Few black Americans know that it was Republicans who founded the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Unknown also is the fact that Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen from Illinois was key to the passage of civil rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1965. Not mentioned in recent media stories about extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is the fact that Dirksen wrote the language for the bill. Dirksen also crafted the language for the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which prohibited discrimination in housing. President Lyndon Johnson could not have achieved passage of civil rights legislation without the support of Republicans.

Critics of Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, who ran for President against Johnson in 1964, ignore the fact that Goldwater wanted to force the Democrats in the South to stop passing discriminatory laws and thus end the need to continuously enact federal civil rights legislation.

Those who wrongly criticize Goldwater also ignore the fact that Johnson, in his 4,500 State of the Union Address delivered on Jan. 4, 1965, mentioned scores of topics for federal action, but only 35 words were devoted to civil rights. He did not mention one word about voting rights. Then in 1967, showing his anger with Dr. King's protest against the Vietnam War, Johnson referred to Dr. King as "that Nigger preacher."

Contrary to the false assertions by Democrats, the racist "Dixiecrats" did not all migrate to the Republican Party. "Dixiecrats" declared that they would rather vote for a "yellow dog" than vote for a Republican because the Republican Party was know as the party for blacks. Today, some of those "Dixiecrats" continue their political careers as Democrats, including Robert Byrd, who is well known for having been a "Keagle" in the Ku Klux Klan.

Another former "Dixiecrat" is former Democrat Sen. Ernest Hollings, who put up the Confederate flag over the state Capitol when he was the governor of South Carolina. There was no public outcry when Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd praised Byrd as someone who would have been "a great senator for any moment," including the Civil War. Yet Democrats denounced then-Senate GOP leader Trent Lott for his remarks about Sen. Strom Thurmond (R.-S.C.). Thurmond was never in the Ku Klux Klan and defended blacks against lynching and the discriminatory poll taxes imposed on blacks by Democrats. If Byrd and Thurmond were alive during the Civil War, and Byrd had his way, Thurmond would have been lynched.

The 30-year odyssey of the South switching to the Republican Party began in the 1970s with President Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy," which was an effort on the part of Nixon to get Christians in the South to stop voting for Democrats who did not share their values and were still discriminating against their fellow Christians who happened to be black. Georgia did not switch until 2002, and some Southern states, including Louisiana, are still controlled by Democrats.

Today, Democrats, in pursuit of their socialist agenda, are fighting to keep blacks poor, angry and voting for Democrats. Examples of how egregiously Democrats act to keep blacks in poverty are numerous.

After wrongly convincing black Americans that a minimum wage increase was a good thing, the Democrats on August 3 kept their promise and killed the minimum wage bill passed by House Republicans on July 29. The blockage of the minimum wage bill was the second time in as many years that Democrats stuck a legislative finger in the eye of black Americans. Senate Democrats on April 1, 2004, blocked passage of a bill to renew the 1996 welfare reform law that was pushed by Republicans and vetoed twice by President Clinton before he finally signed it. Since the welfare reform law expired in September 2002, Congress had passed six extensions, and the latest expired on June 30, 2004. Opposed by the Democrats are school choice opportunity scholarships that would help black children get out of failing schools and Social Security reform, even though blacks on average lose $10,000 in the current system because of a shorter life expectancy than whites (72.2 years for blacks vs. 77.5 years for whites).

Democrats have been running our inner-cities for the past 30 to 40 years, and blacks are still complaining about the same problems. More than $7 trillion dollars have been spent on poverty programs since Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty with little, if any, impact on poverty. Diabolically, every election cycle, Democrats blame Republicans for the deplorable conditions in the inner-cities, then incite blacks to cast a protest vote against Republicans.

In order to break the Democrats' stranglehold on the black vote and free black Americans from the Democrat Party's economic plantation, we must shed the light of truth on the Democrats. We must demonstrate that the Democrat Party policies of socialism and dependency on government handouts offer the pathway to poverty, while Republican Party principles of hard work, personal responsibility, getting a good education and ownership of homes and small businesses offer the pathway to prosperity.

Anne Applebaum on Communism and the Current Russian Regime

“[T]he deeper problem lay in the nature of the people surrounding Vladimir Putin, the man who became president of Russia in 2000.  Almost all of them came not just from the former Communist party, but, like Putin himself, from the former KGB . . . Deep down, neither Putin nor his comrades truly believed that Russian citizens, left to their own devices, would or could make good political or economic choices.  Instead, they believed that unless controlled and manipulated by the Kremlin, Russian citizens would fall under the influence of foreign powers and act under foreign orders.  These authorities did not, in other words, truly believe in the existence of individual liberty at all, let alone civil society . . .  [I]nstead of independent groups, initiated by private citizens and funded privately, the Russian administration created a state-financed, and state-organized, ‘civil society,’ allegedly intended to serve the same purpose . . . Putinism is the post-Communist ideology that most explicitly rejects individual liberty and civil society”

Anne Applebaum, “Liberty in the Post-Communist World, in Liberty and Civilization, edited by Roger Scruton (New York:  Encounter Books, 2010), pp. 40, 42.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gingrich and Perry vs. Cannibalism or, Opposing Romney is not Opposing Capitalism

Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry both criticized Mitt Romney for buying companies in order to break them up, to close them down, and to sell off portions of them piecemeal for a profit.  Their opposition to this practice has been characterized as opposition to capitalism and as “bashing business success.”
It is not.
By opposing Romney’s marketplace actions, Gingrich and Perry are not “bashing business success.”  They are saying that not all ways of making a profit are morally equal.  In a free market, Romney is free and able to make money in many ways.  That is not the problem.  That he chose to do what he did in the face of countless other options and opportunities for success is a problem. 
One is free to make money working as a doctor for Planned Parenthood, or as a brothel owner in Nevada, or as a medical marijuana dealer in CA.  The activities and the profits made from those activities are legal and are part of the free market, at least here and now.  But neither contemporary legality nor contemporary freedom puts those activities and those profits above criticism or beyond reproach.  Choosing to make money in any of those ways, or as a business vulture the way Romney did, is worthy of principled opposition.  That opposition is not anti-capitalism.  It is criticism against some of the choices we capitalists ocassionally make.
Capitalism itself is not on trial here with Gingrich and Perry; Romney's choices within that system are.
Being a friend of the market is not an absolutist position.  One is not required to endorse either every activity and every profit the market yields or else none of them.  Sometimes market advocacy requires subtlety and distinctions (of which Ron Paul seems too often incapable).  One can be a strong advocate of the market and yet forcefully criticize some activities within it that still yield a handsome legal profit.  Sometimes one might need to drive the money changers out of the Temple -- not because the marketplace itself is evil, but because while some things are profitable, not all things are right and deserve protection, support, or applause.  Producing economic road kill, and then selling off bits of it as steak and sausage the way Romney did might be just such an activity.
You cannot tell what is right by seeing what is legal or profitable because “legal,” “profitable,” and “moral” are not the same.
Opposing pornography, for example, is not opposition to the free market.  It's opposition to the destruction of souls and of families.  Opposing pornography is right and good, even though the market permits and rewards it.  In other words, the free market is good in many ways and for many things -- many, not all.
The marketplace is very good at giving people what they want; it is not so good at teaching them what they ought to want or what they ought to do.
By the same token, while cannibalizing businesses and putting folks out of work is legal and profitable, it is not without objection.
So Gingrich and Perry objected.
Good on them.
They haven't yielded their obligation for acute moral discernment to the marketplace, which, like all human institutions, from best to worst, is fallen.

Monday, January 9, 2012

You Might be a Liberal If . . . .

         You think the really alarming violence takes place outside the abortion clinic.
         You ever referred to the “root cause” of something.
         You think that consenting adults can engage freely in every activity except capitalism.
         You pray to “The Woman Upstairs.”
         You think we never gave peace a chance.
         You had to be told that “Manhattan,” “menopause” and “boycott” were not sexist words.
         You begin sentences with the words “I feel.”
         Your driver’s license has a hyphen because for you one last name just isn’t enough.
         You think Fox News is faux news. 
         You get your economic theory from John Mellencamp and your foreign policy from Sean Penn. 
         You think it takes a village. 
         You think higher education is about diversity, not excellence. 
         You think that the words “to promote the general welfare” in the Constitution mean “to promote welfare generally.” 
         You think that conservatives, like preservatives, ought to be federally regulated. 
         You have ever wondered out loud, “Why can’t we all just get along?” 
         You think the New York Times prints all the news that’s fit. 
         You think that Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are just entertainers. 
         You spent Columbus Day reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
         You reach the limits of your talent and then complain that you ran into a glass ceiling. 
         You wear more ribbons on your lapel than in your hair.
         You think “post-colonialism” is a legitimate literary category. 
         You think that the really dangerous McCarthy was Joe, not Eugene. 
         You failed to see the connection between Lenin and Lennon.    
         You can’t talk about the Tea Party without descending  into sexual vulgarity.
         You think Herman Cain, Condi Rice, Alan Keyes, JC Watts, Clarence Thomas, and Alan West aren’t “authentic” blacks.
         You think National Socialism was a right-wing movement.
         You ever agreed with a Baldwin brother.
         You think Michael Moore is part of the 99%.
         You . . . .  (fill in the blank )

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Global Warming and The East Anglia Email Scandal (Global Warming 5)

Adapted from James Delingpole, of  The Telegraph (UK), to whom full credit:

If you own any shares in alternative energy companies, you should start dumping them now.  The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (AGW) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (aka  CRU) and released 61 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet.
When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be "the greatest in modern science".  These emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:  Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.
One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change skeptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting: "In an odd way this is cheering news."
But perhaps the most damaging revelations are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause.
Here are a few tasters:
Manipulation of evidence:
          “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:
“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

Suppression of evidence:
“Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.  Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.  We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.”

Fantasies of violence against prominent Climate Skeptic scientists:
“Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”

Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):
“……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….”

How best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. (How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.):
“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”.  Obviously, they found a solution to that – take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”
“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”
“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice!”

Delingpole finishes his comments on the East Anglia email scandal this way:

“I asked in my title whether this will be the final nail in the coffin of Anthropenic Global Warming.  This was wishful thinking, of course.  In the run up to Copenhagen, we will see more and more hysterical (and grotesquely exaggerated) stories such as this in the Mainstream Media.  And we will see ever-more-virulent campaigns conducted by eco-fascist activists, such as this risible new advertising campaign by Plane Stupid showing CGI polar bears falling from the sky and exploding because kind of, like, man, that's sort of what happens whenever you take another trip on an aeroplane.
The world is currently cooling; electorates are increasingly reluctant to support eco-policies leading to more oppressive regulation, higher taxes and higher utility bills; the tide is turning against Al Gore's Anthropogenic Global Warming theory . . . Unfortunately, we've a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight."

Gingrich Takes Gore to Task for Faulty Science and False Facts (Global Warming 4)

Newt Rips Gore's 'Facts' To Pieces

Ammunition for Andy Wiley

30,000 Scientists and the Founder of The Weather Channel vs. Global Warming

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Global Warming (2)

As a follow-up to my previous post on global warming, I want to draw attention here to French geophysicist Claude Allegre, who converted from a believer to a skeptic in man-made global warming.
Who is Claude Allegre?
He is a socialist, an ardent member of the French political left, groups typically known for their advocacy of the global warming agenda.  He is a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences, a man who has published more than 100 scientific articles and 11 books.  He has received numerous scientific awards, including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States.  His defection from the global warming camp reflects the influence of numerous scientific studies that both underscore the claims of climate skeptics, on the one hand, and that undermine the dire predictions the global warming alarmists, on the other.
          According to Allegre, the real cause of climate change remains resolutely unknown.  What is known is that not only has Antarctic snowfall remained stable over the past 30 years, but that continent is actually gaining ice.  That ice gain is significant because the Antarctic is one of the places where the hole in the ozone layer allegedly has its greatest effect.
Allegre also forcefully contends that too many advocates of man-made catastrophic global warming are motivated by money, not by truth or evidence.  Global warming, he says “has become a very lucrative business for some people!”
In America, those people include Al Gore and the folks in charge of government-backed companies like Solyndra.

Global Warming (by Roy W. Spenser)

“Global warming” refers to the global-average temperature increase that has been observed over the last one hundred years or more. But to many politicians and the public, the term carries the implication that mankind is responsible for that warming. . . My group’s government-funded research that suggests global warming is mostly natural, and that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions and aerosol pollution.
Believe it or not, very little research has ever been funded to search for natural mechanisms of warming…it has simply been assumed that global warming is man made. This assumption is rather easy for scientists since we do not have enough accurate global data for a long enough period of time to see whether there are natural warming mechanisms at work.
         The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that the only way they can get their computerized climate models to produce the observed warming is with anthropogenic (human-caused) pollution. But they’re not going to find something if they don’t search for it. More than one scientist has asked me, “What else COULD it be?” Well, the answer to that takes a little digging… and as I show, one doesn’t have to dig very far.
But first let’s examine the basics of why so many scientists think global warming is manmade. Earth’s atmosphere contains natural greenhouse gases (mostly water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane) which act to keep the lower layers of the atmosphere warmer than they otherwise would be without those gases. Greenhouse gases trap infrared radiation — the radiant heat energy that the Earth naturally emits to outer space in response to solar heating. Mankind’s burning of fossil fuels (mostly coal, petroleum, and natural gas) releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this is believed to be enhancing the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect. As of 2008, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 40% to 45% higher than it was before the start of the industrial revolution in the 1800’s.
It is interesting to note that, even though carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth to exist, there is precious little of it in Earth’s atmosphere. As of 2008, only 39 out of every 100,000 molecules of air were CO2, and it will take mankind’s CO2 emissions 5 more years to increase that number by 1, to 40.
The “Holy Grail”: Climate Sensitivity Figuring out how much past warming is due to mankind, and how much more we can expect in the future, depends upon something called “climate sensitivity”. This is the temperature response of the Earth to a given amount of ‘radiative forcing’, of which there are two kinds: a change in either the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth, or in the infrared energy the Earth emits to outer space.
The ‘consensus’ of opinion is that the Earth’s climate sensitivity is quite high, and so warming of about 0.25 deg. C to 0.5 deg. C (about 0.5 deg. F to 0.9 deg. F) every 10 years can be expected for as long as mankind continues to use fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. NASA’s James Hansen claims that climate sensitivity is very high, and that we have already put too much extra CO2 in the atmosphere. Presumably this is why he and Al Gore are campaigning for a moratorium on the construction of any more coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
         You would think that we’d know the Earth’s ‘climate sensitivity’ by now, but it has been surprisingly difficult to determine. How atmospheric processes like clouds and precipitation systems respond to warming is critical, as they are either amplifying the warming, or reducing it. This website currently concentrates on the response of clouds to warming, an issue which I am now convinced the scientific community has totally misinterpreted when they have measured natural, year-to-year fluctuations in the climate system. As a result of that confusion, they have the mistaken belief that climate sensitivity is high, when in fact the satellite evidence suggests climate sensitivity is low.
The case for natural climate change I also present an analysis of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which shows that most climate change might well be the result of….the climate system itself! Because small, chaotic fluctuations in atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems can cause small changes in global average cloudiness, this is all that is necessary to cause climate change. You don’t need the sun, or any other ‘external’ influence (although these are also possible…but for now I’ll let others work on that). It is simply what the climate system does. This is actually quite easy for meteorologists to believe, since we understand how complex weather processes are. Your local TV meteorologist is probably a closet ’skeptic’ regarding mankind’s influence on climate.
Climate change — it happens, with or without our help.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sanctification and Glorification

My friend Mark Colvin recently asked, “What is the relationship between sanctification and glorification?”

My reply:

Mark, not to be coy, but I don't know. I wonder if anyone on this side of death actually does.

Here's the best I can do: If I understand correctly what you intend by these two words, it seems to me that sanctification is the path to glorification, and that the latter is the former's natural end. But I don't know if lack of sanctification in this life diminishes the extent of glorification in the next, Somehow I doubt it.

That's because I think of heavenly life as dynamic, not static. I think that God will continually draw us closer to Him forever. I think that we grow in heaven, and that we'll have all of eternity to know God better, to love God better, and to serve God better. God is so grand that even all of eternity will not be enough for us to know Him fully. There will always be more of God to discover and to love. If we arrive, so to speak, in less than perfect condition, it will eventually be fixed as we grow to be ever more like His Son, which is our destiny. Or perhaps this all happens instantaneously, in "the twinkling of an eye," when we all are changed. I honestly don't know. I'm speculating.

By "less than perfect condition," I mean that while sin has been removed from us, and its dominion over us has been repealed, being sinless and being perfect are not identical. Adam and Eve were sinless and unfallen, but not perfect. To be perfect means to be indefectible, on the one hand, and that no improvement is possible, on the other. I think that we'll be without sin, but not perfect. I think we'll have a potential for growth, especially then, after the stifling effects of sin have been removed. I think that throughout eternity, the redeemed will grow into perfection, into full glorification, if they lack it on arrival. The love and drawing power of God will make it happen.

But again, it's just speculation on my part. The Bible seems unclear to me on the point, and so I'm unclear on it too, and quite willing to say that this is, at best, just an educated guess.