Article on the Faith and Christian Testimony of Alexander Solzhenistsyn (on the Imaginative Conservative website)

21 03 2013

An article titled Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Courage of a Christian by Joseph Pierce (here) is available on the website titled “The Imaginative Conservative”. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/

Following is a quote from Pierce from the article about the life experiences that shaped Solzhenistsyn, including his turning from socialism and his conversion to Christianity:

“In such a meretricious age the giant figure of Alexander Solzhenitsyn emerges as a colossus of courage. Born in Russia in 1918, only months after the secular fundamentalists had swept to power in the Bolshevik Revolution, Solzhenitsyn was brainwashed by a state education system which taught him that socialism was just and that religion was the enemy of the people. Like most of his school friends, he enslaved himself to the zeitgeist, became an atheist and joined the communist party.”

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Alexander Solzhenistsyn (source of picture: http://www.preaching.com/)

“Serving in the Soviet army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War he witnessed cold blooded murder and the raping of women and children as the Red Army took its “revenge” on the Germans. Disillusioned, he committed the indiscretion of criticizing the Soviet leader Josef Stalin and was imprisoned for eight years as a political dissident.”

“While in prison, he resolved to expose the horrors of the Soviet system. Shortly after his release, during a period of compulsory exile in Kazakhstan, he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in its advanced stages and was not expected to live. In the face of what appeared to be impending death, he converted to Christianity and was astonished by what he considered to be a miraculous recovery.”

“Throughout the 1960s Solzhenitsyn published three novels exposing the secularist tyranny of the Soviet Union and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Following the publication in 1973 of his seminal work, The Gulag Archipelago, an exposé of the treatment of political dissidents in the Soviet prison system, he was arrested and expelled from the Soviet Union, thereafter living the life of an exile in Switzerland and the United States. He finally returned to Russia in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet system.”

Solzhenistsyn spoke boldly again what Pearce calls the “secular fundamentalism” of modern progressive societies.  Following is a key quote from the article on this subject:

“In 1978, Solzhenitsyn caused great controversy when he criticized the secularism and hedonism of the West in his famous commencement address at Harvard University. Condemning the nations of the so-called free West for being morally bankrupt, he urged that it was time “to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.””

“The emphasis on rights instead of responsibilities was leading to “the abyss of human decadence” and to the committing of “moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror.” At the root of the modern malaise was the modern philosophy of “rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy,” which declared the “autonomy of man from any higher authority above him.” Such a view “could also be called anthropocentrity, with man seen as the centre of all.””

We Christians to day need to look to the testimony and legacy of courageous believers such a Alexander Solzhenistsyn in standing for the the Lord Christ in the midst of increasingly secular, godless times.

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Alexander Solzhenistsyn (source of picture: http://en.rian.ru/art_living/)





“God’s Grace as a Rule of Life” (Chafer and Walvoord, 1974)

3 12 2012

In the classic book “Major Bible Themes” (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 1974) (click here), author John Walvoord (updating the original work of Lewis Sperry Chafer published in 1923 and 1956) discusses the Grace of God as a Rule of Life (Chapter 29, pages 192-193-71).  Walvoord presents an “operative” view of the grace of God that is accessible, applicable and helpful to born again believers like you and I today.

File:Sunrise, Manaslu.jpg Manaslu (also known as Kutang) is the eighth highest mountain in the world, part of the Nepalese Himalayas.  Its name, which means “Mountain of the Spirit”, comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa, meaning “intellect” or “soul”. Manaslu is 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) above mean sea level (source: Wikipedia)

Following are some quotations from Walvoord/Chafer in regards to the grace of God as a rule of life for us…..

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“For the child of God under grace, every aspect of the law is now done away with.

1. The legal commands of the Mosaic system and the commands which are to govern the kingdom are not now the guiding principles of the Christian.  They have been superseded by a new and gracious rule of conduct which includes in itself all that is vital in the law, but restates it under the peculiar order and character of grace.

2. The child of God under grace has been delivered from the burden of a covenant of works.  He is not now striving to be accepted, but rather is free to live as one who is accepted in Christ.

3. The child of God is not now called upon to live by the energy of his own flesh.  He has been delivered from the feature of the law and may live in the power of the indwelling Spirit. Since the written law was delivered to Israel, she alone could be delivered from the written commandments of Moses by the death of Christ.  However, both Jew and Gentile were delivered by that death from the hopeless principle of human merit and from the useless struggle of the flesh.

4. In contrast with law, the word “grace” refers to the unmerited favor which represents the divine method of dealing with mans that was introduced by Adam.  Under grace, God does not treat men as they deserve, but He treats them in infinite mercy and grace without reference to their desserts.  This He is free to do on the ground that the righteous punishment for sin, which His holiness would otherwise impose upon sinners as the just dessert, was borne for the sinner by the Son of God (i.e., by Jesus Christ in his atoning death on the Cross of Calvary – blogger’s note).

5. In contrast with law, grace is revealed in three different aspects: (a) salvation by grace, (b) safekeeping by grace, and (c) grace as a rule of life for the saved.

Approaching the Manaslu Mountain Summit

5a) Salvation by grace: God saves sinners by grace, and there is no other way of salvation offered to men.

Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (NASB)

Saving grace is the limitless, unrestrained love of God for the lost acting in compliance with the exact and unchangeable demands of His own righteousness through the  sacrificial death of Christ. Grace is more than love; is it love set free and made to be a triumphant victor over the righteous judgments of God against the sinner.

When He saves a sinner by grace, it is necessary that God shall deal with every sin, for they would otherwise demand judgment and thus hinder His grace.  This He has wrought in the death of His Son.  It is also necessary that every obligation shall be canceled, and to this end salvation has been made an absolute gift from God.

John 10:28: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (NASB)

Likewise, it is necessary that every human merit shall be set aside, lest the thing which God accomplishes be in any measure based on the merit of men and not on His sovereign grace aloneSince every human element is excluded, the gospel of grace is the proclamation of the mighty, redeeming, transforming grace of God, which offers eternal life and eternal glory to all who believe.

Galations 3:22 “But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (NASB) 

5b) Safekeeping through grace: The divine program of safekeeping through grace demonstrates that through grace alone God keeps those who are saved.  Having provided a way whereby He can act in freedom from His own righteous demands against sin, having disposed of every human obligation for payment, and having set aside eternally every human merit, God has only to continue the exercise of grace toward the saved one to secure his safekeeping forever.  This He does, and the child of God is said to stand in grace.

Romans 5:2 “through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (NASB)

5c) Grace as a rule of rule of life for the saved: God provides also a rule of life for the saved based on the grace principle.  God teaches those who are saved and kept how they should live in grace and how they may live to His eternal glory.  As the law provided a complete rule of conduct for Israel, so God has provided a complete rule of conduct for the Christian.  Since all rules of life which are presented in the Bible are complete in themselves, it is not necessary that they be combined.  Therefore the child of God is not under law as a rule of life, but he is under the counsels of grace.  What he does under grace is not done to secure the favor of God, but it is done because he is already accepted in the Beloved (i.e., accepted by saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ).  It is not undertaken in the energy of the flesh, but is is the outliving and manifestation of the power of the indwelling Spirit.  It is a life which is lived on the principle of faith.

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.”  (NASB)

Hebrews 10:38 “But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (NASB)

Mount Manaslu Mount Manaslu

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Blogger’s Comments….

We are saved only by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross in payment for our sins.  Concerning the way and means of salvation, God says in His Word in Romans 10:5-17…

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Mount Manaslu





Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln (1863)

23 11 2008

Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington, DC—October 3, 1863
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.  No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.





Original Thanksgiving Proclamation by President George Washington (1789)

23 11 2008

General Thanksgiving

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
A PROCLAMATION

 The original Thanksgiving Proclamation (here)

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour;

and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation;

for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;

— for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;

— for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;

— and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;

— to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord;

to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789





Reasons for Not Accepting the “Man-Made Global Warming” Hypothesis

25 05 2008

This post continues discussion of a paper by Arthur Robinson, et.al. from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (http://www.oism.org/) addressing the “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide ” (click here for a downloadable copy). The article was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (2007). Following is the reference.

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Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

ARTHUR B. ROBINSON, NOAH E. ROBINSON, AND WILLIE SOON
Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, 2251 Dick George Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523 [artr@oism.org]. Published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (2007) 12, 79-90.

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In this paper Robinson and cohorts present extensive evidence against the hypothesis of “Human-Made Global Warming”. Following are selected experts from two sections of the paper, one discussing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, and the other, the Global Warming Hypothesis. Any marked, underlined, italicized, or bold text or bullets, etc. are added by myself to help emphasize certain key points presented by Robinson, et.al. Please read the original paper (referenced above) for full representation of the text, figures and references not included here. At the end of the quoted sections are some of my observations above how scientists with varying opinions regarding “man-made global warming” need to objectively and scientifically approach disciplinary debate on the issue.

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A. ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE: p. 6

The concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere has increased during the past century. The magnitude of this atmospheric increase is currently about 4 gigatons (Gt C) of carbon per year. Total human industrial CO2 production, primarily from use of coal, oil, and natural gas and the production of cement, is currently about 8 Gt C per year. Humans also exhale about 0.6 Gt C per year, which has been sequestered by plants from atmospheric CO2. Office air concentrations often exceed 1,000 ppm CO2.

To put these figures in perspective, it is estimated that…

  • the atmosphere contains 780 Gt C;
  • the surface ocean contains 1,000 Gt C;
  • vegetation, soils, and detritus contain 2,000 Gt C; and
  • the intermediate and deep oceans contain 38,000 Gt C, as CO2 or CO2 hydration products.

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Each year,…

  • the surface ocean and atmosphere exchange an estimated 90 Gt C;
  • vegetation and the atmosphere (exchange) 100 Gt C;
  • marine biota and the surface ocean (exchange) 50 Gt C; and
  • the surface ocean and the intermediate and deep oceans (exchange) 40 Gt C

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So great are the magnitudes of these reservoirs, the rates of exchange between them, and the uncertainties of these estimated numbers that the sources of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 have not been determined with certainty. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are reported to have varied widely over geological time, with peaks, according to some estimates, some 20-fold higher than at present and lows at approximately 200 ppm.

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Human production of 8 Gt C per year of CO2 is negligible as compared with the 40,000 Gt C residing in the oceans and biosphere. At ultimate equilibrium, human-produced CO2 will have an insignificant effect on the amounts in the various reservoirs. The rates of approach to equilibrium are, however, slow enough that human use creates a transient atmospheric increase.

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B. GLOBAL WARMING HYPOTHESIS: p. 7-8

The greenhouse effect amplifies solar warming of the earth. Greenhouse gases such as H2O, CO2, and CH4 in the Earth’s atmosphere, through combined convective readjustments and the radiative blanketing effect, essentially decrease the net escape of terrestrial thermal infrared radiation. Increasing CO2, therefore, effectively increases radiative energy input to the Earth’s atmosphere. The path of this radiative input is complex. It is redistributed, both vertically and horizontally, by various physical processes, including advection, convection, and diffusion in the atmosphere and ocean.

When an increase in CO2 increases the radiative input to the atmosphere, how and in which direction does the atmosphere respond? Hypotheses about this response differ…. Without the water-vapor greenhouse effect, the Earth would be about 14 ºC cooler. The radiative contribution of doubling atmospheric CO2 is minor, but this radiative greenhouse effect is treated quite differently by different climate hypotheses. The hypotheses that the IPCC (i.e., the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, here) has chosen to adopt predicts that the effect of CO2 is amplified by the atmosphere, especially by water vapor, to produce a large temperature increase. Other hypotheses, shown as hypothesis 2, predict the opposite – that the atmospheric response will counter act the CO2 increase and result in insignificant changes in global temperature. The experimental evidence …. favors hypothesis 2. While CO2 has increased substantially, its effect on temperature has been so slight that it has not been experimentally detected.

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The computer climate models upon which “human-caused global warming” is based have substantial uncertainties and are markedly unreliable. This is not surprising, since the climate is a coupled, non-linear dynamical system. It is very complex. (Figure 19 in the original paper) illustrates the difficulties by comparing the radiative CO2 greenhouse effect with correction factors and uncertainties in some of the parameters in the computer climate calculations. Other factors, too, such as the chemical and climatic influence of volcanoes, cannot now be reliably computer modeled.

In effect, an experiment has been performed on the Earth during the past half-century – an experiment that includes all of the complex factors and feedback effects that determine the Earth’s temperature and climate. Since 1940, hydrocarbon use has risen 6-fold. Yet, this rise has had no effect on the temperature trends, which have continued their cycle of recovery from the Little Ice Age (e.g. see discussion of this historic phenomena in the paper) in close correlation with increasing solar activity.

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Not only has the global warming hypothesis failed experimental tests, it is theoretically flawed as well. It can reasonably be argued that cooling from negative physical and biological feedbacks to greenhouse gases nullifies the slight initial temperature rise.

The reasons for this failure of the computer climate models are subjects of scientific debate. For example, water vapor is the largest contributor to the overall green house effect. It has been suggested that the climate models treat feedbacks from clouds, water vapor, and related hydrology incorrectly.

The global warming hypothesis with respect to CO2 is not based upon the radiative properties of CO2 itself, which is a very weak greenhouse gas. It (i.e., the global warming hypothesis) is based upon a small initial increase in temperature caused by CO2 and a large theoretical amplification of that temperature increase, primarily through increased evaporation of H2O, a strong greenhouse gas. Any comparable temperature increase from another cause would produce the same calculated outcome.

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Thus, the 3,000-year temperature record ….. also provides a test of the computer models. The historical temperature record shows that the Earth has previously warmed far more than could be caused by CO2 itself. Since these past warming cycles have not initiated water-vapor-mediated atmospheric warming catastrophes, it is evident that weaker effects from CO2 cannot do so.

………

The “human-caused global warming” …. hypothesis depends entirely upon computer model-generated scenarios of the future. There are no empirical records that verify either these models or their flawed predictions. Claims of an epidemic of insect-borne diseases, extensive species extinction, catastrophic flooding of Pacific islands, ocean acidification, increased numbers and severities of hurricanes and tornados, and increased human heat deaths from the 0.5°C per century temperature rise are not consistent with actual observations. The “human-caused global warming” hypothesis and the computer calculations that support it are in error. They have no empirical support and are invalidated by numerous observations.

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Following are a few closing comments from this blogger’s perspective on objective scientific inquiries related to the “man-made global warming” hypothesis.

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As credible and responsible scientists we are required to critically examine relevant issues, to develop and to scientificly test hypotheses in our fields of disciplinary study. We are called to apply “due diligence” in the process of first developing testable hypotheses and then actually testing them according to accepted scientific methods. That said, emotionally and politically charged topics such as “man made global warming” are difficult to handle given their inherent public scrutiny and pressures. That responsible scientists will disagree on such an issue is to be expected – in fact, it is extremely healthy. As “iron sharpens iron”, logical objective, strenuous, energetic, multi-faceted and multi-sided debate of such an issue as this is necessary.

http://www.myastrologybook.com/Plato-Aristotle-history-of-astrology%4075.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. A painting of Plato and Aristotle (presumably debating some deep philosophical issue!)

In other words, let this debate regarding the legitimacy of the findings of those who accept the man-made global warming hypothesis be joined.  As a great professor of mine once said, “You have to know what we teach you but you dont have to believe it.”  How has science ever changed direction when narrow paradigms of disciplinary thought were the only ideas allowed a hearing in an academic discipline?

Churchlayman

 





A Code of Conservative Thought (by Russell Kirk)

16 05 2008

In The Conservative Mind From Burke to Eliot (1985, 7th edition) Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, D.C., Russell Kirk (1918-1994) reviews the historical development of conservative thought. Kirk traces the development of conservative thought in political and social realms from Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) through American-English poet T.S. Eliot (1888-1965).

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Kirk identifies six canons (i.e., laws, rules or a code of laws) of conservative thought (pages 8-9). Following is a listing of these six canons and excerpts of Kirk’s explanation of each.

1. Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems. A narrow rationality…cannot itself satisfy human needs. (Conservatives believe) there are great forces in heaven and earth that man’s philosophy cannot plumb or fathom. True politics is the art of apprehending and applying the Justice which ought to prevail in the community of souls.

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  • Justice in this sense refers to God’s divine Justice and divine will

2. Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems; conservatives resist ….”Logicalism” in society. This … has been called “the conservatism of enjoyment” – a sense that life is worth living….

  • Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth, not just in a political or moral sense, but also in an economic sense. (Definition from wikipedia). Egalitarian philosophies and political systems include socialism, communism, marxism, and anarchism.
  • Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility in maximizing happiness or pleasure as summed among all persons. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome—the ends justify the means. (source: wikipedia)

3. Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes as against the notion of a “classless society”. With reason, conservatives often have been called “the party of order.” …. Ultimate equality in the judgment of God, and equality before courts of law, are recognized by conservatives; but equality of condition, they think, means equality in servitude and boredom.

  • (Blogger’s comment) The U.S. constitution holds that “all men are created equal” both before God and before the law. However, it does not enforce economic equality among people through socialistic practices of taxation for the purpose of wealth redistribution. People are entitled to benefit from the fruit of their labors and their skills – they are not forced into economic equality by socialistic government systems.

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4. Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked; separate property from private possession, and “Leviathan” becomes master of all. Economic leveling, they maintain, is not economic progress.

  • (Blogger’s comment) “Leviathan” in this context is referring to an over lording socialistic government or political state.

5. Faith in prescription and distrust of “sophisters, calculators, and economists” who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs. Custom, convention, and old prescription are checks both upon man’s anarchic impulse and upon the innovator’s lust for power.

  • (Blogger’s comment) That “economists” are not highly thought of may be “troubling” to some, but in Edmund Burke’s day, liberal radical economists were instigators of ideas of “wealth redistribution” and “utilitarianism”. Collectivist forms of wealth redistribution and “greatest good” ideologies often took root in well intentioned but radically oriented economists.
  • The “innovator’s lust for power” can be understood as the all too familiar impulse and drive of liberal-oriented “innovators” or “change agents” to use governmental power to either redistribute wealth or institute their governmental reforms that sought to enshrine and protect their political power and control over others.

6. Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress. Society must alter, for prudent change is the means of social preservation; but a statesman must take Providence into his calculations, and a statesman’s chief virtue, according to Plato and Burke, is prudence.

  • Prudence refers to the exercise of good judgment, common sense, and even caution, especially in the conduct of practical matters. Prudent thought would typically be in opposition to radical, tumultuous change for the sake of change in matters of politics and governance of a nation.

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Ideas Behind Radicalism (in Opposition to Conservatism)

Kirk goes on to list in “hasty generalized form” the grounds upon which radicalism since 1790 has attacked “the prescriptive arrangement of society”….(page 10)….

1. The perfectibility of man and the illimitable progress of society: meliorism. Radicals believe that education, positive legislation, and alteration of environment can produce men like gods; they deny that humanity has a natural proclivity toward violence and sin.

  • Meliorism is an idea in metaphysical thinking holding that progress is a real concept leading to an improvement of the world. It holds that humans can, through their interference with processes that would otherwise be natural, produce an outcome which is an improvement over the aforementioned natural one. (source – wikipedia) (Blogger note: the idea of “political progressivism” seems related to this concept of meliorism.)

2. Contempt for tradition. Reason, impulse, and materialistic determinism are severally preferred as guides to social welfare, trustier than the wisdom of our ancestors. Formal religion is rejected and various ideologies are presented as substitutes.

  • (Bloggers comment) The thought system of materialistic determinism only accepts scientific, quantifiable, materialistic explanations for human behavior. Darwinism and positivism (i.e., if we can not see something or measure it via scientific investigation guided by the scientific method, it does not exist) appear to be associated this train of thought. Most definitely, thoughts of God as creator and mankind as children of Almighty God with moral, spiritual realities to deal with in life and after this life (i.e., that mankind will all stand to be judged before this Holy God) are “not welcome” to this train of thought.

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3. Political leveling. Order and privilege are condemned; total democracy, as direct as practicable, is the professed radical ideal. Allied with this spirit, generally, is a dislike of old parliamentary arrangements and an eagerness for centralization and consolidation.

  • (Blogger comment) Can you say “the French Revolution“, socialism, communism, fascism, and centralized “big government” control of national economies and individual people’s lives? Ditto for economic leveling presented below.

4. Economic leveling. The ancient rights of property, especially property in land, are suspect to almost all radicals; the collectivistic reformers hack at the institution of private property root and branch.

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Kirk also indicates that a fifth point could be made regarding the common radical view of the state’s function. Although much variance of opinion regarding this point exists among radicals, they unite in detesting the conservative belief and understanding that the state is “ordained by God”. Radicals also detest the idea that a country, or a group of people are united in purpose and in life over time or over generations, i.e. the past, present and future.

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As Kirk says, “radicals are in love with change“.

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The writings and thoughts of Russell Kirk regarding conservatism are relevant to today’s political discussions and presidential campaigns. Specifically…

  • The idea of “change” is central to the themes of the presumptive democratic presidential candidate.
  • The environmentally oriented “cap and trade” schemes being supported by both republican and democratic candidates for president are a form of “economic leveling” in my estimation – an over reaching effort to control the use of energy producing assets and the overall U.S. economy to achieve “green” political ends.
  • Contempt for tradition – recent events regarding same-sex marriage in California reinforce this point in our day.
  • Contempt for the idea that the state is ordained by God – witness the ACLU’s work in seeking to strip away any mention of God from public life, from currency to nativity scenes to the teaching of creationism to prayer in public / school events.

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Kirk’s thoughts are relevant today as we see radical liberalism seek to tear away and destroy the conservative and religious foundations of our society.

What are conservatives to do about this situation and the literal battle of ideas and ideologies? Thoughts on that at a later time.

Churchlayman

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Examining Crucial Flaws in the Scientific Methodology Used in Global Warming Forecasts

12 05 2008

Today politicians of both U.S. political parties are stating that a “scientific consensus” exists regarding the presence of global warming. However, objective scientific evidence exists regarding critical flaws in the scientific methodology used to develop the model based forecasts used to support global warming.

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Following is an Executive Summary of the National Center for Policy Analysis (http://www.ncpa.org/) report titled “Global Warming: Experts’ Opinions versus Scientific Forecasts” (full report available here) by Kesten Green and J. Scott Armstrong, published February 2008. This report was discussed in a more general manner in a previous post (here). Following the contents of the Executive Summary, some additional comments will be provided about the challenge of developing accurate forecasts from my perspective as an agricultural economist.

 

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Executive Summary:”Global Warming: Experts’ Opinions versus Scientific Forecasts”

National Center for Policy Analysis Report No. 308, by Kesten Green and J. Scott Armstrong

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Fourth Assessment Report. The report included predictions of big increases in average world temperatures by 2100, resulting in an increasingly rapid loss of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, a dramatic global sea level rise that would threaten low-lying coastal areas, the spread of tropical diseases, and severe drought and floods.

These dire predictions are not, however, the result of scientific forecasting; rather, they are the opinions of experts. Expert opinion on climate change has often been wrong. For instance, a search of headlines in the New York Times found the following:

Sept. 18, 1924 MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age

March 27, 1933 America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776

May 21, 1974 Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate Is Changing:
A Major Cooling Widely Considered to be Inevitable

Problems with Computer Models. Climate scientists now use computer models, but there is no evidence that modeling improves the accuracy of predictions. For example, according to the models, the Earth should be warmer than actual measurements show it to be. Furthermore:

  • The General Circulation Models (GCMs) that are used failed to predict recent global average temperatures as accurately as fitting a simple curve to the historical data and extending it into the future.
  • The models forecast greater warming at higher altitudes in the tropics, whereas the data show the greatest warming has occurred at lower altitudes and at the poles.
  • Furthermore, individual models have produced widely different forecasts from the same initial conditions, and minor changes in assumptions can produce forecasts of global cooling.

Skepticism Among the Scientists. Thus it is not surprising that international surveys of climate scientists from 27 countries in 1996 and 2003 found growing skepticism over the accuracy of climate models. Of more than 1,060 respondents, only 35 percent agreed with the statement, “Climate models can accurately predict future climates,” whereas 47 percent disagreed.

Violations of Forecasting Principles. Forty internationally-known experts on forecasting methods and 123 expert reviewers codified evidence from research on forecasting into 140 principles. The empirically-validated principles are available in the Principles of Forecasting handbook and at forecastingprinciples.com. These principles were designed to be applicable to making forecasts about diverse physical, social and economic phenomena, from weather to consumer sales, from the spread of nonnative species to investment strategy, and from decisions in war to egg-hatching rates. They were applied to predicting the 2004 U.S. presidential election outcome and provided the most accurate forecast of the two-party vote split of any published forecast, and did so well ahead of election day (see polyvote.com).

The authors of this study used these forecasting principles to audit the IPCC report. They found that:

  • Out of the 140 forecasting principles, 127 principles are relevant to the procedures used to arrive at the climate projections in the IPCC report.
  • Of these 127, the methods described in the report violated 60 principles.
  • An additional 12 forecasting principles appear to be violated, and there is insufficient information in the report to assess the use of 38.
    As a result of these violations of forecasting principles, the forecasts in the IPCC report are invalid. Specifically:

The Data Are Unreliable. Temperature data is highly variable over time and space. Local proxy data of uncertain accuracy (such as ice cores and tree rings) must be used to infer past global temperatures. Even over the period during which thermometer data have been available, readings are not evenly spread across the globe and are often subject to local warming from increasing urbanization. As a consequence, the trend over time can be rising, falling or stable depending on the data sample chosen.

The Forecasting Models Are Unreliable.Complex forecasting methods are only accurate when there is little uncertainty about the data and the situation (in this case: how the climate system works), and causal variables can be forecast accurately. These conditions do not apply to climate forecasting. For example, a simple model that projected the effects of Pacific Ocean currents (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) by extrapolating past data into the future made more accurate three-month forecasts than 11 complex models. Every model performed poorly when forecasting further ahead.

The Forecasters Themselves Are Unreliable. Political considerations influence all stages of the IPCC process. For example, chapter by chapter drafts of the Fourth Assessment Report “Summary for Policymakers” were released months in advance of the full report, and the final version of the report was expressly written to reflect the language negotiated by political appointees to the IPCC. The conclusion of the audit is that there is no scientific forecast supporting the widespread belief in dangerous human-caused “global warming.” In fact, it has yet to be demonstrated that long-term forecasting of climate is possible.

(end of Executive Summary)

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(K-2 in the Himalayas)

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Following are my own opinions regarding the reliability of “model based forecasts”…..

Over the last decade or more much debate has occurred within the discipline of agricultural economics regarding the reliability of forecasts derived from econometric models. It is my understanding that at the present time within the discipline of economics (general economics as well as the agricultural branch of the discipline) model-based forecasts of the future are judged to be inherently problematic and prone to inaccuracy.

The difficulty that economists have in developing accurate forecasts is due at least in part to the challenges we have on the one hand in accurately modeling underlying economic processes. In addition, economists have found it difficult to accurately project future values of the key explanatory variables in these same models from which we hope to make exante conditional projections of future values the models’ dependent variables. In normal human speech, what I have just said is that it is important for economists to be extremely humble and cautious about the accuracy of forecasts of the future based on our economic modeling efforts. It is an extremely difficult task to first model economic reality, and then second, to attempt to make forecasts of the future based on your current understanding of underlying economic processes (represented by these same models). The processes themselves may change over time to go along with the fact that we often have inadequate understanding of the critical economic factors involved in such economic processes.

As an agricultural economist with at least a working knowledge of the inherent difficulties of using models to forecast such things as future grain prices, and realizing the need to identify if at all possible the confidence intervals within which any economic forecast may fall, it is extremely troubling to me to consider the “fast and loose” manner in which model-based forecasts of global warming impacts have been developed by climatologists. Problems exist with a) the climatological data being relied upon, b) with the climate models themselves that are being used in an attempt to accurately and comprehensively represent extremely complicated weather – environmental systems, and c) the evident bias in findings of such groups as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in selecting models that support their presuppositions about global warming without the required scientific rigor and discipline needed for such an economically and socially critical subject.

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There is much to ponder in regards to the “group think” being thrust upon the public in regards to Global Warming ideas and beliefs.

The Longer Term Risks to Universities of Ill-founded Climatological Forecasting Efforts

Academics should consider the risk of damage to their professional credibility that could occur if their climatological model forecasts of global warming impacts are proven wrong by the climate itself in 5, 10, 15 years. We in the university system appear to be entrusting ourselves to the findings of some very questionable climate change forecast model methodologies.

Will the public still be willing to support us as Universities if, after instituting costly “cap and trade” schemes and other “green” economic and environmental prescriptions motivated by our global warming supportive forecasts, the possibility of disruptive catastrophic energy supply shortfalls come to fruition and associated economic and social crises ensue? Given that the economic well-being of the U.S. economy and our very families are at stake, we as academics should be more prudent and judicious in adherence to our scientific principles in this matter of deriving forecasts supportive of global warming impacts. And, given that the scientific principles of forecasting appear to have not been adequately adhered to in the development of global warming-related climatological models, well, we have now placed ourselves in a very, very risky position indeed.

God help us to be wise and judicious and balanced in our scientific recommendations on the issues of climate change, global warming, and energy development.

Churchlayman

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