Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Would Jesus vote green? IV

Scepticism
For some, the initial response to such claims is to question them. After all, 87% of all statistics are made up. Could this simply be the latest fad? Isn’t it perhaps a little arrogant to claim that our actions are really affecting the planet that much? Aren’t there some who dispute many of these claims?

There is much that is good in this response. Jesus was no fan of naïve credulity. He does not ask those who would follow him to check their critical faculties in at the door. We don’t need to jump onto every bandwagon that gathers momentum. The truth is more important than being popular. We are right to be a little suspicious about the endless parade of new disaster scenarios presented to us.

And at a deeper level, there is a foundational Christian truth that ought to make us pause before we accept every new prediction of doom. God made the world good, very good. It is filled with abundance and diversity, evidence of his creativity, blessing and generosity. And so we are right to assume that we live on a good and abundant world. Therefore, we ought to have a healthy initial scepticism towards doomsday predictions.(more on scepticism)
Eight points for the correct name of the building in the centre of the picture.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X; XI; XII; XIII.

8 comments:

Philip Britton said...

Bosch building no.1 (the original Bosch). Home to the infectious diseases department, the medical and surgical departments, the centre for values, law and ethics in medicine, the anatomy department, the pathology department, the medsoc bookshop and countless tutorial rooms. All departments of the University of Sydney.

Adrian said...

Actually I think it is correctly called the "Blackburn Building"...

(other names/former name - "University of Sydney Medical School", "Rockefeller Foundation Building")

Built with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and opened in 1933 (and desparately in need of some of that capital works money from last night's budget)

http://www.medfac.usyd.edu.au/about/history/index.php

http://www.facilities.usyd.edu.au/afm/reports/heritagesection170-r01.cfm?pkID=4726028

Mikhaela said...

Could you do a statistical analysis of the number of comments left on your recent environmental posts cf the number of comments left on your "theological" posts? Or the comparative word count? Would that tell us anything?

Or would Joey Lucas (as an "expert") say that those numbers wouldn't tell us anything?

Kinda interesting nevertheless...

Philip Britton said...

too much time away from the uni obviously. Of course it is blackburn!

byron said...

Adrian - eight points. Welcome to the game, you're off the mark...

Mik - what is your hypothesis? What results might you expect?

Mikhaela said...

Well, I'm crap at statistics (never studied it) but great at wild hypothesising (studied that for 5 years!!!) : so here's my best shot:

There seems to be a trend with the clean-cut theology posts to get a majority male response, with a wide knowledge base and a tendency to argue finer points/differing discursive frameworks.
These posts seem (although I haven't been rigorous enough to actually trawl through them all and count!) to generate a higher average response rate.

I am happy to acknowledge that this was a major part of the original mission of the blog!!!

I have noticed that on your "environmental" posts, however, that the pool of commenters is smaller, and the trend seems to run along the lines of shorter posts of personal encouragement (of you, mainly), with the points roadshow attracting a higher response rate than the topic raised.

What I'm interested in is if this (i.e. dodgy research) indicates a lack of confidence in engaging with the environment dialogue, and whether that's a consequence of people feeling they don't have an adequate working framework from which to branch out.

There's lots of thoughts, but I already have typing fatigue...

byron said...

Mikhaela - fascinating suggestions! You've made me want to look back through earlier posts to check. We'll both keep an eye on it as this series continues (there are at least another 5 or 6 posts to come) before we try to draw any firm conclusions.

I guess there are a number of reasons why people mightn't comment: the topic mightn't be of interest, they may feel out of their depth, they may disagree so violently that they don't know where to start, they may agree and have nothing more to say (and feel that saying 'yay, I agree' is a waste of time), and many more...

Dave Lankshear said...

Mikhaela said...

I have noticed that on your "environmental" posts, however, that the pool of commenters is smaller, and the trend seems to run along the lines of shorter posts of personal encouragement (of you, mainly), with the points roadshow attracting a higher response rate than the topic raised.

What I'm interested in is if this (i.e. dodgy research) indicates a lack of confidence in engaging with the environment dialogue, and whether that's a consequence of people feeling they don't have an adequate working framework from which to branch out.


Very interesting point.
I've been reading environmental figures and statistics quite avidly for the last 3 years and yet am incredibly aware what a beginner I am in the field. I'm not even from a scientific or engineering background. I am an absolute layman in the field, restricted to the Executive Summary of the many reports I read, and have to say... that environmental science — especially questions of climate change — are incredibly difficult.

We are trying to understand some of the most complicated dynamic living and interactive systems we have ever come across, whether from "Human Ecology" questions delving into how we relate to the natural world, through to the complex interactions of various climate forcings.

It's vast and intimidating. Who has the time? Yet people instinctively sense that we still depend on it the environment, and so they want it to survive. So they encourage Byron.

They will not go away and read books on it or join their local "Sustainable Population Australia" group because — unless they have some kind of green "conversion" experience such as seeing Al Gore's movie and being shocked into awareness — everyone is just too busy, especially Christians caught up with our gospel priorities (as we should be.)

So they encourage, which is better than arguing about Byron's statistics... but many STILL remain in denial over just how incredibly serious running out of cheap, plentiful oil is, and just how many people are probably going to die as a direct result. (Us western nations will probably get into a bidding war with the 3rd world and developing nations, and just out-bid them. Their agriculture and infrastructure could easily collapse.) I think we'll be OK, and by that I mean avoid mass famines. I hope so.