Sunday, March 16, 2014

Moses Versus Joseph: A Biblical Lesson in Communication about Climate Change

A week ago I was on  a state legislative panel about the regional implications of global climate change and some climate policy folks on the panel described a range of unpleasant local effects of increasing greenhouse gases:  coastal inundation from rising sea level, droughts, an increase in severe storms, serious flooding on local rivers, extreme precipitation, insect infestations killing  forests,  heat waves, and ocean acidification killing local shellfish, among others.  

The list was biblical in length and severity.  All that was missing were the frogs and boils.

And I noticed something else: the audience's eyes glazed over as the endless list of disasters were described.  And the climate policy advocates provided extraordinarily specific predictions--such as the snow pack being reduced by 35% by a certain year.  Such extreme precision regarding events later in the century caused such substantial rolling of some eyeballs that I worried that some might fall out their sockets.


Such litanies of future global warming-related disasters are being repeated time and time again on the national scene, leading much of society to increasingly tune out the increasingly strident warnings of  global warming impacts provided by the "prophets" in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and others.  In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, climate change has dropped to 14th of the list of Americans' worries.

Well if biblical-style prophetic warnings are in vogue today, is there anything we can learn from the bible on their effectiveness?   Let's explore this.

Perhaps the most famous, and demonstrably least successful, prophet of environmental doom was Moses.

Time and time again he warned Pharaoh of terrible environmental disasters such as storms of fire, insects, and darkness.  But he got no where.  The Pharaoh's advisers noted that such events could happen without divine intervention (i.e., natural variability) and that the cost of placating Moses (freedom for the economically valuable slaves) was too high.  Moses got no action until a clearly unnatural and unprecedented plague unfolded (the deaths of the Egyptian first born).

Not successful in getting action using threats of environmental disaster to promote change.

It seems to me that many in the environmental movement are following Moses'playbook and have been equally unsuccessful.  And I think they know this and in acts of desperation have been searching for extraordinarily lethal, unprecedented disasters--that is why there has been such emphasis on extreme weather events.

So you might ask, was there an example of a more successful Biblical environmental advocate, who provided a warning that was taken seriously and which resulted in an effective response?  Perhaps Joseph is a candidate.

Remember the story?  The Pharaoh had some unsettling dreams of seven fat cows that were eaten up by some lean ones, and seven fat heads of grain that were subsumed by thin ones.  Pharaoh was disturbed by these dreams and wanted an explanation.

His advisers knew of a slave named Joseph with a demonstrated record of successful predictions, including situations that could not have been natural occurrences.   Pharaoh asked that Joseph be brought before him.  Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream as forecasting seven bountiful years followed by seven years of drought.  Pharaoh not only accepted Pharaoh's forecast but put Joseph in charge of the preparations. So Pharaoh did something we are not doing now:  energetically preparing for the environmental disaster ahead--in envirospeak, adaptation not mitigation.  With Pharaoh's backing Joseph increased grain production and put aside large amounts of food for the upcoming lean years.

Joseph describes how Egypt can prepare for and adapt to climate change

Joseph's predictions came to pass and Egypt was ready for and survived the drought.  And keep in mind that Joseph did not propose taking action to stop the drought, but to promote adaptation and preparation for this severe climatological event.  And the annual costs of his plan were not excessive and major sacrifices were not required.

I believe these biblical stories have a lot to teach environmental advocates today:

(1)  Moses-like descriptions of endless catastrophes not only seem  unrealistic but cause audiences to disengage.
(2) Providing highly detailed and specific predictions suggesting precise predictions for decades hence undermines credibility, since most folks intuitively understand there is uncertainty in predictions later in the century.
(3)  Credibility is gained by a series of successful predictions well into the future,; Joseph was a proven prognosticator.  Currently, atmospheric sciences does not have a very good track record in decadal prediction and we have yet to demonstrate forecasts over longer periods.  Remember, climatologists  in the 60s and 70s were forecasting future cooling, and no one predicted the "pause" in warming before it happened.  Similarly, forecasts for snow pack in the Cascades made a decade ago  for today are failing.
(4)  Keeping forecasts and warnings focused and promoting specific ways to ameliorate the damage (as done by Joseph) are far more effective than broad catastrophic warnings coupled with unrealistic demands (like moving to a system of cap and trade or heavy taxation of carbon fuels).
(5)  Most groups are unwilling to make major sacrifices now for the prevention of unproven predictions of future calamities.  Moses is a good example of this.  But modest investments for the future are feasible.
(6)  Harping on extreme events that could have natural causes is not an effective tool for securing converts to one's point of view.

              Strident and threatening demands that require real sacrifices right now are generally not welcome.

Perhaps a bit of biblical wisdom into human nature is needed to recenter and rationalize the climate debate. And let's follow Joseph's approach:

(1) Work on adaptation to climate change, which includes improving weather/seasonal/ climate forecasting and improving infrastructure's resilience to extreme weather.  These tasks will make economic sense even if climate doesn't change.

(2)  Develop improved energy technologies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, ensuring that such technologies make economic sense (such as hybrid cars).   The serious air pollution in SE Asia and recently in France provide more than enough reason to do so.   Wind energy and solar can be economically viable, even without subsides.

(3)  Continue research to secure a better understanding of the climate system.  Get a better handle on forecast uncertainty and natural variability.  Improve our models.   Many highly respected scientists believe our current climate models are excessively sensitive to increases in greenhouse gases (perhaps by a factor of two).

(3) Understand that climate change is just one component of a larger problem:   the sustainability of our planet.  Population growth and rising standards of living are important elements that can not be ignored.

And to end with a final biblical quote:

 And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth"

Time to do the replenishing part.


41 comments:

Scott said...

The problem though is that by the time there is a solid track record of long term predictions, it will be too late to do much about it.

Sure in fiction the hero can always prove their case fully before a decision has to be made, but reality doesn't seem to be giving us that option. We can wait until there are successful long term predictions, or we can act before it is too late to avoid the more severe effects.

Same with more modest solutions. They might be more palatable, but that does not mean they will solve the problem. We don't have the luxury of writing the plot.

Substance always has to come before form.

Jon Zeitler said...

Excellent thesis! Targeted and specific preparations, ameliorative actions, and forecasts/warnings for CURRENT events are precisely what builds the credibility to suggest action for FUTURE events. In other words, successful prediction, preparation, and reaction to droughts/floods/etc. now is the bridge to preventative actions for the future.

Christian said...

The global warmist wants me to dig deeper into my pockets for energy prices, inconvenience my lifestyle permanently, and to do this for some future unborn generation, I guess! Because I'm a nice guy. The global warmist further wants me to believe the unprovable, a) that I'm part of the problem and b) that I can fix it.. Furthermore, the global warmist wants me to believe that if I do all these things AND give more money to government all will be well 100 years from now!

Has no one learned anything about human nature in the last few thousand years? (hint: We tend to only think of ourselves and government generally fails to deliver....).

I'm not holding my breath here....

Michael said...

Wonderful comparison Cliff... I hope this post gets pickuped by the national press. Unfortunately you and your most of your rational colleagues have been left wandering in the hyperbolic climate change wilderness for the past 40 years...

tz said...

We are going to get the plagues anyway. What are the demands? Control - far more than Joseph.

Sacrifice your second, third, and successive children, at least if you haven't had them yet since we need to reduce the population.

We need to kill all those flatulent animals and cut out all that meat from our diets.

We need to demolish natural sustainable real food fields need to move to Monsanto's Agribusiness copyrighted sterile seeds.

We must turn off every light and screen so we will get the darkness.

All that to PREVENT "global warming".

The cure is worse than the disease.

People aren't THAT stupid, even when listening to doomsayers. They are being asked to make severe sacrifices.

They know what the sacrifices are going to cost them - even assuming the worst case scenario happens - and if it would be worth it. If you don't have children, you don't worry about your grandchildren.

And obvious questions - wouldn't it be easier and less expensive to move people a few miles to higher ground than to return the entire country to medieval times?

Or something like the problem with the coal trains. Yes, they have noxious dust. But do YOU unplug YOUR computer, heater, and air conditioning to save the energy that coal represents? This is an economics problem - the damage is small and dispersed. Your electronics are right in front of you. And people behave toward their economic interest.

There are always trade-offs. The discussion has to be honest. Politicians are being properly mistrusted today. Even if there are solutions instead the issue will just be used for corporate welfare.

How is the Affordable Care Act working out? (Not whether the intentions were good, but what actually happened and is happening). Would anyone trust a "Global Warming Prevention Act"? - or Solyndra, A123, and the rest?

Or just ask what the carbon footprint of our (police the world) Military or that new NSA facility in Utah is. Peace would be the best thing for the environment. But did any of the prophets of doom suggest cutting any of the big government sources of CO2? That we might have to sacrifice our empire?

Michael Snyder said...

TZ

Bad comparison, VERY bad.

Nobody with any rational thought is telling you are asking that you give up your car.

Pumping CO2 into the atmopshere is bad for the planet, all we need to do is find ways to supplement and eventually take over fossil fuels since they are going to run out anyway.

Unplug your computer? Hardly...

Michael Snyder said...

Cliff Mass-

What would you suggest we do at this point, seeing as how you agree the effects will be large at the end of the century?

When I talk of AGW with friends and colleagues I FIRST separate the issue of AGW happening and what we should do about it. They are two issues.

The most common thing folks want to do is to jump right in to the "Al Gore said we are all going to die, I dont believe that, hence AGW is FALSE"!!!

I then break it down, explain why it is happening. Then I say if you want to have a separate conversation about what to do about it then lets at least acknowledge what the science says first.

So AGW is happening, its agreed by all who study the climate, lets start there.

Then when everyone is on board we can have rational discussion about what to do about it.

Instead of a generation of people thinking that global warming means that its a sure thing that we will kill the planet. (Its not)

Excuse any misspellings, Im in a hurry today....

kdscatt said...

Modest solutions to curb climate change are the most sensible. This means no carbon tax (a political ploy), but a conscientious decrease in fossil fuels, with incentives. Innovation will be needed to do this.

Acidification of oceans is more of a real concern, as CO2 correlates with the pH, more so than CO2 in the atmosphere. Future economies hang in the balance as to how governments choose to tax "climate change".

A centralized world government with its control, which is a bad plan from the get go, would impose a costly carbon tax that would provide negligible relief from climate change, while crippling economies- look at those countries who have already adopted it. A better answer is in strategic planning and innovative technology to make the planet less reliant on fossil fuels, and consider how to save our oceans. Not an easy answer, but a worthy challenge

Gentian said...

It's called the backfire effect. People get more resistant the more facts you throw at them:

http://www.motherjones.com/...ckfire-effects-facts

A better approach might be the Socratic method: ask people questions about why they think something is true/not true, and keep asking questions until they see the flaws in their thinking. But that involves actually TALKING to them.

hempy said...

I have noticed on other forums that when subjects that are devastating and well documented come up, like ocean acidification for example, people just clam up and the threads ends. I think the realization of how dire our situation is can't be mentally dealt with and delusion is the security blanket people snuggle up to.

David Sanger said...

Cliff, whatwas the legislative panel?

Unknown said...

"Modest solutions to curb climate change are the most sensible." Nope -- we're way past the point of "sensible".

But the problem with liberal/scientific/rational explanations is that we don't know how to message. Substance and form must be paired so that people don't close their ears. George Lakoff has been trying to tell us that for decades but we haven't listened. How did Bush win two terms? By the messaging his party developed, that was like water dripping on stone: the same message, constantly.

Dan McShane said...

For those that want to see the panel power point presentations:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/CMD/document.aspx?agency=3&year=2014&cid=15967&mid=20113&hid=156176

Cliff: you call out predictions of 35% snow pack loss by a certain year as one of several offenses; however, you included a rather specific graph on page 16 of your power Point about snow water equivalent for Stampede Pass which is really not to different for April 1. Perhaps it was how you spoke while presenting versus others, but I would note that Dr. Snover references Elsner et al (2010)(link: https://www.uni-hohenheim.de/fileadmin/einrichtungen/klimawandel/Literatur/Elsner-etal-CC2010.pdf) in her presentation.

Unknown said...

How do you change perception being driven by misinformation? I rubbed shoulders with a nice guy last week; a person who I have had good conversations about machines and other mundane American things, but when he began to speak about climate change, I have no idea of where he was getting his information. It was really out there. He firmly believe pack ice is increasing at the fastest level in centuries and the entrapment of the Russian tourist/research vessel was an example of such growth. Is this the internet causing this. That so much misinformation can be unleashed upon the masses a new form of evolution is working... Survival of the Most Sensational and Ridiculous?
How can this be combatted because it seems the battle is slowly being lost.

Cliff Mass said...

Dan M,
I was showing some model output (that is figure you noted) but if you heard the audio you would see that I was not claiming that wss what would happen. I told them that model output showed relatively little change during the next several decades out described some of the uncertainties in model prediction. So I was not claiming that I knew precisely what would happen...cliff

Cliff Mass said...

I have gotten several emails from the "pro" side that were full of name calling and insults. This kind of attitude is a good example of the problem I am talking about...cliff

Cheri Wilke said...

Thank you Mr. Mass, for your sensible and calm approach. It is so nice to read balanced quiet thoughts over the din of the those screaming in our ears.

Sulla said...

There is science. And then there is politics. The scientists will never lead on this, it will be our politicians who will or will not get this done (like it is with pretty much every other policy, like it or not).

You want to know the guy who has had the most effective messaging at combating climate change (although I doubt that was his intent)?

John McCain.

Climate change is another casualty of the hyper partisan times we live in. By and large, Democrats have taken up the mantle to "do something" while Republicans have staked their claims to oppose "doing something".

Enter John McCain. His 2008 message was clear. We need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. True, he was for drill baby drill, but besides that also supported weaning ourselves off of this "unstable energy source" for geopolitical reasons. The theme was why do we want to enrich countries that do not like us? Saving the planet will just not resonate with some folks. But national security will. Goodness, throw out names like Venezuela, Iran, and Russia and friends in this country are thin on the ground (especially in light of recent events in Russia).

If you want serious action and a call to sacrifice, frame the issue as a matter of national security (with some environmental side benefits). That will peel off enough of the current detractors to form a majority, which can then enact some policy changes (many more than to date).

sojourner truth said...

You may wish to check Benoit Mandelbrot's fantastic paper from 40 years ago..
Noah, Joseph and operational hydrology.

It was before he became famous for fractals but it's all there.

Worth some climate scientists realizing that there were smart people in the past who really studied the complexity of time-series rather than declaring ecological disaster every time their model fails to characterize the next time step or the weather is different for 3 days in a row..

Don Carter said...

The problem with your thesis is that Moses was dealing with a Pharoh that didn't believe nor wanted to believe. Joseph's Pharoh already had the bad dream and was motivated.

Better to ask how we get people to understand what is headed for us.

As long as we have our tablets, internet, vidio games, electricity, food from around the world, anti-biotics they will refuse to get it.

Dick on Whidbey said...

Thank you Professor Mass for this thoughtful, well reasoned post. I would only add that given past long term variations in the sun's output as evidenced by the medieval warm period and the little ice age, work on adaptation to climate change should also include the impacts of a possible long term cooling trend.

Dick on Whidbey

JewelyaZ said...

Cliff,

Lots of folks are thinking about this issue right now and I really appreciate your perspective.

Fifty to one hundred people began a cross-country walk (The Great March for Climate Action) to bring attention to this issue on March 1st, leaving Los Angeles for Washington, DC. Climate March homepage

Also, here is another thoughtful piece recently written on the subject of climate-change deniers: Fighting the New Deniers

ellisjardepawa said...

I believe Bertolt Brecht put the matter of what messengers should say to be heard best in lines (in translation here, of course) from the "The Three-Penny
Opera":

"Happy ending, nice and tidy.
It's a rule I learned in school.
Get your money every Friday,
Happy endings are the rule."

ljardine
port angeles

Doug Cotton said...

God is in control of climate; mankind cannot cool the planet by reducing carbon dioxide, because all the CO2 cools by 0.1 degree.

On Lucia's thread about my comments, Neil J. King (a Skeptical Science team member) made a laughable mistake.

He dug out his old physics book and used a few equations about energy distribution among molecules, but they were equations that did not take into account the force of gravity. That was the very thing we were talking about, namely how gravity brings about an autonomous thermal gradient (aka lapse rate) in any planet's troposphere.

The relevance of all this to climate change is that, firstly, Skeptical Science is stumped, and of course the greenhouse is smashed.

Placeholder said...

Cliff, many thanks for your sanity about this difficult issue.

I am one of the fence-sitters who has been watching the climate change conversation with growing bemusement and skepticism over the unfolding hysteria of the various warnings.

What finally made me start looking deeper was the "polar vortex" mania. Having grown up in Milwaukee, the second coldest major metro area in this country, I delivered many a newspaper in bitter cold.

This so-called "vortex" was a regular winter feature. Not every year, but often enough to make me an amateur expert on defenses. (Mittens, not gloves. Plastic bags over your feet. Tight-knit ski cap. "Layers" before anyone ever heard of "dressing in layers.")

And just like this winter, when the jet stream kinked and brought arctic air down to Milwaukee, it would be unseasonably warm in Alaska. This pattern had been observed well before this country was industrialized. Oh, and the winters of 1968-69 and 1978-79 were colder.

The California drought? The one in 1923-1924 was worse, and of course California's climate is naturally subject to great swings in moisture. Apparently the current crowd never heard of tree rings, did they?

And then there are those climate models that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been citing to predict global warming. Turns out there has been a 17-1/2 year "hiatus" in the warming that those models predicted.

The more I delve into all of this, the less of the alarmist perspective I accept. I'm still undecided, but definitely more skeptical than I was before every single tornado, hurricane, drought, or cold snap was described as the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.

I have become especially skeptical of the "climatology science" establishment that has recently sprung up. It's plain to see that the funding for this "research," a lot of which seems to be motivated by a desire to confirm rather than to test the projections and guesses made by others, depends on maintaining a level of fear approaching hysteria.

What worries me as much as anything is that all of environmentalism is being swallowed up by the climate change mantra. Open spaces? Habitat protection? Groundwater pollution? "Conventional" contamination? Forget it. Environmentalism is increasingly becoming nothing but all climate change, all the time.

What happens if the "anthropogenic global warming" hypothesis turns out to be invalid, and all environmentalism has been defined in terms of climate change that winds up not actually taking place because the models got it wrong?

I'll keep reading and keep trying to sort it out, but like so many other issues this one has rapidly became a tribal political battle rather than an honest and unfearing search for testable, factual hypotheses, experimentation, and prediction. The more I look, the less science and the more politics I see.

Thanks again for your sane perspective. You've earned a great deal of respect from this reader, that's for sure. Keep calling 'em like you see 'em, Cliff. I, for one, will be paying attention.

preignac said...

Thank you, Dr. Mass, for this thoughtful post, and in particular for advocating adaptation ahead of mitigation. For those who want to curb (or stop) climate change instead of adapting to it, here is something to ponder: If you are worried about sea level rise as a result of AGW, would you feel safer if measures were taken a) to build better levees (and other flood defenses) or b) to impose a carbon tax or other measures to reduce CO2 emissions?

a606e9ce-ae61-11e3-8bd9-000f20980440 said...

Cliff, this is a persuasion issue. Your anecdote is an enjoyable read, but we have an entire science devoted to understanding human motivation and I'm afraid the account you present falls into several "lay psychologist" traps - ideas that seem intuitive and logical but do not operate as 'predicted' in the data. If your thrust is to encourage critical discussion of climate change, don't assume that logic, facts, and compelling storytelling will necessarily win people over.

RLL said...

Using the Joseph story and the Moses story together might better be called the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Pharaohs. Even after six warnings which came true the Foolish Pharaoh refused to believe the seventh warning. It seems to me that one political party has placed itself firmly in the foolish camp in denying warnings of climate change.

Bert Rubash said...

An article titled "The Myth of the 1970's Global Cooling Scientific Consensus" was published in the September 2008 issue of the American Meteorological Society that should be read in light of one of the claims in teaching point number three about credibility: " Remember, climatologists in the 60s and 70s were forecasting future cooling..."

Cliff Mass said...

Bert,
There is a good summary of the global cooling claims here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

My point is that a number of climate scientists were talking about global cooling or the potential for no trend due to a balance between greenhouse warming and aerosol cooling.

The title of the paper is correct..there was no consensus for cooling. But there was no consensus for warming either. I was in grad school then and heard a number of talks with varying estimates and one of my mentors (Stephen Schneider) had varying estimates during the 70s.

..cliff

Placeholder said...

If you follow the links from the site below, you'll see that "global cooling" was very widely predicted in the 1970s, and had a lot of high-level scientific support. Whether or not that support was a "consensus" is debatable, but those who are today warning of climate warming are certainly minimizing the extent of the '70s-era cooling scare.

This was not an invention of the popular press in the '70s. The press did report the story, but as they're currently reporting the warming story. But they did not invent it. There were plenty of high-level scientists on the cooling bandwagon at the time.

People minimize the degree to which science and its offshoots are seized by fads, augmented by the ever-present desire for fame, fortune, and power.

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/1970s-ice-age-scare/

Placeholder said...

Something else to point out is that Wikipedia's global cooling page has been long controlled by the warming advocates. As such, they seek to minimize the extent to which many leading scientists predicted cooling and even a possible Ice Age. So be skeptical of Wikipedia. That organization has a track record of being unable to deal with controversial topics.

Placeholder said...

Speaking of doom and gloom, I was struck by President Obama's recent flight to California to talk about their drought, and Secretary of State John Kerry's use of the term "weapon of mass destruction" to describe climate change.

That happened as the whole "polar vortex" stuff was going strong, and as I explained earlier, it got my attention. I tend to be a little like a pit bull on some poor kid's leg when I get interested, so I've been clicking around. Apparently, President Obama's "science advisor" cut his teeth on the ice age warnings of the early 1970s. Man, who knew? I sure didn't.

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=873

C.P.O. said...

My favorite CMWB post ever! Preach it!

strix27 said...

In addition to Moses and Joseph there was another prophet: Jeremiah, who was ignored.

The physics and chemistry of increasing atmospheric CO2 appear to be correct. In a non-linear world it's hard to make short term predictions of cause and effect, but in the long-term our goose appears to be cooked.

Let's say the effects we're seeing are "normal," part of natural cycles, etc.

The question is: normal or not, why aren't we doing anything about it?

Sea level is rising but we're still "nourishing" beaches, rebuilding at the water's edge, fantasizing about a dike around New York City, and lowering (!) the cost of flood insurance in coastal areas, etc.

Some answers are: politicians are not scientists and have found that bread and circuses win elections; decisions in the global economy are made at the speed of light and have no built in hysteresis, unpopular ideas are met with stoning (the Jimmy Carter Effect); no one is in charge; the "you go first" syndrome; mass ignorance of basic scientific principles, etc. etc.

The basic fact is that, even without global climate change as a reality, human life on earth is unsustainable. We are currently using 2.5 Earth's resources. We can't supply enough food, water and shelter for an ever increasing population in the long run.

Gpacharlie said...

Loved it Cliff. Good stories summarized entertainingly for a serious result. "Cliff's Fables"? ; maybe a book there.

Placeholder said...

In a non-linear world it's hard to make short term predictions of cause and effect, but in the long-term our goose appears to be cooked.

Ah, a non-linear world. But the IPCC has based its alarms on linear models. Now that those models have failed, we're being given all manner of excuses, including that it's a non-linear world.

Funny how they didn't tell us any of that BEFORE the 17-1/2 year "hiatus" in global warming. Live by the regression, die by the regression, I say.

Cliff Mass said...

Placeholder,
You are not correct about this...the climate models are fully non-linear, as are weather prediction models...cliff

bloggit said...

For lack of suitable labels, I'll use the terms alarmists and deniers, which no implied prejudice either way.

This thread is a good example of the problem. Despite the failed prognostications, which you (Cliff) refer to, the second or so post here dives right in on attacking deniers, referencing acidification of oceans. News flash to him... we had acid rain in the 70s. Acidification isn't necessarily correlated to global warming, and a record of one successful prediction out of dozens hardly makes a case.

But, to alarmists, everyone else is willfully ignoring scientific scripture. And is responded to as such. Which further impedes communication; religious zealots attacking the ambivalent or undecided as if they were demons neither converts nor convinces, but does create extra antagonism and opposition.

Then there are the other factors... Joseph did have a proven track record, which alarmists lack, but the King also really had the power, responsibility and trust to set aside reserves. That can't happen today; any taxes or reserves would immediately be allocated to entitlements regardless of campaign promises. Deniers reasonably distrust the proposed solutions, not just the problem.

David L. said...

Cliff
Good point on Joseph and adaptation.
On Moses, I encourage you to look closer.
Each of the plagues was showing power greater than a particular god of Egypt. See: Moses plagues gods Egypt
e.g., Ten plagues for ten gods
The reception / preparation (adaptation) to each steadily grew, and were indicative of prudent action versus stubborn refusal. E.g., the plague of hail. Exodus 9:19-21
“19. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’”

20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21 But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.”
In the latter plagues, besides explicit timing, there were clear distinctions that they were not natural events. E.g.
“6 And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. 7 Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.” . . .
“26 The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.”

Similarly for the plague of darkness Exodus 10:22-23: “22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.”

By the plague of Locusts, the court officials publically acknowledged the evidence of explicit predictions and non-natural consequences:
“7 Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”“
Before the last plague we read Exodus 11:3:
“3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)”
See mentions of “plague”.
Worship nature or God?
The major challenge today is that extreme environmentalists worship nature by demanding that we “mitigate” CO2, and control nature to current conditions - regardless of cost, and disregarding the need to care for the poor. Contrast the position of those seeing the importance of caring for the poor, and adapting to change as needed. See theCornwall Alliance, especially the Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming

Placeholder said...

Once the IPCC's full report comes out, it'd be great if you analyzed it in detail. From what I've been able to glean from discussions of the leaks, people who look within the material see that the case for "anthropogenic global warming" is in some disarray.