Re: [asa] Human Sacrifice for Gaia & Culling the Herd

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Mon Dec 21 2009 - 11:03:36 EST

I want to comment on a couple of things that John Walley wrote concerning
Chuck Colson's columns about human life and environmental concerns.
Specifically, these points:
 
JW:
I think this is the responsible Christian response to AGW. I know Chuck
Colson is openly derided on the ASA list but I for one would like to defend
him.
TED: John, I don't know what you are referring to, in terms of Colson being
"openly derided on the ASA list." If you mean that people may disagree with
him from time to time, that's one thing. If you mean that there is some
groundswell of negative opinion, that would be something else entirely.
Most of the issues Mr Colson writes about are not directly relevant to this
list, and I can't recall ever seeing much conversation about most of his
opinions. And, concerning the science issues, I would be surprised if Mr
Colson writes those columns himself; I suspect they are written for him by
Nancy Pearcey--another person whose views are discussed here only rarely.
 
I challenge you, John, to support your statement. You might start by going
to our online archive (http://www.asa3.org/archive/asa/) and searching for
posts about Colson. I just did that, and I have three observations about
the results. (1) Most of the entries are from the previous millennium
(which ended, remember, on 31 Dec 2000), so whatever they were about they
don't provide much support for a statement (such as yours) in the present
tense. (2) Some of those in this millennium simply report, with
appreciation, that Mr Colson made favorable references to upcoming ASA
meetings. Let me add my own appreciation for those references. We ought to
be better known among evangelicals, esp those interested in the sciences,
and I can't see where that hurt us. Some other posts also do nothing more
than refer to statements by Mr Colson, as points of information. (3) I can
find a few (a few, not very many) posts in which someone either disagrees
with something specific that Mr Colson said, or is reported to have said
(others jump in to correct misstatements), but hardly any in which something
disparaging is said about him. In short, John, I think your own statement
above is not supported.
 
Now, as for Mr Colson's views on human dignity, population, and China's
one-child policy, I have only two things to say. Mr Colson wrote this in
one of the columns you linked: "The Chinese policy was an inhumane, brutal,
and totalitarian effort to address the historic problems posed by China’s
huge population." I have been to China twice, John, I'm familiar with the
details of their policy (for example, you can have two--count 'em,
two--children if you are from certain ethnic groups, such as being from
Mongolia), I've talked to a lot of Chinese citizens about what goes down
there (most of them will talk only reluctantly about such things), and I've
seen the impact of that policy and many others (such as the decision to
relocate millions of people in order to build the Three Gorges Dam, or the
fact that they are or recently were using half of the world's iron ore
supply and burning one heck of a lot of coal, so that they have several of
the most polluted cities in the world, pretty much no matter how you measure
that).
 
My two comments are as follows. (1) I entirely agree with what Mr Colson
wrote in the sentence quoted above. (2) I wonder what Mr Colson, John
Walley, Ted Davis, or anyone else, thinks that the Chinese ought to do to
curb their enormous (and still growing) population. There are more
middle-class people in China, John, than the entire population (middle class
and otherwise) in the USA. And there are more than 4X that many other
people in China. Another billion next door in India, and more in Pakistan
and Bangladesh combined than in the USA. That's a tremendous population for
half a continent (I throw out that figure and it could be too large but I
think it's about right). The USA is geographically about the same size as
China, and like China large pieces of our country are very sparsely
populated (Alaska, the Dakotas and Montana are certainly in this category).
In what's left, we aren't yet crawling over one another in most areas that
can't be seen from the top of the Empire State Building. The Chinese,
however, have 100 cities with populations of 1 Million or more; the USA has
all of nine. The third largest city in the USA, a little place called
Chicago, wouldn't make their top 25. Should the Chinese be worried about
this, John? Should the rest of the world worry about the number of people
on the planet? Does it have to be a form of idolatry (earth worship) simply
to think that the Earth as the good Lord created it has a finite carrying
capacity, not only for human beings but also for the other creatures that
God also intended for us to share the planet with? (I base this last point
on a plain reading of Genesis 1 & 2.) Sometimes objections to
"environmentalism" are based on legitimate theological concerns about
worshiping the Earth (literally or figuratively); sometimes they are based
on a failure to take seriously an appropriately biblical understanding of
stewardship--according to which our purpose on Earth (as clearly stated in
Genesis 2) *is* to take care of the creation. That's precisely why God put
us here; very few things are more clearly stated in the Bible than this
particular truth (IMO). If Cameron Wybrow is out there still, I'd really
like to hear what he has to say about this. Few people understand the
biblical view of stewardship and the Genesis mandate--and what it has been
said to mean--better than he does. IMO, John, something *does* have to be
done to curb population growth--which is, unlike the earth's temperature,
something that everyone agrees is a very real phenomenon. What that
something is, of course, is the hard part. China is a prime example of both
sides of this: something must be done, but not what China is doing.
 
What do *you* think, John? Is population growth something that Christians
ought to be worried about? If not yet, at what point would you think that
it is? (The assumption here is that with a finite carrying capacity there
has to be such a point; the only out would be to say that the eschaton will
happen before we get to that point.)
 
Ted
 

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Dec 21 11:04:28 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Dec 21 2009 - 11:04:28 EST