I’ve got some interesting quotes about global climate change, evolution and the Bible from a well-known scientist I interviewed last week. Thought some here would enjoy these, as these are issues we often debate on JWD. I’m doing an article for a magazine about scientist Tom Wessels and his new book, The Myth of Progress. When the magazine comes out in January, the full text of the article will be online and I’ll post a link to it then. I had an interesting discussion with him about the Witnesses and "Watchtower science" as well.
But in the meantime, here are some quotes taken directly from the article:
Wessels is an ecologist, a professor at Antioch University of New England in Keene, NH, where he has been with the Department of Environmental Studies since 1978. He founded the graduate school’ s Master’s degree program in Conservation Biology . He has a strong background in geology and evolutionary ecology, with an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology from the University of New Hampshire. His graduate work was in plant ecology at the University of Colorado. Over the past decade he has written three other books, Untamed Vermont, which he wrote with photographer A. Blake Gardner, The Granite Landscape, and in 1997, the still popular Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England.
When asked about the critics of climate change, those who say there is not enough data over a long enough period to know if we’re experiencing real climate change at least in part because of human activity, Wessels has no hesitation in his answer.
"There’s not one research climatologist who says that. Not one. You’ll hear that from the non-scientific community and you’ll hear that from people who have an ideological point of view, but the science (about global climate change) gets stronger all the time. There’s really not a debate in the scientific community at all that this is happening, or that humans are responsible for it. The debate is shifting to what is going to be the degree of change and what is the change going to look like regionally. We know that the change is going to be much more dramatic the higher in latitude you go. We’re already seeing that."
I also asked Wessels his view as a scientist of the attempts in many places across the country to bring creationism and intelligent design into science classrooms, views inspired by a literal or fundamentalist view of the creation account in the Christian Bible. He made it clear that there is absolutely no doubt about the fact of evolution in the scientific community.
"Science has a very clear format," he explained. "You look at evidence or you make observations, and then you generate an educated guess. Then you test it in the most objective way you can. The idea of evolution has been tested so many times and the evidence always comes back saying that that is the best explanation that we can come up with from the scientific perspective. That’s why creation science has been thrown out in the courts, because it doesn’t follow the scientific approach. Creation science has a priori ideas, that this is what we’re going to prove and we’ll take the evidence that we think proves it, and we’ll just reject all the other evidence that doesn’t prove it. We won’t even look at it. That’s not science."
"If you reject all the science and take the literalist point of view, what you get is a world out there that really isn’t all that interesting. When we start to understand scientifically how this thing functions, how incredibly complex it is, it’s mind-boggling. If you take a literal view of the Bible, you have to throw out every branch of science. You’re not just throwing out evolution, you’re throwing out biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, cosmology, physics, they all have to go, because they are all in agreement about the age of the universe and life on earth. They are all in complete agreement, so you have to throw out all of science to embrace that literal view of the Bible."
Hope you enjoyed it and happy holidays, including the Solstice!