Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hack gets mail: Physicist writes on abuse of spirituality to promote causes

British physicist friend David Tyler writes, in response to "Help wanted ads: God wanted - only for climate change - no other responsibilities"
I sent the following feedback comment to The Telegraph regarding this article:

Lord May thinks that it might be time for religion to take a more prominent role in addressing climate change, saying: “A supernatural punisher maybe part of the solution.” But Christianity is not about constraining people with rules and regulations, enforcing compliance by the use of threats. Rather it is about responding to a loving God. It is about inward transformation. Christians care about the world around us because it is God’s creation, and we are to be responsible stewards of living things and the planet itself. Lord May thinks that the supernatural punisher solution leads to "rigid, doctrinaire societies, but it makes for co-operation." This is exactly wrong.

Co-operation has to come from within – external enforcement may bring uniformity but, as communist societies have demonstrated, the people are crushed. To change thinking about the environment, it is necessary to help individuals see that the planet and its life forms have a value. Secular environmentalists do this by treating mankind as parasitic, but Christian environmentalists do it by stressing that this is God’s world and we have responsibilities as stewards. I wonder whether Lord May, as a prominent atheist, is willing to allow this message to become more widespread in our society.

It never appeared!
Tyler's letter never appeared? Well, where's that feather I use to knock myself over, to "defy the law of gravity"?

Why are people always borrowing my feather these days?

Lord May, who may have utter contempt for spirituality, may merely want to sell propaganda. Of course the environment is important, unless we think it clever to saw off the branch on which we sit. But environment ideas proposed by government must be evaluated on their merits, not on the propaganda.

I am sorry to say that many local ideas have not worked out well. For example, the Toronto "green bin" plan was a disaster because just anything that went bad in someone's fridge does not become good compost merely because it is sealed in a green bin.

Good compost is healthy local plant materials returning to the earth whence they sprang, helped along by shovelsful of dirt that contain the essential decomposing bacteria.

As a gardener, I would never consider using most "green bin" contents as compost - and the City didn't either, I see. After all, we have some valuable topiaries that winter in the High Park greenhouses and summer as centrepieces in our park flowerbeds. They deserve real compost, not poison. But then most plants do.

Toxic "green bin" contents might help kill aggressive weeds, but boiling water poured into a nuisance plant's root system is far safer. Once water stops boiling, it's just water, evaporating or flowing downhill. As for the "green bin" contents, I would incinerate them.

And no, I am not a fan of using spirituality to promote whatever current cause has got the attention of government.

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