I accept with deference and discernment the recent Encyclical Laudato Si of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. I have a Masters (Hons) in Astronautics, a keen interest in Space Physics especially in the Sun and its impact on our environment which I have learned to ignore at our peril, and a cautious view of the predictability of computer simulations used to underpin the global warming paradigm with their myriad assumptions, any one of which may be biased by the perception of the model-maker or tweaked to provide a desired result. I have also had many years in the research field ending up as Chief Research Engineer and Chief Research Fellow; hence my obligation to write these words recommending prudence and caution.
There is, unfortunately, an inherent weakness underpinning the Encyclical, and that is its reliance on Global Warming Science, which has yet to be rigorously proven and has been protected from any criticism which could prove it to be false: in Science this is an indication of a lack of confidence and meekness.
True Science requires that all theories and hypotheses throughout their life to be open to be proved wrong overall or under certain conditions, that is 'falsification' (Karl Popper) or else be condemned. For to silence scientific debate without proper refutation of the arguments against it in any field is, in my view, a crime against Science: a case in point is Darwinism. Therefore, it has to be accepted that the science supporting the Encyclical may one day be proved false, otherwise it is not science but tending towards religion. Should this happen, and we cannot ignore the possibility, then what would become of Laudato Si, which has so much in it that is good and praiseworthy?
Anyone who claims that a scientific issue is settled and there should be no further debate, shows the height of ignorance and arrogance that beggars belief. A scientific matter only remains so-called settled until it is replaced by something better or is falsified. In all strategies I have been associated with using scientific or technological forecasts, we always allowed for alternative scenarios recognising the limits of our knowledge at any point in time.
I have for very many years accepted a transcendental belief, not a scientific view, that the ecological problems we are facing today are due to the unprecedented global sinning which is escalating daily and becoming embedded in the Earth and Universe; a case in point is the blood of more than 60 million abortions each year, and the Earth and Universe are reacting with increasing violence to this encroaching darkness.
I am not going to enter into a Climate Change Debate of Warmists vs Coolists; the next ten or more years will most likely prove which side is right. I do have, however, substantial concern over the closing of the door on sound debate which could result in catastrophes much worse than envisaged in the Encyclical. Just, for instance, let us assume we are facing a mini-ice age due to a cooling of the Sun, as some firmly believe: surely we should, at least, consider the possible impact on agriculture, the way we build and cluster our homes and businesses, the sustainability of our energy systems, the effects of intense cold on our transportation systems and so on?
The sun is currently exhibiting one of the lowest sunspot cycles in 100 years which ranks among the lower order of cycles in earlier years, see pictures: a fact that is becoming increasingly difficult to deny. Should we continue along current proposed strategies our world could become rapidly depopulated due to hunger and lack of adequate warmth.
Much of what is recommended in the Encyclical can be applied to scenarios based on global warming, global cooling or even a mixture of both. We must be much more flexible in the way we read the signs of the times. In all possible scenarios it is vital that we change our ways such as the use of energy and by husbanding our resources, but under current thinking we may end up developing global infrastructures that could collapse should a different scenario occur.
If we maintain an open mind, keeping alternative scenarios in view, it should be possible to develop more robust infrastructures capable of providing for either extreme rather than wasting ourselves chasing down one alleyway which may end up being a blind one. For instance, conserving energy by properly insulating our homes to the highest of standards, never buying a new item which has no need to be replaced or repairing broken ones, and avoiding all waste especially water and food, apply to all scenarios. However, focussing on carbon might be detrimental in other possible scenarios. I, for one, have for many years been doing all I can afford to prepare for Global Warming or Cooling.
The jury in reality is still out and we must not stifle debate or worse still remain one-track-minded as at present. From a transcendental view we must answer the deeply worrying question, are the sins of man resulting in a fiery or deep freeze future? Remember that Our Lady at Fatima used the sun to warn mankind of God's power to intervene in our world and the sun is the focus of those promoting a global cooling scenario. Also in St John's Apocalypse Chapter 8 verse 12, “And the fourth angel sounded the trumpet and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, …..”
We were warned by Jesus himself to stay awake and read the signs of our times. We must do all we can to implement the wise advice given in the Encyclical, leaving out the questionable science but accepting that we are destroying our planet in so very many ways, and even more we must convert or perish. Is the Encyclical a Nineveh wake-up-call, irrespective of which side of the scientific debate we each reside? Today's Gospel (Mk 4:35-41) is about being not afraid if we have faith.
The Scientist's Beatitudes
1 Praise be the Scientist who remains detached, free of personal biases or opinions, and refuses to compromise or accept any reward, uses any other field including metaphysics in his search for the truth.
2 Praise be the Scientist who remains meek, always accepting that he may be wrong and shunning arrogance or pride: what appears correct today may be proved false tomorrow.
3 Praise be the Scientist who mourns over the abuse of science and malpractices of his colleagues, resolving always to shun such practices himself.
4 Praise be the Scientist who hungers for correctness and truth, recognising that such prizes are not easily gained.
5 Praise be the Scientist who corrects or helps others, never flinching to do so when the truth is at stake, adhering to solid theory rather than extrapolations, speculation or empiricism, and refuses to become involved in any developments that might harm mankind.
6 Praise be the Scientist who seeks purely after the truth with a will to change course irrespective of adverse consequences on personal reputation or career.
7 Praise be the Scientist who maintains a harmony within his field by avoiding all emotive arguments or heated debates, relying on logic and sound reasoning.
8 Praise be the Scientist who suffers persecution in the form of ridicule by colleagues, frozen pay or promotion or even dismissal for his search for the truth.
The rewards for a good scientist following these precepts are: a good conscience, respect from those who understand him, relative poverty, highest integrity and the internal joy of in the end being right even if others refuse to acknowledge this.