There's a mouthful of a word.
Perhaps we're aware of the term 'anthropogenic' to describe climate change? The climate is changing - climate always does - the question remains, is man (anthropos) the cause (genesis)?
A lot of people say yes. Some say no.
This guy says "maybe... some... but that's not really the issue."
h/t The Old Adam
I'm entirely unqualified to make any scientific adjudication, but I make two observations. One is that the Kiwi presenter seems a really lovely guy. Just lovely. The other is that something like Professor Carter's position sounds psychologically and theologically very plausible. It sounds like the kind of explanation in which fear and pride play the kind of role we know they do in people and in societies.
Well how might fear and pride lead to a view on anthropogenic climate change?
On the fear point - we love to conceive of our problems as anthropogenic because we find it intolerable that things just happen. If the economy goes down, show me the banker and let's make him pay. If we get sick, show me the diet, exercise, medicine regime and I'll take back control. Don't whatever you do tell me that economies just fail, or illness just happens, or volcanoes just erupt or climate just changes - that's way too frightening. We'd even rather that the blame fell on us if it meant taking back some measure of control over this scary world.
And as technologies and affluence advance in certain parts of the world we become increasingly used to comfort and control. And, ironically but demonstrably, we become increasingly fearful and so demanding of such comfort and control. Fearful hearts need control - we need to be in charge of things, even things as impossible as the future!
On the pride point - we'd love our problems to be anthropogenic because then our solutions must, almost by definition, be similarly man focused. We take back control of our destiny when we cast the problems of the world as lying in man's power. And with renewed vigour we set off on our own salvation project. The is the 'feel good factor' that Professor Carter speaks of. There's the feel good factor of a works righteousness based on reducing my carbon footprint. There's the solidarity of a global movement mobilising for change. There's the sense of significance that comes from saving the planet - taking charge of our destiny. These can legitimately be described as religious affections and they have a massive effect.
Now you may ask: Would fear and pride play so significant a role that the assured findings of the scientific community would be affected? Well, again such mis-perception and mis-interpretation sounds theologically plausible to me. If you've hung around this blog for long enough you'll know something of my deep suspicion of the fallen mind!
I raise this as a little thought on our human nature in the context of a debate that is, admittedly, way above my pay grade. I'm sure you can shoot me down as a red-necked, anti-science, conspiracy theorist. I'm just saying that I see Professor Carter's position as theologically very credible. And I hope that counts for a lot among my reader here.
The desire to see our problems as anthropogenic is as old as Adam. He thought nakedness and shame were the problem. So he thought sewing fig leaves was the solution - simple human problem with an attainable human solution. All the while his Real Problem was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. But he didn't want to face his Real Problem (who was also his Only Solution). So he hid.
And ever since, the race of Adam has continued to put ourselves at the centre. We would love to be this world's problem, we really would. But this world's problem is not us - it's Jesus who is coming on a day set by the Father and subject to nothing but His own gospel patience. Be advised, our problem (and solution!) is in the highest heaven.