Year 3, Month 4, Day 30: “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

According to the Christian Post, some of the God-Botherers are apparently, um, seeing the light:

A professor at an evangelical university in Southern California claims that evangelicals are becoming more convinced of the evidence for man-made global warming ahead of Earth Day this Sunday.

Mark McReynolds, assistant professor of Environmental Science at Biola University, said, “Evangelicals, like the rest of our society, are coming around to the real evidence of global climate change. It is a big, complicated topic, with many implications for us in the U.S.”

“Climate scientists are in near unanimity that the evidence speaks loudly for human-caused climate change and the general public is slowly understanding the issue and its implications.”

McReynolds’ remarks come as Biola University prepares for a series of events to observe Earth Day next week. Titled “Creation Stewardship Week,” the events from April 23 to 27 include participation in the Global Day of Prayer for Creation Care, a tour of the faculty-student run Biola Organic Garden, and the screening of the film “No Impact Man,” which is about a family that tries to live a lifestyle without high environmental impact.

It’s still a little clunky, but if this story has any legs, I’ll send out a few more versions in the next few days. Sent April 21:

When I hear that evangelicals are beginning to accept the reality of global climate change, my emotions are mixed. While it seems a positive development that members of many Christian groups no longer reject the validity of climate science and its analyses, the question necessarily arises: how many of you agree that climate change is real, only because you see in the burgeoning greenhouse effect a harbinger of the End Times?

I am puzzled by those who enthusiastically assert that the Lord’s wishes involve the utter destruction of His own Creation. But the introduction of vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere makes Armageddon a matter of chemistry, not theology. It would be reassuring to know that evangelicals who are coming to accept climate change are not doing so from an eager anticipation of apocalypse, but from a desire to preserve the infinitely majestic web of earthly life for future generations — a wish I, an unbeliever, can wholeheartedly embrace.

Warren Senders

Follow-Up: Theonormativity in Psych Studies

My post describing a seriously flawed psych study in which my daughter participated attracted a bit of attention a while back. I sent my criticisms of the methodology to the researchers; that was what people read here.

Well, they wrote back. The text of their email to me is blockquoted italics; my responses are interpolated. Judge for yourself how well they address the issues I raised:

Dear Warren,

Thank you both for participating in our studies and for sharing your concerns about this study with us. We share your concerns about the line of questions that you discussed in your message; if we can impose on you a bit further, we would appreciate your help in addressing them.

Me: Sure.

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My kid regularly participates in psychological studies. There are quite a few universities in my area that have grad programs in child development; they’re always looking for young volunteers to follow whatever procedures the budding psychologists have in mind.

Usually these are questions of categorization, or development of mental constructs — differing objects are offered and taxonomical schemata are offered; the whole process is videotaped, and the results written up. And the kid gets a toy — a stuffed animal from one lab, a plastic frisbee, ball or bucket from another — which is of course what makes it appealing to her.

This has been going on for three years or so. It’s fun, and a diversion from our usual routine.

Last month we went in for another such study. The young woman who was conducting the interview explained to me that my daughter would be asked questions about her religious beliefs (among other subjects) in the first half of the interview, and asked to make inferences about other children (pictures of whom were shown on a computer screen) based on statements from the interviewer.

Okay. But since this was going to touch on a possibly complicated topic, I thought I should know more about what went on. I asked for a copy of the interview video.

Which they finally sent me.


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