Science in Christian Perspective



Politics & Environment

by Editorial Staff*

Artificial intelligence researcher and Unabomber victim David Gelernter is vociferous about environmentalism. He wrote an opinion piece in The New York Post (August 27, 1998, Thursday, Post Opinion; p.37) under the headline, "Religious Leaders' New False Idol; Is Environmental Hypochondria an Excuse to Avoid Their Real Jobs?" Gelernter wastes no time signaling his position about ecclesial backing of the UN Kyoto Protocol:

 The protocol commits rich nations such as the United States to fight global warming by sharply reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we vent to the atmosphere. Roman Catholic bishops and many southern conservatives are not on board; Orthodox Jewish groups (as far as I know) are likewise uncooperative. But the rest of our religious mainstream seems to have endorsed Kyotoˇthereby executing a startling one-two combination punch that slams science and religion simultaneously, by subordinating both to cheesy politics.

The U.S. Constitution (Art. VI) gives ratified treaties the force of law, so that domestic goals of the federal administration which stand no chance of passing as legislation can be advanced through the treaty route.

Gelernter further opines:

Granted, global warming might turn into an actual, confirmed problem some day. In the meantime, we face an actual, confirmed problem right now. Our natural environment is in good shape, but our spiritual environment is in steep decline. And with every passing year, our religious leadership seems to care less about religion.

While the ASA addresses the science-religion interface, the political aspect of this and other issues continue to grow in significance. The range of viewpoints expressed within the ASA on environmental issues, in the context of a common commitment to the Gospel, helps to sharpen our discernment on this matter, and to inform non-ASAers of its multiple dimensions. Political scientists in the ASA are likely to have an increasing contribution to make to this issue, as it engages the interest and use of the international elite in influencing global economics.