God, Man, and Green at Yale
Why Not Nuclear Energy?
12:00 AM, Jul 25, 2007 • By ERNEST W. LEFEVER
A HALF CENTURY AGO, William F. Buckley, Jr., created quite a stir when he published God and Man At Yale, bemoaning the junior status accorded the Almighty within its ivied walls. Today a new phenomenon is sweeping the Yale campus, especially at Yale Divinity School, where in the mid-1940s I studied theology and social ethics.
Yale has not escaped the many moods and causes dredged up by the countercultural zeitgeist. None has been more colorful, flamboyant, or intense than the current green revolution. This is dramatically manifest in the current issue of Reflections, the official quarterly of the Divinity School. It's theme and title is "God's Green Earth: Creation, Faith, Crisis." The cover carries Giovanni di Paolo's the Expulsion from Paradise (1445), a bright painting depicting a nude angel expelling an equally nude Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
Thumbing through the 76 pages of 10.5 by 7.5 inch glossy paper, I was struck by the dramatic, indeed apocalyptic, tone of virtually all of its twenty articles. Among the titles:
One article calls for a "new species identity." Another warns that "If Christians inadequately understand the ecology of God's desire for humanity, then they stutter before the fullness of their gospel." And an author wonders whether the "world economy can be tamed" to restore "the natural world." Then there were the misty poems:
I could go on and on, but this may be sufficient to suggest that Yale Divinity School is promoting a new Pantheism, the belief that "nature is God," a worldview popular in the eighteenth century and long held by many tribal peoples who are persuaded their god speaks to them through volcanoes, earthquakes, and lightening.
Reading this version of Yale's new green creed, including it's veneration of all living things large and small, recalls a limerick I wrote two years ago:
Of course, this outburst at Yale was merely a reflection of a wider epidemic of greenism among American elites. Mind you, most Americans believe that we should use, conserve, and develop the natural bounty of the earth so we can bequeath its blessings to future generations. Everyone wants cleaner air and supports reasonable efforts to achieve it. But that is not enough for the new greens, who see catastrophe everywhere around us. Alarmists like Al Gore are right. However, they often exaggerate the danger and ignore verifiable evidence. One basic fact is that the earth has been undergoing dramatic climate changes for billions of years with no participation by humans. And it is by no means certain that air-born carbons produced by humans increase global warming.
Of course, every reasonable effort should be made to reduce harmful carbon emissions from fuel production and consumption. Along with the substantial efforts already underway to achieve this in the petroleum and coal industries, we should invest more in solar, wind, and water power. Don Quixote tilted at windmills, but we can use them to increase clean energy.
But for the extreme environmentalists, this is not enough. Recently, British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, with Al Gore at his side, offered a $25 million prize to anyone who can come up with a way to blunt global warming by "removing at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the Earth's atmosphere." The Wall Street Journal noted that the judges chosen to determine the winner all "hail from the Apocalypse Now crowd."