Who caused the present energy crisis?

Here is an interesting letter to The Times  (5/2/22) on the energy crisis of today. Not all will agree with it but I think it is spot on.

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As a Christian I always get narked at those like Richard Dawkins who say that us believers go for faith without evidence and thus what we believe is unprovable and untrue. I could write on this, but suffice it to say that there is evidence for the existence of Jesus and details in the New Testament. But I won’t be a God-botherer today.

For many years I have got increasingly fed up with appeals for “renewables” as if they will solve every energy crisis. A times it comes out as a mantra or an item of credal faith. Most green groups from FoE, Greenpeace to wildlife Trusts  and the National Trust sing from the same hymn/herrsheet. It is now political orthodoxy in all parties; Greens, Labour, LibDem and tories as they are swept along with the renewable tide, as if they can replace fossil fuels NOW..

I suggest they never look at the figures for energy sources for electricity production. When it is windy like today (and far too windy to cycle 6th Feb 22) renewables, largely wind, make a good showing but as soon as the wind drops gas is ramped up and coal comes into play.

One of the best accounts of why renewables are no panacea is to found in Prof dieter Helm’s recent book Net Zero, how we stop causing climate change.  Helm is no climate denier or sceptic but is fully aware of problems, both technical and political. The section on pp34-6 should be read by all. In the last y30 years renewables have made virtually no contribution to energy demand. Period.

December 2021 was a time of no wind and little sun and renewables flopped – ein dunkelflaute as the Germans would say. More gas was used and also coal.

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This figures for one day show that renewables are very far off from making a real impact, yet for a decade it has almost been an item of faith that renewables will provide. At times some will just say the word “renewables” as if that will provide the power. No kid, I’ve heard it too many times. Within the churches, the Ecocongregation project is almost entirely in favour of renewables.

What so many fail to see is that the transition away from fossil fuels cannot happen overnight, whether for electricity or transport. On average renewables may produce nearly 50% of electricity (but not heating and transport, which is often ignored), but on a cold windless winter’s night, with a ridge of high pressure, renewables will produce nearly zero.

The usual green narrative is completely blind to this and think fossil fuels can soon be phased out. Oh that they could be! The transition has two major hurdles, the first is the capability of renewables which is a long way off, The second is less obvious and is the immense amount of additional metals needed for the transition, eg Cu, Co, Ni, Li and the rare earths. To give an indication; just to provide 100% replaced by electric cars the consumption of Copper needs to double from now on from the present usage of 100,000 tons. That requires some very large copper mines. One of the largest in Southern Africa is Tsumeb in Namibia which produced about 1.7 million tons of copper in the century it was open.  That is 20 years supply for the UK. Now multiply that for every country to go electric! Many do not acknowledge this major hurdle.

Those most qualified to judge have made this clear many times, but amateurs from green groups continue with the mantra of renewables.

Just consider two with much understanding

Helm Preface

not be in the money anytime soon  ix

david Mackay

Letter to the Times, 5th Feb 2022

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Kelly makes some very strong statements here, which are very sound.

He says that bowing to climate alarmists and renewable energy lobbyists, coal and nuclear plants were decommissioned before replacements were in situ. Totally right. The clamour from Greeenpeace, Friends of the Earth, echoed by many green groups, almost drowned out other voices, which were easily dismissed as Climate Deniers. I was told that if I supported fracking I was a climate denier. Once was by a fellow vicar who thought Acetic and Citric Acids were pollutants used in fracking!!!!!  I could also add most Green groups and all political parties as the CEN Conservative Environmental Network are all opposed to nuclear and coal, especially the latter.

Kelly points out that decommissioning of plants  was done before replacements were in place. Thus with coal power stations gone, there was no generating capacity to make up for the shortfall from renewables, which could not produce in the absence of wind and sun. This is simply folly and the collapse of power generation or the problems of the turn of 2021-2022 was made inevitable. No one , or only a few, wanted to retain coal, but until cheapish and reliable energy comes on line the risk is too great, especially for the poor, who have to use a higher portion of their income on fuel and electricity.

On paper the replacement capacity of renewables seems good and comparable to fossil fuels. But there is a very big BUT. However big the capacity is, no electricity can be generated without wind and sun. When it is windy greens crow about the fact that 50% of electricity is being generated by renewables but silent the next day when the wind drops and little power is produced. Then gas kicks in and, what is worse, COAL.

Kelly also points out there is no way to store more than small amounts of energy on  a large scale, as without that any excess electricity produced simply goes to waste. Yet many simply believe without evidence that these are in place. He could have pointed out that wishful thinking will not produce energy and you cannot use technology which has not been invented or is not yet on line. None of this can be magicked into existence by ditching fossil fuels and nuclear. Taking a long view in the early 70s GranadaNW had a series on a house powered by renewables. It was great to watched and filled myself and others with hope, but that hope has not been fulfilled despite all the R & D.

And so his finale on fracking. Despite much hostility fracking has been successful in the USA, with relatively few problems. Most of these were caused by individual bad practice or “litigious individuals”. As in the UK opponents were often rather economical with the truth. The UK story of fracking is a sad one as greens of all kinds made a crusade against and were also economical with the truth. It foundered on minor tremors which almost certainly caused no damage, despite the likes of Geza Tarjani claiming that the 2021 “earthquake” (Mag 2.1) damaged his house and became one of the most tire**** protestors against fracking. He has recently been charged in connection with Sajid Jarvid’s home https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/leyland-man-geza-tarjanyi-denies-22945802

Freinds of the Earth were censored by the Advertising Standards Authority for an inaccurate leaflet some years back. https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/friends-of-the-earth-fck-it-up/

It is concerning that leading green groups do this and that government continues to listen to them.

Kelly is totally clear that our present energy crisis is self-inflicted and the result of listening to green scare stories.

The result has to raise the cost of energy and everything else and also drive more people into fuel poverty.

When you get your extra high fuel bills, this will direct your thoughts on who is to blame.

Wild (sea) horses wouldn’t make me believe this

Many wildlife programmes are all about sex and violence, but the former is almost entirely hetereosexual and rather rough. We may watch and say “We are not like that”, but some look to animal sex and say “We are like that”.

After all, we are only animals!! And so we look for animal behaviour to justify our own behaviour. Gone are the days when we say “Nature red in tooth and claw” (Incidentally pre-Darwinian) and prefer cuddly images like bambi. Maybe we prefer Kropotkin to what we think Darwin said. But this is about the seaside instead.

Seahorses Inspire New Armor Designs | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

The latest comes from tweets and a magazine article of Sussex Wildlife Trust. Now wildlife trusts do a great job and are doing wonders restoring lowland peat bogs in Lancashire and Cheshire. But Sussex Wildlife Trust with their Kelp Restoration Project  are concerned about seahorses in the coastal seas, which are unusual as the male carries the young. They could be said to get pregnant.

The article; From a natural spectrum springs a rainbow is a romp though non- heterosexual activity among animals, especially bonobos

 This wild notion of a male-less matriarchy led me on to some primate research looking at Bonobo chimps, closely related to humans they too have sex for fun, recreation not procreation. Bonobos not only form matriarchal societies but are also fully bisexual and the females tend to have more sex with other females. Research suggests that the evolution of same-sex sexual behaviour may have led to pathways promoting high levels of cooperation, basically queer peace-keeping. This promoted a new personal moto of mine, “Be more Bonobo” and this knowledge gave me a new found space for my own sexuality in the context of evolutionary theory.

This seem to be a spin on bonobos, but no worries.

Can one seriously say “Be more bonobo”? The mind boggles at the thought of any carrying that out in a small or large groups. Imagine being more bonobo at a wildlife trust meeting. Not even wild seahorses would make me do that?

And she concludes with her local favourite  – the sea horse – where the male gets pregnant. However I cannot see what that has to do with sex-life, but she ends;

And finally the incredible seahorse species that in my opinion can claim the throne of the animal drag-kingdom in having the only true reversed pregnancy.

You can read the article in full in Sussex Wildlife Jan 2022

https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/from-a-natural-spectrum-springs-a-rainbow

Here’s some more;

Now, with my work for the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project much of my favourite flagship “queer” marine species are linked directly to our conservation work here on the Sussex Coast. For example bottlenose dolphins who are known to engage in homosexual behaviour and sex for fun, again thought to increase social bonding and cooperation. The black seabream which are all born female and change to male at maturity (known as protogynous hermaphrodites). And finally the incredible seahorse species that in my opinion can claim the throne of the animal drag-kingdom in having the only true reversed pregnancy.

I’m sure Darwin would agree that rather than it all being about nature versus nurture we should focus more on nurturing our true nature, that part of us that is wild and free and far from binary. Wouldn’t it be dull if everything were so very black and white… life and love is in fact gloriously technicolour thanks to evolution’s rainbow.

All this was picked up by Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist who has little time for god-botherers like me. I confess that I like him on evolution and he usually goes in with all guns blazing, especially on us Christians!! But I like much of what he writes. Here, as a leading biologist who really knows his stuff, he points out the serious flaws in the article;

Now people can find solace where they will, but I think it’s misguided to look to nature to validate a behavior in humans. For every mammalian species that shows homosexual behavior, there are a dozen who don’t.  (Do those show that homosexuality is “unnatural, ergo wrong?” Of course not!) And homosexuality in humans, which often involves attraction solely to members of your own sex, is not at all the same thing as homosexual behavior in dolphins. For when a the male wants offspring, he knows where to go. Should a rapist find validation by studying ducks?

Once when cycling down the Lancaster I stopped to be a voyeur on several drakes copulating with one female in what seemed to be most viciously. If we drew a human parallel it would be gang rape. Inicidentally it is sometimes fatal for the female.

Three male mallards forcibly copulating with a female. Mating among the  species is often non-consensual. : r/natureismetal

and so Coyne concludes

Nature, as varied as it is, can be used to “validate” any human behavior, therefore it can validate NO human behaviors.

https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/01/21/do-seahorses-validate-queerness-the-naturalistic-fallacy-committed-by-the-sussex-wildlife-trust/

I was both amazed and appalled by the article, which is very shoddy science. It should not have been published as it reflects badly on Wildlife Trusts. I am a member of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and respect their work on peat bogs and re-introduction of plants.

Coyne makes it very clear that we cannot draw such simple validations of human behaviour from animal behaviour and shows this is an example of the “naturalistic fallacy”.

To put it baldly, should we follow chimps or bonobos?

These attempts to refer to nature as a way of validating human behavior, morality, or ideology is, of course, an example of the “naturalistic fallacy,” usually described as the fallacy of saying “what’s seen in nature is good in humans.” And it’s a dumb fallacy, because a lot of animals behave in nature in ways that we would consider immoral in our own species. (Chimps, for example, attack other bands of chimps and rip individuals apart while they’re still alive. Some spider females kill and eat males after mating.) We can’t look to nature for morality, because, at bottom, nature is amoral, for animals don’t have the capacity to argue and make considered judgments about how to behave. Often “considerate” behavior towards others is the evolutionary product of reciprocal altruism or kin selection.

So when the Sussex Wildlife Trust tries to use the pregnancy of male seahorses as a justification for “queerness”, as they do below, they’re committing the naturalistic fallacy. The reason we shouldn’t discriminate against non-cis people is because discrimination is wrong and hurtful, not because male seahorses (and, by the way, male pipefish and sea dragons, contra the tweet below) get pregnant. Mallard drakes sometimes kill females during forced copulation, which in humans is the equivalent of rape. Does that make rape okay? You get my point.

Coyne could not be clearer.

What is natural is to some animals may be highly immoral for us supposedly moral humans. Coyne gave some grim examples. Here’s another, when a lion takes over a pride of lionesses, he kills all the cubs so that females are then receptive to him. I doun’t think anyone would say that behaviour is right for humans, though, sadly, something as nasty does happen at times.

If you scream against these examples, then you don’t like getting your morals from the animal kingdom as we get in this article.

Which would you prefer? Being a chimp and beating up any you don’t like, or “Be more bonobo” and have sex with everyone we meet whatever gender?

Rather be more human and work out what our morality, sexual and otherwise, ought to be

I  am sure that Coyne, as an atheist, and I, as a Christian, would diverge on many aspects of behaviour, or perhaps not, but neither of us get our morality from seahorses, however wild they are. I suggest that we strongly diverge on what we base our morality, but that would make another discussion! I think I am far closer to Coyne on ethics than to Sally Ashby.

This was summed up by Rev Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies in a letter to F. D. Maurice in 1856;

I have long ago found out how little I can discover about God’s absolute love, or absolute righteousness, from a universe in which everything is eternally eating everything else ….. The study of nature can teach no moral theology. It can unteach it, if the roots of moral theology be not already healthy and deep in the mind.

Seahorses are lovely creatures but give no guidelines for our morality or sexual expression.

Ruthless Conquistadores And No Less Ruthless Indigenous People

An interesting blog reviewing a recent book on the Spanish Conquistadores and their equally nasty locals!

The savage was not so noble and thus not the indigenous either. The civilised were scarcely civilised.

The review and the book remind us we should neither glorify the indigenous nor demonise the coloniser, but rather consider the horrors of the human condition.

So much of history is simply violence and oppression from all sides.

I must read the book

Source: Ruthless Conquistadores And No Less Ruthless Indigenous People

How has ‘end times’ expectation shaped Christian history and theology? | Psephizo

We all have images of the proddy sandwich board man (women are too sensible) with the words

THE END IS NIGH

The End Is Nigh Futurama GIF - The End Is Nigh Nigh Futurama - Discover &  Share GIFs

Many of us have come across evangelicals who are obsessed with Revelation and Daniel and the wonderfully bad 1970s book The Late Great Planet Earth, with the EU as the beast and so on.

Thus many of us sideline any thought of Jesus’ return and the ghastly term “End Times”, but to our cost. We ignore the fact that, when properly understood, it is an essential part of the Christian Faith. We also fail to see how “End Times” have cropped up in the past from the Donuts  – sorry Donatists – of 4 th century Tun isia, right up to the Religious Right today.

This blog is a helpful corrective .

I probably look back to early beginnings  – not 4004BC and what to do now rather than consider the future.

Source: How has ‘end times’ expectation shaped Christian history and theology? | Psephizo

Niels Steno, the Father of Stratigraphy

The titular bishop of Titopolis was the father of geology way back in the 1660s – and not Charles Lyell.

He tried to tie geology into Noah’s Flood as did all in his day and was vague on the age of the earth.

Science meets Faith

On 11 January 1638, Niels Steno was born. He was a Danish anatomist, palaeontologist and geologist. He was ordained a Catholic bishop in 1677 in Italy and moved to the Lutheran part of Germany and died in 1686. Having established the theoretical basis for stratigraphy, he can be called the Father of Stratigraphy.

In his work on geology “De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus“ (The Prodromus of Nicolaus Steno’s Dissertation Concerning a Solid Body Enclosed by Process of Nature Within a Solid, 1669) Steno describes four of the defining principles of the science of stratigraphy. These were:

  • the law of superposition: New layers of sediment are deposited on top of older layers (law of superposition), one can determine relative time sequence by examining the order in which strata appear – “At the time when a given stratum was being formed, there was beneath it another substance which…

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Astronomy in Early Christianity & the Scientific Revolution

This is a good survey of astronomy and the Christian faith going back to the New Testament, then the early fathers and stopping at Isaac Newton. It also has a nod to earlier Greek philosphers

On St Paul he reckons that as an educated Greek he’d be a typical Greek geocentrist of his day, but could go for a three-decker universe. I argue that Paul and Luke rejected a three-decker universe and were typical geocentrists. I would not be surprised if fishermen, tax-collectors and builders/carpenters in Galilee were flat-earthers. Not that would matter if we believe Phillipians 2.

See my chapter in Evangelicals and Science chap 3 ; https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2020/11/27/a-history-of-evangelicals-and-science-part-3-of-12/

Now to the blog. Cleb Poston was a pastor in the Southern Baptists for a time and is now an english teacher.

He gives a good overview and my suspicion is that he is reacting to Creationism, which he has seen through. Much is standard to those familiar with the subject but it is good summary

Here it is and there are others to read.

https://medium.com/faith-science/astronomy-in-early-christianity-the-scientific-revolution-dbc02145a25b

Myth and history in the Epiphany of Matthew 2 | Psephizo

Am I a fundamentalist for accepting that some wise guys came to Bethlehem following something in the sky, and then gave the baby some valuable gifts?

Myth and history in the Epiphany of Matthew 2 | Psephizo

Here Ian Paul et al look at the visit of the wise men from Matthew chap 2 and conclude there was a visit. But they weren’t kings and there weren’t three!

Is the account better history than Shakespeare’s play Anthony and Cleopatra, who put the lovely King Herod in charge of Judea in the first place?

It is fascinating how the Lord , Saviour and son of god Julius Caesar and his successor Augustus is tied up with another Lord, Saviour and Son of God, who dynasty has lasted a bit longer.

According to the Roman Imperial Who’s Who, Herod put down his hobbies as  – killing family members and sometimes little children.

Source: Myth and history in the Epiphany of Matthew 2 | Psephizo

Evolution und Religion im Heimatland Darwins; An account of harmony and conflict 

Now this is for German readers.

In 2009 on the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth I went to a conference near Frankfurt.

The papers were collected in a book Streitfall Evolution ed Angela Schwarz (2017  Bohlau Verlag) and I contributed a chapter in English which was translated into German.

Below is the German version but here is the English one

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/evolution-and-religion-in-britain-from-1859-to-2013/

I am afraid it had to be translated for me as my German has been totally lost!! In my chemistry course I had to sit an exam on German translation and passed. But that was the end of my German, I am afraid.

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Georges Lemaitre and Pope Pius XII

The pope learns about the Big Bang from Fr le Maitre

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So much for the Big Bang being atheistic

Science meets Faith

On 07 September 1952, Pope Pius XII gave a talk in Rome at the Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in which he did not mention any association between the Big Bang Theory and the initial fiat of creation. A few months earlier in 1951, while addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he had seemed to link the two together. In the time that passed between the two talks, Georges Lemaître had met with Pope Pius XII to discuss the difficulties and limits of associating the Big Bang Theory with the theological notion of creation.”

Read more on our previous blog post and on inters.org: Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, The Pius XII – Lemaître Affair (1951-1952) on Big Bang and Creation

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