Big Things that Go Boom v. Small People

The movie 2012 is out. I hear the special effects are a blast. There are some pretty spectacular effects going on right now near between Java and Sumatra, where Krakatoa is still rising from the sea.

Krakatoa erupted in 1883, generating a monstrous tsunami over 100 feet high, and killing tens of thousands of people. Small people. When you were even smaller than you are now, your mom might have warned, “Remember, cars are bigger than you are.” Well, tsunamis are bigger than you are. Even if you have gotten big enough to drive a car. If you had been there you would have died, too. Tsunamis are big; you are small.

Krakatoa is big now. The last time it exploded, it blew off enough matter to take it from a height of over 2,200 feet above sea level to 820 feet below sea level. The name for the new volcano that began to rise out of the sea at that location in 1927 is Anak Krakatoa — that means “child of Krakatoa.” It still has a thousand feet to go to be as big as the 1883 Krakatoa, but it’s growing. You can see some amazing pictures of it here.

Still, even though Anak Krakatoa has a lot of growing to do to catch up to Krakatoa, it is bigger than you are. If it just goes off like a normal volcano, that’s one thing, but if a fissure opens to allow the ocean to flow into the magma, then, even at the size it is now, it will go boom and lots of small people will die. That won’t be the end of the world, even if it happens in 2012. It wasn’t the end of the world the last time it blew up. But it did affect the temperature of the earth for the following 5 years. It made it colder. So if Krakatoa blows again, we can expect that it will get colder for a few years, but since things have been getting a bit warmer over the past 30 years, we should be okay.

That’s right; the little bit of global warming that has gone on recently might just be the thing that saves us from devastating killer winters if Krakatoa goes boom. I know that it’s really not politically correct to find any upside to global warming, but it just occurred to me that it could work out that way. Or not. I’m too small to tell for sure.

Even our computers are too small to tell for sure. As this recent headline bears out: “Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out .” The article summary notes that “[g]lobal warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.”

This I get. Oceans are big. The sun is way bigger. That the big oceans and the bigger sun have an effect on the climate seems, well, obvious to this small person. Ditto that it is all very complicated when you throw in currents and sun spots. No big surprise that making predictions about the whole thing would be difficult, that really a lot of it just comes down to guessing.

It takes a big man to admit that what we have in the arena of long term climate predictions is a lot of fancy guesswork, especially if that man is a scientist working on climate. As the article went on to explain:

[N]ot much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth’s average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

The planet’s temperature curve rose sharply for almost 30 years, as global temperatures increased by an average of 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.25 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to the late 1990s. “At present, however, the warming is taking a break,” confirms meteorologist Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in the northern German city of Kiel. Latif, one of Germany’s best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. “There can be no argument about that,” he says. “We have to face that fact.” …

“It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,” says Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. “We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.”

I like scientists who are willing to admit they don’t know why and face facts. Apparently not all scientists are that big though. Congress may soon be probing leaked documents fromthe Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England. The CRU’s work and mathematical models were major parts of the UN climate change report of 2007 that influenced the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusions on carbon dioxide emissions and regulation guidelines. The leaked information shows that some of the most prominent climate change scientists, among various misdemeanors, plotted how to keep dissenting researchers from getting published, deleted correspondence covered under freedom of information laws, and fudged data inconsistent with their predetermined conclusions. They didn’t intend for the correspondence to go public and now a big scandal has blown up on them. They probably would have preferred Krakatoa.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • cpageinkeller

    The earth has warmed and cooled cyclically for millenea. Geologic evidence supports the observation that the earth has been both warmer and colder that it is now – AND that carbon dioxide levels have been much higher.

    The concept of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has always been a theory based on faulty assumptions and models. Deception was added to the mix when the it became evident that the models were incompatible with history and non-predictive of the future. It became dangerous when it became a religion dedicated to wealth redistribution.

    AGW has become so ingrained in the political lexicon through scare tactics, false information, and constant reiteration that it will take some time to refute the notion, even with great scientific evidence. AGW is one of many representatives of the concept that a falsehood repeated frequently enough, loudly enough, and long enough becomes “truth” to many.

    Man was given dominion over the earth. While we must be responsible, we must also be reasonable.

    Thanks for the common sense post, Mary!

  • noelfitz

    This is another solid and thought-provoking article from Mary who wrote “some of the most prominent climate change scientists,… fudged data inconsistent with their predetermined conclusions”. This is a very serious accusation and I am sure it will be considered, as the reputation of science stands on the integrity of scientists.

    However for some time recently I am on a high after reading Mary’s article on Greek and the Church. It was the most stimulating, encouraging and inspiring article I have read in some time, partially because with clarity and expertise she expresses so well views I would like to be able to articulate. Thank you again, Mary.

    Sometimes I wonder how Mary and I appear to differ, since both of us, presumably, try to be loyal and sincere members of the Church, but Mary claims we disagree deeply, while I say our apparent disagreements are not fundamental.

    Some reasons seem to be cultural differences as old Irish cradle male Catholics may have different views from many who contribute here. I think the principal cause of our differences may be my respect for the leaders in the Church, Country and learning.

    With regards to the Church I am unhappy to see criticisms of the leaders of the Church (USCCB) such as Cardinals George and Mahony. It has been pointed out we only owe them obedience in matters of faith and moral, and individuals have the right to say what these are and hence on what topics bishops may comment.

    Secondly, even though many here have been, or their families are or have been, in the services, the loyalty and respect due to the President (Commander in Chief) and those next in line to the Presidency, Biden and Pelosi) seem absent. These leaders are portrayed by some in CE in a negative light, even though the Bible has emphasized the loyalty we owe to the State and its leaders.

    [1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God…. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing (Rom 13).

    1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone (Tit 3:1,2)]

    Thirdly, I consider that scientists and theologians, who have dedicated their lives to study and research and know more than some of us here are criticized unfairly at times in CE. Thus attacks on Catholic theologians are often ill-informed when coming from those without any training. Perhaps it is due to the strong emphasis on the individual in American society that those without sufficient background or training feel free to disagree with the hierarchy and theologians. Thus the Catholic Church, as portrayed in CE, often seems to be against scholarship and academic work, but Mary’s magnificent article on Greek in the Church has shown what we owe to philosophers and scholars.

    I hope the present article is not intended to denigrate the works of theologians, scientists and scholars.

  • goral

    Not going to be a part of thread-jacking this time.
    Your volumetric perception, Mary, is….well – humongous.

    The second-largest volcanic eruption of this century, occurred at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines on June 15, 1991. This one cooled the temperatures for two years by aprox. one degF.

    Larger than this volcano is the volume of disinformation “magma” spewed by our scientific experts and their well intentioned but faithless minions.
    We now know what we’ve suspected, that global warming is a colossal hoax.
    Where is the benefit in spreading such disinformation? As the big man of talk radio said yesterday, it’s in the big, really big, financial gains that are reaped by those who perceive, publish and collect the spoils of deception.

    This is no small matter because even now the same discredited small science charlatans are laying the groundwork of spin to make sure that both sides of the argument are paying off big percentages. It’s the way of the secular world and it will be that way – Secula Seculorum.

    Take the money little ole Algore has been asking you to save for a carbon footprint expansion and buy a little rosary. Only God is big.

  • consecrata

    Noelfitz…render unto Caesar…yes, we must respect the OFFICE of an Administration but not necessarilly the person. Obama advocates not only for abortion, the extermination of the human baby in the womb of his mother, but he also advocates the killing of a human baby who survives abortion; shall we respect and honor this? Pelosi, Sebelius, Biden, Kennedy, Kerry, Dodd, Daschle, and other so called ‘Catholic’ politicians openly and defiantly go against the teaching and tradition of the Church, especially in their strong advocacy of the killing of human babies in the wombs of their mothers. The Bishops have a duty and a right to speak out against this.

  • Del Elkinton

    Noelfitz …your post seems to imply the theologians, scholars, and scientists are somehow above the fray, that they don’t suffer from the same human frailties as the rest of do such as pride and lust for power. Criticism of positions or exposed fraud is not denigration of the work of scholars. Rather, it exalts their work. A good scholar knows the limitation of his competence and welcomes the criticism.

    Anyone who’s familiar with academia should know there’s no such thing as a consensus of thought in any of their specialties. Studies of “scientific” studies showed quite often, the scholars’ predispositions taint their analyses of data, leading them to exclude what doesn’t fit. Scholarly conclusions are valid inasmuch as they conform to the truth. Consensus that the world is flat does not make it so.

    When these folks engage in public debate and their proposals don’t hold up to the light of reason, when their malfeasance is exposed, or in the case of theologians, when their teaching departs from truth revealed by Christ through his Church, then the criticism should be public, loud, and clear to stem scandal in faith or destructive public policy such the IPCC would propose. I applaud the 4th Century parish folk who would bodily toss out bishops who would propose that the Son was not consubstantial with the Father. No advanced learning was needed there, just recognizing the truth through the help of the Holy Spirit.

    God bless.

  • PrairieHawk

    I think global warming is a colossal distraction promulgated by the usual spiritual suspect, Old Snickersnack himself. While we’re frenzied about a 2-degree increase in average temperatures or a 6-inch increase in sea levels (if even those modest estimates are real), abortion-on-demand, easy contraception, depopulation, and Islamicization are rampant throughout the Christian West. Don’t we have bigger things to worry about than warmer winters and the coastline of Samoa? No disrespect to the Samoans, of course, but if nations like theirs really do need help as a consequence of higher sea levels, I’m sure a solution can be found short of wrecking the global economy. In short, even if global warming is real, I flatly don’t care. Our attention should be focused elsewhere.

  • DWC

    I too am tempted not to divert from the thread .. and I’m sure it’s all been said before — but good golly Noelfitz — we have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, on top of freedom of religion. Obedience comes in the from areas such as paying taxes and following the laws — not in rote agreement of her leaders. that was Jesus whole point. I would hope and it’s been my experience that disagreemets with church officials on this forum stem from those who have strayed outside of our own established practices and values. I do agree that at times this can be handled better.

  • noelfitz

    Thanks to all all who replied to me here. I appreciate the sincerity and the robustness of the replies, without any personal criticism.

    Here in CE I have heard bishops (USCCB) being condemned for supporting a pro-abortion group (CCHD). A priest friend of mine is very anti-Catholic, but he pretends to appy his criticism to the Vatican. One cannot separate the institution from its members.

    The whole point of Jesus’ teaching was not the first amendment of the US constitution and related topics. [..we have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, on top of freedom of religion. Obedience comes in the from areas such as paying taxes and following the laws — not in rote agreement of her leaders. that was Jesus whole point.]

    I also read “I applaud the 4th Century parish folk who would bodily toss out bishops who would propose that the Son was not consubstantial with the Father. No advanced learning was needed there, just recognizing the truth through the help of the Holy Spirit.”

    This implies lay folk should decide theological issues. It seems to deny that the Holy Spirit was with Athanasius in the Arian Crisis and in the Council of Nicea in 325. The Church is infallible, not the lay folk.

    Have Cardinals George and Mahony strayed?

    I read recently:

    “Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Nov. 16 that Catholic publications, universities or other organizations that insist on complete independence from their bishops are “sectarian, less than fully Catholic.”

    In his presidential address at the opening session of the fall USCCB general assembly in Baltimore, George announced that the bishops “have recently begun discussions on how we might strengthen our relationship to Catholic universities, to media claiming to be a voice in the church, and to organizations that direct various works under Catholic auspices.””

    Have the bishops been in contact with CE recently?

    I have criticism of Mary’s science which I will answer in another post.

    God bless,


  • noelfitz

    Mary has raised issues about scientific reporting.

    I read:

    “Professor Phil Jones Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich says charges of conspiracy over climate change are ‘rubbish’. ”

    Please read the details in

    There is a need for further clarification here.

  • Mary Kochan

    Move along folks, there is nothing to see here. You have not heard anything out of the ordinary. Just move along. Disperse to your homes. All is well.

  • Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    From Noelfitz: I also read “I applaud the 4th Century parish folk who would bodily toss out bishops who would propose that the Son was not consubstantial with the Father. No advanced learning was needed there, just recognizing the truth through the help of the Holy Spirit.” This implies lay folk should decide theological issues. It seems to deny that the Holy Spirit was with Athanasius in the Arian Crisis and in the Council of Nicea in 325. The Church is infallible, not the lay folk.

    Indeed, it is the Church which is infallible, not the lay folk, and not any particular bishop or even any group of bishops. Del Elkinton applauded those laypeople because they tossed out a false teacher, one who taught contrary to what the Church teaches. Heterodoxy and heresy have been spoken by the laity, the consecrated religious, and those in holy orders, even Popes. In each and every case, it is the duty of good Christians, no matter their position in the Church, to call false teachings and false teachers false.

    Take Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, for example. He promotes the ordination of women, something the Church cannot do, and has no authority to do. Shall we listen to him regarding this issue, because he is a bishop and we are not? Or should we point out that he is wrong on this issue, and should not be obeyed?

  • Del Elkinton

    Thanks, NoelFitz;

    I’m sorry my analogy of the faithful tossing bishops that depart in their teaching of the faith was not clear. It was meant to illustrate that the truth of the faith can be discerned by the body of Christ and that even laity can recognize a wolf in pastor’s clothing without advanced theological study. Neither bishops nor lay entities are authonomous. The bishop is only effective in his teaching, sanctification, and governance to the extent of his union with the Pope and his brother bishops in union with the Pope. The local laity has a role in there in recognition of that union and can recognize when deviation from that is occurring.

    Sorry – I threadjacked this..Del

  • goral

    All is not well dear Editor, the earth is the balance and we’re talking church politics. Isn’t that the way it’s been with this approaching climatic calamity.

    At least now you know what article to write if you want to get three pages of posts. I wonder if you would be as lax on bishop-bashing as you are thread-jacking.

    CE posters are obviously more interested in the turkey thawing than the ice caps melting or Krakatau blowing for that matter.

  • Mary Kochan

    Yes, goral, for they are people of perspective who know what matters. Now go show that turkey who’s boss.

  • goral

    Yes, Mary, there were Novembers when I used to take a walk to the coop and it wasn’t to pardon. Now I prefer the commercial exchange.
    Tomorrow after Mass is travel time so I want to wish you and the CE family, big or small, a blessed Thanksgiving.
    I will keep you in my prayers.

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    Here in CE I have heard bishops (USCCB) being condemned for supporting a pro-abortion group (CCHD)

    The Church is infallible, not the lay folk.

    Though I think I really ought to heed Mary’s advise (“move along folks”), something needs to be pointed out: The USCCB is emphatically not the bishops. It is not a meeting of bishops, nor a synod, or a group that speaks on behalf of the bishops. It is, rather, a result of the merger of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Conference some years back. Now, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops was far closer to being “the bishops” than is the USCCB, but it also was not a forum for an ongoing synod of sorts. The National Catholic Conference was a mostly lay organization.

    The merger of the two means that the USCCB is a mostly lay organization that happens to have the words “bishops” and “conference” in its name. The group is usually pretty good and offers abundant faithful resources. However, it does not speak for the bishops nor is its primary function the exercise of the authority of the Catholic hierarchy.

    Indeed, individual bishops themselves have criticized the USCCB: “Vatican Archbishop Raymond Burke says that the USCCB’s ‘Forming Consciences for aithful Citizenship’ is partly to blame for the election of the ‘most pro-abortion president’ in US history” ( Archbishop Burke (then of St. Louis) and Archbishop Chaput (still of Denver) were among several who criticized the USCCB for its publication of a positive review of the anti-Catholic film, The Golden Compass (

    All this means that criticizing the decisions of the USCCB is identical to criticizing the decisions of any other Catholic lay organization: the criticisms must be judged based solely on their content.

    To equate the USCCB with the American bishops — much less to a formal synod, or even a meeting, of the American bishops — is simply wrong.

    Again, this does not mean that the USCCB is completely wrong about everything. Like most Catholic groups, it does a lot of good. But also like most Catholic groups, it promulgates a lot of error. The good ought to be recognized; the errors need to be pointed out as well.

    In the strictest sense, moreover, it is worth pointing out that even a synod of the American bishops alone is not infallible — though it probably ought to be treated as if it were until better information comes along. An individual bishop speaking within his own diocese, however, is completely authoritative. His commands on faith an morals ought to be obeyed without any ado.

    But the USCCB is neither of these things.

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    And as far as the CCHD goes, not only is it not the bishops, it’s not even the USCCB. Though the USCCB promotes it, it is a separate organization, and its own regulations indicate that “Catholic organizations or groups cannot receive CCHD funding since their guidelines exclude all ‘organizations controlled by governmental, educational, or ecclesiastical bodies.” This is Bishop Victor Galeone of St. Augustine, Florida, speaking not me (

    So, if you criticize the CCHD, you are in ecclesiastically authoritative company. It is the CCHD that disavows the bishops, so any criticisms directed their way cannot possibly attach to an ecclesiastic Church authority.