Friday, August 22, 2014

Alas, Babylon, NY

Babylon in l932
Record amounts of rain fell on the Long Island several weeks ago and the inundations, which left cars stranded on flooded highways—brought back the not too distant memories of Sandy on the East Coast and the devastation caused by Katrina in New Orleans The poles are melting, el Nino is more unpredictable than ever (“El Ninos Are Highly Unpredictable,” Science/AAAS, 1/3/13) and whole ways of life in Micronesia are in imminent danger of destruction (“11 Islands That Will Vanish When Sea Levels Rise, “ Business Insider, 2/12/12_ But the odd thing about climate change which is predicated on the transmogrification of the earth by green gases is the degree to which it resonates a biblical quality. For every flood that we read about in the press, there's the complementary drought (“Rain Soaks California causing floods, but won’t end drought,” Reuters, 31/14) It seems that California is always fighting forest fires which are perilously close to major cities and in July, 19 fire fighters were killed trying to quell a blaze in Arizona (“Loss of l9 fire fighters in Arizona blaze, ‘unbearable,” governor says,” CNN, 7/2/14). Religious fundamentalists must be turning to the scriptures (the story of Noah in Genesis is one example) for the view of a God camouflaging his anger at man through climate change. It's curious that the objects of man’s creation have reduced him to such a level of powerlessness that only the intervention of a divine being would seem to quell they adverse effects. Even though scientists inveigh against pollution they indicate in the same breath that the damage may already be done. Global warming may be  irreversible. Yes, mankind may some day migrate to greener pastures, finding planets amenable to life through epic journeys to other solar systems. But as long as they are inhabitants of the earth, men and women may find themselves more at the mercy of the elements, with their options so limited that he may actually find themselves with no other choice than to cry out to God for help. In the not to distant future, modern men may literally find themselves reduced to the condition of their biblical forbears and with a similar lack of resources to deal with the calamities that befall them. Then atheism will be a luxury and they’ll be no choice but to hope for divine intervention.

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