Plastic Pastors (Environmental Myths In the Pulpit)

While I criticize some stats in a sermon here, take note that both the pastor and the church involved are one of the better churches in our valley (SCV) and the whole of the message is not affected by this portion. For the entire sermon in context you can go here and search for the sermon dated 7-11-2010. My main point is that when one goes to organizations that are driven by an almost eco-fascist drive or some emergent liberalism, you are going to get skewed stats.

Again, I would not tell people not to go to Grace Baptist. It is a wonderful church.

I wasn’t going to post on this subject, and all-in-all, this topic is one Christians have the moral superiority in.

A poignant point from a discussion about Global Warming via a professor I admire:

…one that bedevils an atheist philosopher friend of mine: “if human beings are part of nature, then why is that we, rather than the chimpanzee, have a special responsibility to care for nature. And if we do have this responsibility, what is its limits and rightful powers? Is irrigation moral if it leads to human flourishing, or should we ask the beavers for their permission?” I am not being facetious. If there is nothing special about us–if we have not been given “dominion” over nature, as the Bible teaches–then it seems that the atheist environmentalist has a very tough time explaining why we should be in charge and what technological innovation that disturbs natural patterns is appropriate for that responsibility. Hence, Christian environmentalism is far more defensible than any secular variety, IMHO.

(Francis Beckwith quoting a friend)

BUT, stats and movements founded on these false statistics shouldn’t be used in the pulpit. When the secular left rejects true religion, they supplement their spiritual quest with that of fallible mans quest as the object of their religion. Which is why many call — rightly so — modern day environmentalism a religion. A recipe for disaster. So pastors should be weary of this stretching of man’s credibility found all-too-often in the environmental progressive left. Likewise, this leftism has infected the church. Here is an exceprt from a book written by “emergent leaders” that will shed some light on how this man-made religion infects the church. This is taken from an old post entitled, “Feminist Extremism, Eastern Concepts in Youth Specialties and Gaia in Emergence“:

Via:  A is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church.

C is for Creation

What modern secularists called “nature” (a term that turned a sacred work of art into a profane source of “raw materials”) and what modern Christians always linked with “versus evolu­tion” (thus turning a sacred mystery into a profane and mis­guided argument).

What ancient Christians viewed, along with Holy Scripture, as one of God’s two primary sources of self-revelation.

What emerging Christians will cherish as God’s art gallery in which we live and of which we are a part and for which we were created as planetary trustees and caretakers.

Later of course we get to the “action” (the “praxy” if you will) behind the emergent meaning:

… For postmoderns, it’s “Mother Earth,” holy ground tragically portrayed in the words of James Merrill: “Father Time and Mother Earth, A marriage on the rocks.” No wonder the word environment is used less and less; it’s too cold a word for this theology of “holy ground.”

If our humaneness is most manifest in our relationships—with swallows and snails, with friends and enemies, with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the modern world needed mar­riage counseling big-time. The willingness to sacrifice living systems for commerce has meant that the lungs and other vital organs of Mother Earth are being cannibalized to the point where “natural” disasters are no longer “natural” but induced.

The mad weather patterns of the past decade are a byproduct of disappearing forests (at current rates of deforestation, Ecuador will be totally barren of trees in 20 years), disappearing healthy air, and disappearing ecosystems….

There are now over 130,000 religion and ecology projects in operation worldwide. Unfortunately, very few of them are emanating from evangelical churches.

So when people like Rob Bell, Ken Blanchard, Leonard Sweet, or Brian McLaren mention “Creation,” Al Gore and Rosemary Ellen Guiley are thrown into the meaning and action taken from that word/concept.

REMEMBER, Grace Baptist IS NOT an Emergent type church. This sermon merely gives me the opportunity to critique eco-leftists and liberal theology a bit. So the following is a video critique of parts of the sermon followed by more information about the topics:


TRASH ISLANDS


Other wise known as “The Great Garbage Patch Charlie Brown!”

This is with a h/t to The Dennis Prager Show:

“Great Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean not so great claim scientists

Claims that the “Great Garbage Patch” between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas is “grossly exaggerated” said the research which reckons it is more like one per cent the size.

Further reports that the oceans are filled with more plastic than plankton, and that the patch has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading, the new research claimed.

In reality it often cannot even be seen from the deck of a passing boat, said the latest analysts from the Oregon State University professor of oceanography Angelicque White.

The scientist took part in a recent marine expedition to examine the mass of plastic that is floating in the ocean and found there was a problem.

But genuine scientific concerns are undermined by scare tactics from those proclaiming the trash patch is so big that there is more plastic than plankton in the Pacific….

Another news source says this:

Big Stink: Great Garbage Patch’s Size Exaggerated

The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is often said to be twice the size of Texas—but that and other scary-sounding claims are “grossly exaggerated,” some scientists are now insisting. A new study shows the plastic waste patch is actually 200 times smaller than previously claimed when comparing its mass to the amount of water; if you need a Texas-sized visual, it’s actually closer to 1% of the state’s area, says researcher Angelicque White.

She is quick to add that the amount of plastic in the ocean is definitely “troubling,” but that scare tactics only “undermine the credibility of scientists.” White adds, “it is simply inaccurate to state that plastic outweighs plankton, or that we have observed an exponential increase in plastic.” At this point, trying to get rid of the plastic is too expensive and potentially damaging to the ocean’s ecology, the Telegraph reports; White recommends focusing on prevention going forward. Click to read about its sister garbage patch in the Atlantic.

An updated article on this can be found at THE FEDERALIST, and it comes my way with thanks to GAY PATRIOT.


WATER BOTTLE MYTHS


From an older post, URBAN LEGENDS — WATER BOTTLES (Updated HERE), as well on some bottle myths:

I have worked at Whole Foods long enough to hear many of the “health myths” that typically float through the customer base there. One of these myths about health and product is found in the scare about plastic water bottles. It started in an email referencing a masters thesis by a student at the University of Idaho. The media, according to Snopes, ran with the story even though there was no peer reviews of the students work. They have this myth marked as false. Another worth-while article to read is by Carol Rees Parrish, R.D., M.S., entitled, “Bottled Water Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction.” In it it is pointed out that,

Based on the evidence available to date, it appears the true health risks (if any) related to drinking commercially manufactured bottled water or water in refillable plastic bottles may or may not come from the plastic itself. Further study is warranted to determine if poly carbonate plastics can cause harm to humans. Consumers should focus more on the quality of the drinking water, particularly from a microbe perspective as this point is indisputable, rather than chemicals leaching from the container.

Nutrition Issues In Gastroenterology, Series #50 (PDF)

One of the organizations implicated as supporting the health risks by bottled water , John Hopkins, released this statement in their Public Health News Center bulletin:

The Internet is flooded with messages warning against freezing water in plastic bottles or cooking with plastics in the microwave oven. These messages, frequently titled “Johns Hopkins Cancer News” or “Johns Hopkins Cancer Update,” are falsely attributed to Johns Hopkins and we do not endorse their content. Freezing water does not cause the release of chemicals from plastic bottles.

Email Hoax Regarding Freezing Water Bottles and Microwave Cooking,” John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In a short video, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, author of Brain Fuel: 199 Mind-Expanding Inquiries into the Science of Everyday Life, explains some of these myths in more detail:

Even author Elizabeth Royte mentioned in an interview that this is a myth of grand proportions. (She is the author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It.) Again, the folks at Johns Hopkins sat down with Dr. Rolf Haden, assistant professor at Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Center for Water and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Haden dispelled the myth saying “This is an urban legend. There are no dioxins in plastics. In addition, freezing actually works against the release of chemicals.”

This myth perpetuates typically, but not always, from folks who like to shop at Whole Foods, believe in anthropogenic global warming, and want Bush brought up on war crimes. In other words, their science is as debased in critical thinking as their politics (I had to make this politically relevant… for this blog).

Updated info from BIG GOVERNMENT:

…Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical used to harden plastic so it can be used in the countless ways it helps improve countless millions of lives. As it is a chemical, it was only a matter of time before the extremist environmentalists started talking of the “dangers” of it to human beings. Ironically, charges of this nature are always led by people who have no concern of human beings. They are the same type of people who effectively banned the mosquito killing agent DDT. That ban has led to millions of avoidable deaths around the world from malaria. While the banning of BPA wouldn’t lead to deaths, it’s banning wouldn’t save any lives either. But it would put a lot of people out of work.

But work, jobs, livelihoods of individuals has no place in the environmental extremist agenda. They’ve replaced what was known to kill malaria carrying mosquitos with nets to sleep under. So instead of eliminating the problem they’ve reduced the problem…during sleep hours. Malaria’s largest number of victims are infants and children who don’t have the wherewithal to swat mosquitos away when they land on them, and since no one can live their whole life in a net, their exposure risk is high.

The book from which the religion of modern environmentalism sprang is “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. In many ways it is the Bible of that movement. And even though it has been discredited, the “Silent Spring” model still serves as the modus operandi of the environmentalist cult. Ban first, ask questions later. That’s what they were trying to do with BPA.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Utopia…

While environmentalists have always used their favorite tactic to “discredit” contrary information, their “go-to” arrow has been stolen from their quiver in the BPA fight.

To an environmentalist, the ability to attack the motives of those questioning their statements is their best weapon. Just look at Al Gore and the global warming/climate change debate. People dependent upon government grants to continue their studies find results that A) find results that are in line with those who publicize their “studies,” and B) will justify those grants and ensure the continued “need” for more. It’s almost as though crackheads got grants to study crack smoking and they miraculously get results that require more study. But since the end result of these studies is always the government getting more power to regulate people’s lives, it’s like the government is also a crack dealer and people trying to stop the cycle are the unwanted interventionists.

This circular dynamic was blown out of the water when a new study by the crack dealer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), found that BPA is harmless (see appendix for the WSJ article). While other large studies found the same thing, those were quickly attacked as being funded by “Big BPA” or some such nonsense. They’ve even helped expose the media bias inherent in these sorts of matters. But now the government itself has completed a large study, and duplicated the results in two separate labs , you’d think the fight would be over. It’s not.

The hardest thing to fight is dogma.

The ban bandwagon still rolls on, without even so much as a passing mention in the “news” stories about the new government findings…

(read more)


APPENDIX


Postscript to a Panic: New findings about bisphenol-A (BPA) will not redeem it.

Even by the usual standards of the environmental movement, the panic over bisphenol-A (BPA) was remarkable for its detachment from reality. A new study funded by that well-known shill for big business known as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has now debunked this scare about as comprehensively as is possible.

BPA has been in use for five decades all over the world and has been tested extensively and found to be safe. In 2008, however, green campaigners, abetted by trial lawyers in the U.S., began touting the potential for BPA to “disrupt” hormones in the human body. BPA was implicated in everything from cancer to obesity to impotence. One particularly overheated campaigner compared letting babies drink from BPA-containing baby bottles to feeding infants birth-control pills. Canada banned its use in baby bottles, and several U.S. states did the same. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein tried to get it banned in the U.S. as well, despite a clean bill of health from the FDA.

Not everyone succumbed to the panic—for a while. Studies performed in Europe before the scare had begun concluded that, if anything, BPA was safer than previously believed. But last year, despite at least two opinions by the European Food Safety Agency that BPA was safe in plastic bottles and in the liners of food containers, the European Union moved to ban it as well.

Too bad they didn’t wait for the science. The most recent study, led by Justin Teeguarden at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and published in the journal Toxicological Studies, involved feeding subjects a BPA-rich diet for 24 hours. Researchers then monitored their blood and urine for traces of the dread chemical. The result was BPA levels too low to detect—and this, remember, was from eating the stuff, a veritable worst-case scenario. Scare-mongers will no doubt point out that these results don’t preclude terrible long-term consequences from the use of BPA in packaging. But the evidence suggests that not enough of it is even present in the body to cause that kind of harm.

The results of the study, which was duplicated in two separate government labs, may not change the fate of BPA in the court of public opinion. Nor will it help the likes of Sigg Switzerland USA, the U.S. distributor of those now-ubiquitous metal drinking bottles. Sigg was initially a beneficiary of the scare as people moved to ditch their plastic drinking bottles. But once it transpired that the lining of Sigg’s aluminum bottles manufactured before August 2008 also contained trace amounts of BPA, its U.S. distributor was hit with lawsuits and a campaign of public vilification that recently sent it into bankruptcy.

Lost amid the hysteria were the benefits of BPA, including the fact that it helped to eliminate botulism in canned food. Where does a chemical go to get its reputation back?

Water Bottle Help Brighten Peoples Day in the Third World ~ Awesome!

People who live off $2 a day cannot afford the $.50 to have their meager shacks lit up… not to mention the strain on the shoddy electrical grid. This simple invention that started in Brazil and worked its way around the world via the internet is bringing light and saving money for the poorest people in the world.

Read and watch more at The Blaze

Water Bottle `Health` Myths ~ Dispelling Urban Legends RPT Style

I am importing this from my old blog as well as updating the information herein based on information received by my youngest son from a teacher at his high school. This isn’t a “dig” directed at the teacher, rather, this is a good opportunity to deal with just a small aspect of things believed to be true when they are in fact, not. Something that afflicts us all! I also deal with a myth regarding plastics at a post correcting some information used by a local pastor in regards to the “great garbage patch/island” floating in the ocean. A fun adventure into other eco-myths.

Science, not politics, should drive California regs on BPA

…world regulators are in agreement: BPA is safe when used as regulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada and the World Health Organization have found that people excrete any BPA molecules that migrate into food from the cans. BPA does not stay in the body and cause harm.

Despite this global consensus, a California committee claimed that BPA could cause reproductive harms and should come with warnings. FDA’s chief science officer, Dr. Luciana Borio, took the unusual step of urging California not to do so. Borio said that the FDA released in December “an extensive, rigorous and systematic four-year assessment” of BPA that concluded that science does “not support BPA as a reproductive toxicant.”

Warnings of false risks, whether about GMOs, BPA or other products, can be as harmful as failing to warn of actual risks. It is not better to be safe than sorry. The purpose of requiring warnings is to help people make smart choices. If products contain warnings of risks that are not real, people may make decisions against their best interests.

Why scare people into avoiding products that provide important benefits? For example, if companies forgo BPA, they may have to sell products with higher health risks or use chemicals that are not proven, less well-known or more costly….

(SACRAMENTO BEE)

Here is the import/update:

I have worked at Whole Foods long enough to hear many of the “health myths” that typically float through the customer base there. One of these myths about health and product is found in the scare about plastic water bottles. It started in an email referencing a masters thesis by a student at the University of Idaho. Skeptoid writes this about the study:

Most famously, a 2001 study by the University of Idaho found that reuse of plastic water bottles does release risky levels of diethylhexyl adipate (DEHA) into the water, which is potentially carcinogenic. This study was widely reported by the popular media and largely touched off the chain emails and most of the current perceived controversy. But is it true? No. Such a paper was written, but it was not a formal study. It was, in fact, merely the master’s thesis of one student. It was not subjected to any peer review, and cannot accurately be characterized as a study performed by the university. It does not represent any position held by the University of Idaho. And unfortunately, it was not well performed research. DEHA is not classified by the FDA as a carcinogen, but more importantly, DEHA is not used in the type of plastic water bottles that the student evaluated. But it is used in many other plastics, and is present in a lab setting. “For this reason”, concluded the International Bottled Water Association (which is, granted, not a very objective source), “the student’s detection is likely to have been the result of inadvertent lab contamination.” The FDA requires a higher level of scrutiny than that applied by the student writing his paper. DEHA is actually approved for food contact applications, but the fact that it’s not present in the type of plastic that was studied, discredits the entire paper.

The media, according to Snopes, ran with the story even though there was no peer reviews of the students work. They have this part of the myth as false. Another worth-while article to read is on my Carol Rees Parrish, R.D., M.S., entitled, “Bottled Water Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction.” In it it is pointed out that,

Based on the evidence available to date, it appears the true health risks (if any) related to drinking commercially manufactured bottled water or water in refillable plastic bottles may or may not come from the plastic itself. Further study is warranted to determine if poly carbonate plastics can cause harm to humans. Consumers should focus more on the quality of the drinking water, particularly from a microbe perspective as this point is indisputable, rather than chemicals leaching from the container.

Nutrition Issues In Gastroenterology, Series #50 (PDF)

One of the organizations implicated as supporting the health risks by bottled water release this statement in their Public Health News Center bulletin:

The Internet is flooded with messages warning against freezing water in plastic bottles or cooking with plastics in the microwave oven. These messages, frequently titled “Johns Hopkins Cancer News” or “Johns Hopkins Cancer Update,” are falsely attributed to Johns Hopkins and we do not endorse their content. Freezing water does not cause the release of chemicals from plastic bottles.

Email Hoax Regarding Freezing Water Bottles and Microwave Cooking,” John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In the section entitled “Q&A: Bisphenol A and Plastics,” from the John Hopkins website, this nugget is found in a sea on useful information:

Most single-use water bottles sold in the United States are made from BPA-free plastic, but some reusable containers are made from plastic containing BPA. Given a choice, a product absent of BPA should be considered. It is a good idea to bring water with you for long car trips and activities like sports and hiking. Since these water supplies are likely to be in hot vehicles and in the hot sun, BPA-free containers should be considered. Remember to clean reusable bottles between uses and let them dry upside down so they are ready the next time you need them.

And the Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center links the above pages as responses to the supposed publishing of studies by John Hopkins supporting these claims. The only problem is that they have not published such papers: “Another hoax email that has been circulating since 2004 regarding plastic containers, bottles, wrap claiming that heat releases dioxins which cause cancer also was not published by Johns Hopkins” (source). Like many other areas in life, on needs to find out “where the beef is” in regards to separating myth from fact. A good 4-and-a-half minute video that deals with many aspects of this myth is dealt with by Dr. Joe Schwarcz, author of Brain Fuel: 199 Mind-Expanding Inquiries into the Science of Everyday Life:

Even author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, Elizabeth Royte, mentioned in an interview that this is a myth of grand proportions. (You can hear this interview dated 1-22-09 on the Dennis Prager show.) There are much better reasons to stop using water bottles than hocus-pocus… in the interview she even seemingly convinced Dennis of this. Again, the folks at Johns Hopkins sat down with Dr. Rolf Haden, assistant professor at Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Center for Water and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who dispelled the myth saying, “This is an urban legend. There are no dioxins in plastics. In addition, freezing actually works against the release of chemicals.” The main reason one would not want to reuse water bottles is that bacteria will grow in the hard to wash bottles, if you do reuse them a time or two, vinegar or baking soda would be recommended.

Another article bullet points some “healthy” information for the consumer of urban legends to consider:

✦ Bottled water regulation is at least as stringent as tap water regulation. Under federal law the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must pass bottled water regulations that are “no less stringent” than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The law does not allow the FDA to set standards that produce a lower quality product. As a result, FDA regulations mirror EPA regulations very closely and are more stringent in some respects because FDA applies additional food, packaging, and labeling regulations.
✦ Bottled water is substantially different from tap. About 75 percent of bottled water is from sources other than municipal systems such as springs or underground sources. Much of the bottled municipal water undergoes additional purification treatments to produce a higher quality product that must meet FDA bottled water quality standards, packaging, and labeling mandates. In terms of safety, tap water has more documented health-related case reports compared to bottled water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends bottled water for individuals with compromised immune systems to reduce the risks associated with tap water.
✦ Bottled water containers are a tiny fraction of the solid waste stream. Many people have turned to bottled water to replace other portable drinks containing sugar and calories, producing little increase in total waste. In any case, single-serving plastic water bottles amount to just 0.3 percent of the nation’s solid waste. Bottles used in water coolers are recycled at high rates and have even less impact on landfill waste. Taxing and banning either type of container will not matter much in terms of overall waste.
✦ Plastic bottles are safe for consumers. The chemicals which environmental activists suggest are a problem are not even used in the PET plastic used for single-serving water bottles. Bisphenol A, a chemical found in large five-gallon water cooler jugs and other food containers exists at such low trace levels that there have been no reported health problems and the FDA, along with several scientific organizations around the world, have not found any problem with this substance.

Here is a great 20/20 John Stossel presentation: