Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Da Vinci Code and State of Fear – What do they have in common?

Da Vinci Code and State of Fear – What do they have in common?

The recent controversy over Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code book and movie brings to mind another recent book by Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. Both are promoted as fictional stories based on “facts”. What else is eerily similar about the two?

Just to summarize, The Da Vinci Code is about Christ and Mary Magdelene who, Dan Brown writes, were married and had a child who escaped to the south of France and it is this “holy grail” that is in reality the blood line of Christ that is being hidden from the public and guarded by a secret society down through the ages. The Catholic Church has been paying large sums of money to keep this quiet and to preserve their power and influence. The list of secret grandmasters includes Da Vinci and numerous other famous artists and scientists and intellectuals who have left various enigmatic clues in their works to enlighten the curious. A murder mystery provides the backdrop for this story.

In the case of State of Fear, Michael Crichton has created a fictional account of a non-profit organization using deception on a grand scale to convince the public the dangers of Global warming and in the process raising tons of money for research that is never ending. They exaggerate the data to support their theory and ignore others that contradict them. They are even willing to kill mass innocent people to achieve their goals. The end justifies the means philosophy not unlike Marxist tactics in the past.

At first, these seem like two very different stories and both highly successful fictions that were on the New York Times bestsellers list for a very long time.
On a closer examination, there are strange similarities that are hard to ignore.
Both subjects are dealing with ideologies that are based mostly on faith. The Resurrection of Christ and human caused Global warming are both based more on faith than facts.
I must make a distinction here about “global warming” the phenomenon and “global warming” the theory. It is true that we are experiencing a period of temperature raising around the globe in recent years however that does not translate automatically to the fact that human activities in the late 20th century is the cause. The theory that global warming is caused by fossil fuel and CO2 emissions is the article of faith that we are asked to accept. The Earth has gone through numerous periods of warming and cooling cycles in the past. What portion of that is due to human activity is the big question.
It is almost like “religion” that the mass majority of students are taught that humans harm the environment and that human activities cause global warming. Ask any elementary school children and they will give you this matter of fact response. The same can be said of Christ if you ask any Christian about their belief in the resurrection.

I have strong personal opinions on both and I will state them right now. I am a Roman Catholic by conversion. I do belief in Christ and the Word of God – the Bible. I also believe there is evil in this world and the devil is behind the evil doers. Therefore to me, the Da Vinci Code is a provocative fictional story that tries to attack my faith and undermine the teachings of my Church though in a subtle way. It is a fast paced action filled story with twist and turns which includes puzzles that are fascinating to solve. It is a work of fiction. It also contains some innuendos and falsehoods that harm a real organization called Opus Dei. That is unacceptable for a fictional story to implicate a real organization. There should have been a disclaimer at the front of the book and the movie.

On Global warming, I also have a strong opinion that is contrary to conventional wisdom.
My belief is based on my training as an engineer and scientist and on my common sense. It is hard to explain away the past history of our planet which consisted of numerous warm and cold cycles in the absence of fossil fuel which only came into existence in the last 100 years or so. It is naïve for us to believe that we can affect the global climate when we are so small in the grand scheme of things. We have done a lot in science to help predict the weather in short periods but we are no way close to changing or controlling our climate. Especially in the face of other natural disasters such as earth quakes, volcanic activities and even extra terrestrial meteorites, it is hard to imagine that we can do much to affect our Earth’s climate.

As far as the claim of a hoax by the Catholic Church regarding the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, I have a strong argument to counter. If the whole thing is a hoax, how do you explain the Apostles who were witness to many of the workings and teachings of Christ, who were persecuted for their beliefs and who died defending their faith? Would you or any sane person do so to perpetrate a hoax?
Also, a more revealing question should be asked and not addressed by Dan Brown, is why would the descendants of Christ want to participate in this hoax down the years?
What do they have to gain by going through all this secrecy and treachery? Wouldn’t you want to clear your family name if you are a true descendant of Christ? The bottom line is conspiracy theories are abundant but very few stand the test of time. Knowing human nature, at some time and some point, the falsehood comes to light and the whole thing falls apart at the seams. On the other hand, who can make predictions that comes true 100% of the time? Who has made such impact on our civilization 2000 years later after His death? Who is worshiped around the world without coercion but by their own will?
Who gave the most precious gift of all – his own life to save a friend? Who has lived by the Golden rule and is without sin? I can go on and on but I don’t have to. I’m convinced that Jesus is the Lord and Savior and his Kingdom will never end. He lives in our hearts.

The big question for global warming activists is what part of global warming is due to human activity? If the contribution is 2%, then the argument is moot. If however, they claim it is 25% or more, then that’s a different ballgame. I read an account of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. It describes the following:
Here are some highlights from their summary of effects:
1. The explosions were heard on Rodriguez Island, 4653 km distant across the Indian Ocean, and over 1/13th of the earth's surface.
2. Ash fell on Singapore 840 km to the N, Cocos (Keeling) Island 1155 km to the SW, and ships as far as 6076 km WNW. Darkness covered the Sunda Straits from 11 a.m. on the 27th until dawn the next day.
3. Giant waves reached heights of 40 m above sea level, devastating everything in their path and hurling ashore coral blocks weighing as much as 600 tons.
4. At least 36,417 people were killed, most by the giant sea waves, and 165 coastal villages were destroyed.
5. When the eruption ended only 1/3 of Krakatoa, formerly 5x9 km, remained above sea level, and new islands of steaming pumice and ash lay to the north where the sea had been 36 m deep.
6. Every recording barograph in the world documented the passage of the airwave, some as many as 7 times as the wave bounced back and forth between the eruption site and its antipodes for 5 days after the explosion.
7. Tide gauges also recorded the sea wave's passage far from Krakatoa. The wave "reached Aden in 12 hours, a distance of 3800 nautical miles, usually traversed by a good steamer in 12 days".
8. Blue and green suns were observed as fine ash and aerosol, erupted perhaps 50 km into the stratosphere, circled the equator in 13 days.
9. Three months after the eruption these products had spread to higher latitudes causing such vivid red sunset afterglows those fire engines were called out in New York, Poughkeepsie, and New Haven to quench the apparent conflagration. Unusual sunsets continued for 3 years.
10. Rafts of floating pumice-locally thick enough to support men, trees, and no doubt other biological passengers-crossed the Indian Ocean in 10 months. Others reached Melanesia, and were still afloat two years after the eruption.
11. The volcanic dust veil that created such spectacular atmospheric effects also acted as a solar radiation filter, lowering global temperatures as much as 1.2 degree C in the year after the eruption. Temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.
Does this sound like anything remotely close to what we humans can do today or any period in our history? How can we be the cause of global warming when a volcanic eruption can affect Earth’s weather over 3 years period?
For those who are spiritual and yet anti-established religion, I have a few comments which you might want to consider. Don’t focus on the 5% bad that the Church is involved in to justify your conviction. Don’t forget the other 95% good that the Church performs everyday. The Church is made up of humans and as we all know, humans have flaws. We should all have faith in God but not in man or his institutions. The Church is necessary as an organization to promote and spread the Good News. It is not perfect. It is unfair to criticize the Church and hold it responsible for the evil that is in some man. The Priest sex scandal is not an indictment of all Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic Charities does a lot of good all over the world.

One final observation, both of these “theories” are due for a showdown in not too distant future. If you belief in the claims of the global warming alarmist, in a few short decades, our climate changes will have devastating effect on our planet including coastal flooding, mass species extinctions and natural disasters. If you belief the religious fundamentalist, they claim that we are living in the last days. This generation will not pass when Christ’s second coming will be preceded by various global catastrophes and leading to Armageddon, where good will triumph over evil.

Jack C. Lee
May 29, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home