Bad advice on fracking from the Churches

This demolition of his local Churches’ stand against fracking (original title Lancashire Churches get Fracked!!), by my friend the Rev Michael Roberts, is well-informed and timely, not least when fracking is, in some places, an election issue. Michael was, as he explains, a field geologist before he became a priest, and is a distinguished authority on the history of the reaction of the Churches to the last two centuries of earth and life sciences, topics that for him have personal, as well as general, relevance.

For me, the affair raises wider issues. It illustrates the dangers of a Church giving advice on complex technical questions, which should lead us to question its very real secular powers. Are the Bishops in the House of Lords now going to campaign to ban fracking? Is a Church that generates the kind of nonsense that Michael so skilfully demolishes fit to run State funded schools, as CofE does in England and will increasingly, if the present Westminster administration is returned to power in May? Is it fit to have unelected representatives on every Local Authority Education Committee, as CofE does in England and CofS in Scotland, alongside a representative from the Catholic Church and, in Scotland, any of a ragtag collection of others? And what shall we say of those political parties that most misleadingly raise panic over fracking (English Greens), or pusillanimously ask us to wait and see (Scottish Greens, SNP)?

There are those who will welcome any scientific folly from the Churches, as weakening the forces of religion. I am not one of them, for many reasons, as I have explained elsewhere.

But it its time I let him speak for himself:

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

A critique of the CTIL discussion paper

The Challenge of Fracking

Shale gas exploration & proposed extraction in Lancashire

Michael Roberts

(retired priest Diocese of Balckburn)

formerly an exploration and mining geologist


This document The Challenges of Fracking  was produced through the Environmental Committee of the Diocese of Blackburn and has been circulated since January 2015 by Churches Together in Lancashire  with the endorsement of the all church leaders from the various denominations. Thus we can take it that it is the official view of all the Lancashire churches.

It would be good to give a very brief review of a few hundred words, but technicalities and complexities of the subject matter prevent that. To summarise the paper as false and misleading is true but helps no one. I now briefly list the errors and expand on them in the main body of this review. These…

View original post 4,224 more words

About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on April 23, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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