Without getting into whether there are or aren't gods, I'd like to do some research on you guys.
Atheists in my experience, without an exception to date, are an environmentally-minded crowd. They tend to vehemently oppose anything that looks like industrial wrecking of nature, believing as they do that this Earth is the only one we've got and that no higher power will stop us from mortally wounding it.
Many atheists will also bring this up against religion: the whole dominion of the earth, the expectation of the end times and the new earth, the call to be hard-working and industrious, the call to have children (overpopulation), and the idea that god wouldn't allow us to affect the climate, etc. etc. To many it seems religion has a "whatever, it's all going to be destroyed anyway" attitude.
But I know religious people aplenty, however, who think the Creator is to be seen in nature and NOT in man-made things, and therefore removing the influence of nature from people could be seen as pulling them away from the influence of god. There are certainly many people of faith who felt called to protect the environment or work in environmental conservation.
How do your beliefs affect your attitude about the environment?
For those of any faith, how does your faith affect your regard for the environment, or does it at all? For those who in the "this is the only life I've got" crowd, how do you feel about it? If you call yourself an environmentalist, what is the reason?
Crock-o-bullshit. For instance, they claim deforestation as a factor in global climate warming. Problem with that: There is no deforestation. Because we no longer let wildfires just run themselves out across the continent there is more standing acreage of trees today (in the U.S. and Canada) than there were 200 years ago.
For instance: There is no where on earth that we now know for a demonstrable fact that the climate has not ALWAYS been in a constant state of change.
For instance: Yesterday, some place (I believe in texas?) hit a record high that had not been seen in 107 years. That means the last time it hit the same temp on the same day in the same place, it was 1907. One year before the first model T rolled out of the factory, at a time when the number of cars in the entire world was a couple thousand at most.
For Instance: The idea that there is a scientific consensus is a myth. Re: The Oregon Petition.
Buying into man made world climate change is the act of buying into a comically bad scientific idea that is a self fulfilling prophesy perpetuated by those who will benefit from it the most.
Careful Denny... you're on the verge of confusing the issue with facts.
One year before the first model T rolled out of the factory, at a time when the number of cars in the entire world was a couple thousand at most.
But well after we had been burning so much coal for a century that our buildings were coated black. But regardless - average temperature rise is not the same as record highs.
As for the Oregon petition, it's pretty well debunked, but even if all the signers in it had backgrounds in climatology or atmospheric science (instead of .5%), it's still a small number. Consensus doesn't mean 100%. It means the vast majority. Now - I agree, consensus doesn't mean it's right - of course, but it does mean currently, the overwhelming evidence we have does point to that conclusion. Provide new evidence to suggest otherwise (peer reviewed, if you please) and we can talk.
And India disproves that believers = environmentally friendly. ;)
I believe religion/faith and environmental consciousness are unrelated.
I think taking environmental crisis seriously and noting its rapid decline is smart and logical, and to put religious biases or use ignorance as an excuse is just unmanly. There's irrefutable evidence of our oceans decline; rising acidity levels and the landmass of trash accumulating in the Pacific, not to mention the changes of fish population and levels of radiation in their meat.
Personally, religion and faith for me is like a private relationship. It's helpful and lends support, but as soon as it starts affecting other decisions and clouding logic or judgement, it's overstepping my boundaries.
I can comment some on the computer model issue. I am not an expert on simulation, but I am on CS generally.
When I was planning to be an astronomer (before I found how cool CS is), I was fascinated by the TTAPS study (letters are for its authors; S is Sagan). These scientists noticed that when there's a dust storm on Mars, the surface temperature plummets as sunlight is blocked. They made a computer simulation to see what would happen on Earth if a nuclear war kicked up dust and smoke. They found significant temperature drop. Thence the term "nuclear winter."
Naturally they wanted to make the model more accurate. It was vastly oversimplified: no layering of the atmosphere, no latitudes, no oceans, no weather.
As they added details, the results changed. Unlike Mars, Earth has a weather layer distinct from the stratosphere. The nuclear war wouldn't get dust and smoke into the stratosphere (where it would take a long time to settle); it would stay in the weather layer, where it would be washed out by precipitation. The oceans would do a lot to moderate the climate. Nuclear winter became nuclear autumn and then nuclear cold snap.
Climate models have a similar problem. CO2 does a lot to block infrared radiation... unless there's water vapor in the atmosphere, which already blocks that radiation, and the equatorial regions are saturated with it. It's tough to say what increased CO2 would do to cloud cover. If it increases it, Earth is more reflective (cooler) and better insulated (warmer). If it decreases it, go with the reverse.
Climate models (so I read -- this is not direct knowledge) have so far been unable to even predict the past. They require fudge factors to work for one period, but then can't predict another time period.
However you want to understand global temperatures... best not trust the models yet. When they can predict the past, then we can have some confidence they'll predict the future. That's not within our capabilities yet.