I initially did not know how I was going to write this post given the controversial nature of the subject matter. One thing is for certain I am not going to take a position on Shale Gas Drilling aka Hydraulic Fracturing or “Fracking” in this post. I am sure there are subscribers to this site who are passionately against it, those that are for it, and those that have no opinion due to a lack of scientific knowledge (I place myself in the latter camp). I do not wish to raise that controversy and if you want to discuss the merits or lack of them for fracking there are other websites and forums to comment on; this is a site about Atheism after all!
What this post is about is a rather unhelpful (or more accurately useless) contribution by the Church of England’s Diocese of Blackburn in the current debate over fracking. What they have said is that fracking “damages God’s creation” As reported on the BBC website. No science, no links to peer reviewed research just a statment that humans should not sacrifice the environment for profit. Whilst I might agree with some of the sentiment, invoking the “guy in the sky” to build your argument on is unhelpful at best, ridiculous at worst. But it gets worse, after a summary of what fracking is the Diocese’s document goes on to say:
“Any consideration of the pros and cons of an issue like ‘fracking’ has to be viewed in the context of global climate change, which itself cannot be ignored by Christians, as it raises questions of justice, fairness, provision, stewardship and love for God, his creation and his creatures, including our global human neighbours.”
And it goes on:
“The time we spend thinking, praying and acting now to protect our drinking water, and the rest of God’s glorious creation cannot compare with the time succeeding generations could potentially spend trying to make good what will likely happen if we in the church remain uninformed and silent.”
If there is an answer to whether fracking is damaging to the environment or not, what the effects on the environment might be and the risk benefit analysis of whether or not that risk is worth taking is purely a scientific question. It is science that will answer it, not the CofE making these pronoucements invoking a deity as an excuse. There is no stewardship of any gods, we are not a creation of any gods and prayer will do nothing to “protect drinking water” if drinking water needs protecting from this procedure.
Leave it to the scientists to answer these questions!