A Winter Weather Advisory, Forecasts and Making Sense

It’s Wednesday afternoon as I start writing this. The weather forecast says we’ll likely see rain, freezing rain and snow within the next 12 hours.

On the ‘up’ side, the rain — freezing and otherwise — should end before dawn. By then it’ll have started snowing. That will keep up through Friday morning, and maybe longer.

On the ‘down’ side, situational awareness will be a tad more important for travelers over the next few days.

I’ll be putting a link to this post on social media. Previous experience suggests that nobody’s going to denounce me for encouraging divination.

“Presumptuous Man,” “a Daring Violation of our Holy Religion,” and Lightning Rods

I. Cruikshank's 1808 political cartoon, supporting Jenner, Dinsdale and Rose in the vaccination controversy.That’s odd, considering religion-themed hostility to vaccinations and lightning rods.

“Smallpox is a visitation from God; but the cowpox is produced by presumptuous man; the former was what Heaven ordained, the latter is, perhaps, a daring violation our of holy religion.”
(A physician’s reaction to Dr. Edward Jenner’s experiments in developing a vaccine for smallpox, (1796) via Psychological Sciences, Vanderbilt University)

“I have read in the Philosophical Transactions the account of the effects of lightning on St. Bride’s steeple. ‘Tis amazing to me, that after the full demonstration you had given, of the identity of lightning and of electricity, and the power of metalline conductors, they should ever think of repairing that steeple without such conductors. How astonishing is the force of prejudice even in an age of so much knowledge and free enquiry!”
(Letter, To Benjamin Franklin from John Winthrop, 6 January 1768, via founders.archives.gov)

It’s particularly odd, maybe, since divination is on a (short) list of things that Catholics aren’t supposed to do. Ever. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2116)

So how come I’m not piously ignoring weather forecasts? Maybe even making a point of going outside during tornado warnings?

Basically, it’s because I’m a Catholic. Putting my brain on hold isn’t part of my faith.

Now, about divination: “practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future,” as the Catechism puts it.

Meteorology Isn’t Divination

A Kabbalistic Tree of Life.Trying to channel a dead meteorologist, summoning a demon to give me the five-day forecast, or consulting an astrologer would be a bad idea. On several levels.

I’ll be talking about some of that in upcoming “Faustus” posts, and I’m wandering off-topic.

Checking in at weather.gov is an effort to “unveil” the future.

But so is ‘unveiling’ the results of tipping over a full coffee cup. Experience and a working knowledge of physics and fluid dynamics tells me that I’ll have a coffee spill to deal with.

Making weather forecasts aren’t quite as simple as predicting what will happen during a coffee spill. But they’re the same sort of thing: reasoned predictions, based on previous experience and knowledge of physical laws.

Exploring God’s Universe

It’s the sort of thing we call science. Which brings me to an article referenced by someone in social media recently.

“The scientific method did not exist for most of the world’s history, because no one was experimenting with physical bodies and quantifying them in order to discover the laws of nature. It took a particular theological worldview—the Catholic worldview as incarnated in medieval Christendom—to inspire humans with the confidence that a close investigation of material bodies would reveal those laws. Impelled by this confidence, scientists of the Middle Ages started humanity on a new territory of exploration, one that has been pursued ever since and which has revealed amazing secrets about God’s most wise design of our cosmos.
“Whenever superficial accusations are hurled against the Church about her opposition to scientific progress, let this one historical fact be recalled: it was Mother Church herself who gave birth to scientific enterprise.”
(“Catholics Invented Science,” Fr. Robinson, Angelus Magazine (September/October 2019) via The Realist Guide to Religion and Science (August 21, 2020))

I’ve talked about that before, and probably will again.

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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3 Responses to A Winter Weather Advisory, Forecasts and Making Sense

  1. Raphael Beckman says:

    Before You Read The Bible, Please Learn The Meaning Of The Word: INTEGRITY And To Have Integrity. It Shows Your Brotherhood To The World, And All Of Mankind. Because You Will Put Your Belief In To Action. Because You Show Your Wholeness Or Harmony In Your NaturePutting All Animal Passions Away, And Being Completely To The Will, Flesh To The Spirit , To The Body, To The Soul. Knowing What Would Be Right Or Wrong, And Doing What Would Be Right For Mankind. Everyone Needs To Learn To Pray For Yourself God Gave You A Freewill You Can Change Yourself

    • Integrity, all caps or otherwise, makes sense.

      Putting all animal passions away – in the sense of removing them from active function – would be tricky, since I’m a human.

      Passions, emotions, are part of the sort of critter I am.

      Letting them run the show isn’t a good idea, which is where reason and free will come in, and that’s almost another topic.

      (I’ve talked about emotions and reason, love and justice, faith and neighbors before: https://brendans-island.com/catholic-citizen/beyond-george-floyd/#allegiance )

    • – – – A P.S. for folks reading this: R.B.’s comment included a URL for “Low Electric Bills,” a social media group.

      Since I’m not overly fond of spam, I removed the URL, which seemed irrelevant to the comment. Of course, I could be wrong. 🙂

Thanks for taking time to comment!