“It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.” ~Voltaire
A majority is now realizing humans are not causing global warming or climate change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims are scientifically unjustified. A recent poll by Scientific American found 81 percent think the IPCC is corrupt, are victims of Group-Think and pursue a political agenda. It is good news that the public is becoming aware, but several questions will arise. For example, what is the motive and how did the deception evolve? All of them require context and awareness that while most climate misdirection developed in the last 30 years, it is part of an evolution that began almost 500 years ago and really became focused approximately 150 years ago.
The dogmatism of believers in human-caused climate change, despite overwhelming contradictory evidence, is religious in its fervor. It is a subset of the adoption of environmentalism as a religion. How has this occurred? The answer must consider a series of events that at first seem unrelated.
Several popular books currently decry the existence of God, especially Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. He argues against the existence of a supernatural creator although, ironically, he almost makes a god out of Charles Darwin. Dawkins has pursued this theme for some time, but it came to wider public attention with publication of the book in 2006? Why is it an issue today? Dawkins is combating creationism and defending science, but why? Didn’t the major debate occur at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th? Isn’t the debate settled?
No matter what Dawkins says, his religion of science requires proof. He claims everything instantaneously started with a big bang, but this leaves the question of who or what created the original material and who triggered the bang? He has no evidence, no proof to support his unstated claim that the material just suddenly appeared out of nothing and the explosion miraculously followed. So, can we conclude that Dawkins believe in miracles? The blunt truth is that no matter how much science discovers, it can never answer the ultimate question: “Who or (if Dawkins prefers) what put it all here in the first place?” What are Dawkins and others trying to prove by eliminating God? Why do they feel so threatened? Why not teach creationism or any other belief and let people decide for themselves? If they are so certain of their position then present the proof. A measure of the fear is reflected in a recent report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of legislation filed by Republican state Representative Bill Zedler that would block higher education institutions from discriminating against or penalizing teachers or students who dare to research “intelligent design” or other theories that disagree with evolution. Of course, he would probably argue (incorrectly) that science is not a belief system, it is the truth, but it is only the current truth.
For many years I taught a university Science credit course for Art students. I was frequently asked, in a respectful way, if I believed in God. It was probably triggered by the fact that I began the course by saying I was going to teach the course from an evolutionary perspective. I explained this was not to deny other views, but I was bound by the fact that all students were going on in academia or the work force in which it was the only acceptable view. In my view it was not a conflict to believe in a god –everything I see is and learn is evidence. I support Voltaire’s view that
“If God did not exist, he would have to be invented.” “But all nature cries aloud that he does exist: that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it.”
Some of the greatest scientists in history, such as Michael Faraday, were devout fundamental Christians. It may explain why he is less well known. It may also be because he didn’t go to university. Both conditions put him outside the beliefs of mainstream scientists in their academic temples.
The battle between science and religion began to focus with the Copernican theory that Earth orbited the Sun. This contradicted the Catholic Church view that was the Ptolemaic universe with earth at the centre. Copernicus was a canon of the church, an honorary position on the staff of a cathedral. He was very aware of the religious implications of his work and delayed approving its release until on his deathbed in 1543. Others continued the fight, including Bruno and Galileo. Threat of the Copernican theory was confirmed when Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600. Galileo escaped the fire but was sentenced to house arrest.
Darwin, like Copernicus, also knew the social and religious implications of his work, but had no control over the use of his theory, such as in social Darwinism. More important, his work became the vehicle used to achieve the final ascendancy of science over religion. Dawkins arguments and attacks on those who dare to think otherwise are a good example.
A comment in the 1990 publication Global Warming: The Greenpeace Report says, “Carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere naturally and unnaturally.” People read this and rarely think about the implications. What do they mean by “unnatural”? The answer is simple – humans. Of course, Greenpeace assumes, like most environmentalists, that whatever humans do is unnatural. But if what we do is unnatural, then by extension we are unnatural and that raises a contradiction for environmentalists who support Darwin’s evolutionary theory. If we are unnatural then we cannot have evolved like other animals. The default answer is a superior being must have put us here. Some think they can avoid the issue with the euphemism “man-made”. It doesn’t avoid anything.
Darwin was a naturalist and universities were divided into two areas of study, the Natural Sciences and the Humanities. As a result of his work and the effective replacement of the religious explanation for human existence, science and academia was left with a dilemma. If we’re not here for a religious purpose, then what? This raised a further problem: the conflict between the fact we are part of nature, an animal like all the others, but clearly different. These questions triggered growth of the Social Sciences whose disciplines collectively study humans, their behavior and their societies. But there are many inconsistencies. For example, when does social anthropology end and history begin? How can anthropologists talk about primitive people or societies yet those are politically incorrect terms in history? Anthropology links evolution of early humans with modern humans. The definitions they use for the stages of evolution are all designed to identify traits that separate us from other animals and specifically from other apes. The stages are amusing as a measure of the desperation of social science to parallel and support what the pure sciences were claiming.
First we were distinguished because we walked upright – Homo Erectus. Then as Homo Habilis because we made tools. Of course, thanks to the work of people like Jane Goodall, we found other animals making tools. Conceptual thinking was identified as the next difference – the ability to solve problems – so we became Homo Sapiens , “the wise ape”.
Now there are many examples of animals solving problems. What next? Well they decided that what made us different was we could tell lies because it requires consecutive concepts; the truth and a way round it. So we became what we are today Homo Sapiens Sapiens the doubly wise ape. But now there are reports of animals practicing deception. In an October 1978 National Geographic article about the gorilla Koko Francine Patterson reports, “She even tells lies, once blaming a broken sink on a human volunteer.” So where does that leave us? I asked an anthropologist colleague about the latest thinking. He said we were different because we could think about death and an afterlife. Whether true or not, and regardless of reports of elephants fondling bones of dead elephants, this creates an interesting dilemma. Isn’t belief in or thinking about an afterlife the very basis of most religions? Isn’t this were we were when Darwin dispatched God and religion?
What are those who have accepted Darwin and rejected religion to do? They needed a substitute belief system and the obvious one was environmentalism. What was better than Gaia, Mother Earth in the age of feminism, as substitute for gods and goddesses? They also naively adopted the Victorian myth of the Noble Savage ignoring the fact almost all of them want the very progress that their new religion deemed sinful. This frequently creates problems for them as modern indigenous people adopt Christianity or try to return to historic practices.
In 2005, the Makah Indian tribe issued the following declaration.
Whaling has been one of our traditions for over 1,500 years and is a right secured to us by treaty with the United States. We had to stop in the 1920’s due to the scarcity of gray whales. Their full recovery to pre-commercial whaling levels and 1994 removal from the Endangered Species List made it possible to resume the hunt. There has been an intensification of interest in our own history and culture since the archeological dig at our village of Ozette in 1970, which uncovered thousands of artifacts bearing witness to our whaling tradition. Many Makah feel that our health problems result, in some degree, to the loss of our traditional diet of seafood and marine mammal meat. We would like to restore the meat of the whale to our diet. Many of us also believe that the problems besetting our young people stem from lack of discipline and pride. We believe that the restoration of whaling will help to restore that discipline and pride.
Conflict for an animal rights activist expressed the problem. He quickly identified ‘modernized’ Indian leaders who were the problem. They didn’t know what they were doing in hunting whales and were simply exploiting a political situation. Ironically the activist uses the phrase homo sapiens in the title of his blog.
Darwin somewhat sidestepped the issue of man as different from other species. He published “The Origin of Species” in 1859 without reference to humans, which he left to a separate work, “The Descent of Man” published 12 years later in 1871. He stated his objective precisely.
“The sole object of this work is to consider, firstly, whether man, like every other species, is descended from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development; and thirdly, the value of the differences between the so-called races of man.”
We should seriously consider the last point, because I know from working with Chinese climatologists they see the world very differently than we do, especially with regard to resources.
We are developing and continue to develop as Darwin expected in his second point, but extreme environmentalists claim it is unnatural. Goethe provides a simple explanation, “The unnatural – that too is natural” and that applies regardless. Ironically, if you eliminate God then everything humans do is natural as we evolve. You can even cynically apply Spencer’s view of “survival of the fittest’ and say we are the fittest. We play the evolution game better than all the others. But that also creates intellectual and philosophical conflict for the new religion of science and environmentalism. Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the biblical views on nature, human roles and responsibilities are as logical as any other including modern environmentalism. It was a young North American Indian women who drew that to my attention.