On “Religious” AGW Denial

Tom Junod at Esquire has an interesting (if IMO misleadingly titled) piece on the hardening Republican resistance to the reality of anthropogenic global climate change:

… [F]or most self-identified “conservatives,” it will never matter how high the water rises or how convincingly the evidence mounts, because from the start the debate about global warming has never been a debate in which rules of evidence apply. Rather, it has been a tectonic collision of belief systems, [where] the vision of America as a uniquely secular nation and the vision of America as a uniquely Christian one smash together and create earthquakes before they create mountain ranges, and in which secular Americans expressing concern for their children’s future and Christian Americans expressing concern for their children’s future turn out to be talking about two different things entirely…
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No sooner had Romney dared say that global warming was a problem that had to be dealt with than Rush Limbaugh accused him of falling for a hoax, and it became clear that although we might not know who the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012 is going to be, we know for certain that he — or she — will not “believe” in global warming any more than he or she “believes” that the great operative force in all biological creation is evolution. He or she will not be allowed to express such a belief, by Rush and Roger, the two crafters — and enforcers — of the Republican narrative.
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… When Limbaugh derides global warming as a “religion,” he’s on to something, and not just because Tom Friedman’s “The Earth Is Full™” column ends with a hopeful vision of a world deciding to exchange a “consumer-driven growth model” for a “happiness-driven” one — not just because all end-of-the-world scenarios are just veiled exhortations for repentance.
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No, global warming has become a religion because Rush and Co. have succeeded in making it one. He has succeeded in recasting the global-warming debate in the same way he has succeeded in recasting the debate over everything else, from taxes to health care to gay marriage. He has made an issue that should be amenable only to fact amenable to faith, indeed subservient to it, so that if people don’t “believe” in global warming, it’s not happening. The great secret to the success of the Republican party since it became an arm of the American church and the American corporation is that it pretends to abide by “absolutes” while remaining committed to the relativism at the heart of all religion, which is that if you believe in something, it exists, and if you don’t, it doesn’t.
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The result is not simply a recipe for denial, it’s a closed loop, in which evidence that global warming is happening is interpreted as evidence that it’s not. Rick Perry, praying to God for relief from drought and praying to Jesus for relief from America’s habit of calamity, will never call for lower greenhouse-gas emissions, because it’s the people calling for lower greenhouse-gas emissions who have caused the drought and brought on the calamities.

Religion — and I say this as a person of faith, albeit a faith not much respected in contemporary America — has always been a useful tool for social control. Non-believers would say it was invented as a tool, using unsophisticated individuals’ impulses to keep them properly subservient to the local mob leaders and clan headsmen. New reseach suggests that, contrary to established opinion, “civilization” may have started when bands of roaming primitives organized to build “the oldest known example of monumental architecture—the first structure human beings put together that was bigger and more complicated than a hut“. It’s taken us some twelve thousand years to reach our current state of affairs, when a tiny minority of the population of one nation-state has the ability to use that “religious impulse” as a weapon that could potentially destroy the entire human biosphere, and not just that part of it within their own limited fiefdom. Ah, progress…






52 replies
  1. 1

    When I read things like this, I am reminded what a cold comfort it is to me that I don’t have kids. Because I really have no hope that the environmental problems will be resolved before it brings about the end of what we presumptuously call “Western Civilization.” What can possibly be done when the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world is in the grip of an insane death-cult?

  2. 2
    Luthe says:

    Mmm, opiate of the masses.

  3. 3
    PreservedKillick says:

    What can possibly be done when the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world is in the grip of an insane death-cult?

    You don’t become – or stay – the most powerful nation in the world, or the most powerful group of anything in the world, without a strong management team. In public policy terms, that’s a government.

    The republicans are systematically destroying it.

    Ergo, we won’t be the most powerful nation in the world for long.

    The real question is, will they succeed, and, if they do, will we manage to fall without kicking off WW III. Given who we’ll almost certainly be fighting, that’s going to involve nukes.

    I would suggest that the only path that does not involve WW III is one in which we manage to transition ourselves away from a petroleum-based economy, because it seems pretty clear that petrochemicals are about to become scarce and hence are about to become things we’ll need to fight over.

    Which, reading between the lines, means that the real watershed event of the last year was the quake in Japan – because it’s effectively shut off one path to a renewable future, nuclear power.

  4. 4
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    I wanted to drop a quick link to a great article in the guardian today about journalists’ hatred of numbers.

    In that spirit, and as an archaeologist (though my speciality is a little further west than Turkey), that NG article is rubbish. First, the dates aren’t mentioned, because there is ongoing controversy about the date of this site and it contemporaneity with jericho/other PPNA/PPNB sites. Second, the idea of monumental architecture as requiring large stones totally misses out the slow acretion of tell settlements made of mud brick that was going on at about hte same time. Third, there is little to no discussion of organic material equivalents to this structure which are assumed to have existed even if they have not been preserved. Fourth, prehistoric developments in one discrete area cannot serve as a proxy for talking about social developments elsewhere – saying one site is proof of the rise of “civilisations” (a deeply misleading word) is horseshit. Finally (for now), it is very very well known in both anth and arch literature that humans were ‘religious’ well before they were settled or hierarchical – religious imagery (we think) can be identified in modern human populations from the Upper Palaeolithic and even some non-human apes (neanderthals) buried their dead occasionally in what appear to be special rites.

    [end rant]

  5. 5
    harlana says:

    Republicans, keepin’ it classy, always

  6. 6
    Chris says:

    Religion—and I say this as a person of faith, albeit a faith not much respected in contemporary America—has always been a useful tool for social control.

    I agree.

    If I may ask, and just out of curiosity – what’s your faith? If it’s been brought up before, I don’t remember it…

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    @PreservedKillick:

    You don’t become – or stay – the most powerful nation in the world, or the most powerful group of anything in the world, without a strong management team. In public policy terms, that’s a government.

    The republicans are systematically destroying it.

    Ergo, we won’t be the most powerful nation in the world for long.

    You also don’t stay the most powerful nation in the world when you believe reality is something you can choose to believe in or not. Nor do you stay the most powerful nation in the world when your solution to all of your problems is to gaze at your own navel, lament the half-remembered good old days of two hundred years ago, and try to bring them back just by wishing hard enough. Both of which are trademarks of the modern GOP. That’s three reasons why unless we can unhitch ourselves from that horse, we are indeed all going down.

    Don’t see the flying nukes things happening – the Soviets and the white South Africans both “fell” without making the world pay for it, I think we would too. OTOH, look at the current state of the Soviet Union – if they have their way, we’ll look something like that in the end.

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    Lastly,

    @harlana:

    I see your “Republicans, keeping it classy” and raise you one “Newt Gingrich Says Muslims Are Nazis.”

  9. 9
    harlana says:

    Completely OT, but I was reading the “what are we praying for” thread last night. There were many sad entries from people who had lost their jobs, never had health insurance/adequate health care, the loss of an 80-year old family business due to the economy, one person valiantly trying to care for two very ill parents, etc. I just did not have adequate words to express to these folks my heartfelt empathy.

    It would be nice sometimes to have a “hard times” post for people to talk about the effect the economy has had on them personally.

    So many people are suffering, I have been there through 2 agonizing years of unemployment, it would be nice for them to share stories and support each other, and also for others to read their stories. Also, I don’t see enough posts about the unemployment crisis and its effect on the ordinary person. Anyway, just a suggestion since there is so much pain out there (oceans, why do I feel like the only person who sees these otherwise invisible people?) but I think people are hesitant to share their stories because they think other readers who have not been there will think they are whining.

  10. 10
    Lysana says:

    I talked to one of those deniers recently. He swears he’s reading the same data the scientists are but merely reached a different conclusion. I told him he was obviously not using the same data if he thinks it makes sense to snark about dinosaurs driving SUVs.

    @harlana: As someone who is also in hard times, I appreciate this thought.

  11. 11
    Woody says:

    Interesting to read this – I was noodling about this while gardening all day yesterday. Fox/GOP has done two amazing feats simultaneously:

    1. It has deposited the Jesus of the Beatitudes down the memory hole, and
    2. It has largely co-opted the largely Southernist evangelical Christians into a Fox/GOP Church.

    Fox/GOP are never wrong. They are never inconsistent or duplicitous – the Truth is whatever is being broadcast at that moment (which is why Perfesser Gingrich’s infamous statement made total sense to a Fox/GOP worshiper). They are the One True Movement and is thus immune from appeals to science or logic. Prayer is replaced by slogans (as meaningful as listening to an adolescent fly through penance HailMarymotherofgracethelordiswiththee).

    Rush, Hannity et al are thus placed properly: as televangelists dispensing hellfire for unbelievers and approbations for the Faithful in a sinful (i.e. non-Fox/GOP) world.

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    @Chris: You also don’t stay the most powerful nation in the world when you believe reality is something you can choose to believe in or not.

    How the heck did this happen? Is it really from the toxic sludge of Republican Christianity, double dipped in denial?

    Is it that easy to encourage a vulnerable group to think they don’t have to comply with reality? And if so, no wonder they are so bitter and angry; mind you, it’s also never their fault.

  13. 13
    gene108 says:

    What’s a better trick is converting engineers, college professors, and others, who are not particularly conservative in most respects, to doubt human influences on Global Warming.

    Climate science isn’t their bailiwick, but they know enough math, science, statistics, etc. to buy into the counter arguments, since the counter arguments have a much broader media footprint.

    The scientists, who have data about human causes of Global Warming, just aren’t able to get their data out into a readily understood manner.

  14. 14
    Anne Laurie says:

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    Finally (for now), it is very very well known in both anth and arch literature that humans were ‘religious’ well before they were settled or hierarchical – religious imagery (we think) can be identified in modern human populations from the Upper Palaeolithic and even some non-human apes (neanderthals) buried their dead occasionally in what appear to be special rites.

    Since I’m a devout animist, I’m not going to argue against the fact that the religious impulse goes back as far as the beginning of our species, if not sooner. (I’d love to hear your thoughts on Herzog’s CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS.) But the ‘civilizing’ urge to turn our ancient impulse into a caste-driven tool — “God says you all need to get together and build this megalithic complex to my specifications” — is rather more recent. And that’s the form of religiousity that Junod is discussing; religion as “Our god is better than your god”, a social weapon against the GOP’s caste enemies. That’s when our natural impulse (IMO) turns toxic.

    @Chris: I’m an animist. When I need shorthand, I tell people I worship Sekhmet, the Lion Goddess, Our Lady of Consequences.

  15. 15
    Rihilism says:

    Just a personal pet peeve nitpick, but I absolutely hate the “believe” part of global climate change discussions. Whenever someone asks me whether I “believe” in AGW, I say “No, I accept the evidence that humans have contributed significantly to GW and that increased GW presents significant threats to human society. Belief has nothing to do with it.”…

  16. 16
    gene108 says:

    Also, I think some of the backlash is if DFH’s support it, I guess being a button down, 9-5 sort of guy would just have oppose it, because those DFH’s must be wrong…they’re just weird / off-their-rocker / don’t share my values, etc.

    Basically, the people who work for Greenpeace (for example) are just too socially non-conformist to get acceptance for Global Warming from somewhat liberal – pro-choice, like environmental laws, etc. – folks to want to jump on their bandwagon.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Rihilism:

    This, which applies to evolution as well.

  18. 18
    Xenos says:

    The use of the term ‘religious’ is misplaced – the problem is not so much that denialism takes a religious tone (or is reinforced by religious authorities) so much as it is dogmatic. Once the denialist position becomes established as dogma then conservatives can not challenge denialism without running head on to the whole right wing power structure.

    This dynamic can apply without any religious component – see, for example, how Darwin-denialism (in the form of Lysenkoism) became dogma in the Soviet Union. This left the USSR unable to react to environmental problems in their food production, with unfortunate results. A pretty clear parallel to what we are seeing here and now.

  19. 19

    @Anne Laurie:

    I second the notion of a “hard times” thread occasionally [regularly?] where we could lay down our burdens of anxiety and the pains of deprivation without feeling bad about ourselves. Perhaps we could also encourage one another.

  20. 20
  21. 21

    @Anne Laurie:

    Okay, I had to look up Animism to be sure what it meant. It means “We are all part of the One. We are all alive and therefore we are of the One.”

    Is that close enough?

  22. 22
    kdaug says:

    Meh. We’re hairless primates with stone knives and bear skins trying to contemplate the structure of reality.

    Could be one God. Could be millions. Could be none at all. The very definition of the term “God” is suspect.

    We don’t know 1/1,000,000,000th about the nature of the universe.

    Dark matter/energy?

    Galactic accelerating expansion in defiance of entropy?

    Antimatter?

    A hundred-billion things we haven’t seen/discovered/thought of yet?

    We like to pound on our stones like Ozymandias and say “Behold what we have created!”, but it’s weak sauce.

    Perhaps one day we’ll know it all. Perhaps we’ll destroy ourselves before then. Either way, ’till then, reckon you ought to muddle through.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    @WereBear:

    I always thought it came as a backlash to the 1960s/70s, and the way the social movements of that era had laid bare the ugliest things about the United States (racism, neglect of the poor, behavior of troops in Vietnam, etc)… Which upset a lot of good, mainstream Americans, but not in the “let’s do something about this,” more in the “sweep it all under the carpet and never talk about it again, it makes me too uncomfortable” way.

    Which more than anything else is what Reagan’s election played on – the desire to forget about everything we’d seen and just go back to talking about how awesome we all were. Accusations of liberal bias, fuzzy math, intellectual elitists who didn’t really know anything, media not reporting good news, and all the rest of those things came from that era. Once you get that ball rolling, it’s not hard to tack on things like climate change denial. Climate change? Oh, it’s just the liberal intellectual elitists again, they’re just making shit up because they want your money and because they want to tell you what to do.

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    @Rihilism:

    Whenever someone asks me whether I “believe” in AGW, I say “No, I accept the evidence that humans have contributed significantly to GW and that increased GW presents significant threats to human society. Belief has nothing to do with it.”…

    I am going to use your response.

    Takes it out of the theological framework.

    Also, strangely, a lot of conservatives (that I talk with, anyhoo) seem amenable to admitting to “climate change.”

    Maybe the concept of “global warming” is too linked to sighing, internet-creating Al Gore. (You know, the fat guy.)

    Floods, tornadoes, and droughts get these guys’ attention.

    They’re primed to look for plagues of locusts.

  25. 25
    toujoursdan says:

    Let’s keep in mind that most of the major religious organizations have issued statements stating that AGW is a reality and that consumerism and overconsumption lies at the root of the crisis.

    The Vatican Pontifical Academy of Science says:

    We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses. We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home. By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_cu...../acdscien/

    The mainline Protestant churches, Jewish and Muslim groups have also done the same.

    Right wing American-based evangelical Christian groups sold out to corporate Republicanism a long time ago. But younger evangelicals are frequently at odds with the pronouncements their elders make, so that will change too.

  26. 26
    OzoneR says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    What can possibly be done when the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world is in the grip of an insane death-cult?

    someone else becomes the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world.

  27. 27
    toujoursdan says:

    Can you take my comment out of moderation? Ta.

  28. 28
    OzoneR says:

    @Chris:

    Which upset a lot of good, mainstream Americans, but not in the “let’s do something about this,” more in the “sweep it all under the carpet and never talk about it again, it makes me too uncomfortable” way.

    Which is reminiscent of my grandparents telling me “We didn’t have these problems when I was your age”

    As if there were no murders in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, no poverty, no unethical politicians, no war when my grandmother was 21…in 1942.

    When I showed her proof that, yes, in fact, we did have these problems and in many cases, it was worse. She’d reply “Yeah, well, we didn’t know about it”

    Liberals began losing when they forced this country to face reality against its will.

  29. 29
    WereBear says:

    @Chris: Heaven knows the GOP is obsessed with the culture wars of that time period. However, this doesn’t explain its strong presence elsewhere, such as the parade of American Idol contestants who sing like bad brakes but weep when told this.

    It’s always been my dream is meaningless if we are not equipped to carry out what needs to be done In Reality. Did they take the wrong messages from uplifting stories about perseverance? Are their imaginations so stunted they can’t come up with another dream?

  30. 30
    Rihilism says:

    @Elizabelle: You are more than welcome to use it. As Villago Delenda Est pointed out above, it applies to evolution as well (I actually started using it for evolution discussions prior to using it for GCC. I usually say, “I don’t believe in evolution, I accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that the Theory of Evolution is true.”)…

  31. 31
    Uncle Glenny says:

    @Woody:
    2. It has largely co-opted the largely Southernist evangelical Christians into a Fox/GOP Church.

    I believe the Southern Baptist Convention has been infiltrated and taken over by dominionist types, as a deliberate, planned action. There’s even a name for this by my aphasia is kicking in.

  32. 32

    @Citizen Alan:

    “What can possibly be done when the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world is in the grip of an insane death-cult?”

    What’s even worse, Alan, is that half of the people in this country prefer to vote for members of this death-cult.

    It boggles the mind.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    DBrown says:

    @Citizen Alan: Children are our hope – I am very happy I have a child because they have mastered, in their first year of High School, Calculus, and a non-scientific AP level course as a fun thing to do – they are signed up for multi-variable calculus, and college level physics for next year (only tenth grade.) Their goal is to get into a top university so they can learn enough to tackle our energy problems and make this a better world. I couldn’t be more proud or happy.

    @Rihilism: AGW is scientific fact – someone saying ‘believe’ is just showing how stupid they are – what a country we are becoming.

    @Chris: Raygun the ass licker to the wealthy elite was the first great disaster to strike this nation and thanks to both cheney and his puppet, we have entered a death spiral which peak oil will really put the nail in the coffin of our military super power status …

  35. 35
    Liberty60 says:

    I have been thinking of this topic, since I frequently have to debate members of my family over AGW and such.

    It is, in fact, a form of religion, on both sides, since it deals with moral choices, and how we see our relationship to each other.

    I think political arguments are best won by a compelling simple argument, that is underpinned by a moral imperative.

    Most political arguments quickly resort to “The report I read about says so and so” responded with, “Well, the report I said on Fox news says those scientists are full of crap.”

    No one here is in any position to really read the science and judge adequately- we all are simply trusting in some authority or another.

    So it is too easy for the other side to throw up chaff and blur the issue with misleading statistics and number which no one can check easily.

    As the old sying in politics goes, “if you are explaining, you are losing.”

    Moreover, I didn’t come to my conviction about sustainability because I happened to read a scholarly paper, and changed my mind, and I doubt anyone else did either.

    Rather, I observed the general illogic and madness of our consumer society, how it is predicated on waste and inefficiency.

    Doesn’t matter how much oil there is left, or whether the earth is actually warming or cooling- the process that depends on extracting resources, using them briefly then burying them in a landfill is madness. It is fundamentally unsustainable and unhealthy. Nothing is recycled or returned to its source, and eventually everything gets used up- whether it is now or in 10,000 years is irrelevant.

    Processes that depend on perpetual growth, or ever-increasing demand for more, more, more is the logic of a cancer cell.

    The sustainable movement as exemplified by LEED and green buildings, and “The Natural Step” framework, isn’t based on saving the earth- its based on improving the health and happiness of people. Saving the earth is charity, something people do only after their needs and desires are met- improving our health and happiness is something we do first and foremost.

    A clear and compelling narrative and moral logic is a better line of attack, since it is more resistant to getting derailed off into the weeds of this study versus that study.

  36. 36
    Porco rosso says:

    Religion is just one of the many tools the proponents of irresponsible authoritarianism use.

  37. 37
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @gene108:

    This is the most frustrating part to me, since it seems that the majority of opposition to things like Evolution, Climate Change, etc. simply stems out of this exact sort of blind contrarianism: “The Hippies and the Libs like it, so it must be EEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIIILLLLLLL!!!!!”

    And sadly, that has become one of the biggest political forces in our country to the point of harshly swinging elections. The nation abhors a Hippie, and adores a Hippie Puncher, no matter if the Hippie is telling the truth or not. Better to punch him now and feel good about yourselves as Americans rather than entertain the idea that Hippies have a point, because by god, that’d be Un-American.

  38. 38
    Uncle Glenny says:

    @kdaug:
    Yes, that’s them. Someone made up a name for the takeover process, is whaat I meant.

  39. 39
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @gene108:

    The scientists, who have data about human causes of Global Warming, just aren’t able to get their data out into a readily understood manner.

    [Scratches head]

    I dunno – they seem to have persuaded the rest of the world. So they’re able to get their data out in other countries, but something seems to be in the way of promulgating the truth in “The Land of the Free”.

  40. 40
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    Yeah, that’s one of the things that’s gotten to me. Sure, there might be a problem with keeping things in layman’s terms, but why is America the only country where we’ve gotten the supreme dogmatic opposition?

    More of that American Exceptionalism I suppose. The whole world but us are a bunch of flaming hippies, so it’s up to us to fight for the rightness of what we know to be true, according to American Jesus.

  41. 41
    OzoneR says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik:

    but why is America the only country where we’ve gotten the supreme dogmatic opposition?

    Google American Exceptionalism.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Liberty60:

    Saving the earth is charity, something people do only after their needs and desires are met- improving our health and happiness is something we do first and foremost.

    I think that “saving the earth” is the wrong way to put it because, frankly, the earth doesn’t care if we live or die. There’s very little humans can do that would literally destroy the earth, but there’s a lot we can do that will destroy the ability of humans to continue living here.

    We can’t destroy the earth, but the earth could easily destroy us. If nothing else, a healthy sense of self-preservation should dictate that we get up off our asses and preserve the environment that makes it possible for us to live here. Otherwise, the earth will move on without us.

  43. 43
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @OzoneR:

    (COUGH)SecondParagraph(COUGH)

  44. 44
    HyperIon says:

    @To PreservedKillick: Bring me some some hot coffee!

    Isn’t that what Aubrey is always saying to Killick?

  45. 45
    HyperIon says:

    @Liberty60 wrote:

    No one here is in any position to really read the science and judge adequately- we all are simply trusting in some authority or another.

    I disagree. Someone with a technical background can comprehend the outline and then focus on details. Of course if you mean “the average American” or even “the average reader of B-J”, I might be more accepting of your blanket statement. And if you had said “No one can understand how the modern financial world works”, I would say “Amen, brother.”

    But climate change is science and not very obscure science. We’re not talking quantum chemistry here or string theory. I try to keep up with the AGW science narrative. But it is extremely complicated so it cannot be taken in quickly or immediately. IMO mastering the basic facts and exploring the various mechanisms is worth the effort.

  46. 46
    Dr.BDH says:

    The monument is the Nat. Geo. link is very impressive, but the whole write-up reveals an important assumption in our thinking about the past: it is assumed that something that big is religious or at least spiritual. A circle of large stones, carried great distances, requiring a lot of cooperation. Why is that necessarily religious? Because of cathedrals and pyramids? It reminds me of “Brave New World,” where the future anthropologists assume “Ford” refers to a religious figure and, more hilariously, think that “Freud” is the same holy personage. Our civilization builds large structures that have no religious connotation all the time. Why not give earlier peoples the same consideration? AGW deniers may confound religion and science, others may confound religion and bragging or community.

  47. 47
    Ruckus says:

    @Dr.BDH:
    Religions have to find “proof” wherever they can. If they can convince enough people that a gathering of stones is religious then they can apply the same idea to a cathedral as well as show that people were religious centuries ago, so it must be true. It’s a centuries old circlejerk. When you don’t need or even expect proof because one has belief instead, the truth has to be hidden/denied or it’s easily possible the proof will be that deities don’t exist.

    I think there is another reason for AGW being denied by the evangelicals. The idea is that god is all powerful and we believe in him so he will protect us. As the world is much bigger than man and controlled by god, how is it that man can contribute to it’s demise? When god doesn’t protect believers(natural disasters) it is only because they didn’t believe strongly enough. See first graph, circlejerk.

  48. 48
    Rihilism says:

    @Liberty60:

    No one here is in any position to really read the science and judge adequately- we all are simply trusting in some authority or another.

    I am lucky in that I actually learned about the principles of GCC in my undergraduate thermodynamics class. The principles are not so complicated as to be incomprehensible to anyone who has a mathematics and/or science background. I’ve also had the opportunity to discuss GCC with a climate scientist who happened to be my undergraduate advisor. His explanations of his work were relatively easy to follow. Certainly, I relied on his authority and expertise, but this is true for any science discipline and does not automatically imply the information being conveyed is beyond any reasonable judgement of the relevant scientific principles involved.

    The relatively certainty of any scientific theory is always coupled with the understanding that there are unknowns that need to be taken into account and that further research (and further review of said research) will be required. This uncertainty is slowly alleviated by the shear volume of researchers studying the matter and if the information garnered continues to support the theory’s hypotheses’ or allows for further understanding of the natural phenomena involved, then the theory can be held to be true until significant contradictory data is generated. This is how science works and it is it’s strength, not it’s weakness.

    In short, one need not be an absolute expert in climate science in order to understand and accept the basic scientific principles of the Theory of GCC…

    end rant

  49. 49
    Rihilism says:

    @Liberty60:

    It is, in fact, a form of religion, on both sides, since it deals with moral choices, and how we see our relationship to each other.

    Um, not a religion or a form of religion for me. If it can be demonstrated that scientific principles underpinning the Theory of GCC are invalid or inaccurate, I will gladly reject the theory. There is no “faith” involved, no “belief”. If moral judgements are required due the consequences of GCC, then that is a a separate issue, and does not impact the validity of the theory. Finally, as a non-religious person, I also believe that moral choices do not automatically imply nor require religiosity…

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    greylocks says:

    The problem I have with this secular-vs-religious theory is that I know several deniers, including my own brother, who are not at all religious and who detest the fundies. They are, however, anti-government types, and they perceive the whole global warming thing as an excuse for jacking up fuel taxes and telling us what vehicles we can drive. This doesn’t have to make sense to us, but it makes sense to them.

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    […] Laurie wrote yesterday on the problem with that ambition:  that too many, in the US at least, have now crossed the line into territory where belief in the […]

  52. 52

    […] Laurie at Balloon Juice says, It’s taken us some twelve thousand years to reach our current state of affairs, when a tiny […]

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