Friday, September 18, 2015

Climate change: "God's will"

Time now again for Science Friday.

Or rather pseudoscience once more. I'm not even sure how this came across my feed. It was a letter to the editor for a news site (if you can call it that) of one form or another or something like that. The subject of the letter was, among other things, climate change. Here's an excerpt:

"Scientists and others are worried about climate change. I believe they are deceived because of unbelief of the almighty God. There have been floods and droughts, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes from the beginning of mankind 6,000 years ago. These could cause climate change but only if God allows it."

Hoo-boy, where to start?

First of all, I am not going to mock this man's belief in God. My own spiritual views are perplexed to say the least and someone else's views on deity are none of my business. Provided, that is, that they keep it away from me and the public sphere. Second of all, the writer of the letter should not be singled out as I don't believe his opinion is a unique one necessarily.

That should disturb us.

It should disturb us because of what it means. "God is in control of the climate, so it doesn't matter what we do." If you were God, would you not be at least a bit insulted by that? It sounds like a total shirking of responsibility. No matter how reckless we get with our environment, it doesn't matter because He's going to call the shots anyway. What if we expand that view to other behaviors? Scary and I'm willing to bet not entirely representative of most religions.

There is also no way to engage someone like this with facts. It doesn't matter that this past summer was the hottest one on record. It doesn't matter that arctic ice is melting. This is God's will so why would we do anything about it? Let the climate change and just accept it as the larger plan of the almighty. See how it still gets us off the hook? That's where, as I mentioned earlier, the danger comes in when religious thinking of this kind overrides scientific fact in regard to policy-making in the public sphere. Then there's this...

There are many different cogs and facets in the machinations of "the denial industry" (yes, I'm aware that's a very old link.) All manner of "research" has been conducted via funding from oil companies and fake "citizen groups" that essentially props up fraudulent "science," claiming that the verdict on climate change is inconclusive. They were successful in setting back action on climate change by at least ten years. It's still a powerful force, more powerful than I'd like it to be, but it's getting harder for it to make headway when 97% of peer-reviewed, published papers on the subject of climate say that climate change is happening and humans are the cause. In light of this, is there another avenue corporate interests could take in order to hold fast to their profits? There is. It also happens to one with a built-in shield of sorts against argument as it is rooted in faith (therefore untestable), not fact.

It's called religion.

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