Gaia, false gods and public policy

By George Weigel at First Things:

I claim no expertise in climate science. I do claim a certain competence in detecting spin in the media; for I’m a card-carrying member of that clan, as I’ve committed print journalism for more than 40 years and worked in television for over 20. Thus credentialed, I rise to note that serious spin has dominated media coverage of climate change for a long time now. There are, to be sure, exceptions to this rule. Since Hurricane Katrina, though, it’s generally been all-hysteria-all-the-time in reporting and commentary on weather and climate change. This may get eyeballs onto screens and newspaper pages; it doesn’t do much for cool, calm public debate.

So when the chief scientist in the Obama administration’s Energy Department, who’s also a professor of physics at Cal Tech, challenges the spin and the hysteria, attention should be paid. That’s precisely what Steven E. Koonin does in the recently published Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters: He takes on just about every shibboleth emboldening today’s crusaders against climate change. Professor Koonin doesn’t deny that the planet is warming and that human beings have something to do with that. He does question some of the claims behind the present drive to Do Something! through massive governmental interventions.

Thus, to quote from the Wall Street Journal review of his book, Professor Koonin shows, from the scientific data, that

tornado frequency and severity are . . . not trending up; nor are the number and severity of droughts. The extent of global fires has been trending significantly down. The rate of sea-level rise has not accelerated. Global crop yields are rising, not falling. And while global CO2 levels are obviously higher now than two centuries ago, they’re not at any record planetary high—they’re at a low that has only been seen once before in the past 500 million years. 

Not shocked (or angry) at Professor Koonin yet? Then try his own words: 

Heat waves in the U.S. are now no more common than they were in 1900 . . . the warmest temperatures in the U.S. have not risen in the past 50 years. . . . Humans have had no detectible impact on hurricanes over the past century. . . . Greenland’s ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly today than it was 80 years ago . . . The net economic impact of human-induced climate change will be minimal through at least the end of this century. 

As I said, I’ve no credentials to judge the accuracy of Koonin’s assertions. I do like his against-the-grain boldness, and I certainly agree with his argument that the science—not media and activist spin on the science, but the actual data from the many authoritative reports he cites—should govern decision-making about public policy and climate change. I also have an idea of why the climate debate has become so emotionally fraught. It’s not just because of media spin and political opportunism, although both of those play their part. It’s because environmentalism has become an ultramundane pseudo-religion.

That religion has a deity: Gaia, the Earth. It has a sacred text: Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, which began the transformation of the American conservation movement (which respected the natural environment without deifying it) into contemporary environmentalism. It has its religious holidays, “Earth Day” being the Pentecost of the new religion and the occasion for homiletics that mimic Peter in Acts 2:14–36. (A pre-K student, I’m told, brought home from school this past April 22 the revelation that “we should get rid of our cars because they’re bad for the air.”) Gaia-religion has a kind of ersatz sacramental life: I’ve been in circumstances where there are seven recycling bins, which certainly rings bells in the Catholic mind. It inculcates a moral code; some of it makes sense—how can anyone object to the fact that our highways and national parks are virtually litter-free these days?—but other parts of it veer into the worst forms of elitist, anti-natalist zealotry, as when some of the new religion’s prophets urge shrinking the planet’s human population by six billion people in the name of saving (or appeasing) Gaia. And I certainly can’t be the only person who’s noticed that carbon trade-offs are the new religion’s form of indulgences—the selling of which in the 16th century led to a lot of trouble.

Is ours a secular world? Or is it a world that’s traded authentic religion for a modern form of idolatry—one that’s corrupting our politics because it displaces reason with the kind of existential dread the ancient Canaanites once felt about Moloch?

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2 Responses to Gaia, false gods and public policy

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
    Thank you again for directing needed focus to imperative concerns for all faithful here on this site!
    If this doesn’t beat all as they say; this posting today popped up on my notifications the same time that a notice came that someone had liked my comment on your previous blog article, “Prophecies By Visionaries Who Foresaw Today’s Crisis in the Church” Posted on June 23, 2020 by kathleen. That article was fantastic and timely I had thought back then and now again it brings to bear the attention to prophecy coming to fruition before our very eyes! To me this latest article is an indicator of not so much to do with Climate Science as the author beautifully illustrated but more to do with the human race and in particular the Falling Away from Faith in God Almighty! Secularism has been on a steady increase for decades and now pseudoscience and even pagan belief systems have taken hold of many younger people! I don’t know if the Harry Potter series had much to do with instigating this transition or as it were, does it matter, “which came first the chicken or the egg” but the fact is Christianity has taken a nose dive and then to top that off we have this massive controversy in the Church Hierarchy, with I still find it hard at times to say this, but now a False Pope is leading the way which does blow my mind in a manner of speaking! This is a “Falling Away” like nothing we in the modern age have ever witnessed and I can safely say like nothing in the past from its foundational period!

    About a couple of years ago I wrote an article that ties in perfectly here where I quoted one of the top respected climate scientists who refutes all of the junk science and Global Warming, Climate Change fanatics!
    In this article I stated this relating to his findings! Marc Morano says it best and truthfully, “In his best-selling book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change, climate skeptic Marc Morano shares the facts you haven’t been told and argues that the bad news about the Earth’s climate is wrong!”
    “Antarctica is gaining ice, not losing it. CO2 levels are actually 10 times lower today than they were thousands of years ago, and severe weather is declining not getting worse.”
    And Morano says, “your tax dollars going to fight climate change are being wasted.” The book also is also able to point out that even using all the best data and theories that the Climate Accord is going by it with all of its suggestions would postpone any Climate Change by about 4 years and would cost the world 100 Trillion dollars!

    And of course as I’m sure you’re aware the Madman Bill Gates who I guess is like a god to some people having no credentials in many of the fields he steps into and manipulates; wants to now cool the planet down by shading the atmosphere!
    Last night Syria sustained massive airstrikes to knock out Iranian missile batteries along the Syrian coast! Along with this development Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form an Israeli government making two of the still great democracies of Israel and America teetering on the edge; so add these instabilities with all the Junk Science and Paganism mind-set of the secular societies around the globe and this “Falling Away is happening Big Time!” The leftist are all gloating like sharks ready for a feeding frenzy!

    Apostle Paul writes that it will involve the revealing of “the man of sin…the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
    “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

    What have we gone through for over a year with the artificial pandemic and now here where I live many people still are locked into this evil game walking around or even driving in their cars alone with their faces covered from their lower eyelids to their necks like zombies as I see them; and feeding on LIES! I don’t wear the God forsaken mask, and walk right into the super market carrying a kerchief in case some hot head says I’m going to contaminate someone like that I’ll cover my mouth; which hasn’t happened yet!

    This is all so far beyond seeing the writing on the wall; as I see this unfolding I figure I would have to be brain dead or have no faith in my Living God Almighty in the precious name of Jesus Christ, my Lord Savior and Redeemer; who is returning to save all the faithful along with anyone who turns from evil and sin to accept Him as their Savior. Amen.
    God bless you.
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brother Burrito says:

    Fantastic article, in my opinion. Mr Weigel articulates perfectly my own thoughts and beliefs about climate “change”: nothing to see here, please move on.

    Liked by 1 person

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