by James Wallace Harris, Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Yesterday, I read a moving article in the New York Times, “Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students,” about a student, Gwen Beatty, waging an emotional war of words with her science teacher, James Sutter, over climate change. Gwen’s passion for defending her beliefs made me feel for her, but I agreed with her teacher. For years I’ve wondered why climate change deniers tenaciously cling to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence they are wrong.
Gwen Beatty’s unmovable emotional stance is a clue to why deniers can’t give in. At first, I thought deniers were being pugnacious for political reasons, and then I realized there was a religious dimension to their stance. Here are 33 reasons why some climate deniers probably can’t give in.
- To accept climate science means accepting science.
- Accepting science means accepting an indifferent random reality.
- Science shows reality is explained by evolution and not theology.
- There is no room for God if evolution is true.
- Without God, there is no need for Jesus.
- Without Jesus, there is no salvation.
- Without salvation, there is no heaven, hell, or eternal life.
- Without all of the above, there is no need of The Bible.
- If these things are true then liberals might be right about other things.
- If humans are the cause of climate change then we should fix it.
- Fixing climate change requires rethinking capitalism.
- To fix capitalism requires more regulations and control.
- More control requires a larger government.
- A larger government requires paying more taxes.
- Solving climate change means abandoning old sources of wealth.
- Solving climate change means telling businesses how to operate.
- Solving climate change means telling people how to live differently.
- If science if right about climate change it’s probably right about other issues.
- Humans are causing mass extinctions.
- Humans are polluting the planet and destroying the ecosystem.
- Humans are overfishing the oceans.
- Humans raise too many animals for meat consumption.
- Humans mistreat animals.
- Humans are ethically responsible for the balance of life on Earth.
- Humans, not God, decide what’s right and wrong.
- All people are equal regardless of their color, gender identity, or sexual preferences.
- That we have to think globally and not locally when it comes to human rights.
- That the soul might not come into existence at conception, or even exist.
- That it is unethical to let people live in poverty.
- That everyone deserves an equal education.
- That any kind of discrimination is wrong.
- That borders are arbitrary.
- That theocracy is evil.
I could go on. I wonder if accepting climate change is an uncrossable line some conservatives have drawn because they know crossing it means toppling the first domino that leads to the 33 beliefs above.