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.
7 thoughts on “33 Reasons Climate Deniers Can’t Give In”
Aww, Jim. I truly appreciate your attempt to make sense of this.I also want to tell you that you are embarking on a trip that has no end. I was raised to be a Christian (Methodist, in fact; among others) and had a lot of co-mingling with other Christian sects, and all that I learned was that science/mathematics/and exploring the world around us taught us many truths. Most of them were learned from Greek and Arabic scientists.
The fact is that Science does not provide Answers. It only asks tougher and more detailed questions. Those of us who need definitive answers to the hard questions of life are doomed to choose from the slim-and-none choices that science can provide. And those of us who are bathed in The Truth of what the Christian Church tells us have a long way to go to deal with the real world. Beyond that, those who are born into and raised with other tenets of Faith (aka Sufi and Sunni Islamic faith) have an entirely different world view.
And yet; from my perspective we have not yet begun to answer those questions that will prove how or why our World can live successfully within all of the belief systems that seem to be in play. Any belief system that assumes that they hold the one, the Single, and Only True reality is just what it sounds like – Death to everything and Everyone Else.
The Christian Crusades were one such multiple adventure, although history says that it was more about the money than about God. The same goes for the Islamic wars to oppose the Crusades, and eventually crush them and led to invasion of Southern Europe.
Anyone who holds that these events were solely about Religion is an ass; it was all about power and wealth. I don’t care which flavor of God you choose; none of them (from the winning point of view) say we should kill all the other guys. Unless we have to.
And that leads us to today.
Actually science does provide plenty of answers just not the ones we like.
I believe we have all the knowledge, data, and technology we have to solve our problems. No breakthrus are needed. What holds us back is ourselves.
Great post, Jim. I agree wholeheartedly with your 33 points and plus. I agree with the other Jim about it has always been about power, wealth and control.
Religion controls its masses for its own end game and it does it through fear, tribalism and the promise of an afterlife. Climate change is coming whether you believe it or not. Everything is always changing from our own personal lives to the Universe at large and we can see God in these doings or science….maybe they’re one in the same. Religion was created by man eons ago before man even knew about the Universe or much of science and unless religion changes to a more global, rational, earth loving, all people loving view, and gets away from this current far right fundamentalism view, it will slowly over time perish.
As you point out, accepting Climate Change unravels a lot of beliefs. So we have the Climate Change Deniers ignoring climate data and cutting climate research. As if that will stop Climate Change…
I think this is mostly about power and wealth. Look at some of the most religious countries on earth.. India, for example. Is there any place more religious on earth? Yet, they are making quick strides in dealing with climate change and wholeheartedly support the Paris accords. Even Saudi Arabia, a country floating on the success of oil, does not deny the reality of climate change. And here in Europe, there are many Christians who have no qualms at all with accepting climate change. Why then in the US has this matter been fused in such an unhealthy way with religious beliefs?
I believe it’s because in the US there is more far right religious views and beliefs than in other countries. My personal experience is that over here almost all Christian religions take the Bible literally. I also believe in the US now, the republicans are in command and they tend to be religious and far right. They feel privileged and special and chosen above others.