As Michael Crichton pointed out long ago, and as said here, many times

Cast from the Garden of Eden

Cast from the Garden of Eden

UN Climate chief: “Global warming is my religion”.

In fact, he’s the former chief, having been fired yesterday because of his sexual harassment of female staff, but the point remains: global warmists have rejected traditional religion and embraced the tenets of the Church of the Holy Gaia, which teaches that man is an alien to earth and a destructive force that is ruining Eden.

Crichton’s 2004 essay, “Environmentalism – religion run amok” can be found here. A (lengthy) excerpt:

The greatest challenge facing mankind is to distinguish reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth always has been a dilemma, but in the Information Age—or, as I think of it, the Disinformation Age—it takes on a special urgency and importance. We must decide daily whether the threats we face are real or not, and whether the solutions we are offered will do any good. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part supplied by the people around us and the society we live in; in part generated by our own emotional state, which we project outward; and in part results from actual perceptions of the world. In short, our struggle to determine what is valid is the need to decide which of our perceptions are genuine and which are false.

As an example of this challenge to mankind, I want to talk about environmentalism. In order not to be misunderstood, I need to be perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to live our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including those to other people and the environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the biosphere. I feel the world has genuine difficulties and that they can and should be improved. Yet, I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely complicated, and the results of our deeds very often are hard to know in advance. I suppose our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often have gone awry. Moreover, we do not recognize our previous failures or face them squarely—and I think I know why.

While studying anthropology in college, one of the things we learned was that certain human social structures always resurface. They cannot be eliminated. One of those is religion. It is said we live in a secular society in which many people—the best and most enlightened—do not believe in any creed. However, you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely reemerges in another. You may not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. It seems to be the faith of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it is a religion? Well, just look carefully at the beliefs. What you see is a perfect 21st-century mapping of traditional Judeo-Christian dogma and myths. For example, there is an initial Eden, a Paradise, a state of innocence, and unity in nature; there is a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and, as a result of our actions, there is a judgment day coming. We all are energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek deliverance, which now is called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment, just as organic food is its Communion.

… Increasingly, it seems, facts are not necessary because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It is about whether you are going to be a sinner or saved, one of the people on the side of salvation or on the side of doom, one of us or one of them. Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we understand a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago, our new knowledge base is not really supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet they refuse to die. Let us examine some of those notions.

There is no Eden. There never was. When was that Garden of the wonderful mythic past? Was it the time when infant mortality was 80 percent, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? Was it a time when one woman in six died in childbirth; when the average lifespan was forty, as it was in the United States a century ago; when plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke; when millions more starved to death? Was that Paradise?

What about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony in an Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived travelers who crossed the land bridge from Asia almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up to accelerate the process. What was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly. The people of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare—generations of hatred and perpetual battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous even today: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztec, Toltec, Inca. Some of them practiced infanticide and human sacrifice. Those clans that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

…  The noble savage is a fantasy. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths and their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction. There even was an academic movement, during the latter twentieth century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man’s invention to demonize indigenous races. (Only academics could fight such a battle.) It was some thirty years before professors finally agreed that yes, the ritualistic consumption of human flesh indeed does occur. Meanwhile, all during this time, New Guinea highlanders continued to eat the brains of their enemies, until they finally were made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease. Remember, too, that the African Pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet. Conversely, the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent entity.

In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature….

… The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people desire is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real sense, and no one does. It is all talk, and as the years go on and the world population grows increasingly urban, it is uninformed talk. Farmers know of what they speak; city people do not. They just have their fantasies.

…  Now, let us return to religion. If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind was never noble, kind, nor loving, and we did not fall from grace, what about the rest of the religious tenets? What about salvation, sustainability, and judgment day? What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming if we all do not get down on our knees and conserve every day? Yet, something has been left off the doomsday list lately. Although the preachers of conservatism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade, world population seems to have taken an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over the course of my lifetime, the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion to 15 billion to 11 billion—which was the United Nations estimate around 1990—to 9 billion today and, soon, perhaps less. There are some individuals who now think that world population will peak in 2050, and, that by 2100, there will be fewer people than there are today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say hallelujah? Certainly not. Without a pause, we hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population, or the impending predicament of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life have turned out to be false. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in the desert. They never were there, although they still appear on the horizon, as mirages do.

Okay, so the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they are human. So what? Only it is not just one prediction; it is a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of global resources. Famed biologist Paul Ehrlich projected that 60 million Americans would die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty-thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by the year 2000. On and on and on it goes.

With so many past failures, one might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. Not if it is a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard who predicts the end of the world does not quit when the world does not cease on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with them.

I can list some facts for you. I know you have not read any of these in the newspaper because newspapers do not report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen, did not cause birds to die, and never should have been banned. The people who outlawed it knew that it was not toxic and halted its use anyway. The DDT ban has caused the loss of tens of millions of people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced Western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the Third World. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth-century history of America.

Secondhand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the Environmental Protection Agency always has known this. The evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents ever would admit. The percentage of U.S. land area that is taken up by urbanization, including cities and roads, is five percent. The Sahara desert is shrinking, and the ice in Antarctica is increasing. A blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the twenty-first century—not wind, solar, or even nuclear power. A totally new technology—like nuclear fusion—is necessary, otherwise nothing can be done. In the meantime, all efforts are a waste of time. That was reported when the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases.

… I want to argue that now is the time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the planet, similar to that which occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. This time around, though, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We have to stop the mythic fantasies and halt the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons we must get rid of the religion of environmentalism. First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. …. Moreover, it must be apolitical. To mix natural concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the truth—that there is very little difference between the parties on this subject, except for pandering rhetoric.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Fundamentalists think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of Planet Earth is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past—for example, in managing national parks—is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests may never recover. We should be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We should be trying various methods, open-minded about assessing the results of our efforts, flexible about balancing needs. Religion does none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion and back to a scientific discipline? The answer is simple: We have to institute a far more stringent set of requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply are not true. It is not that these “facts” are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest possible way. Not at all. What more and more groups are doing is putting out blatant lies; falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At the moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. It probably is best to shut it down and start over. What we need is something much closer to the Food and Drug Administration, an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, fund identical research projects to more than one group, and make everybody in this field agree to honest standards.

In the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. If we allow science to become politicized, we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the Dark Ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who do not know any better. That is not a good future for the human race. That is our past. So it is time to abandon the religion of environmentalism and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

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4 responses to “As Michael Crichton pointed out long ago, and as said here, many times

  1. Pinzgauer

    His book “State of Fear” is more relevant today than when it was first published over a decade ago.

  2. AJ

    Global control through environmental control – an idea dreamed up by a think tank in 1966.

    “The substance of these stratagems [for the weakening of the United States so it can be more easily merged into a global government based on the model of collectivism] can be traced to a think-tank study released in 1966 called the Report from Iron Mountain. Although the origin of the report is highly debated, the document itself hints that it was commissioned by the Department of Defense under Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara and was produced by the Hudson Institute located at the base of Iron Mountain in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The Hudson Institute was founded and directed by Herman Kahn, formerly of the Rand Corporation. Both McNamara and Kahn were members of the CFR.

    The self-proclaimed purpose of the study was to explore various ways to “stabilize society.” Praiseworthy as that may sound, a reading of the Report soon reveals that the word society is used synonymously with the word government. Furthermore, the word stabilize is used as meaning to preserve and to perpetuate. It is clear from the start that the nature of the study was to analyze the different ways a government can perpetuate itself in power, ways to control its citizens and prevent them from rebelling.

    It was stated at the beginning of the Report that morality was not an issue. The study did not address questions of right or wrong; nor did it deal with such concepts as freedom or human rights. Ideology was not an issue, nor patriotism, nor religious precepts. Its sole concern was how to perpetuate the existing government. The Report said:

    Previous studies have taken the desirability of peace, the importance of human life, the superiority of democratic institutions, the greatest “good” for the greatest number, the “dignity” of the individual, the desirability of maximum health and longevity, and other such wishful premises as axiomatic values necessary for the justification of a study of peace issues. We have not found them so. We have attempted to apply the standards of physical science to our thinking, the principal characteristic of which is not quantification, as is popularly believed, but that, in Whitehead’s words, “…it ignores all judgments of value; for instance, all esthetic and moral judgments.”

    The major conclusion of the report was that, in the past, war has been the only reliable means to achieve that goal. It contends that only during times of war or the threat of war are the masses compliant enough to carry the yoke of government without complaint. Fear of conquest and pillage by an enemy can make almost any burden seem acceptable by comparison. War can be used to arouse human passion and patriotic feelings of loyalty to the nation’s leaders. No amount of sacrifice in the name of victory will be rejected. Resistance is viewed as treason. But, in times of peace, people become resentful of high taxes, shortages, and bureaucratic intervention. When they become disrespectful of their leaders, they become dangerous. No government has long survived without enemies and armed conflict. War, therefore, has been an indispensable condition for “stabilizing society.” These are the report’s exact words:

    The war system not only has been essential to the existence of nations as independent political entities, but has been equally indispensable to their stable political structure. Without it, no government has ever been able to obtain acquiescence in its “legitimacy,” or right to rule its society. The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power. The historical record reveals one instance after another where the failure of a regime to maintain the credibility of a war threat led to its dissolution, by the forces of private interest, of reactions to social injustice, or of other disintegrative elements. The organization of society for the possibility of war is its principal political stabilizer…. It has enabled societies to maintain necessary class distinctions, and it has insured the subordination of the citizens to the state by virtue of the residual war powers inherent in the concept of nationhood.2

    A NEW DEFINITION OF PEACE
    The report then explains that we are approaching a point in history where the old formulas may no longer work. Why? Because it may now be possible to create a world government in which all nations will be disarmed and disciplined by a world army, a condition which will be called peace. The report says: “The word peace, as we have used it in the following pages, … implies total and general disarmament.”3 Under that scenario, independent nations will no longer exist and governments will not have the capability to wage war. There could be military action by the world army against renegade political subdivisions, but these would be called peace-keeping operations, and soldiers would be called peace keepers. No matter how much property is destroyed or how much blood is spilled, the bullets will be “peaceful” bullets and the bombs – even atomic bombs, if necessary – will be “peaceful” bombs.

    The report then raises the question of whether there can ever be a suitable substitute for war. What else could the regional governments use – and what could the world government itself use – to legitimize and perpetuate itself? To provide an answer to that question was the stated purpose of the study.

    The Report from Iron Mountain concludes that there can be no substitute for war unless it possesses three properties. It must (1) be economically wasteful, (2) represent a credible threat of great magnitude, and (3) provide a logical excuse for compulsory service to the government.

    A SOPHISTICATED FORM OF SLAVERY
    On the subject of compulsory service, the Report explains that one of the advantages of standing armies is that they provide a place for the government to put antisocial and dissident elements of society. In the absence of war, these forced-labor battalions would be told they are fighting poverty or cleaning up the planet or bolstering the economy or serving the common good in some other fashion. Every teenager would be required to serve – especially during those years in which young people are most rebellious against authority. Older people, too, would be drafted as a means of working off tax payments and fines. Dissidents would face heavy fines for “hate crimes” and politically incorrect attitudes so, eventually, they would all be in the forced-labor battalions. The Report says:

    We will examine … the time-honored use of military institutions to provide anti-social elements with an acceptable role in the social structure. … The current euphemistic clichés – “juvenile delinquency” and “alienation” – have had their counterparts in every age. In earlier days these conditions were dealt with directly by the military without the complications of due process, usually through press gangs or
    outright enslavement. …

    Most proposals that address themselves, explicitly or otherwise, to the postwar problem of controlling the socially alienated turn to some variant of the Peace Corps or the so-called Job Corps for a solution. The socially disaffected, the economically unprepared, the psychologically uncomfortable, the hard-core “delinquents,” the incorrigible “subversives,” and the rest of the unemployable are seen as somehow transformed by the disciplines of a service modeled on military precedent into more or less dedicated social service workers. …
    . . .
    BLOOD GAMES
    The Report considered ways in which the public could be preoccupied with non-important activities so that it would not have time to participate in political debate or resistance. Recreation, trivial game shows, pornography, and situation comedies could play an important role, but blood games were considered to be the most promising of all the options. Blood games are competitive events between individuals or teams that are sufficiently violent in nature to enable the spectators to vicariously work off their frustrations. As a minimum, these events must evoke a passionate team loyalty on the part of the fans and must include the expectation of pain and injury on the part of the players. Even better for their purpose is the spilling of blood and the possibility of death. The common man has a morbid fascination for violence and blood. Crowds gather to chant “Jump! Jump!” at the suicidal figure [. . .]
    . . .
    THE ENVIRONMENTAL-POLLUTION MODEL
    The final candidate for a useful global threat was pollution of the environment. This was viewed as the most likely to succeed because it could be related to observable conditions such as smog and water pollution– in other words, it would be based partly on fact and, therefore, be credible. Predictions could be made showing end-of-earth scenarios just as horrible as atomic warfare. Accuracy in these predictions would not be important. Their purpose would be to frighten, not to inform. It might even be necessary to deliberately poison the environment to make the predictions more convincing and to focus the public mind on fighting a new enemy, more fearful than any invader from another nation – or even from outer space. The masses would more willingly accept a falling standard of living, tax increases, and bureaucratic intervention in their lives as simply “the price we must pay to save Mother Earth.” A massive battle against death and destruction from global pollution possibly could replace war as justification for social control. . . .”

    Click to access Report_from_Iron_Mountain.pdf

  3. My rant

    Great passage. Thanks for posting.

  4. Babylon Sister

    From page xxiii of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:

    “Remember: once you organize people around something as commonly agreed upon as pollution, then an organized people is on the move. From there it’s a short and natural step to political pollution, to Pentagon pollution.”

    It’s not really about the environment. Like a watermelon… green on the outside, and red on the inside. The question is, who is actually unwitting?