Progressives love mocking devoutly religious people. With their smug, snarky, I’m-so-much-smarter condescension, they’ve taken a perverse glee in characterizing the religious right as backwards anti-science luddites. But times have changed. The Left has a new friend in Pope Francis, who has come out in support of the science of manmade climate change. And wouldn’t you know it, progressives everywhere have suddenly gotten religion. It’s a miracle.
Now that the Pope is on the bandwagon, we can finally put climate change dogma into its proper context: an article of faith that cannot be questioned. We finally have the perfect demonstrable frame of reference to accurately define the ideological essence of climate science: A belief system with loyal followers who preach the climate change gospel to the eco-pagans of the world. This is hardly breaking news to many, but let’s make sure everyone is getting up to speed on a subject that has now received the venerable blessings of the Vatican.
Of course the believers have already declared the subject closed to further discussion. And they have a loyal congregation of supporters waging a holy war against the non-believers. What more do they want? The late author Michael Crighton, of Jurrassic Park fame, was ahead of the curve on this phenomenon. In his widely quoted 2003 speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, he was one of the first to call environmentalism a religion. To debate climate change is an affront to “settled” science, as if the mere mention of the word “science” demands a reverent obligation to submit to some absolute doctrine.
But now the believers have, quite literally, a religious document with which to bolster their faithful devotion. In his recent papal encyclical, Pope Francis said that “the pontiff unambiguously accepts the scientific consensus that changes in the climate are largely man-made.” This is no mere letter to the editor of the New York Times. The encyclical is second in importance only to the Apostolic constitution, the highest ranking document now issued by popes. Not quite canon law, but close enough if you’re a climate change true believer.
In spite of the Pope’s proclamation, there’s plenty of uncertainty, skepticism, and unanswered questions coming from the heretical deniers. But their refusal to recant their blasphemy only invites denunciation from the believers. To deny their orthodoxy is only evidence that the non-believers are stupid, ignorant, or simply blind to the truth. And while the climate change believers claim it’s all about science, their rhetoric is filled with an evangelical zeal that betrays the science they supposedly stand behind. They fervently implore the world to believe as they do.
But let’s get down to reality. When it’s all said and done, neither science nor faith are the real issues causing so much rancor. It’s the extreme politicization and militant fanatacism that’s transformed climate science into a radical political movement. And it’s also given us a legion of true believers more loyal to political agendas than scientific inquiry.
It’s the politics that have corrupted climate science into an unofficial ministry of commissioners who, with little actual authority, insist on making over-the-top demands. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat Senator from Rhode Island suggested in an article in the Washington Post that climate change skeptics should be prosecuted under the RICO act. Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology believes that climate deniers should be arrested for criminal negligence and put in jail. Many other scientists are in accord, some even recommending the death penalty. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of climate change’s loudest activists, said there should be a law that lets authorities punish skeptics and deniers. Reasonable people are naturally going to question any science for which these kinds of extreme prescriptions are considered viable solutions. But this is what climate science has become.
Politics has encouraged the practice of fraud, deceit, intimidation, and PR spin in order to forward the climate change agenda. Consequently, ardent but unscrupulous believers have skewed the science into a confusing body of contradictory information that they claim the deniers are just too thick to understand. Meanwhile the media heaps non-stop ridicule and scorn onto this partisan melee. Politicians, from the President on down have done their part as well, having invested enormous amounts of time and energy to discredit, decertify and punish the deniers. Scientists and journalists have lost their jobs for daring to question the climate science establishment. Is it any wonder that so many skeptics consider climate change proponents completely lacking in credibility? The mere fact that the believers had to come up with a new buzz word ought to raise more than a few eyebrows. They’d prefer we forget that the climate issue once flew under the banner of “global warming.”
Whatever you want to call it, no one is arguing against the fact that climates change due to various factors. Even most scientists who question the most recent scientific findings will acknowledge the plausibility of human activity contributing to climate change to some degree. But when it’s called “settled science,” that’s an arrogant and ironic oxymoron that sends up a red flag. History shows us how scientific concepts, theories, and principles have changed, been rejected or improved as the result of new discoveries. But it’s never settled. That would be unscientific. In his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking admits that the theories of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are incompatible. But scientists continue to argue back and forth, and science advances as a result.
Now that the Pope has weighed in on the ongoing climate change schism, his decree will be sufficient in the hearts and minds of many believers. But maybe that’s just as well. Anyone that’s ever tried to argue religion with a devout follower knows you’re going to get nowhere. So why waste energy trying? And just as with the religious devotee, you can’t argue with a climate change believer any more than you can argue with a Scientologist. To criticize either is to invite harassment. Even a lawsuit maybe.