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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Environmental "Crisis" is an Epistemological Crisis

Religious Leaders Urge Action on Warming

Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders are urging President George W. Bush and Congress to take action against global warming, declaring that the changing climate is a "moral and spiritual issue."

Isn't it interesting that when it comes to scientific theories such as evolution, religionists tell us that we can not trust science. When it comes to the age of the earth, the origin of the universe, or the first law of thermodynamics (energy can not be created or destroyed) we are told that we can not trust science. However, when a few scientists tell us that they can predict the temperature of a planet for the next 100 years suddenly and miraculously science has the utmost validity.

Meanwhile, as the next link demonstrates - scientists are slowly seeing the light (the quotes sound like former cult members being deprogrammed in a group therapy session)

Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics

Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!"

Wiskel also said that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion” and noted that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism...

"Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye,”

When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical,” Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007 blog. “But after 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker -- better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds,” Evans wrote. “As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’” he added.

The reason why I believe this issue is so important is not only because of the potential impact of environmentalist regulations on the economy or that I feel the need to expose the falsehoods and hypocrisy of those forecasting an environmental "crisis". This issue is important because it represents an extreme worsening of an ongoing epistemological crisis.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge, i.e., the philosophy of "how do you know". Throughout human history, a culture's fundamental answer to the question of "how do you know" is a life or death matter upon which civilization itself rests.

For example, say you were to follow Aristotle and the best of the Greek philosophers and answer that man is capable of understanding the world and that knowledge is acquired through a process of deductive and inductive logic applied to observation. As a consequence, you will get scientific progress, technology, civilization, and political freedom (as freedom is demanded as a pre-condition for reasoning beings to survive and prosper.) You will get life affirming art in the form of grand sculpture, literature, poetry and music. In short, the acceptance and utilization of reason begets human happiness on a massive scale.

On the other hand, if you were to follow the Platonic tradition and take its premises seriously (reality is an imperfect reflection of ideal forms which can only be grasped by philosopher "kings") you end up with a secular version of anti-reason (post modernism and subjectivism) or the religious version (fundamentalism and intrinsicism). If you go the modern version you get today's abyss of post modern nihlism and socialist dictatorship. If you go the religious direction you get bishops and church authorities as the arbiters of orthodox "truth" as revealed to them by God or scripture. Since there is no rational basis upon which to base such claims, its proponents must enforce their beliefs by physical force, e.g., the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Ayatollah, the Taliban, etc.

In "Closing of the Western Mind" author Charles Freeman discusses the rise of Christianity and the beginning of the Dark Ages:

Intellectual self-confidence and curiosity, which lay at the heart of Greek achievement, were recast as the dreaded sin of pride. Faith and obedience to the institutional authority of the church were more highly rated than the use of reasoned thought. The inevitable result was intellectual stagnation.

In short, reason gets you Ancient Greece, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson. Anti-reason gets you the Dark Ages, Al Quaeda and Michael Moore.

So the above links are a barometer of the epistemological crisis. As expected, Religion continues on unabashed - seizing on anything however irrational or unfounded which matches its agenda of human sacrifice to God and now God's "creation" in hopes of making Him happy enough to give a good afterlife. The Left will continue to push its pagan religious agenda as embodied by Environmentalism. This agenda is really the same agenda as the old Left and its socialist sympathizers, namely the destruction of capitalism and industrial civilization. If you think this is bleak Freeman notes:

The last recorded astronomical observation in the ancient Greek world was one by the Athenian philosopher Proclus in AD 475, nearly 1,100 years after the prediction of an eclipse by Thales in 585 bc, which traditionally marks the beginning of Greek science. It would be over 1,000 years -with the publication of Copernicus' De revolutionibus in 1543 - before these studies began to move forward again.

If you don't believe philosophy is important in determining the fate of civilization across thousands of years read the above quote again. The hope as evidenced by the scientists linked above is that some remant of reason and rationality still exists among honest scientists and that civilization will not disappear again for a thousand years or more.


Adam Pierce said...

Just browsing around the BBC's news and thought this might interest you.

Vatican to Build Solar Panel Roof

Apparently, the world's foremost religious leader doesn't want to miss the environmentalist frenzy.

Modern Christianity is a diluted and partially egoistic version of what it was hundreds of years ago (Three cheers for Aquinas!), but a major pro-environment turn would once again make the world's most powerful mystic group openly anti-happiness and anti-life. Hopefully, the descent in global temperatures predicted by some Russians (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060825/53143686.html) will be quick and drastic enough to refute the popular environmentalist alarmism we're now seeing.

Adam Pierce said...

Here's something better:

Russian Academy of Sciences Says CO2 Not To Blame for Global Warming

The Rat Cap said...

I disagree with several premises in your comments. Religion is inherently anti-happiness and anti-life. The premise of "faith" is that reason is limited and human beings can only know truth through revealed scripture (as interpreted by the Pope, Ayatollah, etc.). It asserts that human beings are inherently flawed (original sin) and that morality consists of redemption through sacrifice to god and self-abnegation. Priests are celibate for god's sake!

Can you think of a more anti-life, anti-happiness theory than one that denies sexual pleasure?

Re climate, any "proof" will have no affect on environmentalists. There is no proof of global warming caused by man now, but it has not stopped them. What makes you think that a decrease in temperatures will have any affect? In fact, I've heard them argue that global warming will lead to an Ice Age (did you see that "Day After Tomorrow" movie where they were living in an Ice Age or something...?)

Before global warmin there was global cooling in the 1970's (i'm not kidding). Before that they said pesticides and DDT were killing us and acid rain and soil erosion and before that Malthus said we would run out of food in 1798. Marx said Socialism would outproduce capitalism. They never stop even if they are wrong over and over and over again.

Environmentalism is a philosophy that upholds the idea that nature is valuable in and of itself apart from human life ("intrinsic value" they call it). On this view, since man must use the environment to survive, he is by definition evil (similar to the religious view of Original Sin). So according to them, man must be limited and progress thwarted lest he modify or "destroy" nature.

All the science about global warming and ecosystems, etc. is a smoke screen to add a pseudo-scientific veneer to an aggressively anti-man, anti-life, anti-capitalist political agenda.

Mark my words, when global warming hysteria subsides it will be something else. If the average person has 5 cadillacs, 3 homes, and enough food for a thousand years, then they will find the the one poor guy who only has 1 car and 2 homes and assert that we have a home crisis and call for an investigation of the evil capitalist homebuilders...etc.

If you understand their philosophy they are very predictable.