Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 5

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 5

In the previous post of this series, I made the observation that belief in anthropogenic climate change has considerable similarities with Christianity, especially its catholic variant. I would do so far as to say that belief in man-made climate change is the secular version of Catholicism. And this raises the inevitable question- why hasn’t the urge to believe in a secular version of religious beliefs taken other forms? Well.. actually, they have and belief in man-made climate change is simply the latest secular religion to have arisen from the ruins of traditional religious beliefs. To understand what I am talking about, let us briefly explore the nature of belief or more precisely, what separates belief from reason.

In the previous post of this series, I made the point that you almost never meet people who deny the existence of gravity, electricity or microbial theory of infectious diseases- and the reason for that is very straightforward. Every major part of our current theories about these examples and many more can be tested very easily and in a reproducible manner. You do not have to believe a priest.. I mean “credentialed expert” to appreciate that gravity exists or electricity flows through the wires in your home, workplace or vehicle. Similarly, you do not have to believe anybody as a precondition for taking an antibiotic to kill microbes and cure some infection. More importantly, we can understand why things did not work, if they didn’t as expected.

For example, a light not turning on after flicking the switch is due to power failure, mechanical issues with switch/ wiring or the light source suffering a malfunction. It is trivial to identify and fix the problem and the theory remains internally self-consistent. Similarly, a prescribed antibiotic not working is always due to either incorrect identification of microorganism, development of resistance or the drug being unable to reach certain tissues. Each of these situations can be tested for and addressed with alternative strategies while maintaining internal self-consistency of hypothesis. This is not the case with religious-type belief systems.

Consider for example, answers to questions such as why innocent or “good” people suffer or die while assholes thrive. Depending on the religion, you will get vastly different and contradictory answers. Even worse, they are based in a mutually incompatible worldviews. Contrast that to the measurement of electric voltage and current, speed, distance, weight etc. Even if two people are using entirely different instruments and units for making their measurement, their answers have identical patterns. 110 hp is always more than 100 hp and 82 kW is always more than 74.6 kW.

Then there is the issue of attribution or cause and effect. Almost nobody is going to make claims that electromagnetic fields caused by household wiring will affect.. say.. the efficacy of antibiotics prescribed for a sore throat. In contrast to that, believers in traditional and secular religions keep inventing new connections and conditionalities to explain phenomenon which could not otherwise be explained by their worldview. Sometimes they make up connections to bolster their own faith in dogma. This is especially common for believers in secular religions such as capitalism and “man-made climate change”, who will often concoct non-existent connections between events or simply fabricate them. But that, still, does not answer why “man-made climate change” has become a popular secular religion among certain sections of society in western countries.

To better understand what makes this secular religion popular among certain segments of the population in western countries, you have to travel back in history to the 1970s. This was the decade when environmentalism first became something more just good public policy. Most people tend to remember that decade for its sexual liberation, hilariously bad fashions, disco music and “stagflation”. However that decade is much for important for another reason. Plainly stated, it was the first decade in over a century when the white west started to realize that its dominance over the rest of world was destined to fade and die out. But what would make people start thinking like that, even if it was at a subconscious level?

The simple answer is.. a series of global events and changes which continue to this day. There was the defeat of USA in Vietnam, 1973 oil crisis, China acquiring thermonuclear weapons and ICBMs, the almost total decolonization of Africa, growth of Japanese automobile and electronic industries and many other events which signaled that western domination of world was coming to an end. The 1970s also saw the end of the three decades of high economic growth throughout the west. But so what.. some may say. How does this translate into the start of public support for environmentalism. Surely there were other reasons for this change in attitudes.

Well.. that is partially correct. Post-WW2 increase in living standards of average people all over the west did make many of them unwilling to accept previously “normal” levels of environmental damage around the areas where they lived and worked. To understand what I am saying, have a look at candid photographs of any western cities prior to 1945. The short version is that even cities in North America, were much uglier, dirtier and polluted that today. European cities were way worse. Indeed, many cities with heavy industry had levels of pollution which make equivalent cities in China today seem much cleaner by comparison.

Most rules and regulations passed in first three decades after WW2 were about reducing or eliminating real and harmful pollution such as dumping the chemical industry waste products iton local water bodies, eliminating use of coal as domestic heating fuel, removing lead compounds from paint and gasoline, banning carcinogenic dyes and especially problematic chemicals used in agriculture etc. In other words, most environmental laws and regulations passed until mid-1970s addressed real and quantifiable problems. Then something started changing..

Beginning in the mid-1970s, the environmental movement in west was increasingly about ‘conservation’ aka maintaining some mythical status quo. The sharper ones among you might recognize that going back to some mythical utopia which nobody has seen is an important characteristic of many traditional and secular religions. Are you starting to see why slogans such as lowering atmospheric CO2 to 280 ppm (allegedly pre-industrial age levels) has far more in common with “returning to the garden of Eden” or “going back to the gold standard” than anything rooted in science. But wait, there is more.

Another defining feature of religious beliefs is that its leaders and priests hold themselves to very different standards than their followers. Have you noticed that “celebrities” and rich people who express strong support for reducing carbon emissions of others always travel in private airplanes, get chauffeured in limousines and live in huge houses. I mean.. if they seriously believed what they claim to, wouldn’t they change their own lifestyles to better conform to their beliefs. Then again, religion (traditional and secular) has always been the domain of hypocrites and scam artists. There is a reason why fornication by priests in the catholic church was a huge problem until they started the whole chastity scam. From then on, the church started attracting closeted gays and kid-fuckers instead of hypocritical straight men.

Since this post is already over 1000 words, I will stop here. In the next part, we will go into more detail about the quasi-religious dimensions of the modern environmental movement. We will also talk about the large amount of poorly suppressed racial resentment driving this movement.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. bonzo
    August 2, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Examples of irrationality regarding environmentalism:

    a) massive spending on increased costs to avoid extinction of spotted owl, snail darter, etc.
    b) nothing done to reduce estrogens in the food supply.

    a) no hunting allowed of cougars and bears, so that they are starting to lose fear of humans, because they represent precious fragments of wildness in our midst
    b) tighter and tighter restrictions on sexuality, which is a more interesting form of wildness

    a) very strict rules about constructing anything in national parks, so future generations can enjoy their beauty
    b) nothing done about those damned car alarms going off all the time and other forms of noise pollution, so that current generation can enjoy the beauty of quiet at night

  2. MikeCA
    August 3, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I have always thought that global warming denial has the characteristics of a religion, though it is probably more a political philosophy cultivated by the fossil fuel industry.

    First they argued that global warming was not happening. The data was faked.

    Then they argued that global warming had ended in 1996 and was now cooling.

    Now they seem to admit the earth is warming, but we cannot be sure CO2 has anything to do with it. Or if it does have something to do with it, so what? The earth has had much higher CO2 without boiling the oceans away..

    I understand Russia is a Petro state and has a vested interest in the world ignoring global warming

  3. anon
    August 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    If it truly was the existential threat that they claim it is then nothing would be off the table, yet with a few notable exeptions-read heretics-they won’t entertain nuclear power, geo-engineering or biotechnology. Right there you know its ideological.

    Given the complexities involved how can they claim the degree of certainty for their models that they do?

    • nyolci
      August 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm

      “If it truly was the existential threat that they claim”
      In this case the scientific consensus (ie. anthropogenic global warming) goes against the interests of the “they” (ie. the ruling class). This is the reason why denial (ie. non scientific bullshiting about climate) is so widespread. It is pretty unfortunate that AD advocates this shit. “The 98% of relevant scientists conspired and a handful of maverick and brave senators, CEOs and billionaires uncovered this conspiracy.”

  4. Nate
    August 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you for writing this out. This has always been my position regarding the climate change hysteria. That it is filling the gap in our psyches that needs a moral-religious narrative framing to our experience writ large. There’s a Nietzsche passage when he’s talking about the death of god where he says (I’m paraphrasing) “do we not feel untethered from our sun? Which way are we falling, upward, downward, forward backward, all directions at once?”. His point was that without god there is no longer any ultimate orientation to anything. There is no good, there is no progress, etc. There is purely darwinistic struggle in a cold and uncaring universe, towards no end, towards no purpose. The problem is people can’t wrap their minds around this radical de orientation. So secular liberals have been adopting quasi religious modes of thought, while thinking themselves “rational” and “post-religious” for 150 years. Climate change is the new mythos to structure our perception. It has the catastrophic looming crisis element on the horizon, the “we must all pull together” element, the forces of evil fighting our good efforts component (climate deniers). But yeah in short it is just a new form of apocalypticism. That is the cognitive structure, you might say, that it carries. These are deeply embedded archetypal narrative cognitive structures, and climate change fits it to a T.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: