Saturday, March 03, 2007

Inside the Mind of a Global Warming Non-Believer

My local newspaper, the News-Star (motto: "we add typos to challenge our readers"), published a letter to the editor this week claiming that global warming is fiction. The lengthy missive, written by John Allen, trots out many tired, sometimes incoherent arguments.

He starts by saying, "In the 1970s the same scientists were claiming we were heading for a deep freeze." A lot of people really hold that "ice age" prediction against the scientific community. Yet I wonder, are these really the same scientists? I mean, thirty years is a long time to be at the height of one's profession, so I doubt that this is literally true. I suspect it's a generalization promoted by the anti-science crowd (those darn scientists, they're all the same!). Even if they are the same scientists, I would argue that they are much wiser now than they were in the 1970s (I know I am). Science has come a long way in three decades. But that's not what I wanted to write about.

Near the end of his letter, Allen sees a conspiracy at work:
Global warming is nothing more than pseudo science supporting spending government grant money and forcing people to purchase "environmentally friendly" products that cost us and corporations more.
Uh, okay. And perhaps environmentalists are the new Illuminati, manipulating us to achieve their devious objectives such as clean air and water. But that's not what I wanted to write about either.

Allen saves the best for last, veering headlong into religion instead of merely summarizing his previous assertions:
I am sure when God designed our planet, he took into account we would be a developed world with an atmosphere designed to handle it.
Where do I start? First, let's presume everyone believes in God (athiests and agnostics, save your talking points for another time). So God took into account that we would be a developed world? If that is true, why did he make us go to the trouble of inventing and creating that development ourselves? Why didn't he just give Adam a hardhat and drop him into a smoke-belching factory instead of the Garden of Eden? One can imagine God looking down for thousands of years, thinking Let's see how long it takes these people to figure out mass production, heh heh. To paraphrase the late comedian Bill Hicks, I don't like the idea of a supreme being who likes to mess with us (he was talking about Christians who claim God put dinosaur bones on Earth "to test our faith").

Saying that God designed our planet to suit our future needs is probably very comforting. It basically justifies mankind's actions as God's will. God meant for us to clear-cut forests and cause the extinction of His creatures. God meant for us to spew chemicals into our rivers and give people downstream the gift of cancer. God meant for us to pump oil out of the ground and burn it in our SUVs.

But wait a second. Belief in God usually comes with some sort of belief in an evil counterforce such as Satan. Who can say where God's great plan ends and the devil's machinations begin? What if global warming is Satan's scheme to destroy God's creation? (To claim that the oil companies are in league with the Prince of Darkness is certainly nothing new.)

I've given this letter -- and particularly its final sentence -- more thought than it deserves, but here is my favorite revelation. Surely you've heard the parable about the man sitting on his roof during a flood? When a boat comes to rescue him, he waves it off, saying, "God will save me." The situation worsens and a helicopter hovers over the house. Again, he waves it off, saying that God will save him. He drowns, and when he gets to heaven he asks God, "Why did you let me drown when I believed in you?" And God says, "I sent you a boat and a helicopter!"

So, Mr. Allen, what if those scientists talking about global warming are God's way of sending us a boat or a helicopter?


willow9 said...

Hey DJWriter,
Last year you posted on Bastard of the Day, regarding the unfinished bike path and Alderman Bernie Stone. I am volunteering for Naisy Dolar and as you may have heard, Stone is now in a runoff against Dolar on April 17th. If you have any friends in the 50th ward, please ask them to check out and click on the build-a-bridge link, and cast their vote on the 17th. The bike path would have been nice since it was funded but now we have another chance to show Stone that he does NOT speak for the entire ward. Thank you.

Jennifer said...

Wow, I think that tops the guy who claimed that global warming is a necessary and inevitable sign of the impending apocaplypse.

Is that letter online somewhere?

David Johnsen said...

Although the News-Star puts most of its content online, I can't find anything from the editorial pages there.