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Freeman Dyson on climate change

While cruising around Catallaxy I found a link to the piece by Freeman Dyson that I quote below and and what interesting read it makes.

All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world.

Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists—most of whom are not scientists—holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.

Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the be-lief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.

Freeman Dyson,

I think he sums up the situation very well indeed, the bold is mine by the way.

Cheers Comrades




  1. craigy says:

    “Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment.

    Well they are. If you read the number one dog whistle denialist Andrew Bolt, you clearly get the impression that he and his slavering hordes don’t see any environmental problems at all. He even still runs the line that the Murray River system is doing just fine. They also support the line that humans are far more important than the environment and people who care about animals are anti-human. Dumb and dumber.

    “Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists.”

    I wouldn’t say ‘many’ maybe ‘some’, a very small group. It is a fair call to say that focus on climate change is distracting from other environmental issues. I would agree with that statement, but you have to be fairly silly to not see the potential for big problems if we don’t at least look very hard at climate change and the human influence on it.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    Just out of curiosity Craigy how often do you read Andrew Bolt?

  3. craigy says:

    Well, I travel on the train each day and the only paper small enough to read is the News corp. one that Bolt writes for. So I read him most Wednesdays and Fridays. When he is repeating himself, which he does often, then I skim. I gave up his blog a while back as it’s generally very poor and just panders to his groupthink wing monkeys.

    Bolt is well known as someone who has no empathy for the natural environment by his own admission. He prefers man made stuff.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Well I would suggest that you read him more than I do and that his writing has more effect on lefties like you than it does on me.

  5. craigy says:

    That could well be true Iain. But my comment above does, if I am correct, refute the points made in the article you quote. What do you think?

  6. craigy says:

    Oh and BTW, I am not a ‘lefty’ of the type you paint most of the mythical left as.

  7. Iain Hall says:

    Well I don’t think your comment successfully refutes what you think it does, especially when you consider that Dyson is looking at the issue at a global level rather than just focusing on Australia as your comment does by citing Andrew Bolt.

  8. craigy says:

    “Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment.”

    Well then, what convinces you that this statement is true, other than it is in line with your denialist religion?

    “Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. “

    I don’t see any evidence of this locally or globally Iain. As a so called lefty, I know many passionate environmentalists that are neither religious nor denialist. What are you basing your assumptions on when you say “I think he sums up the situation very well indeed”?

  9. Iain Hall says:

    I for one am a passionate environmentalist Craigy as are most of those I know in primary production the difference between those like me and followers of the green religion is that we see Humanity as part of nature and not it’s antagonist.

  10. craigy says:

    Obviously you have no evidence that the wildly general statements in the article are based on any facts other than your own ‘faith’ in your denialist/anti-environmentalist religion Iain.

    Many primary producers are now becoming environmentally aware, like the farmers at the South Australian end of the Murray River, that are now realising that their farms are no longer viable. How many primary producers do you know Iain and how much land clearing have they done in Queensland that has resulted in salt damage?

    Yes farmers are in most cases the best environmentalists these days, following many years of campaigns by environmental activists to make them aware of the damage they were doing. For years farmers political groups attacked these people, it is now obvious they should have been listening to those warnings. The same lessons apply to climate change.

    How do you express your ‘passion’ for the environment Iain?

  11. PKD says:

    I wonder if the gravy train driven by global warmest alarmists is offset with a carbon trading scheme funded by the green religion!

    And I wonder if you actually have any serious points to make, or are just another denialist time-waster like Mr Hall???

  12. PKD says:

    Although I have to admit I like your site Max! 😉

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