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The Pseudo-Religious Mania of Environmentalism

By ATWadmin On November 7th, 2006

I noted with interest that DV’s opinion of last week’s episode of "Question Time" was that it was slightly more balanced than usual. I only got round to watching it last night, via the BBC website.

I was amused but not at all surprised to see the disdainful reaction of the audience, when Mail On Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens dared to suggest that those whose minds are so closed that they refuse to even question the so-called "scientific consensus" (ha!) on "man-made global warming", are in fact "in the grip of religious mania", and that if they want to merely follow the politically correct view like mindless sheep, that is entirely up to them.  

I thought to myself that, regardless of whether Mr Hitchen’s opinion is correct or not (and he is not a scientist), it is now getting to the stage where one has to be quite brave to publicly question the dogma of man-made global warming, these days. I wonder how long it will be before legislation is introduced, making "man-made global warming denial" a crime? Is such a thing really so far-fetched? I’m not sure.  

The blogger Natalie Solent recently made some very good points when she wrote: (edited here, emphasis mine)

"The demonisation of ‘climate change denial’ is an affront to open and rational debate.


[Brendan O’Neill] quotes someone who wants to make climate change denial an offence, and someone else who wants "some sort of climate Nuremberg." …[There are people] using the terms climate change "denialist" in an effort to make them sound equivalent to the likes of David Irving. Those who use these terms generally say they don’t intend to make this parallel. I don’t believe them. More to the point, I believe in climate change less because of them.

"I do largely believe in climate change – but that belief is second hand. We accept the consensus of experts. The consensus convinces because there is no good reason to suppose that so many eminent scientists are lying or deceiving themselves when they say climate change is happening. But if you give me cause to believe that departure from the consensus gets a person ostracised, then there is a good reason."


Former Chancellor Nigel Lawson has also added his voice to the "debate that dare not speak its name". I completely agree with him when he says,

"The voluminous Stern Report adds disappointingly little to what was already the conventional wisdom – apart from a battery of essentially spurious statistics based on theoretical models and conjectural worst cases. This is clearly no basis for policy decisions which could have the most profound adverse effect on people’s lives, and at a cost which Stern almost certainly underestimates". 


What I found most interesting was that Mr Lawson elaborates most incisively on Peter Hitchens’ "religious mania" quip, and argues that the perceived "science" of environmentalism has its roots not in science at all, but is in fact a placebo-religion, which is springing up in Europe as a sort of "replacement faith" for Christianity:  

"It is, I suspect, no accident that it is in Europe that climate change absolutism has found the most fertile soil. For it is Europe that has become the most secular society in the world, where the traditional religions have the weakest popular hold. Yet people still feel the need for the comfort and higher values that religion can provide; and it is the quasi-religion of Green alarmism and what has been termed global salvationism – of which the climate change issue is the most striking example, but by no means the only one – which has filled the vacuum, with reasoned questioning of its mantras regarded as a form of blasphemy".


Spot-on, Nigel. In my opinion, all the endless bunkum and bahooey about "global warming" and "saving the planet" is a pseudo-religious movement, which serves to underline the words of G K Chesterton: "When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything".

Well, I, for one, totally reject what I see as the false religion of environ-mentalism.  Others are, of course, free to put their faith in it if they so wish, but until a time comes when dissenters are engaged with rationally and scientifically, instead of being howled down and ostracised from their peers, then please do not try and tell me that my own religion is "based purely on faith" whereas environmentalism is "based on science".



14 Responses to “The Pseudo-Religious Mania of Environmentalism”

  1. Tom,

    I was accused of being a climate change denier the other day on the BBC. It is akin to being a heretic if one questions the environ-mnetalists. I haven’t read Nigel Lawson’s piece yet but I plan to.

  2. The environmental movement in its modern form was born with the seminal book by Rachel Carson "Silent Spring" published in the USA in the early 1960s. This alerted the general public to the disastrous effect that chemical farming was having on the environment and the dangers it posed to human health. Eventually this led to legislation, bitterly opposed by vested interests, to restrict the use of chemicals.

    In the 1980s acid rain became a concern in Europe and North America. Whole forests were affected by the sulphur belched out by power stations. Again, this led eventually to restrictions which have largely succeeded in restoring the affected forests.

    The global warming hypothesis was first proposed in the 1970s. Since then, the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has produced almost exactly the warming predicted by the theory.

    Personally, I see it the other way round. Those who oppose environmental legislation generally do so as part of a religious crusade. They see the earth and the environment as an infinite resource which is there to be plundered without any restriction. So strip mining, over-fishing, and burning the rainforest to raise cattle for burgers (to name but three destructive practices) are just fine by them.

  3. Ah, "Silent Spring"! – the book which led to the worldwide banning of DDT, the chemical which by now would have virtually eradicated malaria from the world, had it not been for largely unfounded concerns about a few fish and birds.
    But oh no, the mantra of "preserving the environment" is more important to these people than saving the actual human lives of TENS OF MILLIONS. Enough said.

  4. "This alerted the general public to the disastrous effect that chemical farming was having on the environment and the dangers it posed to human health."

    The phrase ‘vested interests’, has such wonderfully evil connotations, doesn’t it?

    The fact that without GM crops and highly effective pesticides we would not be able to produce enough food to meet the needs of the current world population, let alone the future expected growth in population, seems to be conveniently ignored.

    Given that none of us wishes to starve, it would appear we are all part of those ‘vested interests’?

  5. Tom,

    good post. The more the "scientific consensus" unravels the shriller the enviromentalist lobby becomes. Here’s more heresy from the US Senate Committee.


  6. Have either of you two bozos actually read "Silent Spring"? Let me guess….

    I’m not against GM crops in principle, but pesticides are linked with cancers. Ever heard of organic?

    But Tom puts his finger (unintentionally of course) on the biggest challenge of all. The world population has doubled from 3 billion to 6 billion in the last 50 years, and is predicted to reach 8 billion by 2050. The anti-environmentalists see this as good news. But for thousands of species which share this planet with us it will spell extinction. And for the human race the spectre of starvation for millions.

  7. Peter: Don’t be anti-clown.

  8. Peter,

    anything good taken in large enough measures becomes bad. Just because I keep an open mind, and do not consider the cassandras above question, does not mean I am in favour of mercury in the drinking water.

  9. David, I am surprised that you have not read Nigel Lawson’s piece yet. You will really enjoy it. Read Christopher Monckton’s report also. Both papers provide a forensic examination and destruction of the present global warming hysteria and junk science so evident today. Indeed, Lord Lawson’s is subtitiled "An Appeal to Reason".

    As for Rachel Carson…..well, the lives or should we say deaths of millions can be laid at her doorstep. Only now is the use of DDT beginning to be re-introduced into Africa to combat Malaria. Oh, I have read her book many years ago and at that time, believed it. Well, we all make mistakes.

  10. I’m not sure I buy the idea that environmentalism is a religion. I happen to believe that science has its place and its provenance, but that doesn’t have much to say about what it cannot test or falsify.

    Much as Climate Change can and should remain subject to conjecture, there seems to be enough evidence to warrant taking precautionary measures. You also don’t have to be a fully committed environmentalist to understand the logic of the Stern report’s argument that inaction now, could pile on costs further down the line.

  11. Global warming or not I think it is a good idea to reduce dependence on oil.

    But through technological advance not government interference.

    Environmentalists urge a massive increase in taxes on petrol. If their advice was taken what would happen. Either consumption would stay broadly the same but inflation would go up.

    Or consumption would fall causing the price of oil to crash thus making it affordable again.

    What we are now subject to is a political softening up process. But I think it will be for nuclear power rather than anything that will destroy economic growth. For politicians green issues are about soft focus and not hard choices.

  12. Peter T

    DDT is being brought back in strictly controlled circumstances. It is only being used to spray internal mosquito nets instead of the unrestricted use of the 1950s and 1960s which resulted in widespread pollution of drinking water.

  13. "The fact that without GM crops and highly effective pesticides we would not be able to produce enough food to meet the needs of the current world population, let alone the future expected growth in population, seems to be conveniently ignored."

    im sorry but that is patently wrong. many farmers in india rejected GM seeds infavour of their own community seed distribution projects. the local groups completely outpaced the GM yeilds. sympathetic farming and sensible use of land is a far better solution than altering the genetic structure of vital crops. corporate ownership of plantlife is not something im keen on.


    ive yet to be convinced that the latest craze on global warming is nothing to do with preparing us for the shock of less oil. although ive said before, the two issues may be completely symbiotic.

  14. DT,

    I’m sure you’re right about GM crops, which I think create a dependency on the seed manufacturers and producers of pesticides which the GM crops are modified to be resistent to.(the same companies do both no doubt)