04 November 2009

Is Environmentalism a Religion?

An interesting outcome from a court case in the UK which I first mentioned a while back:

In a landmark ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton said that "a belief in man-made climate change ... is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations".

The ruling could open the door for employees to sue their companies for failing to account for their green lifestyles, such as providing recycling facilities or offering low-carbon travel.

I wonder if this will open the door to other "science-based beliefs" such as having to do with GMOs, illegal drugs and so on receiving legal protection. This will be discussed in depth I am sure.

UPDATE: The ruling strikes Ben Hale as "strange".

12 comments:

SBVOR said...

Roger,

Rational environmentalism is not a religion.

But, environmental extremism and AGW hysteria are -- undoubtedly -- a religion.

Actually, AGW hysteria is a religious cult and is no more deserving of being legitimized as a real religion than the (Marxist) Jonestown cult was.

Speaking of which…
Don’t you think a snapshot of the very latest NOAA data (see the next paragraph) combined with the much bigger picture data makes selling the credo of this religious cult somewhat challenging?

OMG!!!
The lower 48 just experienced the 3rd COLDEST October since 1895!


We’re all gonna FREEEZE TO DEATH! Quick! Somebody send a global hoard of moronic government bureaucrats to the rescue!

Somebody alert Seth Borenstein! The media MUST REPORT THIS!

Don’t hold your breath. The propagandists posing as journalists are not interested. It does not fit their Marxist narrative.

cruelmistress said...

"Wrong"? I suspect it has something to do with what's already in the code... but I don't know. There's more to it than just this single ruling.

JohnF said...

Roger,
Do you think his was a "science-based" belief? Could it, instead, be "faith-based" or "science-related?" IMNTHO "science-based" demands that he understand the science - which I am finding very hard to do in my own case.

It seems to me one of your commenters a while back made a list of the characteristics of a religious or philosophical belief system and it did the job quite will without regard to science.

Reid of America said...

The keyword is catastrophic. Belief in catastrophic global warming from rising CO2 is a religious belief. There is ample observational evidence that CO2 effect is minor. The belief that CO2 is a pollutant and harmful to life is irrational nonsense.

So calling skeptics "deniers" is a false claim. We are heretics! I say let's shoot for 1,000PPM for a green planet.

W.E. Heasley, CLU, LUTCF said...

Hmmm. Science morphs into Political-Science then morphs into Religion. Seems like that sounds strangely familiar.

John said...

I'm not a legal expert, but on the surface the reasoning behind this ruling strikes me as very similar to claiming conscientious objector status with regard to military service on secular moral or ethical grounds. In that sense, it doesn't seem so strange, or at the very least, unprecedented.

Maurice Garoutte said...

JohnF at #3,
” It seems to me one of your commenters a while back made a list of the characteristics of a religious or philosophical belief system and it did the job quite will without regard to science.”

That was Not Whitey Bulger from http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/is-belief-in-climate-change-religion.html?showComment=1255017000784#c422274086572720307

It still applies.

Sharon F. said...

Reid-

I don't think we know or can say if warming will be catastrophic or not, nor do we know if it's already too late to prevent catastrophe. I think one of the reasons the emotions are so intense on this topic is that so little about the future is really known (it being the future and ecosystems and physical systems being extremely complex), and yet we are asking significant changes to be made.

SBVOR said...

-8-Sharon F,

1) If you define “catastrophic” as sea levels rising 4 to 5 meters above current levels, I would note that Mother Nature already did that during the previous interglacial warming period. Given that, how arrogant would some have to be to think they can stop Mother Nature?

We could no sooner stop that than we could stop the inevitable eventual return of the 1,000 foot tall glaciers which once stood atop the current location of New York City (along with the inevitable drop in sea levels of about 400 feet)!

But, given the current cooling trend, I am reasonably certain that even the modest prediction from the IPCC that sea levels will rise 7” to 23” by 2100 is excessively alarmist.

(See Table 3.1 on page 45 from this rather large and slow loading IPCC PDF file.)

2) As for the role of CO2 in all this, I don’t think one has to be a genius to see that man made CO2 (or any other source of CO2) will NOT result in anything even remotely “catastrophic”.

Andrew said...

"I wonder if this will open the door to other "science-based beliefs" such as having to do with GMOs, illegal drugs and so on receiving legal protection. This will be discussed in depth I am sure."

What, pray tell, are the science based "beliefs" people have about those topics?

I only see anything deserving of religious designation among anti-GMO groups, who completely ignore science in favor of superstitious BS. As far as drugs go, I can't even imagine. Medical Marijuana?

I would also add that while I think your title is WRONG in the sense that the trial was NOT about environmentalism per se, in answer to the question, the way environmentalism currently functions is religious. This was pointed out by Michael Crichton a long time ago:

http://www.michaelcrichton.com/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html

eric144 said...

My conspiratorial nature leads me to believe this is another case of the British government leaning on a judge to promote global warming.

The other one involved James Hansen giving evidence in a trial where defendants were found not guilty of trespass and vandalism on the basis they were protecting the greater good and that it was urgent.

This was excruciatingly daft as the law is normally appled to cases when somone's life is in immediate danger.


At least they didn't ask Gore.

Sharon F. said...

SBVOR
we will have to agree to disagree on this one.. or disagree to disagree..?
Based on my scientific background plus life experience, I have learned to "never say never" or as one of the fathers of population genetics (JBS Haldane) said
"I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
Therefore I could never say that CO2 will "never" result in anything catastrophic.

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