“It’s a religion, Hugh. It’s not facts, it’s not science. It’s a religion. And they’ll do human sacrifice if they have to. The numbers are made up. They know, for example, I mean all of the cap and trade stuff, which would really destroy our economy, they know would be swallowed up in a week or two of India and Chinese emissions. China is starting a coal fired plant every week on average, and that is just throwing all that CO2 into the atmosphere, of which our reductions would be negligible. It would simply end up as a great transfer of wealth out of the West into the third world on a scale never seen. But it’s a religion. So they are impervious to empirical evidence.”
I thought this was a great introduction to a theme I really enjoy thinking about. Not climate change — I don’t know enough about that to add anything to the debate — but rather, the extent to which modernity makes science and knowledge in general, like a religion.
Think about it. We ask our politicians, in nationally televised primary debates, whether they “believe in” evolution. The same with global warming. Think about the tenor of the abortion debate. These things have more to do with beliefs than knowledge.
Why is it framed this way? I think it is inherent in modern society. There is too much knowledge; we all have to specialize. That means we learn to trust the “experts” in any given field. To acknowledge progress is to have faith in the people in that field. When we lose that faith, we are skeptical of their discovery.