Gaia Worship: Like the Enlightenment Never Happened

Yesterday I debated the Conservative-led Coalition’s disastrous climate policy with junior environment minister Lord Marland. The audience was divided roughly 50/50 between people like me who believed that Britain’s energy and environment policy should be based on facts and empirical observations rather than junk science; and those who believed from the bottom of their hearts that as much taxpayers’ money as possible should be sacrificed on the altar of Mother Gaia. This is where the climate debate is these days: rationalism v superstition. If so much money weren’t depending on it it would be almost funny.

One thing struck me about the questions I had to field afterwards from the True Believers. Every one of them prefaced his or her question with the words: “I don’t know much about science/sea levels/geology/economics…” Almost as if their ignorance of the subject they felt so very, very strongly about was a virtue.

I asked one of my questioners who was concerned about rising sea levels: “Do you actually KNOW how much sea levels are rising by on average, per year?” Of course he didn’t. So I told him: no more than 1.8 mm per year – as has been the case for several hundred years.

This fact didn’t faze him one bit. Facts never do with these people. Environmentalism has long since abandoned all links with evidence or reality. It’s about religious faith, pure and simple.

  1. James Delingpole
    C
    Antipodius: Mr. Delingpole… did anyone by some chance happen to record or video the debate? If not, have you considered doing so yourself?….. assuming that there’s not some kind of privacy law or something it would violate. · 9 hours ago

    I did try to get it filmed. Tragically, Lord Marland’s office said they wanted the whole thing off the record. Can’t think why.

  2. James Delingpole
    C

    Here’s a good essay, btw, on environmentalism and religion. http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/religion.htm

  3. Ignatius J. Reilly

    Question by question, James!

  4. C. U. Douglas

    In a similar situation, I was listening to the radio a little over eleven years ago while I was driving to my office in Minneapolis.  The morning show was interviewing a representative from PETA about some environmental-related issue.  At one point, one of the frustrated hosts asked her where she got her scientific data from.  Her response:

    “I don’t have a science background, but I’ve been to the forest and I have very strong feelings …”

    They laughed her off the radio show.  A few minutes later, another member called to inform them that they could expect a lawsuit.  They laughed him off the show as well.

    Seems things haven’t changed much in the last eleven years.

  5. David Williamson

    It says a lot about the present “Conservative” government in the UK that:

    1. Mr Cameron gets on so well with Mr Obama, and calls himself a “liberal conservative”

    2.  Lord Monckton is not advising ‘em (he was, of course, an adviser to Mrs Thatcher).

  6. No Caesar

    James, please do a Radio Delingpole interview with Lord Monckton.

  7. James Delingpole
    C

    @No Caesar. Your wish is my command! (Though I quite fancy doing another Toby Young one soon, too)

  8. doc molloy

    Global warming- it’s just another joke 

    As Steyn calls it ‘The First church of the Science is in.’ 

    Even way out philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend of the nasty old Frankfurt school would find some this climate stuff way out there, even for him.. ‘Far round the bend’ as he used to be called.. and so is Climate science. In science nothing is ever really settled.

  9. Give Me Liberty

    Wait you’re telling me that Al Gore, Hollywood, and a horde of public school teachers are wrong, that their is no science behind the man-made global warming/climate change charge, and no scientific consensus. Weird?

  10. Redomondo

    got that right  James.

    A Misanthropic, Malthusian Religion

    a death cult.

  11. Redomondo

    From one of my personal blog posts…

    The Green movement has been attempting to create a new religion based on worship of the earth, and a hatred of humanity.

    It truly is a secular cult it has the worst aspects of a religion, but none of the life affirming qualities of traditional religions.

    Unfortunately some traditional religions have decided to ally themselves with the green movement, and this is a very grave mistake. The Environmental movement wants only the death of the Human race.

  12. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    James, it will always be as if the Enlightenment has not happened. Romanticism (which is to say, Christianity without a god) is the doppelgaenger of the Enlightenment. You cannot embrace the latter without begetting the former.

    With global warming, you are not up against science. You are up against a secular religion.

  13. James Delingpole
    C

    @paul a Rahe Yep: I know had I met them in real life I would have LOATHED those liberal poseurs French revolutionary apologists Wordsworth and Coleridge….

  14. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Paul A. Rahe: James, it will always be as if the Enlightenment has not happened. Romanticism (which is to say, Christianity without a god) is the doppelgaenger of the Enlightenment. You cannot embrace the latter without begetting the former.

    Is it possible that the Enlightenment and Romanticism are even closer than twins or mother and daughter? The French Revolution believed its Cult of Reason (then Supreme Being) to be pure Enlightenment when it was really just the silliest form of Romanticism. Oddly enough, that makes Gaia worship just like the Enlightenment happened.

    Perhaps it’s impossible for human nature to avoid romanticizing something, even a supposedly Enlightenment mindset.

  15. Madcap

    It’s the trend among lefties now: having discarded God, religion and tradition, they’ve also discarded most of the standards for what used to make one a good person.

    And people can’t really function without some kind of moral standard and way to grow into a better person. It’s part of our nature.

    So now, instead of being a good person because you are caring for your aging mother in law who isn’t a very nice person or because you have taken on the task of turning tiny human infants into decent members of society, you’re a good person because you lobby for legislation and buy green products. And shopping and petitioning your way to morality is a lot easier than being a good wife, mother and daughter day after day.

  16. Hang On

    “So I told him: no more than 1.8 mm per year – as has been the case for several hundred years.”

    “This fact didn’t faze him one bit. ”

    Unlikely to have any conception of what 1.8 mm per year means. A half meter in three centuries is still quite a lot though not something we will have to deal with.

  17. Klazmania
    Environmentalism has long since abandoned all links with evidence or reality. It’s about religious faith, pure and simple.

    I quite agree with your assessment of environmentalism.  However, contrasting “evidence or reality” with “religious faith, pure and simple” seems to reflect the common misconception that religious faith is about believing in something apart from or even in spite of evidence to the contrary. 

    I would maintain that the Christian religious faith is the worldview that best fits the evidence and reflects reality.  I would reject the contemporary environmentalist movement not because it is, as you correctly point out, religious, but because it is idolatry, a foolish and irrational worship of the creature rather than the Creator.

    But aside from that little quibble, I greatly appreciated your post.  Thanks, James, for continuing to hold the line against the false prophets of global warming!

  18. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    Paul A. Rahe: James, it will always be as if the Enlightenment has not happened. Romanticism (which is to say, Christianity without a god) is the doppelgaenger of the Enlightenment. You cannot embrace the latter without begetting the former.

    Is it possible that the Enlightenment and Romanticism are even closer than twins or mother and daughter? The French Revolution believed its Cult of Reason (then Supreme Being) to be pure Enlightenment when it was really just the silliest form of Romanticism. Oddly enough, that makes Gaia worshipjust likethe Enlightenment happened.

    Perhaps it’s impossible for human nature to avoid romanticizing something, even a supposedly Enlightenment mindset. · 33 minutes ago

    Edited 29 minutes ago

    Is it Chesterton who said, “If you do not believe in God, you will believe in anything.”

  19. david foster

    Gaia-worship is not the only mystical aspect of the “progressive” worldview. Many of them also believe in magical crystals, and, of course, astrology.

    In The Screwtape Letters, C S Lewis’s devil hoped for the coming of “the materialist magician.” I think he’s here.

  20. Antipodius

    Mr. Delingpole… did anyone by some chance happen to record or video the debate? If not, have you considered doing so yourself?….. assuming that there’s not some kind of privacy law or something it would violate.