Tennessee bill lets the left link climate skeptics to evolution skeptics
This week the Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, had to decide whether to veto a bill that would have promoted the questioning of “conventional” science in classrooms. The science establishment was in a tizzy not just because the bill was seen as an attempt to get anti-Darwinian “intelligent design” back on the curriculum, but because it was linked to another religious/scientific issue: catastrophic man-made climate change.
In fact, the Tennessee bill enables catastrophists such as David Suzuki and Paul Krugman to continue to frame climate skepticism and intelligent design as a pair of redneck fundamentalist beliefs, and in a “Tea Party-dominated” state, to boot. But whatever their religious beliefs, skeptics about official catastrophism do not believe that the weather is controlled by cloud-borne spirits with puffy cheeks, or by angry sea gods stirring up storms with tridents. Meanwhile, there is no parallel between the status of the theory of natural selection, which is a comprehensive explanation for how life evolved (although not its ultimate origins), and the theory of catastrophic man-made climate change, which is an hypothesis about future events, based on computer models. Where evolution and climate change are similar is that they touch upon profound religious and ideological beliefs.
Darwin’s theory of natural selection didn’t “kill God,” but it severely undermined literal readings of the Bible. Theories of catastrophic man-made climate change are ideologically crucial for the liberal left because they justify their core demonization of capitalism; implying massive “market failure,” and confirming that industrial society, and corporations in particular, are “externalizing machines” that fecklessly dump their garbage into the atmosphere. This “settled” science requires vast schemes of “global governance,” à la Kyoto, plus policy guidance toward energy technologies “of the future,” plus further major redistribution of cash to poor climate “victims.” This will all be masterminded by the United Nations, which just happens to be the guardian of the official science.
It’s worth noting that left liberals hold such arrangements desirable even without catastrophic climate change, which may explain why Al Gore treats skepticism as just so much pickiness. In line with religious demonization, they condemn skeptics as “deniers” motivated either by mental derangement, “fundamentalist” religious/ideological beliefs, or wicked self-interest.
Skeptics by contrast note — whatever their religious convictions — that claims of “settled” science are themselves unscientific. They do not “deny” climate change, or an impact on climate by humans. Their questions are ones of degree, and of the appropriate policy response. They note that the policy prescriptions of catastrophists would be — on the basis of voluminous historical evidence — unworkable, counterproductive and dangerous. The Kyoto process has fallen apart, but even if all its signatories had met their obligations — which in Canada would have involved a slashing of industrial activity and a massive loss of jobs — the impact on the climate would have been minuscule. Meanwhile, “industrial strategy” has always and everywhere failed, just as the “green” variety is collapsing worldwide.