In the 2013 movie “Now You See Me”, Morgan Freeman reminded us that at the heart of many beLIEfs is a LIE. The Book of Mormon, inscribed on the “golden plates” supposedly given to the founder of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, by the angel Moroni (!) – and, conveniently, since lost – is a recent religious example. But most religions, modern and ancient – the invention of which was not entirely disinterested – are built not so much on lies (like Mormonism and $cientology) as on wishful thinking and/or fear. Myths belong to the realm of make-believe. Magi and magicians, story-tellers and sorcerers, witch-doctors and prophets – believed by the ignorant to be not only wise and powerful but divinely inspired – found willing, credulous audiences for the story each claimed to be history, when in fact it was only his-story.
Some people believe we are responsible for climate-change; others do not. Climate skeptics say that attributing climate-change to pollution, deforestation and other human destruction of the environment is, to quote Trump, a “hoax”. Some people believe in God; others do not. Is there any difference between these two beliefs ?
My personal inclination is to agree with ecologists like Nicolas Hulot and the majority of scientists expert in the domain, that people are part of the cause of current climate-change. The recent, perhaps unprecedented increase in tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, fires and droughts, would seem to be due, in part at least, to our abuse of the environment by excessive carbon dioxide emission, the massive destruction of forests, and putting short-term economic advantage before long-term environmental protection.
Some scientists strongly disagree. Witness the dissenting eminent climate experts in the international conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute in New York in March, 2009.
Such differences of opinion are normal in scientific debate, which by definition is open to new data. The God-question, however, cannot be compared with the debate about the causes, or even the reality, of global warning. Religious dogma suffers no other options; it refuses even to examine objectively the data Darwin gave us more than a century and a half ago.
New data could necessitate nuances concerning the causes of climate-change. But there has never been any hard data to support belief in God. Bertrand Russell was right when he said that if God were to ask him, after his death, why he had refused to believe, he would say that there was “just not enough evidence”.