The Climate Crisis is a Hoax
“We need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way.”
We’ve run out of time. We cannot waste any more precious time listening to anyone who insists that the climate crisis is a hoax. The younger generation is not listening to the denial B.S. The remarkable Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, speaks a basic truth: “Once you have done your homework, you realize we need new politics. We need new economics, where everything is based on our rapidly declining and extremely limited carbon budget. But that’s not enough. We need a whole new way of thinking… We must stop competing with each other. We need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way.”
I can only comprehend climate change denial from the “people don’t like change” perspective. People don’t want to give up their comfortable but collectively unsustainable way of life in order to preserve our planet for the next generation. That’s why the youth of America and many other countries in the world are taking to the streets. They are not carrying the capitalistic baggage that is fueling the destruction of our environment. They are marching in the streets for the same reason people have marched for civil rights, the women’s movement and against the Vietnam war.
The arguments against accepting our climate crisis as reality are unsupportable, uneducated or venal. One of the popular denier “proofs” is that science has been “wrong” in the past and can be wrong again about our global demise. The late author Ursula Le Guin wrote that the whole undertaking of science is to deal, as well as it can, “with reality. The reality of actual things and events in time,” she wrote, “is subject to doubt, to hypothesis, to proof and disproof, to acceptance and rejection – not to belief or disbelief.”
Climate Science is Unreliable
In a recent discussion between liberal and conservative-leaning people about climate change, we were instructed: “Remember that science once ‘believed’ the earth was flat.” This instruction was presented as proof that science is unreliable. So, being the “round earther” that I am, I was motivated to research why some people believe the planet we live on is flat.
Turns out there is the long-established Flat Earth Society (FES). According to its web site, FES was “created to address the many misconceptions a Round Earther may have about the Flat Earth theory, and to act as an easily-accessible entry point into the mainstream Flat Earth model. (Mainstream? I don’t think so!) The Flat Earth Wiki web site maintains that the “Round Earth doctrine is little more than an elaborate hoax.” The same thing some people say about climate change.
It’s important to note that the FES web site says Flat Earth theory in contrast to Round Earth doctrine. The FES holds “that there is a difference between believing and knowing.” I would amend that statement to say there is a difference between believing and accepting facts. “If you don’t know something,” the FES says, “and cannot understand it by first principles, then you shouldn’t believe it.” Evidentially the FES has found “facts” that support the flat earth theory.
Flat or Spherical?
In the FES in-line library, I found a pamphlet entitled “Flat or Spherical?” printed and published in May 1905 by Lady Blount, editor of “The Earth” a “Magazine of Sense and Science upon a Scriptural Basis.” In the forward Blount includes the “object” of the UZS as “The propagation of knowledge relating to Natural Cosmogony in confirmation of the Holy Scriptures^ based upon practical scientific investigation.” Rule1of the Society is that “The so-called ‘sciences,’ and especially, Modern Astronomy, to be dealt with from practical data in connection with the Divine System of Cosmogony revealed by the Creator.”
“In her forward, Lady Blount writes: Flat, or Spherical? This is the title of our new book, and it refers to the question, whether the earth and sea together are flat – or spherical? This is the question. It may seem late, in this boastful 20th century, to ask such a question. But it is not too late to seek the truth; not too late to correct error; and not too late to mend our ways. Let us beware of willfully putting off the search for truth until it is ‘”too late’” for us to find it. We are living in an age when men and women dare to enquire after truth; and long established beliefs are being subject to searching criticism. The belief that we are living on a globe, rushing through space, is not as ancient as some may suppose; in fact, it is a comparatively modern belief! It was simply put forth as a theory, and it remains a theory still. It is only since the times of Copernicus and Newton, who lived in the 16th and 17th centuries respectively, that this belief has been received by astronomers and unthinking persons, mostly confined to Europe. But the fable of the whirling, sea-earth-globe theory was not invented or conceived originally by either of these men. In our first chapter, we shall proceed to show its true origin. The truth should be the first aim of the Christian; and more especially the truth of the Holy Bible; and it is the Christian’s duty to examine into and uphold the Divine Cosmogony revealed to Moses by the Creator, and recorded by Moses and all the inspired servants of God.”
I gather from all this that the “search for truth” includes “proving that the Bible teaches that the earth was flat by citing verses from Psalms or Job with phrases such as “ends of the earth” or references to a setting sun appear. Biblical language is not meant to be taken so woodenly and literally (i.e., God does not literally lie us down in green pastures as written in Psalm 23:2). Or this from Revelation 7:1: “After this, I saw four angels stationed at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds…” Likewise, in describing the temptation of Jesus by Satan, Matthew 4:8 says, “Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world [cosmos] in their glory.” Obviously, this would be possible only if the earth were flat.
Do You Believe in Evolution?
Back to Le Guin, who writes in her last ever book “No Time to Spare,” that if someone asked her if she believed in evolution, she would answer “No.” “No,” you might ask? She goes on to explain “I don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. I accept it. It isn’t a matter of faith, but of evidence.”
Continuing on its flat earth journey, the FES goes on to state that there is a “Space Travel Conspiracy” perpetuated by NASA “to fake the concept of space travel to further America’s militaristic dominance of space and that it was the purpose of NASA’s creation from the very start.” I can’t disagree with that. However, the Flat Earth Society neglected to include the context in which Johnson pushed for the space program. NASA was, in fact, created in 1958 as a result of the space race between USA and the Soviet Union, not to promulgate a round earth doctrine. NASA stated at the time that its purpose was not to “hide the shape of the earth” or “trick people into thinking it’s round” or anything of the sort.
Question for Climate Deniers
Space limitations require that I cut to the chase. My question to climate science deniers is: “What position would you expect the Flat Earth Society to hold with respect to climate change?”
FES responded recently to that very question by tweeting “Certainly. It would be nothing short of irresponsible to question something with so much overwhelming evidence behind it and something that threatens us so directly as a species.”
The FES response provides a sort of mirror image of certain powerful policy figures in the U.S. like former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who accepts that the Earth is round but rejects the science demonstrating that humans are responsible for climate change. Our country’s climate-denier-in-chief’s “policy” is to hire acting federal agency directors from the executive ranks of the fossil fuel industry. Their charge is to act on behalf of the president’s total lack of comprehension or concern for any kind of science especially if it threatens the “welfare” of the fossil fuels and chemical industries. And his own campaign contribution welfare. Trump can fire them without cause if they don’t do his bidding as he has demonstrated on more than one occasion.
I will close by repeating what two women – one from the older and the other from the younger generation – have said about the important homework we all have to do. From Lady Blount in her book “Flat or Spherical”: “… it is not too late to seek the truth; not too late to correct error; and not too late to mend our ways. Let us beware of willfully putting off the search for truth until it is ‘too late’ for us to find it.”
And from student strike creator Greta Thunberg: “We need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way.”