Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Global Warming Answer
Jay Bullock wonders why conservatives are so invested in, as he puts it, "denying" global climate change. He wants someone to explain. I'll try.
First, I am not sure that it is correct to say that we "deny global climate change" although some do. It is one thing to observe an increase in global temperatures and even to accept the notion that human activity has something to do with it. It's quite another to buy into Gorean hysteria over what that means and what ought to be done about it. Contrary to Jay's assumption, there is no scientific consensus about that.
Second, I should acknowledge (as I suspect he would) that broad generalizations about what people on the "right" and "left" do and think are only going to be that. But blogging ain't rocket science so let's play.
I might turn Jay's question around. Given a few facts, why are folks on the left so quick to come to the conclusion that everything that we think we know is wrong and that the world as it exists must change dramatically? Jay's comments about the conservative Christians "rejection" of evolution is a case in point. He says that he understands why such folks might embrace "pseudo-science" because "[evolutionary theory's] implications reject the foundation upon which much of their religion is premised: God created the earth and everything on it, and to suggest that human life, which they believe is made in God's image, is a mere accident of biology is quite literally sacrilege."
It is these "implications" that most of us reject. Scientists have proven that evolutionary change exists. They have not proven - and probably never could prove - that life is a "mere accident of biology." Embracing that conclusion, which so many on the secular left believe is an acknowledgment of "scientific truth", is actually an act of faith.
Al Gore's silly movie is an example of this. Starting from the presumption that there is a consensus about the fact that global temperatures have risen and human activity probably has something to do with it, he implies that this consensus includes his dire predictions and extreme (and probably counter-productive) recommendations. The result is ManBearPig.
If I had time for more thumbsucking, I might suggest that these leaps of faith are rooted in a tendency on the part of the left to be skeptical of convention and to, as we reactionaries say, "immanentize the eschaton." But that might be my own kind of overreaching.