Skip to comments.Remarks to the Commonwealth Club Michael Crichton (Theme: Environmentalism is really Urban Atheism)
Posted on 12/06/2003 8:16:02 AM PST by FreedomPosterEdited on 12/15/2003 11:31:15 AM PST by Lead Moderator. [history]
click here to read article
Amazing. I've been doing it the hard way, by first accessing my profile page, then cutting & pasting to the "links" section, all the while muttering to myself that bookmarking is one of the clumsier features of this website. Good tip. Thanks.
The suthor is describing only one sub-set of environmentalists. Let me attempt to classify/catagorize/organize:
1A Religionist- well described in the article
1B Polyannas - different from the religionists; the cute and cuddly crowd; bambi-ists; warm and fuzzy; highly motivated by the image of a harp seal being clubbed.
2. Watermelons- not actual environmentalists but use it to promote their socio-politico-economic goals. I'm sure this group could be sub-divided.
3. Capitalists- those that invoke environmentalism to promote their resource extraction over another competing resource extraction. A petro-chemical company will promote the use of natural gas in electrical generation by funding a foundation/enviro group to attack the use of coal as a fuel for electrical generation.
Feel free to futher classify or re-organize the above. After all, just as the the author points out that the human mind is likely hardwired for religion, the human mind is also hardwired to classify, catagorize and organize.
Those you mention in regard to seperating their garbage are known as the "self-decievers". The fact that curbside recycling is an economic net-loss to the environment is well documented most notably by libertarian Lynn Scarlett, former President of the Reason Foundation and now working in the Bush administration as Undersecretary of Policy and Budget at the Interior Dept. But you see, curbside recycling makes these people feel good about themselves. With that in mind, they could alternatively be called the "feel-gooders", which would make the a sub-set of the do-gooders".
Those that think that the un-attended forest will revert to pristine are known as the "benign neglectors".
I'm afraid that my previous grouping "Capitalist" is lacking. It is possible the the "capitalists" should be a sub-group of those that have an economic self-interest in promoting environmentalism. The Teamsters could hardly be called an environmental group yet they joined with environmental and social justice groups in the lawsuit over the environmental inpact of admitting Mexican trucks to the US, which would impact the earnings of the individual teamster and the political power of the Teamster Union. Another sub-group here would be the the NIMBY who really cares nothing about the environment but is opposed to development because of a percieved loss of his property value.
Perhaps I have opened a can of worms that would be best left to someone with 7 researchers and a $75,000.00 budget.
Another common concern is that they all deny reality, one way or another. Socialism will make us happy, taxation will make us prosperous, unionism will make us productive, pacifism will bring peace, disarming will make us secure, diversity is strength, self-esteem is a right, poverty can be outlawed, etc. In these and maybe hundreds of other ways they are characterized by the delusion that wishing for something will make it so. Presumably those at the top of that foul heap are aware that it's all lies, but it's their gravy train. Yet even a few of them are probably fooled.
There's some of that in the Republican party too, but nowhere near as much.
Yes, if you look at the main body article... Just underneath you see Topics and Keywords... Just underneath that you will find a
Report Abuse and Bookmark link(this is just above post number one on any thread). Simply click on the bookmark link. You will be presented with a page that allows you to name the bookmarked link what you like (useful if you're bookmarking it more for a comment that you want to remember). Once you choose "OK", the article will be added to your Freeper profile page. You can then access it whenever you like by going to your own profile page and clicking the "Links" option in the upper left.
I hope that helps.
Chrichton's writings stand because they are based on scientific and medical fact. You don't see any great environmentalist literature, not that they don't try. All it takes is one sour note in a novel and it drops from a NYT best-seller to a trade publication--1000 copies printed, 4 sold.
That's a key point and one that is easily misunderstood. The religion aspect has less to do with the scientists than it does with the perspective of the practioners or the faithful of the religion (ie the masses who lap up the environmental prognostications).
Anyway, I've pretty much dumped it myself, in favor of browser-based bookmarks. Keeps my cards closer to my vest that way - I'd much prefer an option to make the bookmarks not publicly-accessible, if one wished.
The only argument I have with this statement is the "perceived" loss of property value. Environmental impacts can have a REAL effect on property values. I, for one, would be extremely opposed to having a lead smelter constructed behind my house. I believe it would make the value of my property negative; I would have to pay someone to take it off my hands!
Certain forms of Nimbyism is acceptable... it is the Nimbyism that is based in ignorance, bad science, or elitism that should be condemned.
On the other hand, humanists (those who have a materialistic worldview) place themselves in the place of God and judge all things from a human perspective, thus tacitly (or in some cases blatantly) stating "I know everything, so I can judge everything."
The person with a biblical worldview who understands the devestating effects of sin and his own limitations must state "I don't know everything. Where God has spoken clearly, I proceed with confidence. Where God's word is not clear, I proceed with caution."
The one place God's word has certainly spoken clearly is in the area of sin and salvation. What better time of year than at Christmas than to see that the "Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
...that you haven't read, or have misunderstood, all my posts on this thread.
In my reading, Crichton was complaining about rigid and intolerant people who claim special access to "the truth" - access which they feel is self-evident and not subject to criticism.
Crichton, as is the case with much of the secular world, characterizes this mind-set as religious - wrongly. There are many, many believers who are open-minded and tolerant and many athiests who are not. But he is not without justification. For centuries religious believers held power - and too often abused that power to suppress and persecute dissident voices.
Then I shall read it! - But tomorrow morning over coffee.... Thanks for the ping.
A project such as this would take at least 3 years. Leasing offices and the knick knacks, furniture, utility deposits, etc, etc. I would need numerous computers. I would need administrative and technical staff, as well as staff directors. And of course an accountant to keep up with the money. Then there is travel and entertainment. The printers would likely overcharge me.
We also have to realize that my wage rates would require 600 thou for 3 years.
BTW, do you have any contacts over at the Ford Foundation? Interior Dept?
P.S. I'm a religious fundamentalist, a philosophy which he somewhat denigrates, but he still hit the ball out of the park with this speech/article.
If we don't have such a list of best posts of the year here, we should, but I'm not about to make a vanity posting.
Hi all, I'm new to the forum...so excuse me if i've posted incorrectly...
I just wanted to make the point that although Crichton advocates the abandonment of the religion of environmentalism, his vision for a return to the SCIENCE of environmentalism itself appears to take on a similar omnipotent messiah-like quality. My issue is not with the arguments he raises in relation to the need for a new framework for environmentalism, but rather with what I view as his simplistic and naive perception of science as "truth". There are respected scientists on both sides of many environmental issues who use science to argue their hypotheses...to suggest that one scientist might be more or less driven by a religious-like belief in their world view than another scientist is problematic. Throughout history science has been used and abused to a variety of disparate ends. At the end of the day, who's there to referee the process? In reality the "science" of "science" is a lot more subjective than we may like to admit.
In conclusion, i think Crichton's claim that environmental science should replace the 'religion of environmentalism' is one that relies heavily on the idea that science in its pure form is purely objective...there's an interesting parellel there with this "pure science" model and his notion of idealised nature as held in the Eden-myth of purity.
Actually, another thought occurs to me...while certainly, under the banner of "environmentalism" i beleive there are many cases that contain less hard facts and more sentimentalities there are also many cases in which well researched, intelligent and I beleive scientifically correct facts are presented (by the way, there is I believe a place for spirituality and emotion in our perception of ecology anyway)... My thought is this....does Crichton's perception of these "other views" as a religion, become a way of discrediting their alternate ideas in one big sweep of the board?
Are we simply swinging from environmental-eden-isms to scientific ones?
Well, you've certainly managed to find an old thread to resurrect. But I guess despite that, it's still "timely", given the book release.
I guess the issue I have is that the area of environmentalism seems to be heavily influenced by the "religion of environmentalism" right now, and there isn't enough "science", in Pournelle's sense of the word, meaning "something you can put in a letter to a colleague and he'll get the same results you did." Instead, there seems to be a lot of bald assertion-making.
See the article about the "hockey stick" in today's WSJ for an example.
Isn't the "religion of environmentalism" simply a term that's been coined by Crichton (or whoever) to group together a selection of views? While I understand where he's coming from - there is most certainly that element of fanaticism expressed by SOME under the very broad banner of "ENVIRONMENTALISM", however - equally so, there are SOME that express a comparable fanaticism in their greed for the holy dollar. Can't that be classed a religion too? I suppose my point is, ALL people are INTERESTED - by that I mean, have an interest, an agenda etc, in these issues...you might call the hippy a fanatical religious environmentalism, and you might call the scientist contracted by an INTERESTED corporation or collective a fanatical economically driven environmentalist. There's not a whole lot of difference in that way.
It's well known for example, that a government department who want to acheive a certain goal can contract an environmentalist who will tell them exactly what they want to hear, and prove it "scientifically" too. Another environmentalist without the same agenda, might be able to see those results and methods in a very different light. It happens all the time.... Let's not be naive.
The environment is a MULTI BILLION dollar industry...that fact alone brings a hell of a lot of people out of the woodwork and sets in motions a hell of a lot of political spin doctoring and propaganda.
I just think what Crichton is advocating is INCREDIBLY dangerous, and that is, an uncritical view of science as "truth". By his very lack of detail regarding the "politics of science" he has really missed the larger point I think. YES, some of the points he makes are true, (they are also one sided), however his conclusion is a off the mark in my opinion. What we need is not to abandon this so called 'religion of environmentalism' for science - it's to research scientific and cultural facts thoroughly and present environmental issues in a transparent way that allows us as the public (and policy makers etc) to more clearly identify stake holders, political forces, cultural and ecological impacts and the PROCESS of scientific research. It's a bigger picture and it goes WAY beyond the kind of finger pointing and then uncritical (shallow even), advocacy of "science" I feel Crichton allows his argument to degenerate into.
That's my 2 cents...
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