21 July 2007

State of Fear

Michael Crichton: State of FearWhile everyone else is reading the final installment in JK Rowling's very profitable Harry Potter phenomenon, I've spent the day racing my way through a book that a friend recommended to me last weekend: Michael Crichton's environmental adventure, State of Fear.

Rather predictable, it nevertheless made for an entertaining few hours. The author clearly intends to open the eyes of anyone of the opinion that "Everyone believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming!" However, my guess is that few people are going to become scientifically informed or challenged by a thriller, and even fewer take the effort to investigate the many source references that he provides.

Crichton attempts to summarise his assessment of current beliefs in his speech, Environmentalism as Religion. Yet, for all his attempts at persuasion, it's far easier to accept the dismissal from groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (who are "the earth's best defense" — or so they claim!) than to risk being branded a heretic. After all, nobody likes to be the object of a witch-hunt (except certain Hogwarts fans, I suppose). And these days, even some churches and Christian organisations are treating AGW sceptics as "wounded" (to borrow the Pope's recent description of non-Catholic Churches). Which is rather ironic for, as another friend recently put it to me, "Given that the Bible clearly states that the whole of creation is to be destroyed, what are Christians doing jumping on the bandwagon to save the planet when their commission is to save souls?"

On one point at least we can surely all agree that Crichton is right: "Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance." When it comes to environmentalism, as with all matters political, scientific, and religious, we need open and informed debate.


Daniel said...

I'd not necessarily agree with your friend's statement that the "Bible clearly states". It is indeed the stereotypical conservative Christian view (where conservative is the religious sub-type, nothing to do with politics!) that all of creation is to be destroyed and that Christians are only to help save those around them but that isn't necessarily the only interpretation. Newer theology interprets the "new" in new heaven and new earth as a "renewed" heaven and earth which makes sense. If your friends argument was right why then would would Christians bother thinking about politics at all?