Father of the ‘Gaia hypothesis’ James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion

From the Guardian, where I find it surprising they actually printed it:

Scientist behind the Gaia hypothesis says environment movement does not pay enough attention to facts and he was too certain in the past about rising temperatures

Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock.

The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that “it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as windfarms.

Speaking to the Guardian for an interview ahead of a landmark UN climate science report on Monday on the impacts of climate change, Lovelock said of the warnings of climate catastrophe in his 2006 book, Revenge of Gaia: “I was a little too certain in that book. You just can’t tell what’s going to happen.”

Lovelock’s comments appear to be at odds with dire forecasts from a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday, which leaked versions show will warn that even small temperature rises will bring “abrupt and irreversible changes” to natural systems, including Arctic sea ice and coral reefs.

Asked if his remarks would give ammunition to climate change sceptics, he said: “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.”

more here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/30/james-lovelock-environmentalism-religion

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54 thoughts on “Father of the ‘Gaia hypothesis’ James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion

  1. James Lovelock has a lot to offer. He will remain influential for a long time because he said many more true things than false.

  2. “Earth is a self-regulating, single organism..”

    Hey, he’s closer to my belief than I thought. Willis’s thermostat hypothesis pitches self-reguation, too.

    “(IPCC) will warn that even SMALL temperature rises will bring “abrupt and irreversible changes” to natural systems”

    In 5 years I suppose that will become the dangers of eensy weensy temperature rises. One almost has to feel a little sad to see such a comedown and pathetic fallback position of these once swashbuckling new world order dark knights, if it weren’t for the dire real agenda behind CAGW politico-science. Japan will know they made the right decision to kill Kyoto when they hear this. Steven Harper in Canada has been hated by Europeans for rejecting the nonsense. Now they will hate him more for being right. Mann’s best offense in his law suits is to see if he can hurry them up before CAGW is in autopsie and the game is over.

  3. Pity people don’t recognise the subtle difference between “the Earth is like a self regulating organism” and “the Earth is a self regulating organism”; the later cause people to anthropomorphize and even deify the planet.

  4. I just cannot believe the comments in that Guardian article.
    Are people really that uneducated?
    God help us all.

  5. Environmentalism has been co-opted by the Left. It is now simply a tool to beat Western culture into giving up its prosperity. It stopped being about the environment decades ago.

  6. Lovelock’s change of tone would be more impressive had his Gaia hypothesis been viewed by more than a handful of scientists as anything other than a vaguely useful metaphor for interactions within the biosphere (a term that predated his Gaia by a century).

  7. If it’s silly to be either a believer or a denier, then I suppose it’s sensible to be a skeptic.

  8. Magma says:
    March 30, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    That’s all you can do, eh Magma? Marginalize anyone who disagrees with you (even if they are former “cause-mates”.

    Apparently you are also unaware of classic literature.

  9. KevinM says:

    March 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm
    Older and wiser.

    “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”

  10. Obiwan K says:
    March 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm
    “That’s all you can do, eh Magma? Marginalize anyone who disagrees with you (even if they are former “cause-mates”.
    Apparently you are also unaware of classic literature.”

    Don’t know what your beef with “Magma” is, fictional superhero; but let’s remind everyone that Lovelock was one of the ur alarmists about CO2, and extremely useful for the globalists control freaks. He was probably keen on a career as prophet for the superstitious, which he achieved.

    1975 `Endangered Atmosphere’
    Conference: Where the Global
    Warming Hoax Was Born
    searchterms Meade
    Mead, Schneider, Holdren and Lovelock

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/highlights/Fall_2007.html

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202007/GWHoaxBorn.pdf

  11. I observed years ago that global warming folks are extremely similar to fundamentalists – they behave in a very similar fashion and likewise believe in a future catastrophe, brought on by human sins (emitting CO2, in this case). It all goes to show that some humans feel the strange need to
    label others as sinners and predict a dim future for all mankind, unless their beliefs are adopted by others. I’ve never observed so clearly an example of such a continuing, illogical streak of human nature. God may not be apart of their religion,but Nature certainly is. And Nature is their God and has somehow been tranformed into a benevolent being, which is quite a stretch.

  12. “Asked if his remarks would give ammunition to climate change sceptics, he said: “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.””

    Either he wasn’t asked about skeptics but about deniers, and the Guardian changed the wording of their own question for their article to appear a little less appalling; OR Lovelock automatically equates the words skeptics and denier, which would indicate severe brain rot; not unlikely given his career as chief alarmis; from which he now tries to backpedal.

    I find the person truly disgusting.

  13. If you call non-believers “deniers”, you’ve got yourself a religion, and the dissenters are more properly called heretics. Heretics used to be burned at the stake, but in these more enlightened times they are just denied government grants and tenure.

  14. The Guardian also published an article about James Lovelock on 31 May 2010.
    [Extract:] .. “Who knows? Everybody might be wrong,” he says. “I may be wrong. Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out.”

    The comments after that article were interesting, particularly one that was quoting Mr Lovelock :-
    “This is what Lovelock said about global warming …”

    “I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done on computer models. I remember when the Americans sent up a satellite to measure ozone and it started saying that a hole was developing over the South Pole. But the damn fool scientists were so mad on the models that they said the satellite must have a fault. We tend to now get carried away by our giant computer models. But they’re not complete models. They’re based more or less entirely on geophysics. They don’t take into account the climate of the oceans to any great extent, or the responses of the living stuff on the planet. So I don’t see how they can accurately predict the climate.”

    “If you look back on climate history it sometimes took anything up to 1,000 years before a change in one of the variables kicked in and had an effect. And during those 1,000 years the temperature could have gone in the other direction to what you thought it should have done. What right have the scientists with their models to say that in 2100 the temperature will have risen by 5 deg. Celsius?”

    “The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn’t got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They’ve employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear.”

    The article is still on the Guardian website here :-

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/may/31/hay-festival-climate-change-debates

  15. Yes, environmentalism is religion. And Romans 1:25 seems apropos: 1:25 “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

  16. I think it comes under the heading of: Be careful what you wish for…it might come true.

    Kindest Regards

  17. Mkelley said:
    March 30, 2014 at 7:46 pm
    …Heretics used to be burned at the stake, but in these more enlightened times they are just denied government grants and tenure.
    ————
    Give them a little more time and a little more power and they will be back to burning heretics at the stake.

    Maybe during obama’s next term.

  18. Francois Guisot (1787-1874): “Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”

    Some people reach 30 at a much older age than others.

  19. Personally, I prefer MY Gaia to Lovelocks; well, I call mine “Mother Gaia” so as to not confuse her with Lovelock’s silliness.

    Mother Gaia is simply the Queen of the Maxwell’s Demons; she sees everything, and knows everything; but she tells us nothing.

    MG really knows which slit the photon went through; but she’ll never reveal that to us. When she dabbles in atmospheric physics, for weather or climate reasons, she can read the serial number on each and every molecule, so she can tell them apart. That’s quite a feat, because if you have one mole of atmosphere, just 22.4 liters at STP , the serial numbers go from (1) all the way up to (6.022 E +23).

    So any time she looks, she can see which molecule is in which pixel on the Maxwell-Boltzmann kinetic energy distribution plot. And next time she looks, she knows where they all moved to. pretty much like how lobsters climb out of the lobster pots at night, to go for food, and then climb back into another one, to hide from the octopi. They never seem to get back in the same pot.

    So Mother Gaia can see that any single molecule in the bunch, eventually will be found at every one of those pixels in the MB plot, so the energy distribution over time, of any single molecule, is the same as the instantaneous energy distribution of the whole sample, so in that sense, the single (non-isolated) molecule can be said to have the same Temperature, as the whole macro sample.

    So Mother Gaia knows the Temperature of every single molecule in the universe, so if she calculates the correct mean surface Temperature of the earth, she finds that it always comes out to be exactly what it is supposed to be at that time. But we never know what it is, because she won’t tell us. But at least we know that it is what it is supposed to be; not what some Tera-ist computer model claims it is.

    So nuts to Lovelock, and his single organism; MY Mother Gaia, is a really helpful lady, when it comes to figuring out what is what !!

  20. Lovelock changed his tune when the Fullabrook windfarm was built where he lives. It was fine to ruin other peoples homes and lives but when the wind scammers directly affected him and his family it was a different story. A total hypocrite.

  21. His early books helped me point towards science as a kid as did many a book listed in The Whole Earth Catalog which was the Internet blog of its day, in print form. It was dedicated to the intense anti-Malthusian Bucky Fuller second only to anti-authoritarian Harvard psychology professor Tim Leary whose professional book describing his interpersonal (social dynamics over time) mapping methods of personality are still cited an advances today. When Leary was locked up by Nixon’s DEA as Leary was running for governor of California who John Lennon had recorfed “Come Together (Over Me)” as a campaign song for, Leary was able to escape the low security prison he was in due to the fact that he was himself the pychologist who wrote the personality test prisons used to determine flight risk. So it’s not only gratifying to see Lovelock carry the scientific torch (as did Leary in his final few short books that describe the progress or lack of it in psychology), but also Whole Earth Catalog founder Strewart Brand also speaking out against the usual anti-nuclear crowd that resulted in our high emissions era in the first place. Likewise it’s good that today’s equivalent of old school Rolling Stone magazine, VICE.com has its original founder regularly featured on regularly skeptical Fox News late night show Red Eye and how their site does not moderate out skeptical comments.

    That as a kid of the 70s and 80s I was so well versed in hippie and Beat culture, I knew very quickly that the latest breed of tree hugger were not such “more with less” optimists such as those Leary enthusiasts who created Silicon Valley, but that they were Fuller’s old nemeses made modern.

  22. sadly to talk about climate to official climate scientists you have to be an expert of deep ecology and social ecology. The IPCC would rather talk about sustainability, getting rid of the egocentric ecology [with its industrialisation] and creating a new eco centric man than about the prove predict standard of science and how their models fail that test.

    the bbc reports neglect to give any caveats to the ipcc report like the predictions are based on unvalidated models or that the 30year data and avaerages are decontextualised from ice age cycles.

  23. Earth is not an organism.

    Earth is a heat engine with input at the tropics and losses at the poles. The thermostat is called water-vapour content.

    Nothing organic about it.

  24. ‘Can’t be a denier?’ Actually, with respect, since this is an hypothesis,not a position based on fact or evidence, therefore I can reject it without any need for an explanation of my ‘position’ on the matter.

    If it was a broader question, ‘is mankind harming the planet?’, yes on that matter i can accept – but specifically; CAGW by CO2?

    No chance!

  25. “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.”

    This is odd. I always thought our “denier” position was one of being uncertain. I wonder if James Lovelock would be upset to find out he’s one of us.

  26. csanborn says:
    March 30, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Truer words were never spoken. I also hope Dr. Lovelock has finally ended his brain lock. It does sound encouraging, but we can likewise never predict what Dr. Lovelock is going to say from one moment to the next. Lol!

  27. arthur4563 says:
    March 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    ” And Nature is their God and has somehow been tranformed into a benevolent being, which is quite a stretch.”

    So true. If one believes in the evolutionary paradigm, then one must believe that Mother Nature is continually trying to kill us, to make way for something better adapted to survive. Mother Nature is the ultimate practitioner of tough love.

    I think the problem is that, as people become more urbanized, they forget how harsh a parent she was, and remember only the good parts of the relationship before humankind, figuratively, left the nest.

  28. I just sent the link to this post to the BBC! I was gigging them more (the word “gigging” is an Aggie-type of reference, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, which means “yanking their chain”) for letting the Guardian scoop them on this important news. But they are just plain ignorant, and I don’t expect them to respond.

  29. One of the comments at Guardian calls them “Greenpreach”. I love the term. First time I heard it.

  30. ‘Responses to Father of the ‘Gaia hypothesis’ James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion’
    According to our U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,…..”

    Since religion is based on faith, isn’t the EPA and IPCC, the UN and some of our government representative establishing a “religion” based of faith of a computer model, with constantly wrong out, which that has never been V & V and has Jim Henson’s “CO2 caused Venus to has the atmosphere it has today” unproven hypothesis?

  31. And thus he demonstrates his ignorance. Skeptics are NOT believers! Therefore, he is saying one of 2 things.

    You are stupid if you believe or you don’t (which would not surprise me given his hysterics).

    Or

    He “believes” that skeptics are believers. Which demonstrates his ignorance. Which is it Lovelock? Are you ignorant? or just stupid?

  32. “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.”

    Of course it’s silly to deny that climate changes, but what has that got to do with scientific skepticism. It seems like James Lovelock has rediscovered a balanced scepticism after being fooled , like many were initially, by the false sceince being spouted by the IPCC.

    I think his Gaia concept stands up well. It’s certainly a self regulating system that is orgainic in many of its component parts. It does not seem unreasonable to regard it as a kind of macro organism, like a colony of insects.

  33. Took him a few years but at least he has finally realized that a non-linear, chaotic system will behave in a non-linear, chaotic way and thus cannot be foreseen.

  34. Makes sense to me. The Godess Gaia punishes mankind for their CO2 sins, however you can purchase Carbon indulgences for pre-forgiveness of your carbon sins. Anything bad that happens is punishment for CO2 sins. And the “pause” that dashes the faith of many believers. And the primary Global Warming tele-evangelist, makes millions of dollars selling his TV network global warming channel to Saudi Arabian oil billionaires.

    Yep, sounds like a religion to me…. Maybe now we can get seperation of church and state, and end the government billions to global warming…

  35. LadyLifeGrows says:
    March 30, 2014 at 6:01 pm
    James Lovelock has a lot to offer. He will remain influential for a long time because he said many more true things than false.

    I agree, Lovelock’s daisyworld hypothesis of a climate-regulating biosphere probably contains an sizeable element of truth which is very important to understanding climate. People (physicists) talk about CO2 and the climate as if it is a physics question. It is equally a biology as a physics question. The evolution of plants especially broad leaved trees cooled the climate over the Devonian-Carboniferous (by transpiration and by creating humic soils from weathered silicates, essentially bringing the hydrological cycle onto land). The current greening of the planet due to increasing CO2, as documented by Mat Ridley, will also slightly cool the planet and represents yet another in a list of negative feedbacks acting against CO2 warming. (Providing enough vegetation cover remains intact.)

  36. Oh Gaia who art the Earth, hallowed be thy Name,
    Thy Queendom come,
    Thy will be done,
    On Earth as it is in the oceans……..
    The founding Grandfather of environmentalism says
    Dogma is not science!

    Gaia has self regulated herself The Pause!

  37. James Lovelock has been a bit of a rogue in the past.

    GUARDIAN
    James Lovelock: The UK should be going mad for fracking

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-interview-gaia-theory

    James Lovelock on shale gas and the problem with ‘greens’

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-fracking-greens-climate

    James Lovelock: ‘Fudging data is a sin against science’

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock

  38. He still Believes, he’s just no longer foaming at the mouth about it. He’s still sure that manmade warming “will” happen some time in the future, unless we curb our CO2 emissions. He is keeping the faith, in other words, so all he’s done is jump ship from an extreme, armageddon-spewing evangelist religion to a more moderate one with more hope and less fire and brimstone.
    Good first step, I guess, for which he will promptly be thrown under the bus by the Warmunists.

  39. Global Warmism is precisely a manifestation of Crowd Think as discussed by Gustav LeBon in his 1895 work “The Crowd”. Le Bon describes the changes that happen at the individual level to individuals caught up in crowds: they become very suggestible, they don’t reason things out for themselves but assume others in the crowd have figured out the scientific details, they become religiously intolerant to heretics from the view, they jump from image to image not worried about the logical problems. This is hardly the first group Le Bon described accurately, his book was on Theodore Roosevelt’s bedside table, and dogeared by Mussolini. Lenin and Stalin took from it, and “Hitler’s indebtedness to Le Bon bordered on plagiarism” in the words of historian and Hitler-biographer Robert G. L. Waite. Sigmund Freud wrote a book discussing Le Bon, which we will quote from below, and Edward Bernays, the father of modern public relations, of Madison Avenue, acknowledged his deep debt, as Goebbels did of Bernays’ reflected insights. http://whyarethingsthisway.com

  40. Without splitting hairs I would suggest it is not a religion but a cult. Full of cant, dogma, high priests, rituals, extreme declarations, irrationality, brownshirted members, self-flagellation, hatred of the human, desire for sacrificial propitiation and of course obviously Gaia-worship. Very very neolithic……nothing whatsoever to do with science, rationality or reasonable faith.

  41. Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock.

    The 94 year-old scientist

    Well he’s senile. Obviously. You get to a certain age. He be like that ‘Patrick Moore’ dude who had nothing to do with (the founding of) Greenpeace once he suggested that they were now just a bunch of watermelons.

  42. Greg says:
    March 31, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I think his Gaia concept stands up well. It’s certainly a self regulating system that is orgainic in many of its component parts. It does not seem unreasonable to regard it as a kind of macro organism

    ================

    I want to see it reproduce.

    Wait . . . no, I don’t.

    Reproduction is one of the characteristics of life. Gaia doesn’t do it. It’s not an organism.

  43. Anthony, a suggestion.

    Arguments from Authority are – strictly speaking – a logical fallacy. But warmists love them (97% etc.) and most ordinary, undecided people pay attention to them.

    Why not compile a list of big shot “converts” from the CAGW religion that we can show to confused friends? These “converts” don’t need to have become hardcore skeptics, it is sufficient that they dissociate themselves from alarmism and publicly refuse to be numbered among the alarmist ranks.

    From the top of my head, I can list Lovelock here, the co-founder of GreenPeace and the NASA retired guys. I am sure there are a lot of others (I am new to this, sorry).

    This could become a “sticky” topic, easily found at home page, and constantly being updated as new guys come out of the closet (this seems to be accelerating).

    We need to have ready ammunition to confront their arguments trying to paint skeptics as flat-earthers or other types of ignorant morons.

  44. Citing various instances of environmentalist initiatives from opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, to support of animals against being put to death for mauling children (see the efforts of the Lexus Project), all the way back to the outlawing of the use of DDT, as echoed in a recent submission by a founder of the green movement James Lovelock (“It’s become a religion, and religions don’t worry too much about facts”), [Dennis] Prager continued:
    “This is the trend. Nature over man…As G.K. Chesterton prophesied over a hundred years ago: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.” Now it’s the environment.”

    http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2014/04/01/can-you-guess-what-religion-dennis-prager-says-has-been-the-most-influential-over-the-last-century/

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