Environmentalism as a religion


Guest essay by Andy May

The late Dr. Michael Crichton was wonderful writer. In 2003 he presented a wonderful essay in San Francisco equating environmentalism to religion. Nobel prize winning physicist Dr. Ivar Giaver makes the same point in a presentation here. In religion man is meant to be saved from the consequences of his sins. In the environmentalist religion the world was a wonderful, beautiful Eden until man and his technology came along. Man has eaten the apple and lost Eden. Now we must give up our “evil” technology and go back to nature, otherwise all is lost.

As Crichton notes:

“There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up … And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly, the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. … The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated…”

Environmentalists are horrible at predictions. We haven’t run out of oil, millions haven’t starved due to overpopulation, half of all species have not gone extinct, temperatures have not risen in over 18 years, total Antarctic ice and sea ice are increasing and on and on. But, it’s a religion, facts don’t matter. The bearded idiot on the street doesn’t put down his “end of the world is near” sign just because we pass the date he predicted we would all die. He just changes the date of destruction and carries on.

As Dr. Crichton explains, DDT is not a carcinogen, it did not cause birds to die and the people who banned it knew these facts. But, they banned it anyway and as a result tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, died. This was because of religion, not science.

The “Church of Global Warming” is probably the worst sect. The world has warmed from 288 Kelvin to 288.8 Kelvin in the last 135 years and not at all since 2002 according to the UAH satellite data. This is insignificant and very normal variability. The world is greener, food crops better and larger than ever, fewer people are hungry or in poverty, life expectancy is longer than ever before, and we have more arable land. There is no evidence that global warming is either man-made or dangerous and there is no evidence that carbon dioxide is either the sole cause of the minor warming we have seen or the dominant cause. We can show it is a greenhouse gas like water vapor, but that is about it.

We must get the religion out of environmentalism. We must get it back on a scientific basis. Too many organizations are simply lying, pure and simple. It started with DDT and has only gotten worse since. Science, especially environmental science, is becoming more and more politicized and this could have disastrous consequences.


Note: this post accidentally went up without Andy May’s byline. He is the author, not me. -Anthony Watts

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill Treuren
September 14, 2016 1:27 am

spot on, good luck with that.

Reply to  Bill Treuren
September 14, 2016 5:54 am

In fact, more than luck is needed. The Warmists are holding all the levers of power. The mainstream media keeps playing the AGW scare. New measures to fight Climate Change are continually being enacted. Skeptics are ignored or ridiculed, left to talk amongst themselves in their little sandbox.
When trying to discuss a skeptical point of view of climate change with friends and relatives, I am almost always dismissed : “It’s so obvious that man-made-climate-change is happening… I saw it on the news, I read it in the paper, I saw it on in internet…”
People don’t want to make the effort of looking for, and evaluating, contrarian point of views. They want the truth fed to them… like a religion.
More fundamentally, similarly to religion, too many people ***want*** to believe in man-made-climate-change. Believing gives them a convenient frame of reference to judge good and bad.

Nigel in Santa Barbara
Reply to  BernardP
September 14, 2016 9:59 am

I think religion is being unfairly represented/bashed here, and in the article. Maybe using the word ‘cult’ is more appropriate and suitable to their behavior.

Reply to  BernardP
September 14, 2016 10:19 am

Nigel, “cult” is an old Roman word that means “religion.” It is similar to the n-bomb for black people or similar language for other ethnicities. Here, “religion” means unfalsifiable.

Reply to  BernardP
September 14, 2016 12:19 pm

Nigel, the current social science usage of “cult” sums to a religion only a few decades old at most which has “socially deviant” practices and beliefs. Effectively saying that regardless of what you purport to “believe,” if it adheres to social norms, it is not a “cult.” Since all major religions start as “cults” by that definition, and some including Islamic and Christian sects proudly acknowledge their historical heritage of social “deviance,” the distinction is really moot.

September 14, 2016 1:30 am

The facts will come out – and indeed they are to some extent.
The crazy Green Taliban anti Fracking movement is a classic example of exactly what you say in your article Anthony
Peak Oil Rules! OK
We cannot allow Fracking because it blows what we say out of the water!
And yet I like a few miles from Wytch Farm in Dorset UK –
And unless you bumped into this place in the dark by accident – you would never know it was there!

Reply to  Darcydog
September 14, 2016 1:31 am

Typo – “And yet I live a few miles…….”

Reply to  Darcydog
September 14, 2016 2:05 am

You can call enhanced recovery a ‘form of fracking’ if you stretch the definition, or rather distort it – but it is a totally different technique from what is being trialled in the UK in Lancashire etc.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 3:37 am

Griff, and your definition of “fracking” is what?
Whether it is oil or gas, the well has to be “fracked” to get the maximum recoverable quantity of fossil fuel or hydrocarbons.
Excerpted comment ……..
Even though the birth of fracking began in the 1860s, the birth of modern day hydraulic fracturing began in the 1940s.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 8:36 am

Water flooding is in no way a fracking technique. Fracking requires high pressures to actually break the rock to create greater effective permeability and greater production rates in reservoirs that otherwise would not be economically viable. Injection rates during water flooding are by design too low the fracture the rock. Enhanced recovery in the petroleum industry refers to recovery of secondary oil in older oil fields that is not recovered during the initial production phase.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 12:21 pm

Griff, please have mercy on the language. Just because you see it in use as a synonym for “tested” doesn’t make “trialled” any less grotesque. It is nearly as horrible as “debunked.”

Reply to  Griff
September 16, 2016 3:06 am

Griff – really rather miss my point. And that point is that the extraction process, after whatever sort of Fracturing took place all those years back, has carried on quietly, with no fuss and no bother to us local residents whatsoever.
You seriously would not know it was there.
@ AlexB – and that is why they have to signpost it…………..LOL!!!!

Reply to  Darcydog
September 14, 2016 10:30 pm

Unless you follow the road signs.

Steve Case
September 14, 2016 1:31 am

The Global Warming/Climate Change sect of the Environmental religion is too big to fail.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 14, 2016 1:35 am

I do agree with you – but with reality steadfastly refusing to follow their doom and gloom predictions – just how long can they stave off “failure”?

September 14, 2016 1:32 am

Loved “State of Fear” by MC and quote it occasionally. Especially liked his description of Greenies intrusions ruining Yellowstone Park. On my website for years:
Climate and Keplerian Planetary Dynamics
The “Solar Jerk”, The King-Hele Cycle,
and the Challenge to Climate Science
by Rhodes W. Fairbridge
(Published in 21st Century Science and Technology magazine)
A senior Earth scientist divulges some little known
discoveries, and how they may affect Earth’s climate.

September 14, 2016 1:44 am

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
The mainstream media has played a hugely successful role in corrupting the ‘science’ of global warming, aka climate change, into the fashionable new eco-religion that it has become today.
Add, literally, trillions of government ‘green’ (taxpayer money), a ton of celebrity eco-virtue-signalling, a pinch of data manipulation, and the religion of ‘climate change’ has rapidly morphed into, as Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University California, famously coined in his blistering resignation letter to the APS:
“The greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”
Hence, we give thanks to “The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change” – WUWT, led by Pastor Watts, for giving us out daily dose of climate reason and rationalism! Amen 🙏
Nice post Anthony.

Peter Miller
September 14, 2016 1:45 am

Ah, but if you dismantled the Global Warming Industry, what would happen to all those poor unemployable ‘climate scientists’?
Would anyone notice they had gone and what would we do with all the hundreds of billions of dollars we would save?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Peter Miller
September 14, 2016 1:25 pm

“Would anyone notice they had gone and what would we do with all the hundreds of billions of dollars we would save?”
Perhaps molten salt nuclear power and a non-polluting technology to burn garbage for cheap power? We could tackle the REAL problems that exist, including protecting the grid from magnetic blasts.

Leo Smith
September 14, 2016 1:52 am

Ah, but if you dismantled the Global Warming Industry, what would happen to all those poor unemployable ‘climate scientists’?
Climb ate Scientists Lives Matter.

Ian Magness
September 14, 2016 1:54 am

For those interested in how scare stories like DDT, unleaded petrol or white asbestos went from bad research, via ignorant politicians and the media, to became global governmental policy at the cost of countless millions of dollars, I thoroughly recommend “Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth” by the British authors Christopher Booker and Richard North.
This 2007 book is fascinating in its entirety but, somewhat presciently, there is a chapter on global warming. Christopher Booker in particular has since gone on to develop his interest in the myth of AGW, writing further books on the subject and regularly writing about the subject, and its impact on the present, simply insane UK government energy policies, in his weekly column for The Sunday Telegraph. Always worth a read!

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 14, 2016 2:03 am

Booker is simply wrong on that as he is on most things…
If you think asbestos is harmless, sprinkle it on your carpet…

Ian Magness
Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 2:10 am

Utter nonsense Griff. Try reading his book before commenting. For the record, nobody disputes the harmfulness of blue/brown asbestos. It’s the (chemically quite different) white asbestos that should never have been lumped in with it in the legislation. Too long to go into here but worth researching given the incredible, and unnecessary, cost this has resulted in.

Chris Wright
Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 2:21 am

Christopher Booker is right.
He never said that all asbestos is harmful.
There are two main types: blue and white asbestos.
Blue asbestos is dangerous. But white asbestos is completely harmless and is apparently very similar to baby powder.
Booker is right on many things, from climate change to the appalling miscarriages of justice in Britain’s “child protection” system. I suggest you check your facts.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 3:06 am

Griff, there’s a cliff over there. Don’t look, just LEAP! Like you always do.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 4:24 am

The original research that goes into Booker’s articles is second to none. About asbestos he distinguished between Blue and White asbestos, something that most journalist and yourself fail to know are different. If I remember the article correctly Booker pointed out that white asbestos is as dangerous as talcum powder yet the legislation was forcing individuals, schools and companies to spend ten of thousands of pounds having it removed by specialist firms. A flagrant waste of everybody’s money, something perhaps you support and think unworthy of bringing to the public’s attention? Perhaps you are wrong on most things?

John Eggert
Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 4:32 am

Griff, you said “if you think asbestos is harmless, sprinkle it on your carpet”. I’ve seen this type of argument before. If you think PCB’s are harmless, drink a cup also comes to mind. It displays an ignorance of what is toxic, because the dose makes the poison. Drink a big glass of vitamin a and you will die. I sprinkle carcinogens on my carpet all the time. It is sand which where I live is predominantly quartz. Some asbestos too no doubt because it is a common mineral in the ultramafic rocks that are common here.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 5:33 am

Ian, my father used to go on about asbestos, in the 60s I believe, on its mischaracterization as just as you say, only one form is harmful.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 10:44 am

Some forms of asbestos are mildly harmful, others are completely harmless.
Even the harmful ones usually require the presence of other carcinogens, such as heavy smoking, before they have any impact.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 12:53 pm

The harmfulness of asbestos is similar to that of smoke, or wood, glass, metal, coal or silica dust. All fine particulates are things you really want to avoid breathing on a regular basis. No particulate material is safe to breath chronically (not even wheat flour), which (chronic exposure) is what really killed asbestos workers, coal miners, cigarette smokers and professional makers of gun flints in the 18th century.
There are six legally recognized forms of “asbestos” – lawyers aren’t mineralogists – that are derived from two distinct mineralogical families, amphiboles and serpentines. The only thing that makes the various minerals “asbestos” is the flexible, fibrous crystalline, “asbestiform” habit. The sole reason asbestos received the stupid legal treatment it did is that the industries relying on it resisted admitting a workplace (chronic) exposure hazard that could be dealt with by simple protective equipment. Now, like lead and mercury, the general population is superstitiously afraid of the very idea that there could asbestos around.

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 14, 2016 3:34 am

Speaking of the UK’s mad energy policy, Hinckley C nuclear plant appears set to get the nod. A snip at £25 billion or so. Only the dearest construction on the entire planet with electricity prices to match. We could’ve had 6 CCGT (gas) plants for £3 billion all in, delivered, installed and operational in the blink of an eye. But nope, that’s waaaaay too simple and not nearly expensive enough for us Brits. Insane.

Reply to  CheshireRed
September 14, 2016 5:01 am

That is why nuclear needs to move to the Molten Salt Reactor, low pressure, no water cooling/heat transfer, no 150 atmosphere plumbing or Billion in pressure domes. eGeneration.org

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  CheshireRed
September 14, 2016 4:34 pm

Nobody argues that nuke plants are cheap to build, but fuel costs are low (about $.01 per kWh) so that over the lifetime of the plant, nuke power costs about 2/3 that of the current price of natural gas. What will gas be selling for in 30 years? How stable will the market be by then? ref: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/economic-aspects/economics-of-nuclear-power.aspx Also note that nuke plants pay into a decommissioning fund that will cover the cost of decommissioning, that is if the politicians let them operate for their lifetime.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  CheshireRed
September 14, 2016 4:38 pm
Reply to  Ian Magness
September 14, 2016 3:49 am

To show how stupid politicians are, when we had the misfortune to have Gordon Brown as our PM, he decided to penalise drivers of petrol (gasoline) cars and give tax breaks for those who bought diesel vehicles because CO2 emissions are lower in diesel vehicles and mpg is better. Once again the Law of Unintended Consequences struck as predictably as ever and our cities became more air-polluted, why? Because anyone who has been behind an old/badly maintained diesel vehicle ends up breathing in a cocktail of carcinogenic pm10’s and various oxides of nitrogen. all of which are 1000’s of times more detrimental to health than CO2. We have all sat behind these vehicles, belching out black clouds of pungent emissions. Simple observation and application of common sense would have prevented this problem.
Ian, I agree totally with you about Christopher Booker, his column always talks sense as does Simon Heffer’s which is also in the Comment section of The Sunda Telegraph.

Reply to  Andrew Harding
September 15, 2016 12:46 pm

You missed the best part. I would wander through a tank shop in which the air could have the consistency of fog, yet aside from the stench breathing was virtually unaffected. Slide to emissions reduction where heat of formation was increased to reduce particulate emissions…and toxicity went through the roof.

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 14, 2016 11:19 pm

Chris Wright September 14, 2016 at 2:21 am..
Christopher Booker is right.
He never said that all asbestos is harmful.
There are two main types: blue and white asbestos.
Blue asbestos is dangerous. But white asbestos is completely harmless and is apparently very similar to baby powder.
Booker is right on many things, from climate change to the appalling miscarriages of justice in Britain’s “child protection” system. I suggest you check your facts.
In this both Chris and Chris are wrong.
While white asbestos is less harmful than blue asbestos [see http://www.asbestosdiseases.org.au/the-wittenoom-tragedy.html%5D it is not completely harmless.
It is not similar to baby powder, produced from the mineral talc. Talc is a mica, a mineral that occurs as sheets or flakes. Chrysotile is often found in nature mixed with talc as both minerals are found in the same rock types.
Chrysotile [white asbestos] has a fibrous form, not platy, and is a danger to human health.
How much ?
There’s dispute but even supporters of the use of white asbestos admit that heavy exposure may be dangerous [http://crisotilabrasil.org.br/site/pesquisas/_pdf/The%20health%20effects%20of%20chrysotile%20.pdf
Breathing in any fibre [ rock wool, glass, polyvinyl] is not good for you, but some fibres are a lot less good than others. So blue asbestos bad…… and white asbestos ?
It should probably be phased out when safer substitutes are found

Aert Driessen
Reply to  GregK
September 15, 2016 8:32 pm

Asbestos can be harmful not because it is toxic, but because of its shape. Its particles/crystal form are acicular (needle-shape) and have an aspect ratio; I believe that an aspect ratio of 7:1 is close to the potential danger point. Thus particles can be caught ‘cross-wise’ in the ‘breathing apparatus’ and cause an irritation that can turn to cancer .. as far as I know.

September 14, 2016 1:58 am

Let me fix the start of the last paragraph for you….”We must get the religionout money of environmentalism

Reply to  AleaJactaEst
September 14, 2016 2:00 am

bloody wordpress…………. religion money out of environmentalism”

September 14, 2016 2:02 am

“As Dr. Crichton explains, DDT is not a carcinogen, it did not cause birds to die and the people who banned it knew these facts. But, they banned it anyway and as a result tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, died”
DDT has never been banned for anti-malarial prevention – it is still used today. And it did kill off bird populations, especially birds of prey, by thinning the shells of their eggs. That’s incontrovertible science.
(I haven’t researched claims on whether its a carcinogen – but hey, he’s certainly wrong on 2 out of 3 points)

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 4:26 am

So sayith: Griff

DDT has never been banned for anti-malarial prevention ….

Right you are, ….. Griff, …… DDT never was banned for anti-malarial prevention.
And …… DDT never was banned for anti-measles prevention.
And …… DDT never was banned for anti-Polio prevention.
And …… DDT never was banned for anti-Small Pox prevention.
DUH, those silly Religious minded greenies, enviros and politicians are definitely miseducated, misnurtured, ignorant and stupid acting ….. but they sure aren’t crazy enough to be demanding the banning of a chemical ….. for the specific reason, that if used, it would prevent the deaths of hundreds-of-thousands of people in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 5:14 am

Griff is mostly right on this one.
1. DDT is banned internationally for use in agriculture, but its use in malaria control remains permitted under the regulations of the Stockholm Convention. The production of DDT and its use in malaria control have never been discontinued. (If the ban of DDT for agricultural use had any effect at all, it would have been to slow the emergence of resistance, and thereby to prolong DDT’s useful life for malaria control.)
2. While DDT is cheaper than most other insecticides, cost of manufacture has risen in proportion to that of petroleum, the major required raw material. Moreover, like other insecticides, DDT selects for resistance in the targeted insect vectors. Rising cost and widespread resistance, not regulation, are the key reasons for the limited and declining worldwide use of DDT.
3. Most malaria fatalities occur in Africa. On this continent, no comprehensive effort has ever been made to control or eradicate malaria; instead, all such projects occurred only on a local or regional scale, and many were abandoned after only a few years.
4. In the most severely affected parts of the world, only a small fraction of malaria cases are actually seen by health care workers or recorded by health authorities. Regardless of the tools employed, effective malaria control is impossible with such inadequate levels of organization and preparedness.
5. Malaria remains rampant because control efforts lack resources and political support, not because of the choice of insecticide. Where insect resistance to it is not yet widespread, DDT remains a legitimate weapon against malaria. However, DDT is not a panacea, and the limited restrictions imposed on its use are not a significant factor in the current deplorable state of affairs in malaria morbidity and mortality.
The above is the summary from a longer memo with references that is on my website.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 8:49 am

Michael Palmer, Harvard Medical School, the CDC, and many others disagree with many of your points. The references are in the post or in the links. I’ll cite two here: http://www.researchinformation.co.uk/pest/2001/B104731K.PDF and http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/3/3/97-0305_article DDT is quite safe. Most bird populations increased when DDT was sprayed, especially Robins and song birds. A few species may have had thinner shells due to DDT, but this is not proven and very over stated. See here: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-truth-about-ddt-and-silent-spring

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 9:16 am

It can be done. Last week sri lanka was certified malaria.
Ten to 15 other countries have done this and another 10 are on track in the next 5-10 years.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 10:02 am

Here is a quote from the well documented CDC paper cited “We have used two regression models to show that as numbers of DDT-sprayed houses declined, malaria incidence increased. The period from 1959 to 1978 can be characterized as a period of insecticide-controlled malaria. The period from 1979 to 1995 can be characterized as a period of decreased use of residual spraying and geometric growth in malaria incidence. Other factors contribute to resurgent malaria, but none would appear to equal the influence of decreases in the house-spray programs.” This is followed by:
“Public health researchers in the United States helped initiate the use of DDT for malaria control in 1943 (19). Today, DDT is still needed for malaria control. If the pressure to abandon this effective insecticide continues, unchanged or declining health budgets, combined with increasingly expensive insecticides and rising operational costs, will result in millions of additional malaria cases worldwide.” Roberts, et al, September 1997, EID.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 10:39 am

Andy, you apparently didn’t even read what I said. (Good that you got Harvard and the CDC in there though. On this website, we always trust in whatever these lofty institutions have to say.) I did not argue against the use of DDT against malaria; I merely observed that this use is still permitted, but that its effectiveness has declined over time, like that of any other widely used insecticide.
DDT may or may not be harmful for birds when used for crop protection, but any environmental impact of the incomparably smaller quantities that are used indoors is surely negligible. Therefore, whether or not this problem ever was real, it surely no longer exists after the ban of DDT for agricultural use; and this is why was never particularly interested in the truth about the eggs. I find the usefulness and limitations of DDT in malaria to be a much more interesting and relevant problem.
The whole DDT-ban-as-mass-murder saga is as fictitious as the global warming disaster myth. Both myths are convenient for smearing the other side, but neither is based in fact.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 10:46 am

Andy, in response to your last comment: you again confirm that DDT is in fact still used for indoor spraying. I agree that any pressure to ban this use should be resisted, but so far that ban hasn’t happened. Somewhat ironically, dieldrin and hexachlorcyclohexane have indeed been banned entirely, but nobody complains about those, even though they are sometimes effective on DDT-resistant mosquito strains.
Note also that in India DDT resistance is almost ubiquitous, and it is also increasing elsewhere. DDT use will continue to decline simply due to this fact. DDT is living on borrowed time. Note that the reference you cited is almost 20 years old. That’s a long time in terms of resistance development. You really should put more care into your homework before aspiring to inform the public.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 1:50 pm

Michael Palmer, your enumerated statements are factual, no problem there. But, I thought they were incomplete and thus misleading. Your website is likewise factually correct, but incomplete enough to be misleading. DDT is allowed by international law to be sure, but it is banned in 34 countries. Roberts, et al showed conclusively that DDT is very effective against malaria. Some mosquitos are immune to the chemical, but many (most?) of these are still repelled by it. Immunity does lessen its effectiveness, but does not eliminate it. It is also safer to use near humans than other insecticides and longer lasting. I don’t disagree with you, I just wanted to balance what you said. Make the message more clear. Also, you did not make it clear what you agreed with Griff on. His statement that DDT killed off bird populations is clearly incorrect. Most bird populations increased when DDT was used in agricultural areas. A few species declined, none were killed off. Always seeking clarity.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 2:35 pm

Andy: OK, I don’t support Griff’s position on egg shells, because I don’t know and I don’t care; given that DDT is only used indoors anymore, this question is no longer relevant. Regardless of the egg question, the ban on outdoor use helped to delay the spreading of mosquito resistance. If people truly had cared so much about the poor malaria victims, they would not have allowed the agricultural use of DDT in the first place.
As to your other points: I repeat, DDT remains somewhat useful, but Roberts is 20 years out of date on the resistance (not “immunity” — that is a different concept). As early as 2008, DDT resistance was reported to be essentially ubiquitous in India. In many countries, including India, DDT use became more erratic after initial successes; fatigue, rising costs, and other disasters (famines, epidemics, wars) diverting attention all contributed to this. As a result, effectiveness declined as early as the 1960s. Increasing resistance made it worse.
The WHO itself gave up on the goal of eradication at the same time, before anyone even talked about the ban. What more “misleading” and “unbalanced” evidence do you need to refrain from perpetuating the criminally stupid myth that all it takes to eradicate malarial is a liberal helping of DDT sprayed the world over?

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 8:31 pm

Palmer, you said, said, “On this continent, no comprehensive effort has ever been made to control or eradicate malaria;”
Given that malaria was endemic to the Southeastern U.S. until the 20th century, what do you think eradicated it? Religious rituals? Global warming? Mosquito-killing anthropgenic CO2?

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 15, 2016 4:27 am

lftpm, reading comprehension. The preceding sentence reads “Most malaria fatalities occur in Africa.” In the context, the phrase “this continent” clearly refers to Africa.
Now get some sleep.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 15, 2016 8:34 am

This is from an old article, 2001 before dirt :-), but Dr. Attaran makes some good points pertinent to this discussion: “The examples of this are striking. South Africa had been almost malaria-free since using DDT in the 1940s. But under pressure from environmentalists it switched to other insecticides in 1996. This allowed a particularly aggressive mosquito species (Anopheles funestus) to re-invade South Africa after a 50-year absence, leading to a dramatic resurgence of disease: malaria cases rose from 4117 in 1995 to 27,238 reported cases in 1999 (or possibly as many as 120,000, judging by pharmacy records). Neighbouring Swaziland, which never stopped using DDT, experienced no such resurgence. Faced with this mounting epidemic, South Africa has forced to resume DDT use last year.” Efforts to use DDT to control malaria were made in Africa by individual countries and by WHO. But, environmental pressure stemming from the bans put in place in many wealthy countries, caused these efforts to stop with disastrous consequences. The wealthy countries had already eliminated malaria within their borders using DDT. So, Dr. Palmer, I do not think the efficacy of DDT is as poor as you describe. I’m sure DDT resistance has reduced it, but recent trials have shown it is still effective.
From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2801202/ (van den Berg, 2009, EHP)
“Resistance does not necessarily result in failure to control disease. Standard testing of DDT resistance focuses on the insecticide’s toxic action. However, the repellent and irritant properties of DDT also have the potential to reduce transmission of disease and relieve the selective pressure for toxic resistance (Grieco et al. 2007; Roberts and Andre 1994). This is an area requiring more research.”

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 15, 2016 6:48 pm

Andy May, instead of continuing to nitpick my comments, you should rather focus on educating yourself, so that in the future you can avoid blunders such as the one you committed in this post.
Please go read the papers cited in my memo on malaria in India. Note how ongoing use of DDT, even when supplemented with other insecticides, has failed to bring the case numbers back down to anywhere near what they were in the 1960s (supposedly – I doubt that in those days cases in remote rural areas were really properly accounted for). DDT resistance is not ubiquitous, but it is a real problem.
Now I will tell you something that will throw you for a curve, or at least it did me when I first learned about it. You know what that is?
If we were really serious about controlling malaria, we could do it without drugs and without insecticides, by drainage and other means of environmental management alone. The methods were developed and proven effective 100 years ago, by a British colonial medical officer (Malcolm Watson). He developed and put them into practice in Malaya, but later on applied them successfully in several copper mining towns in what is now Zambia, smack dab in the middle of some of the worst endemic areas in the world. With the advent of DDT, those successful and “sustainable” but more laborious and exacting methods — Watson emphasizes how each Anopheles species has to be addressed in its own proper way, as some love shadow, others sun; some breed in flowing water, others in stagnant pools; some bite indoors, others outdoors — were largely forgotten.
Watson’s books make for fascinating reading, and they help us better understand what really matters in the fight against malaria, and infectious diseases in general: an educated society and dedicated experts, supported by an able and efficient administration. Where these are given, infectious diseases are conquered; where they are lacking, infectious diseases run rampant.
It just so happens that tonight I have finished converting one of them to an online version. Maybe take a look.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 5:16 am

Griff, I see no one is trying to refute your point about birds of prey being affected by DDT. Good. In the USA and Canada, I believe that was a major consideration in the banning of its widespread use. And as a result, many populations of raptors like bald eagles and peregrine falcons have recovered from alarming declines in population they had experienced. DDT has valid reasons to be used, but if it was to be once again used as a widespread, broadcast insecticide, impacts on birds and other wildlife would be measurable, and not in a good way.

Reply to  wildlifeperspectives
September 14, 2016 5:32 am

Wildlife, if I may~ What is your view on raptors now being wiped out by wind turbines, and the fact that the government is giving wind facilities the green light to wipe them out right and left?

Craig Loehle
Reply to  wildlifeperspectives
September 14, 2016 7:43 am

The decline of birds of prey was mostly due to people shooting them. When millions of people kept chickens outdoors, these raptors were viewed as a threat. Everyone moved to the cities and modern chicken farms are mostly within sheds. As well, education about the birds kicked in. Shooting them went down and they recovered. The stuff about eggshells was simply bad science and never happened.

Reply to  wildlifeperspectives
September 14, 2016 10:50 am

Wild: In every case, raptor populations started recovering years, even decades prior to the banning of DDT.
It was the banning of hunting that resulted in their recovery.

Joel Snider
Reply to  wildlifeperspectives
September 14, 2016 3:39 pm

Hundreds of millions dead. Billions by some count. Measurable. Not in a good way.
As a result of not shooting them, many bird populations have recovered.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 6:16 am

I haven’t seen any credible evidence that egg shell thinning was caused by DDT as Carson claimed. The trial birds were given another product in their feed that was know to cause thinning. Haven’t got time to hunt down the reference but will try later.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 14, 2016 7:07 am

The only manner in which DDT harmed eagles was through the ingestion of DDT-poisoned fish. When carefully used in a manner which avoids run-off into rivers and streams, DDT is no threat to eagles.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 14, 2016 8:53 am

Precisely, one of the trials fed the test birds with a diet deficient in calcium. That was what caused the thinning. For a few species DDT may thin their shells but the experimental results are in dispute and the evidence is inconclusive anyway. Most species thrive in a DDT sprayed environment because it reduces parasites. This is true of animals and birds, dogs live longer because it reduces “worms.”

Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 14, 2016 10:52 am

The birds were fed a diet deficient in calcium and kept in a hot and noisy environment.
Any one of those three, in isolation is know to cause shell thinning.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 15, 2016 4:57 pm

Oh, and by the way, populations of raptors like bald eagles and peregrine falcons had started to recover well before DDT use was banned.

Reply to  Griff
September 14, 2016 10:48 am

The so called science that DDT thinned the egg shells of birds was thoruoughly refuted as bad science even before the book came out.
As always, Griff believes the propaganda he’s paid to believe.

Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2016 12:23 pm

DDT and it’s impact on birds like bald eagles is irrefutable; aerially applied over fields, It does get into water, it does accumulate in fish, it does get to raptors. Regardless if you believe that or not, spraying insecticides like it sometimes is is not something that’s anywhere near desirable (I once hunted on a farm in Saskatchewan where the farmer told me he had sprayed 23 times for ‘hoppers’ that year) . There are better pesticides today, and better farming practices in general, that suggest it would not be a good thing to start spraying DDT willy nilly once again.
And in response to ClimateOtter’s question as to what do I think of windmills and their place in society – I think they stink. I have nothing, nothing at all good to say about windmills as a way to produce energy. As an aside, a bald eagle researcher I know has wondered how all those windmills, harvesting the wind, might be impacting on energy flow dynamics. It’s not something anyone, to my knowledge, is paying any attention to.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  MarkW
September 15, 2016 6:01 am

(I once hunted on a farm in Saskatchewan where the farmer told me he had sprayed 23 times for ‘hoppers’ that year) .

Wildlifeperspectives, ….. if the farmer told you that, …… then why in hell did you bother to go hunting on his land?
That year and all the past years of that farmer spraying that DEADLY DDT …… then there couldn’t possibly be any wildlife left on his farm for you to be hunting for.

September 14, 2016 2:24 am

Well I agree with all this except DDT anything that accumulates in fatty tissue and cannot be eliminated, makes me nervous.

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 14, 2016 2:59 am

I’m afraid that it’s impossible to get the religion out of environmentalism. You can only do that by killing environmentalism (and its proponents) off.
How did the Aztec religion disappear? Not by itself or through internal reform. When the Spanish were confronted by its excesses, the human sacrifice, they ware genuinely appalled. Which is interesting because they ware no lovey-doveys themselves. But the reaction was to slaughter lock stock and barrel the priest class. That had the effect that suddenly the populace was a) without “spiritual” leadership, and b) realised that what the priests had preached was a load of cobblers and that their gods were false ones; this probably explains whey they adopted Christianity so quickly.
How did the Baal religion disappear? Some conqueror slaughtered the priests. And so a few more.
I’m afraid that the high priests of environmentalism are too well established to suffer such a fate. Until it may be too late for mankind to survive the consequences of their idiocy.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 14, 2016 4:41 am

Until it may be too late for mankind to survive the consequences of their idiocy.
If Hillary Clinton gets elected POTUS …… then I’m sure it is “dun to late” to reverse the swing of the Social Pendulum.

Charles Nelson
September 14, 2016 3:42 am

Original Sin = CO2.
The moment you are born you become guilty.

Reply to  Charles Nelson
September 14, 2016 3:55 am

Only if you are European, American, Canadian, Australian, or New Zealand.

Reply to  rishrac
September 14, 2016 6:44 am

Correct, and a traveler from a distant land would see the punishment with carbon taxes and wealth redistribution and budget patch efforts with carbon tax revenue as a strange local religious custom like dietary restrictions and veils. Historians have done a half way job at describing indulgences to the Vatican. We need to see the books that show how the money was actually used.

Thomas Homer
September 14, 2016 3:49 am

“We can show it [CO2] is a greenhouse gas like water vapor”
It would help a great deal if you would show the greenhouse gas property of CO2 currently functioning on Mars where the atmosphere is 95% CO2.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
September 14, 2016 6:27 am

Mars has, despite the 95% of CO2, a similar ammount of total CO2 in its atmosphere than Earth, given that its atmosphere is so thin. I remember reading that air pressure was around 3000 times lower than on Earth. So you would expect the same warming from CO2 than we have here. However, it doesn’t have the huge ammount of water vapour that we do, anong many other things. Nor a efficient way to distribute heat nor oceans to store it. This all means less uniform temperature, greater extremes. And this means lower average temperature.

Reply to  Nylo
September 14, 2016 7:44 am

No, there is 20 times more CO2 per surface on Mars.

Thomas Homer
Reply to  Nylo
September 14, 2016 8:11 am

That’s right, the atmosphere of Mars is much thinner than Earth’s. However if there is a physical property of CO2 such that it can be described as a “Greenhouse Gas”, and this property can be shown to exist here on Earth, I want to see evidence of this same property on Mars. If there were such a property, I would expect that the Mars atmosphere would not actually trap much/any heat, but the CO2 must be reflecting the Long Wave radiation as described within this theory. And the formula(s) should resolve to something. A miniscule amount of heat for a minuscule amount of time.
Why isn’t the Mars’ Rover measuring it? I would think proponents would relish the opportunity to prove out their theory of CO2 in near isolation. If we can’t “show” this property exists on Mars, why should we accept that it exists here on Earth?

Reply to  Nylo
September 14, 2016 10:54 am

I believe the surface pressure on Mars is closer to 3% that of the Earth.

Reply to  Nylo
September 14, 2016 8:50 pm

“I remember reading that air pressure was around 3000 times lower than on Earth.”
That may have been the calculation of the climate modeler who gave Al Gore the talking point that the earth’s core temperature was millions of degrees.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Thomas Homer
September 14, 2016 9:16 am

Thomas, CO2 absorbs IR radiant energy and puts kinetic energy into the atmosphere by collision with other atmospheric gases — on Earth that’s oxygen and nitrogen.
On Mars, the atmosphere is so thin that collisions among gas molecules are rather rare compared to Earth. That makes the atmosphere on Mars more like the stratosphere on Earth, where CO2 deactivation occurs by re-radiation rather than by collision.
Likely, re-radiation dominates on Mars, too. There CO2 absorbs IR energy, and the vibrationally excited state, CO2*, has a long enough lifetime, through no collisions, to just re-radiate the energy. The result is no kinetic energy transfer.
On Earth, it appears that the fast response of the hydrosphere adjusts out any effect of the atmospheric kinetic energy imported by CO2.

Reply to  Pat Frank
September 14, 2016 8:23 pm

Martian atmospheric pressure is .6% of Earth’s mean sea level pressure.

September 14, 2016 4:06 am

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Max Plank
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” -John Cage, composer (5 Sep 1912-1992)
“When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.”-Robert M. Pirsig, author and philosopher (b. 6 Sep 1928)

John Eggert
September 14, 2016 4:11 am

I think doomsday cult explains it better. The members genuinely believe the priests, such as James Hansen, when the priests tell them they must change their sinning ways or the world will end. As with such cults, failure of the prophesy only strengthens their resolve and belief. The seventh day Adventists are still going strong more than a hundred years after their end of the world deadline. You cannot get religion out of environmentalism because without the belief in doom, there is no environmentalism. As was pointed out in this story, truth and facts have no impact on the true believers. Another common theme of cults and religions is the exceptionalism of man. Environmentalism assumes that man is not natural. That the natural environment is that which is untouched by man. Man is special because he can change the environment so man and his works are not part of the natural environment. If man is just another animal on this planet, then what man does is natural and New York City is as much a part of nature as Yosemite Park. We have all been programmed, so very few humans now accept that we are natural. Evidence that changes to nature by man are beneficial to man is systematically repressed and ignored. If you don’t ignore it you are a bad person. A sinner.

September 14, 2016 4:27 am

In the foreword of “State of Fear,” Crichton wrote that his initial plan for his novel was to raise the alarm about global warming, but that, as he did his research, he came to the conclusion that the data did not support the claims, and that he consequently wrote the book as an anti-global-warming warning. (He also included data in the appendix.)

September 14, 2016 5:01 am

“The late Dr. Michael Crichton”
It’s always been my hope that he’s still with us, having used his wealth to pull a fade like the character in State of Fear.
I found his early stuff at the library last summer, good brain candy.

September 14, 2016 5:21 am

Hi Anthony — I like WUWT a lot and read it faithfully. But it is mildly frustrating to read your submission rules, find out that one of the ‘banned’ topics is religion, and then read this. As both a person of faith and a reasonably accomplished scientist, it does strike me as odd when scientists (both professional and amateur) come forward with less than a third grade level knowledge of religious thought and writing, including propagating many tired myths of science and religion. For those willing to put some time into it, please read works like that of Alvin Plantinga (https://www.amazon.com/Where-Conflict-Really-Lies-Naturalism/dp/0199812098/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473855216&sr=1-1&keywords=where+the+conflict+really+lies). By the way, I have nothing but admiration for (the late) Michael Crichton — he recognized political and social dogma (from whatever source) as what it was. In the history arena, and for a much more complete account of the Copernican revolution, see Arthur Koestler’s book ‘The Sleepwalkers’ https://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Modern-Classics-Sleepwalkers-Changing/dp/0141394536/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473855456&sr=1-1&keywords=9780141394534

Reply to  thomasbrown32000
September 14, 2016 7:17 am

Firstly, the topic of the essay is not “religion;” it is environmentalism. Andy’s analogy is drawn from the fact that both are faith-based systems. I don’t think there’s anything controversial about describing religion as a faith-based system. The point of discussion is the nature of environmentalism as a faith-based system.
Secondly, the policy refers to comments and article submissions…

6. All submissions are reviewed. Generally 10% or less are accepted, so do your best! We give credit to the story submitter, and bonus points are given for people who post under their full names. Stories submitted may or may not be published at the discretion of the editorial stuff. Those that are published may be edited for size, accuracy, content etc. and become to property of WUWT.
9. Per the WUWT policy page, certain topics are not welcome here and stories submitted concerning them will be deleted. This includes topics on religion, discussions of barycentrism, astrology, aliens, bigfoot, chemtrails, 911 Truthers, Obama’s Birth Certificate, HAARP, UFO’s, Electric Universe, mysticism, pressure gradient predicts all planetary atmospheric temperature, and Principia/Slaying the Sky Dragon aka “MAGIC GAS”.

If this essay was about religion, it would have not been accepted or would have been deleted.
The policy does not ban references or analogies to religion… https://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=religion

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 10:58 am

“religion, discussions of barycentrism, astrology, aliens, bigfoot, chemtrails, 911 Truthers, Obama’s Birth Certificate, HAARP, UFO’s, Electric Universe, mysticism, pressure gradient predicts all planetary atmospheric temperature, and Principia/Slaying the Sky Dragon aka “MAGIC GAS””
Dang, all the good ones.

Reply to  thomasbrown32000
September 14, 2016 8:29 pm

The topic was environmentalism. The COMPARISON was religion.

September 14, 2016 5:25 am

Crighton is of course right about Eden never having existed. However, the high mortality numbers he cites are to some degree related to population density. Does anyone know what the infant mortality is among great apes? I should think that at least the mortality due to infectious diseases is lower than the figure 80% he cites, and early humans were likely better at keeping their young safe from other dangers than the apes are. Maybe some collective memory of such friendlier times influenced the myth of Eden.
Another circumstance that might have contributed to the legend is the Holocene optimum, with its greener, lusher environment around the Mediterranean sea (where all of our handed-down mythology arose).

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 7:04 am

Dr. Creighton’s belief that the Garden of Eden never existed is, of course, a blind, non-scientific, religious belief. Any belief based on the absence of evidence is not science, just opinion.

Reply to  OK S.
September 14, 2016 7:09 am

OK. We can’t be sure whether or not the story is true. Let’s just say it is implausible, and it is only supported by an old book of unknown authorship and with many other implausible tales in it.

Reply to  OK S.
September 14, 2016 7:20 am

Belief in the Garden of Eden, as literally portrayed in Genesis, is entirely based on faith. As such, it is no different from the belief that a new environmental regulation will avert “x” cases of asthma.

Craig Loehle
Reply to  OK S.
September 14, 2016 7:47 am

Crichton is talking about the Garden of Eden not in the Biblical sense but in the sense that it is assumed that primitive people lived an idyllic life. Like Rousseau’s Noble Savage.

Reply to  OK S.
September 14, 2016 8:07 am

That’s true… But it works in both contexts.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
September 14, 2016 10:44 am

Yes, Eden DID exist. Websearch “Gobekli Tepe.” Fascinating. This does not contradict the realities of Evolution. It’s just history. Genesis has many levels, the most valuable of which are spiritual meanings that we won’t discuss here. Gobekli Tepe was at the very beginning of agriculture. One memory of that which is preserved in the Bible is the statement that Eve’s pain in childbearing “increased.” This points to evolution as a Biblical fact, for the “literal” interpretation–meaning the stupidest possible interpretation–has no children before the expulsion from Eden. Today, “primal” or “Paleo” or “caveman” diets are popular, and many improvements in health have been noted from them. As we explore these things, we are also developing a regenerative agriculture that is truly restoring some part of Eden in very real ways.

September 14, 2016 5:34 am

It reminds me of this great cartoon: “Something’s just not right…”comment image

Reply to  oakwood
September 14, 2016 6:05 am
Reply to  oakwood
September 14, 2016 7:18 am

The high child mortality did not mean “nobody lives past thirty”. Most of them who got past five lived past thirty.

Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth?

Another way to see this based on averages is:
First four children died, then one survived, then at the sixth childbirth the mother died. You really have to wonder how there was any population growth.
Point taken anyway. Environmentalism is a religion.

Craig Loehle
Reply to  Hugs
September 14, 2016 7:48 am

There was in fact for most of history very little population growth. Populations grew when people discovered unoccupied lands or there was a breakthrough in agriculture or technology.

Reply to  Hugs
September 14, 2016 11:01 am

Most women were constantly pregnant, from the age of 13 or 14 till their death.

September 14, 2016 5:53 am

Regarding religion and post-1980’s environmental regulations, both are almost entirely faith-based. It’s logically impossible to not draw the analogy. Pretty well all new environmental regulations since the early 1980’s are faith-based. They are almost entirely predicated on “x number of deaths and/or illnesses will be prevented.” This metric is entirely mythical, unverifiable and 100% faith-based.
40-60 years ago, air and water pollution were very serious problems in the U.S. Effective environmental regulations enacted in the 1960’s and 1970’s were instrumental in cleaning up the environment. The problem with more regulations is two-fold: 1) Most real pollutants are at or near irreducible levels and 2) The cost-benefit is a diminishing returns (production) function. The pollution abatement is linear while the cost per unit of pollution is geometric. Since, the EPA can’t produce any real cost-benefit numbers, they gin up faith-based benefits (x number of asthma diagnosis prevented). It’s impossible to prove that something will be prevented. It’s also impossible to prove that something that didn’t happen was prevented.
Most pollutants are already at or near irreducible levels and almost all are well below the national standard; yet the EPA continues to ratchet down the standards, exponentially increasing compliance costs.
NO2 and SO2 were already well below the national standard and declining *before * Obama sent the EPA on an Enviromarxist jihad against American industry…
PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) was already below the national standard and falling before Obama’s war on productivity…
PM10 (coarse particulate matter) was way below the national standard and falling before Obama’s dictatorship of the proletariat-bureaucracy …
CO has been below the National Standard since the early 1980’s and has been at an essentially irreducible level since the early 2000’s.
O3 has been essentially at an irreducible level since the early 1980’s and the National Standard is ridiculously low.
The National Standard for surface level ozone (O3) is ~0.075 parts per million. Ozone isn’t a problem until it gets above 0.2 ppm…

0.200 ppm
Prolonged exposure of humans under occupational and experimental conditions produced no apparent ill effects. The threshold level at which nasal and throat irritation will result appears to be about 0.300 ppm.
0.300 ppm
The ozone level at which some sensitive species of plant life began to show signs of ozone effects.
0.500 ppm
The ozone level at which Los Angeles, California, declares its Smog Alert No. 1. Can cause nausea in some individuals. Extended exposure could cause lung edema (an abnormal accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue or serous cavity). Enhances the susceptibility to respiratory infections.

The EPA wants to lower the National Standard to 0.06 ppm…

EPA Proposes New Limit for Ozone Emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced a new proposal to limit emissions of ozone, arguing that curbing the smog-causing pollutant will have wide-ranging public health benefits.
The EPA argues that ground-level ozone can pose serious threats to public health, including aggravation of lung diseases like asthma. Republicans and fossil fuel industry advocates say that a suite of recent EPA regulations are unnecessary, too costly and will result in job losses.
The new proposed regulation would lower the current limit for ozone pollution from 75 parts per billion to between 65 to 70 parts per billion. It would also solicit public comment on an even lower threshold of 60 parts per billion, which environmental groups have sought.

The annual cost to lower O3 to 65-70 ppb is estimated to be $3.9 to 15 billion…

Annual costs are estimated at $3.9 billion in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb and $15 billion for a standard of 65 ppb. The agency’s Regulatory Impact Analysis for the rule meanwhile suggests that the alternative standard level could cost up to $39 billion annually.
“If the standards are finalized, every dollar we invest to meet them will return up to three dollars in health benefits,” said the EPA.

Other estimates put the cost much higher, with the annual cost peaking at $270 billion.
With a cumulative cost of more than $2 trillion and a loss of 101 GW of electricity generation capacity by 2040…
If reducing ground level O3 reduces the incidence of asthma, why did the incidence of asthma double or triple while ground level O3 was being reduced by more than 30%?
Pb is perhaps the QED in the proof that environmentalism is now a religion. Lead (Pb) is generally considered to be one of the most toxic pollutants. Lead pollution dates back at least to Roman times. It appears that lead pollution peaked in the mid-20th century and have been dropping like a lead weight since the 1960’s, totally ignoring the population “explosion” and the EPA (which did not commence its mischief until 1970). Lead levels are currently about where they were before the industrial revolution.
Annual compliance costs are in millions of 2006 dollars.
Pollution abatement follows a production (AKA diminishing returns) function. Each dollar spent removes less pollution than the previous dollar. The cost of compliance with the Clean Air Act is rising exponentially while the return in pollution abatement is asymptotically approaching zero…
The gov’t routinely exaggerates the supposed benefits of regulations, usually relying on unverifiable claims, such as, “Regulation X prevented 1,500 premature deaths.” There is no way to test or verify a claim that things would have been worse if gov’t didn’t impose these real costs on your business. And the costs are very real.
The EPA routinely uses asthma as a justification for new reg’s. They claim the reg’s will reduce the incidence of asthma. The EPA’s own data show that atmospheric concentrations of SO2 and NO2 have been declining, while the CDC says that asthma diagnoses have been increasing over the last few decades.
If the pollution abatement was reducing the incidence of asthma, why is the percentage of children being diagnosed with asthma rising?
The only difference between religion and environmentalism is the fact that the environmentalists’ “god” can be empirically disproved.
Regarding DDT, there was a need to modify how it was used, not a need to ban it. Banning DDT probably killed over 20 million people, mostly children in Third World countries. DDT is currently saving lives in the African countries in which it was re-introduced…
Regarding DDT and birds, this is a myth. There is no evidence that DDT directly harmed eagles or other birds. DDT, when sprayed carelessly over water bodies, did kill fish and this did affect eagles by reducing their available food supply and eagles occasionally were sickened after eating DDT-poisoned fish…
The solution was to take greater care in DDT application – not ban it. The odds are that Rachel Carson killed as many people as Adolph Hitler.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 7:38 am

Great post, David. It all starts with public education, which now teaches conclusions; not how to arrive at one. Back when I worked for an aircraft manufacturer, we built a new paint hangar with state of the art scrubbers to eliminate the release of 98% of the paint fumes. After only 18 months of operation the EPA was back to issuing fines for the paint fumes. Our new hangar wasn’t good enough. And people wonder why companies move production to China.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 7:48 am

David, excellent analysis. I recently retired from working with air quality data for over 40 years and I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of air quality regulations and their impact. The US is well beyond the point of greatly diminishing return on investment with air quality regulations, to the point that the return is inconsequential on a massively wasteful present and future expenditure. This problem also includes “carbon pollution”, which is such a misused term that is now applied to CO2 in error. CO2 is NOT air pollution, even at peak levels seen on earth over the last several hundred millions of years that were much higher than present.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 10:55 am

Found the reference to the study that fed a calcium deficient diet and DDT to birds and found an erroneous link: “Still, the researchers just had a correlation between DDT and eggshell thinning. So they did what good scientists should do—they experimented. Joel Bitman at the U.S. Department of Agriculture fed Japanese quail a diet laced with DDT. His study, “DDT Induces a Decrease in Eggshell Calcium,” published in Nature on October 4, 1969, found that the quail dosed with DDT had eggshells that were about 10 percent thinner than those of undosed quail. However, Bitman’s findings were eventually overturned because he had also fed his quail a low-calcium diet. When the quail were fed normal amounts of calcium, the thinning effect disappeared. Studies published in Poultry Science found chicken eggs almost completely unaffected by high dosages of DDT.” Here: http://reason.com/archives/2004/01/07/ddt-eggshells-and-me Some raptor species (eagles, falcons, ospreys, pelicans) are a little sensitive to DDE (a metabolic product of DDT). But, if you don’t spray DDT on water where they feed it is not a problem for them. Other birds are totally unaffected or actually helped by ingesting DDT. Thanks David, great comment.

R Monroe
Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 12:21 pm

Actually lead was an addictive to it was simply required to stop adding it.

Reply to  R Monroe
September 14, 2016 4:00 pm

Atmospheric lead was declining prior to the unleaded fuels mandate.
Tetraethyllead was an additive. It reduced valve wear, eliminated engine knock and boosted both power and fuel economy. For the better part of 50 years, cars were designed to run on leaded gasoline.
Removing it as an additive was a good thing; but it wasn’t easy or inexpensive. There was a tangible benefit. Recent efforts to further lower the National Standard for lead will be far more expensive and yield no tangible benefits.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 15, 2016 3:50 pm

“If the pollution abatement was reducing the incidence of asthma, why is the percentage of children being diagnosed with asthma rising?” If messing with childrens’ immune systems is so safe, how is it known to be the case since there is no prior use of simultaneous childhood universal vaccination of a laundry list of diseases. Such a question does not depend on thermosil/mercury or adjuvent investigation but on the supposition that a technique generated in the lab to ameliorate risks for heightened single disease exposure in adults is fine as a scattergun approach in kids. What effects would you look for except immune system hypersensitivity and malfunction ?

September 14, 2016 5:56 am

I’ve been saying this for so many years, how disgusting this entire GW thing is. It has become a sickening religion for millions, all based on no more than a lie.

September 14, 2016 6:14 am

Actually the Church of Warming is just one sect of the government created religion of Secular Socialism. The faith is the belief in A Supreme Central Collective with the eternal reward of a socialist utopia on Earth. Its other sects are the Churches of Racism, Feminism, War, Gender,Labor, etc. Any disagreement with their dogma is blasphemy and gets one branded a heretic. Current terms for “heretic” are denier, homophobe,racist, misogynist, Nazi, anti-troop and now the new term to cover all “deplorables”. These churches have clergy in the form of over educated intellectuals who are reminiscent of the priests of the monarchies that espoused the right of the kings to rule by divine right. The main difference between the SS and the deist religions is that they seldom attack each other like Shiites versus Sunnis or Baptists versus Catholics. The Church of Labor does not attack the EPA over shutting down coal mines and the Feminists didn’t attack one of their priests for sexually exploiting young interns in the Whitehouse. One would have a better chance of arguing the virgin birth with a evangelical than any difference of opinion with any of these church’s beliefs.

September 14, 2016 6:17 am

Borrowed mainly from a Bishop Hill post some time ago …
Note the structural and behavioral similarities:
►  Monk ==> Scientist – They provide the articles of the faith
►  Priest ==> Journalist – They spread the faith and convert the faithful
►  Sin ==> Carbon Emissions – How an individual’s acts hurt the community
►  Salvation ==> Energy Reduction – How individuals can redeem themselves
►  Indulgences ==> Carbon Credits – Buying forgiveness
►  Church ==> IPCC – Organisation in charge of the faith
►  Bible ==> IPCC Reports – Official guidebook to the faith
►  Evangelists ==> Activists – Aggressive promoters of the faith
►  God ==> Gaia – The “superhuman” who will “judge” us
►  Lovelock ==> Judas – The betrayer of the faith, the apostate
►  Hell ==> 2 degree temperature rise – Hot/cold/dry/wet whatever is bad will be worse
►  Signs from God ==> Any Storm or Drought
►  Tithes ==> Carbon Taxes – Every religion needs money
►  Garden of Eden ==> Pre-industrial world
►  The Serpent ==> Fossil fuel companies
►  The Apple ==> A fire
►  Rituals ==> Erecting wind farms, ‘burning’ deniers, ‘stoning’ apostates.
►  Unbelievers ==> Deniers – to be detested and cast into darkness
►  The Devil ==> The Koch’s
►  Demons ==> Sceptics, in the pay of Big Oil, vital to cast them out.
►  Evil Spirit ==> Greenhouse Gas – it cannot be seen or touched, but is everywhere.

Reply to  graphicconception
September 14, 2016 10:30 am

This is enlightening. Thanks

Reply to  graphicconception
September 14, 2016 12:29 pm

“Amen” Thanks!

September 14, 2016 6:56 am

The article is a sermon to the converted. From childhood I was taught the sanctity of observable data, the repeatability of experiments and consistency of outcomes. As an adult I learned that computers are high-speed morons. They will produce what they are programed to produce.
I like the majority here share you frustration with the heretics.

Tom Halla
September 14, 2016 7:29 am

For what I think is the origin of the term “true believer”, Eric Hoffer with “The True Believer” 1951. An interesting essay on the religiofication of mass movements, and the similarity of the thought processes of the fanatics of various religious and political stripes. The content of the movements changes, but the syndrome is very similar. James Hansen as Trofim Lysenko, anyone?

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 14, 2016 10:25 am

It also involves a heavy dose of blaming others and not taking any measure of personal responsibility for direct or indirect mistakes. That fits with the pattern of shifting emphasis, targets, and labels. Recall the famous “who could have known” epilogue from then Rep. Markey or the slip up by Sen. Wirth.

Walter Sobchak
September 14, 2016 7:34 am

” tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, died.”
Mostly people of color. which is exactly what they wanted. Environmentalism is the last socially acceptable form of racism.

Jenn Runion
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 14, 2016 8:26 am

Environmentalism is the last socially acceptable form of racism.
Or Imperialism. Supremacy…etc.

September 14, 2016 7:42 am

Next up is the light pollution tax followed by the noise pollution tax on lawn mowers. The ongoing formula tactic is a staged process without full disclose of the end objectives to the public victims at large. The Hollywood edgy formula also plays a part as the advance troupe.

Richard M
September 14, 2016 8:09 am

I was wondering if NOAA was losing a little of their religion. They recently revised their El Nino numbers to once again show the 2014-2015 was a weak El Nino. They originally called it an El Nino and then when Karl introduced his pause buster changes the El Nino disappeared. Now it is back.

September 14, 2016 8:20 am

An essay with this title is written about every 3 months, or so. Yes: environmentalism is like a religion. No it’s not a religion. UK enviros are the most Godless of any political tendency here, so a poll of UK Green Party members showed about 18 months ago. The author of this piece fundamentally misunderstands modern environmentalists. It is not a nature-loving movement. It is a human-hating movement. They are more like hell-fire priests or hair-shirted, self-flagellating monks than ‘nature loving pagans’. Except they want to ‘whip us’ for our ‘sins’, not themselves.

Reply to  mark4asp
September 14, 2016 10:14 am

But they want to profit from it while running a sterilization campaign for acceptable thought and voting. This involves manipulation of Boards and Commissions and all related funded positions therein.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 14, 2016 10:23 am

The question is not what “they” do, but who “they” are.
Words have meaning. “Environmentalist” means one and only one thing: “a person who is concerned with or advocates the protection of the environment.” One who bangs on about climate change (aka Global Warming) and its political, economic and social implications is not acting as an environmentalist.
Climate change is not about protection of the environment. Climate change is about thought control, protection of the economic status quo and political totalitarianism. Climate change activists are social engineers, not environmentalists.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 15, 2016 6:00 pm

The meaning of a words change over time. Prior to 1968 (Before the Club of Rome) they called themselves conservationists. They went to long walks and proposed nature reserves. Back then, I think most people saw them as odd but charming people. Then Club of Rome doctrine decreed economic growth bad per se, and human beings the enemy within. The new environmentalists saw energy as the most important driver of real economic growth. We’ve had a war on energy since resisted by Jill Public’s desire for cheap energy. First targeting nuclear power. In the West, making nuclear power almost impossible to develop in any economic sense. The enviros preferences: anti-energy, anti-GMO, anti- “Big” Agri, pro-organic farming, pro-regulation. Modern environmentalism became a cult of economic inefficiency. The opposite approach to what I’d expect from an old style 1960s conservationist. Inefficiency makes waste and conservationists wish to conserve, not waste. How did these new environmentalists triumph over the old conservationists? The trashing of old style conservationism is so complete that the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) formally opposes nuclear power and supports avian-slicing wind power. Money, money money. Lots of money funding extreme anti-human enviros. The said enviros spent all their time propagandizing, lobbying, engaging in gesture politics for the media, fund-raising, and suing, or threatening to sue. All the while pretending to care about conservation. All that money directed by up to 1300 funds and foundations, mostly in the USA. Several of those funds with asset under management of ~$6bn.
I see no religion. I see a political movement dedicated to anti-humanism in the literal sense. They care about as much for the “environment” as a general during war. It’s the ground they move on, and their battlefield. Their enemy is other people.

September 14, 2016 8:24 am

I think it is a collective psychosis with a lot of god complex. The same happens in any religion, but not all religious people are psychotic. So it is very similar to religions. I call it the imaginary opening neurosis and the invaded opening psychosis.
Men and women share the same brain, so we can all have an opening that lets some things in and feels invaded by other things. In the case of imaginary openings, it seems that the only real feeling they can have is when they feel invaded. So eventually, all the imaginary openings feel invaded. Anything manly will more likely be invasive. The hockey stick of warming that rises all of a sudden in the recent era seems perfect to invade the collective climatic opening.
If we look at the worst crimes in history. A lot were committed by people who felt invaded in their national opening, spiritual opening, social opening… The Nazi national opening was invaded by Jews a few decades ago, at least this is what Nazis felt. And the Nazis thought that Jews had to die, this a common pattern. In religions, if somebody invades the collective spiritual opening, they either have to die(extremist view) or they won’t have the eternal life(pacifist view). But still the same pattern.
The media do not help. They are a bit like pimps, they can only sell openings that are ready to feel invaded on demand. And when men with invaded openings commit a crime, they often try to turn it in a crime committed by somebody without openings.
These days, it seems that the new religions are of the pseudo-scientific kind governed by people with intellectual openings. Climate and nutrition “science” have a lot of offenders. They often think that if they let the opinions of the best experts in their intellectual opening, they are the ones who will give birth to the next generation of science. These people are probably already in a psychosis. So you can’t just tell them the truth. I don’t know how the Occident will get out of that mess. And it is probably not the first time it happened.
So, good luck with that dickhead vs cunthead election in the US. I just hope that one day, rational thinking will make a comeback.

Joel O'Bryan
September 14, 2016 8:38 am

I don’t blame the environmentalists. They have always been a totalitarian-leaning, “the end justifies whatever means necessary” lot, and mostly following misguided idealism.
I blame the so-called scientists being led down the noble cause corruption path with the carrot of grant$ as they sell their integrity and ethics. Then the real shady ones like Mann, McNutt, Holdren, and Schmidt get their foothold, willing to sell out completely for prestige and $.

September 14, 2016 8:45 am

I’m exceedingly tired of the “environmentalism is religion” canard. It’s an overgeneralization, it’s divisive, it’s insulting, and most of all it’s an egregious lie.
I am an environmentalist, have been for most of my 67 years. I am not a human hater, I am not a nature worshipper, I am not a racist, I am not a true believer. I am an environmentalist, a person who is concerned with or advocates the protection of the environment.
I am also a scientist. I work with data, evidence, theory and hypotheses. Belief and religion are not a part of my world view.
This constant drum beat of environmentalism as religion periodically drives me away from WUWT. It casts the contents of this blog as ignorant, biased, irrational and unscientific. It makes me question what I read here.
Environmentalism is no more religion than is climate science. Both are based on research, data and the scientific method.
Environmentalism is not restricted to large international organizations that capitalize on lurid headlines to raise funds to support their bloated bureaucracies. Environmentalists are individuals who work to conserve, preserve and restore natural habitat and species from degradation from human growth and exploitation. This is not religion, this is not faith-based, this is clear, cold data based research and activism.
Equating environmentalism with alarmist Global Warming is absurd. The social forces that promote scare-mongering over slight changes in the fiction of global average surface temperature have nothing to do with environmentalism.
I see far more religiosity in the responses to this one post than I do in a month of interaction with fellow environmentalists.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 14, 2016 9:02 am

Okay Then:
Explain 350.org and why its resistance to pipelines is scientifically sound.
Explain “The Science Guy” Bill Nye’s absurd proclamations.
Explain “the science is settled” from the US President.
Explain the science deceptions clearly evident in the ClimateGate emails from Phil Jones and his coconspirators.
Explain why large solar PV arrays in areas like New England and Northern Europe can be justified.
Explain why the US Govt’s social costs of carbon study-analyses ignore CO2 fertilization effects.
Science my butt.
You’re lying to the easiest person to fool… yourself.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 14, 2016 9:08 am

350.org is not an environmental organization
“The Science Guy” Bill Nye’s is not an environmentalist.
the US President is not an environmentalist
Phil Jones and his coconspirators are not environmentalists
Solar PV arrays in areas like New England and Northern Europe are necessary replacements for finite fossil fuels.
the US Govt’is not an environmental organization.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 14, 2016 11:00 am

Michael Lewis, your response sounds familiar. Oh yes, here is the same type response in recent news.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 14, 2016 11:04 am

Let me try this again for Michael Lewis. Where have I heard your response recently? Oh yes, here it is. http://www.bcdemocrat.com/2016/09/06/ml-saudi-iran/

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 14, 2016 11:49 am

“Let me try this again for Michael Lewis. Where have I heard your response recently? Oh yes, here it is. http://www.bcdemocrat.com/2016/09/06/ml-saudi-iran/
This is precisely the kind of irrelevant and meaningless comment that gives WUWT a dodgy reputation.

Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 14, 2016 9:06 am

A Lewis, who said “Environmentalism is no more religion than is climate science. Both are based on research, data and the scientific method.”:
It’s very difficult to avoid thinking in this way when very smart people (e.g. Randall Munroe) continue to loudly & publicly espouse their belief in “science” and “data” that have long been debunked with actual facts
(e.g. [ http://xkcd.com/1732/ ]), whether Mann, et al. like it or not. Since the data are there for all to see, and since this man cannot possibly be to “dumb” or “stupid” to understand it, the only logical alternatives are that he has ignored facts in the face of belief, or hasn’t bothered to check the facts in favor of a belief.
Either could EASILY be defined as a “religion.”

Tom Halla
Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 14, 2016 9:12 am

It is important to use language carefully, and “environmentalism” is a term with a range of meanings. As Theodore Roosevelt noted, and originated the term, there is a “lunatic fringe” that attaches itself to many worthy causes. TR was referring to his own nominal supporters with that term.
In one sense, almost everyone is an “environmentalist”, in the sense of caring about the environment. The lunatic fringe commonly referred to as greens, on the other hand, treat all things done by humans as a bad thing that must be minimised or eliminated. Reducing “pollution” past the point where it has no effect on the environement is an act of worship, not a cost-benefit analysis.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 14, 2016 10:34 am

That “lunatic fringe” of 100 years ago are now the mainstream today. Look at the BILLION dollar advocacy industry, where increasingly money is the objective not the solutions.
The Sierra Club,Greenpeace,Earth First and so on who have been caught committing crimes to further their Utopia religion.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
September 14, 2016 10:45 am

Taking in potfulls of money to support an advocacy position is not restricted to Greenpeace, Sierra Club and Earth First! (EF! by the way do not take in potfulls of money. They can barely sustain their own single publication month to month.) The Democrat/Republican Parties are masters at this game.
Once an organization detours down the road of expediency in fund-raising, ideology steps out the window and succumbs to gravity. Money becomes the reason d’etre, and the cause is lost in the spreadsheet. This happens in any organization, large or small, environmental, political of scientific. Money may not be the root of all evil, but it is branch and stem.
As an environmentalist, I am a scientist, an atheist and an anarchist. I don’t do belief, I don’t do coercion and I don’t do politics. I stand up for what I stand on. I resist much, obey little. I am the president of my local chapter of NIMBYs R Us.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 14, 2016 11:08 am

Environmentalism doesn’t have to be a form of religion.
Unfortunately almost all of the big name environmentalists do suffer from that delusion.

Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2016 11:54 am

I’m unaware of these “big-name” environmentalists. There’s a plethora of big names out there, but none of them qualify in my Oxford English Dictionary as an environmentalist!

Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 14, 2016 12:24 pm

Michael A. Lewis
September 14, 2016 at 8:45 am
Equating environmentalism with alarmist Global Warming is absurd. The social forces that promote scare-mongering over slight changes in the fiction of global average surface temperature have nothing to do with environmentalism.
Agreed! And I’m an Environmentalist in your sense of the term, too, and have practiced it even in my own lifestyle for at least 40 years. But the problem is that the term “Environmentalism” has now been usurped by a Controllist Propaganda Operation which intentionally changes the practical meaning of the term to its own ends of Control, while trying to pretend and convey that it still means what it used to mean.
It’s an old tactic in general, whereby people also fooled themselves because they did not understand that “words do not carry meaning around on their backs.” Hence a lot of confusing Philosophy about “The Good, Justice, Reality, Knowledge” and so on. Words are, after all, only sounds, appearances, sensations, or anything else used to try to communicate something, eventually probably merging even into art, nonsense, and acts of brute power and violence, depending on what one’s meaning of what a “word” is in practice.
But most currently the confusion has been turned into an intentional tactic for the benefit essentially of the total domination of other people. Charles Krauthammer calls it “Rhetoric over Reality” while I call it “Perception is Reality Delusionalism” to emphasize that it involves the creation of Delusions to which many people are susceptible.
The current Propaganda Op operates such that: Means=Ends=Thought Control=Totalitarianism.
So when people try to tell me that I’m not an Environmentalist if I don’t believe/in or do x, I try to show them that they are wrong or not really Environmentalists, or say, “I don’t want to be your kind of “Environmentalist” then try to explain why and why I’ve done more to do what they say they want to do than they have. – In the past I’ve also been a member of several well known but no longer Environmental Organizations.
These people usually don’t get it, but at least it shuts them up for a while. I got one guy, up front and personal, to almost break into tears as he turned-tail and exited my Cabin while trying to protest in support of his own “Environmental Record”. He didn’t learn anything except maybe to stop trying to mess with me. I mostly shut up another person up close and personal – it at least drove her to finally claim that CO2-Climate Science “doesn’t make any Predictions” – but she might be capable of learning something about it now that she’s retired from the US Forest Service. Hope springs eternal.
But making their use of “Environmentalism” analogous to the practice of a Religion can help to perhaps inform other people listening. As a simple example, if we are D’niers, aren’t they Believers according to their own usage? And hasn’t The Pope even incorporated *CO2*-“Climate Change” into his own Religion?
But, “It’s never over.” – George Shultz on Politics in Washington, DC.

Pierre DM
September 14, 2016 8:45 am

The pollution nonsense began in the early 80’s. Back then I had a environmental bureaucrat tell me than the pollution levels were over the limit from the non-contact cooling water being discharged. The source was the city drinking water and was identical (and over the limits) when testing. I applied for an abatement and was told I probably would not succeed. During the in shop inspection I included in the paperwork a single sheet with a single test more than 100 times the pollution level being disputed. When questioned I said “Oh, that should not be in there, I was just curious, that is the test on the coffee we are both drinking”.
I got the abatement but when the CEO (an old WWII fighter pilot) got wind of what I had done and viewed the single test results, he blew a gasket. “How dare that kid to test my GD coffee!!! I laid low for a while.

Joel Snider
September 14, 2016 9:09 am

Once the Progressive Left killed off God as a means of social control, they had to fill the void of Catholic guilt with something.
So they took Genesis, painted it day-glo green, and changed God to Gaea. Then they sent the leeches out to collect and trade on the new ‘sin’.
Enter the modern ‘Pardoner’s Tale’ of C02 extortionists.

September 14, 2016 9:11 am

Randall Munroe is a roboticist and cartoonist, not an environmentalist.

Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 14, 2016 9:19 am

A. Lewis: Does it take an environmentalist to “truly understand” the science of climate change, then? This is the whole point of the article (and many of the others you claim force you away from this site periodically): those who CLAIM the title “environmentalist” have in fact hijacked it in the name of their “religion,” just as the National Socialists hijacked a perfectly benign symbol of benevolence & good fortune — which had been used as such for thousands of years — & in the span of barely two decades, turned it into the single most hated symbol on the planet.
“True” environmentalists such as yourself will have a hard time trying to win the title back by ignoring this basic fact: when someone says “environmentalist,” it invariably implies a belief in CAGW.
It doesn’t take a scientist to understand the facts don’t agree with them. It doesn’t take a linguist to understand the the term is being misused in the name of beliefs &/or politics. It also doesn’t take a genius to see that just because you’re one of the few “good” or “true” or “real environmentalists,” the word has been co-opted in a way you’re going to have to learn to deal with.

Reply to  Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
September 14, 2016 9:27 am

If the word “environmentalists” is co-opted and used to bash those who are not environmentalists, then it’s happening here on WUWT. I find that unfortunate and antithetical to the spirit of this site.
I don’t have to deal with it. I resist the bastardization of language every bit as much as I resits destruction of the natural world.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
September 14, 2016 9:36 am

‘If the word “environmentalists” is co-opted and used to bash those who are not environmentalists, then it’s happening here on WUWT.’
Well, not quite. It’s reflected on this site, but the justification for the characterization occurred in the mainstream community of environmentalists as they became C02 crusaders.
I live in eco-central Northwest, and I find very few naturalists/environmentalists (whose number I once counted myself among), who haven’t simply adapted C02-phobia as their primary doctrine. So the word hasn’t been bastardized, the community it applies to has been corrupted. If you happen to be intellectually and philosophically separate from that community, then more power to you, but it’s your former fellows that have stigmatized the association.
Hell, I barely hear Greenpeace even bringing up whales anymore.

Reply to  Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
September 14, 2016 9:39 am

That’s a fair point. The word “environmentalist” has lost its true meaning. Most people are environmentalists in the original meaning of the word. Everyone wants clean air, clean water and to live in a healthy environment.
The religion analogy only truly applies to the zealous environmental political activists … I like to call them “Enviromarxists” because they use environmentalism as the rationale for government control of the economy. These people seek to totally eliminate pollution irrespective of the cost, because they think the supply of other people’s money (OPM) is unlimited.

Reply to  Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
September 14, 2016 11:41 am

Dave, thank you for your analysis and data. My colleagues at work were environmentalists and I dealt with environmental special interest groups on a daily basis. I had nothing but the utmost respect for their dedication and their mission. My only problem was the unwillingness to reevaluate from time to time, within a global perspective, the marginal costs of their goals against the marginal benefits. Spending X% of GDP with infinitesimal benefits makes little sense given all other public needs.

Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
Reply to  Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
September 15, 2016 2:24 am

A final note to Michael A. Lewis, who said: “I don’t have to deal with it. I resist the bastardization of language every bit as much as I resits destruction of the natural world.”
My friend, you don’t get to decide what the rest of the world thinks of the label with which you paint yourself, nor can your resistance against the “bastardization” of language hope to be successful in the face of everyone else (allegedly) speaking your native tongue.
As Exhibit B, I present the words “forte,” and “forte,” both perfectly good words found in English language dictionaries everywhere, each pronounced differently & each with its proper respective use:
-> forte Old English, n. |FORT|, a strong place or point; “Swimming is fun, but triathlons really aren’t my f.
-> forte Italian, adj. (adv. -ly) |FOR – tay|, loud, strong, forceful; “The music swelled from soft and lyrical to the rousing f. of a stirring march.”
(For those who didn’t know, go look it up: “Surprise!” & “You’re Welcome!”)
Despite this, nearly everyone I’ve ever met says things like “Well, pronouncing strange words I don’t use very often isn’t really my FOR-TAY,” and trust me when I say that “irony” is the last word in their respective brains when they say it.
In other words, please do cling to your idealized definition of “environmentalist” all you like, if that helps you feel better than everyone else. The word has a common, colloquial meaning these days which is very different from your own personal use, & no matter how “wrong” they may be in so doing, the general public will persist in re-defining language over time to fit their own use, but please don’t let that stop you from being smug & self-righteous while ignoring the obvious discussion at hand in favor of semantic gymnastics.

September 14, 2016 9:26 am

…..a good post and all replies worth to read…..thanks.

Blair Macdonald
September 14, 2016 9:52 am

I have for a long time been thinking along these lines. I’d like to share my thoughts. I have written them up but..
I go a step further thinking environmentalism is an evolutionary convergence of religion, a repeating fractal like pattern, just like winged flight or tall woody stemmed plants (trees) are repeated. I reason: where the cause of trees (repeated in most plant types at one time or other) is reaching for the sunlight; the cause for religion (and the like) is the life force survival – an equally universal, fundamental life force share by all living things (and maybe even, it could be argued, some non-living where computer robots will someday maybe able to think, given a similar memory/brain power, about their own survival). We didn’t alway have religion, there was a time we would have walked past the dead; not now, now everything has a ‘right’ to life.
I justify environmentalism is religion on commonalities. Religion and environmentalism have in common concern for the future, and importantly survival in the future, this is a fundamental instinct, a ‘force of nature’. For religion (all religions) it is survival in the after-life, and for environmentalists survival of the future generations and the ecosystem; both of which are impossible, ‘we’ are in a constant flux of change, sustainability is a mantra. Where regular religions are obsessed with death and the afterlife, environmentalists are obsessed with extinction; again, both are natural. Both narratives are similar in that they make it sound like we are not welcome here, that we came from somewhere else, as if we are introduced – intruders. To hold their line, they are giving up what enlightenment has achieved over the last 4- 500 years and is slowly putting us (not Earth) humans – at the centre.

September 14, 2016 11:43 am

Michael Crichton wrote: “On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals.” Science backing this is easily found.
But here’s how British Columbia’s elementary school science text book “BC Science 7” by McGraw-Hill Ryerson serves up their politically correct version. In a science class.
“Aboriginal peoples can be considered British Columbia’s first ecologists.”
“In Aboriginal teachings, an ecosystem is a whole, rather than a collection of separate parts. All parts of the environment biotic and abiotic are alive, related, and sacred. Origin stories tell of living beings transformed into rock formations and mountains, of animals transformed into people, and of the first people emerging from the ocean. For Aboriginal peoples, all plants, animals, water bodies, land forms, and natural forces such as weather are interconnected and should be respected. Their understanding of ecosystems guides Aboriginal peoples today when they consider how their actions may affect ecosystems.”
As a father with a zoology degree, I was hoping to help my daughter with her science home work when I was dumbfounded to read the above in her school science text book of all places.
I can’t help but wonder how folks would react if other groups such as the “Scientific Creationists” were able to also include their beliefs into a public school science text. Something equally benign like, “Biblical origin stories tell of…”
Or maybe: “BC’s Shintoists are also ecologists. Their “spirits”, “essences” or “deities”, are associated with many understood formats; in some cases being human-like, in others being animalistic and others being associated with more abstract “natural” forces in the world (mountains, rivers, lightning, wind, waves, trees, rocks). These spirits and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.” That definition essentially is from Wikipedia and it reads very close to the Aboriginal statement.
Such is “science.”

Reply to  Arbeegee
September 14, 2016 11:57 am

The Paleoindians killed off the Pleistocene megafauna. Their Archaic descendants drove bison herds over cliffs. In historical times, Plains Indians preying on bison with the European-introduced combination of horse and firearm were in the process of wiping them out when White hunters beat them to it. Columbia River tribe members today throw away any salmon they can’t sell.

Reply to  Gabro
September 14, 2016 12:08 pm

As an archaeologist, this is something I know about in detail.
The Crichton quote is inaccurate. There were not “hundreds of species of large animals” waiting around to be wiped out by encroaching humans. Furthermore, Pleistocene megafauna we’re already under stress from the changing climate that allowed humans to show up in the first place. It’s not climate or humans, it was climate and humans.
Arbeegee, please note the paragraph starts with “In Aboriginal teachings,” making this a lesson in anthropology, not zoology. Nor does it bear any relationship to Creationism and religion.
The claim that Plains Indian tribes were in the process of wiping out bison is not supported in evidence.
I prefer to stick to reality, evidence and data rather than wild-eyed speculation.

Reply to  Gabro
September 14, 2016 4:57 pm

Dr. Crichton is right about this. The only thing that differentiated the end-Pleistocene deglaciation from the previous dozen or so Pleistocene deglaciations was rapid advance of large numbers of skilled human hunters and their hunting dogs into Northern Europe and the America’s. While previous deglaciations were, no doubt, stressful and the Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles of glacial stadials and interstadials was probably even more stressful, the megafauna did A-Ok before they had to deal with climate change, humans and dogs.

Ice age heatwaves sealed mammoths’ fate
Rachel Sullivan
ABC Friday, 24 July 2015
The Australian-led team say regular periods of rapid warming during the last ice age caused repeated cycles of regional megafauna extinction and recolonisation.
Then, they say, human hunters likely delivered the final blow to the animals’ survival by exploiting the migration routes used to flee the changing landscape and recolonise it centuries later.
“We tend to think of the ice age as lasting for 50,000 to 60,000 years, but it was actually remarkably variable, with cold periods punctuated by sudden temperature increases of between 4 and 16 degrees,” explains Professor Chris Turney, from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
“Known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events, they lasted for several centuries and caused big changes in the climate.”

It drives me crazy when people babble about mammoths being flash-frozen with food in their mouths. Most, if not all, well-preserved mammoths were killed by flash floods related to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events.
Lyuba is the first and only mammoth carcass to have “well preserved” internal organs. The fact that “airways and digestive system were clogged with” silt is a pretty clear indication that she drowned in a flash flood, sank in a bog or was killed by a mudslide. Parts of mammoths, including a few nearly intact mummified carcasses, with some well-preserved soft tissue and fur, have been found frozen in permafrost (not in ice). These carcasses have been found primarily deposits of silt & mud. All of the other mammoth carcasses show some signs of slow decay with poor preservation of internal organs. Even the previously best-preserved specimen (baby “Dima”) showed some signs of decay. Carcasses buried in mud in near-freezing conditions tend to be preserved fairly well.
Most animals die with food in their digestive systems and many die with food in their mouths. Most of the mammoths were found in the sort of alluvial deposits associated with flash floods, mudslides and bogs. Now, flash floods are catastrophic – But they are localized phenomena. They happen all the time. Animals don’t often finnish chewing their food, much less digesting it, before being entombed in mud downstream.
Animals tend to congregate near sources of water – Like rivers & streams. During the Pleistocene glacial stages, Siberia and much of the non-glaciated northern latitudes had an arid, steppe/savannah climate. Roughly every 1500 years, the climate would warm significantly (glacial interstadials, Dansgaard-Oeschger Events) and there was extensive melting of the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. This led to lots of flash floods. Occasionally, massive lakes formed (Missoula, Agassiz, etc.). These lakes were impounded by giant dams of rock, sediment and ice. When these dams failed, floods of biblical proportion occurred; creating landforms like the Channeled Scablands. But these events occurred episodically on a regional scale, not synchronously on a global scale.
Baby Lyuba probably died toward the end of the the 38.5-36 KYA interstadial…
While mammoths and other megafauna survived the Dansgaard-Oeschger events of prior glacial stages, they couldn’t deal with the rapid intrusion of humans and our hunting dogs.

Reply to  Arbeegee
September 14, 2016 2:10 pm

As I understand it, the large mammals of North America were on the decline when man first arrived 12,000 or more years ago. But, evidence of man slaughtering large mammals has been found and they did play a role in their eventual extinction. The buffalo herds were deliberately exterminated by the US military as a way of defeating the native americans, especially the Comanche. The Comanche were especially brutal to their victims, they always killed the baby’s. They tortured, mutilated and killed all of the men and the elderly. They horribly mistreated their women captives (see Empire of the Summer Moon). The white men decided that they had to be stopped for these crimes and yet they could never seem to do it. Thus the buffalo slaughter. I don’t think we can pass judgement on either side of the debate, it was a different world then.

Reply to  Andy May
September 14, 2016 5:27 pm

The Comanche basically made North Texas uninhabitble by anyone other than Comanche until the formation of the Texas Rangers… http://www.texasranger.org/history/RangersRepublic.htm

Reply to  Arbeegee
September 14, 2016 11:46 pm

Michael A. Lewis, we seem to be in agreement that humans wiped out some number of large animals to extinction, providing falsehood to aboriginals as ecologists, my first point.
Buffalo jumps. While the activity did not likely lead to the extinction of the buffalo, it wasted a lot of life in order to get meat. I don’t believe that every piece of the buffalo was used after hundreds went over the cliff. And the nomadic hunt was anything but nurturing.
When the goal is to enlighten students about what is real and what is not real about their world, where do you think those students above now stand?
There are many different ways to interpret nature …. art, narratives, religions, science, mathematics, etc. Each approach is legitimate when placed in its proper sphere, but the forced blending of spheres for political purposes is an abuse of the educational system. This approach legitimizes the aboriginal “super-ecologist” myth, but segregates the idea from the science sphere.
So my second point that in a SCIENCE book, it should be clear that there is no room for the promotion of Aboriginal teachings, Creationist teachings, Shintoist teachings, Satanic teachings or any other form of sly superstition related to the Earth. Especially when the offerings are scientifically incorrect and placed purely to appease the politically correct.
In education circles these days, there is a huge political push to “indigenize” the curriculum to show some form of support for aboriginal populations. Problem is, most politicians and educators don’t know how to “indigenize” the curriculum, so inappropriate connections are made between subjects that should not be connected. Including statements that “indigenize” the science curriculum (which should be free of political and ethnic biases) and which just serves to confuse students and misrepresent the scientific perspective.
The aboriginal myths and current speculations about their connection with nature have no place in a science curriculum. In Anthropology, Theology, Social Studies, sure … but not in Science.
“Among the main causes hypothesized by paleontologists are natural climate change and overkill by humans…”
Koch, Paul L. Barnosky, Anthony (2006)
“During the last 60,000 years, including the end of the last glacial period, approximately 51 genera of large mammals have become extinct in North America. Of these, many genera extinctions can be reliably attributed to a brief interval of 11,500 to 10,000 radiocarbon years before present, shortly following the arrival of the Clovis people in North America.”
“A global pattern of human arrival to such landmasses, followed by faunal collapse and other ecological changes, appears without known exception… New observations emerging from refined dating techniques, paleoecology and modeling suggest that the megafaunal collapses of the Americas and Australia, as well as most prehistoric island biotic losses, trace to a variety of human impacts…”

Kevin Kilty
September 14, 2016 11:48 am

Some two decades ago James Burnham (historian) wrote a book entitled “How Superstition Won and Science Lost”. His thesis examined mainly the return to superstitious beliefs in health sciences and information through advertising, but it applies to practically any area of technology combined with public information and entertainment. Superstition returns again and again in new forms despite concerted and sustained efforts to banish it. The reason for this is that superstition serves purposes useful to human psychology and emotion. It’s a great book.

Joel Snider
September 14, 2016 1:26 pm

MIchael Crichton also had a pretty good quote from his (rather tepid) sequel to ‘Jurassic Park’ – the ‘Lost World’ – which was mostly a retread of the previous novel, couched around an essay on extinction – a number of years before ‘State of Fear’. I think this encapsulates the phenomena surrounding AGW as well as anything:
This was the Ian Malcom character responding to a student in a lecture:
“What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told-and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their ‘beliefs.’ The reason is that beliefs guide behavior which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.”
That about cover it?

September 14, 2016 1:28 pm

Good question. Start from here and work backwards, since it’s already at the saturation point.

September 14, 2016 3:53 pm

Science is a religion, when done properly, it seems to me. Many don’t seem to grasp that it’s all about faith, even as they morn their loss of faith in what it now produces. They seem to think if they use the word ‘confidence’ instead of ‘faith’, that changes everything . . like magic.

Reply to  JohnKnight
September 14, 2016 5:17 pm

To the scientifically illiterate, science is a religion. This is why the Warmunists babble about a 97% consensus and the position statements of scientific societies as if these were related to science. When, in fact, they aren’t even remotely related to science. These appeals to authority and consensus are akin to saying something is factual because “it’s in the Bible.”
When done properly, faith plays no part in science. Trust that previous work was done honestly and competently is an essential part of science; however this isn’t faith.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 5:30 pm

“Trust that previous work was done honestly and competently is an essential part of science; however this isn’t faith.”
Bullshit, sir, that’s exactly what it is.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 5:44 pm

It’s not faith because the work can actually be checked for honesty and competence. And outside of he envrionmental religionism and climatism, it is routinely checked.
True religion cannot be verified. There is no way to check the work. It has to be taken on faith.
Scientific theories have to have a null hypothesis. Trenberth says that AGW is exempt from a null hypothesis… QED.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 5:57 pm

David, if you check it, that is not trusting “that previous work was done honestly and competently”, is it?
What percentage of all the things you believe about reality based on that trusting stuff, have you personally checked? A tiny fraction of a percent I’d guess . . And why do you assume/believe that even if some previous work was done honestly and competently, it will check out now? Faith in things like “natural laws” and the universality of them, right? You can’t actually know they are universal by any conceivable tests, right? That’s to say you have faith that they are, isn’t it?

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 6:06 pm

I don’t have to personally check everything. I just have to know that it can, and has been checked, and that the previous work provides some predictive value. This isn’t faith.
I don’t accept the theory of plate tectonics based on faith any more than I accept the existence of Romania based on faith. I do accept my views of God religion based on faith, because there is no scientific way to test the existence of the former or validity of the latter.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 6:13 pm

“True religion cannot be verified. There is no way to check the work.”
That is an assumption, and is not true, if God exists. If HE does exist, He can obviously verify that He does, any time He wishes to. You can assume He hasn’t done so, but cannot possibly know He hasn’t . . it’s atheism that cannot possibly be verified, even if true.
We have been indoctrinated to think of verification as a “consensus” affair, but as you’ve inferred, it’s really a personal thing (for now, anyway ; )

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 6:23 pm

“I don’t have to personally check everything. I just have to know that it can, and has been checked, and that the previous work provides some predictive value. This isn’t faith.”
Yes it is . . no matter how much you want it not to to be. The problem you’re having has to do with a false belief, I say, about faith meaning belief without good evidence . . which is just something made up by strident atheists as far as I can tell. There’s nothing in the book about it meaning without evidence . . just without direct observation. No different than when you or I believe in subatomic particles which we cannot directly observe . .

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 6:32 pm

“I don’t accept the theory of plate tectonics based on faith . . ”
Bullshit, you have no choice in the matter.

Reply to  JohnKnight
September 15, 2016 5:46 am

“I don’t accept the theory of plate tectonics based on faith . . ”
Bullshit, you have no choice in the matter.

I actually do have a choice. I accept the theory because it works better than its predecessor: Geosynclinal formation of orogenies. However, the older theory still retains value. This is why I have this book in my office:
Plate tectonics explains all of the observations better than the geosynclinal theory. Theories are systematic explanations of observations. The strength of a scientific theory is its ability to “predict” future observations. When subsequent observations contradict theories, the science requires that the theories be modified. In the case of recent environmental science, AGW in particular, contradictory observations are ignored or modified to fit the theory. Religion tends to operate in the same manner.
Regarding trust vs faith:
I trust that Snell’s Law, the Dix and Zoeppritz equations and the thousands of other theorems, laws and equations required to generate a 3d seismic survey are valid. I trust that the people who shot and processed the seismic survey were competent. I trust that the guy across the hall correctly loaded the data. And I even trust that our IT department can keep my workstation operating with reasonable efficiency. I don’t have to derive all of the equations, theorems and laws for myself… Although I could, if I had an extra century of spare time. I don’t have to have been on the survey vessel to trust that the data were shot in the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t have to look over the data processors’ shoulders to make sure they are doing their jobs properly. I trust that all of these things were correct, because, if they weren’t, it would be obvious the moment I started to interpret the 3d survey. This is not faith. This is trust.
I believe in God and the other aspects of Christianity totally through faith. There is no way on Earth that I can scientifically test for God… Although, my understanding of geology, geophysics and math reinforces my faith in God… And I am pretty well convinced that dogs are proof of God… But I am a dog person.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 15, 2016 6:10 pm

“I actually do have a choice.”
Not the choice to observe it directly, right? I’m suggesting the Biblical term merely implies belief by any means other than direct observation . . and that means such as you imply with regard to your confidence in the continental drift idea would easily qualify. And, that this is why science as we know it was born through just such means employed by Christian intellectuals . . (often funded by the Churches by the way)
“There is no way on Earth that I can scientifically test for God…
You can in the same sense you “tested” the continental drift theory, I contend. And I find it very difficult to believe you didn’t “test” it in that sense, many times, which to my mind you actually attest to when you write; “Although, my understanding of geology, geophysics and math reinforces my faith in God”.
The idea that faith cannot involve logic, evidence, questioning, testing and so on, is just made up by people who want us to appear gullible/foolish, I am convinced.
“I believe in God and the other aspects of Christianity totally through faith.”
Same here, but I don’t understand your (apparently) different meaning of the term “faith” there . . What do you mean by that usage?

September 14, 2016 4:23 pm

Environmental based religions, at least in the current age, seem to be a very corrupt and poor substitute for spiritual based religions

September 14, 2016 4:26 pm

When I was kid there was a lot of talk about Jesus returning. I think it was the six day war and events around Israel that set off the hysteria. The global warming preachers sound the same to me now as the last days preachers did then. They both say the big event is just around the corner and they both rely on ‘signs’ that sound really good if you don’t know any history.

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 16, 2016 3:02 am

+10 You remind me of a popular book from the mid 70’s, Late Great Planet Earth. It was basically Apocalyptic pornography. Nearly exactly like much climate crisis writing.

September 14, 2016 5:05 pm

An alternative to trying to say that environmentalism is a religion is to admit that science is full of delusions about objectivity, correctness, and certainty, and that men love their paradigms and theories so dearly, that they will not admit when they are getting bad results.
And banning the use of chemicals, electricity and em waves in our daily lives is indeed a bad result. Miseducating young people into thinking that the environment does not have a dark and deadly side, which was mastered by applying chemicals, is also a bad result.

Reply to  Zeke
September 14, 2016 5:57 pm

Yep. This is why most geologists are taught to practise Chamberlin’s Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses rather than following ruling paradigms.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 14, 2016 8:32 pm

Geologists do bicker. But only about which hypothesis should be used to support the ruling paradigm.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 15, 2016 5:51 am

We constantly bicker… But most of us adhere to Chamberlin’s Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses because Earth Science is plagued (or blessed) with an abundance of non-uniqueness.

T. C. Chamberlin’s “Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses”: An encapsulation for modern students
L. Bruce Railsback
Department of Geology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2501 USA
Scientific study designed to increase our knowledge of natural phenomena can follow at least three different intellectual methods. These can be called the method of the ruling theory, the method of the working hypothesis, and the method of multiple working hypotheses. The first two are the most popular but they can, and often do, lead to ineffective research that overlooks relevant data. Instead, the method of multiple working hypotheses offers a more effective way of organizing one’s research.
Ruling Theories and Working Hypotheses
Our desire to reach an interpretation or explanation commonly leads us to a tentative interpretation that is based on relatively hasty examination of a single example or case. Our tentative explanation, as such, is not a threat to objectivity, but if we then begin to trust it without further testing, we can be blinded to other possibilities that we ignored at first glance. Our premature explanation can become a tentative theory and then a ruling theory, and our research becomes focused on proving that ruling theory. The result is a blindness to evidence that disproves the ruling theory or supports an alternate explanation. Only if the original tentative hypothesis was by chance correct does our research lead to any meaningful contribution to knowledge.
Seemingly less insidious is the working hypothesis. The working hypothesis, we are told, is a hypothesis to be tested, not in order to prove the hypothesis, but as a stimulus for study and fact-finding. Nonetheless, the single working hypothesis can imperceptibly degenerate into a ruling theory, and our desire to prove the working hypothesis, despite evidence to the contrary, can become as strong as the desire to prove the ruling theory.
Multiple Working Hypotheses
The method of multiple working hypotheses involves the development, prior to our research, of several hypotheses that might explain the phenomenon we want to study. Many of these hypotheses will be contradictory, so that some, if not all, will prove to be false. However, the development of multiple hypotheses prior to the research lets us avoid the trap of the ruling hypothesis and thus makes it more likely that our research will lead to meaningful results. We open-mindedly envision all the possible explanations of the phenomenon to be studied, including the possibility that none of explanations are correct (“none of the above”) and the possibility that some new explanation may emerge.
The method of multiple working hypotheses has several other beneficial effects on one’s research. Careful study often shows that a phenomenon is the result of several causes, not just one, and the method of multiple working hypotheses obviously makes it more likely that we will see the interaction of the several causes. The method also promotes much greater thoroughness than research directed toward one hypothesis, leading to lines of inquiry that we might otherwise overlook, and thus to evidence and insights that single-minded research might never have encountered. Thirdly, the method makes us much more likely to see the imperfections in our knowledge and thus to avoid the pitfall of accepting weak or flawed evidence for one hypothesis when another provides a more elegant solution.
Possible Drawbacks of the Method
The method of multiple working hypotheses does have drawbacks. One is that it is impossible to express multiple hypotheses simultaneously, and thus there is a natural tendency to let one take primacy. Keeping a written, not mental, list of our multiple hypotheses is often a necessary solution to that problem.
Another problem is that an open mind may develop hypotheses that are so difficult to test that evaluating them is nearly impossible. An example might be where three of our hypotheses are testable by conventional field work, but a fourth requires drilling of a deep borehole beyond our economic resources. This fourth hypothesis need not paralyze our research, but it should provide a reminder that none of the first three need be true.
A third possible problem is that of vacillation or indecision as we balance the evidence for various hypotheses. Such vacillation may be bad for the researcher, but such vacillation is preferable to the premature rush to a false conclusion.
An Example
The field discovery of a breccia provides an excellent example of the application of the method of multiple working hypotheses. A breccia may form in many ways: by deposition as talus, by collapse after dissolution of underlying evaporites or other soluble rocks, by faulting, by bolide impact, or by other means. Each of the possibilities can be supported by various field evidence, for which we could look if we were evaluating all these hypotheses. However, if we chose just one hypothesis, we might ignore other evidence more clearly supportive of a different hypothesis. For example, if we hypothesized that our breccia was the result of cataclasis during faulting, we might find that the breccia occurred along a fault. We would then accept our single hypothesis and quit looking for additional information. However, if we were using multiple working hypotheses and looked for evidence supporting or disproving all our hypotheses, we might also notice that the breccia was localized in a circular pattern along just one part of the fault. Further examination might show that it was accompanied by shatter cones. Armed with this additional information, we would be more inclined to an interpretation involving an impact that was by chance coincident with a fault. By looking for evidence supportive of a variety of hypotheses, we would have avoided an incorrect interpretation based on coincidence.
In using the method of multiple working hypotheses, we try to open-mindedly envision and list all the possible hypotheses that could account for the phenomenon to be studied. This induces greater care in ascertaining the facts and greater discrimination and caution in drawing conclusions. Although our human tendencies lead us toward the method of the ruling theory, the method of multiple working hypotheses offers the best chance of open-minded research that avoids false conclusions.
T.C. Chamberlin and the method of multiple working hypotheses
The geologist Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin (1843-1928) was president of the University of Wisconsin, director of the Walker Museum at the University of Chicago, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the founder and editor of the Journal of Geology.
Chamberlin read his paper on “The method of multiple working hypotheses” before the Society of Western Naturalists in 1889, and it was published in Science in 1890 and the Journal of Geology in 1897. It was reprinted in several journals during the subsequent seventy years.
This is a short modern encapsulation of some of the ideas in Chamberlin’s original paper, and it should not be considered an adequate substitute for the original paper. This encapsulation is based on a version of the original paper republished in Science in 1965.
Chamberlin, T.C., 1890, The method of multiple working hypotheses: Science (old series) v. 15, p. 92-96; reprinted 1965, v. 148, p. 754-759.
Chamberlin, T.C., 1897, The method of multiple working hypotheses: Journal of Geology, v. 5, p. 837-848.

September 14, 2016 5:37 pm

“But, they banned it anyway and as a result tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, died. This was because of religion, not science.”

Well that certainly is binning your data into a different category, where it won’t affect your conclusions.
Here is a similar example of re-catagorization:
In Peter Hitchens’ book he shared a statement his brother made about Stalinn. Christopher Hitchens claimed that St-lin had killed so many people because he was practicing “a religion,” not communism.
What is that called when people who hold theories do not admit the failure of their theories?

Reply to  Zeke
September 14, 2016 5:58 pm

“What is that called when people who hold theories do not admit the failure of their theories?”

September 14, 2016 7:47 pm

If one takes the nature of religion as claiming the absolute necessity of there being somewhere one or more omnipotent omnipresent supernatural beings that are observed only by believers, then radical environmentalism isn’t the aforementioned kind of religion.
I think radical environmentalism shares almost all the modes of irrational mental processes always found in the aforementioned religious nature, but it isn’t religion per se.

September 15, 2016 1:48 am

“the world was a wonderful, beautiful Eden until man and his technology came along. Man has eaten the apple and lost Eden. Now we must give up our “evil” technology and go back to nature, otherwise all is lost.”comment image

Dyspeptice Curmudgeon
September 15, 2016 8:49 am

I grabbed these two cartoons about a month ago. They succinctly capture the nature of the beast!

September 15, 2016 9:54 am

“But, they banned it anyway and as a result tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, died. This was because of religion, not science.”
Banning chemicals does not need to fall under the category of Christian forgiveness and redemption, because that has to do with answering the question of where you go when you die (to Heaven), and how to live in the light of that place before you get there.
Here are more alternatives which provide interesting and even more accurate parallels for the environmental science:
1. It is similar to idolatrous, polytheistic earth religions, which used monthly rituals in order to guarantee the regularity of the seasons, the continued cyclical motions of the celestial globes, and which guaranteed the fecundity of crops and animals. This fits well with the fact that environmental scientists claim that if you don’t give up coal and oil, the spring season will not be on time, animals will go extinct, and crops will fail.
2. It is also explainable as a generational mania. The Boomer generation has a history of banning chemicals which are benign, beneficial, and which are even necessary to life and ubiquitous in nature. Examples include Bromine compounds, Nitrogen compounds, Chlorine compounds, and of course now the gh gases. Why that generation gets a sense of pride from banning useful chemicals is probably a case of replacement ethics, or false conscience.
Well good luck.

September 15, 2016 10:02 am

Is redemption a wordpress-filtered word?

David Cage
September 15, 2016 10:42 am

Climate change is never a religion. A religion has its members free to leave if they no longer believe.Only the more extreme cults force relatives to shun others who do not believe and even the more extreme cults do not try to get those not believing branded as criminals.

H. D. Hoese
September 15, 2016 5:55 pm

Chamberlin’s insight has gone far beyond geology, as Warren’s Biology and Water Pollution Control, now ancient (1971), but very good science, suggested. An Ecologist (Peters, R. H. 1991. A Critique for Ecology. Cambridge Univ. Press. 366pp.) applied the name “ad hockery” for studies that picked a paradigm and spent future research only
trying to verify it. Sounds familiar, and it seems sure that not all paradigms are simply ad hoc.
Good historical research, and geology has similar needs, tries to avoid ad hockery.
Also I have seen more recent marine research claiming to examine multiple hypotheses, but it was mostly cosmetic, as the warning above suggests.
I would also add another still relevant insight from a geologist of the period. “It seems to me to be evident that the position of a shoreline at any time and place is determined by an exceedingly complicated equation….” Shaler, N. S. 1895. Evidences as to change of sealevel. Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer. 6:141-166.

H. D. Hoese
September 15, 2016 6:16 pm

Also I wonder if someone has a good reference on “Logical Errors.” While rampant in politics, they do seem to have been increasing in science. Lots more types than just ad hominem. It might be good to point these out more often relative to the definition which is, well, logical, and not certainly not derived from politics.

H. D. Hoese
September 15, 2016 6:18 pm

Last phrase not logical, but too many nots.

Larry Butler W4CSC
September 21, 2016 9:48 am

Religious environmentalism is no different than other imaginary religions. This video by Dr Andy Thomson should be carefully watched by every sane human who can still reason for themselves, a shrinking population on the planet, it seems.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights