It was heartening to see the turnout at last week’s science rally and to hear the rousing speeches. And while diverse disciplines were represented, most were there to protest the denial of climate science. So why did the event not even allude to the roots of that denial?
To wave one’s arms helplessly over the “insanity” of gutting regulations and extracting fossil fuels is too easy. The 52 percent of Americans who are Creationists, the 41 percent who believe that the second coming will occur within the next 50 years are not insane. They simply subscribe to a different belief system. That is the elephant in the room.
While certain people may find it expedient to call climate science a hoax, many are not so much in denial as they are convinced that an Earth-destroying cataclysm will occur (after the faithful have ascended to heaven) and that Jesus will then return to restore Earth to its green and pristine state. So why worry? Polluting simply fulfills the prophesy.
The problem is not religion per se, but literalism — adherence to the letter of the scriptures. We are talking about the voters who gave us Trump, who in turn gave us an administration heavily weighted toward fundamentalism, including Evangelicals in the posts of vice president and energy secretary.
Somehow we must reach an accommodation with those of opposing beliefs — in such a way that we can all survive. To avoid speaking openly because of some misplaced political correctness seems just as insane as science denial. To first correctly identify the problem — is that not the scientific method?