A couple of days ago I received this letter that was carried in the Mercury newspaper in Hobart, Australia. Apparently, Hobart is a place where there is strong environmental activity.

It is an important letter for two reasons: one is that it succinctly distinguishes between environmentalism and science and secondly , it highlights , sadly, the difficulty people experience in having their thoughts published if they simply question and advance alternative theories on climate change.

Dear Sir

The responses in Friday’s Letters page to my letter about climate change all seem to have missed the point. I said that Hunter and Godfrey were speaking as Environmentalists not as scientists. This was not a put-down of Environmentalism nor of them as competent scientists, it was a statement of fact. They make moral judgements about how we should deal with the world, the climate in particular. They have every right to do this, but science is not about moral judgements, it is about facts. It is not about what ought to be the case, it is about what is the case.

This distinction between science and ideology is important; it first happened in the 17th century with the foundation of the Royal Society and resulted in great advances in science. Now the distinction has again become blurred so that scientists like myself, who dare to suggest that the global warming hypothesis may be wrong, are treated, not as mistaken, but as traitorous. Why would people become so passionate about this issue if it were not ideological? This confusion of science and Environmentalism distorts them both. Unfortunately it is a confusion which affects journal editors and funding agencies as much as scientists themselves.

Ideologies (including religions) are the means by which human moral progress is facilitated, the means by which great numbers of people organise themselves to make the world a better place: to convert the heathen, to free the slave, to save the Planet. The problem is, ideologies are static. It is almost impossible to change an ideology once it is established. People who try to do so are often denigrated as ‘heretics’, ‘recidivists’ and so on.

Environmentalism is no exception. It has been with us since Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ alerted us to the dangers of unrestrained industrial pollution. The environment became something worth preserving, not just because of its relevance to human welfare but for its own sake. But Environmentalism is holding science back. Unlike ideology, science changes all the time as new discoveries and new ideas come to light. In the field of climate science, because of its ideological character, new discoveries likely to challenge the accepted narrative are lucky to see the light of day.

One such new idea is that of false correlation and spurious regression. This has been widely used in the field of econometrics since 1974, but is not seen as relevant in climate science. My present paper on this topic, which explains global temperature changes as random fluctuations, has already been rejected twice by peer-reviewed journals.

I intend to persevere. Wish me luck.

John Reid


5 thoughts on “Environmentalism

  1. John Reid is right on the money. Environmentalism has evolved into a religion-like mindset and just like a religion if you question its “wisdom” you are essentially a heretic, an shameless atheist, or an “earth traitor.” If it wasn’t for the evolution of science the world would still be flat, the sun would still revolve around the earth, and heretics would still be burned alive at the stake. Like religion, extreme environmentalism cannot be questioned.

    In recognition of the stifling effect of religious edicts, and the demands made by blind faith, western world governments long ago separated religion from state and in doing so have facilitated the advancement of science and the attendant standard of living that we all enjoy. Unfortunately in the past several decades governments have allowed the influences of extreme environmentalism to take control over science and are no longer capable of independent, rational, or non-emotional objective decision making. Combine that with the fact that the “free press” has “bought in” and we find ourselves in the current situation where to question is blasphemous and therefore prone to ridicule – and more importantly, funding for independent scientific research has been lost.

    It is time for government leaders to revisit the issue of state and “religion” and recognise that religious-like behaviour and influences come in many forms other than traditional religious institutions. As such, these religious-like organisations have the power to influence and impose their beliefs and agendas. By once again recognising the danger of allowing extremist agendas to influence objective governance perhaps we will some day evolve to a point where all opinions are treated with respect and environmentalists and scientists can co-exist in an environment that fosters respect and synergy rather than divisiveness and the world and its citizens can benefit as a result.

    Marv Everett, Retired
    Campbell River, BC


  2. My present paper on this topic, which explains global temperature changes as random fluctuations ………….

    Have you read this paper? – oh, I’d love to see it if pos. cheers, sf


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