Opposition to the ABC’s screening of The Great Global Warming Swindle does not grow only out of a high-minded concern to maintain scientific standards. Nor is the resistance merely a self-interested urge to sustain the flow of research funds into their computer projections. Beneath the outrage and the grant-grubbing rests a residue of anthropocentrism.
That seedbed seems passing strange. After all, the contemporary wave of environmentalists arrived 40 years ago denouncing the view that humankind had the right or the power to control the natural world. The theologically-blighted put the blame on the injunction in Genesis to subdue the earth. The philosophically ill-trained blamed Rene Descartes for presenting animals as unfeeling machines. Cultural critics trotted out industrialisation and even capitalism as highways down which hubris had danced our species towards destruction.
The ecologists pointed out that the notion of Progress had all gone horrendously wrong. The advance of technology had led to the Holocaust and to the prospect of thermo-nuclear annihilation. The poor had gotten poorer while the wealth of nature had been plundered to the point where resources such as water and air, not just oil, were running out.
This picture had turned 19th-century anthropocentrism on its head. Humankind still had the power to control nature for the worse but not enough wisdom (of the Elders?) to protect the survival of its own species. The fable of inevitable progress had been replaced by one of inevitable disaster.
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This outlook laid the basis for the welcome given to the “Climate Change” hypothesis which is a particular version of how our species controls the planet for the bad. The slender consolation was that humankind is still in command.
However, the ecologists’s message was not all gloom. Humans were stuffing up Gaia, but the redemptive power remained in our grasp. We had the chance to turn away from doomsday. Thus did the third bout of anthropocentrism take command.
In sum, humans still have the power over nature that was assumed in the 19th century. We have the power to redirect the patterns in nature – climate. Our sins reveal the persistence of our power over nature. Now, we have the chance to reassert that power for the good by changing our light bulbs.
To mock faith in the conventional wisdom about “Climate Change” is thus more offensive to its true believers than Creationism is to Richard Dawkins. The unstated assumption in the current catastrophic mentality is that our species remains central to what happens on this planet. So, cheer up. Our decisions still decide what happens to nature.
Confronted by the next Ice Age, will heirs to the devotees of “Climate Change” want to nuke the encroaching glaciers?
The Darwinian truth that we are the subjects of nature, as individuals and as a species, is too demeaning to contemplate. The hardest truth is that nature is indifferent to our dreams and our nightmares.