Project: Understand “the true state of the world”.

An argument on this site: The ultimate issue behind alarmism eruptions over history has to do with an ultimate meaning issue. It has to do with the central pathology in human consciousness across history, as evident in humanity’s great narratives or belief systems- i.e. the fear of some greater punitive, destroying Force or Spirit. And the related myth that humanity is basically corrupt/sinful and deserves punishment and destruction. Note these themes, for example, in Sumerian and biblical flood myths. These primitive myths of destroying deity punishing ‘bad to the bone’ humanity continue in so-called “secular” versions today- i.e. vengeful Gaia, pissed Mother Earth, angry Planet, or karma punishing the virus or cancer on the planet- humanity.

My response to this pathology? See “The heart of the matter” below.

I take a ‘reflexive skepticism’ stance toward alarmist exaggeration of problems in the world. This is not denial of the problems but rather an initial position that better enables the search for the true state of a problem. There is just far too much alarmist exaggeration, even hysteria, every time some potentially threatening issue comes to public attention.

For example, climate change is occurring just as it has all across history, but the changes during our inter-glacial, and today, are mild fluctuations compared to the much more severe climate swings/changes of the last 30,000 years of the previous glaciation (see the climate change graph of the past 50,000 years on p. 33 of Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth). Climate is a complex and dynamic system that is never in stasis at some optimal state. Though more plant food- i.e. CO2- and warmer temperatures are, overall, far more optimal for life (see “Two best things” just below).

And no one denies that CO2 has a warming effect on climate but the evidence shows that other natural factors consistently overwhelm the CO2 influence that is exceedingly small (see the summary of climate physicist Richard Lindzen’s paper at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/08/03/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-418/.

Note also the mythical/theological influences on alarmism in sections below (the ‘background noise’ factor from human grand narratives).

Alarmism exaggerates real problems that must be confronted and solved. Alarmism exaggerates such problems to apocalyptic-scale, speculating far beyond evidence, with “end-of-days” scenarios and prophesies. This is being done today with climate alarmism and the claims that we face a “climate crisis or catastrophe”. That alarmist exaggeration distorts the fact that life has been flourishing in response to more basic plant food- CO2. Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource showed us how to get to the true state of something- i.e. include the complete big picture evidence on the thing under consideration, and note the longest-term trends associated with that thing (e.g. paleo-climate history as vital to understanding climate).

Alarmist exaggeration then arouses the survival impulse in populations, rendering people susceptible to alarmist salvationist solutions. And this is the most irresponsible and dangerous feature of alarmist crusades- to claim that we must save the world or save life because it is under dire threat. Alarmist salvationism then unleashes the totalitarian impulse in scared people- i.e. the felt need to coercively purge some imagined threat to life. The claimed threat today is too many people enjoying the good life in industrial civilization that is based on inexpensive fossil fuels. Hence, “decarbonization” is the latest salvationist program. The outcomes of such salvationism have already been harmful and will be even more devastating to people and to nature. (Continued below…)

See “CO2 feeds the world” at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/08/05/watching-co2-feed-the-world/

The two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures have resulted in a much greener Earth and life flourishing in response.

Climate activists, news media, and politicians claim that rising CO2 levels and rising average temperatures are the two most threatening things happening on Earth today. I would argue to the contrary that they are the two best things happening on Earth today. How so?

Basic plant food

CO2 levels have been dangerously low over the past few million years of our ice-age era and that has stressed plant life. Over the past several hundred thousand years, CO2 levels have even dipped below 200 ppm, once down to 180 ppm. Plant life dies at 150 ppm. Normal and optimal levels of CO2 over the last 500 million years were in the multiple thousands of ppm. https://www.thegwpf.com/video-of-patrick-moores-gwpf-lecture-should-we-celebrate-co2/

During the Cambrian era life exploded with CO2 levels over 5000 ppm. There was no harm to life, or catastrophic collapse, with CO2 in multiple-thousands of ppm. Instead, life flourished.

“During the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods when our most useful plants evolved, CO2 levels were about five times higher than today… Our crop plants evolved about 400 million years ago, when CO2 in the atmosphere was about 5000 parts per million! Our evergreen trees and shrubs evolved about 360 million years ago, with CO2 levels at about 4,000 ppm. When our deciduous trees evolved about 160 million years ago, the CO2 level was about 2,200 ppm – still five times the current level”, (http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Rising_CO2__Food-Security-2-21-19-1.pdf).

Contemporary plant response to more food

With the slight rise in CO2 levels from pre-industrial 285 ppm to the 400-plus ppm of today there has been a 14% increase in green vegetation across the Earth over the past 30-40 years. This is the equivalent to adding land covered in green vegetation twice the size of the mainland US. https://www.thegwpf.com/matt-ridley-rejoice-in-the-lush-global-greening/. Other studies note that there has been a “31 percent increase in global terrestrial gross primary production since 1900” (Matt Ridley “Against Environmental Pessimism” at PERC). In light of this incredible news on the massive greening of Earth, where are the celebrating Greens, the self-proclaimed advocates for a greener world?

A warming planet is a more optimal planet

There has been only a mild 1 degree Centigrade warming over the past century. This is part of the longer warming trend that began 300 years ago when Earth began to emerge out of the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age of 1645-1715. This longer warming trend is due to natural influences on climate, and that did not change during the past century (i.e. the same natural factors continue to overwhelmingly influence the present phase of this 300-year-long period of warming).

Our current world average surface temperature of 14.5 degrees Centigrade is still far below the normal and optimum 19.5 degrees C. average of the past hundreds of millions of years. For over 90% of the past 500 million years there has been no ice at the poles. That is a more normal and healthy Earth. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/03/earths-ice-ages/

With much higher average temperatures in the past there was no “climate catastrophe” or threat to life. To the contrary, life flourished.

A much warmer Earth will not “fry” because the planet has an efficient energy distribution system where heat rises at the tropics and is carried north and south toward the poles. In a warming world the Equator does not become excessively hotter but rather the colder regions warm more and that benefits all life with extended habitats and less severe storminess because of less severe gradients between warm and cold regions. https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/how-weather-works/global-air-atmospheric-circulation. In a warmer world there is also less difference between seasonal temperatures and between night and day temperatures.

Note also that researchers have discovered tropical tree stumps in the Arctic from past warmer eras. The more recent discovery of tropical tree stumps in Antarctica further corroborates the evidence of tropical forests in the pole regions. That evidence affirms the much warmer world of most of the past 500 million years with average 19.5 degrees Centigrade world surface temperatures versus the average 14.5 degrees Centigrade of today’s much colder world. Again, a much warmer world means vastly extended habitats for life, not a “frying” world that destroys life.

Physicist Freeman Dyson summarizes this uneven distribution of warming in the following: “’Global warming’. This phrase is misleading because the warming caused by the greenhouse effect of increased carbon dioxide is not evenly distributed. In humid air, the effect of carbon dioxide on the transport of heat by radiation is less important, because it is outweighed by the much larger greenhouse effect of water vapor. The effect of carbon dioxide is more important where the air is dry and air is usually dry only where it is cold. The warming mainly occurs where air is cold and dry, mainly in the arctic rather than in the tropics, mainly in winter rather than in summer, and mainly at night rather than in daytime. The warming is real, but it is mostly making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter. To represent this local warming by a global average is misleading because the global average is only a fraction of a degree while the local warming at high latitudes is much larger” (The Scientist as Rebel).

Remember too that cold weather kills 10-20 times more people every year than heat does. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/20/moderate-cold-kills/, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm.

Some conclusions:

Plants, animals, and humans are benefiting immensely from this massive greening of our planet and the return to more normal and optimal conditions for all life. “Average increase of 46% of crop biomass owing to increased CO2 fertilization”, Gregory Whitestone on Craig Idso research. See http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php

Further, the actual influence of CO2 on climate warming is still not settled because many other natural factors have shown a stronger influence on climate and stronger correlations to the climate change that we have seen over the past few centuries (i.e. cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, ocean/atmosphere relationship).

Fact: There is no good evidence to support fear of looming catastrophe (i.e. “climate crisis”) in a warmer planet with much higher levels of CO2. The benefits of more plant food and more warmth outweigh any potential negatives.

Consequent to this evidence, there is no good scientific reason for people to decrease their use of fossil fuels or to ban them. It is unscientific and irrational to “decarbonize” our societies or to embrace policies such as carbon taxes. CO2 is not a pollutant or poison that must be restrained. It is the most basic food of life and it has been in desperately short supply for millions of years. We should celebrate with all plant and animal life at the greening of our planet.

The above evidence affirms that there is no climate apocalypse on the horizon.

Basic environmental facts: The main world resources

While problems exist everywhere, they are solvable and humanity has done well in caring for and preserving world resources. See, for example, Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’ or ‘Population Bombed’ by Szurmak and Desrochers.

World forest cover in the 1950s- 3.8 billion hectares (FAO stats). World forest cover today- 4.1 plus billion hectares, despite the world population tripling from 2.4 billion people in the early 1950s to almost 8 billion today. Deforestation rates continue to decline and reforestation/afforestation projects continue to succeed.

Proven species extinctions- about 1.5 per year, the same rate as over the past 500 years. While nature has destroyed over 95% of all species, compassionate humanity is now protecting species as never before. See Julian Simon’s chapter on the IUCN report on species loss and the discredited assumption between habitat loss and species extinctions.

Climate change: A mild one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century and a half. That slightly warmed our still abnormally cold world (average surface temperatures of 14.5 degrees Centigrade) that is still 5 degrees Centigrade below the optimal average surface temperatures of the past 500 million years (19.5 degrees Centigrade). And contrary to the falsified climate models, there is no settled evidence of much more warming in the future. There is no “climate crisis”.

Ocean fisheries are not collapsing and aquaculture is meeting the growing human demand for fish. See Ray Hilborn reports and FAO summaries on fisheries.

The overall agricultural soils land-base is not severely degrading. Also, any soil erosion must be understood in net terms, as related to new soil regeneration rates. Over the past century and more, we have returned hundreds of millions of hectares of agricultural soil back to nature as hi-yield GM crops enable farmers to produce more crop on the same or less land. We have probably already passed “peak-agricultural land” use. Humanity now produces 25% more food than we need. Hydroponics will also meet much of future food demands.

Do not fear the future on our planet. We will continue to solve the remaining world resource problems and life will continue to get ever better than before. Your personal contribution to making life better will add to humanity’s overall success.

“Apocalyptic climate claims have had a major impact. In September 2019, a survey of 30,000 people around the world found that 48 percent believed climate change would make humanity extinct. In January of this year, a survey found that one in five British children were having nightmares about climate change.” (Michael Shellenberger)

Re-evaluating a worldview or belief system (Continuing the anti-alarmism project of this site)

As we grow up, we are exposed to a variety of inherited ideas. We embrace those to shape our personal understanding of life, and to explain the world to ourselves. Many of the themes that we adopt to formulate our own worldview, we embrace almost subconsciously, without too much introspective reflection on their actual content or nature. They just “seem to be true”. Our ideas are inherited mainly from parents/family. These ideas/themes are also voiced repeatedly in public by teachers, friends, and respected public figures, and that re-enforces our own beliefs/views.

We become emotionally attached to our personal belief system because it satisfies deeply embedded impulses for meaning and purpose. Our personal worldview is also very much the embodiment of our identity, our very self. That emotional attachment to our beliefs as our essential identity makes it difficult to remain open to the new, to change, and to further development.

Many people become selves that are rigidly oriented to fixed and finalized identity markers, whether religious, ideological, racial, ethnic, national, or occupational, and do not remain as selves continuing to develop in an open process (i.e. Louis Zurcher in The Mutable Self). These markers are important to human identity but when held in a divisive manner that overrides our common humanity (i.e. the oneness of the human family) they can then become problematic.

Our emotional attachment to our beliefs re-enforces our tendency to confirmation bias where we refuse new evidence that challenges our beliefs and defensively hold onto old evidence that affirms our beliefs and views. Much of this functions at almost subconscious levels.

Note the following themes that continue to dominate many people’s worldviews today: The past was better. Now life and the world are getting worse and declining toward some potentially disastrous ending. Corrupt people have ruined things and are responsible for the loss of the better past. Therefore, humanity deserves punishment, and a destroying apocalypse is coming, a great judgment just up ahead.

Salvation is to be found in purging the threat to life- i.e. today, the perceived threat is too many free people consuming too much in our industrial, technological civilization (consumer society). Fear, shame, and guilt are then used to pressure and control people to make a sacrifice/atonement, to return to a simpler lifestyle, to consume less of what is claimed to be the world’s “limited” resources. People are told that they can then restore the lost paradise of a wilderness world.

The above are more historically recent versions of some of the most primitive themes ever embraced by human minds. These themes have descended across history from the ancient ‘apocalyptic millennial’ complex of myths. They are themes that have long promoted fear, anxiety, shame/guilt, fatalism and resignation, survival desperation, and even violence among populations (see the research of the apocalyptic millennial scholars listed below). These ‘old story themes’ incite the worst of human thoughts, emotions, and responses. And they distort entirely the actual story of life on Earth.

Insert note: Watch the ‘background noise’ influence of alarmist themes on depression and apocalyptic nihilism with its destructive consequences (i.e. the violence that is believed to be necessary to purge some corrupting threat, as noted in the apocalyptic millennial studies on mass-death movements like Marxism, Nazism, and environmentalism). Themes in larger background narratives do exert influence on real-life situations. Again, we are all responsible for the outcomes of the ideas/themes that we promote in life, whether the outcomes are expected or not (i.e. unintended consequences). The irresponsible promotion of exaggerated fear has always generated harmful outcomes.

A useful project in response? It can be a liberating process to re-evaluate or rethink the core themes of our personal worldview or belief system. And it should be common sense that we are responsible to evaluate the core ideas in our worldviews to ascertain that they help us to see the true state of life or the world. If they do not, then we are obligated to replace old mythical ideas that distort our perceptions of life and replace these with evidence/themes that get us to the true state of life. The outcome of such a process, for one, will be a new personal narrative that will be freed of distorting apocalyptic themes and will more effectively promote hope and its correlated features of love and peace. See detail in ‘Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives’, in sections below.

Disclaimer: Yes, it is possible that potentially threatening situations in the world could become worse and take humanity into some calamitous disaster. But it would not be because of the actual necessary conditions of life, it would be because of the self-fulfilling tendency of alarmist negativity- to engender fatalism and resignation in populations and the embrace of destructive salvationist schemes that promote tribalism (i.e. good people in a righteous battle against evil opponents), coercion against perceived enemies/threats (i.e. save the world from free consumers in industrial society), and the felt need to destroy the threatening enemy as the only way of salvation and restoration of the purported lost paradise.

The actual conditions of life (the true state of life) reveal that life has been on an ‘ever-improving’ trajectory, and that engenders hope, love and peaceful cooperative processes (i.e. democracy) to continue the gradual improvement toward an ever better future. The true state of things inspires the best of human thought, feeling, and response. See for example Humanprogress.org.

Alarmism today is very much a religious problem, as well as a scientific issue. Alarmism encompasses more than just wrong thinking on the environment.

Site splainin: A major project here is to probe the root issues behind social pathologies like alarmism eruptions (i.e. environmental- climate and other). Yes, exaggeration of world problems (e.g. changes in nature) to apocalyptic-scale alarm is “pathological”. It is not good science. Alarmism does not help us to properly understand the true state of any problem which is necessary for us to respond rationally and effectively.

Alarmism is affirmed by the background noise from our subconscious and narratives/worldviews that long ago embraced damaging themes, mythical themes. Those themes must be consciously confronted, changed, or purged because they continue to influence our thinking, feeling, and responses to life, sometimes harmfully. Apocalyptic has long been widely accepted as true. It still is. Note that post-apocalyptic is even a subgenre in literature which accepts that the apocalypse will inevitably happen so now just focus on surviving in the post-apocalyptic world. Hollywood, as a major world story-telling forum, continues to put out numerous stories that promote the apocalyptic myth as truth (100 major movies over a recent decade or so).

Ask the question: What incites and affirms the endless apocalyptic alarm eruptions in our societies?

This site explores the core ideas/themes from past mythology that have introduced and continue to affirm apocalyptic-scale alarm in our civilization’s worldviews and cultures. In Western civilization that would include Paul’s Christ myth, the single most influential myth in world history. As James Tabor concludes in ‘Paul and Jesus’- Paul has been “the most influential person in history” and “apocalyptic shaped all that he said”.

Paul’s apocalyptic Christ, the heart and soul of Christianity, eventually shaped 19th Century Declinism, and that became the dominant ideology of our world today, the ideology embraced by contemporary environmental alarmism. The outcomes of embracing this ideology? Note, for example, the recent world survey that revealed some 50% of people believe that humanity will become extinct in the future. Note things like the “eco-anxiety” rampant among children afraid of growing up in a world that they believe might end soon. (See Michael Shellenberger’s ‘Apocalypse Never’)

Alarmism is arguably the most dangerous movement on Earth today, frightening populations to embrace salvation schemes (“save the world”), anti-industrial society schemes that will cause widespread harm and will devastate the poorest people the most (i.e. decarbonization). We all need the cheap fossil fuels that have enabled most of humanity to escape poverty, and have provided the wealth that enables us to improve the world environment, just as developed countries have already done and developing countries would also like to do.

While I agree that the Christ myth also embodies some great human ideals like love, forgiveness, redemption, and hope, it is fundamentally oriented to primitive themes of tribal exclusion (true believers saved, unbelievers damned), anti-freedom domination (Lord Christ ruling forever), and punitive destruction (apocalypse and hell). These darker features affirmed throughout Paul’s letters then undermine the better features and create cognitive dissonance common to such “cruel God, kind God” mergers. Those oxymoronic combinations leave religious traditions with the Jefferson/Tolstoy problem of “diamonds/pearls buried in dung/muck” or “new wine being wasted in old, rotten wineskins”. (Insert: What kind of hope takes its life from the expected destruction of the world as in the salvation hope of apocalyptic mythology, with apocalypse as the pathway to utopia?)

Historical Jesus had introduced a “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God”, and therefore non-apocalyptic, but Paul then rejected and buried that theological diamond in his retaliatory apocalyptic Christ myth. Paul stated his entirely opposite theology in Romans 12: “’Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord”. See also the Thessalonian letters.

Iconic myths like Paul’s retaliatory apocalyptic Christ myth have widely influenced human worldviews and consciousness and mestastasized into our wider societies.

The solution? Clean up the mess in theology or God theory. Theology is still the arena of thought that embodies humanity’s most important conclusions on ultimate meaning. Note the 85% of humanity affiliated with a world religion and most of the remaining 15% still “spiritual but not religious” (see World Religion Survey- https://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/).

Watch the self-fulfilling prophesy element in alarmist fear-mongering. Alarmism creates fatalism and resignation in populations (Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource). Alarmism then renders populations susceptible to destructive salvationist schemes as a response to the exaggerated fear scenarios of alarmists.

Note the widespread moaning today of how “messed up” the world is- that things are going to hell in a handbasket, and the consequent desperate search for some form of salvation (i.e. how to “save the world”). Anyone disagreeing with this alarmist hysteria is subject to cancelling as dangerously in denial of some form and guilty of promoting murderous skepticism.

Despite the hysteria, evidence continues to reveal that the world today is far better off than at any time in previous history (e.g. Humanprogress.org). Beware, also in the mix, the fallacy of “presentism” that feels that because we are experiencing problems today it must be the worst of times ever (James Payne in History of Force).

See this important paper “Long-term Trends in Global Gross Primary Productivity” at http://www.co2science.org/articles/V23/aug/a1.php on the massive greening of our planet (an increase in green vegetation equal to twice the size of the continental US land area over just the past 40 years).

“Multiple studies have confirmed that global gross primary productivity (GPP) has been increasing in recent decades… Analysis of the chief factors responsible for this incredible increase in GPP reveal the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 occupies the top spot…

“In considering all of the above, it is clear that fears of a soon-to-be-collapsing terrestrial biosphere are vastly overstated. Rather than declining in vigor as so many climate alarmists falsely claim, the world’s land vegetation is increasing its robustness, and has been doing so for over at least the past eleven decades.

“Ironically, the reason for that enhancement is the very action climate alarmists claim should be decimating it: humanity’s increasing use of fossil fuels.

“The combustion of fossil fuels is the principal driver of the contemporary increase witnessed in both atmospheric CO2 and nitrogen deposition. And, if you believe the climate alarmists that rising CO2 is the sole cause of modern warming, well, you can add the positive effects from a warming climate to CO2 and nitrogen deposition as an attributable factor driving the positive trends in GPP.

“Humanity and nature should therefore be thankful for the use of fossil fuels instead of demonizing it as so many climate alarmists do. They couldn’t be more misguided.”

Correlations to note

There is a notable correlation between alarmism (i.e. climate alarmism, environmental alarmism in general) and dangerous eruptions of the totalitarian impulse in populations (the “creeping totalitarianism” of eco-alarmism today). I have noted this relationship and the outcomes repeatedly in sections below. The apocalyptic millennial scholars listed below (Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles) have detailed this pattern in Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism. Eco-alarmism is a direct attack on freedom and that ought to concern all of us. An argument on this site is that primitive apocalyptic mythology still plays a significant role in contemporary alarmism movements.

Revised material from below…

Patterns and outcomes to watch in alarmist movements

First, alarmism exaggerates real problems in our world that must be confronted and solved. Alarmism exaggerates such problems to apocalyptic-scale with “end-of-days” scenarios and prophesies, speculating far beyond evidence. This is being done today with climate alarmism and the claims that we face a “climate crisis or catastrophe”. That exaggeration distorts the true state of things. With only one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century, our still abnormally cold world is not in danger of over-heating (see Two Best Things Happening Today for paleo-climate context).

Examples: Senator AOC prophesied in 2018 that we only have 12 years to the end of the world. Or the father of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, who prophesied in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, prophesied that one billion people would die by 2020. Even Stephen Hawking joined the apocalyptic brigade in the last two years of his life, prophesying the end in 100 years. The element of apocalyptic is endlessly projected onto real problems to profoundly distort the true state of things.

Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource showed us how to find our way to a better understanding of the true state of something. He argued that we should include the complete big picture evidence on the thing under consideration, and note the longest-term trends associated with that thing (e.g. paleo-climate history as vital to understanding climate changes across history, see for example Ian Plimer’s detail on paleo-climate history in Heaven and Earth).

(Insert- Example of the complete big picture perspective on an issue: Soil erosion is a real problem that we must continue to confront and solve. But soil erosion alarmists will tell you that, for example, prairie soils lose about 4-5 tons of soil per acre per year. They do not tell you that much of that soil just blows or washes to neighboring soil areas and very little is lost permanently to local waterways. And they do not tell you that prairie soils can generate new soil at higher rates per acre than are lost so there is sometimes a net gain of soil over time, not a net loss. The true state of agricultural soils shows that the soil erosion problem is not as catastrophic as alarmists often present it.)

Alarmist exaggeration then arouses the survival impulse in populations, rendering people susceptible to alarmist salvation solutions. And this is the most irresponsible and dangerous feature of alarmist crusades- to claim that we must “save the world” or save life because it is under dire threat. Alarmist salvationism then incites the totalitarian impulse in frightened people.

How so?

Alarmists claim that the threat to life or the world is always “imminent”, as noted in the prophesies just above. The apocalypse is just up ahead a few years or decades, just over the horizon (again, the latest “end of days” climate scenario claims 2030 as the final date). The imminence of the claimed threat then justifies abandoning normal democratic processes and banning open debate and skepticism. Skepticism and ongoing debate are portrayed as murderous attempts to block our very survival. Skeptics to alarmist scenarios are publicly shamed, personally attacked (e.g. labelled “Holocaust deniers”), silenced, fired/cancelled, and even subject to criminalization endeavors- e.g. Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, trying to criminalize skeptical science in 2016.

The claimed imminence of some threat affirms the alarmist’s demand for “coercive purging” of the threat (use of state force against opponents/skeptics). Support for alarmist salvation schemes is buttressed with the tempting promise of “instantaneous transformation” of society to restore some imagined lost paradise or grant entrance to a utopian future. “Coercive purging” is argued today as necessary against the threat from CO2 and hence the many policies/programs that are being presented to fully ‘decarbonize’ our societies in the next years/decades.

The outcomes of alarmist eruptions have often been extremely harmful, more harmful than the original purported problem. Alarmist salvation schemes have also harmed the very environment that environmentalists claim they want to protect. Example: note the outcome of more deforestation that resulted from the bio-fuels movement. Or the anti-GM activism that hinders the spread hi-yield crops that enable developing country farmers to produce more crop on the same or less land and thereby lessen deforestation. Or the anti-nuclear activism that hinders the development of a clean and reliable source of energy for human development (wealth creation) so necessary for protecting the environment.

Decarbonization will prove more destructive than any alarmist policy yet promoted.

Other strands to note in alarmism eruptions:

Alarmist movements promote guilt over human success and the achievement of the “good life”. This exposes the anti-humanism of environmental alarmism- the embrace of the myth of essential human corruption or “sinfulness”, that humanity is a cancer or virus on the planet and that all we do to engage the natural world and improve life is destructive of the pristine natural world. Hence, we deserve punishment.

Add here the myth that there is some great punitive, destroying Force or deity behind the natural world and that natural disaster/disease are evidence of those angry spirits punishing bad people.

Further, note the revival of the same old crusade of ‘anti-industrial society Marxism’ in the mix of environmental alarmism. Eco-alarmists argue that capitalist, technological civilization is essentially greed-oriented and destructive (individual freedom exists in irreconcilable opposition to greater or common good) and therefore industrial society is an evil to be purged. Sources: Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western Civilization’, and Michael Hart’s ‘Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change’, among others.

Varied other fallacies in alarmist ideology: The “limited good” or limited natural resources fallacy, the fragile nature myth, the belief that there is stasis in nature at some optimal state (unchanging climax situations), the “nature knows best” myth, and so on.

Further, and most critical, consider the enduring fallacy of apocalyptic mythology in the mix of alarmist ideological themes. This fallacy is the “most destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in ‘Vision and Violence’) and it continues as a prominent theme in world religions, also in ideologies like 19th Century Declinism and its offspring- environmental alarmism.

Note: The development of institutions to protect individual freedom (Daniel Hannan’s Inventing Freedom) unleashed human creativity in early industrial, technological society and that resulted in the explosion of wealth creation around 1820 that has lifted billions out of poverty (Willian Bernstein’s The Birth of Plenty) and enabled humanity to better care for and restore the natural world as never before. Note the details on the beneficial outcomes of industrialization in ‘Population Bombed’ by Szurmak and Desrochers, or see the summaries at Humanprogress.org, of how industrial society has benefited nature.

Michael Shellenberger, author of “Apocalypse Never: Why environmental alarmism hurts us all”, said the following in a Forbes article: “Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong”…

“Climate scientists are speaking out against grossly exaggerated claims about global warming.

“Environmental journalists and advocates have in recent weeks made a number of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested climate-driven fires in Australia had made koalas “functionally extinct.” Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying.” Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun.”

“Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Says Thunberg in her new book, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”

“Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change.”

“Apocalyptic climate claims have had a major impact. In September 2019, a survey of 30,000 people around the world found that 48 percent believed climate change would make humanity extinct. In January of this year, a survey found that one in five British children were having nightmares about climate change.”

The heart of the matter

A simplified, brief response for those concerned about the “spiritual” issues (i.e. ultimate meaning issues) in alarmism movements such as environmental alarmism. This would encompass most of humanity (i.e. the 85% affiliated with a world religion, with most of the remaining 15% “spiritual but not religious”). This summary is a response to “teach your children well” (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young), and intended to counter the growing malady of “eco-anxiety” now rampant among children.

I have isolated two core fallacies in the alarmism mythology that has long infected human consciousness and worldviews in both religious and “secular/ideological” traditions.

(1) The myth of some greater Force/Spirit that is punitive and destroying, whether the angry God of world religions, or the newer versions of ‘threat theology’ as in “vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, or payback karma”. This pathology of ultimate threat has long deformed humanity’s ultimate ideal and ultimate embodiment of meaning- deity (in religious terms- “theology”, or God theories).

(2) Humanity as a fallen, sinful and corrupt species that deserves punishment and destruction in apocalypse or hell. This is expressed in contemporary anti-human views of humanity as the “virus or cancer” on the planet.

I would offer two potent counter themes to these fallacies from the best of human “spiritual” insights (ultimate meaning insights).

(1) There is no punitive, destroying Force or deity behind life. There is only Love at the core of all reality- a stunning ‘no conditions love’ at the core of life. This was the central insight of the Historical Jesus (entirely opposite to Christian ‘Jesus Christ’) and is also the central discovery/insight from the NDE movement.

(2) We, in our truest inner self or person, are that same love (the human union with the divine- or, deity as the human spirit in all of us). We are most essentially good at our core. The darker side of humanity can be understood in terms of our inherited animal brain and impulses. But “We are not our brains” to paraphrase Jeffrey Schwartz.

We are something much better. As Historical Jesus said, “You are gods”.

Essential human goodness has exhibited across history in human compassion and creativity improving life overall (e.g. Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource) and particularly in lessening violence across history (James Payne in History of Force, Stephen Pinker in Better Angels of Our Nature).

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Project: Understand “the true state of the world”.

Conquering fear with rational hope. An anti-alarmism site.

Section comments below: ‘Three nasty inherited animal impulses’- i.e. tribal exclusion, alpha domination, and retaliatory destruction. Counter these with ‘Three markers of authentic humanity’- i.e. the humane impulses to embrace the fundamental oneness of our human family, to respect the freedom and self-determination of others, and restorative justice toward all human imperfection. Also, ‘Patterns in alarmism movements, and outcomes’. Then- ‘Two best things happening today’- more plant food during an era of plant starvation, and more beneficial warmth during a sub-optimal ice-age era; ‘Theological musing’- purging pathology in deity theories; ‘Reflexive skepticism, not denial’; ‘Fear and social control’; ‘The never-ending end times prophesies’ of alarmism movements; ‘Deeper roots of alarmism in apocalyptic mythology’; and ‘Overturning threat theology’.

Many have commented on the “creeping totalitarianism” notable in things like ‘cancel culture’ and its intolerance of human diversity, freedom of speech, and alternative views. See also material below on ‘fear and social control’ (News media and the promotion of crisis/catastrophe).

US liberals warn of the intolerance of cancel culture- https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/maher-panel-blasts-cancel-culture. Conrad Black on Collectivists finding new life for their anti-industrial society crusade- eco-alarmism- https://nationalpost.com/opinion/black080120

From original apocalyptic to contemporary alarmism: The never-ending embrace of despair and nihilism. The worst ideas that we have inherited from primitive minds continue to shape our modern narratives and consciousness.

Orienting comments: An important question- Why do so many of us continue to believe the alarmist scenarios of environmental collapse and destruction? Why the stubborn persistence of many to focus on the darker side of life, to believe the worst scenarios will happen, and then to promote fear, despite the fact that apocalyptic has never come to pass (The 100% failure rate across history)? And to the contrary, amassed evidence shows that life continues to improve on all fronts (see sources below).

I would argue that many embrace apocalyptic catastrophism because of the residual influence of the apocalyptic complex of ideas that has been beaten into human consciousness since the beginning, starting back in prehistory. That complex is now embedded in the human subconscious. Those myths distort life entirely but they continue to shape our outlook today, and orient many of us to reflexively believe that the worst will happen.

For one, early people, following their primal impulse for meaning (i.e. to understand and explain life) misinterpreted the imperfection of the world as punishment for human imperfection. They believed that the world was created originally perfect (i.e. original paradise or golden age myths) but the ancestors became corrupted and then committed an original error/sin that caused the ruin of the original paradise. Hence, the subsequent ruin of life (e.g. disease, suffering, death) was punishment for humanity’s sin. These mythical themes are common across all the cultures of the world.

That line of thinking led to the early creation of an entire complex of ideas to explain life- i.e. that the core reality (deity) was a punitive, destroying God who would ultimately mete out justice in a great final punishment and destruction (the apocalypse) that would end this messed up world. Based on that ultimate ideal and authority of punitive, destroying deity, human views of justice were then defined in terms of punitive retaliation for human imperfection.

There are numerous other wrong assumptions in such mythology that have shaped all human narratives since the beginning, in both religious and now secular/ideological traditions.

Most critical in the mix is the assumption that the core of reality and life is something punitive and destructive- a deity that metes out retaliatory justice (i.e. punitive, destroying justice). Add to this the assumption that humanity is something essentially sinful, that we are ‘bad to the bone’, and we therefore deserve the punishment and destruction that is coming to us as “justice”. Our sense of guilt/shame over our imperfection leaves us feeling that we deserve the worst. This is a profoundly anti-human set of mythical assumptions. Additionally, we hold the deeply embedded feeling that we are obligated to make some payment, some sacrifice or atonement, and suffer something as our just payback.

Hope is also built into religious versions of this primitive mythology, but it is a seriously deformed hope that is based on the idea of the total destruction of the world that now exists, and on retaliation against our enemies. The book of Revelation illustrates these themes- i.e. after God destroys the world that exists and exacts vengeance on the enemies of Christians, then the true believers will be ‘saved’ into a heavenly paradise. Hope for salvation/restoration is based on this nihilist vision of the destruction of all.

Secular versions of this mythology played out in Marxism and Nazism- i.e. the need to violently purge the corrupt system that exists (via apocalypse), to destroy it entirely so that the lost paradise or promised utopia could be installed, whether in restored Collectivism/Communalism, or in a millennial Reich (note the apocalyptic/millennial scholars below who have detailed the presence of these themes in Marxism and Nazism). Environmentalism also embraces apocalyptic millennialism in its promise that after purging industrial society the lost paradise of a wilderness world can be restored.

These pathological mythical themes continue to dominate human meta-narratives as widely believed background features. The apocalyptic complex distorts and buries the true story of life that has been an ever-improving trajectory of progress. Apocalyptic also distorts the basic goodness of humanity, a goodness that has been emerging and developing across the millennia and is evident in our solving problems and making our world ever better. We need to confront the entire complex of bad ideas with better alternatives.

Further: Others have noted that science by itself (empirical evidence) does not appear to change minds regarding catastrophism scenarios. Scientific fact is critical to respond to alarmism but we have to recognize that such evidence does not entirely or fully deal with the myths, and the issues of meaning, that are behind the age-old human tendency to believe that the worst is coming. You have to also deal with those mythical themes (i.e. punitive, destroying Ultimate Reality) that have long been foundational to human narratives, both religious and secular. You have to offer better alternatives that meet the same primal needs for meaning.

My full response to the entire apocalyptic complex is presented in “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”, in sections further below.

A brief history of apocalyptic

Go to the root of the problem. Deal with the single worst idea to have ever entered human consciousness- the myth of apocalyptic punishment and destruction. It has caused incalculable damage across history. Apocalyptic embodies the foundational pathology of punitive, destroying deity and that deformity in humanity’s highest ideal and authority then incites unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame/guilt, and despair. Idealizing divine violence in apocalyptic then validates the worst impulses in people to retaliate, punish, and destroy.

Apocalyptic may be the oldest of all human myths/beliefs. Mythical and religious versions of apocalyptic embrace the idea of a great divine intervention to end the world. Such an intervention would be the final judgment, punishment, and destruction of life, specifically of humanity.

Apocalyptic is part of a larger complex of related myths that include the following: There was an original paradise but early people ruined that paradise (i.e. they committed an original error or sin). The natural world and life were then corrupted with diverse miseries such as thorns, disease, and death. After the original ruin of perfection, life entered a trajectory of decline toward some great end-time disaster.

Having embraced the myth of looming end-time threat, human survival urgency was then directed toward finding salvation and toward purging life of the evil that angered the gods and threatened life. The essential anti-humanism of apocalyptic is expressed in the belief that humanity in human civilization is the locus of evil in the world.

Human guilt over the original sin, and the related ruin of paradise, has long convinced people to accept that humanity deserved punishment, even apocalyptic destruction. In response, people have long felt obligated to make some sacrifice to appease the angered deities. Humanity could then find salvation in a restored or new paradise/utopia.

These ancient mythical themes also embodied the primal human impulse for heroic adventure, an impulse that could play out in righteous battles against evil enemies and the urge to bring salvation, to heroically save something that was under threat from evil forces. Much like Don Quixote riding forth on a donkey to slay dragons and save maidens.

The line of descent over history

We find evidence of these apocalyptic themes already in pre-history (John Pfeiffer in Explosion: An inquiry into the origins of art and religion). Pfeiffer notes there may have been the belief in an original golden age or paradise perhaps as early as 100,000 years ago. Years ago, I took a closer look at the previous interglacial- the Eemian- that ended about 105,000 years ago, maybe abruptly (i.e. over a few centuries). That decline into a colder world would have left primitive people with memories of a better past and the sense that things were getting worse. The belief that life is declining toward something worse is basic to apocalyptic mythology.

We then find apocalyptic myths in the earliest human writing and temple art (around 5000 years ago) and embraced widely across the ancient world. In Sumerian/Akkadian/Babylonian literature we find the belief in an original paradise that was located in the mythical city of Dilmun. But the early god-man Enki ate the 8 forbidden plants and he was punished with the introduction of illness, and paradise was lost. The Sumerian Flood myth also presents the ideas of divine punishment and the total destruction of humanity.

Early Egypt also expressed apocalyptic in its myths of ‘The Destruction of Mankind’ and ‘The Return of Chaos’. Hindu religion embodied apocalyptic in its great cycles of rise and then decline toward total destruction. Buddhism joined the apocalyptic trend when it embraced the apocalyptic idea of life declining in its belief that the human lifespan decreased over time (Mircea Eliade in ‘The History of Religious Ideas’).

The scattered mythical themes of the primitive past were then formalized in a more coherent apocalyptic complex by the Persian prophet Zoroaster around 1500 CE. Zoroaster framed his apocalyptic theology in terms of a great cosmic dualism of good versus evil, of right versus wrong. He also gave expression to the theme of ultimate justice in that the Good God, Ahura Mazda, would violently purge the evil forces of darkness so the lost paradise could be re-established in a new world. Right and purity would win in the end. In the meantime, people were obligated to embrace tribal dualism- to join the true religion and oppose false religion (i.e. their enemies).

Apocalyptic was then embraced by late Judaism around the second to first centuries BCE. And from there it passed into Christianity in Paul’s great apocalyptic Christ myth (see, for example, his Thessalonian letters). The letters of Peter also promoted the theme of apocalypse. Paul’s Christ myth is most singularly responsible for bringing the myth of apocalyptic into the modern world, especially into Western consciousness.

Embedded in Christianity, apocalyptic then descended down into 19th Century Declinism (see Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’). Herman notes only two ideas in the apocalyptic complex of themes- i.e. original paradise lost and the demand for violent purging of evil. But his treatment of Declinism reveals the presence of the full complex of apocalyptic themes, notably in Declinist belief that life/society will collapse and come to an end.

Note the historical shift that occurs with the development of the “ideology” of Declinism. Apocalyptic myth is given “secular, ideological” expression for the modern world. The terms and arguments may all seem “secular, rational” but in their essential content and meaning they are still the same old themes, the same old myths and religious beliefs of all past history.

Once again, the apocalyptic complex but now in secular form: The past was better (original paradise), corrupt people have ruined the paradise and now life is declining toward something worse, toward some great collapse and ending. Corrupt, greedy people in industrial civilization are destroying the natural world paradise. The threat of looming apocalypse incites people to violently purge the evil threat in order to save their world and restore the lost paradise or achieve some utopia.

Apocalyptic Declinism then influenced the mass-death movements of Marxism (100 million deaths) and Nazism (50-60 million deaths). Arthur Mendel is right that “apocalyptic is the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Vision and Violence). Mendel, along with the other apocalyptic millennial scholars, Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth) and David Redles (Hitler’s Millennial Reich), have traced the influence of apocalyptic ideas on Marxism, Nazism, and environmentalism.

Marxist apocalyptic millennialism argued that humanity had lost the original paradise of hunter/gatherer communal society and had declined into capitalist industrial society and was heading for disastrous collapse. Salvation was to be found in the violent purging of this capitalist society in order to restore the lost communalism or collective. Nazi apocalyptic argued that Germany had lost its original pure culture and was declining toward collapse under the threat of Jewish Bolshevism. Salvation would be found in purging this apocalyptic threat in order to enter the millennial paradise of the Third Reich.

Apocalyptic now dominates contemporary environmentalism with its endless end-of-days prophesies, notably in relation to climate alarmism. Examples: Senator AOC prophesying in 2018 that we only have 12 years to the end of the world. Or father of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, prophesying in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, prophesied that one billion people would die by 2020. Even Stephen Hawking joined the apocalyptic brigade in the last two years of his life, prophesying the end in 100 years. The element of apocalyptic is endlessly projected onto real problems to profoundly distort the true state of things.

Concluding notes…

Apocalyptic is a profoundly mythical or religious idea. It is not scientific despite alarmist claims that they are just “following the science”. Apocalyptic has been beaten into human consciousness for so many millennia that it is now hardwired in human subconscious and has become an essential element in the background of human grand narratives.

Most violent and destructive idea in history? Yes. Apocalyptic alarmism incites the survival desperation in populations, rendering people susceptible to alarmist salvation schemes- to save themselves, or to save the world. People are then willing to embrace the salvationist demand for coercive purging of some threat and that leads to abandoning democratic processes. That has resulted in endeavors to shame, ban, silence, and even criminalize opponents/skeptics to the alarmist movements. Notably, President Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, tried to criminalize skeptical science in 2016.

The ever-present claim that the apocalypse is always ‘imminent’ pushes advocates to urge for coercive “instantaneous transformation” of societies and that leaves no option but violence. Apocalyptics argue that there is no more time for the slow and messy processes of democratic freedom with its open debate, disagreement and challenge, empirical observation of long-term trends, and falsification protocols.

Mass-death outcomes? Add the following environmental example to the outcomes of the Marxist and Nazi apocalyptic mass-death movements. The mother of modern environmentalism, Rachel Carson, employed an apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring and that influenced the ban on DDT that resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths in subsequent decades. The argument for rapid “decarbonization” of our societies will further cause immense suffering and death. The outcomes of apocalyptic narratives show that promoting apocalyptic is the most irresponsible and dangerousness thing that anyone can engage.

Further, basic empathy should make alarmists aware of the malady they have created of “eco-anxiety” among children. And with major sections of the world population believing that we are heading toward some great disastrous ending, is it any wonder that depression is the world’s number one illness. Julian Simon also noted that environmental alarmism fosters fatalism and resignation in populations, and renders children fearful of the world that they are inhabiting (Ultimate Resource).

Apocalyptic continues to dominate modern story-telling in Hollywood movies (100 major movies over a recent decade were oriented to apocalyptic), TV, and literature (note the sub-genre of post-apocalyptic). News media compete with Hollywood to promote alarmist apocalyptic scenarios (see David Altheide’s Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis).

History has endlessly proven apocalyptic to be entirely wrong (a 100% historical failure rate). Apocalyptic distorts the true state of the world and the true state of life, the true trajectory of life. The trajectory of life has been improving since the beginning, not declining. We see this progress toward something ever better in the overall cosmos and the history of life on Earth (see Harold Morowitz’s ‘The Emergence of Everything’ and Brian Green’s ‘The Universe Story’). Julian Simon (again, Ultimate Resource), and many others, have detailed the evidence on the major features of life and noted the ongoing improvement in all those areas. The true state of life reveals a trajectory of irreversible progress and advance and that provides sound evidence for rational hope (see also Humanprogress.org). The true state of life is entirely opposite to apocalyptic narratives.

Most critical to note: Rational evidence-based hope is vital to the promotion of love, peace, and cooperation among populations.

Apocalyptic is the most primitive and destructive idea ever conceived by nihilist minds. It still rules many modern minds with an updated set of punitive, destroying gods- e.g. vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, or payback karma. These are still the same old, same old, but now just “secularized” versions of apocalyptic deities.

Apocalyptic is not scientific. It is the worst of dangerous mythical nonsense. Apocalyptic has long been an essential part of human grand narratives that validate coercion against imagined threats, violence toward others (the ‘enemies’ in tribal dualisms of good versus evil), and nihilist destruction. When you define humanity’s highest ideal and authority with ideas of ultimate retaliation against wrong, with ultimate violent punishment and total destruction, how do you think that influences thought, emotion, and response? Apocalyptic coercion and violence in our highest ideals orients minds to basic survival activism that legitimates the same coercion and violence in life. Such apocalyptic alarmism promotes the worst emotions in people to fear, anxiety, despair, and depression, and to desperation to save themselves, to save the world that they believe is about to end.

Example: The apocalyptic movement ISIS, believing that the end was nigh and God was about to return to destroy all his enemies in the apocalypse, then engaged violence to spark off the final battle (Armageddon) and to help God get the end-of-days going and destroy all God’s enemies.

The ultimate response to apocalyptic must confront the core theme behind apocalyptic- that of punitive, destroying deity. This must be countered with the stunning insight from spiritual traditions that the core reality is something radically opposite- i.e. our creating Source is love, an inexpressibly wondrous ‘no conditions love’. There is no threat of ultimate retaliation, exclusion, punishment or destruction in such reality.

And related to this- we, in our core human spirit, are the very same love. Essential to life’s purpose is to learn to express our true human self that is love. We do so in all that diverse people contribute to making life better in some way. Joseph Campbell pointed to this in his comments that we mature as human when we orient our lives to universal love, we are then fulfilling our true nature as human. We then become the heroes of our story, conquering the real monster and enemy in life, the monster inside us- the animal passions.

Note: Defenders of apocalyptic claim that it expresses the hope of justice in defeating one’s enemies and it consoles true believers with the hope of consequent salvation/liberation. But what kind of hope bases itself on the defeat, domination, and destruction of others (i.e. affirming the tribal dualism of true believers versus unbelievers and the total destruction of unbelievers)?

Another note: Rethink the core themes of our inherited narratives. Apocalyptic mythology arises from the human struggle for meaning- to understand and explain life in a messy world. It responds to the primal human question of why there is imperfection in this world, why there is so much suffering. The ancients concluded, wrongly, that the world must have been created originally perfect but our ancestors messed it up. They were bad to the bone and that is our heritage also. We, as also fallen or sinful creatures, now deserve to be punished also for destroying the natural world paradise.

This line of thinking embraces the myth of a God obsessed with perfection and imperfection and with punishing imperfection. But there has never been any such reality as cosmic or worldly perfection or a deity obsessed with perfection and punishing it. Imperfection has been essential to creation from the beginning. Hence, we have to rethink entirely our grand narrative explanations and conclusions about reality and its meaning or purpose.

Humanity has always been fundamentally good (the historically emerging and maturing human spirit) and the history of life shows our goodness emerging in that we have solved problems and made things ever better across the millennia. A new narrative of life would embrace the possibility that this world exists as an arena for human struggle with imperfection, that we learn from such struggle, and that we consequently grow and develop as maturing humans. But fundamentally, we can conclude that we are not being punished by greater Forces or Spirits/deities for our remaining imperfection. Our ongoing history of conquering imperfection in ourselves and in the world is something to celebrate.

(Note: The darker side of humanity can be understood in terms of our animal inheritance with its dark impulses to tribal division and exclusion, alpha domination, and the destruction of competing others/enemies. But the decline in rates of violence over human history show that we are succeeding in conquering the residual animal. This is the real battle of good against evil- the one that takes place inside each of us, the human against the animal.)

Finally, teach your children well… build optimism in them.

Sources of evidence on the improving trajectory of life and civilization: Start with the single best book ever written- Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource. Then read similarly evidence-dense material in Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment On The Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State Of The World, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed (an excellent update on Simon’s work), and Factfulness by Hans Rosling.

“I decided to speak out last year, after it became clear to me that alarmism was harming mental health. A major survey of 30,000 people around the world found that nearly half believed climate change would make humanity extinct. Mental-health professionals now routinely find themselves addressing adolescent anxiety over climate. In January, pollsters found that one in five UK children reported having nightmares about it”, Michael Shellenberger commenting in The New York Post on his new book ‘Apocalypse Never: Why environmental alarmism hurts us all’.

Quotes from David Atheide’s ‘Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis’. Altheide notes that we are confronted with an increase in narratives of fear, much due to news media focus, exaggeration, and distortion.

“The mass media and popular culture are the most important contributors to fear. The pervasive use of fear in public documents and discourse has helped create a perspective or frame for viewing the world in an entertaining way that is shared by many members of our society… (this major paradox exists)… we are living longer with more secure and comfortable lifestyles than at any other time in history… yet we have the most fear and uncertainty about life…

“My research indicates that more of our narratives involve fear. Fear appeared in more headlines and news reports in the mid-1990s than in the 1980s… For the majority of people, the mass media shape identities and narratives… Fear as a perspective is expanding in social life… Fear is more widely used because news organizations and news sources benefit from it…

“News sources, and especially social control agencies (e.g. police departments) have adjusted their messages to comply with the media logic and entertainment format criteria of news organizations. Consequently, news reports and social control work have become joined through mass communication organizations…

“Murray Edelman, argued that ‘crises’ are simply certain events that are defined in a certain way and promoted to serve the political interests of leaders… ‘crisis’ is oriented to a decisionmaker’s audience and to convince the audience to allow the leader to take decisive action. Fear is used increasingly to define crises and to bump along those claims so that leaders can take political action against ‘external enemies’ or ‘internal enemies’….

“The mass media, and especially the news media, are the main source and tool used to ‘soften up’ the audience, to prepare them to accept the justificatory account of the coming action… Fear is part of social control… Directing fear in a society is tantamount to controlling that society. Every age has its fears, every ruler has his/her enemies, every sovereign places blame and every citizen learns about these as propaganda. The key is to recognize the process and not get captivated with the ‘bogeyman’ of choice in any particular time.”

There is a lot of good robust debate in the public market of ideas on the common shared values that populations can widely agree on and that hold societies together. Here is some input on that discussion…

3 nasty impulses to watch. 3 humane impulses to embrace and affirm (counters to the nasty). Or- What are the most basic common shared values for human society? What most fundamentally defines us as human? Keeping it short for clarity’s sake (for site visitors from diverse countries).

The ‘unconditional treatment of all’ offers an inspiring and guiding ideal that is the most potent counter to the three fundamental animal impulses noted below. Unconditional as a guiding meta-ideal (shaping all other belief, all ethics) offers the safest route through life, the approach that will cause the least harm to others. An orientation to unconditional is the single most potent preventative against harming others. And the embrace of unconditional is the most foundational marker of authentic humanity. It most broadly and pointedly answers the question- What does it mean to be human?

First, three things summarize the worst of the inherited animal in us. These three are the primary markers of animal-like thinking, feeling, behavior, and relating. I am using the descriptive “animal” to emphasize the primitive and subhuman nature of these features.

Laser in on these three fundamental things, whether they are expressed in ideas, themes, perspectives, feeling/impulses, responses, or actions. They can be found behind many of today’s problems (e.g. racial issues, political polarization):

(1) The tribal or small-band mentality and spirit that views others as outsiders, devalued persons, enemies, and excludes them. (2) The alpha impulse to dominate, interfere, manipulate, coerce, and control others that differ. And (3) punitive, destructive retaliation or justice toward the imperfect and differing other.

Counter the above inherited animal impulses/drives with the following markers of authentic or mature humanity. The best of our common human spirit- notably the feature of unconditional- orients us to these more humane views/impulses. An unconditional core ideal most potently counters the three worst impulses that we have inherited to tribal exclusion, domination, and retaliatory destruction of others.

(1) Embrace the fundamental oneness of the human family, that we are all part of one common reality and that means the inclusion of every person as a full equal. (2) Respect and protect the freedom, diversity, and self-determination of all others. And (3) treat all human imperfection and failure with restorative or rehabilitative justice approaches (i.e. with forgiveness and mercy, but also with necessary restraint of violence, and full restitution for victims).

Notes: More than ever we need to re-emphasize and protect the many other common shared values that relate to the above core three, notably, the messy and slow democratic processes that embrace the diverse views of all and protect the right to skepticism on all issues, the right to challenge all things, the right to open and ongoing debate (no issue is ever final and closed), and complete freedom of speech, even offensive speech (i.e. the view of Classic Liberalism that “I might disagree with your views/speech- it may be offensive to me- but I will die to protect your right to such views/speech”).

Another: Classic Liberalism protected the natural freedom of all, only permitting state interference (restraint) in people’s lives if they were assaulting others (i.e. protecting all from assault). Kind of Liberatianish.

See Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore’s presentation on “Celebrating CO2”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0Z5FdwWw_c

Patterns and outcomes to watch in alarmist movements

First, alarmism exaggerates real problems that must be confronted and solved. Alarmism exaggerates such problems to apocalyptic-scale, speculating far beyond evidence, with “end-of-days” scenarios and prophesies. This is being done today with climate alarmism and the claims that we face a “climate crisis or catastrophe”. That exaggeration distorts the true state of things. Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource showed us how to get to the true state of something- include the complete big picture evidence on the thing under consideration, and note the longest-term trends associated with that thing (e.g. paleo-climate history as vital to understanding climate).

Alarmist exaggeration then arouses the survival impulse in populations, rendering people susceptible to alarmist salvationist solutions. And this is the most irresponsible and dangerous feature of alarmist crusades- to claim that we must save the world or save life because it is under dire threat. Alarmist salvationism then unleashes the totalitarian impulse in scared people.

Alarmism claims that the threat to life or the world is always “imminent”, the apocalypse is just up ahead a few years or decades, just over the horizon (the latest “end of days” climate scenario claims 2030 as the final date). The imminence of threat justifies abandoning normal democratic processes and banning open debate and skepticism. Skeptics to alarmist scenarios are shamed, personally attacked (e.g. labelled “Holocaust deniers”), silenced, fired/cancelled, and even subject to criminalization- e.g. Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, trying to criminalize skeptical science in 2016.

The claimed imminence of some threat affirms the alarmist’s demand for “coercive purging” of the threat (use of state force against opponents/skeptics), along with the tempting promise of “instantaneous transformation” of society to restore some imagined lost paradise or grant entrance to a utopian future. “Coercive purging” is argued today as necessary against the threat from CO2 and hence the programs that are presented to fully ‘decarbonize’ our societies in the next years/decades.

The outcomes of alarmist eruptions have never been good, and have often been harmful, more harmful than the original purported problem. Alarmist salvation schemes have actually harmed the environment that they claim to care for. Example: note the outcome of more deforestation that resulted from the bio-fuels movement. Decarbonization will prove more destructive than any alarmist policy yet promoted.

Other strands to note in alarmism eruptions:

Alarmist movements promote guilt over human success and the achievement of the “good life”. This reveals the anti-humanism of environmental alarmism- their embrace of the myth of essential human corruption or “sinfulness”, that humanity is a cancer or virus on the planet and that all we do is destructive of the pristine natural world. Hence, we deserve punishment.

Add here the myth that there is some great punitive, destroying Force or deity behind the natural world and that natural disaster/disease are evidence of those angry spirits punishing bad people.

Also, note the same old feature of ‘anti-industrial society’ Marxism in the mix of environmental alarmism- i.e. that capitalist, technological civilization is essentially greed-oriented (free self-determination exists in opposition to greater or common good) and therefore industrial society is an evil to be purged. Sources: Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western Civilization’, and Michael Hart’s ‘Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change’, among others.

Further, and most critical, be aware of the enduring fallacy of apocalyptic mythology in the mix of alarmism. This fallacy is the “most destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in ‘Vision and Violence’) and it continues as a prominent theme in world religions, also in ideologies like Declinism and its offspring- environmental alarmism.

The two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures have resulted in life flourishing and a much greener Earth.

Climate activists, news media, and politicians claim that rising CO2 levels and rising average temperatures are the two most threatening things happening on Earth today. I would argue to the contrary that they are the two best things happening on Earth today. How so?

Basic plant food

CO2 levels have been dangerously low over the past few million years of our ice-age era and this has stressed plant life. Over the past several hundred thousand years, CO2 levels have even dipped below 200 ppm, once down to 180 ppm. Plant life dies at 150 ppm. Normal and optimal levels of CO2 over the last 500 million years were in the multiple thousands of ppm. https://www.thegwpf.com/video-of-patrick-moores-gwpf-lecture-should-we-celebrate-co2/

During the Cambrian era life exploded with CO2 levels over 5000 ppm. There was no harm to life, or catastrophic collapse, with CO2 in multiple-thousands of ppm. Instead, life flourished.

“During the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods when our most useful plants evolved, CO2 levels were about five times higher than today… Our crop plants evolved about 400 million years ago, when CO2 in the atmosphere was about 5000 parts per million! Our evergreen trees and shrubs evolved about 360 million years ago, with CO2 levels at about 4,000 ppm. When our deciduous trees evolved about 160 million years ago, the CO2 level was about 2,200 ppm – still five times the current level”, (http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Rising_CO2__Food-Security-2-21-19-1.pdf).

Contemporary plant response to more food

With the slight rise in CO2 levels from pre-industrial 285 ppm to the 400-plus ppm of today there has been a 14% increase in green vegetation across the Earth over the past 30-40 years. This is the equivalent to adding land covered in green vegetation twice the size of the mainland US. https://www.thegwpf.com/matt-ridley-rejoice-in-the-lush-global-greening/. Other studies note that there has been a “31 percent increase in global terrestrial gross primary production since 1900” (Matt Ridley “Against Environmental Pessimism” at PERC). In light of this incredible news on the massive greening of Earth, where are the celebrating Greens, the self-proclaimed advocates for a greener world?

A warming planet is a more optimal planet

There has been only a mild 1 degree Centigrade warming over the past century. This is part of the longer warming trend that began 300 years ago when Earth began to emerge out of the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age of 1645-1715. This longer warming trend is due to natural influences on climate, and that did not change during the past century (i.e. the same natural factors continue to overwhelmingly influence the present phase of this 300-year-long period of warming).

Our current world average surface temperature of 14.5 degrees Centigrade is still far below the normal and optimum 19.5 degrees C. average of the past hundreds of millions of years. For over 90% of the past 500 million years there has been no ice at the poles. That is a more normal and healthy Earth. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/03/earths-ice-ages/

With much higher average temperatures in the past there was no “climate catastrophe” or threat to life. To the contrary, life flourished.

A much warmer Earth will not “fry” because the planet has an efficient energy distribution system where heat rises at the tropics and is carried north and south toward the poles. In a warming world the Equator does not become excessively hotter but rather the colder regions warm more and that benefits all life with extended habitats and less severe storminess because of less severe gradients between warm and cold regions. https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/how-weather-works/global-air-atmospheric-circulation. In a warmer world there is also less difference between seasonal temperatures and between night and day temperatures.

Note also that researchers have discovered tropical tree stumps in the Arctic from past warmer eras. The more recent discovery of tropical tree stumps in Antarctica further corroborates the evidence of tropical forests in the pole regions. That evidence affirms the much warmer world of most of the past 500 million years with average 19.5 degrees Centigrade world surface temperatures versus the average 14.5 degrees Centigrade of today’s much colder world. Again, a much warmer world means vastly extended habitats for life, not a “frying” world that destroys life.

Physicist Freeman Dyson summarizes this uneven distribution of warming in the following: “’Global warming’. This phrase is misleading because the warming caused by the greenhouse effect of increased carbon dioxide is not evenly distributed. In humid air, the effect of carbon dioxide on the transport of heat by radiation is less important, because it is outweighed by the much larger greenhouse effect of water vapor. The effect of carbon dioxide is more important where the air is dry and air is usually dry only where it is cold. The warming mainly occurs where air is cold and dry, mainly in the arctic rather than in the tropics, mainly in winter rather than in summer, and mainly at night rather than in daytime. The warming is real, but it is mostly making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter. To represent this local warming by a global average is misleading because the global average is only a fraction of a degree while the local warming at high latitudes is much larger” (The Scientist as Rebel).

Remember too that cold weather kills 10-20 times more people every year than heat does. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/20/moderate-cold-kills/, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm.

Some conclusions:

Plants, animals, and humans are benefiting immensely from this massive greening of our planet and the return to more normal and optimal conditions for all life. “Average increase of 46% of crop biomass owing to increased CO2 fertilization”, Gregory Whitestone on Craig Idso research. See http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php

Further, the actual influence of CO2 on climate warming is still not settled because many other natural factors have shown a stronger influence on climate and stronger correlations to the climate change that we have seen over the past few centuries (i.e. cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, ocean/atmosphere relationship).

Fact: There is no good evidence to support fear of looming catastrophe (i.e. “climate crisis”) in a warmer planet with much higher levels of CO2. The benefits of more plant food and more warmth outweigh any potential negatives.

Consequent to this evidence, there is no good scientific reason for people to decrease their use of fossil fuels or to ban them. It is unscientific and irrational to “decarbonize” our societies or to embrace policies such as carbon taxes. CO2 is not a pollutant or poison that must be restrained. It is the most basic food of life and it has been in desperately short supply for millions of years. We should celebrate with all plant and animal life at the greening of our planet.

The above evidence affirms that there is no climate apocalypse on the horizon.

Notes

See also Global Warming Policy Forum report on natural variability: https://www.thegwpf.com/climate-models-no-warming-for-30-years-possibly/?utm_source=CCNet+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e017a905d6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_15_12_09_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe4b2f45ef-e017a905d6-20139177&mc_cid=e017a905d6&mc_eid=bbd9cad85f

Insert: Craig Idso, scientist with the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, regarding the EPA Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases (2009) and his petition to repeal the Finding:

“Multiple observations made over the past decade confirm the projected risks and adverse consequences of rising greenhouse gases are failing to materialize. The truth is, in stark contrast to the Endangerment Finding, CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use during the Modern Era have actually enhanced life and improved humanity’s standard of living. And they will likely continue to do so as more fossil fuels are utilized”.

“Multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies show (1) there is nothing unusual about Earth’s current warmth or rate of warming, (2) historic and modern records of atmospheric CO2 and temperature violate principles of causation, (3) model-based temperature projections since 1979 artificially inflate warming (compared to observations) by a factor of 3, invalidating the models and all their ancillary claims associated with greenhouse gas-induced warming, and that (4) key adverse effects of greenhouse gas-induced warming, including extreme weather events, temperature-induced mortality and sea level rise, are not occurring despite EPA predictions they would be worsening”.

“The petition also presents compelling evidence that CO2 emissions and fossil energy use provide critical benefits that act to enhance health and welfare for humanity and the natural world… ‘Without adequate supplies of low-cost centralized energy derived from fossil fuels, few, in any, of the major technological and innovative advancements of the past two centuries that have enhanced and prolonged human life could have occurred. Additionally, without the increased CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use over the past two centuries, Earth’s terrestrial biosphere would be nowhere near as vigorous or productive as it is today. Rather, it would be devoid of the growth-enhancing, water-saving, and stress-alleviating benefits it has reaped in managed and unmanaged ecosystems from rising levels of atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution began’”.

See also the hundreds of studies on CO2 at Idso’s site- co2science.org.

Note: “What is impossible to quantify is the actual percentage of warming that is attributable to increased anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2. There is no scientific evidence or method that can determine how much of the warming we’ve had since 1900 was directly caused by us and how much can be assigned to the continuing natural drivers of climate”, Gregory Whitestone.

“Let us dispel any notion that projected higher levels of CO2 will have a direct deleterious impact on humans… According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ‘CO2 levels may reach 900 ppm’ by 2100, which is well below the minimum threshold for negative impact to humans. The United States Department of Agriculture has set a maximum exposure limit for workers at 5,000 ppm and states that even at levels of 10,000 ppm there are typically no ill effects”, Gregory Whitestone.

The 130 ppm increase since the early stages of the Industrial Revolution is not an “alarming increase”. There is no “climate crisis”.

See also some good scientific response to climate alarmism from atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen (formerly of MIT) and Harvard scientist Willie Soon.

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #416

BBC Asks Dr. Willie Soon to Respond to Climate Conspiracy Claims

Note on “consensus”: Almost 32,000 scientists, many of the best scientific minds on the planet, signed the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine Protest Petition which states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth”.

Environmental alarmism/climate alarmism has become the latest historical eruption of apocalyptic alarmism. These apocalyptic alarms are present in the earliest human writing- i.e. the Sumerian Flood myth, also in the Egyptian ‘Return to Chaos’ and ‘Destruction of Mankind’ myths. Little has changed across history. The same primitive themes have been repeated all across history and across all the cultures of the world. Today, environmental alarmism has taken up the apocalyptic themes to traumatize public consciousness with the same old, same old as ever before. Alarmist media thoughtlessly and obsessively push the endless “end of days” prophecies of environmentalism.

Theological musing:

You will never disabuse humanity of curiosity and the urge to speculate about theology (God theorizing) so suck it up and probe better alternatives to what religion has handed us. The wish of the pissed atheist- “Lets get rid of all this metaphysical bullshit”- just ain’t gonna come to fruition any time soon because theology in some form is so fundamental to the human longing for meaning.

My point below: The prominent features of humanity’s highest ideal and authority- i.e. deity- are still profoundly subhuman so clean up the mess and offer better alternatives. Reshape your god theory, radically. Humanize God theories fully because deity is still prominent to inspiring, guiding, and validating human life. This has to do with the belief/behavior relationship that has long been embraced by humanity- i.e. shaping our lives according to our beliefs.

(Note the World Religion Survey where 85% of humanity continue to affiliate with a major world religion and most of the remaining 15% are still “spiritual but not religious”.)

And yes, deity theories are part of alarmist eruptions- i.e. the myth of apocalyptic and the related myth of punitive, destroying Forces or spirits/gods behind the natural world (e.g. angry God, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, or payback karma). The pathological myth of ‘threat theology’ has been embedded so long in human grand narratives that it now operates from the sub-conscious (hard-wired).

Now the argument

Alexander Pope said, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of Mankind is Man.” Using Pope’s poetry as a jumping off point, I would urge the embrace of a new source of authority for theology- not religion or religious holy books/bibles, but common human insight and the common human spirit. You see, I like equalizing approaches that make life’s most important things equally accessible to all.

The argument: All that we can know about God is to be found in the best of being human, in the best of humanity. Notable here is the human discovery that “no conditions love” is the highest form of love and the most humane way to treat imperfect humanity. Parents, spouses, and friends are the source of authority here, from their daily experience of generous and merciful forgiveness toward imperfect others, including themselves. Restorative justice approaches also get the humaneness of treating all failing humanity with mercy and rehabilitative intention (yes, despite the need to restrain/imprison violent people).

Unconditional love enables us to “tower in stature as maturely human”, it enables us to become the heroes of our stories. It liberates us from the residual animal inside us as nothing else can.

Now take the best of human goodness- i.e. unconditional treatment of others- and project that out to define Ultimate Goodness, Ultimate Love. But understand such a feature in deity as something transcendent- i.e. as something infinitely better than the best that we can imagine. The feature of unconditional is simply the most humane theme that we know to be the orienting center for human narratives. It offers the best/highest ideal to influence the most humane responses in people, the safest responses.

(Insert note: There is no higher good that we can imagine than unconditional love. It resonates as the highest good imaginable and is therefore a necessary feature of deity as Ultimate Good or Love. Unconditional is the single most critical marker of authentic humaneness and must be fundamental to God theory. Our constitutions and human rights codes point to this feature in arguing for the humane treatment of criminal offenders and prisoners of war. “Love your enemy” has entered and irrevocably transformed human consciousness.)

And understand that the goodness and love that we imagine in God also defines our essential self. We also are most essentially good. Our core inner self (the human spirit) is the same goodness and love that is God. We are not the fallen “sinful” beings of religious mythology. We are most essentially incarnations of the God that is love. Our goodness is evident in the ever-improving trajectory of life and civilization. NDE accounts also point to this fundamental goodness of people.

The bad side of humanity can be understood in terms of our animal inheritance with its darker impulses that emanate from a core animal-like brain. This includes the impulses to tribal exclusion of differing others, to intervene and dominate others, and to punish and destroy enemies/opponents. But such impulses are not the real us. Our animal side does not define our human spirit. To paraphrase Jeffrey Schwartz, “We are not our brains”. See also Dark Nature by Lyall Watson.

Our human spirit orients us to the full inclusion of all as equals, to respect the diversity, freedom and self-determination of others, and to treat all human failure with restorative justice, not punitive justice. Our human spirit is taking us in a new and more humane direction from our animal past.

Some related conclusions: There has never been any such reality as a “sky God”, existing above in some religious heaven. The reality that humanity has long referred to as “deity” has always been, and only been, present in humanity in relation to the common human spirit and human consciousness.

Religion has, from the beginning, located God outside of, separate from, and above humanity as a dominating reality (i.e. Lord, King, Ruler, Judge). That mythology has undermined the awareness that God is intensely present in all human experience, in the commonness of daily life. God is actually a street-level reality to be found in the most ordinary and mundane of human existence and experience. God is most profoundly known in the street-level goodness of average human beings in all the diverse situations and stories that people create. This makes every human being an equal ‘God expert’ based on their own unique experiences.

There are no especially holy people (i.e. religious founders) that are uniquely incarnated by God. That mythology deifies religious figures like the Jesus Christ of Christianity, and it undermines the religious basis for the equality of all persons. I would argue that, to the contrary, all humanity has been equally incarnated by the same God that cannot be separated from the common human spirit. This offers a better ‘spiritual’ basis for the equality of all people.

This new theology of God known only in humanity then orients us away from day-dreaming about heavenly realms, and other-worldly salvationism, to focus on life here and now, on improving this world in all the diverse ways that human persons desire to contribute to life. We need not waste time and energy on “having a relationship with an invisible deity” but rather we should focus on relating to real people here and now. See this point elaborated in ‘Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives’, in sections below.

Related: Loving and praising God as in religious traditions? No. Love does not demand to be the center of attention like an Idi Amin demanding constant praise, but forgets itself to focus on others and their needs.

Another: The religious focus on serving, loving, or being loyal to something other than humanity, something above humanity, has often led to the neglect and even abuse of real people.

Conclusion? There is no need for a mediating religion. To the contrary, religion has always been a highly conditional social institution that distorts and buries the reality of God as unconditional Love. Religion presents Ultimate Reality as conditional reality, a reality that demands conditions. Religion buries the reality of an unconditional God under the endless conditions of right religious beliefs, proper religious rituals and sacrifice/payments, necessary mediating priesthoods, and required religious lifestyles.

An authentically unconditional deity would not promote or demand anything that is conditional. Unconditional deity liberates human consciousness from conditional thinking, feeling, response, and existence. This is not an argument for dogmatic or extreme pacifism in the face of human violence and inhumanity. An unconditional orientation does not eliminate the common sense need to hold people responsible for their behavior- i.e. natural and social consequences all through the world and life. Embracing unconditional is more about our understanding of ultimate ideals/authorities and how such realities influence our attitudes toward imperfect and failing others- i.e. restorative justice versus punitive justice approaches.

Further note: Unconditional deity means (get the full scandal and offensiveness of this) there will be no future judgment (only self-judgment as in self-evaluation), no condemnation (full and free forgiveness for all), no exclusion of anyone (no true believer/unbeliever tribalism), no domination of anyone by anyone else (not even by God), no punishment, and no destruction (no apocalypse, no hell).

(Insert: No domination, not even by God? Correct. Historical Jesus said that true greatness was not in dominating others but in serving them. He told people that authentic love and humanity would not “lord over others”. So conclude this- the true greatness and authentic humaneness of God will not “lord over others” but like all authentic love, will serve others. Kinda overturns the myths of God as King, Lord, Ruler, Judge, etc. Others make the point that authentic love is inseparable from honoring the freedom of others as equals. There is no love where there is no such freedom and equality. And is not God authentic love? Just asking.)

If you feel pissed, outraged, and offended by such conclusions then you have understood something of the scandal of unconditional deity, such as was taught by Historical Jesus and offended/outraged his contemporaries (i.e. “no more eye for eye but love your enemies”). Christianity soon buried his offensive theology under Paul’s Christ myth that re-oriented people back to a theology of ultimate conditions (faith/belief for salvation), exclusion (unbelievers excluded), domination (Lord Christ reigning forever), retaliation (Paul’s theology of “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”), and punishment/destruction (i.e. apocalypse and hell- see Thessalonian and Roman letters). Paul brought theology back into line with all the previous pathologies in human mythology and religion. Hence, the success of Christianity around the world as it resonated with the traditional theologies of other cultures and people.

A brief rehash of religious history: Where the ancients got things wrong was in projecting the basest features of primitive humanity (more animal-like than human) out to define and explain greater reality. We then got monster gods- i.e. tribal exclusion (favoring true believers but not unbelievers- those outside the tribe), alpha male/female domination (lords, kings, rulers, judges), and punitive/predatory destruction of enemies (apocalypse, hell). World religions, and later ‘secular’ ideologies, then embraced these pathological features/themes that have long buried the love that is the core of all reality. Historical Jesus tried to promote that core love, and we are grateful that Christianity included his wisdom sayings message, but Paul’s Christ myth buried that wisdom message of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy expressed what happened- i.e. that the “diamonds/pearls” of Jesus were buried under Paul’s Christ that was a restoration of primitive theologies.

Summary

I affirm the intuition of most of humanity across history and most of the human family today- the 85% that affiliate with a world religion and most of the remaining 15% that are “spiritual but not religious”- that there is a greater reality that is defined in terms of more than just energy, quantum fields, or natural law but is of the nature of Consciousness, Mind, Intelligence, or Self. Where I disagree with most people is in what they project out to define Ultimate Reality, the conditional features of religious traditions that distort and bury the unconditional nature of the Love at the core of reality.

The central project in religious reform movements ought to be purging deity of subhuman features and fully humanizing God theory. Religious reform needs to make deity a safe ultimate ideal and authority that will inspire, guide, and validate the best in humanity. Religious reformation that avoids the fundamental reformation of deity theory is only peripheral tinkering around the edges that leaves the central pathology in place (i.e. the subhuman features in the highest of human ideals and authorities- deity).

YouTube: Rogan and a guest discuss Hindu karma and related topics at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pv_d-evYJg. They cover some interesting insights on the human life experience and what it might mean. However, re-incarnation and karma generally miss the unconditional element in ultimate reality and the freedom that is essential to no conditions reality. Re-incarnation/karma traditions are oriented too much to earning something and meeting conditions. However, regarding the learning element in the mix- yes. But not slavery to some endless cycle shaped by payback karma, requirement to learn in fixed ways, retaliation, payment, condition, and so on. Where is the stunningly scandalous reality of ‘ultimate unconditional’ in all that?

Note: On the fear of eternity (eternal existence) in some form, a concern voiced by Rogan. Our limitations to 5 senses in a 4-dimensional reality (time as the fourth dimension) prevents us from properly understanding any multi-dimensional reality with no space or time. Unconditional reality, in all ways, points to something better, as in beyond the best imaginable. As Campbell said, God is a penultimate term pointing to the God (Mystery) infinitely beyond God. So while we embrace the ever-unknowable Mystery in all this speculation, we should not worry about potential infinite boredom. The future may be more infinite progress, learning, creative exploration, and growth. In somewhere timeless, spaceless, and who knows what else.

The great disconnects in CO2 alarmism:

Over the past hundreds of millions of years CO2 levels have often been very high, in the multiple thousands of ppm, while at the same time Earth’s temperature has been low. And when CO2 levels have been low over that time, Earth’s temperature has often been high. This undermines the hypothesis that CO2 drives temperature in climate change.

Note also that about 350,000 years ago CO2 levels dipped very low, below 200 ppm, going down to 180 ppm. Plant life dies when CO2 levels descend to 150 ppm. That would have been the real climate catastrophe, the apocalypse for all life.

Over the past 400,000 years another pattern undermines the claim that CO2 drives climate warming. Roughly following a pattern of 100,000 year cycles, climate on Earth first warmed, which then warmed the oceans over subsequent centuries, and those warming oceans then expelled CO2 which then rose in the atmosphere. It was not rising CO2 levels first driving the climate warming. There was a centuries-long lag with rising CO2 dependent on climate warming first. http://euanmearns.com/the-vostok-ice-core-and-the-14000-year-co2-time-lag/

Another disconnect: During the 1990s the sun entered a solar minimum that became extended. The climate warming trend that had began around the mid-70s then became an extended flat trend. But CO2 levels continued to rise during this time. https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2013/03/Whitehouse-GT_Standstill.pdf

Where then is the claimed causal link of CO2 as the main driver of climate warming or climate change?

Point- Other natural factors drive climate change more than CO2. CO2 has a warming influence and is part of the complex of factors in the climate mix, but the CO2 influence on climate is repeatedly overwhelmed by other natural factors.

Conclusion? Don’t stress over our use of fossil fuels. There is no good scientific reason to restrict or ban fossil fuels. There is no “settled science” basis to support arguments for the decarbonization of our societies.

And to the contrary, there is good evidence that we are helping to save life by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Starving plant life has responded to the rising food levels in the atmosphere with an immense increase in biomass that has greened the planet by 14% since 1982. There has been an increase of green vegetation on Earth, equal to twice the size of the continental US.

Rising CO2 levels (plant food levels) and rising temperatures (on an abnormally cold Earth) are the two best things happening on Earth today. Life is once again flourishing in response.

New material

A series of articles on alarmism reposted from sections below. The continued public promotion of climate alarmism, and associated irrational and harmful policy proposals, demands ongoing robust response. See below, for example, “The Two best things happening today”.

The greatest threat to hope, freedom, peace, and progress today? There are numerous threats. For instance, those abandoning the sense of the oneness of the human family for unhinged tribalism (tribalism based on ideology, race, nationality, religion, and other isolating/dividing identity markers). Or those abandoning respect for the freedom, diversity, and rights of others and opting instead for interfering manipulation and control of other’s lives (coercing others- via state law/regulation- to live as the dominating person believes they should be made to live). And those abandoning restorative love for punitive retaliation (shaming, banning, silencing, cancelling, criminalizing).

My candidate for greatest threat in the mix of other threats- alarmism, notably environmental alarmism. See notes below on “fear and social control”. Consider the climate alarmism movement in this regard and its advocacy for extremist policies such as rapid ‘decarbonization’ of societies. The outcomes of alarmist eruptions have always been destabilizing, harmful, and in worst cases have even resulted in mass-death outbreaks (i.e. Landes, Herman, Mendel, and Redles’ research noted in sections below).

Most egregious is the fact that alarmist narratives distort and deny the true state of life on Earth. Alarmism distorts and buries the fact that life has been on an overall long-term improving trajectory that has positively impacted all the main features of life. There is no evidence to affirm alarm over the state or future of life, and certainly no good evidence to affirm climate alarmism. Note the Matt Ridley summary- “Against Environmental Pessimism”- at this link: https://www.google.com/search q=PERC+against+environmental+pessimism&rlz=1C1SQJL_enCA879CA879&oq=
PERC&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0l3j69i60l4.4287j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Note: Flawed climate models have exaggerated the potential for harmful warming, and also missed the warming “pause” over past decades: https://www.hoover.org/research/flawed-climate-models

Similarly flawed modelling has repeatedly incited exaggerated alarmism over the possible impact of disease outbreaks. https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/05/08/so-the-real-scandal-is-why-did-anyone-ever-listen-to-this-guy/

Alarmism is the exaggeration of real problems in life, exaggeration that speculates far beyond available evidence on the true state of problems. Alarmists exaggerate problems to apocalyptic-scale and even prophesy the end of the world. Note Senator AOC’s prophecy in 2018, regarding climate change, that we had only 12 years to the end of the world. Or the father of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, stating in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. Steve Hawking gave us 100 years till the end.

That is stunningly irresponsible and dangerous fear-mongering with an element of pathological nihilism (Is there anything more nihilist than to prophesy the end of all, the end of the world?). Exaggerated alarmism distorts our ability to respond rationally to problems that we need to solve together. Alarmism undermines the hope that incentivizes our creative endeavor to engage life and make it ever better, something we have wildly succeeded at achieving over past centuries (see, for example, Humanprogress.org, or Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’). Alarmism fosters fatalism, resignation, and dangerous tribal division among populations (blaming differing others as the great threat to life that must be crushed).

A rational scientific approach is critical to help us understand the true state of our world, the true state of the problems throughout life that we must responsibly and rationally solve. Unfortunately, scientific evidence by itself has not calmed or changed the minds of most alarmists. And that is a tip-off that they are guided more by emotional commitment to myth than by factual evidence.

This site probes related issues behind the repeated eruptions of alarmism, notably, the still widespread embrace of an apocalyptic perspective that has long been embedded at the core of human narratives. Apocalyptic mythology was present in the earliest human writing (i.e. the Sumerian Flood myth). Apocalyptic mythology was later embraced by the world religions and continues to dominate modern narratives, both religious and secular/ideological.

Varied sites document the prominence of the apocalyptic myth in modern story-telling as mediated, for example, via Hollywood movies. See https://fee.org/articles/hollywoods-apocalypse-obsession-ignores-reality/

Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline In Western History) notes the ongoing prominence of apocalyptic in relation to the ideology of Declinism, stating that the idea of decline is the most dominant and influential theme in the world today. Decline is a central feature of apocalyptic mythology- i.e. the idea that life is declining toward something worse, toward a great collapse and ending.

The prominence of apocalyptic mythology across history has attuned populations to be receptive to the endless stream of end-of-days prophecies from alarmist prophets. The outcomes have been horrifically damaging.

Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence states that apocalyptic has been “the most destructive idea in history”. How so? Apocalyptic-scale alarmism sets in motion a pattern of irrational herd response that has repeatedly led to mass-harm and even mass-death outcomes. The apocalyptic-millennial scholars Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, and David Redles detail the outcomes of the Marxist apocalyptic narrative, the Nazi apocalyptic millennial movement, and now environmental apocalyptic. Note that Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring influenced the ban on DDT that resulted in the subsequent unnecessary deaths of millions of people, many children (See ‘The Excellent Powder: The science and history of DDT’ by Tren and Roberts).

Here is the critical response pattern to note in regard to apocalyptic alarmism and its salvationism solutions:

First, the exaggeration of problems to apocalyptic scale incites widespread fear in populations (i.e. “we’re all gonna die”, the end is nigh). That agitated survival fear then renders people susceptible to embracing alarmist salvation schemes that unleash and promote the totalitarian impulse.

Once alarmist solutions are embraced as necessary to “save the world”, then democratic processes are more readily brushed aside because the threat that is presented by alarmists is “imminent and dire”. Dates for the end are set are just years or decades ahead and are repeatedly reset as the end times never arrive. Alarmists argue that there is no time to waste with dangerous indulgence of skeptics so ban, silence, discredit with personal attack, cancel, and even criminalize them, as President Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, tried to do in 2016. See also https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/08/climate-activists-step-up-calls-for-imprisoning-climate-realists/

Further, the imminent threat of alarmist scenarios demands the “coercive purging” of the claimed threat to life (again- Landes, Mendel). Alarmist salvation schemes also demand the “instantaneous transformation” of societies because the gradualism of democratic processes will not save us in time or get us to the imagined utopia of alarmist millennialism.

We are watching this totalitarian salvationism play out today in environmental alarmism (e.g. climate change), with its anti-humanism. Humanity is blamed as the great threat to life, the virus or cancer on Earth that causes environmental disaster and this “population bomb” must be removed via population control and reduction programs.

Climate alarmism now promotes endless end-of-world prophesies and agitated pressure to shut down industrial, fossil fuels society, to rapidly decarbonize the world. This irrational response to the mild 1 degree Centigrade warming of the past century will cause unimaginable suffering mainly for the poorest people. Decarbonization schemes have already harmed many with exorbitant energy and electricity prices. See https://www.thegwpf.org/new-paper-decarbonisation-plans-fail-engineering-reality-check/ and also https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/10/democrats-climate-policy-follows-germanys-failed-plan/

Recommend: Counter alarmism with good scientific evidence but do not ignore the deeper issues of meaning behind alarmism- i.e. the deeply embedded beliefs such as the apocalyptic complex of ideas/mythology.

Approach every problem in life with caution and a healthy skepticism. The history of exaggerated alarms over the past 70 years should serve as a warning that some people have a hard-wired bent to exaggerate problems. Alarming populations is highly irresponsible. And most irresponsible are news media with their obsession over creating fear and assaulting the public with worst-case scenarios (see Sociologist David Altheide’s ‘Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis’).

List of recent alarms: “Over the past 70 years public consciousness has been repeatedly assaulted by apocalyptic-scale hysteria, via alarmism-oriented news media. There was the global cooling alarm of the 1970s. Then, prophesies of the end of minerals, oil, and resources in general. Also, population bomb explosion and mass famine. Apocalyptic plagues such as SARS, bird and swine flu, Ebola, AIDs, and mad cow disease. Environmental apocalypses in the form of the “disappearing lungs of the planet” (deforestation), species holocaust, soil erosion and the collapse of agriculture, ocean fisheries collapsing by 2048, ozone depletion, acid rain, chemical apocalypses (i.e. DDT and CFCs), and killer bees. Then technology-induced apocalypse via nuclear war, Artificial Intelligence, or Y2K. Then climate catastrophes and end-of-life scenarios via warming, rising oceans, extreme storms, mass climate migration and wars, and the myriad other apocalyptic-scale outcomes attributed to climate change.”

Reflexive skepticism (not denial)

I am a reflexive skeptic of every new alarm that erupts into public consciousness- i.e. whether political/economic, disease related, or environmental alarms. There are problems all through life that are real and must be responsibly confronted and solved. But they are too often presented to the public in hysterical and exaggerated terms that incite unnecessary fear in populations. Fear then promotes irrational thought, feeling, and response. Fear leads to herd support for what have repeatedly turned out to be harmful salvationist schemes. If “we’re all gonna die” then no measure is too extreme, so shut down the world to save us from the apocalypse.

We have been through an endless series of alarms just over the past 70 years that more rational follow-up evaluation eventually exposed as exaggerated scenarios. Most of the alarms turned out to be lesser-scale problems than originally portrayed by alarmists. The media have justifiably discredited themselves with the public for thoughtlessly presenting the alarms in exaggerated terms (“imminent crisis… looming catastrophe…. coming disaster” are favored media descriptions). Media unquestioningly parrot the alarmist scientists and others that incite the panics.

Media obsession with alarmism narratives and exaggeration has been analyzed well by sociologist David Altheide in “Creating Fear: News and the Construction of crisis”. Media are not the truth-tellers or fact-checkers that they like to present themselves as. They are entertainers competing with the rest of the entertainment industry for audience share. What dominates entertainment? Apocalyptic.

What drives these alarmist eruptions that have too often become episodes of mass-hysteria?

When considering any problem in life, why do so many people instinctively lock onto worst-case scenarios and frame problems in terms of potential worst-case outcomes, often in the face of contrary evidence? With our extensive historical record of falling for exaggerated alarms, we should have learned by now to hold a healthy skepticism toward the alarmist presentations of any problem or issue.

We need to embrace Julian Simon’s good scientific approach that helps us to get to the true state of any problem/issue. Simon taught us to look at (1) the complete big picture and (2) the longest-term trends associated with any problem/issue. That will help, from the start, to restrain the tendency of many in science and media to exaggerate problems beyond evidence and incite irresponsible and destructive alarmism movements.
See “The Two Best Things Happening Today” for the big picture paleo-climate context and the longest-term trends that relate to climate.

Alarmists have exhibited other troubling behaviors such as discrediting, dismissing, and even trying to outlaw skeptics to their alarmist scenarios. Remember Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, tried to criminalize skeptical climate science in 2016. Challenge an alarmist and you will quickly experience and understand “outrage culture” and “cancel culture” extremism.

Alarmists also exhibit what appears to be an anti-human zeal for an apocalyptic outcome, something that will ‘cull’ humanity- the “virus or cancer” on the planet. This anti-humanism feature ought to caution anyone re the motives of alarmists.

Inciting fear in populations unleashes the ugly tribal spirit- i.e. the mindset that we must fight some evil enemy that causes the imagined threat to life. The tribal spirit usually splits along ideological/political fault lines in our societies. Tribal fear also unleashes the totalitarian impulse to coerce and control others in order to save something that is believed to be under threat. And if you can present the threat in the most extreme terms then that justifies arguing for more severe measures to save something.

Unwarranted fear can become the greatest threat to the freedom and self-determination of people.

Fear and social control:

The element of “fear and social control” has been well-documented in social science research.

Sociologist David Altheide (Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis) details the evidence of the expanding role of narratives of fear in public life, much due to news media focus, exaggeration, and distortion. He notes the “expansion of the discourse of fear into more attempts at social control”. He fingers especially mass media/news media for their central role in promoting fear by continually warning of some danger.

“Mass media and popular culture are the most important contributors to fear. The pervasive use of fear in public documents and discourse has helped create a perspective or framework for viewing the world in an entertaining way that is shared by many members of our society… (this major paradox exists)… we are living longer with more secure and comfortable lifestyles than at any other time in history… yet we have the most fear and uncertainty about life…”.

“My research indicates that more of our narratives involve fear. Fear appeared in more headlines and news reports in the mid-1990s than in the 1980s… For the majority of people, the mass media shape identities and narratives… Fear as a perspective is expanding in social life… Fear is more widely used because news organizations and news sources benefit from it…”

Altheide notes that news media work together with political leadership to promote social control of populations. “’Crises’ are simply certain events that are defined in a certain way and promoted to serve the political interests of leaders… ‘crisis’ is oriented to a decision-maker’s audience to allow the leader to take decisive action… Fear is used increasingly to define crises and to bump along those claims so that leaders can take political action against (enemies)”.

“The mass media, and especially the news media, are the main source and tool used to ‘soften up’ the audience” and prepare them to accept the justified action to save them from whatever crisis has been promoted. Fear is an essential part of social control, says Altheide.

“Directing fear in a society is tantamount to controlling that society. Every age has its fears, every ruler has his/her enemies, every sovereign places blame and every citizen learns about these as propaganda. The key is to recognize the process and not get captivated with the ‘bogey man’ of choice in any particular time”.

Others on fear and control: “The whole aim of practical politics”, wrote HL Mencken, “Is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary”. John Adams- “Fear is the foundation of most governments”.

And this from https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/fear-the-best-tool-of-the-ruling-class

The above linked article includes these quotes from Michael Crichton: “I am leading to the notion of social control… To the requirement of every sovereign state to exert control over the behavior of its citizens, to keep them orderly and reasonably docile… To keep them paying taxes… and of course, we know that social control is best managed through fear.”

He continues: “In reality, (in recent decades) we have been under the control of an entirely new complex, far more powerful and far more pervasive. I call it the politico-legal-media complex. The PLM. And it is dedicated to promoting fear in the population, under the guise of promoting safety”.

The article continues, identifying “the role of experts and universities in the enshrinement of fear as a political tool: “Because they had a new role to play. They became the creators of new fears for the PLM. Universities today are factories of fear. They invent all the new terrors and new social anxieties… they produce a steady stream of new anxieties, dangers, and social terrors to be used by politicians, lawyers, and reporters.”

Note also the increasing desperation of alarmists to hysterically re-enforce their “end-of-world” narratives as skeptical scientists repeatedly prove their apocalyptic threats to be wildly overstated. Richard Landes details these patterns of apocalyptic-millennial movements in his excellent history- ‘Heaven On Earth’.

Most critical to watch in alarmist eruptions of fear-mongering is the demand for “coercive purging” of the imagined threat. That argues for setting aside democratic processes and respect for freedom because some threat is claimed to be imminent and dire (i.e. “the end of the world is nigh”).

Unfortunately, follow-up scientific research does not calm or change the minds of many people who have embraced the alarmist’s narratives. Science by itself does not appear to change the minds of alarmists regarding their claims of looming apocalypse. This is because there are fundamental issues of meaning behind alarmist movements. Humanity has long embraced a set of ideas/myths to explain the meaning of life on this imperfect world. Part of thorough and long-term problem-solving must include dealing with those primitive ideas that have long embodied people’s “primal fears” and understanding of ultimate meaning issues. We are more than just rational actors oriented solely to the empirical, as valuable as that has been for understanding life.

For multiple millennia humanity has been indoctrinated with the apocalyptic complex of myths. No wonder then, that even today our initial response to problems in life is to believe that the worst is coming. Apocalyptic has become hardwired in human consciousness over the millennia. It still dominates our meta-narratives today, both religious and secular/ideological.

The never-ending end times stuff (Another article reposted from below)

For over 5000 years apocalyptic mythology has been beaten into human consciousness as essential to defining the trajectory of life. Secular versions of apocalyptic mythology, notably the ideology of Declinism (i.e. life worsening toward some great disaster), still dominate public consciousness and narratives today. This is evident in the environmental alarmism movement and particularly in climate alarmism- the prophesies of looming, imminent climate catastrophe and the endless end of days scenarios presented to the public.

Remember AOC’s prophesy in 2018 that we had only 12 years to the end of the world or James Hansen’s prophesy in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. In the last year of his life Stephen Hawking added his prophesy of apocalypse though he gave us some breathing room, declaring that we had 100 years till the apocalypse. Enough time for him to vacate the scene and avoid the humiliation that inevitably comes to all apocalyptic prophets. Life does not decline toward ending. Evidence shows that with creative human effort life rises toward an improving future.

Apocalyptic threat: Is this really how you “Teach your children well…” (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young), traumatizing them with end of the world scenarios, causing the widespread pathology of “eco-anxiety” in children now frightened of growing up in a world that they are taught will soon end?

Apocalyptic-scale alarmism attunes populations to worst-case scenarios and renders them susceptible to the irrational salvation schemes of alarmists that have consistently proven destructive to humanity and to nature. Remember Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring that influenced the ban on DDT that subsequently resulted in the unnecessary deaths of millions of people from uncontrolled malaria. The biofuels alarm resulted in further deforestation for palm oil plantations. So also anti-GM crop activism (related to general environmental alarmism) prohibits farmers from getting higher-yield crops and inputs that produce more crop on the same land and consequently farmers have to cut more forest for cropland to feed growing populations. GM crops will save forests. Anti-GM activism has also resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths of children denied Vitamin A in Golden Rice.

The latest salvation scheme (i.e. “save the world”) is the demand to decarbonize our societies and shift to renewables. We are already seeing the harm from this in unnecessarily exorbitant electricity and energy prices that impact the poorest people the most. Add to this the direct harm from renewables as noted in ‘Planet of the Humans’ (ignore the documentary’s misinformation on “corrupt humanity exhausting world resources and destroying the planet”). Decarbonization is based on the “unsettled science” of climate alarmism. There is agreement on all sides that CO2 has a warming influence but no consensus that CO2 is the dominant influence on climate change. In fact, much good evidence shows other natural factors overwhelm the CO2 influence on climate. Point? There is no good scientific reason to diminish our use of fossil fuels. There is no rational reason to decarbonize.

We need to end the endless traumatizing of human consciousness with exaggerated fear-mongering about the looming end of all things. It is highly irresponsible and destructive in outcomes. Apocalyptic mythology distorts the true state of life.

The excessive fear-mongering over natural change and problems in our environment incites unnecessary anxiety over life. It contributes to despair over life and the future. No wonder depression is the world’s number one illness and children suffer from the new pathology of “eco-anxiety”.

The deeper roots of alarmism

The great narratives of humanity across history (our main belief systems) have always embraced the same basic complex of ideas/themes and those themes are profoundly wrong-headed. Most human systems of belief across history have been oriented to one notable core idea- i.e. that of some great punitive, destroying Force or Spirit (deity).

That core idea has been supported by a larger complex of related ideas- i.e. that we humans deserve to be punished because we are bad to the bone and have ruined an original paradise. We have sent life into decline toward some great disaster and ending. Therefore, we deserve judgment or justice as payback for our sins. Our salvation/solution? We must make a sacrifice to appease the upset deity, we must purge the evil that we have created, then we will be saved, and paradise will be restored, notably for the true believers in the apocalyptic narrative.

Science has helped to overturn the old narratives entirely. We know that life on Earth began in a brutally hostile environment but has improved across the entire trajectory of this planet. So also, we humans have developed and improved immensely over the history of human civilization (i.e. declining rates of homicide as a main indicator). Our becoming something better across time counters the essential anti-humanism of the old narratives- i.e. that we fell from some better past state (noble savages) to become something worse in the present. Our history shows that we are basically good and we have improved across history. Further, the improvement of life is via ‘gradualism’ and not through the coercive purging schemes of apocalyptic alarmists. See Arthur Mendel’s Vision and Violence.

I often illustrate the new narrative themes versus the old narrative themes with the Jesus/Paul contradiction. That profound contradiction points to the basic issue- i.e. the core bad idea that serves as the orienting center of the old narratives.

Historical Jesus broke entirely with the central bad idea in the old narratives- the idea of a punitive, destroying Force or Spirit. He pointed to a new core reality that was only love and nothing but love- a scandalously and inexpressibly wondrous ‘no conditions’ love that meant there was no ultimate threat behind life. That love was all about universal inclusion, unlimited forgiveness, and endless generosity, mercy and goodness.

But Paul rejected that new discovery of Jesus and retreated to the same old core theme of all past narratives- that the core Reality was punitive and destroying. He embedded this in his apocalyptic Christ myth- e.g. “Lord Jesus will return in flaming fire to punish and destroy all that do not believe my Christ myth” (Thessalonian letters). His myth then brought the old narrative themes into our modern world. Paul’s Christ is most responsible for the continuing dominance of the apocalyptic myth in our modern world, in both religious and secular versions.

The Jesus/Christ contradiction points to the core of the human problem- the lingering influence of the old narrative themes, and the liberating, humanizing influence of a new narrative. See Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below.

To solve the alarmism problem thoroughly and for the long-term future, it is necessary to include this core meaning stuff that science does not deal with.

Summary: A main project on this site is to counter the curse of alarmism and expose its historical roots in apocalyptic mythology (“The most destructive idea in history”, Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence). Alarmists exaggerate legitimate problems in life out to apocalyptic-scale, thereby distorting the true state of any given problem. For example, alarmists view the mild climate warming over the past century (a roughly one degree Centigrade average warming during an abnormally cold period on Earth) as portending a “climate crisis/catastrophe”, even the end of life or the end of the world according to Senator AOC and other alarmists (Father of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, stated in 2008, “Its all over in five years”).

That exaggerated alarmism, promoted with endless prophesies of the collapse of nature, looming destruction and death, then incites the primal survival impulse in populations. Agitated fear of survival then makes people susceptible to the salvation schemes of alarmists, schemes that have repeatedly caused far more harm than any original problem might have caused.

Example: Rachel Carson, the mother of modern environmentalism, was undoubtedly a well-intentioned person and her concerns regarding chemicals were legitimate. It is important to properly understand chemicals, their potential impacts, how to handle them safely, and the right applications and limits of varied chemicals. But Carson ignored the available science during her time, particularly the science on the chemical DDT. That science showed that DDT did not harm wildlife and did not cause cancer in humans. But she chose to create an apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring- using a shoddy alarmist presentation, and often arguing from anecdotal situations to make general conclusions that were not backed with good evidence. She influenced the subsequent ideological/political campaign that exaggerated the danger of DDT, and thereby discredited a highly beneficial chemical that had saved hundreds of millions of lives. Her message, and that of related environmental agencies, was a terrible misrepresentation of DDT.

Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring influenced the growing ban on DDT that subsequently resulted in millions of further deaths from malaria, and many of those were children (see details in ‘The Excellent Powder: the science and history of DDT’ by Tren and Roberts).

Once again: The critical danger from alarmism eruptions

Alarmist response to problems argue for the ‘coercive purging’ of some imagined threat in order to “save the world” from an always ‘imminent’ threat to all life. The outcomes of such coercive approaches have repeatedly been eruptions of totalitarianism with the banning, silencing, and even criminalizing of skeptics to the alarmist narratives and salvationist responses. Taken to extremes, the outcomes of alarmism have repeatedly been eruptions of mass-harm, and even mass-death movements.

Alarmists- often well-intentioned- frighten populations to accept an alarmist vision of life as seriously threatened. Their solution? Embrace a low-consumption lifestyle that is basically a return to pre-industrial primitivism (i.e. the ‘moral superiority’ of the simple life). They claim that a severe reduction in consumption is necessary to save the world. Julian Simon presents evidence to the contrary in Ultimate Resource.

We are watching the alarmist pattern play out today with climate change. Climate change is always a legitimate concern as climate is always changing. But alarmists are exaggerating the danger of our mild warming to apocalyptic scale against good evidence that the mild warming of the past century and the increased levels of plant food (CO2) have immensely benefited life during the current ice age era that we are in (i.e. an abnormally cold world with abnormally low levels of CO2). Note the 14 % increase in green vegetation across the world since 1982. Plant life has been starving from historical low levels of CO2.

The salvationist solution to their exaggerated scenario of apocalyptic disaster? Radically decarbonize our societies. But that would devastate our civilization and harm the poorest people the most. Decarbonization approaches have already caused costly increases in energy prices that are impacting the poorest people.

This site probes the ideas behind alarmism culture, notably the still dominant myth of apocalyptic. I have traced here the historical route of that pathology into modern alarmism. It descended from primitive mythology (e.g. Sumerian Flood myth) into the great world religions (notably Christianity) and was then embraced in the 19th Century ideology of Declinism (the most influential theme in the modern world). Apocalyptic was then embraced by modern alarmism movements like Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism (see good research of historians Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles).

The core idea in the apocalyptic complex is that of a great Force or Spirit that is punitive and destructive (threat theology). That idea anchors a complex of supporting ideas/myths. Threat theology is now expressed in contemporary gods such as vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, punishing Mother Earth, retributive Universe, or karma.

The supporting complex of ideas include- an original paradise that has been ruined and lost due to human greed and corruption, the subsequent decline of life toward a great collapse and ending, ultimate punishment, and deserved justice as vengeance and destruction (i.e. in an apocalypse and ultimately in some hell). Add tribal dualism and exclusion (good guys versus bad guys), demand for sacrifice and salvation, and the promise of restored paradise for true believers.

Science is critical for robust response to alarmism but scientific evidence convinces very few as the issue for many appears to include deeply embraced beliefs, and the human impulse for meaning that has long been shaped by ancient mythological themes, notably apocalyptic- i.e. lost paradise, human badness/guilt, and felt deserved punishment in looming apocalyptic ending.

As noted above, to counter alarmism most effectively (for thorough and long-term solution) we need to deal with primal human fears (ultimate or after-life threat and harm) and the fundamental human impulse for meaning as it relates to ultimate realities. I would argue to replace the core theme of past narratives (mythical, religious, ideological) with a potent alternative, i.e. humanity’s single greatest discovery/insight- that there is no punitive, destroying reality behind life. There is only no conditions love- unlimited, universal love. That radically changes everything, liberating consciousness to explore and embrace entirely new themes for a more humane narrative of life. No conditions love provides a new center around which to orient an entirely new complex of supporting ideas.

See Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below.

A quote from… “We Disagree with You, So Shut Up” by David Kreutzer. See https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/we-disagree-with-you-so-shut-up/

“For climate alarmists, it is not enough simply to argue a case against their opponents. The purveyors of a climate apocalypse do not tolerate dissent. For them, the too-frequent response is to deny their opponents any voice at all”.

Site Project: Probe the core themes in human meta-narratives, notably those “bad ideas” that have influenced people to exhibit inhuman behavior (i.e. the belief/behavior relationship where ideas inspire/incite, guide, and validate human behavior). Those themes/ideas have persisted across all history and across all the cultures of the world (Joseph Campbell). A notable complex of the worst ideas has descended from primitive mythologies, to world religions, and those ideas are now embraced in the ‘secular’ ideologies of our modern world. They are religious ideas that are now embraced even by atheists/materialists.

Note, for example, the primitive myth of apocalyptic. This myth still dominates the world religions and has influenced the “secular” ideologies/movements of Declinism and its offspring- i.e. Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism. See the research of historians Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth), Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline in Western History), Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence), and David Redles (Hitler’s Millennial Reich). Apocalyptic still dominates modern story-telling and is central to the “end-of-the-world” prophesying of the environmental alarmism movement.

Note: The core idea in the apocalyptic complex of ideas is that of a great retaliating, punishing, and destroying Force or Spirit. Apocalyptic incites unnecessary fear with its exaggeration of real problems in life to apocalyptic-scale, accompanied by endless prophecies of the end of days. That exaggeration distorts the true state of things and frightens populations to embrace irrational salvation/survival responses that inevitably result in harm to many people. The above historians have detailed how apocalyptic millennial ideas have even resulted in mass-death outcomes.

The idea of an ultimate punitive, destroying Force or Spirit has been given modern expression in myths of “angry Planet/Mother Earth”, “vengeful Gaia”, “retributive Universe”, or karma. People make the unscientific and irrational claim that these entities punish humanity through disease, accidents, or natural disasters.

Note on material below: Any discussion of ‘no conditions love’ needs the immediate qualifier that we are not talking about some version of pacifism, with the related assumptions of weakness, softness, or timidity in the face of evil. To the contrary, the choice to forgive, include, and love an enemy involves a courage that few ever attain to in life. See the movies Forgiveness, The Railway Man, or To End All Wars. Note especially the main people in these true stories, the horrific torture, suffering, and loss that they endured, the intense struggle with natural impulses for vengeance, and then their choice to forgive/love their tormentors. Now tell us where you see weakness or softness in those people.

Most contemporary story-telling (movies, TV) affirms vengeance as “getting justice” and therefore as right, good, manly, and even heroic. But retaliation is more animal than human.

Retaliation is natural. Non-retaliation is supernatural. Superhuman. God-like. That’s why we admire the Nelson Mandelas of the world. We intuitively know that they point us all to a better, more humane future. They show us what it means to be authentically human, to “tower in stature as maturely human when we orient our lives to universal love” (Joseph Campbell). Non-retaliatory love makes us the heroes of our stories. That love helps us to maintain our humanity in our “righteous battles against evil”, when we remember our oneness with all others, and that even our ‘enemies’ are still our family.

Note on the forgiveness element in the mix: Many have made the point that forgiveness is not about trying to feel good toward human brutality or to feel warm toward the people committing cruelty against others. That is not what “love your enemy” means. The horrific things that people do to one another rightly evoke our disgust and rage. But forgiveness is more about freedom for the victims, freedom from subsequent responses that darken and sour life with subhuman impulses such as the impulse for vengeance, and related hate and bitterness. Forgiveness is about maintaining our own humanity in the face of evil by choosing to do the more humane thing in response to horrific human failure and abuse.

Overturning threat theology- the heart of apocalyptic

Intro notes: Paul’s Christ is the supreme icon of highly conditional reality- i.e. representing the divine demand for a cosmic payment/sacrifice for human imperfection. Paul’s Christ also epitomizes threat theology- i.e. the threat that emanates from highly conditional reality, threat of ultimate loss, exclusion, punishment, and destruction. Such statements on the nature of the Christ are scattered all through Paul’s letters and the rest of the New Testament.

Paul’s Christ illustrates the great difference between conditional and unconditional realities. All religion across history has been about conditions, communicating to humanity a highly conditional reality as the ultimate human ideal and authority- i.e. divine conditions for right belief, proper ritual (offerings, sacrifices), and required lifestyle to appease and please deity.

Religious realities that are conditional, punitive and destroying in nature have influenced/shaped human relationships toward similar values, ideals, and outcomes, toward conditional relating, and have oriented human justice systems to be punitive in treatment of human imperfection and failure.

None of the world religions has ever properly communicated the true nature of deity as stunningly and inexpressibly unconditional. That would liberate human consciousness from unnecessary threat and fear, and from subjection to religious authority. It would spell the end of all conditional religion and religious domination.

While embracing many great human ideals such as mercy, love, and forgiveness, all the great world religions continue to hold some of the worst ideas and features of our primitive past- i.e. the divine threat behind the natural world, affirming the primal fear of ultimate judgment, exclusion (rejection of unbelievers), punishment and destruction (i.e. hell). Most religion embraces some form of divine demand for ultimate payment/sacrifice. Conditional religion has saddled humanity with unnecessary psychic burdens.

Comment on Michael Shellenberger’s book Apocalypse Never from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8550381/Eco-warrior-says-going-veggie-pointless-mass-loss-species-myth.html

“He says he wrote Apocalypse Never ‘because the conversation about climate change and the environment has, in the past few years, spiralled out of control. ‘Much of what people are being told about the environment, including climate, is wrong, and we desperately need to get it right.’

He’s ‘fed up’, he adds. ‘with the exaggeration, alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of a positive, humanistic and rational environmentalism’. The people ‘most apocalyptic about environmental problems tend to oppose the best and most obvious solutions to solving them’.

“We need to get our priorities right, he says. Just think how much more useful it would have been if all those climate change protesters had marched instead for pandemic preparedness, he points out. What message does he want the public to take from his book in altering their behaviour? ‘I want them to know what matters,’ he replies. They should feel happy buying cheap ‘fast fashion’ because it not only ‘liberates’ the women who make the clothes in Third World factories by giving them jobs, but as it moves them from countryside to urban areas, it returns the land to nature as less is used for food production.

“In fact, Shellenberger says climate change is intrinsically linked with poverty, and that if people in the Third World have more money, they can invest in cleaner energy, using gas and electricity, for example, rather than burning wood….

“Shellenberger isn’t surprised he’s drawn flak although the personal attacks — being threatened with castration on Twitter — have been a ‘deeply unpleasant experience’.

“The vehemence may be understandable given his belief that this ‘apocalyptic’ view of climate change is an ‘evangelical, fundamentalist religion’ that doesn’t respond to rational arguments.

“It satisfies a basic need for something to believe in, he says, and its followers can convince themselves they are serving a higher purpose [saving the planet].

“‘These people are in the grip of a religion,’ says Shellenberger, ‘and they don’t know it.’”

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Common features of human story. The Campbell framework.

Section topics: The two main approaches to organizing human societies (the orientation to the individual or the orientation to the collective, the benefits of Classic Liberalism).

Scattered comment: Jim Baggott on “Mass” (quantum research and conclusions); Materialism/atheism or religion (and other alternatives for the human meaning impulse); Gradualism in human progress versus the violence of “instantaneous transformation” movements; Eruptions of public hatred (tribalism, outrage and cancel culture); Defending an unconditional approach to imperfect humanity (not pacifism but restorative justice); A framework for understanding human story.

The Two Main Approaches to Organizing Human Societies

Daniel Hannan in “Inventing Freedom”

Hannan on the Western contribution to the world: Personal property rights, personal liberty, and representative government. “There are three irreducible elements… The rule of law… the government of the day doesn’t get to set the rules… they are interpreted by independent magistrates… the law is not an instrument of state control but a mechanism open to any individual seeking redress…

“Personal liberty… freedom to say what you like, to assemble in any configuration you choose with your fellow citizens, to buy and sell without hindrance, to dispose as you wish of your assets, to work for whom you please, and to hire and fire as you will…”

“Representative government… Laws should not be passed, nor taxes levied, except by elected legislators who are answerable to the rest of us…”

“… the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion… (wars for freedom in the last century were between countries that elevated the state over individuals and countries that elevated the individual over the state) …”

Left/Right (and the immense benefits of Classic Liberalism)

The comment below comes from a “fiercely Independent” viewpoint. Kinda like Goldilocks- not too far Left, not too far Right. Sort of Libertarianish or Classic Liberalism. Just floating like a butterfly, free to alight wherever, enjoy the nectar, and then move on. A self that is free in an open process and not fixed rigidly on any object (i.e. not finding identity in some fixed ideology, religion, nationality, race/ethnicity, or other objects of human identity) as per The Mutable Self of Louis Zurcher. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Combating alarmism and its totalitarian, destructive outcomes.

See the “holy shit” posting below (my reaction) on Michael Shellenberger’s apology for promoting climate alarmism over the past 30 years. Also, see “The Great Christian Contradiction” re the Christ myth that has been primarily responsible for re-enforcing the primitive myth of apocalyptic in Western consciousness, belief systems, and ideologies over the past 2000 years. Apocalyptic continues to deform human consciousness with fear, anxiety, depression, and nihilism. It is the “most violent and destructive idea in history”, (Arthur Mendel).

Also, “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” further below. The persistent core pathologies in our grand narratives (religious and “secular”) and the alternatives for a new worldview or meta-narrative. See just below “The Two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures”.

Up from the basement… see also the latest GWPF newsletter: “We are facing a tsunami of censorship”, https://www.thegwpf.com/?s=we+are+facing+a+tsunami+of+censorship

The never-ending end times stuff (Reposted from below)

For over 5000 years apocalyptic mythology has been beaten into human consciousness as essential to defining the trajectory of life. Secular versions of apocalyptic mythology, notably the ideology of Declinism (i.e. life worsening toward some great disaster), still dominate public consciousness and narratives today. This is evident in the environmental alarmism movement and particularly in climate alarmism- the prophesies of looming, imminent climate catastrophe and the endless end of days scenarios presented to the public.

Remember AOC’s prophesy in 2018 that we had only 12 years to the end of the world or James Hansen’s prophesy in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. In the last year of his life Stephen Hawking added his prophesy of apocalypse though he gave us some breathing room, declaring that we had 100 years till the apocalypse. Enough time for him to vacate the scene and avoid the humiliation that inevitably comes to all apocalyptic prophets. Life does not decline toward ending. Evidence shows that with creative human effort life rises toward an improving future. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Responding to alarmism with hope based on good evidence.

An important point below: Overturn the alarmist’s distorting apocalyptic narrative with the good evidence that the two best things happening on Earth today are (1) the increase in basic plant food (more atmospheric CO2 has greened the Earth by 14% since 1980), and (2) the benefits of more warmth in an abnormally cold ice-age era (e.g. expanding habitats for many life forms).

Comment in this section: Never-ending end time prophesying (environmental alarmism); Non-violent Crisis Intervention- techniques for de-escalating violence; Campbell’s advice on responding to injustice- maintain your humanity; The wonder of being human; Countering alarmism (responding to irresponsible and dangerous eruptions of fear-mongering); World Resource Updates- the improving state of world forests, soils, ocean fisheries, land species, and atmosphere; Two best things happening- more plant food in a dangerously low CO2 era and more warmth in an abnormally cold ice-age era; Outcomes of alarmism- unleashing the totalitarian impulse (silencing, banning, and criminalizing skeptical science); Deeper roots of alarmism in apocalyptic mythology; The Jesus versus Christ contradiction (history’s greatest scandal- Christianity buried Jesus, and his non-retaliatory theology, under its Christ myth).

The primacy of Forgiveness in maintaining our humanity

The great question in the face of injustice, wrong, and violence is- How do we maintain our humanity in our response? Forgiveness is a critical stance to a fully human response. And that does not mean feeling mushy, warm, or fuzzy toward inhumanity. It is not a call to pacifism or inaction in the face of wrong.

Psychologists have made this point that forgiveness is very much about one’s own equilibrium when wronged. We can choose to let bitterness and resentment fester, holding grudges that darken consciousness with hate, and seek retaliation in kind (i.e. eye for eye cycles- hate for hate, humiliation for humiliation, hurt for hurt, punishment for punishment). But that leads to personal enslavement to the worst of our inherited impulses. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Alarmism eruptions, ‘Two best things’, and ‘Slapping down a straw god’ (ultimate threat and primal fear)

This site presents the evidence that life on our planet is not declining toward an apocalypse but over the long-term life has gradually been improving toward a better future, due to human compassion, creativity, and hard work. Reasoning from that good evidence, this site is anti-fear (anti-apocalyptic) and pro-hope. Evidence sources: Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment On The Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, James Payne’s The History of Force, among others.

Arthur Herman’s said regarding Declinism (i.e. life becoming worse, declining toward some disastrous collapse and ending): “The theme of decline is the most dominant and influential theme in the modern world”.

“British historian and statesman Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote in 1830: “In every age everybody knows that up to his own time, progressive improvement has been taking place; nobody seems to reckon on any improvement in the next generation. We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who say society has reached a turning point – that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason. … On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

See “Two best things happening on Earth today (more atmospheric CO2, warmer average temperatures)” just below, regarding the two main claims of climate alarmism. And, “Slapping down a straw god”- comment on punitive deity myths (threat theology) that add an unnecessary psychic burden to already unbearable physical suffering.

Alarmism: The exaggeration of problems to apocalyptic-scale that distorts the true nature of problems, incites the survival impulse in populations, and renders people susceptible to the totalitarian salvation schemes of alarmists, schemes that often cause more harm than the original problem.

“The whole aim of practical politics”, wrote HL Mencken, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” And John Adams, one of the founding fathers of America, echoed this sentiment, writing “Fear is the foundation of most governments”.

Dangerous patterns

An endless series of alarmist scenarios have assaulted public consciousness over just the past 70 years (see list below). These alarms have been accompanied by the troubling features of exaggerated outcomes (worst-case scenarios of apocalyptic-scale disaster) and over-reaction responses or salvation plans that have resulted in more harmful outcomes than any potential harm caused by the original problem. Unquestionably, most alarms arise out of authentic problems/threats that have to be confronted and resolved in order to protect populations.

This site probes the larger narratives that are embraced by populations and the persistence of pathological ideas that lead many people to view life’s problems with excessive fear and to then embrace the exaggeration and thereby distortion of problems that comes with viewing life through the lens of an apocalyptic viewpoint. We have experienced this repeatedly over the past 70 years.

This site explores the apocalyptic complex of myths that are still the dominant ideas in major world belief systems, in both religious and secular/ideological versions (i.e. Declinism). Thorough problem-solving must include all contributing factors. The ongoing influence of apocalyptic mythology has attuned populations around the world to believe the worst is coming, despite overwhelming evidence that life does not decline toward disaster but improves toward a better future. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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A “climate crisis”, or “Celebrating CO2”? Apocalypse, or life improving?

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

Section topics: The apocalyptic complex of themes and coercive purging movements (unleashing the totalitarian impulse); A counter narrative to the imminent catastrophe narrative; Basic Climate Facts Project; Fear of change in nature; The fallacy of ‘presentism’; Dawkins on Joe Rogan; Love and justice issues (punitive/restorative justice approaches); A brief on human story, and more.

Video of Patrick Moore’s lecture to GWPF https://www.thegwpf.com/video-of-patrick-moores-gwpf-lecture-should-we-celebrate-co2/

“We are watching another apocalyptic movement play out today in the climate alarm”.

Introductory summary

We are all responsible for the ideas/themes that we promote and their outcomes in life.

Three mass-death movements erupted in the last century- Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism. If the inclusion of environmental alarmism in the ‘triad of death’ seems extreme, consider that Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring contributed to the tens of millions of deaths in the wake of the ban on DDT (see The Excellent Powder for the science and history of DDT). So also activism against Golden Rice (anti-GM foods alarmism) has resulted in the deaths of 8 million children over a recent 12-year period. https://nationalpost.com/opinion/bjorn-lomborg-trashing-rice-killing-children

The “decarbonization” of our societies is already trending toward another potential mass-death movement. The harmful effects of the current anti-CO2 alarmism are now evident in the suffering from fuel poverty and increased mortality in countries like Britain, Germany, and even the US (see GWPF reports on rising energy costs, fuel poverty, and rising mortality rates). For example: https://www.thegwpf.com/britains-deadly-energy-madness-excess-winter-deaths-in-england-and-wales-highest-since-1976/ and https://www.thegwpf.org/green-policies-threaten-poor-nations/

Some stunning research has shown that all three mass-death movements have been influenced by the same complex of apocalyptic myths: (1) The myth of original paradise or better past, (2) the myth of corrupt humanity ruining paradise and deserving punishment, (3) the myth of life declining toward collapse and ending (apocalypse), (4) the urgent demand for a salvation scheme (i.e. sacrifice of the good life, and coercive purging of some evil threat), and (5) the promise of restored paradise/utopia. These have long been and still are the “most violent and dangerous ideas in history”. The outcomes of these ideas are well-documented. (see research of Richard Landes in Heaven On Earth, Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence, David Redles in Hitler’s Millennial Reich, and Arthur Herman in The Idea of Decline).

The apocalyptic complex of myths distorts entirely the true narrative of humanity and life. This site offers an alternative set of themes more aligned with our contemporary evidence on the true story of life as an overall improving trajectory toward a better future, not declining toward collapse or ending. These alternative themes orient consciousness to the essential goodness and creativity of humanity and to evidence-based hope. See Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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There will be no apocalypse (climate or other).

Topics below: “The influence of the apocalyptic myth on mass-death movements”; “Bill Maher on Joe Rogan’s podcast” (picking a few bones in an otherwise good discussion); “A brief on human story” (my struggle with the defects in the Christian God and Paul’s Christ myth); “Facebook post” (the central discovery of the Near-Death Experience- i.e. the core Reality is a stunning ‘no conditions love’); “Slay the Beast… or stick a stake in it” (go to the core of human systems of meaning- i.e. deity ideas- and bring down the sub-human features long embedded there)…

Further topics… “Paleo-climate facts” (Don’t fear more warmth and more plant food. We are in an abnormal and sub-optimal cold era on Earth with life’s basic food- CO2- at dangerously low levels); “Auto-bio stuff”- leaving my religion; “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”; “History’s greatest religious contradiction”- the difference between Jesus-ianity and Christ-ianity, or the unconditional theology of Historical Jesus versus the highly conditional theology of Paul/Christianity; “Apocalyptic alarmism, salvation through ‘coercive purging’, and mass-death outcomes”, and more…

Across all history and across all the cultures of our world, in both religious and ideological narratives, one of the foundational themes has been that of punitive, destroying Force or deity at the core of reality. A new fundamental theme for truly humane meta-narratives would embrace the idea of a stunning ‘no conditions’ Love at the core of reality and life. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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New Story Alternatives to Declinist/Apocalyptic mythology

Fighting Declinist despair and apocalyptic nihilism

“The idea of decline (that things are getting worse, that life is declining toward some great collapse and ending) is the most dominant and influential theme in (society) today”, Historian Arthur Herman in ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’. World surveys in recent years have affirmed this widespread pessimism in varied countries that the future will get worse and there might be an end to civilization and even life itself. Declinism is a modern version of primitive apocalyptic mythology.

Stephen Hawking fell for this Chicken Little myth in the final two years of his life, offering his own prophesies of the end-of-days and setting dates just like apocalyptic prophets have done across history. He initially announced the end in a thousand or so years (caused by AI or aliens), then finally settled on the end of days in just 100 years, caused by environmental catastrophe. 100 years reserved enough time for him to vacate the planet and avoid the embarrassment that all apocalyptics eventually face. Smart man. Apocalyptic prophesying has a 100% failure rate.

Add here that many believe that humanity, as essentially corrupt and bad-to-the-bone (i.e. the anti-human myth of “inherited sinful nature”), is the cause of the imagined worsening trajectory of life. People believe that we deserve some horrible future outcome as punishment for our “sins” of corrupting nature by developing industrial civilization, and for our greed- i.e. for enjoying the good life too much. The Japanese lady (post-2011 tsunami) summarized this outlook, affirming the common belief that harmful things from nature are expressions of punitive forces/deities. She asked, “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?”

Contrary to Declinism ideology, amassed evidence has consistently shown improvement, not degeneration or decline, on all the main features of life. Our creation of industrial civilization has enabled us to create the wealth that enables us to, not only immensely improve the human condition, but to also better care for the natural world. We have done well as Julian Simon said, proving ourselves “to be more creators than destroyers”. For detail on the improving trajectory of life see Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, among others. See also the ‘Ecological Kuznets Curve’ research, or ‘Environmental Transition’ research (Google Indur Goklany on this).

The result of embracing Declinism has been widespread fear of some horrific collapse of life, often environmental collapse scenarios, and the outcome of such alarm is the incited urgency to “save the world”, to purge the world of some imagined threat to life. Today alarmists have isolated the threat as the “curse of fossil fuels” that are the main engine of industrial society, lasering in on the CO2 byproduct.

Note the profound distortion of basic reality here- that the basic food of all life is now widely viewed as a pollutant and poison that threatens life. Also note that there is no “climate emergency”. This quote from a recent GWPF newsletter, “Only last week, a declaration by more than 700 scientists and researchers was presented in the European Parliament, showing that global warming is happening, but is far more gradual and far less detrimental to the wellbeing of people and societies than activists have been claiming.” Further, few point out the many beneficial outcomes of more CO2 and warmer temperatures (i.e. increased plant growth and crop production, expanded habitats, less mortality from cold… overall, more of “life flourishing”).

Further, few point out the many beneficial outcomes of more atmospheric CO2 and warmer average temperatures (see, for example, Patrick Moore’s “Celebrating CO2” on Youtube).

Apocalyptic has always been a dangerous idea- “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence). The danger is that of populations being frightened into self-fulfilling prophesy outcomes. As Julian Simon warned, environmental alarmism creates fatalism and resignation in populations. Worse still, alarmed populations will embrace salvation schemes that involve the “coercive purging” of some threat to life that the apocalyptic prophets have advocated against (i.e. “save the world from the threat of CO2”). This has already led to outbreaks of the totalitarian impulse- i.e. projects to criminalize the skeptics of alarmist ideology (e.g. Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch trying to criminalize skeptical science), and to silence contrary evidence (see the Climategate emails- https://principia-scientific.org/climate-science-proves-scams-dont-die-from-exposure/). These fear-driven projects have been a direct assault on freedom and democracy.

The most dangerous outcome yet of alarmism is the insane push to “decarbonise” societies and the economic collapse that this threatens.

It is an irrational ‘denial’ of good science to claim that CO2 is the dominant variable that influences climate change. CO2, making up 0.04% of the atmosphere, plays a small role but that tiny influence is repeatedly overwhelmed by other natural factors that influence climate change. See, for example, the role of the cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction on climate in Henrik Svensmark’s ‘The Chilling Stars’. Point? You cannot coercively push public policies to “decarbonise” entire societies, and consequently threaten widespread economic collapse, based on the complex and still unsettled climate science that does not affirm your beliefs or ideology. The harmful outcomes of such policies- i.e. rising energy costs that impact the poorest people, increased death rates from fuel poverty- are already being felt in countries like Germany, England, and even the US (see Global Warming Policy Forum reports).

Declinism is just another Johnny-come-lately version of the same old, same old apocalyptic mythology, one of the earliest and most pathological of all human myths. The earliest versions were expressed in the Sumerian Flood myth, and Egyptian myths of The Destruction of Mankind and Return to Chaos. Zoroaster later embraced apocalyptic in his formal religion that shaped the subsequent Hebrew/Jewish, Christian, and Muslim versions of apocalyptic religion. Apocalyptic decline was also embraced by Hinduism (i.e. great historical cycles of rise and then decline toward disastrous ending) and Buddhism (i.e. the belief that the human life-span was decreasing over time- see Mircea Eliade’s History of Religious Ideas).

We- humanity- have had a hard time letting go of this pathology of apocalyptic, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It continues to dominate public story-telling in movies, TV, and literature.

This nihilistic idea of apocalyptic is based on the core theological pathology of God as ultimate punisher and destroyer. The latest fad versions of this retributive and apocalyptic deity myth include vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma. All versions of punitive, destroying Forces/deity at the core of reality and life. These later versions are part of the modern “secularization of primitive mythology” (i.e. giving ancient ideas/themes new “secular” or ideological expression) that has occurred over the past few centuries. Joseph Campbell was right that the same mythical ideas are repeated all across history and across all the cultures of the world.

I would argue that science by itself won’t correct the problem of Declinism. You also have to go to the root ideas in human meta-narratives and deal with the theological pathology at the core of our great belief systems/religious traditions if you want to thoroughly correct the problem of bad ideas that still dominate the wider public consciousness. This is necessary to fully and properly deal with the primal human impulse for meaning. And of course, science is also vital to the project of transforming public consciousness.

This site probes the root ideas behind things like apocalyptic Declinism and offers alternatives to affirm hope, alternatives that are based on our contemporary understanding of reality and life. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The 16 fundamental themes of our human story… and the alternatives.

“The same mythical themes repeat across all history and across all the cultures of the world”, Joseph Campbell. They repeat in ancient mythologies, in world religions, and in the “secular/ideological” versions of the modern world.

The mythical or meaning element in alarm over nature.

Waves of alarm repeatedly surge through world media, often related to environmental issues. Over recent decades these surges of alarm have been mainly related to climate change. What drives this endless hysteria that natural world events/changes portend the end of the world? Here (the link just below) is one scientist’s comment on the political element in the mix. But as this author notes, there is something deeper going on, something religious- i.e. the “meaning” thing. He does not elaborate on the real nature of this meaning element. That is the project of this site.

See…

Understanding the climate movement: the impotence of science.

This site probes the mythical or meaning roots of human fear, anxiety, and despair, notably in relation to nature and the harsher outcomes of the natural world (e.g. natural disaster, disease, violence- the “imperfections” of our world). Alarm over nature is much more than just an ideological or scientific issue and that is why scientific fact alone, as vital as that is to all areas of life, will not correct the madness of environmental alarmism thoroughly and for the long term future.

Many people continue to embrace the pathology of some ultimate threat behind the natural world- i.e. the belief that harmful natural events are the work of destroying deity and are punishment for human sin. And yes, this myth of punitive, destroying deity is now given “secular” or ideological expression in versions like “vengeful Gaia… angry Planet/pissed Mother Earth… retributive Universe… and karma”.

But the natural world only presents us with ‘natural consequences’. For example, if you do not wash your hands before eating you will likely ingest some virus from something you touched earlier in the day. Consequence? A cold or worse. Or live in an earthquake zone and you may experience the damage from that natural world feature. But such things are not punishment from deity for being bad.

See the 16 fundamental ideas below that embody and express our primal human fears and concerns.

Quote: “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?”, Japanese lady in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

Site project: Liberate people from unnecessary fear and anxiety over the harmful elements of our world. How? Eliminate the sense of threat behind life- i.e. the great pathology of apocalyptic.

Note: There will be no apocalypse- environmental or other- because there is no God of apocalypse. How so? Here is one line of argument from a major world belief system. Historical Jesus in his most basic message of the Q Wisdom Sayings gospel (Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6: 27-36) urged that there should be no more eye for eye retaliation but instead love for enemies. He argued that we should do so because God does that. God does not retaliate against the bad but generously forgives and includes all, giving the beneficial and fundamental gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain- to both good and bad people. In that statement Jesus offered the stunning new theology of an unconditionally loving God, inclusive of all, non-punitive, and non-destructive.

The point here? A God that does not retaliate is a non-apocalyptic God because apocalyptic is a great final act of eye for eye retaliation against enemies/evil. Apocalypse is an act of ultimate punishment and destruction. See the New Testament book of Revelation for detail.

Paul, contradicting Jesus, embraced a God of retaliation and apocalypse. He accepted the God of Zoroastrian and Jewish apocalyptic. Note that he quoted the Old Testament to affirm his retaliatory theology, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-20). And in his first letters (i.e. Thessalonians) he affirmed apocalypse: “Lord Jesus will return in blazing fire to punish/destroy all who do not believe my gospel”. Paul’s retaliatory/apocalyptic God became the Christian God in direct contradiction to the main non-retaliatory theme/theology of Historical Jesus.

This is the foundational contradiction of Christianity- i.e. the entirely opposite theologies of Jesus and Paul. This is about the fundamental and irreconcilable themes of non-retaliation vs retaliation, non-violent versus violent deity or non-destructive vs destructive deity, tribal exclusion vs universal inclusion, punitive justice vs restorative justice, and stunningly unconditional love vs highly conditional love.

And yes, Christian apocalyptic is mainly responsible for embedding the apocalyptic myth in Western consciousness. That then shaped 19th Century Declinism (“The Idea of Decline in Western History”, Arthur Herman) and birthed its offspring- contemporary environmental alarmism.

Main site topics:

16 themes for a new meta-narrative centered on the stunning new theology of unconditional deity.

Environmental alarmism as contemporary apocalyptic mythology (the offspring of Declinism). The endlessly destructive pathology of alarmism.

Campbell’s outline of the main features of human story and the meaning of life (i.e. universal love as mature humanity- see sections below).

The profound contradiction between Historical Jesus and Paul’s Christ myth. Jesus rejected Christ/messiah mythology. (also further below). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Climate alarmism and apocalyptic hysteria over change (change in nature alarmism).

We are not facing a “climate emergency”.

Section topics: Stasis versus change in nature (fear of change); The core climate issue (i.e. the prominence, or not, of CO2); Irresponsible and destructive apocalyptic alarmism; The origin and pathology of alarmism (original fear of nature; destructive nature as the expression of punitive, destroying deity; the continuing pathology of nature alarmism today); Climate facts; Countering the alarmist narrative (go to the root ideas behind the mythology).

Post from discussion group (this relates to the apocalyptic mythology that is regularly tackled on this site)

“Note, in today’s environmental alarmism, the promotion of endless fear over any “change” in nature. Climate physicist/meteorologist Richard Lindzen said regarding change, “we are scanning for small changes… we are talking about tenths of a degree… and viewing them as ominous signs of something…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJwayalLpYY). Change itself has become the feared thing. This relates to what Alston Chase noted in his book ‘In A Dark Wood’, that many people believe there should be stasis in nature, at some optimal state. But there is no such stasis anywhere in nature and our past millions of years in this ‘ice-age era’ affirm the constancy of change. We exist in a world where there are massive swings between cold and hot periods on our planet, and many minor swings are constantly occurring between the big ones (see Ian Plimer’s graph of climate changes over the past 55,000 years in ‘Heaven And Earth’).

“But fear of change itself, even minor perturbations, is now reason for alarmists to argue that the apocalypse is coming. This is insanity gone insane. Every hiccup in weather or shift in an animal population is used as justification to bleat, or cluck with Chicken Little, that the apocalypse is coming. I would counter that while the constant change in nature means that we cannot maintain life at some optimal state, some states are more optimal for life- notably, warmer temperatures and with higher levels of CO2. Paleo-climate studies affirm that such states enable life to “flourish” (Ian Plimer).

“Plimer has a graph on page 33 of his book showing the changes in surface temperatures over the past 50,000 years. From 50,000 years ago to around 30,000 years ago there were major swings in averages from minus 10 degrees Centigrade to plus 15 degrees Centigrade. Then those wild swings levelled off when we entered our current inter-glacial with temperature changes of only a few degrees over the last 20,000 years. (Note at bottom of graph: “The amount of temperature and rate of temperature change over the last 50,000 years, showing wild swings in temperature during glaciations and far more stable temperatures during the current interglacial.”)”

Point: The climate change during our current interglacial has been mild compared to the last 30,000 years of the previous glaciation. There has been no climate crisis, and will be no climate crisis, according to the evidence of the past 20,000 years, the “historical record” of most importance.

The core climate issue

While media and politicians continue to get the vapors over every hiccup in nature (any change), keep your eye on the core issue in the climate debate- how prominent is the role of CO2 in the climate change that we are experiencing over these decades?

(Note: We are not experiencing any rise toward “catastrophic climate change” as predicted in the now falsified climate models. The actual change that we have experienced has been only in the tenths of a degree (see Youtube videos on Richard Lindzen- climate physicist). The warming over the roughly 1975-95 period was about 0.3 degree Centigrade. The temperature trend since has been flat, not rising toward some 3-6 degrees warming as per the models. So we are not facing a “climate emergency” as the politicians hysterically exaggerate (all apocalyptic claims are are irresponsible and distorting anti-science exaggeration). And as Lindzen says, we experience temperature differences every day that are 30-40 times the minor change that was experienced over the 1975-95 warming.) Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The pathology of apocalyptic (i.e. punitive, destroying God mythology)

Section topics

See “Religion represents God to humanity???” (highly conditional institutions cannot present unconditional reality), “Rethinking 16 Fundamental Ideas” (Old story themes, new story alternatives), “History’s single greatest contradiction (the central non-apocalyptic message of Jesus versus the contrary apocalyptic message of Paul)”, “Eye for eye cycles”, “Qualifier: unconditional is not warm and fuzzy pacifism”, and “Rethink Paul’s Christ myth” (Historical Jesus is not Christ; he was anti-Christology)- all just below. Also below- “Framework for human story”, “The persistence of the spiritual (the primary impulse to meaning) in secular society”, and “Love- not the Higgs- defines reality” (Brian Cox on Joe Rogan podcast). Also, “Decline or Rise: The long-term trajectory of life (forestry facts, fish facts…)”.

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca (site is copyrighted material)

This site traces the line of historical descent of apocalyptic across history… from its earliest expression in myths like the Sumerian Flood myth, or the Egyptian Destruction of Mankind and Return to Chaos myths, down to Zoroaster’s apocalyptic theology that shaped Jewish religion, Christianity, and Islam as apocalyptic religions. Primitive apocalyptic mythology (via Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth) was then given “secular” expression in 19th Century Declinism which became one of the dominant ideologies of our modern world, the ideology of today’s environmental alarmism. At the core of all this mythology is the belief in a great punitive, destroying Force or Spirit/God (or vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, karma).

This site counters this primal fear of humanity (some ultimate punitive, destroying reality) with the most potent discovery ever- that deity is unconditional Love and does not ultimately punish or destroy anyone (sun and rain are given to all alike, to both good and bad). This is about transformation of worldviews/belief systems and liberation of consciousness at the deepest levels. It is all about conquering humanity’s greatest monster and enemy.

Critical point: The foundational pathology in human thought…

Apocalyptic mythology embraces the original and foundational error of our ancestors- i.e. that there were spirits behind all the elements of nature, and if nature was destructive (storm/flood, sun/drought, earthquake/tsunami) then the gods must be angry and were punishing people for their sins. That error then defined deity as punitive and destructive and that theological error became the foundational theme in human worldviews. It was embedded in the theologies (God theories) of subsequent world religions, and has now descended into the ideologies of the modern world (i.e. Declinism- a “secular” or ideological version of apocalyptic).

The supreme expression of divine anger and punitive destruction would be a life-ending, world-ending apocalypse.

Punitive deity theories (threat theology) have long been associated with demands for sacrifice/payment/appeasement, hence the salvation industry across history. The dark side of this apocalyptic mythology has been alarmed populations embracing salvation schemes that demand the coercive purging of some imagined threat, in order to save something believed to be under threat. The outcomes of apocalyptic salvationism have been devastating for many people and for nature- e.g. the bio-fuels fiasco and consequent deforestation, or Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring that contributed to the ban on DDT and subsequent deaths of tens of millions of people. Arthur Mendel was right that apocalyptic has been the most violent and destructive idea in history.

We have the potent corrective to this foundational error of punitive, threatening deity- the insight that deity is an inexpressible no conditions Love. This insight overturns the original error of the ancients and puts a stake through the heart of the apocalyptic fraud and the terrorizing God at the center of that fraud- humanity’s greatest monster and enemy.

Note: Any advocacy for non-punitive deity will have to explain the imperfection of this world (i.e. natural disaster, accident, disease) and the consequent suffering that humanity has long viewed as divine punishment. This requires the reframing of human meta-narratives with new insights on the purpose of conscious human existence in this imperfect world- e.g. imperfection in life is essential to the world as a learning arena for human development. But suffering is not punishment for sin as the world religions have long claimed (see ‘Framework for human story’, below).

Quotes from below...

“The same mythical themes have been repeated endlessly across history and across all the cultures of the world” (Joseph Campbell). Today, these primitive “old story themes” continue to shape the worldviews of the majority of humanity (85%) that is affiliated with one of the main world religions. These mythical themes also shape the thinking of many moderns that consider themselves secular and even materialist/atheist. Over the past few centuries these old themes have been given new expression in our ideologies and even in science.

(Note: This site affirms the varied good ideals in the mythological/religious mix but notes that the better ideals in religious traditions are often distorted by contexts containing “bad religious ideas”. For example, love in religious holy books is often a ‘tribal’ love that is limited to fellow true believers but ultimately excludes unbelievers. That is not authentic love.)

But the old story themes represent a worldview that does not present the true state of life on Earth or the truly humane nature of ultimate reality. Further, the “old story themes” have caused immense damage across history, inciting and validating the worst impulses of people to harm others. (Note: Historians, e.g. Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles, among others, have traced the role of these ideas behind the history of religious violence- notably the ideas of apocalyptic millennialism- and also their role in the mass-death movements of Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism.)

The “new story alternatives” are derived from contemporary science and the best of contemporary spiritual insight. They point more correctly to the true state of life and to a more humane view of Ultimate Reality or deity.

Also, the new alternatives potently overturn the ‘apocalyptic millennial’ complex of myths, the complex of themes that support the foundational mental pathology of belief in a retaliatory, punitive Force or God. A central project of this site is to bring down this greatest monster and enemy of humanity (i.e. Ultimate Reality/deity as retaliatory, punitive, exclusionary, dominating, and destructive).

These new alternative themes are also my response to the apocalyptic element in today’s climate change alarmism. I would urge people to probe the deeply embedded themes that continue to dominate contemporary public consciousness and worldviews. This will help to understand the confirmation bias of alarmists that, despite evidence to the contrary, endlessly claim that the “end of days” is looming just up ahead (i.e. the endless setting of end-time dates).

“Love your enemy… because God does”

This statement is from the Matthew 5 and Luke 6 summaries of the central message of Historical Jesus (the Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel). It is my paraphrase of that material: “Love your enemy… because God does”. It is the single most profound statement on love anywhere in human literature. It takes us to the height of humane ethics and humane theology. It is simply the finest statement anywhere on the meaning of authentic love- i.e. as universal (includes all, sun and rain on both good and bad), unlimited, and unconditional. It tells us what it means to be truly human. It is the best example of the behavior/belief relationship that is central to the human quest for meaning- i.e. to base our behavior/lives on a validating (inspiring, guiding) ideal.

The above statement is the single most important statement anywhere on the essential nature of deity. It tells us what God is like- a transcendently unconditional Reality. No religion has ever communicated this to humanity. As Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy concluded- this diamond of Jesus has been buried in highly conditional Christianity.

Note: The Christ myth of Paul is primarily responsible for affirming and embedding the destructive theme of apocalyptic in Western consciousness (see James Tabor quotes in next section below). Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline) also notes several features from the Christian tradition that formed the ideology of Declinism, a “secular” version of apocalyptic mythology- i.e. the Christian belief in the loss of an original paradise and the need for violent purging (an apocalypse) in order to cleanse the world and restore the lost paradise. Herman states that “Declinism is the most influential and dominant theme in modern society”. Declinism is the ideology of environmental alarmism or Green religion (Note: This site differentiates between the environmental concern that we all share and the alarmism that exaggerates environmental problems to apocalyptic scale, thereby distorting the true state of things- the endless prophesying of the end of days).

The project of this site is to go to root ideas/themes in human meta-narratives/worldviews and make fundamental corrections there (see “Old Narrative Themes, New Story Alternatives” below).

History’s single greatest contradiction? My candidate: The contradiction between the central message of Historical Jesus, and the central meaning and message of Paul’s Christ myth (his Christology theory). Or, “How history’s single most profound insight was subsequently buried in a major religious tradition”.

A side consideration: Think of the liberation that could have been promoted over the last two millennia if some movement had taken Jesus seriously (i.e. liberation from the unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame that come from harsh and threatening God theories- Zenon Lotufo). But no one, not even his closest companions, took his scandalous and offensive insights seriously.

The contradiction at the core of Christianity has to do with the following profound opposites- i.e. non-retaliatory behavior versus retaliation, the non-punitive treatment of offenders versus a punitive approach, no conditions versus supreme condition (sacrifice, Salvationism), unlimited love versus limited tribal love, the universal embrace of humanity versus the restricted inclusion of only true believers, and non-apocalyptic versus total apocalyptic destruction. You can’t get more contrary or contradictory than these entirely opposite realities.

Psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo (Cruel God, Kind God), and others, point to the “cognitive dissonance” that arises when you try to hold opposites in some merger.

“Greatest contradiction?” How so? Because of the historical and current world-wide influence of the Christian religion, and notably the influence of Paul’s Christ myth. This myth has shaped the version of Christianity that has descended down to our contemporary world (compared, for instance, to the prominent Jewish Christianity of the first century CE).

And also “greatest” due to the very nature of the contradiction itself. It is hard to find a more stark contrast between entirely opposite realities than that between the main message of Jesus and the contrary Christ message of Paul. I use the term “the main message of Jesus” in reference to the Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel, specifically the Q1 version, and the most important statement in that gospel as now found in Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36.

Historical Jesus stated that, for him, the era of “eye for eye justice” was over. He rejected retaliatory justice and, instead, he promoted the restorative justice of “love your enemies” (Matthew 5). Why? Because that was what God did. It was what God was. The God of Jesus was love of a stunning new variety never before seen in the long history of God theories. His God did not retaliate with eye for eye justice but loved God’s enemies. And the evidence? Jesus illustrated his point with the main features of the natural world. God gave the good gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain for crops- to all, to both good and bad people. There was no discrimination and no exclusion of anyone.

God’s love and generosity was inclusive, universal, and unconditional. Jesus used a behavior/belief pairing to make this point. “Do this… because God does it”. He based his behavior on a similar validating belief. Do this- treat all others with unconditional love- and you will be just like God (you will be acting like the children of God) who treats all with unconditional love.

The God of Jesus was non-retaliatory, non-vengeful, non-punitive, non-excluding, non-destroying and therefore non-apocalyptic. Non-apocalyptic? Yes, because a non-retaliatory God is not an apocalyptic God. Apocalyptic is the ultimate act of eye for eye retaliation, vengeance, punishment and total destruction. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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