Alarmism- distorting, irresponsible, and destructive.

Site project: Countering alarmism. Much of the material here probes “the true state of things” (see for example “World Resource Updates” just below). Why insist with Julian Simon (Ultimate Resource) on searching for the true state of something? Because too many in science today, and mainstream media, are advocating alarmism that exaggerates the actual state of problems, even out to apocalyptic-scale (the ‘end of days’ always just up ahead). That is highly distorting, irresponsible, and dangerous. Unnecessary fear incites our worst impulses. Fear incites, for example, the tribal impulse to view some other person or group as an enemy, as a threat to oneself, a threat that must be fought and stopped.

Exaggerated fear agitates the natural survival impulse. It orients people to the harmful salvationist schemes/solutions offered by alarmists that have repeatedly unleashed the totalitarianism impulse and its destructive outcomes. How so? Alarmists propose some threat, like “catastrophic climate change”, and then claim that the only way to “save the world” is to coercively purge what they claim to be the threat to life- e.g. “greedy” people in industrial civilization enjoying the good life too much. The destructive alarmist solutions- “degrowth… decarbonization… and a return to primitive pre-industrial standards of living”.

As Stephen Hayward illustrated in ‘The Green God That Failed — Almost’, “Ultimately, Planet of the Humans represents a throwback to the gloomy Malthusianism that informed the birth of the modern environmental movement—the view that humans are a plague on the planet and that the planet can be saved only by having fewer humans on it, living subsistence lives.”

The totalitarian spirit of alarmists is exhibited today in the efforts to silence, discredit, ban, criminalize, and even imprison skeptics to the apocalyptic narratives of alarmists. Exaggerated fear too often leads to endeavors to control others, “for their own good”, of course. We are watching this play out today in the all-too-common abandonment of democratic processes. Remember, President Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, tried to criminalize skeptical science in 2016.

Other examples: See “German authorities are cracking down on ‘climate change dissent’” at

Also: “The Coming Dark Age & The Death Of The Scientific Method” by
Gideon Rozner, The Australian, 30 May 2020, posted on Global Warming Policy Forum’s site/newsletter.

See also Clarice Feldman’s article on censorship of skeptical science at https://the-pipeline.org/david-v-goliath-in-cyberspace/?utm_source=CCNet+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dcb491a612-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_06_03_12_43_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe4b2f45ef-dcb491a612-20139177&mc_cid=dcb491a612&mc_eid=bbd9cad85f

Campbell’s sage advice on responding to injustice: Maintain your humanity

Joseph Campbell argued that in our “righteous battles against evil” we maintain our humanity by remembering to treat our opponents/enemies with restorative justice not retaliatory punishment. Harm returned for harm originally done, hurt for hurt, humiliation for humiliation, or punishment for punishment only renders us all petty and does nothing to take us forward to something better.

Campbell said that we must remember our fundamental oneness with all others in the human family, our “brotherhood” with even our enemies. We maintain our humanity by remembering to “love our enemy”. That is not a call to pacifism in the face of injustice or evil but a call to always respond/act humanely in our struggles against wrong and against offenders. Love obligates us to always treat others, even offenders, with restorative justice, not retaliatory or punitive justice. It takes special courage to respond and act humanely after suffering inhumanity (violence, torture, death). Note the examples of this supreme courage in “The Forgiven”, “To End All Wars”, and “The Railway Man”.

We all naturally feel intense rage at injustice and brutality. It is not against love to affirm such rage. But then what? What does it mean to respond and act as maturely human? We know that retaliatory violence diminishes and dehumanizes us and renders us no different from the original offenders that sparked our rage. That was Simon Wiesenthal’s argument with the Jewish Father who wanted to kill the SS soldier that had shot his son. “Don’t be like the Nazis”, Wiesenthal said (Justice, Not Vengeance). How do we respond to inhumanity in a manner that maintains our own humanity?

As Campbell has urged, we mature as human and maintain our humanity by embracing and exhibiting unconditional, universal love. We then tower in stature and become heroes of our stories. We conquer our monster. Think Nelson Mandela as a recent striking example. His signature phrase: “Let us surprise them (our opponents/enemies) with our generosity (our forgiveness, inclusion, kindness)”. Mandela urged his colleagues to not retaliate against former oppressors (Richard Stengel, Mandela’s Way). So also Alveda King reminds us of her uncle’s response to violence long ago https://www.foxnews.com/media/mlk-alveda-king-george-floyd-riots-protests. Retaliation in kind (eye for eye) solves nothing.

The mother in The Forgiven, a character based on real people that took part in Mandela’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, exhibited the way to maintain our humanity and offer a better way forward. She screamed her pain and then told the police officer that had participated in her daughter’s murder, “I want to kill you but I will forgive you, because that is what my daughter would want. She would not want to continue these hate for hate cycles”. The actual mother had wailed her torment at her child’s death and looked into the camera, crying, “We know God wants us to forgive, but its so hard” (Bill Moyer documentary).

This is about an inner battle that is the most important battle in life. It is the battle against the inherited animal in us- the real enemy and monster in life. As Solzhenitsyn said, the real battle of good against evil runs down the center of every human heart. The real enemy is the animal in us- those inherited impulses to tribally exclude others as enemies, to dominate others, to embrace retaliatory punishment and destroy the differing other. Jordan Peterson suggests that we should first win this inner battle before going forth to change others or change our societies.

Unconditional, universal love as a life goal, as the centering ideal or core-orientation of a life narrative, is the weapon to destroy this real enemy/monster. Unconditional love encourages us to include all as family, to respectfully honor the freedom of others as equals, and to generously forgive and treat all human failure with restorative justice.

Many counter that such love is weak, mushy, impractical in the face of evil. It is too pacifist.

Not at all. The intentional choice to treat everyone, including offenders, with an unconditional attitude does not contradict the robust affirmation that we must hold everyone responsible for their actions (i.e. restrain violent people, maintain a victim-centered focus, and hold offenders accountable to make restitution). An unconditional approach can do this while holding an intentionally non-retaliatory spirit or attitude. There is no conflict between love and the responsibility to be human in an imperfect world. As some say, there is no conflict between love and justice, that is, justice as restorative not punitive.

Again, look carefully at the stunningly courageous expression of this love in The Railway Man, The Forgiven, and To End All Wars and then see if you can still argue this is weakness in the face of evil. Unconditional/universal love requires a maturity and strength of character that most of us never achieve. Was Nelson Mandela weak and impractical? His approach in South Africa spared that country civil war when he was released from prison? See ‘Mandela’s Way’ by Richard Stengel. Millions of young African men wanted their vengeance and Mandela had to argue them out of that. His vision was for a forgiving, inclusive South Africa.

And again, there is no contradiction between hating evil and yet treating offenders with restorative justice. Remember that mother in The Forgiven… “I want to kill you (the police officer that was part of a group that shot her child) but I will forgive you because that is what my daughter would want”. Love is not about feeling mushy, warm, or fuzzy toward offenders and their horrific offenses. It is about a choice to treat everyone humanely, including “enemies/offenders”.

When you strip away all else in human experience and life in this imperfect world- all our great successes in all that humanity has achieved in all areas (and all of that achievement is critically important)- you get to this stunning awareness that human story at its most vital and meaningful is about these inner battles to conquer the inherited animal and the struggle to live as authentically human.

In those breakthrough moments of awareness, we all intuitively get it that this inner struggle has something to do with the core meaning of life as it relates to our highest ideal- love. Human life story is about learning what love really is, how to love, how to reach and grow beyond the shallow pettiness of tribal forms of love (i.e. love for only family, friends, tribal groupings- racial, ethnic, national) to love universally, unconditionally like those heroic figures in the stories above.

Unconditional, universal love is our true inner self, the “real us” at our very core. It is the true nature of the human spirit or self. Campbell was right that the discovery of this love, the orientation of life to this universal love, is to discover our true mature self and the central meaning of human life.

Note: In his above argument on maintaining our humanity, Campbell refers to the central Q Wisdom Sayings gospel message- “Don’t retaliate with eye for eye, but instead love your enemy because God does. How so? God generously gives the good gifts of life- sun and rain for crops- to both good and bad people”. That is the single most profound statement on the nature of authentic love and what it means to be fully human.

Note on Love: Humanity’s highest ideal and the one thing that most identifies us as human. It encompasses many related ideals such as forgiveness, inclusion, the treatment of all others as equals (i.e. respect for the freedom of others, non-controlling), kindness, gentleness, and much more. It has been the discovery of ordinary people- i.e. parents, spouses, friends- that love in its highest form is no-conditions, universal or non-tribal, and unlimited.

Countering alarmism eruptions…

“The whole aim of practical politics”, wrote H.L. 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”.

A response to the myth of Declinism– “The most dominant and influential theme in our societies in the Twentieth Century (and still today)”, Arthur Herman in The Idea of Decline in Western History.

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?”

The wonder of being human (title of one of John Eccles’ books)

We- the human family- have an established record of improving our world over the long-term history of life. Such evidence reveals our fundamental goodness. We are the best thing that has happened to life (Greg Easterbrook in A Moment On the Earth).

Also notable, we have become more humane in human civilization as evident, for example, in the ever-declining rates of violence across history (see James Payne’s History of Force, and Stephen Pinker’s Better Angels of Our Nature).

The above evidence potently counters the new fundamentalism of extremist elements in Green religion (more broadly- the ‘environmental alarmism’ movement). These people promote an anti-human apocalyptic movement that has been metastasizing across the world and trying to slow, halt, and even reverse human progress. The apocalyptic prophets in Green religion exhibit a disturbing totalitarian spirit in their efforts to silence, discredit, and ban skeptics to their narrative that corrupt humanity in industrial society is destroying the planet and is responsible for causing the imagined imminent collapse and ending of life.

See comment below on “Getting to the true state of life” (known as “The Simon Project” on Humanprogress.org), and “Reflexive skepticism, not denial”.

Also, more below on the great ‘bogeyman’ behind alarmism eruptions- the bad theology of punitive, destroying deity and the related threat of apocalypse. This mythology, now beaten into humanity’s consciousness over multiple millennia, has attuned us to expect the worst, making us susceptible to the endless alarmist eruptions and prophecies of the end of days coming. Central to this pathology is the myth that we are bad to the bone and we deserve punishment (i.e. we are a virus or cancer on the Earth).

Note: While world religions maintain the primitive versions of mythology like punitive, destroying deity and apocalyptic, many moderns (materialist, atheist) now embrace the secular/ideological versions of the same mythical themes, notably in Declinism.

Repeating history

(Note this pattern in alarmism eruptions: Good follow-up research consistently shows that the worst-case scenarios never come to pass but media ignore that research and move right on from the last failed alarm to begin pushing the next new alarm. We have suffered an endless series of these apocalyptic-scale prophesies that have alarmed and agitated public consciousness for decades. Is it any wonder that many children now suffer the malady of “eco-anxiety” and young couples are afraid to birth and raise children today?)

“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.”

Public consciousness has been endlessly traumatized by such hysterical exaggeration of world problems. It is no wonder that the idea of decline (i.e. life is declining toward something worse) has become the dominant theme in our societies and depression is the world’s number one illness. See Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’.

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”. Example: Note the recent removal of Michael Moore’s documentary, Plant of the Humans, from Youtube.

World resource updates: The main indicators of the true state of life on Earth

Despite endless claims of the imminent ‘end of the world’ creative humanity has been solving problems and doing well in improving life over the long term. Our management of Earth’s main resources reveals the basic goodness of humanity and is a sound basis of evidence for hope that our efforts to improve life will continue and the future will be ever better.

Below are brief summary updates on the true state of the main world resources- i.e. forests, fisheries, land species (yet to come), atmosphere, and soils. The evidence on these is from the most credible data sources (e.g. the FAO for fisheries, forests, and soil research).

The state of the world’s main resources provides a big picture background to compare with, for example, the information from Michael Moore’s latest documentary- Planet of the Humans. While that is a helpful exposure of the unworkable nature and damaging consequences of renewables, it presented misinformation and outright distortion regarding world resources (i.e. anecdotal pictures of small acreages of burning forest, or cleared land, that do not show the complete big picture status of agriculture and forest resources).

Moore has presented the conventional alarmist narrative that too many people are consuming too much of Earth’s resources and life is therefore going to hell in a handbasket. At fault? Greedy humanity wanting too much of the good life. And the claim that our industrial civilization and economic growth is destroying the planet. That is just not true. Better sources of data on the true state of our world and life is presented, for example, at sites like Humanprogress.org.

World forests

First, some quotes from “THE PLANET NOW HAS MORE TREES THAN IT DID 35 YEARS AGO: Tree cover loss in the tropics was outweighed by tree cover gain in subtropical, temperate, boreal, and polar regions” by RHETT A. BUTLER, AUG 17, 2018 https://psmag.com/environment/the-planet-now-has-more-trees-than-it-did-35-years-ago

“Despite ongoing deforestation, fires, drought-induced die-offs, and insect outbreaks, the world’s tree cover actually increased by 2.24 million square kilometers—an area the size of Texas and Alaska combined—over the past 35 years, finds a paper published in the journal Nature. But the research also confirms large-scale loss of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems, especially tropical forests.

“The study, led by Xiao-Peng Song and Matthew Hansen of the University of Maryland, is based on analysis of satellite data from 1982 to 2016…

“Overall, the study found that tree cover loss in the tropics was outweighed by tree cover gain in subtropical, temperate, boreal, and polar regions. Tree cover gain is being driven by agricultural abandonment in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America; warming temperatures that are enabling forests to move poleward; and China’s massive tree planting program. Tree cover is also increasing globally in montane areas…

“The biggest gains in tree cover occurred in temperate continental forest (+726,000 square kilometers), boreal coniferous forest (+463,000 square kilometers), subtropical humid forest (+280,000 square kilometers). Russia (+790,000 square kilometers), China (+324,000 square kilometers), and the United States (+301,000 square kilometers) experienced the largest increase in tree cover among countries during the period…

“The study estimates gross tree canopy loss globally at 1.33 million square kilometers, or 4.2 percent of 1982 tree cover. But adding in gains, the planet’s total area of tree cover increased by 2.24 million square kilometers, or 7.1 percent, from 31 million to 33 million square kilometers. The authors note these numbers “contradict” data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which collects national forest data from countries’ forestry departments and has historically been seen as the most consistent source of information on forest cover…” (end of quotes).

Add here that a general greening of the planet has occurred over this same time period (1982- present) due to increased plant food (CO2) in the atmosphere. There has been an increase of green vegetation across the world equal to twice the size of the continental US mainland. Earth is 14% greener today than just a few decades ago.

Also, the fact that Latin American forests are still being cut due to expanding agriculture makes it more important that farmers there can access GM crops, and related inputs, which enable farmers to produce more on the same or less land. That enables the agricultural transition, the move to ‘peak agriculture’ and beyond, where agricultural land is then returned to nature as is happening in N. America and Europe.

Added notes: In 1953 world forest cover was 3.8 billion hectares with world population at about 2.5 billion people. Today, with population over 7 billion, world forest cover, instead of declining with more people, has increased to over 4 billion hectares or 31% of the world’s land area. There is more forest today with almost three times more people.

Another note: Human agricultural land uses about 5 billion hectares of the Earth’s land area. About 77% of this is grazing land (4 billion hectares), and the other 1 billion-plus hectares are used to grow all the crops that we eat.

More crop and grazing land will be returned to nature as ongoing increases in crop productivity are spread to farmers across the world.

Added note: Pre-industrial forest cover has been estimated at about 5.9 billion hectares compared to today’s 4.1 billion hectares. That loss is not to be regretted as humanity deserves to exist and has the right to use some land for food crops. We are not the “virus/cancer” of anti-human Green religion. We are as natural as any other species on the planet. The more important point is that we have learned from past experience and improved our engagement and use of nature and this is evident in our increasing the area of forest cover from 3.8 billion hectares in the early 1950s to the 4.1 billion hectares today. We have done that while the human population has increased threefold (2.4 billion people in 1953 to almost 8 billion today). We have learned to use wood more efficiently and can meet much of our wood needs from tree plantations that now cover 264 million hectares (7% of forest cover).

A further note affirming the point that the increasing forest cover over the past 70 years exhibits an improving situation: Alarmists focus on the fact that pre-industrial forest cover was estimated at 5.9 billion hectares compared to only 4.1 billion hectares today. That ignores the growth in human population and that humanity has learned to better care for nature as evident in the fact that while forest cover in 1953 was 3.8 billion hectares it has grown to 4.1 billion hectares today. The change/improvement over the past 70 years is what matters. Alarmist narratives that focus on the pre-industrial number ignore this recent and more important long-term trend of improvement.

Facts that’s surprise:

Of the total 14,890,000,000 hectares of land area on our planet, only 1% is built-up by humanity. That includes urban areas, towns, villages, roads and other human infrastructure (https://ourworldindata.org/land-use). Just 1%. Think about that. We are not “paving over paradise”.

Fisheries

https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/environment-sustainability/ray-hilborn-says-world-fish-stocks-stable

“There is a very broad perception that fish stocks around the world are declining. Many news coverages in the media will always begin with ‘fish stocks in the world are declining.’ And this simply isn’t true. They are increasing in many places and in fact, globally, the best assessments are that fish stocks are actually stable and probably increasing on average now,” Hilborn said.

https://www.washington.edu/news/2020/01/13/fisheries-management-is-actually-working-global-analysis-shows/

“World fish stocks stable”

“There is a narrative that fish stocks are declining around the world, that fisheries management is failing and we need new solutions — and it’s totally wrong,” said lead author Ray Hilborn, a professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “Fish stocks are not all declining around the world. They are increasing in many places, and we already know how to solve problems through effective fisheries management.”

World “capture” fishery production has been stable over the past three decades and “aquaculture has been responsible for the continuing impressive growth in the supply of fish for human consumption” http://www.fao.org/3/i9540en/i9549EN.pdf

See the data graphs in the above links that show, even with population growth and increasing consumption of fish, aquaculture is growing to make up the increasing human demand for fish while ocean capture has been stable across the last three decades. Ocean fisheries will not collapse by 2048 as some alarmists have predicted in past years.

As Julian Simon said, we (humanity) are doing a good job solving problems and improving life. He said that we ought to hold a party to outdo all parties to celebrate how well we have done.

Status of world soils

For detail on soil degradation categories, general soil categories, and basic arguments on soil degradation see “World Agricultural Land” under the ‘Unlimited Resources’ button at the top of this page.

Estimates of soil degradation have been exaggerated. The Glasod study of 1992 (Global Assessment of Soil Degradation) has been discredited with soil experts acknowledging that early estimates based on Glasod were wrong. Alarmists have tended to confuse soil degradation categories with the different agricultural land categories (i.e. cropland, grazing land). One notable mistake soil alarmists make is to take the figure for all soil degradation that applies to all land on Earth and to infer that number applies to the much smaller area of cropland.

The important thing to note is that crop productivity has increased significantly over past decades with more yet to come. GM crops have contributed to the increasing productivity of cropland. This fact of increasing productivity counters the arguments of alarmists that agricultural soils are degrading and that degradation would show in declining productivity. It ain’t happening.

Notably, alarmists often fail to account for new soil formation rates that exceed degradation rates and result in net soil gains. Further, scientists are suggesting that humanity has now passed ‘’peak agricultural land use” and we are now returning agricultural land back to nature just as the US returned 100 million plus acres of farm land back to nature in the last century (see Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment On The Earth).

One more world resource: Atmosphere

Countering the concern over rising CO2 and warmer temperatures (i.e. “climate crisis… catastrophe”).

The roughly 1 degree Centigrade warming over the past century was part of multi-century warming trend. Earth had descended into the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age somewhere around 1645. Around 1715 climate started to warm and rise out of that abnormal cold period. This rise has continued for the past three centuries due to natural factors and that natural influence on climate warming did not stop during the mid-Twentieth century and then become solely human-driven due to human emissions of CO2.

CO2 emissions do contribute to warming periods but that CO2 influence on climate is consistently overwhelmed by other natural factors.

Current average world temperatures of about 14.5 degrees Centigrade are still far below the normal, healthy averages over the past 500 million years that were about 19.5 degrees Centigrade. See detail below in “The Two Best Things”. CO2 levels and average world temperatures have been abnormally and sub-optimally low for the past millions of years and life on Earth has suffered. We are still well below the more optimal levels of CO2 and the warmer temperatures of the past. Life flourishes with much higher CO2 levels and much warmer temperatures, just as it did over the past hundreds of millions of years.

This evidence overturns entirely the alarmist narrative that rising CO2 levels and warming temperatures are a threat to life. To the contrary, they are the two best things happening to life today.

See also the first article at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/04/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-420/. There is no alarming climate change occurring.

Conclusion? There is no need to panic over human use of fossil fuels. The activism to “decarbonize” our societies is based on an unscientific apocalyptic narrative and that will have devastating outcomes for humanity.

There is an excellent summary of the basic issues in the climate debate at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/22/there-is-no-climate-emergency-2/

The two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures.

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 years. This is the equivalent to adding green vegetation twice the size of the mainland US. https://www.thegwpf.com/matt-ridley-rejoice-in-the-lush-global-greening/. 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 with this 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.

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.

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 much 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.

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”.

Note: 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.

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/ and

News From Vostok Ice Cores

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.

Alarmism is the exaggeration of real problems in life, exaggeration that stretches 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”.

That is stunningly irresponsible and dangerous fear-mongering.

Good science 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.

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. Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline In Western History) notes this 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 Marxist apocalyptic, Nazi apocalyptic, and now environmental apocalyptic. For example, 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 (“we’re all gonna die”, the end is nigh). That agitated survival fear then renders people susceptible to alarmist salvation schemes that involve the ‘coercive purging’ of some threat to life (again- Landes, Mendel).

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 that 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 indulging skeptics so ban, silence, discredit with personal attack, and even criminalize them, as President Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, tried to do in 2016.

Apocalyptic scale alarmism unleashes the totalitarian impulse. We are watching this play out today in environmental alarmism (e.g. climate change), with its anti-humanism (i.e. humanity as the virus/cancer on Earth that causes environmental disaster), and 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. https://www.thegwpf.org/new-paper-decarbonisation-plans-fail-engineering-reality-check/

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 manufacture of crisis’).

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 terms that incite unnecessary fear in populations. Fear then promotes irrationality and 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 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 Dave Alteide in “Creating Fear: News and the manufacture of crisis”.

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 the complete big picture and 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 and incite irresponsible and destructive alarmism movements.

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.

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.

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

Most critical to watch in alarmist eruptions 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 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. 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.

A notable example from the past 70 years of exaggerated alarmism that resulted in harming many others: Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring influenced the ban on DDT and that resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths in subsequent decades due to people denied the protective benefit of DDT (see The Excellent Powder for the science and history of DDT, by Chen and Roberts).

Alarmist exaggeration continues to dominate public consciousness today. Note the endless stream of ‘end-of-world’ predictions offered by alarmist prophets. For example, Senator AOC’s prophesy that the world would end in 12 years (2030), or James Hansen’s 2008 prophesy that “Its all over in five years”. These climate alarmists have frightened populations into embracing decarbonization responses that will cause immense harm to entire societies. The current coronavirus shutdown is just a taste of the devastation that could be unleashed if the decarbonization schemes are widely implemented (i.e. the Green New Deal).

Our responsibility in the face of any problem must be to understand “the true state of that problem”. We do that by rationally engaging all the best evidence related to that problem and not ignoring, dismissing, or discrediting contrary evidence that does not affirm our confirmation biases (see “Good Science” below). In this regard, the climate issue is not a crisis that demands decarbonization (see “The Two Best Things” below).

Where does the apocalyptic viewpoint come from? Apocalyptic originated in ancient mythology. It was already notable in the earliest human writing (i.e. the Sumerian Flood myth). Apocalyptic was then embraced by world religions over subsequent history, in both Western and Eastern traditions. That eventually led to apocalyptic becoming embedded in modern ideology- i.e. Declinism, the most dominant and influential theme in the modern world (see Arthur Herman’s The Idea of Decline in Western History). Apocalyptic continues to dominate modern grand narratives, both religious and secular.

One historian of apocalyptic millennial ideas, Arthur Mendel, has rightly concluded that “apocalyptic is the most violent and destructive idea in history”. How so? Because it incites a well-traced pattern of response in human society. Richard Landes, Arthur Herman, and David Redles all note this pattern of destructive over-reaction response that arises out of apocalyptic scenarios.

The dangerous response pattern:

First, there is the exaggeration of real-world problems out to world-ending scale, with the claim that some potential problem in life foretells the end of life, or the end of the world (truth-distorting exaggeration also occurs at varied levels before world-ending). This often involves the denial, dismissal, or ignoring of contrary data in relation to some problem, and the effort to discredit the skeptics of the apocalyptic alarm, to even criminalize them. We saw this with Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, trying to criminalize skeptical climate science in 2016.

The exaggeration of the problem to world-ending scale then incites the natural survival fear in populations. That fear-mongering results in the undermining and abandoning of rational thought in relation to some problem. Populations are then sensitized by exaggerated fear and rendered more susceptible to embrace the extremist salvation schemes of alarmists. Those schemes demand the desperate responses of ‘coercive purging’, and ‘instantaneous transformation’ of societies, in order “to save life… to save the world” that is believed to be under imminent dire threat. The salvation schemes also promise utopian resolutions and futures (e.g. a millennial Reich).

The consequences/outcomes of these alarmist scenarios and salvation responses have been mass-death movements traced by the above historians (cures far worse than imagined diseases). Apocalyptic-scale alarmism unleashes the totalitarian impulse under the guise of doing good- i.e. saving something believed to be under great threat.

Marxists claimed the threat was from capitalist society. Nazis believed the threat was from Jewish Bolshevism. Environmentalists claim the threat is from industrialized civilization.

Related: I have repeatedly gone after the Jesus/Paul contradiction because Paul’s Christ myth is most responsible for bringing the destructive apocalyptic myth into Western consciousness and society and maintaining its prominence in contemporary human consciousness. That myth embodies the single worst idea of all history- i.e. that there is some ultimate punitive, destroying Threat that will harm us via a natural world disaster. Today, that ultimate Threat has been given varied new expressions in “vengeful Gaia”, “angry Planet”, “retributive Universe”, “pissed Mother Earth”, and “payback karma”.

And that is the ultimate root idea behind apocalyptic mythology- i.e. the sense of some larger threat behind real world natural threats- that must be confronted and changed, and radically so, if we are to properly counter and fully solve the ongoing problem of alarmism and its devastating outcomes in human societies. There is arguably no more pathological myth than this myth that we are being punished, along with the related ideas that we are bad to the bone and deserve punishment.

Life’s problems are hard enough to understand and resolve without the added burden of some great threat of an end-of-world disaster looming on the horizon.

Summarizing note on the root issue probed on this site: Fully engage all the evidence related to any problem in life. But also go after one of the central themes behind alarmism movements across history- i.e. the idea of some great retaliatory Force or Spirit, working through natural world threats to punish ‘bad’ people. This pathology is still widely believed in religious and secular/ideological versions (Declinism). It has again erupted in this virus pandemic (e.g. the comments of some that we are being punished by Mother Earth or deity). The belief in some greater punitive, destroying Reality has led, to emphasize again, to the exaggeration of threats, consequent widespread fear, and the embrace of harmful salvation responses (save people, save the world), responses that end up causing more harm than the initial manufactured threat.

Quote from below… “Over the past 70 years public consciousness has been repeatedly assaulted by apocalyptic-scale hysteria, via alarmism-oriented news media. There were global cooling and global famine alarms in the 1970s. Prophesies of the end of minerals, oil, and resources in general. 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 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, wars, and the myriad other apocalyptic outcomes attributed to climate change.”

Post from discussion group:

Slapping down a straw god (i.e. a reality that has never existed except in the imaginations of people across history). The threat of punitive justice usually through nature- i.e. flood/drought/earthquake, disease, or human cruelty- has been a prominent feature of deity from the beginning of human myth-making.

First, a note on my intention behind the comments below (i.e. “Thanks Fergie for the opportunity to make a point” in regard to the article included just below- “Sarah Ferguson Tweets That Coronavirus Is Mother Nature’s Punishment of Feckless Mankind”). My comments relate to my life-long struggle with a personal monster from my previous religious tradition.

My intention? Yes, intention matters… Across human history, this most fundamental theme of world religions- i.e. that God is a judging, condemning, punitive, and destroying reality- has added an entirely unnecessary psychic burden to already horrific human suffering. That pathological mythology adds the elements of fear/anxiety, shame/guilt, and more that unnecessarily distress and torment people who are already suffering enough from some natural disaster, disease, or human cruelty. Shame on all those across history for pushing such mythically-based mental/emotional torture on fellow human beings.

To advocate any form of “Threat theology” is to add an unnecessary burden to already intolerable human suffering. My intention: Liberate people from such unnecessary added suffering by offering “a stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory deity” (James Robinson).

This has always been my point in going after this mythology of punitive, destroying deity. It misrepresents entirely the Ultimate Reality behind all else (Ultimate Mind, Consciousness, Spirit, Mystery) that humanity has long called deity or God. That Reality has always and only been Love, Love of a kind that is inexpressibly and scandalously universal, unlimited, unconditional.

How do I know Ultimate Reality or deity is non-retaliatory? I reason from the best in humanity- i.e. the common experience of parents, spouses, friends, that no conditions love is the best way to treat imperfect others. No conditions (unconditional) love is simply the best form of love that we have discovered. I then project that insight out to define Ultimate Goodness or Love. If we imperfect humans can get this right, then Ultimate Consciousness or deity can also get it right, even more so than our imperfect understanding and practice. Just sayin, eh.

No religion has ever communicated this wondrous reality to humanity. All religion by its very nature is conditional and cannot communicate an unconditional reality. Religion as a social institution exists to communicate conditions- i.e. right beliefs, correct religious rituals (offerings, sacrifices), and necessary lifestyle to appease and please the religious deities. You have to discover the wonder of an unconditional Ultimate Reality aside from religion.

Example of a natural disaster viewed as divine punishment: A Japanese lady standing amidst the devastation after the 2011 tsunami and facing a TV camera, asked rhetorically, “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?” She summarized and vocalized the ancient and historically persistent mythical theme of some core punitive, destroying reality.

Insert note: We do better to understand the suffering that arises from the imperfections of this world in terms of “natural consequences”. We all suffer the natural consequences from living in a world of natural disasters, disease, and human cruelty. We all suffer the consequences of our choices, notably our bad choices. Such consequences are not punishment from greater Forces or Spirits.

Qualifier re unconditional: I affirm with Tolstoy that there are no circumstances in which we can treat others without love (he was speaking to the criminal justice system). All failing humans deserve our unlimited forgiveness, our universal inclusion and love. This does not contradict the need to restrain violent people and hold all responsible for their behavior, within the approach of restorative justice.

(See also Bob Brinsmead’s comments to a discussion group on this issue, included below)

OK, now the recent post to a discussion group: “Run kiddies, we are being punished”.

“Fergie is sounding like Jerry Falwell after hurricane Katrina (i.e. blaming that on human “sin”). Thanks Fergie for the opportunity to once again make a point regarding the stunning and profound difference between the theology of Historical Jesus and Paul’s Christianity- his Christ myth. This is about a worldview that defines Ultimate Reality (Ultimate Ideal and Authority) in terms of non-retaliation, non-punitive Love, versus a worldview that defines its Ultimate Ideal/Authority in terms of retaliation, punishment. This is about the core orientation that we embrace, whether in religious or secular versions, and its outcomes in our lives.

“The author of the article below suggests that Fergie is a nut-case extremist: “Sarah Ferguson Tweets That Coronavirus Is Mother Nature’s Punishment of Feckless Mankind”. No, this primitive outlook that there is some punitive, destroying Reality behind natural disaster, disease, or other forms of suffering, is as old as humanity. It is still one of the most widespread and dominant myths that have been deeply embedded in the great narratives of humanity. Christianity has long advocated this myth (i.e. Paul’s lecture to the Corinthians that their sickness and death was divine punishment for their sins). So also the other world religions embrace this pathological mythology along with many “secular” ideologies like environmental alarmism.

“The myth of punitive, destroying deity is the core of the apocalyptic complex of themes- that at the heart of reality there is a great punitive, destroying reality, some Force like karma, retributive Universe, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, or Paul’s apocalyptic Christ (see, for example, his Thessalonian letters, and John’s Revelation). And such a Force, Entity, or Spirit will give us what we deserve, by destroying this world via an apocalypse or in some final destruction up ahead (i.e. hell).

“The primitive myth of punitive, destroying deity is still the core belief of most religions and hence the power of those religions to engender fear and thereby control people, subjecting them to the salvation plans of the religion.

“A notable historical rejection of punitive, destroying deity mythology is found in the Jesus tradition…

“The Matthew 5:38-48 statement of Jesus, and the better version in Luke 6:27-36, is the main statement of his core theme. That teaching of Jesus is the central message in the Q Wisdom Sayings gospel in its earliest version- i.e. Q1, the closest that we get to what the man actually taught somewhere around 27-36 CE. When the gospel writers wrote 40-50 plus years later, they shaped their biographies according to Paul’s later Christology and basically overturned that earlier core teaching of Jesus- i.e. they distorted and buried the Jesus teaching in their larger biographical contexts with many contradictory additions.

(Insert: A brief listing of the chronology of the New Testament books, who taught first and influenced those who followed. As noted above, Jesus taught sometime between 27-36 CE. Paul was next, writing his Thessalonian letters around 50 CE. The gospel writers embraced Paul’s version of Jesus, his Christ myth, and wrote their gospels in this order- Mark around 70 CE, Matthew and Luke around 80 CE, and John later.)

“My argument with the Christian embrace of retributive theology is that Historical Jesus had clearly rejected the myth of punitive, destroying deity entirely and offered a “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God” (James Robinson among others). He had overturned entirely all previous human thinking on Ultimate Reality or deity. While most the gods of the ancient world were also given more humane features like mercy, forgiveness, and compassion, they all retained varied elements of punishing destruction.

“Historical Jesus stated his central theme like this: “You should not engage eye for eye justice (retaliation in kind, punishment) but instead you should love your offender/enemy because God does. How so? God does not engage eye for eye punishment or destruction but loves all the same- as evident in God giving the basic good gifts of life, sun and rain for crops, to both good and bad people”. Jesus was pointing to universal, unlimited, unconditional love. Nothing of judgment, punishment, or destruction. He reasoned from the best of human behavior (non-retaliatory, unconditional) and related that to define the true nature of deity/God.

“But Paul, a dominating, intolerant man, successfully demonized the other branches of the early Jesus movement as heretical (i.e. Jewish Christianity, Ebionites/Nazarenes). Paul presented his Christ myth as the one true understanding of the Jesus phenomenon. He was the creator of the version of Christianity that eventually dominated all the others and descended into our Western world, helped along the way by the coercive intervention of people like Emperor Constantine (see Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll. Re “dominant, intolerant”, see Charles Freeman’s chapter on Paul in ‘The Closing of the Western Mind’).

“In his Christ religion, Paul rejected what was at that time the new non-retaliatory theology of Jesus and retreated to the same old primitive theology of a retaliating, punishing, destroying God. He stated his re-affirmation of retaliatory theology in Romans 12: 17-20 in such statements as, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord”. He had already said in his first letter to the Thessalonians (circa 50 CE) that his “Lord Jesus would return in flaming fire to punish/destroy all those who did not obey his gospel”. That sort of threat is scattered throughout his letters. Note, for example, his curse on the Jewish Christianity of Peter and James in Galatians 1:8,9. And yes, Paul also made other good points in that Galatians letter about freedom from law.

“Paul overwhelmingly shaped the thinking of the other later gospel authors (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) whose works were included in the New Testament. Other gospels that did not affirm the themes of Paul were excluded as heretical- i.e. gospels of Mary, Philip, James, Thomas, and others.

“Some scholars believe that Jesus may have actually belonged to the Jewish Christian movement and he would never have embraced the Christology of Paul. He did not view himself as a reigning messiah figure. Note, for example, Jesus’ teaching that the essence of true greatness was not about lording over others but serving. Yet Paul ignored that teaching and presented Jesus as a supreme dominating Lord and Master. Such points of disagreement have been noted all through the Jesus material in the New Testament.

(Insert: Bob Brinsmead says this about the striking difference between the Historical Jesus and Paul’s Christ: “The historical Jesus vehemently resisted any notion that he was the Messiah. The whole bent of his message was to teach his listeners not to give him any titles, not even to call him “Good Teacher/Master”, and to tell his listeners not to look for any hero figure (“Call no man father, master”… “I am not your teacher”- Gospel of Thomas). To him, the whole expectation and hope of a Messiah being given dominion over nations or over anybody was a Gentile or pagan notion of dominion. Having dominion over and controlling others is contrary to Jesus’ teaching about love- for love is all about servanthood, about not expecting much less demanding something in return, about not requiring much less demanding that the humble service of love is something to be recognized, about not letting the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing, etc. So the historical Jesus could never be the Christ and took every opportunity to deny it.” End of quote)

“Paul replaced Jesus-ianity (the original non-retaliatory teaching of Jesus) with his Christ-ianity (his retaliatory Christ myth). That is why scholars like James Tabor say the Historical Jesus has been buried and lost to us.

“Note: Sources for my conclusions regarding the stunning contradiction between Jesus and Paul? Three centuries of “Search for the Historical Jesus” (latest stage- the Jesus Seminar). Notably- Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel research. However, while drawing on Historical Jesus research, my conclusions above are my own.

“The Sixties duo of Peter and Gordon sang that classic “A world without love”, harmonizing that they would not want to live in a world without love. I would affirm that sentiment and I would not want to live or exist in any reality that was not ultimate Love as in universal, unlimited, or unconditional love in the most transcendent sense… something only a deity that is authentic love could be (gooder than good, infinitely beyond good or love as we imagine it from our limited perspectives). A stunning no conditions love that is something offensive to retributive/retaliatory justice and apocalyptic-oriented minds (i.e. the bad guys eventually getting their just deserts somewhere, somehow). A generous love that is something scandalous just as Jesus tried to portray in some of his parables and actions (e.g. the Prodigal Father, the vineyard owner, or inviting hookers, local scoundrels, and what not to neighbourhood parties and meals). Letting the lady caught with her panties down go without punishment as demanded by Jewish law (but a caution to treat herself better). And on and on… giving sun and rain to all alike, to both good and bad.

“And yes, in the New Testament you have to pick out the good stuff from a larger context of a lot of subhuman material that contradicts the better stuff. Just as Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy argued- we must pick “the diamonds out of the dung.” I embrace their perspective on how to view religious holy books like the Christian bible. Pick and choose the good stuff from what Jefferson said was a larger context of material created by “lesser minds”. Ouch, eh.

“You see, the “reform of religion” that I propose is much more than peripheral tinkering around the edges. I go directly to the core of the problem- the monstrous deity that threatens to punish and destroy. Is my project just whimsical, Don Quixotish adventurism? Yes, in the sense that a punitive, destroying God has always been just a straw God, a mythical reality, just like those windmill monsters that Quixote went after with his lance. But that monster God has always been very real to true believers.”

Now the article on Fergie’s comments…

From The Daily Beast: “Sarah Ferguson Tweets That Coronavirus Is Mother Nature’s Punishment of Feckless Mankind”, Tom Sykes

“In this uncertain world, one thing we can always trust to be a constant is unerring ability of Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, to say utterly bizarre things.
“On Tuesday (March 24, 2020) she was at it again, tweeting a pair of extraordinary messages suggesting that “Mother Nature” had unleashed the coronavirus on humankind to punish us for not looking after the planet.

“Little did she know at the time of her social media fusillade, her former brother-in-law Prince Charles was already suffering from the virus. Charles had seen the Queen two weeks earlier prompting fears that the virus could spread within the royal household.

“One of Fergie’s tweets was accompanied by a charming picture of a cherry tree in full blossom that looks like it was taken at the massive private estate, Royal Lodge, where she lives rent free with her ex-husband.

“We have embedded the tweets below, but, just in case the Duchess (as she still insists on calling herself) wakes up this morning with a furry tongue, and a crashing case of tweeter’s regret once she sees that her host family is among the victims, and hastens to hit the delete button, fear not, we have the screenshots for posterity.

“Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms, like the spoilt children we are. She gave us time and she gave us warnings. She was so patient with us. She gave us fire and floods, she tried to warn us but in the end she took back control.

“She has sent us to our rooms and when she is finished clearing up our mess. She will let us out to play again. How will we use this time?

“Of course, these kind of rambling theories about how the coronavirus is actually good for the world have become something of a fad on social media in the past few days.

“But there is a pretty clear line between remarking on silver linings (We can hear the birdsong in cities! Pollution is down! I don’t need to charge my phone every night!) and feeling out the path for a Gaia death cult which believes that a killer virus is a good thing that’s going to “clean up” the planet.

‘These remarks, Sarah, are best saved for your creepy, ultra-right wing crystal therapist.”

Bob Brinsmead comment to discussion group re this topic of divine punishment through the natural world: “OK ____, show us how to do it. What is your theodicy? What do you make, for instance, of this Covid-19 pandemic? What might it teach us about man’s relationship to Mother Nature? Where is the real remedy going to be found? If you can address that question correctly, you will be on your way toward a good theodicy.

“Stroke was so named because it was thought to be a finger of God’s illness. (But) the main causes of dying prematurely seem to be Mother Nature at work, that ‘wicked old witch’ causing nature’s horrors that are inflicted on humanity, as well as human causes (bad habits, accidents, inhumanity). How much is the “finger of God”? In the Old Testament journey of the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan you have God directly executing at least 30,000 Israelites. That puts God in the category of a celestial Pol Pot, eh? But in my reckoning, suffering is brought about either by what nature does or what humans do.

“In the case of natural deaths (epidemics, pandemics, diseases, abnormalities, germs, and natural disasters) the statistics show that as mankind progresses, we progressively gain the mastery over nature. World population has greatly expanded not because humans breed like rabbits but because we no longer die like flies. For example, we have medical knowledge to protect ourselves from many diseases caused by micro-organisms, and we protect ourselves from destructive weather events more effectively now as we can afford to protect ourselves.

“God did not send us some special revelation to tell us about germs and viruses but made us responsible for finding these things out.

“As for punishment, it is like Dustin Hoffman said in a movie, ‘Blame if for god and small children’.

“The Old Testament prophets sometimes give us the same reading of natural calamity as Falwell and Robertson. Example: Israel did not observe the Law to God’s satisfaction, so he sent in alien armies to burn their cities, rape their women and carry off their children. Later in history, it was claimed that the Jews were punished as much by Antiochus Epiphanes because they would not disobey the Law of Moses…. So I would simply say that on this reading of history, the Prophets got it wrong just as Falwell and Robertson got it wrong. God did not bring about the burning of the villages of Israel by the Assyrians any more than he punished the Jews by the Holocaust. These tragic events were just part of the messiness of human history and human actions”.

The two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures.

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 years. This is the equivalent to adding green vegetation twice the size of the mainland US. https://www.thegwpf.com/matt-ridley-rejoice-in-the-lush-global-greening/. 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 with this 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.

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.

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 much 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.

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”.

Note: 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. 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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Religion as condition. And the most fundamental human need- love. That is… no conditions love.

Site project: Conquer/Slay the Monster

Joseph Campbell outlines human story as going out into life, confronting and struggling/fighting with some monster or problem, learning lessons/gaining insights from that struggle, getting wounded in the struggle, receiving a sword from a wise man to slay the monster, becoming a hero of one’s story in the process of conquering the monster or problem, and then returning to bless others with the lessons that we have learned.

I’ve identified my monster and I have spent a lifetime struggling, fighting with that monster, trying to slay it. And yes, I have been wounded by my monster (Zenon Lotufo- Cruel God theory deforms human personality with fear, anxiety, depression, and despair). I have also received sharp weapons from wise men to help me slay my monster.

My monster is one that is common to all humanity- and it is a two-headed beast. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Unconditional versus conditional reality. Rethink the nature of religion and deity (Ultimate Reality). 15 ideas for a new narrative that affirms the better angels of our nature (i.e. hope and love).

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

Site Project: This site counters the endless alarmist exaggeration and hysteria over the state of the world and life (i.e. the ‘end of days’ always just over the horizon). This project involves a thorough re-evaluation of the primitive themes, notably the apocalyptic complex, that still dominate modern thinking and contribute to unnecessary pessimism and anxiety over life. This involves problem solving at the deepest levels of thought/perception, emotion, and motivation/response.

And yes, there are problems all through life that give cause enough to fret about. But, critical to human mental and emotional health- there is no great Force/Principle/Spirit behind the imperfections of life, that threatens to punish or destroy, and bring life to some catastrophic ending.

Most important, this site confronts the bad theology of a monster deity (i.e. angry, punitive, destroying God, or Retributive Universe, angry Nature or vengeful Gaia, and karma). That bad theology is at the root of too much mental/emotional pathology in humanity… A correlation, perhaps, with depression as the number one illness on the planet?… I’m just sayin.

This site goes to this critical taproot idea of Ultimate Threat, cuts that infected root, and offers alternative themes that affirm authentic hope, notably the foundational theme of a core “no conditions Love” that overturns humanity’s primal fears- i.e. the fears of harm from greater Forces/Spirits behind life, and after-life harm.

Elements of bad theology still dominate the world religions and are now embraced in “secular” versions such as 19th Century Declinism, environmental alarmism or Green religion, and street-level theologies of angry Mother Earth or karma. As psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo has concluded, “Cruel God theology deforms human personality” with unnecessary fear, guilt, shame, and anxiety. (see “Cruel God, Kind God”).

The project on this site is oriented to removing the added, unnecessary psychic burden (i.e. divine threat) that has deformed human consciousness for millennia. It is about liberating/healing consciousness with authentic ‘no conditions’ love.

Insert note (quote from below): “Revenge, payback, karma, eye for eye, getting even- retaliation in all its expressions- is us at our worst. Retaliation is more animal-like than human. It renders us potentially magnificent beings, petty and infantile. The base impulse to retaliate, often masquerading as ‘justice’ or a fight against ‘evil’, is behind too much unnecessary harm and suffering in life. We can be so much better. Remember towering human spirits like Mandela. I would shout this message into the midst of today’s public ‘hurt for hurt’ cycles (hurt repaid for original hurt caused)- ‘Let’s all grow up, eh, and start acting like the great human spirits that we are'”.

Opening section topics: Rethinking 15 fundamental ideas (Old story themes, New story alternatives, rethinking the conditional nature of religion). See further below… Two Stories of Life- Decline or Rise?; Problem solving; “And the lights turned on…” (understanding the behavior/belief relationship as central to history’s single greatest insight); “Framework for human story” (the basic features of human life- Joseph Campbell’s outline); “Re-evaluate history’s most dominant myth- Paul’s Christ myth” (Historical Jesus is not Christ, he was anti-Christology); “Hurt for hurt cycles”, or retaliatory/punitive justice (getting even, payback, and the tribal politics of today…”Let’s all grow up, eh”); and “The basic science of CO2” (climate change update). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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An ancient wisdom sage gave us the single most liberating and transforming insight ever- that the core of reality is a stunning “no conditions Love”.

The entirety of material on this site is trying to say just one thing: “In the end it’s going to be all right. For everyone. You are all safe. Safe in Love. Love that does not exclude anyone, despite their failure to live as human. It does not threaten to hurt back for hurt caused. It is not tribal- favoring ‘true believers’ over ‘unbelievers’. It does not demand some payment or sacrifice or the required embrace of some salvation scheme before it forgives or loves. It will not punish or destroy anyone. It knows that the worst forms of punishment are self-punishment, the self-judgment for failure to live as human. The Ultimate Love that many have long called God is all about an infinite, inexpressibly wondrous, and even scandalous generosity toward all (sun and rain given to all alike, both to good and bad). There is simply no more liberating and humanizing ideal anywhere in human thought or literature. The absolutely no conditions Love that is Ultimate Reality will transform consciousness and revolutionize life for the better. And it is an entirely non-religious reality. So yes, in the end it’s going to be all right. For everyone.”

A bit more…

With most of humanity across history I have never questioned the intuitive understanding that there is some greater creating Mind, Consciousness, Self, or Spirit behind all reality and life. Even the Neanderthals got this as expressed in their burial of items for some ongoing existence. The ancients believed that we belonged to some greater Reality that was more than just energy or natural law.

Where things went wrong was when the ancients started to project all sorts of subhuman and inhuman features out to explain the Greater or Ultimate Reality. We then got the history of religion and “bad religious ideas” (see “Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas” in sections below)

But as with most of life, we are learning to humanize all things- to make all things more humane- with our growing understanding of this over history. Our greatest ideal- i.e. love- enables us to do this. And we get it today that the highest form of love is unconditional. Most parents and spouses get this from their daily experience of one another’s imperfections. Forgiving unconditionally. Accepting unconditionally. Loving unconditionally. Surely, any Ultimate Reality would get this even more (“If you being imperfect can understand and do good, then how much more is God good”).

I urge people to do this- to fully humanize all things- especially with God theory and their personal speculations on God. Make it fully humane. This is critically important because of the influence of humanity’s highest ideal and authority on human thought, feeling, motivation/response, behavior and society across history.

But religious traditions balk at this endeavor to make God fully humane, along with the rest of life, and fall back to defending the old inherited systems of ideas. Many of those are subhuman ideas/ideals. Religious defenders, despite many good reformist endeavors, continue to maintain mergers of humane ideals with old inhumane ideas. Example: “God is love but will send unbelievers to Hell”. Hell being the most extreme expression of hatred ever conceived. The result of merging such opposites is cognitive dissonance to extreme. Oxymoronic. See psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God.

This site probes these issues in detail.

See “Punishing Nature: The most fundamental human myth” further below in this section. Unconditional deity overturns the entire complex of “bad religious ideas” and changes everything for the better.

For fly-by visitors in a hurry….

An unconditional deity at the core of reality overturns humanity’s primal fear of after-life harm- i.e. the judging, punishing, and destroying God of most historical religion. That original pathology of punishing, destroying deity has long incited fear and pushed people to engage wasteful salvation movements.

With an unconditional core Reality there is no need to embrace some salvation plan, to make some sacrifice or payment. Related: no one has ever been separated from God, or “lost”, and no one needs to be “saved”. We have all been safe in Love, from the beginning.

Threat theology in all its diverse expressions- i.e. angry God, “vengeful Gaia”, “angry Planet”, retributive Universe, or karma- has always been a great fraud. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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19th Century Declinism (i.e. life is declining toward collapse and ending) continues to deform Western consciousness. Liberation from primal fears- redefine the core of reality with unconditional.

New material just below: Some stunning insights; “Reflecting” with Noel- how I arrived at unconditional as defining the core of reality (the “stunning new theology” of Historical Jesus, entirely contrary to Paul’s Christ myth); Decline to despair.

Section topics further below: Some opening qualifiers; The transformation and liberation of consciousness: The pathology of punitive, destroying God has long dominated mythology, religion, and is now given expression in “secular ideology” (i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry planet, retributive Universe, karma); The overdue replacement- unconditional deity; Climate insert- natural trumps human; The never-ending ending- Stephen Hawking joins the Chicken Little parade; The human struggle with imperfection; Degenerating public discourse?; The story of improving life- hope overcoming fear; There is no monster; Bad ideas and their outcomes; A qualifier to calm religious nerves- affirming the good from religious traditions; The unconditional treatment of all and justice issues; Environmental alarmism; Bob Brinsmead’s posts and my responses.

Stunning stuff for the New Year

(Apocalyptic alarmism: Engage some ‘reverse engineering’. Trace ideas back to their historical roots. What incites and affirms harmful alarmism in Western consciousness?)

Environmental alarmism continues as a dominant note in contemporary world consciousness. And like all irresponsible alarmism it exaggerates and distorts the true state of things in life. The outcomes of alarmism have been devastatingly harmful to both humanity and life in general.

Alarmism incites people to embrace “salvation” schemes (i.e. save the world, save something) that too often unleash the old totalitarian impulse that is then expressed in “coercive purification” approaches. We saw this outcome with Marxism, Nazism, and we are now seeing it in environmentalism. And yes, also in Islamic extremism and terrorism. These apocalyptic purging movements are driven by the same core themes. (see Campbell below on common themes repeated across history and cultures)

Why does environmental alarmism continue to dominate human consciousness? Because it is based on the ideology of 19th Century Declinism that has become “the most dominant and influential theme in the twentieth century” (see full Herman quote below). Declinism promotes the view that life is degenerating/declining toward some disastrous collapse and ending. (“Each present historical moment is a degradation from previous historical moments”, Mircea Eliade)

And what shaped Declinism? Here we get to some more stunning and disorienting information. Declinism is a “secular” version of primitive apocalyptic themes (see Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’). How did those apocalyptic features get into the mix? Here is the disorienting stuff. They were borrowed from basic Christian ideas/themes. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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