“The same mythical themes are repeated across all history and across all the cultures (and ideologies/worldviews/belief systems) of the world” (my paraphrase of Joseph Campbell).
What “most” people believe, Wendell Krossa
The point here- It is not just religious people who believe the ideas/themes listed below but also many/most of those who self-identify as “secular… materialist… scientific… even atheist”. Listen to what most people actually say when they explain how they view life on Earth. Their own statements reveal their core belief system.
Most have embraced highly religious worldviews that are shaped by primitive mythical themes (terms change but core themes remain the same old). Because climate alarmism has embraced such themes, it is a profoundly religious crusade. And because this movement views life through a mythological lens, it profoundly distorts the true state of life on Earth.
(Insert note: Yes, elements of “rational” science are scattered all through worldviews that are prominently shaped by mythical themes. The scientific elements are often used (confirmation bias) to affirm/validate the larger mythical framework of a worldview. We are emotionally attached to our beliefs and no amount of scientific reasoning will disabuse us of such beliefs. Ah, the old primal impulse for meaning is a powerful thing, long shaped by mythology/religion and not easily reframed around more rational alternatives. See “An adventure/quest for ultimate freedom” in section just below.)
The common themes of mythical worldviews:
1.The past was better (original paradise before humanity, Eden).
2. Corrupted/sinful early people “fell into sin” and ruined the original paradise (a contemporary version of “the Fall” myth- “degeneration” theory- states that humanity has ruined nature with industrial civilization, humanity has “fallen” or worsened in civilization).
3. Life is now declining toward some great collapse and ending (apocalypse).
4. Humanity must make a sacrifice to atone for sin and appease deity that is angry with humanity for ruining paradise. Today’s angry deities include the traditional religious gods, along with the historically newer “secular” versions of deity- i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, punitive Universe, payback karma.
Sacrifice today (the “salvation” scheme) would entail things like giving up the good life in human civilization, for the “morally superior” simple life (pay for sin by returning to primitivism). And redemption must include the purging of the “evil corrupting” force that ruins the world. Today’s atonement advocates claim that the greatest evil to be purged is CO2/fossil fuels that undergird industrial/capitalist civilization.
Further, include in your purge of evil the excessive number of people on Earth. Purge the excess people with population reduction schemes (i.e. Population Bomb hysteria). See population specialist Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource for a full treatment of the false alarmism in regard to the population issue (also a follow-up to Simon’s work- “Population Bombed” by Desrocher and Szurmak).
(Note the self-hatred, the devaluation/demonization of humanity in all this anti-humanism mythology. Simon and others restore a proper, rational respect for being human. We are not a “cancer, virus” on Earth. We are the best thing that has happened to life. Note the affirmative evaluation of humanity, for example, in Greg Easterbrook’s “A Moment On The Earth”.)
5. With the evil purged, in the post-apocalypse era, there is then the salvationist hope to restore the lost paradise or install a new utopia (millennialism).
6. The above themes are couched in a framework of tribal dualism. Ancient mythology (notably Zoroastrian) states that there exists a great cosmic good force (i.e. God) set in opposition to an evil force (i.e. Satan). The sense of greater cosmic dualism is replicated in all sorts of human tribal dualisms. Consequent to this, across history people have felt the impulse to join a true and right tribe (whether a religion, ideology, nation, or other grouping) and fight their enemies in opposing or “false” tribes. Validated by cosmic dualism, people have long felt obligated to engage righteous battles against evil, against “evil enemies”.
(Note: There are struggles in life that are more clearly good versus evil but those on the other side of such divides, though we may be right to conclude that they are in the wrong in some way, are not ultimately “enemies”. The human family is one family, divided though we are by religions, ideologies, nationalities/ethnicities, and more. Ultimate and universal Oneness is the rational response to cosmic dualism mythology.)
These themes are primitive thinking that has been inherited from the earliest human mythologies. We find these themes in Sumerian, Egyptian, Hindu, and Zoroastrianism mythologies, then later in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim mythologies. They are now embraced and presented in Declinism ideology- “the single most dominant and influential theme in culture and politics (today)” (Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline in Western History”). The latest offspring of Declinism is Environmental/climate alarmism.
As I listen to and read people today across the political/social spectrums, including people identifying as “secular… materialist… scientific… even atheist”, I hear most of them expressing what are still profoundly religious themes. Hence, my conclusion that most people today are still profoundly religious in their thinking.
Note: What is the data for my conclusion that “most people” hold mythical themes? I use proxies like the YouGuv survey in “Ten Global Trends” by Tupy and Bailey. That survey revealed that a majority across the world believe “the world is getting worse”, which is Declinism ideology. As noted above, historian Arthur Herman has fully treated the elements of Declinism. It is a “secularized” version of primitive apocalyptic mythology- i.e. the decline toward something worse, toward disaster, which is a central element in apocalyptic mythology.
Further, I would affirm “most” based on the world religion survey that showed fully 85% of humanity still affiliates with a major world religion and most of the remaining 15%, though “unaffiliated”, still identify as “spiritual but not religious”, holding “secularized” or alternative versions of religious mythology.
Sources for the conclusion that Environmental alarmism/climate alarmism is “profoundly religious”- Richard Landes’ “Heaven On Earth”, Arthur Mendel’s “Vision and Violence”, and David Redles’ “Hitler’s Millennial Reich”, among others.
The full complex of inherited mythical themes is listed in “Adventure/quest for ultimate freedom” a few sections below.
Illustrating how the behavior/belief relationship works. People become just like the God that they believe in. People base their behavior on their beliefs regarding ultimate reality. We validate our lives with our ideals.
Recognizing the history-long human pattern of emulating deity (the “behavior based on belief” relationship), the author of the above article says…
“If he were mortal, the God of Jews, Christians and Muslims would be dragged to The Hague. And yet we praise him. We emulate him. We implore our children to be like him.”…
“Perhaps now, as missiles rain down and the dead are discovered in mass graves, is a good time to stop emulating this hateful God,” the guest essayist proposed…
“Perhaps we can stop extolling his brutality. Perhaps now is a good time to teach our children to pass over God — to be as unlike him as possible,” he added…
“Auslander (the author) explained how humanity emulates God in the worst way. “And we humans, made in his image, do the same. With fixed-wing bombers and cluster bombs, with self-propelled mortars and thermobaric rocket launchers.”
An excellent summary of some core climate issues…. “Climate Feedback Checks CO2 Coalition” by Andy May, at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/16/climate-feedback-fact-checks-co2-coalition/
“There is no evidence, other than models, that human CO2 emissions drive climate change and abundant evidence that the Sun, coupled with natural climate cycles, drives most, if not all, of recent climate changes, as described in Connolly, et al., 2021.”
The full May report: at https://co2coalition.org/2022/03/03/attributing-global-warming-to-humans/?msclkid=cf64fee4bcab11ec9ff37cd3d2be17e4
The “Connelly, et al., 2021” report at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1674-4527/21/6/131
In response to the above evidence, I offer my repeated conclusion: There is no sound evidence that we should tax carbon or decarbonize our societies. The net benefits, for all life, of more CO2 and more warming far outweigh any possible negatives.