The eco-Pope: When the infallible fails

Ivo Vegter should stop channeling my thoughts. Or maybe not because it saves me writing them down.

Greens are loving the Pope’s recent encyclical “on care for our common home”. This seems to make for odd bedfellows, but organised environmentalism and organised religion are much more similar than you might think.

It is largely unremarkable, in that it repeats vague, doom-laden environmental rhetoric that dates back half a century or more. … Pope Francis reminds us that he [Pope Paul VI] also wrote about the threat of “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”. …

The Pope explicitly appeals to a document called the Earth Charter, which was conceived by the Club of Rome, a think tank that in 1972 published The Limits of Growth, a book that predicted imminent global collapse. Those predictions were wildly inaccurate. …  apocalyptic predictions that never come true. …

Although prosperity leads to higher environmental quality, the converse is not true. A healthy environment can improve human welfare only up to a point. There is a point at which environmentalism begins to cause more harm than good. The logical extreme is to leave nature untouched, give up our ability to harness it altogether, and revert to the poverty of our ancestors. …

What we received from nature’s own hand, of course, was a life that Thomas Hobbes described as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. We were virtually defenceless against natural disasters, and went to varied and extraordinary lengths to invoke supernatural powers to protect us from such evils. …

So when, in this mythical past, was humanity in any sense “in tune” with nature? The Pope appears to contradict himself, saying that the disunity between humanity and the earth occurred when mankind first sinned. But, according to Christian doctrine, Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, and the first to sin … we were pretty quick to eat the yummy apples from the Tree of Knowledge. …

… the Catholic Church and the environmental movement are a perfect match. They both frown upon wealth and celebrate poverty. Both predict humanity’s doom. Both accept science as far as they have to, but interpret it through a lens of beliefs sustained by emotion, not reason. Both are religious organisations that expect unquestioning faith and denounce scepticism as heresy.

Neither of them understands the first thing about economics. Both say we plunder natural resources as if they were unlimited. Both claim that we are “ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs”. Neither is correct about any of these things. Neither is as infallible as they let on. …

Read the full article at the link above and the followup: The eco-Pope: Critiquing a priestly critique of my critique

This entry was posted in Environment, It's only a Model, Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The eco-Pope: When the infallible fails

  1. Felix Jury says:

    Ivo , well said , I do not see Roman Catholicism as a church that leads mankind to immortality and to fall in love with superstitions has nothing to do with the Christ .For me the green movement lives in fear and they want all of us to be there with them and as I say , YOU GOT TO BE JOKING ME .

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