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It's Our Turn: Beliefs are a fact that can't be denied

My name is Lowell, and I'm a climate change denier.

No, I don't believe the world is flat.

What I don't subscribe to is the current hype about climate change (global warming) that says it is an undisputed fact, that it is undeniably caused by humans and that if we all work together we can save the world.

For my rejection of those beliefs, I am labeled a "denier" - a term used with derision and contempt for anyone who doesn't blindly jump on the bandwagon with the rest of the lemmings.

Maybe I should further clarify before the stoning begins.

Here are the "facts," the way I see them.

First, our climate appears to be changing and getting slightly warmer. However, whether it will continue to warm, how much, and what its effect would be is unknown and can't be accurately predicted.

Second, human activity has caused much harm to our environment in the past, and it's not impossible that we could be causing our climate to change. However, it is also possible that we have little or nothing to do with any changes that are occurring.

Third, even if climate change is occurring, it is simply not possible to make any changes that would quickly and drastically stabilize it. Considering the increasing population of the world - and the fact that many people are just trying to survive and move into the 20th century - it is unlikely that any large-scale, climate-saving changes will happen anytime soon.

So, while I don't believe climate change is impossible, I do believe the science is far from being proven and certain.

But what really makes me a denier is that the whole atmosphere surrounding the controversy looks and feels a lot more like religion and belief, rather than science.

The first thing that should tip you off is when people say, "It's a fact and is undeniable." Anytime someone uses this in an argument, you know two things for sure: Number one, it's probably not a fact, and number two, that it is based on a belief. If it were a fact, we wouldn't feel the need to personally get involved in defending it. Ever see two people standing around the water cooler arguing about whether the Earth is round or flat? It's unnecessary because it is a fact.

Of course, when you really want people to believe something when the evidence is scanty, one of the best ways is to repeat it over and over until people start to accept it as truth. I wouldn't go so far as to say that climate change and global warming are lies, but nevertheless, the technique of repeating something has been very successful in creating belief among the general population.

However, one lie you will often hear repeated, is that all reasonable scientists are convinced about climate change. Tell that to the signers of the Global Warming Petition (www.petitionproject.org). More than 30,000 scientists and people with science degrees have signed a petition stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." More than 9,000 of these signers have PhDs and some are even climate scientists.

Even if there were a consensus, barring any hard evidence, it would still be meaningless. As stated by science writer Michael Crichton:

"Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus... In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results."

The manner in which any dissent is handled is also a clue that we are dealing with a belief. Any expert who disagrees with the popular climate-change theories is quickly silenced, called a few choice names, and accused of either having ulterior motives or being unqualified to speak on the issue.

While the available evidence may justify the conclusion for some scientists, for most people climate change is merely a belief.

Sure, it is possible that the Earth's climate is changing and that we are to blame. We certainly need to be responsible regarding the environment and do what we can to stop pollution, but at the same time we need to be realistic. Demanding changes that simply aren't going to happen, and blaming every evil on climate change or its "deniers" isn't constructive.

The current propaganda about climate change, although well intentioned, will only succeed in creating a climate of beliefs - both for and against - that will only get stronger and more resistant over time. And even though beliefs cannot be denied or proven, they are one of the strongest forces in the world.

• • •

"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

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