Monday, August 06, 2007

Evils: Secular and Religious

This post is somewhat shorted because, in writing it, and trying to polish my arguments to make them more explicit, I discovered that they were wrong. So, I had to cut out some of what I was going to say.

However, there are a couple of items in that post that are still worth mentioning.

The focus of my attention was an article in Newsweek this week that discussed the campaign to confuse the public on the issue of global warming, called, “The Truth About Denial.”

Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.

I consider those who funded and supported this campaign to be among the most evil people that this planet has hatched, easily comparing to those Nazis who not only knew about the Holocaust but actually participated in it. These people are willing to put hundreds of millions to billions of people at risk, and inflict tends of trillions of dollars, all for the sake of personal profit.

It is impossible to defend these people by saying that they did not believe that they were doing anything that would contribute to this harm. The fact is, they did not care. There is no evidence that they said, “We need to take an honest look at this evidence and see if steps need to be taken to save billions of people from harm and prevent the massive destruction of property on a global scale.”

They said, “Even if these reports are true, we must prevent people from acting on them. We must confuse and befuddle them so that, even though billions of people and tens of trillions of dollars in property are put at risk, they will not act to prevent this harm. All for the sake of defending our bank accounts.”

People who can shrug their soldiers at potential harms of this magnitude, saying, in effect, “Their lives and property do not matter at all – the only thing that matters is my bank account,” does, in fact, fit in with some of the greatest moral crimes of all time.

The main point that I wanted to draw from this is the possibility of evil on a global scale such as this, without any appeal to scripture or religion. Those who focus on religion as the source of evil are going to miss much of the evil that exists. Some of that evil puts billions of people at risk and is willing to allow the destruction of property on a scale that dwarfs the consequences of Hitler’s actions, and it does so without looking to scripture to justify its actions.

Certainly, (almost) none of those who are attacking religion as a source of evil think that there can be no evil without religion. Yet, I sometimes sense that they underestimate the magnitude of that evil – that they downplay the evil that people can do to each other without appealing to scripture.

The evils that are ignored while one focuses on the evils that are grounded in scripture are evils that can only expected to get worse, if they are not confronted as well.

I will discuss the other implications that I was going to draw from this later - perhaps by saying, "Here are some things a person can believe (those being the implications I sought to defend), and here are why they are wrong."

I really hate it when I prove myself wrong while I am writing a post. It ruins my whole schedule.


Sheldon said...

I find it interesting that you seem to focus on the word "property" in this post. Mentioning it at least five times. The focus on the destruction of property is given emphasis to the detriment of what I would think are more important phrases and concerns, such as "the degradation of the worlds ecosystems".

Implicit in your choice of words is the idea that it is the damage to the (private) property of others instead of damage to the commons that is the greatest crime. Property after all is only is really temporary.

G-man said...

I had a thought come to mind about this:

If I recall, you support a right to abortion on the grounds that you cannot actually harm a fetus (until around the 20th week, that is).

The future values and desires which that fetus could potentially have as a child seem to be irrelevant in light of the more immediate concerns of the presumption of freedom for the mother.

I wonder if I can draw a parallel case here. Are the (potential) values and desires of the future world's population to be held relevant, and if so, how does this situation differ from that of an unborn child?

And again, are the more immediate concerns such as the presumption of freedom for currently living human beings nix the concerns about future generations, as the case seems to with a mother and unborn child?

I would actually guess that the desire to fulfill the desires of future generations at our own expense would be similarly good to the desire to fulfill the desires of future unborn children. Your thoughts?

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Sheldon, G-Man

I am going to use your two posts as springboards for a couple of future posts. Please stay tuned.