Friday, April 23, 2010

Pawning off as science


It’s not the religious part of the belief that I mind. It’s the pawning it off as “science” on a public that is increasingly misinformed and under-educated about scientific issues. I have to wonder: Is Earth Day being used to teach our children the way the natural world works, or is it being used to indoctrinate them into performing rituals that will help absolve them of their eco-sins?

I am not opposed to cleaning things up. If there are things we can do that help reduce our impact on the environment without causing human suffering, then I am all for it. But it is that human-suffering part that those of us in more prosperous countries tend to forget about. For instance, there are no economically viable — or even practical — replacements for carbon-based fuels that can be deployed on a sufficient scale to substantially reduce our CO2 emissions. It will likely be decades before we do have such technology. And when we force people to use energy sources that are more expensive, it is the world’s poor who are hit the hardest.

As long as people are allowed the freedom to use and benefit from their creativity, we will eventually solve our energy problems. In contrast, it is the ineffective carbon-restricting policies being discussed today that we should fear the most. Such policies prevent the generation of the extra wealth needed for R&D, and they might actually delay the development of the new energy technologies we will eventually need.

No comments: