Empiricism emphasizes evidence in the formation of ideas as discovered in experiments over the absurd notion of innate ideas or religious traditions. Empiricism is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, religious superstition, or revelations from god. Empiricism is the polar opposite of tradition, superstition, or something a person wants to believe is true, or is told is true by interests attempting to mitigate empirical data for profit, power, and control. Republicans, the dirty energy industry, and evangelical Christians detest empiricism like it was Satan or bubonic plague because it eviscerates their strongly held “beliefs” whether they are borne of religion, economic fallacy, or greed. It is why Republicans, evangelical extremists, and dirty energy hates science and spends an inordinate amount of time and money portraying science and scientific research as inherently evil.
One area religious sycophants, the dirty energy industry, and Republicans are in complete agreement and denial over is global climate change, and why America as a global leader in science and technology should continue discouraging clean and renewable energy sources and oppose actions to reduce emissions responsible for climate change. When the White House released a regularly-scheduled scientific report awash in empirical data that climate change is a real and present man-made danger, it was little surprise that the Republican and Koch brothers’ media outlet Fox News disparaged the report as a distraction from Fox and Republicans’ debunked Benghazi distraction. It is not the first, or the last, time Fox dutifully dismissed climate change as part of its contractual commitment to perpetuate whatever GOP and Koch lies will scam their audience. One thing is clear though; they may have difficulty convincing some Americans who experienced the very real consequences of climate change that the scientific report detailed and warned will get much, much worse is a hoax.
What the White House report revealed that other scientific research only predicted was the effects all Americans experienced from extreme weather events whether it is extreme droughts, extreme flooding, extreme rains, and intense heat devastating major areas of America. The report also detailed rising sea levels, melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice, and increased ocean acidity, but those Earth shattering effects are outside the cognitive abilities of the people most likely to claim global climate change is a hoax. What is not a hoax are the economic consequences Americans have already felt from extreme weather events like more powerful tornados and hurricanes, extreme heat, and devastating droughts that are predicted to drive food and drinking water costs out of reach of many Americans.
One of the purposes of The National Climate Assessment compiled by the US Global Change Research Program is revealing the economic as well as environmental threats to America now and in the future; White House special advisor John Podesta hoped the latest assessment would convince Republicans to take the climate change threat seriously. Podesta’s hope is altruistic, but he confuses Republicans with politicians that care about the economic, environmental, and health concerns of the people because Republicans will not change. Republicans are conservatives that are innately resistant to change; particularly when their evangelical voting bloc and dirty energy funding machine demands they continue thwarting efforts to reduce global climate change’s effects on Americans.
Obviously, the dirty energy industry could not care less about the effects of global climate change and in fact, go to extreme lengths to oppose measures to reduce carbon and methane emissions responsible for the warming oceans. At the behest of the Koch brothers and ALEC, House Republicans passed a bill that strictly forbade the Environmental Protection Agency from inspecting or regulating dirty energy polluters in the states. The Kochs have spent tens-of-millions of dollars, and ALEC has written hundreds of pieces of model legislation, to eliminate clean and renewable energy standards in the states and provided funding for ballot initiatives in California to eviscerate the state’s environmental protections and clean air standards. It is not that the Kochs, or any dirty energy interest, cannot afford to meet clean air standards, they just want unimpeded profits; destroying the climate and environment is a consequence they are happy to live with. For the religious right, reducing the effects of climate change has nothing to do with money and everything to do with god.
The religious right fully understands that man-made climate change is a serious threat to the economy, environment, and well-being of Americans; especially those in the bible-belt that have felt climate change’s full effects the scientific study reported were already happening. However, one faction is convinced that either god controls the climate and climate scientists are apostates to claim extreme weather is man-made, or that god will destroy the Earth on his own terms during end times just over the horizon. In fact in a study last May entitled “End-Times Theology, the Shadow of the Future, and Public Resistance to Addressing Global Climate Change,” researchers found that support for governmental action on climate change is woefully lacking because “believers in Christian end-times theology are unlikely to support policies designed to curb global warming than are other Americans.” The study’s authors provided empirical evidence that evangelical fanatics resist policies trading short-term costs for hypothetical long-term benefits because god is destroying the Earth shortly so why bother.
Overall, Americans are less inclined to care about global climate change than residents of the top 13 richest developed nations in the world according to a Pew Research Study finding the majority of Americans (60%) are skeptical that climate change is a dire issue or a threat to the nation. This is in spite of the effects of human-induced climate change being felt in every corner of America with severe droughts and water scarcity, torrential rains in wet regions, severe heat and longer summers becoming commonplace, increasingly worse wildfires, and entire forests dying from drought and heat loving insects. Only 40% of Americans think climate change is an issue worth addressing and it certainly is a result of the dirty energy industry, Republican, and religious right’s perpetual harping that climate change is an atheistic America-hating hoax perpetrated by godless scientists and socialists panting to destroy the dirty energy industry and by extension the United States of America.
According to the climate change report, empirical data proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” and there are no Americans who have not experienced, firsthand, the effects the research reported is already affecting the country economically and environmentally. It hardly matters whether it is evangelical freaks waiting for god to smite Earth, dirty energy sycophants demanding an end to environmental protections, or inherently stupid Americans unable to reconcile what they experience with empirical data proving climate change is the culprit, this country will do nothing to reduce climate change.
Despite the religious right or profit-driven dirty energy industry climate change deniers culpability in obstructing attempts to reduce the effects of climate change, it is Americans’ arrogance that because America is exceptional, it has no accountability or responsibility to reduce the damage this country is responsible for. If nothing else, the simple fact that the devastating report was issued from the White House with a Black man in residence will automatically incite the entire conservative movement to dismiss it out of hand and redouble their efforts to thwart any attempt to save this country from environmental devastation that man made and god cannot rectify.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.