Aside from the fact that her politics are a bit too centrist for my tastes, I generally like Peggy Noonan, but yesterday she wrote a piece for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL — about global warming — that I do take issue with (which you can find here: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110008676).
In part she says this:
You would think the world’s greatest scientists could [come together and reach an agreement about global warming], in good faith and with complete honesty and a rigorous desire to discover the truth. And yet they can’t. Because science too, like other great institutions, is poisoned by politics. Scientists have ideologies. They are politicized.
Now her argument seems to be that there is no scientific consensus on global warming, which is, in fact, the argument of approximately 53% of journalists who write about the subject. The problem is this. Exactly 0% of the articles published in scientific peer reviewed journals back that claim up. (No, I can’t cite a source. I remember seeing the numbers somewhere, though.) Scientists agree, see, that global warming is real. And they agree, too, that it has a human cause.
What Peggy Noonan doesn’t seem to grasp is that:
1. Scientists do agree on global warming; and
2. Scientists’ politics are often formed as a result of their findings; their findings aren’t formed as a result of their politics.
Facts are, in fact, facts. Not always, but for the most part.
Okay. So on that the scientific community and I agree. But whereas they revere facts, I say to heck with them. I don’t need your stinking data to pollute my faith. Seriously. And this is what those science guys who think that religion and science can coexist peacefully don’t seem to get: their facts tread all over my faith.
They don’t have faith, so they don’t understand — some of them claim to, but they don’t have real faith, or they wouldn’t be science guys. Science guys look for natural causes to events. They have to. It’s the nature of science. When they ask a question — say, where did life come from? — they don’t look within for a spiritual answer; they don’t look to the world’s great religions — Baptism and Southern Baptism — for the answers. They examine DNA evidence, fossil records, and so on. And when the natural world gives them the wrong answers, as it inevitably does, they don’t have faith to rely on, to steer them back in the right direction. And that is why, sadly, science and faith just can’t ever get along. And I’m sick of those who say it can. They step all over my faith and then have the nerve to tell me it’s okay — science and faith can coexist.
No, I’m afraid they can’t. Not without altering that which we have faith in.
You see, back before scientists went nosing around, we knew that the world was six thousand years old. I still know it, but there are those “liberal Christians” who have bought into the nature’s “evidence,” who actually believe the universe is 13.7 (or so) billion years old. That the world itself is over four billion years old. And so their faith has been altered. They no longer believe that piece of their religion. Their faith has eroded.
And back before Charles Darwin nosed around, we knew that God made man, and then made woman out of one of man’s ribs (or made man and woman simultaneously, depending on whether you read the first or second chapter of Genesis — but that’s not the point!). Again, I still know it. And again, there are those “liberal Christians” who believe that man and apes share a common ancestor, and we split six to seven million years ago, and man evolved a big brain and language and so on, and apes are still swinging from trees and flinging feces like some heathen at a Slipknot concert. Their faith has eroded.
Science and faith cannot coexist peacefully, because as science grows, faith shrinks.
So I say to Peggy Noonan, you are wrong, science has reached a consensus on global warming, and that consensus is that it’s real and that human beings caused it and that we are continuing to worsen it. But there is something you can do besides believe the scientists or argue with them. You can be like me, and simply ignore all the facts that you don’t like. And you don’t only have to ignore the ones that try to make you question your faith; you can ignore the ones that try to make you question your politics, too. You’re pretty much doing it, anyway.
And it makes life much easier — just ask my main man, George W. Bush.