Good diagrams, shame about the message

BBC diagrams about climate change and greenhouse gases are really good. No matter how science-challenged you are the messages are easy to understand.

This accompanies a page that says that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is about to release a report suggesting that the science supports the view that climate change will soon lead to mass extinctions, as well as have some pretty dire effects on human society.

It had me wondering about scepticism. Is there some connection between a willingness to evaluate evidence and be swayed by it and being an atheist. It seems that generally atheists are more likely to look at the proof. Does being a non-believer in gods make people more ready to believe the science?

Those people who refuse to accept the evidence on climate change or evolution or the role of HIV in AIDS, or a number of scientific issues, are often the very people who have the strongest belief in God, to the point of willfully pushing it onto others.

My suggestion is that each human might be born with an inborn volume of belief. Say, about 6 grammes of brain tissue. Those of us with a space where the faith stuff goes, have to consider the evidence before we believe things to be true. So, we have to get used to processing logic and evidence.

If this conceptual void is filled up with godstuff, it doesn’t leave much room for believing in things that are supported by overwhelming evidence from experiments. The brain is too busy giving sycophantic obeisance and asking for personal intervention to get over problems. So, the God-worshipper ends up with a deep pit of scepticism about some topics, where it might be a lot safer for the rest of us if they were suspend disbelief on these.

Obviously, there is always new evidence for things, lots of it dubious, but the flexible belief thing lets us keep abandoning old ideas and replacing them with better ones. The idea that we can carry on getting infinitely numerous, endlessly greedy and constantly messing up our own nest is probably due for a rethink. So is the one about making endless resolutions that never get put into practice or are laughably ineffective – trade 100 airmiles for a tree, and so on.

Now this “Any more climate change will be disastrous” thing had better catch on pretty sharpish. Not that I hold out much hope. It’s been known for more than a generation but the rate of climate change is accelerating. We are fast running out of time.

I have an unaccountable sentimental attachment to this planet and the species who live on it. Especially us. So I may be unusually biased. Our way of life is pretty dangerous to our own survival.

The gap where a God could be stepping in and putting it all right for us is not getting filled any time soon.