This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Earth's daily woes prompt 'off the planet' theories

Earth's daily woes prompt 'off the planet' theories - Comments

Zelig's Avatar Comment 1 by Zelig

The desire to see suffering as punishment is very widespread, and many of those who have, apparently, abandoned religion apply the same moralized thinking nevertheless. All is innocence, but the love of finger-pointing is too great to leave behind.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 15:11:20 UTC | #605367

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 2 by godsbelow

"This makes me wonder if the world will not violently readjust itself at times when the irritation of human usage grows too great"

Reminds me of a South Park episode featuring a louse who thought Clyde's head was angry at its lice.

Humans have been anthropomorphizing natural phenomena for millenia. "Gaia" is just the most recent version of the angry and vengeful spirits/ancestors/gods/God that our species has been attempting in vain to placate since we first spilled a goat's blood on a rock and called it sacrifice. It was silly back then, but it's far beyond silly now.

It's one thing to say that the evidence suggests that human activity is responsible for changes in the composition of the atmosphere that are having an impact on climate. It's something else entirely to suggests that this means the biosphere is angry at us and wants us to "live in harmony" with it (whatever that means), in anything but a metaphorical sense.

But to suggest that seismic activity - the consequences of titanic forces and astronomical temperatures deep within the mass of rock and iron beneath our feet - has anything whatever to do with humanity, or that the planet is somehow reacting to the thin film of organic stuff clinging to its surface, is to ascend to the very summit of stupidity.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:26:06 UTC | #605407

City Of Doors's Avatar Comment 3 by City Of Doors

Comment 1 by david2 :

The desire to see suffering as punishment is very widespread, and many of those who have, apparently, abandoned religion apply the same moralized thinking nevertheless. All is innocence, but the love of finger-pointing is too great to leave behind.

Absolutely spot on. I'm pretty sure this line of thinking is called the just-world fallacy.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:47:28 UTC | #605417

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 4 by Alan4discussion

The article quite properly debunks anthropomorphic, religinut, "Earth might be sending us a message", nonsense, but then goes on to this, which looks very like denial of the scientific climatology of global warming:

Fearmongering over climate change has created such anguish that some people fail to distinguish between climate and geology. The climate hysteria has been propagated by scientists, educators and politicians who should know better. Even Tim Flannery, the paleontologist heading the Climate Change Commission, has spoken of the concept of Gaia, or Earth-as-a-living-organism, in the context of climate:

Gaia, should also be handled carefully to separate life and planetary cyclic feed-backs, ( which can on occasions stabilise or destabilise, temperatures and chemical balances) from hippy Woo-age Mother-Earthism.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 17:29:47 UTC | #605442

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

Lots of woo down under. This war for rationalism has too many fronts to keep track of. Remember the problems of fighting a two front ( or more ) war. Concentration of forces. Which delusion to concentrate on first? So many delusion, so little time.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 18:26:31 UTC | #605475

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 6 by Mr DArcy

Where does God hide when there's a perfectly good earthquake to blame Him for?

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 19:16:48 UTC | #605502

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 7 by Mrkimbo

We all agree about the lunacy of thinking God is responsible for earthquakes. But beware the wider agenda of The Australian, made clear by the later paragraphs - the ludicrous and insulting conflation of religious nutters with scientifically informed people warning of the dire consequences of climate change. Long-time readers of The Australian will know that it is a right-wing, business-as-usual at any cost part of the Murdoch empire.

As for Mother Earth spirituality - as long as 'Mother Earth' is understood to be a metaphor I find it completely compatible with both atheism and the most rigerous scientific thinking.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 20:02:32 UTC | #605530

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 8 by Mrkimbo

I mean 'rigorous' of course. Early morning here in Australia!

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 20:04:07 UTC | #605532

biorays's Avatar Comment 9 by biorays

Comment 1 by david2 :

The desire to see suffering as punishment is very widespread, and many of those who have, apparently, abandoned religion apply the same moralized thinking nevertheless. All is innocence, but the love of finger-pointing is too great to leave behind.

Religions desire for 'presumptuous judgement' is born out of humans subjective moralities and is so deeply entrenched in many humans minds that many fail to loosen it even if they consider themselves to have left behind belief in religious myths. In this respect it demonstrates our emotions still deceive the mind whilst the mind considers it knows what it is doing.

Let us not forget that religions, and all that is in them, are born from human desires and emotions and so it is to be expected that some congruence remains is spite of as well as within them.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 21:46:55 UTC | #605580

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 10 by xmaseveeve

It's a new religion which uses eco-friendliness as another way to boast and feel superior to others.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 21:53:44 UTC | #605586

Christopher Mark Dobbie's Avatar Comment 11 by Christopher Mark Dobbie

Careful with this mop; this is The Australian owned and operated by News Corp.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 00:26:28 UTC | #605649

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 12 by aquilacane

Such silliness

Here's a scribble

Leave earth

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 01:41:37 UTC | #605681

JuJu's Avatar Comment 13 by JuJu

Like others here have alluded to, whoever wrote this article is a part time pseudo skeptic.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 03:00:02 UTC | #605706

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 14 by Schrodinger's Cat

Even Tim Flannery, the paleontologist heading the Climate Change Commission, has spoken of the concept of Gaia, or Earth-as-a-living-organism, in the context of climate: "So Gaia, I think, is saying to us, 'It's time you took control'." He has spoken of sea levels "80m higher" and politicians love to warn of "dangerous climate change."

There's a huge difference between the revised Gaia hypothesis, which I think correctly describes the Earth's life ( and not such things as earthquakes ) as a single self-regulating ecosystem.........and the crazy woo-type Gaia epitomised in the 1980s 'Edge Of Darkness'.

( Though I must say I loved watching Edge Of Darkness if only for the amazing Eric Clapton theme tune )

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 03:13:35 UTC | #605708

sbooder's Avatar Comment 15 by sbooder

Are you listening The Daily Mail...this article is how it is done! Now off you go and practice your ABC.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 09:11:52 UTC | #605750

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 16 by Rich Wiltshir

Life's driven by consequences not rewards and punishment.
It's interesting that those with wealth and power (clerics and kings) were the ones who asserted such things derived from virtue: that surfs' situations were born of merit, too: that we should not act 'above our station'. And consequences? Our actions may affect the likelihood of some events (condoms prevent AIDS etc). Solar flares, asteroidal impacts, plate tectonics may be anticipated or detected but we have no influence, yet, over them!

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 10:10:56 UTC | #605765

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 17 by quarecuss

Of course the earthquake/tsunami had nothing to do with human agency but the aftermath in which thousands of families (my nephew's included) near the the nuclear power plant that has prolonged the crisis way beyond the initial catastrophe, is most definitely related to anthropic climate change. We are so greedy for Japanese cars and electronics and the energy needed to make them and use them, that corrupt politicians there have allowed 55 reactors to be built in a country that sits on a very active fault line. Insane! In our trying not to worsen climate change we are turning to a power that could become lethal during earthquakes. Never mind all this Gaia bashing. At least it gets woo woo types on the right side of the energy waste debate. As RD says, pantheism (Gaia) is sexed-up atheism. If most people still need that kind of silly, sexed-up personal attachment to the earth then so be it. Respect for our environment, the source of life, is good, no matter how it’s achieved.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:37:44 UTC | #605843

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 18 by Steve Hanson

Do these people not realize just how horribly wrong it is to say that kind of thing? What message is the Earth sending exactly? That it's perfectly OK to kill thousands of innocent people? To destroy the lives of thousands more? To cause all kinds of unimaginable suffering? How conceited and evil do you have to be to actually think something like that. I have to hope that people who say that just aren't stopping to think about what they're saying before they say it!

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 20:55:46 UTC | #606351

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 19 by Alan4discussion

Comment 18 by calatelpe

I have to hope that people who say that just aren't stopping to think about what they're saying before they say it!

Thinking was never a strong point with fundies, as we have seen in various discussions!

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 22:38:48 UTC | #606391

Toronto Atheist's Avatar Comment 20 by Toronto Atheist

BRAVO.

It is rare indeed to see such a renunciation of woo in what I assume is a major newspaper.

Keep it coming.

Fri, 25 Mar 2011 04:30:49 UTC | #606823

Almost Nermal's Avatar Comment 21 by Almost Nermal

Be careful in being too enthusiastic embracing this article as having the intention of promoting rational thought.

This article is simply continuing the culture of The Australian, which has a long history of printing toxic articles "debunking" the scientific evidence of climate change.

This article is simply more propaganda, attempting to draw an association between climate science and woo, in a publication that has repeatedly demonstrated an appalling agenda of obscuring scientific evidence of climate change.

As an Australian myself, I am continually saddened and deeply frustrated by newspapers like The Australian constantly eroding public perception of the scientific community, and portraying research scientists as Hollywood style mad scientist megalomanics with a secret, sinister agenda.

Fri, 25 Mar 2011 12:15:21 UTC | #606909