Daniel Patrick Moynihan is reported to have said, ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.’ We need facts to make the right decisions; the truth helps us. Conversely, mistaken beliefs are dangerous. If we are threatened, we must see the threat in all its enormity. Otherwise, we won’t act with the urgency needed to prevent it.
Unfortunately, all major religions are geared to deliver solace, to provide magical ways for avoiding fear and danger. These beliefs are valuable if they are our only source of hope – Halina Birenbaum said that when in a Nazi concentration camp, she ‘preferred any lie a hundred times, as long as it gave me hope of surviving.’ However, if action is needed to save us, beliefs that allow inaction are a curse, and leaders that subscribe to fantastic religious beliefs endanger us.
We are now in such a situation; we must act to overcome global warming. We need relentless and ongoing action to cease the use of fossil fuels and prevent all deforestation. A false sense of security is perilous indeed. Because of this, we must discard leaders, irrespective of their political party, who subscribe to beliefs that encourage them to ignore or misconceive the danger we all face. Urgency is needed. Pious hopes will not save humanity and our natural world. Decisions must be made based on the facts.
See ‘Einstein’s Last Message’ for further discussion.