When science becomes ideology or quasi-religion, it ceases to be science and becomes something else. The brilliant political analyst Michael Barone has weighed in on this concern in a new column (which also deals with gun control, beyond our scope here.) He notes that despite the constant propaganda of the last few years, fewer people today believe in man-made global warming then just last year. And he ponders the whole thing. From his column (with gun references deleted):
For liberal elites, belief in... global warming has taken on the character of religious faith. We have sinned (by...driving SUVs); we must atone (by...recycling); we must repent (by supporting...cap and trade schemes). You may notice that the "we" in question is usually the great mass of ordinary American citizens.
The liberal elite is less interested in giving up its luxuries (Al Gore purchases carbon offsets to compensate for his huge mansion and private jet travel) than in changing the lifestyle of the masses, who selfishly insist on living in suburbs...Ordinary Americans are seen not as responsible fellow citizens building stable communities but as greedy masses, who must be disciplined to live according to the elite's religious dogmas.
Barone nails it, but I think he is only skating on the surface. These issues are moving parts in a far larger phenomenon--the coup de culture--that seeks to replace human exceptionalism with a hedonistic, utilitarian utopianism steeped in an ironically puritanical radical environmentalism, that increasingly disdains us humans as the enemies of "the planet." This is our (so far, mostly nonviolent) cultural version of the Reformation/Counter Reformation, and it is going to take a long time for the the screaming to stop.