Move over National Enquirer, here comes the National Geographic to supermarket checkouts. At least that’s the way it looks judging from the cover of its March issue.
A big headline proclaims, “The War on Science,” over of a photo of a workman constructing a setting for a Moonwalk. All this is accompanied by a list of five things, ranging from one about which there is much serious skepticism (“Climate Change”) to the very far-fetched (“The Moon Landing Was Fake”). It appears the NG left out those favorites that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld delivered the explosives that brought down the World Trade Center towers and that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
Another clue that the venerable Geographic may be planning to go head-to-head with the National Enquirer is that the story behind the sensational headline is a nothing burger, like such supermarket tabloid favorites as “Octogenarian Queen Pregnant” and “Film Star Charges, ‘My Father-in-Law Sired My Child.’” It turns out there is nothing to those stories either.
For decades the National Geographic Society has engaged in serious exploration and scientific inquiry and has earned the confidence of thousands of members/readers. That makes it worrisome that key people there seem to have become followers of the concept of Deep Ecology proclaimed by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess in 1973.
The concept holds that all life, from human to dust mites, should be safe to live and pursue happiness. Although we humans are the only species with the ability to reason, this gives no special privileges; rather, the responsibility for all the others. To do this, we must not exploit the earth’s resources nor overpopulate it. Naess claimed the earth’s population should be reduced from six billion to about 100 million.
This worldview gave early environmentalists something much bigger to worry about than the shrinking habitat of a particular wild animal. It gave them the basis for a secular religion in which the noble cause of biodiversity could only be achieved by reducing industrial production and commerce and, along with these, steady downward pressure on standards of living and population.
“Climate Change” fits the religion neatly. If projections herald natural calamities—sea-level cities underwater; polar ice caps melting—fifty years from now, well, we had better do something right now to prevent it.
It is scientists who are making the projections, so bear in mind these are the computer result of assumptions fed into them. Some of those scientists are living off grants from sources that already believe in the Deep Ecology theory. The insistence that long-range “Climate Change” or “Global Warming” is “settled science” is an ideological/political claim, not a scientific one. To buttress this insistence, however, the proponents treat weather aberrations as evidence of their claims.
The remedy, according to the National Geographic and others, is to reduce the presumed cause of Climate Change, carbon emissions. These forces believe that the problem is caused exclusively by human activity; therefore, it must change. To do this, the current administration is clearly at war with energy production and, through regulatory fiat, uses of water.
The Geographic’s March cover story, while not living up to the cover promise of a “War on Science,” is filled with by-the-way reminders of the need to “combat” Climate Change. Yet, the record contradicts the magazine’s sky-is-falling scenario. According to an Oxford University database, the death rate from natural disasters such as floods, extreme temperature, storms, and droughts has gone from 12 annually per 100,000 people in the first half of the 20th century to .38 by 2010.
For the sake of its credibility on other topics, the National Geographic should apply some scientific skepticism to the often wild claims of the priests and acolytes of the Deep Ecology religion.
Meanwhile, what’s next for the National Geographic? Rumor has it that the April cover may feature a photo of a hospital door and the sign, “Maternity Ward—No Admittance,” along with this headline: “Woman Gives Birth to Two-Headed Calf as Icebergs Melt.”
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