Some neuro-scientists see evidence that man is genetically hard-wired to be disposed to religious conviction. If this is so, it might explain why amongst even the French -- the most secular culture on Earth -- only 25 percent claim to be atheists, and a full 60 percent believe in a spiritual component to life. It might also explain why the environmental movement tends to veer toward a religious, rather than a scientific, sensibility.
This oft-observed aspect to environmentalism in general, and global warmingism in particular, has been shrewdly analyzed in a new book, "The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction," by former University College London professor Dr. David Orrell. Among other things, Dr. Orrell focuses on the similarity between global warming advocates' powerful predictive urge and the inherent prophetic nature of the religious instinct.
While I suspect that most global warming alarmists would be offended if they were called pagan neo-animists, in fact, some leading religious scholars have written cogently on the point. For example, Graham Harvey, professor of religious studies at King Alfred's College, England, has written two approving books on the topic: "Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth," (New York University Press) and "Animism: Respecting the Living World." (Columbia University Press).
As Professor Graham writes: "This new use of the term animism applies to the religious worldviews and lifeways of communities and cultures for which it is important to inculcate and enhance appropriate ways to live respectfully within the wider community of [non-human animate and inanimate] persons."
Moreover, there has been a conscious awareness that religious fervor would be needed to energize the environmental movement. As Joseph Brean points out in his recent National Post review of Dr. Orrell's book:
"Forty years ago, shortly after Rachel Carson launched modern environmentalism a Princeton history professor named Lynn White wrote a seminal essay called the Historical Roots of our Ecological Crises: 'By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects. Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not.' It was a prescient claim. In a 2003 speech Michael Crichton closed the circle, calling modern environmentalism 'the religion of choice for urban atheists a perfect 21st Century re-mapping of traditional JudeoChristian beliefs and myths."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.