Like I said, the pope’s been listening to some bad advice.
His recent encyclical preaching fear of global warming and promoting distribution of wealth and decreased use of energy as the “cure” is just a tragedy for the world. This is not just some guy shouting like Chicken Little from the rooftops; this is the pope saying the sky is falling.
People — hundreds of millions of people — are going to trust he knows what he’s talking about and follow him down the road of environmental terror in search of another Marx-inspired “utopia” that will inevitably crush human freedom under its heel.
It turns out one of the sources of the bad advice guiding the pope these days is a German atheist who apparently nonetheless believes in Gaia, the living entity that comprises the Earth and all its systems and organisms.
Hans Schellnhuber, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Potsdam and director of the Institute for Climate Impact, somehow got himself made an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and is now an adviser to Pope Francis on scientific matters, including the recent encyclical.
The Gaia Principle, which came of the seventies, holds that Earth and all life forms interact in such a way that they make one giant, self-regulating organism.
Rather than simply acknowledging the web of built-in feedback mechanisms that exists on planet Earth, the Gaia Principle holds that “Mother Earth” actually reacts in some sort of self-aware way to negative stimulation.
For example, when human industrialization pollutes the ecosystem, Gaia responds by sending disease, famine, global warming, etc.
It’s all just a modern upgrade of pantheism, the belief that the universe itself is God. Some atheists like the idea because they think they can quantify Gaia and measure her reactions in scientific terms.
Schellnhuber seems to be one of those scientists. Published papers he has authored have argued in favor of what seems to be an intelligent — or at least self-aware — Earth. For instance, in a 1999 paper in Nature, he wrote:
“Ecosphere science is therefore coming of age, lending respectability to its romantic companion, Gaia theory, as pioneered by Lovelock and Margulis. This hotly debated ‘geophysiological’ approach to Earth-system analysis argues that the biosphere contributes in an almost cognizant way to self-regulating feedback mechanisms that have kept the Earth’s surface environment stable and habitable for life.”
He seems to emphasize that biological (i.e., human) activity can affect Earth’s processes, even up to tectonic plate movement.
As such, he is a proponent of population reduction, believing that the Earth cannot comfortably handle more than a billion people. One of the methods he suggests for shrinking the population is “education” of girls. Like most liberals, by education he means teaching girls to use birth control, get abortions and get sterilized — you know, the sorts of things the Catholic Church is opposed to.
In 2004, he wrote in Nature that mankind is an infectious disease that “perturbs … the global ‘metabolism.'”
So, WWJD? What would Jesus do about global warming?
For starters, he’d fire the pope’s new science adviser.