Across the United States, there's an ever-loudening outcry over genetic engineering, cloning and environmental threats like global warming.
Why have recent advances in science been met with fear, protests, even acts of terrorism? Why is the industrial society that helped make our comfortable lives possible treated with suspicion and contempt?
Environmental activists have had an enormous impact on our national agenda over the past generation. Sure, it's good to take care of the planet. It's nice to plant trees. But have radical activists brainwashed us into thinking that everything humans do is bringing us all closer to Armageddon?
Being at one with nature is a popular view today. But that's an extreme idea when you give it a little thought. What that really means is running around naked, hungry, maybe killing a rabbit with a rock, then dying young. That has been "natural life" for most of human history.
Sometimes nature is pretty hostile to humans, and tampering with it has actually been good for us.
Educating or Indoctrinating?
But that's not what kids are learning. Many grade-school students are taught that tampering is evil, that humanity is destroying the Earth. This is even part of the curriculum in some schools.
One child said he learned: "President Bush is polluting the country so he can make millions for his friends."
The organizers call this education. What's more, they say it's "nonpartisan."
But our kids are thoroughly scared. They fear massive floods — "Alaska's melting!"— increased cancer and even "drowning in our own garbage!"
Why don't they know that over the past 30 years, the air has been getting cleaner? Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and every major pollutant the government measures is decreasing. Lakes and rivers are cleaner now, too.
According to former Greenpeace Director Patrick Moore, the environmental movement has been hijacked by political activists. "They're using environmental rhetoric to cloak agendas like class warfare and anti-corporatism that, in fact, have almost nothing to do with ecology," Moore says.
Moore says scientists have an incentive to scare people, because they need to keep their fund-raising machinery going. So, they exaggerate problems to persuade keep the money coming in.
A Lot of Hot Air?
Time magazine calls global warming a greater threat than anything but nuclear holocaust or getting hit by an asteroid. Just last week we heard that the White House acknowledged that global warming exists, is a problem, and is largely man's fault.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations' environmental study group, and its former Chairman Robert Watson, say global warming could be devastating. "It will threaten agriculture, especially in developing countries, water resources. … It will increase sea level and displace tens of millions of people in coastal regions."
The media imply that scientists agree with all the dire predictions, but do they?
A group of 1,600 scientists signed a letter warning of "devastating consequences" if we don't quit our lowdown, polluting ways and curb global warming.
But I bet you hadn't heard that a group of 17,000 scientists signed a petition saying there's "no convincing evidence" that greenhouse gases will disrupt the Earth's climate.