|Over 130 years, temperature fluctuation around the mean has only been .6 degrees C, not even 1 degree F|
Intellectual group think is probably as old as time. We humans don't really have the time, much less the inclination, to study the issues of the day to any real depth at all. We glean much of our information, and therefore our opinions, from entertainment that blends the writer's point of view into the movie, sitcom, drama, book, or article. Where did these writer's garner their opinions? From other movies, sitcoms, dramas, books, and articles. The intellectual group think is further confirmed by social interactions with like minded individuals.
The final step in this process is that individuals will tend to seek out the content that confirms their existing perceptions. My liberal friends watch CNN, listen to NPR, think John Stewart is brilliant, and read the Huffington Post. For the most part I watch Fox News, listen to Christian talk radio, think James Dobson is brilliant, and read the Drudge Report.
While it would be dishonest of me to say that my primary sources of news and information tend to make me a party to right wing, Christian group think, I'm going to try to make the case that this is less true generally for the conservative point of view, and for me, specifically. I'm going to do this in the context of how the group think phenomenon is hurting church growth in developed Western nations, a subject I dealt with here. And I am going to use global warming as my example.
Why is global warming a right vs left issue?
If group think were not operating one would expect that the belief in global warming and/or the human contribution to global warming would be non partisan. We get why various economic, social, and international issues divide out along party lines. But why do we now see scientific claims through partisan eyes?
Those of liberal persuasion tend to be less religious and more likely to trust science. However, in my view, the left doesn't merely believe in science more than the right, but believe in the most recent scientific headline with little or no skepticism. This is in keeping with a modernist view which assumes humans are really smart, that humans can solve all the problems given enough time and money, and that progress is wonderful if science is behind it.
The right wing is called conservative, and those on the right tend to have the more skeptical view of progress, believe that humans are frail, often really dumb beings, whose rush into new ideas often ends in disaster. This results in conservatives tending to be more skeptical of scientific conjecture about future cataclysmic events, even while embracing the great products and services that science is producing.
Global warming fits into this construct perfectly. Liberals claim that the science is settled and that the world is headed for crises. Conservatives point to a science based only on projections of events based on questionable science. Liberals continue to defend the science even as conservatives point to the total failure of the models to predict the last 20 years of climate.
Why bring this up in a blog on Christianity? A huge percentage of the public believes that science is the cure for everything. Christians would argue that God is in control. Atheistic or agnostic individuals are more inclined to trust science than God. To discuss the idea of God with these individuals is commonly met with, "Even if science hasn't figured it out yet, or has gotten it wrong in the past, eventually we will figure it all out."
This faith in science is far greater than what is required to have faith in God. The Bible has never been proven to be wrong on any subject, and the predictions of the future yet to come will either be true or not. We don't get to change the models, projections, predictions, or prophesies mid stream.
How about you? Do you believe the scientists?