The New Religion

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I had an argument with a guy recently. It was about dwindling elk populations. He said, elk where being decimated by predators such as wolves, grizzlies and cougars. It was his view that these animals should be culled. I said maybe we should quit hunting elk during their rut and taking the biggest bulls from the heard. Colorado has seen success with managing these hunting practices.

This guy was a hunter and a scientist (so he said) and my comment made him fly off the handle. He over and over again said, ‘Science’ shows it is the predators that are responsible for diminished elk populations.

I infuriated him more by saying, we have to be careful culling animals, because we’ve got it wrong before, I was thinking about those same wolves and plenty of fish species. 

He continued, ranting Science, Science, Science, without so much as offering a fact. It was like the word Science was enough.

I knew he wasn’t worth engaging in an argument. He was a fervent believer.

***

I don’t understand science. I always thought it was nature. The way I alternately blink my eyes at the sky, being the same way we figure out the distance to the stars. 

***

I also don’t understand climate change, but the Science seems to have become a replacement for religion, especially for us in the most prosperous parts of the world. It has sin, guilt and the need for atonement. The Science also promises a way out, if only we live carefully.

And like religion the biggest sinners are the ones who preach the loudest and conjure their desired deity in every conversation and argument. Like the above mentioned hunter/Scientist who, lives on a ranch, and wants to shoot bigger elk.

Today’s Elmer Gantry’s and Jimmy Swaggart’s are now the ‘environmentalists’ living in their big houses on the side of the wetlands, winging their way to explore exotic locations with their light weight Sony cameras, oblivious to there own sins, or perhaps smug in their belief they are pulling the wool over our eyes. 

Fuck I hate religion regardless of what they call it.

4 thoughts on “The New Religion

  1. mountaincoward

    Interesting comparison – religion and science – and I can certainly see where you’re coming from. My view on culling/management or whatever else they want to call it is that nature is nothing to do with us, we’re simply part of it. I definitely don’t think it’s our job to manage it. On my small land plot, I put in some trees. I didn’t go around killing the rabbits, I put tree guards on the trees.

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  2. Carol A. Hand

    The viewpoints expressed by the man you spoke with trouble me, Bob. As an Ojibwe elder and scholar who teaches research to college students, I find his views to be a compelling example of what is wrong with an over-reliance on narrow views of “science” as the incredibly small part of life that is visible and countable to some individuals who often rely on religion to explain all the things science may not have yet figured how to see and measure, let alone understand. I was inspired to write a response that underscores the importance of your insights.

    What is science? Science, like religion, is a search for truth, a quest to understand life. Sadly, too many people who claim to be on the path of truth take the easy way out. They become attached to dogma and distort “truth” in ways that justify them to follow their own narrow self-interested agendas. Often, people fail to see the larger picture of the intricate interdependence of all life, including that of humans, with nature.

    I came across a quote a while ago that seems relevant: “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief” (Attorney Gerry Spence).

    Here’s a link to a video, How Wolves Changes Rivers, that shows interdependence from a broader sacred scientific perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q.

    Acting from hubris and ignorance often causes great harm…

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    1. underswansea

      Hi Carol. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I like the quote and it is fitting. The man who was closed to argument, who continued to say he had science on his side seemed very much like someone talking religion. It had the same ring to it.

      With that said, I wouldn’t consider myself a science denier (ouch, that even has a religious ring to it). My view is narrow, I don’t understand much. I figure we are all in the same boat. I am always suspicious of people who claim to know the way but can’t answer a question (think of how many politicians fit this criteria).

      Thank you for your comment. Here winter is just revving up. Plenty of snow and cold temps. The snowfalls you get make me worry for you. Don’t try to shovel it all at once. Take care friend. Bob

      Liked by 1 person

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