One report showed that Exxon gave, despite knowing the dangers of climate change, almost $16 million from 1998 to 2005 to organizations who sought to discredit the scientific evidence related to climate change and convince the public that climate change was a hoax. Exxon also spends (if the company’s 2010 expenditure is typical) between $100 million and $300 million a year in advertising. Media companies are the beneficiaries of much of this expenditure.
1) Beliefs are ideas held without question even when evidence exists that shows that the idea is false or incorrect.
2) A set of claims or ideas sapiens use to form their identity.
3) A rigid position unsupported by the facts; another word for nonsense.
4) A claim given to circular logic: “It’s true because I believe it.”
An intelligent person has knowledge. An unintelligent one has beliefs.
A belief is a closed system. It is immune to new information. It is not subject to change and is resistant to logic and evidence. The holders of beliefs claim them as a type of knowledge but refuse to subject these beliefs to any scrutiny or the challenges that everything that is called knowledge must face.
The process used in the acquisition of knowledge—information, suppositions, evidence, hypothesis, counterarguments, the openness to the discovery new information in the future—are all avoided by the individual with a belief. For instance, the scientific method is the best procedure for the testing of claims. But beliefs resist the scientific method as the hypothesis and the conclusion are always the same regardless of the evidence.
The resilience of beliefs in the face of facts are one of the reasons sapiens are so slow to respond to the dangers posed by the looming environmental threats.
1) A condition among sapiens that results when the beliefs, fears and rewards behind the formation of the status quo are more emotionally salient than the warnings that the continuation of the status quo will result in harms to them or others.
2) A state of inaction accompanied by feelings of satisfaction, feelings which may require the dismissal or avoidance of information by the complacent individual.
3) An individual’s denial of the role they play in the degradation of ecosystems.
For example, many enjoy feelings of satisfaction about their lives despite the continued dumping of CO2 waste into the atmosphere. These pleasant feelings discourage individuals from taking action against this dumping of CO2 (which may eventually cause the collapse of oxygen production, the collapse of certain food chains and shrinking land mass).
1) A poor explanation for a phenomenon; a flawed description of cause and effect.
2) An explanation for a phenomenon that employs an element of magic to describe the event’s cause.
3) The use of magical thinking to predict an outcome.
One contemporary superstition is the belief that markets can cure any environmental problem. Another is the belief that human ingenuity can and will ultimately undo the destruction to ecosystems so that current societies and their behaviors can continue without interruption or change. These beliefs (which result from endowing markets and human ingenuity with magical properties) allow individuals to avoid questioning their current behaviors and what the cost of them is to ecosystems, the biosphere and the viability of the planet for human beings in the future. These beliefs can serve as a justification for inaction.
A terms that organizes all living things into two categories: first there is “us” and then there is “all other living things.” The term claims, implicitly, that human beings and the world’s habits are divisible and independent from each other, an illusion fostered for hundreds of years.
Also implicit in the term is the notion that all other living things are subordinate to human will, interests and concerns. Out of it comes the belief that “human beings have primacy over the earth” and that the planet is “under our rule.”
This ideology is widely-accepted and is complicit in the ecological degradation of the earth as this ideology is used as a rationale and justification for most habitat destruction.
Terms which more accurately reflect our dependence on the planet’s living networks are ecosystem, habitat and biosphere.