THE BLOG
02/24/2014 09:47 pm ET | Updated Apr 26, 2014

Theology of Science

A feral cat is slowly making its way across the frozen tundra of what was once my backyard; its painful stride, sucked into a mass of ice and snow, become a strange ballet. Its light-gray coat contrasts drastically against the infinite expanse of white. I cannot turn away from its struggle. It is mesmerizing.

The weather has been brutal here for weeks, maybe months, causing us at the Clemens Estate to become shut-ins. We chose not to brave the elements like the cat, whose survival, I wager, might as well be determined by a coin flip -- although it has maintained its stride across two hurricanes in two years, weird rain squalls, high shifts of wind, spastic temperature spikes and radical temperature dips. It's been something of a bizarre ride, and certainly odd enough to admit, without any scientific proof, that some weird shit is going down.

Yet there is a preponderance of facts available on climate change or global warming or inconvenient truths, and while I do not profess to agree or disagree with it (as if one can agree or disagree with the assertion that 2 plus 2 equals 4 or that gravity exists or that Peyton Manning is most likely to suck in a post-season football game), there is something afoot. It is interesting that despite overwhelming scientific data, there continues to be a debate on whether humans have or will continue to fuck up the environment.

Of course we do.

This is the point of human existence. Like every living organism, we are acutely aware of our environment and possess an insatiable urge to manipulate it for our needs. But unlike other creatures, we see no need to preserve it. We possess a denial chip in our psyches that obliterates what should be an intrinsic sense that our resources are finite and the abuse of them bears consequences.

And even if we gave a flying fart about the fact that we're destroying the environment, are we really equipped to do anything about it? Or, more to the point, is the will there? Perhaps we do nothing because it's scary and it seems icky to admit that by simply "being," we are skunking our own playground.

The cat is well on its way to the top of what looks to be a rather large mound of snow. It's a precarious march; only the frigid temperatures keep the poor thing from sinking into a quagmire of slush.

Speaking of which, I saw a report the other day on an upcoming film on the biblical story of Noah. According to the commentators, this film appeared "too dark," although neither of them had seen it. This got me wondering what part of the Noah story is not dark. Is there something I'm missing? Omniscient godhead gets pissed at its creations, hatches a plan to drown them all, and, to hedge the bet, gives a head's up to one of them and tells him, just to be safe, "Hey, why not keep two of every species, so that they can repopulate the place after my catastrophic hissy-fit?"

It's bedtime material, really.

The same people who see this nightmare of a myth as some kind of heartwarming episode in human history would likely decry it as a blasphemous harangue on the Almighty if it had happened to come from J.R.R. Tolkien's hand.

This is the same principle applied to creationism, which, using the same sort of denialism as those who are ignoring our role in fucking up the planet, has a fairly enormous following among humans -- defiantly ignoring decades of applied science and factoids presented to the contrary. This is an interesting balancing act, this concept of believing in something as opposed to knowing it.

For instance, take racism. Racism is like a religion or a belief system in that it's a strong conviction that flies in the face of reality. Maybe a century ago people could kind of get away with this nonsense, like people could get away with believing the Sun revolved around the Earth -- an Earth that is only 6,000 years old -- a few centuries ago, but now?

We are forced to confront racism simply because we cater to the rationale of the simpleton, like those who still maintain that the worth of a woman in the workplace or her standing in society is a teeny bit less than that of a man, or that somehow gay people should not be afforded the same rights as those of us who are attracted to the opposite sex. It's, you know, selective belief with no tangible evidence to back it but conviction.

But I get it. I do. Science or fact has a way of nudging the belief factions into oblivion, which believers must avert. This was the tough crowd that Galileo and Darwin had to play.

The other day I sustained a serious head injury and found myself glued to the Bill O'Reilly show. In it he unfurled a heavily worded argument about something with not a shred of statistical or empirical evidence to back it up. His reasoning was, I think, "This is what I believe, and the opposite is silly and wrong, period." Then my head cleared and I turned this idiocy off.

You do realize that anti-abortion advocates point to advancements in technology and science (e.g., ultrasounds) to dispel beliefs about human life not existing in some form earlier than anyone had "believed" even 20 years ago. However, these same types flip the fact switch to oppose the biological data accrued over the same period, which strongly suggests that homosexuality is an inherent trait and not some kind of choice, like wearing white after Labor Day.

Ah, that cat is well on its way now, under a tree, breathing hard and staying the course. Wherever it's going, it looks like it will get there -- this time. But what about tomorrow?

Which brings this thing full circle, back to this horrorshow winter and its massive storms and Western droughts and people stuck in cars for days on an Atlanta byway.

I am fairly sure we've irreparably fucked this planet pretty good, and we ain't gonna stop.

We're humans. We fuck things up.

This would explain the whole Noah thing.

You're welcome.