Cattlemans corner Austin Snedden
Austin Snedden

The list of religions is almost endless, but there is a rapidly growing religion worldwide that has been embraced by politicians and celebrities alike. This rapidly emerging religion is full of doomsday scenarios and attempts to recruit believers through fear tactics. This faith-based belief espouses that the aforementioned doomsday scenarios can be avoided if the majority of folks come into the fold and turn away from their former life. There are many different denominations with varying levels of activism, but all of them have some degree of fire and brimstone. The tithe collected throughout the denominations by this religion is astounding. It has gotten corporations on board, lobbied politicians, inundated universities, and even been taught to American children in elementary school. This religion has taken a strong stance against animal agriculture and even has suggested diets for believers. The religion of Man-Made Climate Change (MMCC).

A decent person isn’t supposed to talk about religion or politics. Well, I never claimed to be a decent person, so let’s talk about both. MMCC enters my life because the parishioners of that religion believe, among other things, that the flatulence from my cows is causing global warming. These believers also believe that the transport of cattle feed and the transport of these cattle will cause the oceans to rise. These beliefs alone concern me very little, as there are a multitude of religious beliefs that I don’t agree with. Believe whatever you want to believe. What happens when a religion like MMCC becomes so intertwined with government that we all begin to live under the mandates of a government established religion like MMCC?

Many of us think of religion and science on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Religion is a system where the beliefs are often not provable and require faith; whereas science is based on fact and a hypothesis can be proven through experiment. What if a faith-based religion appropriates the word “science” to give legitimacy to something that is nothing more than a theory? Is man-made climate change science? I believe that it is well established that the climate is changing.In fact, there has never been a time when the earth’s climate wasn’t changing; causation of this change is where the MMCC disciples and I part ways. The scientific method has been around since the 17th century to prove that something someone believed was true. MMCC disciples should have to prove that their beliefs are science by using the 6 principles of the scientific method 1. Ask a question. 2. Do research. 3. Construct a hypothesis 4. Test their hypothesis through experiment. 5. Draw a conclusion. 6. Report results.

Number 1 of the scientific method is pretty easy for the MMCC disciples. Are humans causing climate change? The second step of the scientific method (background research) gets a little dicey for the MMCC flock. We only have a relatively small window of human recorded temperatures, and we know that even before human history there was significant climate change. There was a period of much warmer temperatures when reptilian dinosaurs ventured far north, followed by significant cooling where they died, and then multiple mini warming and cooling events after. There is data that suggests that the planet may possibly be warming after the industrial revolution. For the MMCC enthusiast to move to the next step of the scientific method and form a hypothesis, they must only focus on the data that may indicate that there is warming following the industrial revolution and ignore the periods of warming and cooling that preceded. The scientifically honest hypothesis that the MMCC would come up with for step 3 of the scientific method is as follows: “Although there have been periods of warming and cooling with unknown causation prior to human involvement, we believe this period of warming is due to you eating a steak and driving an SUV.”

Number 4 of the scientific method is where it really falls apart for the MMCC faithful. In a proper experiment you would have an independent variable, controlled variables, and a dependent variable. An independent variable is what you would change to provide a result. The controlled variables would be what you held constant. The dependent variable is the result you would measure to see the effect. In the MMCC experiment, the independent variable would be me eating a steak and driving an SUV. The controlled variables that must be held constant throughout the experiment would be sun intensity, ocean currents, wind patterns, etc. The dependent variable for proof of MMCC would be global temperature change. It becomes plainly obvious that this experiment has no controlled variables because the factors of sun, wind, ocean currents, etc. cannot be held constant. The remaining steps of the scientific method are unattainable in this example. 

The Latin derived phrase “post hoc fallacy” describes the MMCC beliefs in a lot fewer words.It translates to “after this, therefore because of this,” meaning that because one thing occurred after another, it must have occurred as a result of it. Just because temperatures changed while I was eating a steak, doesn’t mean my steak caused the temperatures to change. Man-made climate change is not science, It is a faith-based belief. I think it is perfectly fine to believe in things that can’t be scientifically provenl; I believe in plenty of them myself. I don’t, however, think it is acceptable for anyone’s “hunches” or faith-based beliefs to completely overhaul the founding principles of this country.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

As stated above, we should keep the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment in mind, especially our elected representatives when disciples of the MMCC faith come into their offices dressed as professors and scientists to lobby for laws attempting to conform society to their religion. We should know what the hard truth looks like without modern agriculture and fossil fuels that these climate change folks petition for. It looks like lack of food and warmth for the poorest people on the planet and more expensive food and energy for everyone. It is not a generous religion. 

There are studies that show that the greenhouse gas emissions attributed to cattle is greatly overstated, but maybe instead of trying to point out which sector of industry is most to blame, we should question the veracity of the MMCC doctrine. When someone tells you “a consensus of scientists believe in MMCC,” remember a consensus of scientists once thought the world was flat. Next time someone tells you “climate change is settled science,” tell them “show me your controlled variables.”You will have won the argument.

SOURCEAustin Snedden, Valley Ag Voice
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