Yesterday, I met the nicest man... with the most dangerous of beliefs.
This man was a retired miner who's views have been shaped by his career, mass media, and his religion. He wasn't out of the ordinary. Which is exactly what makes his perspective so dangerous.
He has a “theory.” (That's right, he calls it a “theory.”) His “theory” boils down to this;
“God gave us coal so that we could burn it.”
By that argument, pretty much everything is here for us to exploit. By that argument, it almost sounds like God wanted us to be criminals. By that argument, God gave us women, so it is not only our right, but our duty to rape them... HELL NO!
We must treat everything with respect – if for no other reason than we have to always consider the consequences of our actions.
His “theory” reminds me of what white people thought back when they found all of the dead Indians and deserted villages back when Europeans first came to the Americas. From what I read; many of these white people believed that God had cleared out the Natives so that there would be room for Caucasian expansion.
Of course, we now know that these massive Native deaths from disease were simply an unforeseen consequence of European travel. God did not want to kill all those Native Americans. Europeans just simply didn't understand the consequences of their actions. And maybe they didn't care.
I hate to say this about the man I just met, because he was so nice to us; but “theories” like this are a sign of ignorance, laziness, and greed... Which means he is human. In fact, his view of the world is common – maybe even the majority view.
The truth is that people are willing to believe anything to get what we want – especially if we think we can get it right now, with minimal effort. Callousness and self-deception are just a part of the human condition. We're selfish. Because sometimes being selfish works.
Of course, there are often consequences to being selfish. Sometimes there are very harsh consequences. Consider your options well. Remember to ask yourself what you really want. And keep asking yourself. Ultimately; your future, the future of our country, our civilization, and even humanity is at stake.
It doesn't take that much effort to remember that we have options. If you are cold, you don't have to burn coal. You can wear a sweater. You can burn hydrogen. You can build a passive solar heated home. My Native American ancestors even moved in the winter to lower, warmer elevations.
(Of course, we also have options for electrical generation.)
Humans have complex brains that we can use to think about the consequences of our actions and consider alternative actions that suit us better. Most of us didn't stop burning wood because we ran out of wood. The same is true for coal. We simply have neither the right or the duty to burn coal just because it's there.
Coal is not like other minerals. Most other minerals have worked their way up from the depths of the Earth. Coal, on the other hand, was shoved underground from the surface.
There is another “theory,” quite worthy of mention:
“Coal may be underground because it's supposed to be there.”
There is a balance of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere that supports life, including our own.
No matter whether you believe God set things up the way they are, or life achieved a balance on its own over millions of years; you have to admit that the natural world is very special and it is critical that we keep our environment healthy in order to keep ourselves alive.
My (belated) reply to this person is:
Then you ought to also believe that God gave us this world (in a beautiful natural state) for a reason; and by damaging it, we are damaging God's work.