Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Christians Raping the Earth Again!

Remember Bill Moyers' near-insane op/ed about fundamentalists not caring about the environment because Christ's return was upon us, and a little enviro-destruction might just hurry Him along? If not, I posted on it here, here and here (I was a bit riled). Moyers to later retracted the part of it in which he said former Interior Secretary James Watt was that sort of fundamentalist earth-raper.

Well, the Lefties didn't learn anything from Moyers' embarassment. No Left Turns (h/t Greenie Watch) reports the same sort of shenanigans in Jared Diamond’s new best-seller Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed:
“Civilization as we know it would be impossible without oil, farm food, wood, or books, but oil executives, farmers, loggers, and book publishers nevertheless don’t cling to that quasi-religious fundamentalism of mine executives: ‘God put those metals there for the benefit of mankind, to be mined.’”

The “mine executive” who supposedly said this is not identified, nor the name of her company. (There are no footnotes or source notes for this quote, or any other in the book.) It is not clear from Diamond’s prose whether this is meant to be a verbatim quotation, or a stylized characterization, The doubt about the authenticity of this quote is deepened by the immediate sequel:

"The CEO and most officers of one of the major American mining companies are members of a church that teaches that God will soon arrive on Earth, hence if we can just postpone land reclamation for another 5 or 10 years it will then be irrelevant anyway."

Again, Diamond identifies neither the mining company nor the denomination in question here. These things matter. Precisely because Diamond is a bestselling author of considerable reputation, his distortion or invention of ridiculous quotations threatens to inject them into wider circulation. In fact, it has already started.

Reviewing Collapse in Science magazine, Tim Flannery writes of “the CEO of an American mining company who believes that ‘God will soon arrive on Earth, hence if we can just postpone land reclamation for another 5 or 10 years it will then be irrelevant anyway.’” Suddenly we’ve gone from executives who attend an unidentified congregation that believes this to an unnamed CEO who “believes” this. The next short step will be directly attributing this non-quotation to the unnamed CEO.

... and then to a named CEO. Who cares about the truth when you've got God on your side? Ooops. Get me rewrite, Madge! Who cares about truth when you've got Secularism on your side?