ECOLOGICAL CRISIS OR THE CRISIS IN ECOLOGICAL DOCTRINE
When performing an analysis of the relations between religion and science, most of the time we see either a war of dogmatic regulations or simply an eclectic combination of both religion and science. If we assume a-priori that this teaching is religion then we consider that we need to be careful in our approach owing to the subjectivity of its principles. But if this teaching is recognized as a science we accept its principles blindly. This is also a religious experience to some extent. All the more so because modern scientific method by itself claims to be the impartial determinative criterion and is often used against religion, yet is religious in its essential base. We often have to deal with different religions and that is what forms our consciousness, our views on what is good and what is evil. For example, how would we consider the practice of human sacrifice? Is it a disgusting murder or should it be considered an uplifting and elevating practice, a sacrifice to God? That is why performing an analysis of any teaching requires us to determine not only how deeply religious it is but also the category of religion to which it belongs, especially if this teaching tries to establish the way we should live and the values we should hold in our lives. Recently, ecology seems to be exactly the teaching which is pretentious about taking this role, especially social and valeo fields of ecology. Because of the continuing degradation of the environment the ideas suggested by ecology influence our lives more and more. It is being believed even though it contradicts common sense and that is because the ideas are being spread with the theme maintained by science. Is ecology really science?
Pretentiously called a science in the early years of its development, ecology could not be called science for the following simple reason: the measurement of the correctness of its conclusions was anything but empirical experience. That is why it does not have much of the position of science. It was not even separated from biology and owing only to Darwin's ideas of natural selection did ecology become a separate subject which has been named no differently than Haeckel's branch of zoology.
The supporters of Haeckel's branch realized that without a theory which is able not only to analyze but also forecast the development of the processes in the biosphere, the attitude of the scientific world to ecology would be as serious as the attitude to reading literature . They also thought that only elaboration of the mathematical model of the biosphere would turn the romantic-looking science of ecology into a branch of applied science. Nevertheless such work had not begun until the second half of the 20th century. For more than 100 years at best, ecologists were busy gathering information about the fundamentals of structure and the functions of the natural and anthropogenic systems, at the worst they were busy with fantasies of the further course of evolution, such as: the appearance of the superman; the appearance of a new more adaptable form of life, etc. The question of designing such a model was brought up at last in 1972 in Venice at a UNESCO seminar dedicated to the issue of methods of global study. About that time, ecologists announced that our biosphere was in a condition of ecological crisis. It is hard to understand, however, how that was possible without a model which would allow them to determine the deadline after which an ecological catastrophe would exist; where is the deadline which determines the level of seriousness of our situation? Probably the views of ecology about the misguided ecological direction of the development of man played a part here. This direction came to the point that any kind of coexistence of man and nature has a hint of ecological crisis. One way or the other, the mathematical model of the biosphere would help to investigate the development of the biosphere's processes in detail and to form ecologically correct technological processes and ethical points in accordance with an accepted model.
However, the problem as it turned out, was in the fact that nobody knew exactly how many parameters should have been taken into consideration to create energetic models of the atmosphere and of the ocean and of the dynamics of the biosphere. Definitive mathematical descriptions of different physical and chemical processes seen in the biosphere were absent. Among all the chemical cycles, the most important is the carbon cycle. But it was impossible to model it in detail. Within the parameters of the animal kingdom, dependent on a bio-genetic factors, the situation was even worse. But the most regretful in the history of biosphere modeling is the fact that the first attempts at employing correct scientific methods failed utterly. Designing such a model turned out to be absolutely impossible. The point is that according to Hadamard's principle of correctness for mathematical models, small mistakes should not lead to big consequences. In other words, slight changes of the initial and boundary conditions should not change the condition of the whole system. In reality, everything goes just the opposite. Most of the natural systems are in a condition of unstable equilibrium. This means that without an unambiguous estimation of natural limited concentration for a certain number of substances it is impossible to create a scientifically correct model of the biosphere.
Their attempt at a pragmatic solution of the problem by means of creating a self-sufficient closed natural model (Biosphere 2) in Arizona in 1984-91 also failed. (The earth was considered to be Biosphere 1). In spite of the vast financial expense (close to $200 million), supermodern technology and the heroic labors of enthusiasts, this artificial "paradise" with an area of 3 acres turned out to be incapable of providing sufficient amounts of food, water and air for only 8 people within two years. Fifteen months after the isolating cover was closed, the level of oxygen decreased to a critical level and oxygen had to be pumped in from the outside. 18 of 25 vertebrates introduced into the artificial dome died out as well as most species of insects-in particular, all the species which take part in the process of pollination. Serious problems with water contamination and temperature monitoring arose. Organizers of the experiment had to admit that we do not have the slightest idea how natural ecosystems are able to provide everything which is needed for the existence of a human being. Therefore the question of recognizing ecology as science is still open today.
What is ecology in this case, then? To answer this question let us first of all find what ecology studies as a subject and what model is used for such a study. The subject of ecology did not exist until our day. As far as methodology is concerned all the natural phenomena are being explained based on the model of evolution. For example, it is considered that the harmony in ecology was broken when human beings began to think. And the further people "delineate" from animals, the closer the danger to the existence of the earth comes. Suggested solutions to the problem most of the time lead to two possible conclusions.
The first one was already developed in the 19th century by the famous utopian Henry David Thoreau. In his book "Walden, or Life in the Forest" (1854), Thoreau speaks about the necessity of a holistic joining of man and nature. In our day this teaching in its more explicitly religious form can be found in the religious movement of Porfireous Ivanov.
The second solution, commonly known as the teaching about Neosphere, is still in the early stages of development. This means that a sound wording has not been found and those who trying to apply this term often do not have a clear understanding of what it means.
Other possible existing modifications of these two solutions in solving ecological problems derive from the same suggestions, and therefore have the same faults. Based on primitive models, they are not able to depict reality adequately. This is the main explanation why many theories about the ways of avoiding an ecological crisis are not working. The prominent physicist Richard Feyman commented on a similar situation: "We are obviously dealing with recipes of ritual healing."
It is quite obvious that today ecology seems to be a peculiar form of religious worldview, the theories and hypotheses of which are directly dependent on principles which are accepted by faith. First among these principles is the premise of natural progress of all living things. There is an explicit discrepancy between the idea of progress, which is taken on faith, and the observed facts (such as extinct species, genetic degradation, increase of harmful mutation, etc.), being accepted as a crisis of reality but not as a crisis of approach, the "infallibility" of which cannot be discussed.
Following exactly the historically maintained religious culture in Europe, ecology gives an object for worship and devoted service/nature and also allows a specifically determined system of thinking and action: ecological imperative. Ecology can be more related to pantheism in its religious expression. Sometimes it has the elements of naturalism, polytheism and totemism. Ecology has also its own eschatological teaching about the end of the world: inevitable ecological catastrophe. The conception of "sin" in ecology is being determined within the framework of the evolution model and most explicitly could be seen described in the principles of so-called "evolution ethics." The ethics of evolution considers the moral behavior of a person as a function of adaptation to the environment. The process of evolution is considered to be the criteria of morality. The things which contribute to progress are good, but those which counteract progress are evil. Consistent with this, the understanding of good and evil ought to change with the environment and social surroundings as well. Here should be noted that similar philosophies were the basis of the race policy of fascism and the communist regime of the concentration camps. Moreover, both formations as well as ecology had a negative attitude towards the availability of intelligent origin in man. Today evolution ethics is founded on the basis of a religious cult with an ecological "stuffing" of New Age. The doctrines of this cult have been spread actively in Eastern Europe lately by the name of valeophilosophy which includes valeology ("teaching" about the health of nature). It has even spread into the government system of education in the form of the specially introduced class by the name valeology, teaching how to live in harmony with nature.
The influence of New Age philosophy on modern society is hard to underestimate. With a complete absence of possible ways out of the ecological crisis, ecological slogans appear to be a sure thing in an electoral campaign of any kind or in divvying up taxpayer money. Even today 12 organizations in the United States, being a part of the so-called "Environmental Party" have in their budget $250 million more than the budgets of the Democratic and Republican parties all together. The United Nations conference on "Human Settlements" held in June 1996 in Istanbul determined a new set of economical, ecological and social directions of development for the 21st century. This set of directions is completely in correspondence with the New Age program for transforming the world. The international law of the United Nations should determine the limit of population growth in every country (at the world conference in San Francisco, it was reported that the ecological crisis would cease to exist with a world population decrease of 90%). Levels of consumption, morals, education, and religious views of people would be determined by international law as well.
As in every naturalistic teaching, ecology narrows its epistomological system in its very beginning, attributing all the phenomena of the world to natural causes (though under the category "natural" some strange concepts have been used: for example, world intelligence). In connection with this, Christian teachings about the transcendental origin and absolute character of moral principles, the direct connection of the conditions of the material world to the ethical condition of man, and the responsibility of man as keeper of the creation of God have all been rejected. In fact we are standing before the reality of a new post-Christian civilization which is about to appear and which is going to be built on the doctrines of the syncretistic New Age religious cult and use evolution ethics as the principle of morality.
This is just the right time to ask a question: how is this civilization going to look? Will it be able to solve ecological problems? I think not, because a vicious circle has already been built into the basis of this approach. While it predicts an inevitable ecological catastrophe, ecology sets itself to the task of averting this catastrophe. The global methods of solving this task are utopian, and ways to reach those goals are selfish. According to ecological principles, in the fight for existence, only the more adaptable should survive; the rest become no more than victims of natural selection, victims of an impersonal god of ecoreligion. And this is quite a natural end to the logical chain which began with the idea of guarding the health of man from harmful changes of the environment. This is the logical ending to any humanistic teaching which begins by announcing unlimited rights for satisfying any kind of need, but as a result deprives man of the right to life itself through the approval of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, suicide, etc.
An ecological crisis really exists. But it is not a crisis of the mythical idea of natural progress which no one has ever seen. It is a crisis of ecological teaching in itself, originally based on tempting ideas, but ideas which have no connection with reality.
Translated by E. Molodchy Edited by J.Hesler 30/10/97