Rev. Michael Dowd brings a progressive Christian spin to apocalyptic environmentalism.
photo by: Skeptiko
On this episode of Skeptiko:
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:02] If you’re talking about climate change and you’re talking about doing something about it.
Michael Dowd: [00:00:09] No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don’t talk about doing something about it Alex, I talk about doing something in your own heart to prepare for what’s inevitable.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:18] I’m just saying, if we buy into what you’re saying, isn’t that the inevitable future. It’s not 20 people getting together and deciding they’re going to live a different way, that isn’t going to be the future.
Michael Dowd: [00:00:31] You’re wasting time by talking about something I don’t give a shit about. I don’t care about the climate sciences hoax, I don’t care about where some scientists were, I don’t care about that.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:43] That’s the vibe I got from you from the beginning Michael, and I get from so many people, the death cult environmentalists, they don’t want to waste their time listening to the other side of it.
Michael Dowd: [00:00:53] In my world, there’s not another side.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:58] You’re still calling yourself a Christian.
Michael Dowd: [00:00:59] I’m an evolutionary Christian, I’m a Christian…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:02] You’re a Christian, you haven’t broken free from it.
Michael Dowd: [00:01:11] I am a Christian naturalist, I have no supernatural beliefs or other worldly beliefs at all, zip, nada, not one. I’m a Christian naturalist. So if you’re interpreting…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:21] You have no supernatural beliefs, when you talk about your relationship with Jesus, wasn’t that a supernatural relationship?
Stay with us for Skeptiko.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:38] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris, and as a lot of you know, I’m a big fan of the Skeptiko Forum. I love it because you all are so damn smart, I’m always learning stuff from you guys. Take, for example, today’s topic global warming or as a lot of people like to say, climate change. This is a topic that’s been thoroughly hashed out on the Skeptiko Forum, really from all sides, and In a lot of ways I’m super grateful for that because it’s such a great Skeptiko topic, I mean it checks all the boxes. There is the science angle, I mean, what do we really know about climate? What do we know about these climate models, are they reliable scientifically? Can we trust the scientists and who is qualified to speak on climate science? These are all great questions, the kind of stuff that we love to dig into on Skeptiko.
But there are other angles to this topic that I think are just so fascinating, again, if we kind of broaden the lens. There’s the political, dare I say conspiratorial aspect of climate, and we certainly get into a lot of that stuff on this show, and I think we can handle it on this topic as well. I mean, what would it mean, in terms of policy change, if we were to look at the science one way versus if we were to look at it another way?
And then ultimately, who are the stakeholders behind this and what kind of power are they wielding? That’s another conspiratorial kind of part of this question.
And then finally, I guess the third box that I love to check on this, is the issue of spirituality, and it rarely gets discussed when it comes to climate change, but to me it seems central to the debate. Does God need our help to save her planet or is there an evil hand of manipulation behind this? Is it either the “big oil shills” who are pumping the brakes on climate change or is it the “death cult environmentalists” who are pushing for action at all cost?
So there’s a lot, lot, lot, I feel, like to talk about on this issue. Even though it seems like it’s covered so many times, I think there are so many fresh perspectives to bring to it. And wouldn’t you know, we have a guest who can do that for us.
Michael Dowd is here. Let me give you a little bit of his background from the bio that Michael sent me. Reverend Michael Dowd is a bestselling echo theologian, TEDx speaker and pro-future evangelist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Discovery Television and other television shows. His book, Thank God for Evolution, I have it up there on the screen, was endorsed by six Nobel Prize winning scientists. And I also am showing up there a video series that he’s done, which we’ll be playing some clips from.
So Michael, it is super awesome and interesting to have you on Skeptiko. Thank you so much for joining me.
Michael Dowd: [00:05:12] Thank you Alex, it’s a joy to be here.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:15] Well great, and as we were just chatting about a minute ago, there’s quite a little story behind us getting together here and the discussion we’ve had. Maybe you want to fill folks in a little bit on how we came together and what we’re hoping to do. I kind of laid out my agenda but I want to make sure that’s kind of in sync with where you’d like to take things
Michael Dowd: [00:05:40] Cool, I’d be happy to. So Rick Archer, our mutual friend and colleague, was the one that I think recommended me to you, or you to me, I forget. But in any case, he got us in touch with each other and then, of course, I went on and looked at a lot of your past episodes and saw what you do and at first I thought it doesn’t look like a good fit because I’m really not that interested in some of the topics that you and your guests are quite passionate about, and understandably so.
My focus has been, for the last 30 years, really the universe story, the epic of evolution, the history of everyone and everything that comes to us through global collective intelligence, that is the entire worldwide community of not just scientists but scientists, philosophers, theologians and others. But basically it’s evidenced grounded, our history of human evolution or actually cosmic evolution, life evolution, biological life evolution and human evolution as one modern day creation story. So I’ve been doing that for 30 years, actually 35 years I guess.
Then in the last seven years I’ve really taken on understanding the rise and fall of civilizations, ecology especially, the ecological worldview and climate change, but not just climate change, really in the last few years abrupt climate change, which is quite different. So yeah, basically where science inspiration and sustainability intersect.
And the reason that I’m an eco-theologian is for me, God is a sacred name, a proper name, and high thou name, you could say a mythic name for reality, and reality is telling us some pretty amazing and sobering things. So yeah, I look forward to having our conversation.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:07:27] Okay great, so am I. There is some good, as we were joking about, some good tension, you know familiar to anyone who’s listened to this show. We have to get to the edge of things and people don’t always agree with each other and that’s okay. As long as it’s played out in a way that kind of informs the discussion, I think that’s terrific, and that’s been the case so far.
You just mentioned this eco-theologian thing and I’m showing an image of you and ecology is the new theology. What I thought I do is, an additional way to introduce where you’re coming from, is to play a clip from this video series and here is the trailer to that video series. Let me play that for folks.
Michael Dowd: [00:08:18] So this notion of ecology as the heart of theology, I call it eco-theism. It’s not about believing in anything. Half of religion is gagged and tied in the trunk, and the other half of religion are in the back seat cheering on the psychopathic politicians that are driving us over the cliff. You’ve got thousands, maybe millions of people that are debating whether or not God exists or whether or not God is real. When the one real God, namely reality personified or not, we’ve been living out a right relationship to and we are now about to experience consequences of biblical proportion.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:09:01] So it’s very, very nicely done, I got to give you a ton of credit. It looks beautiful, well shot and there are many parts to it, kind of a lecture series, but again, nicely done.
Anything to add to that trailer that I showed there?
Michael Dowd: [00:09:18] Just the fact that it’s an eight session, it’s two parts. Part one is coming home to reality, which is 4 x 20-minute sessions. And then part two is also 4 x 20-minute sessions, that’s titled, A Practical Wisdom and it’s designed for secular and religious study groups basically. Again, it focuses on what I call the sacred side of science but how to stay inspired in challenging times is sort of the heart of it as well.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:09:48] Okay, great. So here’s what I thought we’d do in this time we have together, and I kind of laid it out at the beginning, but let’s go over this because I thought we’d kind of break this down along the three lines that I just mentioned. The science of it, the politics of it and then the spirituality of it. And I have, again, some clips from your video, and then I have, basically, just a couple of things that I’ve done, not clips but just parts that I did. So that sounds okay?
Michael Dowd: [00:10:18] Sounds great.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:10:19] So where I thought I’d start, rather than start with the science because that’s where everybody starts, is to start with the politics of global warming and as a way to kind of segue into that, why don’t I play another clip from your video series and then I’ll see if you think this kind of captures where you’re coming from. So here it goes.
Michael Dowd: [00:10:42] So let’s take a look at what reality is telling us, and this again is the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change best case and medium case scenarios. Worst case scenario is we go extinct. There’ll be bigger storms, bigger droughts, growing deserts, more intense wildfires and more wildfires and shifts in where we can live and grow food, habitability and agriculture. This is now inevitable, we can’t avoid some level of this. Sea level will continue to rise 25 to 40 feet and this is true if every human being went extinct tonight. We’re going to go back to firewood and muscle power and that’s what will be in the future. Even if we have significant technologies, they will be much lower scale as the seas rise. Population will shrink to half a billion or less, due to drought, famine, war and living in a post-antibiotic age.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:11:41] Okay, so obviously I clipped some of the parts out of there. That segment of the video is a 20-minute segment, but do you think we kind of captured accurately there your read of that?
Michael Dowd: [00:11:53] Yeah. What I what I do prior to that, just so folks know the context, is I paint out a hundred-year timeline, the history of the universe. 13.82 billion years in a hundred years, at that scale, homo sapiens had been around for the last day, the last 24 hours, roughly the last 400,000 years. And of that we lived more or less sustainably, to speak mythically we lived in the garden, that is we lived as other animals do and our instincts guided us to do the right thing, that is the things that led to our survival and reproduction.
And then the last half hours, when we started seeing anthropocentrism ,human centeredness, where it’s all about us, we don’t care about any other species, it’s all about us, and it turns out anthropocentrism is self-destructive.
So then I talk about, okay here’s what’s been happening, and then I say, “Now what can we project out, what can we say confidently is the next minute, the next 250 years?” Because on the cosmic century timeline every minute is 250 years, “What can we count on that’s either highly likely or inevitable in the next 250 years?” So that was the beginning of that section.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:12:59] Okay, so great, and you’re kind of getting into some of the science there, which is awesome, your understanding of the science and the IPCCs understanding of the science, which is great. I want to dive into that and we’ll talk about that more.
But I do want to kind of shift gears to the political part for a second, and I guess the question I’d have for you is, if someone looked at the science and came to the same conclusions that you have there in that video, what laws, what policies would you see being necessary to be enacted in order to support the natural conclusions of that science? And that’s kind of a lead in to the question, would you see this as being some kind of normal political process inside of our existing democracy, inside of the United States constitution, or do you think because this is a global issue we’d have to transcend that, or do you think because everyone might not go along with it, we’d have to transcend that? How do you feel about that?
Michael Dowd: [00:13:59] Well, it’s certainly a legitimate and good question. It’s not one that I have a lot to offer because what I tend to do is step back. Like I said, the last seven and a half years I’ve been looking at the history of politics, like how has polity, how has governmental structures, how have humans in groups large enough to need government or to need some form of governance over the last 7,000 years, how has that worked? And it turns out that in human centered cultures, that is anthropocentric cultures, the politics almost always becomes dysfunctional because power groups tend to become corrupt and the more power they have the easier and more corrupt they can become. So I don’t hold out any hope, zero. Like zero on a scale of zero to 10, I hold out no hope whatsoever that our political systems can solve or even help fully respond to abrupt climate change.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:15:02] Right, so I guess that’s what I’m getting at and I’m glad you’re being frank about it. So constitution out of the window, democracy more…
Michael Dowd: [00:15:10] Well no, it’s not so much out of the window, constitutions become irrelevant.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:15:15] I don’t want to say constitutions. Our constitution, our United States constitution, our current system of governance, democracy. You know, last time around I didn’t vote for Trump, but 50% of people voted for Trump and Trump became president and there was screaming crying in the streets, gnashing of teeth, a major uprising, but we went ahead and stuck it out with the guy who was elected president.
Michael Dowd: [00:15:40] Well, that’s what happened on the liberal end of the spectrum. There was a hell of a lot of people who were celebrating.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:15:45] Right on. So my point is, let’s say this comes down to another kind of election and people aren’t swayed by… we’re going to get into the science, but let’s say people aren’t swayed by the science, like, “Yeah, well I don’t really think so.” Then what do we do? Do we abide by the democratic system in our country? What do we do on an international basis?
Michael Dowd: [00:16:08] This is going to be a curve ball I suspect. There’s nothing we can do. Abrupt climate change means that climate change throughout Earth’s history, that usually took between 1,000 and 10,000 years, is happening on a scale of one human lifetime. There is nothing we can do. If seven billion people woke up tonight, all convinced to do the same good thing, it wouldn’t be enough because the Arctic is already wigging out and others. We’ve already tipped certain tipping points that there’s nothing politically that we can do, there’s nothing economic. I mean there has never been, in the history of humanity, a market-based system that didn’t self-implode, that didn’t self-destruct, that didn’t become ecocidal, because market-based systems treat primary reality, that is the air, water, soil, life upon which we depend, not as primary as it needs to be, every sustainable culture did that, they treat it as merely resources for our benefit and a place for our waste. That is unsustainable by definition.
First of all, I have no opinion, for example, I haven’t watched anything on the right or on the left, I’ve watched nothing about the so-called impeachment process that’s going on.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:17:32] Well neither have I but I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is a reality here that I think is so often left out of this discussion and that is that, if you’re talking about climate change and you’re talking about doing something about it.
Michael Dowd: [00:17:48] No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don’t talk about doing something about it Alex, I talk about doing something in your own heart to prepare for what’s inevitable, accept what’s inevitable an then honor your grief, if you have grief, some people don’t have that, and then invest in what is pro-future and soul nourishing. I do not think there’s anything we can do to stop climate.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:18:11] Okay, but there’s a certain crossover in what you said. So this is extremely apocalyptic, and that’s okay. If that’s what it is, that’s what it is. But then I don’t necessarily get the shift to prepare for a future. You’re saying there is no future and I’m saying the reality ,the political reality, the policy reality, the stakeholder analysis reality of what you’re saying, we’ve seen it before, it leads to people taking to the streets and revolting and grab your M16 and every person for themselves, because you’re talking about a 90% reduction in population, we have to be realistic.
That’s where I see a disconnect with sometimes what you say, you know, person of the heart and faith, plant your seeds in your garden. No, it’s going to be whoever has the guns and drives around in trucks and comes and takes your shit. We know what chaos at that level looks like. Isn’t that where we’re heading, if we’re heading towards the apocalypse?
Michael Dowd: [00:19:13] First of all, there have been over a hundred apocalypses in the last 7,000 years. We know of about 120 civilizations that have become great and on their way up when the economy’s expanding, when there are more than enough resources life is good, “liberal” values tend to predominate. Then there’s a tipping point, meaning that basically you go into overshoot, you have overshot the carrying capacity of your base. And then on the way down, which it usually takes about half the time, typically a century or two to decline before you get back to another dark age. So on the downslope it feels like apocalypse every single time or virtually every single time.
So I don’t know how exactly our society will unravel it, but what I do know is if survival is your issue, like if being alive no matter what is what it’s all about for you, I invite you to consider the possibility that having 20 people who know and love you and care about you is going to be a hell of a lot more important than having 20 guns.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:20:18] Okay brother, but you’ve got to understand how that message sounds. I mean, it just doesn’t play well. It plays way over on the, kind of extremist side and I would pull it back to just some realities, like you’re talking about, okay? I played out one reality, whereas it’s not 20 people all loving each other in a commune.
Michael Dowd: [00:20:41] No, I don’t mean love, I don’t mean this kind of…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:20:43] Hold up, just let me, because it’s it’s a crazy scenario that we’re playing out anyway. But it’s not people getting together to form community and make things… because at that level it’s about, we’ve seen it in the movies, you know, a bunch of guys getting together with guns driving around, see who has water, see who has food, put the gun to their head and say, “Give it to me and give me the women and give me whatever,” it’s chaos. At a national level we know that that looks like because we lived through it. It’s like North Korea, “You don’t want to go along with our pan. Boom, here’s a bomb on you.” China, “You don’t want to go along with our plan, here’s a bomb on you.”
I’m not trying to be tricky or trying to be super complex, futuristic, I’m just saying, if we buy into what you’re saying, isn’t that the inevitable future? It’s not 20 people getting together and deciding they’re going to live a different way, that isn’t going to be the future.
Michael Dowd: [00:21:39] So, I’m going to say this is my last political comment and I warned you, I was not interested in talking about politics, because I am neither liberal nor conservative, I’m both in different ways. Any evolutionary, anybody who gets evolution has to embrace both a conserving element, DNA is conservative if it’s anything, and a more expansive element. So I’m neither of those.
So, this is the last thing I’ll say on this. You’ve watched too many movies and you haven’t read enough history because when you look at how civilizations have collapsed… There are people who have spent their entire lifetime, Arnold Toynbee, Oswald Spengler, Giambattista Vico, these are people who have studied, side by side by side by side by side, all of these different civilizations and empires, Sir John Glubb, and how these contract and collapse and we know a lot about that how that happens, and Mad Max is never the scenario. You’ve watched too many… Let me finish, let me finish please.
What we know is that things will collapse differently in thousands of different places, in thousands of different ways, it won’t happen in any one way, and you and I can’t even fathom some of the things that we just couldn’t imagine because it’ll be new to this generation because previous generations didn’t have atom bombs and machine guns and all the shit that we’ve got.
So is some of what you’re describing going to happen? You bet, absolutely, but there will be communities that respond differently. I don’t know about that, I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care about it because I’ve got a daughter who’s due to give birth in May. I’ve also got a nine-year-old granddaughter. I’ve got flesh in the game, in terms of the future, but I believe that my children will die much younger than they normally would have, because I believe that within the next 20 years we’re going to see major, major famine probably wiping out 70% to 90% of the human population.
So anything you want to talk about in terms of…?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:23:40] No, I’m ready I was just giving a pause, hold on.
Michael Dowd: [00:23:41] Because religion and the science and the spirituality, I’m game for, I’m not interested in talking about the politics anymore.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:23:50] you go As you see on the screen let’s move on The science of global warming Some people call it climate change So you’ve laid out your position Let me try as succinctly as possible to lay out my position in three parts if you will So the first part would be that The stakes as we were just talking about and that’s why I started with politics I am extremely apolitical like you are I never talk about left right I think it’s completely ridiculous way to suggest that that paradigm has any reality at all on so many different levels But there is a reality to that and we just talked about it The reality is that the stakes Are very very high so we got to make damn sure we get it right I mean We are facing species threatening environmental issues on a number of fronts We’re in total agreement on that and I understand that Action Along the lines of what you’re talking about is one possibility Non-action is an option but it’s really not an option We are going to do something We’re going to do something in the next five years 10 years 20 years And the point is are we going to do the right thing or the wrong thing So when I get to the science thing the first thing I want to do is I want to say we’ve got a double check Everything verify that it’s true And along those same lines I’m extremely leery Of science that comes from folks who’ve lied to me in the past So I look at the 97% consensus thing
Michael Dowd: [00:25:37] that was that’s actually closer to 99% now that was actually seven years ago when the 97% thing if you look at how many papers actually written by climate scientists in the last six years it’s about 99%
Alex Tsakiris: [00:25:50] Okay Well we could get into that I don’t think it’s going to be fruitful to dig into that too far but what we can if you want to cause I did a whole show with Rick on that and Rick was so insistent on the consensus thing and I said Rick you’re going to look foolish here cause we’re you’re going to dig into it and you’re going to see that it’s fake science And at the end of the day looked at Rick looked into it and he had to admit on the show I can play you the clip That it’s fake science The 97% consensus the GIP the college students get my own interns to go and do this summations on this research was fake science Not to say that there aren’t other stats out there that give different consensus marks but my point again remember is that we got to be really careful because there’s fake data out there fake science out there We have climate gate We’re the whole the the the whole thing was how do we cook the books How do we change
Michael Dowd: [00:26:48] the data Alex Alex we have a limited amount of time You’re wasting time by talking about something I don’t give a shit about I don’t care about the climate sciences hoax I don’t care about where some scientists were I don’t care about that I’m looking at Paul Beckwith and Nicholas Humphrey Meteorologists Nick Humphrey and Paul Beckwith Those are the kinds of people I go to and Peter Wadhams In terms of the Arctic I pay attention to a select understanding of the data that’s in controvertible that nobody is arguing but nobody anywhere is arguing with and it’s about abrupt climate change Get that word abrupt Climate change I can go into the details if you want me to but I’m not interested in debating and trying to defend the liberal consensus It ain’t going to happen so you’re wasting my time
Alex Tsakiris: [00:27:39] Well you know that’s
Michael Dowd: [00:27:40] fiercely Alex Seriously
Alex Tsakiris: [00:27:42] see but that’s the vibe I got from you from the beginning Michael and I get from so many people from the death cult environmentalist they don’t want to waste their time listening to the other side of it I love
Michael Dowd: [00:27:52] the way you sit in my in my world and what I pay attention to There’s not And another side in terms of
Alex Tsakiris: [00:28:01] always another side Michael
Michael Dowd: [00:28:04] Alex Alex Alex Okay You promised me that you would relate to me and things that I was interested in We’re not doing that I am not going
Alex Tsakiris: [00:28:14] I am not listening
Michael Dowd: [00:28:15] to me I’m not going to
Alex Tsakiris: [00:28:17] debate You would relate to you in things that you’re interested in I I never said that I’ve I I’ve represented
Michael Dowd: [00:28:25] Alex I told you I would not discuss and was not interested and I’m not prepared to defend cause I don’t give a poop about it The kind of things that you have done with other guests such as what you just put on the screen I’m not interested so If you want me to continue in this conversation you yourself said that if you’re not pleased you can get off anytime If you want to do that I invite you to ask me about the religion Arap the spirituality about responding I will not try to defend the stuff you very capably can attack and interested in it Okay
Alex Tsakiris: [00:29:02] I will move on Why do you think if I can capably attack or bring up the data points in your presentation on climate change your data point on sea level rise If I can bring up a noted Climatologist who doesn’t agree with you Why is that not relevant
Michael Dowd: [00:29:25] to this discussion Because I could bring up 99 who do agree with me For example John Englander is a friend of mine He’s a colleague but hold on it Ana Englander wrote is the former president of the Jacques Cousteau society He will also tell you as virtually anybody who deals with the oceans will that even if all human beings went extinct tonight the oceans would still rise considerably somewhere between 20 and 50 feet
Regardless of what we do even if we took all the political action But this is not I’m not going to debate designs with you cause the evidence to my mind is clear Can you show one or two or three or four or five respected climatologists who have a different opinion Of course That doesn’t make any difference to me I go with where the majority and where the evidence what I when I look at the evidence my wife is a science writer She’s written five science books I go with where what we what global collective intelligence seems to be saying it never has to be 100% so the fact that you’ve got some dissenters and some convincing ones at least to you and to your followers that’s cool Okay whatever I’m interested in how we adapt to what is now In my estimation unavoidable But
Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:43] do you realize how that plays Michael went
Michael Dowd: [00:30:45] somewhere because one of the things that’s unavoidable one says
Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:49] not interested in the data that you have I’m not interested in discussing it I’m only interested in Spewing my apocalyptic future but that’s okay You know what We will move on I am happy to expedite the conversation and move on to the spiritual
Michael Dowd: [00:31:09] part So yeah but but your sarcasm the the the biting this of your tone is uncalled for I warned you in three emails that this is that I gave you the range of things that I would love to discuss with you And the things
Alex Tsakiris: [00:31:23] and I gave you a clear understanding that you know we’re having a discussion a debate
Michael Dowd: [00:31:29] from we’re not having a debate I’m not interested I don’t debate I don’t debate anybody Carrie end of story I discussed Let me let me finish I discuss what I’m knowledgeable about what I have passion and energy and commitment to And it doesn’t happen to be the politics and it doesn’t happen to be defending the science So find other guests to debate that It’s great that you do that It’s not where I go It’s not what I’m interested in you if you’re interested into and
Alex Tsakiris: [00:31:59] how to stay
Michael Dowd: [00:31:59] inspired and
Alex Tsakiris: [00:32:02] get all over the place I mean I don’t understand Again I don’t understand people like you who come on and debate
Michael Dowd: [00:32:07] and then say
Alex Tsakiris: [00:32:09] I’m not debating so you can call it whatever you want Dialoguing having a conversation I don’t care what you have what you call it your presenting your position I’m presenting my position I am
Michael Dowd: [00:32:21] no no no That’s not what that’s not what I okay I’ve interviewed over 120 people where I’ve been the podcast host and I interview people and in every single one of them my 2014 series the future is calling us to greatness where I interviewed 56 of the world’s top experts on climate and sustainability and a spattering of spiritual leaders and then the one I’m doing now post dune conversations so people could learn about that on post doom.com every single one of those I listen I am I’m trying to get the my guest the person I’m talking to to share how they think how they feel how they see the world Not
Alex Tsakiris: [00:33:00] debate is like to talk to people who agree with you I get it I get those kinds of people all the time
Michael Dowd: [00:33:06] Do you have any idea over 120 people all these people don’t agree with me They don’t need to because it’s not a debate I want them to share their thing and I engage with them but not from a debating stance
Alex Tsakiris: [00:33:19] I want if you want to be a Judith Curry Oh why don’t you get Dr.
Judith Curry from Georgia tech on your show Why don’t you that would be an interesting conversation I’d like to hear your dialogue
Michael Dowd: [00:33:27] was not a post doom worldview I’m not interested I interview people on post doom Alex if you want to have a conversation with me let’s have a conversation If you continue in this debate format I’m going to hang up
Alex Tsakiris: [00:33:41] Michael you are free to click the end button at any time No one is chaining you to this discussion
Michael Dowd: [00:33:47] I know And then you’ll trash me which is fine cause I’ve seen you do that but I’m not interested
Alex Tsakiris: [00:33:53] Okay good I’m glad you said something back that up Well let’s let’s talk about you trashed someone One of I trash someone off the mic One of I hung up on a conversation with me
Michael Dowd: [00:34:04] and I had never seen that I have never heard that
Alex Tsakiris: [00:34:06] and I apologize I apologize
Michael Dowd: [00:34:09] for getting that impression I have never seen that I came I got that only because of the way that we’ve related in the emails but I’ve never seen or experienced you doing okay And I have
Alex Tsakiris: [00:34:17] I’ve never done I’ve never done that but that’s okay So we’ll talk about the spirituality of global
Michael Dowd: [00:34:22] warming that I’d love to do
Alex Tsakiris: [00:34:24] Well we’ll
Michael Dowd: [00:34:24] see And anything related to post doom like how to stay inspired in contracting times because there are certain things that are see this is the thing if you want to talk about the science what I’m going to talk about is the science of overshoot the science of every society for which we have evidence that has gone into ecological overshoot contracts and collapses and it’s inevitable So that I’m real knowledgeable about and I’m happy to talk about that But global warming is one symptom of overshoot There’s about 20 other symptoms of overshoot that we could talk about That’s why I’m not interested in talking about too specified an area because let’s talk about all the other aspects of overshoot William Catton’s book overshoot is the most important book I’ve ever read in my life Overshoot the ecological basis Revolutionary change I can’t recommend it to Island
Alex Tsakiris: [00:35:08] So Michael you describe yourself as an eco-theologian Yup Now reading your bio I know you have an extensive background with Christianity Born again you went to seminary ordained minister but maybe you want to tell us more about your spiritual background as a Christian You talk less about Jesus I’ve never heard you mentioned Jesus ever I mean where does the Jesus thing factor into your thing and what is your your well how would Christians Understand your spirituality
Michael Dowd: [00:35:41] Well it’s kind of hard to it’s kind of hard to say what would Christian say because there are you know thousands and thousands and thousands of Christian churches and they’re all over the map Some of them treat science and evidence a whole lot more authoritative than the Bible Some treat mythic language the way I treat mythic language that is saying something symbolically true Poetically metaphorically true about the nature of reality But they do it in poetry and they do it And then that poetry they do it in symbol which is that symbolic language So
Alex Tsakiris: [00:36:11] I interpret where do you come down on the historical Jesus Is there a historical Jesus Christ consciousness What is your relationship
Michael Dowd: [00:36:17] I don’t I don’t tend to use consciousness a whole lot because for me every life form has some form of consciousness So I’m you know what I will say is that The all of the world’s religions Have been evolving the last several thousand years including Christianity in a context where the culture already is out of right Relationship to God out of right relationship to reality And that is it’s been human centered And so these cultures these religions have helped people to sort of Cope with that their coping mechanisms but in healthy for the first 97% of human history religions were the control mechanism not the country not the whole coping mechanism So they basically insisted that the future was not compromised by the presence And so I’m trying to because I am a Christian I try to interpret the Christian Christian story in terms of how this can be understood in ways that are ecologically and scientifically factual not merely spiritually inspiring Okay
Alex Tsakiris: [00:37:22] but I’m asking you a couple of times
Michael Dowd: [00:37:23] Do you think for example the Trinity I don’t explain even the
Alex Tsakiris: [00:37:26] historical Jesus Do you believe who was Jesus as a historical figure Was he the son of God Was he the Redeemer Did does does everyone who seeks salvation have to go through Jesus The these are fair questions I mean you were the the the trappings You go by Reverend Michael Dowd These are fair question to ask a Christian
Michael Dowd: [00:37:52] Totally fair questions to ask Christian I interpret all of those only In light of Christ not just the person Jesus but the mythic Christ The story is built around him as a personification a deification of the future The first person in the Trinity is a deification of the past the second person of the Trinity the savior the Messiah all that It’s all about the future and the third person has the Holy spirit that spirit that spirit of God the Hebrews you didn’t need to believe in the spirit If the wind and the breath personified deified the only place you can experience wind and breath is in the presence So yes the only way that humans can save ourselves once we exited out of the garden that is once we left the way we were living for the first 97% of human history went on a human centered path We can’t save ourselves We were on that path seven thousand six thousand whatever years ago that led right to here which is hell okay This the this world hell And only the future can save us by making the future Our Lord is the only hope of redemption And that’s true Even if we go extinct that is the only hope of us We’re being redeemed in the body of life So yes for me Christ is the future Personify the voice and the heart of the future The future is my Lord
Alex Tsakiris: [00:39:04] Okay So six or 7,000 years ago there was a garden
Michael Dowd: [00:39:08] No no no no no no no no Alex Alex Metaphor The garden symbolizes humanity living in a mutually enhancing relationship with the rest of the body of life with with reality
Alex Tsakiris: [00:39:21] What was the 6,000 or 7,000 years reference Oh
Michael Dowd: [00:39:25] human centeredness Anthropocentric what did what Daniel Quinn calls took talent Tarion agriculture Once we start creating forms of agriculture that it’s all about us then we get really really good at having things work out best for us over time Because our brains and our hands our tool-making ability in our symbolic brains And then once you start mining metals you get into this arms race So it seems to me it pretty inevitable from about six seven maybe 8,000 years ago once we see city-based human centered cultures that Always overshoot the carrying capacity That is they they use more resources and create more waste So they end up dying over time And so that pattern the rise and fall of booms and busts of civilization is inevitable until or unless we make the future our primary guiding principle that is the seventh generation That whole idea of acting with the with the future as the judge in the present that’s not just a good idea to do otherwise as evil So I interpret it The Christian story and all the Christian doctrinal language other traditions too from this grounded ecological evolutionary worldview
Alex Tsakiris: [00:40:32] So the six or 7,000 years a lot of people tie that to biblical people people who are tied to the Bible as Holy scripture tie that back to the garden kind of thing But you aren’t making any connection You’re just saying it just so happens that the six or 7,000 years that Christians like to tie back to the origin story it just it’s just coincidence that that ties to this
Michael Dowd: [00:40:58] Well really Yeah I mean when you start seeing city-based civilizations is like six or 7,000 years ago
Alex Tsakiris: [00:41:06] and connection to the Bible That’s my question
Michael Dowd: [00:41:08] There’s no Oh no no no no I the the Bible is mythic literature Deeply inspiring
Alex Tsakiris: [00:41:14] Did Jesus walk on the earth and was he the son of God
Michael Dowd: [00:41:19] I have no fucking
Alex Tsakiris: [00:41:20] idea You have no
Michael Dowd: [00:41:21] fucking just walked on the earth probably Yes Could it be I mean there’s some people some scholars actually that I have said that Jesus and Buddha are athlete actually mythic figures and the rather than actual flesh and blood I suspect they were living beings I suspect Jesus of Nazareth was a human being who lived who lived an exemplary like relationship and right relationship to reality And everybody around him was like do you know anybody that got you know
Alex Tsakiris: [00:41:45] so the only son of God
Michael Dowd: [00:41:47] Depends on if you mean that literally or whether you mean that metaphorically If you mean that literally No of course not Well
Alex Tsakiris: [00:41:55] why Of course not Because a lot of Christians
Michael Dowd: [00:41:57] because all species are children of God all species are sons and daughters of God All humans are sons and daughters of God
Alex Tsakiris: [00:42:05] So any special relationship between Jesus and God any special different relationship
Michael Dowd: [00:42:12] or any special relationship Between the future and the past Yes There’s a pastoral relationship there One in the same You can’t honor the future and be a blessing to the future by dishonoring the past So of course I I’m not I’m not going to try to discuss fundamentalist theology with you because I’m not interested It’s not where I’m at I speak in moderate to liberal Christian Buddhist Unitarian a unity church of religious science I speak in every place except biblical fundamentalist cert settings because it takes a courageous evangelical to invite me in It takes an evangelical pastor who wants to move their congregation in accepting evolution and ecology as divinely regulatory and that’s few and far between It only happens every few years So of the 3000 or close to 3000 Churches are organizations where I’ve spoken in the last 18 years I think six of them have been fundamentalist or evangelical It’s it’s pretty rare
Alex Tsakiris: [00:43:13] Yeah I don’t identify with those labels cause I’m not a Christian I’m not religious But what about your transformation Do you were born again right At some point you were probably w I don’t know Were you more kind of what you would
Michael Dowd: [00:43:24] I was raised Catholic, I went through Catholic school. For most Catholics evolution isn’t a big deal, they just sort of accept it, as the current Pope does. I had a born again experience, and by born again what I mean is, I had a metanoia, a conversion experience in my late teenage years in Berlin, Germany and that was because I was struggling with drug, alcohol and sex addiction and I realized that I was taking myself to hell basically.
So I had this profound mountaintop experience outside of Frankfurt, Germany. Came off the mountain literally and the next Sunday I went to church and they were showing this Billy Graham film at this Pentecostal Assemblies of God church. And at the end of this film, which was one of these grab your heart films, the minister asked, “Is there anybody want to come down to the altar and accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?” Man, I went practically running down the altar and I had conversion experience, meaning I turned my life over to the care of reality, God, the universe. For me, Christ was always the heart and soul of reality.
So I then read the bible straight through twice, I went to an Assemblies of God college. Ended up pastoring three United Church of Christ Churches, although one of them, the first one was also a Baptist Church. I went to Baptist seminary and then pastored three churches and then I’ve done environmental sustainability and community organizing work since then. And then the last 18 years traveling around with my wife.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:44:57] The reason I wanted to go through your personal, kind of Christian orientation, spiritual orientation, is because I think it’s interesting, I think it’s interesting to people who identify as Christian, because I’m not, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense. I think there are a lot of cultish aspects to the Christian religion. I was brought up Greek Orthodox in the Greek Orthodox tradition, and thinking back and the process of really kind of unraveling how that works and the symbolism and the icon worshiping and the, you know, go up and kiss the priest’s hand while he puts a piece of bread in your… I think is incredibly just destructive or potentially destructive on so many levels, and I just wanted people to understand. Because you do kind of front it out there pretty much, you’ve got the green shirt on and the collar.
Michael Dowd: [00:45:49] Yeah, well there’s there’s a history to that. I’m committed to the greening of religion, that is religion coming home to reality. And again, I use the word God and reality interchangeably. God is a mythic name of reality and reality is a secular name for God. Any God that doesn’t include the voice of what reality is telling us is impotent.
The problem is, every religion that is book based, that is grounded in written human language, that language often becomes idolatrous. I call it idolatry of the written word, idolatry of the other worldly and idolatry of beliefs, and those are almost inevitable in written cultures. Once you have literacy that escapes the priesthood, so it then becomes part of the common people and literacy becomes sort of the Norman culture, religions that emerge and flower in those kinds of cultures almost always fall victim to idolatry of the written word.
See, in oral cultures, when you’ve just got oral stories about the nature of what’s real and what’s important, those stories can evolve and shift and change over time, but once you write them down, then it becomes the authoritative word of God and the only thing that can change is the interpretations. So then as reality shifts, as the environment and climate and culture and civilizations and all that stuff shift, you’ve got these cultures that are going back to these ancient texts, as if reality cares more about picking up sticks on the Sabbath, than reality cares about things that are current today, like global warming.
So I don’t see any hope of any religions of the book surviving this, what you call apocalypse, I don’t, this bottleneck, this overshoot correction where we come back into the carrying capacity of the living world. I don’t see any of the religions of the book surviving that in their current form. They can survive once ecology, once again, becomes the heart of their theology, that’s why I’m espousing that and that’s why I’ve got that green color.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:47:51] Yeah, but that’s what I want to say, Michael, you’re still right in the middle of it, you’re still calling yourself a Christian, you’re still tapping into…
Michael Dowd: [00:47:56] I’m an evolutionary Christian, I’m a Christian…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:47:59] You’re a Christian, you haven’t broken free from it.
Michael Dowd: [00:48:03] Alex, Alex.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:48:04] It’s just who you are, I don’t know…
Michael Dowd: [00:48:08] I am a Christian naturalist, I have no supernatural beliefs or other worldly beliefs at all, zip, nada, not one. I’m a Christian naturalist. So if you’re interpreting…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:48:18] You have no supernatural beliefs, when you talk about your relationship with Jesus, wasn’t that a supernatural relationship? Is the future supernatural?
Michael Dowd: [00:48:24] Is the future supernatural? I said I have a personal relationship…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:48:27] We went through your whole thig with Jesus, isn’t that supernatural?
Michael Dowd: [00:48:32] Oh, I had supernatural beliefs back then, absolutely.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:48:34] But you don’t have them… So then how do you view today?
Michael Dowd: [00:48:36] 1988 I read Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest, well not a priest but a Catholic monk, he called himself a geologian. He was one of the most significant ecological and evolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. He and Brian Swimme wrote a number of books, The Universe Story was the one they co-authored, but I when I encountered Thomas Berry’s work in 1988, as well as Jean Marshall and a few others, my supernaturalism just fell away because a naturalistic re-interpretation of all the Christian, not just Christian, all the myths and religions just make so much more sense.
So here’s my creed in a nutshell. My faith statement, as it were, in a nutshell, the shortest possible form that I can put it is this. Reality is my God, this is reality is my ultimate commitment. Reality is my God, evidence is my scripture, that is evidence is authoritative, in terms of what reality is. So reality is my God, evidence is my scripture. Big history or the epic of evolution, that is the history of everyone and everything that science gives us is my creation story. Ecology is my theology. Integrity, and what I mean by integrity are the practices and exercises that help me live in the right relationship to reality, so integrity is my spirituality. So reality is my God, evidence is my scripture. The epic of evolution is my creation story. Ecology is my theology. Integrity is my spiritual path and fostering accountability to the future is my mission. And that’s my faith statement, that’s the kind of Christian I am, not the kind of Christian you’re imagining.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:14] Well it doesn’t sound like you’re a Christian at all if you don’t believe in Christ.
Michael Dowd: [00:50:18] I don’t need to believe we can know now. That’s the thing, it’s not about beliefs, we’re beyond… Remember the three idolatries, written word, idolatry of the other worldly and idolatry of beliefs. Idolatry of beliefs is where we think what religion is about is beliefs. Religion was never about beliefs in sustainable cultures and religion was always about beliefs in unsustainable cultures. We now don’t need to believe, we can experience and know that if we don’t honor the future first, as Lord, we will go extinct. If we don’t honor the wisdom of the past, history and evolution, then we’re going to not have the guidance and the present for how to be a blessing to the future. So I’m not going to debate whether I’m a Christian or not, I’m this kind of Christian, a Christian…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:01] Because you’re all over the board buddy, you’re all over the board. You’re talking about a spiritual awakening, a born-again experience. I held your feet to the fire on whether Jesus existed, you said yes, and then you wind up saying, “Well, I don’t believe in anything supernatural.” You don’t believe in consciousness?
Michael Dowd: [00:51:15] Let me try to paint this out. I had a born-again experience in 1981 I was discipled.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:25] But you don’t accept that as supernatural.
Michael Dowd: [00:51:26] Very supernatural.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:28] But you don’t accept it as supernatural today Michael, what difference does it make if you had some experience in the past that you know longer accept…
Michael Dowd: [00:51:34] I’m simply trying to… Alex, can you allow me to just share my story?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:39] I’ve given you plenty of time to share your ridiculous…
Michael Dowd: [00:51:42] But you’re interpreting it as if there’s something wrong. I had a change of how I interpret going from supernatural…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:50] Then why are you fronting yourself as a Christian and wearing the collar and doing all of that stuff? You’re not a Christian, you don’t believe in Jesus, you don’t believe in scripture.
Michael Dowd: [00:51:58] Do you realize that there are thousands and probably tens of thousands of liberal Christian churches that don’t believe anything like you are characterizing. There’s nothing sillier than someone who’s not a Christian attacking someone else for not being a true Christian because they think what Christians are are biblical fundamentalists. You got the wrong guy dude, trust me. I’ve spoken to close to 3000 churches, maybe six of them are fundamentalist evangelical. All of the rest of them don’t believe, it’s not about beliefism. Liberal Christians are not the same as fundamentalist Christians and I am a Protestant ecological Christian, I’m an eco-Christian, I’m a Christian naturalist. That’s how I sell myself, that’s on my websites, you’ve got dozens of sermons on YouTube, I’m consistent everywhere.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:52:50] Okay, I’ll accept that that’s how you sell yourself, that’s how you present yourself to use your words.
So the two things that get me about the death cult environmentalist position, my words not yours, is one, and I hear it from a bunch of different people who kind of get this kind of cultish vibe, is that, “We are in a special time and God needs our help right now to save Mother Earth,” or to do whatever. This reasoning, “God needs our help” not all of the time but right now has been used. It’s at the heart of every war we’ve ever had, every genocide that we’ve ever had. Why would we listen to it now? Haven’t we learned that if there’s any reality to spirituality, to a larger self, to a larger connection, then we’re probably not in a special time, and God probably doesn’t need our help right now?
Michael Dowd: [00:53:44] Well I actually agree with everything you just said, so I don’t have any… What you are identifying as the, it sounds like Christian but death cult, that God needs our help to save her Mother Earth or his Mother, whatever, no. I don’t even see God as human centered. We’re not God’s favorite species, we’re not reality’s favorite species. In fact, we’re going to go extinct on a hundred-year timeline and we’ve got at most another week, that is another 4 million years before a super volcano or an asteroid takes us out. And then Earth will continue to spin, the moon will continue to do its thing, the galaxy will continue to do its thing, species will come, species will go, glaciers will come, glaciers will go, long after humans are gone. So we’re not God’s favorite species, so let’s just start there.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:54:34] Well the other thing that I guess always strikes me, peeves me about this certain brand of cultish environmentalism is the kind of play between the acceptance that spirituality is, the acceptance, oneness of all of us being together under one God, which is actually my personal belief. I believe, you know, it’s the ocean, wave, drop thing. You know there’s the ocean, that we’re all just the ocean and then we have this individualization that arises in our head, that we are somehow separate and different. I’m all about that.
But what seems to be in conflict with that, is this kind of get her done environmentalism, and I know you’re backpedaling from that all over the place, but everyone else I’ve ever talked to, that has this environmental vibe, including ou buddy Rick Archer, it always is accompanied by 10 things that we need to do right now and we need to do the Paris Accord and , “Damn those politicians who won’t do it, and if we could only cut down on this and do that,” and it’s kind of a get or done attitude that seems to be out of sync a little bit with this deeper spirituality.
Now, maybe that’s not you, you’re kind of backing off the get her done saying, “Hey…”
Michael Dowd: [00:55:55] Okay, so backing off would probably be characteristically true because when I woke up to the urgency of climate, and I started studying the rise and fall of civilizations, when that became my center studies, spending 20, 30, 40 hours, sometimes 50 hours a week studying that from December of 2012 until no I did start out being a very serious… I thought it was all about activism, it was all about getting to the streets, it was all about doing everything we could to get political change and blah de blah. So I would probably have been lumped in the group that you are critiquing there.
And then, the more I got into it, and then when I started studying the abrupt climate change, it is already, in my estimation and the people who I respect the most, it is already beyond our control. So the time is now not to be urgent, it’s not to be panicked, it’s too late for that, the time is to notice what’s happening and build the strongest sense of relationships of care and commitment to community that you can with your family, your extended family, your neighbors, let’s just start there, and find good local work that you can be involved in that can be a blessing to your community, your city, your village, your town, whatever. But ultimately to be at peace with your mortality personally.
I’m speaking to you from where I went through cancer treatment 10 years ago where we thought I could die in the next eight months, so I’ve had that peacefulness with my mortality for the last 10 years, thankfully. But also be at peace with our mortality, species mortality, because whether we go extinct in 10 years or 5 million years, it’s probably going to be in that window, and even if it’s 5 million years from now that’s pretty short, that’s like a week on the cosmic century timeline.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:57:45] So says Reverend Michael Dowd and he really isn’t interested in debating whether or not anyone holds another position. I think that’s what I am most surprised about.
Michael Dowd: [00:57:56] Actually, the way you just characterize that is not accurate. One of the things that I see is inevitable when I understand history, is that as things contract, as societies and empires and civilizations contract, and contract is a better word than collapse because sometimes people think off a cliff and it doesn’t, Rome took 320 years to collapse. So as societies contract there are all Kinds of ways of coping and understanding and denial is one of them, but various kinds of rejuvenation, visions of possibility.
So I respect the diversity, including your diversity, because you convincing me or me convincing you is not going to make a difference. So whatever your beliefs are, whatever your axe is to grind, whatever debates you love having, that is cool. I don’t debate people simply because I honor where they’re coming from as probably a coping mechanism given what we’re actually dealing with.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:58:52] Or because you have a fascination for death cult environmentalism and it feeds your need… and you don’t really like to have anyone disagree with you.
Michael Dowd: [00:58:58] I just said that I… Alex, what part…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:59:05] I wish I had that kind of gumption on this show just to shout down everybody who doesn’t agree with me on near-death experience, science or parapsychology or any of the other topics we cover. I wish I just had the balls just to say, “You know what, I don’t care what you think, I don’t care what your position is because I already know the truth.”
Michael Dowd: [00:59:25] First of all, everything you just characterized is not accurate for me. I care what people think, I don’t try to convince them of anything.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:59:33] No, but you don’t care. You threatened to end the conversation if we continued… If I brought up Judith Curry and her peer-reviewed study that is carefully analyzed over years by a very competent climatologist, that sea level rise isn’t occurring right now and that’s just one… You don’t want to hear it. You shut that down and threatened that you’d end the meeting. Not that, I don’t care, you can end the meeting at any time, you can end it right now before you respond, but you you understand that your actions don’t really back up your words, in terms of really wanting to engage with the data.
Michael Dowd: [01:00:15] Alex, I made a promise to myself seven years ago that I would not debate anybody, and it’s not because I think I’m right and they’re screwed up.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:00:30] But this wasn’t a debate.
Michael Dowd: [01:00:31] Let me finish please.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:00:31] But this wasn’t a debate.
Michael Dowd: [01:00:33] But you have a debating style, that’s just your nature, that’s cool, it’s just not what I engage in. So I warned you several times in the email…
Alex Tsakiris: [01:00:42] You’ve engaged in it for the last hour my friend. You’ve engaged in it for the last hour.
Michael Dowd: [01:00:44] That’s because it would be rude for me to hang up, and I am interested in having a conversation and I have no problem with, you know, after this in the forum and stuff. Whatever you say about me you’re going to say about me. But I’m interested in simply sharing to the best that I can what I find inspiring about a post doom world. Again, postdoom.com, people can learn all about it, and my ProFuture Faith course, right there, ProFuture Faith, that’s what I’m into, and I respect the fact that others have a differing opinion and differing interpretation of science, different political views and all that’s just totally cool. That’s what happens.
I’m focused on what I can focus on and I really love focusing on it because it gives me joy, I live a very joyous life. I’m not a part of the death cult, as you say, I’m at peace with my mortality, and our species mortality, because I think that there’s probably a better than 50% chance that we will not last more than 50, 60 years if that, our species. But I think there’s also a 40%, 50% chance that some pockets of us will survive for the next two, three, four million years.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:01:53] Well, I’ll tell you what, that might be a great way to end it. I really do, and I mean this very sincerely, I greatly respect your ability to come in and stick it out for an hour and our mutual willingness to exchange and have a difficult conversation. I totally respect where you’re coming from, I don’t even mind your debating on debate kind of stuff, I think we hashed all of that out.
It’s been for me a great conversation, I hope people find it interesting, find it engaging. Is there anything else we should mention about your work ? We’ve mentioned the book, Thank God for Evolution.
Michael Dowd: [01:02:28] Yeah, well Thank God for Evolution, I was still a techno-optimist, I still was a techno-utopian. I believed that evolution was all about humans and that we were part of a process that was ongoing in complexity. I now no longer think. So 10% of that book I no longer agree with, I really no longer agree with, so I don’t even sell my own book anymore. But the the the ProFuture Faith course, absolutely, 100%, I’m right there. And the Post Doom conversations are all freely available, and my main website is TheGreatStory.org and if you just click on ‘what’s new’, all of my past sermons and everything else, I’m all over YouTube.
Although there’s a Michael Dowd, the most notorious police office in New York City’s history, so there was a movie done about him a few years ago. So if you Google Michael Dowd there’s a lot of stuff on him and a lot of stuff on me. But yeah, TheGreatStory.org and especially postdoom.com is where people can find out all kinds of stuff about what I’m up to now these days.
But I really enjoyed, it didn’t seem like it because I got defensive a few times and I apologize for that, but I knew that this was going to be a mud wrestling match and I appreciate you having me on and doing what you do and doing it well. So thank you. And I’m sorry I didn’t allow you to play the Judith Curry thing, I’m just not interested in debating what one or two or three or four scientists say, because I’m listening also to the hundreds or more who are saying things about sea level rise, for example, that are quite convincing to me.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:04:07] Well Michael, thanks again for being on and I enjoyed it.
Michael Dowd: [01:04:12] Thanks Alex.
Thanks again to Reverend Michael Dowd for joining me today on Skeptiko. I do have a few questions I would tee up from this interview, and the first, it has to do with what I call the junk of the cation of science. You know, there’s a lot of debate that is reasonable and important to have about climate, but the one thing I think is beyond debate is that we’re witnessing an unprecedented level of manipulation of science, junk science, and we have to begin to ask ourselves, what is really behind that?
And the second question, I guess that I’d tee up and I asked it in the show, and it’s always interesting to me for people who come at this from a spiritual perspective or people who we would expect to come at this from a spiritual perspective, the question I always throw out is, does God really need our help on this one? Is this like some special case where the all-powerful, almighty all-seeing God has said, “Gee guys, you really have to get behind me on this because I can’t do it on my own”? Does that send off any red flags for you?
And I guess my third and final question would be, what’s your biggest worry, global warming or death cult environmentalists? And I think after listening to this interview, you know what I mean?
So that’ll do it, I guess for this episode. I do look forward to seeing what you have to say. Join me on the Skeptiko Forum if you want to chat and discuss these topics with other folks who listen to this show. Be sure to check out the Skeptiko website where you’ll find all of these shows available for free for download MP3, no commercials, no firewall, anything like that. And we cover a lot of topics that you might be interested in. This was really kind of an unusual topic to cover, but I guess it did hit a lot of the things that we’re interested in as well, as I said in the beginning of the show. So, if you like this stuff, come join us, and if you’re already a listener and you feel like there’s other people that need to hear it, let them know about it.
So that’s going to do it for this episode. I have some interesting stuff coming up, please stay with me for all of that. Until next time, take care and bye for now.
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