To Greta Thunberg, on dangers of creating a religion when you need a new science

Dearest Greta,

I discovered you while engaging with a young lady who told me that “children today have inherited a toxic environment from the previous generations and hence they need to take a stand” and suggested that I look at your speeches.

As you speak from your heart, listening to you filled me with a lot of hope and happiness. Our generation may leave behind a poisoned planet, but we are leaving behind children who know better!

But, as I looked you up I saw “16 year old climate activist with Asperger”, and on reading the word Asperger, I saw a ray of hope!

As a self-diagnosed Aspie, I see a possibility of you not going for a knee-jerk emotional rejection and actually reading me with rational objectivity instead of discarding it as climate-change denial or pro-Trump-propaganda or whatever is the flavour of the season popular with green crusaders.

So, here we go!

When I listen to any young kid telling me that things are wrong with the planet, I don’t disagree with the content of his/her prose, but I do see a deeper problem and that is what I want you to look at carefully, as it has potential to unleash the most destructive force known to humanity, i.e. religion.

A religion is a set of ideas you have no real proof for and yet you consider them as right. It is a wonderful cultural phenomenon that has given us morality, so I rate it high as a survival tool. But, religion comes with a design-defect. As a religious idea can’t survive rational scrutiny of logic, every religion has inbuilt avoidance for questioning.

As a religion has no rational justification, the best way to spread religion is to feed it to people who are not going to question it, and here is where young people come in.

The first sign of birth of a religion is when kids are subjected to indoctrination of ideas they have no means of questioning or verifying.

If we look at kids telling us how to save the planet, even though they could be absolutely right, in most cases they are just parroting what they are told. So, however good or valid the cause, the kid-crusade can be best described as proto-religion.

As you are a fine orator and has the planet by its ears, I have a request for you.

Save the green activism from being a religion that it is on the verge of becoming.

As humans love to create Gods, you will find yourself on a pedestal with followers wanting to believe every word you say, but if you really mean to help, tell young people that we need to know more, study more and research more before we can actually start saving the planet, or get angry with those who are not listening.

This planet has enough religions and more than enough angry old people because of them. We don’t need one more to add more angry people (though I sense that that ship has sailed for climate change).

What the planet needs is a new science, a science born from hearts of young researchers mentally tuned to ask difficult questions without believing that we have the answers.

If humanity is to survive, the world will need millions of open minds that are not bound by a belief system but can do out-of-the-box thinking, and that will be possible only when young people are saved from green indoctrination of we-know-what-is-right.

As the force is with you, use it to tell young people that we don’t have answers. The planet and its complex web of life will need many next-gens to unveil its inner machinery that we have damaged, let alone repair it.

We desperately need to, if not repairing, at least stop damaging the planet further, but that process can work only by trial and error. And that will be possible only when we don’t work with fixed “religious” ideas of how to save the planet.

As you have chosen to do a very important job on behalf of humanity, I wish that you guide young people towards the open and meandering path of science and not force them into the harness of a belief system full of self-righteousness.

–    With lots of love from a gen-past guilty of the mess that you will have to clean up.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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