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Mr Nicholson, 42, from Oxford, smiles after he emerges victorious from the court room. A court ruled that it was wrong for Mr. Nicholson's employer to fire him for his belief in global warming, as it was a philosophy afforded equal protections to religion. Mr. Nicholson refuses to fly for fear of carbon pollution.  (Source: Telegraph UK)
When it comes to climate change, just have a little faith!

In an unusual case in the United Kingdom, it has been ruled that climate change beliefs should be afforded the same legal protections as religious freedoms. The bizarre ruling sets a landmark legal precedent and could have broad implications both in Britain and abroad.

The case began when Tim Nicholson, former head of sustainability at property firm Grainger PLC was laid off in July 2008 for his criticism of management on the basis of climate change beliefs. Mr. Nicholson, who renovated his house to be greener and refuses to fly by air, was upset that Rupert Dickinson, the firm's chief executive, had an employee fly to him in Ireland to deliver his Blackberry.

When Mr. Nicholson began to gripe and express his environmental sentiments, he was later dismissed. He took his former employers to court, contending that the same laws that protect religious freedoms protected his “philosophical belief about climate change and the environment.”

His employers contended that climate change was a scientific, not a religious or philosophical belief, and thus not legally protected. Mr. Nicholson, however, insisted that climate change was a philosophical belief as “philosophy deals with matters that are not capable of scientific proof.” His lawyer, Shah Qureshi, head of employment law at Bindmans LLP, added that to not grant AGW beliefs the same protections as religion would mean “that the more evidence there is to support your views, the less likely it would be for you to enjoy protection against discrimination.”

That theory was put to the test in an unusual court case and in the end Mr. Nicholson prevailed. Justice Michael Burton who delivered the ruling, ironically had used the same logic to hand a victory to climate skeptics over advocates of anthropogenic global warming theory seeking to show school children An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.  The court, which Justice Burton served on, ruled that the move was a political, not a scientific work, and was unfit for the classroom. 

Mr Nicholson lauded the verdict, stating, “I believe man-made climate change is the most important issue of our time and nothing should stand in the way of diverting this catastrophe. This philosophical belief that is based on scientific evidence has now been given the same protection in law as faith-based religious belief. Belief in man-made climate change is not a new religion, it is a philosophical belief that reflects my moral and ethical values and is underlined by the overwhelming scientific evidence." 

His employers have vowed to appeal the decision. If it stands, however, it could have major legal affects in Britain and beyond. Affording environmental beliefs the same status as religion opens companies to suits from employees complaining about lack of recycling facilities or offering low-carbon travel. It also prevents employers from dismissing employees from their environmental beliefs, even if they seem radical. 

In the U.S., similar protections exist for employment and religion/philosophy. The laws are certainly worded differently, but the British decision could embolden those seeking similar protections in the U.S. At the end of the day, the ruling forces society to be accept and cater to a variety of opinions on climate change and environmentalism, while at the same time making it harder for organizations, particularly government funded ones, to voice views on such topics.



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By yxalitis on 11/4/2009 11:34:04 PM , Rating: 4
Hear hear~!
This is my long held belief, scientists themselves are now basing theory on the back of theory on the back of...well, you get my point.
I firmly believe, as a matter of philosophy, that the Big Bang is bunk...but mention that, and you get lynched...
The Big Bang is creationism in disguise, the only major scientific theory (there's that word again) that starts with: "In the beginning..."
It fails to even attempt to explain the nature of this "singularity," fails to show mechanisms as to how it changed state from that infinitesimal, and yet all encompassing "point" to a cosmic explosion without time (the state of change) to allow this change.

Science is about mathematics, and what has happened over the past few decades, is that the understanding that maths is a tool to extrapolate and model real-world scenarios has slipped, and now maths IS the real world, no longer a model, but the absolute underlying fact behind all observed reality, look at Schrodinger's cat as en example, the mathematical equations are now being postulated as the very essence of the universe.
Maths failed to explain the flight of a bumblebee, or turbulent airflow, but in these cases, the patent inacuracy of teh mathematics was observable by all, no-one created "Dark gravity" to account for the fact that bumblebees do, in fact, fly. It was simply accepted that the maths was incapable of modelling such a complex physical reality...

And yet, maths is ALL we have to explain the very origins of the universe, it pains em whenever a creationist counters his theories with "yeah, well, YOU think the universe all started with a magic point of nothing-yet-everything that suddenly for no apparent reason exploded one day"
When the Pope agrees with a scientific theory about teh origins of the universe, it's time to start worrying...

And BEFORE you go citing all the evidence supporting the big bang, PLEASE tell em you actually understand the mathematics involved in coming to these conclusions PERSONALLY, and not just parroting the "widely held belief"
I doubt VERY much that more then 1 in 10,000 people understand the maths of the Big Bang, Anisotropies, and other such terms...

I do, I studied these at Uni, and spent many long nights discussing these exact thoughts with mathematics professors, who, by the way, are the best party animals you'll ever meet....(well, some of them, the ones that don't study matrices...)
Maths is a tool that if understood in all its glory, can produce phenomenal results, but if accepted carte blanche as de facto, is dangerous...

Look up why the Germans failed to develop the Atomic bomb, failed even to give it a serious attempt...their brilliant, talented physicists used mathematics to prove it wasn't possible without an absurd amount of plutonium...because the assumptions underlying their maths were flawed...but the maths was RIGHT!


By Reclaimer77 on 11/5/2009 3:28:55 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The Big Bang is creationism in disguise, the only major scientific theory (there's that word again) that starts with: "In the beginning..." It fails to even attempt to explain the nature of this "singularity," fails to show mechanisms as to how it changed state from that infinitesimal, and yet all encompassing "point" to a cosmic explosion without time (the state of change) to allow this change.


Man's reach exceeds it's grasp.

The Big Bang theory is an attempt by our pitifully short lived and small minded race, to answer the unanswerable. Nobody knows and could ever claim to know how the Universe came to be. Or if it ever was "created" in the fist place...

Some things just aren't meant to be, or able to be, answered. The creation of the Universe is one of those. In fact, who says it was ever created at all ? Once again, Man is applying the logical birth to death, beginning and end, cycle to it because that's what our lives revolve around. But that doesn't mean the Universe applies to those same rules and systems of logic.

Perhaps in time, much later than now, we will be matured and better equipped to answer such questions. We will have explored and conquered and expanded our minds. Maybe we will even be able to look into the past and know for a fact. Perhaps we'll travel far and wide and discover it has no end. And if something has no end and no beginning, then how do we quantify and make something tangible ?

I, however, believe we simply aren't meant to know. And even if we were, the truth would probably defy all levels of our understanding and comprehension. We either wouldn't accept it because it wouldn't fit within our tight framework of logic and science, or it would simply blow our minds somehow.


By Kaleid on 11/5/2009 10:20:52 AM , Rating: 2
"The Big Bang is creationism in disguise"

I personally don't agree:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo


By Mint on 11/5/2009 1:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
You have a terrible understanding of what the Big Bang represents.

It is not an explanation for the origin of time. It is not something that needs an explanation for how it came about, so for you to say it "fails" is just ignorant.

The big bang is an event . Nothing more, nothing less. It is an event that denies access to evidence of everything that occurred before it or outside it, and hence is the earliest event that we can be relatively sure of (through a crapload of indirect evidence).

It is the origin of the infinitesimal subset of 'everything' that is observable, whether directly or indirectly. Some people call this subset 'the universe', because for all intents and purposes it is, and some don't. The mechanism for how the Big Bang came about is not part of the theory, just like the origin of life is not a part of evolution. That's a part of cosmology.

Nobody with any knowledge of the matter says that the Big Bang theory starts with, "In the beginning", so ironically your whole post is based on a flawed assumption.


By yxalitis on 11/5/2009 9:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
"You have a terrible understanding of what the Big Bang represents."
OK, so explain:
"It is not an explanation for the origin of time. It is not something that needs an explanation for how it came about..."
really? OK, if you say so...but that's kind of my point...
"The big bang is an event . Nothing more, nothing less. It is an event that denies access to evidence of everything that occurred before it or outside it, and hence is the earliest event that we can be relatively sure of (through a crapload of indirect evidence)."
Umm, what>? I totally fail to understand you point. You say that BECAUSE we can't even attempt to understand something, that makes it something that we are "relatively sure of" interesting premise, but one that fails to convince me of the merit of your argument.


By wolrah on 11/5/2009 1:22:11 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Maths failed to explain the flight of a bumblebee, or turbulent airflow, but in these cases, the patent inacuracy of teh mathematics was observable by all, no-one created "Dark gravity" to account for the fact that bumblebees do, in fact, fly. It was simply accepted that the maths was incapable of modelling such a complex physical reality...


Uh, what the hell are you smoking? We know how bees fly. The aerodynamics are more like that of a helicopter rather than the more airplane-like aerodynamics of birds, so if you look at them expecting bird-like behavior you'll be confused but it's pretty well known and fits with our understanding of physics quite nicely. The idea that we don't understand how they fly is entirely made up by a bunch of new-age fucks who don't like the fact that science is explaining away all the "spiritual" shit they want to believe in.


By yxalitis on 11/5/2009 9:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
I said the MATHS explainign flight fails to account for bees:

Deciphering The Mystery Of Bee Flight

Although the issue is not as profound as how the universe began or what kick-started life on earth, the physics of bee flight has perplexed scientists for more than 70 years. In 1934, in fact, French entomologist August Magnan and his assistant André Sainte-Lague calculated that bee flight was aerodynamically impossible. The haphazard flapping of their wings simply shouldn't keep the hefty bugs aloft.

And yet, bees most certainly fly, and the dichotomy between prediction and reality has been used for decades to needle scientists and engineers about their inability to explain complex biological processes.

Maybe do some research yourself before posting next time


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