Secular Right | Reality & Reason



Climate Change – At Last, A Moment of Honesty

Well, the practical effects of this judgment may be absurd but it does, at least, have the virtue of honesty:

When Rupert Dickinson, the chief executive of one of Britain’s biggest property firms, left his BlackBerry behind in London while on a business trip to Ireland, he simply ordered one of his staff to get on a plane and deliver the device to him. For Dickinson’s then head of sustainability, Tim Nicholson, the errand was much more than an executive indulgence: it embodied the contempt with which his boss treated his deep philosophical beliefs about climate change. In a significant decision today , a judge found Nicholson’s views on the environment were so deeply held that they were entitled to the same protection as religious convictions, and ruled that an employment tribunal should hear his claim that he was sacked because of his beliefs.



  • Susan · November 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I’ve read a couple of articles about this, but I haven’t yet found any information that tells me what, exactly, Nicholson did to get himself canned. Presumably the company knew his views when they hired him, even if the whole “sustainability” program was just some shuck and jive for public relations purposes. Which would argue that his views didn’t bother them for the three years he worked there. Did he storm into Nicholson office and punch him?

  • Pat Shuff · November 7, 2009 at 10:17 am

    In today’s ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton decided that: “A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations.” Under those regulations it is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their religious or philosophical beliefs.


    Opiate of the people. The late Michael Crichton did a riff along these lines,
    environmentalism as a religion–

    “Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know.

    Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don’t know any better. That’s not a good future for the human race. That’s our past. So it’s time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

    Thank you very much.”

  • Susan · November 7, 2009 at 10:47 am

    In my first post, I meant to say, “Did Nicholson storm into Dickinson’s office and punch him?” Or engage in some other objectionable form of behavior that could warrant firing?

  • Pat Shuff · November 8, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Camilla Palmer, of Leigh Day and Co, said it opened doors for an even wider category of deeply held beliefs, such as feminism, vegetarianism or humanism. “It’s a great decision. Why should it only be religions which are protected?”

    In his written judgment, Mr Justice Burton outlined five tests to determine whether a philosophical belief could come under employment regulations on religious discrimination

    • The belief must be genuinely held.

    • It must be a belief and not an opinion or view based on the present state of information available.

    • It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life.

    • It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.

    • It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

    Humanism was given as an example meeting the criteria, while belief in a political party or the supreme nature of Jedi knights, from the Star Wars movies, were offered as ones that do not.


    This ruling holds that deeply held philosophical beliefs as with religious beliefs are to be protected from discrimination. I think that is logically consistent despite opening up a can of worms to any and every deeply held philosophical belief. The question being begged is the religious belief from which all else flows. If a wiccan or Buddhist or Islamist or Native American needn’t produce any concrete evidence of the sort permissible in court of a grand Oo-Doo in the sky or any evidence of said Oo-doo’s acts, doings, interventions…and enjoys protections for their deeply held belief(s)…then an anthropogenic global warming alarmist need not produce any concrete confirming evidence of the existence of AGW and rightfully enjoys the same protections for deeply held albeit unproven beliefs.
    Which is to say just about any and every belief, aye that’s the rub.

    If it is my deeply held philosophical belief in the nonexistence of AGW, for which I have no evidence, then I am being discriminated against with things like taxes and subsidies collected on my utility bill in the name of AGW, subsidizing
    windfarms and solar installations etc. If I’m a Frisbeetarian, my soul lands up on the roof and gets stuck, then I’m being discriminated against by not having my grave kept clean by the leaves from the neighbor’s tree, the pigeons which are the municipality’s obligation, etc. Kind of a slippery slope, a wicked web, a sticky wicket…without questioning and revisiting the original premises, protection of the religious beliefs from which all flows…which of course has precedent, tradition, cultural practice…long customary cultural and social observance which is rightfully recognized under the law.


    • It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.


    Tyranny of the majority, winner take all, no matter how unworthy of respect, incompatible and conflicting with dissenting minority views whom are all joined at
    the hip to larger society through the gas pump, the tax code, insurance requirements etc. with no escape from sharing the tab for irrational or foolish behavior. I think the trend towards everything if not expressly required is expressly forbidden would eventually meet in the middle if not for collapsing enroute from unsupportable burden.

  • Kevembuangga · November 8, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Too bad atheism isn’t a belief, won’t be protected! 🙁

  • Caledonian · November 8, 2009 at 11:07 am

    So irrational and insane convictions are to be protected, while conclusions reached through reason and logic are not.

  • Kevembuangga · November 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm


    Sure, but there’s a logic to it: irrational and insane convictions NEED the protection! 😛



Theme Design by