I find it helpful at times to go back to the roots of our words to keep perspective. All too many words today seem to be used as weapons or at least commentaries on who we are.
I am a conservative person: after all, I am an engineer and trained to make sure things actually work in life. Conservatism is an integral part of that discipline. It has earned me the title Dr. Doom because I am always looking out for what can go wrong and how to prevent that. But, that perspective is essential to good engineering. You should all be very afraid of an engineer who is not conservative!
My engineering discipline carries over into my other views about life … I can’t really help it. So, when I am confronted with people who have liberal points of view I am naturally a bit fearful of the consequences. However, I find when I talk to people who profess this point of view, I find they are actually not that different than I am about what I hold precious. They simply have different points of view about some things that I don’t think about that much.
In that spirit, I find the word dogma has interesting roots. In the broad sense, it describes any belief held unquestioningly and with undefended certainty. I would like you to consider that a world with 100% renewables might well be described as an environmental dogma. It certainly is a lofty goal and a central tenet of what I do sense is the religious fervor of its believers.
However, the definition of the word dogma also has a less than noble implication inferring it is a cover for enforced decisions, such as those of aggressive political interests or authorities. The term is applied to some strong beliefs that its adherents are not willing to discuss rationally. This attitude is named as a dogmatic one, meaning that dialogue or discussion is not welcomed.
“God said it and that settles it” is certainly a dogmatic statement. Many would consider this correct as the basis for their theological convictions. History indicates little good has come out of hard line positions like this.
Perhaps we should be a bit more concerned about environmental dogmas these days.