From Watts Up With That?
Opinion by Kip Hansen — 24 March 2023
[This is an Opinion piece – an OpEd – it is solely the opinion of the author, Kip Hansen, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Anthony Watts, WUWT, or others associated with this website. In other words, they can sue me.]
The mass media has been abuzz the last few days with the news that the University of Helsinki is planning to confer a Honorary Doctorate to Greta Thunberg. “….the university says that 30 ‘distinguished individuals from around the world’ will become ‘new honorary doctors’ and be awarded the title of ‘doctor honoris causa’ which is called ‘the University’s highest recognition.’” [ source ] (“honoris causa” is Latin meaning “for the sake of honor”).
This award will place Ms. Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg on the same intellectual pedestal as Kermit the Frog. “In 1996, Southampton College at Long Island University (now a campus of Stony Brook University) awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters to the Muppet, Kermit the Frog.” Appropriately, one of Greta’s given names is Tintin, who I think would have been proud to be linked to the more currently famous Kermit, however tenuously.
The University of Helsinki has the following faculties: Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry; Faculty of Arts; Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences; Faculty of Educational Sciences; Faculty of Law; Faculty of Medicine; Faculty of Pharmacy; Faculty of Science; Faculty of Social Sciences; Faculty of Veterinary Medicine; Swedish School of Social Science and the Faculty of Theology.
Their rationale for conferring an Honorary Doctorate is given as:
“Greta Thunberg is a Swedish opinion-maker and activist. The School Strike for Climate she staged outside the Swedish parliament building in autumn 2018 soon expanded into the global Fridays for Future movement, in which schoolchildren urge decision-makers to take climate action based on scientific evidence. [sic] The value of her uncompromising and consistent work for the future of our planet has been recognised with several major awards and prizes. Her actions have obliged all of us with the task, as members of communities and societies, but above all as human beings, of making changes to our everyday lives.” [ source ]
So, they are giving her a doctorate from which discipline? Biological and Environmental Sciences? Sciences? Social Sciences? No, none of those.
“The Faculty of Theology of the University of Helsinki will award an honorary doctorate to Greta Thunberg”.
And while the well-beloved Kermit received his honorary degree in “Amphibious Letters”, Greta Thunberg could be said to be the up-and-coming Saint of the world-wide climate cult that preaches “Climate Change: The End Is Nigh!” and threatens damnation on our grandchildren if we do not given up all of the benefits of modernity and return to the lifestyle and poverty of the Middle Ages. California is expected by some (well, at least me) to name a city in her honor, Santa Greta.
Of course, conferring a doctorate on Greta Thunberg from the Faculty of Theology is only fitting, after all, the entire climate change movement can correctly be characterized as a not-theological religion (a Godless religion) as was done in the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed “The Climate-Change Religion” and more seriously here in The New Atlantis.
It is easy to make fun of the overly-emotional-teenager aspects of Greta Thunberg and her various movements (school strike, U.N. speeches, etc.) and pointing out her incredible ignorance on the topic of Earth’s present and future climate is like shooting ducks in a barrel but there is no denying that she has been effective in popularizing her view, no matter how fantasy-based, on the climate issue. She has self-acknowledged issues: “diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, OCD and selective mutism” [ source ] which has given her a sympathy-vote edge as well. With the lot of help from others, and with the complicity of the main stream media, she has become a celebrity – which is why the University of Helsinki is honoring her.
“By choosing Greta as an honorary doctorate, we are communicating that we want to be as brave and influential as she is.” [ source ]
The “I Wanna Be Like You” rationale.
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I am a religious person – I studied religion in Uni, I have practiced my religion all of my life, and served as a humanitarian missionary for my Church.
I am offended by the Faculty of Theology of the University of Helsinki conferring a Doctorate to anyone simply based on secular popularity. I would feel the same way about conferring a PhD in Science to a politician – simply because he or she is famous and powerful.
As for Greta, I too did a lot of foolish things as a child, as a teenager, and during my college-age years. Maybe Greta will come around to be something, to be someone, and not just a propaganda tool or an income source for her parents. The danger, for her personally, is that she will refuse to change her tune – possibly being afraid that she’ll lose her place on the pedestal, even if or when she realizes how wrong she was. Patrick Moore similarly faced the same dilemma when he left Greenpeace but successfully managed to navigate the treacherous waters of growing up. I wish Greta all my best in making that difficult transition.
Thanks for reading.