Evolutionary biologist and world-renowned atheist author Richard Dawkins suggested that theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking's apocalyptic predictions about President Donald Trump pushing the Earth "over the brink" deserve some consideration.
"Some say he's too alarmist. But if he's even a fraction right, shouldn't we follow the Precautionary Principle?" Dawkins asked in a Twitter message on Sunday.
A definition for the Precautionary Principle states:
"When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm. Morally unacceptable harm refers to harm to humans or the environment that is threatening to human life or health; or serious and effectively irreversible; or inequitable to present or future generations; or imposed without adequate consideration of the human rights of those affected."
Dawkins linked to an article in The Independent last week, where Hawking criticizes Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, warning that it could "push the Earth over the brink" and lead to global warming becoming "irreversible."
As Hawking told BBC News:
"Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid."
"Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it's one we can prevent if we act now," Hawking continued, who has made a number of predictions in recent times concerning the plight of humankind.
"By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children."
Trump announced on June 1 that the U.S. will either negotiate re-entering the Paris agreement, or would seek for a new deal that that would put American workers first.
"The cost to the economy at this time would be close to three trillion dollars in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that," Trump explained at the time.
"Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals. As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does."
Evangelical groups offered contrasting views to the president's decision.
The Evangelical Environmental Network called it a "profoundly foolish and arrogant act."
"Today when it comes to climate risk, to not act is to act. Inaction and outright opposition lead to a destabilized, profoundly dangerous climate — not the type of world Christian love and righteousness should create," the group said.
"President Trump has acted against climate action."
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation backed Trump's move, however.
"It's right [to leave the Agreement] because, as former NASA scientist and leading climate alarmist Dr. James Hansen put it, the Paris agreement is 'a fraud, really, a fake ... just worthless words," said Cornwall Alliance Founder and National Spokesman Dr. E. Calvin Beisner.
"It would trap billions in poverty for decades to come ... Since a clean, healthful, beautiful environment is a costly good, this means prolonging environmental damage and delaying environmental improvement."