The Hoax of Climate Denial: Why “Politically Motivated” Science Is Good Science by Naomi Oreskes

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This upcoming election will undoubtedly expose an extremely polarized nation represented our essentially very limited in range of political choices two party system. One of the topics in the debates will be Anthropogenic climate change.

The issue of polarization deserves a discussion of its own, so I'm only going to generalize about it here. Here's a link to a Washington Post graph showing a time line of political polarization from 1879 to 2007. One of the interesting points about our present politically polarized condition – that is, polarized in terms of statistical measurements -- is that the last time two major parties of this nation were this far apart in their various political stances, the parties broke down and we witnessed major party reorganization. What followed was a period of depolarization that ran through much of the middle of the 20th century. There's a kind of mathematical probability proposed by those who study these issues -- the so-called political scientists -- that breakdown and reorganization will occur again, but no one is assuming they know with any certainty when or how.

Concurrent with Chamber of Commerce blueprints like the Powell Memo in 1971, and what would emerge as a Democratic influence on geopolitics out of one of the founders of the Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brezinski, the nation's foreign and domestic policy as a whole began to move to the right, that is, in support of a more neoliberal economic ideology that favors international corporatism, and as a result many of our public concerns, like the ecology and social welfare concerns found themselves at odds with these principles. The results are complex at the ideological level, but to put it in simplified terms, our nation began to polarize around ideological issues.

One of those issues involves the science behind a proposed and now widely measured effect of human economic activity on the biosphere of this planet -- and recently the most politicized of aspect of that, the climate. A fundamental of this particular iteration of civilized (by that I mean roughly ten thousand years of human experimentation with a form of social organization into cities we call civilization) economic activity is energy we clever humans have developed for the global economic system that's evolved over the past two hundred years – essentially the most obvious and measurable period of heightened anthropogenic flowering we call industrial civilization.

If the science that's been measuring this anthropogenic effect is reasonably accurate – and the majority of scientists involved now believe it to be so – the political polarization in this nation then may very likely also reflect the emergence of what's become a titanic conflict between the aspects of the science that helped to develop this current economic activity and the emergent science that measures its results.

One odd example of this I offer as support can be found, for instance, in the attitudes of the conservative business groups towards science in the early 20th Century and the attitude many of the same people in those groups today towards the aspects of science that hold up a cautionary hand to many of the technical so-called advances that those business interests saw science engendering over a century ago. In other words, science that supports business growth good, science that can inhibit it, bad. Which of course can be complicated because it inevitably involves all sorts of lying and subterfuge to be on both sides of a field of objective exploration for truth about our world.

Because of the degree of education and the time commitment required to understand the science – any of the sciences, both pro economic expansion and aspects of science that raise concerns about the effects of those activities on the complex ecological and climatic systems – the issues have become highly politicized and subject to far less objective forms of communication that are part of an industry that has risen in concert with the marketing and commodification aspects of the neoliberal “free” marketing aspects of industrial civilized economies. Those forms of communication have now become integral with the polarization of the political parties and the citizens who identify with them.

That brings me to Naomi Oreskes and the topic of this thread:

The Hoax of Climate Denial: Why “politically motivated” Science is Good Science

Pirate Television: Naomi Oreskes - Merchants of Doubt

Noam Chomsky: How Climate Change Became a 'Liberal Hoax'

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Oreskes is an accomplished polemicist.

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Quote stwo:

Oreskes is an accomplished polemicist.

po·lem·i·cist (pə-lĕm′ĭ-sĭst) also po·lem·ist (pə-lĕm′ĭst, pŏl′ə-mĭst)
n.
A person skilled or involved in polemics.

polemic (pəˈlɛmɪk)
adj
1. of or involving dispute or controversy
n
2. an argument or controversy, esp over a doctrine, belief, etc
3. a person engaged in such an argument or controversy
[C17: from Medieval Latin polemicus, from Greek polemikos relating to war, from polemos war]
poˈlemically adv polemicist polemist n

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Quote Naomi Oreskes, The Hoax of Climate Denial:

As unlikely as it might seem today, in the first half of the twentieth century the Republicans were the party that most strongly supported scientific work, as they recognized the diverse ways in which it could undergird economic activity and national security. The Democrats were more dubious, tending to see science as elitist and worrying that new federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health would concentrate resources in elite East Coast universities.

---------->

Still, compared to many of his colleagues, McCain looks like a moderate. They have dismissed climate change as a fraud and a hoax, while conducting McCarthy-esque inquiries into the research of leading climate scientists. Many of them attack climate science because they fear it will be used as an excuse to expand the reach of government.

In a hearing at which I testified last month, Republican members of the Committee on Natural Resources denounced a wide range of scientific investigations related to the enforcement of existing environmental laws as “government science.” And this, they alleged, meant it was, by definition, corrupt, politically driven, and lacking in accountability. The particular science under attack involved work done by, or on behalf of, federal agencies like the National Parks Service, but climate science came in for its share of insults as well.

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Skeptics seed doubt by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results ( this is known as “discussion”). Orsekes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts, ignoring hundreds of research papers, ignoring direct measurements, and appealing to those who are predisposed to embrace theories with solutions that consist of huge centralized bureaucratic controls on markets and capitalism. The hypocrisy of saying that skeptics attack the messenger is lost on Orsekes who specializes in… attacking the messengers.What is remarkable is that so many “intellectuals” can’t or won’t see through her thin rhetoric

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Quote stwo:

Skeptics seed doubt by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results ( this is known as “discussion”). Orsekes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts, ignoring hundreds of research papers, ignoring direct measurements, and appealing to those who are predisposed to embrace theories with solutions that consist of huge centralized bureaucratic controls on markets and capitalism. The hypocrisy of saying that skeptics attack the messenger is lost on Orsekes who specializes in… attacking the messengers.What is remarkable is that so many “intellectuals” can’t or won’t see through her thin rhetoric

I see nothing more than vague generalizations aimed at the character of the writer. Where's the evidence to back this character-driven opinion? Where are examples from her writings to back these personal opinions of yours? This could easily come out of the computer of a think tank public relations writer like Frank Luntz.

What you've produced amounts to me making opinionated claims about any poster on this board. For example, if I were to write in an arrogant and authoritative manner that "stwo is nothing more than an emotion baiting public relations agent paid by some think tank to monitor the discussions on Thom's site by nit picking details, often in irrelevant and unexplained ways, in hopes that people will respond in some reactionary way to an effort to embarrass them, meanwhile consistently ignoring the gist of topics. With no evidence whatsoever, he tries to give the impression he's an expert in one of the earth sciences. What's telling about his methods is that as a rule he mounts no coherent counter argument backed by references to research."

Of course I don't write such opinions. I don't for what I imagine ought to be obvious reasons. For me to write such character-focused opinions would not only be meaningless to what I consider to be the spirit of open minded discussion, it is to me the opposite of a dialog process I attempt to invoke in my threads.

Now back to the topic:

Quote Naomi Oreskes: The Hoax of Climate Denial:

In preparing my testimony, however, I realized that something far larger was at stake: the issue of politically driven science itself. It’s often claimed that environmental science done in federal agencies is “politically driven” and therefore suspect. It was, I realized, time to challenge the presumption that such science is bad science. While widely held, the idea is demonstrably false. Moreover, the suggestion that “government science” is intrinsically problematic for Republicans who eschew big government ignores the simple fact that most of the major contributions of the twentieth century, at least in the physical sciences, came from just such government science.

History shows that much -- maybe most -- science is driven by political, economic, or social goals. Some of the best science in the history of our country was focused on goals that were explicitly political. Consider the Manhattan Project. During World War II, scientists mobilized to determine the details of fission reactions, isotope separation, high-temperature and high-pressure metallurgy, and many more matters for the purpose of building an atomic bomb. The political goal of stopping Adolf Hitler and the sense that the future of the world might depend on their success provided a powerful motivation to get the science right.

Or take the space program. The United States first developed advanced rocketry to threaten the Soviet Union with nuclear destruction. The political goal of “containing” Communism was a powerful motivation for scientists. In later years, the goal of maintaining peace through the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction similarly motivated scientists to ensure that the weapons they developed would go where sent, and work as advertised when they got there.

In the Apollo program, NASA scientists knew that getting the science right would not only ensure that our astronauts made it to the moon, but that they made it home again. Knowing that lives may depend on your calculations can be a powerful form of accountability.

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I see nothing more than vague generalizations aimed at the character of the writer.
Yes, that is how I read Oreskes too. She takes the very approach that she attributes to those with who she disagrees.

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Quote stwo:
I see nothing more than vague generalizations aimed at the character of the writer.
Yes, that is how I read Oreskes too. She takes the very approach that she attributes to those with who she disagrees.

It appears you are intent on continuing with your character driven -- might I add, logically fallacious -- argument. Meanwhile you offer nothing to substantiate your own opinion of Oreskes' approach.

At this point I haven't a clue what you mean by "She takes the very approach that she attributes to those with who(m) she disagrees." I doubt if anyone reading this thread could know.

I can only assume at this point that you aren't interested in the topic and are quite satisfied to settle for the ad hominem dismissal approach. I am forced to hope you have satisfied yourself and will now have the decency to cease this effort to make the thread about Oreskes, the person, and move on to other interests, whatever they may be.

Meanwhile we shall continue to present exhibits of her thesis that science in many ways has proven to be driven by political motivations and the results are often good science. As she explains in the essay, these were the thoughts she had to make up the context of her recent testimony before a Republican-controlled Congressional Committee on Natural Resources:

The Hoax of Climate Denial: Why “politically motivated” Science is Good Science

Quote Naomi Oreskes:

Some might argue that these were technological, not scientific projects, but it’s a distinction without much meaning. If such projects led to new technologies, they were also founded upon newly developed science. Moreover, politics can drive good science even in the absence of technological goals.

Plate tectonics, for instance, is the unifying theory of modern earth science and it, too, was a political product. The key work that led to it came from oceanography that was part of U.S. Navy programs to develop methods of detecting Soviet submarines, while safely hiding our own. It came as well from seismology as part of a military effort to differentiate earthquakes from nuclear bomb tests. Military and political goals, in other words, led to research on the fundamental understanding of planetary processes, an understanding that, not incidentally, forms the basis for oil and gas exploration, mining and mineral exploration, and predicting seismic hazards.

Nearly all of this work was done by scientists working directly for the government, or by academics in universities and research institutions with government funds. The Manhattan Project was government science. The Apollo program was government science. Plate tectonics was government science.

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Meanwhile we shall continue to present exhibits of her thesis that science in many ways has proven to be driven by political motivations and the results are often good science.
We?

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Noam Chomsky: How Climate Change Became a 'Liberal Hoax'

Quote Noam Chomsky:

The Chamber of Commerce, the main business lobby, the American petroleum industry, other business lobbies, have publicly proclaimed in fact with enthusiasm that they are carrying out a campaign to try to convince the population that global warming is a 'Liberal Hoax.' And it's succeeded, unfortunately. The latest polls I've seen show that maybe a third of the population believe in anthropogenic global warming.

(first 35 seconds)

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There was no such public proclaimation by "The Chamber of Commerce, the main business lobby, the American petroleum industry, other business lobbies"

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Meanwhile, opening apocryphal dry humor aside, Chomsky is talking about a much larger PR program set within what he sees as an intractably structured system, an economic, social and political system that's unable to adapt to its own system-created problem that may indeed be a long term threat -- a threat not only to the system itself but potentially to global environmental systems, including humanity.

Quote Noam Chomsky:

It's not surprising that the effort to manufacture consent to the belief that it (global climate change) doesn't mean anything is pretty successful. What's rather interesting about this, and it tells you something about the nature of our society, is that those same CEOs and managers who are trying to convince the public that it's a liberal hoax know perfectly well that it's extremely dangerous. They have the same beliefs that you and I have.

But they are caught in a kind of institutional contradiction.

As leaders of major corporations, they have an institutional role. That is, to maximize short term profit. And, if they don't do that they're out. Someone else is in who does do it. So basically, institutionally speaking it's not a choice. That's going to happen in the major institutions.

So they may know they are mortgaging the future of their grandchildren, and in fact, everything they own will be destroyed, but they are caught in a trap of institutional structure. That's what happens in market systems. A financial crisis is a small example of the same thing. You may know that what you are doing carries systemic risk, but you can't calculate that into your transactions or you're not fulfilling your role and someone else replaces you. In fact in the United States it's actually a legal obligation to do that for corporate executives.

And that's a very serious problem. It means that we're marching over a cliff and doing it for institutional reasons that are pretty hard to dismantle.

It is other factors, like the anger, and the fear, and the hostility in the country about everything that carries over to this.

(about two to four minutes in)

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Oreskes is a merchant of Doubt herself. Shes uses the same tactics she accuses "deniers" of using. Then Chomsky lays out unsubstantiated riffs about organizations bragging about intentionally sowing disinformation. no such boasting ever occurred- he's either repeating heresay or making it up.

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What Chomsky says early in that November 2009 interview from which I've been quoting: Noam Chomsky: How Climate Change Became a 'Liberal Hoax', pretty well parallels my own analysis of the intractable nature of our institutionally-centered complex levels of civilized society. That doesn't mean anything, of course, other than Chomsky and I may have had some similar questions and found answers while exploring the problem of institutionalism, a problem which has a record of being examinined with some concern as the cultural adaption strategy, industrial civilization, has expanded taken over to become the dominant human adaption strategy on the planet, as described in Polanyi's The Great Transformation.

Some of the earliest alarm bells about where this form of cultural adaptation might be taking humanity were rung by figures like Max Weber. Anyone who is not familiar with Weber's work, or later, Jacques Ellul's work on bureaucracy as a technological innovation that robs individuals of their freedom, liberty and humanity, is in for an interesting exploratory challenge if they care to share those thinkers' examinations of these issues.

Quote Noam Chomsky:

...those same CEOs and managers who are trying to convince the public that it's a liberal hoax know perfectly well that it's extremely dangerous. They have the same beliefs that you and I have.

But they are caught in a kind of institutional contradiction.

As leaders of major corporations, they have an institutional role. That is, to maximize short term profit. And, if they don't do that they're out. Someone else is in who does do it. So basically, institutionally speaking it's not a choice. That's going to happen in the major institutions.

So they may know they are mortgaging the future of their grandchildren, and in fact, everything they own will be destroyed, but they are caught in a trap of institutional structure. That's what happens in market systems. A financial crisis is a small example of the same thing. You may know that what you are doing carries systemic risk, but you can't calculate that into your transactions or you're not fulfilling your role and someone else replaces you. In fact in the United States it's actually a legal obligation to do that for corporate executives.

And that's a very serious problem. It means that we're marching over a cliff and doing it for institutional reasons that are pretty hard to dismantle.

While I haven't totally given up hope that humans could find ways to survive in a changing biosphere, and I haven't because I have learned, as a life-long skeptic, to live with the inevitability of human uncertainty – essentially we are capable of convincing ourselves to believe we know with certainty, but we really never will with absolute certainty, and that's driving endeavor of science itself in a nutshell – so while I haven't totally given up hope, I can see that this industrial civilized system is pretty much as intractable as Chomsky describes, and, with a great deal of elaboration I can personally bring to what he says, for essentially the same institutional reasons.

The critical aspect of that, the aspect involving each of us as individuals, is that, from my own studies of human culture and human adaptability, both from the individual perspective of adapting to the cultures humans naturally create and from the group adaptability of culture to environments, we are "wired" (to mix metaphors) biologically so that from birth we naturally adapt to whatever culture in which we may find ourselves immersed. And note, we have on record very few known cases of feral humans who survive outside of culture of any kind.

To step outside our own natural adapted-to habitat of whatever given culture we are in takes an act of mental effort. Exactly how that occurs in those who do cannot be determined with any certainty. Each of us is unique in how we move through the morass of life circumstances. While getting outside to look in is not outside the realms of our human capability, it's not exactly what we are accustomed to doing on a daily basis. All of our conditioning experientially and intellectually from birth is aimed at adapting to what is, and for us, much of what is will be presented through a screen of culture. Some appear at least to be driven, for whatever reasons to step outside and look in. Those often become the theoretical scientists (not necessarily the science technicians), artists and philosophers of our cultures. But the overwhelming pattern is that the majority will try their best to keep their given culture intact and functioning as they find it. Conserving the status quo is pretty much a standard norm among cultures in the world.

So back to Chomsky and his intractable systemic machine that is taking us over a cliff because no matter what, the decision makers in these ruling institutions have no choice but to make decisions that keep them doing what they do within the market system that spawns them. The Merchants of Doubt are merely a natural outcome of that system. That's how I see his interview connecting with Naomi Oreskes essay: The Hoax of Climate Denial: Why “politically motivated” Science is Good Science

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Who are those guys?

Aside from a generally frightened reaction of the status quo (Naomi Oreskes, a Lightning Rod in a Changing Climate), who's primary concern per Chomsky is to maintain the machinery of industrial civilization – here are just a few examples (don't be surprised to find these views echoed in any blurbed critiques of Naomi):

What does Naomi Oreskes' study on consensus show?

Naomi Oreskes, Conspiracy Queen

Naomi Oreskes: Betraying the Public Trust

-- who are Naomi Oreskes and, sometimes overlooked, Erik Conway, authors of Merchants of Doubt?

Both are historians, and both specialize in science and technology.

Quote Naomi Oreskes, a Lightning Rod in a Changing Climate:

She wound up in the Australian outback in the early 1980s — not to search for deposits, exactly, but to help work out the complex geology of one that had just been found. It would eventually become one of the world’s largest uranium mines.

Yet, in time, prospecting for ores could not hold her interest. Today, from a professorship at Harvard University, Dr. Oreskes is still in the mining business. But rather than digging for minerals, she tunnels into historical archives, and she is still finding radioactive nuggets.

Naomi Oreskes, from SourceWatch

Naomi Oreskes is an American science historian, and Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego. She has worked on studies of geophysics, environmental issues such as global warming, and the history of science. In 2010, Oreskes co-authored Merchants of Doubt which identified some parallels between the climate change debate and earlier public controversies.[1]

Backround

Oreskes graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1976. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines of Imperial College, University of London in 1981, and worked as a Research Assistant in the Geology Department and as a Teaching Assistant in the departments of Geology, Philosophy and Applied Earth Sciences at Stanford University starting in 1984. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Graduate Special Program in Geological Research and History of Science at Stanford in 1990. She received a National Science Foundation's Young Investigator Award in 1994.

She has worked as a consultant for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and National Academy of Sciences, and has also taught at Dartmouth, Harvard and New York University (NYU). She is also a member of the History of Science Society. She is the author or has contributed to a number of essays and technical reports in economic geology and science history[2] in addition to several books:

  • The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science, Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-19-511733-6

  • Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth, Edited with Homer Le Grand, Westview Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8133-4132-9

  • Perspectives on Geophysics, Special Issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 31B, Oreskes, Naomi and James R. Fleming, eds., 2000.

  • Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Bloomsbury Press, 2010

Oreskes is currently the Provost of the Sixth College at the University of California, San Diego.

(Update as of 2013 from Harvard University: Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History of Science and Director of Graduate Studies.)

Professor at Harvard. Wow. Oviously incompetence has its rewards.

Erik M. Conway, in his own words:

I'm a historian of science and technology living in Pasadena, California. I completed a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1998, with a dissertation on the development of aircraft landing aids.

Most of my work since has been at the intersection of science and technology in the later 20th century, and mostly related to aerospace. For the last few years I've been working on a history of Mars exploration, which will be published in 2015 by Johns Hopkins University Press. I've also been publishing about the history of climate science.

Prior to graduate school, I served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for four years, serving as a Damage Control Assistant and Acting Chief Engineer on a tank landing ship, and then as an operations officer for COMPHIBRON ONE in San Diego, CA.

I downhill ski (mostly at the wonderful Mammoth Mountain in California, though I love Alta too), and scuba dive (that's me to the left in all the swank neoprene). I have a 60 gallon coral reef aquarium in my living room. I used to whitewater kayak (a blue Dagger Redline hangs on my bedroom wall), but haven't run a river in many years. I occasionally make up for that loss with a whitewater rafting trip, most recently on the Tully River in Australia and the American River in California.

From Wikipedia:

Erik M. Conway (born 1965) is the historian at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.[1] He is the author of several books.

In High-Speed Dreams (2005), Conway argues that U.S. government sponsorship of supersonic commercial transportation systems resulted from Cold War concerns about a loss of technological prowess in the modern world.[2][3] Realizing the Dream of Flight (2006) consists of eleven essays on individuals prepared in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight.[4] Conway also wrote Blind Landings (2007) and he is a co-author of a secondary-level education text entitled Science and Exploration (2007). Atmospheric Science at NASA was published in 2008.[5]

His 2010 book Merchants of Doubt was co-authored with Naomi Oreskes,[6] as was his article in the Winter 2013 issue of Daedalus called The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future.[7]

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Quote stwo:

Skeptics seed doubt by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results ( this is known as “discussion”). Orsekes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts, ignoring hundreds of research papers, ignoring direct measurements, and appealing to those who are predisposed to embrace theories with solutions that consist of huge centralized bureaucratic controls on markets and capitalism. The hypocrisy of saying that skeptics attack the messenger is lost on Orsekes who specializes in… attacking the messengers.What is remarkable is that so many “intellectuals” can’t or won’t see through her thin rhetoric

Bingo! The "fact" that the industrial revolution has caused global warming is not a slam dunk fact at all. The global warming advocates cannot explain why the earth has gone through heat up and cool down cycles that obviously had nothing to do with the industrial revolution.

Just for the record, I am a global warming skeptic, not a denier. To me there seems to be an argument on both sides of this one, and it looks like getting good, non biased information here is extreamly difficult.

So let's have a discussion, and realize that just becasuse someone puts out an opinion that you disagree with (especially on this topic) does not make them a full blown biased idiot. And yes, let's do check the credentials of those who put out opinions here, there are many spouting opinions that just don't have the background to making the claims that they make.

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In Chapter 1 of Merchants of Doubt, “Doubt is Our Product,” Oreskes and Conway unfold their research into the Tobacco Industry's 50 some years of tactics for creating doubt about the dangers of cigarette smoke to human health, a danger that finally got the people's version of legal and governmental resolve in the first decade of the 21st Century (Amended Final Opinion, United States of America v. Philip Morris Incorprated, et al.) to reveal the underlying, fraudulently deceptive tactics behind creating public doubt. From the first stages of public doubt creation in the fifties, it was finally official, tobacco smoke is a human health hazzard. The long con fraud was exposed, and the tobacco industries were beaten in court. A huge legal precedent was set. The public could now legally protect itself.

In Chapter 6 the authors unfold research on “The Denial of Global Warming” to argue that a group of corporate money-greased denialists have been following pretty much the same proven tactics the tobacco industry developed to create public doubt about the hazzards industrial society poses to itself and the entire biosphere of this planet.

I find it somewhat surprising that the book and its topic, which emerged five years ago now, hasn't been simply and easily flushed into the cesspool of public information chaos by the extremely powerful combination of corporate think tanks and corporate owned media that pretty thoroughly manufactures the consent of the public. It must be truly frightening to the status quo corporate elite. And now a documentary on the book has been making the rounds and will be available to buy or rent to the public, however many are left awake to be concerned enough bother themselves with it.

Here are a few paragraphs from the beginning of that chapter:

Chapter 6

The Denial of Global Warming

Many Americans have the impression that global warming is something that scientists have only recently realized was important. In 2004, Discover magazine ran an article on the top science stories of the year, one of which was the emergence of a scientific consensus over the reality of global warming. National Geographic similarly declared 2004 the year that global warming “got respect.” 1

Many scientists felt that respect was overdue: as early as 1995, the leading international organization on climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), had concluded that human activities were affecting global climate. By 2001, IPCC’s Third Assessment Report stated that the evidence was strong and getting stronger, and in 2007, the Fourth Assessment called global warming “unequivocal.” 2 Major scientific organizations and prominent scientists around the globe have repeatedly ratified the IPCC conclusion. 3 Today, all but a tiny handful of climate scientists are convinced that Earth’s climate is heating up, and that human activities are the dominant cause.

Yet many Americans remained skeptical. A public opinion poll reported in Time magazine in 2006 found that just over half (56 percent) of Americans thought that average global temperatures had risen— despite the fact that virtually all climate scientists thought so. 4 An ABC News poll that year reported that 85 percent of Americans believed that global warming was occurring, but more than half did not think that the science was settled; 64 percent of Americans perceived “a lot of disagreement among scientists.” The Pew Center for the People and the Press gave the number believing that there is “solid evidence the Earth is warming” as 71 percent in 2008, but in 2009, the answer to that same question was only 57 percent. 5

The doubts and confusion of the American people are particularly peculiar when put into historical perspective, for scientific research on carbon dioxide and climate has been going on for 150 years. In the mid-nineteenth century, Irish experimentalist John Tyndall first established that CO2 is a greenhouse gas— meaning that it traps heat and keeps it from escaping to outer space. He understood this as a fact about our planet, with no particular social or political implications. This changed in the early twentieth century, when Swedish geochemist Svante Arrhenius realized that CO2 released to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels could alter the Earth’s climate, and British engineer Guy Callendar compiled the first empirical evidence that the “greenhouse effect” might already be detectable. In the 1960s, American scientists started to warn our political leaders that this could be a real problem, and at least some of them— including Lyndon Johnson— heard the message. Yet they failed to act on it. 6

There are many reasons why the United States has failed to act on global warming, but at least one is the confusion raised by Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer.

Oreskes, Naomi; Conway, Erik M. (2010-06-03). Merchants of Doubt (pp. 169-170). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

Then Oreskes and Conway go on to provide a historical narrative of the interplay between science, government and industry beginning in 1965. Much of that interplay I myself was present to experience, though I can't say I was old enough or aware enough early on to understand it or to put it in its proper perspective.

But in many ways I find their narrative does coincide with my own experience, beginning with my first young years of environmental activism in the early 70s. What followed in the eighties were my subsequent experiences of dismay as I watched what I only later came to recognize as a well-oiled propaganda machine that manufactures the consent of the less-than-interested-to-do-the-hard-work-of-looking-at-the-science as they are relentlessly indoctrinated by an economic base of this nation. Of course I recognize that the population as a whole is, of course, deeply and integrally dependent on this base, and therefore all of us remain extremely vulnerable no matter which truth we attempt to understand. So confusion and fear remain an easy medium in which to spray clouds of doubt.

These complex seemingly damned if you do, damned if you don't circumstances, call upon each of us to draw from our inner strength to face the many uncertainties involved and to come to some degree of understanding on our own. Then, the degree to which we can come together and express some sort of coherent political will to protect ourselves essentially from ourselves is itself extremely daunting to anyone who has looked into it.

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Quote Mauiman2:Just for the record, I am a global warming skeptic, not a denier. To me there seems to be an argument on both sides of this one, and it looks like getting good, non biased information here is extreamly difficult.
Sorry Maui- but you are a denier- there is no potential good faith postion to take on the subject other than accpetance of the catastrophic storyline. Anything else is stoopid or disingenous. So saith the lord of the run-on sentence.

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From the American Thinker (informally and affectionately known in some circles as the American Stinker)

Quote Norman Rogers:

Naomi Oreskes, Conspiracy Queen

Naomi Oreskes is the environmentalist Noam Chomsky. She thinks that anyone who questions environmentalist doctrine is evil. Her crusade is to expose the presumed ulterior motives of the critics. According to Oreskes, if you question the dubious studies concerning secondhand tobacco smoke, you must be in the pay of tobacco companies. If you question global warming, you must be working for a fossil fuel company. If you question the DDT ban, you must part of a right wing conspiracy to weaken faith in government regulators.

Oreskes is the author of one of the silliest articles ever to appear in the journal Science. She claimed that she analyzed 928 peer-reviewed papers on global warming and 100% agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning global warming. If you go to the website of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) you can find hundreds of peer reviewed papers that disagree with the IPCC in one way or another.

The horror, the horror...

From Naomi Oreskes, a Lightning Rod in a Changing Climate

Formally, she is a historian of science. Informally, this diminutive woman has become a boxer, throwing herself into a messy public arena that many career-minded climate scientists try to avoid.

She helps raise money to defend researchers targeted for criticism by climate change denialists. She has become a heroine to activist college students, supporting their demand that universities and other institutions divest from fossil fuels. Climatologists, though often reluctant themselves to get into fights, have showered her with praise for being willing to do it.

“Her courage and persistence in communicating climate science to the wider public have made her a living legend among her colleagues,” two climate researchers, Benjamin D. Santer and John Abraham, wrote in a prize-nomination letter in 2011.

Dr. Oreskes’s approach has been to dig deeply into the history of climate change denial, documenting its links to other episodes in which critics challenged a developing scientific consensus.

Her core discovery, made with a co-author, Erik M. Conway, was twofold. They reported that dubious tactics had been used over decades to cast doubt on scientific findings relating to subjects like acid rain, the ozone shield, tobacco smoke and climate change. And most surprisingly, in each case, the tactics were employed by the same group of people.

The central players were serious scientists who had major career triumphs during the Cold War, but in subsequent years apparently came to equate environmentalism with socialism, and government regulation with tyranny.

In a 2010 book, Dr. Oreskes and Dr. Conway called these men “Merchants of Doubt,” and this spring the book became a documentary film, by Robert Kenner. At the heart of both works is a description of methods that were honed by the tobacco industry in the 1960s and have since been employed to cast doubt on just about any science being cited to support new government regulations.

Dr. Oreskes, the more visible and vocal of the “Merchants” authors, has been threatened with lawsuits and vilified on conservative websites, and routinely gets hate mail calling her a communist or worse.

Complaints about some of her research were filed at her previous employer, the University of California, San Diego, though never upheld. In leaked emails, one of the men she has targeted in her writing, the physicist S. Fred Singer, complained that she was protected at that institution by “a mostly feminist mafia.”

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The Hoax of Climate Denial: Why “politically motivated” Science is Good Science

Quote Naomi Oreskes:

In a hearing at which I testified last month, Republican members of the Committee on Natural Resources denounced a wide range of scientific investigations related to the enforcement of existing environmental laws as “government science.” And this, they alleged, meant it was, by definition, corrupt, politically driven, and lacking in accountability. The particular science under attack involved work done by, or on behalf of, federal agencies like the National Parks Service, but climate science came in for its share of insults as well.

On the face of it, the charges were absurd: most agency science is subject to far more scrutiny, accountability, and oversight, including multiple levels of peer review, than research done in academic settings. In contrast, research done under the aegis of industry is often subject to no public accountability at all.

Further down in the section: Climate Science and the Hoaxers

Quote Naomi Oreskes:

The ink on the Montreal Protocol was scarcely dry when ozone science was attacked as corrupt and politically motivated (in much the same way that environmental science is being attacked today). In 1995, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher organized a hearing on “scientific integrity” meant to challenge such science. Representatives of private industry and conservative think tanks began to claim that the science behind the Montreal Protocol was incorrect, that fixing the problem would be devastating to the economy, and that the scientists involved were exaggerating the threat to get more money for their research. Entered into the Congressional Record was the now-familiar claim that there was “no scientific consensus” on ozone depletion, shown to be completely false by the Nobel Prize awarded to Rowland and Molina only a few weeks later.

If one were to strip the names and dates off the record of that hearing, it would be easy enough to imagine that its subject was climate change and that it took place last week. In fact, climate science has been attacked by many of the same individuals and organizations that attacked ozone science, using many of the same arguments, as misguided today as they were then.

Consider what we know about the history and integrity of climate science.

Scientists have known for more than 100 years that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) trap heat in a planet’s atmosphere. If you increase their concentration, the planet will get hotter. Venus is incredibly hot -- 864 degrees Fahrenheit -- not primarily because it is closer to the Sun than the Earth, but because it has an atmosphere hundreds of times denser and composed mainly of CO2.

Oceanographer Roger Revelle was the first American scientist to focus attention on the risk of putting increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office and continued to work closely with the Navy throughout his career. In the 1950s, he argued for the importance of scientific research on man-made climate change, calling attention to the threat that sea level rise from melting glaciers and the thermal expansion of the oceans posed to the safety and security of major cities, ports, and naval facilities. In the 1960s, he was joined in his concern by several colleagues, including geochemist Charles David Keeling, who first began to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide in 1958, and geophysicist Gordon MacDonald, who served on the first Council on Environmental Quality under Republican President Richard Nixon.

In 1974, the emerging scientific understanding of climate change was summarized by physicist Alvin Weinberg, the head of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who explained that the use of fossil fuels was likely to be limited well before we ran out of them by the threat they represented to the Earth’s stable and beneficent climate. “Although it is difficult to estimate how soon we shall have to adjust the world’s energy policies to take this limit into account,” he wrote, “it might well be as little as 30-50 years.”

In 1977, Robert M. White, the first administrator of NOAA and later president of the National Academy of Engineering, summarized the scientific findings in the journal Oceanus this way:

“We now understand that industrial wastes, such as carbon dioxide released during the burning of fossil fuels, can have consequences for climate that pose a considerable threat to future society... [E]xperiences of the past decade have demonstrated the consequences of even modest fluctuations in climatic conditions [and] lent a new urgency to the study of climate... The scientific problems are formidable, the technological problems, unprecedented, and the potential economic and social impacts, ominous.”

In 1979, the National Academy of Sciences concluded: “If carbon dioxide continues to increase, [we] find no reason to doubt that climate changes will result, and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible.”

These findings led the World Meteorological Organization to join forces with the United Nations and create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The idea was to establish a stable scientific foundation for informed public policies. Just as good science laid the foundation for the Vienna Convention, good science would now lay the foundation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in 1992 by President Bush.

Since then, the scientific world has affirmed and reaffirmed the validity of the scientific evidence. The National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and many similar organizations, as well as leading scientific societies and academies abroad, have all given the work of climate science their seals of approval. In 2006, 11 national academies of science, including the oldest in the world, Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, issued an unusual joint statement noting that the “threat of climate change is clear and increasing,” and that “delayed action will... incur a greater cost.” That was nearly a decade ago. Today, scientists assure us that the evidence of the reality of human-made climate change is “unequivocal,” and the World Bank tells us that its impact and costs are already being felt.

The scientific work that produced this consensus was done by scientists around the globe -- men and women, old and young, and in this country Republicans as well as Democrats. In fact, curiously enough, given recent Republican congressional “hoax” claims, probably more of them were Republicans than Democrats. Gordon MacDonald, for example, was a close advisor to President Nixon and Dave Keeling was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush in 2002.

Yet despite the long history of this work and its bipartisan nature, climate science continues to be scurrilously attacked. This past May, the world’s most revered climate scientists met with Pope Francis to advise him on the facts of climate change and the threat it represents to the future health, wealth, and well-being of men, women and children, not to mention so many other species with whom we share this unique planet. At that same moment, climate change deniers were meeting near the Vatican in an attempt to prevent the Pope from speaking out on the moral meaning of climate change. Whenever there are signs that the political landscape is shifting and that the world might be getting ready to act on climate change, the forces of denial only redouble their efforts.

The organization responsible for the denialist meeting in Rome was the Heartland Institute, a group with a long history not only of rejecting climate science but science generally. They were, for instance, responsible for the infamous billboards comparing climate scientists to the Unabomber. They have a documented history of working with the tobacco industry to raise questions about the scientific evidence of tobacco’s harms. As Erik Conway and I demonstrated in our book Merchants of Doubt, many of the groups that now question the reality or significance of human-made climate change previously questioned the scientific evidence of the dangers of tobacco.

Today, we know that millions of people have died from tobacco-related diseases. Do we really have to wait for people to die in similar numbers before we accept the evidence of climate change?

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.ren
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Quote stwo:
Quote Mauiman2:Just for the record, I am a global warming skeptic, not a denier. To me there seems to be an argument on both sides of this one, and it looks like getting good, non biased information here is extreamly difficult.
Sorry Maui- but you are a denier- there is no potential good faith postion to take on the subject other than accpetance of the catastrophic storyline. Anything else is stoopid or disingenous. So saith the lord of the run-on sentence.

So please explain to me how the earth had major warm up and cool down periods long before the industrial revolution.

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Dude, its me. (sorry I forgot the /sarc ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

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Quote P.S. Dasgupta, V. Ramanathan, R. Minnerath: If we study trends in food consumption, life expectancy, and recorded incomes in regions that are currently rich and in those that are on the way to becoming rich, resource scarcities wouldn't appear to have bitten so far.
"Environmental problems" and "future prospects" present themselves in different ways to different people. Some identify environmental problems with population growth, while others identify them with wrong sorts of economic growth. There are those who see environmental problems as urban pollution in emerging economies, while others view them through the spectacle of poverty in the world's poorest countries. Some allude to "sustainable development" only when considering economic development in the global economy, while others see it in terms of the development prospects of villages in sub-Saharan Africa. Each of the visions is correct. We know that what begins as urban pollution becomes layers of atmospheric brown clouds (ABCs), containing black carbon particles and ozone, that annually destroy some 2 million lives and over 100 million tons of crops, disrupts the Monsoon circulation and contribute to the melting of arctic ice and the Himalayan snow. There is no single environmental problem, there is a large collection of interrelated problems. Some are presenting themselves today, while others are threats to the future. Although growth in industrial and agricultural pollutants has accompanied economic development, neither preventive nor curative measures have kept pace with their production in industrialized countries. That neglect is now prominent in the rapidly growing regions in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS). Moreover, the scale of the human enterprise has so stretched the capabilities of ecosystems, that Humanity is today Earth's dominant species. During the 20th century world population grew by a factor of four (to more than 6 billion) and world output by 14, industrial output increased by a multiple of 40 and the use of energy by 16, methane-producing cattle population grew in pace with human population, fish catch increased by a multiple of 35, and carbon and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 10. It is not without cause that our current era has been named the Anthropocene.
On the other hand, economic growth has brought with it improvements in the quality of a number of environmental resources. The large-scale availability of potable water and the increased protection of human populations against both water- and air-borne diseases in advanced industrial countries have come allied to the economic growth those countries have enjoyed over the past 200 years. Increases in scientific knowledge, investment in public infrastructure, and universal education in advanced industrial countries have meant that citizens there have far greater knowledge of environmental hazards than their counterparts in poor regions. They also have resources to avoid them.
Many people are convinced that scientific and technological advances, the accumulation of reproducible capital, growth in human capital, and improvements in the economy's institutions can overcome diminutions in natural capital. Otherwise it is hard to explain why so much of the social sciences in the 20th century has been detached from the environmental sciences. Nature is all too often seen as a backdrop from which resources and services can be drawn in isolation. Macroeconomic forecasts routinely exclude natural capital. Accounting for Nature, if it comes into the calculus at all, is usually an afterthought. The rhetoric has been so successful, that if someone exclaims, "Economic growth!", one does not need to ask, "Growth in what?" – we all know they mean growth in gross domestic product (GDP). The rogue word in GDP is "gross". GDP, being the market value of all final goods and services, ignores the degradation of natural capital. If fish harvests rise, GDP increases even if the stock declines. If logging intensifies, GDP increases even if the forests are denuded. And so on. The moral is significant though banal: GDP is impervious to Nature's constraints. There should be no question that Humanity needs urgently to redirect our relationship with Nature so as to promote a sustainable pattern of economic and social development.
/sarc

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Oreskes and Conway Leave No Doubt -- a brief overview of Merchants of Doubt by Aaron Redman, April 23, 2015

Quote Aaran Redman:

In their 2010 book, Merchants of Doubt, historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway expose in seemingly endless detail the sordid roots of today’s climate change denial. They trace its birth from early (and recently revived) attempts to discredit Rachael Carson and the dangers of DDT to wildlife, even if that first battle was lost by the nascent Merchants almost before it had begun.

A Game Plan is Perfected

n 1953 Tobacco executives got together and initiated a counter-offensive against the emerging scientific evidence that smoking was terrible for your health.1) The industry tried numerous strategies which are detailed in the book but coalesced around one, overarching approach.

The tobacco industry’s key insight: that you could use normal scientific uncertainty to undermine the status of actual scientific knowledge.

This included a host of tactics such as funding oppositional research, actually creating fake but legitimate sounding journals and advocacy groups2), taking advantage of journalism’s tendency to give equal weight as opposed to an accurate weight and many others which the authors (and others) termed the “Tobacco strategy”. Ultimately, the goal of this strategy is to never let the discussion center on best policies or actions, instead one must keep the debate around the actual science itself (and claim this has to be “settled” before policy can be even discussed, let alone attempted).

New Issues, Same Plan

So effective was this approach in delaying action on tobacco despite overwhelming scientific evidence of its harm, that the Tobacco Strategy was deployed to fight acid rain, the ozone layer and most of all anthropogenic climate change. But this book is not named “The Strategy of Doubt” because what the authors uncovered in their research was that even more than tactics what has connected these diverse attacks on scientific consensus were the same group of individuals and organizations-the Merchants of doubt. A few, albeit very prestigious scientists, were convinced to lend their weighty voices to issues well outside their areas of expertise in coordination with slews of industry front groups.

The link that unites the tobacco industry, conservative think tanks, and the scientists in our story is the defense of the free market.

Now that we know about it these strategies no longer work right?

Unfortunately, today these strategies are as effective as ever because they play into the doubt/probability based aspect fundamental to the scientific process. The reality that there are is no way to prove a statement 100% true in science, you can only prove the statement false,3) just does not make sense to most people.4) This is not just speculation, <a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html%20target=" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html%20target=" _blank"=""> prominent climate science contrarian was recently found to have accepted $1.2 million dollars from the fossil fuel industry while publishing scientifically and testifying before congress as though he was an unbiased source.5)

3 Things I Liked

  1. Exhaustively Researched: The authors clearly left no stone unturned in their search for the people and organizations responsible for developing and deployed this strategy of Doubt.
  2. Drawing the Connections:In science (including history) the tendency is generally to focus in, but in this case the authors searched for linkages and connections that spanned decades and a multitude of issues. This type of systems-based analysis is fundamental to Sustainability.
  3. No Punches Pulled: The authors were not afraid to call out any scientist who they viewed as having become a Merchant of Doubt but they did not caricaturize them as one-dimensional evil-doers. Rather, they identified various causes for become Merchants; principally an ideological dedication to free market conservatism, thus painting brutally honest but more nuanced portraits of those involved.

3 Things I Didn't Like

  1. xhausting Detail Included: While the details of dates, times organizations and who did what when are all very important to back up the claims made by the authors, far more of it needed to be relegated to footnotes, endnotes and appendices. They made it really hard to see the forest because they included so many trees.
  2. Hard to Visualize: While infographics may be overused, this book sorely needed some kind of visual guidance to help the reader follow along with all the many people and organizations involved. There seemed to be more characters than Game of Thrones in 1/10th the pages! A genealogical tree or flow chart would have done wonders for me.
  3. Got too Personal:Ultimately this book became too focused on the personalities and quirks of the Merchants themselves and lost focus on the underlying drivers and conditions which created them. While the individuals were important, clearly this movement of fostering scientific doubt is much bigger than any one (or two) person, as it continues stronger than ever today6) with virtually everyone discussed in the book long gone.

Aaron's Approbation

This book is very important and for anyone interested in science communication in general and climate science communication in particular MUST read it. But for the rest of the public and even scientific community I have hopes that the new documentary will provide an accurate and accessible version of the book or at least you can check out an interview with one of the authors.

Reading details are admittedly a pain in the ass. We have a society that in general is quip and sound byte-oriented, so people who do have the patience and the discipline to delve into details and emerge with a larger picture of what's being portrayed are likely to be few and far between.

Personally I've spent most of my adult years training myself to read a forest of detail and to create out of it a strategic view of the forest. That sums up much of my professional life as a strategic planning consultant. Thus, reading Merchants of Doubt was an easy read for me. For others, as Aaran suggests, it may not be. That confirms what I tend to see in many discussions both on this board and elsewhere where people will persistently nit pick details and pull out some small aspect of a topic discussed in a post, or a series of posts tied together by a theme, meanwhile they will ignore the actual topic of discussion as they focus on the root hairs of a single tree in the forest.

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If the science community would only have not overlooked the other possible causes of global warming and climate change as pointed out to us by stwo and maui. The science community must be chock full of quacks.

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Quote Bush_Wacker:If the science community would only have not overlooked the other possible causes of global warming and climate change as pointed out to us by stwo and maui. The science community must be chock full of quacks.
Please show where I point out, discuss, mention, hint at, etc. any possible causes of global warming.

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Quote Bush_Wacker:

If the science community would only have not overlooked the other possible causes of global warming and climate change as pointed out to us by stwo and maui. The science community must be chock full of quacks.

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect this article of surrender -- The climate change deniers have won -- succinctly states the case made earlier in this thread by Chomsky:

Quote Noam Chomsky:

So they may know they are mortgaging the future of their grandchildren, and in fact, everything they own will be destroyed, but they are caught in a trap of institutional structure. That's what happens in market systems. A financial crisis is a small example of the same thing. You may know that what you are doing carries systemic risk, but you can't calculate that into your transactions or you're not fulfilling your role and someone else replaces you. In fact in the United States it's actually a legal obligation to do that for corporate executives.

And that's a very serious problem. It means that we're marching over a cliff and doing it for institutional reasons that are pretty hard to dismantle.

Nick Cohen: The climate change deniers have won

Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it

The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. "As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do," it said as it began one of those sentences that you know will build to a "but". "But human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes."

In one sense, the association's appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march. A survey of 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in the last 20 years found that 97% said that humans were causing it.

----------------->

Clive Hamilton, the Australian author of Requiem for a Species, made the essential point a few years ago that climate change denial was no longer just a corporate lobbying campaign. The opponents of science would say what they said unbribed. The movement was in the grip of "cognitive dissonance", a condition first defined by Leon Festinger and his colleagues in the 1950s . They examined a cult that had attached itself to a Chicago housewife called Dorothy Martin. She convinced her followers to resign from their jobs and sell their possessions because a great flood was to engulf the earth on 21 December 1954. They would be the only survivors. Aliens in a flying saucer would swoop down and save the chosen few.

When 21 December came and went, and the Earth carried on as before, the group did not despair. Martin announced that the aliens had sent her a message saying that they had decided at the last minute not to flood the planet after all. Her followers believed her. They had given up so much for their faith that they would believe anything rather than admit their sacrifices had been pointless.

Climate change deniers are as committed. Their denial fits perfectly with their support for free market economics, opposition to state intervention and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, with their arrogant manners and dainty hybrid cars, who presume to tell honest men and women how to live. If they admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.

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stu and Haole are similar to flat earthers, and creationists. Science was not a problem for Galileo and Copernicus, but their stu and Haole equivalents could not be bothered.

tomgram_naomi_oreskes_why_climate_deniers_are_their_own_worst_nightmares and they cannot see the money behind the denial agenda*. Tobacco Science Institute convinced smokers that all that cancer was normal just like all the weather extremes are normal and the hottest planetary temp in history happens all the time in million year sets. How they can claim climate change is normal going back 100s of thousands of years when they also know god created earth and man only 10,000 years ago and dinosaurs are hoaxes ought to give them pause. They can believe one or the other, but not both. Maybe god is making a new species out of the mud and clay appearing in draught stricken regions. 99.7% of scientists agree now, so the kochs must have the 1/3rd of 1% of scientists on their payroll. One GOP science committee member stated that the melting ice caps were no problem because God promised Noah no more flooding, so take that climate scientists.

*

a supposed post-1998 “pause” in the planetary warming process was a fantasy -- the charm fades fast. When you discover that behind this denial of reality lies at least $125 million in dark money, it fades even faster. In just three years, unidentified conservative sources have poured that eye-popping figure into a web of think tanks and activist outfits dedicated to promoting climate denial (and not even included in that amount are the vast sums that Big Energy continues to contribute to the promotion of denialism, as it has done since the 1980s). In other words, some of the most powerful and profitable interests on the planet are determined to deny reality with a ferocity meant to confuse the public and put a damper on any moves or movement to save a planetary environment that has long nurtured humanity. It’s a charmless spectacle.
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You are truly an intellectual giant D-lee.

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Do I detect a note of bitterness in your post, doug? If so, I consider it understandable.

As I tried to describe in the opening post, it appears that the United States is beyond the political state of reasonable, participatory discussion. The populace has become deeply polarized. That's nothing particularly new, this nation has reached that point before. If one looks at this graph, where some political scientists attempted to map political polarization from 1879 to 2013, we see that polarization reached an extreme at the height of the robber baron era at the beginning of the 20th Century. What followed after a couple of decades of this heightened polarization was first a major world war and then a kind of collapse, known as the Great Depression. According to that graph, this nation has now exceeded some measurable early 20th Century polarization. It appears that polarizing process remains on the upswing phase.

What I hear in your post is the effect of that polarization where you are looking at the other, essentially Republican extreme, and characterizing it in terms of the Democratic pole. Those two party terms are of course broad generalizations. I feel we are unfortunately at this point stuck with that two party paradigm until it finally breaks down, as it supposedly did during the Depression and a host of social breakthroughs came about in the political process as the population finally faced the reality they would need to negotiate with each other or go down in some inconceivably nasty way.

The subject of this thread is about only one small aspect of that polarization process. More specifically, one aspect of one aspect, the attack on the science as a whole. The effort to create doubt about all of the anthropogenic effects of human activity, which by common sense, would be a collective effort and therefore would be government funded. Why, as Chomsky notes, business funding is almost all oriented to preserving the economic status quo. That orientation has proven to work in a Tobacco Industry strategy of creating confusion through doubt about any threat or any need for a change of behavior on the part of humans. And in this essay that we've been "discussing," Naomi is talking about the massive business-funded strategy of claiming that politically-driven science is tainted and suspect.

By getting enough people to believe that one claim about government funded research, we can reasonably assume it's hoped by the “Democracy Incorporated” strategists that enough of the population will connect it to a web of other carefully woven claims about the worthlessness of government as opposed to the superiority of private free market forces, and hopefully enough of the voting population will come through believing anthropogenic global warming and the ensuing climate change effects are a hoax. This has apparently been the case.

While this may not be essential to the corporate ruling institutions' achieved take over a deeply divided political process – keep in mind that discussion we had on another thread related to that Hedges/Wolin interview --- it is at the very least helpful to their cause of maintaining control of the economic/market system if you look at how dysfunctionally Congress has been operating since the 2010 election that Chomsky was talking about in that November, 2009 interview I've drawn from several times on this thread (Noam Chomsky: How Climate Change Became a 'Liberal Hoax').

I personally don't really believe sensible discussion on what to do about anthropogenic climate change is even possible at this point. Perhaps this question is what we need to consider, and maybe just patiently wait for the answer (it's the question that I was asking when I found that party polarization graph):

Polarization in Congress has risen sharply. Where is it going next?

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.ren
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Quote stwo:

Dude, its me. (sorry I forgot the /sarc ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

Now what you wrote makes sense, sorry I missed the sarcasm. :)

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Mauiman2
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Maui, if you were genuinely interested in the answer to your question, you could easily find that information on your own. For instance: http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm. Or for a comprehensive list of denier myths: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

Every major climatology organization, NASA, the US Pentagon et al. says that anthropogenic climate change is occuring and that it poses a significant threat. Either it's a grand conspiracy or...

But aren't you also one who denies evolution? What say ye about gravity? Grand conspiracy or fact of life?

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

I agree more or less with the following statements:

  • Global surface temperatures have warmed about 0.8C over the course of the past century or so.
  • Humans have the capacity to change the climate through our actions, and have done so.
  • Scientists have identified ways in which human activity can change the climate: Deforestation, pollution, changes in land use / land cover and emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Conventional physics accurately describes how greenhouse gas concentrations can contribute to warming.
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases have grown dramatically over the past two centuries, as have concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere

In fact, I think that every skeptic I know and know of would agree with the above statements, which is why I think using the term ‘denier’ is cheap agitprop and an attempted insult that defines the user of the term more than the target. There are few in the debate here on the catastrophic warmist side who are open to considering the degree to which warming may not be problematic and what types of mitigation would be least harmful to poor and undeveloped countries. There's no shortage here of the type of derision and ad hominim that underlies warmist/denier impass and I find it ironic that the stance taken by .ren and others is that the problem lies soley with those who do not blindly and fully accept the catastrophic warmist position like they do. Unless they, like me, see themselves as part of the problem that results in that impass.

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stwo
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Maybe because after decades of showing, explaining, iterating and rehashing facts derision becomes the only thing left to use.

And in what warmer world do you envision would be a good thing? Oops, that's not another planet, but this one.

rs allen
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Quote Garrett78:

Maui, if you were genuinely interested in the answer to your question, you could easily find that information on your own. For instance: http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm. Or for a comprehensive list of denier myths: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

Every major climatology organization, NASA, the US Pentagon et al. says that anthropogenic climate change is occuring and that it poses a significant threat. Either it's a grand conspiracy or...

But aren't you also one who denies evolution? What say ye about gravity? Grand conspiracy or fact of life?

Yes, I don't think that the atheistic view of evolution is accurate. What does that have to do with gravity or climate change? Just curious. Yes gravity is a fact of life and yes the earth's temperatures are going up. And yes, the CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing about 2 ppm a year as I understand it.

Is it worthwhile to basically shut down the entire world's economy to stop the increase of CO2? That is the question before us, and I for one, don't really know the answer to that one.

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Throughout this thread I've attempted to open discussion on two topics. The primary topic is presented in the title. I consider it related to an general socio/political issue that has arisen around climate science. Specifically, that science instigated by political motivation is inevitably going to be corrupted by the bias of those involved.

I see this preconception taking place as an argument on a number of fronts, but for a platform of departure on discussion I've brought Naomi Oreskes' recent essay, complete with her arguments intended to demonstrate that politically motivated science has produced good science. I'll repeat the title:

The Hoax of Climate Denial: Why “Politically Motivated” Science Is Good Science by Naomi Oreskes

When I present someone else's position for discussion, unless I specifically state I agree with that position, it would be fallacious for anyone to assume that I do agree. But more to the point, I'm not interested in agreement of disagreement with any position, or anyone. That is not what discussion is about for me. I'll include some words from David Bohm below that I hope will clarify my position on this.

The secondary topic, a topic I've introduced is something that I see to be closely related to the first. It is what I'm perceiving as the political polarization that appears to be present in the United States at this time. Polarization itself is a typical condition where people are set in attitudes of opposition, and this itself can be, and I find often is, inhibitive to open minded discussion. This type of attitude present in groups tends to lead to all sorts of problems that I find lead away from finding common ground, not the least of which is a terminal breakdown in communications.

In light of that I would like to clarify that my interest in discussion on this board or in any situation is roughly the same. These thoughts from David Bohm's On Dialogue seem to parallel my own. While they are not the whole of the thoughts on this, I believe they offer some specific insight. I offer it in the spirit of group dialogue:

Quote David Bohm:

COLLECTIVE PARTICIPATION

All of this is part of collective thought – people thinking together. At some stage we would share our opinions without hostility, and we would then be able to think together; whereas when we defend an opinion we can’t. An example of people thinking together would be that somebody would get an idea, somebody else would take it up, somebody else would add to it. The thought would flow, rather than there being a lot of different people, each trying to persuade or convince the others.

In the beginning, people won’t trust each other. But I think that if they see the importance of the dialogue, they will work with it. And as they start to know each other, they begin to trust each other. It may take time. At first you will just come into the group bringing all the problems of the culture and the society. Any group like this is a microcosm of society – it has all sorts of opinions, people not trusting each other, and so on. So you begin to work from there. People talk at first in a perhaps rather trivial way, and then later less trivially. Initially they talk about superficial issues, because they’re afraid of doing more, and then gradually they learn to trust each other.

The object of a dialogue is not to analyze things, or to win an argument, or to exchange opinions. Rather, it is to suspend your opinions and to look at the opinions – to listen to everybody’s opinions, to suspend them, and to see what all that means. If we can see what all of our opinions mean, then we are sharing a common content, even if we don’t agree entirely. It may turn out that the opinions are not really very important – they are all assumptions. And if we can see them all, we may then move more creatively in a different direction. We can just simply share the appreciation of the meanings; and out of this whole thing, truth emerges unannounced – not that we have chosen it.

If each of us in this room is suspending, then we are all doing the same thing. We are all looking at everything together. The content of our consciousness is essentially the same. Accordingly, a different kind of consciousness is possible among us, a participatory consciousness – as indeed consciousness always is, but one that is frankly acknowledged to be participatory and can go that way freely. Everything can move between us. Each person is participating, is partaking of the whole meaning of the group and also taking part in it. We can call that a true dialogue.

Something more important will happen if we can do this, if we can manage it. Everybody will be sharing all the assumptions in the group. If everybody sees the meaning together, of all the assumptions, then the content of consciousness is essentially thesame. Whereas if we all have different assumptions and defend them, each person is then going to have a different content, because we won’t really take in the other person’s assumptions. We’ll be fighting them, or pushing them away – trying to convince or persuade the other person.

Conviction and persuasion are not called for in a dialogue. The word “convince” means to win, and the word “persuade” is similar. It’s based on the same root as are “suave” and “sweet.” People sometimes try to persuade by sweet talk or to convince by strong talk. Both come to the same thing, though, and neither of them is relevant. There’s no point in being persuaded or convinced. That’s not really coherent or rational. If something is right, you don’t need to be persuaded. If somebody has to persuade you, then there is probably some doubt about it.

If we could all share a common meaning, we would be participating together. We would be partaking of the common meaning – just as people partake of food together. We would be taking part and communicating and creating a common meaning. That would be participation, which means both “to partake of” and “to take part in.” It would mean that in this participation a common mind would arise, which nonetheless would not exclude the individual. The individual might hold a separate opinion, but that opinion would then be absorbed into the group, too. Thus, everybody is quite free. It’s not like a mob where the collective mind takes over – not at all. It is something between the individual and the collective. It can move between them. It’s a harmony of the individual and the collective, in which the whole constantly moves toward coherence. So there is both a collective mind and an individual mind, and like a stream, the flow moves between them. The opinions, therefore, don’t matter so much. Eventually we may be somewhere between all these opinions, and we start to move beyond them in another direction – a tangential direction – into something new and creative.

Bohm, David (2012-12-06). On Dialogue (pp. 29-32). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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And in what warmer world do you envision would be a good thing? Oops, that's not another planet, but this one.

the one we are experiencing. Please show me a measured aspect of climate that is worse now than it was 50 years ago. I know of the risk of what could be. Please tell me what is.

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No stwo, we've been around that bush before and I'm not going to play that ring-around-the-rosey game again. You either accept the facts you stated in post #33 or you're blowing smoke.

rs allen
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Interesting.

I agree with all of those statements in #33 and also that the athropogenic component is overwhelmed by natural variation and there is NOTHING negative associated with the slight warming that has been occurring for the past 400 years or so. NOTHING! My investigation into the science reveal that NOTHING in the way of the threatened adverse impact has been observed so far, and in fact there appears to have been a slight benefit to the biosphere from the slight warming and increased atmospheric CO2. Additonally, the adverse impacts predicted to happen "someday" are all theoretical and NONE have appeared in scientific measurements. It's all reported as could or may happen someday if we don't stop this crazy train. Scientifically illiterate people have a hard time distinguishing between what might happen versus what the actual measurements show has happened or is happening. Take Poly's assertions that the Jet stream is

I'm not worried about a degree per century or so of warming, and I think tipping points are bullshit.

I believe harm is being done to the poor and middle class by artifcially increasing the cost of fossil fuels in the name of global warming/climate change. Furthermore EVERY expert agrees that the harm being done will do NOTHING to affect global temperatures as long as Indai and china are not involved.

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Bottom line, what I deny is that there is a perfect temperature for the globe, and that humans can manipulate one or two trace greenhouse gases to regulate the global temperature to their liking.

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Congress manufactures doubt and denial in climate change hearing: Republicans in Congress once again chose denial and theatrics over problem solving

Quote Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian:

US Congress periodically holds hearings on issues related to climate change. Because the subject has become a partisan one in America, they generally follow a predictable pattern – Democrats invite science and policy expert witnesses who agree with the expert consensus on human-caused global warming and the need to address it, and Republicans invite witnesses who disagree.

John Christy at the University of Alabama at Huntsville is one of the fewer than 3% of climate scientists who publishes research suggesting that humans aren’t the primary cause of the current global warming. He’s thus become one of Republicans’ favorite expert witnesses.

Last week, the Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing to discuss draft guidance by the the President’s Council on Environmental Quality to include carbon pollution and the effects of climate change in the consideration of environmental impacts of federal projects, as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Needless to say, the Republicans on the committee don’t like the idea, as is clear from the hearing highlights and lowlights in the video below.

May 13 NEPA Hearing on Climate Change, youtube, published May 13, 2015

Christy Manufactures Doubt on Model Accuracy

Given that the hearing was ostensibly about environmental policy, most of the witnesses were policy experts. John Christy was the lone climate scientist invited to testify. His testimony focused on manufacturing doubt about the accuracy of climate models, climate change impacts, and about individual American projects’ contributions to global warming. On the accuracy of climate models, Christy played rather fast and loose with the facts, saying in his written testimony (emphasis added),

Quote John Christy:

Do we understand how greenhouse gases affect the climate, i.e. the link between emissions and climate effects? A very basic metric for climate studies is the temperature of the bulk atmospheric layer known as the troposphere, roughly from the surface to 50,000 ft altitude. This is the layer that, according to models, should warm significantly as CO2 increases ...

I was able to access 102 CMIP-5 rcp4.5 (representative concentration pathways) climate model simulations of the atmospheric temperatures for the tropospheric layer and generate bulk temperatures from the models for an apples-to-apples comparison with the observations from satellites and balloons ... On average the models warm the global atmosphere at a rate three times that of the real world ... As such, they would be of highly questionable value in determining policy that should depend on a very confident understanding of how the climate system works.

Christy’s oral testimony referred only to the temperatures of the “atmosphere” and “planet.” As shown in the above quote, in his written testimony, Christy twice referenced the troposphere – the lowest layer of the atmosphere from the surface to 50,000 feet (15km) in altitude. However, to argue that climate models have been inaccurate, Christy showed a graph of only mid-troposphere temperatures. The mid-troposphere is the atmospheric layer from about 25,000–50,000 feet, or about 8–15km in altitude.

One might reasonably ask why Christy only showed data for such high altitudes. For perspective, the highest point on the Earth’s surface is on Mount Everest at 29,000 feet (8.8km), and the highest elevation city in the world is La Rinconada, Peru at 16,700 feet (5.1km). Humans live in the lower troposphere, not the mid-troposphere.

As weather balloon data show, the mid-troposphere is warming significantly more slowly than the lower troposphere, where the increasing greenhouse effect has more of an impact on temperature changes. It’s possible that climate models aren’t quite getting the vertical profile of atmospheric temperature changes quite right. It’s also possible that the measurements themselves aren’t accuratedifferent scientific groups have significantly different estimates of the rates of warming in the low and mid-troposphere. Some combination of both is undoubtedly true.

However, climate models have done a good job matching the observed temperature change at the surface and in the lower troposphere, where humans live. We understand the workings of the Earth’s climate much better than Christy suggests, especially where it matters most to humans. This is a key focus of my book and one of my Denial101x course lectures.

UQx Denial 101x 4.4.2.1 Success stories, youtube, published May 18, 2015

For further detail on how climate models are built, see this Denial101x interview with expert climate modelers. Toward the end of the video, Professor Andrew Pitman provides this quote that John Christy and Republicans in Congress would do well to learn from.

Quote Professor Andy Pitman:

There are many lines of evidence that are used to understand how climate might change the future. If you could take the climate models away, we would still be just as worried about future climate.

Christy Manufactures Doubt on Climate Impacts

Christy also suggested that Americans have not yet experienced increases in various extreme climate impacts such as heat waves. This is a particularly strange example, given that Christy doesn’t deny that temperatures have risen significantly, and an increase in heat waves is an obvious consequence of rising temperatures. There is indeed a large body of scientific literature showing that heatwaves and other types of extreme weather are becoming more frequent and intense due to human-caused global warming.

Christy also claimed that carbon emissions from any single federal project will have a negligible impact on climate change; an extremely flawed argument. If I dump a bucket of motor oil into a nearby river, it will have a negligible environmental impact. Should we then allow everyone to dump their used oil into rivers without regulation? It’s cumulative national and global carbon emissions that matter, and every source of emissions should be appropriately considered.

Consensus Denial

The expert consensus on human-caused global warming was discussed several times during the hearing. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked of Christy,

Quote Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex):

You ever feel like Galileo? You remember Galileo? The overwhelming amount of science was against Galileo, and the other side of this got money from the Church, they got money from the government from their research opposing Galileo, and yet Galileo was right.

This is of course incorrect – the scientific evidence was on Galileo’s side, although it’s correct to note that the climate science evidence is overwhelmingly against Christy. Christy himself has tried to have it both ways on consensus, previously having claimed to be part of the 97% (he’s not), and in the hearing claiming in response to a question about a NASA statement on the on the consensus,

Quote John Christy:

I would hope I could disabuse you of that 97% number. That’s been debunked by several studies ... remember, the NASA website is controlled by a specific government

This claim is false. Two poor responses to our 97% consensus paper were published in off-topic journals and were themselves debunked. This was also an ironic choice of words by Christy. As documented in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Christy previously wrote a letter of complaint to the president of Michael Mann’s university after Mann correctly noted in Senate testimony that the myth that Christy’s satellite data contradicted surface temperature data had been debunked.

My colleagues and I have thick skins and won’t be writing to the president of Christy’s university, but he’s once again confused about just what has been debunked.

Why it all Matters

Rep John Fleming (R-VA) and Christy discussed that mass extinctions and mega-droughts have occurred naturally in the past – the ‘climate has changed before’ logical fallacy. To take comfort in the fact that climate change has led to mass extinctions and mega-droughts, while we’re in the midst of a rapid human-caused climate change, is utterly misguided. These are the sorts of dangerous consequences we’re trying to avoid triggering.

There’s recently been a debate about whether we can still keep global warming below the 2°C “danger limit.” Most agree that we have all the technology we need to do it relatively cheaply, and we still have time, but what’s lacking is the political will. When Congressional climate hearings focus on science denial and manufacturing doubt in order to delay needed policies, that’s exactly the sort of political failing that may prevent us from solving this problem.

It’s important to remember that most Republicans accept the reality of human-caused global warming and support taking action to solve the problem (especially if the solution is revenue neutral) – just none of the Republicans in Congress, yet. Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) summarized the problem nicely,

Quote Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA):

Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals agree [on human-caused global warming]. That’s a very different proposition than what we heard today, that human emissions of greenhouse gases are contributing to climate change and global warming, so I want to congratulate the majority [Republicans] for finding a scientist with this unique contrarian view. I suppose if we look hard enough we could find a cardiologist who would tell us that chocolate cake is good for us. But when there’s such an overwhelming scientific consensus, you know, just a thought that we might want to hear scientific testimony that reflects that.

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Howard Zinn parts 1-5 and a trailer for a film based on his book offer a book end to some of Hedges' works. Zinn says a movement may arise in the decade beginning 2009, such as a third or more parties or real party, in part V. Approaching a parliamentary parity would be good. I still don't see the current GOP fascism waning, or it's associated inverted totalitarianism. I saw Hedges' spot on the pathology of the rich, and their killing the liberal class with the McCarthy debacle. The same thing is manifest in the endowment extortion now being exercised by kochs and others today.

The People Speak is an assortment of speakers reciting words from those not covered in the history books we were indoctrinated with. The first one- "Sandra Oh reads Emma Goldman" addressing WW1 could be read today about Cheney's war. It's very good and a 100 years old. There is quite an assortment but can be watched peicemeal, as the story continues, and can be picked up anytime, anywhere, and 'twill still resonate.

The People Speak - Sundance Film Festival - Q'Orianka Kilcher

is an indian chief's words to washington, I'd skip Eddie Vedder's song, so pick & choose, as with all poetry. Sorry about the tangent, Zinn's links were in response to polarization, but then his people's history was right next to it.

btw, the Malcom X piece was good, and Woody Harrelson's is Thoreau.

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Q'Orianka is an amazing young lady. Arrested in protest with her mom, also arrested in front of the WH. She's been an activist since she was a kid. She's an activist for environmental and youth issues, has spoken at the UN, Amnesty Intl, and other international organizations. Her dad is full Incan from Peru and her protest was against the president of Peru that Obama was welcoming and praising after he sent troops in to kill indigenous peruvians protesting the opening of their land for resource extraction, just like Americans do. The peruvian pres said the rest of the continet is going socialist because it elected an indigenous president in Bolivia and other countries are not selling their natural resources under the Washington consensus plan for debt extortion that worked so well in central america.

Anyhow Q'Orianka is Inca for feather something, her mom is swiss, from Alaska, she was born in Germany, speaks Swiss German, Spanish (for Peru), english and maybe a bit of Incan. She sings, writes songs, dances, martial arts, does her own stunts, and has set up youth organizations to promote activism. She also drives a hydrogen fuel cell driven car. A half indigenous American with Swiss/Inca roots, and a good actress. She was in Zinn's The People Speak. Hedges might like to link with her, and Malala too.

btw, I sent the link to my sister-in-law, the anthroplogist masters seeking doctorate in Lund, with major in Indigenous peoples. I thought if she could get a university president or dept head to send a line to Obama, or Kerry, or Q'Orianka, or all three, maybe even a petition from her university class. I'm always sending her info on the grand screw the western world wields on indigenous peoples and their lands.

btw2, In the People Speak doc one speaker reads from the monk Casa ____ on Hispaniola after Columbus's folks were finished with their genocide. Just another voice not heard except in Zinn's Peoples History.

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douglaslee
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I just started a petition on the White House Petitions site, We the People. Will you sign it? http://wh.gov/i0Ada

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And now it turns out that global warming is causing a new problem: it is shrinking the size of our buns.

Long-term global warming could cause loaves of bread to shrink in size due a reduction in the amount of protein in grains, Australian scientists have found. Loaves based on 2050 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were baked by researchers at the Victorian government and Melbourne University. They emerged smaller and crumpled compared to their present-day counterparts.

Think of the implications! With smaller bread, buns will be smaller, and hot dogs will slip out of buns. And what are we going to do when sandwiches become more wich than sand?

Global warming may shrink the size of your buns, but what if it also shrinks the size of your hot dogs as well? If they both get smaller proportionately, keeping the wiener-bun ratio at the same constant, maybe this really won't be such a problem.

I wonder what buns looked like before industrialization, before carbon dioxide started messing with pastries? I'll bet bagels were as big as car tires. Cupcakes probably were the size of wedding cakes. A loaf of bread was probably so big that it had to be pulled in a wagon by a team of horses.

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stwo
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And #43

I suspect you intended to include this link with your Q'Orianka Kilcher Sundance line:

The People Speak - Sundance Film Festival - Q'Orianka Kilcher

Some key phrases that could easily come from any people, including those who've broken away from the polarization of the U.S. two party system during various times in its history:

"I cannot understand how the government sends a man out to fight us, as it did general Miles, and then breaks its word. Such a government has something wrong with it."

Perhaps it's true, such a government indeed has something wrong with it. How can it have a word when it is so deeply divided, so partisan, and that partisan make up includes the inverted concentrated power of the purse as component of free speech.

A little more that may have something to say about what The People can Speak from: Polarization in Congress has risen sharply. Where is it going next?

Mathematically, partisan polarization in Congress cannot continue to expand indefinitely. But there are several directions that polarization could take in the coming years. Probably most unlikely is a “hot” decline in polarization caused by a breakup of the party system (as occurred before the Civil War) sparked by some calamity like a major economic crisis. More likely would be a “cooling off” period in which one or both parties respond to electoral pressures by gradually shifting back to the ideological center, most likely via replacement (i.e., nominating more moderate candidates). Of course, polarization has been the norm in Congress throughout most of American history–it was the depolarized era in the mid-20th century that was the aberration–and perhaps it is more realistic to expect that congressional polarization may essentially stabilize at or near current levels for the foreseeable future. Indeed, it could even worsen if Democrats begin to mirror the Republicans’ jump away from the center with the rise of unabashed progressive politicians like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the possibility of greater popular support of European-style social democratic programs.

While discussing the specter of inverted totalitarianism in nearly three hours of combined interviews -- Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist -- Hedges and Wolin cover many key aspects of a non participatory "managed democracy."

Or as Chief Joseph once summarized, speaking many years later through Q'Orianka Kilcher, "such a government has something wrong with it."

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Quote David Bohm, On Dialogue:

Now, you could say that our ordinary thought in society is incoherent – it is going in all sorts of directions, with thoughts conflicting and canceling each other out. But if people were to think together in a coherent way, it would have tremendous power. That’s the suggestion. If we have a dialogue situation – a group which has sustained dialogue for quite a while in which people get to know each other, and so on – then we might have such a coherent movement of thought, a coherent movement of communication. It would be coherent not only at the level we recognize, but at the tacit level, at the level for which we have only a vague feeling. That would be more important.

“Tacit” means that which is unspoken, which cannot be described – like the knowledge required to ride a bicycle. It is the actual knowledge, and it may be coherent or not. I am proposing that thought is actually a subtle tacit process. The concrete process of thinking is very tacit. The meaning is basically tacit. And what we can say explicitly is only a very small part of it. I think we all realize that we do almost everything by this sort of tacit knowledge. Thought is emerging from the tacit ground, and any fundamental change in thought will come from the tacit ground. So if we are communicating at the tacit level, then maybe thought is changing.

The tacit process is common. It is shared. The sharing is not merely the explicit communication and the body language and all that, which are part of it, but there is also a deeper tacit process which is common. I think the whole human race knew this for a million years; and then in five thousand years of civilization we have lost it, because our societies got too big to carry it out. But now we have to get started again, because it has become urgent that we communicate. We have to share our consciousness and to be able to think together, in order to do intelligently whatever is necessary. If we begin to confront what’s going on in a dialogue group, we sort of have the nucleus of what’s going on in all society. When you are by yourself you miss quite a bit of that; even one-on-one you don’t really get it.

Bohm, David (2012-12-06). On Dialogue (pp. 16-17). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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That was good ren. I was thinking of a taciturn reply because taciturn has content that is implicit, and thus tacit.

We covered dialectic some time ago and it has a significant history. I was reading a little Hegel and found it to be a major part of his thinking.

Full Definition of DIALECTIC1

: logic 1a(1)2

a : discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation; specifically : the Socratic techniques of exposing false beliefs and eliciting truth b : the Platonic investigation of the eternal ideas

3: the logic of fallacy

4a : the Hegelian process of change in which a concept or its realization passes over into and is preserved and fulfilled by its opposite; also : the critical investigation of this process b (1) usually plural but singular or plural in construction : development through the stages of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis in accordance with the laws of dialectical materialism (2) : the investigation of this process (3) : the theoretical application of this process especially in the social sciences

5usually plural but singular or plural in construction a : any systematic reasoning, exposition, or argument that juxtaposes opposed or contradictory ideas and usually seeks to resolve their conflict b : an intellectual exchange of ideas

6: the dialectical tension or opposition between two interacting forces or elementsSee dialectic defined for English-language learners

Tangent:The screaming that pundits find necessary is neither dialectic or dialogue, but the people that scream say their ratings prove that's what people want. If so, does society have to adopt such culture? Ever since the fairness doctrine was flushed by Reagan, assholes seemed to grow in number and size. Assholes sell, we are told. There ought to be a major for assholology in business schools. Master of Assholedom degree could lead to legitimate professional assholes, rather than amateurs. I wonder if Fox has an asshole test to determine if their hires are legitimate assholes or poseurs. I've heard the description 'complete asshole' but I never knew what completion meant, maybe apprenticeship is over? (Union member?)

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I have no problem with your bringing the dialectic and all that goes with it to this discusssion.

But I want to make clear that Bohm's On Dialogue is not that.

It may draw on some of that simply because that does describe what people are prone to do at times, however, Bohm is trying to describe his own special case of the term dialogue. I see it as a way to learn to participate in collective decisionmaking that moves away from the polarizing I see taking place so often in what people casually consider to be discussion, or often more specifically, debate. I've chosen a few selections from the book that I feel exemplify how that might take place. The entire 109 pages is an effort to create a unique and carefully explored version of dialogue as Bohm envisions it. His vision has roots in the dialogues he had with Krishnamurti over time.

Earlier I posted a section from his discussion on "Collective Participation" in my post #36. That section contains this paragraph:

Quote David Bohm:

The object of a dialogue is not to analyze things, or to win an argument, or to exchange opinions. Rather, it is to suspend your opinions and to look at the opinions – to listen to everybody’s opinions, to suspend them, and to see what all that means. If we can see what all of our opinions mean, then we are sharing a common content, even if we don’t agree entirely. It may turn out that the opinions are not really very important – they are all assumptions. And if we can see them all, we may then move more creatively in a different direction. We can just simply share the appreciation of the meanings; and out of this whole thing, truth emerges unannounced – not that we have chosen it.

Once again: he's talking about the object of his vision of dialogue. Here's a Wiki page as a place to start for anyone interested in exploring his vision: Bohm(ian) Dialogue.

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.ren
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Bohm's dialogue is similar to the ideation phase of problem solving, aka brainstorming. Every idea is shared and included, no such thing as wrong.

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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

You might want to look into it before you make a snap judgement. I'm very familiar with brainstorming, have done it many times. His dialogue certainly does include that aspect of brainstorming, yet it is much more and much deeper than a phase. Pause and reconsider the notion of tacit again.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

If Americans Die in a Pandemic - Blame the GOP

Thom plus logo As a possible pandemic looms on the horizon, the United States is the only developed nation in the world without a national healthcare system. Medicare For All is not just about saving as much as half of all of our half healthcare dollars, it's also about national security.
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