Scientists who study life on Earth have something in common with scientists who study the climate of Earth. Besides being scientists, that is.
Practically all life scientists accept that life on Earth initially evolved from non-living materials billions of years ago, and has continued to evolve via natural selection – as initially proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in 1859, and as supported and enhanced since by long catalogues of facts.
About half of the rest of We the People reject evolution.
Practically all climate scientists accept that the Earth’s atmospheric temperature is rising and that human-generated carbon dioxide is a primary cause of that rise – as initially proposed by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess in 1957, and as supported and enhanced since by long catalogues of facts.
About half of the rest of We the People reject anthropogenic global warming.
Both life and climate scientists deal with “arguments”, usually endlessly-iterated catchphrases, that are inaccessible to logic. As Richard Dawkins relates in The God Delusion, a person once heard Dawkins out and then told him, ‘Your argument is compelling, but I don’t believe it.’
Both life and climate scientists deal with ad hominem attacks that seek to discredit their work by assassinating their characters. As if the alleged indiscretions of golfer Tiger Woods somehow erase the scores Woods posted in winning, to date, 14 major championships. (That earthquake was the flamboyant, and less than discrete, golf legend Walter Hagen rolling over in his grave, laughing hysterically over the Woods furore.)
Both life and climate scientists face these challenges, in part, because, as Jeff Masters (yes, Mom, him again) so eloquently puts it in the latest entry to his “Manufactured Doubt” blog series, they “are honest, incredibly hard-working … servants who are enduring a punishing assault on their integrity because they are the bearers of bad news (emphasis added)”.
Bad news to the religions, especially Christian religions, because the findings of the life scientists place at risk the operations of the self-appointed keepers of our spiritual well-being.
Bad news to the fossil fuel industries, because the findings of the climate scientists place at risk the operations of the self-appointed keepers of our material well-being.
Both the religions and the fossil fuel industries have fought back. By proclamation of dogma (of, literally, the “Good News” in the case of Christianity) or manufacturing of doubt. And, most importantly, by means of emotional appeals. A cross moves more hearts than a dissertation. A Hummer is a whole lot sexier, and easier to grasp, than a long catalogue of facts. And it may even cost less.
Both the religions and the fossil fuel industries pay people, often handsomely, who are trained in the techniques of manipulating feelings. Precisely what the scientist is trained to abhor. It is obviously money well spent … for half of We the People are supporting the hypothesis that an ounce of emo is worth a pound – nay, a ton – of data.
And therefore – because the very people who profit most from your agreement to this statement say so – neither evolution nor global warming exist.
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.