2011-01-15 08:49:20The Denial Machine Keeps Cranking... an essay
Peter Miesler

It's finished, there will be touch ups and I might add some more links.  But it's done.  {pleased to say the editor likes her version so it's a go at the Four Corners Free Press, now I get to wait until I see how she's edited it.  But she's always been very true, unlike some other local editors ;-)}

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I know that Skeptical Science is about SCIENCE.  I have tried to tread lightly and with respect, knowing that on a certain level, I have no right being here. Sure, it is wonderful for me to be able to read the various threads (a lot of valuable info), but I also realize I have nothing of scientific substance to add, other than passing along a tidbit here and there, that I may have come across before one of you has.

But, John did invite me and I do want to offer something of substance given my particular direction and knowledge. I know this started really sloppy, but it was 'brain storming' stuff.  I've finally got it down to something I feel good about.  And I believe it relates to your scientific (and unavoidable political) quests. . .

This was such a big topic, then I was put on to the idea of tagging information links to suppositions I make throughout the essay.  I ran with that and have 45 links at present.  I'm hoping it gives the essay some kick.

{790 words - well she's printed in the Four Corners Free Press, with a fresh title and all}  

comments would still be welcome and it goes without saying that anyone is welcome to any of this.

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The Denial Machine Keeps Cranking... an essay

What a long strange trip it's been. Forty years ago I was a bright eyed high school science student learning about greenhouse gases and the atmosphere and how those processes related to this incredibly fruitful climate our society has been enjoying compared to previous periods during our Earth’s evolution. Fascinating stuff and the science lessons soaked in.

In the four decades since then, climatology has made astonishing strides with ever improving instruments/tools, satellites, computers and graduating classes of skilled dedicated scientists. Their findings have been reported to a disinterested public. Today a large portion of this treasure trove of serious scientific findings has been collected and organized at "SkepticalScience.com" for those who care to learn.

Twenty-three years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created as an organizing agent for the massive amounts of incoming academic climate studies. And, although the IPCC suffers vitriolic attacks, it continues to function much better than its political opponents dare admit. Recently, a new website Zvon.org has made the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report’s data base easily accessible.

Where the trip got strange, is that instead of learning to understand and grasp the significance of this incoming climate information, Republicans have resorted to a different tactic. Corporate funded 'think tanks' such as Marshall Institute, SPPI, Heartland, etc. have been engaged in producing 'sceptical' talking points that use emotional political arguments and PR tactics to confuse and distract the public and politicians from actually coming to grips with climate science. Under serious scrutiny their arguments fall, one after the other. Problem is, they use really loud ~ emotion ~ dripping ~ megaphones ~ dedicated to destroying ~ the messengers ~ in order to ignore the message.

For example, the right honorable Senator Inhofe, the Republican's champion anti-science senator, demonstrated his disdain for serious climate science with his ridiculous "Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims” where 80% of the signees were not even climate scientists! For example Chris Allen a Southern Baptist creationist who holds no college degree, but is a TV weatherman who's written: “My biggest argument against putting the primary blame on humans for climate change is that it completely takes God out of the picture.” Why such desperate attempts to malign the establishment scientific community?

Why does US Senator Inhofe resort to using an enterprising fiction writer, Michael Crichton, as an expert witness before his Environment and Public Works Committee? Why use a discredited political performer, and propagandist, one Lord Viscount Monckton of Benchley, as a climate science adviser and expert witness? Perhaps, because, this Senator is a young earth creationist who resents science on an emotional religious level to begin with. But, one can't understand our climate without appreciating eons worth of its development.

In addition to the strangeness of ignoring science, the AGW Hoaxer media machine has manufactured an image of the greedy scientific community, eager to tamper with evidence to peddle gloom and doom for love of cash. Do they offer any proof? Of course not, just putting the lies out there and repeating them is enough. While we, the people, let them get away with it. Why?

I bring this up because it’s hideous how Republicans such as Inhofe have vilified scientists. I think it’s worth stopping and catching our collective breath for a moment. Why not consider the type of person who becomes a scientist? Remember those guys and gals in high school? The thoughtful ones, who stood back and focused more on learning than all the other distractions going on. It really says something we shouldn’t ignore because of political passions. Not that they are some ideal lot, but because it reveals the nature of a person who chooses to become a scientist ~ within whatever character he/she grows into, learning is a core value and that deserves respect!

The strangest most self destructive part of denialists distortions is their glib rejection for appreciating how massive global climate processes are. A supertanker coming into port plans and makes its speed and course adjustments well ahead of time, with care and respect for the shoals. Why are we, the people, allowing Republican masters of the universe to keep telling us to disregard the shoals and run our megatanker at full throttle?

Back in high school we had a saying, more a joke than anything we actually believed: “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” It’s so strange to think that today’s kids reflecting on their elder’s track record of arrogant disregard for Earth’s processes will realize our leaders don’t have a clue. What shall they conclude? This time around it’s for real? Better not trust anyone over thirty, since they seem incapable of looking beyond the rear view mirror.
2011-01-19 15:32:43
Peter Miesler

as I mentioned those first two versions were brainstorming.

Now it has the basic form of what I'm trying to write.  See any improvement?

 As for the last paragraph... I haven't been able to kill that baby yet  ;-)  Guess I'm waiting for something better to come to mind, my gut feeling is its got to go, even though I want to say it.

2011-01-21 09:38:07that's that
Peter Miesler

Just posted my submission draft and will call it good.

I know some think this is inappropriate and too political...

I believe it is worth adding to your varied considerations, because there is more to communicating science than science...


Is it too focused on USA?  OK true enough, but that happens to be where I'm from.  {and the epicenter of the AGWHoaxer community}

Still, I hope to think there's some universal stuff in that essay  -- cut and paste the names, the mentalities and attitudes are the same.  {incidentally if anyone likes any of it, have at it, do what you will.}





2011-01-21 16:16:59
Shirley Pulawski

This needs some very strong grammatical editing. There are commas where they shouldn't be and dead end sentence structure. For example, this is not a complete sentence: "In the decades since climatology has made astounding strides with ever improving instruments/tools, satellites, computers and graduating classes of skilled dedicated scientists." Nor is this later statement: "In addition to the strangeness of ignoring science the AGWHoaxer machine has manufactured this image of a greedy scientific community, ready to tamper with evidence to support gloom and doom, because bucks was in it for them."


Sentence structure in the basic sense = subject + verb + outcome statement but these statements only start to explain something. I'm going to attempt a restructuring of the last one, but I'm not sure where you're going with it, so I am going to take liberties, but () added around things I added:

 "In addition to the strangeness of ignoring science(,) the AGWHoaxer machine has manufactured this (an) image of a greedy scientific community, ready (eager) to tamper with evidence to support gloom and doom, (solely) because bucks was in it for money was most important to them." 

 My point is that this needs some proofing and time spent spoken aloud to make sure it's grammatically accurate and that the language is sophisticated enough to pass a collegiate English class without being so lofty that the ideas being communicated aren't lost. You have important thoughts to offer, but the writing needs refinement and revision (re-reading and afterthought). 

2011-01-21 21:56:33thanks
Peter Miesler

Thank you for that.  I have found way more to polish than I was thinking earlier.  I hope I have caught a bunch of it.

I have updated the text to reflect where I'm at.  Considering your post, guess I'll have to keep rereading to see what else I can find.


and yes Shirley, you do rock.