Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Zombie Lies of the Far Right: Climate Change Edition

Back in the day when Ed Morrissey was blogging as Capt. Ed, we actually had a sort of cordial aquaintance and shared a few relatively pleasant interactions across our blogs. Unfortunately, he's fallen far since he signed on to Hot Air. I almost never read his posts anymore because they're so annoying with his pandering to his mistress Michelle Malkin. But I read this piece this morning wondering what media failure he might be flagging. Sadly, he was flogging the current disinformation campaign of the climate change deniers.

He has a long list of cites showing where the IPCC made "mistakes" in their report. I choose one at random on the Amazon forest since that's an issue I've followed for many years and know to be a legitimate area of concern in the climate change scenario. I had to drill down to a previous post of his to get to his "proof." He flagged a cite the IPCC used in its report and implied it was a bogus conclusion made by an environmental advocacy organization. He posted a URL to a broken link so I had to google to drill back to the source. I discovered this greenblogger had done the research.

As it turns out the quote in question was not exactly accurate in it's specific wording. However the advocacy org did relie on a specific reference to "D. C. Nepstad, et al: Large - scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire, Nature, 1999, Vo l 398, 8 April, pp505, on line here." While the language wasn't precisely transcribed, the scientific "references do exist to support the assertion that large areas of Amazon are vulnerable to fire. Which is the main point, when all is said and done." This is how zombie lies are born and thrive. The climate deniers have no real evidence and are reduced quibbling over single marginal and inconsequential errors in long studies that have been validated by other research over the years. Small wonder we can't have intelligent debates over how to deal with the problem when so many are singlemindedly devoted to obfuscating the facts.

I admit I maintain a small soft spot in my heart for Ed. I haven't forgotten his kind words and concern when I was facing surgery. But that just makes me all the sadder to see him propagate this wildly irresponsible denialism. He has kids and even grandkids I think. I would have thought he would be more concerned about leaving them a habitable planet.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

What is there about this that differs from other questions about science? I was studying Geology during the debate about plate tectonics Vs. Isostacy and although people with career investments in one or the other were vociferous, I don't recall the kind of vile language and murderous passion much less such hysterical public involvement.

Why should the opinions of people with no background whatever in geophysics or paleoclimatology be so wildly vehement? Why should anyone care what the man on the street thinks about Supersymmatry or quantum electrodynamics -- but there they are defending Big Oil as though they are defending their mother's honor.

9:42:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Who was it that said there's a fool born every minute? Think they were right Fogg.

11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

It's usually attributed to P.T. Barnum, but I'm not sure who said it.
He/She was right though.

There just isn't any scientific controversy so laden with emotion and perhaps it proves that hardly anyone is rational.

Yes, there's a possibility that predicted timelines aren't accurate, but the warmup isn't in doubt at all yet people come down on the hoax side with all the conviction of a Grand Inquisitor howling about heresy and the less scientific background the louder the banshee wail.

Yes, there are credible people who have credible doubts, but these people aren't credible, aren't educated, aren't scientists, haven't ever looked at the hundred thousand years of ice cores and yet -- they just know it's false and the falsehood is part of a dark and dangerous plot.

Everybody's a goddamn expert.

2:44:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I think fear drives the blind denialism. They search desperately for any tiny flaw in the science in order to assure themselves that this slow-mo disaster is not really happening. I have some empathy for that actually.

The consequences are terrifying and so in a way is the solution. It requires a change in lifestyle that's pretty drastic for most people. At least here. People hate change for the most part.

8:55:00 AM  

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