“as an instrument of deception on issues like global warming.” I don’t think this topic gets the attention that it should. The successful campaigns of deception by self-interested corporations has had a devastating effect on the health and well-being of many people here in the U.S. and across the globe. It may be difficult to educate the general population on this subject in the “Age of Ignorance,” but we should at least try. Ignorance is particularly dangerous in this “Age of Deception.”
I also think that us educators need to seriously think about how we prepare our students to sort through all the nonsense they are bombarded with in the age of the internet. We also need to teach our students how, and why, science works, not just the basic findings of science. This is one of the reasons why the testing craze that promotes rote memorization over thinking is so destructive. If there ever was a time that critical thinking skills were absolutely critical to our well-being, it is now!
Excerpt from the article: “We now live in a world where ignorance of a very dangerous sort is being deliberately manufactured, to protect certain kinds of unfettered corporate enterprise. The global climate catastrophe gets short shrift, largely because powerful fossil fuel producers still have enormous political clout, following decades-long campaigns to sow doubt about whether anthropogenic emissions are really causing planetary warming. Trust in science suffers, but also trust in government. And that is not an accident. Climate deniers are not so much anti-science as anti-regulation and anti-government.”
Source: Climate Change in Trump’s Age of Ignorance – The New York Times
Using examples from the history of science Dr. James Powell explains why it is unlikely that climate scientists are wrong about global warming. However his final consideration is probably the most apropos in the current debate over climate change: the possibility “that scientists are deliberately wrong, engaged in a global conspiracy,” and concludes that “this notion, [is] the intellectual equivalent of believing that the Earth is flat or that men did not land on the Moon. To claim conspiracy is to prefer a blatant absurdity over scientific fact and only because accepting global warming does not happen to suit people. But the implacable laws of science remain unaffected by what suits us.”
Read his useful review of the history of mistaken theories in science:
History News Network | Could Scientists Be Wrong About Global Warming?
Naomi Oreskes, historian of science, discusses her experience testifying before the Committee on Natural Resources last month. She explains, “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.”
Besides defending “government science,” Oreskes reviews the history of the current climate denialism, as well as the political and economic forces that are driving it. Read her important exposé here:
History News Network | The Hoax of Climate Denial.
Based on the work of the archaeologist Roland Fletcher, Srinath Perur warns us that we may suffer the same fate as “Tikal, Angkor and Anuradhapura.” These ancient cities collapsed “after thriving for more than a millennium.” And despite the fact that they “were very different cities in their geography, environment and social and political functioning…they all had operational similarities: extensive land clearance, sprawling low-density settlement patterns, massive infrastructure – all of which are attributes of modern cities. The extended infrastructure of Angkor and Tikal proved vulnerable to a changing climate, something else that may be upon us.”
What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today | Cities | The Guardian.
Graham Readfearn of The Guardian interviews Naomi Oreskes about her new book. In the interview she explains why she believes that the denialists have been successful. There is also a really great clip of her trying to persuade Nick Minchin, a “climate skeptic” from Australia, that climate change is real. He seems reasonable in the clip but in a
short clip from the beginning of the ABC documentary “I Can Change Your Mind About Climate” that aired in Australia in 2012 he seems much less reasonable. (see the Skeptical Science blog for more on this documentary). There is no evidence that the documentary changing anyone’s minds. I’m not sure that anything will change the minds of the true believers. But I do believe that the efforts of Oreskes, Donald Prothero and others can make a difference.