Monday, September 23, 2013

There'll be a hot time in Stockholm tonight

And wouldst thou think how at each tremulous motion Trembles within a mirror your own image: That which seems hard would mellow seem to thee
 -Dante- Purgatorio

Everyone knows there are two sides to every story and so things generate their own opposites if only to fulfill the expectations, and so light creates dark, even if dark is nothing at all. 

It's a trivial notion, of course, but the practice of using the shadow of a thing to discredit or obliterate that thing has consequences that are far from trivial, because the nothing we give a name to can, at least in the emotional logic the public loves and public passion feeds on, cancel out something. Every assertion that must be blunted or countered or denounced can be reversed in sign, so to speak and used to cancel the assertion. At least it can  in a world, in an inner universe of the mind where people don't think too much or too well and can be convinced that one's image in a mirror can cancel itself out if we don't like what we see.  There must be two sides if we're to reduce a question of fact to a matter of opinion and that's just what the game is.

There must be two sides, even if all the data is on one of them. Each side has it's adherents and even if the question "is it raining" can be answered more reliably by those standing outside, those inside an inner room with no windows have to be given equal credibility if the 'two sides' hypothesis is valid.  So when we look at the question: is the average temperature of the Earth getting higher or the question are human activities contributing substantially, the advantage to the side with the data; the side the atmospheric paleontologists, the geologists, the paleo-climatologists are on, is minimized, if not cancelled out  by the side that has the money and political connections.  We have the side with massive pertinent information and we have the Republicans, the Coal, Oil and Gas cartels who own them and a handful of  people with  dubious scientific credentials  crying hoax.

This is not a scientific problem, there is no scientific controversy it's  class warfare, and the success will depend on things other than data and there's a battle in Stockholm today.  There's a battle here in America too, where there are always two sides and thus equal credibility independent of evidence and where questions of chemistry and physics are questions of which party you belong to, where motivated reasoning passes for objective analysis. The goal of the argument is to minimize risks to the international cartels and to the party they own.  It's not about science, it's about allegiance.

Opponents don't take these things to the laboratory, to the peer reviewed publications, they look only at selected data and cast stones at the rest.  They take it to Joe the Plumber. They take it to the Republicans. They take it to Congress. They purchase opinions. They take it to the huddled masses yearning to sound knowledgeable by crying hoax  at every bit of truth they can find and in a way there are two sides to the climate question.  The one with the trillions and the side with the data.

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