You’ve heard them. Conservative Republicans claiming that climate change has been happening since the beginning of time (which is true), but not bothering to explain that those changes were epic, huge, and spread over extremely long portions of the Earth’s 4.55 billion year existence. (This is not their only outrageous miscommunication about climate change, as I’ll describe later, just an illustrative one.)
It’s not just a matter of political philosophy, but lack of knowledge of history and/or the scientific basis of climate change phenomena.
The Beginning. The fruits of modern civilization come from the great trees of science, engineering, and other more general knowledge. Our country has flourished—some would say above all others—because it was founded on principles of equality, justice, fairness, and a belief in the value of knowledge. That was central to the framers of our Constitution and our political system.
A faction of our political system has arisen using a different approach—in which beliefs are based on how you want the world to work, not on how it really works.
True Knowledge is based on facts and evidence derived from careful study. In the last few decades, however, a faction of our political system has arisen using a different approach—in which beliefs are based on how you want the world to work, not on how it really works.
We see some political leaders spouting fake news, fake facts, and fake science. They are sometimes called science deniers.
But they really are not.
When they drive a car, cross a bridge, fly on an airplane, get a flu shot, and take medicines, they are willing to stake their lives on science and engineering. They are not science deniers, just deceivers, charlatans, and quacks—because they know better (or should).
It’s one thing to say you believe generally in science, at least well-established principles and findings thereof. But how many people really take the trouble to listen when reputable scientists speak or write about fully developed and validated findings?
Something remarkable happened this year. Three thousand scientists and experts, including a number of Nobel Laureates, joined together last March and issued a warning about the planet and possible “catastrophic consequences” for global civilization. Their “State of the Planet Declaration” is not long, is readily available, and should be read by everyone who cares about the future of humans.
Robert Walker, President of the Population Institute has addressed this issue in an article on the subject for Huffington Post. It comes in the form of an Op-Ed on the subject from the Population Institute and the Population Media Center. In his Op-Ed, Walker writes of the derision and rhetorical attacks on the Royal Society, which sponsored the report.