Montag, Juni 29, 2009

Treason, Betrayal, Environmentalism...

This by Paul Krugman got me to thinking.

What is treason?

Treason is, simply, betrayal: high treason is the betrayal of country or king; low betrayal (petit betrayal) is the betrayal of a husband by his wife (or vice versa).

What is betrayal?

Well, according to Wikipedia:

Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive social contract, trust or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations. Often betrayal is the act of supporting a rival group, or it is a complete break from previously decided upon or presumed norms by one party from the others.

Perhaps the greatest betrayal of all is that of Judas. Or, perhaps more fittingly, Satan as in Milton's Paradise Lost.

This is what Krugman thinks that the deniers are guilty of.

He's wrong.


Because to betray, you have to have the trust first. If you don't trust someone, there's no sense of betrayal when that person breaks confidence.

Krugman's viewpoint is nothing less than a religious tract calling for the punishment of heretics, condemning the unbeliever for his audacity not to submit:

Temperature increases on the scale predicted by the M.I.T. researchers and others would create huge disruptions in our lives and our economy. As a recent authoritative U.S. government report points out, by the end of this century New Hampshire may well have the climate of North Carolina today, Illinois may have the climate of East Texas, and across the country extreme, deadly heat waves — the kind that traditionally occur only once in a generation — may become annual or biannual events.

In other words, we're facing a clear and present danger to our way of life, perhaps even to civilization itself. How can anyone justify failing to act?

Well, sometimes even the most authoritative analyses get things wrong. And if dissenting opinion-makers and politicians based their dissent on hard work and hard thinking — if they had carefully studied the issue, consulted with experts and concluded that the overwhelming scientific consensus was misguided — they could at least claim to be acting responsibly.

In other words, the TRUTH has been decided and declared, and the nightmare scenarios - based on veiled and hidden models, driven by people who have no interest in garden-variety science now that the TRUTH has been revealed - are the fire-and-brimstone of the modern pulpit, designed to scare and terrify.

Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday's debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a "hoax" that has been "perpetrated out of the scientific community." I'd call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists — a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.

Well, I've got news for Paul.

The records aren't what he thinks they are. As a matter of fact, they aren't what the fire-and-brimstone crowd believe they are either.

The data that the models are based on is compromised: this has been documented extensively at sites like Climate Audit. Of course, the true believers belittle those who dare to actually look at the data because they're not "peer reviewed".

Well, the boy who stated that the King wore no clothes wasn't peer-reviewed either.

Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn't it politics as usual?

Yes, it is — and that's why it's unforgivable.

Well, what's actually unforgiveable for Krugman is he fact that these people just won't go away.

Nor should they.

Sorry, Paul: it's only betrayal if trust exists. And sorry, having seen the hysteria, the fire-and-brimstone preaching, the extraordinary belligerence and outright hostility that meets anyone who is not of The True Faith, I see little reason to trust anyone in the field at this point.

You see, I think you're the betrayers. I don't trust you.

Persuade me: show me the data, the raw data, the non-adjusted data,

Persuade me: show me how the models work.

Persuade me: document your addfactors and tell me why.

Persuade me: show me the equations.

Call me a doubting Thomas, but if you can't do this, or think I'm too stupid or too ignorant, or that I can't understand it because I don't have the right degree from the right School of Indoctrination, or that I'm not qualified to raise these questions, then you are the Betrayer: you demand that I believe, but without divine revelation, how am I to believe that you are not, in fact, the counter, the exact opposite of what you claim to be.

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