A Congress that Disdains Science

America, the world’s superpower, is becoming a country disconnected from evidence and reality with the Congress now controlled by a Republican Party that has assigned anti-science zealots to run committees responsible for addressing environmental dangers including the threat from global warming, writes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

On Jan. 17, the New York Times reported on a scientific study that showed 2014 to be “the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880.” The report went on to explain that “records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent.”

Particularly hard hit in 2014 was the western portion of the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California and Nevada all experienced “extreme warmth.” Temperatures in parts of California “sometimes [ran] 10 to 15 degrees above normal for the season.”

The image of the Earth rising over the surface of the moon, a photograph taken by the first U.S. astronauts to orbit the moon.

The image of the Earth rising over the surface of the moon, a photograph taken by the first U.S. astronauts to orbit the moon.

The vast majority of climatologists believe that this warming will go on for a very long time and that it presents “profound long-term risks to civilization and nature.” Also, most scientists agree, global warming is caused by human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels.

According to Michael E. Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, “it is exceptionally unlikely that we would be witnessing a record year of warmth, during a record-warm decade, during a several decades-long period of warmth that appears to be unrivaled for more than a thousand years, were it not for the rising levels of planet-warming gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels.”

This consensus has led the scientific community to the conclusion that “climate change is perhaps the major challenge of our generation.”

Well, that is the judgment of scientists who investigate matters of fact in the most objective way they know. Unfortunately, only a small number of them become convincing public spokespeople for their positions, and fewer still leave their day jobs to become politicians.

Meanwhile, when it comes to global warming, the investigative talents of the latest crop of Republican congressional leaders is anything but objective. Of course, that does not stop many of them from loudly voicing their opinions – opinions now coupled to the wielding of power. Consider the following short list:

–Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, a member of the House Science Committee, has recently declared “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” As for human contributions to global warming, Broun considers it a “hoax” perpetrated by the scientific community.

–Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is now chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Inhofe has written a book entitled The Greatest Hoax, which presents climate change and global warming as a conspiracy of atheists and scientists who would deny the supremacy of Inhofe’s version of God.

He is upset at the “arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate.” Inhofe’s starting point for the congressional debate on climate change is “God is still up there” and in charge.

–Roger Wicker of Mississippi is the ranking member of the New Economy subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Wicker insists that climate change is just a disputed hypothesis and not the threat the vast majority of scientists present it as. He suspects the scientific position is part of a “war on coal” – that is, an effort to repudiate the use of fossil fuel.

–Arkansas Sen. John Boozman is about to take over the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. He really doesn’t believe that climate change is due to human activity. Rather, he speculates that it is just another natural “cycle that happens throughout the years, throughout the ages.” This is a very popular point of view in the “coal-fired” state of Arkansas.

–Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions will now head the Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee. He doesn’t believe that global warming is a problem and has asserted that he can interpret the data on climate change better than most climatologists. He does so by carefully selecting from the interpretations of the very small number of scientists who happen to agree with his point of view.

The Observational Context

Citizen views on climate change and global warming divide along the lines of conservative and liberal self-identification. Thus, according to a Pew Research poll conducted in June 2014, over 70 percent of those who identify themselves as conservatives either do not believe in global warming or don’t consider it a danger, nor do they believe that human activity is a serious contributing factor. Finally, many of these self-described conservatives believe that the U.S. has “gone too far in efforts to protect the environment.”

Why do conservative Americans feel this way? There are several factors:

Many of them are very religious. An outlook of Christian fundamentalism pervades large sections of the country and, at least since the time of the Reagan presidency, has become a factor in U.S. politics.

That is why men like Broun and Inhofe are where they are. They, and others like them, are often from what used to be known as the Bible Belt, a range of southern U.S. states from Oklahoma to Virginia. This is a stronghold of Southern Baptist and other basically fundamentalist sects.

Similar Christian sects are scattered throughout the north, central and western parts of the country. It is hard for those who adhere to these sects to see the sciences that touch on both human evolutionary processes and those of nature (such as global warming) objectively because they clash with biblical tenets.

This leads most religious conservatives to reject scientifically accepted criteria for truth. Science is a process that seeks to approximate what is true through the positing of testable hypotheses. Scientific beliefs must be supported by observable and replicated data.

In turn, new data can alter one’s perspective on established hypotheses and even overthrow them. It is an ongoing process and it has proven so powerful a tool that modern civilization’s physical attributes rest on its achievements.

On the other hand, religion is a form of ideology that is based on absolute positions that are not testable. Questioning these sorts of “truths” equates to a crisis of faith, and that is often looked upon as a personal failure or giving in to the temptations of some evil spirit. Questioning also alienates you from your community.

To this we may add the following: particularly in the United States, there is a surprisingly strong anti-intellectual sentiment that prejudices many people against those who are educated, whom they label bookworms, eggheads, nerds, brainiacs, geeks, know-it-alls, etc. The fact that American English has so many derogatory terms for those who are actively involved in intellectual pursuits is an indicator of this anti-intellectualism.

Therefore, if you have people that you already disparage because of their intellect, telling you things that question your faith, you are likely to go out of your way to oppose them, and “their” truth be damned.

Yet another kind of dismissive response is likely to come from those who have an economic stake in the pursuits contributing to global warming. In their case profits stand in for faith. The two groups come together when the business people fund the campaigns of the politicians who, for religious reasons, do not believe in climate change.

Finally there is the almost natural tendency for all of us — conservative, religious or otherwise — to favor the local. By this I mean to favor what serves one’s local interests here and now. If you are from the “coal-fired” state of Oklahoma, you are most likely to see anything that would hurt the coal industry as something that will economically hurt you, and do so with certainty.

Meanwhile, the future will be thought of as full of maybes. This will lead most people to hesitate to make major sacrifices today just because someone they may not particularly respect claims that, if they don’t, greater sacrifices will have to be made in the next hundred years.

So here is the problem: on the one hand, it is a 95 percent certainty that human activity is causing global warming and it is certain that the effects, even in the near future, will be measurably negative (more damaging hurricanes, droughts, rising ocean levels, killer heat waves, etc.), getting increasingly severe as time goes on.

On the other, too many Americans either don’t believe this or are too wrapped up in the present to care. However, the worst of it is that as voters they are putting into positions of power politicians who are willing to block any public policy that may slow, much less reverse the process. It makes little difference if the voters have more than one reason for voting for these politicians. The result for the environment is going to be the same.

We should keep in mind that the dispute over global warming is different from those over evolution or the age of the earth. If some American voters want to elect people who believe that the world is only 9,000 years old and that man is the product of a God looking for a supervisor for the Garden of Eden, they can do so without necessarily accelerating the melting of the polar ice caps. However, putting into office those who deny global warming and the human contribution to it is a catastrophe in the making.

The United States is a country whose prosperity and lifestyle depends strongly on scientific processes. The industrialists whose businesses drive climate change know this yet they and their stockholders are hopelessly fixated on today’s profits.

It is less certain whether the large and growing number of religious fundamentalists make the connection. For them faith is stronger than reason and, in the end, “God is up there” and in control.

And for the rest of us? We are left with two choices: organize to get the fundamentalists and other climate change deniers out of positions of power, or sit back and relax for apres moi le deluge.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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17 comments for “A Congress that Disdains Science

  1. Zachary Smith
    January 31, 2015 at 23:41

    The question of why Big Energy is promoting activities which will destroy civilization must be addressed.

    In my opinion the answer is intimately related with the way the society treats the Rich and Powerful. Too-Big-To-Fail corporations. Too Rich and/or Powerful to Punish.

    The Corporate Psychopath is a creature who is successful in today’s financial and corporate structures. He’s about ME-ME-ME and NOW-NOW-NOW. He’s the type of personality any sane society would put under care in a psychiatric facility instead of being allowed to direct human civilization.

    http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/fulltext.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1269145-p35739432

    (If the link doesn’t work, google Corporate Psychopath Theory)

    The future of the Earth doesn’t matter to this kind of personality. They don’t care if human civilization vanishes so long as they live THEIR lives in ease and comfort.

  2. January 31, 2015 at 15:34

    Whatever the source of the climate change is, man made or natural, or both of them, we humans have to adapt our societies, like our forefathers have done, or get into trouble.

    With our science and it’s technology we easily adapt to the changes.

    Around 7.000-16.000 years ago the North Sea in north-west Europa was a great landmass, called Doggerland, between todays UK, France, HOlland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

    A map of former Doggerland: http://www.greenfudge.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/doggerland2.jpg

    • Zachary Smith
      January 31, 2015 at 22:08

      Nice image – I hadn’t appreciated how much the sea level in that area dropped in the last ice age.

      With our science and it’s technology we easily adapt to the changes.

      I mostly agree. On a whim I looked up Ireland’s current population. At a bit over six million it approximates the human population of the entire Earth 16,000 BC. As the ice sheets began melting, animals and their human hunters gradually moved. The Earth has WAY too many people for that to happen again.

      So we’ll adapt all right – by a process called a massive dieoff. Hopefully those deaths will all be “easy”, but that part I kind of doubt.

  3. Manfred
    January 30, 2015 at 18:47

    1

    In reality, satellite data – RSS and UAH which are far superior to land use change and urban heat island infested ground data – shows increase, let alone a record year in 2014, but instead a continuation of the warming pause now lasting 18 years and 3 months.

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2000/plot/uah/from:2000

    2

    I also find it disturbing to rely on quotes of a certain Michael E. Mann.

    An independent investigation reporting to Congress into his work conducted by top US statisticians came to the following conclusions about him and some of his collegues:

    “…I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway.
    Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.
    The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions.
    It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the [Mann] paper.
    We found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling…”

    and

    “…It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.
    Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on [Mann’s work]. As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.”

    http://climateaudit.org/2007/11/06/the-wegman-and-north-reports-for-newbies/

    3.

    Cambridge mathematician Nic Lewis (also contributor and reviewer of the last IPCC report) wrote an excellent report about climate sensitivity – the core number of the global warming issue. This is the real state of science.

    http://www.phibetaiota.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Nic-Lewis-Submission-to-Parliament-on-Global-Warming.pdf

    • Zachary Smith
      January 31, 2015 at 23:20

      3 links and 3 Deniers.

      Googling “paul clark” “woodfortrees.org” site turned up dozens of images – every one of them associated with Denier sites.

      http://tinyurl.com/pw8z4p6

      The second guy is a bit more of a professional.

      http://www.desmogblog.com/steve-mcintyre

      The third is a self-confessed amateur climate scientist.

      https://denierlist.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/nic-lewis/

      Deniers are a wacko bunch, and Denial of reality is what they do. Noah and dinosaurs lived together because evolution is a Big Lie and the Earth was created in 4004 BC. Germs may or may not be real, but fighting them with vaccines is even worse than the diseases. Smoking is a harmless activity, and secondhand smoke is absolutely harmless. Black slavery did much more good than harm, and the Southern slaves were vastly better off than free northern workers. The European Holocaust mostly didn’t happen at all. AIDS would not be a problem except for the homosexuals, and in any event is it not caused by the HIV virus.

      Personally, I have a theory about the Deniers. About 85% of the human race has an IQ below 115. Though even the dullest of these people are intellectual giants compared with the rest of the animal kingdom, they’re easily gulled by their intellectual superiors, and Big Energy can hire the finest specialists. IMO one of the techniques these fellows use is to focus on boosting the Self Esteem of their targets. Joe Blow from Rockpile City, Montana is just as entitled to his opinion as them-thar uppity Climate Scientists. Since the money for these schemes is essentially unlimited, lots and lots of “support” is generated. Impressive-looking sites with sciency-looking graphs and charts to PROVE Joe’s thoughts on Science in general, and Climate Science in particular, are just as good as Mr. Fancy Pants Michael Mann. Other stuff they do:

      https://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/six-aspects-of-denial/

      *Doubt the science
      *Question the motives and integrity of scientists
      *Magnify disagreements among scientists and cite gadflies
      *Exaggerate potential harm
      *Appeal to personal freedom – (in other words, appeal to their particular paranoia)
      *Acceptance repudiates key philosophy

      Much discussion at the link.

      Finally, another interesting assessment of the techniques used by those professionals in the pay of Big Energy.

      http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/science-deniers-false-equivalency-pretend-debate/

  4. Zachary Smith
    January 29, 2015 at 12:46

    The effect of CO2 on global temperature rise is of a magnitude too small to be considered.

    This is simply willful ignorance. It’s true because it HAS to be true, and that’s that. I’d give 5:1 odds this fellow believes every word in the Bible is literally true. (except of course for the parts and teachings he doesn’t like). It just HAS to be that way.

    Scientists have been onto CO2 as a climate change agent for a long time. At first it was just a theoretical sort of thing to talk about because the Earth is so large. They really did believe the time frames would be in centuries, if not millennia. Back when I first read Isaac Asimov’s essay “No More Ice Ages” the notion was merely an amusing bit of science trivia I couldn’t even imagine having any effect on my life.

    Considering how the dates nearly coincide, I’d imagine what Asimov read and was translating for the unwashed masses was this from Gilbert Plass – “The carbon dioxide theory of climatic change”:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2153-3490.1956.tb01206.x/pdf

    (Mr. Plass also wrote a simpler version for Scientific American in 1959, and that’s an exact match for Asimov’s publication, by the way.)

    Look at the old dates – this isn’t a Fat Al Gore hallucination from a pork-rind overdose.

    It’s true nobody paid much attention to the whole subject for a long while – it just didn’t seem relevant. Oh, every now and then a magazine would stick in a snippet about the subject, but it was just fascinating filler material.

    http://tinyurl.com/nd6okam

    That tiny piece from a 1953 Popular Mechanics mentions a complication which long bedeviled the subject – human-generated smoke and dust particles in the atmosphere. That was causing troubles into the 1970s:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2006/feb/global-cooling

    For a while the atmospheric aerosols overwhelmed the effect of CO2, and that the confusion of the day still delights the Deniers.

    But the science has now been sorted out. Except for exceptional events like massive volcano eruptions, the CO2 is the dominating factor. The world has been warming since people started burning coal. With the discovery of oil and the continuing growth in human population, the warming has been and still is accelerating.

    The world as we knew it through historical ages is changing faster than we and the rest of Earth’s life can cope. With every passing day the odds we’re walking dead men increases.

    But the know-all ignoramuses still willingly listen to the “Richard Lindzen or Patrick Michaels” types in the pay of Big Energy. I don’t really believe there is a Hell, but if there is, both the willing dummies and their enablers will surely be there.

    A prediction of mine: if things go on as they presently are, any kid you see under 12 years of age will NOT die of old age. And with the ongoing news stories from the Earth’s ice caps, I’m no longer sure about the prospects of middle-aged folks. They may also get to see horrors beyond their imagination.

    • phildo
      January 30, 2015 at 00:36

      ” I’d give 5:1 odds this fellow believes every word in the Bible is literally true.”
      Pay up! The bible is as full of crap as the IPCC reports. Another ad hominem attack, and not just against me, against Lindzen and Michaels, two of the foremost climate scientists on earth.
      Water vapour is the prime mover in climate science, that and solar radiation as well as oceanic oscillations.
      CO2 just isn’t a factor. All one needs to do is search for “ICCC9” and all the information neccessary to come to a rational decision is plain to see and hear.
      If CO2 did have anything to do with catastrophic warming, please explain to me how you would correlate this chart.

      http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image277.gif

      • Anton
        January 30, 2015 at 13:29

        @ phildo:
        Agree with you 100%. That the percantage of CO2 in the air of about 0.04% is a fact even stated on the official German Federal Environment Agency website. So this simple fact should make it clear that CO2 just cannot have this big of an impact on the temperature.
        Man-made global warming is a religion of its own, and Al Gore is its messiah -that’s only my opinion.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 30, 2015 at 02:01

      If CO2 did have anything to do with catastrophic warming, please explain to me how you would correlate this chart.

      After clicking on the image, I could see right off it was mighty suspicious. No details about context, no source, or anything. SO, first thing I did was to install a Firefox addon called TinEye and try to find out where in hell it came from. 75 results, and I wasn’t awfully surprised to find the very first one was wattsupwiththat.com – a notorious Denier site. In fact, the first page had 5 instances from wattsup, and there were many more scattered over the 8 pages of results. On page one was a link to phys.org – maybe an explanation! But no, it was merely a troll who’d posted the image challenging everybody to EXPLAIN his wondrous image. Interesting results though – I had no idea Big Energy was financing so many Denier sites.

      Using regular Google search there were several hundred instances of just the link without an associated picture. Waving their prize find just as you did here.

      Conclusion: somebody used his Paint program to draw a pretty image. The millions of dollars paid out every year to the Deniers by the likes of Exxon can buy a lot of that artwork.

      Care to locate something not funded by Big Energy – say from a Science textbook – or a Journal like Nature, Science, or Scientific American? Big Energy hasn’t had too much luck with the real scientists, so they’ve spent most of their money on the whoring Deniers.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 30, 2015 at 02:37

      After my previous post I made one last stab to find out more on the goofy image by going to RealClimate.org. Lo and behold: a discussion of the exact one!

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/can-we-make-better-graphs-of-global-temperature-history/

      However, since this graphic has long been a favorite of the climate dismissives, many different versions do the rounds, mostly forwarded by people who have no idea of the provenance of the image or the lack of underlying data, or the updates that have occurred. Indeed, the 2004 version is the most common, having been given a boost by Monckton in 2008 and many others. Most recently, Patrick Moore declared that this was his favorite graph.

      • phildo
        January 30, 2015 at 23:15

        Your use of the term ‘denier’ is disengenuous. Nobody denies warming or that CO2 has some effect. The difference in opinion is one of scale. There is a split in opinion as to whether the future holds a temperature reversal or a pause.
        If you wanted the link to the source, you should have asked. The image has its attributions right on it.
        http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html
        The flat (or straight) parts of the graph are due to missing data points.
        One cannot expect calculations going back 600 million years to be exact, and updates are to be expected. As data improves, updates are made. But none of these changes refute the fact that warming has historically led to a rise in CO2 and not the other way around. Nor can it be claimed that global CO2 levels have ever been much lower than they are now. Global temperature is near an historic low, as well.
        150 ppm/v CO2 is the level at which plants start to die and the IPCC wants that figure down to 200 ppm/v from 400-450 ppm today. If you like green, CO2 is the solution, it is not pollution. Why would the UN want to cut crop yields so drastically? Otherwise their over-population arguement goes out the window, that’s why.
        ps_ 400 ppm = 0.0004 %, NOT 0.04 (which is 4 hundredths)
        400 / 1 000 000 = 0.0004

  5. phildo
    January 29, 2015 at 10:10

    The effect of CO2 on global temperature rise is of a magnitude too small to be considered. There is little to no reliable science in any of the IPCC reports (which is why so many reviewers of the IPCC’s reports have jumped ship.) There is no consensus in the scientific community, besides, consensus is no way to approach science. Yes there has been slight warming, yes CO2 can be blamed for this slight rise, but solar radiation, oceanic oscillation (El Nino, La Nina) and water vapour are responsible for the large majority of these statistically insignificant results. The margin of error is greater than the total rise. Alarmists should search for “ICCC9” to get the real facts. Reporting that CO2 is pollution or that it is not beneficial to plants (therefore herbivores – therefore carnivores – therefore us) is irresponsible and simply hides the truth. We are at about 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere which is equal to 0.04%. The IPCC wants that number down to 200 ppm. Plants die at 150 ppm yet horticulturalists pump the exhaust from their generators back into their greenhouses as it makes the plants healthier. How better to advance the bogus arguement of over-population than by reducing crop yields by starving plants of CO2 (otherwise known as plant food.) The earth has seen levels in the thousands of ppm during colder periods than today. All the data has been manipulated in order to forward an agenda of population control and depriving emerging markets of their energy independance so the west can keep its industrial advantage. Everything I have written here is verified by the biggest and most respectable names in climate science. Look up Richard Lindzen or Patrick Michaels or ICCC9, seperate fact from fiction, then tell me you believe in the global charade. Most who hear the evidence don’t. I expected better from a site like this one and Lawrence Davidson should stick to what he knows and leave the science to those who are willing to do the research before parroting pronouncements into which he has quite obviously never looked.

  6. Zachary Smith
    January 28, 2015 at 12:26

    To think that CO2 , a natural gas everybody of us, and every animal, is exhaling is the motor for global warming is insane.

    I’ll confess I’ve spent a few minutes scratching my head about this one. Tentative conclusion: a teenager. If not truly in the sense of age, then in mentality.

    Possibly a devout home-schooled fundamentalist, but somehow that doesn’t seem the best choice. A fundie kid isn’t terribly likely to have found Consortium News in the first place, IMO.

    No, I’d say this is simply some trolling for self amusement.

  7. Anton
    January 27, 2015 at 19:13

    Michael E. Mann; isn’t this one of the scientists linked to Climategate? In which it was revealed that raw data was falsified so that the graphs and computer models showed an increase of temperature?? I am no fan of the GOP (nor the Democrats) but here Consortium News is wrong. The climate change made by man is a swindle. It has been mainstream news that temperatures have not increased in the last decade. In a way all of this global warming mumbo jumbo is indeed a hoax, and a big one. To think that CO2 , a natural gas everybody of us, and every animal, is exhaling is the motor for global warming is insane. CO2 is needed in nature for plants to create oxygen. So saying this is what causes global warming, again, is insane.
    But that’s what the elites want humanity to believe, that CO2 is the reason, so that world’s governments can tax us on CO2, basically, in the end for breathing. The notion of this global tax is mainstream news. Alan Gore is the main advocate.
    So please, I urge Consortium News, as a beacon of alternative and investigative journalism, not to believe this false science, and investigate Climategate and even see BBCs documentary “the great global warmin windle” which uncovers all those lies of man-made global warming. Don’t believe thy hype!!

  8. willie48
    January 27, 2015 at 13:09

    And for the rest of us? In A.J. Toynbee’s paradigm of the “rise and fall of civilization”, it is a “creative minority” that solves the ongoing and novel challenges to the viability of the State. But, it is this same“creative minority” that, by their problem solving competency, recognize the emergence of irreversible corruption of the State and their minions of brain dead adherents.

    When this perception of corruption and betrayal reaches a level beyond moral tolerance, the creative minority become so disgusted that they withdraw their creative talent for solving oncoming challenges to the viability of that civilization. Thus collapsing the State that alienated them and leaving the creative minority in the boonies. For students of the empirical world, political history must be nested within natural history.

    In Eldredge and Gould’s paradigm of “punctuated equilibrium”, the extended stasis of the herd, and their loss of flexibility, disables their capacity for adaptive change. Thus precipitating their extinction. But this leaves open the possibility for adaptive speciation at the periphery of the niche.

    Since the Milgram experiments, it is demonstrated that the majority, about two thirds, of humans are of the “authoritarian personality type”. And psychologist Kohlberg, in the theory of moral reasoning, reveals that a large majority of humans are unable to transcend the “conventional” stage; they blindly accept the status-quo. They are unable to think independently, they just follow the leader. But this belies their alleged taxonomic status as a “sapient” specie. Sapient-ness is the intellectual flexibility to rationally amend their world-view in light of new evidence. Apparently, it is only a minority of humans that have this flexibility to employ theoretical knowledge to adjust to dynamic environments, and to adapt to the novel crisis at hand. It is only this minority of humans that have the quality of “sapient”.

    There is a rift among us. The dogmatic and the sapient. There is no evolutionary advantage for the intelligent minority to prop up a ship of fools. But there is an evolutionary advantage for those who understand evolutionary theory, and then apply that evolutionary theory to their own evolutionary scenario. It would seem that in the current situation, adaptive behaviour of the sapient, is to consciously withdraw from the herd, migrate to the periphery, and build their own intentional communities. Assortative breeding at the fringe, fixes this adaptive trait in dealing with the inflexible ones.

    The moral stance to consciously pursue “adaptive evolution of the world ecosystem”, is an uninvadable strategy. So, it has the property of “autonomy”. “Autonomy” is the essence of a rational being. So, rational beings recognize adaptive evolution as a prescription as well a description. The withdrawal of competency, leaves the herd of authoritarian personality types with no means to survive the catastrophe of their own character. Good riddance.

  9. Zachary Smith
    January 27, 2015 at 01:38

    I was considering making some remarks about that devout idiot Paul Broun of Georgia, but then paused to consider my own situation. Here in “Mississippi North” (aka Indiana) we have two jokers who are darned near as bad. The Republican denies that Global Warming exists, and absolutely opposes any legislation to address the subject. (he’s also totally in bed with Holy Israel, but that’s another issue). The Democrat is just about as bad. He may admit there’s a problem, but is quite unwilling to do anything useful. To wit:

    Joe Donnelly on Energy and Oil.
    Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling. (May 2011)
    Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
    Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)
    Set goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025. (Jan 2007)

    The last one is a good example – the ignorant lawyer doesn’t have a clue that 25% by 2025 isn’t nearly enough.

    While growing up I was thoroughly indoctrinated that Christians were the Good Guys. Never did I even dream that this bunch would be instrumental in destroying a great deal of life on Earth, and most likely human civilization as we know it.

    I’ve got a lot of family – mostly in the South – who truly believe they’re the Elect. Virtually none of them have read their Bible with a speck of understanding. If they ever tried at all they just looked at the Holy Words and admired the prose of King James’ time. Like with the Rep. Broun, any science education they every picked up was Washed Away With The Blood Of The Lamb. Paraphrasing the James Taylor song, they…

    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout history
    Don’t know much biology
    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout no science book
    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout the Math they took

    But they do know Jesus loves them with all their devout ignorance.

    Not only do they not know, but they don’t care. So the world is dying, and the process is accelerating as we watch.

    And there is nothing at all I can do about it.

  10. Zachary Smith
    January 27, 2015 at 01:37

    I was considering making some remarks about that devout idiot Paul Broun of Georgia, but then paused to consider my own situation. Here in “Mississippi North” (aka Indiana) we have two jokers who are darned near as bad. The Republican denies that Global Warming exists, and absolutely opposes any legislation to address the subject. (he’s also totally in bed with Holy Israel, but that’s another issue). The Democrat is just about as bad. He may admit there’s a problem, but is quite unwilling to do anything useful. To wit:

    Joe Donnelly on Energy and Oil.
    Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling. (May 2011)
    Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
    Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)
    Set goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025. (Jan 2007)

    The last one is a good example – the ignorant lawyer doesn’t have a clue that 25% by 2025 isn’t nearly enough.

    While growing up I was thoroughly indoctrinated that Christians were the Good Guys. Never did I even dream that this bunch would be instrumental in destroying a great deal of life on Earth, and most likely human civilization as we know it.

    I’ve got a lot of family – mostly in the South – who truly believe they’re the Elect. Virtually none of them have read their Bible with a speck of understanding. If they ever tried at all they just looked at the Holy Words and admired the prose of King James’ time. Like with the Rep. Broun, any science education they every picked up was Washed Away With The Blood Of The Lamb. Paraphrasing the James Taylor song, they…

    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout history
    Don’t know much biology
    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout no science book
    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout the Math they took

    But they do know Jesus loves them with all their devout ignorance.

    Not only do they not know, but they don’t care. So the world is dying, and the process is accelerating as we watch.

    And there is nothing at all I can do about it.

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