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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian's trash « Previous | |Next »
August 4, 2008

The Australian's recent op-eds attacking climate change and global warming really are scrapping of the bottom the barrel. This commentary illustrates the poverty of the media as it is mere polemics, and bad polemics at that with no consideration of public reason addressing policy issues.

The latest effort is by Arthur Herman, an American historian, who plays off the fundamentalist strand in the Enlightenment tradition of religion versus science. According to Herman the climate change "sceptics" stand for science and reason whilst the main body of natural science stands for religion and superstition. Herman says that despite recent evidence that the earth is cooling:

believers in man-made global warming demand more and more money to combat climate change and still more drastic changes in our economic output and lifestyle.The reason is that precisely that they are believers, not scientists. No amount of empirical evidence will overturn what has become not a scientific theory but a form of religion.

Herman rolls out David Hume's essay Of Superstition and Enthusiasm to claim that this religion is a form of superstition based on fear and ignorance. So the main body of natural science is superstition that parades itself as science and has created a priesthood masquerading as the exponents of reason---- just like the Church in the Dark Ages, the Inquisition during the Reformation, or the race/eugenics theories of Nazi Germany.

Ooh isn't this so outrageous and decadent. Seriously though, The Australian is now living in a world turned upside down. Their central claims-- that the planet is not warming, that science is dogmatic and that we live in an age of unreason--are unsupported.

The reason for these claims is the claim that a (rationalist) science is anti-evidence. Yet the main body of the article does not consider the evidence accumulated by scientific research under the auspices of the UN. An example of the evidence being collected about the rapid changes in the Arctic and Antarctic. The ice is melting. The Arctic is warming at twice the average rate of the rest of the planet and the sea ice is now considered by many scientists to be a "coalmine canary" for monitoring the speed of global climate change.

What we see with Herman is the empiricist's prejudice about theory (of climate change) and the interpretation of data (--it's all just facts), an ignorance of the way that critical reasoning is build into the institution of science, and a bundle of superstitions about sustainable development and market failure.

And Herman is going to speak to The Centre of Independent Studies on the ideas of the Enlightenment in the 21st century! What we have is here is the poverty of reason.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:32 AM | | Comments (7)
Comments

Comments

Its strange isnt it!

I wonder who the enthusiastic true beleivers really are?

The "world"-view promoted by the CIS and all the other right wing think tanks is totally embedded in the POWER AND CONTROL SEEKING reductionist ideology of scientism which reduces all of humankind to a robotic cog in a vast techocratic machine---the only purpose of which is to replicate itself all over the planet, and perhaps in the future, the entire cosmos (or so the fantasy goes!).

Plus the inevitable political and cultural result of the Hayekian inspired "world"-view was comprehensively exposed in The Shock doctrine by Naomi Klein---a book full of extensively researched, and fact checked, footnotes and references.

Dont let the real documented evidence get in our way---we are "realists".

The hollow one-dimensional men of the "cultural" waste-land.

What could be more irrational than the rise (return) of dim-witted archaic "religion"---"religion" invented long ago in the child-hood of man.

Especially as celebrated in that recent circus event in Sydney featuring the big time mumbo-jumbo man from big time false religion---dressed in his clown costume.

And yet the OZ told us that this event was the beginning of the "renewal of culture".

Using the tools of enlightenment reason with honesty and the necessary rigour, how could/can anyone subscribe to the absurd notion of the "ressurrection of jesus", and the associated "salvation" nonsense.

What could that possibly refer to that is any sense real in 2008? It is pure irrational superstition.

And strangely enough, a high proportion of those attending the CIS babble-fest subscribe to this absurd, totally irrational, death and "resurrection" script!

Referring back to The Shock Doctrine. Naomi tells us that right wing catholics (along with the Hayek Chicago boyz--Hayek being the CIS "god"-father), were instrumental in the organisation of the coup against Salvador Allende. And the subsequent slaughters.

Plus it is well known that right-wing christians were highly supportive of the death squads that murdered tens of thousands of "leftists" in Central and South America in the eighties. The same right wing christians who infest the Hayek propaganda factories in the USA.

One even holds a chair of "religion" and was awarded a Templeton Prize for promoting "religious" understanding. The Templeton Prize is the "religious" equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Oddly, if you go to http://www.1degree.com.au you find that, neither in Australia nor internationally, does News Corp management believe its stable of climate change denialists:

We want our business to be around for the next hundred or even two hundred years. This is not about business shouldering the responsibility for society; it’s about leadership and innovation. So, we’re working to reduce our own environmental impact – and we will be carbon neutral by 2010. But more importantly, we’re working to inspire and enable our employees and our audiences to take action on these issues.” – Rupert Murdoch, April 2008

Climate change and energy use are global problems – News Corporation is a global company. Our businesses affect the environment everywhere we operate.

And...


Are humans really to blame?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sums up the research to say “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man made) greenhouse gas concentrations”.

Ice core records that go back 420 000 years show that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere varied between 180 and 280 parts per million (ppm) mainly due to glacial cycles. However, since the Industrial revolution, concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased dramatically. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels, land clearing and agricultural practices have increased carbon dioxide by more than a third (to around 380 ppm), nitrous oxide levels by about 17 percent and methane concentrations have more than doubled. According to research, the current rate of increase in carbon dioxide is unlikely to have been experienced at least in the last 20,000 years.

Clearly The Australian tries - with limited success - to follow in the tradition of The Wall Street Journal, where opinion pages are scrupulously disconnected from its news reporting, from the views of its proprietor, and from reality.

Mike,
yeah its a very strange alliance of free market+technology+religion

"What we have is here is the poverty of reason."

And ethics.

you're exhibit A in terms of what he is talking about , Gary.

j,
which of Herman's many claims do you have in mind?