Thursday, February 25, 2010

Logic of cigarette lawyers

I was amazed to find a certain portion of this nation so vehemently against the science of man aided 'climate change', self identified 'religious' conservatives. Part of this was animus towards the legitimate winner of the 2000 presidential race, Albert Gore. Partly there was an overlap of economic interests with political interests, but what perplexed and flummoxed me was the 'religious' dimension. Genesis and many established religions (and this most certainly means the Catholic Church) teach that man is to be a steward of the earth, for he did not create, God created and is, therefore, the true 'owner'.

Now, I was not surprised certain 'evangelicals' would believe the converse, after all Pat Robertson had run for the presidency, and well...the anti-intellectualism, and love for lucre had been in their menage from their genesis, but it was still beyond that. People who had my religious background were quoting from this absurdist script with vehemence. They accepted, and promoted, arguments that a thomist would laugh at. Some of it creates an alternative reality that cancels the logic and facts of history and science. Reality is replaced by conspiracy theories, that are part extreme nationalism, part xenophobism, part mammon worship, and part gaga nonsense that buggers the mind. Yet, they clothe this as a religious tenet. This is not in the Nicene Creed.

This has been seen before. It is the logic of cigarette lawyers. The cigarette companies hired doctors and scientists saying smoking causes no health problems. Then they hired cigarette lawyers who lied ridiculously*, and would not budge an inch. The oil, gas and oil companies are now in the same position. If smoking cigarettes is fine for one's health, then similarly, smoking oil, gas and coal is fine with the environment. The parallel is the lungs of the organism, man's and the atmosphere. The health and functioning of the body, and the health and functioning of the environment and the climate are rightful comparisons. Now, most of us see that pollution is real. Pollution is a degradation of the earth. Pollution has consequences. The logical plausibility, without even going into minutiae of evidence, of such science, I propose, is easier to grasp than the germ theory of disease, certainly initially. Then again, my mother refuses to believe in the germ theory of disease.

Part of these science deniers is their true agenda is $$$ $$$ $$$ $$$ $$$. Here is an inconvenient observation. Have you noticed the recent television commercials that have touted the benefits of clean coal? Coal is flammable rock, it is a smoky fuel. There is no clean coal, unless it has been so metamorphosed, under pressure, as to turn into gem stones, jet and diamond. Another inconvenient fact: the largest non-Murdoch stockholder of the Faux News Corp is the richest man in Sa'udi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Now, if one goes for conspiracy theories...the burning of oil is not to be criticised.

So, this war against knowledge is fueled by a defense of wealth. Man fueled environmental and climate change is profitable to those who are economically powerful. Science and technology only permitted to fuel commerce and warfare of current powerful interests. Of course, new economic interests may one day supercede present powerful interests, and those new interests may hold as tenaciously and jealousy to their power.

Now we have moments of comedy. In the US senate, the chief agent of denial is Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. He went to Copenhagen to counter an international conference. He spoke before a gathering of reporters, and they being of other nations, could not take him seriously [a german openly laughed], and he quickly returned to the only place where he could be believed--here in the United States. Now he and his family has built an igloo in the Washington snowstorm as a stunt. The logic, in that, is similar to that of because there is no sunlight at midnight, then someone has stolen the sun, or it has been turned off.
*parodied on Saturday night Live as Nathan Thurm by Martin Short.

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