Liberals’ climate-change denial hides many sins
by Melvyn L Fein
March 10, 2014 04:00 AM | 1255 views | 7 7 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Since this past autumn, my colleague Ken White and I have been doing a podcast called “Honestly Speaking: Red Meets Blue.” At roughly two-week intervals, we choose a topic and debate it. About a month ago, the subject was global warming.

As you might expect, Ken, representing the liberal position, championed “climate change,” whereas, I, the conservative, was skeptical of the thesis that this was “man-made.” Time and again, Ken trotted out the argument that because “97 percent” of climatologists subscribe to global warming, the case is closed.

More recently, when I wrote about liberal denial for the MDJ, I cited the president’s insistence the climate case was indeed closed as an instance of denial. Not surprisingly, several readers chided me for not understanding that Obama was correct; that a scientific consensus confirms his assertions.

Among other things, I was told I should be ashamed for not understanding how science works. Thus, I was informed that because scientific papers are peer reviewed, we can depend on their accuracy.

Now, as someone who has been published in peer-reviewed journals, but, more importantly, who is the editor of a peer-reviewed journal (The Journal of Public and Professional Sociology) I am not unfamiliar with the concept of peer review. Nonetheless, I also know its limitations. Indeed, how vulnerable scientific journals are to manipulation was recently revealed by a fraud of epic proportions. Amazingly, more than 120 hard science and math papers were exposed as having been generated by computer programs. Produced by randomly, albeit grammatically, putting jargon together, they were complete nonsense.

In science, a consensus proves nothing. In the end, it is always evidence that is telling. Facts matter, and if these go against a thesis, the number of persons who support it is irrelevant. The earth does go around the sun. Einstein’s equations do explain more than Newton’s. It doesn’t matter that huge majorities once thought otherwise.

Furthermore, scientific hypotheses must be open to disconfirmation. If they aren’t, they are not science, but faith. With respect to global warming, the true-believers allow for no disconfirmation. Whatever the facts, they always prove them right.

Those who seek to win this case by accusing folks like me of being “flat-earthers” point to computer simulations as corroborating their thesis. But computer simulations are hypotheses. They are not facts and therefore cannot validate themselves.

Besides, the overwhelming number of climate simulations generated faulty predictions. In other words, they have been disconfirmed.

Let me explain what denial is. People who are in denial refuse to see facts. They close their eyes and ears to reality and instead subscribe to rationalizations and fantasies. Moreover, because they are in denial, they do not realize they are in denial. To the contrary, they are convinced that those who disagree with them are.

So I repeat myself: Liberals are in deep denial. The political facts are going against them; hence they become ever more desperate in their refusal to acknowledge reality. Emotionally committed to the proposition that they are correct, nothing can budge them off center.

This intransigence not only applies to global warming, but to a host of contentious issues. Most notable among these is Obamacare. The true-believers still insist the program is working.

Harry Reid (but not just Harry Reid) told us every Obamacare horror story is a lie. Not one single person has been injured by losing his doctor or health plan. Those who claim otherwise are hoaxers.

So why did the president have to apologize for saying no one would lose a plan or doctor? And were there really no glitches in the website rollout? People in denial argue for the strangest things — but Reid went the extra mile. The nation should be laughing at his blatant attempt at deception, yet I doubt many liberals are.

Denial is a wonderful thing. It can cover a multitude of sins. For Liberals, it is doing just that.

Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.
Comments
(7)
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R.L. Bays
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March 10, 2014
"People who are in denial refuse to see facts."

I agree with you on this point. When you can provide evidence that refutes the fact that the earth is warming and that humans are an exceedingly likely cause, then science will change course and you might collect a Nobel prize. Until then, the delusion is all yours Dr. Fein.
Kevin Foley
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March 10, 2014
Very eloquent rebuttal to Fein's science denial:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Media Has To Stop Giving Climate Deniers Equal Time

Astrophysicist Says "Science Is Not There For You To Cherry-Pick"
Ben Twomey
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March 10, 2014
Kevin, science is not there to be manipulated for personal gain, as is being done int he field of climatology.

Follow the money, Kevin, follow the money.
CobbCoGuy
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March 10, 2014
Perfect, KF. You illustrate perfectly why this is no longer about science. It is about squashing the opposition.

Thank you for this!

Owl Gore himself couldn't have done it any better.
Rob Dresser
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March 10, 2014
Mr. Fein should be a professor of another social science, sophistry. He critiques climate change models as often being inaccurate but conveniently leaves out that the error tends to be in understating either the degree or timing of impacts such as Arctic sea ice depletion. A few years ago we anticipated the loss of summer sea ice by the end of this century. A new study by the U.S. Navy now foresees that event before the end of this decade.

Mr. Fein sidesteps the obvious point that if there was credible science refuting the consensus, the fossil fuel industries would spend almost limitless amounts of money to drive a spike through the heart of the scientific consensus before your "bought and paid for" Congress.

Mr. Fein rightly notes that computer simulations are not facts but then seems to ignore the facts as though they're not abundant. That is beyond disingenuous. It is precisely because of people like Mr. Fein that your National Academy of Sciences teamed up with Britain's prestigious Royal Society to offer a fine website presenting everything Mr. Fein apparently does not understand or chooses to ignore, "A Discussion on Climate Change: Evidence and Causes."

http://nas sites.org/americasclimatechoices/events/a-discussion-on-climate-change-evidence-and-causes/
Ben Twomey
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March 10, 2014
Mr. Dresser, there is no "discssion" in the website. It is all one way, the same as all "warmers" are one way. No room for doubt.

Thank God, scientiists in the past did not possess the egotistical traits of our current crop. Otherwise the earth would still be flat and the center of the universe.

Oh, and might I add that the sceintists holding forth those beliefs were every bit as prestigious, in their day, as the National Academy of Science and the Royal Academy are today.
CobbCoGuy
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March 10, 2014
The rate of warming for the past 15 years has been slower than the previous 20 notwithstanding the higher levels of CO2 in the air.

I think the current explanations revolve around the idea that the oceans are absorbing the excess heat.

This was unexpected to the climate scientists.

Why?

Why didn't the climate computer models in 1999, or so, predict this?
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