Friday, April 22, 2005

Michael: The Lie Factory

Seemingly coordinated with the news that ExxonMobil spent at least 8 million dollars to subsidize propaganda designed to convince the public that global warming doesn't exist, a new study of a century of data on the ice fields of Antartica shows the retreat of polar ice to be an incontrovertable fact.

The evidence for global warming is conclusive, even if what to do about it, or the exact extent of the problem, might not be perfectly clear. The earth has warmed very slowly since the last ice age - by about 1/2 a degree every 1,000 years for the last 10,000 years - until recently. In the last 100 years the earth's average temperature has warmed by 1 degree, twice that average increase for 1,000 years since the last ice age, and according to ALL the experts is on course to increase by as much as 6 degrees in just the next century. There is no scientific disagreement as to the cause of this radical acceleration of the warming trend or that it is happening; the oil and coal companies just would love for you to think there is.

I note a pattern of denial and lies here that is hard to ignore, and difficult to reconcile with common sense or good public policy. There is no scientific debate as to the fact the global warming is happening, nor that a significant portion of that warming is caused by industrial processes releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, yet there are some who are driven by financial interests and/or ideology to deny the nose on their face. This desperate attempt to deny the facts is quite reminiscent of the struggle to keep evolution out of our schools and to supplant genuine scientific facts with faux-science in the form of Intelligent Design Theory (sic). Over and over we see such a pattern of lies and propaganda finding their political home in Conservative politics.

One might even consider a general theory of politics based on that pattern: modern consrvatism is a philosophy based on denying the facts and pedaling lies to a gullible public. All in all, it doesn't seem like a political philosophy with a very bright long-term future.


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