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David Brin

David Brin
Location
San Diego, California, USA
Birthday
October 06
Bio
http://www.davidbrin.com David Brin’s novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, including New York Times Best-sellers that won Hugo and Nebula awards. His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed cyberwarfare, the World Wide Web, global warming and Gulf Coast flooding. A 1998 Kevin Costner film was loosely adapted from his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. ............................................ Brin is a noted scientist, futurist and speaker who appears frequently on television (Life After People, The Universe), discussing trends in the near and far future, on subjects such as surveillance, technology, astronomy, and SETI. His non-fiction book, The Transparent Society, deals with issues of openness and security in the wired-age. ............................................. David Brin web site: http://www.davidbrin.com http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/DavidBrin Facbook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Brin/22358129265

FEBRUARY 11, 2010 10:40PM

Distinguishing Climate "Deniers" From "Skeptics"

Rate: 7 Flag

A fair number of people have written in response to my previous posting - The Real Struggle Behind Climate Change - A War on Expertise - griping that I do not get a crucial distinction between climate-change "Skeptics" and "Deniers."  

Several claimed to be rational, educated fellows who regret the shrill anti-intellectualism of Fox News. Yet, they still defend the core notion underlying the anti-HGCC (human generated Climate change) movement -- the premise that virtually 100% of the thousands of  scientists in a given field can be suborned, corrupted, or intimidated simultaneously  into supporting a nonsensical, baseless theory.

A baseless theory that thousands of "skeptics" happen to be able to see through, all at the same time.

"We skeptics just want to get our questions answered," one person wrote. "Until then, of course, society should do nothing rash."

That sounds so reasonable, who could refuse?

Well, in fact, after two decades of seeing "let's not do anything rash" used as a talking point excuse for doing nothing at all? No, it doesn't sound reasonable.

But let's focus on the core matter at hand.

What factors would distinguish a rational, pro-science "skeptic"  - who has honest questions about the HGCC consensus - from members of a Denier Movement who think a winter snowstorm means there's ni net-warming of the planet?

Is such a distinction anything more than polemical trickery?

Well, in fact, it happens that I know some people who do qualify as climate change "skeptics."  Several are fellow science fiction authors or engineers, and you can quickly tell that they are vigorous, contrary minds, motivated more by curiosity than partisan rigor. One who I could name is the famed physicist Freeman Dyson.

(In fact, if truth be told, there are some aspects of HGCC that I feel I want clarified -- that seem to be poorly-justified, so far. I am an ornery, contrarian question-asker, of the first water!)

After extensive discussions with such folk, I found a set of distinct characteristics that separate  thoughtful Skeptics from your run of the mill, knee-jerk Denier dogma puppet.

Here's the first one:

 

--- WHO IS AN EXPERT?----

Skeptics first admit that they are  non-experts, in the topic at hand. And that experts know more than they do.

Sound obvious? Especially regarding complex realms like atmospheric studies, or radiative transfer, or microcell computer modeling.  But this simple admission parts company from...

... Deniers, who wallow in the modern notion that a vociferous opinion is equivalent to spending twenty years studying atmospheric data and models from eight planets.

(Note: this is important.  Since the Neolithic, human civilizations have relied on specialists, a trend that accelerated across the 20th Century.  Want an irony? As coiner of the term "age of amateurs" I've been helping to push a new trend toward more distributed expertise and citizen-empowerment!  Yet, I also avow - as "Skeptics" do - that a nation has to start by respecting knowledge and those who have it.)

 

--- THE NEWS I NEED FROM THE WEATHER REPORT --

Next, the Skeptic is keenly aware that, after 4,000 years of jokes about hapless weathermen who could not prophecy accurately beyond a few hours, we recently entered a whole new era. People now plan three days ahead pretty well, and more tentatively as far as 14 days ahead, based on a science that's grown spectacularly adept, faster than any other.  Now, with countless lives and billions of dollars riding on the skill and honesty of several thousand brilliant experts, the Skeptic admits that these weather and climate guys are pretty damn smart.

The Skeptic admits that this rapid progress happened through a process of eager competitiveness, with scientists regularly challenging each other, poking at errors and forcing science forward. A rambunctious, ambitious process that makes Wall Street look tame.

Deniers also share this utter reliance on improved weather forecasting. They base vacations and investments on forecasts made by...

...by the same guys they call uniformly lazy, incompetent, corrupt hacks. Miraculously, they see no contradiction.

 

(Side note: There is a distinction between weather and climate.  Both deal in the same oceans, vapors, gases and sunlight, using almost identical basic equations and expertise. Both are extremely complex, anddeal with that complexity by making differentsimplifying assumptions and boundary conditions.  Clearly, climate modeling is more primitive, right now.  Perhaps it is even rife with errors!  But the overall tools, methods, community and eagerly-skilled people overlap greatly.)


--- A LITTLE HUMILITY ---

Skeptics go on to admit that it is both rare and significant when nearly 100% of the scientists in any field share a consensus-model, before splitting to fight over sub-models.  Hence, if an outsider thinks that there appears to be "something wrong" with a core scientific model, the humble and justified response of that curious outsider is to ask "what mistake am I making?"  -- before assuming 100% of the experts are wrong.

In contrast, Deniers glom onto an anecdotal "gotcha!" from a dogma-show or politically biased blog site.  Whereupon they conclude that ALL of the atmospheric scientists must be in on some wretched conspiracy. Simultaneously. Uniformly. At the same time.

 

--- THE YOUNG GUNS OF SCIENCE ---

Now dig this. The Skeptic is no pushover!  She knows that just because 100% of those who actually know about a scientific subject are in consensus, that doesn't mean that consensus-paradigm is always and automatically right!  There have been isolated cases, in scientific history, when all of the practitioners in a field were wrong at once.  

Still, the skeptic admits that such events are rare.  Moreover, a steep burden of proof falls on those who claim that 100% of the experts are wrong.  That burden of proof is a moral, as well as intellectual geas, as we'll see below.

The Denier, on the other hand, knows no history, knows nothing about science, and especially has no understanding of how the Young Guns in any scientific field... the post-docs and recently-tenured junior professors... are always on the lookout for chinks and holes in the current paradigm, where they can go to topple Nobel prize winners and make a rep for themselves, in very much the manner of Billy the Kid! (Try looking into the history of weather modeling, and see just how tough these guys really are.)

This is a crucial point. For the core Denier narrative is that every single young atmospheric scientist is a corrupt or gelded coward. Not a few, or some, or even most... but every last one of them! Only that can explain why none of them have "come out."  (And note, Exxon and Fox have even offered lavish financial reward, for any that do.)

Oh, I admit that it's easy to see why the Denier can believe this.  He imagines that all of the Young Guns are either cowed, intimidated, or suborned by greed for measly five figure grants... because that is the way things work in the Denier's own business and life! 

He has no idea that most scientists are propelled by adventure, curiosity and sheer macho-competitive balls, far more than they are by titles or money. If all the post-docs in atmospheric studies have timidly laid down, then it is the first time it has happened in any field of science. Ever.

Oh, but if the Denier thinks they are all  just greedy, conniving little putzes, this is a natural human mistake, to assume that others are like yourself.  But it is a mistake.


* Sorry... but this is a point to reiterate: I am not saying that all young scientists are noble and brave. I've known plenty who weren't.  But I have served in almost a dozen scientific fields, and I know that the best of the Young Guns would be screaming now, if all those "holes in the theory" were real.

They have the knowledge, the tools and the ambition. Their failure to "bark in the night" means something! Their acceptance of the HGCC model means something. It means a lot more than any number of glib spin-incantations from Sean Hannity. *



The Skeptic realizes all of this.  She takes it into account.  She adds it to the burden of proof borne by the other side. But let's move on.

The Denier claims that the corruption of 100% of the experts -- (upon whom he relies for his weather report) -- is propelled by "millions pouring into green technologies"... without ever showing how a space probe researcher studying Venus at JPL profits from a contract going to a windmill manufacturer in Copenhagen.  But I'm repeating myself, so hold that thought for later.

In contrast, our Skeptic, still fizzing with questions, hasn't finished "admitting things" first.  


--- WHO ARE THE MORE LIKELY CONSPIRATORS? ---

For example, the Skeptic openly admits that he knows who the chief beneficiaries are, of the current status quo.

Those who pushed a wasted decade, delaying energy efficiency research and urging us to guzzle carbon fuels like mad. The guys who benefit from keeping us on the oil-teat are... foreign petro-princes, Russian oil oligarchs, and Exxon.  

The Skeptic admits that these fellow have Trillions (with a T) staked on preserving that status quo -- on preventing America from moving toward energy efficiency and independence.  He admits that a conspiracy among fifty petro oligarchs seems a lot more plausible than some convoluted cabal to "push green technologies" -- a supposed conspiracy involving tens of thousands of diverse people, most of them nerdy blabbermouths, squabbling over far smaller sums of money.

 

--- THE TOBACCO CONNECTION ---

Consider some eerie parallels of methodology with the Great Big War over Tobacco.  Some of the very same consulting groups who formulated Big Tobacco's  "deny, delay, and obfuscate" strategy  - that gave that industry ~40 years to adjust to growing societal awareness of its problems - are working on the Energy Denial Front today, with precisely the same agenda. As one analyst recently put it:

"I think that the main driver for this movement is that when you compare the US economy "before" and "after" acceptance of human-induced warming contributions, one of the most significant differences will be the value of owning particular stocks.  It's impossible to dump onto the market a trillion dollars or more worth of stocks in industrial sectors that generate much of the CO2, without those stock prices dropping through the floor.  But with enough smokescreens raised to delay public acceptance, there is far more time to gradually unload stock, and perhaps even reposition the companies in the most vulnerable industries. 

"This strategy became especially crucial for them, when their earlier gambit - investing Social Security trust funds in the stock market - fell through.  This would have allowed brokers to unload half a trillion dollars in failing assets on millions of naive new stockholders.  We now know retirees would have lost hundreds of billions."

 This parallel with Big Tobacco is not only eerie, but puzzling.  In the end, Tobacco faced fierce ire and severe liability judgments that they escaped only through fast-footed political maneuvers.  This raises a fundamental issue.

If the Denier Movement obstruction leads to billions in losses and millions of refugees, will the top Deniers then be liable, under common and tort law, for damages?

This appears to not have been discussed anywhere that I know of.  But it makes the Skeptic/Denier distinction crucial. 

Those who merely ask scientific questions WHILE helping push for energy independence will be safe enough.  On the other hand, those who directly and deliberately obstructed reasonable precautions and progress toward efficiency may face a very angry and litigious world, if the expert forecasts prove right.  Preventing action upon expert advice is legally culpable.

In effect, they are betting everything they own. 

 

--- THE ROLE OF PROPAGANDA MEDIA ---

Further, the Skeptic admits something pretty darned creepy and suspicious -- that the main "news" outlets pushing the Denier Movement are largely owned by those same petro-moguls.  (Just one Saudi prince holds 7% of Fox, while other princes own smaller shares, plus a lot of Rupert Murdoch's debt, stock and commercial paper. Russian oligarchs and international oil companies own more.)  Because of this, the Skeptic has moved away from getting any of his news or sense of "reality" from propagandists who are paid to keep America divided, weak, passively addicted to dependence, respectful of aristocracy, and mired in "culture war."

The Denier, in contrast, suckles from the Fox-Limbaugh machine.  He shrugs off any notion that oil sheiks, Russian oligarchs or Exxon moguls could possibly have any agenda, or ever, ever connive together.  They are pure as driven snow... compared to weather scientists. Right.

Elaborating a bit: the Skeptic has noticed that the Denier Movement is directly correlated with a particular "side" in America's calamitous, self-destructive Culture War.  The same side that includes "Creation Science."  The same side that oversaw the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, based on mythological asset bubbles and magical "financial instruments."  The same side that promised us "energy independence" then sabotaged every single effort, including all of the energy-related research that might have helped us get off the oil-teat. (And that research gap is a bigger smoking gun to pay attention-to than carbon credits.)

While the Denier sees this association of parallel anti-intellectual movements as a good thing, that enhances the credibility of the Denier Movement, the Skeptic has the mental courage to be embarrassed by it. Even while remaining a conservative, she is pulling herself away from all that.

 

--- WHY IT'S HARD TO GET THE SCIENTISTS TO ANSWER ---

Having admitted all of those things, the Skeptic now feels sufficiently distanced from madmen and reflex-puppets to express legitimate curiosity about a scientific matter much in the news.  

Moreover, he knows that this is his perfect right!  We do not live in a society where elites are gods.  Not the rich or even scientists. The Skeptic refuses to get caught up in the reflex anti-intellectualism being pushed by the faux-right.  But he also knows that amateurs can be smart, and that curiosity was God's greatest gift to man.  

Moreover,  our Skeptic feels like a smart guy! He's generally pretty well-educated and good in his own field.  Above all, he is a free citizen of the greatest and most scientifically advanced republic ever! And so, by gum, having admitted all that stuff (see above), he now wants his curiosity satisfied!  He wants the atmospheric experts to answer hard questions about some things that SEEM contradictory between the data and the model.

Fair enough.


--- A FINAL MILESTONE ---

Ah, but there is one more thing our poor Skeptic has to admit, if she truly is honest and ready to start peppering the experts. She needs to acknowledge that atmospheric scientists are human.

Furthermore, having tried for twenty years to use logic, reason and data to deal with a screeching, offensive and nasty Denial Movement, these human beings are exhausted people.  Their hackles are up. They have very, very important work on their plates. Their time is valuable and, frankly, they see little point in wasting any further, trying to reason with folks who:

-- deny that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas --

-- then deny human generated burning of carbon fuels has increased greenhouse gas content in the atmosphere --

-- then claim the increase won't affect temperatures --

-- then claim there is no warming --

-- while the US Navy is furiously making plans for an ice-free arctic --

-- then claim humans have no role in the warming --

-- then admit we've caused it, but claim it's
already too late, and anyway they'll have a longer growing season in Alberta --

-- then shout that "we can't afford" efforts to wean ourselves of greenhouse emissions...

.
..even though the things that would address HGCC happen to be stuff we should be doing, anyway, to gain energy independence, increase productivity, reduce the leverage of hostile petro powers, and a dozen other important things.

Mr. or Ms. Skeptic, can you see how wearing it has been, dealing with a storm of such BS?   Can you admit that the professionals and experts may not, at first, be able to distinguish sincere skeptics, like you, from the maniacs who have been chivvying and screaming at them (on puppet-orders from Fox and Riyadh and Moscow) for years?   

HGCC "Skeptics" like you are saddened to see that many of the scientists are prickly, irritable and sullen about answering an endless stream of rehashed questions, only a few of which aren't blatant nonsense.  But you Skeptics - the smart and honest ones - understand what's happened.  

And so, you'll cooperate about helping the experts feel safe to come out and share what they know.  And maybe then they will answer some of the Skeptics' inconvenient questions.  

 

--- SO WHAT'S A SINCERE AND ENLIGHTENED SKEPTIC TO DO? ---

This is when the honest Skeptic recites what I suggested earlier.

"Okay, I'll admit we need more efficiency and sustainability, desperately, in order to regain energy independence, improve productivity, erase the huge leverage of hostile foreign petro-powers, reduce pollution, secure our defense, prevent ocean acidification, and ease a vampiric drain on our economy. If I don't like one proposed way to achieve this, then I will negotiate in good faith other methods that can help us to achieve all these things, decisively, without further delay and with urgent speed.

"Further, I accept that "waste-not" and "a-penny-saved" and "cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness" and genuine market competition used to be good conservative attitudes.  But the "side" that has been pushing the Denial Movement - propelled by petro-princes, Russsian oligarchs and Exxon, hasn't any credibility on the issue of weaning America off wasteful habits. In fact, it's not conservatism at all.

"And so, for those reasons alone, let's join together to make a big and genuine push for efficiency.

"Oh, and by the way, I don't believe in Human-caused Global Climate Change!  But in case I am wrong, these measures would help deal with that too.

"So there, are you happy, you blue-smartypants-eco-science types? Are you satisfied that I am a sincere citizen-skeptic, and not one of the drivel-parroting Deniers?  

"Good, then now, as fellow citizens, and more in a spirit of curiosity than polemics, can we please corner some atmospheric scientists and persuade them to enter into an extended teach-in, to answer some inconvenient questions?

"(Oh, and thanks for the vastly improved weather reports; they show you're smart enough to be able to explain these things to a humble-but-curious fellow citizen, like me.)"


As I said earlier, when I meet a conservative HGCC skeptic who says all that (and I have), I am all kisses and flowers. And so will be all the atmospheres guys I know. That kind of statement is logical, patriotic and worthy of respect. It deserves eye-to-eye answers.

But alas, such genuine "skeptics" are rare.  

 

--- WHY IT'S ALL FOR NOTHING ---

Alas, I really have wasted my time, here.  Because, while the species of sincere, conservative-but-rational HGCC skeptics does exist - (I know several, and kind-of qualify as one, myself) - they turn out to be rare. 

For the most part, those calling themselves "skeptics" are nothing of the kind.  More often than not, they are fully-imbibed, koolaid-drinking Deniers, who wallow in isolated anecdotes and faux-partyline talking points, egotistically assuming that their fact-poor, pre-spun, group-think opinion entitles them to howl ""corrupt fools!" at 100% of the brilliant men and women who have actually studied and are confronting an important topic...

...the very same people who the "skeptics" now count on to help them plan activities as far as two whole weeks into a future that used to be murky beyond two hours' time.

There are words for such such people. But none of those words are "skeptic."

 

 

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Your true skeptics are as rare as hen's teeth, indeed. The right wing smear machine has lost a significant portion of its power because it no longer controls the White House. Because of this, its only option is to become ever more harsh, shrill, and idiotic. 99% of your so-called "skeptics" would fit ideally into the old Soviet Union as the majority of them have authoritarian personalities.

And they are as tight with each other as any group of gay activists or Jesuits. Denying global warming is but one key they play on their right wing piano.

Ultimately, it all boils down to power.
Valiant and well thought-out post but it reminds me of trying to split the difference between agnostics and atheists. Keep up the good work though.
Very good essay, David. Most skeptics, however, are Amateur Deniers. They don't do it for the money but for the 2-year-old's joy of refusing to cooperate with the adults.

Coincidentally, the NY Times did a similar piece. See especially David Ropeik, who writes about the four tribes in the global warming denial war. They are technically the four tribes of the U.S.: http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/global-warming-and-weather-psychology/
Unlike the childhood game, Simon Says, in which a particular course of action is dictated by the person playing the role of Simon, science rarely proscribes any one response.

1.certain policies are "what science says is required to avoid catastrophic climate change"

2. "science says reductions of at least 25 to 40 percent are necessary"

3. such and such is "consistent with what science demands"

4. there's a need "to set a science-based national pollution cap"

First of all, science is performed by human beings - who are fallible. All science, therefore, has the potential to be biased and mistaken. When scientists observe, they make choices about what is worth noticing and what is not. When they calculate, they choose to employ one mathematical approach rather than another. When they write reports, they highlight some issues while sidelining others.

All these decisions, choices, assumptions and biases are part of the process that produces what we think of as scientific knowledge. There is no God of Science reaching down from the heavens with THE TRUTH carved into stone tablets.

Second, while scientific investigation can produce certain facts, even when we have full confidence in the accuracy of those facts we must still choose how to respond to them.

Do we put our faith in high-tech to solve our energy problems over the next few decades before matters become acute? Do we reinforce sea walls and levees? Do we make huge efforts to ensure clean and adequate water supplies in the Third World in order to minimize drought-related harm? Or do we continue to put pretty much all our eggs in one basket by pursuing grandiose international Kyoto-style emissions treaties - even when there's little evidence that such treaties accomplish anything?

There are always a variety of responses to any given situation. These responses - whether at the local, national or international levels - should be examined, debated, and negotiated out in the open. We all deserve a voice in these discussions. We should all participate in making these choices.

Science does not tell us what to do. When political activists insist otherwise, they are attempting to preempt important discussions, to silence our voices, to substitute their own views for those of the community.


short url for this post: TinyUrl.com/science-says
Posted by TripodGirl "

I can’t help it, a David Brin column is like a train wreck, you shouldn’t gawk at it, but it’s just such a horribly fascinating spectacle.

David’s premise seems to be that of many of the bloggers on OS: that there is no liberal theory that cannot be made more accessible , reasonable, and convincing by presenting it in an arrogant, smug, insulting and pedantic manner.

As a salesman, I believe he could bankrupt a kool-aid stand at the gates of Hell

As for me and the rest of us “children” out here in fly-over country, we kind of feel like this:

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/104282

If David and his “experts” are the “Adults”, I’m with Ike- I want three hits, too

As for Firestorm McGrew, I’ve read your posts, so get this global warming and greenhouse gas thing figured out and make a post on it, you sound as if your opinion might be worth hearing
Firestorm

Thanks for addressing this- I’m one of those contrary independent thinkers who tends to judge some things not so much on what’s being sold, ( I know I may not know I need something until it’s explained to me) as on who is trying to sell it and how.


When someone tries to tell me I really don’t have time to think about this, I just have to trust him, he’s an expert and he just happens to have exactly the Gaia Certified Honest Injun Snake Oil I need to save not only my family but the world, and that further, I am an ungrateful and malicious moron who’s property he would be justified in taking by force if I won’t give it willingly, (since the fate of the world is at stake), I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse me while I go hunt up my shotgun-(SKS actually)

Anyway, I have 2 years of college physics before I decided to become an Architect and took 4 years of architecture (including many engineering courses) before I decided I couldn’t do the Ego factor of Architects and since I was already working as a Photographer finished up a B.S, in Psychology because human intelligence and decision making fascinates me to the extent that I became involved in artificial intelligence development with the manufacturer of one of the first commercially available robots, and found my career in installing, troubleshooting and training for Windows and Unix based software and hardware installations for county government, specializing in imaging applications-

So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m mentally ill equipped to deal with really big concepts like “Greenhouse Gases” and how CO2 cap and trade is going to fix that problem for us.

What I like about your take is that, as a molecular physicist, you do have a much greater access to knowledge about the effects of radiation absorption by “Greenhouse Gases” than I do. From what I’ve read, there seems to be considerable debate over whether the earth’s atmosphere represents a closed or open system, and the effect that should have on climate models. I have also heard it said that there is an upper limit to the effect of CO2 as a Greenhouse gas because there is only so much re radiation at its critical wavelength, and that the limits of re radiation to be absorbed is being approached- What do you know about that?

At any rate, as a Boy Scout , I earned all my conservation merit badges, and I believe it’s great to recycle, and not waste energy and believe me, as soon as I can afford a used hybrid, I’ll buy one-I have no desire to buy any more gas than I need to.

What I will not do is support a compulsory rationing of something that really won’t make any difference to “Climate Change” but will only serve to enrich those people who have positioned themselves to be “Licensed” to trade in it. And it is amusing to me that people like David seem to think that their fulminations are any sort of convincing reason to do so . Your arguments for or against would at least be reasoned and civil and I would like to hear them .
Token writhes and tries to justify himself. He tries to portray himself as a "skeptic"... but he fails every test.

He admits no burden of proof, for those who argue that 99% of the experts must be wrong. Instead, he reiterates the party line, that the experts have to prove every point, over and over ad nauseam, because their almost uniform advice can be heeded.

Then he rails at the MOST invasive part of the prescription - carbon taxes - and uses that as a justification to do nothing. Which it boils down to, since he is NOT negotiating, or offering alternative ways to urgently pursue energy efficiency.

His "Boy Scout" background is hilarious. I have two scouts right now. They know actions speak. A "skeptic" argues with the scientists WHILE joining VIGOROUSLY in a worldwide effort to save the world... Not parroting party lines from a side that has wrought inestimable harm on American civilization.
David, get over yourself- Token really doesn’t give a rat’s ass what your opinion is about anything. I check in occasionally when I’m feeling in the mood to bait someone who is obviously more interested in playing to his “Fans” than any sort of attempt to engage and convince anyone who disagrees with him.

It was refreshing to run into Firestorm, an actual Scientist rather than a wannabe, and I will continue any climate questions I might have with him- we may disagree, bur at least he isn’t intentionally disagreeable- You on the other hand, are a pretentious ass who’s occasionally amusing to play with. Keep your wine glass handy.
Ah yes... the ankle-biter...

My reflex is to interact. I forget. Some are just sewer-dwellers...
Obviously, I was responding to that "Token" little putz, and not you, Firestorm. Our comments passed each other. It happens.

As for your remarks, I think you are still evading the eissue.

Dick Cheney put up the "1% precautionary principle." If it seemed there was a 1% chance that one of our cities were in danger from Pakistani nukes, we should therefore leap in and wage war upon them by taking their capability out.

I do not exaggerate, he said precisely that.

And yet, the denier camp, faced with a VASTLY greater than 1% chance that filthy energy habits might lead to ruin far more devastating than any city-nuke, nevertheless delay, obfuscate and rationalize narratives to excuse doing nothing.

This is far, far beyond hypocrisy and lunacy. All the narratives and talking points might have some meaning, if the thing being asked of us were some terrible tradeoff. But it's not. The thing being asked of us is that we finally, at long last, take "energy independence" seriously.

And so it comes down to this. The continued participation, by otherwise intelligent people, in a propaganda mass koolaid-drinking that rationalizes ignoring expert advice, blocking energy efficiency, demonizing science and doing everything possible to assist the agenda of foreign petro-princes...

...such behavior is pathological and borderline psychopathic. Moreover, it borders on treason.

And if, by your blocking action on the best advice from nearly 100% of the scientific experts, you help to worsen the calamity, please be warned. The people flooded out will sue. And the courts of that future era will not be in a kindly mood.
Your screed is articulate and well-written (I read every word) hypocritical drivel.

Knowing full well that you will stride away feeling the adult, let me assure you that you are not. I had enough of twisty sophomorisms when I was a sophomore.

Go find other sophomores to wallow with.