Zealot : A person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political or other ideals (Dictionary.com)
Fanatic: A person filled with excessive and single minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause (Dictionary.com)
Denier: A person who denies something, especially someone who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence (Dictionary.com)
Skeptic: Not easily convinced, having doubts or reservations, that certain knowledge may be impossible to gain. (Dictionary.com) EG: Existence of God, Science style (Dictionary.Chris)
To view anything in a considered and sometimes cautious manner is a good part of being human. This is a handy trait to have. To consider first before we act lessens the amount of pain we need to go through with our time living on the Planet. This good trait gives us confidence to form conclusions with as much knowledge as possible at the time of doing so. We think naturally as Scientists do. To consider something is to use our Brain as intended. To follow logic paths of evidence in front of our eyes in a manner of a 3rd Party Witness is a truthful thing to do.
Skepticism is one aspect of truth finding. Unless there is solid clear evidence that something is true, then maintain caution and assume it may not be true until further information states otherwise.
Being a skeptic does not mean a closed mind, it just means give me more information. Science and skepticism go hand in hand as they should. Do not accept anything at Face value. “Give me the EVIDENCE“, we scream from the rooftops. “I know the truth is out there somewhere” is a rallying cry. Science has to provide evidence that leads to truth, otherwise it is nothing more than a meaningless fabrication of Gobbledygook.
30 years of research on from the 1970’s confirmed Global warming, which in turn has the nasty side effect of upsetting established Climate cycles. To refuse to believe this truth in the face of overwhelming evidence demands a level of Denial, Zealotry and Fanaticism that used to be the sole domain of Religion, Despots, Dictators and the Dark Ages.
Yet as more Science gained Peer and public acceptance, we started to see Science and emotions being manipulated to cast doubt and derision on the Science (Junk) and the Scientists involved. By 2000, the great manipulators of truth – Industry, associated Institutes and Lobby groups had managed to crank up much outrage with a growing army of so called Skeptical Scientists and Denial Zealots challenging the Truth of Global Warming.
Good Science is always based on the premise of validate validate validate, whether it be via Peer review or going back and re-creating and re-testing.
For every new bit of Global Warming prediction being validated, there was much more denial coming from the Industry sponsored other side including news and online media. ‘Skeptical Scientists in the employ of the far right came up with modelling that eventually failed just about every peer review and validation process. But it did not appear to matter, just publish anyway!
Climate Scientists in the forefront received many abusive and offensive emails including death threats to them and families. These were coordinated and unremitting attacks that provoked an understandable War footing by the Climate Scientists and Activists. They knew they were right, almost righteously right. There is only so much provoking a reasonable and considered person can take…….
I attended two Climate Change conferences in Western Australia in 2004 and 2010, Both were held at reputable Universities with Australian and International experts in their respective Sciences fields. The 2004 Conference discussed issues of verification of Climate Cycles, their length, future impacts and adaption due to Global Warming. There were still gaps in determining the length and type of Climate cycles. There were many grey areas regarding speed of adaption. It is healthy to maintain a level of skepticism as I had at the time. I was trusting that this Conference might fill some long overdue Skeptic gaps. Previously, I managed to keep up on some reading, but that was about it. The ‘nitty gritty’ of both sides of the Climate change debate had been remote to me for some years.
After registering and receiving Conference Goodies Bag, an excitable buzz greeted me entering the room as if this was a really special affair. I had little prior knowledge of the eminent Boffins present. The room was almost full. A seat down the back was found and I checked the Conference Goodies bag, opened notes to a clean page, pen poised, was quiet, watched and started listening. A slightly bearded guy was 5-6 seats to the right. He vaguely looked my way, we nodded slightly and exchanged small smiles. 30 minutes in and questions/comments were called from the floor. Beardy Man in a pleasant and what appeared to be knowledgeable manner provided a brief opinion and finished with a short question, smiled and sat back down waiting for a reply from the Panel. I had no idea what the subject matter was apart from it having to do with 500 years ago (Medieval warming rates?). It seemed reasonable to receive an answer in professional manner. Rebut if needed but in a nice Scientific way. Response did not arrive like that. Within micro minutes they were all over him like a rash with the replys. Always strictly one way traffic, quite aggressive, loud. Beardy Man kept up the conversation but I could not really hear anything of sense due to the cacophony.
Maybe Beardy Man would have been satisfied with this answer – “Good question, we simply don’t know at this time.the charts show maybe this…..”. The learned conversation goes on from there. Yes? No. Beardy Man was ejected from the Conference not long after. A few, including myself were sitting there flabbergasted at this aggressive attacking mob of Scientists. A little later I offered comment regarding adaption rates. More than one seriously looked offended that I even dare to discuss my still skeptical adaption knowledge gap. They acted like they were appointed keepers of all necessary knowledge. It was almost blasphemous to question. A few others and I gave up having a reasoned conversation by Morning Tea and left. We found Beardy man outside.”That’s okay, I am getting used to being tossed out now.” He had a wry smile on his face and casually wandered off. He was American.
In hindsight of the now, he may have been one of the band of Boffins via the Heartland Institute or related organisations that were paid to go to Climate conferences around the World and ask tricky questions. I reflected as I left that this had felt like some hardcore Christian Revivalist Mob. This was my first Proper Climate Session since Undergrad days 30 years ago. I was so disappointed to witness what had happened. That conference was so full of self righteous testosterone. War had been declared against the ‘OTHER’ Side – the Far right and their not so merry Band of Deniers. The 2010 Conference was an improvement as the Zealotry didn’t show quite as much. It was certainly still there with some glares and cut off responses to questions. There was a Met Guy discussing the Moon influence on Climate Cycles – truly fascinating and worth the follow up.
I was already spending life contending with the concept of weird Conservative people who think it is their birthright to be the holders of all knowledge and lead. I now had to contend with another bunch of weird ‘who used to be nice smart people’, that were not nice anymore but maintained they were the true holders of the now Sacred Scrolls of Climate Change. The Zealots and Fanatics from the right had brought out the Zealots and Fanatics from the Climate Science community. For many years I had only been partially aware of the increasing politics of this The Climate ‘War’. After the first Conference I made sure I found out more.
To look back on the simple Science described to me 30 years previously by ernest and even mannered Scientists and compare to Climate Conference in 2004, was like chalk and cheese. There was no War back in the day, maybe a level of frustration that they were not being listened to by the right people, but Zealots and Deniers did not exist. Even establishment Science came on board then and supported these Climate Science upstarts. All the while the Climate modelling was refined reinforcing the truth of Global Warming being true. Governments and the UN started work to reverse our diminished Environment. At the most conservative estimate, at least 80% of the Worlds established Science community and major Corporates like BP, SHELL and Global Insurers recognise this Truth being way more than just a mere probability.
Part 3.2 of this story- “Harbingers of Denial” put paid to that. The now established Climate truths were not diminished by good Science, instead they were diminished by Ideology. Conservative Industry had successfully stage managed outrage and disdain for the Scientist’s clear message. They were successful in creating a War, when there need not have been a War in the first place. Naive Climate based Scientists believed that all they had to do was tell the truth but it had become much more than that. The Denier zealots do not care that the truth of Climate Change was getting buried, they only care about stomping on those that disagree with their Ideologically driven rhetoric.
Can overwhelmingly validated Climate Scientists, Anti Climate Zealots and their hangers on somehow declare a truce, fix the truth without emotion and lies attached and agree that Humans have some work to do to fix the problem created by us? Will this War last so long that there won’t be anyone left to fight as we would all be dead from catastrophic collapse of our Global ecosystem? Is it because the Planet is spinning at 1600 klms/hr that Humans have become so dizzy that we can no longer function in a rationale manner? Maybe, maybe not.
Part 5 TIME Coming soon.