I commend having a healthy dose of scepticism regarding science, in fact, let’s call it a *scientific* dose of scepticism. After all, science is about eliminating all those other pesky correlations and contributing factors to see whether our hypothesis actually works. It’s a tough job, and I commend those scientists getting their heads around the trillions of chemical and physics equations that can influence the outcomes of their experiments.
But being sceptical in the scientific profession is completely different to merely promoting doubt. As most of us know, promoting Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) is a well established strategy of the global warming Denialists. Like Melbourne ‘journalist’ Andrew Bolt.
Where does the anti-warming FUD come from? ABC breakfast just summed this quite succinctly, and I’ve heard it all before from dozens of other sources as well.
So here’s the quick summary.
It all started when some quite prestigious Cold War era scientists — experts in rockets and nukes and defence stuff — realised that the Berlin Wall was down and the Cold War was over. Who to fight next? Oh, of course, all those greenies must be communists because they keep suggesting areas where the government might need to ‘interfere’ with the marketplace.
So the George C Marshall Institute started defending big tobacco against all those meddling doctors. That’s right, rocket designers were now experts on lung cancer! 😉
Then when environmental experts explained how coal stacks spread sulfur, which in turn caused acid rain, the Institute suddenly became paranoid about the influence of government on the coal industry. The communists were at work again! So they suddenly promoted themselves as experts in atmospheric science, and defended King Coal against all those meddling atmospheric experts! You see, they’re all communists. They were trying to interfere with the marketplace!
(Somehow their fevered imaginations have shoved public health laws so far left that they no longer fall under the umbrella of the welfare state, but are actually examples of Central Planning!)
Now of course the Institute has moved on to global warming. The FUD against climate science spreads from their work like an internet virus. They create wildfire memes that shoot across fibre optics at the speed of light and flash down the cables to dozens of other Denialist institutes. Eventually their opinions infiltrate the minds of tens of thousands of right-wing reactionary bloggers.
And who are they funded by I wonder?
Conflict of interest
He left the GMI after 5 months, saying that the institute was “fonder of some facts than others”. He contended a conflict of interest in the funding of the institute, In Shop Class as Soulcraft, he stated about the Institute” “the trappings of scholarship were used to put a scientific cover on positions arrived at otherwise. These positions served various interests, ideological or material. For example, part of my job consisted of making arguments about global warming that just happened to coincide with the positions taken by the oil companies that funded the think tank.”
From my own repeated observation of Andrew Bolt’s readiness to adopt ‘Marshall funded FUD’, I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that Bolt is merely cashing in on the counter-culture. He’s just generating blog hits and column reads. It’s his job. I wonder if the guy actually believes the stuff he’s peddling on his site? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all an act, a public show. He’s like the old Hollywood joke, “Who is the real William Shatner?” For even when not playing Captain Kirk or his part on Boston Legal, even when off stage and behind the scenes, he appears to be a front, a wall, a cardboard cut-out of a man. Which leaves many asking, who is the real Shatner? Have any of us ever met him, or is his stage-persona as much a fiction as the characters he plays? If we were peeling the onion layers back from Shatner’s persona’s, would it really be a 2 dimensional cardboard cut-out all the way down?
It’s the same with Bolt, only less entertaining. He’s not leaving a legacy of EMPHASIS on every 4TH word for us to JOKE about. There’s no “SPOCK, are you out of your VULCAN mind?” to laugh at. He’s just a sad, attention seeking little journalist pushing an increasingly silly line. He’s just a captive to the counter-culture he’s trying to appeal to. He’s just a fraud. And I think he knows it.