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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The Distorting Effect of Ideology

The Distorting Effect of Ideology

Author: Reilly Capps/Thursday, February 27, 2014/Categories: climate change

By Reilly Capps 


Nobody is a fool on purpose. Miley Cyrus must have actually thought that it was cool to hump a foam finger like a misinformed teen humps a sofa. Men who tattooed their new girlfriend's name on their neck were sober. And George F. Will and Charles Krauthammer continue to say insane things about climate change. 


In the Washington Post this morning, Will
argues that liberals' desire to confront climate change is just an example of liberals' desire to control everything, down to your light bulbs. Which may or may not be true. Liberals do like to control things. But then Will won't stop. He recites a litany of truths about climate change -- that the warming has stalled, that the climate has always changed. He even puts climate change in quotes -- "climate change" -- like you would with the Loch Ness "Monster" or Ellen Page's "boyfriend." 


Also: someone call the Lost and Found. Charles Krauthammer has lost his mind. The one-time medical doctor -- a man legally once allowed to stick needles into other people -- last week
said liberals have made climate change a "matter of fealty and faith." 

I don't understand what these people get out of denying climate change. Even Shell oil believes in it. "Emissions must urgently fall to limit the impact of serious climate change," Shell 
says. Why does denying this simple fact make Will and Krauthammer happy? How is it possible that a scientific theory is tied to a political ideology? Why would so many Republicans see the evidence on a natural phenomenon so differently from the way that most people see it? Do they also have differing opinions on the Doppler effect or Heisenberg's uncertainty principle? Are they convinced that man's ability to see colors does not depend on the red, green and blue cones in the back of our eyes? Do they have varying views on the relationship between temperature, pressure and the boiling points of various liquids? Do they believe that the valence shell of carbon bonds easily with the valence shells of other atoms, thereby allowing intricate molecules to form, or do they think that atoms stick together because of glue or scotch tape? 

I can understand why a person would disbelieve in evolution. A very sacred book explicitly says that all things were created at the same time. Similarly, I could understand why a person would believe that a sort of
dome covers the Earth, separating the waters above from the waters below. That same sacred book explicitly says that there is. But if a person is willing to allow that there is no dome covering the earth separating the waters above from the waters below, why then is there any received wisdom about the ways in which the skies work?

Folks like Krauthammer and Will must have a reason. These are smart people. They must actually believe what they're saying. If they didn't, they would fall into H.L. Mencken's definition of a demagogue, "one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." And I'm sure that's not the case. 

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