They’re LIES!

A friend I have on Facebook (who shall remain nameless) recently had  a series of things plastered to his wall.  The gist of these statements was a refutation of climate change.  This happened multiple times and I watched as my friend gave one word comments that could neither be read as chastisement nor as encouragement.  They were the comments people give when they don’t know what else to say without giving offense.

I had to restrain myself.  I don’t normally write long posts in the comments on Facebook, and especially not on someone else’s page.  This isn’t out of some crazy superfluity of self-restraint, nor from disdain of the opinions of others.  I honestly believe that Facebook is the wrong forum for good discussion mostly because it is an online format.  I feel strongly that face-to-face conversation is a necessary evil to humanity, and posting on people’s threads long-winded discussions accomplishes almost nothing, and that it further invites all the worst in human nature to make its appearance because humans seem incapable of connecting to their empathy when they begin typing to a faceless being thousands of miles away from them.  The calumny that resides in human hearts bubbles too quickly to the surface in this medium and so I eschew it in favor of speaking or in favor of publishing my thoughts in this format: where people come predisposed to digest long segments of words.

But, as I wrote above, I had to restrain myself this time because to use the words Jane Austen put in the mouth of one of her characters, “Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do!” The things I read this person posting on a friend’s wall were horrifying.  This person had crafted an economic conspiracy theory out of climate change, and the reasoning applied to it was such a twisted logic that I was frankly shocked.

I have often thought myself blessed to live in the time I do, and still there are times when I regret that this is the time I live in.  This is the time period that humanity has learned not to question the ivory tower to open it to a wider community of people, but learned to question every piece of science and knowledge that comes out of it in order to justify their culture of rampant, unabashed, disgusting, heinous consumption and greed!   I am watching humans justify the pillaging of the Earth with claims of false science.  We can cut open birds in the Pacific and observe that their guts run with plastic.  We are seeing the evidence all over the oceans of their accelerating acidification because they are absorbing ever more carbon dioxide.  HUMANS are having to pollinate plants by HAND because of the mass die-offs of the natural pollinators on this planet.  The polar vortex is weakening and splintering off to descend on parts of the planet it never inhabited before, and I read the words of people who say that the SCIENCE of climate change is being falsified.

Well this is no longer a simple miscarriage of reasoning as I stated above.  This is a dangerous misapplication of people’s wits because what they are citing are LIES.  Earlier this week a neuroscientist  published a short blog about this, because apparently he and I came to the same alarming conclusions in the same week: we’ve all been too kind about people peddling falsehoods.  For whatever reason, we’ve all become too complacent about RIDICULOUS lies circulating, and instead of refuting these claims POINT by POINT we have allowed LIARS to say that science is wrong.  We have permitted conspiracy theorists, politicians, and a variety of other sources (some of them foreign governments) license to publish whatever falsehoods they desire, and instead of calling these things out as lies, we permit these things the same air-time as actual science.  We have allowed straw-men fallacies to stand-in for reasoning.  This planet (you know, THE ONE WE ALL LIVE ON) faces real challenges that we are all going to have to face NOW by altering our lifestyles, demanding access to the answers, creating markets for better alternatives to our throw-away endless consuming cultures.  No.  Instead of doing that, we allow politicians to hire CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS as the heads of important government bodies.  It shouldn’t surprise me because we elected this person.  We permitted our friends and neighbors to vote for a person with no experience of governing.  We did it because we wanted to keep our relationships with them uncomplicated.  We didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings.

We (those of us who fear for the planet we will leave to our children) allowed LIES told by profiteers to be held up as a body of knowledge as legitimate as the science that has been on-going since prior to the mid-sixties.  The research behind climate change is more than fifty years old.  It is not new-fangled, recent, under studied or under challenged!  It has NOT been one-sided research.  It is research that has been undertaken and tested by most of the universities on this planet so it is not research tied to a single government or a single nation.  It IS peer-reviewed, and it is science that has been SMEARED and CHALLENGED and SILENCED from every side.  It is ironic to me (deeply ironic, in fact) that many of the people spreading lies about the science behind climate change will gladly pop pills in their bodies that are less well-studied, less peer-reviewed than the science underpinning the studies of climate change and what it has done and will do to the planet we live on.

The world can change.  We can change.  We can alter our lifestyles.  I have lived the last five years of my life without a car.  It’s not hard.  It’s good for my body, it’s good for the world.  We recycle our garbage.  Our house is an energy neutral home.  It IS more expensive to build homes like that, but it’s worth it.  But I am part of just one household.  The WORLD needs to cooperate in this if we’re going to start slowing these things down, and we can’t rely on politicians to do this anymore.  They’re some of the worst ones for peddling pure lies, and we let them.  It has to stop.

We have to stop letting lies live alongside science and give them EQUAL voice, and while we DO need to break open the ivory tower so that university faculties will someday reflect the diversity of the world in which we live, we cannot break down the pursuit of knowledge itself.  We have to find our courage again, and we have to make bargains with ourselves that relationships with people are going to grow complicated as long as some people are content to believe in and circulate actual lies.

If you’re spreading lies, I’m not going to restrain myself anymore.  I’m going to call you on it.  I’m going to point you to the resources that are probably as old as you are (or older), and then you can try to put your head in the sand on climate change, on pollution, on racial crises and identities, on misogyny, and on the need for real change in our societies, but I am going to persuade whoever I can with whatever language is at my disposal that we all are running out of time.  No more lies.


~ by Rebecca Erickson on December 9, 2016.

2 Responses to “They’re LIES!”

  1. Some really great thoughts about this. It’s interesting that believing or not believing in climate change seem to run along party lines, which is baffling to me. Though if the conservatives had lead the charge over saving the planet, it’s hard for me to fathom liberals refuting it. I have a couple very religious friends who honestly believe that it doesn’t matter if climate change is natural or manmade. It’s part of the end times and it’s in God’s hands. This line of thinking is how they feel about the Middle East policy and they feel it’s about setting the stage for the final Armageddon. Ugh.

    • I do know of a person who believes this, but this apocalyptic gaze isn’t something I run into too often. When I encounter it, however, I often find myself wondering where THIS strain of thinking is coming from… Was it one too many readings of Revelation? Is it a fall-back, knee-jerk response to the progressive/liberal rhetoric about the dire consequences of not taking action on climate change? Have they just decided that if the world is ending they can sit out on their rooftop and enjoy the show? Baffling and bewildering as I find people who bring snowballs into Congress ergo no climate change I find the apocalypse soothe-sayers even more bizarre.

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