Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, August 05, 2007

“Global Warming is a Myth” equals Flat Earth Society

Just try to imagine this wacky scenario: the Flat Earth Society is receiving mega-funding from some of the world’s most powerful industries. Think tanks and focus groups are coming up with ever more sophisticated propaganda methods for conveying the group’s message — The Earth Is Flat! — and slandering everyone who disagrees.

If this were the case, millions of gullible Americans would be saying “that Loony Left. Now they're trying to tell us the world is round. What are those treehuggers gonna come up with next?” “The world is round?? Looks flat to me. What a bunch of moonbats.”

Well, how different is this? A rightwing think tank — funded by ExxonMobil — has been offering $10,000 to scientists who are willing to write “reports” that deny or downplay global warming. As the author says, “the denial machine is running at full throttle—and continuing to shape both government policy and public opinion.”

According to 600 scientists from over 40 countries, there is a 90% certainty that the release of greenhouse gases — from the burning of fossil fuels — is causing longer droughts, more flooding and worse heat waves. This is widely recognized by vast majorities in Europe and Japan.

But in the United States, the Denial Machine’s propaganda tactics are working. Their methods are patterned after the tobacco industry’s tactics in the 1990s: Create doubt. Sow confusion. “We don’t know.” “The results are uncertain.” “Let’s not go overboard yet; we need more research.”

And here are the results: nearly two thirds of Americans think there's “a lot of scientific disagreement” on climate change. Only one third believes global warming is “mainly caused by things people do.” Do they still teach Critical Thinking in American high schools and colleges? Or any kind of thinking?

So far this year there have been eight bills introduced in Congress to reduce greenhouse gases. But the Democratic “leadership” hasn’t taken much action on them; and they aren't getting much pressure from the public either. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Congressman (also a physicist) said “every time the scientific case got stronger, the American public yawned and bought bigger cars.”

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Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Sadly, to answer your question, no, critical thinking is not being taught in America's schools anymore. They're being taught how to pass meaningless standardized tests, and then they get all offended when they roll into my sister's freshman college English class and have to--Ouch!--think for themselves. I've heard of this sort of buying of information by Big Oil, so also sadly, I'm not surprised. I'm also not surprised by the former government-employed scientists who said they got a lot of pressure to rewrite their reports on global warming to be less damning of pollution.

Only when the last plant has been eaten, the last river is poisoned, and the last tree is cut down, will we realize we really shoulda stopped trying to stir the polar icecaps with big swizzle sticks and put on some sunblock and ridden a bike from time to time.

August 5, 2007 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mile High Pixie: I'm glad your sister teaches a class where people have to think for themselves. We need more teachers like her.

You're right, after it's too late we'll all be saying "what the F#$# have we done?!?"

August 5, 2007 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

great post...and we do need more teachers teacching this..and we also need more MSM...oh, hell any media teaching this- everyday with really strong graphics/photos.....how dense do we have to be- to NOT get how bad this is..and going to be....

( you are in the round up)

August 5, 2007 at 8:47 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Critical thinking? There is nothing taught in the schools but rote memorization these days. Why do you think the Chimpletons all trot out the exact same talking points all the time?

August 5, 2007 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Enigma4ever: Yes, we need to have more teachers and journalists telling everyone how urgent this is. The fact that it isn't already obvious to everybody means there's something lacking in our education system.

Thanks for including me in the roundup.

Jolly Roger: Ah yes, rote memorization. Columbus discovered America in 1492; we have to fight the terrorists over there so we don't fight them over here. I think I'm ready for tommorow's quiz.

August 5, 2007 at 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a regular reader of your article. And I am very impress with your blog upon Global Warming. Now I am also write a blog upon effects and causes of Global Warming. This blog is collection of news & reviews like the study found that global warming since 1985 has been caused neither by an increase in solar radiation nor by a decrease in the flux of galactic cosmic rays. Some researchers had also suggested that the latter might influence global warming because the rays trigger cloud formation.

August 6, 2007 at 4:11 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

It's unbelievable, isn't it? Everyone else on the planet GETS this. But not here, oh no... it's all just "speculative." Wake up; this isn't Rome burning, people ... it's the fucking planet!

August 6, 2007 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Tom Disouza: Interesting site. Thanks for the link.

Candace: Good analogy to ancient Rome. We're fiddling while the planet burns.

August 6, 2007 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger phil_in_ny said...

I can't even believe they have the balls to spew such vialty!!

August 6, 2007 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Phil_in_NY: Yup, they spew it out and unfortunately millions of people lap it up.

August 6, 2007 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

The corporate-owned rightwing has turned back the hands on science itself.

We're now laging behind Taiwan and Brazil not only on climate science but medical research.

The flat-world crowd don't hate science -- they just don't want you and me to have access to it but rest assured, if Jenna Bush were to become ill and the only treatment is stem cell treatment, she will be on the first flight to Thailand for treatment.

August 7, 2007 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Christopher: Good point. That should be embarrassing to our government, and us, that more and more Third World countries are moving ahead of us in energy/environmental awareness.

And you're right about Bush. If Jenna had a disease whose cure depended on stem cell research, she'd be flown to Thailand pronto. If she got pregnant she'd be whisked away to get an abortion and they'd just tell everybody in Kennebunkport that she's "visiting relatives." Etc.

August 7, 2007 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

That's a big part of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), of course... Do a whole lot more testing so schools can demonstrate "progress" each year, or lose funding. That involves a lot more of "teaching to the test", which doesn't really teach kids how to do anything but pass tests. Heck, under NCLB, schools can even be called substandard if their mentally retarded 10th graders don't pass the same tests their regular ed 10th grade peers take. The way NCLB is designed, it sets schools up to fail. And that way, the freakazoids can shout "See, I told you so!" and all the schools can be privatized.

NCLB is supposed to be saving our schools, but it is dumbing our kids down in a severe way. Rote memorization does nothing to teach kids how to analyze and synthesize information to reach conclusions; it does nothing to challenge kids' intellect, and it does nothing to teach kids HOW THINGS WORK. This is exactly what the neocons want: an uninformed, compliant society of people who robotically go about their duties without ever questioning the government.

The less information people have, the less they are likely to question authority. How nice that is for the assholes who want unlimited power and who view the American public as a bunch of stupid sheep.

August 7, 2007 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: When NCLB first came out I wasn't sure if it was total cluelessness or if there was a method. Now I'm pretty sure it's the latter. Millions of robots who can recite facts like a tape recorder, and have about that much analytical thinking ability. A neocon's wetdream. No wonder campaign slogans and soundbites work so well. It's pitiful.

August 8, 2007 at 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

But, Tom, it still snows sometimes, so how can there be global warming?! The numbers you point out are sad, but true thanks to the spin machine telling people such.

August 8, 2007 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Andy: Hmmm, that's true now that you mention it, it still snows. Also, I live on the coast and right now the tide is going out. So much for those rising sea levels the moonbats are always yelling about :)

August 8, 2007 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, how different is this? A rightwing think tank — funded by ExxonMobil — has been offering $10,000 to scientists who are willing to write “reports” that deny or downplay global warming.

When I first heard about this, I thought: My god what cheap bastards these right-wingers are.

August 8, 2007 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kvatch: Damn, this was in the news last February? I've known about stories like this for a long time but I didn't know this specific thing was in the news 6 months ago. That's a good point: if those scientists are gonna be prostitutes they might as well be highly paid call girls instead of cheapo street-corner hookers.

August 8, 2007 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, this was in the news last February? I've known about stories like this for a long time but I didn't know this specific thing was in the news 6 months ago.

Sorry Tom...wasn't trying to rain on the parade. Like all stories, I think that sometimes the public doesn't pay attention the first time around. So the MSM brings it back for your enjoyment.

August 12, 2007 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kvatch: Don't worry, you weren't raining on my parade. This just goes to show how crafty the MSM is when it comes to "reporting" the news. Sometimes they supress it, and sometimes they dole it out in little dribs and drabs. Or if they get too much criticism for not reporting enough real news, they'll suddenly "discover" a few stories they've been supressing and start reporting on them.

August 12, 2007 at 3:30 PM  

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