Friday, February 20, 2015

an agenda

Abstract: Through the lens of both climate change believers and climate change deniers, we will examine how personal political beliefs are formed, by relating the general agendas of both sides to science, and reality. Spoiler alert: look at the person next to you, there's a chance he or she believes some crazy shit.

In chatting with Heckyeahwoman the other night, she mentioned one of her upcoming talks, referencing the Doomsday Clock, and how it recently got bumped up a couple minutes. The two main reasons mentioned for the uppage bumpage were climate change and global nuclear armament. Warning: we're not really going to argue one way or another for either.

Not sure if you noticed, but I just mentioned climate change, queue the freakouts. My stock answer about the subject generally revolves somewhere around, "I don't know - I'm not a climate scientist". Notably it is without an exclamation point - to signal apathy, and the qualifier on the end hopefully lets you know that I likely don't value your opinion. Though if I am engaged in a sick convo with somebody having extreme views towards either side, yo, I'ma be the dickhead contrarian.

I get why a liberal might think I'm wrong on the issue(even something as benign as admitting to not knowing lol): I'm not religious about it and I don't subscribe to their OMG-blame-white-people cult. That's fine. Obviously to your average leftist or rightist there isn't a whole lot of room for humility...or empathy, reason, logic, science, anything really that fair people might revere.

You know, that weird stuff that super dogmatic people usually eschew, or bastardize.

Same thing with your typical right winger, and their catch-all disdaining of all who are poor, or maybe more accurately, not rich. Believe me, when the time comes to seriously monetize climate change activism, you can be sure there will be a sea change in the views on the subject.

We're not here to bash liberals and leftists, or Republicans, but we still will, so I apologize for that well written and thoughtful tangent.

But how can I have an opinion, as apathetic as it may be, on something I (admittedly) don't know a whole lot about?  I could pull climate change reports and read them furiously, but that sounds like reading. I could blow through abstracts and try to glean knowledge hopefully helping in the formation of something resembling an opinion. But how do I know what is good science? Or like most people, I could turn to some form of media (presumably with an axe to grind), read, form an opinion, think I know everything, and write a blog about it.

OR, I could do the latter, look at the source, consider past behavior, and then generalize a prediction for future behavior, in terms of writing about controversial issues. That's scientific right? Crude, but let's go ahead and break 'er down:


The source: what can generally be described as liberals, scientists, and liberal scientists.

Past behavior: making stuff up, making policy based on made up stuff (sound like Republicans at all?!), basing education and further science on made up stuff, doing horrible shit (look at some of those last names OMG!), making up more stuff, still making stuff up, fingering her own sister, and acting all smarmy and better than you.

Prediction: I don't have graphs and stuff, but I think a thorough, yet rough and cherry picked track record of bad stuff might lead to future actions of bad stuff. That said, my prediction is: agenda-focused scientific findings!

I'm not saying they're wrong, but can you at least understand my skepticism?

But what about climate change deniers!? Those crazy fucks aren't off the hook!

Check this out: they and their views have been pretty well covered in the media, and some views common to that group might include: the world is 6,000 years old, being gay can be "cured" with electroshock therapy, evolution is not for real, war is good but abortion is bad, NASCAR is cool, wolves are bad and should be shot, I could go on.

Bottom line: Sorry dawgs, but you ain't my dawgs either.

Misanthropy leads me to believe that humanity wants to, or would, however directly or indirectly, destroy the world (and each other) for temporary gain, it also leads me to wonder exactly how successful we are at it. Either way, the older I get, the more disgusted I am by the horrible things we do to the environment.

Also lightly discussed that night was nuclear armament, and I promise this will tie in somehow with something, somewhere. Regarding nukes and war, I tend to source my news and info from places that push a certain agenda, generally: "war is bad, quit fucking with people so they leave us alone." I think that translates quite nicely into real life too. Anyway, the general consensus among these crazy radical peace-loving folks is that all those boogeymen (sorry, boogeypeople) that the media reports want to kill you, either 1) actually don't want to kill you; 2) don't have or won't have nukes, and probably can't kill you; or 3) both 1 and 2.

In summary, there are a couple principles that guide my reading of news, politics, and science. Maybe they're unreasonable, maybe not.

1. If you stop being a dick all the time, I bet your life will get a little better.
2. Open minded science, then policy.
3. Feelings are going to get hurt, people are shitheads, life is hard.