Dear Amanda Porter
Thank you for choosing my denial disorder as a researchobject. In my first posting i – your object of research- quoted the following from your Sociology/Communication-group website Talking Climate on Climate Change:
The evidence for climate change is so overwhelming that you might expect the facts to speak for themselves. Unfortunately they don’t – which means that using the most effective methods for communicating climate science is critical.
I will end this posting with a question to you, of which I hope you will be able to answer: just to prevent that I end op as suffering from ‘the white male-effect’ (Slovic& Flynn.
How to be naive: a course for the advanced
In following postings I will demonstrate that this sentence from ‘Talking Climate’summarizes the total naivity and lack of intellectual reflection that is the hallmark of the hordes of ‘experts’ circling around the true scientists.
Those – more influenced by popular culture than understanding of what science is- who use the authority that science in general has to pursue other agendas. Mostly by framing a complex debate – where different branches of science interact- between The Science and the morons (those diverging from groupthink) to be converted. Conversion is executed after finding out how to appeal to their irrational emotions, or just by bullying.
To me this tactic is all too familiar
This tactic to avoid true debate was also effectively pursued in Dutch Nature Conservation from the ’90s (my area of specialism) by ecologists like Frans Vera, who had a far-going influence on Dutch Nature Policy.
He and fellow ideologues also succeeded to silence opponents by portraying their view on nature as ‘the only real ecology’ versus those little sentimental gardeners who do not understand the important processes in Nature. How the debate was killed is effectively summarized by science philosopher Jozef Keulartz in ‘critique of the radical ecology’
In reality his view was only a limited vision based on closed system-equilibrium-thinking, with a touch of American Wilderniss-romanticism. Adopting an evolutionary ecological view would mean the end of his large herbivore romance. Apart from that, all archeological evidence has debunked his theories. But Vera won many debates by rethorics, succeeding to portray his victims as ‘the emotional people who don’t understand true ecology’.
Han Lindeboom, the Underwater-Vera
The same tactic is now applied by the Frans Vera of Marine Ecology against fisheries, Han Lindeboom and green government officials that use science for agenda-driven ideals: framing a debate between ‘true experts’ and people with unfounded emotions: this is the false contradiction that some greenies and government-officials – mostly trained in Wageningen- literally referred to: ‘you may express your emotions’.
While in reality their wilderniss-underwater ideals are founded in the same outdated holistic thinking, where ‘disturbance’is bad when it comes from humans but ‘natural’ and thus good if it is caused by storms. So that ‘erasing human influences’is the same as ‘nature restoration’. This reasoning with a ‘balance of nature’-touch has nothing to do with scientific ecology, but more so with popular culture thinking from the seventies with roots in Greek Philosophy.
The problem: when adopting a dynamic view of nature, most grand-design-nature-policies would have to be terminated and many green bureaucrats would loose their job
The Theory of Nature, and the Nature of THeory
Here is one of my favourite books to learn from, that you should read first before you actually might get one clue of what your talking about, when talking about ‘overwhelming evidence’and when you and fellow sociologists or worse’communication scientitst’claim to have a perfect grip of what ‘science’ actually is: and especially how it is (mis)used in the policy arena.
Now here we have an important quote, page 183 of ‘Ecological Understanding, The Theory of Nature and the Nature of Theory’, from an ecologist who wants to practice better science, Steward Pickett. I sincerely believe that this is the real thing to be debated- improving science, and the use in the policy-interface.
The idea of the balance of nature has influenced- and continues to influence- what and how science is used by managers and planners. If scientists, who have the weight of empirical evidence to consider, still fall in to equilibrium or balance-of-nature-thinking, how much easier it is for non-scientists (climatists/sociologists RZ) to do so.
However, there is, simply no single or persistent balance of nature. It is time for a fair turnabout from science to society. Perhaps the scientific appreciation that a strict balance of nature is rare or unlikely manens taht the insight can be translated to society.
Pickett proposes a new metaphore like ‘the flux of nature’, doing more justice to the fact that natural systems change on every timescale and are dynamic instead of bound to an ‘undisturbed’static equilibrium, which also means that there is no principal difference between human and natural influences. I quote
It emphasizes the dynamism, UNCERTAINTY (let me help you RZ), and contingency of ecological interactions and structures.
Your Homework before the interview: what elements of popular culture have polluted climate-thinking by non-experts and sociologists
Now can you outline what the relation of the former thinking in ecology and it’s policy interface is to the climate debate, ánd why I believe this is relevant? The next blog will summarize my position on ‘climate change’, but first I had to add this posting. This is because of my suspicion that intellectual reflection is not the strongest quality of Nottinham sociologists or worse ‘communication scientists’, nor of most academics operating in the climate-policy-interface.