Anti-intellectual Claims about Anti-intellectualism

Besides revealing at this blog how the ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists’ accusation implodes from any angle it’s viewed, I also show how people willingly accept and spread the accusation while never questioning a single element of it. Today, I feature a perfect case in point where an article writer attempted to call out the ‘problem’ of stupid rationale in the global warming issue, but his efforts only result in an undesirable appearance hugely undermining the overall point of his article.

Two quotes from Psychology Today, in a June 23, 2015 piece titled “Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America”, by the author of “Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason”, David Niose (first screencapture quote here):

In a country where a sitting congressman told a crowd that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” where the chairman of a Senate environmental panel brought a snowball into the chamber as evidence that climate change is a hoax, where almost one in three citizens can’t name the vice president, it is beyond dispute that critical thinking has been abandoned as a cultural value. Our failure as a society to connect the dots, to see that such anti-intellectualism comes with a huge price, could eventually be our downfall.

(second screencapture quote here):

Fundamentalist religion is also a major force in denying human-caused climate change, a phenomenon that the scientific community has accepted for years. Interestingly, anti-intellectual fundamentalists are joined in their climate change denial with unusual bedfellows: corporate interests that stand to gain from the rejection of sound science on climate.

Corporate influence on climate and environmental policy, meanwhile, is simply more evidence of anti-intellectualism in action, for corporate domination of American society is another result of a public that is not thinking critically.

In that first quote, Niose scored major hits with his points about the lack of civics knowledge among US citizens and the anti-science position of ‘creation science’ believers. However, his bit about Senator Inhofe’s “snowball” flew right off a cliff, and it doesn’t help Niose at all when his link about it failed to provide any context for the snowball toss. Inhofe wasn’t mindlessly saying a brief cold spell meant the collective whole of global warming was a hoax, he was lampooning the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and their predictions of warmer snowless winters (full text here). This becomes obvious when anyone watches his Senate floor speech in its entirety, particularly where he continues after the snowball toss on a major fault about recent ‘record’ temperature claims. A fault which essentially undermines Niose’s egregiously simplified version of the event.

Not helping himself in the least, Niose employs the ‘climate denier’ talking point twice in that second quote, despite easily found evidence that skeptics of catastrophic man-caused global warming do not ‘deny climate change’, as was so humorously pointed out by Lord Monckton in this video starting at the 13:38 point. But Niose flew off an even taller cliff in that second quote when he equated creation science fundamentalists with skeptics of catastrophic man-caused global warming. The two are mutually exclusive. Creation science believers make up material to suit their preconceived conclusion – not all that different from what 911Truthers do, or what ChemTrail believers do. Skeptic climate scientists follow the Scientific Method in practically pathological fashion, addressing IPCC claims in massive detail, not disparaging them as heretical or making up spur-of-the-moment easily debunked false claims about them.

This was a taller cliff for Niose to fly off because of one other anti-intellectual assertion of his: the insinuation about corporate influence, or as it is better known around the planet, illicit money paid to skeptic scientists and skeptic organizations in exchange for knowingly spreading misinformation. What did Niose offer as proof of such a scientist/industry conspiracy? A link to a New York Times article which itself featured not one bit of evidence proving the conspiracy, but which instead sourced its information from one of the core members of the small clique of enviro activists at the heart of the smear of skeptic climate scientists.

There’s more sizable problems with Niose’s “Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason” book when it comes to its source on the notion of industry ‘influencing climate and environmental policy’, Steve Coll, and how the source cascades back to Ross Gelbspan. For the sake of brevity here, I’ll at least mention that I covered Coll with some detail at my point “Cook’s rebuttal to Frontline” #13 here. Essentially, Niose is saddled with the same “three degrees of separation from Gelbspan” problem that every other prominent public accuser has.

I’ll leave it to others on analyzing the rest of Niose’s assertions in his “Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America” piece, he’s quite vulnerable on more than one. But it should be emphasized that, although his points on the anti-intellectualism of creation science and lousy civics knowledge are sound, when he surrounds that with misdirection and literally unsupportable talking points about the global warming issue, his message looks less like one of genuine concern and more like a subtle excuse to validate global warming propaganda.