It’s a big deal

“I stand four-square for reason, and object to what seems to me to be irrationality, whatever the source.

If you are on my side in this, I must warn you that the army of the night has the advantage of overwhelming numbers, and, by its very nature, is immune to reason, so that it is entirely unlikely that you and I can win out.

We will always remain a tiny and probably hopeless minority, but let us never tire of presenting our view, and of fighting the good fight for the right.”

Isaac Asimov

The Republican fracture on climate change is great. It shows that we are making progress against what Isaac Asimov called, “the armies of the night.” The endarkening forces that claim freedom want no such thing. They are interested in their wallets and the strength of what Wendell Berry calls “arrogant ignorance.” Read on friends. We are collectively waking up. Carpe diem.


9 thoughts on “It’s a big deal

  1. But then nothing on the table, nor the trend, nor the timeline, nor the much ballyhooed 2° goal are part of the story science tells. My gut tells me I’m being bamboozled by brilliantly executed game theory strategy, including the #ActOnClimate propaganda from the President.

    PS: feel free to email re dialogue, or we can chat here.


    1. Thanks Greg. There’s a ton that’s left out. A ton. 2 degrees much less 1.5 degrees that some developing nations have pushed for. There’s no definitive attribution to humans. There’s no acknowledgement of robust & well-conceived sets of policies, actions or technologies. This is a start for a group that’s miles behind. I’m willing and ready to meet them where they are to get them & their constituents where we need them to be.


      1. A hypothetical and clarifying question:

        At their informal greeting met yesterday the President and the Pope decided to scrap their agenda and give you their time slot today to advise them on where they are and where they need to be.
        As stand-ins for their political and religious iterations and fascets of the motivated reasoning guarding CapitalismFail, what is your guidance?


  2. Wow. Answering that in a blog comment is pretty hard. The “elevator pitch”:

    President Obama and Pope Francis,

    We know that the combined forces of growing and barely regulated markets hitched to fossil fuels and unfettered land access is fundamentally undermining earth’s capacity to sustain us. As Johan Rokstrom has recently pointed out, we have already passed four planetary boundaries by destabilizing the climate, devestated biodiversity, tipped nitrogen cycle and deforested or degraded so much land that we imperiling ourselves. It is time to recalibrate. The neoliberal dream of globalized free markets has failed.

    We can do this through smart and ecologically-minded planning. That means overhauling our energy systems through conservation (always first), distributed and concentrated renewable energy, smart tech deployment and wholesale dismantlement of the incentives given to fossil fuels. We need enormous investment in land protection through conservation/protection, inhabitat with low impact development and ecological planning that not only protects but bolsters ecosystems at different scales, from individual habitats to entire biomes, And all of this needs to be connected to intelligent and humane family planning and investments in education that yield equality and fair participation. It is a tall order, but the work of our day. The great work.


    1. Thanks for the quick reply (I had to look up “elevator pitch”), and the clarification. In my experience such a pitch can not be based on anything other than the thinking that created the problem. I thought that might be where you were coming from…& I had wondered if we might be so like minded that there would be little to dialogue about.

      And I see, I assume, a son in the insert picture of the banner of this blog, so I think I comprehend the appeal of the ‘optimism’ in what is pitched. My “kids” are in their mid-30s and this parent’s heartbreak may be slightly less overwhelming (though I am preemptively grieving an un-mitigable heartbreak that is indelible with grand parenthood…how mush I wish my wife had supported my wish to be personally childless.). Regardless, the ‘story’ of science strongly suggests my opening judgement of the motivated reasoning behind your pitch. It suggests you would never have been tapped for guidance.

      And, BTW, thanks for the Tweet about today’s SDG conference. I’m listening as I’m replying. I do try to be disciplined to stay informed about actions that I am challenged to take at face value.

      FWIW, I’m willing to answer to my hypothetical, but such cannot a brief one…& it starts with a query:

      “Friend Barack and Francis, is there a shared defining problem that a solution to would need to answer for any offered guidance to have relevant, and if so, what is it?”

      If the answer is no, and a brainstorming processing dynamic confirms this, no guidance can be offered beyond what the physics of abrupt climate change tells us: “prepare to die”. If the answer is yes, what might the statement of the common problem be?


  3. I actually think it’s more important that we take less time to “solve problems” and more time posing them. We also need to live into meaning in life instead of fixing. The amount of time we spend scrambling around in the rat maze, screwing in the intellectual engineering orgy and so on of climate “solutions” is dizzying. On this line of thinking, I urge you and everyone else to read Dale Jamieson’s Reason in a Dark Time.


    1. Paraphrasing attempt: Life within CapitalismFail is significantly about meaning…but meaning can be had without shunning science and technology. Did I get it?

      Concerning my question about what problem the President and the Pope would agree on for being the problem that is demanding redressing, I speculate matters of meaning are integral to it. Neuropeptides link our immune, neurological, and endocrine systems. Our enculturated addiction systems concerning these neuropeptides affect shared perceptions of meaning within our memes. Our feelings, thoughts, and sense of health inform meaning, both personally and socially. That posited, wouldn’t a political and a religious leader be challenged to find a common language for framing a conversation about the problem? Legal secular precedent even suggests they are separate social spheres.

      To the degree it is psychologically and sociologically accurate to define that which is ‘religious’ as that which tends to trigger motivated reasoning, it is the irrational and unconscious that are in the drivers seat of our lives. (Of interest to me, I recently read a paper which psychologically confirmed as much: that the conscious brain basically seems to take its orders from the unconscious.) Such a definition of what is religious reveals the legal argument that the Constitution’s establishment clause is a separation clause needs revisiting. With this definition for what is religious, one cannot not be religious. One can only be conscious of what one is religious about; one can only become conscious of ones motivated reasoning.

      Anyway, the President and the Pope might be biased to agree that the problem is a lack of compassion, and that such is a structural impediment to economic, social, and environmental justice. As far as I’ve read “Laudato Si”, this seems to be a reasonable supposition. The President’s rhetoric is often an appeal to compassion. What do you think? To the degree reading reviews of Jaimeson’s writing has enlightened me, his apparent argument for humility is, to my way of thinking, an advocating for compassion.

      For the sake of this hypothetical lets go with the problem being:

      There is a lack of compassion, and such is a structural impediment to economic, social, and environmental justice.

      As the person who would have facilitated the identifying and crafting of this statement of the problem, I would want to facilitate a clarification of it in light of the above dynamics where motivated reasoning seems to do the heavy lifting in terms of what is perceived/judged to be trusted. In my experience, this clarification is necessary preparation for considering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and traps of any proposed guidance/solution. Because of motivated reasoning, the psychological and social dynamics of compassion beg to be analyzed.

      Inferred in compassion’s perceive absence is that it is present. How could this be both true and not true, or even not true? To explore this question would require a great deal of trust (oxytocin). The time allotted me today, in conjunction with the nature of the stress being experienced by both the President and the Pope, would have been greatly insufficient for the effecting of this trust. So, I too would not have gotten the invitation. This weeks news about the import of the Pope’s visit will be all that could have happened…though, as with hypotheticals, playing them out in hypothetical time frames is always possible.

      I’m pausing here because when I asked my hypothetical of you I did not know where the question might lead. I’ve now a better idea of that, but this is your blog, and your time, and the difficulty I can be experienced having of communicating what I intend to share is not restricted to the limits of Twitter. I am a scientifically oriented active contemplative with a reasonable mastery of the unconscious. I tend to speak concurrently from what I’d call a ‘pentagonalism’ of perception. From the perceptions possible within Western dualism, this can be easily “blinked” as poppycock.

      So what’s your pleasure, continue, quit, or thinkaboutit?

      And speaking of poppycock, it thrilled me today to hear Hansen call Cap & Trade bullshit…& why. =)


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