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Are you a “denier”?

Currently, the most popular use of that word is in the phrase, “global warming denier.” As far as I can tell, “deniers” are, in reality, people who would be open to all scientific explanations of planetary climatic change, including the one that has been determinative of all past warming and cooling trends: the sun. Paradoxically, people who deny the sun’s impact on warming/cooling, are not “deniers.” Diversity of opinion within the science of climatology is hereby forbidden!

This kind of word play is expected from bullying, intolerant, micro-managing politicians, not scientists. Unfortunately, the media have been of no help in sorting out truth from theory. In fact, the media have played along with this wave of environmental McCarthyism that has drowned out the voices of critical thinkers now known as “deniers.” Here’s a thought: Mob rule doesn’t make for good science or good policy.

I noticed California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the incoming chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, recently chastised the Exxon Mobile corporation for funding climatic-change research. That’s right – Boxer, a public official, believes denying research is in the public interest. Maybe she should tell that to her liberal brethren at the United Nations where they are preparing to announce a significant downward revision in their estimation of man’s impact on the misnomer “global warming.” It appears even the United Nations is warming up to the fact of “solar warming.”

Facts are stubborn things.

The very liberal Boxer’s attempt to shut down both debate and the information needed for informed debate is reprehensible. I thought we got past this kind of thing after the Catholic Church’s dust-up with Galileo.

Why isn’t Boxer labeled a “denier”? Why isn’t she excoriated for her anti-free speech position? One reason is our mal-practicing media are too stupid and/or too cowardly to say it.

In thinking about other items in the news today, it occurred to me the opportunity to label groups as “deniers” is endless. For example, the six imams who were removed from a US Airways flight for their suspicious behavior – why deny people the opportunity to connect the dots? Why label this group of critical thinkers as xenophobic?

The Council on Islamic-American Relations believes the imams were victims of anti-Muslim fears: “We are concerned that crew members, passengers and security personnel may have succumbed to fear and prejudice based on stereotyping of Muslims and Islam,” Nihad Awad, the council’s executive director, said in a news release. Great. Play the race card in an attempt to exploit the facts.

Here’s what happened: The imams were removed after exhibiting suspicious behavior, including uttering anti-American statements, changing their seat assignments so that they would be scattered around the airplane, and asking for seat-belt extenders, which could be used as weapons.

Why attempt to deny the opportunity to connect the dots?

We see this same rush to judgment from a majority of Democrats and the media concerning the Iraq Study Group’s report. Their shared hatred of President Bush has blinded them from taking a careful, critical look at what the report actually recommends. As a result, they are quick to blast anyone who disputes the findings as denying the realities of the situation in Iraq. That is rich when you consider the Iraq Study Group only spent a couple of days in the comfy confines of the Green Zone in Baghdad and only one member briefly ventured out beyond the area. They spent virtually no time speaking with the people on the ground and, in effect, embraced John Kerry and Charlie Rangel’s belief that our troops and their commanders are idiots. This group has no genuine expertise in conducting war, they devoted no time to investigating the facts firsthand and have offered up weakness as a strategy to deal with a part of the world that respects and responds to strength. Baker-Hamilton actually believe promising retreat while asking help from Iran, who has explicitly and repeatedly said they intend to destroy Israel and America, is wise. Yet the media has labeled this group “realists”!

And beyond all this hype about the report itself is the maddening omission that it is the president ultimately who must decide the best course of action in foreign affairs, the deployments of our military and the best way to insure success – which is to speak with one voice. The president’s voice. The Baker-Hamilton report has been treated as an Executive Order. This is pure insanity. Yet, those opposed to the report are said to deny its wisdom.

Please.

I am not nearly as concerned with the facts of climate change, threats to our security, the war in Iraq or the political instability in the Middle East as I am about the manner in which the media and public officials want to steer the debates. Attempts to shut off informed discussion are so 16th century.

We think of ourselves as so smart, and yet we are capable of such stupidity. Three recent examples:

Neville Chamberlain. Mr. Chamberlain declared the accord with the Germans signaled “peace for our time,” after he had read it to a jubilant crowd gathered at Heston airport in west London.

Newsweek. In 1975, the magazine declared looming disaster due to global cooling. The article said the debate was over:

“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the north, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

“The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

“To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.”

O. J. Simpson. An American jury declared him “not guilty” of murder. Millions agreed.

We are not so smart and infallible that we as individuals or as a nation should shut down debate on important public issues – ever. Barbara Boxer tells us more about her own ignorance, intolerance and insecurities when she attempts to quash inquiry, research and speech. She is a “denier.” She is a symptom of a problem that will destroy us long before climatic change. Free speech and scientific method are the tools of true “progressives.” I recommend them to her and every other public servant. Their role is to serve us, not to impose their ignorance.

So, the next time you hear anyone talk about “global warming deniers,” think about what they are really doing. They are attempting to deny you information you may need to reach an informed decision. I’m not willing to go down that path. I sincerely hope you aren’t, either.



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