I have spent a lifetime opposing the excesses of the overtly religious, and at the same time I find the nature of belief just utterly fascinating. In my younger days it was discussing Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general that amused me but now I feel a certain ambivalence about faiths inspired by the teachings of Jesus on the understanding that, for the most part, the faith has some good things to offer human society.
I am far less sanguine about the followers of the AGW religion however, especially about the way that they claim a “scientific” underpinning for their dogma. So today I look at the latest revival meeting promo from the (new) Age’s latest Profit of the Green faith Jo Chandler and for your reading pleasure I translate the text into the sort of religious rhetoric that we are a little more familiar with:
In little remote scientific communities like the Australian Antarctic Division’s Casey Station, on the East Antarctic coast, a roar from the ice might briefly interrupt the labour or conversation of the scientists and tradesfolk who are resident there, working on some aspect of deciphering the climate story. For those lucky enough to be among them, to hear it, it sends a shiver of humility through your bones. You are, after all, at the mercy of this grumbling giant. The cryosphere speaks rarely but emphatically.
O great goddess we are but your humble servants, we send our priestly emissaries into the cold wilderness so that they may better know the wonders of your divine being…
By definition, the cryosphere is that part of the planet which is covered in white – the ice sheets of the poles, the fields of pack ice, the glaciers, the frozen lakes and snowfields. Scientists will also tell you that it is the most confounding player in the climate puzzle.
Glaciologists and climate modellers are in a race to penetrate the secrets of the dazzling ice, to anticipate what warming will do to the hidden dynamics of the great ice sheets of the Arctic and the Antarctic. The largest unknown in the myriad projections of sea-level rise over the next century is the potential for rapid collapse of ice sheets.
They use the holy tools to seek out the nature of your divinity so that they may better understand the nature of the apocalypse that we are certain is coming…
In East Antarctica over the past three summers, a team of Australian, American, British and French glaciologists have flown thousands of kilometres surveying the continent aboard an aircraft fitted with specialist radar instruments capable of seeing deep inside and beneath the ancient ice. They are trying to map the shape and contours of the underlying bedrock. This information is critical to figuring out how warming will impact on the speed and flow of glaciers.
We shall not even dare to believe that each year brings more ice to the Antarctic….
It is one narrative amongst dozens of similar stories of field science, chapters in the great, imperative news issue of our era. This is a story which would seem to have all the ingredients of an electrifying piece of journalism – adventure, adrenaline, adversity, great pictures, and the stakes could not be higher.
Antarctica and Greenland hold enough ice to raise global sea levels by some 70 metres, and the deep time geological record tells us that collapses of the ice sheets in history – in response to natural climatic triggers like volcanic eruptions or shifts in the Earth’s orbit – have caused sea level shifts of up to 20 metres over periods as brief as half a century. How they might respond to the trigger of human-induced greenhouse warming will now determine high tide on every coast of every nation.
Repent now or feel the wrath of the goddess !!!
The information collected from the ICECAP (Investigating the Cryospheric Evolution of the Central Antarctic Plate) survey flights is one piece of the puzzle. It will then be considered alongside the reams of analysis of the latest satellite data. All this is crunched through the merciless process of peer review before finding its way into publication in a scientific journal, after which it is exposed to broader debate and interrogation.
Blessed are the priests who are writing the liturgy and that if we poor unwashed would just accept the words of the Profits then we can all be saved!
Give me a hallelujah!!!
In the journal pages research teams state their arguments and expose their methodology in the amphitheatre of the scientific literature, the archive of 350 years of investigative endeavour, and wait to see what happens next. Time and the next study might validate them; it might over-rule them. This is not the ping-pong of obscure matters, it is the most important conversation on the planet. And yet much of it is invisible.
We all know how keen the faithful are to use the odd trick to spread the word and long may they do so!!
Raise your voices to Gaia children!
If you rely on traditional mass media for your news – the morning paper, the evening news, the midday headlines – you will likely have little sense of the dimensions of the cryosphere story or any of the other critical narratives within the climate science discussion, like the vanishing of biodiversity, or the change in the chemistry of the oceans known as “the other CO2 problem”, ocean acidification. (If you are motivated and invested enough to use the internet and new media to follow the science you have the opportunity to be better informed, although human inclination will likely sequester you in the tent which supports your beliefs.)
Now don’t you be deceived by reading the unapproved sources and texts! there is but one truth and we are its Profits!
Can I hear you denounce Satan’s servants who dare to sow the seeds of doubt into the minds of the faithful, the servants of Satan are everywhere! So do not stray from the one true path.
Give me another hallelujah!!!
A headline here or there might suddenly emerge, inspired by some new piece of research. It might catch your eye by declaring something alarming. But read on, and will likely be answered within 500 words of newsprint, or a 30-second broadcast grab, by a contrary voice attached to vague but reassuringly scientific credentials insinuating that it’s really nothing to worry about.
Be well aware that the tongue of Satan is talented at deception and he may well use the language of the faithful to fool you into the morass of doubt , but hold strong to your faith in the face of such slick adversity!!!
Do I hear an “out with Satan?” Praise Gaia!!
At every level, as in so many areas of evolving climate science, shifts in the ice mass balance, in the speed of the flow of glaciers, represent a deeply complex story. It is a live, dynamic frontier of scientific argument. It is steeped in caveats and questions, every statement accompanied by carefully calculated equations of probability and possibility.
The path is hard and the journey is long my brethren but have faith in the priests of our glorious faith that we can make simple that which is so complex and we can give you answers where none currently exist because we have the insight of the Goddess to draw upon.
Praise the Goddess!!!!
There is little scope for such equivocation within the news agenda; little room to accommodate all those baffling qualifiers within the shrinking editorial space of newspapers particularly. Editors, and readers, insist on certainty, on brevity. They are also inclined to controversy, confrontation, provocation and entertainment. Science which does not meet these criteria, for all its rigour and merit, misses out.
Be you not deceived by false prophets who read the holy scripture in a manner unapproved by the goddess or her high priests. Those false prophets dare to describe the divine posterior as if her vestments are but an illusion, when we all know that they are made of the finest organic fibres.
Add to this the wild, unscientific prevailing winds which determine the news agenda of any particular day. Whether a big science story makes the cut or not might be determined by the outcome of a particularly exciting football match, the whims and inclinations of gatekeeper duty editors; on who died that day, who got married, who was in court and on what charges.
Only those anointed in the name of the Goddess should be believed and beware of anything that claims to be more important than the Message of the Goddess.
Now give me another hallelujah!
An important scientific discovery may be obscured because it emerges on a day when other events dominate the headlines. A less significant piece of work will make the front page because it lands on a slow news day, because it supports broader political agendas, or simply because it is assessed as having more value because it swims against the prevailing tide of grim news and might make us all feel a little safer.
Let not the worries of this world stand in the way of you doing the bidding of the goddess and let nothing stray you from the path of righteousness !
The late Professor Stephen Schneider – a leading American climatologist and veteran scientific street-fighter – called these paradigms “mediarology”. The science of journalism, he and his peers lamented, tends to create strange distortions in climate science, with orthodox research losing much in translation.
It is a deep shame that so many in the once blessed profession of the journal have strayed from the path and that they dare to pervert the one true faith.
Scientists, he argued, are not like opponents in a court room or a parliament – they don’t assemble to vigorously fight two polar opposite ends of an argument. When questioned, they will more likely seek to canvass “a spectrum of potential outcomes, which are often accompanied by a history of scientific assessment of the relative credibility of each possibility”. Try selling that to an editor, in 500 words or less.
Verily the laity of the journal know not the proper way to discover the truth of the liturgy and it is only those wearing the blessed white coats that can lead us to salvation.
Let me hear you Praise the Goddess with a truly rousing Hallelujah!!!
Journalists are reared in a culture which instructs them to get “both sides” of a story – a fine model where two sides of equal weight and gravitas are pitched at one another. But the task becomes a formidable juggling act where an issue is multi-faceted or heavily skewed. For instance, where 97 out of 100 scientists hold one position, and three say something else – proportions which reflect the positions of active, publishing climate scientists on the question of human-induced warming – is a 50-50 balance of views fair play, or is it a distortion?
The forces of Satan would have you believe that the blessed consensus of the anointed ones has no standing but we true believers know that when we all sing with one voice that the song we sing must be pleasing to the Goddess.
Schneider argued journalists needed to replace knee-jerk models of balance with a more accurate, fairer doctrine of perspective, one which communicated not only the range of opinion, but the relative credibility of each opinion within the scientific community.
We need to ensure that those who walk the path of the blessed Goddess are not questioned by the foul minions of doubt
Journalists, scientists and the public are in a period of transition, one where the implications for our lifestyles and our economy means we need – as a matter of urgency – to learn to reflect on how we communicate and hear one another. One where we need to apply more sophisticated tests of rigour to the information which is brought to us. One where we all learn to speak and understand the language of science – of credibility and caveats, the plus and minus of uncertainty and probability.
Only when you have accepted the goddess as your personal saviour will you truly understand the need for the holy tithe that the doubters would deny our self righteous leaders and Profits
In going into the field to join scientists and research the stories within my book, Feeling The Heat, my objective was to try to contribute to shifting the conversation on climate to a new paradigm. I set out to employ long-form narrative journalism to take people inside the scientific story, to feel the conditions and meet the people at the front line, to have them explain their processes, their theories, their insights, even their fears. I wanted to populate the climate narrative with real humans, as it is the most deeply challenging of human stories.
Verily I have made pilgrimages to the far places of the earthwhich hold the keys to our earthly salvation and I have discovered that only by paying due deference to those learned priests of the one true faith that I have been saved. But salvation is something to share so I ask you to dig deep and buy my holy book, so that my ministry may be fruitful and so that I can minister in all of the unholy holiday resorts and spread the name of the Goddess with pride.
The climate discussion – in parliaments, in policy, in pubs, schools, shops, street corners and in the Twitterverse – has barely begun. It will be a deeply wearisome, exhausting, exasperating conversation if it remains mired in tired, contrived news structures; round and round we will go, condemned to the eternal groundhog day argument – “is it real?”.
It is cold comfort to reflect that if the cryosphere indeed has something powerfully contradictory to say, ultimately it will make itself heard.
Once again I must remind you that the fight against Satan will be long and hard fought and we must not let those merchants of doubt distract us form the one true path. Otherwise the wrath of the Goddess will be visited upon us all!
Praise the Goddess!!!
To celebrate the recent launch of Jo Chandler’s book Feeling the Heat and to promote discussion about climate change issues, The Age will host a forum at Media House tonight at 6pm to discuss the reporting of climate change. The speakers are Professor David Karoly of Melbourne University, Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Commission and Jo Chandler. It will be moderated by Age environment reporter Adam Morton.
Verily I offer to you all a welcome to our revival meeting where you can hear the wisdom of some most notable Profits of the faith, oh and don’t forget that you can buy copies of my holy book
Amen and for the Goddess a final Hallelujah !!!