Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Morning after, 2018Election. Ducking hard questions. R. Samuelson


Robert Samuelson a columnist for the Washington Post echoed some of my feelings so well that I want to share some of it over here.  
Considering the 2018 election results (not a complete disaster but, ...) it seems a fairly sure bet that the next two years will be filled with the Democratic House investigating our Russian obligate President and Trump’s all around lawlessness, while the GOP Senate continues focusing on completing their stacking of our Court system with ideological judges probably even more extreme than Kavanaugh.
On the "public dialogue" front Republicans will continue lathering-up their faithful with fear, hatred, and contempt for “others” while doubling down on their faith-based rejection of learning from objective facts and constructive dialogue - topped off by their all around placid acceptance of the malicious calculated lie as their best political weapon.
Democrats hold the key.  Continue avoiding the deliberate brainwashing messaging of FOX News and what Trump-Republicans are force-feeding Americans and Democrats will continue losing the hearts and minds of rational people, as yesterday’s election demonstrated.  It needed to be a clear landslide for American Pluralistic Principles and America's government of the people, by the people and for the people - instead it was a whimper.
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Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2018

Ducking hard questions, we all lost the elections

WASHINGTON – We all lost the fiercely contested midterm elections.
They were a referendum on President Donald Trump, which suited both Republicans and Democrats just fine. Democrats were betting that the public had increasingly tired of Trump’s lies and his vile style. Trump and his supporters believed that Democrats were again underestimating his popular appeal.
What was missing was any realistic engagement with the difficult issues facing the country. In democracies, elections serve not only to select the country’s leadership. They also aim to gauge public opinion on the hard issues and to see whether some sort of consensus is possible. The campaign featured very little of this constructive politics.
What are some of the hard issues? There’s no secret. …
… Under the best of circumstances, it would be difficult to achieve. Politicians want to win. By and large, they tell voters what voters want to hear, even if it is exaggerated, selective or dishonest.
But the fixation on Trump and his antics turned a longshot into an impossibility. It destroyed the prospects of anything resembling rational debate. Indeed, public opinion may be worse informed at the end of this campaign than at the beginning. In this sense, the campaign may have been wasted.

Read the complete column at,
Robert Samuelson is a columnist for The Washington Post. © 2018 The Washington Post Writers Group

Flashback, April 2018 a stab at our dysfunctional dialogue, Colorado Democratic Assembly.


This is side two of the flier I handed out at the 2018 Colorado Democratic Assembly/Convention (side one).  I notice I've improved a bit in subsequent writings, but will leave this version as it was. (Oh and it looked nicer formatted in two columns, but its the substance that matters so hope this will do.)

A few thoughts regarding Climate Science and our dysfunctional public dialogue

I’ve spent a couple decades attempting to debate climate science contrarians.  This has given me insights into the faith-based mind in action and the games they employ to derail discussions. I’ve distilled my experiences into the following list of observations regarding our dysfunctional public dialogue.  It’s incomplete and improvable.  Still I hope it’s a useful effort, food for thought if nothing else. 

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Uncertainties vs. known Physical Certainties

Is it a disservice to constantly allow trivial uncertainties to become the focal point of the public discussion, to the exclusion of facing the known certainties.

In real life when we get overwhelmed and mired in increasingly complex problem, we stop.  Back off a little, get reoriented with the big picture and what we do know with reasonable certainty, then move forward again.  

I’m not saying ignore uncertainties!  But keep reminding all of the overriding fundamental certainties!   Thus putting those trivial pursuits into real world perspective.

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Map vs. Territory Problem

Scientists are Cartographers mapping out the geophysical realities of our planet, the Territory if you will.  They do the best they can with the data they have available.

Too often we assume that until our scientists can define all aspects with statistical certainty, we should assume it doesn’t exist.  That’s getting lost in the Map and forgetting we actually exist within the Territory and had better beware, (which incidentally, doesn’t care if we get it or not.) 

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Sloppy usage of “Natural Variability”

Monday, November 5, 2018

Intellectually Confronting Faith-Based thinking and Dogma Driven Tribalism.

Here we are election eve and I simply want to say hello and let folks know I'm still around.  A bit battered but knowing I gave it a pretty good shot.  Could have been better, but not stranded within this party of one, it is what it is.  Nowadays, besides being crowded by work and obligations, I'm drained by the enduring general apathy, not just towards what I've written, worse towards our Democratic principles of pluralism, enlightened self-interest, and rational constructive dialogue over demagogic  hate mongering and fantasy thinking.  

Watching our inept Senators at the Kavanaugh's hearing knocked me off my pins (as Stephen Schneider would have said).  I can't fathom their failure to seize the moment - then October 25th.  Hello, this stuff has lasting consequences!  The election campaigns seemed like the same tired old shit, with the same tire money pitches and nothing to really motivate, even Obama seemed more promise than substance.  

For now, I'm going to take a stroll down memory lane and collect what, for me, were important efforts to enunciate my position, starting with side one of the pamphlet I passed out at the 2018 Colorado Democratic Assembly and Convention. 
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(Originally posted April 13, 2018)

I'm at my fourth Colorado Democratic Assembly and I've always been a pamphleteer.  Not the easiest for a private shy sort of guy.  So I've been rather passive, offering my pages and ready for dialogue but not stepping forward to engage people.  Time passes, we learn more with every day and this year I've promised myself to step it up a little and reach out to people to introduce the topic and establish an interest before offering my flier. 

Had a little practice during the short district assembly this evening.  At first looking at the 350+ District 3 delegates it seemed the crowd of the usual old folks, and not that many young faces.  But, then I started spotting them.  Not in the numbers I had hoped.  Then I heard a couple powerful speeches by young speakers.  Followed by a few good conversations,
as in 'yippy, they get it.'  I realized their small number way under-represented the energy and substance and power they possess.

It was fun.  I'm feeling a little better already and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  Here's side one, a lifetime's distillation.  I'll share side two tomorrow, now I'm going to bed, it's late and tomorrow will be a long busy day.
The Memes Courier
    Colorado Democratic Assembly -  April 13, 2018  
      
Intellectually Confronting Faith-Based thinking and Dogma Driven Tribalism.

The opposing sides: Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment vs Faith-based dogmatism spearheaded by the evangelical movement (driven by wannabe oligarchs).  Winning at the polls is only half our challenge when well over a third of our country fully supports this amoral president and his white supremest bullying and his attacks upon our government and democratic institutions.  
Beyond winning in the 2018 elections, we need to nurture a massive grassroots movement of informed and engaged voters who are willing to confront faith-based delusional thinking on an individual level, while also standing behind those we elect to make sure they get their jobs done.
Faith-based thinking demands a rejection of serious science along with hostility towards learning from down to Earth evidence.  This attitude is enabled and reinforced by a constant flow of contrived high pitched fear-mongering and paranoid machinations towards “the other” be it different people or ideas.
Why have we allowed their religion and God a free pass?

Monday, October 8, 2018

(#2)Fruits of our Failures to Engage, Sen. McConnell thanks "women clowns" - Kavanaugh debacle

At the previously mentioned dialogue over at ATTP the following article was introduced with: 
Can better communication move people from a state of apathy to action on man-made climate change, or will it take a catastrophic Black Swan climate event* to do so?  For more about the apathy problem, read…https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/05/climate-change-apathy-not-denial-threat-planet.
It struck me as ironic coming on the heels of yet another profoundly damaging Democratic Party failure.  That is their inability to stop the GOP Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination atrocity against democracy.  It serves as yet another example of avoiding the real issue and talking past each other.  So I selected the following quotes before trying to enunciate what’s missing. 

"Climate change apathy, not denial, is the biggest threat to our planet”
By Leo Barasi, Oct 5, 2018, The Guardian

The easy way to cut emissions – closing coal power stations – is exhausted. Now the public has to be convinced to make sacrifices

“Partisanship is a problem, too. Arguments about climate change are often polarised between left and right, and the public widely see it as a left issue. This is a problem because people are more likely to believe what they hear from those they identify with, and to reject what they hear from others. …”
“And there are more psychological barriers. Cutting emissions requires people to trust authorities to be competent, honest and fair – a tall order at a time when only a third of people say they trust government. …”
“Yet, daunting though these barriers are, they can be beaten with political leadership and honesty. …” (nice, a wave in the general direction of the need for truthfulness, but it still misses the boat)
Begs the question how many ‘Black Swan’ events do we want.  Have you checked in on the running tally over at the Understanding Climate Change channel lately?  *    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo-r5Q-5TWB43oLI8eZ6euA

Regarding Senator McConnell gloating: “Mitch McConnell thanks ‘these clowns’ (aka rape victims) for protesting Kavanaugh”  by Kaiser,  October 08, 2018 https://www.celebitchy.com/595027/mitch_mcconnell_thanks_these_clowns_aka_rape_victims_for_protesting_brett_kavanaugh/


*Okay, that's just a tally of significantly destructive weather events, "black swan event" is of another order of intensity (see Chris Mooney's article, ).  The bad joke there, by the time we get to the truly hyper-storm stage, you can be sure society will have already been knocked resoundingly on its pins.  Consider the tempo of extended droughts, torrential rains, destructive winds, rising sea levels and cyclone intensity storm driven waves - that's not slowing down baby.

Personally I have a weather/climate baseline set in the 1960s and '70s, I remember getting dismissed (in the '70s, '80s, and since) for being into Earth sciences and climate science and concerned about stuff like increasing our atmospheric insulation and the fearful cascading consequences of the resulting global warming.  We first learned about the obvious, melting ice caps, shifting climate zones, weather disruption, worse storms based on commonsense physics.  

Still the fundamental physics driving all this was thoroughly understood that's to US Air Force scientists.  Its true that specific mechanisms were far from well understood.  But, please we knew about the fundamentals physics driving the show.  Warm a closed system, it's going to increase activity.  

Any fundamental appreciation for our biosphere and society's complexities makes it obvious that this is a lose lose situation for humanity and our individual lives, no matter where on the economic scale you stand.

But tragically back then society was too busy learning how to dance to the new Reaganomics' siren song, Greed Is Good, Too Much Is Never Enough, Maximize Profits-Minimize Expenditures and Externalities.  Endless economic growth was the promise most everyone bought into.  Encourage corporations to gobble up each other in a ruthless drive for personal enrichment, until they are big enough to buy up and privatize our US government.  

What's most galling is how little appreciation people have for the complexities of society and business and transportation and communication.  Everyone seems to be taking it all for granted as they run around chasing entertainment.  and so on and so forth. (10/22/2018)

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My response:
I read Barasi’s article, can’t disagree with a thing. Although lets be honest that article was simply a repackaging of what’s been written many times, for decades now. It’s as ‘right on’ now as it was in the 90s, the problem is with its omissions.

I could not find a thing addressing the influence of lavishly funded and very methodical, strategic attacks based on deliberately dishonest media campaigns, intent on sowing confusion rather than constructive debate and learning.

You know, all those deliberate campaigns to lie about the facts, all intended to confuse an under-informed and rather apathetic public.  Instead, I’m told to look on the bright side.

I’m told that it would be impolite and only a jerk would dare actually talk right into contrarian faces and directly at their lies. 

Only a jerk would make a point of explaining God is in our minds and hearts and is profoundly personal; that no human has a one on one relationship with god, not now, not ever! That what we have is ego and personal drive to do better and have more. That what we need is each other to keep ourselves honest and moral.

Nope instead I’m told keep it polite, don’t ruffle any feathers. I’m wondering should my example be those old white men/women sitting on the Judiciary Committee who keep within everyone’s comfort zone. 

Even if it meant being incapable of exposing Kavanaugh’s rabid partisanship, which was on full display, threatening promises and all. Then standing up to demand that we recognize that in America, such behavior disqualified a person from judgeship, before anything else is even considered!! But no, our Democrat leaders fold yet again.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fruits of our Failures to Engage, Kavanaugh drama.

I had an interesting exchange today.  Related to my constant agitating climate science communicators about the need to directly engage contrarians, and just as repeatedly, being rebuffed by the big boys.  See, I've been repeatedly reassured: Climate science contrarians, or for that matter these days die-hard Trump supporters, are a “lost cause” and a distinct minority of the US population.  There’s not much point in interacting with them on social media or elsewhere.    

Seems to me simply looking at the degeneration of our public discourse, and the current attack our governmental agencies makes the folly of that smugness self evident, but evidently not.  Be clear this is about the dialogue on the street, and in media outlets, outside of the scientific community.  

We NEED to DIRECTLY ENGAGE contrarian characters and their arguments and misinformation for many reasons.

How else can we understand our own positions and arguments, if we can’t enunciate them in challenging circumstances?

How can we understand what’s going on within their heads and hearts, if we never actually listen to them?

How can we convince onlookers if we’re afraid to confront and expose the deliberate dishonestly of science's critics?

and so on.

In any event, in an ongoing dialogue at ATTP I responded to a pal's sidestepping non sequitur with the following:

I wrote: "Guess I’ll never get you to discuss my actual content –  blithe dismissal is as far as your interest goes. But, than it seems we’ve turned into a society that rather talk past each other. {Have you checked political polls lately, looks to me like the fruits of our general apathy and that god-awful laziness when it come to actually confronting what the other is trying to express.}"

This prompted his angry complaint: “… your propensity to falsely define me, for example. cc wrote:
"Have you checked political polls lately, looks to me like the fruits of our general apathy and that god-awful laziness when it come to actually confronting what the other is trying to express."
Implicit in your statement is the belief that I am not paying attention to what is going on in US politics. …   
===================================================================
I'm sharing my response mainly because it drifts into the current Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination which serves as a perfect example of the fruits of intellectual's benign neglect of the lower classes, and which has been weighing heavy on my heart these past days.  

Oh please STOP already!  It’s not all about you! Excuse the sloppy rhetorical device. 

I’m trying to discuss the need for more direction citizen dialogue, engagement, motivation, networking - you know a healthy Democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry and all that.

Please, I was asking about the fact and not poking at you.   

Consider what we have witnessed in America this past week.  You know the Kavanaugh hearing and the voter opinion polls that look like they’ve gone though a wild 15/20 point swing.  Republicans have suddenly been justified and energized and Democratic momentum seems to have evaporated.  What happened?  How can that be understood, what does that portent for the coming election?

Then my point:
Kavanaugh was a very passionate partisan, even belligerent and threatening.  A man who felt free dropping conspiracy theories without offering a shred of evidence, in order to distract from the actual issue at hand. 

Kavanaugh delivered an emotionalized, personalized, angry, even threatening diatribe.  He showed himself to be the great white American male playing the victim card like a consummate performer.  He used anger and indignation to evade all questions and America ate it up because of, …  Why?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Considering critique of "Missing Key to Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” "

I received an interesting critique on my column - The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” - I appreciated the questions and enjoyed the opportunity to correct the writer's misunderstanding regarding what I wrote.  I invited the writer over here to share, but alas, it never happened.  So, I'm going to share his critique anyways. 
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Critique:  It appears to me that the author is considering every product of the human mind just as imaginary as every other. 

For instance the completely subjective religious experience, and the striving to be objective science are both: "products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down." 
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Citizenschallenge:  That’s an incorrect assumption.  

"Imaginings" is more akin to “inventions of the mind” or products of our mindscape.  

The critique misses out on the evolutionary aspect.  Religion was amongst the mindscape’s earliest inventions, probably a couple hundred thousand years ago.  

It took humanity tens of thousands of years and even civilized humans took many more millennia before the human mindscape developed the understanding and discipline that enabled it to invent science, barely 500 years ago.
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Now, it is true that every single recorded phenomena, experience and so on must have either begun as some sort of sensory input influencing our mindscape, or came as a product of the workings of said mindscape (something commonly known as imagination). 
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Precisely my point.
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Of course just because something is relayed through a human mind, this doesn't automatically make it imaginary. 
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I never implied it did!
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In a sense the author is trying to put a divide between the real world and the way we perceive and interpret the real world, equating the latter to imagination. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Confronting Republican Deception - Science, Activism, Networking, Engaging in debate.

Selections from the previous list of key blog posts.

The Situation:  The disconnected-from-physical-reality GOP attacks on climate science (a.i.) have reached horrifying levels with the Trump Administration.  Yet science loving rationalists, pluralists, progressives, liberals, Democrats still haven’t developed effective messaging for directly confronting the most childish of Republican arguments.  

Why?  Seems to me, mainly because rationalists rather sidestep that Me First driven willful ignorance.  This acquiescence to malicious nonsense has been a fatal error for the national dialogue.

Engaging and arguing with contrarians should not be seen as an exercise in futility, since those are teaching opportunity for explaining the simple logical geophysical reasons behind some of the disingenuous arguments to onlookers from our own side, who probably don’t understand the science very well themselves.  Making teaching opportunities out of false claims.

Even on this fateful US election eve, little effort seems expended to help geographically dispersed individual activists, of diverse talents, network with like-minded for sharing information, developing ideas, raising enthusiasm for debate.  Such efforts would facilitate better appreciation for what we are all about, while encouraging a sense of community and pro-active cooperation.

Why write that essay:

I’m hoping it might resonate with some of you and that you’ll be in a position to do more with it than I ever can here in my Colorado hinterlands.  It has my copyright, but that’s about establishing my authorship, I invite its copying and sharing. 
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Exploring the Map v Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth

“… During the Q&A I had a chance to ask Dr.Trenberth, (58:00 video 3/3) 

Science communicators, I ask for a moment of your time and consideration, please.


As a follow up to The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” I want to share a selection of blog posts that focus on various other aspects (keys) to better understanding of the Republicans blind-faith driven mass deception and self-inflicted self-stupification regarding matters of extreme importance to our future health and wellbeing.
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I’m looking for help to network with others who understand what I’m trying to say with these essays, virtual debates and blog posts.  I’ve added a selection of excerpts from these blog posts and FCFP columns in the next post.   

Exploring the Map v Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth

Colorado Floods - statistical certainty vs geophysical realities - 2013

2018, now what? Considering the Republican Dialogue Problem in 14 VERSES.

CO2 Science - Blue team: "Pruitt, it's certain as certain gets! It's the physics! Don't you know?

CO2 Science - Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels

Schooling Pruitt's Red Team about our planet and its climate engine (FCFP)

(Sd7) Abuse of Our Free Speech Rights (LandscapesAndCycles - Jim Steele) (FCFP)

(Sd3) Mr.GOP don't buy Jim Steele's Fraud - LandscapesAndCycles

(Sd1) Revisiting Jim Steele's LandscapesAndCycles Fraud 
            An index of past research - Steele debate #1

Fruits of Ignoring Deliberate Deception.

I am an Earth Centrist.

Earth Centrist ponders, polite or honest?

Saying No To Reality (Four Corners Free Press column)

Citizenschallenge’s  “Hall of Shame”