Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Confronting the lies, case in point. SaveLaPlataCounty Recall Petition examined.

Local issues have me preoccupied so my Pruitt Education project remains on the back burner.  Besides we have a critical election coming up and too many are still being way too complacent.  Though the following is off topic to confronting science contrarians, the example below clearly demonstrates what I mean by confronting the lies.

First a look at the petition in question, next will come a closer look at the organization driving this effort.  After that I'll finish this triple header by sharing the story about a recent local community meeting and what democracy in action looks like.  This was originally posted as SaveLaPlataCounty's Recall Petition Examined - dirty tricks in action.
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Save La Plata County’s Petition Language - Take a closer look at what’s being circulated by http://savelaplatacounty.com/the-recall-effort.  See if you don't agree it's a bunch of deceptive handwaving?  Please help discuss this malicious political deception aimed at robbing us of our duly elected County Commissioner!  Here I make a study out of the complete text of the Recall Petition, have not altered any words from their Recall Petition, but I do address their claims and deceptions.

      Save La Plata County (from what?)

Recall Petition

We need commissioners who represent our interests above their own, and who govern with accountability and transparency.  (Of course!  Don't we all)  Commissioner Lachelt has not done that.  (False, look at the support rallying around her. She has repeatedly leveraged our public office for her private gain by appearing before the U.S. Congress and other federal government entities to advocate and advance her and her employer’s political and policy agendas under the guise of her role as our commissioner.  (False, she has been advocating for issues that we elected her to advocate for.  Those interests include protecting this environment that is our life support system!  Whether oil interests like it or not.)  Her county commissioner meeting attendance record further demonstrates where her allegiance lies. Her 2017 attendance record was much lower than any other commissioner.  (False, 91% v 95%.) 

We can and should expect our commissioners to act ethically (We should be able to demand the same of their opponents!) and not to take actions that undermine the public’s trust in our local government.  (Lachelt has never done such a thing.  No evidence of wrong doing presented - beyond advocating for a healthy environment*, that is. Why has that become an impeachable offense?).  As a result of Commissioner Lachelt’s actions,  (Nowhere is specific misconduct presented.)  the county has been required to investigate ethics complaints filed against her and to seek out ethics advice from at least one other county.  (Malicious misrepresentation of the facts.  This same group filed and pushed that frivolous complaint which was dismissed at every level it was looked at.  Now they resurrect it yet again.  Pure dirty politics in action!)  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Beating Climate Denial with Better Thinking

I came across this today and thought it was quite good and that it belongs in this collection.  I have added a few thoughts worth considering at the end of this article.  I thank SkepticalScience for their CC license and permission to repost this valuable lesson over here.  
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Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

Posted on 6 February 2018 by Dana Nuccitelli, John Cook | SkepticalScience.com

Climate myths are often contradictory – it’s not warming, though it’s warming because of the sun, and really it’s all just an ocean cycle – but they all seem to share one thing in common: logical fallacies and reasoning errors.
John Cook, Peter Ellerton, and David Kinkead have just published a paper in Environmental Research Letters in which they examined 42 common climate myths and found that every single one demonstrates fallacious reasoning. For example, the authors made a video breaking down the logical flaws in the myth ‘climate changed naturally in the past so current climate change is natural.’
Video abstract for paper “Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors” published in Environmental Research Letters by John Cook, Peter Ellerton, and David Kinkead.

Beating myths with critical thinking


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Five Myths About the Koch Brothers - Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Theda Skocpol - 2016

February 2, 2018
Five Myths About the Koch Brothers - Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Theda Skocpol* - 2016


and Why It Matters To Set Them Straight.

I've had a few more days to continue my crash course into Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers and "Libertarian" ideology in general.  The convoluted logic and the ruthless efforts I'm learning about get overwhelming.  Thankfully I have my Maddy dog who makes sure I get out for good long walks regularly, which helps clear my head and allows me to breath some fresh air and regroup.  

Why do I think this is so important to discuss and share?  Because liberalism, or more accurately, enlightened-self-interest, our democratic process of learning from and considering each other, and compromise - understanding critical thinking skills and the scientific process for assessing the world around us - all this is under existential threat.  

We have this group of faithful people who genuinely believe they have a personal reciprocal relationship with God (a Being billions of years old and encompassing the universe) and who now want to totally crush the Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment and our pluralistic society .

When all the layers are scraped away that's what I'm coming down to, this huge group of people who have convinced themselves that their own goals are God's own goals.  Think about this.

To believe that your personal goals are those of the God of Light and Time, Life and Love!  That is what's going on here!  Yet, the Bible warns us, God is beyond human understanding.  Yet, we have leaders marching around proclaiming they are doing God's Will and all who oppose them are damnable enemies deserving no quarter.

Self-certitude and absolutism, that leads right into totalitarianism and I understand too much history to delude myself into presuming it could never happen here.  It's happened in plenty of equally unlikely places before.  Particularly when few care to, or dare to, think about it, let alone talk about it.  A healthy Democracy demands an informed and engaged electorate.    

Well, that intro went way longer than expected, but than, this exercise is about wrestling with this information and ideas and seeing where they take me.

Okay, for the main feature, this addition to my Americans for Koch's Prosperity Collection is the product of two scholars who's investigations enabled them to share some important background information most have overlooked, important details worth thinking about if you're trying to understand what's happening today.  It does have a long history.  (link)