Wednesday, July 4, 2018

John Hyndman and the handy dandy character assassination strategy

I’ve been in a dialogue with one John Smith under an old YouTube video about aspects of the CO2 cycle understanding ca. 2001.  I have some posts about highlights almost, but not quite, ready to put up.  However there was this odd tidbit that occurred which I believe is worth quickly posting because it gets to the heart of GOP’s ruthless ME FIRST mentality in action and how it needs to stifle constructive learning dialogue.  The very thing I’m trying to expose and hopefully to help force into the public discourse this election season.
John Hyndman, July 2, 2018 writes: citizenschallengeYT LOL! I never even watched the video, it just appeared on my playlist one day. YT's algos sometimes offers totally irrelevant videos. Example: Teenage make-up application tips or how to braid hair. WTF does a 60 year old man give a shi_ about that stuff for?
Notice the tactic, focus on the messenger, study, invade, look for anything, not finding, make it up, who cares.  Trashing is the goal.  Winning is all that matters in this new GOP world of ME FIRST.

Hyndman’s actions/words underscore the punk nature of his myopic worldview.  Avoid the real issues and questions, trash all messengers, stifle, or out scream every attempt at constructive educational dialogue.  

Create a storyline out of one’s own filthy imagination, give it wings.  John Hyndman and pals this is supposed to be about understanding our living planet and the biosphere all of us depend on.

Science is about studying and learning, but all you want is a mud fight in order to ignore reality.  { I’m told I’m rude, okay Smith, talk about rude, what about Hyndman here and his thuggish attempt to derail the discussion??? }

This is the sort of stuff that serious science communication has been dealing with for decades.

Think Seitz, Singer, Lindzen god-fathers of science by slander and rhetorical misdirection who started all this
Juvenile insinuations, name calling, then the dirty tricks, then the constant misrepresentation of the science.  Rhetorical strategies, slandering, demonizing, mind games and marketing all the way down.

What ever happened to substance and honestly assessing the physical reality that is in front of us?
(So ends my response at YouTube.)

But, there's more,

Scientists, academics, journalists are supposed to be the grown ups, yet the past decades have been nothing but communication failure.  Most people still perceive our planet as though it were a two dimensional post-card.

You scientists, academics, journalists are smarter, why do the same juvenile tactics continue to stifle community wide understanding of simple down to Earth reality?

Children of the enlightenment have been rolling over for long enough.  

The fruits of our collective failure will be bitter indeed.

People get very irritated at me for being rude and straight forward, but this horror of dogma driven Faith-blinded rejection of down to Earth facts and reality needs to be confronted and engaged more directly.  Particularly the God and faith question, also the need to perceive Earth as a living being with a history.  A Being that we are born out of and will meld back into as time marches on.

So much I’d like to write about, so little free time.


Who says understanding Earth’s Evolution is irrelevant?

Sadly all too many.  

I often hear people, not just the religious with their paper thin understanding, but educated rational people who superficially accept the notion of evolution, (but who seem to have never spent anytime absorbing what Earth's pageant of evolution has been all about), dismissing the need to learn anything about it.  As if learning how to make money and survive in our modern society is all that matters to understanding our place in the world.

This disregard has led to a general apathy that I can't for the life of me comprehend.  Especially considering what an amazingly beautiful, complex, mysterious and absolutely relevant story it is.

Our general apathy towards evolution and a lack of understanding about our Earth’s Ways and Means terrifies me, and as someone with a life long passion for learning about this Earth that created me and my place in the universe, it baffles me to no end. 

We are all trapped within our own origins and experiences.  The only way for me to convey a hint of my perspective is to share some of the building blocks that went into my own understanding.  …


In a nutshell Jim Steele proposes that landscapes and natural cycles are more powerful drivers of global warming than the atmosphere that lies between Earth and frigid outer space. 

His scientific underpinning is a self-certain, as yet unexamined, rejection of 'CO2 science' - maintaining it's a hoax with political underpinnings.

Jim's speciality is learning about wildlife studies with an eye towards errors in those studies.  Where it gets ugly is that though he's learned about these errors and failings from wildlife scientists who were directly involved.  Scientists who were aware of issues and problems and working hard to resolve them.  Scientists who willingly shared their experiences, challenges and learning curve.  

Where Jim gets weird is the way he slams these same individuals by portraying them as clueless shills.  Where Jim gets bizarre is leaping from those shortcomings in wildlife studies to claiming it proves global warming is a hoax and that we should ignore it.  An astounding chain of logic.

As for flaws in wildlife studies, the important thing is, none of this stuff was secret, it was part of the scientific community's discussion and literature.  It's the stuff of science marching forward, learning from mistakes as much as from successes.  Another thing to keep in mind is that wildlife studies over huge expanses of landscape are exceedingly difficult and running a perfect experiment is near impossible.  

What Jim ignores is that every serious scientist, wildlife and otherwise, spends as much of their time studying and assessing errors, unexpected surprises, and those '20/20 hindsight mistakes' in order to understand and learn from them.

Once I got into researching Jim's claims and contacting many of the scientists he singled out for derision I was shocked at how shabbily Jim treated the hospitality and collegial help and support he was given for his (Heartland Institute's? Anthony's?) research project.  

I've made the effort to document Jim Steele's words and claims.  I specify his errors, and then I provide the information Jim shields from his audience.  

Jim keeps running away from my challenge instead preferring the shelter and comfort of his Republican/libertarian echo-chamber, where he can lash out at me with unrestrained venom and irrationality. …


My “speciality” has been confronting climate science “skeptics” with fact based constructive debates and it usually follows the same trajectory.  I call out false claims, statements and question their reasoning with explanations, arguments and an assortment of relevant links to further authoritative information so people can learn about these issues for themselves. 

If they return it’s with a round of bluster and distractions that morph into ad hominem attacks on people, either me, reporters or scientists.  Never any indication that new information was read and assessed, let alone absorbed.  I respond with more facts and reasoned arguments, they respond with final insults and slammed doors not to be heard from again.  Leaving me with Virtual Debates where I strive to document the dishonesty that too many others seem to pardon.

These are the same talking heads who are astro-turfing media outlets demanding public debate, but who steadfastly run from our debates. Tragically for our country and future these self interested folks only seek theatrical lawyerly debates dedicated to confusing and obscuring.

When it comes to Serious Constructive Debates - that is, dialogues that respect the confines of truth and honestly representing others and the evidence - these showmen are nowhere to be found.

Earlier writings are poorly formatted, sprinkled with typos and other flaws, it seems to me I’ve been improving, but that’s for others to decide.  Like I said this is as much a learning project for me as it is a teaching and sharing project.


As true and valid today as the day Dr. Schneider spoke these words:

Published by Stanford on May 13, 201074K

(February 4, 2010) Stephen Schneider, professor of biology at Stanford and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, unpacks the political and scientific debates surrounding climate change.

This course was originally presented in Stanford's Continuing Studies program.

No comments:

Post a Comment