By JR on Sunday, December 04, 2011
Prof Donald Brown appears not to. He is an ethics "expert" who writes below in the most scathing terms about climate skeptics -- but he is a very poor moral philosopher as well as demonstrating no knowledge of science.
Moral philosophers discuss at great length what the basis of their ethical position is. They ask, for instance how notions of right and wrong originate and what they are based on. Comrade Brown does nothing like that. His very first sentence is a mere assertion and a highly dubious one at that. He assumes what he has to prove. He says: "Because climate change is an ethical problem....".
Had I been writing on the topic, I would have said "Because climate change is a non-existent problem..." -- and the evidence for my statement is pretty obvious, as even Warmist scientists admit that the tiny amount of warming seen in the late 20th century has ceased, and ceased around 12 years ago.
So does Comrade Brown take any account of that scientific fact? Not in the least. He mentions a few scientific claims in his article but gives references for none of them, let alone looking at the factual basis for them. The essential basis he gives for his position is that various science bodies have pronounced in favour of global warming. But that is neither a scientific nor a philosophical approach to truth. It is a bureaucratic approach to knowledge and before Galileo that approach would have yielded the "truth" that the sun revolved around the earth. Anybody who knows about intellectual fashions would regard a bureaucratic warrant of truth as worthless. The best face one can put on his assertions is that he is a dupe. I reproduce an excerpt from his hate-speech below
Climate change must be understood at its core as an ethical problem because; (a) it is a problem caused by some people in one part of the world that are hurting poor people who are often far away and poor, (b) the harms to these victims are potentially catastrophic, and (c) the victims can't protect themselves by petitioning their governments- they must hope that those causing the problem will see that their ethical duties to the victims requires them to drastically lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
However, I will in a minute review the tactics of the climate change disinformation campaign. We think you will agree that these are not acceptable ways of acting skeptically but malicious, morally unacceptable disinformation
To understand the full moral depravity of the climate change disinformation campaign, one must know something about the state of climate science. There is a "consensus" view on climate science that has been articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. This consensus is not a consensus on all scientific issues entalied by climate change; it is a consensus about the fact that the planet is warming, that this warming is largely human caused, and that under business-as-usual we are headed to potentially catastrophic impacts for humans and the natural resources on which life depends. Furthermore, these harms are likely to be most harshly experienced by many of the Earth's poorest people.
Every Academy of Science has issued reports supporting the consensus view including four reports by the US Academy of Science. Well over 100 scientific organizations with expertise in climate science have also issued reports or statements in support of the consensus view. At least 97% of all scientists that actually do research in climate science support the consensus view according to two recent surveys in respectable scientific journals.
There are six recent books that have investigated the disinformation campaign on climate change science. (See references below) What follows is an ethical analysis of the disinformation campaign based upon the findings in these books.
The disinformation campaign began in the 1980s when some of the same scientists and organizations that fought government regulation of tobacco began to apply the tactics honed in their war on the regulation of tobacco to climate change. For almost 25 years this campaign has been waged to undermine public support for regulation of greenhouse gases.
The organizations trying to undermine public support on climate policies by exaggerating scientific uncertainty have expanded over the last few decades to include think tanks, front groups, astroturf groups (that is groups pretending to be bottom-up citizen responses), PR firm led campaigns financed by fossil fuel interests and free-market fundamentalists philanthropic funding organizations. Much of the funding support for these efforts has come from some fossil fuel interests.
The tactics deployed by this campaign are now all well documented including in the six books mentioned above. These tactics have included:
A. Lying. Some of the claims made by some of those engaged in the disinformation campaign have been outright lies about such things as the claim that the entire scientific basis for human-induced climate change is a hoax or that there is no evidence of human causation of climate change Given that every Academy of Science in the world has issued reports in support of the consensus view, it is a clear lie that the basis for human-induced warming is a hoax and that such claim is preposterous. This is far from reasonable skepticism but a lie.