Listening to Our Climate Scientists

ECG / EKG monitor

Flatline blip on a medical heart monitor ECG / EKG (electrocardiogram) with white background

If a person ate fast food and drank sugary drinks every day and 99 out of 100 cardiologists told this person that this diet was contributing to this person’s heart disease, and if that person chose to listen to the one doctor instead of the 99, the vast majority of us would say that this person is in denial about what is contributing to their heart disease.

If a number of CEOs of fast food chains and soda companies encouraged this person to listen to the one doctor versus the 99, that would unlikely make us change our assessment that this person is in denial. We probably would remind this person that the fast food companies and soda companies have a bit of bias on matters such as this, and we would strongly encourage this person to listen to what the 99 cardiologists are saying.

But for some reason when 99 out of 100 climate scientists tell us that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are the primary contributor to increases in global average temperatures, many of us want to listen to the one versus the 99. Many of us in denial about the reasons for our climate crisis repeat the same arguments against the 99 that are promoted by CEOs and paid surrogates of fossil fuel companies and industrial agriculture companies and fail to see the bias that they have on such matters.

In the case of individual persons denying the reasons for their heart disease, the consequences could be tragic for them. In the case of persons denying the reasons for our climate crisis, the consequences will be tragic for us all.

Wise persons and wise societies will listen to their doctors and climate scientists who base their diagnoses and conclusions on sound scientific method rather than listen to the propaganda of the companies that profit off our denial of reality. When we have heart problems, we should listen to our cardiologists, not to McDonald’s and Coca Cola. When we have a climate crisis, we should listen to our climate scientists, not to ExxonMobil and Koch Industries.

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. He is the Executive Director of the Leadership, Education, and Development (LEaD) Hub North America of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church and an Oklahoma Humanities State Scholar. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University or the United Methodist Church.
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2 Responses to Listening to Our Climate Scientists

  1. Dale Lature says:

    I’ve been using these kinds of medical analogies for a while, and a lot of the response I get is “that’s a horrible analogy”. When I ask why, they can’t answer. They “just don’t like it” because it pulls the rug out from under thier decision to diss Climate Science, while inherently and naturally placing trust in medical science by going to doctors, taking medicine, and such. The main thing in operation there is that it is their very life at stake, as well as that of their families. And yet they cannot (will not) recognze that the Ecological Crisis has been caused because they don’t care about the effects of thier lifestyle upon others (or don’t WANT to know). And so they reject the notion that they accept science that would endanger them to reject, and reject science that they don’t see (or don’t WANT to see) is hurting everyone (especially those “whom we cannot see”; out of sight, out of mind, and “that’s the way I like it. Don’t try to tell me any different.” )

  2. Pingback: Listening to Our Climate Scientists – EcoEcclesia

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