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Guest column: Liberals’ climate-change denial hides sins
by Melvyn L. Fein
Guest Columnist
March 13, 2014 11:18 AM | 9640 views | 9 9 comments | 122 122 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Melvyn L. Fein
Melvyn L. Fein
Since this past autumn, my colleague Ken White and I have been doing a podcast called “Honestly Speaking: Red Meets Blue.” At roughly two-week intervals, we choose a topic and debate it. About a month ago, the subject was global warming.

As you might expect, Ken, representing the liberal position, championed “climate change,” whereas, I, the conservative, was skeptical of the thesis that this was “man-made.” Time and again, Ken trotted out the argument that because “97 percent” of climatologists subscribe to global warming, the case is closed.

More recently, when I wrote about liberal denial for the Marietta Daily Journal, I cited the president’s insistence the climate case was indeed closed as an instance of denial. Not surprisingly, several readers chided me for not understanding that Obama was correct; that a scientific consensus confirms his assertions.

Among other things, I was told I should be ashamed for not understanding how science works. Thus, I was informed that because scientific papers are peer reviewed, we can depend on their accuracy.

Now, as someone who has been published in peer-reviewed journals, but, more importantly, who is the editor of a peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Public and Professional Sociology, I am not unfamiliar with the concept of peer review. Nonetheless, I also know its limitations. Indeed, how vulnerable scientific journals are to manipulation was recently revealed by a fraud of epic proportions. Amazingly, more than 120 hard science and math papers were exposed as having been generated by computer programs. Produced randomly, albeit grammatically, putting jargon together, they were complete nonsense.

In science, a consensus proves nothing. In the end, it is always evidence that is telling. Facts matter, and if these go against a thesis, the number of persons who support it is irrelevant. The earth does go around the sun. Einstein’s equations do explain more than Newton’s. It doesn’t matter that huge majorities once thought otherwise.

Furthermore, scientific hypotheses must be open to disconfirmation. If they aren’t, they are not science, but faith. With respect to global warming, the true-believers allow for no disconfirmation. Whatever the facts, they always prove them right.

Those who seek to win this case by accusing folks like me of being “flat-earthers” point to computer simulations as corroborating their thesis. But computer simulations are hypotheses. They are not facts and therefore cannot validate themselves.

Besides, the overwhelming number of climate simulations generated faulty predictions. In other words, they have been disconfirmed.

Let me explain what denial is. People who are in denial refuse to see facts. They close their eyes and ears to reality and instead subscribe to rationalizations and fantasies. Moreover, because they are in denial, they do not realize they are in denial. To the contrary, they are convinced that those who disagree with them are.

So I repeat myself: Liberals are in deep denial. The political facts are going against them; hence they become ever more desperate in their refusal to acknowledge reality. Emotionally committed to the proposition that they are correct, nothing can budge them off center.

This intransigence not only applies to global warming, but to a host of contentious issues. Most notable among these is Obamacare. The true-believers still insist the program is working.

Harry Reid (but not just Harry Reid) told us every Obamacare horror story is a lie. Not one single person has been injured by losing his doctor or health plan. Those who claim otherwise are hoaxers.

So why did the president have to apologize for saying no one would lose a plan or doctor? And were there really no glitches in the website rollout? People in denial argue for the strangest things — but Reid went the extra mile. The nation should be laughing at his blatant attempt at deception, yet I doubt many liberals are.

Denial is a wonderful thing. It can cover a multitude of sins. For liberals, it is doing just that.

Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University. He can be reached at

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