BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Recent examples of science at work, through research and exploration abound. Two of interest to Armenians were the almost six millennium old shoe and findings about Mayan use of rubber (one of the main researchers is an Armenian).
Basic studies in science have provided the basis for the technologies that have given us the tremendous improvements in quality of life over the last two centuries. Thomas Edison said “genius is one percent inspiration, 99% perspiration”, but Louis Pasteur’s “fortune favors the prepared mind” is equally true. The latter notion is probably the most apt in the recent rediscovery of a decades-lost document related to the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. Not much research, but history is that much richer with this finding.
Hard or social sciences both benefit from the rigor of the scientific method and the results it produces.
So when “scientists” fall under the sway (through pay) of some political/social/economic interest, and start producing skewed results through bias-based research, we should all be worried. Who today would argue the ill effects of smoking? But it took better than half a century to get to this point, all because vast economic powerhouses, the tobacco companies, fought progress every angstrom of the way. A 1969 tobacco industry memo said “doubt is our product”. I suspect that reminds you of Turkey’s Genocide denial campaign.
The tobacco industry’s efforts have been mimicked, or simply repeated by some of the same cast of extreme anti-government ideologues across issues, most recently regarding climate change (see LATimes, June 8, 2010, p.A13, “Smoke, Mirrors, and Climate doubt”). The oft heard, cynical but true dictum “follow the money” ought to be heeded. Be the issue tobacco or carbon, when the people who make money through unfettered abuse are the only ones (through bought-and-paid-for “scientists” and “institutes”) disputing troublesome health or planet related findings, don’t you find that fishy? Remember, “Follow the money”. It’s very simple.
Abusing science has become a major industry. Even good research and findings are made to “lie” in the hands of deniers. In this vein, an oft used tactic is picking and choosing the numbers one uses to produce a misleading result. An unfortunate example of that vile methodology also involves an Armenian (LATimes, March 24, 2010, “A flawed cost/benefit study of a greener California”). In this case, the guilty parties produce a logical number, attribute it as a cost in their calculations of what it would take to implement California’s ground-breaking climate law, AB 32, but then refuse to use the related SAVINGS in their calculations. That’s sneaky, dirty, and, unsurprisingly, being used in the efforts to way-lay AB 32. A ballot measure delaying its implementation recently qualified and will be voted on in November. It “postpones” AB 32 until a very infrequently occurring set of economic conditions materialize, basically trying to kill it through procrastination, killing all of us along with it!
Is it possible that otherwise intelligent people really can’t understand the climate change reality, and its magnitude, that confronts all of us? If so, they should join the flat-earth society based in England and amuse themselves in their own little impossible-utopia. More likely, these very smart people fear more for their wallets than their children’s, even their own, lives. These latter-day Scrooges require a Tiny Tim and a few ghosts to wake them up to their humanity.
I’ve written this before: as Genocide survivors, we, of all people, must be at the forefront of fighting any injustice that inflicts damage to humanity. Denialism— of science or Genocide— does that. We must fight it, even if it’s only through on-line “slacktivism”— clicking a button to send a note to some elected or corporate big-wig.