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Denier, denier, world's on fire

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The Iraq denialists and the climate change denialists are increasingly identical in their outputs. Have always been similar, not least because they were often the same people, but as evidence accumulates of the looming environmental disaster that is coming to a planet near you very soon, and the looming humanitarian disaster that is coming to a Baghdad neighborhood near all Iraqis even sooner, the comparisons become inescapable (as are the disasters).

Most recently comes the latest climate denier talking point, that the other planets are going through climate change, too, and that this is because of the cyclical changes in the sun's activity, and we just have to be patient and soon we will see the temperatures decreasing again, and all of us who were worried about the future of the planet will have egg on our faces. In Iraq benchmarks will be reached, and the Sunni and Shia will learn to get along and the government will take control. Just have to be patient for a little longer and Iraq will settle down as a new democracy (just one that no longer owns its own oil). And in spite of all evidence to the contrary, it is always just another 6 months, another year, another few years, that will see the corner turned, and all right with the world.

And another similarity has been the insistence, the touching faith, the blind belief, that technology will come to the rescue. In the case of the planet it is nuclear power, or some magic wand that means that C+O2 no longer equals CO2, or ethanol, or fusion power, or hydrogen, or whatever. Doesn't matter, some scientist (yes, scientist, the ones who have been persecuted for warning the planet about climate change) will come out of a laboratory, wiggle his nose, and make all this nasty warming go away. In Iraq it was always some new piece of intelligence, or armor for vehicles, or surveillance techniques, or surges, or concrete walls. Some time a general would emerge to say that he had found the magic piece of equipment that would make this nasty insurgency go away.

And in both cases, the deniers seemed to live in this parallel universe, this faith-based dimension, where facts didn't matter, where every piece of evidence that contradicted their world view is dismissed, hidden, watered down. No information about deaths, or refugees, or bombs, or control of territory, or government incapacity was listened to; no data about temperature records, or CO2 levels, or droughts, or glaciers and ice caps melting, or species moving could be recognized as real. And no patterns could be seen. Each piece of evidence, in Iraq, and on the planet, was treated in isolation, as one of those silly little things called facts that could be made to go away if only you believed, or prayed, hard enough. And no experts could be listened to - expert became as dirty a word as liberal, and the only people listened to, the qualification for being listened to, was a complete ignorance of the reality of Iraq outside the Green Zone, or of the reality of climate change outside Washington or London, Canberra or Ottawa, Beijing or New Delhi.

When do these people stop making their own reality?

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