My Work, and Why I Do It

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits

~ Albert Einstein


People often ask why I speak and write about abrupt climate change leading to near-term human extinction. If we can’t fix it, why bother knowing? It’s unclear who we are or what it means to fix this particular predicament.

Actually, people more frequently send me hate mail accusing me of profiting by lying about our demise than asking questions with civility. It’s analogous to claiming a fire lookout gets paid by the number of fires she spots.

I wish. I wish I were lying. I wish I were profiting. I’m not.

I have no idea why I am compelled to defend my conclusions, all of which are supported by abundant evidence. I suppose my inner teacher believes I can overcome profound, willful ignorance with evidence. This thought alone indicates my unrepentant optimism regarding the human condition.

Few people accuse their oncologist of profiting after she issues a fatal diagnosis. Once the patient recovers from the shock, he sometimes thanks the honest doctor. And if said medical doctor misunderstands the evidence and offers an incorrect, hopeful diagnosis, then filing a legal claim of malpractice is warranted. Indeed, it’s expected in the United States, the most litigious society in the history of the planet.

I pursue and promote the truth, based on evidence. The evidence comes primarily, and almost exclusively, from the very conservative refereed journal literature. I’m not referring to my truth, a notion rooted in the naively postmodern palaver that we each have our own truth, and that each version of the truth is equally valid. Nor am I referring to the evidence-free religious concept of Truth rooted in patriarchy.

My detractors include unscientific people afraid to face evidence, lovers of the omnicidal heat engine known as civilization, and others who lack the credentials necessary to collate and organize relevant evidence. Few people turn to their plumber for advice about cancer. Yet many people seek and believe diagnoses about climate change from wholly unqualified sources.

I’m routinely accused of horrible intentions and terrible acts. There is no supporting evidence. None is needed when the hate is spewed online from a culture dominated by willfully ignorant, small-minded people with questionable intelligence writing for an audience with similar talents. I won’t even venture into the topic of trolls paid to promote disaster capitalism at every cost.

Were I better-known, I suspect I’d make the list of finalists among the most-hated people in the world. It’s a goal, in any event.

That’s a joke, fools and trolls. If I don’t point it out, every time, it’ll be turned against me.

As I’ve been saying for years, people are stupid. Most of ’em, most of the time.

Among the offenders are offensively ignorant and ill-informed, office-bound modelers who inexplicably believe field observations ought to fit models, rather than the reverse. Among the worst offenders are armchair prognosticators with video cameras and the ability to post online their ever-changing opinions unattached to evidence. Field observations and refereed journal literature are anathema to those who promote the dominant narrative. The latter notably include the folks who benefit from the omnicidal heat engine affectionately known as civilization.

The best critique of my work is a three-year-old series of ad hominem attacks disguised as a blog post. It was written by a self-proclaimed science educator without a Ph.D. degree. No thought is given to his lack of credentials, his motives, the unprofessional quality of his analysis, or the dated nature of his work. Other critics post on blogs or selfie videos, presumably to counter the hundreds of journal articles on which I rely.

My work relies upon evidence. It is rooted in reason. I am a rationalist. Contrary to the cries from my critics, ever eager to attack the messenger rather than evaluate the message, I am not mentally ill. The entire culture is insane. The inmates, who are operating the asylum, believe they are the sane ones.

I’ve been deemed insane since voluntarily leaving my high-pay, low-work position at a major research university. Taking action based on principle, rather than money, seems crazy to people afflicted with a bad case of the dominant paradigm.

In contrast to my critics, I do not benefit from my work in any way. It has cost me thousands of dollars for every dollar I’ve received in return. It has cost me the ability to do what I love. It has cost me everybody I loved from my former life.

I am motivated by evidence, as I wrote two years ago. In presenting the results, in simple language, I make the evidence accessible to the public. For this, I am insulted. My work is disparaged. I am attacked incessantly.

My attempts to respond kindly sometimes fail, although I can and do distinguish between being nice and being kind. In contrast to the mass of humans I encounter, I recognize niceness and kindness are sometimes mutually exclusive.

The essay linked above from two years ago is sufficient. It lacks discussion of my inner teacher, constantly struggling to get out. I’ve written and spoken extensively about that topic. No further elucidation is warranted.

Indeed, no further elucidation is warranted regarding my extensive body of work. None will suffice for those who deny evidence. I will continue my attempts to disengage from discussions operating strictly within an evidence-free zone, recognizing that such a step will nullify nearly every prospective conversation.

Hatred will continue to flow my way not because of evidence, but rather due to the opposite: It is more comfortable to deny evidence than to ponder one’s own death. The processes of cultural “dumbing down” and acceptance appreciation of ignorance and stupidity have led to our demise. How could it have been otherwise?