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Exposing the “Facts Are Opinion” Trick Of Climate Change Deniers

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You want to hear about the most terrifying moment of my life? In 2003, when 9/11 was still fresh in people’s minds, I was on a plane. Just as we were getting ready to take off, engines roaring and everyone strapped in, this guy pops his seat belt buckle, leaps up and darts down the aisle. He started banging on the cockpit door, screaming, “Let me in! I can pilot this thing!”

Some big dude who I assume was an undercover flight marshal tackled him. Everyone was shouting until the pilot cut the engines and stepped out of the cockpit. The marshal had this guy pinned down. “I can fly this plane better than you!” the guy kept yelling at the pilot. “I know I can!”

Insane right? A crazy story, but not as wild as this next one.

An old friend was getting bypass surgery. The doctor was leaning over him with the scalpel when my friend reached up and took the blade right out the doctor’s hand. “I got this, doc,” he said, and he stuck the scalpel in his own chest and starting cutting away. “Step back,” my friend said, “I know how to do this better than you.”

An old friend was getting bypass surgery. The doctor was leaning over him with the scalpel when my friend took the blade out the doctor’s hand. “I got this, doc,” he said.

What’s going on here? Who are these lunatics?

Okay well, both of those stories are total B.S. I made them up. I had to, because it’s difficult to find a story of craziness that shows by analogy just how crazy climate change deniers are.

I don’t enjoy saying that. Over the past several years of my life, I’ve been working hard on tolerating other’s viewpoints, but I can’t allow absurdity this grand, and I am always disturbed by misguided independent thought masquerading as useful critical thought.

On one subject and one subject only, deniers claim they are more expert than scientists who have studied the subject their whole lives. Yet the deniers have no expertise at all. They have spent exactly zero seconds studying anything. Their only qualification for having an opinion is that they are capable of forming an opinion.

Best of all, while crying “conspiracy!” they don’t notice anything suspicious that the one issue where they are violently opposed to scientific consensus by magical coincidence happens to be the precise same stance that big oil takes. Wow, what a lucky break for big oil. That’s all it was, luck, right? It wasn’t propaganda at all, because they are independent thinkers. They sure are. The same way the ancient drunk guy thinks he’s a real catch for the pre-teen girls walking by.

The truth is climate change deniers just believe what someone told them, there wasn’t much thought involved. “Ah ha!” They say, “But so do you! You just believe the scientists.” Yes, that’s right. That’s the difference. I admit I haven’t studied the subject for years. We both have minimal (or no) education on the subject, but you’re the one going against the scientists.

I was afraid the same thing might happen regarding sexual assault, when ex-Congressman Todd Akin, questioned about rapes and abortion, said it wasn’t anything to worry about because, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (Link.) It was independent thought for sure, meaning it was totally false.

The thing that made me most nervous about the exchange were the comments of the conservative media troll patrol. I could sense that they were collectively wondering if they could pull a “climate change” propaganda offensive on the same subject. Hey team, can we do the same with abortion that we did with climate change? Can we make facts a matter of opinion? Then they could have people consider a rape as a matter of opinion: well, she did get pregnant, which means she wasn’t raped (the sex was consensual) which means it’s criminal to want an abortion. Fortunately, in this case, facts won the day behind the support of science articles published explaining the facts of insemination. (Link.)

I bring this all up because I want to expose this propaganda trick of making facts a matter of opinion and note how people’s desire to be robust thinkers sometimes makes them fail to think critically.

What is more likely?

  1. Filling an enclosed and heated space with gas makes the space heat up faster.
  2. A world-wide cabal of scientists all come together in a massive world-wide conspiracy to secure funding, but the only ones who blow the whistle on this conspiracy are the same people whose historically cruel and corrupt industry (big oil) would benefit if the scientists were all proven wrong.

It’s entirely possible scientists are wrong, but they’ll be the first to find that out and the first to admit it. Sure, in the past the experts have been wrong and a lone rebel has been correct. But that lone rebel has been a genius, slaving away with maniacal obsession in their field. They didn’t listen to a single talk radio show episode before arriving at their anti-majority conclusions. There’s more to being a critical thinker than that.

Hack Your Emotions: Replace Jealousy with Appreciation

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Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies. – Gore Vidal

Of all the things I’ve done, one of the rare smart moves I made was this: many decades ago I actively worked to defeat the emotion of jealousy. I honestly can’t say when the last time was I felt jealous.

Many years ago, I noticed jealousy creeping in when a friend succeeded or had great fortune. I hated the feeling. That’s no way to live, to be irritated when the people you love the most do well. I analyzed the emotion and realized jealousy wasn’t a problem with the friend. They weren’t gloating over their good fortune. They were simply enjoying it. I realized my jealousy was a problem with me.

Being jealous is no way to live, to be irritated when the people you love the most do well.

So I fixed my attitude. I believe the key to emotional hacking is to replace one emotion with another. You can’t stop emotion, but you can reprogram it. Use your neo-cortex to bombard thoughts into the amygdala until the emotion you want becomes your instinct. In short, fake it until you make it. Or, think as you wish to be.

Surprisingly quickly, I found myself enjoying others’ successes, instead of coveting them. I was able to experience genuine joy at their good fortune as well. I suspect they were relieved at my enthusiasm on their behalf. Usually when you succeed, there’s a least one person along the way who (intentionally or not) brings you down from your high with a belittling remark. It’s a delightful change of pace to have someone say, “That’s great! I’m happy for you!” and be real about it.

This is still a bit abstract, so let me mention as many specifics as I can to achieve this hack. First, be sure to appreciate what you have. Appreciate. Appreciate. Appreciate like an Olympic gold-medalist of appreciation. Be thankful for what you have and so glad you have it. That will keep you from thinking, “Shucks, everyone gets the breaks but me.”

Second, be honest. A lot of success comes from hard work. Usually jealousy activates when you see someone reach a milestone, but you weren’t there when they were staying up late and/or getting up early to get where they are. They got there by doing something you were unwilling or incapable of doing. Congratulate them on reaping the rewards of their efforts.

Of course, maybe they just got lucky, like say, won a drawing and scored a new car. Regardless, you should be happy for them. You wouldn’t want them angry at you in the same situation. You’re friends, they’ll share with you and if the roles were reversed, you would share with them.

Jealousy is deadly. It combines some insidious thoughts: you want something, but you don’t want to work for it and you dislike a friend for their success. Jealousy is toxic on many levels and it can and will destroy relationships you could just as easily be enjoying.

An Open Letter to All Business Owners Everywhere Ever

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Dear Every Single Business Owner That Is and Ever Will Be,

As a potential customer of your business I want you to know something important: I will still buy your products if you need to increase the pricing in order to ensure worker safety and dignity.

Too many times I have heard captains of industry explain away horrific worker conditions and literally criminal behavior all in the name of keeping prices down.

You may think that as a consumer I am motivated solely by price, but that is incorrect. If I hear a company treats their workers well, I am more likely to purchase their product over a cheaper-priced item from a competitor. The reverse is also true. If I hear a company treats their employees poorly, then I am more likely to buy a more expensive product from a competitor.

Bottom line: when deciding what products to purchase, how your workers are treated factors strongly into my decision, along with price. In a competitive marketplace you can use this edge to your advantage. Treat your workers better than your competitors and you’ll gain my business.

I would be glad to pay more for your products if that means that your employees have time off to relax and to earn a living wage. Regarding your shipping methods, I would rather whatever items I order for delivery arrive late than your couriers risk injury travelling at unsafe speeds and through hazardous weather conditions.

As a consumer, worker safety and dignity is extremely important to me, far more important than the arrival of some object at my doorstep.

Now I don’t know you, but perhaps you are unwilling to sacrifice some of your (likely exorbitant) pay in order to improve worker conditions. Whether this is the case or not, I am writing to let you know that you should not put the blame for abysmal conditions on me, the consumer. I am declaring here, openly and publicly, that I am willing to pay more and wait longer, if it means a world where people can work and live with dignity and in safety. The excuse for treating workers poorly because you may lose customers is now finished.

I prefer businesses that treat their employees well and I will patronize them over ones that don’t. Thank you for listening.


Larry Nocella, BCP
United States of America
May 1, 2014

Some people have expressed a desire to co-sign this letter. You can do so using the widget below.

Book Review: Prophet’s Prey

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This may be the craziest book I have ever read.  I mean that in a good way. Sort of. It’s a great book, a compelling read, yet the subject is absolutely horrifying.

Prophet’s Prey caught my eye because the introduction was written by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the equally disturbing Under the Banner of Heaven. That book was about two brothers, members of the FLDS cult, who committed murder because (they claim) God told them too. It’s a twist on “the devil made me do it” that ends up being the exact same ridiculous rationale.

While Under the Banner of Heaven was a look at one family in that FLDS cult, Prophet’s Prey looks at the leaders of the cult and the entire cult itself.

Though the FLDS shares much with the Taliban (hypocrisy, extremism, child abuse, etc.) what makes them worse (to an American like me) is that the FLDS is living right inside America, brazenly exploiting our country’s more respectable features, including anti-child-labor laws, public assistance for the poor and respect for cultural privacy. All while claiming American society at large is their enemy.

Yes, America is about freedom, but it’s also about rights. Sometimes the two are in conflict and one must give. The FLDS isn’t the first to use one as an excuse for abusing the other, but they do seem to have elevated this criminal art.

The FLDS cult is right inside America, exploiting our country’s respectable features: public assistance for the poor and respect for cultural privacy.

Prophet’s Prey is about how author Sam Brower, a private investigator, starts investigating the FLDS because of accusations of child abuse, statutory rape and much more horrors. I was stunned to learn the far-reaching aspects of the cult and its size. Brower describes how FLDS leaders gather underage wives from their followers’ children, the parents sometimes willingly trading the child for favors. Brower notes how cult leader Warren Jeffs (the “prophet” who does the preying) was able to run from the law thanks to a network of safe houses and supporters across America, at one point describing a single check donation for $15,000.

A quick search on Amazon shows a library shelf full of books about the FLDS, written by several of its victim-survivors. This is a crazy, close look at the inner workings of an organized, driven cult, but it’s sadly a story we’ve heard time and time again. Powerful leaders preach one thing, but do another. They live insanely hedonistic lives while their followers live in monastic squalor.

Jon Krakauer called Sam Brower “the real deal.” Reading the book I believed that claim. Mr. Brower seems almost fearless going against this organized crime family, and openly talking about how close he lives to them, etc. He’s a brave man and this is a shocking book.  I don’t think I’ll view the world the same after reading it. That’s a compliment and a warning to other readers.

MegaPodzilla App Is Live!

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MegaPodzilla is one of those gems on the internet. What I mean is, it’s one of those labors of love that’s been going strong for a long time (in this case, since 2009) it’s run by one person (in this case, “Krazy Joe”) and it’s a solid work.

I hope we’ve gotten to the point where everyone knows that popularity doesn’t always imply quality

Maybe I’m biased, being an indie author, but I’m convinced my works are on par with those called “professional.” In the same vein, I think MegaPodzilla is an entertainment podcast as good as any other. I hope we’ve gotten to the point in history where we realize this truth: popularity doesn’t always imply quality and obscurity doesn’t always imply a lack of quality. Popularity can be manufactured, and is can be a matter of luck, timing or artificial manufacture.

MegaPodzilla is good stuff, and I’m not saying that just because I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed on the podcast to promote my novel Loser’s Memorial (at Amazon.). (Click to open MegaPodzilla podcast episode 52 MP3.)

In my effort to learn more about developing mobile applications, I’ve completed an Android app for the show. It’s got the full collection of almost 80 podcasts, with science fiction and movie guests, and some funny skits here and there. It’s 100% free, so if you’ve got an Android, try it out. You can listen to the podcast’s extensive collection of episodes wherever you are. Click picture or link below.

Click to see the MegaPodzilla app in the Google Play Store