First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC: “Jordan, looks as if you have another visitor. Check behind you.”

Jordan: “Matt, great to see you.”

Matt: “Jordan, nice to see you. When you’re finished, may I talk to you for a few minutes, please? Or, if better for you, I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.”

Jordan: “Let’s spend a few minutes now. Let me introduce two long-time friends of mine, Greenie and JC. Guys meet Matt…”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie: “Excuse me, but aren’t you the reporter who wrote the book on General Motors?”

Matt: “Yes, how’d you like it?”

Greenie: “Fascinating. I’m not much into business but the way you wove in personal stories kept my attention. I really did like the book.”

Matt: “Thanks. JC, what about you? Read the book?”

JC: “Parts of it. But I also conned Jordan into telling me some of the details. GM was a remarkable success and a remarkable tragedy.”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt: “At least the company is on the rebound now.”

JC: “Speaking of rebounds, Greenie and I need to get out of here. Matt, nice to meet you. Jordan, enjoyed the conversation.”

Greenie: “Me, too, Jordan. Take care of yourself and we’ll talk soon.”

Jordan: “OK guys. Thanks for being nice to the old guy. See ya’.”

Matt: “So how long have you known Greenie and JC?”

TurtleneckJordan: “We all went to the same grammar school, although we were a grade or two apart.”

Matt: “Wow, I’m impressed that you still keep in contact.”

Jordan: “Greenie and especially JC are much better at keeping in touch classmates than I am. Before we get started, do you want a glass of wine or cup of coffee?”

Matt: “Coffee would be great. I’ll use Greenie’s cup. Looks as if she didn’t touch it. Is the pot regular or no-lead?”

Jordan: “Half regular, half no-lead…decaf.”

Matt: “That’ll work. Now I need to pick your brain.”

Jordan: “About what?”

voodoo-2015958Matt: “Science deniers. I’m drafting an article, and maybe a book about why some seemingly intelligent people deny scientific evidence. They might as well believe in vodoo.  The denial is even more baffling for those with some college, let alone a degree.”

Jordan: “You mean like people claiming global warming is a hoax. And then claiming that 3,000 scientists…or some large number of scientist worldwide got together to perpetuate the hoax? I know one guy with an advanced degree in one of the sciences that believes there is a hoax.”

Matt: “I’ve heard other people with advanced degrees flatly deny mounds of empirical ignoreevidence for say certain economic theories. Why is that?”

Jordan: “Two reasons, and you just mentioned one – the use of the word ‘theory.'”

Matt: “You mean that in science, the use of the word ‘theory’ means a way of explaining behavior, given a certain amount of evidence. The theory can be used to predict other events, or outcomes.”

Jordan: “But for politicians, pundits and many in the public, theory means you have an idea but it does not need to be based on evidence or observations. To these people, a 092615_2031_Characters12.giftheory can be a wild-ass guess – a WAG, if you will. They like to give the finger to science.  For this group, a scientific theory is like some Mickey-Mouse idea that can be discarded and even belittled.”

Matt: “What’s the second point?”

Jordan: “The only real sciences are chemistry and physics. The deniers claim chemistry and physics are real because some of them completed an experiment in a high school lab.”

Matt: “But the other sciences – climate science, economics, social sciences, etc.…you can’t do some lab experiment.  The results aren’t the same every time like chemistry and physics lab experiments so someone is just guessing at the outcome.  Those ‘other’ sciences are squishy — like a tennis ball — and therefore not real science. tennis ball 2Think how often the weather man is wrong.  So what climatologists know about global warming?”

Jordan: “The irony is that the so-called ‘hard sciences’ – chemistry and physics – are just as squishy. But to the ideologues why ruin a good argument? Claim the other sciences are really not sciences and therefore discount or discard all results that don’t fit the ideologue’s position. So Matt, how do you (i) capture in a book the phenomenon of denial among seemingly intelligent people and more importantly, (ii) make the book interesting?

Matt: “That’s why I need some help. I really want to point out why public policy should be based as much as possible on science, even if the scientific theories are being challenged and tweaked over time.”

ScaleJordan: “To me the most important issue for any public policy is relevance. By that I mean, understanding the consequences of action or inaction.  If something is out of balance, fix it.

Matt: “Tell me more about what you mean.”

Jordan: “The issue with global warming, for example, is not determining exactly how much extra CO2 is generated by say coal-fired power plants. We know coal-fired plants are a out-of-balance contributor to global warming.  So the policy should be replace coal asap with less polluting approaches to generating electricity.”

Matt: “What about focusing on measuring the amount of global warming from coal plants, rather than the claiming plants as a major contributor?”

Jordan: “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  The exact amount becomes an academic argument that does not solve the problem.  Science-deniers will claim global warming, for example, is due from multiple causes and therefore nothing can be done.”

Matt: “Are you saying just focus instead on what solutions can help solve the problem?”

Jordan: “Matt, to me focusing only on solutions takes us full circle and does not really help solve problems.”

Matt: “Why so?”

albert_einstein_professor croppedJordan: “Because without a real understanding of the cause of the problem — even if the amount contributing to the problem is not exact — then the deniers will offer solutions that fit their fantasy world and not address the issue.”

Matt: “Have an example other than global warming?”

Jordan: “How ’bout economic policy? The deniers continue to refuse to accept mounds of empirical evidence demonstrating that in a recession the central government needs to increase expenditures, not decrease expenditures.  The deniers’ solution is exactly the opposite of the evidence.”

Matt: “I need a break. But I also want to say I think there is hope.”

Jordan: “Good.  I can’t wait to hear your logic.”