Monday, 3 April 2017

Guy McPherson's answer to Paul Beckwith and other detractors

Authority vs. Evidence

The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don’t want to go there
~ Bart D. Ehrman
2 April, 2017

Authority is one of the pillars of patriarchy. I recall one of my colleagues telling me, 15 years ago on the campus in Utah where he taught biology, about the majority of his college students citing God and their father as two of the three authorities he requested for an introductory writing project. Need more be said?

In a culture of celebrity, as epitomized in the United States and exemplified by the “first” world, evidence is perceived by the masses as secondary to authority. If Lady Gaga says something, regardless how obviously ridiculous the statement, then it must be “true.” As a renowned public figure, Lady Gaga is somehow viewed as a credible source, regardless of the topic. She can sing. She can talk. 

She must know more about politics and science than the majority.

Sadly, I suspect she does. She’s literate, after all.

I’m attacked, insulted, libeled, and slandered every day because I present evidence people don’t want to accept. The evidence is not questioned because it is unimpeachable. There is no credible critique of my work. Every aspect of my personal life, no matter how irrelevant, is dragged into the conversation. It’s the opposite of the Lady Gaga phenomenon.

A radical since my teens, I get to the root of issues that matter through my teaching, research, and social criticism. One result: I’ve repeatedly been asked to serve as an expert witness in the United States judicial system. Another result: 

My classrooms at the University of Arizona were under surveillance by the United States government no later than 1996. I’ve been labeled an anarchist and eco-terrorist by senior members of the Obama administration because I modeled and taught anarchism in my college courses.

I walk my talk. When evidence indicated collapse of civilization would allow our species and others a longer run on Earth, I voluntarily walked away from my high-pay, low-work position as a revered professor at a major university. I created an off-grid homestead and transformed myself from an ignorant city dweller to a multi-talented grower, builder, and communicator. The principled move from Tucson, Arizona to the wilds of New Mexico cost me everything. Whether it was “worth it” no longer matters. It’s done.

As a long-time radical, I know about evidence. I’ve taught courses in the philosophy of science and the generation of reliable knowledge. I was acknowledged in my home college as an A+ Advisor my third year on campus, and I suspect I’m the only person ever honored with the highest award given by each of the two transdisciplinary colleges at the University of Arizona (Graduate College 2002, Honors College 2009). I am one of the very few people in history to achieve the status of full professor before turning 40 years of age. My lengthy resume is replete with scholarly publications, including dozens of refereed journal articles (the “gold standard” by which the process of science creates reliable knowledge).

Seeing a single paper through the publication process requires talent and persistence. Essentially none of my critics have accomplished this task. Collating and synthesizing evidence in the form of a book is beyond even most academics, especially in the natural sciences. My scholarly efforts have produced more than a dozen books.

I know about conservation biology and climate change, too. I’ve been studying both topics since my early days in graduate school in the early 1980s. My list of publications includesrefereed journal articles in premiere ecological journals describing interactions between climate change and ecosystems.

As a result of my knowledge of conservation biology and climate change, I have become the world’s leading authority on the topic of abrupt climate change leading to near-term human extinction. Consequently, I have been featured in several documentary films, as well as an episode of National Geographic Explorer. I’m a frequent interviewee for broadcast and print media.

As I’ve written previously in this space, 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 upon evidence. The evidence comes primarily, and almost exclusively, from the very conservative refereed journal literature. I’m not referring tomy 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 deny reality and promote disaster capitalism at every cost.

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 more than two years ago. In presenting the results, in simple language, I make the evidence accessible to the public.

I'm not ignorant enough to believe my detractors will pull in their talons. I’m not sufficiently deluded to believe the attacks will cease. I’m under no impression that reason will prevail before the last human on Earth takes her last breath. The grip of patriarchy is strong. There is no escape at a scale that matters. The only way out is in.


  1. Guy is a defeatist and a willful misinformer as he did a 180 and became a staunch denier of the operational nature of aerosol injection climate engineering. He is arrogant to the last, in spite of being an informed climate analyst in the more conventional sense. If these are the front line actors -- Then I suppose we might as well call it a day, at risk of seeming defeated myself.

    1. You are a contemptible fake. What have you contributed?

  2. Just more fakery, Seemorefakes. You're twisting the truth and likely jealous at not being a player. Every notable and national scientific association, all of the highest credibility , release steady streams of data supporting Guy McPherson's conclusions.

    1. I support discussion but I will not tolerate insults. Any further comments if this nature will be deleted.

  3. I'm also a seeker of truth & reality no matter where it leads.
    I am very dismayed & disgusted & how IGNORANT & STUPID so many 'mericans are! They even revel in their ignorance!

    Unfortunately, we cannot cure "stupid" but there is a cure for ignorance but they REFUSE to avail themselves of the information that is now available to all of us even if you don't have a computer, every wide spot in the road has a library.
    I have looked at the evidence & that evidence supports the idea that the earth is warming & we are the major cause of that warming due to our burning of fossil resources, I also know we are horribly overpopulated something most people deny because they have no idea what the carrying capacity for humans is or how many resources each of us uses.

    Because of IGNORANCE, many people actually believe that "renewables" can replace OIL!
    How is that possible when your trying to replace oil with something that would not even exist without oil?

    I had a rather poor, formal education, my caretakers moved frequently, I went to a different school just about every year, public & religious schools.

    Since I'm nearsighted, I could not see the lessons that were being taught on the blackboard & later a worse green board with yellow chalk that was almost impossible to even see let alone read.
    My caretakers were informed by my grade school teacher that I needed glasses, but I never got glasses, after all, I was just a mere GIRL & GIRLS didn't really need a education since our future was to be as a housewife & breeder.
    I had lousy grades in school & almost didn't graduate. Thanks to a TEACHER who actually taught & didn't just tell us to read here & answer the questions at the end of the chapter but actually TAUGHT US, I got good grades & graduated. He also didn't "teach" by writting on a chalk board I couldn't see.
    Most of my education came after school, thanks to that teacher, I now wanted to learn & I did. Since I was a social outcast, I looked at the world from the outside & I could see just how messed up we were & still are.

    I cannot understand how people who supposedly have a better education than I & are "smarter" can believe the ridiculous things they do, like the "gods","evil spirits, "devils", that the earth is only 6,000 YO & that the earth can support 10 billion people or more!
    WTF, are they using sh*t for brains?

    I can understand Guys frustration at human stupidity, gullibility & how many of us insist on believing in things that have been proven to be untrue but as his website states, "Nature bats last", we are not immune from the laws of physics or nature, like yeast in a petri dish, we will suffer their fate,probable extinction from overbreeding & all that is resulting from that like climate change.
    Thanks Guy for being a TEACHER even if so many of us don't like the message, reality isn't always pretty but it's REALITY & that's all that really matters.