First came a post by Michael Zimmerman, director of the Center for the Humanities and Arts here at the University of Colorado. His thoughtful and revealing article on Prometheus, “Coal Trains, Death Camps, and Recent Anti-Modernism”, is an intelligent antidote to the emotionalism and extremism I’ve been encountering.
Then John Fleck posted a stirring defense of one of the pioneers of modern-day science writing, Walter Sullivan, whose reputation has been terribly besmirched by George Will. Sullivan was one of my heroes as a young science writer. My postings on climate change here and on other blogs in some ways owe a lot to the journalistic legacy I feel I’ve inherited from Sullivan.
Next came a post from Keith Kloor at his Collide-a-Scape blog. Kloor compares the attacks on Andrew Revkin (including Michael Tobis’s characterization of him as “evil”) to the pummeling meted out by environmentalists to William Cronon. As Kloor describes it, Cronon was attacked for his heretical idea that wilderness is human construct. And he concludes that in the climate debate, Andrew Revkin and Roger Pielke, Jr. have committed blasphemy against the “Church of Al Gore.”
And then today, I came across a book review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times that pretty much sums up my impressions of some of the bloggers in this climate debate. Here’s the first paragraph:“Nearly all the characters in Zoë Heller’s ambitious new novel, “The Believers,” are true believers. Though each chooses a different vehicle of worship — socialism, liberal humanism, orthodox Judaism or the New Age gospel of self-improvement — they are all in thrall to their own certainty, self-righteous about their own beliefs and contemptuous of anyone dimwitted enough to disagree. They are also believers in their own mythologies: the roles in which they have been cast by their parents or children or followers, the personas they have had thrust upon them and have, over the years, internalized as their own. Zeal is their default setting; sanctimony, their favorite defense.”