Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When Ignorance Reigns: The Pointless Attacks Against Kari Norgaard

Recently, Dr. Kari Norgaard has come under attack for her research on the sociological under-pinnings of climate denialism and the lackluster response to climate concerns even by those who do think climate change is happening.

This smear campaign is (perhaps unsurprisingly) both ruthless and pointless.

The people commenting have clearly never met with Dr. Norgaard, nor have they had either the will (or perhaps the capacity) to understand what she's saying. In nearly every attack against Kari I see almost nothing of her work quoted. The authors seem to jump on their interpretation of what she's said, rather than engage with her ideas directly. Instead, they make some inflammatory comments to rile up their readership who also seem all to happy to shout some hideous remark without considering the work of the person they denigrate.

Her work is rich and complex. Even if one doesn't agree that climate change is anthropogenic, or perhaps that it is even happening, there are still aspects of her research which would be of interest to anyone concerned with how societies confront what they consider to be impending catastrophe.

Furthermore, the personal attacks against Kari sicken me. Dr. Norgaard is one of the kindest and most unpretentious people I've met during my time in University-world. To suggest that she is an elitist simply because she is educated blows my mind.

She works at a public university, she has worked closely with some of the most marginalized people in our nation, and she has always treated her students with a genuine kindness and respect.

I suppose I always knew that the right-wing media was generated largely out of baseless personal attacks, but witnessing it first hand makes me sad for our country. I like disagreement, debate and variety of ideas, these things are healthy for a democracy. But when all people have to stand on is insults for their opponents and self-congratulatory rhetoric for those they agree with... well, we have a problem.

If anyone is interested in reading something Kari actually said, here's a fine interview.

1 comment:

Bird Wicks said...

i'm sure that the same people saying such hideous things raised a ruckus about attacks against conservatives. to base an attack on ones fears, economic interests, political views, etc (partiularly against someone as amazing as Kari)is ridiculous.