Around the clock, around the world, thousands of ordinary citizens are scanning their newspapers, their computer screens and TV sets to catch the latest outrage of denialism and stem it before it spreads.
I didn't catch the recent decision of the US Federal Court of Appeals, in which it ruled that the EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom , every time it approaches a scientific question.
But I subscribe to an email feed from Watching the Deniers (and so should you) and Mike there had caught the story.
I dutifully read it with (admittedly) scant interest, until I hit that stinging quote about the atom.
The implied rebuke to Late Modernity's mixture of Positivism, Scientism and Determinism (the core of Denialism) could not be missed by someone attuned to the history of science.
I heard definite echoes of Pierre-Simon Laplace's famous Demon being referenced here.
Here is what I put in my comment to Mike's article in Watching the Deniers : (early morning typos corrected !)
The man spanked the hardest by this court decision is long dead. His name is Pierre-Simon LaPlace, the father of Determinism and hence at least a godfather to Denialism.
Michael Marshall says:
In the heyday of Scientism ,1875-1965, it was exalted that one day Man would achieve his goal and by knowing the position and direction of every atom in the universe, would know all of the past and all of the future.
Today no scientist who believes in global warming believes this any more . Along with this court, they accept that we must base decisions on strong probability instead of absolute certainty.
Kudos to which ever justice who wrote this decision – they obviously recalled the undergraduate science of their youth with fearsome, biting, accuracy !
The deniers are very well funded and we can't match their il-gotten lucre, but we can exceed them in our fervour.....