Getting Things Straight

There was an interview with the geologist/historian, Naomi Oreskes, in the NY Times the other day. She has written a book of science fiction with Erik M. Conway about the collapse of the earth due to man’s use of, among other things, carbon based fuels. Part of her inspiration was due to the lack of concern for climate change and man’s role in exacerbating it and part to both the nonchalance  and misinformation of the anti-climate change activists. She admits that she thought that climate change was the opinion of only some climate scientists, but found through her research that virtually all peer reviewed articles in scientific journals agree with the premise that man is responsible for climate change.

The biggest hindrance to selling English antique furniture is how people process the information that you give them. Clients of old cared about “pretty” furniture more than anything and the antiques trade did its best to supply them with such. Early collectors, on the other hand, understood antique furniture style and yet even they did not know if, for example, there were replaced legs or feet or if the piece was enhanced. Trying to explain these vicissitudes today makes the field seem complex and even incomprehensible. Who wants to buy something that, if it is not in its completely original state with Chippendale’s bill describing it, isn’t perfect? It is the question du jour in the trade.

Misinformation is designed to lead people away from the truth. When we are confronted by what we believe is a fact, as was Dr. Oreskes, she chose to question further. Oddly, Dr. Oreskes, found that the purveyors of the misinformation were doing it because they believed that capitalism would solve the problem. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case and the damage they have done has lent credence to the anti-climate change skeptics. That damage is almost insurmountable when it is endlessly repeated—so, too, with misinformation about English furniture. It is just considerably more dire when our ecosystems are at stake.

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