Man sees what he chooses to see.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Christian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has noted: “We are being told things by people who don’t like the solutions to climate change and have decided that it’s a lot better and a lot smarter to deny the reality of the problem than to acknowledge it exists but say you don’t want to do anything about it.”

Naomi Klein has pointed out something similar, that acceptance of climate change realities would demand actions that some find politically unpalatable – so they choose to reject evidence pointing to the reality of climate change.
Rather than accept the findings of the majority of climate scientists, they prefer to hunt out a few scientists (often not involved in climate science) who deny it.

In other words, their stance is determined by what they PREFER to believe rather than by the validity of evidence.

I was talking to Gloria about this last night, and she very astutely pointed out that it’s the same situation when it comes to belief in God.
People choose to deny God, not because of lack of evidence, but because they don’t like the inevitable consequences of recognising Him. An acceptance of God requires a response; a consideration that He might require changes that will take us from the path we want to follow.

Some prefer to blind their eyes and block their ears than to see or hear a truth that requires a short-term price to be paid to gain a long term benefit.

17 thoughts on “Man sees what he chooses to see.

  1. On Climate Change, it’s interesting that you mentioned the “evidence”. Now, there’s the problem. There is no evidence of the type “Climate Change” or whatever name they wish to adorn or mask their agenda, of which they are presenting. If you look at the climate information, which is free to whomever wants it, a clear “ebb and flow” pattern of real natural climate change becomes apparently and irrefutably clear. It is a natural pattern that the earth goes through on regular cycles. Keep in mind, the same “Climate Change” alarmists, that are warning us about “Global Warming” are the same ones that gave us “Global Cooling” and the impending ice age, back in the 70’s.

    As for your correlation between this and peoples belief in God, I totally agree. People listen to others to get their opinions, instead of investigating it and coming to a logical conclusion, based on the evidence.

  2. Back in the 70s you may have seen claims of “global cooling” – but it was back then that I first came aware of something called the “greenhouse” effect that was threatening to cause increased temperatures.

    As around 97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is a very real and serious problem and only around 3% dismiss it (non-CLIMATE scientists at that!). And when charts of rising temperatures are show a very clear and ongoing upward trend. And when severe weather conditions are increasing in intensity and frequency… there is more than enough evidence for those who are not swayed by the politics promoted by extreme right politicians and major oil companies.

    I’ve seen arguments from both sides and only ONE side has presented any worthwhile evidence.
    I have seen very clearly that Opposition to the evidence of Climate change is NOT a scientific opposition, it is a political opposition. One only has to look into the background of those most avidly promoting denial to see that politics and the polluting industries are at the centre of that denial. (see the following comment)

  3. Global Warming Skeptic Organizations

    An overwhelming majority of scientists agree — global warming is happening and human activity is the primary cause. Yet several prominent global warming skeptic organizations are actively working to sow doubt about the facts of global warming.

    These organizations play a key role in the fossil fuel industry’s “disinformation playbook,” a strategy designed to confuse the public about global warming and delay action on climate change. Why? Because the fossil fuel industry wants to sell more coal, oil, and gas — even though the science clearly shows that the resulting carbon emissions threaten our planet.

    continued here, where there is also a relevant slide show:

  4. A recent documentary movie called “Merchants of Doubt” did a good job of examining the professional “denier” community. One leading climate-change denier got his start in that profession working for tobacco companies denying that cigarette-smoking caused cancer. Another boasted that in a dispute between the world’s leading climatologist and a “denier” garbage-collector, he could convince people the garbage-collector was right.

    Probably most rational people have a bias toward fact: that human beings are best equipped to make GOOD decisions when they know the relevant facts. It’s an assumption built into our common-law tradition and other societal structures, and it’s worked well. Science too embodies this assumption.

    But we all know that many people form their opinions, on both “sides” of this or any other controversy, on little or no factual evidence. This is primarily a spiritual problem: a failure of personal integrity, but even more a failure (in scripture’s words) to “receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved.”

    Indeed, “man sees what he chooses to see.” But I think we have an added problem in today’s society that very many of our fellow citizens leave themselves open to professional “opinion-makers” (in spiritual terms, deceivers) whose job it is to tell them what they see (or WISH to see). Or make themselves subject to deceivers by adapting the priorities (political, financial, etc.) of the deceivers.

    Priorities, of the deceivers and the deceived, seem a good place to apply the “cui bono” test. In my state, at least, climate-change denial is the creature of the notorious Koch Brothers, whose extreme wealth is based on oil; and a litmus-doctrine of the “conservative” faction which currently mis-governs our state. In the uses to which it’s put, as in its factuality, climate-change denial seems to me a deception, of evil intent.

    I’m in total agreement, Tim and Gloria. Climate-change denial is exactly a spiritual question.

  5. Please look into where your “97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is a very real and serious problem and only around 3% dismiss it” quote comes from and how they arrived at it and you will see the people that you are in bed with, unless you don’t care about misrepresenting the truth about “Climate Change”. By the way, the greenhouse gas issue went away just like the massive holes in the ozone. It all goes back to the premise of this blog. People will only see what they want to see. There is a saying, “Bought the Vein”. It’s describes the phenomenon in which people will go to great lengths to proving their position, even make things up.

    As far as the government latching on to this, it’s all about increasing revenues from the global energy conglomerates into the coffers of big government and funneling it down to special interest groups.

  6. Keith, the greenhouse gas issue has not gone away, it is at the heart of the cause of climate change.

    Where does that 97% quote come from? It comes from EVERYWHERE – unlike the climate denier claims that have a common source: lobby groups financed by the oil industry and the Koch brothers.

    you said:

    “As far as the government latching on to this, it’s all about increasing revenues from the global energy conglomerates into the coffers of big government and funneling it down to special interest groups.”

    Ahh – that negative reference to “big government” says it all! So it’s not surprising that you are a climate change denier along with those other denouncers of “big government” like the Koch brothers, the Tea Party and those with a similar agenda.
    And from my observation governments haven’t exactly been keen to latch onto climate change – they have resisted as much as possible which is why no real binding action has ever been taken at a government level.

  7. Climate Change Opinion

    “Climate science opinion2”. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons –

    Scientists need to back up their opinions with research and data that survive the peer-review process. A Skeptical Science peer-reviewed survey of all (over 12,000) peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ and ‘global warming’ published between 1991 and 2011 (Cook et al. 2013) found that over 97% of the papers taking a position on the subject agreed with the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of the project, the scientist authors were emailed and rated over 2,000 of their own papers. Once again, over 97% of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming agreed that humans are causing it.


    Also see articles here:

    I find it interesting that published opposition to the 97% of scientist agreeing on the reality of climate change figure tends to come from The Heartland Institute – who have also denied the link between smoking and lung cancer. Maybe understandable when so much of their funding has come from tobacco companies as well as the oil industry and the Kochs.

    see article here for an example of deniers’ views :

  8. …even more a failure (in scripture’s words) to “receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved.”

    Steve, The truth can be costly, so many don’t really WANT the truth. Their love is directed elsewhere.

    No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money

    For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

    Climate change denial seems to be focused on money – from those financing its campaigns being some of the world’s richest people trying to protect their fortunes, to some recognising the reality of climate change, but resisting changes that would be needed to be implemented to deal with the problem through fear of cost (the case with most governments).

    Personally I don’t have hold any expectation that the problem of climate change will be addressed. My interest in it is not driven by a hope that it can be halted or even reversed. My interest is in the reasons for denial, especially why so many professing Christians have been so keen to bind themselves to that denial, literally allying themselves with devotees of the highest degree of “money-love”.

  9. Steve, thanks for that reference to Merchants of Doubt.
    I did a little investigation and found this enlightening interview with one of the authors of the book behind the documentary. Close to the 12 minute mark she speaks of the political agenda behind issues like climate change denial.

    Naomi Oreskes: Merchants of Doubt from Jonathan Doig on Vimeo.

    …you can really see the role of ideology and you can really see the way the ideology drives what they are doing, even to the point of misrepresenting the scientific evidence. And that ideology is the ideology of the free market, … free market fundamentalism, that they are so opposed to government regulation in any way shape or form that they are willing to exaggerate the scientific uncertainty, downplay the scientific knowledge in order to prevent government regulation of the market place

    (approx. 12 mins 47 seconds into the video)

  10. Thanks, Keith and Tim for your comments.

    The phrase “big government” catches my attention too. Please understand I’m not saying you’re using it this way, Keith; but it’s nearly always a buzzword of the political “right,” invoked to elicit fear and hatred, and bypass rational thought.

    It is therefore a favorite catch-phrase of the “opinion-makers;” rather, the manipulators and deceivers; who prey on the large number of voters who are either unable to think critically, or who shirk their responsibility to think critically.

    Again, not saying you are using it this way, or that you yourself subscribe to it this way: but it’s also the exact point on which the political “right” has chosen to be a vehicle of spiritual evil. The ANTI-government response “big government” is meant to trigger is, in scriptural terms, “rebelliousness” and “lawlessness.” God sets His face with fierce hatred against these inter-twined evils: which are, not coincidentally, the personal character of satan.

    If you’re in the US, you’re aware that Reagan’s signature political doctrine (“government IS the problem”) is the operative principle of America’s current faux “conservatives.” It’s a formulation that grows from, and engenders, rebelliousness and lawlessness. It’s also an assertion that God got it wrong in Romans 13: that government is NOT “a minister of God to you for good;” and that citizens therefore should NOT “be in subjection to the governing authorities.”

    When “big government” is simply intended as a statement of fact, it’s a truth of modern western nations. There are good effects and bad that follow from that fact. There is room for discussion of the inequities caused by any large human bureaucracies (also “big business,” “big education,” “big banking,” etc.). In the democratic political tradition, we are empowered to correct government’s inequities, and to overrule the tendencies of humans in big government to misuse their delegated power. We have a civic responsibility to do so: and (because “the people” are in some part “government”) a God-given mandate to make government “a minister of God…for GOOD,” when it is otherwise.

    The political “right” has made it manifestly clear, however, that their intent is NOT to make government Godly, but to foster fear and hatred of government, and to destroy government. The agenda of the political “right” is at root the spiritual agenda of satan, the enemy, the rebel, and lawless one.

    “Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” (Romans 13:2) May God swiftly perform His word.

  11. Keith, there is a vein in which it can be true that promoting the idea of climate change as created by humans could be used to simply get money for either government or opportunistic groups (or even just one lucky group, as we don’t seem to be as careful to disallow monopolies in business or “philanthropy” as we used to). For instance, Newt Gingrich used to publicly state the reality of global warming. But I’m pretty sure his idea to address the matter was simply to tax measurements of carbon.* One concept that has developed out of the ability to measure carbon [and my going into this topic should not detract from carbon not being the only consideration — as there is methane and so forth] in this regard is the notion that a big dirty conglomerate (or little dirty company… but it’s easier for big corporations) could buy up (or simply obtain in some cases) land, and use that ownership to “balance” or average out their level of carbon emission over their properties and interests. This clearly does not take away from the fact they are polluting in the place where their industry spews out whatever it is they are doing to create byproducts or icky fluids (not to mention if they are creating junk that will mostly end up in landfills very soon). This method set didn’t catch on as a viable governing rule, but it can be found as a gimmicky (in my opionion) way to feel better about one’s personal “footprint.” And, of course, businesses use it as a way to tout an appearance of personal/corporate responsibility or conscience (even do-goodism, as if we should see primarily that they are environmentally aware and not see that they are environmentally callous even though they are… callous). Some things that are done are actually good; they should be done for their own sake because they are good and helpful, not in order to pretend that ruinous activities aren’t so bad. I should be careful to say that some people or incorporated organizations really do good, so green activities (if truly green and socially conscious) are desirable and shouldn’t be cynically hated or scoffed at by impulse.

    Often, however, the choices big companies make to offset their lack of application to do whatever is cleaner and more thoughtful, where they primarily operate, are not socially conscious choices; sometimes to one extent or another they aren’t even green in the sense of contributing anything to the world or any people. For instance, if a bunch of people (owners, lawyers, etc.) from across the other side of the planet came to where you lived — and you were a native man who’d never had a job in your life but worked and tended to the land and cared for your family and community together with others in your habitat — what would anyone (such as the bunch of people) be adding by working out a deal, with the closest modern government that otherwise had nothing to do with you, so as to claim ownership of this area? Add to that the possibility, which has happened at times, that this self-important bunch of people could then bar you from entering the property or climbing their trees?

    Nevertheless, it IS better if someone buys a stretch of land to maintain the natural plant and animal life (and, hopefully, human living habitation as well) rather than for the earth to be bulldozed so as to destroy its heritage and put in mechanical plantations of soil-leaching, non-sustainable, heat producing product.

    Ultimately, the point of climate awareness is that everyone should be thinking about everything they see right in front of them and everything they do. That’s what the point is to me.

    And, as humans with larger understandings than what is in our own faces, we can derive principles that are meaningful to populations and humanity.

    It isn’t what the point is to everyone. No matter what happens in our world, someone can pervert anything. So, we have to be careful about the details of any endeavor.

    *This, as a supposed solution, can be based on the conviction that everything can be answered with money (as seen in the so-called conservative movement that behaves as if starving government to keep money in the hands of the rich will solve social ills). How to come up with the perfect rate that doesn’t hurt small business but burdens large business enough to curb their behavior I don’t know (and I’m not sure anyone does). This, as a solution, can also be related to a recognition that if government ends up remediating the consequent outcomes of bad actors, then government will require revenue to be able to handle those situations. Or, it can simply be an excuse to take in money for whatever purposes (such as paying people like Newt Gingrich more while he argues against raising minimum wage or social security benefits to respond to cost of living). In foreign nations, a plot of heritage can be handed off by an official to an invader for a bribe.

    I tend toward the need for conscientious government (of, for and by the people — as is the United States if the people stay engaged and care) to oversee proper rules, to enforce them, and to remediate when all else has not happened well or a newly-learned piece of science has not been foreseen.

    Steve, I appreciated your post. I also want to bring out the part as to adapting or adopting the priorities of deceivers. There are people who are purposely deceiving, as you pointed out. Even people who are paid to professionally directly deceive. Of course, those who pay them are deceivers as well (such as David and Charles Koch, the brothers in arms who are trying to ruin Kansas and the rest of the country for their own sakes, as you have noticed, but who have convinced people, as did their father before them, of their good-heartedness). Perhaps some of both the payers and payees are actually too ignorant to know of their harm.

    I was saddened when someone at another blog site [which Tim is aware of but doesn’t visit or post at any more, or lately] lumped together that most people there would be pro-Israel, anti-abortion in some manner, and generally against the belief in man-made climate change. To me, Israel is too important to glom together as if it’s just a political tack claimed by a party. Not only that, the post went on to favor a particular candidate. I see this as a choice of priorities, whether the person who posted it and linked to articles of support knew it or not. Now, I did not go into topics of climate change. For one, I tend to focus on the right things to do rather than on a general categorization; but for a second reason, the confusion of not well founded assumptions for reality pertaining to politicians and parties bolstered by the very charged topics we do have in common is tragic.

    The Kochs have been doing this to our society for generations now. I have seen this over the long term. I was, as a very young person, influenced by the Koch brother’s dad and his cohorts as they incorporated what they called an educational membership (for which they did not publish the membership but to which, in my naïveté, I claimed membership out loud so to speak). I didn’t receive flack for my proud association (not too proud, I was a fairly quiet person and was into causes larger than myself). But I was young and inexperienced and hadn’t yet discovered the conflict this politically bent group had with my deep faith and values in life.

    I knew of the educational organization because of my mother, who was a member. I have since found (in real time) that although she and my dad took me to church and sent me to private schools she does not have the same heartfelt values and imperatives as a person that I do. And, as I have learned more in full existence, she has remained stagnant. Her favorite candidate is the same one the posting individual alluded toward (tenuous appearances count). I will not name any candidates, because that isn’t the main point or the priority. Seeing truth and sorting out arguments is what we can be capable to do if it matters to us.

    Assumptions are even made as to the other two topics I mentioned. Because the candidate is running as a Republican and can yell at anyone who asks him a question if he is too uncomfortable with the question, he gets credit for being against abortion in a meaningful way (which never necessarily translates that way as a political platform for a man of any sort as he can play games with responsibility being in the hands of women). And there is less scrutiny for the position of being pro-Israel because moneyed loudspeakers have asserted this association. Look at the details of what they claim and you find that a person of ill repute [certainly nearly the same as Satan himself if we’re on the subject of Israel and God], a person they have connected to a Democrat to further slime him] was long connected to a number of Republicans, including revered presidents. But all the facts are water under the bridge except to dredge up as accusation drowned in nebulous feeling. Then, connect all that to the topic of caring for the planet and the people on it — to say NO.

  12. I should have typed in Koch brothers’ dad (instead of Koch brother’s dad).
    [And there are more than the two I named, while the two are the active ones.]

  13. Steve said:

    The phrase “big government” catches my attention too. Please understand I’m not saying you’re using it this way, Keith; but it’s nearly always a buzzword of the political “right,” invoked to elicit fear and hatred, and bypass rational thought.

    Yes Steve. Buzz words and buzz phrases can be a very good indicator of the influences behind someone’s argument. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the user knowingly identifies with the dogma or doctrine behind the origin of those buzz words, but it does show how influential a dogma/doctrine can become through the use of slogans or catch-phrases that can propagate a message while also averting the “need” to offer reasoned argument.
    It’s something that has plagued Christendom for centuries – where the “buzz words” used tend to be cherry-picked, out of context proof texts. It’s usually very easy to see which theological tradition a person belongs to by looking at the proof-texts they rely on most.

  14. In Australia we have a TV presenter named David Koch (pronounced Kosh) whose social media accounts have apparently been wrongly targeted by Americans who haven’t realised he’s not the David Koch (pronounced Koke) that they are familiar with.

  15. I should clarify a couple things I said:

    1) “…ill repute… a person they have connected to a Democrat to further slime him]” should be “….to a Democrat to further slime him,” and actually is not clear enough in the way I put it. I’ve realized their aim was to further “slime” both the “person of ill repute” and the Democrat (not currently a candidate). Just the name of the Democrat is used as an epithet (in the view of the they or them saying these things). But there was no connection in fact shown between the Democrat and the “person of ill repute” — at all. And what was at least claimed was only possibly connected to a different person (also a Democrat), but there was no source material to substantiate the accusation — of any Democrat* or of the “person of ill repute” even (for the specific accusation). But I suspect that had they known the readily-available information all over the Internet (including in official documents) connects that person (“of ill repute”) to Reagan, they wouldn’t have gone through with the publication of the clever plug (based on nothing) for the current Republican candidate. The plug even pitted American Jews against Israeli Jews (again, based on nothing substantially happening in real life), so the play of politics was at the expense of some Jews (I guess this person thought that was a fair price).

    *I, as it turns out, provided something tangentially related but based on reason as to the second Democrat (not a he). What I shared is not some secret to disclose but truly known from observable recent events.

    2) “Her favorite candidate… (tenuous appearances count)” is tongue in cheek (on my part). The “appearances” seem to count for my mother and for the person who wrote the plug. My mother will even outright comment on the physical appearances of candidates. Share something another candidate said, she responds that she considers the fact he isn’t thinner to be a character flaw; no evaluation of character. But the blog post wasn’t that shallow — it displayed only the usual bamboozling that people appear to stand for certain things.

  16. Onesimus said: In Australia we have a TV presenter named David Koch (pronounced Kosh) … not the David Koch (pronounced Koke)… [Americans might be] familiar with.

    That’s important for people to know.

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