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Dennis Bray: The Post-Modern Solution To Global Warming

OK. The fun is over. (It was fun though!) Science sometimes has to be serious. And what is more serious than the global warming issue. And I believe there may be a solution. And, after eating many helpings of humble pie, I have to say that the answer might lay in post modern methodology. (Yes, today it is post-modern, not post-normal, or could it now be post-normal-post-modern analysis. Ah, enough – like I said, this is a serious matter.)

In 1982 Culler (pp. 86-88 Culler, Jonathan, On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism). explained by example the tenuous nature of cause effect relations.

‘Suppose one feels pain. This causes one to look for a cause and spying, perhaps a pin, one posits a link and reverses the perceptual, or phenomenal order, pain … pin, to produce a causal sequence, pin .. pain. The causal scheme is produced by a metonymy or metalepsis (substitution of cause for effect); it is not an indubitable foundation but the product of a topographical operation. [i.e. the experience of the pain causes us to discover the pin, thus causes the production of the cause.] Deconstruction reverses the hierarchal opposition of the causal scheme. The distinction between cause and effect makes the cause an origin, logically and temporally prior. The effect is derived, secondary, dependent upon the cause. The deconstruction upsets the hierarchy by producing an exchange of properties. If the effect is what causes the cause to become a cause, then the effect, not the cause, should be treated as the origin.’

In 1988, Aronowitz (Science as Power: Discourse and Ideology in Modern Society. p.331) addressed the same phenomenon in a more formal fashion:

‘Linear causality assumes that the relations of cause and effect can be expressed as a function of temporal succession. Owing to a recent development in quantum mechanics, we can postulate that it is now possible to know the effects of absent causes; that is, speaking metaphorically, effects may anticipate causes so that our perceptions of them may precede the physical occurrence of a “cause”. The hypothesis that challenges our conventional conception of linear time and causality that asserts the possibility of time’s reversal also raises the question of the degree to which the concept of “time’s arrow” is inherent in all scientific theory. if these experiments are successful, the conclusions about the way the time as “clock-time” has been constituted historically will be open to question.’

He also informed us that the physical reality is no more than a socio-linguistic construct (despite the fact that physical reality likely preceded language or human for that matter. But for now, simply bare with me.). Aronowitz also informed us that by questioning “time’s arrow” it is possible to suggest that effect can precede cause.

So my solution to global warming is quite simple: If we all stop talking about it, if those people who die in heat waves or floods or other extreme events would stop dying, then we would never discover the pin on the floor and climate change would not exist. Simple. Just get rid of the effects. We just need the Nietzschean deconstruction of causality and Bob’s your uncle.

Klimazwiebel, 27 August 2010

see also: Post Normal Science or Post Normal Scientists?