It snowed, but they still came. A heavy snowfall blanketed a global warming protest outside the State House in Annapolis this morning, but it did not dampen the shouts of about 400 activists who urged lawmakers to pass the nation's toughest greenhouse gas control law. As supporters waved signs, chanted and banged drums, 18 legislators walked down a symbolic green carpet to sign up as co-sporsors to a bill that would mandate that all businesses in Maryland cut emissions of global warming pollution by 25 percent by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050.
"We are going to pass this bill this year," said State Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Democrat from Prince George's County and chairman of the senate's environmental matters subcommittee. "We are not going to rest, we are not going to stop....We are going to keep going until we pass this bill." Pinsky and co-author Del. Kumar Barve, the house Democratic leader, proposed a similar but unsuccessful Global Warming Solutions Act last year. It would have created a system of financial rewards and punishments (known as a "cap and trade" system) to force all businesses to reduce their emissions.
The Maryland legislature over the last two year has approved more limited cuts in carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants and cars. Together, these add up to an expected 25 percent reduction.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Constellation Energy and many Republicans oppose the 90 percent mandate, saying such aggressive regulation could cripple the states economy if other states don't have such limits. "It would be harmful for employment," said Senate Republican Leader David R. Brinkley. "We have a conscientious business community, and nobody wants to contribute to pollution, but these guys are intent on making Maryland uncompetitive."
Rob Gould, a spokesman for Constellation Energy, the state's biggest owner of power plants, said federal or international regulation of greenhouse gases makes more sense. And he suggested that power shortages could result from excessive state regulation. "Constellation Energy is very supportive of federal and international regulation. Our concern with last year's bill was that it limited the ability to trade to sources inside Maryland. Given that the only way to reduce CO2 from non-nuclear power plants is to run those plants less, our concern remains that a single small state like Maryland cannot meet these aggressive targets without reliability impacts occurring." ....
Many of the protesters who endured the cold to chant "Stop Global Warming!" said they didn't think the snowfall conflicted with their message. Davey Rogner, a 22 year old student at the University of Maryland College Park, beat on an African Djembe drum to rev up the crowd. He said the snow was a "gift" to remind eveyone about how rarely Maryland has been blanketed with beautiful white in recent years as temperatures have increased. "Its only the second snow of the year, which is very sad," said Rogner, from Silver Spring. "Global warming is the most improtant issue of our generation. The state of Maryland should be taking a leadership role in it, because of our vulerability with all our shoreline." Barve said the snow was a good sign: "At least we have weather appropriate for winter time, finally." ....
A nonpartisan analysis of last year's proposal, by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, said the law would impose new regulations on "all businesses, small and large" across the state. "Accordingly, costs could increase significantly, but any such increase cannot be reliability calculated at this time."
It's all happened before: An explanation from psychology of why the global warming cult shows little response to contrary evidence
On noting the unfazed response of the demonstrators above to their patently ludicrous situation, I thought it was time to draw attention to some old wisdom from psychology. Problematical global warming is a prophecy, not a reality, so studies of what adherents to prophecies do when the evidence is against them are very relevant:
In studying this phenomenon, credit must be given to Leon Festinger for his cognitive dissonance theory, as developed in his book When Prophecy Fails, originally published in 1956 and co-authored by Festinger, Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schachter. The authors comprised a research team who conducted a study of a small cult-following of a Mrs. Marian Keech, a housewife who claimed to receive messages from aliens via automatic writing. The message of the aliens was one of a coming world cataclysm, but with the hope of surviving for the elect who listened to them through Keech and selected other mediums. What Festinger and his associates demonstrated in the end was that the failure of prophecy often has the opposite effect of what the average person might expect; the cult following often gets stronger and the members even more convinced of the truth of their actions and beliefs! This unique paradox is the focus of attention in this article.
"A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.
"We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks.
"But man's resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view.
When Prophecy Fails focuses on the failure of prophecies to come true, termed disconfirmation by Festinger, and the accompanied renewal of energy and faith in their source of divine guidance. His theory presupposes the cult having certain identifying features, such as:
(a) belief held with deep conviction along with respective actions taken,
(b) the belief or prediction must be specific enough to be disconfirmed (i.e., it didn't happen),
(c) the believer is a member of a group of like-minded believers who support one another and even proselytize. All of these characteristics were present in the saucer cult.
Of particular interest in Festinger's book is how the followers of Mrs. Keech reacted to each disconfirmation (failed date). Little attempt was made to deny the failure. The strength to continue in the movement was derived, not largely from the rationalizations , but from the very energy of the group itself and its dedication to the cause. This explains why proselytizing was so successful later in reinforcing the group's sagging belief system. Festinger relates:
"But whatever explanation is made it is still by itself not sufficient. The dissonance is too important and though they may try to hide it, even from themselves, the believers still know that the prediction was false and all their preparations were in vain. The dissonance cannot be eliminated completely by denying or rationalizing the disconfirmation. But there is a way in which the remaining dissonance can be reduced. If more and more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly it must, after all, be correct. Consider the extreme case: if everyone in the whole world believed something there would be no question at all as to the validity of this belief. It is for this reason that we observe the increase in proselytizing following disconfirmation. If the proselytizing proves successful, then by gathering more adherents and effectively surrounding himself with supporters, the believer reduces dissonance to the point where he can live with it."
In the end, the members of the flying saucer cult did not give up their faith in the Guardians from outer space with their promises of a new world. Despite numerous prophecies and the resultant disappointment accentuated by many personal sacrifices, the group remained strong. Summarizing the final stages of the flying saucer cult, Festinger says:
"Summarizing the evidence on the effect that disconfirmation had on the conviction of group members, we find that, of the eleven members of the Lake City group who faced unequivocal disconfirmation, only two, Kurt Freund and Arthur Bergen, both of whom were lightly committed to begin with, completely gave up their belief in Mrs. Keech's writings. Five members of the group, the Posts, the Armstrongs, and Mrs. Keech, all of whom entered the pre-cataclysm period strongly convinced and heavily committed, passed through this period of disconfirmation and its aftermath with their faith firm, unshaken, and lasting. Cleo Armstrong and Bob Eastman, who had come to Lake City heavily committed but with their conviction shaken by Ella Lowell, emerged from the disconfirmation of December 21 more strongly convinced than before..."
Excerpt above from here
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