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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Verbal violence & climate change

Browsing blogs where climate change issues are raised has revealed to me a level of verbal violence, abuse and sweeping categorisation of those with differing views that i had not expected. If I thought that was bad worse apparently is happening outside the blogosphere.

Clive Hamilton in a recent column on the ABC website documents this rhetorical style as applied to communications to climate change scientists. Reading the examples he quoted is a disturbing experience yet the response in comments on the web site demonstrated that people who rejected global warming seemed oblivious to the question of the violence of the language used.

Disagreement over the issue is sufficient to justify the language used.

What is happening? Is it a function of the technology in which the 'other" is not a flesh and blood person who you confront face to face?

A rereading of Genesis stars to seem appropriate at this point with its challenge to think about who our brother is, restraint when responding to murder and the role of language and technology in building and dispersing human community.

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