Friday, December 11, 2009

Bringing the tone of the neighbourhood down: A bit of personal background

The most common catch-cry in the climate debate tends to be "but you're not a climate scientist". Without even going into the recent, artificial emergence of this arbitrary discipline which makes the whole field somewhat questionable, I have acknowledged this by trying to keep most of these blog posts within my field of expertise. Or at least within the ball-park I feel comfortable commenting on. At first I was a bit worried that a "medical-climate-skeptic" blog would be too topical to keep coming up with material, but so far the damn thing seems to be writing itself. People outside the profession of medicine wouldn't think that climate alarmism would be impacting too much on the health professions, before I started this degree, I had no idea either. And yet you can't ignore it, and information that defies logic and accepted science and / or history is presented to you as gospel on almost a daily basis. It gave me the irrits so badly over the last couple of years that it polarised me politically, and led to my first ever blog post.

I used to operate under the delusion that I was so far left that I was right, so to speak. I recently commented to my father that I thought I was one of those rare birds: A leftist climate skeptic. He laughed his arse off at me and said "Honey, to most of the left, you're slightly to the right of Genghis Khan". This came as somewhat of a suprise to me. Words can hurt, Dad. Words can hurt. I kind of thought because I had been a welfare mum and had a bit of a penchant for nationalised health care and cheap education that I was over next to the trade unions, leaning on the lefternmost wall. Noel Pearson, an indigenous leader from Cape York, recently wrote an excellent piece on this issue of where people sit in relation to "the climate wars", and notes that:

Once-mild sceptics on the centre-right are being pushed further right, recoiling from the righteousness and the moral posturing of the zealots on the left.

I s'pose thats me then.

People might also be thinking that I might be over-reacting a bit with my anonymous stance, but when I weighed up the fact that a medical student and junior doctor's career is largely predicated on the good will of superiors, I couldn't take the risk. The new, green religion is too all-pervasive and socially acceptable, and the common reaction to skepticism too extreme.

I once had to sit an exam where I had to write an essay length explanation of how climate change related coral bleaching (questionable in itself) was going to negatively impact on human health. I shit you not. This exam was a hurdle requirement. If I failed it I would have had to re-sit the entire year, science subjects included. I bent over and took it like a, well, bitch. I had to. It didn't stop there either, but to outline anymore of the bullshit I have been expected to spout would probably give away the institution I attend (theres not that many graduate medical schools in New South Wales). One of my classmates who was woefully unprepared for our public health exam said he just put "global warming" every time he couldn't think of the answer. He passed with flying colours.

On one occasion a group of my peers wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister begging him to halve carbon emissions on the basis that Australian farmers are "suiciding because of global warming". They explained to the PM that since they were doing their bit by car-pooling and composting it was therefore reasonable to financially cripple all the primary and heavy industry employees of our nation. Then, they put MY name on it (and every other students, too.) I had to put my hand up in front of the entire year level and "come out" as a skeptic to get my name taken off of it. They had just assumed they were speaking for everyone. Later several people came up and quietly thanked me because they hadn't felt comfortable signing it, but none of them would have spoken out personally. Unfortunately, there are still a handful of people who have refused to speak to me since then, and amazingly, thats without me even telling them what I really think. For the most part since I have to hang out with these people every day, I try and let discretion be the better part of valour, however I draw the line at telling KRudd about my composting habits or lack thereof.

Just recently I have been barred from other medical blogs after they have had a look at mine. All I was trying to do was hang out and talk medico, not climate. Honest. One medical blog actually went to an invitational subscriber basis (of which I obviously wasn't one) and let me know it was because they were so horrified by The Daily Suppository. Awesome.

Maybe its because I don't write self important "look at me, I'm a doctor, I intubated 56 people yesterday" type posts. So just in case my fledgling readership has been disappointed about this, I will riff on some of the popular themes of most medical blogs (and then never do this again) :

Why become a doctor?

I had encountered enough idiot doctors mixed in with the good ones over the years (like the one who misdiagnosed a classic case of glandular fever as pregnancy. WTF?) that I figured I must be able to do a better job than some of them.

What is medical school like?

A bad case of Stockholm syndrome. You get tortured for 42 weeks of the year until eventually you start identifying with your captors.

What did I learn at medical school so far?

Don't order prosciutto after anatomy labs (it looks unnervingly like a slice of embalmed cadaver) and nurses get pissed off if you call them "nursie".

What do you want to do after graduation?

Getting paid would have novelty value.

How many lives have you saved?

I'm not trying to save lives, I'm just trying not to accidentally kill people.

Righto. Hopefully I have now cleared the air a little bit as to why I am doing what I am doing here in blog-land, and why I post under a nom-de-blog.
I would also like to stress that comments are welcome (although flaming will be heavily squelched). Let me know what you think!

1 comment:

  1. I found you some time ago, linked, and drop by infrequently. Busy. However, that Noel Pearson chap is spot on.

    I'm another one who was a sorta believer, but the more I look the more I find that the GW / AGW / CC stuff seems to be just outright bunkum.

    And I'm a slightly greenie, lefty. Being driven in the direction of the il-Liberal party on the grounds that they might actually (for once) do less harm to the economy than KRudd & Co. (Don't even get me started on how useless Penny Wong is - or Peter Garret. Shudder.)

    So you are not alone - it is very possible to be a lefty greenie conserving small-car driving composting hater of AGQ bullshit.

    I pretty much stopped posting after the first couple of my blog posts which saw my audience desert me. It's such a polarising topic that you are treated as having social leprosy if you "come out".


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