It is certainly noble to tone down the rhetoric and promote civility in public discourse. However, for a rational public discourse to be held on critical issues, all participants must acknowledge the basic facts of the case. It is impossible to achieve a healthy doctor-patient relationship with an open and honest discussion of treatment options if the patient denies the evidence or simply rejects the diagnosis. A reasoned discussion of treatment options starts from acceptance of the evidence.
Unfortunately, in critical issues facing the nation and the planet, there remain those who rest their position and their case on made-up data and repeated lies. One can be as civil as one wants to be, but ultimately it is necessary to point out when a position is based on lies. Rational debate and arrival at compromise are neither possible nor reasonable when one side maintains positions supported by lies.
In 2011, it is absurd that in the United States (or anywhere, for that matter) we should be wasting valuable public time discussing whether climate change is happening and what the evidence suggests is causing it. There is no serious scientific doubt that climate change is real and promoted by greenhouse gas pollution that we release into the atmosphere.
Regrettably, many of our Republican and tea party representatives in Washington, D.C., are still operating in the Dark Ages of denial. Until we all accept the scientific consensus and what the evidence so clearly tells us, we cannot begin the essential and civil discussion about a reasonable human response.
ALAN JOURNET, Ashland, Ore.