Arquivo da categoria: medo

>Hearts Beat as One in a Daring Ritual (N.Y. Times)

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Dimitris Xygalatas
SPAIN Fire-walkers carry family members or friends as they cross the coals.


By PAM BELLUCK

They do it every June 23, at midnight, celebrating the summer solstice by crossing a 23-foot-long carpet of oak embers that have burned for hours before sizzling down to a glowing red. The event is full of pageantry and symbolism: processions with religious statues, trumpets sounding before each fire-walk, and three virgins (or, these days, three women who are unmarried).
So when scientists wanted to measure the physiological effects of fire-walking to see if there were biological underpinnings of communal rituals, they encountered a few hurdles.
“We talked about measuring blood pressurecortisol levels, pain tolerance,” said Ivana Konvalinka, a bioengineering doctoral student at Aarhus University in Denmark who helped lead the team. “We even talked about oxytocin,” a hormone involved in pleasure.
But with such readings difficult to obtain, they settled on heart rate, strapping monitors on fire-walkers and spectators to see whether the rates of spectators increased like those of people actually walking barefoot on hot coals.
Still, even persuading people to wear heart monitors was no easy feat. Before arriving, the research team of anthropologists, psychologists and religion experts had received permission from San Pedro Manrique’s mayor, but later he demurred, Ms. Konvalinka said.
“He said to us, if we are able to recruit people, then fine,” she said, “but he didn’t approve, and he told people not to participate.”
Some people dropped out or refused, including the people the fire-walkers carry on their backs, a group researchers considered monitoring. But others approached researchers at the last minute. Ultimately, they monitored 12 fire-walkers, 9 spectators related to fire-walkers, and 17 unrelated spectators who were just visiting. The mayor also required monitors to be concealed so they were invisible to the crowd, which filled the town’s special fire-walking amphitheater, built for 3,000 spectators, five times the number of villagers.
The researchers wanted to investigate what draws people to communal rituals like fire-walking.
“There’s the idea about rituals that they enhance group cohesion, but what creates this group?” Ms. Konvalinka said. “We figured there was some kind of autonomic nervous system measure that could capture the emotional effects of the ritual.”
The results surprised them. The heart rates of relatives and friends of the fire-walkers followed an almost identical pattern to the fire-walkers’ rates, spiking and dropping almost in synchrony. The heart rates of visiting spectators did not. The relatives’ rates synchronized throughout the event, which lasted 30 minutes, with 28 fire-walkers each making five-second walks. So relatives or friends’ heart rates matched a fire-walker’s rate before, during and after his walk. Even people related to other fire-walkers showed similar patterns.
Experts not involved in the study said despite the small number of participants, the results were intriguing. They build on research showing heart rates of fans of team sports surge when their teams score, and on studies demonstrating that people rocking in rocking chairs or tapping their fingers eventually synchronize their movements.
“It’s one study, but it’s a great study,” said Michael Richardson, an assistant professor ofpsychology at the University of Cincinnati. “It shows that being connected to someone is not just in the mind. There are these fundamental physiological behavioral moments that are occurring continuously with other people that we’re not aware of. There is a solid grounding of laboratory research which is completely consistent with their findings. It’s always hard to do these studies in the real world. This is the first study that has kind of done it on a big scale in a natural situation.”
Richard Sosis, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut, said the study was “quite exciting,” contradicting the “assumption that rituals produce cohesion and solidarity only if there are shared movements, shared vocalizations or shared rhythms,” activities like singing, dancing or marching together. With fire-walking, spectators simply watched, without sharing activity or rhythm with the walkers. And different types of spectators had different results, with villagers in sync but out-of-towners not.
Dr. Sosis, co-editor of a new journal, Religion, Brain and Behavior, said there could be parallels with more common rituals, like weddings, baptisms or bar mitzvahs. He cited an experiment in which Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist, attended a wedding and measured oxytocin levels of the bride, groom and some relatives and friends, finding that several experienced surges in oxytocin as if bonding with the couple.
David Willey, a physicist at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, fire-walks himself and has reasoned that it does not normally burn because the embers do not transmit enough heat in their brief contact with feet. Heart-rate synchronization makes sense, he said, based on his fire-walking parties, where “there is very much a group feeling.”
Researchers might find similar heart-rate synchronization in other high-arousal rituals like “bending rebar with your throat, walking on broken glass, bungee jumping,” he said. “They can come to my backyard if they want.”
Ms. Konvalinka said the team plans another fire-walking study, this time in Mauritius. But they may also return to San Pedro Manrique. “At the end,” she said, “I think the mayor was O.K. with us being there.
Anúncios

>Negar para não mudar (Pesquisa Fapesp)

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Política de C & T | Mudanças climáticas
Livro mostra como um trio de físicos se dedicou a combater a ideia do aquecimento global nos EUA

Marcos Pivetta, de San Diego*
Edição Impressa 175 – Setembro 2010

Nos tribunais, quando as evidências são enormes contra o réu e a condenação parece questão de tempo, os advogados de defesa sempre podem recorrer a uma derradeira tática: fomentar uma dúvida qualquer, às vezes sobre um aspecto secundário do delito, para turvar o raciocínio dos membros do júri e, assim, evitar ou ao menos postergar o quanto for possível a sentença. A partir do final dos anos 1980, uma versão desse clássico estratagema judicial – que, dentro e fora das cortes, fora usado eficazmente pela indústria do cigarro durante décadas para negar e minimizar os conhecidos malefícios do tabagismo – passou a ser empregada nos Estados Unidos para questionar a existência do aquecimento global e a contribuição das atividades humanas, em especial a queima de combustíveis fósseis emissores de gases de efeito estufa, no desencadeamento das mudanças climáticas.

Sempre que era divulgado um novo estudo de peso sobre a natureza do aquecimento global, três veteranos pesquisadores de enorme prestígio, abrigados numa entidade privada em Washington, o George C. Marshall Institute, saíam a campo para questionar os novos dados. “Primeiro, eles disseram que as mudanças climáticas não existiam, depois afirmaram que as variações de temperatura eram um fenômeno natural (tentaram atribuir a culpa a alterações na atividade solar) e então passaram a argumentar que, havendo as mudanças e mesmo sendo culpa nossa, isso não importava porque nós sempre poderíamos nos adaptar a elas”, afirmou a historiadora da ciência Naomi Oreskes, da Universidade da Califórnia em San Diego (UCSD), numa palestra realizada para jornalistas latino-americanos durante o 7o Taller Jack F. Ealy de Periodismo Científico, que ocorreu em julho nessa universidade. “Em todos os casos, eles negavam que havia um consenso científico sobre a questão, apesar de serem essencialmente eles mesmos os únicos que estavam contra.”

Ao lado do também historiador da ciência Erik Conway, que trabalha no Instituto de Tecnologia da Califórnia (Caltech), Naomi lançou em maio nos Estados Unidos o livro Merchants of doubt – How a handful of scientists obscured the thuth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming (“Mercadores da dúvida – Como uns poucos cientistas ocultaram a verdade em temas que vão do cigarro ao aquecimento global”, numa tradução livre para o português). Na obra, muito bem documentada e que recebeu elogios na imprensa leiga e nas revistas científicas, Naomi e Conway, um especialista na história da exploração do espaço, mostram que já existe, e não é de hoje, um consenso científico sobre o aquecimento global, detalham a trajetória dos líderes do instituto e suas táticas de negação das mudanças climáticas.

Nos Estados Unidos, país que historicamente é o maior emissor de gases de efeito estufa e também o maior refratário a adotar políticas para mitigar as mudanças climáticas, a ação dos céticos do aquecimento global foi encabeçada nas duas últimas décadas por uma trinca de influentes físicos aposentados ou semiaposentados, todos hoje mortos: o especialista em física da matéria sólida Frederick Seitz (1911-2008), que participou do projeto da construção da bomba atômica durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial e foi presidente da Academia Nacional de Ciências dos Estados Unidos na década de 1960; o astrofísico Robert Jastrow (1925-2008), fundador e diretor do God-dard Institute for Space Studies da Nasa nos anos 1960 e uma figura importante na condução de vários projetos da agência espacial; e William Nierenberg (1919-2000), pesquisador apaixonado pelo mar que foi durante mais de 20 anos diretor do prestigioso Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Nenhum deles era um especialista em modelos climáticos, mas esse detalhe não diminuía sua influência na mídia e na administração norte-americana, sobretudo em governos republicanos.

Em 1984 os três fundaram o George C. Marshall Institute, cujo slogan era (e é) “ciência para uma política pública melhor”. O think tank, expressão em inglês usada para denominar esse tipo de instituto, tinha como objetivo original fazer lobby a favor do polêmico projeto de construção de um escudo espacial capaz de defender os Estados Unidos de um eventual ataque de mísseis balísticos disparados pela União Soviética. Apelidada de Guerra nas Estrelas, a iniciativa de defesa, concebida durante a administração de Ronald Reagan, nunca saiu do papel. Com a derrocada do império soviético entre o fim dos anos 1980 e o início dos 1990, o projeto do escudo espacial foi arquivado e Seitz, Jastrow e Nierenberg redirecionaram a atuação do instituto para um tema mais atual: o combate ao ambientalismo em geral e à negação do aquecimento global. “Eles tinham aquela ideia de que os ambientalistas eram como melancias: verdes por fora e vermelhos por dentro”, disse Naomi.

Ozônio e DDT – A dupla que escreveu o livro se conheceu numa conferência sobre história da meteorologia em 2004 na Alemanha e logo ambos perceberam que haviam chegado à mesma constatação: os cientistas que mais ativamente combatiam nos Estados Unidos a ideia de que a temperatura global do planeta estava aumentando eram os mesmos que, no passado recente, tinham negado ou ainda negavam a existência do buraco na camada de ozônio, os perigos da chuva ácida, os malefícios do pesticida DDT e os problemas de saúde causados pelo tabaco em fumantes passivos. “Em todos esses temas científicos, eles sempre estiveram do lado errado”, afirmou Naomi, que já deu aulas em Harvard, em Stanford, na New York University e hoje dirige o Sixth College da UCSD. “Quando descobrimos que Seitz tinha coordenado entre 1979 e 1985 o programa de pesquisa da R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, que investiu US$ 45 milhões em estudos científicos, vimos que tínhamos uma boa história.”

A atuação dos membros do instituto visava (e visa) mostrar que não havia consenso científico sobre a existência das mudanças climáticas e muito menos certeza sobre quais seriam as suas causas. Logo, diziam os cientistas do George C. Marshall Institute, o debate nesse campo da ciência estava totalmente aberto e não fazia sentido os Estados Unidos adotarem qualquer medida legal ou prática para diminuir o consumo de combustíveis fósseis. Exatamente a mesma tática foi empregada durante décadas por pesquisadores e médicos ligados ou patrocinados pela indústria do cigarro, que, a despeito das crescentes evidências dos malefícios do tabaco, negavam e minimizavam as conclusões dos estudos científicos.

Posta dessa maneira, a negação do aquecimento global parece ter sido alvo de uma conspiração encabeçada por um grupo de cientistas conservadores. Os autores do livro, no entanto, se apressam em descartar qualquer insinuação nessa linha. Eles dizem que não encontraram nada de ilegal na atuação de Seitz, Jastrow e Nierenberg e que tudo foi feito mais ou menos às claras. Entre os estratagemas do instituto, estava o de invocar um princípio clássico da imprensa norte-americana e ocidental: lembrar os jornalistas de que eles sempre têm de ouvir e dar espaço equivalente a visões contrárias às dominantes. Nas reportagens sobre mudanças climáticas, os dirigentes do George C. Marshall Institute e outros céticos do aquecimento global eram com frequência o outro lado.

Merchants of doubt apresenta Seitz, Jastrow e Nierenberg como fervorosos defensores da desregulamentação da economia, anticomunistas convictos, “falcões” a serviço da indústria dos combustíveis fósseis e de interesses conservadores. “O lobby deles foi muito eficiente porque a cultura americana da finada Guerra Fria era permeada pela crença no fundamentalismo dos mercados, na ideia de que os mercados eram, sempre e em todo o lugar, bons e que a regulamentação é sempre ruim”, diz Conway. “Essa ideia permitiu que a negação do aquecimento global funcionasse tão bem. A propaganda é mais eficiente quando se assenta em algo que as pessoas já acreditam.”

Reação ao livro – A publicação do livro levou a uma reação dos atuais comandantes do George C. Marshall Institute. Num artigo divulgado em junho no site do think tank, William O’Keefe e Jeff Kueter, respectivamente CEO e presidente do instituto, dizem que a obra carece de fundamentação científica e distorce a realidade. Eles defendem os bons serviços prestados à ciência pelos fundadores do instituto, dizem que Seitz, Jastrow e Nierenberg sempre foram anticomunistas e defensores do livre mercado – e que isso está longe de ser um defeito nos Estados Unidos.

De concreto, a resposta não desmente nenhum dos fatos centrais relatados no livro. Por exempo, O’ Keefe e Kueter admitem que Seitz realmente chefiou o programa de pesquisas da R.J. Reynolds depois de ter se aposentado do cargo de presidente da Universidade Rockefeller, algo que, segundo eles, não era segredo e estava na autobiografia do físico. Mas dizem que o intuito do programa não era gerar dados que questionassem os malefícios do cigarro. Pelo menos esse não era o objetivo de Seitz, ainda que pudesse ser o da indústria do tabaco.

Sobre a questão das mudanças climáticas, as respostas dos atuais dirigentes do instituto parecem dar mais razão a Naomi e Conway do que contradizê-los. “Na verdade, o único consenso (sobre o aquecimento global) que existe é entre aqueles que escrevem (o relatório do Painel Intergovernamental de Mudanças Climáticas, o IPCC, na sigla em inglês)”, afirmam O’Keefe, ex-vice presidente do Instituto Americano do Petróleo, e Kueter. Por isso, eles advogam mais pesquisas científicas sobre o tema e nenhuma ação imediata para diminuir as emissões de gases de efeito estufa: “Somos contra as políticas de reduções das emissões de poluentes e de mecanismos semelhantes ao Protocolo de Kyoto? Sim. Elas são caras e vão trazer pouco retorno ambiental”.

Para o climatologista Carlos Nobre, coordenador do Programa FAPESP de Pesquisa sobre Mudanças Climáticas Globais e do Centro de Ciência do Sistema Terrestre (CCST) do Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Inpe), a atuação de lobbies conservadores ligados à indústria dos combustíveis fósseis, como o realizado pelo George C. Marshall Institute, atrasa a obtenção de um grande acordo mundial para a redução das emissões de gases de efeito estufa. “Eles sabem que estão numa batalha perdida, a exemplo do que ocorreu com o debate em torno dos malefícios do tabaco”, argumenta Nobre, que faz parte do time de 600 cientistas de mais de 40 países que compõem o IPCC. “O que eles querem é atrasar o máximo possível a adoção de medidas que forcem a indústria americana a reduzir suas emissões de poluentes.”

O físico Paulo Artaxo, professor da Universidade de São Paulo (USP), outro representante do Brasil no IPCC, pensa de forma semelhante. “Eles querem ganhar tempo”, afirma Artaxo. “Em ciência, nunca há 100% de certeza. Mas os dados compilados pelo IPCC representam a melhor ciência disponível sobre a questão do aquecimento global.” Em seu último relatório, o IPCC atribuiu, com um grau de 95% de confiabilidade, as mudanças climáticas ao aumento das atividades humanas no planeta. Criado em 1988, o IPPC não é perfeito e está corrigindo suas imprecisões e a forma de trabalhar. Mas seus dados, diz a maior parte dos pesquisadores, são uma razão para agir – e não para o imobilismo como defendem os céticos das mudanças climáticas.

A visão de Washington sobre o aque­cimento global mudou com a chegada do democrata Barack Obama à Casa Branca? Para Conway, a atual administração parece aceitar a realidade de que as mudanças climáticas são reais e decorrem essencialmente das atividades humanas. “Mas os Estados Unidos não têm sido muito pró-ativos nessa questão”, reconhece Conway. “Somos os líderes mundiais em ciência do clima. No entanto, em termos práticos, de medidas mitigadoras do aquecimento, os países escandinavos estão muito na nossa frente.”

* O jornalista Marcos Pivetta participou do 7o Taller Jack F. Ealy de Periodismo Científico a convite do Institute of the Americas.

>Governo americano discute intervir contra queima do Alcorão na Flórida (Estado de SP)

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Pastor fala em repensar planos a pedido da Casa Branca, Pentágono ou departamento de Estado

09 de setembro de 2010 | 14h 48

Pastor Jones idealizou o ‘Dia Internacional da Queima do Corão’.

WASHINGTON – O governo americano discute fazer um pedido formal ao pastor Terry Jones para que ele desista de promover queima de exemplares do Alcorão – o livro sagrado do Islã – no aniversário dos atentados de 11 de setembro, no próximo sábado.

“Esta possibilidade está sendo discutida no governo, mas ainda não há uma decisão”, disse o porta-voz do Pentágono Geoffrey Morrell nesta quinta-feira, 9.

Em uma entrevista publicada pelo jornal USA Today, o reverendo disse que se recebesse um pedido da Casa Branca, do Departamento de Estado ou do Pentágono, repensaria seus planos.

“Por enquanto não estamos convencidos que recuar seja o certo a fazer. Se fôssemos contactados pela Casa Branca, pelo Departamento de Estado ou pelo Pentágono isto nos faria repensar. Não acho que um pedido deles seja algo que ignoraríamos”, disse.

Obama intervém

Pela manhã, em uma entrevista à rede de TV ABC, o presidente Barack Obama defendeu que o pastor desista do protesto. Segundo o democrata, a atitude pode colocar em risco tropas americanas no Afeganistão e incentivar radicais islâmicos da Al-Qaeda.

“Se ele estiver escutando, espero que ele entenda que o que ele propõe é completamente contrário ao valores dos americanos. Nosso país foi construído sobre as noções da tolerância e da liberdade religiosa”, disse Obama. “Quero que ele entenda que seu golpe publicitário pode colocar em grave perigo todos aqueles que servem o país fora daqui”.

Obama ainda disse que a queima do Alcorão , vai impulsionar a Al-Qaeda e aumentar os níveis de violência contra os soldados americanos no Afeganistão e no Paquistão. “Espero que ele ouça sua consciência e entenda que seus planos levarão a atos de destruição”, concluiu o presidente.

Viajantes em alerta

Também nesta tarde, o departamento de Estado emitiu um alerta para americanos fora do país sobre o risco de manifestações antiamericanas no sábado, caso o reverendo leve sua proposta adiante.

“O potencial para protestos que podem se tornar violentos continua alta”, diz o alerta.

Com Reuters

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Da Flórida a Meca – A história do extremista cristão que quer queimar 200 cópias do Alcorão

por Gustavo Chacra

09.setembro.2010 05:17:11

Antes de começar o texto, preciso deixar claro que ninguém nos EUA está apoiando a iniciativa de queimar o Alcorão, a não ser os seguidores do pastor da Flórida. Até mesmo oportunistas supostamente conservadores, como o apresentador Glenn Beck, da Fox News, criticaram a iniciativa.

Terry Jones era um pastor completamente desconhecido e irrelevante nos Estados Unidos até dois meses atrás. Apenas 30 pessoas frequentam semanalmente seus sermões em sua igreja em Gainesville, na Flórida. Mesmo na pequena cidade, este líder evangélico é considerado uma figura marginal, sem importância, quase uma piada. Ele era considerado um fracasso nas relações públicas.

A não ser pelo seu longo bigode grisalho, Jones não conseguia chamar a atenção, apesar de tentar com o seu programa “The Braveheart Show”, no YouTube, e com o livro “The Islam is of the Devil”. Porém somente 200 pessoas costumavam assisti-lo. Um número similar comprou o seu livro na internet.

Tudo mudou em 25 de julho deste ano, quando o pastor decidiu, no seu programa do YouTube, lançar uma campanha “internacional” para queimar o Alcorão. “O Islã é do demônio. O 11 de Setembro nunca será esquecido. Foi o dia que Islã nos atacou, o nosso modo de vida, a nossa Constituição. É uma religião demoníaca. Neste 11 de Setembro, teremos um dia internacional para queimar o Alcorão”, afirmou o pastor, que se autodenomina doutor, no vídeo de 1 minuto e 36 segundos.

Inicialmente, poucos prestaram atenção na sua campanha. Nos últimos dias, com a aproximação do 11 de Setembro, as autoridades passaram a levar a sério a campanha deste pastor que lidera uma igreja chamada Dove World Outreach Center.

Aproveitando a sua popularidade, Jones tem dado seguidas entrevistas a redes de TV. Críticos, como o general David Petreaus, comparam o seu radicalismo ao do Taleban. No seu site, ao apresentar os ideais de sua igreja, ele afirma que “os cristãos precisam retornar para a verdade e parar de se esconderem. O Aborto é um assassinato. A homossexualidade é um pecado. Temos que chamar estas coisas pelo que elas realmente são. Jesus é o único caminho, a verdade e a vida. Qualquer religião que vá contra isso é demônio”.


Repúdio internacional

A decisão de queimar cerca de 200 cópias do Alcorão no dia 11 de Setembro provocou repúdio internacional e elevou os temores de reações violentas de muçulmanos ao redor do mundo. Autoridades americanas e lideranças islâmicas moderadas tentam mostrar que esta manifestação é um caso isolado, não representando o pensamento americano.

Até agora, estas condenações a Jones foram insuficientes para conter os protestos que já começaram na Indonésia e no Paquistão e devem se espalhar por outros países. Um porta-voz do Ministério das Relações Exteriores do Irã advertiu os EUA para não “profanarem objetos islâmicos” e para “não criarem situações sensíveis envolvendo a opinião pública e os muçulmanos”.

O tom também foi duro nas declarações de um ex-ministro de assuntos religiosos da Síria. “Estamos acostumados a ver as administrações arrogantes dos EUA e da Europa ofendendo o islamismo e a figura do profeta Maomé”, disse Abd al Razzaq Munis para uma rede de TV iraniana. No Afeganistão, manifestantes queimaram bandeiras americanas e um boneco que representaria Terry Jones.

Há cinco anos, depois de um cartunista dinamarquês publicar um cartoon satirizando o profeta Maomé, dezenas de milhares de muçulmanos protestaram violentamente ao redor do mundo e mais de cem pessoas morreram. Queimar o Alcorão seria uma blasfêmia ainda maior para os muçulmanos. “Se a igreja da Flórida levar adiante seus planos de queimar o Alcorão no 11 de Setembro, aquela data infame vai ganhar um irmão gêmeo que será o estopim de uma onda de ira que consumirá partes do mundo”, escreveu em editorial o jornal libanês Daily Star, alertando sobre os riscos da atitude do pastor americano.

Ao publicarem as informações sobre o assunto ontem, a imprensa da região foi cautelosa. Até mesmo a rede de TV Al Manar, do Hezbollah, evitou declarações incendiárias ao colocar logo no primeiro parágrafo de seu texto que autoridades americanas condenaram a atitude do pastor. A Al Jazeera também tomou o mesmo cuidado.

Em declarações no Council on Foreign Relations, a secretária de Estado, Hillary Clinton, disse que os planos de “uma pequena igreja da Flórida de queimar cópias do Alcorão no 11 de Setembro é revoltante e infeliz, não representando quem somos como americanos”. O comandante das forças americanas no Afeganistão, general David Petraeus, também condenou o pastor, afirmando que a atitude dele pode colocar em risco as tropas americanas.

O Vaticano criticou Jones ao afirmar que todas as religiões “devem ser respeitadas e protegidas”. A chanceler (premiê) alemã, Angela Merkel, e o presidente do Líbano, Michel Suleiman, que é cristão, também lamentaram a decisão do pastor da Flórida e alertaram para os riscos de violência em reação à atitude dele. O secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki-Moon, disse que a ação do pastor pode colocar em risco “iniciativas das Nações Unidas ao redor do mundo para defender a tolerância religiosa”.

Apesar de todas estas iniciativas, a Justiça americana não pode impedir que o pastor siga adiante com seus planos. A Constituição dos EUA garante o direito à liberdade de expressão, ainda que uma religião seja ofendida.

Islamofobia

Grupos muçulmanos dos Estados Unidos pretendem realizar um protesto pacífico diante da igreja do pastor Terry Jones, no dia 11 de Setembro, quando ele promete queimar cerca de 200 cópias do Alcorão. A data, neste ano, coincide com o último dia do Ramadã, mês sagrado para os islâmicos.

“Nós estaremos lá. A idéia é encará-lo de frente e mostrar que existe uma alternativa. Também tentaremos mostrar ao resto do mundo islâmico que este pastor é uma figura marginal, não representando o pensamento americano”, me disse Corey Saylor, porta-voz do Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), considerado o grupo mais representativo da população muçulmana dos EUA.

Segundo ele, muitas vezes a imprensa ocidental mostra líderes marginais do islamismo atacando o judaísmo e o cristianismo como se fossem autoridades religiosas importantes. “Não podemos fazer o mesmo. Estamos trabalhando para que os muçulmanos ao redor do mundo entendam que este é um caso isolado”, disse Saylor, advertindo, porém, que existe uma “bolha islamofóbica” nos EUA.

Citando o prefeito de Nova York, Michael Bloomberg, episódios como o do pastor Jones e a oposição à construção do centro comunitário islâmico a dois quarteirões do Ground Zero “possuem motivações políticas e devem se reduzir depois das eleições (parlamentares) de novembro”. Ele também elogiou as manifestações de Hillary e Petraeus.

Na avaliação do CAIR, o presidente Barack Obama não deveria intervir. “Isso seria usado politicamente contra ele”, disse Saylor. O líder americano é classificado como muçulmano por mais de um quinto da população dos EUA, apesar de ele publicamente se declarar cristão.

Um grupo de líderes religiosos, incluindo autoridades cristãs, judaicas e islâmicas, divulgaram ontem um comunicado lamentando a atitude do pastor do Texas e advertindo para o risco do crescimento da islamofobia nos EUA. A revista Time, que é a de maior circulação no país, publicou uma capa no mês passado questionando se os americanos são islamofóbicos. O New York Times, em editoriais, também já advertiu para os riscos dos sentimentos anti-islã.

>A Monsanto e os transgênicos: uma história de horror (da Vanity Fair)

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Investigation

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

By Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
Vanity Fair
May 2008

Go to the article:http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

No thanks: An anti-Monsanto crop circle made by farmers and volunteers in the Philippines. By Melvyn Calderon/Greenpeace HO/A.P. Images.

>Naomi Oreskes on Merchants of Doubt (WNYC Radio)

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Science and Speech
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

http://beta.wnyc.org/media/audioplayer/red_progress_player_no_pop.swf(function(){var s=function(){__flash__removeCallback=function(i,n){if(i)i[n]=null;};window.setTimeout(s,10);};s();})();

Naomi Oreskes reveals how a small but powerful group of scientists has managed to obscure the truth about issues from the dangers of smoking to the causes of climate change. And we’ll hear about the origins of the New York accent and how the accent is changing.

>Climate Fears Turn to Doubts Among Britons (N.Y. Times)

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By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: May 24, 2010

LONDON — Last month hundreds of environmental activists crammed into an auditorium here to ponder an anguished question: If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed, why have so many people turned away from the idea that human activity is warming the planet?

Nowhere has this shift in public opinion been more striking than in Britain, where climate change was until this year such a popular priority that in 2008 Parliament enshrined targets for emissions cuts as national law. But since then, the country has evolved into a home base for a thriving group of climate skeptics who have dominated news reports in recent months, apparently convincing many that the threat of warming is vastly exaggerated.

A survey in February by the BBC found that only 26 percent of Britons believed that “climate change is happening and is now established as largely manmade,” down from 41 percent in November 2009. A poll conducted for the German magazine Der Spiegel found that 42 percent of Germans feared global warming, down from 62 percent four years earlier.

And London’s Science Museum recently announced that a permanent exhibit scheduled to open later this year would be called the Climate Science Gallery — not the Climate Change Gallery as had previously been planned.

“Before, I thought, ‘Oh my God, this climate change problem is just dreadful,’ ” said Jillian Leddra, 50, a musician who was shopping in London on a recent lunch hour. “But now I have my doubts, and I’m wondering if it’s been overhyped.”

Perhaps sensing that climate is now a political nonstarter, David Cameron, Britain’s new Conservative prime minister, was “strangely muted” on the issue in a recent pre-election debate, as The Daily Telegraph put it, though it had previously been one of his passions.

And a poll in January of the personal priorities of 141 Conservative Party candidates deemed capable of victory in the recent election found that “reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” was the least important of the 19 issues presented to them.

Politicians and activists say such attitudes will make it harder to pass legislation like a fuel tax increase and to persuade people to make sacrifices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Legitimacy has shifted to the side of the climate skeptics, and that is a big, big problem,” Ben Stewart, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said at the meeting of environmentalists here. “This is happening in the context of overwhelming scientific agreement that climate change is real and a threat. But the poll figures are going through the floor.”

The lack of fervor about climate change is also true of the United States, where action on climate and emissions reduction is still very much a work in progress, and concern about global warming was never as strong as in Europe. A March Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans believed that the seriousness of global warming was “generally exaggerated,” up from 41 percent a year ago.

Here in Britain, the change has been driven by the news media’s intensive coverage of a series of climate science controversies unearthed and highlighted by skeptics since November. These include the unauthorized release of e-mail messages from prominent British climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that skeptics cited as evidence that researchers were overstating the evidence for global warming and the discovery of errors in a United Nations climate report.

Two independent reviews later found no evidence that the East Anglia researchers had actively distorted climate data, but heavy press coverage had already left an impression that the scientists had schemed to repress data. Then there was the unusually cold winter in Northern Europe and the United States, which may have reinforced a perception that the Earth was not warming. (Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a United States agency, show that globally, this winter was the fifth warmest in history.)

Asked about his views on global warming on a recent evening, Brian George, a 30-year-old builder from southeast London, mused, “It was extremely cold in January, wasn’t it?”

In a telephone interview, Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist at the World Bank and a climate change expert, said that the shift in opinion “hadn’t helped” efforts to come up with strong policy in a number of countries. But he predicted that it would be overcome, not least because the science was so clear on the warming trend.

“I don’t think it will be problematic in the long run,” he said, adding that in Britain, at least, politicians “are ahead of the public anyway.” Indeed, once Mr. Cameron became prime minister, he vowed to run “the greenest government in our history” and proposed projects like a more efficient national electricity grid.

Scientists have meanwhile awakened to the public’s misgivings and are increasingly fighting back. An editorial in the prestigious journal Nature said climate deniers were using “every means at their disposal to undermine science and scientists” and urged scientists to counterattack. Scientists in France, the Netherlands and the United States have signed open letters affirming their trust in climate change evidence, including one published on May 7 in the journal Science.

In March, Simon L. Lewis, an expert on rain forests at the University of Leeds in Britain, filed a 30-page complaint with the nation’s Press Complaints Commission against The Times of London, accusing it of publishing “inaccurate, misleading or distorted information” about climate change, his own research and remarks he had made to a reporter.

“I was most annoyed that there seemed to be a pattern of pushing the idea that there were a number of serious mistakes in the I.P.C.C. report, when most were fairly innocuous, or not mistakes at all,” said Dr. Lewis, referring to the report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Meanwhile, groups like the wildlife organization WWF have posted articles like “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” providing stock answers to doubting friends and relatives, on their Web sites.

It is unclear whether such actions are enough to win back a segment of the public that has eagerly consumed a series of revelations that were published prominently in right-leaning newspapers like The Times of London and The Telegraph and then repeated around the world.

In January, for example, The Times chastised the United Nations climate panel for an errant and unsupported projection that glaciers in the Himalayas could disappear by 2035. The United Nations ultimately apologized for including the estimate, which was mentioned in passing within a 3,000-page report in 2007.

Then came articles contending that the 2007 report was inaccurate on a host of other issues, including African drought, the portion of the Netherlands below sea level, and the economic impact of severe storms. Officials from the climate panel said the articles’ claims either were false or reflected minor errors like faulty citations that in no way diluted the evidence that climate change is real and caused by human activity.

Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, successfully demanded in February that some German newspapers remove misleading articles from their Web sites. But such reports have become so common that he “wouldn’t bother” to pursue most cases now, he added.

The public is left to struggle with the salvos between the two sides. “I’m still concerned about climate change, but it’s become very confusing,” said Sandra Lawson, 32, as she ran errands near Hyde Park.

*   *   *

A response to the article above appeared at the Climate progress blog: “Brulle: ‘The NY Times doesn’t need to go to European conferences to find out why public opinion on climate change has shifted…. Just look in the mirror.‘” Access the post here.

>Climate sceptics rally to expose ‘myth’ (BBC)

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By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News
21 May 2010

In the Grand Ballroom Of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Hotel, dinner was over.

Beef, of course. A great pink hunk of it from the American Mid-West.

At the world’s biggest gathering of climate change sceptics, organised by the right-wing Heartland Institute, vegetarians were an endangered species.

Wine flowed and blood coursed during a rousing address from Heartland’s libertarian president Joseph Bast. Climate change is being used by governments to oppress the people, he believes.

After years of opposing government rules on smoking and the environment, Mr Bast now aims to forge a global movement of climate sceptics to end the “myth” that humans are endangering the atmosphere.

He urged the audience to spread the word among their families, friends and work colleagues that climate science is too uncertain to guide government policy, and that plans for climate laws in the US would bankrupt the nation.

“We just didn’t realise in those days how important and controversial this would all become” – Professor Roy Spencer, University of Alabama

In turn, he introduced an all-American hero, Harrison Schmitt, one of the last people to walk on the Moon and still going strong.

Mr Schmitt trained as a geologist and like some other geologists believes that climate change is part of a natural fluctuation. He’s also a former Republican Senator and he made the case that the American constitution contains no powers for government to legislate CO2.

The audience, containing some international faces, but mostly American libertarians and Republicans, loved the small-government message.

They cheered when a member of the audience demanded that the “Climategate criminals” – the scientists behind the University of East Anglia (UEA) hacked emails – should be jailed for fraud.

‘Anti-climax’

And the fervour reached a peak when the reluctant hero, Steve McIntyre, shambled on to the stage.

Mr McIntyre is the retired mining engineer who started enquiring into climate statistics as a hobby and whose requests for raw data from the UEA led to a chain of events which have thrown climate science into turmoil.

The crowd rose to applaud him to the stage in recognition of his extraordinary statistical battle to disprove the “Hockey Stick” graph that had become an emblem of man-made global warming.

There was a moment of anticipation as Mr McIntyre stood nervously before the podium – a lugubrious bear of a man resembling a character from Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon.

Steve McIntyre has worked to “break” the hockey stick

“I’m not used to speaking in front of such big crowds,” he mumbled. And he winced a little when one emotional admirer blurted that he had travelled 10,000 miles from South Africa for the thrill of hearing him speak.

But then came a sudden and unexpected anti-climax. Mr McIntyre urged the audience to support the battle for open source data on climate change – but then he counselled them to stop clamouring for the blood of the e-mailers. McIntyre does not want them jailed, or even punished. He just wants them to say they are sorry.

The audience disappointment was tangible – like a houndpack denied the kill.

Mr McIntyre then advised sceptics to stop insisting that the Hockey Stick is a fraud. It is understandable for scientists to present their data in a graphic way to “sell” their message, he said. He understood why they had done it. But their motives were irrelevant.

The standard of evidence required to prove fraud over the Hockey Stick was needlessly high, he said. All that was needed was an acknowledgement by the science authorities that the Hockey Stick was wrong.


Political associations

This was clearly not the sort of emollient message the sceptics expected from one of their heavy hitters. And the speech slipped further into climate pacifism when Mr McIntyre confessed that he did not share the libertarian tendencies of many in the ballroom.

As a Canadian, he said, he was brought up to believe that governments should govern on behalf of the people – so if CO2 were reckoned to be dangerous, it would be the duty of politicians to make laws to cut emissions.

The quiet man said he thought that the work of his climate-statistical website was probably done. He sat down to one-handed applause.

Not so much of a call to arms as a whispered advice to the adversary to lay down his weapons and depart the battlefield.

His message of climate conciliation was reinforced by Tom Harris, founder of the International Climate Science Coalition.

He says he’s not a right-winger, and he told the conference that many scientists sharing his political views had misgivings about establishment climate theory, but would not speak out for fear of being associated with their political opponents or with the fossil fuel industry.

Indeed some moderate climate sceptics told me they have shunned this conference for fear of being publicly associated with a highly-politicised group.

And Sonia Boehmer Christiansen, the British-based climate agnostic (her term), brought to a juddering halt an impassioned anti-government breakfast discussion with a warning to libertarians that they would never win the policy argument on climate unless they could carry people from the Left with them.

Governments needed taxes, she said – and energy taxes – were an efficient way of gathering them.

Cloud effect

Even some right-wingers agreed the need to review the language of scam and fraud. Professor Roy Spencer, for instance, is a climate sceptic scientist from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

But when I asked him about the future of Professor Phil Jones, the man of the heart of the UEA e-mail affair, he said he had some sympathy.

“He says he’s not very organised. I’m not very organised myself,” said Professor Spencer. “If you asked me to find original data from 20 years ago I’d have great difficulty too.

“We just didn’t realise in those days how important and controversial this would all become – now it would just all be stored on computer. Phil Jones has been looking at climate records for a very long time. Frankly our data set agrees with his, so unless we are all making the same mistake we’re not likely to find out anything new from the data anyway.”

Professor Spencer admits that he is regarded by orthodox climate scientists as a renegade. But as a very conservative Christian he is at home here, and his views carry weight at this meeting.

Like most climate sceptic scientists, he accepts that CO2 is a warming gas – this is basic physics, he says, and very hard to dispute.

But he says his studies on incoming and outgoing Earth radiation measured by satellites suggest that changes in cloudiness are mitigating warming caused by CO2.

He thinks all the world’s climate modellers are wrong to assume that the Earth’s natural systems will augment warming from CO2, and he hopes that a forthcoming paper will prove his case.

He admits that he has been wrong often enough to know it’s easy to be wrong on a subject as complex as the climate. But he says that means the modellers can all be wrong, too.

The key question for the future, he said, was the one that has been asked for the past 30 years with inconclusive answers – how sensitive will the climate be to a doubling of CO2?

‘Climate resilience’

The godfather of climate scepticism Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been pre-occupied with this question for decades.

He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a former lead author for the IPCC. But he is immensely controversial and his views run directly counter to those of his institute, which, he says, is looking forward to his retirement.

He has been accused of ignoring recent developments in science.

He believes CO2 is probably keeping the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be, but says he is more convinced than ever that the climate will prove increasingly resilient to extra CO2.

He thinks that this greenhouse gas will not increase temperature much more than 1C in total because the positive feedbacks predicted by computer models will not occur.

The final word of this conference – part counter-orthodox science brainstorm, part political rally – was left to a man who is not a scientist at all, Christopher Monckton, former adviser to Mrs Thatcher, now the darling of climate sceptics worldwide.

In a bravura performance he had the audience roaring at his mocking impersonation of “railway engineer Rajendra Pachauri – the Casey Jones of climate change”; hissing with pantomime fury at the “scandal” of Climategate, then emotionally applauding the American troops who have given their lives for the freedom that their political masters are surrendering to the global socialist tyranny of global warming.

His closing words were delivered in a weeping whisper, a soft prayer of praise to the American constitution and individual liberty.

As the ecstatic crowd filtered out I pointed one delegate to a copy of the Wall Street Journal on the table. A front page paragraph noted that April had been the warmest on record.

“So what?” he shrugged. “So what?”

>Should geoengineering tests be governed by the principles of medical ethics?

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Rules for Planet Hackers

By Eli Kintisch
Thu Apr. 22, 2010 1:00 AM PDT

[Image: Flickr/indigoprime (Creative Commons)]

Nearly 200 scientists from 14 countries met last month at the famed Asilomar retreat center outside Monterey, California, in a very deliberate bid to make history. Their five-day meeting focused on setting up voluntary ground rules for research into giant algae blooms, cloud-brightening, and other massive-scale interventions to cool the planet. It’s unclear how significant the meeting will turn out to be, but the intent of its organizers was unmistakable: By choosing Asilomar, they hoped to summon the spirit of a groundbreaking meeting of biologists that took place on the same site in 1975. Back then, scientists with bushy sideburns and split collars—the forefathers of the molecular revolution, it turned out—established principles for the safe and ethical study of deadly pathogens.

The planners of Asilomar II, as they called it, hoped to accomplish much the same for potentially dangerous experiments in geoengineering. Instead of devising new medical treatments for people, the scientists involved in planet-hacking research are after novel ways to treat the Earth. The analogy of global warming to a curable disease was central to the discussions at the meeting. Climate scientist Steve Schneider of Stanford talked about administering “planetary methadone to get over our carbon addiction.” Others debated what “doses” of geoengineering would be necessary. Most crucially, the thinkers at Asilomar focused on the idea that medical ethics might provide a framework for balancing the risks and benefits of all this new research.

What would it mean to apply the established principles of biomedical research to the nascent field of geoengineering? The ethicists at Asilomar—particularly David Winickoff from Berkeley and David Morrow from the University of Chicago—began with three pillars laid out in the landmark 1979 Belmont Report. The first, respect for persons, says that biomedical scientists should obtain “informed consent” from their test subjects. The second, beneficence, requires that scientists assess the risks and benefits of a given test before they start. The third, justice, invokes the rights of research subjects to whatever medical advances result from the testing. (The people who are placed at risk should be the same ones who might benefit from a successful result.)

Then Winickoff and Morrow proposed applying the Belmont principles to the study of the most aggressive forms of geoengineering—the ones that would block the sun, like a volcanic eruption does, with a spray of sulfur or other particles into the stratosphere. Before we could embark on a radical intervention like that, we’d need to run smaller-scale tests that might themselves pose a risk to the environment. In much the way that a clinical drug trial might produce adverse reactions, so might a real-world trial of, say, the Pinatubo Option. Instead of causing organ failure or death in its subjects, a botched course of geoengineering might damage the ozone layer or reduce rainfall.

The problem, admitted the ethicists, is how to go about applying the Belmont rules outside of medicine. In clinical drug trials, researchers obtain consent from individuals, and they can precisely define the worse-case outcome (like death). But a trial run of hazing up the stratosphere wouldn’t affect specific, identifiable people in any one town, city, or state. The climate is interconnected in many ways, some still mysterious to scientists, and so the risks of even a small-scale test in a particular location might apply across the globe. If everyone on Earth could be affected, how do you figure out whom to ask for informed consent?

One possibility would be to require that all nations of the world agree ahead of time on any tests of consequence. To many gathered at Asilomar, however, this seemed naive; speakers repeatedly invoked the failure of all-inclusive talks to cut global carbon emissions, and it would presumably be much tougher to secure an agreement on work that might damage crop yields or open a hole in the ozone. A more pragmatic approach would be to set up something like a United Nations Planet Hacking Security Council, comprising 15 or so powerful nations whose oversight of research tests would take into account the concerns of a broad swath of countries. But that undemocratic approach would surely face howls of protest.

The principle of beneficence may be just as difficult to follow. Under the Belmont guidelines, doctors must balance the particular risks of a clinical trial with the potential benefit to any individual who might participate. Since it would be impossible to make such a calculation for every person on Earth, planet hackers could at best choose the experiments that minimize harm to the most vulnerable communities—like people living on the coasts of Southeast Asia. But we may not know enough about the risks of geoengineering to make any such credible calculation when the time comes. Consider the Pinatubo Option, by which scientists would mimic the cooling effect of volcanoes. Putting particles in the stratosphere could reduce the total amount of energy that strikes the Earth. Some climate modelers say this would disrupt rainfall by reducing moisture in the atmosphere obtained by evaporation. Others say that geoengineering’s droughts and famines would be less harmful than those caused by unchecked warming. Right now, no one can agree on the nature of the risks, let alone the degree to which they would apply to particular communities.

And what about justice? Among the disruptions that could result from testing the Pinatubo Option is a weakening of the Asian monsoon, a source of water for hundreds of millions of people in India. Those in developing countries will “eat the risk” of geoengineering trials, shouted one of the Asilomar speakers. If representatives from just a small set of countries were appointed as doctors to the planet, then the less powerful nations might end up as the world’s guinea pigs. Of course, the citizens of those nations also would seem to have the most to lose from uninterrupted global warming. These two dangers would have to be measured one against the other—and compensation as part of the experimental program could be one way of making tests more fair.

If medical ethics aren’t quite up to the task of guiding our forays into geoengineering, what other sort of principles should we keep in mind? One important danger to be aware of is the moral hazard that might come with successful trials. That’s the idea that protective circumstances or actions can encourage people to take undue risks—government insurance of banks led to risky investments that caused the savings-and-loan crisis in the 1980s, for example. Moral hazard looms particularly large for geoengineering studies since medium-scale field tests could prematurely give us the sense that we have a low-cost technical fix for global warming, no emissions cuts needed. (Moral hazard isn’t quite as potent in medical research. The availability of cholesterol-lowering drugs may well discourage people from maintaining healthy diets, but it’s unlikely that mere clinical trials would have the same effect.)

Another ethical principle that might apply to geoengineering is minimization—the idea that, a priori, it’s better to tinker at the smallest possible scale necessary to answer vital scientific questions. This notion comes from the ethics of animal experimentation; now we might apply it to planetary systems and the environment more broadly. Up until now, the medical ethics frame for geoengineering has guided discussions of how geoengineering might affect people in various countries. Perhaps we should be talking about how it affects the planet itself.

By that token, we might gain something by thinking of the Earth as a patient on its own terms. The rules and regulations we come up with for tests of geoengineering should take into account the way those experiments might affect ecosystems and nonhuman animals, both under threat from warming. And so maybe the most famous piece of medical ethics ought to apply: the Hippocratic Oath. “First, do no harm” is the crux of the original, but an updated version exhorts doctors to avoid “the twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.” The climate crisis may force us to act despite myriad ethical challenges, for our benefit and for the planet’s.

This piece was produced by Slate as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Eli Kintisch is a reporter at Science and author of a new book on geoengineering, Hack the Planet.

>Exorcista-chefe da Igreja diz que há bispos ligados ao Diabo (BBC Brasil)

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BBC Brasil – 12 de março, 2010

O exorcista-chefe da Igreja Católica disse a um jornal italiano que “o Diabo reside no Vaticano” e que bispos estariam “ligados” a ele.

Em entrevista ao diário La Repubblica, o padre Gabriele Amorth, que comanda o departamento de exorcismo em Roma há 25 anos, disse que o ataque ao papa Bento 16 na noite de Natal e os escândalos de pedofilia e abuso sexual envolvendo sacerdotes seriam provas da influência maléfica do Demônio na Santa Sé e que “é possível ver as consequências disso”.

O sacerdote, de 85 anos, disse ainda que há, na Igreja, “cardeais que não acreditam em Jesus e bispos ligados ao Demônio”.

Amorth, que já teria realizado o exorcismo de 70 mil possuídos, publicou um livro no mês passado, chamado Memórias de um Exorcista, em que narra suas batalhas contra o mal.

A série de entrevistas que compõe o livro foi realizada pelo jornalista Marco Tosatti, que conversou com o programa de rádio Newshour da BBC.

Tosatti disse que o Diabo atua de duas formas. Na primeira, a mais comum, “ele te aconselha a se comportar mal, a fazer coisas ruins e até a cometer crimes”.

Na segunda, “que ocorre muito raramente”, ele pode possuir uma pessoa. Tosatti disse que, de acordo com Amorth, Adolf Hitler e os nazistas foram possuídos pelo capeta.

O exorcista católico conta em suas memórias que, durante as sessões de exorcismo, os possuídos precisavam ser controlados por seis ou sete de seus assistentes. Eles também eram capazes de cuspir cacos de vidro, “pedaços de metal do tamanho de um dedo, mas também pétalas de rosas”, segundo o sacerdote.

Guerra contra a Igreja

Amorth defende que a tentativa de assassinato do papa João Paulo 2º em 1981, assim como o ataque ao atual papa no Natal passado e os casos de abuso sexual cometidos por padres são exemplos de que o Diabo está em guerra com a igreja.

Em entrevista ao La Repubblica, o exorcista contou que o Demônio “pode permanecer escondido, ou falar diferentes línguas, ou mesmo se fazer parecer simpático”.

Para Tosatti, não há nada que se possa fazer quando o Diabo está apenas influenciando as pessoas, em vez de estar possuindo-as.

Segundo o exorcista-chefe do Vaticano, o papa Bento 16 apoia o seu trabalho.

“Sua Santidade acredita de todo coração na prática do exorcismo. Ele tem encorajado e louvado o nosso trabalho”.

No jornal italiano, Amorth também comentou sobre como o cinema retrata o exorcismo e a magia.

Segundo ele, o filme O Exorcista, de 1973, em que dois padres lutam para exorcizar uma garota possuída é “substancialmente preciso”, apesar de “um pouco exagerado”.

Já a série do jovem bruxo britânico Harry Potter é descrita como “perigosa” pelo sacerdote, pois traça “uma falsa distinção entre magia negra e magia do bem”.

>Signs of Damage to Public Trust in Climate Findings (N. Y. Times/Dot Earth blog)

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By ANDREW C. REVKIN
February 5, 2010, 4:27 pm

CBS News has run a report summarizing fallout from the illegal distribution of climate scientists’ email messages and files and problems with the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The conclusion is that missteps and mistakes are creating broader credibility problems for climate science.

Senator James M. Inhofe was quick to add the report to the YouTube channel of the minority on the Environment and Public Works committee:

Ralph J. Cicerone, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, has an editorial in this week’s edition of the journal Science (subscription only) noting the same issue. Over all, he wrote, “My reading of the vast scientific literature on climate change is that our understanding is undiminished by this incident; but it has raised concern about the standards of science and has damaged public trust in what scientists do.”

Dr. Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist, added that polls and input he has received from various sources indicate that “public opinion has moved toward the view that scientists often try to suppress alternative hypotheses and ideas and that scientists will withhold data and try to manipulate some aspects of peer review to prevent dissent. This view reflects the fragile nature of trust between science and society, demonstrating that the perceived misbehavior of even a few scientists can diminish the credibility of science as a whole.” (A BBC report on its latest survey on climate views supports Dr. Cicerone’s impression.)

What should scientists do? Dr. Cicerone acknowledged both the importance of improving transparency and the challenges in doing so:

“It is essential that the scientific community work urgently to make standards for analyzing, reporting, providing access to, and stewardship of research data operational, while also establishing when requests for data amount to harassment or are otherwise unreasonable. A major challenge is that acceptable and optimal standards will vary among scientific disciplines because of proprietary, privacy, national security and cost limitations. Failure to make research data and related information accessible not only impedes science, it also breeds conflicts.”

As recently as last week, senior members of the intergovernmental climate panel had told me that some colleagues did not see the need for changes in practices and were convinced that the recent flareup over errors in the 2007 report was a fleeting inconvenience. I wonder if they still feel that way.

UPDATE: Here’s some additional reading on the I.P.C.C’s travails and possible next steps for the climate panel:

IPCC Flooded by Criticism, by Quirin Schiermeier in Nature News.

Anatomy of I.P.C.C.’s Mistake on Himalayan Glaciers and Year 2035, by Bidisha Banerjee and George Collins in the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.

* * *

After Emergence of Climate Files, an Uncertain Forecast

By ANDREW C. REVKIN
December 1, 2009, 10:56 am

Roger A. Pielke Jr. is a political scientist at the University of Colorado who has long focused on climate and disasters and the interface of climate science and policy. He has been among those seeking some clarity on temperature data compiled by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, which is now at the center of a storm over thousands of e-mail messages and documents either liberated or stolen from its servers (depending on who is describing the episode). [UPDATED 11:45 a.m. with a couple more useful voices “below the fold.”]

On Monday, I asked him, in essence, if the shape of the 20th-century temperature curve were to shift much as a result of some of the issues that have come up in the disclosed e-mail messages and files, would that erode confidence in the keystone climate question (the high confidence expressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 that most warming since 1950 is driven by human activities)?

This is Dr. Pielke’s answer. (I added boldface to the take-home points.):

Here is my take, in a logical ordering, from the perspective of an informed observer:

The circumstances:

1. There are many adjustments made to the raw data to account for biases and other factors.
2. Some part of the overall warming trend is as a result of these adjustments.
3. There are legitimately different ways to do the adjusting. Consider that in the e-mails, [Phil] Jones writes that he thinks [James] Hansen’s approach to urban effects is no good. There are also debates over how to handle ocean temperatures from buckets versus intake valves on ships and so on. And some of the procedures for adjusting are currently contested in the scientific literature.
4. Presumably once the data is readily available how these legitimate scientific choices are made about the adjusting would be open to scrutiny and debate.
5. People will then be much more able to cherry pick adjustment procedures to maximize or minimize the historical trends, but also to clearly see how others make decisions about adjustments.
6. Mostly this matters for pre-1979, as the R.S.S. and U.A.H. satellite records provide some degree of independent checking.

Now the implications:

A. If it turns out that the choices made by CRU, GISS, NOAA fall on the “maximize historical trends” end of the scale, that will not help their perceived credibility for obvious reasons. On the other hand, if their choices lead to the middle of the range or even low end, then this will enhance their credibility.
B. The surface temps matter because they are a key basis for estimates of climate sensitivity in the models used to make projections. So people will fight over small differences, even if everyone accepts a significant warming trend. (This is a key point for understanding why people will fight over small differences.)
C. When there are legitimate debates over procedures in science (i.e., competing certainties from different scientists), then this will help the rest of us to understand that there are irreducible uncertainties across climate science.
D. In the end, I would hypothesize that the result of the freeing of data and code will necessarily lead to a more robust understanding of scientific uncertainties, which may have the perverse effect of making the future less clear, i.e., because it will result in larger error bars around observed temperature trends which will carry through into the projections.
E. This would have the greatest implications for those who have staked a position on knowing the climate future with certainty — so on both sides, those arguing doom and those arguing, “Don’t worry be happy.”

So, in the end, Dr. Pielke appears to say, closer scrutiny of the surface-temperature data could undermine definitive statements of all kinds — that human-driven warming is an unfolding catastrophe or something concocted. More uncertainty wouldn’t produce a climate comfort zone, given that poorly understood phenomena can sometimes cause big problems. But it would surely make humanity’s energy and climate choices that much tougher.

[UPDATE, 11:45 a.m.] Andrew Freedman at the Capital Weather Gang blog has interviewed Gerald North, the climate scientist who headed the National Academies panel that examined the tree-ring data and “hockey stick” graphs. Some excerpts:

On whether the emails and files undermine Dr. North’s confidence in human-driven climate change:

This hypothesis (Anthropogenic GW) fits in the climate science paradigm that 1) Data can be collected and assembled in ways that are sensible. 2) These data can be used to test and or recalibrate climate simulation models. 3) These same models can be used to predict future and past climates. It is understood that this is a complicated goal to reach with any precision. The models are not yet perfect, but there is no reason to think the approach is wrong.

On Stephen McIntyre of Climateaudit.org:

I do think he has had an overall positive effect. He has made us re-examine the basis for our assertions. In my opinion this sorts itself out in the due course of the scientific process, but perhaps he has made a community of science not used to scrutiny take a second look from time to time. But I am not sure he has ever uncovered anything that has turned out to be significant.

Also, please note below that Michael Schlesinger at the University of Illinois sent in a response to sharp criticisms of his Dot Earth contribution from Roger Pielke, Sr., at the University of Colorado, Boulder. (Apologies for Colorado State affiliation earlier; he’s moved.)

>Rebecca Solnit: When the Media Is the Disaster – Covering Haiti

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When the Media Is the Disaster
Covering Haiti
By Rebecca Solnit

Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences.

I’m talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I’m talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.

Within days of the Haitian earthquake, for example, the Los Angeles Times ran a series of photographs with captions that kept deploying the word “looting.” One was of a man lying face down on the ground with this caption: “A Haitian police officer ties up a suspected looter who was carrying a bag of evaporated milk.” The man’s sweaty face looks up at the camera, beseeching, anguished.

Another photo was labeled: “Looting continued in Haiti on the third day after the earthquake, although there were more police in downtown Port-au-Prince.” It showed a somber crowd wandering amid shattered piles of concrete in a landscape where, visibly, there could be little worth taking anyway.

A third image was captioned: “A looter makes off with rolls of fabric from an earthquake-wrecked store.” Yet another: “The body of a police officer lies in a Port-au-Prince street. He was accidentally shot by fellow police who mistook him for a looter.”

People were then still trapped alive in the rubble. A translator for Australian TV dug out a toddler who’d survived 68 hours without food or water, orphaned but claimed by an uncle who had lost his pregnant wife. Others were hideously wounded and awaiting medical attention that wasn’t arriving. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, needed, and still need, water, food, shelter, and first aid. The media in disaster bifurcates. Some step out of their usual “objective” roles to respond with kindness and practical aid. Others bring out the arsenal of clichés and pernicious myths and begin to assault the survivors all over again.

The “looter” in the first photo might well have been taking that milk to starving children and babies, but for the news media that wasn’t the most urgent problem. The “looter” stooped under the weight of two big bolts of fabric might well have been bringing it to now homeless people trying to shelter from a fierce tropical sun under improvised tents.

The pictures do convey desperation, but they don’t convey crime. Except perhaps for that shooting of a fellow police officer — his colleagues were so focused on property that they were reckless when it came to human life, and a man died for no good reason in a landscape already saturated with death.

In recent days, there have been scattered accounts of confrontations involving weapons, and these may be a different matter. But the man with the powdered milk? Is he really a criminal? There may be more to know, but with what I’ve seen I’m not convinced.

What Would You Do?

Imagine, reader, that your city is shattered by a disaster. Your home no longer exists, and you spent what cash was in your pockets days ago. Your credit cards are meaningless because there is no longer any power to run credit-card charges. Actually, there are no longer any storekeepers, any banks, any commerce, or much of anything to buy. The economy has ceased to exist.

By day three, you’re pretty hungry and the water you grabbed on your way out of your house is gone. The thirst is far worse than the hunger. You can go for many days without food, but not water. And in the improvised encampment you settle in, there is an old man near you who seems on the edge of death. He no longer responds when you try to reassure him that this ordeal will surely end. Toddlers are now crying constantly, and their mothers infinitely stressed and distressed.

So you go out to see if any relief organization has finally arrived to distribute anything, only to realize that there are a million others like you stranded with nothing, and there isn’t likely to be anywhere near enough aid anytime soon. The guy with the corner store has already given away all his goods to the neighbors. That supply’s long gone by now. No wonder, when you see the chain pharmacy with the shattered windows or the supermarket, you don’t think twice before grabbing a box of PowerBars and a few gallons of water that might keep you alive and help you save a few lives as well.

The old man might not die, the babies might stop their squalling, and the mothers might lose that look on their faces. Other people are calmly wandering in and helping themselves, too. Maybe they’re people like you, and that gallon of milk the fellow near you has taken is going to spoil soon anyway. You haven’t shoplifted since you were 14, and you have plenty of money to your name. But it doesn’t mean anything now.

If you grab that stuff are you a criminal? Should you end up lying in the dirt on your stomach with a cop tying your hands behind your back? Should you end up labeled a looter in the international media? Should you be shot down in the street, since the overreaction in disaster, almost any disaster, often includes the imposition of the death penalty without benefit of trial for suspected minor property crimes?

Or are you a rescuer? Is the survival of disaster victims more important than the preservation of everyday property relations? Is that chain pharmacy more vulnerable, more a victim, more in need of help from the National Guard than you are, or those crying kids, or the thousands still trapped in buildings and soon to die?

It’s pretty obvious what my answers to these questions are, but it isn’t obvious to the mass media. And in disaster after disaster, at least since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, those in power, those with guns and the force of law behind them, are too often more concerned for property than human life. In an emergency, people can, and do, die from those priorities. Or they get gunned down for minor thefts or imagined thefts. The media not only endorses such outcomes, but regularly, repeatedly, helps prepare the way for, and then eggs on, such a reaction.

If Words Could Kill

We need to banish the word “looting” from the English language. It incites madness and obscures realities.

“Loot,” the noun and the verb, is a word of Hindi origin meaning the spoils of war or other goods seized roughly. As historian Peter Linebaugh points out, “At one time loot was the soldier’s pay.” It entered the English language as a good deal of loot from India entered the English economy, both in soldiers’ pockets and as imperial seizures.

After years of interviewing survivors of disasters, and reading first-hand accounts and sociological studies from such disasters as the London Blitz and the Mexico City earthquake of 1985, I don’t believe in looting. Two things go on in disasters. The great majority of what happens you could call emergency requisitioning. Someone who could be you, someone in the kind of desperate circumstances I outlined above, takes necessary supplies to sustain human life in the absence of any alternative. Not only would I not call that looting, I wouldn’t even call that theft.

Necessity is a defense for breaking the law in the United States and other countries, though it’s usually applied more to, say, confiscating the car keys of a drunk driver than feeding hungry children. Taking things you don’t need is theft under any circumstances. It is, says the disaster sociologist Enrico Quarantelli, who has been studying the subject for more than half a century, vanishingly rare in most disasters.

Personal gain is the last thing most people are thinking about in the aftermath of a disaster. In that phase, the survivors are almost invariably more altruistic and less attached to their own property, less concerned with the long-term questions of acquisition, status, wealth, and security, than just about anyone not in such situations imagines possible. (The best accounts from Haiti of how people with next to nothing have patiently tried to share the little they have and support those in even worse shape than them only emphasize this disaster reality.) Crime often drops in the wake of a disaster.

The media are another matter. They tend to arrive obsessed with property (and the headlines that assaults on property can make). Media outlets often call everything looting and thereby incite hostility toward the sufferers as well as a hysterical overreaction on the part of the armed authorities. Or sometimes the journalists on the ground do a good job and the editors back in their safe offices cook up the crazy photo captions and the wrongheaded interpretations and emphases.

They also deploy the word panic wrongly. Panic among ordinary people in crisis is profoundly uncommon. The media will call a crowd of people running from certain death a panicking mob, even though running is the only sensible thing to do. In Haiti, they continue to report that food is being withheld from distribution for fear of “stampedes.” Do they think Haitians are cattle?

The belief that people in disaster (particularly poor and nonwhite people) are cattle or animals or just crazy and untrustworthy regularly justifies spending far too much energy and far too many resources on control — the American military calls it “security” — rather than relief. A British-accented voiceover on CNN calls people sprinting to where supplies are being dumped from a helicopter a “stampede” and adds that this delivery “risks sparking chaos.” The chaos already exists, and you can’t blame it on these people desperate for food and water. Or you can, and in doing so help convince your audience that they’re unworthy and untrustworthy.

Back to looting: of course you can consider Haiti’s dire poverty and failed institutions a long-term disaster that changes the rules of the game. There might be people who are not only interested in taking the things they need to survive in the next few days, but things they’ve never been entitled to own or things they may need next month. Technically that’s theft, but I’m not particularly surprised or distressed by it; the distressing thing is that even before the terrible quake they led lives of deprivation and desperation.

In ordinary times, minor theft is often considered a misdemeanor. No one is harmed. Unchecked, minor thefts could perhaps lead to an environment in which there were more thefts and so forth, and a good argument can be made that, in such a case, the tide needs to be stemmed. But it’s not particularly significant in a landscape of terrible suffering and mass death.

A number of radio hosts and other media personnel are still upset that people apparently took TVs after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005. Since I started thinking about, and talking to people about, disaster aftermaths I’ve heard a lot about those damned TVs. Now, which matters more to you, televisions or human life? People were dying on rooftops and in overheated attics and freeway overpasses, they were stranded in all kinds of hideous circumstances on the Gulf Coast in 2005 when the mainstream media began to obsess about looting, and the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana made the decision to focus on protecting property, not human life.

A gang of white men on the other side of the river from New Orleans got so worked up about property crimes that they decided to take the law into their own hands and began shooting. They seem to have considered all black men criminals and thieves and shot a number of them. Some apparently died; there were bodies bloating in the September sun far from the region of the floods; one good man trying to evacuate the ruined city barely survived; and the media looked away. It took me months of nagging to even get the story covered. This vigilante gang claimed to be protecting property, though its members never demonstrated that their property was threatened. They boasted of killing black men. And they shared values with the mainstream media and the Louisiana powers that be.

Somehow, when the Bush administration subcontracted emergency services — like providing evacuation buses in Hurricane Katrina — to cronies who profited even while providing incompetent, overpriced, and much delayed service at the moment of greatest urgency, we didn’t label that looting.

Or when a lot of wealthy Wall Street brokers decide to tinker with a basic human need like housing…. Well, you catch my drift.

Woody Guthrie once sang that “some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.” The guys with the six guns (or machetes or sharpened sticks) make for better photographs, and the guys with the fountain pens not only don’t end up in jail, they end up in McMansions with four-car garages and, sometimes, in elected — or appointed — office.

Learning to See in Crises

Last Christmas a priest, Father Tim Jones of York, started a ruckus in Britain when he said in a sermon that shoplifting by the desperate from chain stores might be acceptable behavior. Naturally, there was an uproar. Jones told the Associated Press: “The point I’m making is that when we shut down every socially acceptable avenue for people in need, then the only avenue left is the socially unacceptable one.”

The response focused almost entirely on why shoplifting is wrong, but the claim was also repeatedly made that it doesn’t help. In fact, food helps the hungry, a fact so bald it’s bizarre to even have to state it. The means by which it arrives is a separate matter. The focus remained on shoplifting, rather than on why there might be people so desperate in England’s green and pleasant land that shoplifting might be their only option, and whether unnecessary human suffering is itself a crime of sorts.

Right now, the point is that people in Haiti need food, and for all the publicity, the international delivery system has, so far, been a visible dud. Under such circumstances, breaking into a U.N. food warehouse — food assumedly meant for the poor of Haiti in a catastrophic moment — might not be “violence,” or “looting,” or “law-breaking.” It might be logic. It might be the most effective way of meeting a desperate need.

Why were so many people in Haiti hungry before the earthquake? Why do we have a planet that produces enough food for all and a distribution system that ensures more than a billion of us don’t have a decent share of that bounty? Those are not questions whose answers should be long delayed.

Even more urgently, we need compassion for the sufferers in Haiti and media that tell the truth about them. I’d like to propose alternative captions for those Los Angeles Times photographs as models for all future disasters:

Let’s start with the picture of the policeman hogtying the figure whose face is so anguished: “Ignoring thousands still trapped in rubble, a policeman accosts a sufferer who took evaporated milk. No adequate food distribution exists for Haiti’s starving millions.”

And the guy with the bolt of fabric? “As with every disaster, ordinary people show extraordinary powers of improvisation, and fabrics such as these are being used to make sun shelters around Haiti.”

For the murdered policeman: “Institutional overzealousness about protecting property leads to a gratuitous murder, as often happens in crises. Meanwhile countless people remain trapped beneath crushed buildings.”

And the crowd in the rubble labeled looters? How about: “Resourceful survivors salvage the means of sustaining life from the ruins of their world.”

That one might not be totally accurate, but it’s likely to be more accurate than the existing label. And what is absolutely accurate, in Haiti right now, and on Earth always, is that human life matters more than property, that the survivors of a catastrophe deserve our compassion and our understanding of their plight, and that we live and die by words and ideas, and it matters desperately that we get them right.

Copyright 2010 Rebecca Solnit

>Jesús Martín-Barbero: Comunidades falsificadas (FSP, 23/08/2009)

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Comunidades falsificadas

Filósofo espanhol diz que a utopia de democracia direta e igualdade total na internet é mentirosa e ameaça minar as práticas de representação e participação políticas reais

RENATO ESSENFELDER
DA REDAÇÃO

Com a emergência de gigantescas redes sociais virtuais, como o Facebook, a internet configura a sua utopia máxima: todos somos iguais. E, se somos todos iguais, não precisamos mais de eleições, pois não precisamos ser representados. Todos nos representamos no espaço democrático da internet.

O raciocínio é tentador, mas, para o filósofo espanhol Jesús Martín-Barbero, é mentiroso -e temerário. “Nunca fomos nem seremos iguais”, ele diz, e na vida cotidiana continuaremos dependendo de mediações para dar conta da complexidade do mundo, seja a mediação de partidos políticos ou a de associações de cidadãos.

Martín-Barbero vê a internet como um dos fatores de desestabilização do mundo hoje, que não pode ser pensado por disciplinas estanques. Mundo, aliás, tomado pela incerteza e pelo medo, que nos faz sonhar com a relação não mediada das comunidades pré-modernas. O filósofo conversou com a Folha durante visita a São Paulo, na semana passada.

FOLHA – Desde 1987, quando o sr. lançou sua obra de maior repercussão [“Dos Meios às Mediações”, ed. UFRJ], até hoje, o que mudou na comunicação e nas ciências sociais?

JESÚS MARTÍN-BARBERO – Estamos em um momento de pensar o conceito de conhecimento como certeza e incerteza. A incerteza intelectual dos modernos se vê hoje atravessada por outra sensação: o medo. A sociedade vive uma espécie de volta ao medo dos pré-modernos, que era o medo da natureza, da insegurança, de uma tormenta, um terremoto. Agora vivemos em uma espécie de mundo que nos atemoriza e desconcerta.
O medo vem, por exemplo, da ecologia: o que vai acontecer com o planeta, o nível do mar vai subir? A natureza voltou a ser um problema hoje, como aos pré-modernos. Depois vem o tema da violência urbana, a insegurança urbana. Por toda cidade que passo, de 20 mil a 20 milhões de habitantes, há esse medo.
Como terceira insegurança, que nos afeta cada vez mais, aparece a vida laboral. Do mundo do trabalho, que foi a grande instituição moderna que deu segurança às pessoas, vamos para um mundo em que o sistema necessita cada vez menos de mão de obra. O mundo do trabalho se desconfigurou como mundo de produção do sentido da vida.

FOLHA – Nesse mundo de incertezas, como se comporta a noção de comunidade? Como ela aparece em redes virtuais como o Facebook?

MARTÍN-BARBERO – Acho que ainda não temos palavras para nomear esse fenômeno. Falamos em rede social, mas o que significa social aí? Apenas uma rede de muita gente. Não necessariamente em sociedade. Há diferenças entre o que foi a comunidade pré-moderna e o que foi o conceito de sociedade moderna.
A comunidade era orgânica, havia muitas ligações entre os seus membros, religiosas, laborais. Renato Ortiz [sociólogo e professor na Universidade Estadual de Campinas] faz uma crítica muito bem feita a um livro famoso de [Benedict] Anderson, que diz que a nação é como uma comunidade imaginada [“Comunidades Imaginadas”, ed. Companhia das Letras], principalmente por jornais e a literatura nacional.
É verdade, são fundamentais para a criação da ideia de nação. Mas Renato Ortiz diz que há muito de verdade e muito de mentira nisso. O que acontece é que, quando a sociedade moderna se viu realmente configurada pelo Estado, pela burocracia do Estado, começou a sonhar novamente com a comunidade. Era uma comunidade imaginada no sentido de querer ter algo de comunidade, e não só de sociedade anônima.
Falar de comunidade para falar da nação moderna é complicado, porque se romperam todos os laços da comunidade pré-moderna. Eu diria que há aí um ponto importante, considerando que no conceito de comunidade há sempre a tentação de devolver-nos a uma certa relação não mediada, presencial. Essa é um pouco a utopia da internet.

FOLHA – Qual utopia?

MARTÍN-BARBERO – A utopia da internet é que já não necessitamos ser representados, a democracia é de todos, somos todos iguais. Mentira. Nunca fomos nem somos nem seremos iguais. E portanto a democracia de todos é mentira. Seguimos necessitando de mediações de representação das diferentes dimensões da vida. Precisamos de partidos políticos ou de uma associação de pais em um colégio, por exemplo.

FOLHA – As comunidades virtuais da atualidade têm pouco das comunidades originais, então?

MARTÍN-BARBERO – Quando começamos a falar de comunidades de leitores, de espectadores de novela, estamos falando de algo que é certo. Uma comunidade formada por gente que gosta do mesmo em um mesmo momento. Se a energia elétrica acaba, toda essa gente cai.
É uma comunidade invisível, mas é real, tão real que é sondável, podemos pesquisá-la e ver como é heterogênea. Comunidade não é homogeneidade. Nesse sentido é muito difícil proibir o uso da expressão “comunidade” para o Facebook. Mas o que me ocorre ao usarmos o termo “comunidade” para esses sites é que nunca a sociedade moderna foi tão distinta da comunidade originária.
O sentido do que entendemos por sociedade mudou. Veja os vizinhos, que eram uma forma de sobrevivência da velha comunidade na sociedade moderna. Hoje, nos apartamentos, ninguém sabe nada do outro. Outra chave: o parentesco. A família extensa sumiu. Hoje, uma família é um casal. O que temos chamado de sociedade está mudando. Estamos numa situação em que o velho morreu e o novo não tem figura ainda, que é a ideia de crise de [Antonio] Gramsci.

FOLHA – A proposta de sites como o Facebook não é exatamente de fazer essa reaproximação?

MARTÍN-BARBERO – Creio que há pessoas no Facebook que, pela primeira vez em suas vidas, se sentem em sociedade. É uma questão importante, mas não podemos esquecer da maneira como nos relacionamos com o Facebook.
Um inglês que passa boa parte de sua vida só, em um pub, com sua grande cerveja, desfruta muito desse modo de vida. Nós, latinos, desfrutamos mais estando juntos.
Evidentemente a relação com o Facebook é distinta. O site é real, mas a maneira como nos relacionamos, como o usamos, é muito distinta. O Facebook não nos iguala. Nos põe em contato, mas nada mais.

FOLHA – De que maneira essas questões devem transformar os meios de comunicação?

MARTÍN-BARBERO – Não sei para onde vamos, mas em muito poucos anos a televisão não terá nada a ver com o que temos hoje. A televisão por programação horária é herdeira do rádio, que foi o primeiro meio que começou a nos organizar a vida cotidiana. Na Idade Média, o campanário era que dizia qual era a hora de levantar, de comer, de trabalhar, de dormir. A rádio foi isso.
A rádio nos foi pautando a vida cotidiana. O noticiário, a radionovela, os espaços de publicidade… Essa relação que os meios tiveram com a vida cotidiana, organizada em função do tempo, a manhã, a tarde, a noite, o fim de semana, as férias, isso vai acabar. Teremos uma oferta de conteúdos. A internet vai reconfigurar a TV imitadora da rádio, a rádio imitadora da imprensa escrita… Creio que vamos para uma mudança muito profunda, porque o que entra em crise é o papel de organização da temporalidade.

FOLHA – A ascensão da internet e da oferta de informação por conteúdos suscita outra questão, ligada à formação do cidadão. Não corremos o risco de que um fã de séries de TV, por exemplo, só busque notícias sobre o tema, alienando-se do que acontece em seu país?

MARTÍN-BARBERO – Antigamente, todos líamos, escutávamos e víamos o mesmo. Isso para mim era muito importante. De certa forma, obrigava que os ricos se informassem do que gostavam os pobres -sempre defendi isso como um aspecto de formação de nação.
Quando lançaram os primeiros aparelhos de gravação de vídeo, disseram-me que isso era uma libertação: as pessoas poderiam selecionar conteúdos.
Mas esse debate já não é possível hoje. Passamos para um entorno comunicativo, as mudanças não são pontuais como antes. A questão não é se eu abro ou não abro o correio. Não quero ser catastrofista, mas o tanto que a internet nos permite ver é proporcional ao tanto que sou visto. Em quanto mais páginas entro, mais gente me vê. É outra relação.
Temos acesso a tantas coisas e tantas línguas que já não sabemos o que queremos. Hoje há tanta informação que é muito difícil saber o que é importante. Mas o problema para mim não é o que vão fazer os meios, mas o que fará o sistema educacional para formar pessoas com capacidade de serem interlocutoras desse entorno; não de um jornal, uma rádio, uma TV, mas desse entorno de informação em que tudo está mesclado. Há muitas coisas a repensar radicalmente.