Continuing on my global warming theme, there are two points I’d like to make.
The first is sort of a side-step. One of the things I can’t stand is when an issue is “debated” on television and the debate is presented betwen (a) an articulate informed individual arguing for the side the host favors; (b) a raving idiot arguing for the side the host opposes. The idea is to make it look like one side are a bunch of morons. Both liberals and conservatives do this. Neal Boortz does it by associating all illegal immigrants with La Raza. And while the blog was down, Jon Stewart did it on global warming. He had on a guest presenting a view opposing the global warming consensus. But he didn’t have someone like Patrick Michaels, who is a climatologist, a Cato scholar and has been arguing that while warming is real, the situation is not as dire as protrayed (a position vindicated by the IPCC report). No, he had the moronic author of the “Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming” who ranted and raved about how the environmental movement is filled with ex-commies.
His point about the commies was true, BTW. Fidel Casto was, after all, the keynote speaker at the first Earth Summit. But his point was also irrelevant. I despise “guilt by association” arguments. Most of the people I work and associate with are spectacularly wrong, IMHO, on issues like taxes, socialism and the power that government should have. But they are right, again in my opinion, on other issues like the culture war, civil liberties and creationism. I can’t dismiss their ideas on one issue just because I disagree on something else. A lot of enviros are ex-commies; actually a lot are still commies. But even the commies were right occasionally. Like, um . . . like going to the moon was as good idea. Arguments have to be beaten, not smeared.
The second thing that’s my driving me crazy on this subject is the abuse of the word “consensus”. There is consensus among scientists that man-made global warming is taking place. (Not that consensus necessarily means they’re right, of course). What is not a consensus at all is how bad it is, how bad it will be, how emission levels will change over the next century, whether glaciers will melt and, if so, how much. The “c-word” pushes climate change debate into the realm of religion: That having accepted global warming as your personal savior, you are now required to accept every hysterical doomsday scenario that comes down the pipe.
Nuts to that. Just because I accept cosmology doesn’t mean I have to believe that H-naught is 72. Just because I accept evolution doesn’t mean I have to take Time’s “what man will look like in a million years” spread seriously. And, contrary to what the Bushbots think, being conservative doesn’t mean I automatically support the GOP.
Accepting man-made global warming as reality does not require one to accept the doomsday scenarios being peddled by the igorant likes of AlGore. They might be true. The IPCC seems to think not.
I realize that many of the remaining warming skeptics tend to overlap with the creationist crowd and have the same mentality. Debate within evolution means that evolutions isn’t true. Likewise, debate about the scale, effects and future of global warming means that global warming is a scam.
But the response to this is not an inverse orthodoxy. It’s educating people about how science works. That there is always room for debate and discussion; that we are never 100% sure. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that. I promise.