Friday, August 04, 2006

People who don't acknowledge global warming are troglodytes

And I mean troglodyte in the worst way possible. It's one thing to have a difference of opinion based on some combination of perception and fact. I am completely in favor of differences of opinion, and I think dissent is one of the most democratic things a person can do. However, failing to acknowledge scientific fact, simply because of your political views, is idiotic.

There's a small, but vocal, group of jackasses out there who do not believe global warming is occurring. Let me say that I think it's absolutely fine if you don't believe that global warming is occurring. You can have this viewpoint, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE SCIENTIFIC FACTS AT THE BASIS OF THIS BELIEF.

Some will say that this is a logical trap that I have set, since a significant portion of the scientific community would tell you that the existence of global warming is no longer debatable, but I think if you believe that there is some scientific evidence to disprove the existance of global warming, being a scientist, I can't really fault you for that. There is nothing wrong with disagreement in science. Disagreement is the motor of scientific innovations.

You can imagine then, my shock and disappointment, when a colleague of mine and Leptodactylus' from work, who is an established researcher with a Ph.D., denied the existance of global warming earlier this week, simply because she doesn't like Al Gore's politics. Not because she's created her very own climate model. Not because she has evaluated the available research and decided to be undecided. Those would be reasonable things.

She simply is so conservative idealogically, that she is unable to consider an idea that is supported by someone with a different political viewpoint than her own. I think this sort of thinking is illustrative of a huge problem in our country. When your political ideology inhibits an incredibly intelligent person from evaluating scientific evidence, forgive the cliche, but Houston, we have a problem.

Whether you like Al Gore or think he's the characature featured in the ManBearPig South Park episode, you can find people on both sides of the political spectrum who have acknowledged the existance and severity of global warming. Even President Bush, who is not EVER going to win an award for his thoughts in scientific fields, has FINALLY acknowledged the existance of global warming, albeit years later than he should have.

So, essentially, this individual is putting herself in a group of people that even President Bush is too progressive and intelligent to belong to. Hence, the reason I chose to use the word troglodyte.


ptg said...

I believe generalized planetary warming is happening on earth these days. The earth has been warming and cooling for ages. But, I don't believe human activity is the root cause of it. It isn't simply a matter of hubris, although to think that our miserable scratchings on the earth's surface smacks of it. It is physics that puts the lie to human culpability. Better to blame the sun or evil spirits. Us folks just don't have the BTUs.

Uberunder said...

Uh, just to make a point of clarification: global warming has nothing to do with human-emitted BTUs. Global warming has everything to do with humans emitting gases which trap the BTUs emitted by the sun. And your notion that the globe is so big and so vast that our pathetic emissions cannot affect it raises the question of how stable the earth's environmental balance really is. Some people say very unstable, some say very stable, many fall in between. But, to use a well-worn analogy, assume that you were a passenger on an airplane. Sitting at the gate, preparing for takeoff, you notice someone on the wing, popping a few rivets off the win of the plane. You frantically signal a stewardess (or Air Whore, as I like to call them)(by the way, they hate that name) and point out the rivet remover. The stewardess calmly tells you "Don't worry. There are thousands of rivets on this plane. He's only removing a few. We'll be fine." You would obviously regard such a response as sheer insanity. How do we know that the rivet thief won't remove a critical rivet? Or that the several rivets he removed won't cause an unforeseen, tragic result? We don't know. And we're not willing to take such a stupid risk for the sake of a few rivets. And that's the same way you should regard the billions of tons of CO2 which we humans are pumping into the atmosphere every year. We don't have a good understanding of how the plant, as a system, works. And it's just not worth the risk to continue farking around with it.

Lord Bling said...

You guys HAVE to listen to me, I'm super-serial!

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

I can see that ptg has been reading his Fox News Talking Points Memo on Global Warming, based on his response. The entire "I believe in global warming, but I don't believe humans have anything to do with it." is slick, but also a complete fallacy.

As ptg alluded to in his comment, the earth has natural cycles of heating and cooling. Scientists who study these trends know this better than anyone. But, global warming is not the word that scientists use to describe that natural process. Global warming IS defined as how humans and their greenhouse gas emissions are impacting the balance of that natural cycle of heating and cooling.

It requires an equal amount of hubris to assume that all of our activities are NOT having some giant impact on the earth. The difference between the hubris of assuming our activities influence the climate and the hubris of assuming that our activities do not, is that one type of hubris has the potential to lead to positive action (the former), while the other leads to inaction and all the negative things that come along with climate change.

I'll take my chances with assuming we are impacting the earth, instead of reciting the latest talking points memo before sticking my head in the sand.

ptg said...

Hey, this is America! Everyone is free to believe whatever science or mumbo-jumbo they want.

It isn't like I haven't studied the same 'facts' and reflected upon the same 'evidence' as them that choose to believe human activity causes global warming. I don't live in a cave. I've been off to school, around the block, and I'm connected to the same internets as you. I sure as hell don't have my head in the sand. I ain't convinced.

Incidentally, I'm no humanist. The thought of total human extinction (an inevitability, as far as I can see) has no sting for me. I don't fear the future.

If forcing my fellow man to do what he would not is the price of salvation, I'll take vanilla.

Lord Bling said...

Of course man has something to do with global warming. If you don't believe me, start up a car, stand behind it, and then wrap your lips around the exhaust pipe. You'll notice a change in your body temperature pretty quickly...

Brandon said...

Lord Bling, you need your own weekly newsletter for these helpful at home science tips.

ptg said...

Now who sounds like a cave dweller? Gas your own self. I suppose you would blame an impending ice age on cats leaving their refrigerator doors open too long.

I wouldn't put much faith in scientists who one day tell us that to eat eggs and butter will kill us, and the next day say they are good for us but that now peanut butter causes cancer. Trendy science has no more credibility for me.

Furthermore, as a lawyer, I know that expert scientists are for sale to the highest bidder. I don't trust the ones who like to see their names in the papers every few weeks. And the rest of them are just as fallible as anyone else.

Why cramp your style over some trendy, here today, discredited tomorrow, science? Enjoy life! Be free! Make some money!

The gasoline lamp is lit, drive 'em if you got 'em.

Lord Bling said...

'expert scientists are for sale to the highest bidder'

And lawyers aren't?

ptg said...

What are you offering?

Lord Bling said...

I'm not sure .... but if I ever get arrested, I'm sure I'll think of something...

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

My point is that there just really isn't a whole lot a debate anymore among people who are EDUCATED on the subject of human's impact on climate change. There must be one giant conspiracy occuring in science if everyone who's not working for an oil company and doing climate change research is coming to the same conclusions. I wonder who can afford to pay them all off for their opinions?

You are free to make your own conclusions about the evidence surrounding global warming. And I am free to tell you that based on the scientific evidence, you need to do more research.