Saturday, September 12, 2009

Global Warming?

Like many people I have neither been on the global warming bandwagon nor have I thought myself competent to dismiss it as a myth. I just don't know. But I am suspicious of all the hype for three reasons:

1. Since the 1960's it has been one "major world crisis" after another that all require big government to get bigger in order to save the world. First it was overpopulation. Paul Ehrlich, in his famous bomb, The Population Bomb, (sorry, I can't resist bad puns) predicted widespread famine on a world scale by the 80's and 90's. But it didn't happen. Just pause and let that sink in: it didn't happen. World population has doubled and, while famine exists, it is a matter of politics not supply. Then, when that cause ran out of steam, the environment became the issue and then being against polluting the air and water somehow morphed into the global warming scare, which, mirabile dictu, just happens to require us to lower the world population abiet it for a different reason. Now it is not to save people, but to save Gaia, our earth mother.

2. I've never been a fan of new religions and this whole Gaia worship thing has so many of the trappings of a new (partially old) religion that it is absolutely fascinating. We anthropomorphize the Earth (always capital E) and view her (personal pronoun required) as a living, breathing entity of which you and I are something like the skin on a pimple on the rear end. Stay humble and bow to the Earth mother you little carbon-producing parasite.

Now, this gets Christianity spectacularly backwards. In Christianity people are made in the image of God and the Earth (oops, earth) is demythologized. The Genesis creation narrative deliberately takes the ancient near Eastern worship of the sun and the moon (for example) down a peg or two: And God made the moon - almost like an afterthought. "Oh yeah, I'll stick in a moon too." Not a very ecumenical way of talking about your neighbour's deity, but fortunately political correctness had not been invented yet.

Most new religions are aggressively evangelistic and Gaia worship is no exception. It is the only religion currently taught officially in our public school system, which is of course totally secular. (Logic is not taught much either, fortunately, or more people would be asking questions.) But it is the intolerance of the global warmers that really makes it all look suspicious. If the science were as straightforward as they say, (remember Al "not a single scientific study against it" Gore), it would not be necessary to keep playing whack-a-mole with dissidents, at least one would think not. It is a rather serious thing to advocate decimating our economy and lowering the standard of living in Western nations back to early 19th century levels in the name of a scientific theory, so it's little wonder it is hotly contested.

Anyway, lately the skeptics seem to be gaining ground. See this article in The Washington Post, which is not known as a fundamentalist, right-wing rag. (Be sure to scroll down to see the article.) More importantly than the ideological predisposition of the paper, the article seems to make sense of a lot of data and it rightly acknowledges the complexity of making predictions about the climate. One of the reasons the Enlightenment is in trouble today is that science itself has demonstrated that human science sometimes cannot predict the future (cf. the behaviour of sub-atomic particles). That should make us humble when we are trying to predict something as complex as our entire eco-system. But the global warming advocates seem to assume a nearly infallible ability to predict future climate change and the specific reasons for it.

3. A third thing that makes me skeptical is that the strongest proponents of the global warming scare are people who hold other views that I abhor and, which, can be advanced if global warming is accepted as fact by society as a whole. They are pro-contraception, pro-abortion and pro-sterilization. And they don't rule out coercive methods, such as those used in China. They support abortion on demand and don't even flinch at sex-selection abortion that is used to kill millions of female fetuses every year. They are often eugenicists who want to ensure that only the "right" races or classes reproduce and that the "wrong" ones don't so much. They think killing the handicapped is compassionate and bumping off the elderly is rational. In short, they are a scurvy lot and any cause of their's is automatically under suspicion as far as I'm concerned. They could still be right, but I need convincing because I don't trust their agenda. And I'm pretty certain that many of them "want" global warming to be true so fervently that they consider it justifiable to say "tweak" the data in order to make it more favorable to their side. Truth, shmooth. We're talking about saving the world here. (Does that sound like George Bush or what?)

All this does not add up to a refutation of global warming; I still don't know if it is true or not. But there is one final thing I'm skeptical about; even if global warming is happening and even if it is human induced, I'm not at all sure that anybody actually knows what would fix the problem. It seems to me that we are not that unlike primitive tribesmen afraid of a volcano desperately offering sacrifices to the gods in hopes that we will come up with the right sacrifice that will be acceptable to the right deity, whatever the heck the right one is. Is that what the Enlightenment has come to?

UPDATE:
Interesting, for what it is worth, from Rasmussen Reports: Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters say global warming is caused by long-term planetary trends rather than human activity, while 42% blame humans. Except for June when the two points of view were virtually tied, voters have been trending away from blaming human activity since January.

6 comments:

Tarun Kumar said...

A thousand little people were seen melting away in the sweltering heat at Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt Square - and there was no saving them, because these little guys were sculptures made out of ice by Brazilian artist, Nele Azevedo.

The Melting Men exhibit is part of the Minimum Monument movement, started by the artist in 2005. However, her first few exhibits, which comprised only of single ice sculptures, was to protest against big monuments, which honor only heroes.

While she still does it to highlight her stance against large monuments, global warming activists have found them to be the ideal icons to highlight our Earth’s plight!

The two have found a perfect way to blend their agendas by holding their exhibitions in large city squares with monuments. The artist has come a long way since her first solitary ice sculpture - her latest exhibits comprise of hundreds of little ice sculptures all gradually ‘dying’ in the sun.

Craig Carter said...

Ice melts when left out in the sun. Global warming MUST be true!

jonathanturtle said...

Excellent post!

Peter Dunn said...

Along with those melting ice people in Berlin,Frosty the Snowman could be the poster child of global warming.

But seriously, a bit of global warming would be good for humanity, as in the medieval climatic optimum, when wine grapes could be grown in Greenland, and it was a time of great prosperity for Europe. In that light, I recommend this video by Minnesotans for Global Warming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJUFTm6cJXM

Nathan said...

Your point #1 has a rather embarrassing omission: what about the major world crisis of Communism/Socialism from 1946-1989? That's right up your alley. ;-)

Craig Carter said...

Nathan,
I was talking about fake crises; that one was real.