Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dumber and dumber

Rarely has a letter to the editor disptuing global warming (or anything else) left itself so vulnerable to point-by-point demoliton:

1. The earth is always changing. For example, many areas of Montana were covered by water millions of years ago as evidenced by many rimrocks showing sediment layers deposited by water.

True but irrelevant. The fact that the planet changes naturally doesn't make it immutable to change by humans.

2. Twelve thousand years ago, a glacier stretched across northern Montana and into Minnesota. The glacier melted and changed the flow of the Missouri River from the Big Sag of Chouteau County to the Big Bend towards Big Sandy.

True, I guess, but utterly irrelevant. See Point 1.

3. Gore enormously simplifies the relationship of cause and effect.

For example?

4. Many, many weather scientists do not believe that human activity has anything to do with climate change. Blaming humans is a sensational news story; giving credit to Mother Nature isn't.

No. Not many.

5. Global weather is far more complex and mysterious than we have the ability to understand. A couple hundred years of observation by us humans isn't long enough to gain a meaningful understanding.

Since knowledge is incomplete, we must refuse to act. So if an armed intruder enters your house and you can't tell whether or not his gun is loaded, you should ignore him.

6. Forest and prairie fires, volcanoes and dust storms generate thousands of times more atmospheric pollution than human activity.

Irrelevant, especially if, as Gore predicts, the effects of human activity are increasing.

7. During the 1960s, weather "experts" were warning of global cooling.

Not true. Some popular articles in the '60s did make this claim, but scientists were always more cautious. The mostly widely cited scientific study that suggested this hypothesis, in fact, specifically excluded any possible effects of human activity.

I thought all of that was just about the dumbest thing I had read until I looked at the comments beneath it. Man, oh man.

1 comment:

Chuck Rightmire said...

It always gets me that people who grew up in this part of Montana can assert that global warming isn't happening. One of the first articles I read in any science magazine (about 20 years ago) based on computer predictions spelled out the longer summers, drier years, and colder winter weather here (when it comes) than in earlier times. But then, I walked to school two miles through two feet of snow uphill both ways.