Got this message yesterday from a very concerned climate change alarmist:
Hi Matt, I read you sometimes but I generally find you to be an assh*le. Just being honest. I also think you have a reputation (or you’d like to think you have a reputation) as someone who isn’t afraid to “tell it like it is,” but I think you haven’t earned that. Actually you are very afraid to challenge any republican talking point so you stick to the script on everything. I guess it’s more important to be invited to the parties than to tell the truth.
I’m wondering if you have the guts to address something and actually force your right wing readers to think for themselves. I’m getting really tired of seeing these idiots on Facebook who every time it gets cold or snows start gloating about how it “proves” there is no climate change. You’ve never outed yourself as a climate denier, and I know you like to consider yourself a logical person, so I’m hoping this is one area where you differ from your cohorts. These morons need to be put in their place. Colder temperatures and blizzards ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE SCIENTIFIC MODEL FOR CLIMATE CHANGE. This is why I could never be a republican. I can’t be a part of a group of anti-science climate deniers who would kill this planet if they were given free reign. Prove you’re really “controversial,” Matt, and call your people to task here.
I agree with you. Honestly, I never addressed it because I never knew it was such a pervasive problem. But now that you’ve called my attention to it, allow me to be the first to say that climate deniers are lunatics. I’ll take it a step further than you even did, JM, and submit that climate deniers should be banned from teaching, voted out of office, and probably fired from any other job they might hold. Seriously, I can’t hardly believe that anyone could be so foolish and so delusional as to be a climate denier.
I mean, to deny the existence of the climate? That’s madness. The word “climate” means “the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region.” The word “deny” means “to refuse to recognize or acknowledge; disown; disavow; repudiate.” Anyone who rejects or repudiates the existence of weather conditions ought to be scolded and shunned and possibly institutionalized. We all must stand up against these menaces!
Luckily, upon closer inspection, I see that no such view actually exists anywhere in our society. This is just a label you people fabricated because left wing environmentalists are reflexively disingenuous about everything. “Climate denier” may in fact be the most ludicrous assemblage of two words ever concocted by mankind. But it’s not much better than the slightly more specific “climate change denier,” (used in a sentence: “liberal college professors think climate change deniers should be put in prison“) because, despite these marvelous straw men left wingers take so much time building, nobody in the world denies the fact of climate change. If anyone is a climate change denier — that is, someone who denies that climates change — I’d agree that he is an imbecile and probably mentally unstable.
Yet that view doesn’t exist because we all know the climate changes. Of course the climate changes. It’s a climate. That’s what climates do. They change. It gets colder, it gets hotter, it rains, it snows, it does all kinds of things. I don’t deny that, and although I’m not a Republican and I take great exception to that accusation, I feel safe in speaking for them when I say that they neither deny the fact of the climate, nor the fact that the climate changes. Progressives use labels like “climate denier” or “climate skeptic” (for the people who are willing to believe that there might be a climate, but are still a little iffy on the whole thing) because they are not interested in an honest discussion. You either buy in to their environmental dogma one hundred percent, or you will be painted as an idiot, an infidel, and a maniac.
Now, why might a person be skeptical about the theory that humans are causing dramatic shifts to the climate, and that these shifts will eventually kill us all? Have you ever thought about why someone might have these reservations, JM? Have you really taken the time to consider the reasons for this skepticism? Yeah, they’re morons, right, I get it, but have you determined that they’re morons because the media and people on Twitter told you they’re morons, or because you gave their case a fair hearing and came away with the impression that they have absolutely nothing even slightly coherent to say? I’m guessing it’s more the former, which makes you not necessarily a moron yourself, but an intellectually lazy chump who can be easily herded and exploited.
But since you broached the subject, I’m hoping today will be perhaps the first day in your life when you listen to a point of view before deciding to disqualify it.
So, why do so many people have trouble falling in line with the Climate Change Doomsday Cult (CCDC)? Let’s start with history. Just going back through the past few decades, according to left wing environmentalists we should all be dead from an Ice Age, and after that it was a nuclear winter, and after that it was overpopulation. Sprinkle in the various fits of hysteria about how we’re going to run out of oil and end up back living in caves, or run out of rain forest and suffocate to death, or run out of food, or run out of water, or run out of ozone, and you see how people might grow wary of the CCDC’s constant hand wringing about some kind of apocalypse (side note: “Some Kind of Apocalypse” would be a great name for a band). We should have perished 12 times over at this point. There were at least three different global annihilations that should have arrived before the year 2000, and another several since then. We should be starving, sick with radiation poisoning, unable to breathe, freezing from the sub zero temperatures, melting from the scorching heat, and causing entire landmasses to literally tip over due to the excess population. But we’re still here.
Some of these theories, like overpopulation and the Ice Age, have been thoroughly debunked and disproved. Others have simply been abandoned for trendier causes. But in all of these cases, the prophets of doom reaped profits from the doom, while slimy politicians used the hysteria as a means to tax, regulate, and control. Excuse us, JM, but are you really saying that after so many failed and erroneous predictions, we shouldn’t even raise an eyebrow when the very same people come back with yet another one?
Left Wing Environmentalists: Watch out everyone, this is going to kill you!
Everyone: Oh no! What do we do?
LWE: Quick pay more taxes!
Everyone: OK, here you go!
LWE: Just kidding. That probably won’t kill you, but this will!
LWE: No, OK, not that. But this!
Everyone: Dear Lord, help us!
LWE: Alright, never mind, we dodged that bullet. But this new thing will definitely wipe us out!
Everyone: We’re so afraid!
LWE: Scratch that. It’s this. This will do it!
Everyone: Uh, OK, we’re starting to get a little skeptical —
LWE: WHY DO YOU HATE SCIENCE?
How many times do they have to be wrong before our skepticism might be considered reasonable? Because that’s what this is about. Skepticism. You’re saying, just as most progressives say, that it’s “anti-science” to even be skeptical of climate alarmism, which is to say that the prevailing climate theory of the day should be believed regardless of how believable it is. This is the very definition of an unscientific attitude. It’s religious zealotry. Nothing more, nothing less.
Our history lesson isn’t over. Not long ago, nobody talked about climate change — instead it was global warming. If you can recall the year 2007, way back in the distant past, you might remember when Al Gore received a Nobel Peace prize for narrating a science fiction documentary and mentioned in his acceptance speech that the North Polar ice cap would completely melt by the year 2013. But then the year 2013 rolled around, and the Arctic had actually increased in mass by about 60 percent. Man, that’s embarrassing.
Indeed, you wouldn’t expect global warming to melt the ice caps considering the globe hasn’t warmed since about 1997. In other words, by the time Gore jumped on the global warming gravy train, global warming hadn’t been a thing for about a decade. Today, we’re about 219 months and counting since the last time the aggregate temperatures on Earth rose by any statistically significant amount.
What happened next? Well, the same thing that always happens. Progressives repackaged, rebranded, renamed, and came up with a few new marketing tricks. Suddenly, global warming became climate change, and man made climate change is as undeniable as man made global warming, even though global warming didn’t exist.
It was a smart move, though. Progressives realized that global warming — like the Ice Age, or overpopulation, or a nuclear winter — is just too specific. They needed something that could never be truly debunked because, no matter what happens, whatever happens proves them right. Hence, climate change.
“The climate is changing because of people!”
How do you know?
“Because it’s changing!”
“Look! It just changed again!”
They came up with a theory that can be validated by any turn of events, which means it can’t be validated by any turn of events. They’ve formulated not that one plus one equals two, or even that one plus one equals four, but that one plus one equals infinity.
Want to see something funny? Here’s a National Geographic headline from September of 2014:
Now, here’s one from yesterday:
One theory, two opposite results, both proof of the theory. Does that make sense, JM? Can you, at a minimum, understand why some of us look at that and think “hmmmm”?
On a related note, the subheading under that blizzard article is pretty hysterical: “More extreme storms are expected to fall on the Northeast as climate changes.”
Oh, as the climate changes sometimes snow happens, you say? Yes, it’s called winter in the north east. It’s been this way for a while now, National Geographic. Why are you so surprised that it snowed in Buffalo in January? Aren’t you people supposed to be nature experts?
It’s all so ridiculous, JM. And we haven’t even really gotten to dissecting the actual science here.
As far as that goes, I admit I’m not a scientist, though I suspect neither are you, and neither are most of the people who participate in this debate on either side. Still, even us lowly citizens can know a few things. For instance, we can know that the climate on this planet has changed wildly over the course of its existence. It’s had tropical periods and icy periods and everything in between, and the vast majority of all of that came before the Industrial Age. In fact, human beings have only been industrialized for a tiny fraction of human history, and we’ve been driving cars for an even tinier fraction. We can know, therefore, that temperatures and weather conditions have swung dramatically from one side of the spectrum to the other and back again, and, from a historical perspective, when comparing 200 years of industrialization to the 4 billion years the Earth’s been around, almost all of the warming and cooling happened before any factory was ever built.
We can also know that our CO2 emmissions are dwarfed by the immense amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by natural (and evil, likely Republican) sources like oceans and vegetation.
We can further know that the Sun — which is big enough to eat a million Earths, and hot enough to make you burst into flames from millions of miles away — really calls the shots in our solar system. If we’re searching for “global warming” culprits, we might want to look at that 27,000,000 degree ball of gas in the sky.
And we can even more confidently know that if human CO2 emissions are a primary driver of global temperatures, it wouldn’t make sense for temperatures to drop or stay stagnate while humanity only continues to increase its CO2 output. But that’s exactly what’s happened. I can know that, and I can know that something doesn’t make sense here. And I can know all of that without being a “scientist.”
Speaking of scientists, it’s probably not worth mentioning at this point that there isn’t any real 97 percent consensus on climate change in the scientific community. That oft-cited figure is based on faulty methodology, cherry picked findings, misleading questions, and misinterpreted results. What do scientists really think? Well, a good number of them are just as skeptical as me, check here, and here, and here for example.
Even the people who believe in man made climate change don’t really believe it. That’s why so few of you folks are actively adjusting your lifestyle in any substantive way. I mean, if you think that the Earth itself is on the verge of a destruction brought upon by human beings and our technology, wouldn’t you clothe yourself in a loin cloth stitched from foliage and run off into the wilderness, living in a hollowed-out tree and subsisting on wild edibles? If you possess the conviction that the planet itself will die if humanity does not make dramatic changes, wouldn’t you begin by making those dramatic changes yourself? But you don’t. Maybe you buy a hybrid, maybe you put a “Save the Earth” bumper sticker on it, maybe you turn your heat down at night, but when it comes down to it, leftwing environmentalists continue on living the same way we all do. They drive around, buy things, watch TV, fly on airplanes, eat at restaurants. They sermonize about the end times but that’s all it is — a sermon. At least other religious cults put their money where their mouth is. You guys use a lot of dramatic language, but do nothing.
So where does that leave us? With, you might say, a few reasons to have some doubt. But I realize this isn’t about “reasons” for you, it’s about faith. And far be it for me to attack your religion.
Thanks for writing.
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