Tuesday, February 6, 2007

a hint of outrage

Why do people start blogs? I have a sneaking suspicion that it's because people get fed up with the mendacity of it all, and decide that they need to shout out to whoever will listen. And, given that if you do this at your cubicle at work, you're likely to lose the respect of your peers (if not your job). So instead, we write blogs.

So what is it that makes me want to shake my fist at the sky shouting, "Oh, the humanity!!!"? Well, as it happens, I'm passionate about a lot of things, but today, the thing burning my butt is conservative blogs reacting angrily to any suggestion that global warming is happening. "It's a conspiracy!!!" they cry. Well, I hate conspiracies. H.A.T.E. I just can't believe that they happen. As it happens, human beings are terrible at keeping secrets. We're generally cranky creatures that manage to manufacture consensus only after mountains of effort. And scientists? We're even worse. We get paid to think grand ideas, but more importantly, we get paid to prove it. We're naturally a contrarian bunch, and the way you generate consensus among scientists is by gathering data that supports your model, and showing that your model explains more data than anyone else's model.

It's been suggested that the current scientific consensus exists because either 1) most climatologists are too stupid to understand the real Galileo's of climate science, and that their time will come or 2) there is a conspiracy to silence the scientists who dont agree with the "liberal" position that global warming is happening. Or most likely of all: both.

Now any scientist worth their salt will say that anything may be disproven. It may turn out that global warming is a giant mistake. It may turn out that gravity doesn't exist and the world is flat. But at the moment, mountains of data suggest that global warming is happening, and that it is a result of manmade carbon emissions. This is not a liberal fact. This is not a conservative fact. This is a scientific fact. And while some may argue that until we are 100% sure, we should hold off acting on it, the truth is, I'm not 100% sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

But if it does, I'll add more thoughts to this...


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