Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Road to Hell is Paved With Intellectual Dishonesty

Hey there, true believers, RayRay is back with his first post of the new decade. I am truly sorry for my failure to post earlier, but I do have two excuses.

My first excuse is that my newborn twins keep my attention away from The Witch Hunt. Those little buggers can take a lot out of a man by the end of the day.

The second excuse is that I have become extremely tired of the political scene, that "politics as usual" are unusually terrible. From feckless Democrats to shameless Republicans, I have been on an unofficial hiatus from politics, because I just can't take the brainless stupidity, from the "retarded" to the sublime.

To highlight this despicable dynamic I shall use the current, and ridiculous, "debate" about global warming and climate change, and I shall endeavor to use unassailable facts to make my point.

To recap, conservatives have used the recent blizzard on the East Coast as demonstrable proof that global warming is a debunked hoax. I assure you that the knuckle-draggers at odds with some 90% of publishing scientists who study climate change are incorrect, and here is why:

1) it is known that the climate of Earth has fluctuated throughout the 5 or so billion years it has existed;

2) in the past the Earth had periods of intense warmth, for instance, during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, when the dinosaurs walked the earth;

3) carbon dioxide, CO2, among other gases, are known as "greenhouse gases" because they absorb heat and / or infra red wavelengths of light, and do a similar job on sunlight as the glass of a greenhouse does. You can prove this for yourself with two makeshift greenhouses, two lamps with lightbulbs of the same wattage, and by putting a small piece of dry ice in one of the greenhouses;

4) until recently humans released a tremendous amount of chloroflourocarbons, aka CFC's, which reacted with the ozone in the upper atmosphere. CFC's were used a propellants and refrigerants. Ozone (O3) is a molecule which just so happens to absorb the higher intensity wavelengths of sunlight known as "ultraviolet," and our CFC emissions have put a sizable hole in the ozone layer, permitting more energy through the atmosphere and to the surface of the planet;

5) since the Industrial Revolution humans have begun to burn what we now know as "fossil" fuels for energy. Fossil fuels include petroleum, coal, and natural gas. These are called "fossil" fuels because they were once living things, either plant or animals. Incidentally, these animals and plants whose fossils we burn lived at a time when there was a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere, and the Earth was much warmer, and we are busy re-releasing that same CO2 back into our atmosphere;

6) naturally occurring vulcanism accounts for a large amount of what we term "air pollution," but even if this pollution accounts for between 50-75% of known air pollution, that means that human activity accounts for the rest. In a closed system, such additional pollutants become significant over time, much like the expected weight gain of a person who normally ingests a 2500 calorie diet who decides to eat 100 extra calories per day. By the end of a year, that person will have gained a significant amount of weight; the same type of dynamic is at work in our atmosphere. Taken together with the known damage to the ozone layer, which permits more energetic sun rays through the atmosphere, it is inescapable that human acts influence the climate, and that the double effect of more energy into the system is coupled with the dynamic that more energy is absorbed by it;

7) the last decade was the warmest on record;

8) both the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets have retreated visibly. The nations whose borders extend above the Arctic circle have begun to formulate plans for the sea lanes expected to open up as a result of this. There is a dearth of sea ice for polar bears, and the permafrost of both North America and Far East Asia has begun to melt, causing the steady collapse of villages which were built upon them;

9) in April of 2009 the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica collapsed. It was the size of Jamaica. The average temperature around Antarctica has risen 3.8 degrees F in the last 50 years;

10) glaciers around the world, from the Rockies to the Alps to most famously on Mount Kilimanjaro have begun to retreat or disappear;

11) Senator James Inhofe, perhaps the most vocal deniers of global warming, is a Young Earth Creationist. He denies the overwhelming scientific evidence as to the age of the Earth, the universe, and various other scientific truths. Being on the same side as Sen. Inhofe in a scientific based argument is akin to arguing you weren't drunk driving because you didn't crash your car. Alongside the likes of Mr. Inhofe we have such intellectual luminaries as ex-Governor Sarah Palin [who could see Russia, but not melting permafrost, in Alaska], Glenn "Hari-kiri" Beck, Sean Hannity, and Rush "I did not straw purchase illegal narcotics through that woman" Limbaugh. Arrayed against this veritable think tank of scientific brilliance we have merely a bunch [read: 90+%] of stupid "scientists," people who foolishly devoted their lives to studying the "why's" of the universe instead of getting into the lucrative industry of punditry. How's that scientific method workin' out for ya?

When all is said and done, global warming is NOT a political issue. But because some people see Al Gore on one side of an issue, or because some people get their grants from the American Petroleum Institute, or just because some people read the Book of Genesis as if it were a science text book, we have this, among the stupidest of political debates. It pains me to have to actually have such idiocy as part of our political discourse, as it is a mere hairsbreadth above debating the veracity of the Theory of Evolution or the Big Bang or if the Earth actually goes around the Sun. It comes down to an argument over, on the one hand, a) vast scientific consensus versus b) inane, uneducated opinion based political posturing for, at best, scoring short term political points, with a bumper sticker slogan.

To then argue, in self imposed ignorance, that the recent storms prove anything, is sheer intellectual dishonesty, and the worst kind of political posturing, as it only inures to the detriment of all of us.

So, if there is an afterlife, I hope that these foolish deniers of what is otherwise rather solid science get to look upon Earth from the Hell they are surely headed to for their sins of bearing false witness and for their greed, and see their children and grandchildren suffering for their sins in the temporal world. But this would be cold comfort for me, as I don't think there is an afterlife, and I must hope that the masses realize the evidence before their eyes before it is too late.


  1. Welcome back Ray!

    To paraphrase Kimo . . . The global warming debate is like the 'Sopranos' -- it's OOOVVER. . . Find a new show.

  2. With the vast majority of the world's scientists in accord, you are right. The debate is over. Tobacco doesn't cause cancer either. Driving with a seatbelt is no more safe than without. The world is flat, and the sun does a lovely job of revolving around the United States of America.