Tuesday, April 18, 2006

it's getting hot in here. ice cream anyone?

i’m no scientist. i’m a humanities guy. so, for me, science is situated in history, not a lab. i read about science, but usually in straightforward layman’s terms type articles - nothing much heavier than national geographic. so maybe i’m wrong here. but - i’m convinced that the presentation of scientific “facts” are often sorta like looking at the debate surrounding the kennedy assassination. on the one hand, you can find qualified experts who swear lee harvey oswald acted alone; while, on the other hand, you can find equally bonafide scholars who claim that the russians were behind it. or the cia. or lbj. whatever. the point is, we may never know the truth.

but - we’ve got al gore at it again with his disney meets the sierra club movie, an inconvenient truth. and that’s fine. there are a whole slue of other folks, some even real scientist, that refute gore’s slickly packaged lecture. basically, there are two things that bug me about an inconvenient truth.

one is the basic knowledge of history that tells us that there have been at least four major ice ages. which means, if my reasoning via history is correct, there have been at least three interglacial, or non-glacial, periods of time that are, by default, NOT ice ages. during these warmer times what happened? i don’t know, but i’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with those theories that insist upon modern man’s ability to cause our current ice age to melt into an impending interglacial period. the industrial and technological ages are but a blip on the screen of the earth’s history. it seems folly at best and arrogance at worst to believe that we, mere mortals, can cause something so incredibly awesome as the end of an ice age.

the other thing chaps my hide until it begs for salve is how folks pervert a seemingly honest concern for our home into political propaganda. take richard cohen of the washington post. in his article, gore movie puts heat on bush, cohen claims that “‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is a cinematic version of the lecture that Gore has given for years warning of the dangers of global warming. The case Gore makes is worthy of sleepless nights: Our Earth is in extremis. It's not just that polar bears are drowning because they cannot reach receding ice floes or that ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ will exist someday only as a Hemingway short story. It's rather that Hurricane Katrina is not past, but prologue. Katrina produced several hundred thousand evacuees. The flooding of Calcutta would produce many millions. You cannot see this film and not think of George W. Bush, the man who beat Gore in 2000. Bush has been studiously anti-science, a man of applied ignorance who has undernourished his mind with the empty calories of comfy dogma. For instance, his insistence on abstinence as the preferred method of birth control would be laughable were it not so reckless. It is similar to Bush's initial approach to global warming. It may be that Gore will do more good for his country and the world with this movie than Bush ever did by winning in 2000.”

now really - scientific data or not - doesn’t abstinence work 100% of the time? and was there a bush to blame in the first four ice ages?

i’m willing to cut gore a break on his green theories. clearly, he believes in protecting the environment. so do i. so does ben and jerry. gore lectures and makes movies. i bemoan those folks who toss their cigarette butts out the window or flick them onto the ground. ben and jerry, the faces of big ice cream - they support the green movement by encouraging the release of countless chloro-fluorocarbons into our air.


laura g said...

ah, the washington post. what a scream. i believe that bush caused global warming as much as i believe that gore invented the internet.

Steve Bezner said...

I read a really interesting article about global warming in "First Things" about a year ago. The gist was quite similar to yours: maybe we're warming; maybe we're not. In short, the author suggested that we are still climbing out of an Ice Age, and we have yet to reach our optimal temperature. When we do? Well, he says that the cool down will begin and the next Ice Age will be on its way...

Great post. Oh, it's amazing that that guy can write for the Post and think that it's insightful.