What About Anthropogenic Global Warming?

My sister sent me a simple question: Global Warming – What do you think?

What I think is that there seems plenty of data to indicate slight warming trend, which may continue. There is also data to show that the Earth has been significantly warmer and colder in the past, long before humans existed.

What I don’t buy is that we know whether humans play a primary, moderate or even significant role in that trend. We don’t know either way, I would say. Of course the recently disclosed emails don’t help the proponents’ case, although some of the statement are less damaging than the opponents want to make them out to be.

I have had the impression for some time that the current passionate advocacy (I might even say frenzy) is more akin to religious fervor than scientific discussion. Have you ever heard anyone snap back, “The debate is over!” when the discussion was truly based in mutual respect and devotion to find the truth?

Part of the problem is that no one who advocates controls based on the assumption that global warming is serious and human-induced can accept anything less than 100% devotion to their view. You can’t, for instance, make much headway saying something like, “Well, I don’t think that the draconian measures you have in mind are necessary or merited, given the thin support available, but of course having cleaner air and water and using less energy are obviously desirable for their own sake, so we certainly should continue to innovate and motivate to achieve all of those goals. You just can’t commandeer the world’s entire economy, bring it to its knees, and install your own dictators (call them whatever you like) to decide who gets to use what when or how much and so on and so on.”

In a typical gathering of the acolytes of this new religion, you wouldn’t be able to get past the second comma in the first sentence. In hardcore gathering you wouldn’t get as far as the first comma.

In the first Star Trek movie, the silicon “life form” (maybe) V’GER takes over Lt. Ilia and through her talks about the “carbon based infestation of Enterprise.” Global Warming Fundamentalists have a similar view, sort of like modern day Puritans. We (humans) are the infestation. And accordingly, anything we do that makes life more enjoyable or easier must somehow be too energy-intensive and therefore wrong, and we must be stopped. We simply cannot be allowed to consume or emit anything beyond some meager amount that guess-who will decide.

It’s a mess. Like so many of our discussion these days. They aren’t discussions. They are sermons, delivered to opposing choirs (yes, the exact opposite claim – that it’s not serious and even if it is it has nothing to do with humans – is just as much a faith-based outcry), and with the loudest preachers taking control one after the other and yanking the rest of us around.

I guess I think that the Global Warming hysteria (yeah, that’s what I’d call it) is part and parcel of having raised a population for generation without the desire or ability to ask a good question, or if asking, without the desire or ability to listen respectfully to the answer and consider whether or not something useful was communicated, and if not to ask another question until both parties seem to understand each other. And then to ask a few more to see if the seeming understanding leads to anything productive. But you have to have that intent to begin with.

To correct the old boy from Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is not a failure to communicate. What we have here is a failure to intend to communicate. What we have here is a desire to control everyone who doesn’t agree with us, or at the very least have them dismissed as stupid.”

Scary.

Part of what’s scary is that we shouldn’t be surprised by this. History is full of examples. It is the rule, not the exception. And yet we continue to allow it take the reins again and again. What have we been teaching our children for 50 years that they should grow up behave like this?

All we can hope for is that those who know (that hunger for power is insatiable in those who give in to it) do not give up resisting the tide.

Hang in there.

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