Monday, November 19, 2007

From Nevada, Where People Know Something About Warming.....

If you've ever spent much time in Nevada, during the summer, and I have, then you'll listen to what this person has to say about global warming, drought, and man's effects.

Global Warming?
Who cares about cause? Something must be done!

By Vin Suprynowicz, writing from Nevada
For more than a thousand years, Christian doctrine had prescribed harsh punishment for anyone who made a false accusation of witchcraft. Since for obvious reasons it was pretty hard to actually prove your neighbor had made your cow go dry by hexing it with the evil eye, or that she flew around at night on a broomstick, this kept false accusations to a minimum.But in the 1480s the interestingly named Pope Innocent III changed all that with his bull "Summis Desideratis"; a couple of German shopkeepers published their Malleus Maleficarum -- the "Hammer of Witches" -- and the witch-hunts were on.

Anyone could turn in a neighbor on suspicion of consorting with demons, without fear of repercussions. Defendants had no right to confront or cross-examine their accusers. The church and state combined their powers to seize the suspects, split up their property and torture them into confessing.Traveling witch-finders were paid handsome fees for their supposed expertise in identifying witches by the presence of minor telltale blemishes on their skin. The growth of the industry was assured when the torturers decided they wouldn't stop inflicting pain until the victim had named a dozen members of her "coven" -- who could also be quickly rounded up, seized along with their property.

Why didn't anyone speak out against this madness? Here's the good part. Because if you were a "denier," that proved you must be under demonic influence, yourself. Care to view our instruments of torture? And so the madness grew. When sanity finally returned, in the 1700s, wise men started talking about "separating church and state," about defendants being "presumed innocent till proven guilty," about a "right to confront and cross-examine one's accusers." Just as importantly, the deductive methods of science were elevated above superstition.

New generations were taught it wasn't sufficient to notice a correlation between the old lady down the road waving her arms while mumbling under her breath and your cow going dry. You had to demonstrate there was some explanation within our understanding of the laws of physics for how one thing could cause the other. You had to demonstrate the presumed effect happened every time the presumed cause was present, that it never happened when the presumed cause was absent, and that there was no better alternative explanation.

It's not a perfect system. Government-funded science, in particular, tends to generate results curiously close to what the funding agencies are looking for. But note we're using the word "science" to refer to the ongoing skeptical testing of theories to see if they reliably predict real-world events. As soon as someone says, "It's been proved by science! No one must be allowed to question this any more!" they've warped the word "science" and are now using it to describe just another received religion, little different from "I read it in the Bible so I know it's true.

"Why does all this matter, in 2007? Just read a week's worth of letters to the editor. In recent days, you'll find readers writing in: "I am so tired of reading the letters and editorials that the Review-Journal prints disputing the science behind global warming. I no longer go fishing on Lake Mead because it has become too difficult to launch a boat. All my relatives in the Midwest talk about now are the mild winters and the extreme violent storms of the summers. Towns in Georgia are running out of water. And the glaciers are disappearing. And you keep printing stories from people who say, 'It's alright. It's cyclical!' Who cares whether it is or not? Who cares if we are causing it or not? Why can't we just agree that it is happening and that we have to work together to adapt to it! ...

"A Manhatten (sic) -type project that spent our tax dollars researching alternative energies that wean us from our oil addiction and that do not contribute to the Greenhouse effect would go a long way to helping us adapt no matter who is right! I'd like to go fishing again without having to wait 15,000 years!

"But if the reader agrees that burning fossil fuels may not be causing global warming, why spend billions of dollars and lower our standard of living to reduce a minimal "Greenhouse effect" that may not matter? Even if mean temperatures had increased 1 degree over the past 30 years -- and they have not -- does any responsible science explain how such a slight temperature increase could have caused lower water levels in Lake Mead?

Might not increased human water usage and the fact that rainfall here in the early 20th century was far above prehistoric norms be a more reasonable explanation? Might not warmer weather in the Pacific cause more evaporation, which could give us more rain? How could meeting all our current power needs with windmills or solar cells (ignoring the costs) possibly cause Lake Mead to fill with water? How could socking us with $5 billion in "carbon taxes" -- doubling the cost of turning on a light switch or pumping a gallon of gasoline, for starters -- cause Lake Mead to fill with water? What evidence is there that this would do any more good than rounding up 10,000 widows and burning them as witches?

Another reader recently wrote in: "The global warming debate is the best end run I have ever seen. Big Business cannot deny that it is polluting our planet. ... Big Business says, 'It's not all our fault. There are forest fires, volcanoes, sun flares, CO2 coming off the oceans and let's not forget the belching cows. Please don't forget the cows!' All the while the air, land and water are being polluted. The people dying from multiple forms of cancer and the asthmatic children going to the emergency rooms for breathing treatments and we aren't buying it." Global warming now causes cancer and childhood asthma? Doesn't this remind anyone else of the hysteria of the late 15th and 16th centuries, when every problem, global or local, could be blamed on the witches down the road consorting with demons and dancing naked in the moonlight, when the devil was seen to have the upper hand in his battle to take over the Earth from the godly, when no delays could be brooked? After all, the very fate of the Earth was at stake; if burning a few hundred more witches could help us turn the corner, who could possibly object?

Today, again, we're told that global warming "deniers" cannot be tolerated. Something must be done! What? What must be done? They don't seem so clear on that. Though if they succeed in pricing heat and air conditoning out of reach, thousands of people will die, make no mistake. In the 1970s, politically correct "left-centist" publications such as Newsweek were doing cover stories about the coming Ice Age. Polar bears are not vanishing; their populations have been growing for 25 years.

The Kyoto Protocol -- even if everyone signed it and met its terms, which would be an international first -- would reduce temperatures by only 0.04 degrees Celsius by 2100."The American people are fed up with the media for promoting the idea that former Vice President Al Gore represents the scientific 'consensus' that SUVs and the modern American way of life have somehow created a 'climate emergency' that only United Nations bureaucrats and wealthy Hollywood liberals can solve," said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the outgoing chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, last year.

But how can you deny we've been cursed by the witches? Aren't the lakes drying up? Aren't there storms and wildfires everywhere? Don't children have cancer and asthma? Why can't we all just agree these things are happening, and start to round up and burn the witches? There's no time left to beat around the bush and wait for all this tedious testing of "causality"! Who cares what's causing it? Something must be done!


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