Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Climate Change Denier Dares a Scientific Explanation, Then Gets Schooled

Earth from Space with Stars

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey Flickr Page:

The old button from the Environmental Club days which I just happened to find on Earth Day! It is a little beat up (particularly the ends of the ribbon), but no worse for the wear, I think. And it is one of the few items that I have left from those days, so it carries a lot of great memories for me! Nothing Changes Until You Do!

Here is a picture of a very similar logo, with the same message, that was on the t-shirt that I purchased from the BCC Environmental Club and, if memory serves me correctly, may even have helped to make. There were a few projects like that which club members, myself included, were regularly involved with. It has been so long, however, that I no longer recall specifically if I actually helped to make these or not, although I do believe so, since I remember seeing the process of the t-shirts being dyed. In any case, I loved this t-shirt, and have kept it ever since, even if I do not regularly wear it. Since it was part of my experience with the BCC Environmental Club days, as well as more generally having an environmental theme, it seemed appropriate to share it here. 

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed."

~Mahatma Gandhi

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
~John F. Kennedy  

By now, surely anyone who follows this blog knows that I am not not an admirer of Donald Trump, George W. Bush, or like-minded people who generally identify themselves (usually proudly) as conservatives.

Their economic policies tend to suck, and always try to funnel any and all extra money upwards, to the very wealthiest among us. They take care of the interests and desires of big banks and huge corporations before they take ever care of the needs and concerns of the citizens that they are supposed to represent. Plus, many of them (too many to dismiss as mere coincidence) simply shut down any meaningful debate, and resort to name-calling and/or other tactics designed to infuriate and mock people who think other than they do. 

That has long been the case with the trickle down economic theories that they continually, relentlessly advocate. That is the case when they argue for union busting. That is the case when they argue for tough immigration and/or bans on immigrants of a given faith. That was the case when they were pining for an illegal and immoral war more than a decade ago.

Yet, perhaps the most irksome disregard that they show are towards things that could actually benefit people the most, and which seem the most obvious things to make sure people have access to. I am speaking of universal, affordable healthcare, which has long been an issue that I felt that this country, the United States, just keeps getting wrong.

And it is also the case with another key issue that is only growing in importance over time: climate change.

Really, I admittedly never understood how Republicans in Congress uniformly beginning an argument on the science of climate change by making clear that they are not themselves scientists or experts is not seen as a serious liability. To me, they are basically saying that they cannot argue with scientists on this issue because they lack the expertise, and they are admitting that the facts are not on their side.

What is maddening is that this truly stupid, insipid argument wins out here in the United States time and time and time again!

It is still one more in a long (and growing) list of things that any objective American who actually tried to remain informed on the issues of the day will find truly embarrassing. The rest of the world has essentially conceded that climate change is real. Hell, even conservative American presidents, including the sitting one right now, have backed off from earlier claims that climate change is some kind of a hoax, or is not real. George W. Bush admitted that it was real. And Donald Trump denied denying climate change and claiming it was a hoax invented by the Chinese to help sabotage the American economy during a debate with Hillary Clinton just a few months ago.

Yet, what made Bush and Trump different is that, while they backed off from outright denial, they never budged towards actually doing anything to address this as a serious issue, which pretty clearly means that they do not take it as a serious issue.

And this attitude has been a source of embarrassment to millions of Americans. While most Americans believe that climate change is real and needs to be addressed, we rarely elect high-ranking government officials who reflect this belief. More often, we elect people like Donald Trump, or George W. Bush, Jim Inhofe, John Boehner, and others who either deny, or outright mock, notions that climate change is real and/or that we should get serious about doing something about it. 

But apparently, climate change denial does exist in other countries, and that includes Canada. Lorrie Goldstein, the acting Comment Editor for the Toronto Sun, is one such figure. Recently, he basically made a general dare to any "Social Justice Warrior" (note the mocking tone) to explain the actual science behind climate change. Here is the message from his tweet:

"Next time a Social Justice Warrior tells you “science is settled” on global warming, ask them to explain the science. Then watch the fun."

Goldstein added a picture of Hillary Clinton looking smug and seemingly sinking her head into her hands, and looking like she is not expecting much. Clearly, this was another dig at those who accept that climate change is real, because Goldstein appears to be of the belief that "the left" consists of supporters and admirers of the Clintons and Obamas. This is another thing that I personally never understood about conservatives, that tendency to try and take aim at the Clintons or Obamas for that mic drop moment. As if anyone who believes that climate change is real is systematically an admirer of Hillary Clinton. 


Anyway, Karen Geier, a Toronto based writer, had an answer for Goldstein. And not only does she have the scientific facts to back this up, she was able to articulate them so wonderfully, with such clarity, that what amounted to a complete rebuke of Goldstein's dare went viral. In a series of responses, Geier buttressed, rather than weakened, the science behind climate change, and human involvement in it. And she added that final measure of disrespect towards Goldstein to boot, to fight fire with fire. Here were her series of tweets (under the apparent pseudonym Worth Wild L'il Tree):

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (methane, carbon dioxide, etc.) let visible light pass through, but absorb infrared light

this causes the earth to heat up. The warmer atmosphere emits more infrared light, which tends to be re-absorbed

Since the industrial age began around 1750, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 40% and methane has increased by 150%.

such increases cause extra infrared light absorption, further heating Earth above its typical temperature range

(even as energy from the sun stays basically the same).Energy that gets to Earth has an even harder time leaving it

causing Earth’s average temperature to increase–– producing global climate change.

emissions are measurable. Temperature changes are measurable. The effects are measurable.

they lead to the same conclusion. 97% of scientists agree. The standouts have ties to fossil fuel industries.

there you go, you colossal donut.

but don’t take 97% of scientist’s word for it, take the people who have been to space’s:

I mean, I’d tell you to read, but you’re the editor of a paper designed for illiterates

Wow! She called Goldstein a colossal donut (probably meaning that he has a hole right in the middle of him), and then completely trashed the fluff newspaper that he often is the voice of!

Now, that's fighting fire with fire! That's how to respond to rude people who feel themselves truly the authority to challenge science, and facts in general, by dismissing them or coming up with alternative facts. If they take a tone of ridicule, they force others in the position of insulting them and what they do, and basically discrediting not only their arguments, but their entire way of thinking. 

The fact of the matter is that climate change is real, and there is a mountain of evidence to suggest that it is caused by human activity, to boot. And that means that we need to address it, rather than waste energy arguing with ridiculous and insulting people who do not care to understand the science enough to actually study it, much less take it seriously. Much like people who contend that evolution is not real, we cannot afford to take these claims or personal beliefs seriously, and we only legitimize them when we hope to engage in constructive debates with them, as Bill Nye did with Ken Ham, unwittingly funding his creationist museum in the process.

Here is where I got this particular article from, even if it is now already a bit dated:

Climate change denier who says no one can explain global warming gets completely schooled by someone explaining it Posted 2 months ago by Josh Withey:

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