Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oh, That "Just a Theory" Thing Again!

(Image via Wikimedia Commons--image created by NASA)

I think one of the weakest of all possible arguments against climate change is, "Well, maybe human activity does influence it, but we don't know by how much and anyhow, what are you gonna do?" That's the sort of gambit OH Governor John Kasich has tried on, with my favorite "not-a-scientist" add-on: "It's just a theory."

My stars and garters how that "just a theory" thing does get around! The Big Bang--just a theory. Evolution--just a theory. Oh, and gravity--it's just a theory, too. (That's from Ellery Schempp, a local physicist who has tangled with the idiotarian types before, and whose piece is intended as a send-up of how "just a theory" is used with gravity in the way it has commonly been used with evolution. Or, as I've said before, if the "just a theory" argument persuades you that man doesn't have a common ancestor with apes, maybe the "just a theory" argument regarding gravity should lead you to an appropriate experiment with an upper-story window? )

As I've pointed out last week, we have abundant data points right now that shore up the accuracy of the theory itself. Adding that, as President Obama did during his unveiling of an ambitious plan to combat climate change, that National Geographic has had to change its atlas to redraw the extent of Arctic ice because so much of it has gone--rather as the graphic I used above expresses--we have some dramatic global changes to look at.

I understand Kasich's, indeed, a lot of denialists' larger argument--that jobs will somehow get lost. This is quite possibly the most out of touch argument imaginable because the extent of the damage that is possible because of climate change is so far beyond a piddly "OMG, somebody can't grow up to be a coal miner." Climate change will hurt the global economy. There will be crop failures and massive property damage. Droughts will lead to third world conditions in first world nations. People will be climate refugees. Talking about "OMG, local jobs" is like saying being trapped in a burning building is very bad for your hairstyle. Yes, your coif will suffer, but no, that isn't your biggest problem. Mostly you need to not be in a burning building. Approach the exit with all possible speed.

Because we will have areas that can't be farmed, where livestock will die, and where real estate values will plunge because they will have too much sea water in them to be viable--how is denial better? The reality of climate change is "lost jobs". Coal mines and fracking money pits (because investors are just now realizing how expensive it was to throw how much water down a hole to see how little natural gas leaks back up?) are jobs that always had a number on their head. Denialism is failing to prepare for a bleak economic future.

Bad science is one thing. Bad science and bad business is quite another. I would prefer a presidential candidate who understands the science--but barring that, one who isn't hoodwinked by unrealistic economics would be grand, also.

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