Among the most frustrating strategies used by those who question the science of climate change is folksy wisdom about the limits of human understanding. Today in the Great Falls Tribune, conservative columnist Gregg Smith argues that we shouldn’t implement solutions to climate change today because our little human brains and computers just can’t be sure. Referencing a story from fiction author Michael Chrichton, who said people in 1900 would have assumed more pollution meant horse manure, Smith writes:
Yet climate change enthusiasts, based on their computer models, predict impending disaster 100 years hence. Do we, in the year 2015, think we really have a greater understanding of what the year 2100 will hold than the horse-and-buggy set knew about the year 2000?
That may not be manure, but it sure is bullshit. As has often been repeated to no avail to the anti-science crowd, 97% of the studies on climate change in peer-reviewed scientific journals that take a position on the issue say human activity is at the center of climate change. And we don’t need to wait until 2100 to see the impacts. We’re already seeing growing seasons change, islands begin to sink into the sea, and animal life become more endangered.
If the Tribune is willing to print non-scientific, unresearched claims about climate change, what’s to prevent them from printing an opinion piece questioning the efficacy of vaccines? After all, some people say they don’t work—and do actual damage. Maybe next fall, just as kids are heading back into class, would be a nice time for it.
While we’re on the subject of irrational behavior, let’s turn to the NRA, which continues to flirt with becoming a terrorist organization. Upset that two members of New York Legislature had the gall to propose legislation in their state, the NRA posted an image of the photographs of the two women on a table beside four bullets.
One can’t expect anything approaching reason or decency from an organization that holds gun shows and political rallies in communities shortly after mass shootings, but this seems to cross a new line. It’s really difficult to keep track of all the gun killings in the US, but surely someone at the NRA remembers the shooting in Arizona that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Gifford and killed six. They remembered it in March when they mocked the Congresswomen when she testified before Congress, after all.
When I think of the gun owners I know—and living here in Montana I know a lot of them—I have a hard time imagining that most of them want to be represented by an organization as despicable as the NRA. It would certainly improve the political discourse in this country about guns if more of them have their money to organizations other than this one.