Saturday, September 14, 2013

On evidence, argument, and disbelief

Hmm, not my best title, but it's fuck o'clock where I live and I've not had any coffee :)

It was because I popped into wakefulness so early that I found my latest craw-stick thought.  Sometimes when I can't sleep, but I don't want to leave the warm nest of my bed, with spouse and dog snoring beside me, I read the intertubes on my phone.  Usually this will lull me back to sleep, but today I stayed up.

I was reading this thread at  Rather than thinking about the OP, I thought about the rhetoric of climate change "skeptics".  Go read some of the thread and see if you can spot the nutter.

Even if the exact details are still being worked out by actual researchers, the fact that human beings (the ones in industrialized areas anyway) have permanently changed this planet and all its systems.  Full stop.  The backbone philosophies of industrialization and capitalism are exploitative*.  What you see around you, from landscape to humans, is all materials and nothing more.  So the fact that the way millions of us in "first world" countries (hate that term) are living the way we do means we have dug too deeply.  We have to have changed something, somewhere, and given our favored tech (for example cars in the US) we in the super modernized countries belch out a lot of stuff into the air.  This stuff, these emissions, these chemicals, they have to go somewhere.  They do not disappear into the atmosphere and leave us with febreeze-scented breezes.  Even in terms of gas alone, enough humans burning enough of the stuff are going to make enough fumes to do something.

For goodness' sake, I have a high school science education, and I can get this.  I'm simply using common sense at this point.  I'm coasting along on the thought without any decent training and I can still get to the same conclusion using logic.

Even if you "disagree" with the particulars (how much did the ocean rise in this decade, how much did the precise percentage of carbon change over the last century) particulars that can be and are being measured and documented by trained scientists in efforts to stem the tides of bullshit from all quarters - Even if you still want to haggle over spikes on a graph - there is a fact remaining and I cannot understand why people resist it:

The materials that support what we as a species consider modern life, the "good life", cannot be used in such abundance without consequences. Nothing can ever be done without a consequence.

Let's put on our tinfoil hats and try to follow along: Say that the carbon in our atmosphere isn't nearly as high as we're told.  But given how greenhouse gases work, and the tendency of certain nations (my own certainly among them) to burn crazy amounts of them, would it not stand to reason that eventually we'd get to alarm levels of the stuff?  Especially with more people going thru more of the things that produce this day after day after day?

This is wildly simplified, I know, and ham-handed.  With enough time and access to the proper papers and studies, I could make this sound more intelligent, yes.***

Even if you want to argue over details, the currently accepted standard of living in industrialized nations *is* unsustainable and eventually we'll all have to deal with the fallout.  That should be stopping any denialist rhetoric right away.  Why does it not?

Is it that horrible to admit that perhaps, all those scientists (in multiple universities in multiple countries) with all that training and experience - all of those people reaching the same or similar conclusions about our planet's climate - is it that horrible to think they might be on to something?  And then that we should listen, take heed, and prepare?

Is it so awful to rethink how we do things as a society and see if we can tinker with that to come up with something less damaging?  Something that will benefit the entire species, not just a lucky few?  I hate to sound naive but is that so bad that people need to construct entire careers and spend untold hours online doing the Agent Mulder shuffle?


So, to return to the OP and its thread, with the nutter and his endless graphs.


*And yes, I know I am typing this on a tool made and sold to me by these systems.  But you are also reading it on one, too.

**in theory, anyway - have you looked at US healthcare lately?  Mind you, I have a lot of privilege I can parlay into better care simply because of my ethnicity, education, gender presentation, etc. But that's another post entirely :)

***Here's another homespun way to look at this:  Spouse and I are trying to save money, so we're eating at home more.  We're going to the grocery store twice monthly (hello privilege, you are delicious) and we buy ingredients/produce more than we buy anything pre-made.  So we cook a lot.  And we go thru it quickly.

This means with each store haul, we have a lump of foodstuffs that looks really big in the back of our car, but in a couple of weeks, we've cleaned the fridge out and have to get more staples.  If our flat was its own sovereign nation, you could say there's more people going thru its resources faster  more thoroughly than if we were to go to the diner a few times a week.  If we did that we'd keep our stockpile of purchased food *at home* longer.  More people doing more things in an environment begets bigger consequences.

Can you see where I'm going?  'Cause I don't think this is my best analogy but I'm getting hungry.

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