A little while ago I deleted a comment from Null, who took exception to my assertion that global warming is an established fact. Now I’m wishing I hadn’t. The WordPress dashboard doesn’t seem to keep trash — when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Null’s idea was that global warming is not an established fact because some “prominent scientists” disagree. This unsupported assertion got me thinking about why it’s not possible to have a rational debate with the terminally clueless. I could, and should, have left Null’s comment in place and said, “Okay, what scientists are you talking about? Point me to their articles on the subject.” But I already know, all too well, how that discussion would have proceeded.
To begin with, all rational people understand that global warming is an unarguable fact. The polar icecaps are melting. The only “scientists” who disagree with this would have, like, a degree in paleontology from Oral Roberts University or something. So the discussion would have unfolded in one of two ways. Either Null would have failed to come up with any actual scientific studies, or he would have succeeded in coming up with a couple, but the supposed “science” in them would prove, on analysis, to be pure hokum.
At that point, I would have to spend hours researching the subject in order to prove that the supposed science is hokum. And what would be the result of my effort? Would Null have said, “Oh, my gosh. By golly, you’re right — global warming is real after all! How could I have been so mistaken?”
Of course not. We can very reliably predict that Null would change the subject, misunderstand the terms of the discussion, attack my sources as biased because they appeared in publications of which he does not approve, or simply shut the door and slink away silently. His opinion would not have been altered one jot nor tittle.
So why should I put out all that effort? You can’t debate Republicans, because they are bound and determined not to deal with reality. Their minds are made up, and the entire sum of their mental effort is devoted to defending their bizarre views against what they view as attacks.
When you think reality is attacking you … didn’t Harlan Ellison write a story about that once? I think it was called “The Man Is Sitting in a Chair, and the Chair Is Biting His Leg.” It was a pretty good story. It could have been improved only if the publisher had let him use the word “fuck.”
It’s an interesting question why they view global warming as unproven. Could it be because the leadership of their party is entirely beholden to giant oil companies? Do you think that might have even a tiny bit to do with it? Gee, what an odd idea.