Sunday, March 29, 2009
The questions; Is global warming real or overstated? If global warming is real, is the contribution by mankind real or overstated? If the contribution by mankind is real, can we really do anything about it? The answers to these three questions (yes, yes, and yes) pretty much sum up the current situation in our world. "Our world" also includes resistant single issue groups of vocal dissidents consisting of either those with corporate interests who may be damaged by having to change harmful practices, or religious fundamentalists who have a nasty habit of viewing all world events through the prism of "God's will." These groups deal with the knotty problem of the answers to these three questions by attacking the science which supports the world wide concern about the eventual fate of our planet if things don't change. The corporate dissenters attack the science as politically motivated, i.e., it is obviously a Democrat goal to increase government spending and gain control over private enterprise, one more step toward socialism. Therefore, all science in support of a warming crisis is, by definition, politically tainted. This approach dovetails nicely with that of religious fundamentalists whose anti-evolution mantra thoroughly debases the role of science in any aspect of life. A person who cannot understand the role of evolution in the formation of life on this planet, including human life, is inured to a science-rejecting position on all matters of importance. (Note: I know and respect many individuals who have profound religious beliefs and who can accept science and evolution as compatible with their beliefs.) I want to make it clear that I also respect the right of any person to believe and practice what they believe free from government intrusion. My point, however, is that to encourage a child or student to be against evolution is to provide a major roadblock to that individual insofar as acquiring adequate skills and understanding essential for success and advancement in the 21st century. In my view, the saddest part of the last eight years was the inaction on global warming that resulted from the combined effects of these two forces which coalesced in the person of George W. Bush. We should and can be all on the same page on this issue. The health, the lives, of our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, is at stake.