Yet again, Art Robinson is running to be Oregon’s 4th Congressional District Representative. Yet again, it’s tempting to shrug him off as another crazy right-wing politician.
But the thing is, at this point, it’s not enough to just shrug him off.
The man spouts dangerous drivel.
Take, for example, his stance on climate change. Not surprisingly, he denies the fact that it is caused by humans.
Perhaps you, too, are in denial of climate-change. Or perhaps you think: “Yeah, it’s getting hotter, but it’s not mankind’s fault, I mean, the climate has always shifted.”
I understand. It’s good to be skeptical. It’s good to be suspicious of the government and cultural paradigms, especially if they threaten your civil liberties. But it’s not good to be uninformed. It’s not good to think you’re being counter-cultural or acting as an independent thinker when in fact you are acting as an ignorant stooge parroting lines straight out of an Exxon-Mobile public-relations sheet.
The thing about Art, though, is that he tries to come back with climate-change denier “science,” just as there are “scientists” who claim that the Grand Canyon was carved by the receding waters of Noah’s flood, or there were “scientists” who claimed that second-hand smoke never harmed a single alveoli in a baby’s lung.
But, as the geologist Waine Rainey wrote about those misguided zealots who think the Grand Canyon was a result of the Bible’s mythical flood, “true science does not proceed by drawing conclusions first (there was a flood that covered the whole earth), then identifying those small pieces of the evidence that make a conclusion seem sound (the Grand Canyon must be a result of this flood).”
And Art, or perhaps you, dear climate-change denier, seems to be a person who has already drawn a conclusion before bothering to examine the overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence that humans have caused the atmosphere to warm. And I’m willing to hazard a guess that his or your preemptive conclusion is that we can release eight billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, destroy the majority of the world’s rainforests, convert 43 percent of the ice-free land surface of the planet to crops and livestock and cities, and none of this will have any impact. That because your bumper-sticker on your Hummer says “God Bless America” as though it were a statement of fact—God Blessed America—and not a respectful plea—God, Please Bless America—you don’t have to worry about the fact that you are contributing—more than the rest of us, mind you—to what will incontrovertibly be the end of the world as we know it.
And that’s why Art’s drivel is dangerous. Every major scientific institution in the world that studies climate, ocean, and/or atmosphere agrees that the climate is warming rapidly because of mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions. It’s not a government conspiracy. It’s not a hoax. It’s happening, and we need to make preparations. The first of which should be to stop shrugging off climate-change deniers, and never, ever, vote them into office.
To inform yourself on climate change and climate-change denial, a good resource is http://grist.org/series/skeptics/.
By Nathaniel Brodie