7 August 2015

Am I The Only One Who Noticed..

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Knowing that NASA,NOAA, and EVERY major scientific society on Earth says that we must immediately reduce our emissions of Carbon, or risk dangerously changing the planet’s life support system, you’d expect that at least one question in the debate Thursday night would be about that subject.

You’d be wrong. Now, I could understand skipping something real difficult, like is the Earth over a million years old?, or are the fossils of ancient creatures a trick to send us to Hell?, but not a peep about the fact that nearly every glacier on the planet is melting, and we are the cause.

I think that speaks volumes, and not just about the quality of journalism displayed.

While we are on the subject…

There were two comedy programs on tonight, and I chose to watch the one on Comedy Central since it was the last Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart. In all of the accolades for him this week, there has been one missing. Stewart (and his protegés Stephen Colbert and John Oliver) have been great ambassadors for science. Colbert’s piece on sea level rise in North Carolina is a classic on how to communicate science. In a time where you can be a serious candidate for President of the United States, while spouting laughable conspiracy theories, Stewart and gang were among the few who called B.S. Jon Stewart replaced Walter Cronkite as the most trusted man in America because he dealt in facts. He made those that choose not to look silly, and frankly it was quite entertaining to watch. He’ll be missed.

Just this week, one candidate declared that volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans, a claim straight out of tin foil hat cyberspace. The truth Mr. Huckabee is that volcanoes produce 200 million tons of CO2, while we humans produce 26.8 BILLION tons. To quote the USGSa visit to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) website helps anyone armed with a handheld calculator and a high school chemistry text put the volcanic CO2 tally into perspective. Because while 200 million tonnes of CO2 is large, the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 tipped the scales at 26.8 billion tonnes. Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value.”.

Did the reporter doing the interview ask him where he got such a ridiculous idea, when a quick search online will give you the truth? Nope. Should the reporter have known the real answer? Yes. Huckabee has said that same thing many times, and no reporter I know of has called him on it.

Does being that scientifically illiterate call into question your ability to serve in high public office?

You betcha!

Basing your political worldview off of nutty websites (where claims like that appear frequently) is evidence of an inability to do critical thinking at a basic level. If that’s not disqualifying for high office, I don’t know what is.

Astronomer Phil Plait poured scorn on Mr Huckabee, and he deserved it, because facts matter.