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Global Warming Advocacy: Bad O. J. Simpson Analogy, No Evidence.


In the February 25, 2010 issue of The Los Angeles Times, Bill McKibben, a global warming activist, writes yet another article that labels us who dispute that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (we’ll call it "AGW" for the rest of this article) is a settled fact as "deniers," an epithet designed to evoke memories of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and his insane rantings that the evil and demonic Shoah (Holocaust) never occurred.  Mr. McKibben’s intent is to use emotionalism and the ad hominem abusive logical fallacy, rather than actual proof, to attempt to discredit the scientists who dispute AGW.  Read the article here.

In a new attempt to discredit AGW skeptics with ad hominem abusive, Mr. McKibben now equates skeptics to the O. J. Simpson defense team, which succeeded in obtaining an acquittal for their client by poking holes in the prosecution’s case.  The late Johnnie Cochran and the late Robert Kardashian, the leaders of the "Dream Team" assembled by Robert Shapiro, carefully dissected every imperfection in the prosecution’s case.  They caught a huge break when prosecutor Christopher Darden pushed to have Mr. Simpson don the murder gloves in front of the jury, and they apparently did not fit over Mr. Simpson’s hands.  That disaster led to the famous closing line, "If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!"  And acquit the jury did, and with such lightning speed that the verdict reading had to be delayed for a day because none of the lawyers were in town to attend court.  O.J. Simpson’s defense victory is widely considered the ultimate example of a guilty man getting away with murder.  

Mr. McKibben’s op-ed compares AGW skeptics to the "Dream Team" poking holes in prosecution, for the sole purpose of causing a guilty man to go free.  Apparently we skeptics are nothing but slick mouthpieces who attempt to obfuscate the truth.  To quote the op-ed:

"Similarly, the immense pile of evidence now proving the science of global warming beyond any reasonable doubt is in some ways a great boon for those who deny that the biggest problem we’ve ever faced is actually a problem at all. If you have a three-page report, it won’t be overwhelming, but it’s also unlikely to have many mistakes. Three thousand pages (the length of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)? That pretty much guarantees you’ll get some things wrong."

For the purposes of this article, we’ll ignore that Mr. McKibben admits that the IPCC report has at least "some things wrong."

The first problem with Mr. McKibben’s assumption is that the "immense pile of evidence" does not prove that the Earth is warming.  Even though the article directly alleges that the Arctic ice cover is melting, it fails to note that the Antarctic ice cap is increasing more rapidly than the Arctic is melting.  Even though the article alleges that "All 15 of the warmest years on record have come in the last two decades," the former head of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia was forced to admit that "there has been no significant statistical change in global warming since 1995."  Fifteen years of no warming is, standing alone, enough to induce a reasonable doubt as to whether the planet is warming at all. 

Further, let’s assume that Mr. McKibben’s unsubstantiated "evidence" is correct and that the planet is warming.  Precisely what proof is there that this warming is solely or primarily attributable to the activities of man?  Rush Limbaugh roundly excoriates the extreme left for arrogance in assuming that man has any power great enough to wreck the Earth that God made.  As per usual, Rush is right.  Without that link, how on Earth can the EPA and the leftists impose a dramatic and impoverishing regime of choking bureaucracies and taxes upon the most successful country in history?

Next, let’s assume that Mr. McKibben is 100% correct.  Now, I dispute that Mr. McKibben is correct at all.  However, this assumption is merely for the sake of argument.  Assuming AGW is true, what proof is there that the proposed dramatic and impoverishing regime of choking bureaucracies and taxes will do anything at all to arrest the progress of this putative disaster, much less to reverse it?  The answer is none.  Therefore, at first blush, Mr. McKibben’s call to action is likely to be, at best, ineffective.

Finally, let’s assume that Mr. McKibben and his ilk get their way and impose the dramatic and impoverishing regime of choking bureaucracies and taxes upon us.  After all, one point the skeptics advocate is that AGW is not about science but rather politics; leftists seek as per usual to control the lives of everyone and force them to live as they dictate.  But let’s not digress here.  Let’s assume everything: (i) Planet warming; (ii) Man’s activity is the cause; (iii) Man has the ability to fix it; and (iv) The only solution is to destroy our economy and impose a choking and misery-laden regime of tyranny upon the people.  There is still a fatal problem.

The two largest countries on Earth, China and India, which between them host half of the world’s people, flatly refuse to do anything.  China is easily the world’s largest polluter, and is growing rapidly in both economy and pollution. The central planners in China just laid their cards on the table in Copenhagen.  They will do nothing.  For them to agree to these proposed choking controls would be suicidal; if China decides to grow while the rest of the world commits economic hara-kiri, China will end up booming and becoming the great power of Earth.  Even now, who could force China to adopt CO2 emissions controls?  Nobody.  Will the USA go to war with China over air pollution when the country howls over our going to war over being directly attacked on our own soil?

Unless China and India go along with any protocol, it will be impossible to do anything about the putative danger of AGW.  Mr. McKibben knows this.  China and India will triple in the next 20 years, in size and pollution output.  If the rest of the world would reduce their "greenhouse gas" emissions to zero, emissions will still increase.  and again, there is no way to force either of these countries, both with large armies and nuclear weapons, to do anything.  Even if there were a means to force them to obey Western leftists, it would be fundamentally immoral to do so.  

As an aside, we will not have the money to pay China and India to destroy their economies.  Third World countries came "palms up" to Copenhagen, demanding huge payments from the West (read: the USA) in exchange for their agreement to these protocols.

Therefore, Mr. McKibben’s article is not only based on faulty data, it is impossible to use his advocated measures to do anything if he were correct.  Back to the O. J. Simpson analogy.  It’s faulty too.  Most people think that Mr. Simpson got away with murder; Mr. McKibben is attempting to say that Skeptics are trying to help America get away with murder.  the analogy is fundamentally wrong.

A better analogy is Michael Jackson.  The prosecutor had an agenda and was driven by anger and rage.  The key witness committed at least two perjuries on the stand, and nobody in the jury believed him.  The Mom tried to sell her story to the media (Jay Leno), and she herself was discredited by her own criminal history, and multiple perjuries on the stand.  Even the media (Geraldo Rivera stands out) realized that the accused was completely innocent.  Mr. Jackson was acquitted completely.

As you know, Conservativity  loudly proclaimed my belief that Mr. Jackson was actually innocent, and in the end, he was proved so.  Unlike Mr. Simpson, Mr. Jackson was not found liable by a subsequent civil trial, at a lower standard of evidence.

Those who demand that we essentially destroy our lifestyle to stop emitting a gas that we all exhale, and is also vitally needed by the plants on this planet, have the burden of proof.  That proof, considering what is at stake, must be beyond a reasonable doubt.  Frankly AGW proponents would fail in a court of law on the most lax "preponderance of the evidence" or "more likely than not" standard.

This is not the O.J. Simpson case of a guilty man using cracks in theory to wriggle out of justice.  This is Michael Jackson, an innocent man wrongly accused by a rabid prosecutor with an agenda, using perjury and inflammatory tactics in lieu of evidence.  The people are smart enough to know that AGW is unproven at best, and more likely, pure bunk.