I would like to address the growing scandal of Climate-gate. Not that I want to discuss it in a political sense (I leave that to you, dear readers, to have food fights about) but in terms of human nature, something I love to observe.
For a while now we have been inundated with dire reports of doom and gloom from those in the forefront on the War Against Global Warming. Anyone who disagreed has been branded with various labels of a denigrating nature. It has approached political suicide to be skeptical.
And now we learn that maybe some data has been "fudged" a bit... or a lot... That data was buried, or ignored. That some scientific papers were not so scientific after all. And the skeptics are beginning to be viewed in a slightly different light.
It all brings back memories of Chicken Little... But not because I think environmentalists are a bit wacky and hysterical. They aren't. Well, some are a bit extreme but that happens. No, it's because the environmentalists got so caught up in the cause as to be unwilling to be even the slightest bit, well, conservative in approaching the issues involved.
We have a tendency to be herd-like in how we approach things. A leader calls for action, presents what a appears to be a good case and we shout down the voices of caution. This leads us into all sorts of problems. Take the Prohibition Era, for example. Some might say we were "herded" into the Spanish-American War (even the First World War).
We (and by "we", I mean populations) are, after all, mobs. And mobs are led by the loudest, not always by the smartest. And this is why I like being, by nature, skeptical. I wouldn't want everyone to be skeptical of all new concepts or we'd get nothing done ever. There'd be no advancement of civilization or technology. But we need the skeptical to be there and we need to respect that nature because it is the braking system for the tendency toward what I might call Lemming-ism. It would be nice to be diverted before we fall off that proverbial cliff, don't you think?
Now, there is some good in the environmentalists' argument for treating the planet with respect, with re-cycling as much as possible and for limiting pollution. It makes sense not to "soil our nest", so to speak. And we only have this one planet, after all. We need to do our best to keep our environment healthy until we find out if we can economically get to, and colonize, some other planet(s). And that seems to be quite some distance away, time-wise.
At the same time, we have an obligation to not destroy civilization in the meantime by withdrawing into a form of Neo-Luddism.
Human beings have a tendency to jump on the latest fad, turn it into a craze, and then into a mass movement.
I think we need more independent thinkers, more skeptics, and more non-followers, in the world. More people who aren't so willing to jump on that bandwagon. We might save ourselves a lot of money and a lot of grief.
And I say this as a guy who rarely uses his cell phone, never texts, doesn't own a GPS unit (except for golf), won't be buying an I-pad anytime soon (and still doesn't own an Ipod) and fears being slaughtered by the bleeding edge of technology.
Take the advice of the child inside you and ask "But why?"
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago