Thursday, 1 September 2011

Exactly What It Doesn't Say On The Tin

 Via Balloon Juice and PZ Myers, I came across this article earlier. The boundless capacity of conservative/libertarian Americans for projection and self delusion never fails to amuse me.  How in the name of all that's holy (by which I mean science, bitches!) can a website that allows its writers to argue that Darwinists are being inconstant in not believing that the human race can evolve its way clear of global warming possibly have the balls to call itself Reason?

Something like 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are extinct, because they weren't able to adapt in time to a changing world.  The last major extinction event took out over half the genera on Earth at the time, and what ultimately came out of it looked very much different to what went in [1].  If Harsanyi likes the look of the odds, that's his prerogative, but you'd think he'd keep his mouth shut regarding how anyone else is judging the situation.

"Don't worry, lads!  Evolution says
Also, while we're on the subject, let's try to remember what a skeptic is. A skeptic, in a philosophical sense is someone who either requires significant direct evidence before willing to accept something, or actually believes some things simply cannot be sufficiently determined.  Someone like Rick Perry, who will immediately accept as true any "evidence" at all that supports his view, is not a skeptic.  Whilst I think "I'm not convinced by the current evidence" is generally frequently synonymous with "I haven't really looked at the current evidence", that's not invariably true, and as a scientist (even a mathematician), I can't possibly object to the idea of skepticism.

Rick Perry believes that climate scientists are engaged in an international conspiracy to trick the governments of the world to pay them to stop an imaginary threat.  I can think of a lot of words one could use to describe a brain that considers that a plausible scenario, but "skeptical" would never be one.

[1] Note that I'm not arguing that global warming will get so serious that it qualifies as a major, or even lesser, extinction event - that's something far outside my area of expertise.  I'm just pointing out that suggesting a belief in evolution should lead people to conclude humanity will be OK is completely ridiculous.

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