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Read between the lines

By Tom Toles

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Mad hatters
I wear a funny rubber hat when I swim. I'm not sure why I do. I think it's supposed to make me go faster, but I always end up at the exact place I started, anyway. But faster! I also seem to end up in the same place I started whenever I try to engage my commenters. Just like with the swimming, it's back and forth and back and forth. Progress is never made. But it's GOOD EXERCISE!

I'm ready to call it a day again for a while on the subject of climate, everyone will be happy to hear. The deniers are just too monumentally exasperating. Exasperation is the goal, I have decided, and they are quite adept at it. Their arguments are as shifting as the sands that will soon cover larger portions of the planet. They have given up on "WHERE'S THE WARMING??" now that the data on recent warming can no longer be argued away. A flip-turn at the end of the pool now has them saying "OF COURSE the climate is changing! It always changes! Every which way!"

This is the equivalent of saying "Of course there are fires! There have ALWAYS been fires from lightening and such! That's nature for you! So there is no need not to burn our house down! That smell of gas accumulating in the kitchen? That's NATURAL! That's why they call it NATURAL GAS!" They are very, very fast at this. I think it's the tinfoil hats they wear. --Tom Toles
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By Tom Toles  | September 22, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  International, Middle East  
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Next: Can't we all get along?

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Comments

the big bolts of electricity from the sky are "lightning"..."lightening" is reducing the weight of something...

Posted by: fjb675 | September 24, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse

In the words of William G. McAdoo: "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument". This is doubly so with the willfully ignorant.

Posted by: drake3 | September 23, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, fraud not supported by science. If supported by science there would be no debate by a cartoonist!

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 22, 2010 11:12 PM
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Tom is not debating climate change and neither are you. Tom is simply pointing out that deniers are wrong about climate change. If you want debate, go to http://www.skepticalscience.com
But of course, you don't really want debate, do you, bignoisylawnmower? Debate is not what you are about.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 23, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Yes, fraud not supported by science. If supported by science there would be no debate by a cartoonist!

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 22, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The American people are not willing to see their energy bills skyrocket to conform to an agenda that is too extreme. Other Nations that spew poison into the air from two stroke engines that they are still using to run automobiles need to clean up their act also. We are not the sole problem with pollution. And it is not up to the United States to ante up billions of dollars to help other Nations clean up their air.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 22, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse
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Thanks for making Tom's point. You first argue that AGW is not happening. Challenged on that, you fall back to "it's too expensive to do anything about", a variation of the "I don't want to" argument. This is the some "strategy" that a child uses when they just can't get their way. Can you hear me: DO YOU HAVE A DEFINED POSITION ON AGW?

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 22, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The American people are not willing to see their energy bills skyrocket to conform to an agenda that is too extreme. Other Nations that spew poison into the air from two stroke engines that they are still using to run automobiles need to clean up their act also. We are not the sole problem with pollution. And it is not up to the United States to ante up billions of dollars to help other Nations clean up their air.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 22, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------
Why should we believe that the recession is over? Because the Government says so. Why should we believe that global warming, sorry, global climate disruption, is a crisis? Because the Government says so. For some reason I don't believe the Government.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 21, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse
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@bobbo2 There is no logical connection between the recession and global warming. No wonder so many people can't be convinced that AGW is very real. The recession, as "recession" is defined, is over. The definition is "period of two (or more) quarters of negative GDP growth." Pretty simple. That the recession is over, in an official sense, does not mean that we do not have economic problems. Nearly 30 years of conservative economic and political domination will destroy any economy. It will take 5 to 10 years to turn around. But one doesn't have to believe the government to believe in AGW. Believe the 97% of climate scientists who say "global warming is occurring and it is largely due to human activity." It's pretentious of you to claim that YOU can understand climate science--the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. The fact is that YOU and most AGW deniers don't know anything about climate science. Your denialism is really of form of petulant protest over something you cannot understand or control. The science of climate change is sound, the data is solid. Yeah, the continued AGW denialism is very childlike. So stand aside and allow the adults handle the problem.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 22, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The manmade global warming theory is a farce and the people who continue to call for people to give up their freedom to try and stop something that man hasn't caused or can stop are fools. Every day the manmade global warming hoax has fewer and fewer believers because golly gee they just read an article published in Europe, the liberal media in the USA will not print anything contrary to the fraud they have helped perpetuate, reporting on evidence of the Medieval Warming period of the 10-13th Centuries were it was so warm the Vikings settled in a lush Greenland. How about the Little Ice Age of the 14th-19th Centuries where people ice skated on the Thames River in London? How much manmade carbon was being produced back then? First the fools called the scam manmade global warming, than climate change and since that is not fooling people anymore now they want to call it climate disruption. They can call it anything they want and the people will still not fall for the scheme. At least snake oil salesman kept the same name for their scam.


Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 22, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60, Using the, “first one has to admit there is a problem” is a copout. It is simply an excuse to argue over who is right and who is wrong. You will never be able to convince one or the other, so why bother? Would it not be more productive to do as you said? Lead by example?
Perhaps the ‘believers’ should, instead of putting all their energies into the negative, start focusing on the positive things we all can do individually and as a society….maybe, just maybe, then people will start to follow suit. It’s not like this is a new idea, there are plenty of ‘green’ happenings all around us. It is a trend that most likely will not go away, yet a trend that will take time to evolve, as with MOST things.

Jhnnywalkr, I disagree with you on one point…it is not up to the deniers to find answers to and address alternatives, it is up to the believers…

Posted by: bertzel | September 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't know Sarah Palin's exact take on global warming – we know it’s gotta be well-informed (e.g., “If Jesus hadn’t wanted us to warm up the globe he never would have invented fire!”) -- but has anyone noticed that she has yet to appear at any walrus rallies where those forty thousand beached Alaskan creatures have been gathering in recent months ?? Maybe she's working up one of her screechy speeches filled with cleverly appropriate sound bites: "How do you guys feel about all that 'icy, floey, melty, blubbery, Articy, roguey’ stuff now?”

Posted by: dudeupnorth | September 22, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

the words arrogant prick come to mind... not sure why...

Posted by: jdubyaa | September 22, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why the tinfoil hatted teabaggers are not going nuts over the UFOs that are attacking our nuclear weapons?

Could it be that they feel their hats protect them?

See this article in Reuters:


U.S. Nuclear Weapons Have Been Compromised by Unidentified Aerial Objects
PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15

Ex-military men say unknown intruders have monitored and even tampered with American nuclear missiles

Group to call on U.S. Government to reveal the facts

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby....

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | September 22, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Let us imagine an everyday occurrence: You go to the doctor's office for a check up. After running tests and quantifying the results, he comes to you and says, "We have a body of data here that _suggests_ that if you do not change your drinking, smoking and eating habits, you _may_ be at serious risk of a heart attack."

What would be your reaction?

"Up yours Doc! I'm not changing my lifestyle just because your pseudo science 'suggests' I 'may' be in danger! You and your kind are a buncha chicken littles', I'm not buying it. Your data proves nothing. You are just a shill for the American Heart Association!"

Or perhaps something more like this: "Well, I could cut down on the fast food, maybe just a couple whiskeys on the weekends, I have been meaning to try to quit the cigarettes. And I have gotten a little soft around the middle. Thanks Doc, this is a lot to change, but it is my life we are talking about..."

We have accumulated a body of data that _suggests_ that if we do not change our habits as energy consumers, we _may_ be at serious risk of global, species specific, catastrophic climatological realignment.

Please que the "Up yours Doc!..." sentiments...

Posted by: pete1013 | September 22, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

bertzel, the only way a problem can ever be addressed, is by first recognizing it. The science community can't even get THAT done with deniers. Deniers will not see facts as facts. Look at the posts here. Attributing things to "Algore" and "Browner", etc. These people were/are merely conduits for information. You choose to shoot the messenger because you don't like him/her and you don't like the message. This doesn't change the message. The science on this is as solid as anything, but like most science, can never be 100%.

Now, more to your point. What to do about it? It's not like this information isn't available, but here are some suggestions, just in case you can't find them elsewhere.

1) We need a carbon tax. Putting carbon into the atmosphere is what we have to avoid, so let's make it more expensive to do. (Cap and Trade is not the solution. It takes too long and is inefficient as a means for solving this issue.) Proceeds from the tax should go directly to renewable energy, mass transportation, and other green initiatives.

2) Everyone needs to cut back on their own carbon emmissions, tax or not. Drive less, drive a more efficient vehicle, move closer to work, insulate your house, buy more efficient appliances and energy saving LED and CFL lights, buy local food, buy electricity from renewable sources if your utility allows it (if they don't, encourage them to), don't buy bottled water (huge waste of energy and resources), etc.

3) Plant trees and natural vegetation where you can. These organisms store carbon.

4) Use your money with more of an eye on the climate. Invest in sustainable energy operations and research. Buy from companies that operate with an eye toward sustainability. "Vote with your wallet".

And the list goes on. This isn't rocket science. We know what to do about this, but so much of it is up to individuals. The government is not going to be able to fix this problem without everyone doing their part. You want less government interference in your life? Then take this upon yourself to fix, and encourage others to do the same. But...if you don't see a problem, chances are you won't work for a solution.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | September 22, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Everyone listen to Tom Toles.

He is super, duper serial!!

Why won't anyone listen to him? He really cares about whatever it is that he is talking about and he is so darned serial, but Jesus on ice skates, no one will listen to him!

Don't forget your cape, Tom. Excelsior!!!

Posted by: etpietro | September 22, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Don't quit talking about global warming. You're the only person at the Post who does. Plenty of people admire you for not giving up.
These obstructionists have a habit of blowing away eventually. I remember in 2003, you just couldn't find an American who opposed the invasion of Iraq. Now the vast majority either admit they were wrong or claim to have been against it all along.

The climate change deniers will blow away too ... and die off, since they're mostly geriatric.

The bigger problems will come when we all admit we need to cut our energy use - then we start arguing over who cuts what, where.

Posted by: Bud0 | September 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

These deniers are "Right Fighters.". Google "Right Fighters" and read how bull-headed these people can be. They'll never agree they might be wrong.

Posted by: rhighsr | September 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

alrighty then...let's say, for the sake of arguement, that we all AGREE with the 'manmade climatic genocide' we humans are creating. Let's also say, for the sake of arguement, that the Earth is ALSO going through a natural cycle.
Now What? What exactly is it that you people, who choose to call someone like me a pig...WHAT is it that you would like to happen? What do you want done about it? What are your plans for solving this dreadful situation? Who do you expect to do whatever it is you want done about it??
Where to start, where to end? What would be the positives, the negatives?

Posted by: bertzel | September 22, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

This is actually a valid argument, as many people have little faith in cap & trade as a solution to the problem, and that's all that's really being thrown about right now. Unfortunately, deniers have chosen to deny rather than look for viable solutions.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 22, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Think about this. We have two very different Presidents and they both come to the same conclusions about wars in Iraq an Afghanistan. Not exactly the same, but they are close enough that few can see the differences. To me that is the best argument that they are right. What we do there is important.

So why lead the propaganda charge to get us to give up in Iraq?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 22, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

How many presidents did Vietnam go through?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 22, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse


" And I see where there was no contribution from them about today's snarky cartoon regarding the war and the economy."

rudesan, just for you...
War is hell and the economy sucks...
happy now?

Posted by: bertzel | September 22, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

alrighty then...let's say, for the sake of arguement, that we all AGREE with the 'manmade climatic genocide' we humans are creating. Let's also say, for the sake of arguement, that the Earth is ALSO going through a natural cycle.
Now What? What exactly is it that you people, who choose to call someone like me a pig...WHAT is it that you would like to happen? What do you want done about it? What are your plans for solving this dreadful situation? Who do you expect to do whatever it is you want done about it??
Where to start, where to end? What would be the positives, the negatives?

Please indulge the pigs and then help yourself to that genetically altered fish.

Toles, you DO know that tinfoil hats are to keep aliens from reading our minds don't you? Not the other way around : )

Posted by: bertzel | September 22, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Global warming.. oh, excuse me ... climate change...,no, wait... global climate disruption.. IS all our fault.!! Now I get it. Whatever Algore, the IPCC (guess they'll need to "change" to the IPGCD, now), Browner, et.al. tell us is gospel.

Believe me, not your own lying eyes?..... sorry, just can't do it, Tommy boy.

Posted by: Shrimper | September 22, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Tom, for continuing in the face of all the trash-talking yahoos. It's frustrating to read their constant tripe, but I assure you that uninformed arguments won't sway my vote in the next election. And I see where there was no contribution from them about today's snarky cartoon regarding the war and the economy.

PS - Specail thanks to ScienceTim for a lucid argument regarding 'global climate disruption'. If there IS any response from 'them', it will be "Oh, yeah?"

Posted by: Rudesan | September 22, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The most die-hard anti-global climate change folks of my acquaintance have fallen back on this:

(1) The climate is changing, but climate does that all the time. So, it's not our fault.

(2) The CO2 concentration is greater than it's been in six million years, but it's been high before.

The only defensible part of "it's not our fault" is absolving us of responsibility for doing something about it. However, natural processes are not influenced by moral responsibility, they are influenced only by whether we are ready and able to do something about our survival.

(1) It definitely *is* our CO2. Isotope ratios have shifted since the industrial revolution, because the CO2 isotopes in plant life (the source of fossil fuel carbon) are different from what's in the air. Or rather, different from what the air used to be like. Since it's our CO2, that means that we have at least a little power over what happens next.

(2) We know perfectly well what CO2 does in the atmosphere. This is not even a tiny bit in question. What is not so well known is what clouds will do. Perhaps an increase in CO2-based warming will create more cloud cover and thereby reduce heating. Or maybe not. The geological record shows that times with more CO2 correlate with higher sea level, and warmer temperatures, which is what we expect from climate modeling. The evidence suggests that our problems in understanding climate are problems with the details, not the general understanding of the situation.

(3) One of the places that the CO2 goes, instead of staying in the atmosphere, is getting dissolved into the ocean. Dissolved CO2 makes the ocean more acid than it has been. Current shelled organisms are not adapted to that pH. People eat lots of shelled organisms; people depend on reefs for the ecosystem that produces lots of other seafood; people depend on seafood that ultimately is fed by tiny shelled plankton that are in big trouble. The collapse of shelled organisms is the loss of a major food source used by humans and at the base of the oceans' food web. Climate feedback mechanisms may conceivably mean that the temperature won't change a bit (although we already know that is not true). Even so, we still are in big trouble from ocean acidification.

(4) Sure, there has been more CO2 in the atmosphere before, and it has been warmer before. So what? The Earth's species were different then, too. Life adapts, but adaptation is an ugly process if you happen to be one of the unsuccessful species -- or if you depend on unsuccessful species as a food source. Life will continue. The same is not true for all species. Keep in mind that humanity is just one species. We could be one of the losers.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 22, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I think anyone who doubts the climate science should move to Florida, the North Carolina coast, or New York City with their kids.

Posted by: EdRuff | September 22, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Think about this. We have two very different Presidents and they both come to the same conclusions about wars in Iraq an Afghanistan. Not exactly the same, but they are close enough that few can see the differences. To me that is the best argument that they are right. What we do there is important.

So why lead the propaganda charge to get us to give up in Iraq?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 22, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles:

I try not to exasperate you. But if informing you is exasperating - then so be it.

You have a good piece of the puzzle. It is shiny and strong and correct. We do have a warming trend. But it is not the only piece to the puzzle. Try to expand your vision to see the whole picture. Then you will know that cooling the Earth is not the only way we should be ready to follow. We need to be ready for many problems. Warming is only one. I deny nothing. But I see more than warming.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 22, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse


Gee, Tom, those darned Republicans continue to keep us in Iraq and are stopping Obama from getting us out of the red. When will they ever smartin' up? As soon as there are more Democrats in Congress and the White House, this will surely stop!

By the way, most of 'em believe in Creationism, not intelligent design. Just how stupid are they anyway? You said yourself, yesterday, evolution is science, not theory. Right, Tom?

Posted by: quiensabe | September 22, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Tom:

Do not debate the trolls. It is like trying to teach a pig to sing: it can't be done, and it only annoys the pig.

Continue your insightful, challenging and outrageous rants and cartoons, and ignore the trolls.

Posted by: billh39 | September 22, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Dear angie12106, do you believe everything you hear on Pacifica radio or NPR? I give people credit for thinking for themselves. The Left only thinks that people are intelligent if they think as they do. Welfare is a good example. And the Left finally had to admit that they were absolutely wrong about that one.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 22, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Climate change deniers also believe in "intelligent design" and that Saddam was involved with Sept. 11 - all learned from Fox & Frightwing radio.

Posted by: angie12106 | September 22, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

I do wonder why you continued wresting in the mud with the pigs. It wasn't bothering them, they seem enjoy the exercise. The chatter has for them nothing to do with reasoning or logic. It does not require facts, evidence or even consistency. Just typing out what they've heard and recombining it. BTW it won't help if you switch to the economy or international relations. But I appreciate your efforts and hope you keep your platform. And enjoying swimming. It's fun.

Posted by: askalib-CA | September 22, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Tom, but you can't give up. That's how these guys win, they don't give up! That's how our country got hijacked by these idiots, it's why we're in the middle of two wars, its why our economy is in the toilet. Just in the past week in the paper, two stories, one on the bleaching of coral reefs by high temperatures, another about a town in France in danger of cataclysmic flooding from a giant water bubble forming in a mountain glacier. Yes, the earth has changed a lot over geologic times, but the key thing is that we weren't around then. People didn't exist. But now we do and climate change is going to have a big impact on us and we don't live our lives in geologic time. Hey, don't worry, this will go away in a few million years just doesn't cut it for us. Scientific conceptions do change, but at least it is data driven, fact driven. And these guys aren't, so they don't deserve our respect. At least, they certainly don't have mine.

Posted by: moore_te | September 22, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Why should we believe that the recession is over? Because the Government says so. Why should we believe that global warming, sorry, global climate disruption, is a crisis? Because the Government says so. For some reason I don't believe the Government.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 21, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

please delete a "you" and add a "made" to the last quip

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 21, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow Toles you have really wrapped yourself around the flame on this saying if you don't believe in man global warming you can't believe fire burns stuff down? A typical liberal wacko bogus non sequitur red herring, but fellow liberals with rubber swim caps and push mowers will really dig it so it all makes sense.

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 21, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't you even keep up with the news Mr. Toles? Now the Government and Mr. Gore have renamed it "Global Climate Disruption". Get with your program Mr. Toles.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 21, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

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