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What's the exit strategy?

By Tom Toles

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The individually created species that didn't bark

I said I was going to take a break on the climate subject, but like breaks you get at work, IT'S OVER ALREADY! I want to return to a post I did a week or so ago in which I made a charge that has so far gone undiscussed. The swarming trolls down there in the comments section never seem to let even a single sentence of mine go unsnarked, but this one slipped RIGHT THROUGH their exquisitely sensitive radar, so I thought I'd just go ahead and mention it again.

It's this: Are the climate change science deniers one and the same with science of evolution deniers? I thought perhaps I'd hear from a smattering of people who'd say no no no, the science on evolution is clear and persuasive, but climate science is all hoaxes and hooey. Didn't hear any of that. I'm sure there must be a few out there, not counting the energy-industry-paid water-muddiers. But, yes, I do want to suggest that this is essentially the same set of people, and that the abysmal understanding of science in this country isn't limited to debates about high school curricula anymore but is now absolutely contaminating the public policy process with devastating real-world consequences. Oh, and, what a surprise, we can't do math, either! --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | September 28, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Afghanistan  
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Comments

dtaylor88...
If you can take the global warmers out of the global warming senario and agree that we should all do our part to cut down on our use of fossil fuels,etc. Would not promoting alternative forms of energy be a plus for the economy by creating manufacturing jobs,which this country sorely needs? I really don't see the negative impact you seem concerned about.

As for your analysis of God...I think you give organized religion too much credit for your lack of belief. Perhaps if you would also take organized religion out of the senario you might see things in a different 'light' as well.

Posted by: bertzel | September 30, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I am one example of a anthropogenic climate change skeptic that also subscribes to the science of evolution.

If fact I would argue that people who follow the teachings of organized religion and climate change gurus, are more closely related than climate change and evolution skeptics. The similarities between the climate change movement and religion is striking.

- You start with concept that is almost impossible to grasp or see (climate changes over billions of years and God)
- You have a few who claim to understand the heart of the issue and hold the answers that can’t be shared or understood by the layperson (Climate scientists and priests)
- Non-believers are ignorant and doomed if they continue their immoral ways
- The end of the world is not tomorrow or next year, but some fuzzy time in the future
- You can pay for your sins to get redemption (Indulgences and carbon credits)
- To keep the flocks in line you need a manual (Bible, Koran and various guides to climate change)- http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/books/stories/a-much-needed-climate-change-bible

Climate change is real - geology has shown it has occurred numerous times in the history of earth, including during the short period of time human have been around. In fact I caught the tail end of a Nova last night that argued that humans evolved most rapidly when the climate was changing and the human race is a product of climate change. What isn’t certain is human ability to create or prevent climate change.

I agree that we should take steps to reduce our impact on the environment in all areas, but in a fiscally prudent manner. We should be willing spend money on conservation but not wreck our economy based on what might happen.

Climate change will happen, with or without us and we will have to evolve to adapt. We should not follow the teachings of whack jobs like Al Gore out to make a buck.

Posted by: dtaylor88 | September 30, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

tenor

I have been trying to illustrate the misleading nature of statistics. Yes the increase of the gas CO2 has increased 35% measured against itself but it is only a tiny fraction of all gasses comprising our atmosphere so this number is very misleading. Nitrogen is 78% or .78 of all gas, Oxygen 21% or .21 of all gas, Argon 1% or .01 of all gas, Carbon Dioxide .038% or .0038 of all gas in our atmosphere. An increase from .0028 to .0038 represents an increase of only .001 in CO2 in the total composition of our atmosphere, an almost insignificant amount of our total atmospheric gas composition. The earth has been estimated to have as much as 7% CO2 in the past.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

First, while CO2 may only make up a very small percentage of the atmosphere as a whole, that does not dismiss the effects of a major increase in its part in the composition of the atmosphere and what that means on a broader scale. And second, where are you getting your numbers about 7% and when was that and what does it have to do with the Earth we are living on today?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 29, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

dalyplanet,

OK, I do get your point now. But isn't it possible that an increase of > 35% in one of the atmosphere's major greenhouse gases might have an effect on warming, even though it still represents a small percentage of the total gases in the atmosphere? I'll admit that the question is beyond the level of my personal competence, but the majority of active climate scientists believe that anthropogenic climate change is real, and I accept their judgment. See this article from PNAS:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.short

Posted by: tenor | September 29, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

:-)

Posted by: bertzel | September 29, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Tom,
I think you are correct in asking if Climate change deniers are also Evolution deniers; my opinion is they are the same folks.
Emerson

Posted by: emerson-maria | September 28, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

tenor

I have been trying to illustrate the misleading nature of statistics. Yes the increase of the gas CO2 has increased 35% measured against itself but it is only a tiny fraction of all gasses comprising our atmosphere so this number is very misleading. Nitrogen is 78% or .78 of all gas, Oxygen 21% or .21 of all gas, Argon 1% or .01 of all gas, Carbon Dioxide .038% or .0038 of all gas in our atmosphere. An increase from .0028 to .0038 represents an increase of only .001 in CO2 in the total composition of our atmosphere, an almost insignificant amount of our total atmospheric gas composition. The earth has been estimated to have as much as 7% CO2 in the past.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

So, putting your faith in an invisible giant who created the universe and everything in it with his magical powers to explain phenomena we haven't yet figured out is "common sense?" Insanity.

Posted by: Kevin71707

First, the common sense I was referring to in that post had to do with global warming or climatic catastrophy or whatever it is being called now.
Second, the only 'big invisible giant' that I foolishly believed in once in a great while lived under my bed when I was a tot I don't think it had 'magical powers' most likely had to do with me being afraid of the 'dark'....I have since grown and 'evolved' so to speak.
Who says we are suppose to 'figure "IT"
out'? By "it" I mean a supreme being. If science wants to ponder the exact moment and reason for the 'bang' I say go for it!
But....
Wouldn't you also agree that we are to figure out ourselves? Not as seperate beings (cuz we really aren't) but as a whole?
I see no 'insanity' in that. The insanity is continuing on as we have been.
Cannot science and god co-exist?
I have 'faith' that they do...

phenomena, do do do do, phenomena, do do do do, phenomena....sorry just stepping back in time.

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

One more quibble with dalyplanet's "facts," and then I'll shut up. He says:

"Earth has seen an increase of perhaps 1/10 of 1/10 of 1% of CO2 gas in 100 years."

Referring once again to the CO2 data on NASA's site:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

CO2 levels increased from about 280 ppm in 1950 to over 380 ppm today. That's an increase of > 35% in 60 years.

dalyplanet, where are you getting your numbers???

Posted by: tenor | September 28, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"yes PrairieDog...It makes perfect sense.
Common sense...too bad there is not much of that going around these days."

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

So, putting your faith in an invisible giant who created the universe and everything in it with his magical powers to explain phenomena we haven't yet figured out is "common sense?" Insanity.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | September 28, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

such a busy blog today!

As for values; values are nice..... the truth is that we each look after ourselves the best way we know how and the Sermon on the Mount isn't about looking after ourselves~~~~Jonroesler~~~

Values are nice?? ok...
I beg to differ on your analysis of the Mount Sermon for it was indeed all about looking after ourselves...Golden rule ring a bell at all?

got a question to all believers of the big bang and god.....what if they(it) was one in the same???
Just askin'

As for the planet...time to clean house.We aren't the cleanest of creatures.

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

dalyplanet,

Please see NASA's website for the facts about the level of CO2 over the past 650,000 years:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

It is currently above 380 parts per million, and prior to 1950 had never risen above 300 ppm in the past 650,000 years. This is based on measurements of atmospheric samples from ice cores. Please see the data on the NASA site. I am not making this up, nor is it from "some wikipedia entry."

Posted by: tenor | September 28, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

To further illustrate this statistical point, the increase in the suns output is 1500% greater in 30 years than the increase in CO2 gas in 100 years. Then to compare apples to apples one needs to multiply by 3.33 to extrapolate 100 years of solar data, an equivalent of about a 5000% greater change in solar output than change in CO2 gas over 100 years. The problem is none of these data were measurable 100 years ago with accuracy; remember the horse and buggy. The problem I have with the believers and alarmists is they take this type of exercise and present it as fact and are believed because nobody understands the math or statistics. Our history with real numbers is only about 30 years and this short period is not climate.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"How the basic building blocks of life and matter came from nothing?" May as well ask how God, much more sophisticated than mere building blocks, came from nothing.
My parochial-school teachers explained it quite simply, of course: "He (God) was always there. Next question, please."

As a wise man said, when considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one isn't. Something isn't less true or more true because the fact of it may affect my pocketbook, even though it might be in my best interest to try to convince you otherwise. Not global warming, not chemical polution and not, for lead or cadmium producers, the effects of heavy metals on the human brain.

It is in the best interests of polluters to pollute, preachers to preach, scientists to practice science, politicians to practice politics, and each of the rest of us to look after ourselves the best way we know how. As for values; values are nice. It would be ever so helpful for those claiming to be Christians to give as much weight to the Sermon on the Mount as to the 10 Commandments but, again, the truth is that we each look after ourselves the best way we know how and the Sermon on the Mount isn't about looking after ourselves.

Posted by: jonroesler | September 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your patience in dealing with these ignorant people - because really, if you can ignore climate change and evolution, you really are ignoring a huge amount of data and insight...

Perhaps your time would be better spent trying to convince the ignorant Democrats that they should run on, duh - Democratic values! - e.g. a more progressive tax (what are the Koch brothers going to do with another billion dollars? - yet another astroturf campaign?). Or what about getting out permanently out of Iraq (sorry about the mess guys - gotta go!). Or maybe indict Bush & Co. - (how much money did the families of Bush and Cheney make before the Iraq war and afterward???) Mountain top removal, etc.

Thanks. Keep up the patience.

Posted by: UNLISTED | September 28, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Earth has seen an increase of perhaps 1/10 of 1/10 of 1% of CO2 gas in 100 years. This increase is the equivalent of .001 of total atmosphere. We have been accurately measuring the suns output for only about 30 years via satellite. Has the suns output varied by more than a factor of .001 over human history? One NASA funded study states that the suns output has increased by .05% per decade over the last 3 decades or a total of .015 total increase in 30 years compared to .001 increase in CO2 gas in 100 years, described here in hard numbers for the math challenged.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, it should read 1816 vice 1861 in the below May 1967 article which was published in the NY Times on Wednesday, May 31, 1967, Pg 29, 975 words, written by John Noble Wilford

Posted by: jornolibist | September 28, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

This is in response to your post "The individually created species that didn't bark": woof. woof. I would have barked sooner but, unlike the other trolls down here, I'm a half-breed. Unlike our much larger, louder cousins, we don't do much barking, or biting. We half-breed trolls definitely believe that we are doing irreparable damage to our planet. Anyone with half a brain (that's us!), would know that you can't keep polluting the earth without there being hell to pay eventually. And, by and large (mostly large), full-fledged trolls don't seem to mind hell. They actually enjoyed the Bush years and are all excited about returning there with the mid-term elections. Not us half-breed trolls; we want to move on, get as much distance between us and the Bush era as possible.
Now here's the crazy part: although we believe in climate change (like the humans) we also believe in God and believe that He created everything that we're now hell-bent on destroying. We half-breeds are Creationists. We don't believe we evolved from monkeys although there is plenty of evidence out there that we did. Examples of this evidence would include (but is not limited to) those who want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, the Birthers, those who believe President Obama is a Muslim, that we have visitors from other planets, that the universe was created as the result of spontaneous combustion and gravity, those who think the Republicans' "Pledge to America" is a work of political genius, those who won't vote in the mid-terms, and Democrats who refuse to campaign on their successes of the past two years because the Republicans have convinced them otherwise. Oh, and FOX news. Definitely FOX news.
Even though we're not as smart as humans or our troll (distant) cousins, we're a pretty happy-go-lucky lot. You know the old adage, "ignorance is bliss." The reason you don't hear much from us half-breeds down here is because our voices are usually drowned out by those larger, more strident trolls. woof. woof.

Posted by: RThay47 | September 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

World population is on track to hit 9 billion well before 2050. Massive carbon emissions are just one negative effect of this growth. When are we going to start focusing on the root cause, instead of just on the ever-escalating list of symptoms?

Regarding the carbon problem: Remember the Reagan/Bush political ad "Bear in the Woods" from the '80s? The bear symbolized the Soviet Union. The ad suggested that even if you aren't convinced there is a threat, the prudent thing would be to behave as if there were, given the dire consequences of being wrong. That used to be the conservative view.

Regarding the idea that humans have transcended natural selection: If the Malthusian effects of overpopulation come into play, we'll see some rather brutal selection taking place. Whether we'll still be at the top of the evolution game afterward is another matter.

Posted by: EthelredtheUnready | September 28, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

CO2 has decreased over the last 650,000 years from 1% to .037% according to most scientists, not increased. This is a 27X reduction or 2700% reduction from 650,000 years ago. This number is documented in scientific curricula not some wikipedia entry.

Our rapid increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is is an extremely small fraction of greenhouse gas compared to water vapor or an estimated 7% of total CO2 gas in the atmosphere in earths past history.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Just read some of the below headlines and opening sentences of articles published in the NY Times since 1870 and you may get a clue why the majority of people don't believe latest climate change fad.

Jan 1870 --The climate of New York and the contiguous Atlantic seaboard has long been a study of great interest. We have experienced a remarkable instance of its peculiarity the Hudson River, by a singular freak of temperature, has thrown off its icy mantle and opened its waters to navigation.

Dec 1934 --Nation is Held on Verge of Climate Shift; Experts See Old-Fashioned Winters Back. America is believed by Weather Bureau scientists to be on verge of change of climate, with return to increasing rains and deeper snows and the colder Winters of grandfather's day.

Oct 1956 -- Warmer Climate on the Earth may Be Due to More Carbon Dioxide in the Air. The general warming of the climate that has occurred in the last sixty years has been variously explained.

Dec 1958 --Frozen Key to Our Climate; The world's ice masses may be ushering in a fifth Ice Age.

Jan 1961 --Scientists Agree World is Colder; But Climate Experts Fail to Agree on Reasons for Change. After a week of discussions on the cause of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: It is getting colder.

Oct 1961 --Earth's Weather Growing Colder; The earth is undergoing "a persistent cold wave" that began in the Nineteen Forties, a United States, weather man told a symposium on climate this week.

May 1967 --Weathermen Try to Explain the Why of Spring That Never Was in 1967 - In the year 1861 the year without summer, they called it snow fell in New England and parts of New York in June, July and August. Crops failed. People were impoverished and mystified.

Jul 1970 -- U.S. and Soviet Press Studies of a Colder Arctic; The U.S. and the Soviet Union are mounting large-scale investigations to determine why the Arctic climate is becoming more frigid and whether the extent of that ice cover contributes to the onset of ice ages.

Jan 1972 --Climate Experts Assay Ice Age Clues ; After invading Nebraska and Colorado, the armadillos, faced with increasingly frigid weather, are in retreat from those states toward the Mexican border. The winter snow accumulation on Baffin Island has increased 35 per cent in the last decade.

Feb 1972 --Record of Little Ice Age Discovered; From a study of ice extracted from deep within the Greenland ice sheet it appears that 89,500 years ago something catastrophic changed the climate from being warmer than today's to that of a full-fledged ice age.

Get the picture? Fad or fiction?

Posted by: jornolibist | September 28, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Dailyplanet - perhaps such a minute change might seem too small to make any difference. Balance what you state against the vast amounts of energy received in the form of solar radiation. Then consider that such radiation has remained in a fairly constant equilibrium for centuries of recorded history. It is not at all far-fetched to perceive that human changes that we may deem scarcely worthy of consideration can tip the fine edge that has supported human life for millennia.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | September 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Rank and file science "non-believers" are persuaded in mostly the same ways: fear and distrust are "stoked" by persons with varying agenda for fairly well thought out reasons. People can then rationalize to suit their comfort zones and dismiss the best scientific analyses of researchers. Nevermind that over decades and even centuries, there are fine-tuning re-examinations of almost every theorem, corollary, and axiom in virtually every academic discipline.

Human nature includes doubt and skepticism. In a way it is unfair to excoriate those who only reluctantly accept or outright reject new ideas. However, time and again, bright and perceptive minds have tried to explain what they have seen or are seeing. Books and articles have been written. But we are weak on reason and synthesis in our society; bigger premium is placed on knowledge of facts. So we bumble and question well beyond reason.

What we need to do is think. Think about our past and how we got to the present. We need to seriously look at trends and circumstances. And we need to be honest with ourselves, keeping in mind that perfection will always be an illusion, and make assessment of our challenges in the compass of our real abilities. Global warming, hunger, disease, natural disasters and those of our own making are but the background of continued human existence on this planet or anywhere in the universe. Do we believe in eternal existence of our species or accept that as there was a beginning, so must there also be an end?

Posted by: Jazzman7 | September 28, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

To deny either evolution or climate change requires the same level of ignorance, willful or otherwise. The level of scientific understanding displayed by the majority of our population is abyssmal.

The problem with both issues is that it requires an ability to understand change that takes longer than 15 minutes, and the action of forces that one cannot see. Sadly, that's a bridge too far for too many people.

Posted by: blbixler | September 28, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

There are a few facts that are not in dispute: that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas (i.e. it traps heat from the sun); and that carbon dioxide levels are the highest that they've been for at least the past 650,000 years.

You can question the link between man-made increases in CO2 levels and the climate effects that we see, but it's hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that our rapid release of CO2 into the atmosphere will eventually cause global warming, whether or not that warming is already underway.

Posted by: tenor | September 28, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

My last post should have read

To blindly follow a relatively small number of scientists predictions that the world will change catastrophically due to an increase in carbon dioxide from 1/4 of 1/10th of 1% to 1/3 of 1/10th of 1% seems foolish to the scientific mind. Or .025% to .037% of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse


The Al Gore version of global warming is not science but rather a fiction designed to "raise awareness". No rational person believes the oceans will rise twenty feet and all ice will melt in the next few decades.

Taxing carbon will not stop it's consumption as it's use has made humans very successful and we will use it until it is gone. Some groups will get very wealthy by trading carbon caps but it's use will continue as the system will be set up powerful interest groups both liberal and conservative to make and control money but not limit fossil fuels use.

100 years ago humans were horse and buggy technology with no electricity no radio or TV no internet and certainly no computers to model climate predictions with. To blindly follow a relatively small number of scientists predictions that the world will change catastrophically due to an increase in carbon dioxide from 1/4 of 1% to 1/3of 1% seems foolish to the scientific mind. Humans have developed incredible inventions free of government control or intervention and will solve our energy demands in the future.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If you present an evolution denier with sound scientific evidence supporting evolution, they'll go talk to the preacher. The preacher will point them toward the appropriate biblical passages that state the contrary. No thinking involved there. How can you argue with the Bible? It's the word of the Lord. The Lord tells you everything you need to know about how humans got here. He will provide.

If you give a climate change denier a piece of sound evidence arguing for climate change, they'll peruse the Fox News database for a story that counters the evidence you just gave them. No thinking involved there. Fox just told them everything they need to know. Fox News will provide.

Lack of independent though process is the same in both cases.

Posted by: amethystmarbles | September 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

God help me cuz I do have to get to work!!!!
thanksforfish...I read your post SEVERAL times and I still can't quite figure out the point you are trying to make....so for the sake of us common folk, why don't you put those of us 'common taters', yourself and Toles included into the catagories you have described. Then PERHAPS I (and maybe others?) will have a better understanding of your point. thankyou in advance..b

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Tom,

Do people who deny evolution also deny climate change?

You think that's gonna rile 'em up? What an amateur.

Sit down before you hurt yourself.

NPR already presented the thought that climate change was a cause of human evolution (March 22, 2010 "Did Climate Change Drive Human Evolution?" by Christopher Joyce, www.npr.org).

The mind-bending thing is that humnans are now, in turn, sufficiently evolved to drive climate change.

Change begets change.

Posted by: duke5 | September 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I read somewhere...can't remember where, that Darwin was in fact wrong about the evolution of those creatures that do bark...anyone care to comment?

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

My observation is the climate change science deniers feel little direct affinity with the science of evolution deniers because they have little actual education about evolution and are functionally ignorant on the matter, since it belonged essentially to a previous generation. That one's mostly a religious question anyway and belongs to their elders.

So what you have are the religious science of evolution deniers, some of whom are now becoming more environmentally aware as stewards of the planet, and some of whom are Armagaddeneners, who are actually more into whole system climate change, if you get the jist of that.

Then you have the secular science of evolution ignorers, who are actually opportunists posing as climate change deniers who like to be flame throwers and saboteurs, political foils intent on undermining every liberal cause they can identify. These are often also the energy-industry-paid water-muddiers you so fondly identify in your blog.

These are all God's children, and deserve their swift kicks in the hindquarters and whatever comeuppances they might have coming their way - because they all refuse rational discourse, preferring to keep their maneuverings subterranean and as emotionally charged as possible.

The distinctions are seldom exact - shifting and changing - evolving, one might say, even within the same individual over time, even the more calculating ones, but these folks are confused, so we need to have compassion...

Posted by: thanksforfish | September 28, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

yes PrairieDog...It makes perfect sense.
Common sense...too bad there is not much of that going around these days.

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Science is never perfect. It hypothesizes, experiments, interprets, repeats, disproves, and modifies. Currently the vast majority of scientists in the field of atmospheric study are finding, within 90-95% confidence limits, that global warming in it's current form is anthropogenic.

Has the climate changed before without people around to influence it? Yes. The current issue is, are we indeed influencing it. This is where the scientists agree...the continual belching of CO2, CH4 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is altering the climate faster than would naturally occur.

Okay, maybe you disagree with those who are very learned in their field. You have a right to disbelieve anything you like. But...and I've said this before here...doesn't it make sense for us to now start weaning ourselves off fossil fuels anyway? Here are some facts that you can't really "disagree" with. Oil is finite. It is running out. It's not forever. Natural gas is the same. Coal is the same but there are more reserves that will last longer than oil or NG. However, ALL these fossil fuels are becoming harder and more costly to get. Look at what happened in the Gulf. Look at the Iraq War (purely about oil). Have you been to rural West Virginia lately to see the tops of the mountains all blown off and the refuse dumped in the river valleys? James Hanson, leading NASA scientist on global warming, was arrested in DC yesterday for protesting at the White House about mountain top mining. This is how strongly he thinks something needs to be done about our continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

So, deny all you like. But within this century (really not that long), oil will be obsolete as a primary fuel. Do we wait until the last minute to get off of it, or do we start the process in earnest now? If you're really worried about the economy more than the environment, then imagine the economic calamity we'd suffer when the laws of supply and demand drive gas and diesel fuel up to $20 or $30 a gallon, or when jet fuel becomes so expensive that your $200 airline ticket is suddenly $2,000 (this will never happen, as airlines would all go out of business long before it could get that expensive).

Now or later folks. I vote for now.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | September 28, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Science is never perfect. It hypothesizes, experiments, interprets, repeats, disproves, and modifies. Currently the vast majority of scientists in the field of atmospheric study are finding, within 90-95% confidence limits, that global warming in it's current form is anthropogenic.

Has the climate changed before without people around to influence it? Yes. The current issue is, are we indeed influencing it. This is where the scientists agree...the continual belching of CO2, CH4 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is altering the climate faster than would naturally occur.

Okay, maybe you disagree with those who are very learned in their field. You have a right to disbelieve anything you like. But...and I've said this before here...doesn't it make sense for us to now start weaning ourselves off fossil fuels anyway? Here are some facts that you can't really "disagree" with. Oil is finite. It is running out. It's not forever. Natural gas is the same. Coal is the same but there are more reserves that will last longer than oil or NG. However, ALL these fossil fuels are becoming harder and more costly to get. Look at what happened in the Gulf. Look at the Iraq War (purely about oil). Have you been to rural West Virginia lately to see the tops of the mountains all blown off and the refuse dumped in the river valleys? James Hanson, leading NASA scientist on global warming, was arrested in DC yesterday for protesting at the White House about mountain top mining. This is how strongly he thinks something needs to be done about our continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

So, deny all you like. But within this century (really not that long), oil will be obsolete as a primary fuel. Do we wait until the last minute to get off of it, or do we start the process in earnest now? If you're really worried about the economy more than the environment, then imagine the economic calamity we'd suffer when the laws of supply and demand drive gas and diesel fuel up to $20 or $30 a gallon, or when jet fuel becomes so expensive that your $200 airline ticket is suddenly $2,000 (this will never happen, as airlines would all go out of business long before it could get that expensive).

Now or later folks. I vote for now.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | September 28, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

As for evolution theory, it's a mess. Here's a good commentary from
http://bit.ly/c0TLUI

With ease of travel stirring the gene pool geographically and modern medicine keeping genes in circulation that otherwise would be filtered out, the case can be made that modernity undermines the genetic stratification that encourages evolution.

This is the point of view underscored in a New York Times article, "Evolution of Humans May at Last Be Faltering," (Mar. 14, 1995, p. B10):

"A number of experts say that Homo sapiens is becoming increasingly disengaged from the forces of natural selection and speciation, the key processes that brought humankind into existence. [. . . .] Humans, some evolutionists say, have wrapped themselves in such a snug cocoon, from clothing to central heating to hurricane warning systems, that populations are largely insulated from the environmental stresses that drive evolution. [. . . .] Humans are intermixing more than ever before, marrying people born in locations farther away and generally eliminating the isolation of populations that leads to speciation."

The article quotes Ian Tattersall, a paleoantropologist at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, from his book, The Fossil Trail: "Homo sapiens today is in a mode of intermixing rather than of differentiation, and the conditions for significant evolutionary change simply don’t exist. . . ."

But new research says the opposite:

An AP article from January 2008 summarizes the new thinking: "Science fiction writers have suggested a future Earth populated by a blend of all races into a common human form. In real life, the reverse seems to be happening. People are evolving more rapidly than in the distant past, with residents of various continents becoming increasingly different from one another, researchers say."

NEWSWEEK (Jan 28, 2008, p.49) summarized the findings this way, "A study published in the December Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences found that not only are humans still evolving, but we are doing so at a faster rate than ever before, with genes that affect our diets and brains leading the race. [. . . .] The findings have turned some traditional assumptions on their heads."

This is an odd course of events. How many sciences, in making predictions and establishing their street cred, enjoy so much leeway to get things so wrong? How can evolution theory get away with predictions that oscillate so wildly—from the cessation of human evolution to its acceleration—within the span of a single generation of researchers? Can a theory so erratic in its conclusions rest on a solid theoretical ground?

Posted by: HumanistPatriot | September 28, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Afraid I can't buy the analogy comparing climate change and evolution "deniers". It is a great classic illustration of the liberal's ability to make broad generalizations of whole groups of people, based on some vacuous argument or rationalization.

As one person put it (right on, mnoone), the evolution "debate" has been going on for over 100 years and has been tested, evaluated, and analyzed to a far greater extent than any aspect of the climate change issue. We are told the "science is settled", the "debate is over".... NO !! There is far more UNKNOWN than is known with any real degree of certainty. As I've said many times, we STILL can't even get consistent and ACCURATE forecasts for rain 3 days from now. And I'm supposed to believe some scientist (any scientist) that tells me what the climate is going to be 50 years from now.?? Sorry.

Besides, if given the choice, I'd much prefer a Key West climate, to that of Minnesota. But,.. that's just me.

Posted by: Shrimper | September 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'll open this morn by singing you a song...

"When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best..."
Spirit in the Sky~~Mr. Greenbaum

That's my exit strategy..gonna have the kids crank up that song on my "boom -box" as they scatter my ashes into the windturbines. Course the government will probably have "ash-scattering' declared illegal due to air contamination but what the heck...not the first time I've sinned/broken the law ; )

Seriously Toles I would ENJOY discussing the topic of evolution and god...obviously this blog is not the site for such a conversation. No one seems to be able to discuss anything in here when it comes to the existence of a god or religion, and you cater to that by giving sooo many available exit strategies to choose from so I will leave it at that. You want to discuss it sometime you and BNLM can come over and mow my lawn while we talk.
I do like your signage. And even tho I somewhat suck at math (the reason for my keen sense of radar...no one is perfect)
I do have this equation to share:
mutations+time+chance =/= evolution.
There is more to LIFE than just random circumstance. The fool is one who cannot see.
hmmm. guess I didn't leave it at that after all..

Oh and one more thing Toles
those sketch pad drawings may be good but are quite sloppy and sometimes I can't read or see what you are SAYING...just sayin'

Posted by: bertzel | September 28, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse


Don't be so smug about "science". Many things have been called science that have gone by the wayside. When I was in grade school scientists mocked a ridiculous idea then being proposed about migrating continents. How could continents move? It was a preposterous idea.

Turns out they move all right. And quite a distance if you wait long enough. The continental-immobility deniers got the last laugh on the Establishment.

Posted by: HumanistPatriot | September 28, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Will cap and trade fix the problem? Is it worth wrecking the economy to fix the problem? These are actually worthy questions, although the second one is stated in such a way as to elicit a pre-found conclusion. What these questions show, and I have been hearing them more and more lately, is that slowly the deniers are losing this argument. It is becoming harder and harder for them to continue to simply insist it's not happening. It started with "It cold out! What you mean globe warming?" It's moved on to, more or less, "It seems to be happening, but it's probably natural because there have been changes in temperature in the past, and humans couldn't possibly be having such a great effect on the Earth" despite the very unnatural constant production of tons of greenhouse gases we've done more and more of for about a century.

Now, finally, some are slowly coming around to the real debate: how to solve the problem. What will be effective, and what will it cost? Too bad it's taking so long.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 28, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I may be a statistical outlier, but I accept the well grounded theory of evolution, which has well over a hundred years of data and rigorous cross-checking under its belt, but have deep skepticism of global warming theory, which for many people who support it, seems as mindlessly embraced as seeing the Virgin Mary's face on a potato chip.

My biggest concern with global warming theory, is that it relies on implied and assumed relationships, such as coral formation in one region having a statistically significant relationship to CO2, and thus climate on wide-ranging parts of the globe. I don't trust "true believers" of any stripe, when it comes to science. There are far too many people that accept the tenets of evolution or global warming on faith, rather than through a strong grounding in the natural sciences that allow an understanding of the issues.

Perhaps, more data will persuade me to the conclusion that anthropogenic is the main cause of temperature increase, but as of now, I have a tough time believing that the interpolations that have been done, are precise enough to pick out changes in less than a degree, based upon minute changes in atmospheric CO2.

Where I sit typing this, 14K years ago, there stood a glacier several hundred feet thick, and 20 million years ago, a shallow, inland, tropical sea. Both were natural climates, and both occurred without the introduction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

For the record, I have a M.S. in applied ecology, with a thesis that focused on restoring wetlands.

Posted by: mnoone | September 28, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

At one time Al Gore pushed tobacco, grew it and picked it and now he has been pushing the manmade global warming hoax since 1992. Thanks for the brilliant hypothesis on the connection to Gore's motivation. Now it all makes sense.

Posted by: jornolibist | September 28, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

My God, Man! How many times do I have to apologize for being a rotten teacher?
I know they can't read.
Enough!
(Sob)

Posted by: GeneTouchet | September 28, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Since you need confirmation about climate deniers and evolution deniers are one and the same. In the face of overwhelming evidence, denying either one is an act of willful, self-serving ignorance.

As Carl Sagan said:

"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology."

We are doomed.

Posted by: spd2 | September 28, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Our climate goes through changes. It has been doing this long before humans got here. We have had warm spells and ice ages. Even in recent history. The warmers never, never, mention the mini ice age. Or the fact that the hockey stick chart removed that little issue to make the temperature increase more dramatic. Are we an influence on climate, yes. Are we the major influence, no. Will nine dollar a gallon gasoline fix it, no. Will cap and trade fix it, no. Will wrecking our economy fix it, no. Warmers or disruptors, sorry that is a Klingon weapon, warmers create a crisis so that legislation can be shoved through without real debate or analysis of consequeces. No deal.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 28, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"Those who deny climate change will be held in contempt by their grandchildren."

OK. I can understand that.

But what if the choices are not warming or denying?

Are you ready to consider other climate problems that are just as serious, but not in your road map?

Or energy problems?

Or orther p[roblems in general?

Can you think out of the box?

Or are you fixated on a two position political problem that is so limnited as to be useless?

I deny nothing. I just want evidence that we have only warming to be concerned with.

Have you heard of "ice ages?"

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 28, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

It may be old fashioned, but the objective of war is to win. That is the exit strategy of choice. Win.

But for some reason, in a longer conflict, people lose sight of that path. They just say "How can we get out?" When it is difficult that is understandable.

But when an Eastern visitor was watching cowboys break horses, he suggested they do it in a plowed field so the landing would be easier. They said "We get on the horses to ride them,not to fall off."

We fight to win.

Not to run away.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 28, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Hope and change from this administration? What we are experiencing is hopeless change.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 28, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

To Tom Toles...
A trolling we will go.
A trolling we will go.
High ho a merry'O,
A trolling we will go.
Actually; I am well pleased with your keen sense of responsible cartooning.
You are right. The state of the union is no longer united and common sense and wisdom are no longer applied to important policies and priorities. Who wins the World Series has become more important than human survival.
We are playing deadly technological games with Mother Nature. We are ignoring the fact that She created the physical reality that we experience and can render us extinct as readily as She created us and as readily as She eliminated the dinosaurs.
Instead of "observing the lilies of the field", we need to observe the mathematical Axiom: "things equal to the same thing equal each other". This axiom applies to the fact that nature is able to change reality just as we change reality. Infact; nature is better at changing reality than we are at changing reality.
If we do not get our economics and our technology under control we will be considered a threat of mass destruction by nature. Our lives will not be worth a plugged nickel.
What say you?

Posted by: OchamsRazor | September 28, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

I tend to see the climate deniers less in league with the creationists, and more the intellectual descendants of the tobacco pushers and smokers of a few decades ago. Long after the science was clearly established, shills kept saying, and people believing, that tobacco was not addictive, not harmful, etc. Millions have died because of their ignorance and duplicity, and we will have the same situation with climate change. There are dollars to be made. Also, Tom, the Bible proves the sun and moon circle the earth. Just read Joshua ch. 10, where the good Lord stays the sun and moon in their tracks 'in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down for about a whole day' while Joshua smites Adonizedec and his allies...So there. Dollars, or shekels, to be made. Somewhere there is a section that proves the earth is flat, but I can't remember where.

Posted by: jrkau | September 28, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

"What is the direct death toll from global climate disruption?"

So you admit that it does exist, and that it's man made? You just don't think it's not important because it doesn't kill people directly? I suppose you feel the same way about the economy? What is the direct death toll from the current recession? Why the heck was that in the news anyways?

Posted by: Gurduloo | September 27, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Those who deny climate change will be held in contempt by their grandchildren.

They're absurd when they claim "it's not science". The National Academies of Science of all developed countries say it's science. NASA says it, NOAA says it, the Pentagon says it. Even the American Enterprise Institute now admits it's real. Even Exxon won't dare stand up and deny it publicly.

Instead they pay creeps like Fred Singer to spread pseudoscientific lies and smokescreens, and people who reached a conclusion long before they saw the evidence lap it up. Fred Singer, archdeacon of the deniers, previously worked for the tobacco industry, trying to cast doubt on the link between tobacco and lung cancer. That's the sort of garbage you deniers are swallowing.

How could you possibly recognise science anyway? Deniers are people who hate science. They deny evolution, too ... need I say more? The intellectual descendants of those who once burned people for saying the Earth went around the Sun. They trace their American lineage back to Salem, Massachussetts, where they used to hang little girls for being witches.

Posted by: Bud0 | September 27, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

What is the direct death toll from global climate disruption?

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 27, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice qualifier. No. There will not be a sudden "climate change eruption" that will burn down your house. the day will never come when we awake in the morning to find news stories stating "Overnight, Climate Change suddenly struck in California, killing thousands and causing billions in damage." Congratulations on ignoring and completely dismissing long term and broad consequences.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 27, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

You're right Tom, the state of scientific understanding in this country is terrible. How else to explain such widespread acceptance of man made global warming?

Posted by: gorillazilla | September 27, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Anti-science folks know no bounds. Indeed, it is the only thing they know.

Posted by: milevin | September 27, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that there is an absolute one-to-one relationship between the evolution deniers and the AGW deniers. But I don't think that was what Mr. Toles was suggesting. Maybe, he can speak for himself. But in my experience, and in many conversations, individuals often disbelieve in BOTH evolution or AGW. And I wish that the disbelieve in either evolution or AGW rose to the level of simple ignorance. Rather, it is willful ignorance, lack of any willingness to learn, lack of intellectual curiosity, that causes them to adhere to the myths that provide the comfort of a belief w/o the discomfort of thought. Try to debate someone who denies evolution..usually, they know absolutely nothing about it and have no wish to learn about it. Try to debate a AGW denier...again, they know nothing about AGW, simply provide the same Rush Limbaugh talking points that have been debunked many times, and shift positions from no GW, to GW but no AGW, to "it's not a problem", it's an Al Gore hoax.

@Bobbo2 The Israelis are in the process of taking everything that the Palestinians once had. Palestinians don't build because the Israelis don't allow them to import concrete or steel. The Israelis throw them off their land with the support of the Israeli army. After the Israelis have all of the West Bank that they want, they will take Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, etc. The U.S. provides the weaponry and support for them to do this...this is a large part of why we are facing al-Qaeda now. So the proper question is "why don't the Israelis leave the Palestinians and their land alone?" Answer: the Israelis neither need nor want peace with the Palestinians.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 27, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Get with it. The Government has changed the term to global climate disruption. People are in more danger of earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and disease than in global climate disruption. What is the direct death toll from global climate disruption?

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 27, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"Don't know how many creationists are climate change deniers, but here's what I do know...Tom Toles is talking more about climate change than he's drawing. Too easy."

'More' drawing than his daily main and sketchpad cartoons ... 'too easy' = beyond lame.

Posted by: spigzone | September 27, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The deniers haven't responded because they have their hand over their ears and are yelling, "Na Na Na Na, I can't hear you".
Same fools following different leaders (first after the big business shills, then after the so-called "Christian" neo-cons who are making all sorts of stuff about the Bible).

Posted by: pjohn2 | September 27, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't know how many creationists are climate change deniers, but here's what I do know...Tom Toles is talking more about climate change than he's drawing. Too easy.

Sorry, I like the conversation, but have to draw the line somewhere.

Posted by: upperojai | September 27, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Tom,

I am going to have to disagree with you on the climate deniers and creationists being the same set. See you are ignoring the fact that climate deniers are composed of two groups: the ho's for business and creationists. The ho's for business are scientists and other thinking individuals who conveniently deny the green house effect because they stand to profit from burning coal/oil/natural gas, etc. A good example of this group is the Russian government. If you check Russian media, you will be inundated by state propaganda denying climate change (they and conservatives are one in the same). It is no secret that Russia makes most of its GDP from energy. The second group of climate deniers are just superstitious k00ks. This same group believes that god placed fossils of dinosaurs to confound us. They always bring up that evolution is a "theory". They ignore the fact that the current physics of gravity is a "theory" that is flawed (it does not do a good job of describing what happens when you have enormous gravitational fields and that just for starters). Of course, you don't see these people taking leaps off of tall buildings coz "gravity is just a theory".

Posted by: bushidollar | September 27, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Why don't Palestilians build things? Umm 'cause they keep get bulldozed by the Israelies, who say they were built without permits...which the Israelies won't give them. Also its kinda hard, when Israel doesn't let you have any building materials, because it's a dual use technology. "The Palestinians might build bunkers instead of houses!"

Where did the come from? Have you read any Stephen Hawkings lately?

Here's something to help you sleep at night. "Just because it's random, doesn't mean that it's an accident." ;-)

Posted by: ArtDodger69 | September 27, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

As per your cartoon Mr. Toles I am beginning to believe that we should pull out of Afghanistan, have 24 hour drone surveillace of the Country, and call in airstrikes when we see terrorist activity. Congratulations Mr. Toles on your beliefs about our planet. Evolution of species is rather obvious. Now if you will explain to me how the Universe came about and how the basic building blocks of life and matter came from nothing. And as far as those pesky homes for Israeli's to live in? Why don't the Palestinians build for their people? Why doesn't the United Nations help them build? Or the International Monetary Fund?

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 27, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

"Believing or not believing in evolution doesn't cost anyone a dime or any part of their liberty."

Wait, what? You decide what to believe based on how you think it will affect your wallet? By that reasoning, I guess you don't believe in cavities, cancer or floods.

Posted by: simpleton1 | September 27, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Believing or not believing in evolution doesn't cost anyone a dime or any part of their liberty. Con men are pushing bogus manmade global warming science so your government, by the people for the people, can ration your energy, raise your taxes and control how warm or cold your house is that's the difference.

Posted by: jornolibist | September 27, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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