Something I wrote last week has been bothering me. When describing the disrespect for, and subjective application of, science, I said: “This is insanity on a whole new level.” Well, upon a week’s worth of reflection, I want to apologize for speaking hyperbolically. That statement is not accurate. This insanity has been around for years and is rampant in our society — particularly throughout the political sectors — and it is not getting better.
So, two significant things transpired last week in the world of science (aka “the world we live in” or just “real life”). First, we (humanity) landed a spacecraft on an asteroid. NERD ALERT! This has to be the coolest thing that has happened in my lifetime. A 10-year mission, costing $1.75 billion to develop, took humankind to a new home 307 million miles away from Earth, traveling 40,000 miles per hour — a home of rock, ice and dust, but with one heck of a view. This gives a whole new meaning to “one giant leap for mankind.”
The other significant development was the historic announcement of a climate change accord between the U.S. and China — the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are accelerating global climate change, which is a true threat to the next generation of society as well as humanity itself. The significance of this deal goes far beyond the environmental impact, but has domestic political implications and has altered the landscape of global, geopolitical politics.
For starters, this pact answers the two primary arguments Republicans make against governmental action to curb American carbon emissions: 1) That humankind is not contributing to the world’s rising temperatures, and 2) that unilateral action by the U.S. puts us at an economically competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world — most notably China. The first is ludicrous because 98 percent of the scientific community refutes that argument. Plus, even if only 2 percent of scientists refuse to endorse the conclusion that human behavior is causing climate change, this does not mean that they do not acknowledge there is a problem. Just because 9 out of 10 doctors recommend a certain toothbrush does not mean that the 10th does not think you should brush at all … he or she is just not sold on that brand of toothbrush.
The second argument, which President Obama acknowledged as one he has taken seriously, is now answered as well; if our leading economic competitor, and world-leading-emitter-of-carbon colleague, China, agrees to join hands and lead the rest of the world together, there is no argument left in the chamber. We now must determine “how” we get there, not “if.”
Furthermore, Obama, who is finding himself in the traditional role of second-term presidential punching bag, has demonstrated that he can make government work for the country and future generations, despite a Congress determined to undermine government functionality and unwilling to reason with facts, math or science.
The most astounding example of this was two weeks ago when Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, discounted the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Huffington Post described the report, which included the work of over 800 scientists, as “a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95 percent certainty that most of the warming seen since the 1950s is man-made.” Smith called it “biased.”
Biased? BIASED? You are damn right it is biased. Science is biased … toward facts and proof and the scientific method. When the world’s leading scientific researchers spend years working on 30,000 studies, I cannot imagine them NOT being biased. I am not a scientist, but I am biased on the side of facts, math, science and a community of experts who are a lot smarter than I am.
Smith admitted to only reading a summary of the report. I guess he is too uninformed to be biased … ?
This is one of the fundamental reasons I cannot even consider voting for a Republican. When your party is willing to jeopardize the future of the planet for any (possible) economic advantage; when your party refuses to consider facts, math and science that do not fit with your ideology; as well as, when your party continually pushes legislation detrimental to women, minorities, immigrants, the LGBT community and the poor … it is a nonstarter. I guess I am biased.