I suppose it was inevitable that some anti-science extremist would compare the doomsday claims of evangelical broadcaster Harold Camping with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that says unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions risks multiple simultaneous catastrophes for human civilization.
It’s just sad that this extremist was the editor of The Wall Street Journal‘s online editorial page, James Taranto. His inane, defamatory piece, “The Christian Al Gore: The eternal appeal of doomsday cults,” makes one question the factual basis of every thing that appears in the WSJ. After all, if an astrologer and Flat-Earther can rise to such prominence at the leading financial newspaper in the country, and publish pure anti-science nonsense, then on what basis is there to believe that the rest of the staff is any more rational?
Oh yes, I forgot. There’s an impenetrable firewall between editorial and news at the WSJ. No doubt it’s as impenetrable as the firewall in Wall Street investment banks between the corporate-advisory group and the brokerage department.
Taranto’s money graf is:
To reject traditional religion is not, as the American Atheists might have it, to transform oneself into a perfectly rational being. Nonbelievers are no less susceptible to doomsday cults than believers are; Harold Camping is merely the Christian Al Gore. But because secular doomsday cultism has a scientific gloss, journalists like our friends at Reuters treat it as if it were real science. So, too, do some scientists. It may be that the decline of religion made this corruption of science inevitable.
Yes, because science has a scientific gloss, real journalists treat it as if it were real science. So, too, do some scientists.
Of course Taranto doesn’t actually cite any science in his piece, just two news articles he doesn’t understand:
“Decline in Snowpack Blamed on Warming”–headline, Washington Post, Feb. 1, 2008 “Record Snowpacks Could Threaten Western States”–headline, New York Times, May 22, 2011
Let’s set aside the fact that these are not not peer-reviewed articles, but newspapers whose reporting on climate change is spotty at best. Global warming is predicted to make weather more extreme so that even as the Southwest dries up it occasionally sees record-breaking precipitation. For Taranto, this is all the proof he needs that climate science is a religion.
Here’s a Journal of Climate study that would really make Taranto’s head explode:
A new study by a Duke University-led team of climate scientists suggests that global warming is the main cause of a significant intensification in the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH) that in recent decades has more than doubled the frequency of abnormally wet or dry summer weather in the southeastern United States.
Those darn scientists can’t make up their mind whether it’s going to be drier or wetter. They must be evangelicals.
Sadly, the scientific literature couldn’t be clearer that the SouthWest is headed towards a long term catastrophic warming and drying:
- NOAA: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe.
- Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!
- U.S. southwest could see a 60-year drought like that of 12th century “” only hotter “” this century
- NCAR analysis warns we risk multiple, devastating global droughts even on moderate emissions path
- In 2007, Science (subs. req’d) published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” “” levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California. And they were also only looking at a 720 ppm case.
- In December 2008, the Bush Administration quietly released a US Geological Survey stunner: SW faces “permanent drying” by 2050
Those darn doomsday cultists working for Bush.
Also sadly, the scientific literature couldn’t be clearer that we are going to be seeing more extreme precipitation, some of which will come down as snow because global warming hasn’t canceled winter (see Two seminal Nature papers join growing body of evidence that human emissions fuel extreme weather, flooding that harm humans and the environment).
Why does the anti-science crowd like to talk about Al Gore so much? Because they just don’t want to talk about the actual science. And that is the surest road to Hell and High Water.