Teaching Sponges to Dance

Bless George Monbiot for attempting to explain science to righties. It’s futile, but I admire him for trying.

He provides a fairly readable explanation based on scientific evidence of why the process of global “warming” is causing some parts of the world to be colder. I’ll let you read this for yourselves. This is not a new phenomenon, of course; scientists have been noting that global climate change is causing some areas to cool for a while now. Then Monbiot says,

I can already hear the howls of execration: now you’re claiming that this cooling is the result of warming! Well, yes, it could be. A global warming trend doesn’t mean that every region becomes warmer every month. That’s what averages are for: they put local events in context. The denial of man-made climate change mutated first into a denial of science in general and then into a denial of basic arithmetic. If it’s snowing in Britain, a thousand websites and quite a few newspapers tell us, the planet can’t be warming.

According to Nasa’s datasets, the world has just experienced the warmest January to November period since the global record began, 131 years ago; 2010 looks likely to be either the hottest or the equal hottest year. This November was the warmest on record.

Sod all that, my correspondents insist: just look out of the window.

And, of course, that’s exactly what happened. Utterly ignoring the scientific explanation, the brainless life forms known collectively as “righties” simply howl with derision.

One says,

Snow, he is trying to tell us in all earnestness, is another sign that Man Made Global Warming is definitely happening. Nothing to do with solar minima or El Nino and La Nina or any of that reality-based nonsense. No, sirree. It’s definitely, definitely still our fault because of all that evil plant-food our factories have been pumping into the atmosphere. Weather is not the same as climate. Etc.

Now, Monbiot doesn’t say a word in his article about whether the changes in weather patterns are man-made or not. He is explaining only how it is that an overall warming trend is causing British winters to be colder. But the brainless life forms can’t be bothered with, you know, reading. Or thinking, for that matter.

Might as well try to teach sponges to dance.

There have been all kinds of predictions about how global climate change will affect this or that part of the world, and some — not all — predictions have been wrong. If you go back a few years, you can find British scientists predicting Britain would get warmer. However, other scientists have been predicting that Britain, which enjoys milder weather than other parts of Europe on the same latitude, would get colder because of changes in the Gulf Stream.

But Monbiot says, it turns out that changes in atmospheric patterns are the primary cause of Britain’s current colder weather. These changes also are also being driven by global climate change.

Mass media has done a terrible job explaining climate change science to the public, and often what gets reported are the more fantastical predictions, because they make better headlines. And, of course, if one scientist somewhere was wrong about anything, then all science is discredited, even the science that is turning out to be right. For this reason, I predict the sponges won’t be dancing anytime soon.

12 thoughts on “Teaching Sponges to Dance

  1. maha,
    I beg to differ: Sponges can dance -with the the current. What they can’t do is choreograph.
    And actually, we could use something that was actualy useful from Tom Friedman, if he was the one who coined it: Global weirding. At least I first read that term in one of his columns.

    • I beg to differ: Sponges can dance -with the the current.

      Not the Wind, Not the Flag

      Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: `The flag is moving.’
      The other said: `The wind is moving.’

      The sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. He told them: `Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.’

      Mumon’s Comment: The sixth patriarch said: `The wind is not moving, the flag is not moving. Mind is moving.’ What did he mean? If you understand this intimately, you will see the two monks there trying to buy iron and gaining gold. The sixth patriarch could not bear to see those two dull heads, so he made such a bargain.

      Wind, flag, mind moves.
      The same understanding.
      When the mouth opens
      All are wrong.

  2. Save your breath, George. Righties have declared ‘global warming’ a conspiracy perpetrated by atheists. I leave it to cundgulag to ‘explain’ the reasoning behind this particular delusion.

  3. Denying climate change just accomplishes too many goals for the knuckle draggers for them to even consider it fact.

    1-Science equals education equals liberal pinko godless professorial types, can’t have that.

    2-Believing in climate change don’t really matter, the price will be paid to far in the future for to care about. Sort of like tax cuts, fuck it I got mine, aint nobody gonna tell me I can’t burn all the fuel I want.

    3-And finally admitting the reality of climate change challenges the power of the omni-present sky-wizard. Mankind couldn’t possibly fuck up what the good lord has made for us just can’t happen.

  4. I will never understand the incredible effort righties put into being absolutely ignorant and arrogant on purpose, while incessantly bragging how great and wonderful they are for merely exisiting.

  5. Felicity,
    The answer is simple:
    To the Conservatives, and their American political puppet, the RepubliConfederate Party, whatever any Democrat, or anyone on the left says, is a lie, and the opposite is to be believed. No group of facts, empirical statistics and numbers, or even visual or other physical and noticable evidence can top their philosophy of ‘Whatever they’re for, we’re categorically against it!”
    If we want to help slow down global warming, we need to come out FOR global warming, and saying that anything that seems to show that is a lie, and that we humans have absolutely NO affect of the environment whatsoever, and who cares anyway? Further, if Liberals were to say the the flora and the fauna were given to us by God and his Son Jesus, to kill and use as we see fit, and no one should be able to stop us, then, possibly, the conservatives will start crying for animal conservation and ‘Cap and Trade.”
    These are some twisted people, and the only way to beat them is to use twisted logic. Reverse Psychology used against the dimwitted masses.

  6. DoubleCinco,
    Wow! That’s like a “Murderer’s Row” lineup of the stupid and ignorant!
    And they even had a black minister in it. Of course, his quote may have been from some other question, and a totally different video, entirely. But, really, they must be congratulated – it was nice that they even thought of having a non-white face in their idiotic little video.
    Well, at this great time of year, it’s nice to again be reminded of Jesus Christ’s message, at least as they see it: ‘Do whadever da f**k youse wanna do, dere’s no consee-whateverthey’recalled-quinces. And eat an’ f**k all of da animals and plants youse want, ’cause dey’re undah your dominoes, or dominatrix, or dominion. Whatever… An’ hey, women an’ brown people (Jesus hated women, ‘Magdale’ means ‘stupid, shrill, loud mouthed wh*re’ in Aramaic, and he called all a dem all non-whites all Niggah’s, but that ain’t in that King whodaf*ckever version of da Bible), like animals and plants, really should be under your dominatrix, too. Juss don’t tell anyone dat I, Jesus, said dat. I’m juss sayin’! You know…? Capeesh?’
    And all was well…

  7. Denying AGW does serve many purposes for so-called conservatives, but I think those are just extra benefits for them, not the primary motivation for what seems to us like willful ignorance.

    Righties really can’t handle complexity or ambiguity. (They wouldn’t be movement conservatives if they could entertain more than two thoughts simultaneously.) If a scientific theory has more moving parts in it than a fence post, your average wingnut simply can’t wrap their tiny mind around it.

    Climatology is about as complex a discipline as it gets, hence it can’t be true, according to those weaned on Ronald Reagan’s simpleminded bromides. Also, their attention spans are so short that the cold weather gripping Europe today completely drives the memory of Russia’s record-breaking summer heat wave out of mind (if indeed it ever penetrated their foggy awareness to begin with).

    Even if an extreme weather event were to coincide with what they expect climate change to look like, I’m afraid that most of them would just attribute it to God’s wrath over the repeal of DADT, or something.

  8. maha,
    I like it, but is there some ice cream for that koan? 🙂

    And yes, I am an idiot!
    Just kidding. I got it! 😉

  9. I will never understand the incredible effort righties put into being absolutely ignorant and arrogant on purpose, while incessantly bragging how great and wonderful they are for merely exisiting.

    Excellent summary of the real problem.

  10. Check out Barry Ritholz’ History of Atmospheric Carbon Changes, a gloss on a NYT article on Charles David Keeling, who was…

    … the scientist who first measured the increased carbon in the atmosphere. The Keeling curve, as its now known, shows a steady increase in CO2 concentrations in our air over the past century. Keeling also discovered the seasonal variations of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    I thought the biography of the man was quite fascinating. He was a stickler for getting the measurements and the process precisely correct, and his golden rule was “no hanky-panky.
    Keeling’s widow said her husband would have been dismayed about how the factual issues had been politicized. “He was a registered Republican,” she said. “He just didn’t think of it as a political issue at all.”

    Ritholz closes with some great snark:

    …Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, lack of scientific knowledge, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for empirical data. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are anonymous after all.

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