I am an avid reader of the Discover blogs. The writers produce well-researched articles that I for one, appreciate. However, I had to take some exception to one post today from the ImaGeo blog.
The writer, Tom Yulsman, wrote about Rush Limbaugh’s radio show where he criticized a study that suggested that the Santa Catalina Island near Los Angeles is sinking. Limbaugh questioned the study as well as its 3-million year timeline.
I don’t have an opinion on Rush Limbaugh. I can understand though why he may not be everyone’s particular cup of tea. There are two points in rebuttal to this article that I wish to make.
Point 1: Skip the Snark
On the onset, let me state emphatically that I accept climate change and anthropogenic climate change. You only have to summon simple logic to understand that having 7 billion people on the planet is going to have an impact. Okay, that’s understood.
The first point I want to raise concerns the tone. The writer mentions the
clown Al Franken calling Limbaugh “a fat idiot.” (I can say that about Franken, seeing as I live in Minnesota and have a stake in it.) The language is unnecessary, like a lot of the rhetoric that liberals use in the climate change debate.
Call for rappers to get involved in the message or publishing articles with headlines like, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid” take the debate to the elementary school playground. That’s not the way to present an argument.
Writers like Yulsman should realize this, since their writing for the most part is professional. This is what falls under the categories of snark, trolling, thuggery, bullying, and the like. You will never convince anyone of any worthy—or unworthy—subject by descending into an ad hominem fallacy. Saying someone doesn’t understand everything is a classic example.
Point 2: Let’s Deal with the Elephant in the Living Room
As I stated earlier, I have no opinion about Limbaugh and in no way am I defending him. However, he raises a good point, namely, the 3-million year timeline of the Santa Catalina evidence. And it is one that underlies the majority of the evidence of climate change.
First, let’s remember that our brain’s hardwiring is one that deals with immediate threats to our own survival. Our brains have not evolved a great deal over the last 10,000 years. We operate on a fight-or-flight type of survival instinct for the moment.
The whole discussion about climate change revolves around concepts foreign to us. Instead of thinking about your own survival, now it’s a dialogue about the planet and about the other 7 billion people. Dare I say that it’s a topic that many would find hard to get their head around. And it is.
Second, there is the time factor. And this is where I think Limbaugh’s point is well taken. We live day-to-day. The further into the future we go, the muddier the waters become. It’s especially hard to conceptualize times when we know we won’t be around.
Think about a lot of the data that speaks to trends toward 2100. I hate to even conceive of a time beyond my lifetime. As far as I’m concerned, I’m living forever; time stops when I pass. The idea then of considering long-term objectives in this time frame is daunting, to say the least, let alone 3 million years.
Pointing the Way Toward a Better Dialogue
Instead of the snark from the left, how about addressing the bigger questions? How about considering a dialogue that doesn’t focus on attacks on people with different points of view? How about realizing that something vital isn’t being communicated and is creating an obstacle toward accepting climate change?
How about leaving the playground and name-calling behind and begin thinking and acting like adults? As soon as you attack the person, you have initiated the fight response. And remember that the solution hinges on cooperation. You don’t foster cooperation with rock-throwing. Think about it.