I was mystified why Chief Teabagger David Koch would invest so much in a Smithsonian exhibit on human evolution — usually those knuckledraggers object to people putting their ancestry on display. An explanation is at hand, though: his big issue is denying the significance of global climate change, and the exhibit is tailored to make climate change look like a universal good.
There are some convincing examples of the subterfuge being perpetrated. There is a big emphasis on how evolutionary changes were accompanied by (or even caused by) climate shifts, which evolutionary biologists would see as almost certainly true, and so it slides right past us. But, for instance, what they do is illustrate the temperature changes in a graph covering the last 10 million years, which makes it easy to hide the very abrupt and rapid rise in the last few centuries. They also elide over an obvious fact: we’d rather not experience natural selection. Climate change may have shaped our species, but it did so by killing us, by pushing populations around on the map, by famine and disease, by conflict and chaos. Evolution happened. That doesn’t mean we liked it.
I suppose it wouldn’t leap out at an evolutionary biologist because it is true: there have been temperature fluctuations and long term changes that have hit our species hard, and nobody is denying it. However, it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that we should therefore look forward to melting icecaps and flooding seaboards and intensified storms. It’s probably also worth pointing out that our technological civilization is certainly more fragile than anything we’ve had before. The fact that we could be knocked back to a stone age level of technology without going extinct is not a point in favor of welcoming global warming.
Now we have a new question: how did this devious agenda get past the directors of the Smithsonian?