Blogging has been scant here of late for two reasons. First, I’ve got enough going on that blogging time is limited, and I don’t have a lot I need to get off my chest. Second, the world is currently utterly dominated by the stupids. The climate change treaty negotiations at Copenhagen, which should be a serious event where scientists and policymakers hash out the most important global issue of our day, is instead a circus for douchebags and privacy-invading pricks. And, you know, douchebags and privacy-invading pricks are kinda my professional bread and butter at NCSE, so it’s not a problem. The problem is that they just aren’t bright enough to care about.
To whit, pro-ID blogger chunkdz describes what his peculiarly blinkered and obscured perspective reveals as The Central Issue, riffing on this quotation by Phil Jones, the former head of University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (from an email illegally obtained): “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998.”
No, Professor Jones. No. The true scientific community (scientists, using the scientific method) are keenly interested in thorough, unadulterated observation and recording of data. The scientific community therefore would not bat an eye if presented with your data that says the Earth has been cooling. This is what they do. Objectively, unemotionally collect data, and use it to further understanding.
But this is not Jones’ point. His point is that the scientific community knows that the earth has not gotten cooler since 1998. And he knows that the scientific community would consider him a lying sack of crap if he went around spouting readily falsifiable and demonstrably false claims. And that they’d express their displeasure at his dishonesty by “com[ing] down on [him] in no uncertain terms.” Rightly so.
Amidst the dross, there are a few bits worth noting. Eric Michael Johnson writes to point out a treaty proposal which not only shifts the burden of addressing climate change from the developed world (which caused the problem) to the developing world (which didn’t cause the problem, and can’t afford the burden of fixing it on their own). As if that weren’t bad enough, the proposal seems to give enforcement power for a climate change protocol from the UN to the World Bank.
The World Bank has no great reputation among developing nations, who regard it as an extension of Western imperialism, dictating economic practice and social policy in a manner befitting the heirs of Rudyard Kipling. And if the developing world isn’t on board with a treaty, it won’t mean anything, as these nations are among those with the fastest growth of carbon emissions, and also have the greatest opportunities for carbon sequestration or emissions offsets.
So that’s depressing, and I don’t wanna write about it.
I have no passion either way for the compromise proposed in the health insurance fight, which is probably good. The compromise appear insufficiently awful to fight against (and may be better than the sadly vitiated public option at this point), and insufficiently good to fight for. I want something to pass, and I don’t mind seeing this plan pass. I don’t know why 55 year olds get to buy into Medicare but I don’t, and I wish boomers didn’t always get the good deals while the rest of us seem always to get screwed, but I can let revenge be a dish served cold.
Nor do I have any energy for commentary on New Atheism. Since PZ wrote a piece against Thanksgiving, I’ve seen the enterprise in a much dimmer light than I did before. As someone who doesn’t dance, I never really cared about Emma Goldman’s “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” sentiment. But if I can’t eat turkey and pie and spend a night basking in the presence of the people I love and to whom (and for whom) I’m thankful, then I don’t want anything to do with your movement. And now they’ve gone on to paeons in praise of antagonism and so forth, while Coyne lifted his moratorium on discussing accommodationism to attempt an armchair psychoanalysis of Michael Shermer (which form of antagonism is surely easier than engaging in actual rational discourse). This is not for me. You don’t build a movement based on what you don’t like or don’t want. Or if you do, I don’t want to be part of it.
Here’s the deal: The more I hear from proselytizing theists, the more I sympathize with atheism. The more I read the New Atheists (or whatever, pick a preferred name and I’ll use it), the more I sympathize with theism. So, for the good of my soul, I’m going to stop reading the New Atheists. Maybe some day they’ll decide that being persuasive might have benefits, and I’ll start reading them again. *plonk*
Meanwhile, that’ll free up some time and blog capacity for genuinely interesting topics.