Sunday, April 24, 2005

Listen to the Flower People

It's too easy to pick on junk science reporting, but you must check out this article on beautiful celebrities and Inuits doing their "traditional dance" to highlight global warming. It typifies the way the media genuflects before the altar of pseudo-scientific faith. Read more . . .

I am currently reading State of Fear, Michael Crichton's latest novel (currently ranked 97 there) which derides the threat of global warming, the shrill subculture of its proponents, and the hyperbolic fear-mongering employed to cow us into submission. One could be forgiven for reading the Newsday article and thinking that it was a parody. It has details that only a satirist could have thought of, like this:

From the air, photographers were able to see the humans spell out the words: "Arctic Warning: Listen." . . .

"Global warming is an abstract concept to most people; we know it's happening, but we can't really visualize its effect," [Jake] Gyllenhaal said. "Unfortunately, the Inuit people put a human face on global warming, they are literally melting away. They are the canary in the coal mine."

It's practically Spinal Tap's "Listen to the Flower People." Yes, Gyllenhaal did suggest that we, as a people, lack sufficient visualization skills. And yes, he did say that the Inuits are "literally melting away." I'm not literally laughing until I wet my pants, and this idiocy does not literally make my head explode.

What are the augurs that show the Inuits to be the "canary in a coal mine" of global warming, the signs that show that we are in the End Times of Perpetually Liquid Ice Cream?
  1. Caribou are heading north (no reference provided)
  2. It is "possible" that seals are headed for extinction (ref: "World Wide Fund for Nature," an obviously unbiased source)
  3. The arctic ice will be completely melted at the end of this century (reference: somebody called "Natural Resources Defense Council," say, that doesn't sound like they make money from scaring people, does it?)
So, I’m listening, and what I hear is "Amen" from the choir. And the ringing of cash registers. And self-important movie stars patting themselves on the back. Jake Gyllenhaal actually talks about "visualiz[ing]" global warming. I am not making this up. We don't even get a photo of Selma Hayek in the article, who is at least easy on the eyes. The relevant science here isn't mathematical climatological models, it is the psychology of mass hysteria.

This is a news article, not an op-ed. The real shame about this silly noise is that it distracts us from being properly mindful and vigilant about our environment and our responsible dominion thereof. We should not ignore our communal and commercial waste. But we do need to get a grip.
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