OK, I’ve tried really hard not to write about global warming, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I asked my usual question about identifying the primary source of global warming to some 12- and 13-year-olds last week, and I got the standard answers of mankind, pollution, and CO2. Not one of them correctly identified the sun as the primary cause of global warming on Earth. After all, without the sun, the Earth would be a frozen ice ball drifting in space. To be fair, it’s a trick question because I asked them about global warming, and they responded as if I had asked about human-caused global warming. The two are not the same.

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is an edifice constructed of five floors. Here is how Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog explained it:

There are a lot of reasons not to be worried about “inaction” on global warming. To justify the enormously expensive cuts in CO2 productions, on the order of 80% as supported by Obama and Clinton, one has to believe every element of a five-step logic chain:

  1. Mankind is increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere
  2. Increased atmospheric CO2 causes the world to warm (by some amount, large or small)
  3. The increases in CO2 from man will cause substantial warming, large enough to be detectable above natural climate variations
  4. The increases in world temperatures due to man’s CO2 will have catastrophic impacts on civilization
  5. These catastrophic impacts and their costs are larger than the enormous costs, in terms of poverty and lost wealth, from reducing CO2 with current technologies.

Climate alarmists have adopted a rhetorical trick that no one in the media seems willing to call them on. They like to wage the debate over global warming policy on points one and two only, skipping over the rest. Why? Because the science behind numbers one and two are pretty strong. Yes, there are a few folks who will battle them on these points, but even very strong skeptics like myself accept points one and two as proved.

I have no problem accepting #1 and #2 as being proven, but I do not accept #3 as proven. I believe that enough science has been presented to show that the fluctuations in global temperatures have more to do with seasonal variations and solar cycles and less to do with any effects by man, and I’ve written about this before.

I found a ZNet article from 2004 that appears to follow along the lines Warren points out: start with an accepted point, then build on unproven guesses from there:

Before proposing answers to these questions, let us summarize the issues explained so far:

— The world climate is getting warmer. [Depending on your definition of what is "normal temperature," I can accept that. -CM]

— Climate models show that the burning of oil, gas and coal in the industrialized countries is responsible for the climate change. [Climate models are intellectual guesswork and can only reflect reality when they are heavily tweaked after the fact. -CM]

— The expectations for the near future are very disturbing and many catastrophes are highly probable. [But these expectations are based on the guesswork of deeply flawed, and therefore useless, computer models. -CM]

— Today’s (in)action’s will have long-term consequences for the entire biosphere and the living conditions of many future generations. [Yet more guesswork. -CM]

But the uncertainties about AGW do not prevent people from reacting as if they were the gospel truth. Consider the Bishop of Stafford.

A senior bishop in the Church of England has compared people who ignore climate change to Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who kept his daughter locked in a cellar for 24 years, repeatedly raping her and fathering seven of her children.

The Bishop of Stafford, the Right Rev. Gordon Mursell, made the comparison in a parish “pastoral” newsletter and said that people who fail to act to prevent global warming are “as guilty as” Fritzl and “destroying the future of our children,” the Times of London reported Monday.

The bishop denied Monday that he was accusing those who ignore climate change of being child abusers, but said Fritzl was “the most extreme form” of a common selfish streak in humankind.

“In fact you could argue that, by our refusal to face the truth about climate change, we are as guilty as he is we are in effect locking our children and grandchildren into a world with no future and throwing away the key,” he wrote in the letter entitled “following our dream,” distributed around the Diocese of Lichfield.

He defended his comments, saying he did not wish “to shock people unnecessarily.” But he said: “I am simply trying to use an analogy to get people to wake up to the consequences of what we are failing to do, because if we don’t there won’t be a future for our children either.”

Nothing like a sermon of hellfire and global warming to scare obedience right into people. Recycle or you’re destroying the future of our children! Bow down before Saint Gore, or the Earth will burn for your ecological sins!

And if a rousing sermon isn’t sufficient to get you stirred up, how about finding out when you, the evil planet-killing human that you are, should die? This gem comes from ABC in Australia, and based on the answers you give, this Flash game tells you at what age you should die based on how fast you use up your “fair share” of the planet.

Die! You pig, DIE!

As you can see from the picture, my little piggy exploded and told me I should have died at age 2.2 since that’s the age at which I “used up [my] share of the planet.” What a nice way to spread the gospel news of Saint Gore! I know I always look to an exploding cartoon pig to tell people — especially kids — that they should just die, already. It just warms the cockles of my heart, and what’s left of the exploded pig’s heart, to spread that cheery news.

Too bad it’s all a load of tripe. The vast majority of my piggy’s CO2 was calculated based on the amount of money I make and spend, and since I don’t choose to spend my money on global warming indulgences, the Flash game made my pig swell up to a horrible size. But here’s the question — how does my spending now suggest that I should have been offed in the name of Gaia at the age of two, when I wasn’t spending a thing?

But none of that means anything to the irrational anthropogenic global warming supporters. The thing that bothers me most about this nonsense is how such people could easily use it to justify sweeping, radical changes in our society. It’s a short journey between discussions of “when you should die” and justification of when you WILL die. Unconvinced? Government-enforced euthanasia in pursuit of a society filled only with “useful people” has a terrifying historical precedent. It’s happened before, and it could happen again.

If you have done any driving in a city, you have seen a bumper sticker on the car in front of you. I like driving behind the cars plastered with lots of stickers. With just a little bit of reading, you can figure out the driver’s stance on current events, politics, environment, religion and business. The following are eight bumper stickers I have seen in my current neck of the woods and my response to them.

I’m too poor to vote Republican

Ah, yes, the old “rich Republican” meme. But if you look at the major movers and shakers from the last election, you’d find billionaire George Soros leading the Democrat side and forking out $26 million to pull President Bush out of the Oval Office. That ain’t chump change from a minimum wage worker, folks. If you look at how much money was contributed to the two main parties, you’d see that the Republicans were successful in raising more money than their Democrat rivals. Well, no duh, Republican = rich, right? Actually, no. In a yearly report on the 50 richest people in Congress, Democrats average $55.6 million each, while Republicans come in at $34.8 million each. As for contributions, the top five contributors to the Republican party gave just slightly under $4 million total, while the top five for the Democrats totaled up more than $46 million combined. But the Democrats are the party of the little people. Yeah, right.

Kerry / Edwards

Look–they lost. When you drive around with a Kerry / Edwards sticker (or worse, a Gore / Lieberman sticker) you are proclaiming that you voted for the loser. And while Americans do like underdogs, we aren’t all that fond of losers. We can leave loving the world’s losers (and Jerry Lewis) to the French. It’s time for both the Bush and Kerry stickers to come off. Whether your candidate won or lost, at this point it’s time to recognize that we are all Americans. It’s time that we moveon.org past our differences.

Frodo has failed! Bush has the ring!

OK, this one is funny in a geeky sort of way. Doesn’t really make sense if you realize that President Bush has to fight for his plans, but it is still funny.

Power to the Peaceful

Peace is wonderful. Who doesn’t want peace? I have heard some people say that the military is a band of bloodthirsty warmongers, and they are always longing for war. Having grown up in the home of an Air Force fighter pilot, I can tell you that my dad certainly didn’t long for war, nor did any of the other servicemen and women I met. They knew very well just what their weapons would do to people and places. They trained for war so they could place themselves, as a certain old song puts it, “between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation.” They do this because they understand that peace has a price. A very strong, highly-trained military is the greatest instrument in the cause of peace that this nation will ever have. Certain people and nations will be quick to take away our peace if they view us as weak. So power to the peacemakers–the U.S. military!

No Violence / Know Peace

This is similar to the preceding bumper sticker in its misguided theme. We have peace here in the United States because we can threaten thugs with violence. We know that the September 11 plans were drawn up precisely because those thugs viewed the U.S. as weak. The peace we have enjoyed here in the States since that bright blue day in 2001 has been purchased with blood shed by the members of the American armed forces.

It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

This one has been around for a long time. The Constitution gives the Federal government the responsibility for national defense, but it does not grant any responsibility for education. The 9th and 10th Amendments mean that education is the responsibility of the people and the individual States, but that hasn’t stopped the Federal government from appropriating this power to itself. But regardless of whether this is a role of the Federal government, there is an unasked question: at what dollar amount would a school be “fully funded”? At this point, Washington D.C. spends in the top three of the nation with over $11,000 per student in K-12, but its graduation rate is in the bottom third. Obviously, just throwing more money at the problem isn’t the solution. Jim Quinn has suggested a way of ending this “fully funded” myth: find out what the States say they need per student to be “fully funded,” and give them that amount for the next five years. If the resulting test scores, graduations, and overall numbers don’t show a massive increase, then the problem isn’t money–it is the way that money is administered.

Think. It’s patriotic.

The unspoken part of this statement is that if you don’t agree with the driver’s mode of thought, you have obviously failed to think. It may come as a shock for some people to realize that an intelligent person can look at exactly the same raw data as they did, and come to a completely different conclusion. I do agree that being thoughtful and engaged in current events makes one a better American, but I’m guessing that’s not what the owner of this bumper sticker meant. I read this as, “Think as I do. It’s patriotic.”

Celebrate Diversity

I would guess that diversity is one of the top three rallying cries of the Marxist Left. The problem is that they never bother to explain what they mean by “diversity.” As I see it, liberals want diversity of skin, gender, and methods by which Tab A can be fit into Slot B, but they don’t support diversity of thought. If the Left lumps you into a particular group, you had better think and speak the way the liberals think you should. This is why the Marxist Left will call people like Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” and Secretary Condoleezza Rice an “Oreo.” I found a great example of the liberal notion of celebrating diversity over at the Coyote Blog.

Fortunately, hat tip to James Taranto, the diversity term is clarified on the web site of an Oregon lodge. The page begins:

WE WELCOME DIVERSITY
Respecting the interdependence & diversity of all life.

Helpfully, they clarify what they mean by diversity a bit down the page:

No Smokers…No Pets…No Visitors…No Hummers, No RVs, No Bush Voters (due to his environmental destructive policies.)

Oh, and in the spirit of good customer service: no refunds for cancellations.

Since the Ocean Haven webpage and its strangled view of diversity was passed around and snickered at by numerous people on the Internet and talk shows, the website was updated last week. It now says that Ocean Haven respects the “diversity of all nature loving species.” The text about No Bush Voters is missing, but dislike of automobile diversity is still present.

Yep, that’s diversity for you. And this is the level of logical thinking you get when you resort to bumper sticker politics.