Our mistake -- keep polluting

Posted: Sep 08, 2000 12:00 AM
Like a scene out of "Krippendorf's Tribe," in which an anthropology professor rigs up videos of a phony, undiscovered tribe replete with fake rituals and tribal makeup in order to hoodwink his colleagues, the media have recently been taken in by a zoologist on a vacation cruise in the Arctic Ocean who claimed global warming was melting the North Pole.

As ABC's "World News Tonight" breathlessly reported: "Part of the ice cap at the top of the world has melted. The New York Times reports that some scientists are calling it dramatic proof that global warming has started to alter our climate."

The Times itself had run a hysterical, front-page, above-the-fold report on the shocking development, claiming that "an ice-free patch of ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world, something that has presumably never before been seen by humans and is more evidence that global warming may be real and already affecting climate."

It wasn't until about 20 other newspapers had rebroadcast the news that global warming was melting Santa's home that the Times issued a rather comprehensive "correction" of the original article. It seems the article "misstated the normal conditions of the sea ice there" and that the "lack of ice at the pole is not necessarily related to global warming."

The "Oops! Our mistake" correction about such a spectacularly alarmist story led David Letterman to create a Top 10 list for the "Top 10 Signs The New York Times Is Slipping" including: "Instead of 'All the News That's Fit to Print,' slogan is 'Stuff We Heard From a Guy Who Says His Friend Heard About It,'" and "Notice on sports page: 'All scores are approximate.'"

In the paper's full-bore retraction article on Page F-3, it was now explained that reports of water at the North Pole "are not as surprising as suggested" in the original article. It seems there is always a little puddle of water at the North Pole in the summer. It shifts a bit, but it always emerges in the summer months. "This has probably been true for centuries," scientists said.

In 10 days we went from this hyperventilating headline, "Ages-Old Ice Cap at North Pole Is Now Liquid, Scientists Find," to this one: "Open Water at Pole Is Not Surprising, Experts Say." The Times completely disavowed the whole point of its original Page 1, banner-headline article as having "referred incompletely" to the nexus between the moving puddle and "global warming."

It's so great when you get even that much of a retraction from a liberal. Usually it's impossible to have the satisfaction of winning an argument with liberals because they are genetically programmed to pout and chant slogans rather than to engage in logical argument. When they don't have a retort, they just walk off miffed. Since they simply vanish, you can never pin them down to a solid concession. They're like teen-age girls in a snit: Boys fight, girls evaporate.

"Global warming" has been like this for years. No matter what the weather does, it is invariably described as further evidence proving the authenticity of "global warming." Climatologist Jane Fonda explained on her husband's cable station a few years ago that the "invisible threat" of global warming includes the threat of an increased incidence of blizzards.

So if the Earth gets colder and we have more blizzards (as happens every few years), that's evidence of global warming. But if it gets warmer, that's also evidence of global warming. (Hence, the name: "global warming"). And the whole magilla is "invisible."

Global warming enthusiasts use "the weather" the way the Soviet dictators did (and as do bureaucrats in a closely related field, the airlines). Irrespective of what the weather conditions are, "the weather" supports their point that 50 years of bad harvests aren't the fault of central planning (and that we can't take off for another six hours). A scientific theory that is impervious to disproof isn't a theory, it's fascistic sophistry.

In fact, most scientists whose field is climatology and not, say, the mating habits of the zebra, do not believe we are in the midst of global warming. There are fewer than 1,000 climatologists in the entire world, and in a survey of more than 400 of them, only 10 percent said they were convinced that we are witnessing global warming. In a 1997 survey of American climatologists from 36 states, 9 out of 10 agreed with this statement: "Scientific evidence indicates variations in global temperature are likely to be naturally occurring and cyclical over very long periods of time."

Now if we could just get liberals to admit they've "referred incompletely" to the virtues of central planning, we'd really have made some progress.