Today, the NY Times ran an opinion piece that was a superlative piece of pap. I was apalled that a major newspaper would allow such rubbish to grace its pages, even the opinion page. The article was about global warming, and it was by a woman whose claim to fame is writing a book called “The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter.” Maybe she needs to have more children, because her article was amazing for its lack of intellectual coherence.She begins by describing the recent heatwave in the Bay Area of California where she lives. All of it sounds very unpleasant, indeed. She couldn’t even see Gore’s new film because the theatre was closed – power outages brought on by hectic demand to run air conditioners, etc.
So far, so good. Then the intellectual heavyweight kicks in with her analysis of the situation. The local paper ran an article saying that some scientists partly blamed global warming for the extraordinary heatwave, while others felt there was not enough evidence to draw that conclusion.
No problem for Super Mom! “You don’t need a climatologist to know which way the wind is blowing.” Cute, eh? Simultaneously makes a feeble witticism and establishes her Boomer bona fides by quoting Dylan. But maybe you do need a climatologist. She says she sees a pattern emerging, but does she knew anything at all about analyzing weather statistics? Not an easy thing to do. Let me state again the history of another obvious pattern: in the late 19th and early 20th century, farmers moved onto the plains and plowed the land to plant corn. For years they prospered…until the ‘normal’ weather returned, their crops withered, and we got the dust bowl. Seems the obvious weather patterns weren’t all the obvious or permanent. Of course, Super Mom kows how to discern long-range climatic trends at a glance.
She then goes on to say that a “consensus of scientists suggests that the world has a chance of stalling climate change” if we adopt radical measures regarding our use of fossil fuel. (Here I go on record as being all for radically reducing our consumption of oil – there are so many good reasons to do it!) Unfortunately, what the consensus – whatever that is? – really says is that if we adopt radical measures, we will slow the rate of change and reduce the magnitude of it, and maybe, in the most optimistic scenarios, reverse it a bit.
[And what is all this drivel about scientific consensus? Science does not proceed by consensus – it is not democratic. Just because a lot of Ph.D.s think something is so doesn’t make it so. Science has fads, fashions, and frauds like any other part of the human endeavour, but the good thing is, they don’t usually last very long in the scientific world. The facts out them! I’m not saying the warming crowd are frauds, but they might be devotees of a global fad, and if they are, they will be found out eventually. Or…they might be right. The fact that there are enough of them on editorial boards of journals to have statements issued stating that a “consensus exists” on warming does not make them correct.]
Finally, the kicker, so typical of the NY Times with its frequent toadying to its middle-class readership: Adopting these measures will take leadership, but Super Mom would “put her kids into daycare” and work full time for someone with the vision to push for it. Shame on all of you working moms out there who have your kids in daycare because you have to work to feed them. You aren’t nearly so virtuous as Super Mom.