Friday, 6 January 2006


Opponents of the Kyoto accord or the teaching of evolution to school children sometimes claim to ground their opinions in healthy skepticism, pointing out that the holdings of scientist do shift over time as deeper understandings displace shallower ones. Well skepticism is great, and the best of scientists are always skeptical, but this skeptic's eyebrows are raised far more by the claim that human activity is not the major contributing factor to the current rate of global warming, than by the much more widely accepted claim that it is.

As Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate writes:
Absolute credence in one obscure publication while distrusting mountains of 'mainstream' papers is a sure sign of cherry picking data to support an agenda, not clear-thinking scepticism.
The quote works just as well in reference to supporters of the teaching of Intelligent Design. Schmidt's worthy article draws on the logic of one of my own favorite skeptics of the last century, Bertrand Russell.

Sure the Kyoto Accord had flaws, and yes it would be foolish to sign onto it and believe our job was done. But to defiantly refuse to sign it with dismissive rhetoric, given the difficulty of getting multiple nations to agree to any small positive steps, is the height of irresponsibility. Fortunately numerous American cities are going around our now fully regressive federal government and instituting emission limits on their own.

I was reminded of RealClimate by a newly discovered site What is Liberalism? after one of its writers, Lawrence Krubner, was kind enough to drop by and leave a comment on Choosing Hope related to the shocking injustice being perpetrated on Cory Maye in the state of Mississippi. And yes Lawrence, I will be doing something with one of Laura's buttons in the very near future. Unfortunately, Cory Maye's is but one of many cases of prosecutorial misjustice involving a capital case. Tonight PBS's NOW featured the case of Anthony Graves in Texas. It's bad enough that these people are not freed tomorrow -- that they are on death row is an utter outrage. Fodder for another post, but more importantly a call to action. Stay tuned.

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