Monday, August 1, 2011

Idiot post of the week: Blackboard edition


It's been interesting in a morbid way to watch the transformation of Lucia Liljegren's "The Blackboard" from a technical science blog with a skeptic slant to a pale imitation of Anthony Watt's wildly popular hate machine.

In the riveting "Adapting to global warming: Winnetka park district" Liljegren gives us her best effort at aping Watt's patented sneering chuckle:

The Chicago Tribune alerts us to this horrifying possible consequence of global warming:


Global warming presents a potentially dire future for Winnetka, warns a Park District report.

“This would obviously mean the end of outdoor (ice) skating in Winnetka,” the report says.

Evidently, ice skating “is a part of the fabric of this community”. To avoid tearing it, the park district report suggests “a refrigerated outdoor skating rink to provide consistent ice for close to three months”.


Going on, of course, to ridicule Winnetka for worrying about their ice skating rink, especially when there are so many, many other things for kids to be doing, such as "surf[ing] the web"(!)

This is a favorite denier defense mechanism in two parts. One of the many hundreds of impacts of global warming comes up in discussion, including local examination of the specific impact one one of the millions of communities affected (as in this case). The response goes like this:

Is the specific impact catastrophically destructive for the entire society or humanity as a whole?

If not:
Mock it as a minor inconvenience. If this is not possible (say, because at entire community is at risk of destruction) contrast the cost of adjusting to this particular impact (solving that one problem) with the cost of mitigating global warming over the entire earth (as if this one problem was to total impact of global warming, and you could do a cost-benefit analysis on that basis.)

If so:

Mock those investigating the impact for catastrophic thinking, mock the end that global warming could ever result in such apocalyptic scenarios, compare scientists to end of the world cultists, etc.



This is obviously a closed system, non-falsible. A small cost is derided as insignificant; a large cost is dismissed as an overdramatization. There is yet to be discovered any "goldilocks" impact, neither too small nor too large, that would make a climate "skeptic" concerned about the consequences of global warming. Their past efforts to prove global warming wasn't happening have collapsed in humiliating fashion; that there will be impacts on people all over the world is now obvious. So finding ways to defend their belief system from the steady drumbeat of these problems is job one for climate deniers.

Lucia is obviously prepped and ready to repeat this sort of dreck ad nausem, as evidenced by her closing appeal:

If you know similar stories about global warming representing a threat to the social fabric of a community — by virtue of something as horrifying as putting and end to outdoor ice skating — I’d like to read those too.


Of course, if she were really interested, she could read about the many communities in Alaska threatened by melting permafrost, the Inuit villages on the Arctic coast being slowly destroyed by storm surges, the island communities that are threatened with extinction via rising seas in the next century. But don't waste your virtual ink on stuff like that -- she's telling us outright that she wants funny little stories about impacts "as horrifying as putting and end to outdoor ice skating" -- i.e., this is an exercise in making her feel better, harsh realities need not apply.

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