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Politics and Science

It’s very hard to get politics out of a discussion on scientific data. Especially when that data may lead to vast loss of wealth and or life in the future. It will always be in the interests of Big Business to keep things the way they are. Sell petroleum and make money now. Our entire infrastructure in the modern world revolves around oil and to change that infrastructure would mean that oil companies would loose money and society would have to suffer a lower standard of living while the economy struggled to convert to say, “solar power” or “modern miracle power source of your choice”. People dislike change. Keeping things normalized is in everyone’s best interest, except for the planet. If humans are indeed “Crapping in our Crib” as some have suggested, is that such a smart thing to do?

I study Astronomy and I can tell you that there is no other place for humanity to live anywhere near as nice as Earth – at least within our technological abilities. It is suicide as a species to destroy the Earth. You need only look at Venus to see what nature can do to a otherwise perfectly good planet. This does not mean that I think we are generating another Venus on Earth, just that by looking at our neighbors we can see how rare and fragile our ecology actually is. I believe the Earth does go through cycles of warm and cold that are related to our orbit and geological time scales. Up until the time of the Industrial Revolution, Man has had little effect on his environment. Oh sure, we’ve hunted some species to extinction, and that alone has probably affected the biosphere in some small way. However, it is illogical to assume that humanity is not now changing his environment to a much greater extent with current technology.

Before Global Warming reached the popular press, it was Global Nuclear War that the scientists were trying to warn us about. Again, we are capable of affecting our planet’s future in more ways than one. Not to mention the cosmic fate that took out the dinosaurs.

I don’t believe it’s a former “politician’s” place to warn society about future climatic change. I have not seen Gore’s movie, but I did see a trailer for it on iTunes. It looks like scare tactics are used heavily. Again, people don’t like to be told they need to change their ways. Trying to scare people into recycling or selling their SUV’s is not a good tactic in my opinion.

If Gore wanted to raise public awareness of Global Warming, he should have enlisted real scientists who are as much as possible, not influenced by government entities or politics. At the very least, he should have done it in a bipartisan manner by getting a Key Republican to join his efforts. That way the Right and the Left could not use politics as an excuse. But since Gore is a politician, he does what he knows. Pity.

I think the only good Gore is doing, its getting people’s attention focused on the problem. I don’t agree with his methods. The only defense against those who would use science to their own political will, is a skeptical mind. I like to think I’m more skeptical than most people and I don’t like what I see in Gore’s ways and I really don’t like what I see in the current administration’s ways either. Our rights are being taken away and science in general is being abused and ignored on many fronts. The demons of our distant past are returning and they haunt us still.

As for whether I believe in Global Warming, I can only believe the scientists whose work I am familiar with – Astronomers. And they are saying we should be looking for a new home.

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