Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Prepped for sketpicism surgery

I've decided to make a point, sometime this week, of seeing An Inconvenient Truth, the currently-showing documentary about global warming. Now I am one of those guys they really made the movie for: an undecided, unconvinced skeptic. I think they've got the goods, but I want to see for myself.

I'm old enough, just old enough, to remember the harsh winters we had in the mid and late 1970s. When I was a kid, the prognosis was: new ice age. How the science worked in those days was, pollution was blocking out the sun so the world was cooling down, you see. Made sense: smoke hides the sun, the world gets cooler, ice age on the way, and we were seeing the first hints of it in these headline-making winter storms and unseasonably cool summers. In case you think I'm just dreaming this up, check out the November 1976 issue of National Geographic; specifically the "What's Happening to Our Climate?" article.

Then, suddenly, the 80s came, and things went back to normal. All the talk about a new ice age evaporated like an ice cube on a warm summer day. Heard nothing about it till suddenly, in the mid to late 90s, we started having hot summers, milder winters. But then there were hard winters. And it was like, any aberrant weather, hot, cold, dry, wet, raining frogs, was all instantly trumpeted as proof of global warming. It was like arguing the Bible with born-again Christians: anything was proof, even the contradictions. So, to be blunt, though I suspect there's something to it, I remain not quite convinced. We live such short lives; we're like medflies, born to live for a single day, and seeing in the rain showers around us that day the coming of the Flood. I'm not sure yet this simply isn't a natural cycle (though we may be exacerbating it, I'm ready to admit).

So okay, this is the mindset with which I approach the movie. I'm not convinced, but I could be. Show me the evidence. I suppose I want this movie to convince me. If it's happening, if there's something I ought to be doing, fine, let me know. So off I go.

I'll keep you posted. Yes, I know, you can hardly wait. :)


teflonjedi said...

Planning on seeing it myself, this weekend. Though perhaps not as skeptical as you sound, I always try to maintain my normal scientific skeptic composure...

Lone Primate said...

I'm already hearing complaints from some quarters that the thing offers ipse dixits as evidence. You know... Arctic ice cores show more CO2 in them now than ever before... hence, global warming is our fault. Yeah, maybe; but that in and of itself is merely a correlation to cause arguement. If there's more spit than ever before in my milkshake, that doesn't mean it's the cause of global warming. It just means there's more spit in my milkshake (and the kid who made it has issues). Otherwise, I want to know what the mechanism is for spit (or "greenhouse gasses) to cause global warming, and what experiments have been done to prove or disprove the theory. I'm hoping that evidence is in the film, and not just another dose of theory.

Trying... trying... to keep an open mind.