A Few Things I Need to Get Off My Chest

Because I just can’t deal with this ignorant shit anymore. WHY are we still debating evolution?? WHY do people think that the recent snowfall in the South was fake and engineered by Obama/the NSA and contained nanobots or “chemtrails” and that it also negates global warming?? My head hurts just typing that out, but apparently there are a lot of people who believe. They shouldn’t.

1. Evolution is real. It just is.

I’ve written about this before, but an astounding number of Americans still don’t get it, as evidenced by this week’s “debate” between Bill Nye, well-known Science Guy, and Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis and its Creation Museum. Evolution isn’t up for debate. You can certainly discuss whether or not it was a good idea for Nye to give Ham the time of day. On the one hand, it implies that creationism is a defensible position equal to 150 years of scientific research; on the other, maybe he was able to convince some people who were uncertain about what to believe. I tend toward cynically thinking that pretty much everyone who tuned in was already firmly decided and just wanted to watch their guy decimate the other, but maybe Nye won a few converts. I hope so, at least. (I couldn’t bring myself to actually sit through the debate because I’m fond of my brain cells, but NPR has the video and a pretty good summary of what went down, or Pharyngula has a somewhat more colorful take on it.)

2. It’s just fucking snow.

I just don’t even know where people get this shit. At least arguing Biblical literalism makes some sort of twisted sense, but this shit?? No, the South doesn’t get significant snowfall very frequently and doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with it, so it gets pretty chaotic when it does snow. But how do conspiracy theorists decide that the cold white stuff that fell from the sky is not actually snow? There’s a video going around that supposedly shows that the snow doesn’t melt and turns black when you hold a lighter up to it, but Phil Plait proved that the snow is, in fact melting, it’s just that the water is absorbed by the rest of the snowball because it’s porous (it’s not sublimation, as others have reported, but that’s at least a logical guess). The black stuff is soot from the lighter. Also, there’s no such thing as chemtrails; the white lines that sometimes appear in the sky behind planes are fucking water vapor, aka clouds. And the rest of the allegations are just so fucking paranoid that they’re not even worth arguing about.

3. Cold weather doesn’t disprove global warming.

Weather and climate are not the same thing. Climate looks at long-term patterns, whereas weather is just what’s happening on any given day. Average temperatures going up doesn’t mean there still won’t be days where it’s very cold, it just means that those cold days are balanced out by warmer temperatures the rest of the year. That’s just math. Hell, some regions will actually have cooler average temperatures due to shifting weather patterns, but the global average will still go up. I’m not a fan of the ridiculous cold weather and snow we’ve had this winter, but Australia has been breaking records for the hottest temperatures recorded on the continent. So for fuck’s sake, people need to stop thinking they’re oh-so-clever for thinking that the existence of winter negates climate change.

(This post originally appeared on Persephone Magazine on February 6, 2014)

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