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Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard Knocks Out the Right's Powers of Reasoning

New York blizzardIt's always entertaining to see the rampant stupidity that a winter storm brings out in conservatives. A big blizzard really brings out the dumb. For them, snow means there's no such thing as climate change. But it's called global warming for a reason -- it effects the entire globe. Yet a weather event over a tiny fraction of that globe means it's snowing everywhere. Or something. Seriously, I can't work up enough ignorance to get the argument to make any damned sense at all. Apparently, being a wingnut requires a special talent for idiocy that I lack.

Add in the news that scientists now believe that global warming means more snow and, perhaps, lower temperatures in the winter and the right becomes insufferable.

Robert Stacy McCain:

Global warming is a hoax, a dishonest racket. a crooked scam whose chief purpose is to provide taxpayer-funded employment for "environmental science" majors. In a truly just society, the perpetrators of this hoax would be treated like Bernie Madoff.

That's right, the fact that it snows in the winter is solid proof that global warming is a crock and that scientists should be prosecuted. Never mind that warming is predicted to raise global temperatures only by low single digits and that no climate scientist anywhere has predicted the end of snowfalls, if there isn't actually fire raining down out of the sky, the whole thing is obviously hooey.

And, of course, an op-ed in the New York Times by climate scientist Judah Cohen is cause for mockery. In it, Cohen argues that blizzards and winter low temperatures aren't inconsistent with global warming. But of course, this is false -- so sayeth the brilliant scientific minds who write wingnut blogs.

What infuriates me most about the right is how smug they are, even as they're being stupid a-holes. Anyone who's argued with a wingnut will recognize it; the insulting insistence that you're the dumb one, while making the most poorly informed and illogical arguments out there -- e.g., "Hahahaha! Everyone knows Obama's a Muslim from Kenya! You libtard!" or "Hahahaha! The economy's a mess because of the national debt, you moonbat!" I think they learn it from talk radio.

The fact that global warming would create more storms -- in the summer and the winter -- is not only logically consistent, but obvious. Weather is driven almost entirely by heat energy. This is why there are hurricanes and tornadoes during the summer. In Cohen's model, lower temperatures are caused by these snowfalls, as all that white snow reflects heat back out into space, creating what he calls "an unusually large dome of cold air" over the affected area. Obviously, this is a local phenomenon and doesn't affect the weather elsewhere, so storms that form to the west move through these colder areas regardless of the local conditions.

But what gets me most is the insistence that global warming isn't global, that a snow storm in New York is indicative of the weather worldwide. Never mind that earlier this month Arizona and Colorado were hitting record highs, never mind that Bulgaria just recorded it's warmest Christmas Eve in history -- 63 degrees -- the east coast of the United States is the whole damned world and if it ever snows there, climate change is proven to be a big hoax. 2010 is turning out to be one of the warmest years on record, but we can ignore that fact because a kid in Brooklyn made a snowman.

Logic dictates that warming would mean more precipitation. As global ice thaws, there's more liquid water. More water means more evaporation and this in turn means more moisture in the atmosphere. In the winter, this precipitation obviously comes mostly in the form of snow. But the obvious is lost on the deniers -- especially those in the blogosphere and talk radio, where the only real agenda is to convince people that liberals are wrong about everything. As always, conservatives have everything bass-ackward. In this case, they begin with a conclusion and try to find evidence to back that conclusion up. So it's not extremely surprising that their arguments are idiotic. If you ignore the rules of logic, the only way you're going to wind up making a logical argument is through blind luck. So far, the right hasn't been very lucky.


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