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February 28, 2007

Global Warming and Godwin's Law

For those of you unfamiliar with Godwin's Law of Internet Discussions, I am posting wiki's summary:

Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a mainstay of Internet culture, an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."[1]

Godwin's Law does not dispute whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be apt. It is precisely because such a reference or comparison may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued,[2] that overuse of the Hitler/Nazi comparison should be avoided, as it robs the valid comparisons of their impact...

There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's Law. Thus Godwin's Law serves to impose an upper bound on thread length in general.

Just a primer for Ellen Goodman's article in the Boston Globe in which she makes the following statement:

I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

I add this to Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel's Statement from December on her blog:

If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming. (One good resource if you don't have a lot of time is the Pew Center's Climate Change 101.)

Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather.

This is scary stuff. And this is not scientific stuff either. The Scientific community should not run around intimidating scientist that offer alternative viewpoints or compare them to Holocaust deniers.

Global Warming Alarmists want us to believe that Global Warming is caused almost completely by man, is going to lead to massive hurricanes and rising ocean levels, is going to continue exponentially, will destroy the polar icecaps, cannot be reversed, and requires massive changes to our way of life or the entire world is in danger. And if you deny it, you are a Holocaust denier and should be ridiculed or stripped of your scientific credentials. I don't like scare tactics and while the science supports the existance of Global Warming, the rest of the Alarmist's argument is a political statement, not good science.

Again, I will point to things that we can do to save the Earth that do not require Global Warming to doom the planet as a motivating factor. First, we can recycle. Second, we can conserve electricity and gas. We can do tons of things to do that including car pool, turn lights off, use low energy lighting. We can drive cleaner vehicles. We can drive vehicles that fit with the size of our family, not with the size of our genitals.


Posted by Justin at February 28, 2007 11:05 AM