Posted by: crudbasher | March 9, 2015

A Skeptic’s Guide To The Internet

I don’t believe that man is causing global warming, at least not to the extent that it is being pushed. Many shrill people on the Internet would call me a denier. I prefer the term skeptic. I do actually have an open mind about things like this, it’s just that I don’t think the case has been proven. Many of my friends do believe in it in a religious way. I don’t try to argue with them as they are entitled to their beliefs just as I am.

So what does any of this have to do with technology and education? I think this speaks to how people don’t critically think anymore. I have a specific example.

H/T io9.com

The devastating effects of rising sea levels are well-documented in Florida, but officials in the state’s Department of Environmental Protection are ordered against using the terms “climate change,” “global warming,” or “sustainability” in any official communications or documents.

This impressively detailed report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting cites records as well as past DEP employees, consultants, and volunteers.

They then go on to bash the Florida Republican governor, (disclosure: I voted for him) because the government has issued guidance to avoid terms like climate change and other terms in official correspondence. The article then ends with the comments section, which at this reading has over 200 comments, most of which are things like “idiots” and a lot of profanity. These people are clearly worked up and at the same time exhibit a smugness of the righteous.

I want to focus on that first line. “The devastating effects of rising sea levels are well-documented in Florida”. This is a statement that asserts that 1. the sea levels are rising, 2. they are having devastating effects and 3. there is a link that documents this assertion very well. So I followed the link. This leads to a Washington Post story entitled: Florida politicians battle rhetoric as rising seas drive worries over climate change. My jaw dropped when I read the start of the piece.

At least twice in a normal year, the Biscayne Bay rises to swamp the streets of this fashionable resort town in an event known as the “king tide.” Water spills over seawalls and gurgles up through storm drains in what scientists say is a preview of life in Florida in a warming climate.

But this is an election year, when even nature becomes a foil for competing political narratives. When a highly anticipated king tide hit the Florida coast last week, state and local officials surged into action to ensure that any flooding was kept out of sight.

So… what they are saying is a “king tide” was going to happen, and the government didn’t let the streets flood. Instead they deployed pumps and mitigated the effects. And this is strange… how? Isn’t that what we want to have happen? They go on to claim that because there was a debate with the governor that night, preventing flooding was somehow underhanded. This just doesn’t make any sense. A king tide is a normal event where the sun and the moon line up periodically to create higher tides. It’s been happening for billions of years on Earth. We know it’s going to happen and they were ready for it as a working government should. As for the rest of the title of the WP article, they say it drives climate change worries. That is bull too. Polls show people are caring less about it. Besides, how can something that didn’t happen drive worry?

The rest of the Washington Post story just goes on and on about Koch brothers and all sorts of things to try to say that preventing the flooding was some scheme. It sounds horribly paranoid and just doesn’t make any sense.

Ok back to io9.com. Their first sentence says that the devastating effects are well documented yet the article they linked to is all about complaining that the devastation didn’t happen!!  So are the sea levels rising? According to the US government, sea levels are supposed to rise by 2 feet by 2060. That is almost 50 years from now (and there is a huge amount of disagreement on how much it could rise). Even if this is happening, it has not happened enough to cause “devastating effects” now. I know this because I live here. Periodically we have flooding. We always have and we deal with it.

So why would the government want to avoid talking about flooding and “devastation”? Hmm… maybe because Florida’s main industry is tourism? That is what reason dictates.

See, this is the problem with being bombarded with the information. I bet nobody who read that article bothered to verify the contents. Unfortunately, the Internet is filled with this sort of bad information. They write it because they want people to click on it and get worked up. I guess it worked but at the expense of the truth and common sense.

The best part about this is if you try to point this out people start screaming at you and try to destroy you. Well, I am a free thinker and am not jumping on the band wagon just to be liked.

Be sure to think.

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