Hi everybody, today I want to talk about… Today I want to tell you why I had to stop
reading news about climate science, because it pisses me off. Every. Single. Time. There’s
all these left-wing do-gooders who think their readers are too fucking dumb to draw their
own conclusions so it’s not enough to tell me what’s the correlation between hurricane
intensity and air moisture, no, they also have to tell me that, therefore, I should
donate to save the polar bears. There’s this implied link: Science says this, therefore
you should do that. Follow the science, stop flying. Follow the science, go vegan. Follow
the science and glue yourself to a bus, because certainly that’s the logical conclusion
to draw from the observed weakening of the atlantic meridional circulation.
When I was your age, we learned science does not say anything about what we should do.
What we should do is a matter of opinion, science is matter of fact.
Science tells us what situation we are in and what consequences our actions are likely
to have, but it does not tell us what to do. Science does not say you shouldn’t pee on
high voltage lines, it says urine is an excellent conductor. Science does not say you should
stop smoking, science says nicotine narrows arteries, so if you smoke you’ll probably
die young lacking a few toes. Science does not say we should cut carbondioxide emissions.
It says if we don’t, then by the end of the century estimated damages will exceed
some Trillion US $. Is that what we should go for? Well, that’s a matter of opinion.
Follow the Science is a complete rubbish idea, because science does not know the direction.
We have to decide what way to go. You’d think it’s bad enough that politicians
conflate scientific fact with opinion, but the media actually make it worse. They make
it worse by giving their audience the impression that it matters what someone whose job it
is to execute the will of the electorate believes about scientific facts. But I couldn’t care
less if Donald Trump “believes” in climate change. Look, this is a man who can’t tell
herd immunity from herd mentality, he probably thinks winter’s the same as an ice age.
It’s not his job to offer opinions about science he clearly doesn’t understand, so
why do you keep asking him. His job is to say if the situation is this, we will do that.
At least in principle, that’s what he should be doing. Then you look up what science says
which situation we are in and act accordingly. The problem, the problem, you see, is that
by conflating the two things – the facts with the opinions – the media give people
an excuse to hide opinions behind scientific beliefs. If you don’t give a shit that today’s
teenagers will struggle their whole life cleaning up the mess that your generation left behind
Fine, that’s a totally valid opinion. But please just say it out loud, so we can
all hear it. Don’t cover it up by telling us a story about how you weren’t able to
reproduce a figure in the IPCC report even though you tried really hard for almost ten
seconds, because no one gives a shit whether you have your own “theory.” If you are
more bothered by the prospect of rising gasoline prices than by rising sea levels because you
don’t know anyone who lives by the sea anyway, then just say so. If you worry more about
the pension for your friend the coal miner than about drought and famine in the developing
world #because after all there’s only poor people in the developing world, then just
say so. If you don’t give a shit about a global recession caused by natural catastrophes
that eat up billion after billion because you’re a rich white guy with a big house
and think you’re immune to trouble, then just say so. Say it loud, so we can all hear
it. And all the rest of you stop chanting we need to “follow the science”. People
who oppose action on climate change are not anti-science, they simply worry more that
a wind farm might ruin the view from their summer vacation house, than they worry wild
fires will burn down the house. That’s not anti-scientific, that’s just dumb. But then
that’s only my opinion. Thank you for watching, see you next week.