Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prove it!

At an early age my younger brother displayed both his intellectual brilliance and his unparalleled ability to get my goat by employing a particularly irritating tactic in arguments. Just at a point when I thought I might be winning an argument, he would stick out his chin and say, "Prove it!"

Of course there was no authority I could cite that he would accept as proof. The dictionary and encyclopedia were as easily discarded as were my own points. "How do you know they are right? Prove it!"

This came back to me in recent days as Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated that human caused climate change was just a theory that had not yet been proved, and then cited the long discredited "climategate" episode as further evidence that there is considerable debate within the scientific community about the issue. Horse hockey.

In taking this stand (Prove it!), Perry joins Rep. Bachmann, who states that CO2 is merely a harmless gas, and other GOP candidates who discount both human caused climate change and evolution as mere, unproven theories.

What they really mean to say is that human caused climate change will require our culture to change to an unprecedented scale, and that they have no clue where to start in that process. So, rather than admitting their own inadequacy they discount the need for action. "Prove it!"

We often refer to the process of denying danger and the accompanying fear as "whistling past the graveyard." The level of discourse on science demonstrated by Gov. Perry is more like, "If you clap your hands Tinkerbell will come back to life!"

And no, I can't prove that there are not such things as fairies or that clapping is not an effective means of restoring their glow. Perhaps I should call this my platform and run for office myself.

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