Know this won’t likely get posted, but if it just pisses you off, good — I’ve done my job.
In his book The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan described the real and serious problem today’s society still has in distinguishing between scientific fact and pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo. Essentially, if the truth doesn’t support a person’s worldview — what they want to believe is possible — then they prefer to ignore the truth. Jeffrey Billman’s editorial “Win the War on Coal” [Editor’s Note, June 11] exemplifies this type of deliberately chosen ignorance.
The truth Mr. Billman wants to believe is that somehow, maybe magically, the technology will just spring into being that will eliminate our dependence for coal, petcoke and other fossil fuels. Such an immaculate conception may work in religion, but it does not happen in science. Yes, improvements are being made in solar cell technology, windmills are being built and conservation can reduce demand, but the truth is that these are totally useless until battery technology exists that can actually power cities.
When the sun doesn’t shine, cities like to turn on their electric lights. When the winds don’t blow, cities like to turn on their electric fans and air conditioners. Current battery technology has improved well enough that Mr. Billman may now enjoy watching back-to-back episodes of Hee-Haw on his cellular phone. [Ed. note: Prefer Breaking Bad.] However, powering entire cities is an entirely different thing. The mindless kind of eco-religious fervor Mr. Billman, President Obama, and others espouse focuses on destroying the existing technology upon which civilization is dependent long before any real solution can be deployed or new infrastructure built.
Battery technology, the real lynchpin of any real progress toward solar and wind power, is not even remotely on the horizon yet. In fact, it barely gets any press. Of course, even pseudo-science true believers can’t get excited about investing in technologies that could take another century or more to develop. On the other hand, politicians and the pseudo-science, pseudo-environmentalists can pocket votes and cash immediately on the pretense that solar and wind power are in reach of solving our energy and environmental problems. Without battery technology, that is all a sham — a rather dishonest and vulgar sham.
President Obama insists that if he destroys our coal and petcoke industry, and taxes the bejesus out of everyone (and we really are talking everyone — rich, poor and very poor), that new technology will miraculously be invented just in time to prevent power shortages and roving national blackouts. This represents an arrogant and ignorant disregard for the truth, and a religiously fanatical embrace of magical belief over real science.
This is not to say that there aren’t environmental issues that should be addressed. It is only to say that only real science is acceptable. Real science isn’t something that can be voted upon. A consensus of scientists saying mankind alone is responsible for global warming has no more value than a consensus of scientists saying mankind is absolutely not responsible. The evidence doesn’t support either. The evidence supports that mankind produces greenhouse gasses which promote global warming. Historic evidence supports that the Earth has been subjected to many periods of both global warming and global cooling — climate change — independent of any actions mankind has taken.
Assuming that we are wholly to cause for climate change represents the most arrogant and ignorant conceit any human being could espouse. Assuming that we — by ourselves — have the power to change global climate is even more pretentious and conceited.
The incredible hubris of any political leader to pretend — let alone believe — that he or she has the right to financially penalize their citizens for the sake of their own religious zeal for such an arrogant conceit is unforgivable.
Responsible conservation is acceptable. Cutting off our nose to spite our face — i.e., waging a “war on coal” while we’re still desperately dependent on coal and petcoke for many decades to come — is nothing less than corrupt and stupid.
35. Thanks for Asking
LULZ: “This is a war we have to fight. This is
a war we have to win. Our future depends on it” [“Win the War on Coal”]. Curious: How old are you?