“Ignorance is knowing what’s not true.”
Will Rogers, an American classic, was one of several who offered this comment as a way to remind people to keep an open mind.
Today we could use Will Rogers, with his iconic American humor, to gently jostle people into realizing that some of the things they believe aren’t true.
The National Science Foundation conducted a survey in 2012 that found 25% of Americans believing that the Sun rotated around the Earth. How this could be true today is hard to imagine, but such a finding demonstrates that ignorance does exist.
Ignorance is a terrible state of affairs, when science, the rule-of-law and our political system depends on people having command of the facts, so they can make informed decisions.
Ignorance allows unscrupulous politicians to benefit from making hurtful, untruthful claims about their opponents. It also allows unscrupulous organizations to smear those they dislike.
Ignorance hurts science when people can be sold a bill of goods because they don’t have command of the facts. A smattering of truth, mixed with an abundance of nonsense, is the stock-in-trade of snake-oil salesmen.
What might Will Rogers have said about global warming? ”Rumors about CO2 travel faster, but don’t stay put as long as truth.”
Here are a few areas where ignorance prevails today. People believe:
- Global warming is increasing the number of severe storms: Hurricanes, tornados, blizzards and Derechos.
- Droughts are caused by global warming.
- Forest fires are worse because of global warming.
- Sea levels are rapidly rising.
- CO2 can be cut by 80%.
But are these beliefs supported by the facts?
People are accepting what they are being told without questioning the media, or determining the facts.
Too many people are saying they are too busy doing their jobs or looking after their families to do the research to get the facts.
And the media, that’s supposed to provide the facts, caters to ignorance by promoting fear, based on the old newspaper axiom, “If it bleeds it leads.”
If this is true, our country cannot survive, because we depend on an informed public.
While some might say politicians are dirty, so it makes no difference how they vote in Presidential and Congressional elections, their voices can be still be heard at the local level where decisions are made on building codes, schools and ordinances, such as for wind farms and PV roof top solar installations.
Today, it is especially important to have an informed public, because many of the issues that affect our future, especially the issue of climate change, which is really an issue about energy, depend on science.
Any single article is too short to fully answer the issues described earlier about storms etc, but here are some links that can help provide an introduction to the science surrounding these issues.
On storms :http://climateconferences.heartland.org/stanley-goldenberg-iccc9-panel-14
On CO2 levels and temperatures: http://climateconferences.heartland.org/howard-hayden-iccc9-panel-10-2
On Cutting CO2 emissions 80%: http://bit.ly/PXf7ZD-fb
On Arctic ice extant: http://climateconferences.heartland.org/fred-goldberg-iccc9-panel-10
On Sea Levels: http://www.co2science.org/articles/V17/N20/C1.php
On wild fires: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/05/u-s-forest-fires-versus-climate-model-predictions/#more-114107
On warming: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/08/07/global-warming-pause-puts-crisis-in-perspective/
These are a few Links that may help introduce the science behind various climate and global warming issues.
Other interesting articles about how the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation affect droughts and rain fall are available at various web sites, one of which is: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/10/new-study-finds-natural-pacific-decadal.html
The fact is, the media has been feeding the public a great deal of unscientific nonsense, fostering the ignorance of voters, as well as their representatives.
The science is available, what’s needed is the motivation to seek the truth, which is what Will Rogers could do with his homespun humor.
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