I was looking at some websites today when I came across this …
Warning: The Content in this Article May be Inaccurate
Readers have reported that this story contains information that may not be accurate.
Oh Really. Ya Think?
Now, regardless of what I was researching, and it’s a subject of some controversy that engenders strong feelings on both sides … this looks like one of the most obvious statements of all time.
This happened to be on a site that has information the contradicts the “consensus” that humans are the cause of global warming. In fact, it’s skeptical about global warming at all. And, there is a body of science that indicates that we’re in for a period of a cooling climate. Not junk science, but peer-reviewed, published science. Rather than provide a bunch of links here … just google “Global Cooling” or “Pacific Decadal Oscillation”. No matter what we humans can do, the planet warms and cools on a pretty regular basis. How much we may or may not be contributing is, at least in my mind, still open to debate.
But I digress.
No lesser philosopher than Lucy VanPelt once said “if you cant’ be right, be wrong at the top of your voice”. One thing about this whole Internets and “Web 2.0” thing is that it’s open to everyone. And there is no shortage of strong opinions … and misinformation. And there’s nothing to stop “Readers” from “Reporting” that a “story … MAY not be accurate”. Some of these people see that as their JOB! The strident naysayers from both side of any argument LOOK for these kinds of websites and “report that the story contains information that may not be accurate”. And say it over and over and over and over and over and as stridently as they can. It doesn’t matter if the story is accurate or not, or if their information is accurate or not, just that they have the opportunity to say so.
I know there are a lot of people out there who think that global warming is a done deal. But right now, it appears the planet hasn’t warmed over the past 5 years … in fact, it may have cooled a few tenths of a degree. Now some are saying that’s the harbinger of a planetary cool-off leading to an ice age. Others say it’s just a speed bump in the coming cataclysm that will have us all underwater from rising sea levels in about 20 minutes. But all that’s been determined is that the planet has been warming and cooling all by its self for millions of years, and will continue to do so for millions more.
The state where I grew up has alternately been covered by shallow, tropical seas and apparently been geographically in the southern hemisphere (which caused the limestone deposits that made my family so much money) to 2/3rds covered by glaciers which stopped about Martinsville … and scraped the northern portion of the state pretty flat. Economists now say that the drive for ethanol derived from corn, which was once used as food, is a good part of what is driving up food prices right now … not to mention the amount of fossil fuels it requires to grow all that extra corn, and fertilize it. And, ethanol apparently contributes just as much to the greenhouse gasses that are supposedly causing all this global warming. Not to mention it’s a very water-intensive process. It’s just as sure that billions of dollars are being spent on finding ways to “stop global warming”, and that the people receiving that money want to keep that tap open, as do the people getting ethanol subsidies. That’s the skeptical, jaded journalist in me.
Should we be doing what we can to conserve energy and keep pollution to a minimum? Of course we should. Nobody disputes that. I certainly want to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. But don’t tell me science is settled when any amateur with an Internet connection and rudimentary typing skills can find plenty of reputable debate.
And please, don’t insult my intelligence and tell me that “readers have reported that this story contains information that may not be accurate”. That tells me nothing. I’m sure other readers have reported that the information in the story is gospel. And that needs to be in the disclaimer as well. For that statement … here’s an Albie.