Over at The Bobo Files, another blog I don’t actually read under normal circumstances, I was interested to see this passage from The Bobo Carnival of Politics (in a discussion of whether Bush will be seen as one of our best presidents with the benefit of historical hindsight):
As for one of your responses listing scientific reasons why you think he’s one of the worst – global warming denial – I would say you are in denial as it has been proven we have been in a cooling spell for the past 7 years and we will continue to cool for another 3 at minimum. You’re the scientist – you know that this is all natural and cyclical. The top scientists and meteorologists in this country have all come out saying man-made global warming is a hoax.
Um, no, not so much. From the current edition of the endlessly debated, ruthlessly edited, and sourced-to-death Wikipedia entry on global warming:
Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that most of the temperature increase since the mid-twentieth century is “very likely” due to the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Natural phenomena such as solar variation and volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with these findings, the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC’s main conclusions.
So, what can a reasonable person conclude from this? Well, for one, that BoBo is getting his information from some very unreliable sources, and isn’t bothering to fact-check. In the context of his clearly being Internet-saavy, willing to host a blog carnival, and on familiar terms with lefty sciencebloggers like grrlscientist, that tells me that he’s using this amazing communications technology, the perception engine that has done for research what steam engines did for manufacturing and internal combustion did for transportation, in a very specific manner: actively seeking out information that confirms his preexisting biases, while actively avoiding (and doing a damn fine job of it) information that conflicts with those biases.
Sigh. You know the expression about opinions? How they’re like a certain body part, because everyone has one? In the Internet age, substitute “blogs” for “opinions”.