Climatologist Ben Santer says living in the “darkness of the Trump administration’s scientific ignorance” is like the time he nearly killed himself by ineptly slipping on some ice.
Well, he ought to know.
Santer’s lack of surefootedness (and political lightheadedness) would be of no interest to man nor beast, except that Santer was able to convince the Washington Post to print his pitiful tale. Which makes it “worthy” of discussion. I guess.
So let’s discuss.
Santer spends most of his article—seven paragraphs!—telling us how important, noble, selfless, smart, and humble he is: “long apprenticeship”, “rigorous”, “years of your life” (he speaks of himself as “you”), “you are first author”, “you jump through hoops”, “You enter the public arena, and make yourself accountable.”
Somebody give this man a lollipop.
Now, the reason old Ben bares his tortured soul is that he is concerned that there might exist people who do not believe this proposition: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”
Our Ben—smart, gifted, diligent, dedicated, and most humble man that he assures us he is—doesn’t appear to understand this simple logical point. He is therefore angry at President Trump because Trump once tweeted “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Santer is far from the first, and certainly won’t be the last, public intellectual triggered into a foamy-mouthed spasm by one of Trump’s tweets. These fellows are like the pussy cat who chases the red light of a laser pointer: the pussy cat knows the phantasm is not a mouse, but it can’t help itself, so it attacks. It’s the nature of pussy cats to attack unthinkingly.
Same thing here. It must be obvious to Santer that Trump did not mean this tweet, or any other of his off-the-cuff utterances on the subject, to be a replacement for a complete scientific theory of fluid flow on a rotating sphere radiated by an external heat source. But Santer, like the pussy cat, can’t help himself and pretends to believe Trump meant precisely that.
This is why Santer is worried that Trump’s “ignorance” will “[trickle] down from the president to members of his administration, eventually filtering into the public’s consciousness.”
Wow! The public consciousness! That’s a lot to expect from a tweet.
Ben, if you want some advice from a colleague, or even if you don’t, I must tell you that you’re in danger of becoming CNN.
Update I sent Santer a link to the article. He sent this (see if you can spot the fallacy):
Please do not write to me. I have no interest in communicating with you.