Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tim Blair, Surveys, Al Gore, Global Warming and the Loonacy of Statistics

Tim Blair gets excited over the silliest things.

Under a photo of a giant ice statue of Al Gore (weighing five tons and being used in a hospital charity drive), he recently announced proudly that 44% of US voters now say long term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity (allegedly a turnabout from things being the other way around). 

Well yes and over a third of Americans believe that their government was somehow involved in bringing down the twin towers, while 16% in one survey speculated that secretly planted explosives were the thing that did it.

Let's not go into the percentages that believe humans walked the earth with dinosaurs, or who think aliens drop in regularly (and are likely to safe us from ourselves, just like in the movies). Let's not even begin to tote up the percentages of Mormons or Scientologists, or those who belong to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or sign up for the Jedi religion. (Myself, I think the Thetans and volcanoes are responsible for global warming, but I'm having a hard time getting anyone to listen. Maybe Blair can help out).

Let's however give full credit to the Bush administration's war on science, which somehow saw the forces of the right align with the looniest aspects of Christian fundamentalism (which is not so far from Islamic fundamentalist looniness).

Meantime, you wonder what Blair's real point is. I guess all the recent news from Antarctica is good, because soon Australia will be able to establish resorts on the newly exposed rock and the right can go on whale hunting expeditions for a taste of that deep fried down south blubber.

But celebrating statistics that have nothing to do with science, and bugger all to do with reality? Yes, I know for a fact that ninety per cent of Americans think Tim Blair is statistically inept, but I wouldn't want the future of the world to swing on it.

It's a bit like Rush Limbaugh hoping that Obama will fail so the rest of us can suffer in perdition while he celebrates his accuracy in predicting things from his multi million dollar contractual perch. 

I used to think only Islamics got off on cutting off the hands of thieves, but you have to think the right would love us to drown in watery graves induced by standard planetary behaviour, just to prove a point.

I'm not up to providing a link. Just believe me. It's one thing to be a sharp right wing satirist and another to be just plain dumb. Dean Swift would eat Blair for breakfast and not even bother to burp as he went down.

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