Friday, February 02, 2007

And What Do We Do With A Witch?

“ . . .you will observe with concern how long a useful truth may be known and exist, before it is generally receiv'd and practis'd on.” - Benjamin Franklin, 1786, in a letter to a friend regarding the effects of lead poisoning.

My drive to work is all of 9 miles. I take the back roads, cruising down winding drives replete with pastures, ponds, and trailer homes. It’s the most enjoyable ride to work I’ve ever had. I feel as though I’m in Song of the South, with all the little forest animals skipping down the road with me.

I’ve also taken to listening to a local radio station that carries all the ultra-conservative, right-wing broadcasters who would rather see America turn into the Holy Roman Empire than maintain democracy in its current form.

Attack any outside threats. Praise God above whilst destroying thine enemies. Persecute those who are different. Mock and dismiss those who disagree. It’s quite wonderful stuff to listen to, mostly because I’m secure in the knowledge that I can still vote, I’m smarter than any of them, and they are just a finger flick away from silence. From time to time, they will spout some real gems.

For instance, Sean Hannity, the founder of the “Stop Hillary Express” (why it has to be a train, I don’t know), said repeatedly to his national audience this week that Hillary Clinton is “very electable”. While Mr. Hannity said this to instill fear in his audience of marginal IQ’d meat-eaters, I thought it interesting that Mrs. Clinton’s biggest obstacle to the White House is convincing the American people of just that premise. And while I'm not sure if I would vote for her yet, I'm completely in favor of her causing these overly-important spotlight seekers worry.

I also found it extremely interesting that every single one of them spent large portions of their shows yesterday trying to debunk the IPCC's report on Global Climate Change. I heard the scientists of the world called evil Socialists. I heard the argument of “How did the last Ice Age end when there were no humans around to artificially warm the atmosphere?” It was an attack worthy of an illiterate elementary school bully.

Here’s the thing that none of these idiots seem to comprehend. History is not on their side. Public skepticism of well-founded scientific theories has a tendency to be completely unfounded. Let’s examine, shall we?

1610 – Galileo Galilei publishes his observations on astronomical bodies, supporting heretical theory that the earth is not the center of the universe. He is burned at the stake.

1628 – William Harvey publishes a book accurately describing the human circulatory system. While his theories were eventually accepted before he died, medical practices did not change because of his publication for over 100 years.

1807 – Two Connecticut scholars report witnessing a meteorite fall to earth. President Thomas Jefferson says that he would sooner believe that “twoYankee professors would lie than that stones would fall from heaven”.

1912 – Alfred Wegener first publicly proposes the Theory of Continental Drift. By the 1930’s, this theory was completely dismissed by the entire world. By the 1960’s, it was the accepted the world over and led to the development of the theory of plate tectonics, now taught in every basic geology class.

So you see, even though these broadcasting blowhards think they are swaying the view of the public, they can’t sway scientific fact. And though they might even attempt to ignore it, the nice thing about science is, once you establish a fact, it takes much more than the flick of an on/off switch to make it go away.

Does that mean that our country will finally fall in line with the rest of the world, and take steps to positively affect the future of our planet? Not likely, with the abject buffoon that sits at the top of our political food chain. But his time will soon be up. And I can still vote.