I shouldn’t have bothered. I really shouldn’t have.
You know the quote that goes, “Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory”? Well, the same goes for the more dogmatic of global warming deniers. There’s a huge difference between being a skeptic, and being an outright ignorant moron.
I had added a local talk radio host, Matt Allen, to my friends’ list on Facebook, because WPRO is really the only talk radio station in the area. I like to listen to it, despite being hosted almost entirely by right-wing hosts. They’re not the “claim everything’s a liberal conspiracy” kind of right-wingers, but they’re conservative enough for me to disagree with them on a lot of topics.
Matt then posts a status update that rightfully pokes fun at the hasty claim that right-wing rhetoric and vitriol had something to do with Jared Loughner’s shooting spree in Arizona, and compares it to the recent blizzard here in New England.
I have to tell you that there’s alot of snow out there folks. I think that all the vitriol on climate change in this country caused this horrible storm. I think we should tone it down. Sincerely, Al Gore
I thought it was funny. I even joined in, pretending to be the U.S. government wanting to pass legislation to control the level of “free snow fall” that was allowed, for the safety of the nation.
Then somebody had to go and claim that global warming is just a grand conspiracy.
B Hussein Obamination: it’s global warming. just ask al.
I was originally going to joke around that he had way too much time on his hand to devote his entire personal profile to bashing the president. He even had a cute little picture he Photoshopped where Obama’s head was placed on what looked like a baby’s body. I didn’t bother to click on his profile to really check it out. Instead, however, I responded directly to his implication that global warming was a myth propagated solely by Al Gore. Because, you know, Al Gore pays thousands of scientists to keep the hoax alive!
Me: You DO realize that global warming doesn’t automatically mean that all snow will magically disappear and winters will be warmer, right? It’s all about average global temperatures, not just Rhode Island weather.
Big mistake. I should’ve realized that fans of right-wing talk shows are about 2-3 times more bat-shit insane than the hosts they worship. Matt Allen is as sane as right-wing talk show hosts come, to be honest; it’s his fanbase that’s a little off their rockers.
B Hussein Obamination: and the average global temp has been decreasing. yes, i know. I don’t live in RI and my comment was supposed to be satirical.
For a second I thought he had made a mistake and meant to say “increasing”, which is the truth. Of course, I knew better. But I didn’t think that these people could possibly still be among the minority of idiots out there that still believe global warming is a myth.
Me: Hmm, where are you getting your information? Global warming isn’t just some myth. It’s a reality, supported by scientific data. It’s debatable whether it’s caused by humans, but the average temperature is definitely increasing.
I then posted a link from NASA demonstrating this plain fact. From here on out, I’m changing the names to protect the ignorant. Er, I mean, innocent.
“Wally”: Please. Its a hoax
Nothing more than that. Just saying it’s a hoax apparently makes it so. Let me just say from here on out that I kept making the mistake of futilely trying to inject some common sense and rationality into the feverishly stupid right-wing crowd that would soon stumble drunkenly into the “debate”.
Me: Prove it’s a hoax. Please, provide your evidence that overthrows every single piece of evidence and data that support global warming. I’d love to see what you have to show.
Me: It’s a bit silly to think that scientists are sitting around, coming up with schemes to fool the worldwide public and scare them for no reason. That’s not how science works. There’s no conspiracy or hoax. There’s only data that provides us with evidence.
Little did I know, I was rattling the monkey cage, angering the pathetic little simians into a fervor.
“Wally”: prove its man caused
Ignoring his tenuous grasp on English punctuation and communication skills, I did just that.
Me: Did you read the link I provided? There’s also http://www.skepticalscience.com/evidence-for-global-warming.htm and http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/globalwarmA.html. I suggest you take the time to read it all and understand the data provided before jumping to the conclusion that it’s all some conspiracy.
Me: Now that the evidence for global warming (and the theory that it’s human-caused) has been shown, please provide your contradicting evidence and we can compare notes.
Up until this point, I really had no reason to not be civil and polite. I was being as reasonable as humanly possible. I really did want somebody to provide evidence that could prove it all wrong. I figured somebody had to read those articles and think twice about their baseless assertion that global warming is just some hoax…right!?
“Donnie”: Richard, they did sit around and create the scam. The emails are public, wake up and head out of the snow!
“Donnie” was seriously implying that scientists sat around and concocted a gigantic scam. Then he mentioned the emails. Those damning emails! You know…the ones where the word “trick” was used in a manner that made a large chunk of humanity stand up and declare mountains of scientific evidence and data a gigantic hoax? The one where, afterward, the scientists were exonerated and cleared of any wrongdoing? The ones where the word “trick” was clearly defined and explained in layman’s terms? The ones that caused so much hyperbole and self-righteous pseudo-vindication that nearly the entire right wing smugly declared that they “told us so”?
Me: Amazing that a couple of misunderstood emails could topple over overwhelming evidence in favor of global warming. You DO realize they were cleared of any wrongdoing, and exonerated of any dishonest practice, right?
But was that enough? Hell, no. All the evidence and data in the world can’t scratch the dense armor of ignorance that shields most right-wingers from cold, hard facts.
“Wally”: The science is settled its a hoax
I was amazed. Not to mention more than a little frustrated. I had posted seven articles that demonstrated the scientists implicated by the “Climategate” emails did not, in fact, try to fool the public. It was too much for me: I gave into my frustration and let him have it.
Me: Go back and stick your head in the snow and hide from reality. If you won’t listen and pay attention to facts, data, and evidence, then you might as well put on your tin foil hat and keep marching straight on into that oblivion called ignorance.
I mean, seriously. If you can’t do a simple thing like pay attention to the information that is freely available out there, then there’s no hope for you. At this point I thought it was just this one guy that just couldn’t grasp the data that I was providing.
Boy, was I wrong.
“Scotty”: Richard, get a grip man, it’s over you lost this one…come back with space men, or dinosaurs living in the center of the earth. It’s joke now, let it go, people are laughing man!
I just couldn’t understand it. It wasn’t like I was the lone nutjob claiming that the Earth is hollow and little cavemen live inside it or anything. I was just passing along useful information about global warming: three links providing evidence for the fact, and seven links to articles about the exoneration of the “Climategate” scientists.
Me: You do realize that I have all the evidence on my side, right? All you guys are doing is saying, “Nuh-uh! Nuh-uh! That ain’t so!” without providing any sort of counter-argument. I have yet to see any sort of counter-evidence from any of you.
There’s nothing more reasonable than asking for counter-evidence after providing evidence for something and having it be outright denied and deemed a hoax.
“Scotty”: hahahahahaha silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!
I immediately knew what he was talking about: the aforementioned usage of the word “trick” in the emails. I put that to bed right away.
Me: Oh, and about that whole “tricks” thing: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm. Again, you were saying?
I had them! Didn’t I? Surely they’d realize that they had been called out on their idiocy and would soon give up. Wouldn’t they? For nearly half an hour, there was nothing. I figured they were looking over the data and reconsidering their position, perhaps questioning what they had originally assumed about the whole thing.
Of course, that was a gross overestimation on my part.
“Ferguson”: Richard, you ask for evidence that global warming is a hoax, but the only “proof” we have ever had that it’s real is the word of others. We believed it because the news said it was so. Now, we know that we can’t trust ‘the news” anymore, because they’ve been shown to have an agenda. If you want to prove to me that global warming is real, I need hard evidence, not just something that someone has written.
When did anybody mention “the news”? Who said that global warming was true because “the news” said so? Did anybody even read any of the articles and pages that I provided them? “I need hard evidence, not just something that someone has written.” What, did he want me to lead him by the hand and explain everything to him like I would a child?
Me: Did you read any of the links I provided? None of them are from news sources. They’re data collected by scientists and experts in the field. Seriously, it’s like none of you bothered to read anything I provided and just assumed I’m quoting MSNBC or something. Come on, people, try a little harder at least.
“Aren’t any of you listening to me!?” Now I started to sound like a mad scientist who was simply just misunderstood. Except that often, the mad scientist was right about his claims that at first seemed crazy and impossible.
“Lisa”: The vaccinations did it.
I was’t even going to touch that one.
“Maggy”: The Politically Correct Elitist Leftwing Liberal Handbook: #5. Global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the earth’s climate, and more affected by soccer moms driving SUVs.
What more did I expect beyond gross oversimplifications of scientific theories? Beyond the Argument from Incredulity, that humanity couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the climate of something as massive as the Earth? Beyond the overwhelming capacity of right-wing nutjobs to display their sheer ignorance?
“Donnie”: Richard, “Lisa” & “Maggy” have more common sense in their little fingers than your, sky is falling, mushy head. We not buying what your selling, and worse! Your too dense to see that we know the truth. It’s a scam!!!!!
I guess the more exclamation marks are used after a baseless assertion, the more I’m supposed to buy into it. First, the notion of “common sense” is something that is largely responsible for the denial of evolution and climate change. “We couldn’t have possibly evolved from simpler life forms! Common sense tells us otherwise!”
Well, common sense is often wrong.
Me: Again, demonstrate how it’s a scam. Otherwise, you’re just blowing hot air. And liberal-bashing won’t prove your baseless assertion that there’s some mystical, global conspiracy among evil scientists in lab coats rubbing their hands in an evil manner.
I really should have given up at this point. These people weren’t going to listen to reason. Repeating my request for counter-evidence was futile. I started to play their game and come up with funny imagery.
“Donnie”: oh Richard…we deal in facts hear. we are pragmatist. We don’t have to prove anything, you do, and you (All of YOU) failed. Remember….you can’t prove a negative.
“You can’t prove a negative”!? I couldn’t even begin to understand what was going through that big, thick skull of his. And then, he said the most condescending thing I have ever had said to me.
“Donnie”: your lucky we are even entertaining you like this
That’s when I laughed. Out loud. This had just turned from pathetic and disappointing, to entertaining and hilarious. Apparently, the neoconservatives who regularly post on Matt Allen’s page, own that space and are allowing me to post my scientific “nonsense” around their delicate sensibilities. Wow.
Me: Oh, yes, I’m so lucky. I’m lucky that after I show plain facts and evidence to you guys, you scratch your heads and pass it all off as some grand, mystical conspiracy. I’ve shown you guys facts. Check my links above. At least try to read the words on the page. There are even pretty charts for people like you to follow! The data is clear: average global temperatures are rising, and they’re rising above the levels they’ve ever reached in past cycles.
Ah, yes, pretty graphs, colorful charts, and those gosh-darn words that them there people have to read!
“Donnie”: Right, you can’t tell (truth from lies, fact from fiction) Your out match here!! You brought spit balls to a gun fight! Yeah GUNS!! Wahooo and GOD…Oh NOOOOOO….. you must be doing back flips now!! hahahahahahahaha
Hurr durr derp! Yeah, somehow mentioning God was supposed to rile me up. I leave certain information on my profile page public, so anyone can see I’m an atheist, so that must’ve been the cue to assume that I would recoil at the mere mention of their god. Right.
“Frank”: Yea but “Donnie”…….some people like Richard still believe Bush planted the bombs that brought down the twin towers, those planes ….well it was a Hollywood stunt. AND don’t forget…..we really never landed on the moon, it was done in a Hollywood Studio where Michael Moore’s mother gave birth to him under a Buddha Statue. Thus concluding that Michael Moore is Proof that there is a Buddha! But I Digress!…..! Hey Wait I just saw Al Gore running up my street …he was cross dressing as a Polar Bear Again! DAM!!!!!
If you’re not shocked and appalled at what “Frank” wrote, read it again. He’s asserting that I believe in conspiracy theories like 9/11 being an inside job, the Apollo moon landing being faked, and… Michael Moore being proof that there is a Buddha? Not that Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) was an historical figure that actually existed, but that there is a Buddha (like he’s a god instead of just a man who was revered and his philosophy taught to millions).
I mean, the ignorance displayed was just astounding. I nearly lost it just then, but I somehow managed to keep my cool and respond to his maniacal ramblings.
Me: Excuse me? I’m the one fighting conspiracy theories here. Why are you putting words in my mouth and claiming that I believe 9/11 was a conspiracy? It’s amazing. I go out of my way to disprove the baseless assertion that global warming is a conspiracy…and then I’m accused of believing in every other conspiracy theory. I guess I shouldn’t have expected much from right-wingers who can’t read simple articles and grasp the concept behind simple graphs and charts. You scream up and down like monkeys in a cage and refuse to listen to facts and evidence.
I know, I know. By attacking the right wing, I became no better than those who would blindly attack me for supposedly being a “politically correct elitist liberal”. I’m honestly surprised nobody trotted out the words “socialist”, “Marxist”, or “communist”.
“Maggy”: I checked you links Richard. Did you know that Al Gores mansion consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES). Do you really think he is concerned about global warming??
Now, somehow, Al Gore’s lavish and power-consuming mansion had something to do with the veracity of global warming proponents. Just like how Stalin supposedly being an atheist somehow proves God exists.
Me: “Maggy”: What does Al Gore have to do with any of this? Did he invent the idea of global warming? So what if Al Gore wastes electricity? How does that disprove the science behind global warming? You claim that you checked my links, then proceed to go off on a tangent that has nothing to do with the science behind global warming. Is that all you’ve got?
And good ol’ condescending Tea Bagger “Frank” (I checked his profile) chimes in yet again.
“Frank”: Aweeeeee Look how sweet “Donnie”….it looks like Richard is trying to engage us in intelligent conversation!
This is what Tea Baggers do in a debate. Call the other side names, made baseless accusations and assertions, and laugh off anything the other side has to say. I fired back.
Me: Awww, look, how sweet… “Frank” likes to pretend he’s a human being with a brain inside that big, empty head of his. I present scientific data, and all I get are insults? Have you ever heard of an “ad hominem”? No, I suppose those words are too big for people like yourself, “Frank”.
I couldn’t help myself! Now I was starting to have fun.
“Frank”: Global Warming and Science are not words that go together. Global Warming and Godzilla do though! Godzilla Attacks Global Warming………Playing in theaters Near You! Rated F for Fiction!
It was a comedy routine now! I love comedy! Let me try!
Me: An ad hominem is this: Person A says, “Here’s the data and facts that provide evidence in favor of global warming.” Person B says, “You’re wrong, because you’re a stupid elitist liberal! Der her her!” See how that doesn’t help Person B prove his claim? Do I have to draw stick figures and use funny voices? Will that help?
“Frank”: I can’t believe an Avatar just called me a name! LMFAO!
“Donnie”: Richard, don’t you have a class to go to, or a protest or something. How can you not be bored with this yet?
It’s prudent to note at this juncture that “Donnie”‘s profile has God smeared all over it like some cheap, old paint job on a rusty jalopy.
Me: “Frank”, when you learn to read, visit those links above without clouding your mind with right-wing conspiracy theories and fantasies of evil liberal elitist plots, mmkay?
“Frank”: “Donnie”….[R.I. Governor Lincoln] Chaffee gave Richard the day off! “Donnie”….a closer look at Richard’s Avatar it looks like Fidel Castro as a younger Communist Thug!
Now we’re getting into my avatar, which at the moment is a picture of the head of one of my son’s action figures, something that came with a toy motorcycle I gave to him. The action figure kind of resembles me, so he calls it “Daddy”.
Me: “Donnie”: I don’t go to school. I graduated and got a degree. Ooh yes, I’m an educated elitist! Fear my intellect! (LOL) Also, what kind of protests should I be going to? Please, tell me. I”m not bored because it’s fun playing with the silly monkeys in the cage. I feel like I’m at a zoo. How can I not be entertained? I should’ve known better than to show facts and evidence to monkeys who can’t grasp the basics behind scientific data. Here, have a banana. I give up trying to introduce ideas that are obviously beyond your intellectual capabilities.
It was at this point that I truly gave up, but two more comments got through before I saved the page and removed Matt Allen from my friends list:
“Donnie”: Chafee, he’s so stupid it must an act!
“Frank”: Never confuse an Education with Intelligence…NEVER!
Of course, I never did conflate the two. But I digress. It was at that point that I simply gave up and found something better to do with my time, like stare at my wall.
Fundies. Can’t pound sense into them, can’t pound the crap out of them. (Sigh.)