Hot takes on the hurricanes
I suspect this column will offend many. That’s not my intention; but defense of the truth demands a response. Quite predictably, Harvey and Irma have brought out irrational responses all around.
Background: Humans by nature jump to conclusions about situations they observe. We do this in an attempt to understand our world. These conclusions reveal loads about our preconceived notions. We rationalize how we know certain things by constructing arguments, often flimsy ones. Finally, and of huge importance, we dismiss evidence that runs counter to our preferred explanation. This behavior isn’t sinister, and, moreover, we’re usually not even aware that we do it.
In response to Harvey, some of my devout Christian friends state that what happened in Houston was a result of the wickedness in that city. While I’m sure that there’s wickedness there, and I do believe that it’s possible — if highly unlikely — that societies suffer disasters due to their sins, I stop far short of ever concluding as much.
From the “science” side, people are also concluding things that they have no business doing, claiming that the hurricanes were caused by climate change, that having been caused by human activity. They so much want it to be true that they dispense with intellectual rigor.
In an effort to offer some disclaimer, or to limit the extent of their claim, you will undoubtedly hear introductory statements like, “Of course, climate change cannot account for any specific storm.” Then, as though they’ve not even made such a statement, they proceed to draw unsubstantiated conclusions that fit their worldview. Such as: “It’s a fact: Climate change made…
click here to read more.