Monday, March 30, 2009

Northern Culture on the Skids

This video of a sitting member of Congress, of painfully current vintage, is getting considerable play on the internets (e.g., here, here, here). And, painful as it is to watch or acknowledge, it deserves to be widely known, since we can't hope to overcome this sort of staggeringly hidebound ignorance if we don't expose it to the light of day. Note, for what little it's worth, the complete absence of Southern drawl:

The mind reels at the follow-up questions that spring from this line of thinking, such as it is. Doesn't it follow from these same Bible-infused claims that, say, gay marriage, global terrorism, a nuclear-ready [you name the entity], the most cartoonish form of "abortion-on-demand," and so on, can't possibly do any interesting damage to anything since Rep. Shimkus's favorite god picks the date and time for all things to end?

Which brings to mind the excluded middle fallacy nested in the middle of Rep. Shimkus's impressively dense catalog of fallacies: is there, perhaps, something short of The World's Complete Ending that's worth worrying about? Anything? I say there is. I am not aware of anyone, anywhere, claiming that CO2-driven climate change threatens to bring about "the earth's end." But I think it's worth recalling, simple-minded an insight though it might be, that not all conceivable manifestations of the earth's existence are equal. An earth completely lacking an atmosphere, for example, would be really bad for those of us who currently depend on that atmosphere for breathing, and yet an atmosphere-free earth would still exist. So would an earth elevated several dozen degrees in average temperature such that all the water is vaporized. So would an earth with average temperature several dozen degrees colder such that all the water is frozen. And so on.

While I am not sure how to alter the thinking of people like Rep. Shimkus -- and make no mistake, he speaks for millions with these ridiculous musings -- I am extremely doubtful that the most recent whiny, imperious articulation of superior 'framing' by what's-his-face is sufficient.

The mind reels.


Paul said...

Rep Shimkus almost gives the impression he believes he has offered a scientific argument in quoting scripture.

Anonymous said...

Another reason to reject deities and religions completely.

The sad part is that there are many, many people from scientists to motorists and homeowners and farmers, taking seriously the notion of "stewardship" of our beautiful planet, and doing what they can.

So, Congressman, didn't your god create those skills in us which allow us to take care of this beautiful planet it made and gave us? Doesn't it want us to "do the right thing?"