Two items this week reminded me of bomb lobbing. One item happened to be about the Sun’s activity. The other about hurricanes. They could have been about any number of subjects. Whatever the subject, they would have brought me back to bomb lobbing.
The article on the Sun ran in a major British science journal. It described how the Sun’s activity lately has caused major head-scratching for scientists. They assumed some things about global warming and cooling were connected to the Sun’s activity. But lately they are not sure. “We need to study this more,” say the scientists.
The piece on hurricanes said that most big-time scientific hurricane forecasters were wrong again this season. (Wait. The season is not entirely over.) Most such forecasters have whiffed the last several years. You would not want to rely on them to pick your stocks. Unless you stocked up on extra shirts, to replace the ones you lose.
What ought to be clear to us is that these experts don’t know this stuff. Any more than you or they know if IBM will go to $400. Or who will be in the money in the fifth race at Aqueduct.
They have satellite data enough to choke all the horses at Aqueduct. They have the history. They have the computers. They have theories piled as high as skyscrapers. But they don’t know this stuff.
Yet tonight some folks at a party will bust up their friendship over whether we have global warming or not. Or whether his Hummer will cause daffodils to bloom at Christmas.
We think we know what these scientists do not know. The reason we think we know such stuff is because we have been impacted by the bombs the extremists fling in our direction.
Extremists don’t say “Scientists are still debating this question.” They scream for life rafts for New York City hotels for when the waters rise. (In case President Obama did not stop them, as promised.) They make movies like Al Gore’s travesty. They tell us all the glaciers are melting like ice cream in Death Valley. Antarctica is the next Honolulu. Your campfire’s smoke will warm us so much sugar cane will sprout in Siberia. (Maybe not a bad idea.) And next year we will have 100 horrible hurricanes.
Extremists don’t say “Oil and natural gas may start to run out some day. But experts on both sides still debate when this will happen.” Instead, they fling a bomb. “Last drop of oil by 2020! Buy your solar-powered horse now, before we run out. (Of horses.)”
Pick a controversial topic. The reason people come to blows over it is because extremists have lobbed bombs to frighten everyone. When folks are frightened, they go for each other’s jugulars.
One guy says “I have my doubts lately about ________. I’ve been reading some stuff from people with opposing views.” And his friend responds with “What? You’re changing sides? May you rot in Hell for all eternity.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we returned to civil behavior on some of the issues of the day? Who knows, we might even be able to discuss and politely debate the subject of bomb lobbing.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns, for Tom’s radio shows and new TV show (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.