The ABC reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Indonesians that human-caused climate change could threaten their “entire way of life”.
Kerry called the science “unequivocal” and told the audience: “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists … and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact.”
This statement struck me to be a little ironic, given that the ABC story also contained this sentence:
Despite evidence that human activities that emit carbon dioxide contribute to climate change, some sceptics believe a rise in global temperatures is due to natural variability or other non-human factors.
Aside from pointing out that those “sceptics” aren’t really sceptics, I wonder for how long editors will continue to think that the presence of extreme fringe beliefs backed by hunches and conspiracy theories deserve the insertion of little qualifiers in stories.
Despite overwhelming evidence that something is happening, there are some people who think it isn’t and so until every last corner of the internet has been scoured for contrarians we’ll continue to point out that those people are still around.
I wonder too why such qualifiers are not always extended to other stories? I mean, where would you stop? I’ve fashioned a few other examples which editors can feel free to cut and paste as they wish.
Despite evidence that the Earth is basically a sphere, some sceptics believe that the globe is either flat or some other shape because if the Earth really is spinning, how come centrifugal force hasn’t thrown us all off into outer space, eh?
Despite evidence that Santa Claus isn’t real, there are some people who believe that he absolutely is because he, like, so is, because they get presents under the tree once a year and the fact we live in a seventh floor flat with no chimney doesn’t matter because he SO has a magic key that lets you get through any door. And he can stop time.
Despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines reduce the prevalence of a number of very nasty diseases, some people think that all those diseases mystically went away and so it’s OK not to subject their children to injections, which hurt a bit and are therefore cruel.
Despite evidence that human activities that emit carbon dioxide contribute to climate change, some sceptics believe that the earth’s climate is controlled by god or that it has something to do with magnetism.
Despite evidence that smoking causes cancer and heart disease, some sceptics believe there is evidence that people have lived to be really really old after smoking five packs a day for sodding decades – just ask my wheezy Uncle Dave about this.
Despite evidence that animals and plants have evolved over hundreds of millions of years, some sceptics think that a god put them there and that, in any case, how can they have evolved over millions of years when the Earth is only a few thousands years old, which is totally science.
Despite evidence that massive oil slicks can be damaging to birds, some sceptics believe the birds have doused themselves in crude through choice as they go through a dark and introspective “Emo” phase.
Despite evidence that astrology lacks any basic mechanism, some people think that today is their day to shine, just be careful not to let the opportunity drift away after that recent run of bad luck. Today’s fate colour is: mauve.
Despite evidence that rapid melting of ice sheets contributes to rising sea levels, some sceptics believe they are not melting and even if they are, this effect can be offset by simply asking people to build more swimming pools to store the extra water in.
Despite evidence that NASA did land a few dudes on the moon once, some sceptics believe the whole shebang was a hoax cooked up in a studio. And while we’re at it, Elvis is so alive.