Archives for posts with tag: denial

When I was a young man, I was a very bad driver.

In my mind of course, I was a better driver than everyone else. 

I used to overtake 10 cars in a row regularly, because I was far more capable than all those other losers.

I used to overtake on bends, on blind intersections, you name it. According to me, I was shit hot at driving.

Until I nearly killed myself and my dad. I avoided hitting an oncoming car by mere inches.

Soon afterwards, I got stopped by the cops. They wanted to take the car from me.

Turns out, I wasn’t such a great driver after all.

It was then that I began to realise that all these ‘slow’ drivers (or so I thought) were actually quite good drivers. It was I, in my arrogance, who was the bad driver.

I thought I was better than everyone else. I wasn’t.

That, to me, is how I see Covid deniers today. They think they know more than everyone else. They think we are all stupid, that they are better informed; that they are asking all the right questions, and we are sheep, happy to go along with the consensus.

In reality, they know almost nothing.

They don’t have degrees in medicine, nor virology, nor epidemiology, nor public health. They have no particular knowledge or expertise on the virus. They have not held the hands of people as they slip away from this world. They have not had to survive on caffeine and adrenalin as a patient is sent to the ICU, while another is zipped up for the morgue. If they did, it might give them an opportunity to reconsider their beliefs. Even if they had an opportunity to show empathy with those on the front line, they might reconsider their beliefs.

Alas, they won’t. They are so full of the importance of their own ideas, and the stupidity of everyone else’s.

Arrogance like this does not serve these people well. A little bit of humility might be more appropriate.

When I see Covid deniers, I don’t see thoughtful intellectuals with whom I must have a considered debate about the facts.

No. Instead I see young men in cars, who have a lot to learn about the world and their fellow travellers, and who could yet do great damage before this pandemic is finished with us.

For years, it has struck me as bizarre how people could look at our behaviour on this planet, and assume no consequences whatsoever.

Over the last 150 years, our factories, our steam engines, our cars, our planes, our electrical power stations, our lorries and our machines of war and peace have been burning fossilised carbon. Day after day, year after year, the burning has increased as the whole world industrialises. A dramatic, unprecedented innovation, way bigger in magnitude than any volcano or any solar cycle.

The signature is there, plain to see. 400 parts per million of CO2 in the very air we breath. A record level, way above anything the planet has experienced over hundreds of thousands of years. Not only that, but this concentration was achieved, not over centuries or millennia as would be expected, but mere decades. 400 parts per million of CO2 and rising rapidly.

In this time, global temperatures have increased, just as would have been expected. The properties of carbon dioxide are well known, not from computer models, but from the lab. CO2 stores heat, and as its concentration rises, so too do temperatures.

For decades, we have been seeing changes taking place. Glaciers melting, permafrost disappearing, sea ice vanishing, oceans acidifying, climate patterns changing. The only reason for this is a warming of the planet – a warming seen in our air and ocean temperatures. A warming that cannot be accounted for through natural causes alone.

And now, we learn that West Antarctica is shedding its ice caps. One great force of nature – chemistry – yields to another: gravity. These ice sheets will fall into the ocean – they are falling already – and this in turn will lead to massive sea level rise in the next 200 to 300 years.

This is enough to convince everyone but the dangerous fools. The dangerous fools who use every trick in the book to persuade others that either it’s not happening at all, or that, sure, ’tis only natural and we’ll be grand.

Despite a huge consensus of scientific opinion, we have let these dangerous fools take power, dictate our politics, protect vested interests, poison the discourse and impugn the scientific enterprise. We have let them block, bluster and even incentivise the polluters. The result is that nothing much is done while each year, the signs get more stark, the evidence more blatant.

Damned fools. Make no bones about it, they will continue to fiddle while Rome burns about them. Such is their investment in their cause and their desire to be right. We need to move on from them. Let them play in their sandboxes while the rest of us figure out what to do. Fuck them. The world has run out of time listening to their arrogance and their idiocy.

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