John Andrist: Armageddon, Just Around the Corner?

The news is bad this week. Very bad!

I might as well get it out, because sooner or later you are going to face it.

It’s over. Finished. Done. And I’m giving it to you straight out of a prestigious British medical journal called Lancet. Well, almost straight, because it has been filtered through USA Today and The Fargo Forum.

Never mind. It’s not the messenger. It’s global warming that has done us in.

Lancet now unequivocally has declared mankind (with help from womankind, I think) is the mother of air pollution, global warming, a serious drop in labor productivity, storms, floods, droughts and heat waves.

It is the cause of worsening allergies, and is dramatically increasing the spread of dengue fever. Serious physical and mental consequences have already been identified.

I should have known my mental deterioration had nothing to do with aging.

But that’s not all. The same report by Lancet, via USA Today, via the Fargo Forum, says the damage is irreversible, a result of not doing enough in the past 25 years.

Damn! Just when my stocks were beginning to rise! Well, at least we don’t have to worry about it anymore if it is irreversible.

If you have time for a quick career change, you might think about mortuary science. There should be strong demand.

I’m not going to reprint the whole article, because I don’t want you to run out and buy a coffin at scalper prices.

But you need to know it is time to cash in your retirement account, because you won’t be needing it. Might as well cancel your dental appointment to clean your teeth too!

If you have time for a quick career change, you might think about mortuary science. There should be strong demand.

It might not be a bad idea to avoid a British doc who subscribes to this medical journal, so he can’t euthanize you under the guise of giving you a flu shot. I think mercy killing has been legalized over there.

Over here I think it has only been legalized in a few states that really need it.

I surely hope all those sick terrorists read it. Wouldn’t it be fun to look them in the eye and say, “Na, na, nana na.”

Seriously

Seriously, for a moment, do you ever think about all the things we think we know for certain, but really don’t?

For instance, just about all of us now believe the earth rotates around the sun. For generations that’s what we’ve been taught. Early man thought the opposite.

But when I looked it up on the web I to make sure it is current science, I found most sites prefer to say it is “highly probable” that the earth is circling the sun each day, and not absolutely certain.

USA Today proclaimed last week that not only is climate change real, it is squarely a result of human activity. Dead certain. No doubt about it. Unequivocal.

But the fourth paragraph admitted: “For the warming over the last century there is ‘no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of observational evidence.”

Translate that to say yes, we are pretty certain we know, but can’t offer scientific proof.

All this doesn’t matter, because in so many things we can only live with the acceptance of anecdotal evidence, insofar as most of our knowledge base is concerned.

But what does matter is that we understand the difference between highly probable and dead certain.

That’s what frightens me about our scientific community today. They seem to be so quick to close the book instead of welcoming continuing discussion and dissent.

Thirty five years ago, during the Carter years, we seemed to be dead certain we were running out of energy and the globe was cooling.

They had us believing failure to turn down thermostats and load up on sweaters was as unpatriotic as taking a knee for the National Anthem.

Now they like to pretend they never said it. Can we say for dead certain the globe will never reverse its warming trend or that we will never be able to adapt to whatever the reality is?

That’s not for me to say. I’m not a man of science, but a man of words. And hopefully one with an open mind.

Remember this old saw: No matter what happens, somebody always knew it would!

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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