Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Begats

This morning, I heard one of the stupidest science reports I've ever run into on NPR. It was part of their grudging recognition (a la Frank Luntz) that global warming actually exists, and now, with reports like this one, NPR can't be accused of only using the term 'climate change'.

I'll try not to run on. Christopher Joyce reports about burning the rainforest in the Amazon region. OK, most of us (especially first graders on up) know about the risks to the rainforest. Well, Joyce's report sounds like it was done in 1987 instead of 2007. Apparently, he and the team of amateur-hour 'scientists' he interviews are just discovering that yes, the Amazon forests are at risk, and that may have something to do with climate change - er, I mean, global warming - a term they actually use.

Of course this is all a big deal; the degradation of the Amazon is one of the world's great crises, and it's gotten a lot of publicity, but the way Joyce’s whole report is couched, this is a new discovery! And in my opinion, the whole activity that these alleged scientists are up to is contemptible, and downright unnecessary: they burn tracts of the Amazon forests to see if it contributes to global warming! If fact, their leader has been doing it 'for years'.

The high purpose of this ersatz mission is to see if foresty-type stuff, uh . . . burns. Especially during the dry season. Scientific method will hopefully prove that 'fire begats fire'. A Biblical concept if there ever was one.

Sure enough, after these firebugs have sprayed their fuel and struck a match and devastated who knows how many hectares of vulnerable forest, yup, sure enough, it's official: 'Fire begats fire.'

Sounds like all they're doing is burning up grant money (from religious right organizations, maybe?) and not just valuable forest, while posing as frontline researchers who will save the world.

And of course, in great NPR white-bread tradition, Reporter Joyce tags along, reveling in his gullibility, snazzing the story up by mentioning snake bite kits (but neglects to say if anyone's ever been bitten), and offers no insight, irony or critique of anything at all. He DOES use the term 'promethian' though, which makes things a bit more sophisticated.

The whole enterprise of this so-called research sounds about as stupid as that awful museum of creationism, or whatever it's called, and just as damaging. In the process of re-learning what they already know, who can say how much wildlife they destroy, how much torched vegetation, and how much these 'tests' themselves contribute to, uh, global warming? And this NPR 'report' comes so recently after the devastating S. California fires (no reference/connection made there, either). These idiots should be arrested for arson. Christopher Joyce, catching them red-handed, could have at least made citizen's arrests!

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