This is the first in a mini-series of posts about videos that really annoy us. First up – “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See“:
Greg (we almost feel a little bit bad for having a go at someone who describes himself as “A high school science teacher in the process of burning out“[EDIT: especially now that Greg – not Gary – pointed out to us, much more politely than would have been perfectly reasonable, and to our embarrassment, and for which we apologise, that we got his name wrong first try]) presents “inescapable proof” that it is definitely better to “do something” (anything?) about global warming than to “do nothing”. That’s because, if global warming is happening, the consequences of not doing something are too horrible to contemplate, and if it isn’t, then hey, no great harm done. The thing is, this is just a reformulation of the Precautionary Principle, which, as Philip Stott notes, is itself just a reformulation of Blaise Pascal’s famous wager. Stott does a fine job of explaining why Pascal’s Wager (and, therefore, the Precautionary Principle, and Greg) cuts no ice in climate change debates.
We would only add that it is striking that Pascal was arguing the case for believing in something – God – in the absence of proof or evidence. We have pointed out before that once you remove Environmentalism’s scientific fig leaf, all you are left with is an embarrassment of blind faith and bad politics. Which is presumably why the video has been received and distributed so enthusiastically. Take out Greg’s sciencey-looking graphs and tables and what remains is an argument for embracing Environmentalism regardless of what science says. It is not science; it is theology – a theology written in the language of science, but which you’re not meant to take too literally or anything.