Walter Williams takes the typical “economist” point of view in his latest attack on environmental science, and his argument is riddled with fallacies.
Williams cherry-picks his data on climate change, using statements by Paul Ehrlich and George Wald that are 50 years old, while conveniently ignoring the fact that a vast majority of earth scientists today think climate change is a real threat to our planet.
Some of his facts are just plain wrong, or grossly misstated. The people at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change do not think “the world is going to end in 12 years,” but they do say if we don’t act soon things are going to get really bad.
Williams says it is “the height of arrogance” to think that mankind can even come close to duplicating the powers of nature. He cites the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano which had the force of 200 megatons of TNT.
Guess he forgot there are some 3,750 active nuclear bombs in the world’s arsenal, each one capable of producing thousands of times more energy than the Hiroshima bomb. That’s enough to blow up a whole ocean full of Krakatoas.
How else can humans duplicate the powers of nature? By melting the polar ice caps, raising the level of the oceans, bringing the current extinction rate up to that of the greatest asteroid impacts, and by raising the atmospheric carbon dioxide higher in 300 years than nature has done in the past 600,000 years.
Catastrophic volcanoes can darken the sun, but to claim, for the sake of demonstrating nature’s power, that the Krakatoa eruption in A.D. 535 led to the Dark Ages, is beyond absurd. The “dark” in the Dark Ages refers not to the lack of light but the lack of enlightenment, which shows that Williams could benefit from a little enlightenment himself about science, and perhaps history as well.
It always amazes me when non-scientists claim to know more about science than the scientists do. Saving the earth is out of Walter’s field. I would advise him to stick to the economy, but he probably doesn’t want to talk about the 2012 recession or how the ballooning national debt will eventually put our whole country out of business.
Humans have great power to change things. Knowing that doesn’t make me feel arrogant, just more aware of the need to use our power wisely.