Climate change: This time it’s… personal?

We get email! Some guy in Norway asks:

Re: Show 1. november 2015

Can you honestly answer this question?…
How did the “Climate Change” change your life the last years?
..specifically about your actual real life experience about this…

p.s. I am an atheist/sceptic…

My reply:

That is kind of a misleading question, because it’s much too broad. It’s like asking “How did low education standards in Texas change your life in the last few years?” It is a large scale systemic problem that has a lot of far reaching consequences. The costs to any given individual may be high or they may be undetectable, but the overall problems with poor education are unavoidable.

But if you insist… one example of direct impact to us would be that the state of Texas experienced a very lengthy drought between 2010 and 2014. 2011 was the driest year in Texas history. Partly as a result of this, a series of devastating wildfires swept the state in 2011, resulting in an estimated economic loss of $3.4 billion to the state.

Did droughts happen in previous decades? Of course. There are certain self-identified “skeptics” who look for any excuse to avoid dealing with the consequences of what is overwhelming scientific consensus. If you are that sort of person, then I have no doubt you can dismiss any one individual event as unrelated to the thing you’re pretending isn’t real. In the same way, creationists are adept at ignoring or explaining away scientific data that is most clearly explained by evolution.

But evolution IS scientific consensus, and so is global climate change. And like the impact of poor education, the impacts of climate change are measured on a large, statistical scale that isn’t properly addressed by asking to reduce it to the level of individual anecdotal experience.

Russell Glasser
The Atheist Experience



  1. says

    Since you brought up evolution, it also reminds me a bit of those people who will only believe in common ancestry if you can show them a chimp giving birth to a human.

  2. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    those people who will only believe in common ancestry if you can show them a chimp giving birth to a human.

    And the funny part is that this piece of evidence would constitute good evidence against the theory of evolution, not for it.

  3. Patrick67 says

    Wonderful editorial Russell! I thoroughly agree and I enjoyed your tie in with evolution.

    I recently ran across a reply that was left on an article concerning evolution and a recent discovery in the field of paleontology. The article itself isn’t really important to the reply, but it was the truth found in the reply that I found thought provoking and humorous at the same time. It is possible that the reply has appeared somewhere else and perhaps some have read it elsewhere but I could find no evidence of it on Google. The reply was posted anonymously and I have no idea to whom I should attribute it.

    This reply is absolutely true and it totally caught supporters of evolution and creation off guard equally. I hope some here recognize the truth and humor it contains for both sides of the issue. By the way I am a staunch supporter of evolution and climate change/global warming.

    Here is the reply:

    “Dinosaurs and man once walked the earth together- this hypothesis was first postulated by V.T. Hamlin in the 1930s. Hamlin’s works were regularly published by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post for over 80 years. His work has been published in over 500 main stream newspapers. His work has been favorably cited in the Wall Street Journal, Nature, Scientific American, the Smithsonian and Popular Mechanics. Hamlin was a true Renaissance Man- he was an acknowledged expert in the fields of anthropology, paleontology, archaeology, political science, zoology, botany and art. He first postulated that man not only lived at the same time as dinosaurs, but he domesticated some of them as well- they were used as beasts of burden, for transportation and to do heavy labor.

    Hamlin’s theory was proven by the famous physicist DR. Elbert Wonmug and his rival, Professor G. Oscar Boom. Both were experts in the field of temporal peregrination. Wonmug’s work exceeded the accomplishments of Albert Einstein. Wonmug and Boom’s experiments proved Hamlin’s theory and have never been refuted by other scientists or even challenged by the scientific community. Hamlin’s works are prominently displayed throughout the campus of the University of Missouri at Columbia campus in the paleontology, art and political science departments.”

    If you don’t understand it at first I’ll offer you all a clue: Hollywood Argyles. It was amazing how many people were snared by this post on both sides of the fence. One group was snared because they didn’t fully read the post. The other group was snared because they were so desperate for science, any science, to prove them correct that they took the post as Gospel.

  4. johzek says

    A misleading question for sure. It’s not about me, there are seven billion other people living on the planet, and it’s called climate change which means large scale global effects and not called “the weather where I happen to be”.

  5. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Professor G. Oscar Boom.

    Classic. Next time I’m running a superhero RPG, I’m naming the oh-so-secret identity of one of my villains Professor G.O. Boom.

  6. phil says

    “[T]he state of Texas experienced a very lengthy drought between 2010 and 2014.”

    Four years? “Very lengthy?”

    Australia went through about ten years of drought from about 2000 to 2010. It was an extraordinary event even for Oz. Even so I can’t say I noticed any particular effect on me personally. Food prices probably went up, but I’ve been comfortably well paid and have no dependants so I didn’t notice. But I know from news reports that it happened, and nearly every year turned out to be the hottest on record, until the next year came along.

  7. David Jones says

    p.s. I am an atheist/sceptic.
    I’ve been a ‘environmentalist/green person for many years now and the Atheist/Sceptic badge interests me. It may not be consistent if what you are sceptical about is scientific, or at least our latest rational point of understanding.
    Another one that gets my goat is the antivax movement,. NO there is no science in support of this, in fact quite the opposite.
    We need to look at our own beliefs when we allow them to form our thoughts,. Nice to find this blog site.

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