The moon, global warming, and the history of the hoax
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 11:12
Tuesday, July 14 -- Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Yet even after forty years, about six percent of all Americans still don't believe it ever happened. Compare that to the some 50 percent of Americans who don't think people are the primary cause of global warming, and the lively 11 percent who think the whole thing is an Al-Gore-get-rich-quick-scheme hoax -- as if he needs the money (NY Times survey).
Why are people so quick to disregard scientific data in favor of a position that has no facts of its own, one that only exists in its opposition to a different point of view? It used to be that someone with a good conspiracy theory had to go out and convince people in person that he was the sole bearer of truth in this devious, government-controlled universe. But now that anyone can have a blog (including yours truly), or a MySpace profile, or a Facebook page, it's all too easy to find all the other like-minded paranoiacs out there and build a movement out of virtual air.
After all, who needs to go to space when we have cyberspace?
Now, when you Google search the words "global warming" and "hoax," a disturbing amount of hits surface that denigrate the likes of Al Gore and fellow Stanfordian Steve Schneider for insisting that global warming is anything but a figment of the scientific imagination. The problem is, it's notoriously hard to disprove a conspiracy theory when there are no facts to disprove.
It's almost as hard as trying to keep the Arctic ice shelf from melting. Or keeping a tsunami from destroying your home. Historically, some things seem to be unstoppable.