Comparing climate change to your sick child
One way to illustrate the illogical reasoning of climate deniers is lllustrated by the parable* of a parent concerned with a sick child.
A parent with an apparently healthy child takes the child to the doctor for annual checkup. The doctor consults with the parent after the checkup and, looking worried, explains that the child has unusual levels of CO2 in blood, nitrogen in urine, maybe a low-grade fever and a remarkable lack of diversity in the intestinal microorganisms so necessary for metabolism and essential micro nutrients. The doctor goes on to say that the laboratory measurements were so unusual they repeated all of the measurements on fresh samples of blood, urine and stool. Same results. The doctor says she has never seen anything like this in many years of practice.
The doctor says she doesn't know exactly what this means since it has never been seen before and notes these measured level are consistent with certain of the child's activities. The doctor strongly recommend immediate steps be taken to lower the levels and reestablish biodiversity.
The parent says my child appears healthy. I'm getting a second opinion. Parent does that and in the end takes child to 100 doctors and 100 different labs do the workup. All the measurements come out the same.
Ninety-nine of the doctors recommend immediate action to lower the levels even though they do not know exactly what would be the consequences of doing nothing.
One of the doctors looks at the same measurements and says is could be a natural part of growing up for this particular child and recommends wait and see if something bad happens.
Now, suppose you're the parent. What would you do?
[*suggested by a comment by Arnold Schwarzenegger to Thomas L. Friedman]
Thomas A. Moore, Ph.D.
Director, ASU Center for Bioenergy & Photosynthesis
A transdisciplinary center affliated with
Arizona State University, Box 871604, Room ISTB-5 101, Tempe, AZ 85287-1604
phone: (480) 965-1963, fax: (480) 965-5927