Scare Science: Fear in Sheep’s Clothing

Today I received an email providing me with a link to a website from a broadcasting company in Australia known as ABC.  I clicked on the link and to my surprise I was not sent to the website to learn about the news or to read a story that would be pertinent to my life or enrich my experience as a human being but to a website about “my CO2 influence on global warming.”  Now, first off, I want you to understand that I was surprised that something like this existed.  Secondly, I was shocked that they were portraying this as some kind of “scientific” measure of my contribution to global warming.  The debate over what causes global warming is still raging, whether people choose to believe this or not.  So why do these websites exist in the first place?  What is their true purpose, and why do people take them as “intelligent pieces of equipment” capable of giving us a true indicator of what is really going on in the world.

As skeptical as I am, I decided to take the test and see exactly what scientific questions they were asking me so that I could get a better understanding of how they were measuring my contribution to global warming.  There are a series of eleven questions that you are to answer.  I will go through them all so that you can see what questions were asked for yourself and at the end I will give you the website so that you can take the quiz yourself.

Question 1:  How do you usually get around?  Your possible answers were:  Car (heavy, moderate, and light user), motorbike, taxi, bus or train, and walking/bicycle.  Question 2:  Is the car you normally drive…..?  Your possible answers are:  Fuel guzzler, average, fuel miser, I don’t usually take my car.  Question 3:  How far did you fly in the last year?  You possible answers are:  0 km(this was supposedly the Average), Under 5000 km, 5K to 10K km, 10K to 20K km, 20K to 40K km,  over 40K km.  Then they wanted you to give an estimate of how much was for work.  Question 4:  What size of a place do you live in?  Possible answers are:  A small house, a medium house(this was the average), a large house, a flat.  Question 5:  How many people do you share with?  Possible answers are:  none, 1, 2, 3 (which was average), 4, more than 4.  Question 6:  For your household size, how big are your energy bills?  Possible answers are:  Low, typical (the average), and over the top.

Question 7:  Is your electricity from a renewable source (hydro or a green scheme)?  The possible answers are:  Yes, no (average), and partly.  Question 8:  Do you recycle your waste and compost organic and green waste?  Possible answers are:  Yes, no, and sometimes (this was the average).  Question 9:  How often do you eat meat?  A helluva lot (which is their wording),  A lot, an average amount, most days, A few times a week, rarely, never.  Question 10:  How much money did you spend last year?  Possible answers are:  Less than 10K, 10 to 25K (the average), 25 to 40K, 40 to 55K, 55 to 70K, 70 to 100K, and over 100K.  Question 11:  Of the amount of money spent last year how much was spent on?  (you are supposed to use a slide bar and determine the percent based of three possible choices.  The choices are:  Ordinary Stuff which includes eating, going out, drinking, clothes, car, rent, etc., Stuff that’s better for the environment which includes energy or fuel efficient things, organic foods, and second or recycled items, and lastly Ethical investments which includes investing in businesses/organizations that make environmentally responsible products.  After you had answered all the questions; the program calculates the age at which you will die, yes you read this right, the age at which you will die because you abused the planet too much.  I had supposedly used up my share of the environment at age 8.5.

So apparently I am supposed to be dead which is kind of confusing but apparently since this is scientific, I am supposed to worry that I am ruining things for a future generation.  Here is the link to the website so that you can take the quiz:     http://www.abc.net.au/science/planetslayer/greenhouse_calc.htm  I will warn you that there is a chance that by the time some of you read this article the website will be taken down, but for those that get to take the quiz I hope you learn something from it, so lets discuss what we learned.

Now as you read most of the questions, you probably think that some of them are logical questions to be asked.  Take questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 for example.  All of these questions are basically asking us what our consumption of energy sources are that we use on a daily basis.  Now the other questions are supposed to garner more information based off the predetermined concepts taken from the questions I listed in the previous sentence.  How much we spend a year, how many people live in a household, do we recycle, what do we spend our money on, etc.  What do you think when you read these questions?  Do you feel that they are substantial questions and will garner some kind of truth or do these questions not serve a purpose in the overall scheme of things?  How do you feel when you take the quiz and see your results?  Do you feel sad, angry, guilty, confused, worried?  I try not to tell people my own feelings about things in articles like this because it taints the piece but in this case I am breaking my rule.  I was angry at this website.  Why you ask, because in an age where we have a plethera of information at our finger tips, people still think that we are too stupid to learn for ourselves.  We are supposed to take websites like this one for granted and concede that because they are “scientific” in their construction and their questioning that we will not try to find out if they are telling the truth.

This is scare tactics from the media and from a group bent on making people feel guilty about the way they live their lives, how they spend their money, and how their worldview is not the gospel and accepted by all in this world.  The questions about how much we make and what we spend our money on is really none of their business and does not address the scientific problems of global warming and where it comes from.  We, for the most part, live in a market society that strives itself on the consumption of goods and services provided by the best business or organization out there.  If an organization is not providing an adequate service then a new organization can and will replace them.  Why do we jump to blame ourselves for not living “the right way of life” and who has the right to tell us that we are not living that life already?  Why do we feel guilty of living the best possible life we can?  Why do we not see other possibilities for the causes of global warming?

In the end people, it is us that keep this scientific scare game going because we play into the idea that they are smarter than we are so they are supposed to know better and lead us in the “right” direction.  But the question that we should be asking is this “right” direction, their direction or is it the direction that will create a better world and future for us?  I learned in grammar school that on tests when you have a true or false question that when the statement is a definite answer that nine times our of ten it will be false.  Why you ask?  Because for the most part nothing is completely certain and it is all in the phrasing of the question.  So when the media, scientists, and “intellectual” individuals tell us that the sole reason for global warming is mankind’s use of carbon why do we not scream out  FALSE?  Why do we not cry wolf and question the people that are “smarter” than we are?  We are not stupid people and we have to realize this.  Policies, legislation, and environmental litigation is causing a detriment to society’s economic venture that can be calculated and should be considered by everyone.  You should understand, as an individual in society, that your way of life is going to change in dramatic ways because of the proposed and possibly current climate policy.  In the US right now, the climate bill in Congress is set to increases taxes in a tremendous fashion.  With this bill they plan on increasing the fuel tax over the next ten years to try and offset some of the effects of “man-made” global warming.  What does this mean for the consumer?  Well obviously an increase in the price per gallon at the pump, but also an increase in prices of products consumed by the public, jobless rate increases beyond the levels that we currently have, and probably several industries going out of business because they cannot afford the new costs being placed on them.

Why do we want to hurt ourselves, our economy, and our way of life when there is no hard evidence that mankind is the sole contributor to global warming?  Come on people, get out their and question the authorities, the Congressman, and the media and force them to tell you why this is a good thing and make them show their findings to you.  Do not take their word as gospel, being citizens like in the day of the founding of America and question what is going on around.  We are not the stupid masses incapable of making our own choices, we are just lazy and think that there are people smarter than us out there that are more capable.  Believe in yourself and the people around you to try to create a life that is beneficial to all people because in the end this world is all we have and we are not going to destroy it.

I would love to have been there during the days of the founding of the United States and seen what the men were thinking when they defied a nation, created a new one, and founded it on the principle that men are more important than government.  We are the government and without us a government cannot and will not exist.  The debate of whether global warming exists is not the current debate, but it is over whether man is the sole cause of this warming.  If there are other causes then how much does man contribute and if us changing our ways in such radical fashions is going to have the affect that we would like for it to have.  I have faith in man-kind to create a world that is better for us all, but I also believe that mother nature is not in our power to control and that there are things that we still do not understand about what she is truly capable of in this universe that we call home.  Believe in each other and believe in yourself to find the answers to the questions that are asked and do not let someone else do the work that drastically affects your way of life and how you lead it.

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