Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So very predictably stupid

Late last night I heard the story about a woman at a German zoo jumping into a polar bear enclosure and getting attacked by a bear. I predicted to myself (as I didn't have access to the net or I would have done it here) that Rush Limbaugh would use the incident to attack the established science of anthropogenic global warming.

Today I decided to do a test of the Limbaugh 30 second rule by which you can tune into Limbaugh at any given moment and he will either be lying or will tell a lie within 30 seconds. Amazingly enough, the instant I flipped on Limbaugh he was talking about the polar bear incident. I kid you not, the exact instant.

And, just like I expected he would, he was attacking the notion (see here for audio) of anthropogenic global warming (stupidly):

I blame the vice president -- the former vice president, Al Gore, for this. Did you see -- have you seen videotape of the zoo in the -- the Berlin Zoo where this woman jumps in the polar bear section? She jumped in the water. She jumped in a pond in the polar bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo, and I have a picture. If you haven't seen the video, I'm going to show you a picture here on the dittocam. I'm going to zoom in -- zoom in. There you see the woman being mauled by the polar bear. Now, it is not Knut the polar bear. He -- they say he would never attack a human, although he would; he's a polar bear. They had to distract Knut with food. One time a woman got into Knut's camp and he was making a beeline for her and they threw a whole bunch of beef in there, and he, of course, got distracted by that. The intruder, the woman was attacked just yards away from Knut, the abandoned bear who became famous around the world. Zookeepers managed to push the bear away and they carried the woman from the cage. The mauling took place inside an enclosure occupied by four polar bears not far from Knut's home. Heiner Kloes, a Berlin Zoo spokesman, said the enclosure is surrounded by a fence, a line of prickly hedges, and a wall. It did not stop this woman. She jumped in there. Why? Because she wanted to pet the polar bear. I can tell you why she jumped in there. She has either seen Al Gore's movie of stranded polar bears on fake, fading glaciers, or she has just become overwhelmed with all the stories about polar bears and she's seen little pictures of baby Knut and she wanted to jump in.
Limbaugh also asserted - contra-reality -that polar bears are not threatened nor endangered. They are currently listed as threatened (though not endangered) but are expected to be at risk for extinction during this century as a result of climate change.

Look: This is the person who has been chosen as the intellectual leader of the conservative movment and thus, by default, the Republican Party. And he is a moron. Not just dumb, but dumber than dumb. The above ramble makes no sense. It is incoherent.

Even if Al Gore's movie about global warming contained factually false information it would have nothing to do with a woman wanting to jump into a pit with a polar bear (I suppose an anti-capitalist ideologue might blame those Coke commercials where the cute polar bears drink Coca-Cola in the Arctic.) I'm almost embarrased to type that sentence out since it's so obvious, yet there is apparently a significant political faction in the United States of American which thinks otherwise, that thinks that someone saying the idiocy above is someone worth listening to. Actually, "significant" is an understatement: this is someone who is visited on a regular basis by top US officials, including former VP Dick Cheney.

What this is is part of Limbaugh's ad hominem case against AGW. He can't argue the science because he is too stupid to comprehend it, but he instead can attempt to characterize environmentalists as silly, witless do-gooders. Yet the attempt is so feeble, I can't wrap my head around how people find this dolt compelling.

Update: I just want to reiterate again how troubling I find it that the de facto leader of a major American political party is a relentless purveyor of bullshit, and that within the conservative movement stupidity is not an impediment to advancement, but instead propels one straight to the top. During that rant (you can hear it at the start of the audio clip), Limbaugh asserts that it is completely false that the amount of ice in the Arctic is declining. That is a factual claim, and a false one at that.

Lead paragraph in an Associated Press story today out of Washington: "Arctic sea ice is melting so fast most of it could be gone in 30 years."

Because of recent ice loss, Arctic surface air temperatures are warmer than normal, and much warmer than scientists expected to find.

A report on the issue, by Muyin Wang of the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean and James E. Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, will appear in Friday's edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Yet Limbaugh gets paid well precisely because he is telling his audience things that are not true. And he is praised by members of the Republican party who grovel at his feet for approval, and the LA Times gives op-ed space to fools who maintain that Limbaugh has never ever uttered a stupid word.

This is not a good sign for the state of the republic.

For more comprehensive information on the loss of arctic sea ice and the ramifications of that, see here.


Sheldon said...

"(I suppose an anti-capitalist ideologue might blame those Coke commercials where the cute polar bears drink Coca-Cola in the Arctic.)"

Hey watch it there buddy! I suppose I might be an anti-capitalist ideologue, and I know of others, and we would never make a claim so silly! Is this some kind of effort to be "Fair and Balanced"? :)

Hume's Ghost said...

Actually, I was trying to be dryly comical in the sense that I was trying to think of a claim that was equally ridiculous in a manner that would bring out how ridiculous Limbaugh's rant is.

Maybe I should have added in the qualification of "moronic anti-capitalist ideologue."