President Obama delivered the commencement address this week at the Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn. He told the graduating cadets that they faced a challenge before them that, “perhaps more than any other, would shape their entire careers.”
Was it to protect the homeland from what the president aptly characterized as “the grave threat of terrorism”?
Was it to “interdict undocumented migrants at sea,” which has been part of the Coast Guard’s history since its inception?
Was it to meet the threat posed by the “rise of adaptive Transnational Organized Crime networks,” as part of the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy laid out last September?
No. No. No.
The great challenge that awaits the newly commissioned Coast Guard officers, their commander in chief told them, is “the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.”
Now, said the president, he knows that “there are still some folks” who “refuse to admit that climate change is real.” That would be the 62 percent of us who, according to a March Gallup Poll, don’t think global warming will pose a threat to us or our way of life in our lifetime.
Obama thinks us know-nothings. Or, worse, climate change “deniers.”
Why, don’t we know that “the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening”? That our “analysts in the intelligence community know that climate change is happening”? That our “military leaders – generals and admirals, active duty and retired – know it’s happening”?
That our “homeland security professionals know it is happening”? And that “our Coast Guard knows it’s happening”?
Well, it’s not that this climate change “skeptic” – not “denier” – refuses to acknowledge climate change.
I simply am unconvinced that the putative change is anthropogenic (rather than naturally occurring). I also doubt that climate change poses the existential threat to humankind that President Obama, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and other global warming zealots want us to believe.
Indeed, as I read the White House transcript of Mr. Obama’s remarks at New London, I was reminded of an observation by Leo Tolstoy.
“I know,” the Russian author wrote in his 1897 treatise, “What is Art?,” “that most men – not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical or philosophical problems – can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it is such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty – conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.”
This phenomenon to which Tolstoy referred is known today as “confirmation bias.” Raymond Nickerson, founding editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, defines it as “the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations or a hypothesis at hand.”
It’s why global warming adherents insisted that February’s “record-breaking cold across much of the Great Lakes and Northeast,” as the Weather Channel chronicled, was perfectly consistent with climate change science.
It’s why the climate change community has tried to explain away the “pause” in global warming since 1999 – which has occurred despite increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as the BBC noted and which doesn’t comport with computer models on which climate change theory is based.
And it’s why Mr. Obama insisted this week that climate change is “an immediate threat to our national security,” though neither “the best scientists in the world,” nor “analysts in the intelligence community,” nor our “military leaders,” our “homeland security professionals,” or “our Coast Guard” have produced any evidence that the sky is falling.
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