This week, the northeast got a snowstorm. Cities throughout the region got between 3 inches and one foot or more of snow. So yesterday, newspapers and cable television produced the usual crowd of people claiming that this was evidence of global warming. The same thing happened earlier this year when California had hot temperatures in September. The same thing happens every year down here in the South, when weather forecasters predict that we will have more and bigger hurricanes than ever before. All that I’m saying here is that these people are their own worst enemies.

There seem to be three schools of thought about global warming. One school says that global warming is not happening, and it’s just a scare card played by some people in order to drive their own ideological ends. Another group believes that global warming is indeed happening now, but that this is merely part of a long-term cycle that Gaia regularly produces, so let’s all ride the wave. The third set claims that global warming is occurring and that our behaviors are largely responsible for this change. This is the group that I’m concerned about.

I assume that the globe is warming, but I’m value neutral about whether this is some normal cyclical change like the business cycle, or whether it is something akin to the meteor that hit that is believed to have killed off dinosaurs. But when the same people allege that hot weather is caused by global warming, and cold weather is caused by global warming, it tends to make me distrust everything that they say. When they say that next year they predict more hurricanes than ever and that this is proof of global warming, and then when we have hardly any all year, that that is evidence of the same thing, then how can anyone trust them to tell the truth?

I try to not pay attention to ideologues; they rarely allow themselves to update their beliefs. If they start out with one idea, they can’t adjust this idea to accommodate new information; instead, they just try to have everything fit into the same box, no matter whether it is round or square. These people are pretty useless when we are trying to analyze anything, since we know what they will say before they open their mouth. They’d be better off if, instead, they would change their beliefs to fit the changing data.

Maybe the globe as a whole is warming; maybe this is partly (or entirely) caused by human behaviors. But it does these people no good at convincing us when they blame rain and drought on the same thing, when they blame heat and cold on the same thing, when they blame a lot of tornados or an absence of tornados on the same thing, then it lays their argument open to ideologues on the other side who say that nothing is proof of global warming. Besides, when we say that we all have to change our behavior to stop this, in reality they are saying that global warming cannot be stopped, since everyone will not change.

Sometimes, stuff happens. Sometimes, it will snow or rain more than normal. We’re having a cold month down here. I assume some place is having a warm month. Sometimes, we get more rain than normal; I assume that at the same time, some other place is having less rain than normal. These are just functions of anything that varies, they go up and down.