A Challenge for Storm Chasers Who Preach about Carbon Emissions

Do you chase storms? Do you claim to care about carbon emissions? If the answer is “yes”, then stop chasing.

If you continue to chase, and you remain on the climate-change/carbon-emissions bandwagon, you are behaving in a dishonest, duplicitous, hypocritical, and pretentious manner. Why? Easy: you are proclaiming the need for others (and isn’t it always others?) to curtail their carbon-spewing activities that you perceive as unneeded, while refusing to most fully do so yourself. And that, friend, is the real “inconvenient truth”.

The measure of any principle is the extent of self-sacrifice for it!

You say you recycle, use solar and wind energy, and/or take public transportation sometimes? Well, so do I–all of the above, in fact. But I do not go strutting around like some pompous enviro-peacock, proclaiming my environmental-sustainability, holier-than-thou status with carbon, while simultaneously and deliberately engaging in activities that completely counterbalance my own ideals. Carbon isn’t the reason I recycle, use solar energy, take electricity from a utility that operates wind farms, etc., and I’m not pretending that it is. And be real here: your token, minimal personal carbon savings in other areas are meaningless in the big picture. You’ll never, ever offset a millionth of what China spews in a single year. That’s the sooty, dirty truth. All the excuses in the world don’t change that.

Blather about personal “carbon offsets”, high-efficiency cars, sustainability, and local sourcing is just window dressing–a feel-good exercise in rationalizations to mollify eco-hipster insecurities. In short, it’s all a load of pandering bullcrap. It doesn’t make any real, measurable difference in the world CO2 budget. Therefore, it’s all about principle and not actual personal carbon emission. Since that’s the case, hold yourself to that principle!

I am not talking about necessary driving, such as to and from work, or to purchase food or obtain medical care. Storm chasing is a hobby. As an avid cross-country storm observer of three decades’ experience, who has logged hundreds of thousands of miles guilt-free, I can declare this with certainty: While fun, educational, informative and (on rare occasion) valuable to the warning system through storm reports, my storm chasing is not absolutely necessary. Neither is yours. I am not holding anyone to a higher standard than myself here. As such, my position is rock-solid.

Personally, I have no horse in the climate-change rodeo and refuse to get involved or take a position, either in support or opposition. I follow no herd regarding what to “do about” a warming climate. I stand tall in defiance of those on both the political left and the right who insist I must take a stand. To both, I say: No. I am my own man and you do not dictate what I must think! The overpoliticization and borderline cult status of it all just turns me off. It’s not worth more than this much of my valuable time, and I have other bigger priorities in life.

I just don’t care one way or another about “global warming” and that’s the brutally honest truth. If we warm a lot, we’ll either adapt or die as a civilization. So be it. That’s also the brutally honest truth. If my lack of concern about this issue gives you discomfort–your problem, not mine. I’ll keep chasing and driving a big vehicle because I don’t advocate anything either way regarding carbon emissions.

Nonetheless, I do care about pretension, hypocrisy and false fronts. And that’s exactly what every single storm chaser is doing who also claims to care about carbon emissions while driving thousands of miles per year for an unnecessary activity.

Again, if you chase storms and also claim to care about carbon emissions, then put your money where your mouth is and cease chasing! In the same vein, stop all other travel that is not absolutely necessary, such as vacations away from home. Either that, or stop the hypocrisy and shut up the two-faced moralizing about carbon use.

Your ideals are only as valid as the degree to which they personally apply to you. Are your carbon principles important enough to make your practice match your preaching, and inconvenience yourself?

That’s the hammer of truth (in Latin, Malleus Verum…thanks bc) that I slam down with blunt force upon this issue. Do your value your principles enough to meet my challenge? Or are they as hollow and meaningless as I suspect?

Let the lame excuses come.

Corporate Computing Conceit and Cowardice

Sony Pictures: you morons!

First you set yourselves up for all this by thumbing your noses at high-powered cybersecurity that you easily could afford–even if it did have to be a top-10% level. You’re not Billy Bob’s Auto Repair or Third National Bank of Bugtussle, West Virginia, so don’t treat your data at that “other 90%” level. Beforehand, you even allowed the PlayStation network to be hacked, among multiple past hacks, and obviously didn’t learn from it.

Meanwhile you put sensitive personal information and password lists on servers connected to the Internet (something you also could afford not to do, unlike Billy Bob’s Auto Repair). Then your managers and high-level people say and do lots of stupid, prejudiced, backstabbing, and possibly illegal stuff behind the scenes in e-mails and files exposed by hacker-terrorists. Memo: don’t do such things, and they won’t be subject to exposure by bad guys. Don’t leave unencrypted PII and passwords on exposed servers, and said PII and passwords won’t get released by bad guys to jeopardize the livelihoods and finances of thousands of people. Conduct business in a clean, wholly ethical way, and if your cleanliness and pure ethics are exposed by hackers, then…a snoozefest or even public sympathy, instead of impossible damage control!

Then, worst of all, like the cowards you are, you give in to their demands. Nothing against the innocent employees of that company, but Sony Pictures will go bankrupt and deserves that fate. And the hackers deserve long, long prison terms. I hope and pray all the innocent employees find gainful work elsewhere, no thanks to the dripping conceit of their management. Hollywood arrogance. Hollywood arrogance! Imagine that. Now my tax dollars are going to go to an investigation of this result of said arrogance.

Maybe their capitulation to extortionists was another “valid business decision“. If so, that’s more evidence of Sony’s selfishness and stupidity–it essentially dooms them to a slower-drip torture at the hands of the hackers (who obviously have no morals and probably will keep leaking regardless), slower but unavoidable loss of corporate bottom-line balances until inevitable bankruptcy, and an avalanche of lawsuits that have only just begun (and which will contribute to said bankruptcy).

Sony Pictures is doomed, regardless. Capitulating to these extortionists only emboldens them—and they still have all the remainder of the incriminating info not yet released. This not only does nothing to stop them, it further encourages more hacker-extortionists at all levels. They have thrown all other studios and all of American business under the bus by sending the message that extortion will be rewarded. So shortsighted…

What now? If Sony is going to go down anyway, go down in a blaze of glory. Here’s how:
1. Hire white-hat hackers (they can afford it, for now) to destroy the computing capabilities and expose the identities of those who did this, so they can be brought to justice.
2. Post a big fat image of an extended middle finger on their website with the following announcement overlaid: “We changed our minds. We’re not only going to release this movie, we’re going to do it sooner, and online, for everybody to see, free! Take that.”

Alas, like the hackers, they are what they are: cowards.

False Equivalencies?

A notion handed down from Richard Dawkins to assorted atheistic laypeople goes to the effect of this: the Inquisition and Crusades were mass killings in the name of religion; however Stalin’s (and other atheist dictators’) genocides of millions weren’t done in the name of atheism. Notice the subtle semantic dodge? Because Stalin et al. didn’t specifically state to the world their atheism as the reason for their genocides (most of which were kept secret at the time anyway), it must be a “false equivalency”. My my, how convenient.

Well, if you drill deep enough into any literal comparison, it becomes a “false equivalency”. For example, two slightly different isotopes of sodium are indeed slightly different at that level, and therefore, not truly identical. Nonetheless, they give you the same salty effects in molecular bond with chlorine, offering the same level of taste, electrolytic action and solubility. Of course, even that can be arbitrarily declared a “false equivalency” by someone who doesn’t like the idea. Just because somebody claims it’s a “false equivalency” doesn’t make it so. “False equivalancy” does happen: witness, for example, the ridiculous yet common comparison of homosexuality–a behavior–to skin color, an immutable genetic characteristic and not a behavior. Yet, “false equivalency” more often is a buzz-phrase used as a weapon to stifle discussion.

Self-proclaimed Christians killed many during the Inquisitions and Crusades, true. Self-proclaimed atheists killed many in the Stalin/Pol Pot/Mao regimes. True. Each set of killers was motivated by psychopathically warped version of their personal ideals (whether rooted in faith or lack thereof) which don’t represent the basic tenets of either Christianity or secular humanism/atheism, respectively. Really, those are two sides of the same evil coin. The atheists and Christians I’ve known would not murder millions, given the opportunity–but then again, I don’t make a habit of hanging out with cold-blooded killers.

The oft-repeated regurgitation of Dawkins’ “in the name of” semantic dodge, in the context of Stalin (as if Dawkins is an authority on anything in particular aside from genetic biology…but that’s another story) is popular, is viral, makes a nice catchphrase…and doesn’t stand the salty taste test, nor is it backed up by historical truth. To the contrary, I (no more nor less an authority than Dawkins on religious matters) have decided that the Stalin/Inquisition comparison is is NOT a false equivalency at its fundamental root. Here’s one example why: The League of Belligerent (or Militant) Atheists, about which Stalin’s loyal aide Yemelyan Yaroslavky said, “It is our duty to destroy every religious world-concept… If the destruction of ten million human beings, as happened in the last war, should be necessary for the triumph of one definite class, then that must be done and it will be done.”

That statement alone damns the notion that atheism was an irrelevant sideshow of the Stalin regime–not to mention the exemplifying behavior of the regime within which the “League of Militant Atheists” thrived. This group also participated directly in killing and fatal prison/Gulag exile of religious individuals, including clergy, bishops and monks*. Indeed militant state atheism was a central creed of the USSR, and the LMA was disbanded officially only under great pressure from the Allies in World War 2. Other purges of religious figures and believers followed, however–the death toll numbering in the millions as part of one of the largest genocides in history.

“NO evidence”? There goes that idea. The League of Militant Atheists, and the philosophy with which it was associated far beyond any official membership numbers, makes one hell of an “inconvenient truth” for the field of secular apologetics.

Yet the tiresome “false equivalency/in-name-of” tenet of atheistic catechism will persist for a long time, because it does make a tasty piece of gristle for militant atheists–the modern version, not as a capitalized league, and thankfully not genocidal–to latch on with fangs bared.

Personally, I’d like to see the mutual mistrust and animosity cooled off between atheists and the religious; we all have at least some common goals and interests and should be able to get along much better. If I somehow have contributed, through my unwillingness to let what I see as heretic falsehoods propagate, then please forgive me. I am idealistic in standing by my faith and in attacking an idea (not the person), and also wish no harm on atheists. Only God will deliver the ultimate, perpetually binding judgment of us all.

At the core, we all actually see the same fundamental order of creation, whether through science or the pages of Genesis. [Quite obviously, the writers of Genesis had access to some amazing insights not available to science for another couple thousand years!] Being a scientist who also is faithful, I see science as a great, God-given tool to understand His enchanting, marvelous and infinitely complex universe better and better, and see my role in contributing to science as fulfilling a God-given talent and ability. The more I read and work and play and observe in science, the more I see God’s handiwork.

Meanwhile, I say: God bless all atheists; for they, as for me and everyone else, religious or not, whether one chooses to have faith or not, are made in His image and have become imperfect through sin. Denying God won’t make Him disappear. Good thing I live in a place and time where I’ll not be burned at a stake by an Inquisitor or made to disappear by the Soviet League of Militant Atheists for saying that!

    * For more information, I highly recommend this book: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Antireligious Policies (History of Soviet and Atheism in Theory and Practice, and the Believer), by Dimitry Pospielovsky. It’s a text, and very expensive, so if you can find the book in a major library (as I did when studying all sorts of material about the USSR during the early ’90s), that’s the best bet.

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