A journalist for The New Republic feels triggered, or something, because when she wrote nonsense about climate she was criticized for it. Such is the state of debate today. And not just about climate. You can trash your intellectual foes in the most intemperate way. But if they should happen to respond vigorously, you cry persecution, even sexism.
This tempest in a Twitterstream began with Emily Atkin tweeting “The scary storm system developing off Louisiana’s coast couldn’t have come at a worse time – and it’s a sign of things to come in our warming world.” Which is already waaaay over the top. Why could it not have come at a worse time? What’s so bad about early July 2019? Unless you’re one of those people so self-absorbed that anything currently happening to you, or near you, is better than the best thing ever or worse than the worst. To others, if it had happened right after Hurricane Katrina it would have been a lot worse.
As for the question of whether a warming world means more hurricanes, well, apparently not, since we’ve had some warming over the last century without any increase in hurricanes. (Some people even recall that when Katrina hit in August 2005 we were told it was but a harbinger of worse to come. Instead, two months later Hurricane Wilma was the last hurricane to hit the United States for 12 years.) And the models are divided over whether in principle more warming will increase, decrease or not really affect tropical storms. But don’t let such considerations get in the way of a good panic.
In response to Atkin’s tweet Ryan Maue, who has a habit of critiquing climate alarmism and also a PhD in meteorology, wrote “The storm hasn’t even been named & already it’s being blamed on climate change?” And Atkin, who has a BA in Journalism and Political Science, threw a fit that included mocking the notion of expertise and urging Maue “please learn to read”.
There has been much concern expressed in various quarters about a decline in civility as well as intelligence in public debate. To some it started with Donald Trump. Others feel that it has many sources. Including this amazing attitude of entitlement to go all in on one side of a debate and then be shocked, hurt, even triggered when somebody dares answer back suggesting that your position is wrong and poorly supported. Remember when people were entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts?
We didn’t think so.
What a pity that the US and Canadian libel laws were emasculated - in the USA by Congress, in Canada by the Supreme Court. After that, the media could say anything they wished, and journalism schools evidently took advantage of thet.