Friday, April 23, 2010


Lies and Myths

I am disturbed by the eagerness of some Americans to embrace as fact a statement about the environment, the economy, or the political prospects for Democrats who voted for the health care reform bill that is either demonstrably false or can not be backed up with solid evidence. Here are some examples:
  1. Scientists now admit that the evidence in support of global warming is not convincing and that there is no hard evidence that the earth is actually getting warmer. In fact, the earth may be getting cooler.
  2. The recession has hit bottom. From now on the economy will improve.
  3. In the fall elections this year, Democrats will lose control of both the House and the Senate because of the unpopularity of the health care reform bill.

Regarding statement #1, I have read that public opinion polls indicate that at least a third of the public believes that global warming is a hoax. This belief persists in the face of reports about glaciers in many parts of the world retreating and predicted to cease to exist some time in the next century. Is the retreat of glaciers a result of the increased concentration of CO-2 in the atmosphere? The two effects seem to correlate and there is a logical explanation as to why increased CO-2 concentration should lead to the melting of glaciers. However, the simultaneous occurrence of two phenomena is not necessarily proof that they are related causually. It has been reported that there is an increase in the amount of CO-2 absorbed in the oceans. The increase has led to the formation of enough carbonic acid (H-2 C O-3) to change the pH of ocean water 0.1 toward increased acidity. This is a large increase and may harm several forms of ocean life. It may be the cause of the death of corals in many parts of the ocean. Aside from coral reefs there is yet no evidence of harm to other marine organisms.

Regarding statement #2, jobs are still disappearing. Unemployed workers aren't finding new jobs. There may be some favorable economic indicators, but such indicators haven't yet helped unemployed workers find new work.

Statement #3 is pure pie in the sky. In spite of all the publicity given to the Tea Partiers, the new health care bill isn't as universally hated as some Republicans believe. There is a substantial minority of the population, greater in numbers than the Tea Party movement, who believe that the bill, though flawed, is a good start. It will be amended from time to time, not abolished as some Republicans wish, until we finally have a health care system in our country that we can be proud of.

That's not to say that the Democrats won't lose some seats in the fall election. I won't predict how many, but I am confident that they will still have majorities in both houses.


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