Jimmy Kimmel is great. Probably the most relaxed, amiable, and funny of all the U.S. talk show hosts, not counting James Corden. But after last night he just lost a fan.
No, I’m sure he doesn’t care about this either. As he made perfectly clear in a segment of his show called “Scientists aren’t ****ing with you”, anyone who disagrees with “the science” on climate change is a complete wing nut – and therefore any criticism he gets from “deniers” like me will be considered a badge of honour.
Even so, if you’re going to go on TV and use your privileged late night ABC TV slot to tell millions of people about the “science” of climate change, don’t you at least owe it to your fans – especially the kids, like my daughter, who really look up to you – to make sure of your facts first?
Kimmel: “The idea that she [Sarah Palin] knows more than 97 per cent of scientists – it’s dangerous and offensive.”
No, Jimmy. What’s dangerous and offensive is for a prominent, influential celebrity to regurgitate proven lies as if they were facts. That 97 per cent claim has been debunked on numerous occasions. It was based on a skewed poll which involved a great deal of cherry-picking – and tells us nothing meaningful about either the current state of climate science or where scientists now stand on it. Even if it were remotely accurate (which it’s not by the way: it was a stunt cooked up for political reasons by activists), science is not a popularity contest. As Einstein supposedly said in response to a book commissioned by Hitler called ‘100 Authors Against Einstein’: “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”
Kimmel: “Climate Change is not a liberal versus conservative thing.”
Actually, Jimmy, it is and we have the stats to prove it. Check out this recent Gallup poll on how many Americans identify as “environmentalist.” In 1991 – 25 years ago – the figure was 78 per cent. Now it has dropped to 42 per cent. But what’s most significant is the way it has now become a partisan issue.
That 78 per cent figure from 25 years ago applied to both conservatives and liberals alike – there was no difference between them. But now, in the case of Democrats it has fallen to 56 per cent, but in the case of Republicans to 27 per cent. It wasn’t before but climate change is now very much a left-right issue. Which is a shame. Just as it’s a shame that you had to turn the Jimmy Kimmel Show into a left-right issue. Why couldn’t you have kept politics out of it?
Kimmel: “This isn’t a matter of political opinion. This is a matter of scientific opinion.”
What, exactly, are you saying is a matter of scientific opinion?
That the planet has warmed slightly in the last 150 years or so? Scientists agree on this.
That man-made CO2 may have an influence on global warming? Scientists agree on this.
But what you’re doing here is the same sneaky trick all environmental propagandists use to advance their agenda: you’re conflating the trivial issues on which scientists do agree with the much more serious ones where they don’t agree and which, anyway, are far too important to be left up to scientists whose narrow specialisms make them ill-equipped to dictate dramatic political and economic policies with impacts far beyond the realm of science.
Kimmel: “2014 was the warmest year ever. Until 2015 became the warmest year ever… Since 2001, we’ve had 15 of the 16 hottest years there have ever been. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.”
Depends on where you get your ‘facts’. There’s copious evidence that the raw data has been corrupted – “adjusted” – by climate gatekeepers eager to make a political point, with earlier years (like the 1930s – the hottest 20th century decade in the U.S.) being artificially cooled and more recent years being warmed. As for this casual use of the word “ever”: no scientist worth the name believes that. There have been numerous periods in earth’s history when temperatures have been warmer – in the Medieval Warming Period, for example. What you mean by “ever” is “since temperature records began”, which is only a matter of a few hundred years.
Kimmel: “97 per cent of climate scientists say the global warming we’re experiencing is very likely due to human activity. That’s NASA.”
Well even if this mythical – see above – 97 per cent are right: so what? Global warming – whether human-caused or otherwise – may very well not be a problem. And even if it is a problem, the dramatic measures these scientists are recommending to deal with it may well be doing more harm than good, so why are we listening to them anyway? As for the recommendation that we go to NASA for our climate science: this is a bit like asking Enron for accounting advice, or Islamic State for women’s sexy beachwear.
Kimmel: “Either you believe in science or you don’t. Why believe scientists on molecules and the speed of light and Cialis but not on this?”
Because even when you insert a cheap gag about erection-boosting pharmaceuticals, Jimmy, it doesn’t alter the fact that you are stunningly ignorant about what ‘science’ actually is. It is not a fixed body of knowledge, immune to criticism or scepticism. Still less – that word “believe” is a dead giveaway – is it about religious faith. Science is a continual process of discovery.
Kimmel: “This is not what I know. This what scientists know.”
And there’s the problem. For liberals “Science” has become the new God, with “scientists” talked of reverently like priests – as though, somehow, they were guardians of a special knowledge beyond the ken of mortal man. If we think of scientists this way – rather than as guys like the rest of us who want to pay the rent – then we impose on them a burden of expectation that they cannot possibly fulfil.
When Matt Damon in The Martian says he’s going to “science the shit out of” his predicament – that’s not reality. That’s a liberal fantasy. Scientists can be pretty good in their specialist fields (though not always; see e.g. the Climategate emails) but beyond that are about as useless as the rest of us, if not more so. We certainly shouldn’t entrust to them the economic and political future of the world. That way madness lies.
Kimmel: “These scientists are not part of some imaginary conspiracy.”
Actually, Jimmy… they are.