Somebody -- or maybe it was 600 somebodies -- met somewhere on United Nations soil and made some long-range predictions. All dealt with global warming and its effects, which will be many and horrific in the next century. Especially on the Louisiana coastline, where we're having trouble even ridding ourselves of things like MRGO. How bad is it going to be? Word is that Tulane, Dillard and the University of New Orleans are all considering fielding water polo teams in the near future.
This happy news came within a day of reports that such non-Arctic climes as Knoxville, Tenn., were experiencing balmy temperatures around 20 degrees. I know, I know, this is only one of Mother Nature's temporary aberrations and not evidence that disaster is not on its irrevocable journey to my front door.
Still, it won't arrive until at least 2083, long after Medicare and Social Security have tanked. That's a weather report 75 years from now. I watch Dr. Heidi Cullen on the Weather Channel sometimes, enough to know that these folks have great difficulty predicting the weather for Thursday. Did anyone predict global warming 75 years ago?
All this within 20 years of widespread predictions that the Next Ice Age was imminent. I went out and bought a nice suede jacket to be ready; did I miss something?
Oh yeah. One other thing about this global warming. What the blue hell are we supposed to do about it? Throw away our electric razors and waffle irons?
Just as I was harboring these thoughts, I was nearly herded to the curb by first, a Dakota Sport, then a Ford F350. Each of these trucks is nearly 47 feet long and gets approximately 11 blocks to the gallon. Their drivers don't seem worried about greenhouse gases.
Like I said, it's crazier than ever.
What is? Well, our deification of science and scientists. Especially those who claim we've taken unpardonable liberties with Ma Nature and now we must renounce everything science has addicted us to.
To them I offer this: If we'd left nature to its devices, Morgan City would be the new New Orleans and the amount of Mississippi River flowing past the Bienville Wharf would be the depth of the 17th Street Canal. Science giveth and science taketh away.
Once upon a time, science was the new religion, a surer belief system, one that would erase our question marks and put exclamation points on our answers! Traditional religion was tired and old enough to cause sneers among the young. The new faith in science was illustrated in this courtroom speech from Inherit the Wind, the play based on the Scopes evolution trial:
"Darwin moved us forward to a hilltop, where we could look back and see the way from which we came. But for this view, this insight, this knowledge, we must abandon our faith in the pleasant poetry of Genesis."
Many of us did that or something like that. But our faith had to go somewhere, right? For many of us it went to the new orthodoxy of Science, even though that all too quickly widened to take in the fringe religions of pseudo-sciences like semiology and astronaut psychology. Who needs a pope when you have a Carl Sagan?
But somewhere between Science recapturing the Ceryneian Hind and the Erymanthian Boar, we lost sight of a few things. We should try to remember that the German Nazis and the Russian Communists both claimed to have science on their side. Impressed by the number of "experts" that can be trotted out by Bill O'Reilly or Keith Oberman to back up the latest scientific discovery? Always can be found "experts" to testify to the accuracy of any lie; the O.J. Simpson trial was pretty well swamped by the flying monkeys known as "experts."
This too. Sixty scientists who'd worked for years to build an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert for Franklin Roosevelt signed a petition in 1945 asking Harry Truman not to use it.
Oh, that's it. Create something that can alter the planet and the life thereon and then depend on ... politicians? George Bush or John Kerry? Joe Biden, George Wallace, Kathy Blanco, Alcee Hastings, Cynthia McKinney?
In other words, whatever science hands to humanity, social science will drop. Do you doubt for a moment that all the execrable potential of cloning will be realized before it's over? Make ready for busloads of Paris Hiltons and Baby Bois.
There is only one who has handled the boon of science with the proper pride and humility and that secular saint, immune to the goadings of academe and commerce, goes by the name of Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus.
Beware any science that comes not from the Icehouse.