Any Time I

GET TO FEELING TOO cocksure about my opinions, I get a small reminder that even smart guys with their heads screwed on straight can go out on a limb.

In the linked post, Marko — the Munchkin Wrangler — uses his ability with words in an attempt to eviscerate the notion that our current President may not be quite qualified for the post on constitutional grounds — to whit, the requirement that the President be a “natural-born” citizen.

Now, I’m not all that wedded to the notion myself. Nor, in the current political climate, where comity and political correctness are prized above — oh, I don’t know — actual correctness and conformity with what you might call the rules of the game, do I really hold much hope that the truth of the matter will be known during Obama’s term in office. The Democrats have too much invested to allow the truth to be known if there’s the slightest chance Obama might be disqualified by it. So they take the “I know nussink! Nussink!” Sgt. Schultz tack. They don’t want to know, because, knowing, they’d have to act.

But that’s really almost beside the point.

The point is that it’s really easy to make yourself look really dumb when you cast aspersions, insults, invective, and other bad words at people, claiming they’re ignorant of facts that haven’t been entered in evidence. There is a big difference between mis-stating what is so and stupidly or ignorantly stating what is not.

So, do you really think they wouldn’t have checked that? one is asked. The question is meant sarcastically, but gets hoist on its own petard. Because, well, yes. I do.

How many times have you heard a story on the news, had it confirmed by multiple sources, and dropped your jaw in flabbergastion. “How in the world could anybody be so stupid, careless, or kack-handed?” you always ask. People make dumb mistakes. And that the matter is of great pith and moment really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. To throw a couple of allusions in the blender with a mixed metaphor and hit the purée button.

Right now, a vast number of people of supposed high education and intelligence are intellectually invested in a notion with potential disastrous implications for the very future of humanity (if you run it out to the reductio ad absurdam). And this notion can be, well, eviscerated using only the knowledge imparted to a moderately attentive student in fifth grade general science class.

I am speaking, of course, of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming conjecture. All a querent in the matter needs to know is a little bit about the behavior of gasses and how temperature is measured to ask the question: How do you know what the true global temperature is? Finding out the answer will lead the querent to the inevitable answer: we don’t, we can’t, and what we do know is essentially useless for deriving realistic predictions of future climatic conditions.

So simple. So basic. So elementary. And yet, do you think that the great, powerful, smart, rich, and beautiful would forget to check?

One touchstone of modern science, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, says, in essence, don’t be so sure.

Another, Murphy’s Law, warns it will come back around to bite you.

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