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October 14th, 2014

Fear Of A Wrong Planet

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Memo to Bill O'Reilly, Louie Gohmert, and Dan Benichek: YES, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE.

And it'll be your fault, because, for whatever reason - paid willful ignorance, generally being awful, or political ambition, people are disproportionally scared about the wrong things. If we're doomed, that's what we get for listening to IDIOTS who SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"He will not [come on my show] because he is afraid. He knows that I know he's not being candid. That he is spinning the situation and not being forthcoming about how the disease is being spread. Frieden should resign." - Bill O'Reilly, on CDC director Tom Frieden.

Normally, I would not give Bill O'Reilly my time in this space, because his job is to say stupid shit and get paid for it. But in this particular case, he's serving one of the most inexplicable conspiracy theories the right has come up with to date: that the CDC is deliberately lying about how difficult it is to transmit ebola so that people won't panic because...?

I mean, I get it, I guess, that Obama is bad, and so his guy must be bad, and so they must be doing something wrong, and if they're telling us it's not that bad, it must be awful, but for fuck's sake, it's the CDC. You don't get much more apolitical than the CDC. I mean, unless it's a shitty disaster or zombie movie, of course. And yes, an African disease gives racists an excuse to KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE THEY'RE DISEASED ANIMALS which the CDC won't support because that's batshit madness, but the number of people who've caught ebola in America is, at my last count, either one or two. Hardly the stuff of a cover-up.

"This President, and this secretary of state, think that more deadly to this country than Ebola is climate change, more deadly than the Islamic State to Thomas Foley is climate change.” - Louie Gohmert, Gohmerting it up.

To be fair, there is at least one thing more deadly than climate change. Louie Gohmert. I mean, for him to be fatal you have to be sentence structure, but that sentence is spraying bloody fluids out of both ends and should be quarantined for the public good.

Still, if you're going to compare danger, maybe not pick as your two examples a disease that's killed one person in America, and a specific incident where someone killed one American. And, of course, climate change is in fact way more deadly than ISIL or ebola, just not in a timeframe suited to the fruit-fly attention span that accompanies the fruit-fly intellect of Louie Gohmert. Actually, that's not fair. As biologists have proven, fruit flies are useful. And speaking of biologists...

"Well, I am a scientist. You know, I believe in peer-reviewed science. But, I don’t see any peer-reviewed science that proves there is man-made catastrophic climate change.” - Michigan congressman Dan Benichek.

The logical fallacy "appeal to authority" involves invoking an authority's opinion on a subject as proof that the opinion is correct. That's not enough for Dan Benichek, who, in the absence of any credible authority denying climate change, has decided to appoint himself one. Specifically, a scientist. More specifically, a scientist who has somehow never seen peer-reviewed science on global warming.

Luckily, this is easily explained. Apparently, Benichek's definition of "scientist" is "someone who got a bachelor's in biology in the 70s and then became a doctor". Which is awesome, because that means my bachelor's in astronomy and my current work with computers makes me HAL 9000. None of this matters to Benichek's target audience, who think anyone in a white coat holding a beaker is a scientist, and anyone who says global warming isn't real is a super-smart scientist. So, you know. Don't buy any coastal property.