To the editor: Reporter Mira Abed observes that some wildfires are caused by nature and some by humans. The point is that humans routinely extinguish both because natural causation is no excuse for surrender. ("What should you say to a climate change skeptic?" Aug. 18)
Similarly, though humans are responsible for neither nocturnal darkness nor pathogens, humans routinely compensate for them, respectively, with electric lighting and antibiotics.
It is reported that neither the sun nor volcanoes are responsible for climate change. But even if they were, if the problem can be solved by humans reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, that's what matters.
Jim Johnson, Whittier
To the editor: Whether or not one believes global warming is real and caused by human activity is beside the point. What always matters is the public policy agenda you are pushing.
Environmental extremists, all in the name of fighting global warming, advocate policies which will result in a huge expansion of the size and power of the federal government, a massive increase in regulations, higher taxes and redistribution of wealth, less competition and ultimately higher costs and prices for the consumer.
Are these not the same policy prescription the liberals advocate for other problems?
Geoffrey C. Church, Los Angeles
To the editor: Many of us who have been a part of organized skepticism over the decades bristle when we hear the word "skeptic" applied to climate deniers. In our world, skepticism is the application of known science (and its methods) to openly question any proposition, and it should be encouraged. Indeed, we've used scientific methods to investigate everything from cold fusion to "psychics" to alleged alien landings.
It's proper to apply skepticism to things like evolution, the 9/11 attacks and climate change as well. But real science-minded skeptics make up their minds when the mountains of good evidence point in one direction. When solid evidence becomes irrefutable and a consensus is reached, those in opposition to such a consensus cease being skeptics and become deniers.
There is simply no credible opposition to the heliocentric theory, evolution, the holocaust or the human-influenced warming of our planet. The folks who decry the truth of these well-supported facts are not skeptics who are part of a noble scientific tradition. They are deniers refusing to accept what has been demonstrated.
James Underdown, Los Angeles
The writer is executive director of the Center for Inquiry and publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
To the editor: I appreciated your article about how to talk with climate skeptisc but wish it had included something on human overpopulation.
It seems to me that humans are no smarter than the rats in the experiment that were allowed to over-populate until they killed themselves off. One only needs to travel to places like India, China and (let's face it) Southern California to see how human overpopulation is affecting our planet.
Yes, we can all do our part to help mitigate greenhouse gases, but I'm guessing we'll be overpopulating ourselves out of existence before climate change gets to the point of doing the job for us.
Mary Carlson, Mission Viejo