Re “‘I don’t know’ -- and that’s no act,” Opinion, July 3
Penn Jillette is right. His defense of his right to declare ignorance of a complex phenomenon like global warming is disingenuous. It raises the question: Why can’t he examine the evidence rationally and come to a conclusion?
Sadly, his disclaimer speaks of a universal response to unpleasant news: denial. I wonder if he has children or grandchildren?
There is something quite comforting in being a skeptic, as Jillette describes himself. It saves you from the embarrassment of being wrong along with all those gullible enthusiasts who fell for it. However, in the case of global warming, skepticism may have catastrophic consequences if it forestalls action.
Jillette’s career depends on trust in science’s discoveries. None of science’s discoveries are infallible. Jillette knows that; he creates his illusions based on it. Though I commend his skepticism, I hope it doesn’t paralyze him from taking action. The longer he waits for scientific evidence to establish a high enough probability of our contribution to global warming, the greater the damage. This is one case in which the stakes are too high to wait.
What Jillette should have known is that climate change was once a theory, but now it’s a religion. If he had commented that he’s not sure if there’s a God, no doubt it would have caused a similar response, although from almost exactly the opposite crowd.
It’s just not cool to publicly doubt people’s faith.