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Gore's 'Truth' is More Like Science Fiction

By Mark Davis

While I have filled my days the last couple of years with moments of gratitude that John Kerry is not president, I have had ample occasions lately to revisit my earlier and deeper relief that Al Gore was similarly thwarted.

With the release of An Inconvenient Truth, the former vice president has cemented on film a distinction I have long observed: Some people are to be debated, and others are so unhinged that they forfeit a seat at the table of reason.

I have a responsibility to back up this amateur diagnosis, and it's not hard. In his diatribe on global warming, Mr. Gore offers supposition as fact, pathologically denies that principled people differ with him and explodes the tone of his arguments into an end-of-the-world urgency that is simply not rational.

To start off on an accommodating foot, I will stipulate that global surface temperatures seem to be on a slight rise, even though atmospheric temperatures do not.

But even if we take a surface temperature increase to heart, it is presumptuousness of the highest order to attribute it to human productivity.

Ours is a planet that has moved into and out of multiple ice ages all by itself. It takes a special kind of nerve to contend that this current uptick is attributable to factories and Lincoln Navigators.

But that is precisely what Mr. Gore needs you to believe, along with his disciples in the global warming cult. You must believe that we are fast approaching some "tipping point," beyond which we are irreversibly headed toward a submerged Manhattan as Earth's melting polar ice inundates America. Only then will the public entertain the drastic industrial and consumer limitations he seeks.

It's getting deep, all right, but not from Arctic water. Before we start opening surf shops in Wyoming and Missouri, let's test the notion that human pollution boosts the Earth's temperature.

As the '60s became the '70s, the environmental movement kicked into high gear. While its extreme wing sought to bury us in guilt for our productivity - a crusade that continues to this day - its rational majority hammered out nothing short of a complete shift in the American environmental conscience. Factories and cars have been far cleaner for more than a generation now, and they are to be credited for that.

But like their counterparts in the civil rights movement, environmental warriors did not know how to handle success, inventing whole new causes for panic to justify their radical agenda.

The warming that fuels Mr. Gore's ardor today comes after decades of improved American environmental behavior. If there was a time when man's fumes belched into the air in shocking leaps, it would be from the 1940s through the early 1970s, as our industrial economy and our driving habits ballooned.

What did the Earth do under that assault? It cooled, so much so that some scientists feared a global temperature drop that would endanger the world food supply. Since then, science has joined the other halls of academia that have been overrun by the left.

Objectivity on this issue requires avoiding a basic logical flaw. In Latin, it is called post hoc ergo propter hoc -that is, just because B follows A does not mean B was caused by A.

Global warming skeptics are often mocked if they lack science degrees. It is sad but true that a lab coat no longer guarantees that the wearer is even loyal to basic logic, much less complex science.

One does not need a climatology degree to see through the noxious fumes of global warming extremism, any more than one must be a chef to recognize rancid meat loaf.

Al Gore and a band of politically charged scientists have hijacked intellectual honesty and now seek to squash open, honest debate. Those of us who care about the planet and our economy have a responsibility to fight them before their severe views become public policy.

I don't want to commit their sin in reverse. I am not asserting that there is no chance that man is affecting the global climate.

But with our planet's history of vast temperature cycles and its amazing propensity for cleaning up events from volcano eruptions to oil spills, the notion that man can change the global climate seems to be a flimsy premise for draconian laws sought by global-warming fearmongers.

Mark Davis is a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. The Mark Davis Show is heard weekdays nationwide on the ABC Radio Network. His e-mail address is mdavis@wbap.com.

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