Time for Rex to Go
Ever since I cut Rex Murphy out of my life (see Goodbye Rex) it seems he’s been popping up more and more trying to get my attention back. I’ve been trying not to listen to him but today I gave in when I found this. I’m sure I could link directly to the CBC video, but this is more fun, because the people on that site seem to agree with good’ol Rex.
I welcome disagreement and debate. Its essential for any democracy and its essential for science. Open debate is exactly what has been happening in the scientific community over global warming for the past 30 years. The result is that climate scientists have done something that scientists refrain from doing for all but the most accepted theories, they stopped arguing. Practically all climate scientists agree global warming is real, that the warming is our fault and that the expected warming will have catastrophic consequences for our civilization. The fact they are able to write the IPC climate reports and use words like ‘will warm’ and ‘have caused’ rather than waffling about probabilities tells you they are sure about it. Global Warming has achieved the level of scientific certainty that is reserved for only the most heavily tested and vetted theories such as : Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Evolution and Genetics.
If you have a problem with any of those theories you can just stop reading now, we have nothing to discuss. But to be clear, no one is saying you have to believe any of these scientific theories of which all scientists have become so certain, you have every right be wrong, just don’t stop the rest of us from doing something about it. Remember that scientists don’t ‘believe’ these theories because they have some strange philosophical motive to believe them. They accept them because they are the best explanations we have for what we see in the world and they are all incredibly accurate in their predictions of the world. Many scientists actually don’t like the philosophical implications of some of these theories, but as scientists they have no choice but to accept them unless they can come up with a falsifiable, predictive alternative.
Yet still, I say that you have every right not to accept Global Warming, Evolution or Gravity for that matter if you don’t feel like it. Rex Murphy himself, need not believe them either, it’s a free country. The problem I have with Rex Murphy is his arrogance about the importance of his own views and the enormity of his platform. He is the only person, on our partially publicly funded broadcaster, with his own, regular opinion piece. Its in prime time, its got its own intro music and whatever he says is accepted with a roll of the eyes and a smirk from Peter Mansbridge no matter how outrageous. “Oh Rex… “ Much of the time what he says is sensible, often it’s just a bit odd. But I remember at some point last year he tried to divide Canada up into Tim Horten’s drinkers and Starbucks drinkers. He identified with Timmy’s and its Boston Cream donuts. Fine, I like them too, in fact I emphatically drink from both of these coffee empires. Rex didn’t just leave it there though like Andy Rooney or something. He implied that which of these coffee’s you liked spoke to how true a Canadian and how authentic a person you were.
This is irrational, emotion-tugging mumbo jumbo. Just like his scepticism about Global Warming and the scientific process. Rex is irrational and pompous and just plain wrong on many things. On some things, like Global Warming and “the Tim Horten’s crowd” his opinions are actually destructive and hurtful to this country. So, while I accept his right to have his own opinion, I do not think he should be given the place of honour on our publicly funded broadcaster unless there is a countervailing opinionator to balance him off.
So I’d call on the CBC to say Goodbye to Rex themselves or make him share his space of honour with someone who believes in science and is able to think rationally.