Time for skeptics to light the lamp of reason

by Ogi Overman

Now I love a good, healthy, robust debate as much as the next guy. Essence of democracy, Socratic method, “I think therefore I am” and all that. There seems something noble about having the courage of your convictions and being able to logically defend your arguments.

But there comes a time when it is futile, counterproductive and intellectually dishonest to continue carrying on the debate. You reach a point of absurdity past which trying to defend your position is akin to the Japanese soldiers holed up in caves on Saipan, refusing to surrender months after World War II ended. If it weren’t so serious it would be comical.

Just as the vanquished Japanese holdouts eventually did, it is now time for those who have been denying the severity of global warming to throw down their weapons and surrender. This battle is lost, right-wing boys and girls, and it’s time to cash in the chips. Forget the dot-org and move on.

One of the differences between liberals and conservatives is that we liberals can admit a mistake (like political correctness – there, I’ve said it), while the latter think it is shameful to admit they could possibly be wrong on an issue. Facts and incontrovertible evidence be damned, once you stake out your position you either defend it to the end or do like Bush and keep moving the goalposts. But global warming is anything but a game, hence the necessity of ending the debate and getting with the program, dude.

At the risk of being accused of intellectual cowardice or whatever it is the right-wingers want to accuse me of this week, I submit that it is time for all the nut-job water carriers to get over it. You were wrong to make it a political issue, and to continue the argument any further only robs you of any credibility you might have left. To take it any further puts you in Coultergeist Country, Limbaugh Land, Thomas Territory. Sorry Charlie, but to call us “doomsayers” and compare our heeds to action to the Salem witch hunts is beyond the pale.

I never quite understood how this became a political issue in the first place. Would “conserving” the Earth not be a conservative cause? If it had been, say, Deadeye Dick, or Tenacious Trent Lott, or Newt the Gingrich who stole Christmas who raised the issue, rather than Al “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” Gore, would the outcry of denial even been audible?

There will always be a minuscule minority who will cling to a belief long after irrefutable fact has slapped them upside the head. There are those, even today, who believe that the Earth is flat, that man never walked on the moon, that Elvis is alive, that they are alien abductees, that Barry Bonds’ head just happened to get larger, that a sticky bun that looks like Mother Theresa is a religious icon, that cigarettes are not harmful, that Nixon was framed, etc. Sooner rather than later, the right-wing skeptics who characterize it as a big hoax will carry about as much weight as the Flat Earth Society.

Then there are those who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. (Does the name O’Reilly ring a bell?) Those who would deny global warming will ultimately fall into the buffoon category, as well.

The death knell for the wingnut holdouts may have sounded Saturday when the US, at long last, reversed its field and signed the agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide at the UN climate change conference in Bali. Granted, it is but a small first step, but at least it sends the message that Bush’s rejection of reality, common sense and overwhelming evidence no longer holds any sway over the good ol’ US of A. It is therefore time for the deniers to admit they were wrong and help the 99.9 percent of us endowed with sanity to take steps to reduce global warming. To continue calling the threats exaggerated and those of us with powers of reasoning gullible is only to embarrassing yourselves.

An Indian mystic named Rabindranatha Tagore wrote, “‘Let me light my lamp,’ says the star, ‘and never debate if it will help to remove the darkness.'” The poet, essayist and playwright won the Nobel Prize in 1913.

Al Gore won it in 2007, but the words remain the same.

Ogi may be reached at, heard Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV 48.