I’m on your side.really

Jan 242007

Dear Ms. Berry and Mr. Hill,

Thank you for your excellent responses to last week’s column, “Out of control cow flatulence, trees fan global warming.” Blaming cattle for global warming and pushing for their worldwide slaughter is beyond ridiculous. I commend you for your vigor and wit. You saw through the absurdity of it all and stood up for truth. Well done.

But I’d like to clarify a few points for your sake. You both seemed to perceive I was anti-ag, anti-cattle industry, anti-CSU’s history, anti-facts, etc. You also seemed to perceive I was the one who came up with the notion that the cattle industry is a major cause of global warming.

I want to reassure you that I am not anti-CSU, anti-ag, or anti-cattle. I love cows. Really. They’re delectable, and, as you pointed out, Ms. Berry, cattle are an excellent source of many nutritional needs, most of which are blatantly ignored by human nutrition professors.

In last week’s column, I was merely adding commentary and analysis to a recent United Nations’ report that identifies the cattle industry as one of the leading causes of global warming. It was the UN report – not I – that leveled the global warming charges against the cattle.

See, there’s this fun rhetorical and literary trick called satire. It is most brilliantly displayed in Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” in which he suggests that the best thing to do with Ireland’s poor population is to sell them for food after they’ve reached the age of one. Or, for a more contemporary example, you might have experienced satire by watching an episode of the “Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. Satire can employ any number of techniques, and in last week’s column I, much like Swift, was being absurd to demonstrate absurdity.

Still, do you really think I meant that we should kill all cattle everywhere? Better yet, do you really think I’d believe any “science” report the UN puts out? When was the last time the UN got any political issue right? Mogadishu? The Balkans? Oil-for-Food? Iran’s nuclear program? Don’t think so. Why, then, would I trust what the UN says about scientific matters?

How long have we been told, Ms. Berry, Mr. Hill, that wretched and greedy mankind is the cause of global warming? Suddenly, the “science” behind the global warming movement takes their aim off humans and zeroes in on cattle. These “scientists” change their mind about as often as the weather changes. Absurd? You bet.

The only thing more absurd is that some “climate experts” want to disarm and silence fellow scientists who believe that “global warming” is nothing more than part of the natural weather cycle. “If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change (read: “consent” to global warming as fact), then maybe the AMS (American Meteorological Society) shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval,” wrote the Weather Channel’s Heidi Cullen in her Dec. 21 blog.

In the words of James Spann, an ABC-TV affiliate weatherman from Alabama: “So much for tolerance, huh?”

But I’m really confused. Are humans to blame for global warming, or are the cows? Why hasn’t the “scientific community” come up with a consensus on who’s at fault? I wish they’d make up their minds.

Oh, wait. maybe that’s just it. Having a “consensus” isn’t science; science is science. If a group of scientists got together and agreed that we don’t need to breathe oxygen to live, their consensus wouldn’t change the scientific fact that we need to breathe oxygen to live.

Again, thank you very much, Ms. Berry, Mr. Hill, for proving my point and for poignantly and passionately speaking up against faulty “science” and half-truths. There will most likely be satire in next week’s column, so – as always – keep a sharp eye and a sharp mind.

Trevor Sides is a senior speech communication major. His column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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