To the editor,
I grew up in a time when finding information about current scientific topics was very difficult. I’m guessing many of the readers of this paper remember such a time. Prior to the internet, if I had wanted to learn about the latest research on a topic like climate change, I would have had to rely on my parents’ 20-year-old encyclopedia set, which likely would have had very limited information in it.
A trip to my local public library would have been only sightly more fruitful and would have still involved a laborious search for journals the library almost certainly would not have had. Performing such a search today is blissfully simple. Within seconds I can have at my fingertips the latest research from the finest universities and scientific agencies in the world.
One would think that with all of this information so readily available we would live in an era where reasonable people could agree upon the basics of established science.
Alas, the opposite seems to be true. Despite the fact that 97 percent of the world’s scientists agree that the earth is warming and that humans are mostly to blame, many Americans (like last week’s letter writer) seem to believe that scientists are either too dense or too corrupt to understand what they have spent a lifetime studying.
Instead, we should rely on alternative sources to provide us with “alternative facts.” If you saw 100 doctors and 97 of them said you were likely to die of a heart attack in the next few months if you did not have a routine procedure, would you trust the other three?
Sadly, it seems that more Americans than ever are living inside privately constructed bubbles, isolated from beliefs they find threatening. To solve a major problem like climate change, Americans are going to have to listen to each other and come to an agreement about what science and reality are. It may feel comfortable right now to live inside a bubble, but our shared bubble is getting warmer by the day.
Gary J. Freitas