Meet the Internet’s Newest Climate Scientist

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comDo you remember the old television commercial where the guy said, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV?”

If you’ll recall, the line took on a life of its own — kind of like “Where’s the beef?” or, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

This line was unique, because people could put their own spin on it by saying, “I’m not a (fill in the blank), but I play one on TV,” before proceeding to give their opinion on something.

I think it’s time we update this expression to fit the internet age, and I know just how to do it.

People could preface their opinions online by saying, “I’m not a (blank), but I play one on the Internet,” before delivering their opinion on a subject they know absolutely nothing about.

Here’s why I say this.

One of my Facebook friends shared a post about climate change written by someone who obviously has educated himself on the matter. It was intelligent. It wasn’t particularly one-sided, and it certainly wasn’t inflammatory.

It was obvious, however, that he agrees with the 68 percent of Americans who believe human activity is causing climate change. This is a new Gallup poll number, and it’s up 13 percent in 2 years, which is astonishing if you ask me.

After I read the post, I clicked to read the comments, because that was a slightly less painful way to pass the next 5 minutes than slamming my fingers in a door.

To my surprise, though, the vast majority were supportive, which gave me a rare glimmer of hope.

The lone name caller bashed the rest of us as “tree huggers,” which is fine but terribly unoriginal.

This morning, though, I got a notification that someone else had now commented on the post.

It caught my eye because it was a kid I grew up with in my hometown. I found this particularly unusual since I have no idea where he lives, and neither he nor I am even Facebook friends with the author. 

But, thanks to the internet, somehow this guy saw the post and gave us all the gift of his two cents worth.

After his all-caps introductory expletive, he went on to explain the ridiculousness of climate change and inserted a made-up statistic to back up his point. I know it was made up, because I spent 10 minutes researching to prove to myself it was made up.

I sat there with my head cocked sideways like a confused dog on a cartoon with my mouth hanging open, wondering how worlds can collide the way they sometimes do.

I haven’t seen him in decades, but I’m pretty doggone sure he isn’t a climate scientist.

But thanks to the internet, he gets to pretend he is.

Hear the good news! I know a Facebook climate scientist!

The fact that this guy disagrees with what real climate scientists say is immaterial. I wouldn’t have expected any less.

What baffles me is the fact that his lie is sitting out there for impressionable minds to see forever — because that’s how long things last on the internet.

And what disturbs me more are the thousands of myths that the internet will foster and grow today alone from people who simply make stuff up to push their agendas.

And worst of all, the more routine it becomes, the more desensitized we become to it.

If we’re not careful, we will start accepting it if we haven’t already. 

I hope you don’t see that merely as another tree hugger point of view.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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