97% consensus: redheads will go extinct with global warming

I’m still noodling Joe Loveland’s proposed speech code that’s ostensibly justified by a scientific consensus of 97% for human caused climate change.


Very much related, I happened across this on the impending extinction of redheads that global warming will cause.


I have my doubts this is true. But just in case, it turns out I was prescient in marrying a ginger/redhead. Got mine while the getting was good. Bought low, can sell high eh.

I might be overstepping my bounds as a non-scientist, but I do have various critiques of this theory. From the article:

Dr Alistair Moffat, boss of genetic testing company ScotlandsDNA, said: “We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the climate. We do not get enough sun and have to get all the vitamin D we can.  “If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.”

Another scientist, who asked not to be named because of the theoretical nature of the work, said: “I think the gene is slowly dying out. Climate change could see a decline in the number of people with red hair in Scotland.”

This is a UK tabloid story essentially, so it’s got a frothy form and the quotes are kind of simplistic. They’ve shorthanded the occurrence of redheads in a population as a function of dim sunlight. That’s far from an adequate explanation. Post Darwin science instructs us that genetic mutations will more or less appear spontaneously within a population. Those traits persisting depends on whether they increase the opportunity to have offspring that will carry that gene and breed it into more children.

So being a redhead in a low sunlight environment might mean a greater ability to synthesize vitamin D, which in turn might lead to greater health, long life, and more opportunities to reproduce. Begat, begat, begat. We get more redheads, and certainly this might have been an identifiable trend in eras of poor nutrition and medicine.

What about now, when global warming and more sunlight negates the redhead’s advantage in synthesizing vitamin D? This advantage was probably already negated by modern nutrition and medicine. And the introduction of more sunlight would not constitute a reproductive disadvantage for the redhead. The redhead gene being established, it would probably remain until usurped by another gene. But that usurping gene might not have anything at all to do with an ability to synthesize sunlight for vitamin D. And the whole process of gene usurpation might take hundreds of generations.

So the extinct redhead theory is baloney, more or less. Let’s say more. Amirite? Amirite? I’m pretty sure I am.

In terms of the ongoing dialogue about who gets to say what, the questions that follow are:

Does a speech code get to filter my viewpoint out because it’s contrary to an assertion that is at least superficially ‘scientific’ in its acknowledgement of AGW?

Do I even get to make my argument as a non-scientist? There’s a pervasive trope out there that says non-scientists don’t get to engage in the AGW argument at all. Now this is a fallacy, but it’s still pervasive.

These questions are not as mirthful as my example. As I say, the redhead article is from a UK tabloid, so that’s kind of an easy call. But fact is…. And never mind that there is a 97% scientific consensus on climate change…. half the media stories we see on AGW are excessively speculative if not complete crap. Many or most of them are not actually expressions of science.

What’s glaringly obvious is that editorial staffs are encumbered by knowledge limitations, and they pick poor articles for publication. This is actually normal, and a reflection of the old Hayekian ‘knowledge problem.’ A person can only know so much.

What’s cloying then, is that with folly and error consistent in AGW articles, it does not stand to reason that editors should enforce a speech code that shuts out critics and contrarians.  They haven’t surpassed a threshold of reliability that’s earned them that.


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