Ramesh Ponnuru asks,
“Are smokers dumb?
George Will thinks so. In his latest column he repeatedly suggests that smoking and smokers are dumb. He writes: “Would you hire a smoker, who must be either weak-willed or impervious to evidence?”
I find the question bizarre. Does Will really expect most people to answer no? If I were in a position to hire someone, smoking would not be an issue in any decision I made. I do not assume that the choice to take health risks for a fleeting pleasure is “dumb” or reflects ignorance of the evidence or weakness of will. (I don’t consider riding motorcycles “dumb” either.) It’s hard to see how placing less weight on the value of health than George Will does is irrational.
But I certainly wouldn’t call George Will dumb!”
Don’t worry about it, Ramesh. I’ll call him dumb for you.
Full disclosure, I am a smoker. A rather heavy one. So this is personal.
But I find it kind of galling for George Will to cite, as one of his reasons for calling smokers dumb, our imperviousness (Is that a word? I don’t know. I guess I’m dumb.) to evidence. Especially considering that Will has been a cheerleader for the anti-climate change crowd, that he’s got no scientific training to speak of, and that one of his February columns (wherein he cited a U.N. World Meteorological Organization study concluding that climate change was real and serious, only to turn that analysis on its head) prompted this response from the secretary general of the WMO:
“Evidence of global warming has been documented in widespread decreases in snow cover, sea ice and glaciers. The 11 warmest years on record occurred in the past 13 years.
While variations occur throughout the temperature record, shorter-term variations do not contradict the overwhelming long-term increase in global surface temperatures since 1850, when reliable meteorological recordkeeping began. Year to year, we may observe in some parts of the world colder or warmer episodes than in other parts, leading to record low or high temperatures. This regional climate variability does not disprove long-term climate change. While 2008 was slightly cooler than 2007, partially due to a La Niña event, it was nonetheless the 10th-warmest year on record.“
In other words, Mr. Will, you seem to be impervious to the evidence presented in the report. Or, to put it bluntly, you are dumb.
Game, set, match.