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All those “unprecedented” things that happened before

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 February 2017

One of the things you learn very quickly in Geology is that when you’re taking a multiple choice test, the answers that say “always” or “never” can usually be ignored. Things are too weird and chaotic and complicated for that.

I’ve taken the same general attitude into most of the rest of my life, so when somebody says “always,” I assume they probably don’t know what they’re talking about. Unless it’s math, or logic, or something where such words actually apply.

A contemporary application is when somebody in the media says that something is “unprecedented.” They’re almost always wrong.

Along those lines …

It’s tough to digest the outrage from reporters or politicians who claim something “never happened before in our history” when such statements lack any hint of historical perspective, any intellectual curiosity to discover if something truly is unprecedented.

See Trump attack on judge hardly unprecedented. FDR, LBJ and Obama did the same.

We see the same thing from climate fear mongers. E.g., “the rate of warming is unprecedented.” That’s just ignorance with an agenda.

People regularly make outrageous claims without checking their facts.

2017-02-13  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 2

  1. Ken Crawford
    13 February 2017 @ 2:42 pm

    We have such a different focus here in northern California, that after you mentioned geology and unprecedented, I assumed the next statement would be the problems at Oroville Dam, which I know has been on the national news sites, albeit not as prominently as our local news.

    Both my brother-in-laws were in the mandatory evacuation zone, but when they tried to get on the road, saw it was pointless because of the stand-still traffic, and just went back home after banging their heads against the steering wheel for an hour or so. (As the night wore on it became more clear the risk of a collapse was dropping dramatically.)

    Crazy stuff out here.

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    13 February 2017 @ 2:43 pm

    I wish them the best. Water is a scary, powerful thing.