The opening line of the story on the Fox News website is the first indicator of the depths of nit-wittery that some are willing to engage in to draw attention to some issue they clearly haven’t thought through to its logical endpoint.
A British endurance swimmer summoned the peak of his powers to become the first person to swim under the summit of Mt. Everest, Sky News reported Sunday.
Needless to say, this was an incredibly dangerous stunt. According to the article
He came close to drowning during test swims for the event amid bouts of altitude sickness on the Pumori Lake, which sits 17,000 feet above sea level.
Why would someone undertake such an incredibly dangerous stunt? Unlike athletic attention hoarders of old who did “adventurous” things because they were a challenge, not to mention potentially lucrative if the effort was successful, this dare-devil ostensibly has a higher purpose in mind. As Mr. Lewis Gordon Pugh (the swimmer, known as the “Human Polar Bear”) put it-
“I have seen glaciers in the Arctic, the Alps, Central Africa, Antarctica and the Himalayas — and it’s the same story everywhere,” he said.
“Most glaciers are melting away. The glaciers in the Himalayas are not just ice. They are a lifeline — they provide water to approximately two billion people.”
Did you catch that? “The glaciers in the Himalayas are not just ice… They provide water to approximately two billion people” Yes, indeed they do. And how do they provide water to those two billion people? BY MELTING!
The same as they have every spring for thousands of years since the glaciers first formed.
Yeah, yeah, we know. His point is that there is more melting now than in the recent past. Apparently, Mr. Pugh is completely unfamiliar with (or in denial about) climate records that indicate that glaciers worldwide have advanced and retreated, more dramatically and at much more regular intervals than science once thought. There have been warm periods where they did not exist at all and cold periods where they covered vast expanses of the continents. Man didn’t cause these advances and retreats, just as he is not now causing them.
But, of course that admission would make his effort completely pointless, wouldn’t it? Mr. Pugh has a faith in anthropogenic global warming and no form of proof to the contrary can shake that faith. Furthermore, Mr. Pugh has chosen to become the modern day equivalent of a Flagellant, a fanatical sect of Christians who would ritually whip themselves in public until they bled as a form of penance; it was a particularly nasty form of mortification of the flesh.
This author has no information regarding the state of Mr. Pugh’s faith or his lack of it. But we would be willing to wager that Mr. Pugh would treat the stories of the Flagellants with derision and contempt, judging them as ignorant religious fanatics. Perhaps that is the deepest irony of this entire incident.