Questions


This is Blog 17 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Questions

The other day I watched a Dutch TV documentary with the title “Climate of Confusion” (those of you who understand Dutch can watch it here). A handful of people were interviewed with a varying set of ideas on climate change.

The documentary featured an interview with a wealthy Dutch real estate executive called Niek Sandmann. The point of interest was a substantial donation he had made to a skeptical thinktank (Climate Intelligence).

According to his alternative calculations even our maximum effort would only make 0,0003 of a degree difference, in the end. So, according to Sandmann the whole “climate crisis” and accompanying policies are really just “a storm in a glass of water”, as we say in Dutch, and therefore not worth pursuing.

Sandmann emphasized he is not interested in this for his own sake, as he is already making all his new buildings energy efficient thanks to state-of-the-art technology that he can easily afford.

It is true that for people with low incomes making the transition is not so simple. Also government measures may bring on additional costs in already extremely tight financial situations.

Niek Sandmann

So, Sandmann’s donation to Climate Intelligence is a form of philanthropy for those less fortunate, which is a thought I can appreciate.

By asking the questions he feels mainstream scientists don’t want to ask and digging on grounds that politicians have already built policy plans on top of, he hopes to find out if it is really worth it to continue down this path.

While watching the documentary I complained about mr Sandmann’s skepticism, making parallels with another tanned real estate mogul across the pond. The fact that his appearance would make for a very convincing villain (or white walker) means nothing for the point of this blog (or anywhere really), but I admit it took some effort to get past that as well…

Zombie movie villain or not, I must applaud mr Sandmann for asking unpopular questions and in truth I wish people would do so more often.

Asking questions is only a problem when you aren’t actually interested in the answer or when you only accept the outcome if it is convenient for you.

I will try to keep track of this Climate Intelligence investigation and look forward to reading its conclusions. I may have some questions of my own in return though!

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Anti-evolutionary procreation

The subject I am going to discuss today is quite a delicate one and I don’t think I will be able to really say what I want to say without offending people, so I think I will just be straight and blunt about it and not even try to be subtle…

What happened is that I read this article in Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant, written by a guy called Anton de Wit, about single women who wish to have a child via IVF. The article I read was a reaction to an opinion piece that came out in a feminist magazine called Opzij. The writers of this piece in Opzij were upset about the fact that half of all hospitals in the Netherlands refused women for IVF who were not in a steady relationship.

Some of these hospitals decline requests from single women on the basis that they do not have a sperm bank on site and not merely because the wannabe mother does not have a partner. According to some feminist groups these rules are preposterous and discriminatory. A woman is made for motherhood and anyone who stands in the way of this wish is a bully.

mother simple linesAs Anton de Wit sarcastically sums up: “Why shouldn’t [a single woman] be allowed to be artificially inseminated? What if she can’t wait for Mr Right any longer or keeps on hooking up with douchebags that aren’t man enough to take on the responsible task of being father? Isn’t procreation a human right (…)?” and then adds: “Reproduction has, in the biological essence, always been a thing between two people, a man and a woman. Sure, thanks to scientific progress and shifting social conventions we have been able to reduce the first to merely a sperm donor.”

It’s a pity, in my opinion, that the feminist point of view was defended by a (single?) woman and the article in the Volkskrant was written by a man, which turned it into a “man vs women” thing for people looking for an easy point to score. You could easily turn it into a “Oh, that’s just typical; a man trying to take away a woman’s rights to be independent”-thing, all though that’s not the point at all. Because, as Anton very sharply adds:

“But when the conception has succeeded another individual appears with its very own rights, that we can not push aside so lightly – namely the child. (…) Does a grown up’s wish to have a child have more ground than a child’s wish to have parents?”

I, as a woman, must say I totally agree with Anton here. And even more so, it stirs up the devil’s advocate in me that wants to say:

If you can’t find a partner that wants a child with you, you weren’t meant to procreate! It’s anti-evolutionary. You are messing with the universe’s (or Darwin or God or whatever) plan…..

And to those whose feelings I just hurt: I’m sorry. I don’t enjoy seeing you sad, but it is truly what I believe…