About two weeks ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post accusing Slate of stealing my ideas. On the same day, Slate published pieces defending skipping and arguing that climate change skeptics can no longer use the word skeptic when describing themselves because it’s simply not true.
I had previously published blog posts that were eerily similar.
But like I said, my claim was tongue-in-cheek. I didn’t really believe that there was an editor at Slate scouring my blog for interesting topics for his or her writers. I still don’t.
But I couldn’t help but notice that David Shiffman’s piece “I’m Not a Scientist” Is a Dangerous Cop-Out, which argues that the Republicans can no longer claim ignorance in order to avoid taking a position on climate change, is eerily similar to my blog post from a month earlier “I’m not a scientist” is a perfectly acceptable response to climate change questions, as long as you’re willing to acknowledge everything else that you are not.
Just look at the similarity in argument and even word choice between Shiffman and myself.
When politicians say “I’m not a scientist,” it is an exasperating evasion. It’s a cowardly way to avoid answering basic and important policy questions. This response raises lots of other important questions about their decision-making processes. Do they have opinions on how to best maintain our nation’s highways, bridges, and tunnels—or do they not because they’re not civil engineers? Do they refuse to talk about agriculture policy on the grounds that they’re not farmers? How do they think we should be addressing the threat of ISIS? They wouldn’t know, of course; they’re not military generals.
More than a month earlier, I wrote:
Despite the sudden and overwhelming use of this sound byte [I’m not a scientist] as a means of doing nothing about climate change, I’m willing to accept these Republican’s admission of ignorance as long as they are willing to also admit that they are also not economists, military strategists, healthcare policy professionals, gynecologists, teachers, and Biblical scholars.
If these white men (because they are almost all white men) are unwilling to accept the findings of the vast majority of scientists who assert that climate change is both real and man made because they are not scientists themselves, then they must also renounce themselves from decisions involving the economy, monetary policy, the military, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, abortion, contraception, education, and any policy enacted in accordance or alignment with Biblical principles.
Eerily similar. Right?
Despite the similarities, I don’t think that Slate editors are stealing my ideas. I have an enormous respect for the work that Slate does, and I recently began playing a small role in Slate’s podcasting empire. I am a tiny fish in an enormous pool of ideas. People have similar ideas all the time.
I guess I’m just quicker to the idea than these particular writers at Slate.
Still, it’s oddly coincidental. Right?