Epistemic Closure Watch

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 5 2012 @ 11:49am

For nearly a week, the Wiki page for Hurricane Sandy did not contain a single mention of climate change, thanks to Ken Mampel, an unemployed Floridian:

In an unpaid but frenzied fit of news consumption, editing, correction, aggregation, and citation, Mampel has established himself as by far the most active contributor to the Wikipedia page on Hurricane Sandy, with more than twice the number of edits as the next-most-active contributor at the time this article was written. And Mampel made sure that the Hurricane Sandy article, for four days after the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey, had no mention of "global warming" or "climate change" whatsoever. …

Without my prompting, Ken mentioned that New York City's Mayor Mike Bloomberg had endorsed Obama for president based on his handling of the hurricane. This is true, and Mampel planned to add this to the Wikipedia entry. "But I don't believe that climate change bullcrap," he said. Bloomberg had specifically mentioned climate change in his endorsement speech, but Mampel wouldn't add that to the Wikipedia entry. That's despite dozens of articles pointing out the connection–not a causation, necessarily, but certainly a connection worth exploring. I myself spoke to a hurricane expert about three hours before I spoke to Mampel who told me that the roughly two-degree increase in the water temperature in the Atlantic could have had a major effect on Hurricane Sandy's strength in the northeast. Mampel doesn't care. He wasn't going to mention climate change.