Last night, on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, ex-GM vice chairman and professional climate change denier Bob Lutz lost a bet. More accurately, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, made Lutz look really, really dumb. In response to Lutz's assertion that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the scientific community, Tyson replied:
"Historically, there is a saying in the scientific community, that every great scientific truth goes through three phases: First, people deny it. Second, they say it conflicts with the Bible. Third, they say they've known it all along."
After being rendered momentarily speechless (earlier in the show, Maher had mocked Lutz for being "in "the bubble"), Lutz eventually responded with a few non sequiturs about Al Gore and owning a house in Key West (which he offered as proof that the oceans were not rising) before Tyson KO'd him with this:
"You take all the scientists who author these papers, get them to pool their money and invest in companies that would benefit from global warming. And take all the people who are in denial of global warming, take all their money and invest in companies that would presume there is no global warming. And I would predict you will all go broke in the next 50 years."
Lutz, apparently forgetting that GM already went broke, took the bet and immediately lost. It was the equivalent of betting on the Patriots to win the last Super Bowl after watching the game.
If Lutz hadn't made his comments the same day an unprecedented number of tornadoes ravaged a dozen Midwestern states, killing 37 Americans (which Lutz dismissed as "abnormal weather patterns"), it might have been humorous to watch a conservative businessman call science a hoax and bet that his own company would not file for bankruptcy when it already had.
However, Lutz doubling down on his skeptical "total crock of [excrement]" conspiracy theory as the death toll from the freak tornado-producing storm was still being tallied can only be described as shockingly inappropriate. Was he somehow unaware of the extent of the devastation? Possibly; his request for Maher to name "one prediction that the International Panel on Climate Change got right" made it clear he doesn't spend much time reading newspapers. But if Lutz truly believes that climate science is a hoax perpetuated by climatologists for profit, why isn't he calling for a congressional investigation?
Thus, a once-proud industrialist has become a cartoon villain. Coincidentally, The Lorax also debuted last night. For his next act, expect to see Bob "The Once-ler" Lutz advising GM to sell Thneeds for $3.98.