The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Armchair scientists and global warming

There is a fascinating commentary in the Denver Post online by David Harsanyi called "Chill Out Over Global Warming". Harsanyi unlike most politically oriented people admits up front that he is no scientific expert:
Admittedly, I possess virtually no expertise in science. That puts me in exactly the same position as most dogmatic environmentalists who want to craft public policy around global warming fears.
He then sites two experts to point out the shortcomings of public discussions on the issue. Bill Gray of Colorado State University is the world's leading expert on hurricanes. Here are his comments about Bill Gray's views:
The only inconvenient truth about global warming, contends Colorado State University's Bill Gray, is that a genuine debate has never actually taken place. Hundreds of scientists, many of them prominent in the field, agree.

Gray is perhaps the world's foremost hurricane expert. His Tropical Storm Forecast sets the standard. Yet, his criticism of the global warming "hoax" makes him an outcast.

"They've been brainwashing us for 20 years," Gray says. "Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we'll look back and see what a hoax this was."
He also sites another respected climatologist: Roger Pielke, Sr. Here are Harsanyi's comments on Pielke:

Pielke contends there isn't enough intellectual diversity in the debate. He claims a few vocal individuals are quoted "over and over" again, when in fact there are a variety of opinions.

I ask him: How do we fix the public perception that the debate is over?

"Quite frankly," says Pielke, who runs the Climate Science Weblog (, "I think the media is in the ideal position to do that. If the media honestly presented the views out there, which they rarely do, things would change. There aren't just two sides here. There are a range of opinions on this issue. A lot of scientists out there that are very capable of presenting other views are not being heard."
So here are two leading experts in the field that point out that this subject has been under-debated. Without proper debate why are we plunging headlong to set public policy that will cost more money than the world's economies can support. Don't get me wrong, I am all for a good environment. We have had a poor track record around the world. However, we cannot completely fix it overnight. Also, I am for a sound environment so we can be assured of clean air and clean water; not to save the planet from something which likely does not exist.

Yes, the planet has experienced some warming. However, there is not indisputable evidence that this problem is man-made. Nor is there conclusive evidence that the earth will get drastically warmer in the future.

In the rest of the article Harsanyi talks about things like Al Gore's movie. So the underlying message is that we shy away from allowing our scientists free debate without fear of losing their jobs, their funding and their reputation. Instead, we get propaganda as a poor substitute.


  • At 8:39 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said…

    A scientist friend of mine maintains that we're undergoing a normal cyclical change.

    I don't know what to think--other than I don't trust Al Gore as a scientific expert, despite his having invented the Internet.

  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    AOW, I think the bandwagon propoganda approach by the libs of "almost all scientists agree" is beginning to unravel.

  • At 9:03 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    One more thing. If Al Gore does run for president (oh, I pray every day he will - so he can lose again) the election cycle will certainly be an open debate on global warming. If it starts right after he clinches the nomination, it will be all to easy to reveal him as the crackpot that he is.

  • At 10:53 AM, Anonymous paw said…

    To run with a tangent, Gore never said he invented the internet. The statement closest to and believed to be the genesis of the "I invented..." myth is (Beware the popups)
    During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

    You will not find any source that has a direct, verifiable quote from Gore claiming in any way that he invented internet using the word "invented", or any statement that can reasonably be construed that way. This has been one of the most sucessful modern demonstrations that the enemy of truth is not lies, but myth. This formidable man is repeatedly dismissed out of hand by a reference to a myth spun by his political enemies. I almost have to admire the effectiveness the right-wing propaganda machine.

    ps - Please don't paint me as a Gore defender.

  • At 11:07 AM, Anonymous r2w said…

    So Al Gore didn't "invent" the internet; he "created" it. I wonder if he created it ex nihilo, or if he used existing parts.

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    paw, when the left takes the right out of context and has their way with them I think it is ok to have a little fun with statements like this. Even with your corrected quote I think Gore left himself open for it.

    I would prefer open and direct debate, but I am not going to expect one side to have their way while the other side is handcuffed.

  • At 11:57 AM, Anonymous paw said…

    Alls, I'm just saying "notice the effectiveness of this handiwork", that's all. Here's another level of enjoyment for you that you in this myth that maybe weren't aware of, the effective propaganda level. Sincerely, its impressive.

  • At 12:00 PM, Anonymous paw said…

    r2w, there is a significant difference, and if you're interested in politics you'll probably find it worth while to understand the difference. Dig in and enjoy or dismiss it - your call.

  • At 1:06 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    paw, I will agree. The right got a lot of mileage out of it. Just like the left has gotten a lot of mileage out of "Mission Accomplished".

  • At 9:50 AM, Anonymous r2w said…


    Thanks for the grammar lesson. I am interested in politics, so I looked up the words "create" and "invent" in the American Heritage Dictionary. Here are the definitions:

    Create: to cause to exist; bring into being

    Invent: to produce or contrive (something previously unknown) by the use of ingenuity or imagination.

    I still don't see how Al Gore did either. Being interested in politics, I understand that politicians say things that convey a different message than they are intending to convey. And when they do, we poke fun at them. I think you are making more out of this than is really there. Al Gore's political demise did not come because conservatives "created" a myth about him. You may not want my opinions on why Gore has fallen into disfavor with both Republicans and Democrats, since you seem to think me a political novice. But if you're interested, I'll share them.

  • At 8:49 PM, Anonymous paw said…


    Didn't mean to imply that you're a novice. Your comment seemed flippant, dismissing my statement on a superficial level. I meant to say if you care, look a little deeper, and if you don't care and/or don't look, thats good too.

    Didn't intend to imply that you needed a grammar lesson. The difference to which I referred is not between words, its of what message is conveyed. It's a fact Gore supported and was a champion of legislation that directly led to the creation of the internet as we know it today. That was what he was communicating (poorly). The "invented" slam was deliberately twisted to put him in a bad light. That's the difference I was takling about, not the difference betweeen the words invented and created.

    You and I totally agree that Gore's problems mostly start and end with Gore himself. I asked not to be thought of as a Gore defender for this very reason. I think it has in certain circles taken him down an additional notch or two.

    My intent was only to show that the "Gore Invented the Internet" slam is a fiction, and an incredibly successful one. Most people don't know that. I'm not saying stop using this slam, and I'm not calling a foul because is was used. I'm just saying if you use it, use it with full knowledge of what it is. Its the kind of thing I usually let pass when used in the context that AOW did (light-heartedly), but With Gore currently a hot topic in forums like these, it seems germaine to point it out when it comes up.

  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous r2w said…


    Thanks for the clarification. I'll admit that I misunderstood some of what you said previously. I really do think that conservatives just have fun with Gore's miscommunication. I've only heard it brought up in that light-hearted way. I've never heard anyone using that point to make a serious political argument against Gore. And I really don't think the so-called myth of internet invention had much, if any, negative effect on him. You say that Gore's political enemies "spun" this myth, implying that they purposefully changed his wording to paint his statement in a different light. I disagree. I think they capitalized on the meaning he conveyed, rather than the one he meant to convey, just like John Kerry's detractors capitalized on his voting "for the 87 billion, before I voted against it."


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