Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Polar Ice and Polarization

A couple months ago, I saw An Inconvenient Truth, and thought it was excellent. It was a fact-based presentation on global warming, and it led to some frightening conclusions. Like much of the science surrounding global warming, you can quibble with a few details, but the evidence is overwhelming that something big is going on, and fossil fuels are at the heart of it.

Yesterday, NASA released data that shows a chunk of Antarctica the size of California melted in January of 2005. That's NASA, not some blogger with a vivid imagination.

Despite it all, the rightwing bloggers are almost unanimous in dismissing global warming as a fraud. Their hostility to the concept and to the science behind it is impressive in its baseless vehemence. Any contrary "evidence", even when it consists of a snowy afternoon, is trumpeted, and any outlying "scientist" who staggers out of a revival tent and rejects the scientific method becomes a leading voice. I swear I once heard Rush Limbaugh mocking global warming concerns because of a news story that the largest iceberg ever had been found floating off Antarctica - he completely mistook the import of that fact.

How did a scientific concern become a political schism? Is it because one of the leading voices of that concern happens to be a Democrat whose "loss" to W remains doubtful? It is because Bush happens to be in the White House now that concensus has formed, and action is required (if so, would it make any difference if I agreed that Clinton should have gotten on board with this, too)? Is it because contemporary rightwingers have lost their environmental way? Is it just a healthy cynicism toward scientific theory, to be expected from a group which is still struggling with the concept of evolution?

It doesn't have to be this way. It's not like global warming is a Republican phenomenon, to be blamed on the Bush Regime - it's been building even during the Golden Days of the Clinton Presidency of Peace and Prosperity. It's not like solutions to global warming are going to hurt the big business interests that control the Republicans - many of the more clever large businesses are already paying attention to how energy consumption hurts their bottom lines, and others are lining up to profit from the necessary changes. This could be as big a boon for business as the Iraqi quagmire has been for Halliburton.

In this case, the left is pretty obviously on the correct side of the science. We're listening to real scientists, not pundits. We're looking at evidence, and it's mounting.

It's time for the rightwingers drop the anti-scientific knee-jerk cynicism and join us. Come on in, the water's (disturbingly) warm.

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Anonymous mainstream said...

I think the far right will continue to downplay global warming, driven solely by one religious belief- in addition to the fact that the far left and moderates are solidly behind the science of global warming.

That fundamental religious belief is that "Man Is Above Animals". I'll try to be brief on this point.

I highly recommend reading "Ishmael", it's a great book and allegory on this very subject.

Christianity and our core culture raise us to believe, in our heart, that Man is not subject to the same rules as mere animals. Man is above animals. Man can control nature through technology. And, ultimately, technology is one of the ultimate manifestations of our divine origin and inspiration.

So to admit that we are subject to the same laws and rules as other animals, is to, for many people, deny our divine origin and being as God's ultimate creation on Earth.

In other words, to admit we are helpless in the face of the consequences of our destruction of the Earth denies our divinity.

These same people believe that the earth exists for Man to dominate and to use as he wishes. They may not admit it but they truly believe it.

What these "believers" don't realize is that we are animals, we are subject to the same rules of nature as all other animals, and that technology merely delays our fall and delays the consequences of our actions.

5/16/2007 9:11 AM  
Blogger les said...

I think you have part of it, mainstream; it also plays into the Rapture scenario so popular with some fundies. But I think you downplay pure greed, and today's "conservatism." Addressing climate change will require government involvement and taxes--anathema to the current Republicans; it will require change and economic dislocation; it will require cooperating with, rather than dictating to, other countries; and even if you make the unwarranted assumption that the current administration is competent to deal with it, they want to kill government, not run it. Not that they have a problem with ruling, just governing. Management by expertise conflicts with rule by authoritarian personality. Check Chris Mooney's "Republican War on Science;" it's not just climate change, it's refusal to accept any scientific conclusion that conflicts with their vision of imperial christian America. It's no different than development lobbyists in charge of endangered species regulation, millions continuing to be poured into "abstinence only" education in the face of clear evidence it doesn't work, etc. Unfortunately for us, reality has a liberal bias; and therefore just doesn't enter consideration.

5/16/2007 9:40 AM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Dan, you've got good, valid points, but you're using kind of a broad brush. Anyway, the only thing I wanted to add was from the article you linked to...

"No further melting has been detected through March 2007."

Seems like kind of a relevant (if not important) point that could use some elaboration.

5/16/2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger les said...

emaw, did you make Dan's point on purpose or by accident? Gawd, it's like the deniers think climate change means every place on earth will get uniformly warmer, at exactly the same rate, and ice will melt uniformly everywhere. Teh Stupid, it burns! Guess what? The Arctic is a very, very large system; there's water under there, with like currents and all. The water's not all the same temperature, shockingly. That very very large system will absorb very very large amounts of heat; and then something will happen. Like, I don't know, enough ice to bury California will fucking disappear. And then maybe nothing obvious will happen for a while. Get a fucking clue or shut up. I can't wait till the Greenland ice cap goes (well, actually, I wish I could); all that fresh water will bury the Gulf Stream, which currently keeps Europe from having winters equivalent to Chicago; and much of Europe will probably have a series of much harsher winters. And all the emaws will scream, see, you're wrong, there's no global warming!!11!! But don't worry, the extra energy needed for heat will add to the problem, and help warm them up.

Big secret: warming up the earth will have strange, unpredictable, counterintuitive effects. Common sense unaided by curiosity or study may not be your best friend. There are bright people who spend their lives trying to figure this stuff out. THEY MAY KNOW MORE THAN YOU DO!! Set aside your distrust of actual expertise and try this:

5/16/2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

I can't believe Christianity gets the rap for this too. Anything else you want to heap on us. It totally destroys the credibility of your argument. We're not exactly fools but talk about the fear factor .. heck the way some are reacting, the planet is going to disappear in a few years.

May I remind all of you that the remnants of the glacial age are right in your own backyard. If you don't believe me, take a trip to Wisconsin Dells and see for yourself and explain to me how man caused the glaciers to recede from there a few thousand years ago. Hmmm...mighta been global warming ya think???

The earth changes. Climate changes. The continents move. Icebergs melt. New ones form. Yes, man be affecting global warming but scientists are not uiniformly in agreement on this. I'm all for conserving energy, planting trees, etc. etc. but I'm not going to get hysterical over this.

5/16/2007 12:44 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Good point, Travelingual. You're right - seriously - about 1 out of every 1,000 scientists dispute global warming.


5/16/2007 1:18 PM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Easy, Les. Take it easy. Take a step back from the ledge. No reason to jump just now.

I wasn't trying to dispute or refute anything, just pointing out that there seems to be more information, more elaboration possible than what was in the linked article.

Just being a little curious. Isn't that what the scientific method is all about? Asking questions? Remaining rational? Avoiding prejudice?

Not that you would ever be prejudice. Not that you would ever assume to know what a person thinks about a certain subject based on a simple question on a blog.

Take a deep breath man. Not everyone is itching for a fight.

5/16/2007 1:42 PM  
Anonymous brent said...

This is actually 5th grade science/social studies at work here. Trees produce Oxygen. Humans breath Oxygen and release CO2 that is used by the trees.

The Human population has grown exponentially in a the past 100 years. Meanwhile, that growth has caused us to not only eliminate many of our trees and rain forests, but also create technology that produces even more CO2. It doesn't take much of a leap to figure that we are greatly increasing our output of CO2, and eliminating plant life that then converts that back to Oxygen. It's hard to NOT see that this could have devastating effects down the road.

The problem with those that deny this is that admitting that there is a problem, puts them in the moral situation that the MUST do something to improve the situation. If you deny the situation, there is nothing that has to be done.

Doing something is inconvenient for them -- which I think is the brilliance of the title of the movie. And I think they'd rather deny evidence/rational thinking than have to do something to fix it. Which is sad.

5/16/2007 1:42 PM  
Blogger les said...

emaw, maybe you didn't deserve the rant; but your comment is exactly the narrow, short sighted "oh let's be cautious, it might cost us money or discomfort" concern trolling that gets me. Pointing at the fact that nothing gigantic happened for 3 months, in the context of a global phenomenon that has been accumulating for decades, and making that the excuse to doubt as if it's relevant, is just the kind of twaddle that tells me you haven't bothered to look at the science or the evidence, but still think your opinion is valid.

Travelingal, I don't think christians are the entirety of the problem. But they are the heart and core of support of hte modern "conservative" cabal that is absolutely the problem, that has for years been obstructing the science, preventing it's publication and denying the problem. It is a fact that many fundamentalist leaders have pronounced exactly the dominationist crap that mainstream cites; it is a fact that christian leadership has been behind the curve, and that the few leaders beginning to speak out have largely been denounced by the big names for taking the focus off the Gay Menace. You can continue to go for your science to the American Enterprise Institute, whose oil industry funding replaces the tobacco industry money they rolled in while proclaiming for years that smoking was healthy. How'd that work out for ya? When you have to advertise cash rewards to troll for the handful of scientists (in any specialty at all, not relevant areas) to fight the overwhelming consensus of the world's experts, maybe your case just ain't real strong, ya know?

5/16/2007 2:08 PM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Your simplistic "good guy/bad guy" view on global warming/energy consumption is counter productive. Try to have an open mind, dude. Not everyone who doesn't vote for Obama is anti-science. In fact, I argue that asking questions is pro-science.

As Dan implies, there's no political monopoly on science. Hell, even Al Gore is a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to this issue.

5/16/2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger les said...

emaw, you're really drifting, here, buddy. Did I mention Obama, somewhere? As it happens, I'd say you're pretty close to 100% wrong. There are in fact good guys and bad guys in this issue. People who deliberately seek out and hype bad, inaccurate, biased science to support an entrenched economic and political positions are bad; and if you think the Bush administration and tools like AEI don't do that, wake the hell up.

You want counter productive? People who chant the "open mind" mantra to avoid making a choice and having a position, to avoid actually looking at the science and the evidence because somewhere, somehow, someone with a PhD says there's doubt. You need to distinguish between an open mind and an empty mind.

Lazy twits who use the fact that science doesn't deal in absolute certainty as an excuse to dither and poo-poo are part of the problem. There is no scientific question open on whether warming is happening or whether man is a substantial cause. Do you have any damn idea of the level of certainty it takes to get 90% of the scientists in a relevant discipline to agree on something? Of course there are questions about exact limits and effects, timing and outcome. But the notion that after a massive ice loss in the Arctic, 3 months without an equivalent event is relevant to the overall question or justifies obstructing a serious discussion of steps to take, followed as soon as possible by action, is just f'in stupid. Sorry about that.

I don't care who the hell you vote for. But if you don't try to vote for people who are willing to enter reality and deal with it, and to urge your representatives to quit obstructing and look for solutions, then you're the problem.

5/16/2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger les said...

With apologies to Dan for hijacking his site, let me add one more thing. The very fact that you are prattling about a "political monopoly" on science evidences you're not serious; reality is what it is, and it's the job of politics to figure out how to deal with it. To see climate change science (as opposed to solutions/responses to climate change) as a political issue says everything that needs to be said about the "relevance" of your opinion.

5/16/2007 3:51 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

All good points, Les. I would also like to talk for a minute about the conservative statement:

"Let's keep an open mind"

That's right-wing-nutbag code. It's code for "You're godless liberal atheist, the only right way is the Christian way and we're going to get our religious agenda across come hell or high water".

Rightwing nutbags use the same statement to bring their Christian creationist views into the science classroom. They did it in Dover, PA and we're caught and accused of lying about their agenda, by a Republican judge.

They tried it in Kansas, and got rebuked.

And they're trying it now with global warming, and will scream christian-stereotyping-all-you-do-is-scapegoat-the-church till the cows come home.

They might not even know that's behind their thinking, but it really is the fundamental basis behind their opposition. They see Global warming (when it's all said & done) as the liberal-Godless-scientist corruption of our society.

After all, to draw another analogy, if you were to ask Taggert if he's gay, you probably wouldn't get a straight answer - no pun intended.

Same deal here.

5/16/2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I think things have gone off the rails here. It's nice that the commentors have chosen to prove Dan's point correct. On the other hand, I think the question about why this has become a political issue is more interesting than two sides exhibiting the phenomenon.

Why is it a question decided largely on political lines? Is it a matter of threat assesment? Is there a serious mistrust of science on the right? Do loud lefties with a less than stellar command of the facts hurt the cause? Is it just another example of the up is down, left is right climate that is our current political discourse? I don't know the answer to any of these questions.

5/16/2007 5:07 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

I'm glad we've got so many experts on Christians on this blog. Well, knock yourselves out. Blame them for everything. Mock them. Be careful though, hate has a tendency to eat you alive.

I'm outta here.

5/16/2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger les said...

Jim, are you being rhetorical or are you from somewhere else?

"Why is it a question decided largely on political lines?" Because the people currently in possession of political and economic power see admission of the problem and probable steps to deal with it as threatening. What are the principal supports of the Bush admin? Oil industry, military industry, fundamental religion. Think about it.

"Is it a matter of threat assesment?" Only to the extent that the deniers realize a threat to their position; but if you deny the reality, you don't do public assessments.

"Is there a serious mistrust of science on the right?" Please, read Mooney's "Republican War on Science." This admin has: muzzled NASA and Interior Dept. scientists; continued to spend millions on proven ineffective abstinence programs; permitted bureaucrats with no relevant expertise to rewrite scientific opinions in FDA, Interior, etc. etc. Just look around. Google is your friend.

"Do loud lefties with a less than stellar command of the facts hurt the cause?" Please spare me the incivility whine. An ignorant, uniformed, inaccurate opinion uttered politely is still ignorant, uninformed and inaccurate. If you have a problem with angry commenters, read the damn science--journals are hardly ever offensive to tender sensibilities, just to smug ignorance. Go to Real Climate, go to education sites; and consider that smug, in your face deceit and mendacity tends to make some people angry.

"Is it just another example of the up is down, left is right climate that is our current political discourse?" Well, you better stop reading here. Damn it, pull your thumb out and look. This shit is important--to you, your kids, your country, your world. The fucking internet puts most of the world's information and research at your fingertips--the only reason to parade your ignorance here is a preference to have easy pap delivered fourth hand so you can go back to the easy chair and say, "Oh, well, looks like bloggers are arguing about it, probably not a certainty, I'll wait till everything is settled." Guess what--as long as there's an economic interest to protect, somebody will fight the reality. Tobacco industry "science", remember?

"I don't know the answer to any of these questions." Proud of that? Just don't pretend there's a fucking excuse for it. If you can't tell the difference in credentials and motivations between 900 scientists with relevant credentials and current research, motivated by their reputations and drive, from 100 semi-related PhD's under contract from an impacted industry, you have my pity, if not my patience or respect.

Sorry to rant; sort of. Much of this country's population is apparently too lazy and uncaring to find out what's up, or so concerned with partisan ideological victory that they're willing to let the country--the world--go to hell in a handbasket before admitting that their leaders are at best mistaken, and at worst distorting reality for political and economic gain.

No the world will not end. But here's a flash--our society, and our continued existence, are not necessary to it's survival.

5/16/2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Wow! Time for me to jump in, I guess.

mainstream - I understand your point about Christians and God giving man "dominion over the earth and all the critters that doth dwelleth upon it". I think another part of that is the apocolyptic fundementalists who think that Jesus is coming back any day now (maybe even tonight) so it really doesn't matter how much we ass-rape the planet 'cause we're all going to Heaven anyway! Leave the fucked up, depleted husk of the planet to the sinners who are Left Behind after The Rapture. They deserve it! They seriously believe this shit.

les - I'm with you on "Chris Mooney's "Republican War on Science;" it's not just climate change, it's refusal to accept any scientific conclusion that conflicts with their vision of imperial christian America." I like that book too.

But I agree with emaw that yer gettin' kinda worked up and need to take a deep breath. You don't want people confusing you with that rabid XO fucktard. Calm down.

I did want to point out that emaw said "Anyway, the only thing I wanted to add was from the article you linked to..."No further melting has been detected through March 2007."

The article Dan linked to talked about melting that occured in January of 2005.

Your response (in a couple of places) "Pointing at the fact that nothing gigantic happened for 3 months, in the context of a global phenomenon..."

That would be over 2 years, not 3 months. Still, a geological molecule in the bucket and your point is the same, but the emphasis is degraded when the math is wrong.

And "Get a fucking clue or shut up". That seems a bit harsh.

And finally les - "With apologies to Dan for hijacking his site". Oh puhLEEZE!!! Dan is loving every single comment and he's hoping this goes on for months. I can't claim to know him personally, but I know he's a blogger and that means that like the rest of us, he's an attention whore. Hijack away!

5/16/2007 7:17 PM  
Blogger les said...

Point taken, XO. And thanks for the math catch; not that it makes the situation "relevant." I won't apologize for the passion, but I'll try to sit on it. I've been listening to the "we can't decide yet" line for decades, and for 6 years have watched 20-something political hacks appointed as watchdogs and spin managers over gov't scientists whose job it is to tell us what the hell is actually going on in the world, so we can figure out how to deal with it. I'm not long on patience any more, I'm afraid.

5/17/2007 9:21 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Tsk tsk tsk Les.

as they say, "Keep an open mind".

And Les, don't pay attention to those right wind nutbags. It's about time we liberals andmoderates stop sitting on our hands - we did that before and got eight years of religious and other conservative extermism.

Rage on.

Most conservative bloggers are extremist nutbags, and when they start getting defensive they leave because they can't argue the facts, only their self-righteous, racist, sexist, homophobic version of 3,000 year old thinking.

It's high time some contemporary common sense takes over. The right wing has only demonstrated they can successfully drive up deficits, create foreighn policy disasters and call Congress into session over Terri Schiavo.

5/17/2007 10:06 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Les, I hereby dub thee “Wounded Badger.” Your anger has made you strong, but it has also made you crazy.

Look, I think everyone here understands how you feel about global warming. You know what, I agree with you. My point was in reference to Dan’s original post about why it is a political issue.

I certainly understand the affiliations that help explain the Bush Administration’s problem with global warming. But there are quite a few people on the right who couldn’t care less about those relationships yet share the skepticism. So a legitimate question seems to be “why?”

I happen to think threat assessment has something to do with it WB. There seems to be a fairly large contingent on the right who say global warming might be real but don’t believe that the consequences are dire enough to do anything about it. I’m not saying they are right. I’m looking for motive.

I also suspect mistrust of science plays a role. I don’t think the Bush Administration really dismisses the science, but they recognize threats (and opportunities) when they see them. I’m more interested in the rightward masses. Some of them are religionists who have a problem with science of all kinds, but many are something else. What is the reasoning behind their skepticism of the evidence? More importantly, how did you know that Google and I are friends? Did Yahoo tell you that? Yahoo’s got a big mouth.

You seemed pretty incensed about my concerns about loud lefties, but you also missed a key part of the reading WB. I specified loud lefties with a “less than stellar command of the facts.” This really is important. The left has science on our side in this debate, but that doesn’t mean that everyone uses it. The next time you hear someone mention that a 90 degree day in May is a sure sign of global warming, I think it is your job to explain to them that they aren’t helping. I think those kinds of statements give the right an easy point to refute when you try to talk about the sound science.

As to the last question concerning the political climate, what was your response about? My question was about whether the broader right is just reflexively arguing against global warming because the left brought it up. You apparently believed I was advocating sitting out the debate. Perhaps you should read it again.

And as for my claim about not having the answers, yes I am proud to admit that I don’t. Presuming to know the reasoning and motivation behind every single person who disagrees with you and dismissing them offhand seems like a pretty good way to ensure you’ll never have a chance to change their minds. You can flail and claw and bite all you want WB, but I’d rather figure out how to improve the situation.

5/17/2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Congratulations, les.

5/17/2007 10:14 AM  
Blogger les said...

Jim, I dub thee Ostrich. Your head in the sand has made you laudably calm and reasonable, but regrettably ignorant. None of the questions you take such pride in are difficult to answer. While noble centrism and refusal to enter the nasty fray may seem morally superior, some situations actually justify anger. Some suggestions:

1. Look at the arguments.
2. Look at who makes the arguments--credentials, experience, vested interest.
3. Look at support for the arguments--evidence v. assertion, research v. "think piece," etc.
4. Look at actions--attempts to silence and distort evidence, reports; check the International Panel on Climate Change report process, and how the final reports were re-worded by (often U.S.) politicians to downplay the scientific conclusions.

And while you're calmly observing and damning the regrettably excited participants on each side, think about one fairly benign possibility: what impact on the U.S. if the weather and growing patterns in the middle U.S. move a half-state north? Don't even think about increasing aridity in the Southwest, the fastest growing section of the country. I look forward to your calm, considered, uninvolved comments on the dislocation of millions of Americans and the existing infrastructure, as we try to cope with the drop in food supplies.

I'm really sorry that you and emaw are so troubled by it, but fuck you and your considered, measured skepticism. Somebody needs to explain to me when it became no longer conservative to anticipate problems based on real world information and take action to mitigate damage. Even if this was a medium probability, extremely high cost event, actually reasonable people would quit denying and arguing, and plan. And it is not "medium probability."

5/17/2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger SmedRock said...

Now this is good T.V. :0

5/17/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Wounded Badger you do not read well. Did I not make it clear that I agree with your stand on global warming? I will try again:

I, Ostrich, hereby formally declare that I believe global warming is real and it scares the hell out of me. By saying real I mean factual, and by saying scares I mean frightens.

Clear enough?

So, stop giving me suggestions about where to get information to convince me on the subject. I'm already convinced.

And since I think it is a scary subject, I want to find a way to get the doubters to see the real danger. Amazingly, I have found in my life that trying to understand where someone else is coming from and using that as a foundation to argue with them is typically more successful than acting like a dick. But you should handle it your way.

5/17/2007 12:49 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

If you want to have a serious debate, then drop the accusations against Christians, and debate sensibly. By the way, so claims Edwards, Obama, Clinton (who attends a weekly Bible study), Richardson, and the whole damn Democratic field. We're not three headed monsters who want to end the world. We kinda like it here.

I also have a few scientific credentials, by the way, having worked as the Director of Regulatory Affairs for a major scientific company for 26 years. I've professionally reviewed scientific studies. I've worked with scientists from all over the world. I personally know and have worked with the head of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. I've been to Congress on a professional SCIENTIFIC basis.

Also, I have a family that I care about and I love the Earth that sustains us and will continue to sustain my family and yours. I've planted lots of trees, flowers, vegetables, etc. I don't drive a SUV and when I replace it, I'll look at a hybrid.

So, I'm willing to look at global warming, the causes and the remedies and the sacrifices. Even if I thought the whole thing was a bunch of bunk, I'd still be in favor of cutting carbon emissions. But, don't attack me without merit and don't presume that I'm some kind of idiot that mindlessly ignores science just because I'm a Christian.

Nuff said.

5/17/2007 2:22 PM  
Blogger les said...

OK, Jim, let's use this as an object lesson. Dan does a post, with actual evidence, and makes a statement about climate change denial. emaw slides in and oh so reasonably accuses Dan of being "too broad brush," offers a tidbit that's "relevant;" in effect, "oh, calm down now, it doesn't look so bad." No evidence, no nothing. And every emaw post after that is hand waving, distraction, lamenting the coarse, rabid commenters. Emaw has never said what the tidbit is supposedly relevant to, or why it's relevant, or what evidence prompts his assertion. Emaw even does an entire post, invents a cool little award, to discredit the global warming fanatics. And never cites an iota of reasoning or evidence for his relevance or his "broad brush" assertion. Purest bullshit. He's left his little seed of doubt and gone off to serve his radical right causes elsewhere.

You jump in, and without enough clarity to indicate you're "on my side," follow right up on the "oh calm down, don't be mean, blah blah" and post a bunch of questions that we have to deal with before we can forcefully say, "this denial crap is wrong, emaw's tidbit is not relevant, we need to go to work." Well, I'll repeat what I said above--if you don't know the answers to those questions, it's because you're not looking or you're actively avoiding.

PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH POWER AND MONEY ARE THREATENED, AND THEY ARE LYING, BRIBING, SUPPRESSING EVIDENCE, DISTORTING AND FALSIFYING THE SCIENCE. To a lesser extent, denial is the message some supporters want to hear; but predominantly, the "I've got mine, to hell with you" crowd does not want the question answered. The why is obvious, and the means are eminently discoverable.

So, as long as you're dithering on the sidelines, wringing your hands and saying "can't we all just get along," to the extent that I can't even tell what your position is, you actually are not on my side.

Inform yourself, do the research (and maybe you already have), and get passionate, if not angry. "We" should no longer care why people believe the liars. The message is: you are wrong; here is the evidence; quit being stupid and help find answers. Now, if you're more comfortable with prefacing the statement with "I'm sorry," feel free. Even I, rabid badger that I am, don't tell complete strangers they're fuckin' obstructive idiots, even when it's true. Emaw, on the other hand, is a known quantity.

5/17/2007 2:31 PM  
Blogger les said...

travelingal, you make a good argument. Problem: up until recently, the "public face" of christianity has been, at best, silent on the issue; and in no small measure, dismissive of it. While recent statements of concern and effort are welcome, the "don't distract us from real concerns" response of major voices in the christian community are not. I hope you are more typical; and I hope people in your community who agree will make themselves heard. Even if only on blogs with us unwashed, uncivil ranting fucking hippies.

5/17/2007 2:37 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Thank you, Les. I don't belong to any far left or right wing groups, so let's talk about the science for a minute. Let's talk, for instance, about the light bulb. Let's say we all rush to Home Depot or wherever and replace our bulbs with the new fluorescent ones in the interest of global warming. Well, we better be smarter than the average bear. These bulbs contain mercury, a known human health and environmental hazard. Here's a link
Now, they will save energy but we better be careful with them. If we break them in our homes, we could have a real problem; if we break them in the dump, the environment could have a real problem. SO WHERE ARE THE INSTRUCTIONS, THE WARNINGS, THE PROPER WAY TO USE THEM??? If they are on the package, I haven't seen them and if there are warnings, do they stand out in bold print? Do you think the average consumer will see them or follow them?

We have to get real here. We have to all pull together and look at the pros and cons and fix what's wrong instead of just going hysterical

5/17/2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger les said...

We do have to get real, travelingal; and there's going to have to be action from individual to international. We all need to hassle our congressvarmints; if the U.S. doesn't get on board, nothing will happen-no developing country, including China, will do anything while we, as a nation, allow this or any administration to deny and ignore. At the same time, I think lots of individual actions, lots of small scale creativity are going to be needed, and will happen.

The light bulb thing? Obviously not "the solution;" and you're right, in addressing one problem they raise another, at least in potential. But I think they may help get us out of the "it's too big, I can't do anything" rut, so they're at least a short term good, I think. And we need any kind of good we can get, right now. Tain't no silver bullets for this monster.

5/18/2007 9:28 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Exactly, Les. I'll do my part and I'll encourage others to do so also. The light bulb is but one example of what could be good, but could turn bad. We need to get our act together and do this the smart way. Even if global warming isn't an imminent danger, it can't hurt to conserve energy. Sometimes it takes the extremes to find the middle.

5/18/2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

les - "Emaw even does an entire post, invents a cool little award, to discredit the global warming fanatics."

Not true. Not true at all.

It was an "Angry Blogger" award. Had nothing to do with global warming. It had everything to do with how you present your argument. I fully expect to be a multiple winner of that award myself.

I don't know you. You don't have any real profile. You don't appear to have a blog of your own. But my educated guess is that you are young. I'm guessing early to mid twenties. Probably heterosexual, probably not married, probably no kids. I suspect you may even still be in school.

This amateur G-Man profile is based mostly on your anger and your passion. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But as you get older (and I'm really, REALLY old), you discover that approaches like "We should no longer care why people believe the liars. The message is: you are wrong; here is the evidence; quit being stupid and help find answers" doesn't really work. In fact, it has just the opposite effect. It's counter productive. I should know...I'm guilty of it all the time. Just ask emaw.

Anger and passion are wonderful things. But channel that energy into an approach that will actually persuade minds, shape opinions and turn hearts.

Pissing in people faces and calling them stupid doesn't exactly make them think "By Golly! He's Right! What was I thinking? OF COURSE I'll change my mind and embrace his cause!"

I'm just sayin'.

BTW, I have converted my entire home to the energy efficient flourescent bulbs. I hardly ever have to replace bulbs now. They last forever. But when I do? I like to take them out and break them on the patio. They explode really cool.

5/18/2007 7:30 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

XO and Les -

You're both going to have to come to one of my pokers game or parties someday. XO - I've known Les for almost longer than you think he's been alive . . .

5/19/2007 7:52 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Wonderful news! We have a new recycling center on XO's patio! What are the hours?

5/19/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger les said...

XO, as Dan said, you got the profile about as wrong as you could.

"Pissing in people faces and calling them stupid doesn't exactly make them think "By Golly! He's Right! What was I thinking? OF COURSE I'll change my mind and embrace his cause!"

Maybe, maybe not. This is not my first go around with a lawless, arrogant administration that prized political power over the good of the nation. If I know anything, I know it takes all kinds. I now that if you want to be polite and calm, the powers that be will eat you alive. They have more money, more resources, more venues.

I've seen the "oh, don't listen to him, he's so uncivil" mantra till I could puke; and the result is, until you have people's attention, you not going to win. If and when you get someone's attention, you can logic and calm them all you want.

I don't suggest there's one tactic--you might notice I said different things to emaw, travelingal and Jim. This is a blog-not the public square. If I turn off a lurker, well sorry--maybe they'll follow you to your center of calm and reason. If I get someone's attention, and they decide to see why I such a noisy asshole, great.

But I have been here before; I am sick and fucking tired of being lied to, screwed over and watching my country and world led down the garden path by a gang of greedy, arrogant idiots and cronies, all of whom have the power to be calmer than me. If Dan gets tired of my screaming around, I'll take it elsewhere. If you want to be calm, be calm.

I'm fucking pissed. And I will yell at the weasels who cover for evil because of ideology, or stupidity, or whatever.

Finally, buy the whining if you want to. "Angry Blogger" absofuckinglutely is about the message. Take a look at who gets accused and who doesn't. The right wing noise machine routinely suggests killing, marginalizing or rounding up their political opponents; suggests that disagreement is treason and unreason; suggests that their political opponents invited terrorists to attack; suggests that global warming is some kind of political plot. But who is "uncivil?" Why those dirty fuckin' hippy blog commenters--they better calm down, they're ruining the discourse.

To hell with that. I have every intention to ruin the discourse as it currently exists.

5/21/2007 10:03 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

LOL! Guess I can kiss that job as an FBI Profiler goodbye!


5/21/2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Well, tell ya what, Dan. Maybe there is no way to calm down the alarmist doom gloom I'll die for the cause peeps like you, but just know this,

It isn't going to change my thinking no matter how loudly you scream.

Cause,what you say makes little difference to me. You are not an expert. I am quite capable of checking out the experts, however. And, that's what I'll do.

Quite frankly, I don't give a fuck what anybody on this blog says. I don't care if XO breaks every mercury lightbulb he has on his patio. I don't care if Pat Buchanan says the world is ending tomorrow. I will listen to the evidence I deem worthy and that's about it.

So, save yourself a coronary.

5/21/2007 6:11 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Scuse me, I said Dan and was replying to Les' comments. Please correct.

5/21/2007 6:12 PM  

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