Paper Blasts Gore

Sunday, July 01, 2007

There is a must-read column in the Chicago Sun-Times that basically consists in a roll call of claims of impending doom due to global warming by Al Gore -- each of which has been refuted by scientific evidence. You know it'll be good when it opens like this:

In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore pleads, "We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth." Gore repeatedly asks that science and reason displace cynical political posturing as the central focus of public discourse.

If Gore really means what he writes, he has an opportunity to make a difference by leading by example on the issue of global warming.
And, for a taste of what you'll find on parade:
Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past. Hurricane expert William Gray reported just a few days earlier, on April 27, that the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined in the past 40 years. Hurricane scientists reported in the April 18 Geophysical Research Letters that global warming enhances wind shear, which will prevent a significant increase in future hurricane activity.
Hmmm. Might global warming, like almost anything else we encounter (or cause) in nature, have benefits as well as drawbacks? Son of a gun!

The end of the article rather charitably asks, "Will [Gore] rise to the occasion? (i.e., of "lead[ing] by example in his call for an end to the distortion of science"). Given that some of the doomsday scenarios he foisted on the American public in An Inconvenient Truth had been shown false before he released the movie, probably not. But that's not the only reason I am confident that Gore will disappoint.

The only thing I would have added to this column is based on something I have noted here before:
... In the misnamed "global warming" debate, both sides agree that the government ought to "do something" about climate change. This fundamental premise is almost never questioned or even named.

But laymen all over the place are arguing themselves blue in the face over whether climate change is occurring and, if so, how. Unfortunately, this second debate would remain (properly) confined to scientists if more people understood the proper role of government, namely the protection of individual rights. Not setting the Earth's thermostat.

... [T]he real purpose of the loudest faction in this debate is to extend government controls over the lives of ordinary citizens using any expedient excuse. The excuse du jour happens to be called "global warming".
In other words, there is a debate (i.e., concerning the proper role of government) which should be going on, but isn't -- that is furthermore being concealed from view by a poorly-presented scientific debate. But then, that is one of the major purposes of making such a big deal of the scientific debate.

So what would I have added? This: Given that Al Gore has been unmasked as biased in his scientific views, it might be worth considering whether he is similarly biased in his opinions regarding political philosophy. Generally, when one perpetuates a fraud like this, one hopes to gain something.

Whatever that might be in the case of Al Gore, he clearly sees big government (i.e., the wholesale misuse of government to violate individual rights) as the means towards that end since he consistently calls for government "solutions" to the various doomsday scenarios he pushes.

If Al Gore's science is flawed, his political philosophy is fair game, too. To fail to make note of that is to let one of the greatest charlatans of American politics get away with the greater of his two swindles!

-- CAV


: Corrected title.


Myrhaf said...

That is a terrific article. The author never accuses Gore of dishonesty, but that is the only conclusion one can reach from that list of facts.

It's remarkable how undistinguished and mediocre our political leaders are today. What do Al Gore, Jr. and George W. Bush have in common? They're both sons of famous, powerful politicians, and both men of modest intellectual ability who probably should have ended up as car salesmen but because of their name they stumbled into power.

Gus Van Horn said...

Good observation. Not that selling cars can't be good, honest work, but given that our culture just about makes pandering to irrationality a requirement for sales positions, I have long had a very low opinion of the intelligence, initiative, and honesty of car salesmen.

Yes. Car salesmen who can make you drive that lemon off the lot. That's what we have in Bush and Gore.

The Gregor said...

As someone who sold used cars for a few years I can attest that there are a lot of dishonest sales people out there but I observed that the most successful ones were pretty upstanding guys. Selling cars is all about getting people to make an emotional decision on whether or not to purchase a vehicle and the better sales people are somehow able to get people emotionally attached to a particular car. There are several ways to do this but lying or deceiving is usually unnecessary and generally perpetrated by the mediocre to poor salesman in a misguided attempt to make more sales where the really good sales people rely on repeat and referral business often retaining customers for life through excellent and friendly customer service.

Where I think sales people in general get a bad wrap is because even the best ones will try to get their customers to pay the maximum amount for any vehicle as that is how they make their living. But assuming that there is no deception involved the customer is ultimately making a voluntary choice and there is no amount of force or arm twisting in the equation.

Gus Van Horn said...

Your second paragraph contains a fascinating point I hadn't thought of and made me think of another aspect of why car salesmen are often looked down upon.

Your point: Yes. A general (and wrong) distrust of the profit motive figures in to this stereotype.

My point: Many people will fall on one side or the other of the false reason-emotion dichotomy. To a degree, I still fall on the "reason side". If I am not careful, I will become extremely suspicious of a decision made with much of an emotional component.

But emotions are a corollary of values. A truly good salesman will make a potential customer excited about his product for good, rational reasons.
(Having said that, there are tons of child-like, emotionalist people out there whom less scrupulous salesmen are more than happy to take advantage of.)

So, in addition to my comment on how our anti-reason culture breeds bad salesmen, those of us who default to being suspicious of emotional decisions will tend to look askance even at the good salesmen you describe. Both phenomena contribute to the bad rap you guys get.

Very interesting. Thanks for stopping by with your comment.

Jim May said...

Hey, hey! Al Gore may be many things, but you have to give him credit for the most honest book title in years.

The book is labelled "The Assault on Reason" and that's exactly what it is.

Gus Van Horn said...

Hmmmm. One day, he tries to take credit for inventing the Internet. The next day, for bringing down the enlightenment. Immanuel Kant must be spinning in his grave!