3.28.2007

The search for intelligent life

With cancer in the breaking news on what seems like a by-the-minute basis (one, two, three), i thought i'd try to distract myself this morning with a little local color.

In the Green Mountain state, nobody brings the color better than Mark Johnson over on WDEV. His guest this morning was Dr. Fred Singer, a global warming debunker who's scheduled to speak tonight at UVM at 7 pm.

Singer's lecture is sure to be provocative and well-attended. Titled the "500-Year Natural Cycle or Disaster Of Our Own Doing? - A look at the science and politics of global warming," his basic premise is that global warming is unstoppable, irreversible and has absolutely nothing to do with us.

Singer's an excrutiatingly competent speaker, complete with a devilish little accent that makes him seem incredibly smart (see, Max Von Sydow) and grandfatherly. Whether or not it's true that Singer was a pro-tobacco shill back in the day is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Singer mentally outmuscled his critics one after another after another after another ....

Listening to avid callers show up for a scientific debate armed with nothing but political rhetoric was a bit like watching somebody bring a spaghetti noodle to a saloon brawl. Not only did you know that they were going to get creamed, but you could sense their tangible embarrassment.

It doesn't take a atmospheric scientist to recognize that anti-global warming speakers are the next big thing. Guaranteed crowds, visceral reactions, and loose treatment of the facts are already proven to be great business, and they're coming soon to an auditiorium near you.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:11 PM

    They also get instant credibilty regardless of how competent their facts, research, arguments are simply because they are the opposition. So they get equal air/face time despite the fact that their views represent a miniscule percentage of what the scientific community thinks.

    Here's a fun game you can play with global warming denying scientists, though... Ask them what their views are on evolution. If they support evolution, you ask the right-wing creationists who use their science how they can accept one aspect of the scientist's data (there is no global warming) yet reject another (natural selection). If they do not believe in evoltion, you throw their scientifc credibility out the window.

    The point is scientists do not think in black and white. People who are politcally motivated try to take scientific findings and make them be black or white without looking at what the science actually says. Greens and deniers are both guilty on that count.

    Besides, who cares about global-warming deniers producting bogus science funded by pollution-spewing corporations and oil companies. We should really focus all of our energy on protesting carbon offsetting.

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  2. Interesting posting, thanks. There was a time when UV campuses would never invite someone like Singer. But there are a lot of problems with climate models, and it's long past time that honest and intelligent people started to face them head-on.

    As for the comment above, it is a quotidian, a simple-minded and vacuous argument, anon. The fact is, evolution and "catastrophic anthropogenic greenhouse gas caused global warming" are two quite separate theories. You should know that.

    It's clear from your comment that you are not equipped to distinguish valid arguments from bogus arguments, so why do you bother to comment on an issue for which you are unqualified?

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