Skepchick Quickies 9.6


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. “5. Christians and Muslims are too often witnesses to the violation of the sacred, of the mistrust of which those who call themselves believers are the target. We cannot but denounce all forms of fanaticism and intimidation, the prejudices and the polemics, as well as the discrimination of which, at times, believers are the object both in the social and political life as well as in the mass media.”

    I dunno. It is possible this is aimed directly at secularists, but I take it as more general. After all it is usually believers who persecute other believers. This might just be a cry for opposition to all forms of intolerance and oppression… except for those specifically authorized by the Vatican.

    1. It’s really depressing to see comments on articles like this, to get the ‘opinions’ of the unwashed masses who are wholly informed by places like Fox News and Forbes.com. Unfortunately, these people vote, and politicians listen to them, or even worse are the same type of people as them, which means we are all screwed without a sea change in the popular opinion of climate change.

      Since fewer than 50% of the US population accepts evolution, I am not optimistic.

    2. exarch – that cartoon would be much more accurate were the word “better” replaced by the word “liberal”…or alternatively, “radical environmentalist”.

      That cartoon is breathtaking in its condescention. Who is against clean air? Clean water? Healthy children? Why those evil climate change denialists!! They desire a world filled with deformed children who breath smog and drink sewage. And only those who advocate a specific set of public policies can save us…

      I happen to believe the climate is changing, but remain unconvinced (skeptical) that a majority of that change is anthropogenic. And while I consider myself an environmentalist, I much prefer the environmentalism of Bjorn Lumborg. Does this make me an evil denialist who doesn’t want clean air or water?

      As this is a skeptical website, lets stipulate for a moment that, to the extent there is a scientific consensus on global warming/climate change (whatever we’re calling it this week), they are correct. The world is warming, CO2 is the cause, and man is the culprit.

      Is the public policy solution to halt the very engine – production, innovation, progress – which will one day find a solution to this problem?

      Michael Crichton gave a talk years ago where he used this parallel – 100 years ago, if you asked someone what environmental issue would be paramount in the year 2000, they’d likely say “where are they going to find all the horses, and what will they do with all the horseshit?”

      The world moved on, quickly. 100 years from now, when climate change will supposedly be catastropic, I would venture to say they’ll look back on us in a similar manner.

      The world will move on, adapt, find ways to change…as long as we don’t handicap ourselves and turn off that engine of change. And thats exactly what many of the policy prescriptions of radical environmentalists will do.

      1. I’m sorry; did reality interfere with your worldview?
        I like how you only show up here to tell us how bad we are at being skeptical when someone dares poke at one of your right-wing beliefs all the while claiming to be a real skeptic.

        You say you are not a AGW denier; ok, I’ll take your word for that. But wait, weren’t you here just the other day waving the latest study that the “climate skeptics” have been trying, and failing, to use as a gotcha to prove that global warming is a hoax? Well, I’m sure you are “just asking questions”, like that other non-right-wing font of knowledge, FoxNews.

        You say you are skeptical of the policies that are being proposed to address AGW, as you should be, but then give as examples of better policies those of a business professor whose book was found by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty to have serious problems, including fabricated data, misleading use of statistics, and plagiarism among others, and an author who before his death gave speeches (one of which is deconstructed here)that had very unscientific views of how science works. None of this makes them wrong; their actual ideas do that. But, I know what you are going to say; what about Al Gore? He’s not a climate expert but the left are always pointing to him as one. Well, no actually. The AGW deniers are the ones who keep calling Al Gore an “expert”, as opposed to the spokesman and champion of the cause that he is, so I might as well dispatch with this straw man right now.

        Bjorn Lomborg is right about one thing; AGW won’t be the end of the world. The Earth does not care one way or another if it is infested by humanoids, and I doubt AGW will be the end of humankind but that does not mean that there will not be famine, war, and suffering caused by it. The doomsayers are probably wrong about its scope, but those who are saying we need change little to nothing are almost certainly wrong and offer little to move us forward.

        You ask who is against clean air? Clean water? Healthy children? Nobody really, (must all these straw men die so needlessly?) but there are plenty who don’t seem to care if it interferes with the bottom line.

        I have to wonder what our first environmental president, Teddy Roosevelt, would think of his former party’s efforts to subvert the parks he loved so much, or what the president who presided over the creation of the EPA, Richard Nixon, would think of an initiative named “Clear Skies” that allows more pollution then the Clean Air Act it was meant to replace? Teddy was already disillusioned with his party by the end of his life but I believe that Dick Nixon, being a very pragmatic politician, would see it in terms of where it could take the party. Something tells me Dick would approve.

        Yep, a political cartoon was condescending. That has never happened before.

  2. #2: I see what he did there.

    I was looking forward to reading a piece that started with the line “Science is self correcting.” Then got confused when he spent at least 5 paragraphs on ad hominem attacks on the authors’ funding sources, credentials and economic beliefs with only two paragraphs asserting that the papers in question were wrong, but no names, dates or journals referenced to verify for myself.

    It’s not until the second to last paragraph that he laid out his thesis: “Fortunately, we also know that people can resist misinformation if they are warned ahead of time how and why misinformation is disseminated…” So, it doesn’t matter to know that something is wrong, or know how to determine whether or not something is wrong, the key to changing peoples’ minds is showing them how the initial information was disseminated and why it was disseminated?

    This isn’t about climate science. The whole article was an describing how to win an argument. Note the his formula doesn’t require the information to be correct to be convincing.

    This is advocating using the same tactics that pro-lifers use against pro-choicers, or anti-vaccine crusading celebrities use against pro-vaccine science. Is the celebrity airhead really “sceptical, in the true sense of that word, of the motives and techniques by which denialists seek to mislead,” when they respond to the latest paper finding no link between vaccines and autism simply the work of a shill for big pharma?

  3. As the author of the crystal post, I would just like to say that I love the mission of Skepchick and would be more than happy to offer any help or skepticism that I can.

    Let me know if there is anything that I can do to help Skepchick in the future.

    Thanks for the link, science rules!

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