Wednesday, December 12, 2007

War on Science

Please note that I have accurately tagged this as a "Rant."

And here we all thought that Bush and Darth Cheney were too busy trying to start a war with Iran to focus on anything else. Nope. Turns out they have nearly infinite capacity for mischief.

All of that denial about global warning was apparently part of a coordinated attack. And the House Oversight Committee Report on it is pretty clear. Inexcusable. Really, really inexcusable. For shame.

How'd we get here? Is it that Americans are functionally illiterate when it comes to science? Is it that we don't pay attention? Is it that the consequences of full-on stupid aren't instant, long-lasting and hit-you-over-the-head obvious? Go ahead and guess my opinion on that one...

So, since we've clearly let ourselves down by assuming that our elected leaders wouldn't purposely steer us down a path toward a new Dark Age, isn't it time for some action?

How about a science debate?! Sign their petition. It's a good idea.


Anonymous said...

For me, I think it is that people are so protective of their beliefs or ideas. Christians can come across really loud with a lot of hype(Look at the Golden Compass reactions). As well as global warming leaders (I really have a hard time listening to Gore on this).

With that said, I would love to see some sort of civil and joint debate and research. No agenda, no politics and no preconceptions.

At this point, I don't know who to believe, because of all the inaccuracies and misleading going on. I want to know how to best take care of the planet that I believe God blessed us with and entrusted to us. That's a pretty powerful responsibility. People should take it seriously.

SWE said...

Blustering about opinion is one thing, and censoring of scientists because you don't like their findings is another one entirely. It's worth reading the committee report I linked to. It is especially worth downloading the whole PDF because the executive summary just doesn't present the case as clearly as the report itself. (BTW, Al Gore annoys me too, and I tend to agree with a lot of what he says.)

Whether or not one has an in-depth understanding of the research in this area, the actions of administration officials as presented in this report do not come across as responsible. Just because you ~can~ "edit" the reports of scientists whose findings disagree with your public policy doesn't mean that you ~should~. This is not honesty, this is not responsibility. This is unconscionable. In a free society, this is unacceptable.

And, I know this comment thread is going to raise the hackles of some regular readers, so here is an admonition to play nice.

Anonymous said...

I am with you here that it is downright unacceptable.

I will be happy to take time and read through the link. Thanks for allowing me my thoughts. I am sure we could and will have some great discussions down the road.

And, I assure you I will be nice :)


Peter said...

The thing that makes me sad is that many people believe that there is still disagreement on global warming. That tells me that Bush & Exxon have been successful to a degree.

In fact, just about everyone who studies global warming seriously is in total agreement that global warming is real, man-made, and will be devastating beyond any human catastrophe experienced since the dawn of history.

Nevertheless, the few oil company shills are preying on generally well-intentioned people who would prefer to believe a happy lie. Nobody wants to listen to someone spouting on about gloom and doom--even if the gloom and doom are real and avoidable.

As for the first comment asking for civil and joint debate / research, I would argue that has already happened and has been double, triple, quadruple, quintuple checked. Global warming is nothing new, we've known about it and its link to carbon for a very long time.

Part of our unwillingness to act to save ourselves, our neighbors, and our planet is a result of our inability to *feel* slow, impending evil danger. Flying a couple of planes into buildings on 9/11 kills an insignificant number of people compared to plain old car crashes. Similarly, the predicted rise in sea levels will make all those car crashes look like an ouchy scraped knee in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Hey Peter - thanks for responding to my comment. I don't think I spoke well enough, but what I would like from where I stand is to know who to listen to. I understnad there has been a ton aof great research, but everytime I hear about the research, I get different views.

I have downloaded the pdf that Heather spoke of, so I am hoping to really soak some of that in. if you have any other ideas of where I should get my info, please pass it along.

Just as an aside, I have no issues with golbal warming. I believe it is real and that there are things we can do. We actually were talking about being media green last month on my blog. I just want to know I can trust the info I am getting. No propaganda, no scare tactics and no politics.

Andy Steingruebl said...

Peter - For those of us who haven't taken the time to read up on global warming that much, do you have a few quick references you'd recommend?

Peter said...

Knowing who to listen to can be tricky. And in the case of global warming, I see the dichotomy as being between apolitical scientists, and those who swe pointed out as subverting the science.

In fact, most scientists are pretty apolitical when it comes to their work. The problem is that the work can sometimes get pretty complicated and needs to be translated for folks like me to understand it. That's where some of the skewing can come in.

Come to think of it, it seems I know a lot of scientists these days. The ones I know get very angry when they perceive scientific research being presented simplistically and in support of a political agenda of any sort.

security retentive and inworship:
In terms of places to look for info about global warming, it depends on how "deep" into the subject you want to get.

If you want to dig right in, I'd take a look at the IPCC reports. Particularly, the Summary for Policy Makers is vaguely understandable by mortal humans :-)

If that's all a bit heady for you, you can stretch down a few notches and take a look at the wikipedia articles. Remember about wikipedia that it can be flat-out wrong, however, it *can* be a good aggregator of legitimate sources. That said, the wikipedia article appears to have been paid lots of attention. It's probably not bad as a summary.

If that's still to techie for you, I'd check out Al Gore's movie. You may not like him, but I don't think anyone can accuse him of not being an avid advocate for our planet. His movie has been meticulously fact checked, and the only errors are largely tiny, nitpicking details that don't change the overall picture one bit for the casual viewer.

If that's still not your thing, here's a Youtube clip of Futurama's explanation :-)

So much of the argument about global warming in the US recently has been "is it real?" If you accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on the subject, the next question is what to do about it.

We've got some scary questions, and this TED talk starts getting into some of those roll-up-our-sleeves-and-start-solving-problems issues.

Peter said...

Wow, I was reading more of that wikipedia article on scientific consensus. With this statement from the American Associate of PETROLEUM Geologists, apparently there are no scientific bodies disputing the basic notion of human-caused global warming.

Anonymous said...

Peter thank you for your time and your discussion. I will definitely dig into this data and see if i can wrap my head around it :)

I enjoy a challenge, it forces me to learn.