For those of us who dwell in that hypothetical construct known as reality, the following E.L. Doctorow keynote address — critical of ideological fundamentalism of all types — is a breath of fresh air.

Its from the April 2007 joint meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society on the theme of "The Public Good: Knowledge as the Foundation for a Democratic Society"  titled "The White Whale."

Here is an excerpt:

"What does it say about the United States today that this fellowship of the arts and sciences and philosophy is called to affirm knowledge as a public good? What have we come to when the self-evident has to be argued as if–500 years into the Enlightenment and 230-some years into the life of this Republic–it is a proposition still to be proven? How does it happen that the modernist project that has endowed mankind with the scientific method, the concept of objective evidence, the culture of factuality responsible for the good and extended life we enjoy in the high-tech world of our freedom, but more important for the history of our species, the means to whatever verified knowledge we have regarding the nature of life and the origins and laws of the universe…. How does it happen for reason to have been so deflected and empirical truth to have become so vulnerable to unreason?
For some time now we have been confronted by a religiously inspired criminal movement originated in the Middle East that advertises its values by suicidal bombings, civilian massacres and the execution of arbitrarily selected victims by the sawing off of their heads. However educated, well-to-do and politically motivated the leaders of this conspiracy may be, they have invoked an extreme fundamentalist reading of their sacred text to mentally transport their rank and file back into the darkness of tribal war and shrieking, life-contemptuous jihad.

So that history, as we look to that part of the world, seems to be running backward, as if civilization is in reverse, as if time is a loop…

Apart from this uncanny synchronous spin, the domestic political fantasy life of these past seven years finds us in an unnerving time loop of our own making–in this country, quite on its own, history seems to be running in reverse and knowledge is not seen as a public good but as something suspect, dubious or even ungodly, as it was, for example, in Italy in 1633, when the church put Galileo on trial for his heretical view that the earth is in orbit around the sun.

I am not a scientist and don’t deal in formulas, but as a writer I would, in the words of Henry James, take to myself "the faintest hints of life" and convert "the very pulses of the air into revelations." That surely provides me with a line to unreason. And so when I read that the President of Iran denies the historical truth of the Holocaust, and when I hear the President of the United States doubting the scientific truth of global warming, I recognize that no matter what the distance they would keep between them, and whatever their confrontational stance, they are fellow travelers in the netherworld.

Two things must be said about knowledge deniers. Their rationale is always political. And more often than not, they hold in their hand a sacred text for certification.

The entire screed is well worth your time reading it. Joe Kernan, I am talking to you.


>

Thanks, Kitty.
>

Source:
The White Whale

E.L. DOCTOROW
The Nation, June 26, 2008 (July 14, 2008 print edition)   
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080714/doctorow

Category: Financial Press, Politics, Science

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

88 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Knowledge, Science, Enlightenment”

  1. Knowledge is power but knowledge is NOT wisdom…

    “But this is that which will indeed dignify and exalt knowledge, if contemplation and action may be more nearly and straitly conjoined and united together than they have been…” ~ Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning

  2. I have run out of patience with the “There’s no such thing as Global Warming” crowd.

    Its not the scientific debate — which they are losing quite badly — but rather, their irresponsible tactics.

    Sorry, but if you wish to debate the issue of whether Global Warming is real — or evolution, or gravity for that matter — you will have to take it elsewhere.

    If you want to discuss this, keep it reality-based, and troll free. Any commentary deemed spin or troll based will be summarily dismissed (deleted).

  3. worth says:

    No denying global warming, but a debate CAN take place about whether it’s completely caused by human activity or if it’s also due to natural cycles (both terrestrial and solar) that aren’t fully grasped yet.
    Also, contrary to the last paragraph cited above ["...their rationale is always political"], one does not need to be politically motivated to deny knowledge.
    Finally, unsubstantiated subjective claims aside, it may make statistical sense if the majority of knowledge deniers are religious, since the majority of humans are religious and knowledge deniers are a subset of humanity.

  4. on the internet no one knows that i'm a westie says:

    grrrr, this “I can close my eyes ‘cuz I put everything into the hands of God” fatalism of many practitioners of evangelical Christianity (and a trait also shared by radical Islam) is driving the whole country into a ditch as GW, Cheney and his evangelical Bushies are driving public policy.

    If things continue on the current trajectory, Obama will be elected and will drive this country left for the next 20 years, just like FDR.

  5. mhm says:

    “President of Iran denies…”
    “President of the United States doubting…”

    Not only those two are miles away from any reasonable definition of a Statesman, I wouldn’t take any of their views at face value.

    That said, the Holocaust was not even a tenth of the genocide promoted by Socialist revolutions in Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia… But somehow we don’t talk about them, maybe because Russia, as a also-winner of WWII, had a hand on rewriting History.

    And The Warming… why the emerging markets can continue to warm the globe up at will? Should be a global effort, no? No? Then it might not be all that doom after all. But I’d support any effort to reduce pollution any day.

  6. John F. says:

    I guess it takes a novelist to conflate the concepts of historical record and scientific theory. At least he takes pains to say he’s not a scientist–the “but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express” defense. BTW: any holocaust deniers on (for instance) the MIT faculty?

  7. worth:
    Have you seen James Fallows pictures from China(Specifically Beijing)? How anyone can live and breath in that air i’ll never know.

  8. I have noticed Kernan speaking more and more right wing. Every chance he gets he throws up on Becky and Carl with right wing lines. Everyone talks about obama killing the market. Buffett, Soros and Volcker all support him. These guys are the best and brightest. Kernan must think they are stupid. Maybe they understand things Kernan doesn’t.

  9. Hoss says:

    You know, the whole “global warming” thing is all about manipulation. The end game of said manipulation isn’t crystal clear to me yet but I have a few ideas:

    1). The word “global” in “global warming” seems to point to the fact that we all need to work together – seems harmless enough and actually quite altruistic. However, one gets a sense that there’s another agenda, perhaps a nation breaking, nationalism and patriotism shattering “we’re all brothers”, “we’re all in the same boat” kind of thing.

    The problem is we aren’t all brothers and even though we share the same planet we aren’t all rowing the boat to the same destination. Certainly the case can be made that the western mindset or culture, with all of it’s problems and excess, is still more conducive to freedom than anything east of western EU. The prosperity you enjoy is a direct result of the Judeo Christian values that form the foundation of our (western) society.

    This foundation deserves to be protected and defended….not washed out with a corporate shade of gray. A “melting pot” must have standards to be adhered to; not debasement by incoming lesser denominators.

    2). While it is a fact the the climate is changing, I ( and I am certain most people) remain skeptical about the causes offered to us. I’m even more skeptical that I need to pay a tax to some unseen “authority” to try and air condition the earth back to “normal”.

    Seems to me the one who stands to gain the most are those who mercilessly try to convince us that energy is “scarce” ( and have been using the Rockefeller method for the last 100 years). There is some kind of power play being made here….everybody wants to rule the world.

    O how I long for the day when I can hear from an “expert” who isn’t sucking on some foundations t!tty.

  10. Brendan says:

    “…I recognize that no matter what the distance they would keep between them, and whatever their confrontational stance, they are fellow travelers in the netherworld.” Haha, that’s great!

    Some simple universal truths explain it all. If you allow the pool of people in society to decide who will run the place (i.e. you have a democracy where people choose if they want to run for office) power hungry megalomaniacs will be a vast majority of the people who run, so you will inevitably have power hungry leaders. The rest of us have better things to do. Religion has sprung up in every society because it is the easiest way to manipulate people, something those power hungry leaders like. Blind faith cannot be denied, so if you can get your followers to follow blind faith, you’ll always be right and looked to for answers. Science it the enemy of blind faith, so it must be fought (until it’s so damn proven that you just sound utterly foolish trying to stick to the faith explanation – Galileo was only forgiven by the Catholic Church in the 90′s, how many years after we landed on the moon!?) Don’t hold you breath on the fringe accepting global warming until at least the 23rd century! We just have to move on and ignore them, just like we did with the space program.

    For some reason we don’t elect people to sit on a jury; perhaps it’s because there are certain people who would get a “rush” out of sending every person who comes through the courts to the chair, regardless of guilt or appropriate punishment. Maybe we should choose our government like we do our juries? I used to think that we would end up with too many “unqualified” people that way; but the last seven and a half years has proven that we picked the least qualified person in the world, so we’re guaranteed to do better by random chance!

  11. DL says:

    “Two things must be said about knowledge deniers. Their rationale is always political. And more often than not, they hold in their hand a sacred text for certification”.

    It’s hard to find an economist who isn’t motivated by a desire to convince people to support this politician or that politician. And his (or her) reasons for supporting a given politician may have more to do with the politician’s social policy or foreign policy than with his (or her) economic policy. What masquerades as economic reasoning is often nothing more than political propaganda.

    All this makes economic forecasting all the more difficult.

  12. worth says:

    To JK’s conscience: global warming is th LAST thing that Beijing residents need to concern themselves with. Between the polluted air and rivers, they’ll be dead long before the earth climbs another degree.
    Too bad the world doesn’t go back to tactics that had universal appeal and were not debatable [unlike the causes of global warming], which were just straight-up anti-pollution (air, water, and earth) campaigns circa the 1970′s?

  13. Mr. Flibble says:

    The thing is that the rejection of the scientific method is nothing new.

    Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” presents many illustrations of the suppression of knowledge, even as far back as within a few years of the birth of science in Greece. The most striking example of knowledge suppression for me is the murder of Hypatia of Alexandria–an accomplished intellectual–in the 4th century by a mob of shrieking supporters of “Saint” Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria. The destruction of Alexandria’s great library shortly thereafter–along with almost all of the knowledge of antiquity–was done for religious reasons (Christianist or Muslim).

    Suppression isn’t something new, and will happen again. Never doubt for a moment that people will kill and burn to crush inconvenient knowledge if they could do so. What has always allowed to truth to get out was the inability of authorities and their thugs to control modes of communication. At first it was the printing press allowing for mass production of books. Now it is the Internet and blogs.

  14. craig says:

    a lot of people wrongly accuse “deniers”, what I and many other accused deniers say is this; The earth has natural cycles of warming and cooling that have occurred for tens of thousands of years (and longer). We know of several ice ages that came and went long before any pollution by mankind. We are in a warming trend right now. The extend to which mankind has caused or contributes to that warming is in very much in question. We may never know with relatively good certainty (enough to justify trillions of dollars to combat warming) the extent to which mankind is contributing to the warming trend.

    That said, it’s a VERY good idea to reduce harmful emissions and pollution. We need to find ways to reduce harmful pollution/emissions while balancing the need for human progress, growth, and a path for billions of impoverished people in the world to achieve a healthier existence.

  15. BCS says:

    Barry,

    I am not in the “‘There’s no such thing as Global Warming’ crowd”, but there is a point to dispute as to the scientific evidence of the impact man has on the phenomenon. I don’t personally deny man has a role in global warming, but it is a very fair and intelligent debate to have as to how much man contributes, and thus how much carbon credits and industrial world restrictions will impact or slow warming (or even if it can be slowed. The world did go through an intense cooling period that wiped out a lot of life at one point, do you deny that?). I think it is also fair to question the motives of those trying to create the “solutions” to our world ending predicamint so widely being marketed.

    Also, you certainly have to question the Malthusian tactics brought out by the Left who are screaming that we must act now and act drastically, or else humankind will certainly perish. The hysterics and theatrics are pretty silly and hardly constructive.

    It baffles me that the “‘There’s no such thing as Global Warming’ crowd are a bunch of idiots” crowd refuses to acknowledge the legitimate debate over man’s impact and argue rationally over what can or should be done about it. It is much easier to just dismiss the opposition out of hand as ignorant religious zealots. Maybe the knowledge acknowldgers can understand global warming, but can’t quite grasp the concepts of correlation and causation.

    I think it is pretty healthy to question people who peddle end of the world stories and preach repentance before it’s too late, regardles of whether they have their hand on a sacred text or a power point presentation.

  16. Gary says:

    Barry, thanks for the post and the link. In today’s world which is only 6,000 years old with fossils to challenge my faith, it is heartening to read a well-written article on the subject of reason and knowledge.

    Frankly, I know of no effective way to combat ideological fundamentalism except to keep speaking the truth regarding objective evidence and hope that contemplation and reflection can generate freedom.

    It is virtually impossible to convince one of faith of other than their faith. It is a self-realizing achievement. Those who deny the theory of evolution will not be convinced even though they reap the benefits of its discovery. Just like those who deny the theory of germs often end up deceased. It is unfortunate that deniers of such theories aren’t granted the same immediate result as deniers of the theory of gravity.

    I can only hope that this period of “running in reverse” is a “one-step backward” and that we will be able to move forward again in the near future.

  17. craig says:

    also: so many people who think they are on opposite sides of the issue actually are on the same side of the major issue (warming trend is reality) but they differ on two side issues. 1) how much is natural vs. mankind influenced and 2) how much should we spend to address the issue.

    then the ugly part comes………who pays what part of the bill to address the issue (not ignoring who pays if we don’t address the issue)

  18. ndd says:

    You realize, of course, that nowadays the “sacred text” is just as likely to be something from Milton Friedman, right?

  19. COMMENT: “It’s the global warming cultists who have denied the scientific process its place in the debate”

    ~~~

    I refuse to be drawn into that sort of polemic debate. Its precisely that sort of nonsense that makes one suspect these folks’ motives.

    My goal is reaching the truth — either are helping on that matter, or you are obsfuscating.

    If its the latter, then your posts are not welcome here.

  20. This was a refreshing post.

    Its so difficult sometimes to realize that we are all so very young. We mastered wiping our asses only approx. 100 years ago by removing the splinters from toilet paper*, can you imagine how long it will be until we clean up this mess?

    Scuppie. ;-)

    *http://nobodys-perfect.com/vtpm/ExhibitHall/Informational/tphistory.html

  21. Paul says:

    “Two things must be said about knowledge deniers. Their rationale is always political. And more often than not, they hold in their hand a sacred text for certification.”

    Environmental zealotry has both political and religious components. Doctorow and others who are uniformed on the argument against significant man-caused warming should read The Deniers by Lawrence Solomon.

  22. craig says:

    Gary, i have deep faith and I accept science, the two aren’t incompatible. it may be uncomfortable for you to hear this, but many people of faith don’t fit your stereotype that makes them so convenient to ridicule. I believe the world is billions of years old, i believe in evolution. I believe in God. They don’t contradict each other.

  23. Uncle Jeffy says:

    Kernan seems to get farther and farther from reality every time I watch him. Reality 1, Deny-niks 0…

    And did you notice the reference on Angry Bear to Larry Kudlow’s disbelief that $55/barrel oil “couldn’t possibly last”? I’m gonna start the “Help Larry Kudlow Buy a Clue” charitable trust.

  24. 1. how much is natural vs. mankind influenced.

    There is no serious scientific dispute on this issue. None.

    how much should we spend to address the issue.

    2. This is a strawman, raised only by people who think there is a scientific dispute about #1.

  25. alnval says:

    Incredible!

    How difficult it is to grasp that the pursuit of secular truth only requires the acceptance of a method not a liturgy. Doctorow’s thesis couldn’t be any clearer in that regard. His problem is like the rest of us he must rely on the imperfections of language. As Barry notes in his abstract, Doctorow tries to extricate himself from this dilemma by saying: “I am not a scientist and don’t deal in formulas, but as a writer I would, in the words of Henry James, take to myself “the faintest hints of life” and convert “the very pulses of the air into revelations.”

    I think, however, that the last paragraph of his essay says it best:

    “It is Whitman, our great poet and pragmatic philosopher, who advises us not to be curious about God but to affix our curiosity to our own lives and the earth we live on, and then perhaps as far as we can see into the universe with our telescopes. This was the charge he gave himself, and it is the source of all the attentive love in his poetry. If we accept it as our own and decide something is right after all in a democracy that is given to a degree of free imaginative expression that few cultures in the world can tolerate, we can hope for the aroused witness, the manifold reportage, the flourishing of knowledge that will restore us to ourselves, awaken the dulled sense of our people to the public interest that is their interest, and vindicate the genius of the humanist sacred text that embraces us all.”

    It’s not Henry V but it is a call to arms.

  26. Diogenes says:

    Dumb people are so much easier to control!

  27. Mike in Nola says:

    I hate to see this degenerate into a global warming debate. I believe the best-reasoned view is that whether it is all cyclical, all man-made, or a combination thereof, the consequences of being wrong are so tremendous that it is better to be safe. In the end, it will help anyway in terms of pollution, less dependence on oil, etc.

    The situation is analogous (yeah, I love analogies) to WWII. The Manhattan project was a response to the German interest in a nukular bomb. It turned out we were wrong and they had not gotten close to producing anything, but the project helped in ending the war sooner anyway.

  28. donna says:

    All well and good to support rational choices, but emotional buttons are far easier to push. I don’t buy natural products solely because they are better for me and the environment, but because I find them beautiful and enjoy the look and feel of more natural products, the better taste of organic fresh local foods, etc…

    I also enjoy breathing clean fresh air, the health of walking when possible instead of driving, the joys of working in my pajamas rather than driving 30 minutes to a job where I’m just on my computer anyway.

    Anyone who has done sales knows you can’t just sell the features, you have to sell the benefits. These are the benefits to sell, not just the features of rationalism, but the sheer joy of living life in ways that make sense and make us as individuals far happier and more fulfilled.

    See WALL-E for an excellent example. It’s driving the wingers mad right now.

  29. craig says:

    Mr. Watts,

    #1: respectfully disagree. there is very real and serious debate on the issue. search and you will see.

    #2: it’s not a strawman at all. if the question on how much to spend is just a strawman, then why not spend $999 trillion on it right now? that’s ludicrous right? well then how do we decide what amount to spend? (between $0 and $999 trillion). We need to understand what we spend and what we get for that spend. Deciding how much to spend is not a strawman, rather it’s pretty logical way to arrive at a sustainable, beneficial solution.

  30. Dave says:

    Barry, I know you said you didn’t want to debate the global warming thing on here, so I apologize in advance for this. I’m not exactly debating, I just have to offer my two cents – which is that I think most of the arguments against human-caused global warming are usually just a softer, fallback position dreamed up by those who want to deny global warming in the first place. That said, skepticism has its place, and I would not deter anyone from it. I just want to alert people who have heard of this counter-argument that it may be as suspect as the global warming denial itself.

    I would simply point out that the global warming research isn’t compatible with some squishy notion that we don’t have any idea if it’s correlated with human activity or not. The reason scientists who study this sort of thing are sounding the alarm about greenhouse gases is because it’s part of the scientific conclusions about why it’s happening and what we can do. Now, it may turn out to be wrong, and certainly I would encourage people to form their own opinions, but certainly I’d like people to do so by reading some of the literature out there and not simply defaulting to Denial Fallback Position #2. Because that’s what this is. Any global warming denier, when finally forced to admit that the evidence of warming is rather hard to refute, backs up to “But people aren’t necessarily causing it!” Not saying everyone who says that originally denied it…just that it is also unfortunately a view held by apologists as well.

    I recommend the book “The Rough Guide to Climate Change” as a very thorough primer on the subject. It is written for the non-scientist but talks about many of these sorts of questions. I found the evidence itself very logical and convincing, and I would ask that people read it or similar texts that survey the science in a little depth before debating this issue.

    Otherwise, thanks for posting that excellent, excellent article. I will be sharing that link with others, for sure.

  31. Jay says:

    Please differentiate between Climate Change (the climate is always changing), Global Warming (completely possible), and Human Caused Global Warming (completely debatable). Try not to compare HCGW with Gravity. Where there is an actual prediction made and experiments to verify prediction. Is there a theory of HCGW (not GW or CC) ? Does it make predictions? What are the experiments and what peer replication of experiments have occurred? If one cannot ask these basic questions, then there is no ‘scientific’ debate, then HCGW has simply become a matter of ‘US versus THEM’. Which is rampant in our society today on BOTH sides of the debate.

  32. David says:

    Yes, yes. Because ululating nutcases in the Middle East sawing off heads and blowing themselves up are really the same as peacefully debating in the public realm the merits of the arguments for and against global warming, evolution, nuke plants etc. [BR: We will just ignore the 200,000 dead from two wars]

    I don’t know what “reality-based” construct you live in, but in mine, getting my head chopped off because I don’t follow a medieval cult or dress my wife in a black bag is really not the same as voicing concerns that the evidence to support, say, global warming just might not support a multi-trillion dollar investment in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Perhaps that money would be better spent elsewhere. But in any case, I’m not getting my head cut off in the USA for proposing that.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the “reality-based” community might recognize the reality of life here versus tribal Pakistan, and come down in favor of the former. That is if they actually had a grasp on reality.

  33. Dave says:

    Jay, I agree, we should differentiate these terms, but I’d like to correct you a bit. “Climate Change” is more of a term used to more correctly and/or politicize the global warming debate a bit. Yes, technically, you are correct, “climate” plus “change” just means some change to climate. Any sane person would agree. But what’s happened is that some people started calling “global warming” by the “climate change” moniker for various reasons. Some were scientists who wanted it to be more descriptive, i.e., not everywhere is a simple upward change in temperature the result the globe warming. Some were activists who thought that “global warming” sounded a little too happy.

  34. Gary says:

    Craig,
    Of course faith and science aren’t incompatible. I agree there’s no contradiction. The “faith” I was referring to was “ideological fundamentalism.”

    I was born and raised Roman Catholic and had an all-Catholic education including 4+ years of Jesuits.

    I’ve also had extensive discussions with fundamentalists who do not believe in evolution, and who do not understand why “alternatives” can’t be taught in schools.

    Usually at some point in the conversation they will admit that “creationism” or “intelligent design” or whatever requires the intervention of a supernatural being. When I explain that their theory is no longer science because they are introducing a supernatural element, they get confused (“confused” is not a good word here, but I can’t think of an appropriate one) and the conversation resets to zero. (I usually encourage them to read the judge’s decision in the Dover trial, but that’s generally spitting in the wind, too.)

    My apologies if you didn’t follow me on the original post, but it is difficult for me to imbue the written word with the face-to-face subtleties of speech and dang near impossible to have a conversation.

  35. XON says:

    The most remarkable thing about this post and thread is what Barry did in comment number 2.

    The reason that dogmatists on both sides get away with what they do is that the un-polarized middle is acted upon by them, rather than providing feedback to them.

    We remain with a still-breathing hope when members of our society (not party) leverage the credibility and trust they have developed through their own hard work and integrity to confront ignorance (of either side).

    Although some may allege that Barry has engaged in censorship or partisanship, it’s his blog, his voice, and he is raising it, moderately and relatively impartially, not in favor of one side or other, but against error.

    Kudos; and a recommendation to others to do likewise.

  36. Dave says:

    Yes, yes. Because ululating nutcases in the Middle East sawing off heads and blowing themselves up are really the same as peacefully debating in the public realm the merits of the arguments for and against global warming, evolution, nuke plants etc.

    I believe the comparison was between the presidents of the respective countries. If you were to compare just those, they’re both plenty fine with denying the truth in order to justify violence. I’m sure we’re a lot better than our president. I hope so, anyway!

  37. lidia says:

    It’s not only global warming that the current admin. and its fundie sustainers have faith-based issues with. It’s abstinence-only sex ed and refusing to distribute condoms in Africa. It’s no “partial-birth” abortion even to save the life of the mother. It’s refusing to promote vaccines against the HPV that causes cervical cancer.

    Just look up Dobson, Hagee, and the Dominionists (Ashcroft, Monica Goodling and the Regent College crowd) who want to bomb Iran (fomenting a war that will destroy Israel, except for 144,000 Jews) so that the Messiah will come soon(er?)!!

  38. Francois says:

    “No denying global warming, but a debate CAN take place about whether it’s completely caused by human activity or if it’s also due to natural cycles (both terrestrial and solar) that aren’t fully grasped yet.”

    If debate along these lines is allowed, the end result is pretty damn obvious isn’t it? “Well! if we’re not sure that is is man made, no point in trying to reverse what we can’t have control upon riiiight?”

    This has been the 2nd line of defense of all the denialists on global warming. After flatly denying the very existence of global warming, denialists claim we need to be 100% sure it is man made. Guess what? Left to them, they’ll make damn sure it is impossible to be “100% sure”. The code word for that is “junk science”. Continually raise the bar for the evidence until the already obvious dawn on every non-scientist. There is NO absolute certainty in science.

    The next step is even more obvious: “See! Didn’t we told you so? They are not even sure it is man made!” converting the obvious into a quasi-criminal accusation of “enemy of the economic growth” and so on.

    So we can’t have a debate! For the simple reason that time has come (way overdue btw) to DO something about it.

  39. Francois says:

    “If things continue on the current trajectory, Obama will be elected and will drive this country left for the next 20 years, just like FDR.”

    Lat time I checked my history books, it haven’t been such a bad thing wasn’t it?

  40. CaptiousNut says:

    The problem with this *erudite* clown’s speech is that he tries to invoke history as his ally.

    When in fact, every civilization since Babylon has politicized the weather. That’s a historical FACT that he’s manifestly ignorant of.

  41. Ed says:

    The “Scientific method” is the primary method of turning ideas into knowledge.
    But one should not forget that scientists are humans to, with the usual mixture of pride, avarice greed etc.
    Therefore claims are regularly made by scientists that exceed anything predicted by the questions they have framed.

    Tenure is sought after, grants need to be obtained and egos need to be satisfied.

    From my perspective in Europe, on the whole much less religious than the US, the general population’s scepticism of scientific output is not simply the product of ignorance but partially born of the experience of overstated claims.

    Peer review has not managed to eradicate the problem although it significantly reduces it because those items that slip through the net tend to be heavily promoted.

  42. jopo says:

    and we thought ‘idiocracy’ was a (somewhat) humorous parody of the future….feels more like a documentary at this point…somebody please wake me up and tell me it’s all just a bad dream….

    “Bush administration halts solar energy projects on federal lands”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/06/23/daily67.html

  43. David says:

    Yes, yes, Barry, because a war where you kill more people than they killed on your side makes you the worse one, right?

    Just like…umm…WWII. Yep, that’s it. We killed more Germans and Japanese than vice versa so we must be worse than they were.

    In your “reality-based” world, where would you rather live? Here or, say, Pakistan? Or even Dubai?

    In any case, the silly point of this quote was that somehow “scientific debate” has been stifled/censored by religious nuts in the USA JUST LIKE in the Middle East. Ridiculous…simply deserving of ridicule.

    ~~~

    BR: Um, no. You mentioned how peaceful our debates were. I begged to differ with you.

    Now, if you would just unwrap yourself from that flag, and comedown from that clocktower, we can all have a nice cup of decaf . . .

  44. worth says:

    Francois, whether or not the globe is warming (it is) and whether or not I am intellectually arrogant enough to believe that mankind can invent something to reverse that course (I don’t believe we can) are independent conditions. Unlike yourself and many (though not all) scientists, I don’t believe all of the universe’s, or even the globe’s, processes are able to be comprehended, let alone reprogrammed, by people.
    Without “denying” anything regarding the measurable facts that support the rising temperature of the earth, I am perfectly able to engage in a productive debate on the subject of its causes and remedies (or lack thereof).

  45. If the planet warms up into a runaway greenhouse and cooks us all because we didn’t do everything in our power to stop it, I fail to see that it matters whether or not humans started it.

    There are many talented, clever people who have devoted their entire professional lives to detailed, careful, study of these climate questions, subject to withering critiques and skepticism at every front, and themselves supplying likely even more such skepticism.

    Are scientists perfect? No. But as a community, I challenge you to find a group more consistently right, more consistently honest, more consistently committed to long-term understanding, and more consistently forthright in admitting what is and is not known. And the scientific community is nearly unanimous in saying that we have a severe problem.

    There are also many people who have devoted enough time to read a book by someone funded by entities with no particular credibility and a direct, short-term interest in the outcome.

    Whose advice do you plan to take? And how long do you plan to wait to act on it? The 80% confidence point was passed long, long ago.

  46. John says:

    Folks, the way to distinguish pseudoscientists from real scientists is not on the basis of the degrees they have or the books they’ve written.

    The difference is simple: pseudoscientists (intelligent design yahoos, global warming denialists) run away from science and try to frame everything as a public “debate,” because in their hearts, none of them have the courage to test their hypothesis and produce new data. The comments here demonstrate that in spades:

    “No denying global warming, but a debate CAN take place about whether it’s completely caused by human activity or if it’s also due to natural cycles (both terrestrial and solar) that aren’t fully grasped yet.”

    “While it is a fact the the climate is changing, I ( and I am certain most people) remain skeptical about the causes offered to us.”

    “… it is a very fair and intelligent debate to have as to how much man contributes,…”

    “It baffles me that the “‘There’s no such thing as Global Warming’ crowd are a bunch of idiots” crowd refuses to acknowledge the legitimate debate over man’s impact and argue rationally over what can or should be done about it.”

    “also: so many people who think they are on opposite sides of the issue actually are on the same side of the major issue (warming trend is reality) but they differ on two side issues.”

    “#1: respectfully disagree. there is very real and serious debate on the issue. search and you will see.”

    “…and Human Caused Global Warming (completely debatable).”

    Not a word about evidence. All debate, apologetics, and polemics. No science.

  47. John says:

    There’s another long global warming denial piece on the ed page of the WSJ today and they regularly carry pieces promoting intelligent design. Doctorow’s piece goes to the heart of the paradox where we have a staff member of the leading financial newspaper in the country writing global warming denial articles. Stephens, a neoconservative, the author of this homily also regularly applauds the acuity of Bush’s foreign policy decisions. Despite an Everest of empirical evidence that the consequences in the middle east has been an end to US primacy; the elevation of Iran to regional hegemon; the strengthening of various terrorist and quasi terrorist organizations like the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine; universal detestation of the US and all it’s works across the region; and a weakening of Israeli security (a major neoconservative goal); this allegedly intelligent commentator still doesn’t see anything wrong with his reasoning. It’s got so bad that even the Israeli govt is taking initiatives like negotiating with Syria and Hezbollah which Stephens and his ilk disapprove of. People like this guy long ago let go of reason because it didn’t accord with his prejudices. Now there’s not unusual about that except that instead of pushing a supermarket cart and ranting at passersby he’s writing leading articles in the country’s major financial newspaper. Doctorow couldn’t be more right.

  48. jag says:

    Apparently one is a complete fool to question global warming theory.

    Fine. I rather stand with “fools” than blindly follow hysterics who do not understand the term “theory”.

    ~~~

    BR: No, one is a complete fool for failing to think for oneself, mindlessly repeating other peoples talking points, and choosing to ignore science, while engaging in extreme rhetorical games (of which your comment is a perfect example of).

    Like I said, keep that weak shit outta my house. . .

  49. Dave says:

    Apparently one is a complete fool to question global warming theory.

    Dude…is that a troll? Did everybody not just say FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE and USE LOGIC AND SCIENCE? Wtf? Oh, well, some people never get it, I suppose.

  50. jag says:

    Dear Barry,

    I’ll happily stay out.

    ~~~

    Don’t stay our, just keep it reality based

  51. worth says:

    John, here are some facts:
    - 1998 was the warmest JAN-MAR period on record for “Ocean” in the Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hem., and the Globe, as well as for Southern Hem. “Land” and Southern Hem. “Land and Ocean” (source: NOAA, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/mar/global.html#temp)
    Why hasn’t the temperature over the past 10 years of vastly increased greenhouse gases caught up to those highs? Could it be that 1998 was a warm year due to other factors, too? Yes. What are those factors? Are they man-made? Solar cyclical? Geothermal activity cycles? We don’t know.
    Also, look up your word “hegemon” and you will find that Iran fits no description whatsoever of that word. It aspires to regional hegemony, to be sure, but Israel and Saudi Arabia will never allow that (not to mention Russia and the U.S.); at best, they could hope to be one member of a regional triumvirate.

  52. george says:

    John–

    I’m glad to see you mentioned the op-ed piece in today’s Wall St. J.

    As the philosopher John Locke said, “Truth emerges from the clash of adverse ideas.”

  53. John Kerry says:

    I thought the Swift Boat incident put an end to that meme

  54. John says:

    Worth:
    I see you’re in denial too. Iran has 75-80 million people with numerically by far the largest military in the area; sitting on about 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves; they are pulling the strings of Hezbollah, Hamas and a major chunk of the shiite political establishment in Iraq; are on the edge of obtaining nuclear weapons; and are promoting an anti Zionist foreign policy with which most of the people and govt’s in the region are in sympathy. Yep they are a million miles away from being the regional hegemon. And Russia would have no problem at all all with Iranian regional supremacy if it scores off the US and increases their own influence in the region. They’ve been trying to make Persia a Russian client state since the early 19th Century. As for Israel and the US not “allowing” the ascent of Iran and it’s surrogates. Yep we’ve done a great job of that over the past seven years.

  55. worth says:

    Iranian hegemony is another debate, not for The Big Picture. HOWEVER…
    …since you clearly have not looked up the word, here is the 1st dictionary.com definition of “hegemony” [note that as threatening and seemingly dangerously irrational as Iran is, they do not lead or predominantly influence their neighbors in the region, which is the primary tenet for the definition; rather, they sit there and scream and call us names and hope someone doesn't blow up their nuclear facilities before they're completed]:
    1. leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.

    Btw, I whole-heartedly concur with that WSJ op-ed by Bret Stephens that you referenced (crazy Texan that I am) – thanks!

  56. John says:

    worth wrote:
    “John, here are some facts:…”

    Science isn’t about cherry-picking the data, worth. It’s about testing the predictions of your hypothesis and producing *new* data.

    “Yes. What are those factors? Are they man-made? Solar cyclical? Geothermal activity cycles? We don’t know.”

    We don’t claim to know. But we can make hypotheses and test them, something the denialists are afraid to do.

    You do realize that every scientific conclusion is provisional, don’ you? That nothing is ever considered to be proven?

  57. John says:

    worth wrote:
    “John, here are some facts:…”

    Science isn’t about cherry-picking the data, worth. It’s about testing the predictions of your hypothesis and producing *new* data.

    “Yes. What are those factors? Are they man-made? Solar cyclical? Geothermal activity cycles? We don’t know.”

    We don’t claim to know. But we can make hypotheses and test them, something the denialists are afraid to do.

    You do realize that every scientific conclusion is provisional, don’ you? That nothing is ever considered to be proven?

  58. David says:

    Barry, you’re really being silly.

    I’m pointing out the sheer stupidity, yes, stupidity of this statement that you excerpted:

    “And so when I read that the President of Iran denies the historical truth of the Holocaust, and when I hear the President of the United States doubting the scientific truth of global warming, I recognize that no matter what the distance they would keep between them, and whatever their confrontational stance, they are fellow travelers in the netherworld.”

    There is no equivalence between denying a HISTORICAL TRUTH and doubting a scientific “theory” (really a hypothesis, as we cannot experiment on the climate in a controlled fashion, the scientists are merely extrapolating and correlating trends). It is not a “scientific truth,” and EVEN IF it were, the sheer evil of denying that millions of people WERE ACTUALLY slaughtered simply for their religion/ethnicity does not compare in any rational system to simply doubting that somebody MAY be able to predict the future.

    Additionally, this fool has the temerity to state:

    “For some time now we have been confronted by a religiously inspired criminal movement originated in the Middle East that advertises its values by suicidal bombings, civilian massacres and the execution of arbitrarily selected victims by the sawing off of their heads….

    Apart from this uncanny synchronous spin, the domestic political fantasy life of these past seven years finds us in an unnerving time”

    Again, if you are suffering under the notion that the current political system in the USA is comparable to the nutjobs running the Taliban, etc, there’s no hope for your derangement. You simply are detached completely from reality. Period. In your bizarro world, Miami Beach is covered with burkas, San Francisco gays are being hanged and crushed under walls, Texas “swingers” are getting stoned for adultery, and the editorial staff of the NYTimes has “disappeared” for their betrayal of the state.

    Get a grip.

  59. LY says:

    There’s serious scientific debate over global warming? Show me the links.

    Science isn’t about being fair and balanced, it’s about better and preponderance of data, experiments, theories, facts etc. The better explanation wins, so “global warming” deniers, tell me what the better theories are?

    As for those whining why should the U.S. take action while other countries don’t: it’s called leadership and taking responsibility.

  60. wunsacon says:

    Hey, all you deniers!

    Someone — might’ve been Barry — posted this URL not too long ago:

    http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics#Stages%20of%20Denial

    READ!

  61. David says:

    LY.

    China now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than the US (or if they haven’t, they will be #1 next year). So where’s their “leadership?”

    The US emissions growth has lagged behind Europe. You know, the ones who signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol. Where’s the EU’s “leadership?” They actually agreed to the darn thing. The US hasn’t, yet we’re the ones to actually have leveled out our emissions.

    Why hasn’t the EU taken any responsibility? Why hasn’t China taken any leadership?

  62. worth says:

    Although repeatedly lumped in with the “deniers,” who are alleged to refuse to rely on science and facts and who will only deal in subjective debate, I believe I remain the ONLY commentator on this entire post that has backed my claim with FACTS, via the NOAA url that I provided. Sheesh – stop it already!
    The much-clamored-for “better theory” is that, purely and simply, the earth warms and cools. Always has, always will.
    Humanity will always attempt to explain natural processes, and sometimes we might be WRONG. Just ask NASA how embarrassing it is to be wrong, to know you are wrong, and to continue knowingly presenting your case with invalid data just because you can’t admit you don’t have climate data to backup your false claims.
    People, if you want to reduce pollution, tell me how it will lead to a greater chance of me dying of cancer than I otherwise would. But quit making stuff up about how my car is going to result in the flooding of the earth’s coastal cities in the next few decades – not that I don’t believe that will happen (I actually DO think that may well happen, and soon); pessimistically, I happen to believe that it will happen regardless of whether I drive or bike to work, that’s all. Because that’s how Earth rolls – always has, always will.

  63. John says:

    Worth:
    Instead of giving those of us who attended reasonably respectable universities lessons in the English language why not read my posting and see how it compares with your definition which amazingly I’m not unfamiliar with, because on the facts I’d say they fit the picture exactly.

    ” here is the 1st dictionary.com definition of “hegemony” [note that as threatening and seemingly dangerously irrational as Iran is, they do not lead or predominantly influence their neighbors in the region, which is the primary tenet for the definition;”

    By all means disagree with my opinions that our efforts to contain them haven’t exactly been a glowing success or on Russia’s long term goals in the region but the facts speak for themselves even if you are in the land of denial.

  64. Mike in Nola says:

    Hey David: The problem is that both sides of the War on Terror(TM) are led by fanatics who believe that they are leading a divinely inspired mission. They believe that God has given them an indulgence excusing the killing and injuring of innocents in the fulfillment of their mission. I think W is way ahead on that last score at the moment.

  65. worth says:

    No more time to spend on this one – but thanks for the joust! And I’ll be checking back for that flurry of scientific data that I’m sure will be rolling in any time now, along with the upcoming Middle East conferences that will undoubtedly see Iran assume its rightful place at the head of the table!
    Hook ‘Em!!!

  66. ben says:

    From BCS above:

    I am not in the “‘There’s no such thing as Global Warming’ crowd”, but there is a point to dispute as to the scientific evidence of the impact man has on the phenomenon.

    I am right there with you. How can it be explained that several other planets are also warming? It certainly was not because of man. How can this be argued. Something more is going on than our CO2 emissions or the fact that we all breathe the stuff out.

    As another person stated here global warming is more theory right, not a fact and enough digging shows much conflicting data. Also, no scientist knows the exact reason why this is happening. Case in point: James Hansen who recently stated “we’re toast” and who also predicted a coming ice age years ago.

  67. John says:

    worth:
    “Although repeatedly lumped in with the “deniers,” who are alleged to refuse to rely on science and facts and who will only deal in subjective debate, I believe I remain the ONLY commentator on this entire post that has backed my claim with FACTS, via the NOAA url that I provided.”

    You were cherry-picking. And you still don’t have a clue about the scientific method, which is about attempting to falsify your hypothesis by testing its predictions, not cherry-picking a single URL.

    Science looks forward to new measurements and experiments, while pseudoscientists think that if they regurgitate a URL, that they’ve made a real case.

  68. craig says:

    John, wow. where do i begin. your entire post at 3:28 was so riddled with misstatements, misconceptions and falsehoods that it’s willful ignorance on your part to really believe what you wrote.

  69. VJ says:

    craig,

    Mr. Watts, #1: respectfully disagree. there is very real and serious debate on the issue. search and you will see.

    You misrepresented what Douglas Watts posted, and then substituted a straw man instead.

    Douglas posted:

    There is no serious scientific dispute on this issue. None.

    You are correct, there IS INDEED “serious debate on the issue”, but there is NO “serious SCIENTIFIC dispute on this issue“.

    None.
    .

  70. alnval says:

    I’ve been gone for six hours but the debate rages on. Who could possibly have thought that the Arts, Letters and Philosophy crowd would ask someone to speak who would stir up such a fuss? And his topic? The White Whale.

    Maybe we need the kind of forum that Barry offers more than we know. The witch hunters have always been with us and still are. But for a five to four decision we would have lost The Great Writ.

    Sunlight and fresh air is always the best remedy. Maybe this and other websites will help us turn on a few more lights down the road.

    Meanwhile, as to the reality of global warming………..

    Thanks, Barry

  71. Will Rempel says:

    ooooh….
    I am 100% behind the sentiment of Doctorow’s address.

    So I hate to bring this up, but I’d like to see someone be able to refute Lawrence Solomon

    http://www.urban-renaissance.org/urbanren/index.cfm?DSP=larry&SubID=163

  72. Kevin McKern says:

    Absolutely spot on stuff. I was amazed how the comment morphed into a global warming debate, which is a non issue, every professional scientific body in the world, every single one without exception has endorsed the reality of human induced climate change. AAA’s included, of course. The IPCC is a conservative body bound to consensus, if it were not, the conclusions would be far darker.
    I never realised the extent to which the freedom of the frontier became the freedom to beleive self serving lies.

  73. AlladinsLamp says:

    No doubt the planet is warming. But is it human activity or by natural cycles?

    I favor “Intelligent Warming Theory.

  74. Dick fitzgerald says:

    Of course unmentioned Israel has no murderous fundamentalists, does it?

  75. David says:

    Hey Mike in Nola.

    If you can’t see the difference between deliberately targeting, say, a skyscraper with thousands of civilians in it for the sole reason they’re not like you versus what our military has been doing under the current administration, again, you’re not really part of reality.

    Your head must really be exploding in cognitive dissonance, by the way, if you’re busy conflating this administration with fundy nutjobs in the middle east but supported/were neutral on, say, bombing runs over Bosnia.

  76. drdave says:

    It all comes down to edcation/training/inteligence and motives.

    The vast majority of academically trained scientists (80%plus) subscribe to the fact of global warming.

    Of course there are educated dissenters, but they are too far from reality to reach. We also emember when 10% of DOCTORS said smoking Camels was good for you.

    These screwballs are EITHER not: educated, scientifically trained, or intelligent. They have opinions and very passionate voices.

    Now as to Bush- his (oil/cheney/HAL) bias is evident when his first policy change when taking office was to dismantle the altenative energy policy.

    P.S. I strongly believe Kernan does not believe half of what he says but takes the producers’ task of following this rightist polemic with a smirk…in order to increase ratings.

  77. VJ says:

    David,

    (Assuming you meant to reference Serbia, not Bosnia)

    Care to explain how the current administration’s illegal invasion and illegal military occupation of another sovereign nation under false pretenses, which had not attacked us and was not a threat to us, is relevant/comparable/pertinent/whatever to the previous administration being bound by treaty to come to the aid of fellow NATO member ?

    Not to mention, his own CIA did not believe that ‘they hate you’ because “they’re not like you” crap.
    .

  78. wunsacon says:

    The surface temperature of Venus is hotter than Mercury. Why? Venus’s atmosphere retains the heat. If the atmosphere can change the heat retention, then the composition of the atmosphere will likely change it, too.

    1000′s of scientists have said that changes in the composition of the earth’s atmosphere ARE changing our surface temperature. On what basis do you disagree?

    It seems the main reason many of you deniers disagree with the scientists is because you believe the scientists bear ill will towards you. What we have hear is a lack of trust. You instead have confidence in what you hear from your political leaders, who perpetuate the ad hominem attacks on the scientists. On that, I don’t know what to tell you. But, I do believe that your inaction endangers the rest of us.

  79. Greg0658 says:

    David -
    in the pre spring/summer of 9/11, some yet unnamed cartel saw jihadist training in planes and arraigned a catastrophic event to jump Iraq for oil, and destroy collected evidence on Enron and others … the event has been even more fruitful for this cartel, but I’m not sure how much the other side effects were known in advance

  80. Greg0658 says:

    those are the facts – but they need to be disputed for obvious reasons

  81. LY says:

    Worth, I’m waiting for the flurry of data that “disproves” global warming. Remember, it’s not only that the planet is warming (which no one who’s not a political hack disputes), but how fast it’s warming. And then, disprove that the increase in carbon dioxide concentration has nothing do to with it.

    Natural cycles or solar activity, regardless. We need to create the capability to cope with any problems. From mass migrations due to rising sea levels and changing localized precipitation patterns, to migrating/disappearing ecosystems and agriculture.

    Science, unlike ideologues, change their minds when better data and models come along (a la the ice age guys, most of who have changed their minds about twenty years ago). And the better data and models keep coming along in the last ten years. Most of the deniers, in terms of information, seem to be stuck in the early nineties.

  82. worth says:

    Ok, I couldn’t stay away.
    For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, PLEASE READ my comments and make your best attempt at grasping that I ACCEPT DATA THAT SAYS THE GLOBE IS WARMING. No argument there, are we clear?
    LY, your words perfectly embody the intellectual hubris that I deplore ["Natural cycles or solar activity, regardless. We need to create the capability to cope with any problems."]
    My friend, we can’t plan for or solve everything. And I’m not going to blame Bush or Clinton or Obama or McCain for every tsunami, hurricane, oil price surge, heat wave, or cold snap that we experience.
    As for where my interests lie in helping humanity, ask the women and children of Darfur (in between rapes of girls and shattered legs of 3 year olds) if they give a RAT’S ASS about friggin’ GLOBAL WARMING. PULL YOUR HEADS OUT and FIX WHAT WE CAN ACTUALLY FIX by getting rid of the Saddams and Mugabes of this world and doing our best to help something better for those people get a foothold. Quit wasting your time f’ing with the weather, ok?

  83. LY says:

    @David | Jul 1, 2008 5:35:01 PM

    There goes that whining.

    *wah* why hasn’t China done anything? *wah* The U.S. didn’t wait for China to reduce smog and acid rain… You mean the U.S. government should be more like China’s? Lock up people for protesting polluted lakes and dirty smokestacks?

    U.S. leveling out emissions? I wonder why. Outsourcing manufacturing, but that’s besides the point. The U.S. has some cherry picking to reduce emissions even more. Sell it as reducing air pollution.

    And the EU? They have much smaller emissions per capita (about half according to Wikipedia) to begin with. Couldn’t find whether they were decreasing or increasing though. At least they’re trying and paying lip service. Some countries (like Netherlands) actually do more.

  84. LY says:

    Personally, I think global warming is a runaway train. Humanity, like always, will adapt but it’s going to be uglier than what current civilizations consider “normal”.

    Darfur and Mugabe need to be addressed, but it doesn’t mean we ignore global warming. Dire dictatorships and despots have been around for a long time and won’t be going away anytime soon short of drastic US policy and actions (and in some cases, they are because of US policy- I’m happy to say that’s getting rarer).

  85. worth says:

    Agreed on the runaway train, regardless of cause.
    Agreed that there may be steps to be taken to slow it down – but only for a day or two :)
    Agreed that drastic US policy and actions are the only hope of people ruled by foreign despots (it’s pathetic that other nations won’t take any first steps in that realm).
    What one thing would help ALL of this? Getting away from oil-based economies, at least in the U.S. At any cost, we need to implement a cocktail of alternative / renewable energy sources for both autos and the electric grid. That would reduce emissions, ratchet down the tensions in the Mid East (since no one would care about that piece of desert real estate anymore), and free up military and economic resources to be re-deployed in humanitarian crisis zones.
    Forgive me for sounding all liberal-y, but that stuff just has to get done.

  86. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Well, global warming on Jupiter and Mars, must be all those SUVs they bought from Bu$hitlerburton incorporated.. But seriously though, even accepting that temps are rising and icecaps are melting, is the answer _really_ to accept a one-world state that controls where you live, what you eat, where you go and how you get there?

    Because it seems to me that the Venn diagram of the Global Warming botherer set and the Too-embarrassed-to-admit-they-were-wrong-about-communism-after-1989 set overlap a bit too closely! (or form a donut, if you ask me..)

    Now I’m all for using the market and technology (such as possibly the Polywell fusor, nanosolar, CO2 + H2O -> gasoline, but let’s start with a standardized modular pebble-bed reactor with fast-track and anti-NIMBY federal law) in order to pollute less and reduce waste (as well as to throw those xenudamn arabs back into the desert), but I’m _not_ willing to buy into the crypto-communist bill of goods most of these greenies are selling.

  87. worth says:

    Dr. N, I agree with the donut (although we scientists prefer the term “torus”) overlap model, but ONLY if the bending magnets and focusing magnets are incorporated throughout.
    And, help me out if I’m not following, but are Greens the new Reds?
    Finally, your reference to the Polywell has triggered something in my brain: the multiverse (formerly and archaically referred to as the “universe”) should, in actuality, be referred to as the polyverse, if not now, then as soon as practicable following the verification and validation of string theory by the L.H.C.