[ExI] Global Warming Skeptics as Interview Subjects?

James Clement clementlawyer at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 30 22:54:35 UTC 2007


Like any issue, there are those whose motives are unimpeachable (whether
they're factually right or wrong), and those whose motives are biased.  This
is the sole point of my posting - that neither side is completely free from
bias, and we should avoid making sweeping statements that try to paint
everyone on one side with a single brush.  Maybe the media and the
politicians can make use of such mud-slinging, but anyone who has the skills
of critical thinking should be more concerned with uncovering and evaluating
the facts for themselves.


-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Lee Corbin
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 3:29 PM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] Global Warming Skeptics as Interview Subjects?

James writes

> you're not suggesting that there are no financial incentives for
> those who write research papers against Global Warming, are you?  See

Thanks.  Indeed I was not aware that any outside agencies were paying
any scientists who did not support the view that global warming was
being oversold. But you should wince a little at the tone of that article,
which begins

Utilities Pay Scientist Ally on Warming

> Published: July 28, 2006
> WASHINGTON, July 27 - Coal-burning utilities are contributing money to
> one of the few remaining climate scientists openly critical of the broad 
> consensus that fossil fuel emissions are intensifying global warming.

The bias of this lead sentence is large and obvious. The writer is
someone who would find it somewhat painful to complete any full
sentence without pushing the point of view he personally believes in.
Everything from "few remaining..." to "broad consensus".  Now 
explain *why* a journalist, indeed writing for the Associated Press,
would have such an agenda?    Of course, we do or should be able
to individually acknowledge the general overt bias of western media in 
politically related questions, of which this is a sample.

> There are tremendous amounts of money to be made and lost by corporations
> a result of environmental decisions by governments, which under our
> structure leads to tremendous pressure by some to retain the status quo,
> by others to push for changes and punish their competition.

Yes (and thank you for admitting that last phrase; we must strive for
objectivity).  But you haven't said whether you agree with the point
that the traditional left seems to have a horse in this race that's not
simply scientific.

The bigger question I'm addressing is the bias itself, from both sides,
and why we think what we think. On a number of occasions, I have
to brag, a desire to explain *this* phenomenon in unbiased terms
has always seemed to be coming much more from my side of the
political spectrum. 

No one has yet addressed either way my contention that the social
idealism (quite apart from literally saving the Earth) of many on the
left---idealism that manifests itself in wanting bigger government
and greater regulation---is behind a great deal of the support for
global warming and a very great amount of support for the belief
in catastrophic global warming.

One way to address this might be if anyone has attempted to poll
scientists who are entirely unpolitical or ideological (I understand
the difficulty of this). But we may ourselves have some success in
soliciting opinion from well-known extropians who have never
voiced a political opinion.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
> [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Lee Corbin
> Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 11:04 AM
> To: ExI chat list
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Global Warming Skeptics as Interview Subjects?
> BillK writes
>> On 9/30/07, Lee Corbin wrote:
>>> Be sure to see
> http://www.brutallyhonest.org/brutally_honest/2007/06/global-warming-.html
>>> Global Warming scientist skeptics list is growing...
>>> ... to the absolute chagrin of the kool-aid drinking members of the
> Church of Chicken
>>> Little.  Stumbled across this today and thought it worthy of our
> attention:
>> As the last reader comment on that item notes...
>> He also notes that this opposes the thousands of scientists who
>> support the theory that humans are a major part of the cause of global
>> warming.
>> You can probably find more 'scientists' that deny the theory of
>> Some even still deny that smoking causes cancer.
> There are a number of differences. One is to check if you can be
> suspicious of some prior crackpot element.  Clearly in the case
> of evolution we have ample explanation of the motives of some
> of the creationists and so on---religion is a huge force in human
> thinking and motivation. So what would be the analogy here?
> Do a lot of the names on these list jump out at you as being bought
> and paid for by people who can somehow make money if global
> warming is false?
> Another is the incredible yet obvious, amazing yet not-so-perplexing
> political component of this scientific issue.
> Political component?  Now, how could that be?  I ask seriously, but
> especially if anyone wishes to make an unbiased stab at answering,
> i.e. answering in such a way that the writer's own biases or political
> allegiances are not patent (though of course all comments welcome).
> But being political, one may ask (just as one does in tobacco cases) who
> does the funding?  In this case, it's almost entirely governments and
> who hope for government grants.  Thus we instantly see the especially
> harmful effects of funding that is partly or mainly politically or
> ideologically motivated.
> The iron law of government bureaucracies is growth, growth, and more
> growth.  A "crisis" real or imagined is damn, damn fine for government
> growth, and is a very convenient truth for those who believe that
> governments ought to be actively improving our lives a lot more than
> they supposedly are already.
> Lee

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