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Opening Arguments

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Looking for a good cause you can be enthusiastic about? Hop on board:

Environmentalists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus famously proclaimed The Death of Environmentalism in 2004. Now they're back with an ambitious new collection of essays titled Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene. Their goal is to dismantle the neo-Malthusian environmentalism of sacrifice and collapse and replace it with a new environmentalism that celebrates human creativity and technological abundance. Hooray!

In their introductory essay, Shellenberger and Nordhaus make the case that technological progress and economic growth is the road to salvation, not the highway to ruin. They acknowledge that global warming may bring worsening disasters and disruptions in rainfall, snowmelts, and agriculture. However, they add, there is little evidence it will end civilization. “Even the most catastrophic United Nations scenarios predict rising economic growth. While wealthy environmentalists claim to be especially worried about the impact of global warming on the poor, it is rapid, not retarded, development that is most likely to protect the poor against natural disasters and agricultural losses.” 

George Will has an interesting column on abundance and progressivism that relates:

In 2011, for the first time in 62 years, America was a net exporter of petroleum products. For the foreseeable future, a specter is haunting progressivism, the specter of abundance. Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people, and because progressives believe that only government's energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans' behavior.

[. . .]

An all-purpose rationale for rationing in its many permutations has been the progressives' preferred apocalypse, the fear of climate change. But environmentalism as the thin end of an enormous wedge of regulation and redistribution is a spent force. How many Americans noticed that the latest United Nations climate change confabulation occurred in December in Durban, South Africa?


Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:28am

I never thought science would become political. Republicans, broadly speaking, don't "believe" in anthropic global warming because such a recognition (no serious climatologist disputes AGW) leads to the conclusion we ought to burn fewer fossil fuels. Accepting evolution (accepted by all serious biologists except Michael Behe) requires rejecting a literal reading of Genesis. Accepting that no one chooses their sexual orientation makes the Bibilical denunciation of gays obviously immoral - and the Bible can't possibly be wrong. Democrats tend to accept the science, regardless of where it leads, hence our intellectual superiority. Disputing what I just wrote is proof of your inferiority. It says so in the holy book I just found etched on pieces of gold I'm not allowed to show you. Checkmate.

Tim Zank
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 11:49am

Littlejohn, which is correct?




Thu, 01/05/2012 - 1:05pm

Hmm. That's a tough one, Tim. I think I'll be more skeptical about the one written in 1974.
Did you really think I wouldn't notice the dates? The nature of science is that it is constantly reevaluating the evidence, and changing its conclusions in light of that evidence. I seem to recall a few things happening between 1974 and 2006, the dates of your two options (committing the fallacy of restricted alternatives, by the way).
For example, the Catholic Church has changed its position on both Galileo and evolution since 1974. Change is not always bad, regardless of what they tell you on Fox.

Tim Zank
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:07pm

Regardless what I hear on Fox I'd point out you're making quite a leap of faith in believing (quite religiously) the completely contradictory "scientific data" gleaned in a relatively miniscule period of time (30 years) about a planet that's been in existence for billions of years.

Talk about presumptuous.

I'll say one thing, I admire your devotion to your religion of global warming/cooling/climate change.

Christopher Swing
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:35pm

Believing something is likely because of scientific evidence is the opposite of religion, Tim.

Religion is believing in something that there's no actual evidence for and can't be proven.

Tim Zank
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 3:23pm

Global "warming" is a religion as well, it can't be "proved" either.

Christopher Swing
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 7:24pm

You still don't get it Tim: you forgot the "evidence for" part of the statement.

There's actual empirical evidence that AGW is likely and real.

Unlike religion, where there's no real evidence that there's actually any god.

But it's good to know you're right up there with the Santorum "science is a religion" nonsense.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 4:43pm

At least Tim is being consistent. It was scientists, not clergymen, who invented spell-checking programs. That's why Tim can't spell "minuscule."

Tim Zank
Fri, 01/06/2012 - 6:14pm

The spelling police again? Really?

Harl Delos
Fri, 01/06/2012 - 8:01pm

George Will was mistaken when he wrote, "In 2011, for the first time in 62 years, America was a net exporter of petroleum products."

Our largest export in 2011 was petroleum, but we imported about 4 times (10,898 bbl/day) more than we exported (2,880 bbl/day).

Spell-check, by the way, was invented by neither the clergy nor by scientists. It was the military. Les Earnest, a sailor stationed at Naval Air Development Center in Johnsville, PA, headed the project.

Sat, 01/07/2012 - 1:42am

LJ makes fun of Tim's spelling but he could not himself deal with a multi-syllable word like "anthropogenic."

LJ might well curl up with a book such as James Delingpole's " Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors" in order to find out what little substance is involved in the junk science of man-made global warming.

Watermelons indeed! Green on the outside and communist red on the inside.

Christopher Swing
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 10:48am

Yes Harl, Les Earnest was a computer scientist that worked for the US Navy, but he'd Joined MIT by the time he was doing the spell check work. With other scientists.

Hey, let's check a couple of Amazon reviews of "Watermelons: The Green Movement

Tim Zank
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 11:48am


1970's...we're all going to freeze to death.

2000's...we're all going to burn to death

Call me when your "scientists" can accurately predict a freaking rain storm one day out and maybe I'll consider taking you seriously. Until then we will all continue to laugh at your undying religious loyalty to all things Algore and Gaia.

Christopher Swing
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 1:05pm

That reply just just says:

"Herp Derp, I don't understand what was being said or science in general! I can continue being willfully ignorant! Somehow predicting micro-patterns in local weather is required before predicting anything about global climate! Because I don't understand that weather and climate aren't exactly the same things! Herp! Derp!"

Please stop wasting our time and insulting the people who can understand things like science and logic with these replies. But do keep laughing at what you don't understand, that's an expected psychological response.

Tim Zank
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 1:25pm

I've got ocean front property in Arizona you would love. Give me a deposit.

Harl Delos
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 3:38pm

Swing: "Please stop wasting our time and insulting the people who can understand things like science"

And obviously you're a person who DOESN'T understand science. (Mind you, Tim isn't particularly bright, either. Both those who religiously support AGW and those who religiously deny that the climate is changing are fools.)

Science is a methodical process where one learns about the physical world through experimentation using the scientific method. Any decent scientists is a skeptic; every scientific law ever proposed is known to be incorrect, so they have stopped declaring laws.

Yet you assert that Les Earnest, an electrical engineer, was a scientist. Computer programs are NOT discovered, they are built. A "computer scientist" is no more a scientist than a "professional athlete" is a professional, no more than a "lightning bug" is a bug - or handles lightning, for that matter.

Earnest worked for MIT-owned Lincoln Labs (a defense contractor) in 1956 & 1957, but he went to work for MITRE Corporation (also a defense contractor) when it was founded in 1958, and remained there until 1965. He created - rather than discovered - the first spell checker in 1961, as a side project; his primary job was as engineer for the SAGE and BOMARC projects. With other engineers.

Christopher Swing
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 4:18pm

I'll be sure to tell all the computer science majors and experts that you don't think they're scientists, Harl. I'm sure they'll stop calling themselves that.

You want to make dumb semantic arguments... "It was the military. Les Earnest, a sailor..."

I'll tell you what, it wasn't the military in general, or a sailor on a boat using his sailing skills, that invented spellcheck... much less religion. It was scientific endeavor, no matter what cute word games you want to try and play.

tim zank
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 6:55pm

I kinda lean towards this scientist:


Christopher Swing
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 7:38pm

You're bound to find a nutbag in any group, even a group of people that should know better.

Oh, but wait;

Ivar Giaever's links to Exxon Mobil, Heartland, Cato etc

Here he is on the Heartland Institute's list of experts

The Heartland institute is a front of right wing propaganda paid for by people like Exxon Mobil and Phillip Morris. They have a tremendous history of denying all sorts of science, like the notion that cigarettes cause cancer. You can also see him listed by them here.

If you continue looking down that list you can find well known "cigarettes are OK" activist and professional climate denier, Richard Lindzen, and Bjorn Lomborg as well.

Giaever also appeared on a full page ad denying climate change funded by the Cato institute.

The Cato Institute is funded by ExxonMobil, Phillip Morris, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Koch Family Foundations.

---end copypasta---

Turns out he's just a sellout. A sellout with no actual expertise in the field of climate research or anything like it. But "scientist!" is good enough for Fox News dummies that are just looking for confirmation of their bias, not actual relevant information.

tim zank
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 8:18pm


Here's 31,000 more "nutbags"...

tim zank
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 8:22pm

Oops...forgot my link:


Christopher Swing
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 10:32pm

Tim, I think you also forgot that we remember you're the guy who cited Above Top Secret as some sort of reliable source once. Do you really think you can ever post something here again and we won't spend 3 seconds googling it to check it?

Let's go with this link for instance, it's got a good summation of the material you present:


"The problem is that, as science is such a vast field, you can spend your entire life studying one branch of science and still know absolutely nothing about another. For example, I am a physics student, and I can honestly say that I know nothing about medicine. I also wouldn

Sun, 01/08/2012 - 1:35am

Christopher Swing:

If you reread my post, my suggestion was that Delingpole's short book be read. I am not interested in what the book reviewers said. The book is a page turner with easily understandable sentences. Why is someone else's thoughts more important than your own education?

You obviously have not read it and probably are afraid to do so. Skepticism is the basis for all scientific inquiry and if you believe that the "science" of global warming is settled - the world's socialistic politicians and rent-seeking self-proclaimed climate scientists (whatever they are since they didn't exist 25 years ago) are in control of your mind.

For perspective, I always cite Michael Crichton's "Prologue to Jurassic Park" which begins: "You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity." We are but pissants living here on this very large planet, my good man.

Harl Delos
Sun, 01/08/2012 - 2:29am

Swing: "I

tim zank
Sun, 01/08/2012 - 10:16am

Here's the other shoe about to drop for the AGW prophets:


Christopher Swing
Sun, 01/08/2012 - 11:10am

"I am not interested in what the book reviewers said."

I'm not interested in wasting my time on garbage if I can avoid it. that's what looking into the reviews and the background of the author is for.

And just based on the author, we know it's garbage. Of course "The book is a page turner with easily understandable sentences." Delingpole is writing down to the lowest common denominator in order to make $$$ at best.

Tim Zank: Throwing up an editorial link that's merely some other guy's opinion doesn't improve your track record.

Delos: you're in a one-man war against the rest of the world and reality in general.

Harl Delos
Sun, 01/08/2012 - 8:01pm

Chris, I never said "computer science" didn't exist. I just said it wasn't science. Just ask the AAAS "By definition, scientific explanations are limited to rigorous, testable explanations of the natural world and cannot go beyond."

AGW isn't a theory, it's simply a hypothesis - and your religious belief in AGW is about as defensible as others' religious belief in creationism. When there's a mathematical model that will predict climate changes for the past 2000 years, things will be different, but right now, they can't even predict climate changes over a complete 28-year sunspot cycle.

Barry Marshall and Robin Warren faced an uphill battle against the most-prescribed medicine in the world, but they demonstrated that when you have the truth on your side, a majority vote doesn't change the facts.

Tim Zank
Sun, 01/08/2012 - 9:18pm

My editorial link was provided not so much for the writers opinion, but more importantly for the subject matter, namely the fact that over 5000 more e-mails are being sifted through as we speak which will further expose the lies:

"The new batch of emails, over 5,300 in all (compared with about 1,000 in the 2009 release), contains a number of fresh embarrassments and huge red flags for the same lovable bunch of insider scientists."

You Mr. Swing, and your fellow disciples have been bamboozled. You were taken in and fooled by the allure of the official looking white coats, the clipboards and big sounding "science" words, but don't be embarrassed, it's very common for people to be hoodwinked when they really really need to believe in something. It's also not the least bit unusual for those believers to be belligerent when confronted with the truth about their prophets.

Christopher Swing
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 3:09am

Well Harl, the AAAS opinion doesn't change the facts, either.

And if you think believing the AGW hypothesis is more likely to be true than not is the same as religion, there's simply not much hope for you.

"...namely the fact that over 5000 more e-mails are being sifted through as we speak which will further expose the lies..."

The only fact there is that you think you can predict the future, Tim.

Tim Zank
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 8:34am

"The only fact there is that you think you can predict the future, Tim."

The irony just oozes from that one doesn't it folks??