• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

In denial

I though it was spectacularly stupid with the Los Angeles Times haughtily announced it would no longer accept letters to the editor from "climate change deniers." Here's the explanation from the editor who made the decision:

Before going into some detail about why these letters don't make it into our pages, I'll concede that, aside from my easily passing the Advanced Placement biology exam in high school, my science credentials are lacking. I'm no expert when it comes to our planet's complex climate processes or any scientific field. Consequently, when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts -- in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.

And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- a body made up of the world's top climate scientists -- said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn't whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.

Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.

What he's saying is: I am not qualified to reach a decision myself, so I will trust the experts, and anybody who disagrees with the experts will get no audience with me. That is, 1) a very libeeral/progressive way of looking at things, 2) a complete misuderstanding of what science is and how it works and, 3) journalistic malpractice of the highest order. The purpose of an editorial page is to foster debate, not shut it down. There is often a fine line between "stating facts" and "expressing opinions" and an editorial page should err on the side of letting the letter writer be wrong. Good opinions can drive out bad opinions only if bad opinions are allowed to be expressed. As for which climate-change opinion is good or bad, well, let the debate rage on.
Now, though, the CEO of Apple has gone the Times one better in stupidity:
He leads a company that some would consider the epitome of ruthless global capitalism. But Apple chief executive Tim Cook has shocked some in the US with an impassioned attack on the single-minded pursuit of profit – and a direct appeal to climate-change deniers not to buy shares in his firm.

Eyewitnesses said Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as boss of the technology giant in 2011, was visibly angry as he took on a group of right-wing investors during a question-and-answer session at a shareholders’ meeting.

Responding to calls from the National Centre for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a conservative think tank and investor, for Apple to refrain from putting money in green energy projects that were not profitable, he shot back that Apple did “a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive”.  The chief executive added: “We want to leave the world better than we found it.”

Addressing he NCPPR representative directly, he said: “If you want me to do things only for ROI [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

Cook, who is generally known for his level-headed demeanour, also insisted that he places more importance on helping people and the environment than on pure profit, saying: “When we work on making our devices accessible to the blind, I don’t consider bloody ROI.”

Climate-change deniers shouldn't even invest in his company? A business exists for more than the profit motive? Good lord, jow can the CEO of arguably the most sussessful company in the world even think such a thing? Making a profit by providing what people want at a price they find reasonable is the raison d-etre of a business in the capitalist system properly understood. And I don't want to hear any crap from profit-motive deniers. The science is settled!


Posted in: Religion, Science