Archive for November 18th, 2009


Sucker Up

November 18, 2009

[lollipop[1].jpg]Oh goody. I’ve just been forwarded this delicious essay, published in that mainspring of robust political and ethical theory, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, best known for opinion pieces that, when strung together in the shape of a giant question mark, form a typographical mystery so huge that it can only adequately be addressed by manufacturing a larger question mark.

What does Anne Jolis, author of this piece, have to say in this staid rag? You can check out the original at the link above. It’s about Stephen McIntyre and his work at ClimateAudit.

I (honestly and truly) have nothing against Steve McIntyre, and I admire his assiduousness, but I thought it might be fun to take a look at this article by removing all references to known entities. I also want to remove the context of climate change. Instead, I’ve replaced all names with pre-Socratic philosophers, substituted the topic of heart disease for climate, and reflected all changes in dark green. I’ll even use an issue that could go either way epidemiologically speaking. For reasons of time, I’ll spare you the whole article; but I want you to look at the logic, at the narrative, at what we’re being told we should believe.

Let’s have a go at it, shall we?…

Read the rest of this entry ?



November 18, 2009

To Dr. Tom Metcalf for successfully defending his dissertation, “Rational Intuition,” this afternoon. Nice job, Tom!


Hot, Flat, and Stupid

November 18, 2009

What the heck is going on over in Friedman land today? Check this out:

If you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress you will notice that the drill-baby-drill opponents of this legislation are now making two claims. One is that the globe has been cooling lately, not warming, and the other is that America simply can’t afford any kind of cap-and-trade/carbon tax.

But here is what they also surely believe, but are not saying: They believe the world is going to face a mass plague, like the Black Death, that will wipe out 2.5 billion people sometime between now and 2050. They believe it is much better for America that the world be dependent on oil for energy — a commodity largely controlled by countries that hate us and can only go up in price as demand increases — rather than on clean power technologies that are controlled by us and only go down in price as demand increases. And, finally, they believe that people in the developing world are very happy being poor — just give them a little running water and electricity and they’ll be fine. They’ll never want to live like us.

Screeeeeech! Say what? They believe that a mass plague is coming? That it is better for America if the world is dependent upon oil? That people in the developing world are happy being poor? He must be joking.

I agree that those who claim that the earth is cooling and that America can’t afford a cap-and-trade/carbon tax are making a mistake, but I wouldn’t go so far as to attribute a belief to them. For all I know, they believe almost exactly the same things I believe; they’ve just arrived at different conclusions. Maybe they’re poor reasoners.

(Right, I get it, his point is that such irrational beliefs are the “only possible way” of making sense of claims that the earth is cooling and that America can’t afford carbon policies, but there are better ways of making the point than redounding to absurd hyperbole. Making up beliefs of people you disagree with is a surefire way to completely misunderstand them.)