Ten Questions for Monday

by A. Jay Adler on October 25, 2010
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All right, move it along. The weekend is over. Get back to work.

  1. A person is asked whether the many tens of millions of dollars in anonymously donated funds being spent in this election year by third party organizations corrupts the political process. His response is “When people are losing on the issues, they talk about process.” Even if his own counter claim were true, has he responded to the question?
  2. Is there any general level of ignorance and foolishness sufficient for Tea Party candidates for office to be disqualified in a conservative mind as being fit to hold public office even if they do hate liberals, want to balance the budget and overturn national healthcare legislation, and believe that Social Security is a socialist conspiracy? Can you identify that level?
  3. Conservatives will argue that seven or nine years may not yet be enough to complete the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet it took only a year, certainly, now, two, for them to declare President Obama’s economic policy a failure. Do you find any inconsistency in these differing standards of evaluation?
  4. If the spouses of Supreme Court justices believed to be liberal were politically active for liberal causes, how do you think conservatives would react?
  5. An individual makes a dramatically public and highly contentious stand on a nomination for the Supreme Court. If, many years later, the spouse of the nominee contacted that individual and called her a liar, would we not consider that an aggressive attack on the individual? If, on the other hand, the spouse contacts the individual privately and asks her in a spirit of conciliation to apologize, a request that contains within it the suggestion that the individual admits to having done anything wrong, how would you, then, take that phone call and how would you characterize the mind and act of the spouse who called?
  6. Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” Is a fear an opinion? Is it hatred or intolerance? Is a fear expressed a treatment of others? Is it advocacy of a form of treatment? If a person is to be vilified for acknowledging a feeling, however unreasonable and unattractive some may think it (and others not), on the basis of which he advocated not action, what distance do we have to travel to the thought police, except for the official guns and badges?
  7. When Adam Levick and I got all Philadelphia and New York on each other over the baseball playoffs, which between us thought that neither would make the World Series?
  8. Which news organization, NPR or Fox, do you think has 33 new bureaus and which 17? Which has 17 foreign bureaus and which 11? Which do you think has a bureau in Baghdad, and which not? Which do you think has no bureau in South America or Africa, while the other has? Which has 5 bureaus in Asia, while the other has none? Just asking.
  9. How many people do you think actually have sufficient scientific knowledge and specialized training to hold an opinion worth listening to on the subject of AGW (anthropogenic global warming)? How much knowledge and training would you think appropriate to warrant a challenge to an overwhelming (2-3 percentage points short of unanimous) consensus of the most active and prominent researchers in the field? If you knew that overwhelming numbers of the trained and untrained dissenters on the subject were, politically, philosophically opposed to the kinds of state-directed policies that the reality of AGW would necessitate, or that they had significant financial interests that were counter to an acceptance of the reality of AGW, would that influence your assessment of the character of their opposition?
  10. Do you want to read about how the New York Review of Books has become a leading intellectual force in the delegitimization campaign against Israel and apologetics for Islamofascism?
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3 comments

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

tom lucas October 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

people I have discussed it with, and for good reason. We are bombarded by misinformation by the media. P// I recall a documentary showing dead polar bears and views of the open sea. The deaths were attributed to AGW which had caused the ice to melt and the bears inability to find seals because of it. They were predicting the bears extinction because or our use of carbon.. I know that ice melts in one area and may be freezing in another. Polar bears have survived hundreds of years of warmer weather without becoming extinct. Another documentary showed water draining rapidly from a greenland glacier. Again this was attributed to AGW. It is known that each summer the ice on the top of Greenland glaciers melts, not because of AGW but because ice melts in the summer. It is a natural phenomenon and has been occuring before humans were created. In the not too distant past Greenland was able to be inhabited by Vikings who were able to farm, grow barley and raise goats there. This was before AGW could possibly have been preasent. Arecent New York Times article reported the presence of a monstrous chunk of ice calved from a glacier and it was attributed to AGW. Calving of glaciers does not follow from melting but results from the flow of ice either , from gravity or the weight of new ice formed from snow on top of the pile. The list goes on. P// The initial warning of AGW began with an article in a scientific journal by a group from the University of Penn. They had not done any original research on the subject but had reached their conclusions by applying statistical method to data from others work. They ignored important and well documented facts that would have invalidated their findings. Their statistical methods were subsequently proven to be completely invaled by a Canadian mathematition who was working on his own without any political or corporative connection. His proof has been ignored by the media, the political establishment, even the right wingers, but not by the scientific community. AGW has become politically correct but is not valid. P// In case you are wondering, I have not financial interest in climate change one way or the other. I am generally politeally correct. I eat a healthy diet. I exercise regularly. I am in favor of renewable energy and doing as little damage to the planet as possible. I am an independent voter with a libertarian distrust of all polititions whether right, left or in the middle. I classify myself as conservative but would vote for legalizing marijuana and all opium derivatives, abolishing income tax deductions, and for socialization of medicine. P// I am not a scientist but I have an understanding of scientific method, obtained while earning BSc with a major in chemistry, and an MD degree. I worked for several years as a paleontologist collecting mamalian fossils. This all has given me a life long interest in science and geology in particular. I have no political agenda. Al Gore does. P// Al Gore is not a scientist but a politician. The IPPC is a political organization formed by the United Nations , also a political organization. There is no consensus of the scientific community in favor of AGW except those making the original invalid report and their followers. The cause of global climate change is still being debated. We understand that it is in some way related to solar activity but the mechanism is unknown. Several theories are postulated. It may be due to cosmic particals. The movement of the solar system through the galaxy may influence it. Volcanic activity affects out climate. CO2 is important and without it in our atmosphere the planet woult probably freeze over but even if it were to double or triple it would not change our temperature but a little. Its concentration changes daily in different areas because of its uptake by plants during the sunshine hours.
Water vapor has a much more profound effect on our temperature but the reasons for changes in cloud cover are as yet poorly understood. p// Humans can and do pollute the ground, the sea, and the air. They alter some weather patterns by pouring concrete over large areas. They cut down trees and they plant and irrigate large tracts of land. Weather is not climate. We dont warm or cool the earth. AGW is a myth. P// Global warming of its own is not a myth. We live in an interglacial period that has lasted some 14000 years, give or take a day or two. During this time the surface temperature has risen significantly. The great northern hemisphere ice sheet have melted. Glaciers have retreated. The oceans have risen some 140 feet. Land formerly under the weight of ice have risen. Glaciers have retreated. Plant and animal species have multiplied and diversified. The human population has increased exponentially. We have invented plant and animal husbandry, the wheel, and the computer. All this as a result of global warming. We did not cause it. We may destroy ourselves by atomic explosions or by some as yet uknown means but it is highly unlikely to be by climate change of our own making. Certainly not by AGW. When we do the cockroaches will probably have the world to themselves.

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A. Jay Adler October 26, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Tom, though I am quite well-versed in the scientific method, I am not trained even to amateur level as any kind of scientist, so I include myself among those not having a substantive opinion worth listening to on the subject of AGW. I take note, too, of your not fitting the description of the non-disinterested opiner. Well-argued. However, I will note that you state, “There is no consensus of the scientific community in favor of AGW except those making the original invalid report and their followers.” I will point you, in response, to this Wikipedia compendium of the large multiple of prominent scientific organizational statements endorsing the evidence for AGW. It states, as well,

A survey published in 2009 by Peter Doran and Maggie Zimmerman of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago of 3146 Earth Scientists found that more than 97% of specialists on the subject (i.e. “respondents who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change”) agree that human activity is “a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.”[1] A summary from the survey states that:
“ It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”[26]

You appear, then, to be mistaken in your claim.

You further state, “The cause of global climate change is still being debated.” However, it takes only a single nincompoop, of which the world does not lack, to continue debate on any subject. People today “debate” evolution, the virgin birth, the President’s birth, the reality of the moon landings, and whether it was Mosssad or President Bush himself who attacked the World Trade Center. It is the nature of the debate that counts.

Beyond that I will only state that while I may know my answers to the questions, it is those of my readers I solicit, so that we may have such debate as this. If you read my blog with “interest, amazement, and amusement” I must surely be pleased, as I aimed to entertain. I have to insist, though, that I am much funnier than Farrakhan.

Reply

tom lucas October 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

In close personal relationships asking questions to which you know the answers is a way to solicit anger, resentment, and rationalizations. It is not a viable way to convert others to your viewpoint. If you are preaching to the choir that is another matter. P// I read your blog with interest, amazement, and amusement. I have listened to the comments on Fox and the sermons of Farakan and TDJakes with the same interest. As a person who has lived 86 years without evermaking a decision that was not a mistake I can tolerate the decisions of others generally. However, I am not able to pass on question #9.. It does not really involve opini0n but rather science is the concern. In my view you are misinformed as are most of the

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