Sunday, July 08, 2007

Own Worst Enemy


It started with this, posted at a “politically open” website that I used to support.

Let’s say it is true, that abortion is not the greatest idea in the world, and that a majority of Americans want to reduce abortion to the greatest extent possible. After all, looking at the stats provided by the CDC, several things are painfully obvious:
- An overwhelming majority of abortions – almost 80% occur out of wedlock.
- Among those 19 years and under, abortion is decreasing significantly; however, almost 50% of all women having abortions are over 25. In other words, they are likely not women who didn’t know better. They weren’t drunk at a college dorm, getting high behind the high school, or anything like that; they were already integrated into the responsible, adult world.
- An underwhelming percentage occurred after 21 weeks of gestation.
- The change in percentage of abortions by race says that, yes, abortion among black women is increasing, but white women are by no means absolved from the problem.

These numbers can’t be false, they come from the government. Can they? These numbers are generally accepted, and they point out a huge number of societal, economic, and political issues.

THIS IS HUGE! It’s obvious that, whether we have a consensus opinion or not, it’s worth spending time and money to make sure the problem doesn’t get any worse. We know the facts – they really aren’t even up for discussion. We know the impact – look at the broken homes, stigma to society, and loss of life. We know the resolution, but we’re not doing enough about it. Sexual expression is the start and end of the biggest cause of abortion: conception.

Conception is the new Global Warning. Consensus says conception is wrong. Consensus says we MUST act, even if the stats and forecasts are askew. Consensus says our world will fall apart if we don’t fix it. The media say it disproportionately affects the poor. Critics aren’t really arguing about it that much. Even Hillary Clinton
wants to minimize the rate of abortion, which can only be done by minimizing conception.

Conception is the new Global Warming…but only if you’re willing to pass out condoms. There is no need for behavior modification, even though it would reduce medical costs and alleviate societal issues, let alone stop freaking out every adult female who is three days late.

So, why do we want to put all the taxpayers’ money behind every potential cure for global warming, when we won’t know for years whether the potential cures will work, but won’t pursue every avenue with conception, when we know what the results will be?

I was ostracized for using satire to make a point, and for trying to manipulate people into believing that abortion was on the same plane of problems as global warming.

It went to this, as comments posted to the same website, but to a different post, searching for some pointed clarification:
There are several elements of your response that raise more issues for me
than they answer.

1. Textbook definitions of ‘consensus’, are: “agreement in the judgment or opinion reached by a group as a whole”. (WorldNet) Or, “an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole”. (American Heritage Dictionary) Or, “majority of opinion”. ( The first two definitions were the ones I learned throughout my schooling years. I would surmise that the community of believers of the church of Global Warming use the word ‘consensus’ instead of ‘majority opinion’ because they, too, are well aware of what definition we all learned for the word ‘consensus’. This is not honest.

2. You didn’t respond to my charge of blacklisting non-believers and heretics. No one ever does. To me, lack of response on this charge is up there with the non-response the panel gave to the caller. It’s swept under the rug. Prove to me that the heretics aren’t persecuted, and we may have reason to come to the table together.

3. Organizationally, the community of believers looks to be more like a single, non-reproducing amoeba, than it does an emanating group of concentric circles. The former looks like it’s growing because it changes shape, but really doesn’t grow. The latter grows, and its growth is obvious because you have an origin from which you can measure the growth. a) IPCC members have left the GW table over everything from differences of outcome to differences of approach to disagreements about the use of political strong-arming. b) A significant number of scientists that signed the UN report on global warming are not meteorologists or climatologists. That’s like me, as a project manager, signing onto a report on electrical engineering. Here, the community of believers is continually redefined to make it look like we have majority of opinion.

4. Many businesses and industry leaders fail – and bring down their entire enterprise - because they say “we believe it’s true, so we HAVE to do it”. Good people are martyred for having different opinions and approaches, even if they agree with the premise. I’ve been on the wrong side of this by-product of groupthink a number of times. I’m used to it. People become blinded when they are in the “in” group, and regularly lead their projects or movements to dismal failure.

All I’m asking for is intellectual honesty. What I see is folks saying, “so what, we need to do something anyway.” That’s not honest.

The response I received was pointed alright, and ended with me asking to have my name pulled off the contributor’s list. The “science/academic guy” in the group didn't address my issues – that is, educate me – but rather scolded me. (He didn’t like my using religious metaphors to describe the movement, either. Go figure.) Again, he didn’t refute any of my issues, as I was mostly looking for an honest answer to #2, and some discussion of terms and the true population of the community of believers, er, proponents of global warming. Never got it. Hmm.

I don’t believe global warming is a legitimate issue. I’ve seen enough to believe it’s possible, but not enough to believe man has anything to do with it, and definitely not enough to believe that indulgences…er, carbon credits…will make any difference other than making green politicians and green companies rich. (Geez, and they hate Halliburton’s ties to the Bush administration. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, what is?)

All that premise to get to this: the libs who are pro-global warming are really missing the boat. There is a common area of concern for all political types, and it is reliance on foreign oil. Libs don’t want to rely on any oil because of the global warming issue. They myopically forget that many conservatives don’t want foreign reliance for anything we do, including our accumulation of energy sources. So, if we could only reduce oil consumption, we’d all be better off, right?

Well, not so fast here. As easy as I believe it would be for the green left to say, “Hey, America, if we work to change our habits, and change the way we create and consume resources, in ‘x’ years we can eliminate our reliance on foreign countries that want us dead!” Sounds good, right? Lefties would get their way without freaking people out. Other energy sources would not only be considered, but pursued with vigor. Righties concerned with protecting their country would tell their politicians that we should no longer rely on Saudis and other Middle Eastern countries – or Venezuela, for that matter – to provide our oil. Russia would lose a trump card, because we could export our new technologies and take away one of their prime exports. How’s that for socking it to ‘em?

Oops, I forgot about the problem with that method. That would put America on top again. Can’t do that now, can we? That would kill everything the lefties are working for.

Instead, the libs continue to shoot themselves in the foot with global warming. They use scare tactics, and won’t answer legitimate concerns from righties because they see only political questions instead of the opportunity to educate. And they fly a quarter of a million miles in jets to play music – music! I say! – to show that global warming is bad.

I…uh…I see dumb people. D'oh!

Instead of conceding to righties a bit and protecting the country that lets them be bozos, they have to have their cake and eat it, too, all to the detriment of their own causes.

Some people never learn.


Oh, and didja know that Gulliver took four journeys in Gulliver's Travels? When I read it in high school, the teacher had us read about the Lilliputians, the Brobdingnagians and the Houyhnhnms, but said it wasn't worth reading about the fourth journey (actually, in sequence it was the third). What was it about? Here's the summary from SparkNotes (emphasis mine):
Next, Gulliver sets sail again and, after an attack by pirates, ends up in Laputa, where a floating island inhabited by theoreticians and academics oppresses the land below, called Balnibarbi. The scientific research undertaken in Laputa and in Balnibarbi seems totally inane and impractical, and its residents too appear wholly out of touch with reality. Taking a short side trip to Glubbdubdrib, Gulliver is able to witness the conjuring up of figures from history, such as Julius Caesar and other military leaders, whom he finds much less impressive than in books. After visiting the Luggnaggians and the Struldbrugs, the latter of which are senile immortals who prove that age does not bring wisdom, he is able to sail to Japan and from there back to England.
Why do I feel like America is turning into Laputa and Balnibarbi?


Brian said...


The intellectually honest thing to do when referring to discussions on other sites would be to link to the actual discussion so that people can come to their own conclusions.

Regarding your questions on global warming, I actually did answer them. Specifically regarding your point about blacklisting. What I stated was that blacklisting does occur in science, but it occurs largely for unprofessional behavior, such as misrepresenting findings. It does not occur for differences of opinion.

The problem is that you didn't want an admission of blacklisting, you wanted an admission of a vast scientific conspiracy. That simply doesn't exist. I know that isn't the answer you want to hear, but it is the truth.

And yes, I did slam you for not being intellectually honest. You weren't asking honest questions, and you weren't looking for honest answers. Rather than asking questions or making points based on evidence, you wanted global warming to be declared a dogma derived from the holy book of liberalism. When I called you on it, you played the intellectual coward and ran away.

But let us return to your point. Global warming is well established by the scientific data. If you ever want to know what some of that data is, I can go over it with you.

You seem very eager to condemn liberals, but in fact your proposal of what "the left" should do on global warming is exactly what many liberals would like done. It is, in fact, what most scientists have been saying we should be doing for decades. But while elements of the left embrace an ecotopian woodstock, there are those on the right who cry "recession!" or "socialism" every time fuel standards or research funds for alternative energy is proposed.

The radical right has been just as busy as the radical left. The difference is, you listen to the radical right. They have convinced you and many other conservatives that global warming is nothing more than a liberal religion.

If you truly would accept the moderate proposal you outline, then it would help to learn about what the science actually says.


Rick said...

You run your blog your way, I'll run my blog my way. I have plenty of links to your blogs, people can refer to them if they choose.

I don't appreciate that my opinion has to change, but yours doesn't. My concerns were sincere, regardless of what you think. If I get one set of reports, and question them, I'm going to the person who has the best opportunity to factually and realistically disprove them. I thought that was you. I was wrong.

I am still looking for sources of apolitical data. Sorry, IPCC is not apolitical. Neither is putting MD's signatures on the IPCC report. Give me a break.

And I see I'm still a contributor to your site. Take me off.

Again, you missed my key point (typical). You are so badly trying to "scare people with facts" that you're shooting yourself in the foot. Come to the realization that talking to layman in a way that gives them something to gain or lose it what converts people, not being high and mighty from an academic and scientific perview. Your condescension amazes me.

I'm done.

Brian said...

I realize your blog is not a forum for balanced discussion which Brave Humans at least tries to attain. That's not a criticism, since different blogs have different goals.

My comment about referring to discussions was made not only in the sense of fairness, but also because it was part of Grant's post on how scientists on PBS blew off a perfectly reasonable question regarding the validity of global warming. He was making a very similar point to the one you seem to be making.

You accuse me of trying to scare you with facts, so perhaps you should have read through the discussion a little further where I pointed out to Grant that while global warming is a real effect, and we should take steps to address it, the threat is hardly the end of the world, nor should we live in abject terror of it. Essentially what I said should be done is the kind of moderate proposal you outline.

I realize you don't trust me, but I have always tried to answer your questions honestly. I have never lied to you. I may be an arrogant prick, but I am not a liar. As I have mentioned before, is a good place to go for an honest take on global warming. Their conclusion is that global warming is very real, so perhaps that makes them biased in your view, but it is written by climate experts, and they do two very important things: they focus on the science and stay away from the politics, and they clearly outline why opposing views fail based on the evidence. It is as honest and apolitical as I have found. If I find a better one, I'll spread the word.

As a point of clarification, you are not listed as a contributor on the site. You are listed as an author. You are listed as such because you have contributed to BraveHumans in the past. I will not go back through the site to remove all your posts and comments, nor will I remove your name from the list of authors who have contributed. That wouldn't be honest. If you choose never to contribute again, that's your loss. And ours, truth be told.

david nightingale said...

Hi Rick,

I can see where you and Brian are comming from. The erruption of one large volcano can have a significant effect on climate. Quantifying this would be the correct thing to do, but numbers bore most people ridged. Most people would ask is it bad? How bad? The academic might not like such a wooley emotional response. Neither would I. Yet to be sceptical of Global Warming is very scientific, because science demands that we observe and question. That you have not been fully convinced by Brian is in a way healthy. The fact that Brian is still responding to you is good to see.

Perhaps more condoms and a vegan diet would be the right thing to do, as so much methane is released from cattle. Fish stocks would recover, and there would be fewer babies to feed. Also we would need more rubber trees to make condoms so that would help us be carbon neutral. It would also reduce abortion.

Am I serious? Some figures banded about in the UK do suggest that giving up meat would have the same effect as giving up your car. Wanted babies are much better for them and society as a whole. There is often far to much focus on the obvious, and to little lateral thinking.

Keep blogging.

Rick said...

After reading the RealClimate site for the last hour, the one term that comes to mind is "pompous asses".

There is no "other side" to the global warming argument? Give me a freaking break. Everyone else is wrong. What the heck? Again, scientists do themselves a disservice by proclaiming they are better than the unwashed masses.

I can't believe I just wasted an hour of my live reviewing this "balanced" site. If I had told a lib that abortion had no "other argument", he'd freak.

Give me a break. The more I readby the people "in the know", the more repulsed I become.