Doubt, about the science of tobacco consumption, DDT, and global warming


From The Climate Reality Project.

(Yes, there is a bias.  Several biases exist there simultaneously, actually, so we should say there are biases.  The most important for you to know about are the biases for good science and accuracy, especially historical accuracy.)

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Graffiti: BIAS

Graffiti: BIAS (Photo credit: Franco Folini, via Flickr) (Creative Commons)

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15 Responses to Doubt, about the science of tobacco consumption, DDT, and global warming

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Do I understand this correctly, Morgan? This group did an informational video. You have no objections to any of the information in it, but you expect others might have, and wishing to see what bizarre claims might have been trumped up against the claims, you went to see what was there — and found nothing. So, you claim that the makers of the film have violated your unstated and undescribed and amorphous desire to see a fight.

    Is that correct so far?

    What do you take issue with in the video? Anything?

    The tobacco interests were found liable for lying that caused death and disease, and ended up paying billions as a result — do you wish to make a defense of them, now, a sort of l’esprit de l’escalier?

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  2. Me:

    My observation was simply that comments are disabled under a video arguing against the free and open exchange of informed ideas on the subject…

    You:

    I watched the video again, and I’m interested that you think it was a call for an exchange of ideas…

    You evidently aren’t sufficiently interested to distinguish between the fundamentally opposite concepts of “for” and “against.” I’m sure your ability to so distinguish is present; in spite of your statement about “interest,” it’s the give-a-damn that is lacking.

    People who don’t pay attention, don’t want anybody else to pay attention either.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    My observation was simply that comments are disabled under a video arguing against the free and open exchange of informed ideas on the subject, which I thought was interesting and a bit amusing. I believe my actual comment was: “Heh.”

    I watched the video again, and I’m interested that you think it was a call for an exchange of ideas. It’s an instructional piece on how anti-science partisans have abused mass media to suggest there is scientific doubt where there is none, or very little.

    Free and open exchange? No, this piece says that not every fool idea should be entertained as valid, or correct.

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  4. There’s no obstructing of comments here.

    Didn’t say there was. My comment had to do with the page over at YouTube. Nor did I become, in your words, “bothered and cranky” about it. My observation was simply that comments are disabled under a video arguing against the free and open exchange of informed ideas on the subject, which I thought was interesting and a bit amusing. I believe my actual comment was: “Heh.”

    …I pointed out the irony, since you control the gate at your site, and the gate is creaky and not always working.

    Actually, no I’m not a WordPress developer. If I were, I’d have to collect all the information I could on people having difficulties with their passwords, so as not to unnecessarily confuse or irritate them; and from what I can tell about it, the password issue is simply one of user forgetfulness. If you think that’s unnecessarily burdensome, you’re doing the right thing — start your own blog and don’t have passwords.

    It is telling that the authentication issue that has caused the much greater share of grief, from what I’ve seen, is the potty-language and URL trap that flags some comments for my review, making them visible only after I’ve moderated them. But you probably don’t want to bring that up, because last I checked, you were using the same feature. So I agree with you that there is more irony to be found here.

    But, again, I’m not sure what the point is you’re trying to make. You agree that the point to be made about global warming being a looming danger, is credible only when informed discourse cannot take place, but under some situations having to do with blogs and WordPress and comment moderation, you think people should not be noticing that.

    Whatever it takes to make the argument look respectable, I suppose. It seems to be taking quite a lot.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    There’s no obstructing of comments here. You found that at the YouTube site — not sure why you think it’s necessary there, nor have you explained — and I pointed out the irony, since you control the gate at your site, and the gate is creaky and not always working.

    Here’s the video. If you know someone who takes issue with it, send them this way.

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  6. Interesting to see you assume a problem when I haven’t said what it was. Maybe more than you intended to reveal?

    Not likely, since if three’s no “problem here” then a question emerges as to what the point is that you’re trying to make. As I previously understood it, I’m guilty of throwing stones when I live in a glass house, since I’m making the observation that a video clip, which seeks to stigmatize any viewpoint contrary to the global warming narrative, is hosted on YouTube with comments disallowed. Meanwhile, I run a blog on which people cannot comment without going through an approval process that is actually minimal, and rather commonplace…

    So if anything, I thought it was interesting when I noticed a two-fer, when we actually have a three-fer: The video discourages an informed dialogue; comments underneath the video are disallowed; and, anybody who stops by to take note of the irony, should not do so, if you can cobble together some tortured deflection mechanism consisting of “Oh yeah? Well YOU are!”

    I’ll just refer, Jay-Carney-like, to my original remark: If the point you’re trying to make relies on obstructing informed discourse instead of on encouraging it, it’s probably not a good point.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Wow. So passwords on the Internet are a bad thing…voter ID is a bad thing…nobody should ever prove they are who they say they are, or verify that they’re even human beings.

    What’s the purpose of the security? I’ve got an effective spam and profanity filter, beyond that, the issue is getting a variety of voices. You seem to have one side of the stands filled, but not the other. How badly do you need passwords? I can’t figure out why you’ve got ‘em.

    If there’s some exigency that makes them necessary, fine. But use a system that works well, if you have to.

    I think it’s a bit bizarre to claim to encourage discussion, and then discourage it. It’s a symptom of denialist blogs, a common symptom. Encourage discussion or discourage it, but don’t pretend to do one and then do the other, you know?

    Not sure why you think there needs to be a discussion thread at a YouTube site. Many serious sites don’t bother. Judging by the high spam level at other hard science sites, I think it may be a rational choice to say “no discussion here.”

    But once they’re commenting, they shouldn’t discuss anything because TheScienceIsSettled.

    Denialists always get all bothered and cranky when they can’t spread their denialism. You don’t seem any exception to the rule.

    Seeing more unworkable contradictions on your side than on mine, here. I’ve got people on my site forgetting their passwords all the time, they can still get through. Honestly, I’m a little unclear on what you’re complaining about. Reminds me of the voter ID thing.

    Glad they can get through. More power to them. Interesting to see you assume a problem when I haven’t said what it was. Maybe more than you intended to reveal?

    Got a complaint about the video? What is it?

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  8. Wow. So passwords on the Internet are a bad thing…voter ID is a bad thing…nobody should ever prove they are who they say they are, or verify that they’re even human beings. But once they’re commenting, they shouldn’t discuss anything because TheScienceIsSettled.

    Seeing more unworkable contradictions on your side than on mine, here. I’ve got people on my site forgetting their passwords all the time, they can still get through. Honestly, I’m a little unclear on what you’re complaining about. Reminds me of the voter ID thing.

    Like

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah, well, don’t complain about lack of discussion where they get the science right, especially if you’re putting up hurdles yourself.

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  10. You’ve managed it before Ed, and others have as well. If you need help from my end I’ll be happy to oblige, anytime.

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  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Just by the way, Morgan, your site isn’t any too friendly to discussion. I haven’t been able to sign in there for a couple of months. Do you get statistics on how many refusals you get in comments?

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  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Generally a good rule. I don’t see any obstruction of discourse here. The video was put together after more than a decade of discourse, much of it highly public.

    Do you see inaccuracies? I don’t. I was struck at the short, but accurate portrayals of the tobacco health damage denials — “No, I don’t think nicotine is addictive” — flying completely in the face of all published research at the time. In the hearings on the Senate side, earlier, we had tobacco companies and their consultants testify that nicotine is not poisonous, though no rational human would say that (nicotine was the insecticide of choice in research greenhouses, because it was rather natural, didn’t damage the plants, but was astonishingly deadly. A leak from the greenhouse to nearby animal labs could set cancer research back ten or twenty years; some universities resorted to detailed inspections of greenhouses, to be certain no human was close to the site of fumigation, to avoid accidental deaths.)

    If you’re looking for the facts, you’d do well to pay attention to the video. If you’re looking for entertainment, you’re probably seriously misguided. If you’re looking for attempted rebuttals, they’re all over the internet, but not in the research journals. What we need is more blunt truth-telling, not fog-producing discussion.

    Serious reading? Try these for starters:

    A Planet Called Earth, by George Gamow; just check the stuff on CO2.

    Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.

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  13. I didn’t go to write, I went to read.

    The only comment I would make on this is that as a general rule, if the point you’re trying to make relies on obstructing informed discourse instead of on encouraging it, it’s probably not a good point.

    Like

  14. Ed Darrell says:

    So comment here.

    Like

  15. Heh. “Comments are disabled for this video.”

    Like

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