Friday, January 22, 2010

Your Slip Is Showing


For one who claims to advocate science over ideology, this last post of yours is a stunning step backwards.

Since I was certain you yourself had not read through the writings and speeches of those you quoted, I challenged myself to find out where you acquired them. Not surprisingly these quotes appear (with slight variations in the order), at several websites: "Free State Project", "Information Liberation", and "Sodahead", to name a few, all of which have everything to do with politics and virtually nothing to do with science.

Quote mining is a dicey business and I don't think I should have to explain to you why. But it only makes matters worse when you allow others to do the quote mining for you. What happens in that case is you surrender your intellectual independence to someone else. Or to put it more simply, you allow someone else to do the thinking for you.

I was at first inclined to go and find whacked out quotes by climate change denialists and post them as a response. Believe me, this isn't hard to do. I soon realized however that this is a path which leads absolutely nowhere. So I'm going to continue to put up posts on the science instead of the politics, which I find a great deal more worthwhile. How about you?



  1. I *am* an advocate of advancing science and knowledge in general. I am also not immune to following my own ideology (and changing it as needed). Each aspect to its own time and place.

    I object to using science (IMHO, flawed science) to further an ideology under the guise of representing Pure Factual Science. For me, that specifically includes the AGW-alarmism hysteria; you are welcome to disagree.

    Further, I admit I presented the quotes, not for the scientific content (virtually nil), but for the political content. I would be somewhat interested in specific denials of the quotes by those being quoted (not "they were taken out of context") the quotes speak for themselves, regardless. The quotes only reveal aspects of their (political) character, not necessarily their scientific knowledge - one can be spectacularly brilliant in one arena, yet still be a political simpleton.

    As you requested, I'll try to be careful when specifically discussing AGW theory and research and attempt to stay on the science side of things. However, as you know, this particular topic is laced with numerous ideological traps - it's hard to 'keep ones hands clean' - but I'm glad we'll both try our best.

    As we did early in the life-cycle of the blog, we did not shy away from political and ideological discussions. I'm sure we will continue to poke and prod each other from time to time on a variety of subjects.

    - Steve

  2. Sometime you should google "was Hitler a Christian". It shouldn't take much effort to find any number of quotes from this horrible man's speeches and writings to "prove" that he was. Having done so, you can use these quotes to "prove" by association, that Christians were responsible for the Holocaust.

    Similarly, a little more digging will turn up quotes by a great many respected Southern Baptist ministers who used the Bible to support slavery, thereby "proving" that Baptists support slavery.

    The common thread here is not that quotes like these are taken out of context, but that they are mined from a small group of extremists to represent the views of a larger majority.

    And that is the pity indeed. Your post specifically cites these quotes as revealing of "the agenda behind the environmentalist movement". I am as offended by this assertion as you would be if I used Adolf Hitler quotes to reveal the agenda behind Christianity.

    Steve, this is an ages old shell game. It ill becomes you.

  3. I maintain that their own words speak for themselves. Those are quotes from the (self-styled, perhaps, but nonetheless accepted) LEADERSHIP of the AGW and, by obvious inclusion, other Environmental groups. At the very least, the quotes clearly define where THEY stand. You may argue - correctly - that EVERYONE in the *entire* environmental movement does not subscribe to these views: and I'll agree with you. Some are very caring and concerned people who genuinely wish to - personally - do the Right Thing when it comes to the environment. Good for them.

    Following your Hitler analogy [shudder], I am equally sure many who supported the German government in the 1930's and 1940's - with the goal and idea of rebuilding their country after a devastating war and brutal surrender - did NOT support every single thing done by that government (the Holocaust comes to mind, obviously). Thus, just because *some* well-meaning and good-intentioned people subscribe to aspects of an ideology does not mean the entire movement is squeaky clean.

    As I tried to state at the beginning of the original post: environmental awareness is a noble goal, worthy of pursuit. However, those in positions of power within the current accepted environmental leadership has, IMHO, hijacked an otherwise noble cause for the express purpose of pursuing a specific political agenda (with personal financial rewards, too).

    As a parallel analogy, the fighting over the display of the Confederate Battle Flag (as related to legitimate historical concepts of States Rights, etc.) was hijacked by the KKK and other groups to such an extent that the flag itself is now irrevocably linked to a clearly distasteful aspect of that time in history. Whether or not there are OTHER aspects to the Confederate flag has become virtually irrelevant, due to the overwhelming emotional and societal impressions currently held by the populous at large.

    So... My ultimate point (so-cleverly hidden as to be nearly invisible) was that I respectfully suggest the proponents of Environmental Awareness take prompt action to weed out these ideologically-driven political opportunists (and their self-serving agenda) before their appropriate and legitimate concerns are forever linked to an agenda that is apparently dedicated to the destruction of the benefits from human civilization as we know it.