I have a dear friend who relies on Factcheck.org to ferret out and give her the truth without bias about current events in the media, since it takes so much time to read all the various positions on current events herself (and although she is keenly interested in politics and news, she has to devote her time to making a living). She was also impressed and persuaded by Al Gore's movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," and wanted to know what I thought about it and how I would counter the "facts" supplied by that bastion of objectivity, Al Gore, who has evidently become an authority on global warming by immersing himself in the study of environmentalist issues for so many years.
Personally, I have no problem with self-styled or self-educated authorities without academic credentials, since I'm an average American and thus a born democrat more impressed by character, virtue, merit, and the truth than by diplomas or pedigrees. That's why I think so highly, to offer just one example, of Robert Spencer as an authority on Islam. Here in America, we are used to and rightfully proud of our fellow countryfolk who exert their freedoms to educate themselves in the fields of their own choosing, with the marketplace of ideas open to their work and validating its worth.
But submitting your thesis to the free marketplace of ideas means you will encounter criticism. And rightfully so.
Today I found the Competitive Enterprise Institute's website, which seems to devote a lot of attention to rebutting Al Gore's thesis and challenging his "facts."
Here's its page rebutting Factcheck.org's review of their ads challenging global warming. Interesting to note that Factcheck.org is not infallible. I think the CEI has valid points.
The CEI website also links to the the Wall Street Journal's
December 11 Editorial Report
discussing global warming and the two Senators, Snowe and Rockefeller, who wrote a threatening letter to ExxonMobile, demanding that it "publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it"--a new low in wielding political power to bully others into conforming with how certain politicians believe people should think:
...they've made up their mind about global warming. And they're going to make sure nobody else disagrees with them anymore.
ExxonMobil has been a big thorn in their side, because they have been funding groups that have been asking probing questions about global warming. You would think we would like that down in Washington, but not the senators.
Now, what's scary about this is these are people who have the ability to institute windfall profits tax on oil companies, hold hearings and drag these people, public companies with share prices, in and embarrass them. So, I mean, there's some ethical issues about what they've been doing here too....
Because one of the things that people like Snowe and Rockefeller will say is that there is a consensus here. So anyone who rejects it isn't simply a skeptic, is a denier, as if they're Holocaust deniers, or some kind of category like that.
But there is clearly a sense of real insecurity. Because the letter--the real objection is to a relatively small, very effective think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has been one of the very few voices which has been consistently pointing out the flaws in some of the political conclusions that have been reached here.
If there were such a consensus and, if it were only CEI that was rejecting it, why would they have to bully ExxonMobil? Why would they be so afraid of what little CEI has to say?...
They don't want any debate on this.
...they've turned global warming into essentially a fundamentalist religion. They're the ones who worry about evangelicals. But this has become the same thing on the left.
And you know what? I have--I know scientists on the margin of this who are beginning to become very concerned about the credibility of science as they get drawn deeper into these political fights.
Science is becoming extremely politicized. And I think it's posing dangers to the credibility of science with the American public.
Read the whole thing. Then check the CEI website for other critiques of Al Gore's global warming thesis: Gore Gored
; a review of Gore's book
, An Inconvenient Truth
; and A Skeptic's Guide to An Inconvenient Truth
As Marlo Lewis, Jr., Senior Fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute states,
In fact, nearly every significant statement Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong.
Find out why someone would say this, and why there is no consensus on global warming
I would urge anyone persuaded by Al Gore to be concerned about this issue to consider it imporant enough to delve deeper and gather all
the viewpoints and evidence from all sides, as--contrary to what the leftist politicians seem eager for us to believe, even to the point of exerting unseemly and bullying political pressure--there is no scientific consensus about global warming or about what might be causing it--and there never has been.
And the politicalization of scientific inquiry and debate is alarming and dangerous
. To me, that is the really scary story beneath and besides this decade's sideshow fad-scare of "global warming" (as once the academic and political classes were faddishly scared by "global cooling," the global "population bomb," and countless other faux-fears
). Politicians as politicians should stay out of scientific discussion until free inquiry and debate
among knowledgeable scientists exploring evidence and facts, not policy, have determined what's going on. In the case of global warming, the debate is nowhere near ended, and is evidently not as free as it should be.
You can also read my previous rant
The Art of the Blog
has a nice collection of anti-consensus stuff.
A new documentary
challenging Al Gore's view is in the works (via Ace