Saturday, August 11, 2007

Global Gloom

When did Michael Crichton jump the shark and become a propagandist for right-wing causes? (Yeah, I know it wasn't yesterday.)

In some of the most disturbing chapters, Lomborg recounts what leading climate figures have said about anyone who questions the orthodoxy, thus demonstrating the illiberal, antidemocratic tone of the current debate. Lomborg himself takes the larger view, explaining in detail why the tone of hysteria is inappropriate to addressing the problems we face.

I'm so glad people like Dr. Crichton and Bjørn Lomborg are here to help save me from the forces of illiberality, and the enemies of democracy.

I claim zero expertise on global warming, though today’s Science Saturday gives what seems to be a balanced discussion. Note the hysteria as the Evil MSM representative frames the journalistic state of affairs.

I haven't read the book. If Crichton was interested in engaing in the actual debate, he would have pitched his review differently, aiming his rhetoric at skeptics rather than ideological true-believers. As it is there's nothing here compelling enough to persuade somebody like me to read it.

The straw men whom Crichton and the "skeptics" he helps to enable take aim at have almost nothing to do with the actual debate that takes place in the public sphere, which, like every other public debate, suffers from cartoonish characterizations and exaggeration at the mass media level. When the so-called skeptics engage, only the basest, dumbest aspects of the pro- side of the debate are depicted with any accuracy. The rest, e.g. Gore's movie, is depicted with sneers and condescension, and almost never discussed on the merits. I've seen An Inconvenient Truth, and it's a polemic, unabashedly - there's nothing wrong with that. It build its case rationally, and makes points that are available for debate.

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