Not hate mail

From the gentleman (and this time I’m not being sarcastic) who wrote to me earlier:

I’m sorry I acted the way I did in the email. It was wrong of me and only hope
you accept my apologies. Behaving the way I did shows me in a pretty bad

Some of us have built some pretty strong pre-conceived ideas about issues and
when the opposite argument turns up which in your case seems well-thought out
I have to offer my grudging admiration. In my job, rigidity means an early
grave career wise at least.

Case in point- Climate change.

I spent some time reading your stuff fairly extensively and I have to say you
make a pretty good case that in fact it may be occurring. You seem to be doing
a better job than most to at least be getting to the truth.

How to solve problems like climate-change, well that’s for another day or

I did spend time reading your blog. You are a very amusing, interesting
individual. I only wish I was 1/2 as bright as you seem. And the kids are
lucky to have you as a teacher it seems. I take the other stuff back as well
as you seem to be able to do 30 things at at one time! Wish I had that gift.

As someone who believes in the right-wing side of politics, I particularly
enjoyed the thrashing you give to Hugh Morgan and his buddies. They sure
deserve it! I know, at least I followed closely Morgan’s behavior as CEO and
it was an absolute disgrace. If he and his admirers are the leaders of the
right wing movement we have a problem! You can ask why, as it was on the public
record. However some of it isn’t. The guy hired himself a speechwriter at
company expense!! There are many more issues I have with the establishment
right, but I won’t go into them as they are too lengthy.

One thing you have done for me is to prove I ought to stay in my own paddock
and not veer off into unknown pastures as it seems I don’t really have that
much to offer.

So good luck and hope all goes well for you.


  1. #1 zoot
    June 21, 2005

    Wow. What a contrast. It seems anger can make fuckwits of us all; I know I’ve been guilty on more than one occasion.
    The strength of the good blogs (Back Pages was an exemplar) is that they encourage dialogue between people with diametrically opposed viewpoints. Y’all come back y’hear?

  2. #2 CK
    June 21, 2005


    I want to thank you for posting this gentleman’s reply, and I want to commend him for his apology. The way some of the right-wing press works is to convince people so thoroughly of certain things, like global warming, that it is hard to be convinced that they are just selling a pack of lies. I am heartened to know that this individual has enough pride to not only apologize, but to do some research of his own. It is harder to actually get off ones butt and get to the crux of the matter in the face of massive disinformation, than to simply throw out an apology.

  3. #3 Ian Gould
    June 22, 2005

    It’s always nice to see a display of polite discourse across the ideological divides.

    As zoot says, sometimes anger makes dickheads of us all.

    As I’ve said several times here already, the characterization of global warming as left-right divide is misleading and ignores the numerous public figures on the right who support action to address the problem.

  4. #4 Simonjm
    June 22, 2005

    I’ve never thought that coming from the right or left causes the problems, but the inability of the extremes to think outside their viewpoints, see the other sides point of view or be critical of their own thinking.

    Some people can see the error of their ways but others just keep digging their holes.

    Is it like maths or music you have the ability or don’t?

    Or that seeminly intelligent highly trained individuals with Ph’D’s and Sci Hons can staunchly defend the creation science argument -that is happening over at Margo K’s blog-or be GW sceptics when mainstream science is against them.

    Is it truly only the moderates that can change their minds or admit to error?

    Hats off to your letter writter I hope to see more of your posts in the future, maybe now we could move onto solutions and get past the denial (BS)of the sceptics.

  5. #5 Read Greg
    June 22, 2005

    One thing you have done for me is to prove I ought to stay in my own paddock and not veer off into unknown pastures as it seems I don’t really have that much to offer.

    No – that’s not it. Go ahead and veer off. The trick is keeping an open mind – getting smart rather than angry.

  6. #6 Brian S.
    June 22, 2005

    There’s hope for humanity yet – I just need to remember that before I launch into somebody on the web.

  7. #7 CK
    June 22, 2005

    Well in the US it seems that it IS a clear right-left divide. We have a govt. dominated by the right, and the discourse on health and environmental issues is decidedly non-scientific, and if there are those on the right supporting sound environmental, climate and public health policies, they are very quiet. Given the dishonesty of the powers that be here in America, and many on the right, even those that privately support science, seem to give the policies in place a free hand.

  8. #8 Ian Gould
    June 22, 2005


    Even in the US you have people like John McCain, George Pataki. Michael Bloomberg and Arnold Schartzenegger willing to go against the party line.

    That doesn’t probe they’re right, it should however give pause to the people who dismiss all diagreement with the Bish administration’s position as ideologically driven.

  9. #9 the saintly alan greenspan
    June 22, 2005

    As well as adding my voice to the chorus of those impressed by the above gentleman’s civility, I’d be interested in reading a post or two from Tim about how laypersons might go about informing themselves without simply ceding to expert voices i.e. making sense of the data and so forth. I realise this is a big ask, but since Tim seems pretty adept working outside his main field, he doubtless has usefull advice for those looking to acquire some of the same skills. Anyway, think about it.

  10. #10 mndean
    June 22, 2005

    I cannot agree with anyone who claims that Arnold Schwarzenegger is anything other than right-wing. What exactly has he done that gives him this reputation? Nothing or substance, really. It is said for him that he is for women’s rights, he wishes to “work with” the Democrats, etc. Apart from a few early maneuvers to gain him some credibility as a “moderate” (which was nothing but a smokescreen). His agenda is now clear, and his agenda is far from popular. Attacking unions for political organizing/donations while taking money from corporations in great amounts who are doing the same isn’t exactly honest or popular. It’s also no different from the party line. Now that it’s clear what he’s up to, Arnold’s agenda has gotten him even worse poll ratings than the White House.

  11. #11 Ian Gould
    June 22, 2005

    I never saud Schwartzenegger WASN’T right-wing. In fact I used him as an example of a right-winger who disagrees with the Bush policy on the specific issue of climate change.

  12. #12 Patrick
    June 22, 2005

    Did everyone commenting read (and understand) the post? CK?

  13. #13 Eli Rabett
    June 23, 2005

    The problem is there is no penalty for lying and indeed confusion is the friend of partisans. In such an environment everything is an opinion.

    Now, what I would say is that the advantage of dealing with informed people is that you can at least agree on the underlying facts of the situation.

    Guns and climate are interestingly different in this regard.

    Tim Lambert on guns is a good example. He has shown (after reviewing the data) that as far as increased crime goes the data shows that it is roughly a push. Contrast this with the extremes. Contrast the few things he says about policy in this area with the wild extrapolations from the non facts on both sides. In this case the facts lie in the middle and the arguments rage on the extremes with both sides trying to twist the facts in their direction.

    Now consider climate. The facts, the consensus among experts on the data if you will, say that there is a clear and increasing human effect on climate. There are again two extremes which go well beyond the data, but clearly the data is on the side of increasing human effects. This has driven climate policy all over the world except in Australia and the US. Hmm.

  14. #14 Dr. Fager
    June 23, 2005

    Which post? I’m not interested in the prior post of the person apologizing but I’m sure interested in a post which purports to prove climate change.

  15. #15 jozef imrich
    June 23, 2005

    No one has a monopoly on making mistakes…

    Sometimes good bloggers do bad things and other times bad bloggers do good things …

    Tim, you are teaching us a great lesson in communication and hearty blogging. Ta

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