Bill Nye vs. CNN

Comments

  1. #1 Obstreperous Applesauce
    May 9, 2014

    Yeah, I think we know who the bullies are.

    “I’m not a denier, but…[Gish galloping talking points of denial, denial, denial and blaming the messenger].”

    So how much do these “pundits” get paid to obfuscate and generally not inform the public?

  2. #2 Young CC Prof
    May 9, 2014

    “I’m not a denier, but…” The fact that I’m not convinced is your fault for not convincing me while I’m talking over you!

  3. #3 G
    May 9, 2014

    When you hear the word “pundit,” disconnect your irony meter and connect your skepticism meter. Otherwise your irony meter may explode, and you’ll miss the chance to see your skepticism meter show an off-the-scale reading.

    IMHO we need an 80% tax rate on the job description “pundit,” effective when a given individual is referred to as a “pundit” even once on live media and the individual does not immediately disclaim the title and refer to himself as a “paid fool” instead. Truth in labeling, backed up by a tax.

    OK, now to get serious:

    We need to start having protests at these peoples’ houses, to confront and embarrass them where they live.

    Peaceful, quiet, not blocking any sidewalks or roads, and peacefully dispersing when the police ask us to disperse. Just a hundred or so people standing outside their houses with signs explaining that a climate denialist lives here, and he’s earning a fat paycheck by helping to kill your grandchildren.

    If you were walking with your grandkid, and a car pulled up, and a guy jumped out and tried to kill your grandkid, you’d be justified in fighting him off, physically, until the police could arrive.

    Make no mistake, these paid prostitutes for 19th-century energy are killing our grandchildren by the billions. As a rough estimate, every degree Celsius is worth approximately a billion casualties.

    The fact that it’s displaced across time, is as irrelevant as the spatial distance between a shooter and a shooting victim. And if we truly believe Einstein about spacetime, that time is not “magic” but merely the 4th axis of measurement (dimension) of spacetime, then a murder at a distance across time is no different to a murder at a distance across space.

    The law already recognises this as a general principle, when it charges terrorist offenses against people who plant bombs with timers: the fact that the bomb is set to detonate “in the future” doesn’t let the perp off the hook. Climate change is a bomb that’s set to detonate “in the future.”

    What these “pundits” and their masters actually deserve is something like a Nuremburg trial. Peaceful protests outside their houses, and social opprobrium, are _mild_ compared to that.

  4. #4 willam
    wisconsin
    May 9, 2014

    the word “pundit” seems to over used recently.
    According to my 1973 Random House Dictionary, “pundit” is a very learned man; an expert or authority. A person who makes comments or judgments in a solemnly authoritative manner.
    These people seem bent on merely speaking more words than anyone else.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    May 10, 2014

    Either the definition has changed over time (seems likely) the public perception of pundits has changed (also seems likely) or both.

  6. #6 cosmicomics
    Denmark
    May 10, 2014

    From the very little I’ve seen, Bill Nye is not a particularly gifted polemicist. Here, he begins exemplifying his argument by mentioning tornadoes in Oklahoma. Instead of focusing on phenomena for which there is strong evidence of a tie to climate change, he starts off by naming a phenomenon, tornadoes, about which we know very little, and in doing so he enables his opponent to focus on uncertainty. A recent post on Climate Science Watch criticized a Wall Street Journal editorial for doing exactly that:

    “In an attempt to show that the summary is “politicized,” the WSJ editorial quotes a line from the underlying chapters about uncertainty over trends in tornadoes. However, the summary states that climate change is worsening extreme weather, because it is: heat waves, extreme precipitation, wildfires, higher storm surges, and increased drought in currently dry areas all show clear climate connections that are reflected in the assessment. Tornadoes are an outlier to this body of evidence, and using them as a primary example is transparently misleading.”
    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2014/05/09/wall-street-journals-attempts-to-politicize-national-climate-assessment-fall-flat/

    This is what Nye’s opponent, Nicolas Loris, wrote on his Heritage Foundation blog:

    “The ‘Cure’ for Climate Change Is Far Worse than the Disease
    Nicolas Loris
    May 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm
    As my colleague David Kreutzer writes, the climate threats do not match up with reality. Sea levels are rising but not as fast as projected. There have been no significant trends for floods, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes. Although the report does not address hurricanes, it does admit that “other trends in severe storms, including tornadoes, hail, and thunderstorms, are still uncertain.”
    http://blog.heritage.org/2014/05/06/cure-climate-change-far-worse-disease/

    A good deal of what Loris writes is a collection of lies, but the tactic of focusing on and trying to establish uncertainty is obvious. Nye gave him what he wanted.

  7. #7 G
    May 10, 2014

    Nye’s error is emblematic of a problem in the culture of science generally: the tendency to _explain_.

    In the realm of politics, _explaining_ is playing _defense_, and defense _loses._

    The way to win is by playing _offense_, and doing it with quick and decisive rhetorical jabs that hit hard and leave the opponent stumbling. Keep the opponent stumbling throughout the match, and you win. Keep doing that over a period of months and years, and you also win at the voting booth and in the marketplace.

    In terms of the culture of science, this is playing dirty, because it’s playing to the audience’s emotions rather than to reason. But the blunt fact is, we are dealing with a situation that will lead to a loss of human life on a scale that will make the Holocaust look like small business by comparison. The people who are instigating it are every bit as morally culpable as Nazis.

    In light of that, using every available rhetorical method and every available nonviolent protest method, with strategies and tactics determined by the most objective calculations of what will actually work, is 100% justified.

    Mr. Nye, take off those gloves.

  8. #8 Omega Centauri
    May 10, 2014

    I’m liking G more and more…..
    We need a lot more like you!

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    May 11, 2014

    G: I don’t think there is anything wrong with playing to the audience, but you are correct, the culture proscribes it. But that problem is slowly going away as scientists realize they are not automatically good at everything just because they are very good at some things.

    Yes, explaining can be losing (not always, not so simple, but as a guideline that is a very good point).

  10. #10 Obstreperous Applesauce
    May 11, 2014

    I admit that I cringed a little when the tornado issue was introduced. However having blurted it out and been called on it, he was not allowed to respond. From the start he was out numbered, bum rushed, and rabbit punched along the way. It was a set-up.

    There may be people who can walk into a situation like that an come out ahead, probably not many. It was a straigtht-up demonstration of the disgusting state of journalism at CNN.

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