Respectful Insolence

Apparently comic Tim Slagle thinks that my discussion of his comedy routine was horribly, horribly humorless and unfair to him and that I “set him up.” I just happen to be at work right now (it’s lunchtime, and I have a brief break between cases) and consequently don’t have time to address it until much later today, but I will link to Tim and let you see what you think until I get around to dealing with it. Stop by Tim’s blog and tell him hi for me. While you’re there, you might want to take a gander at this piece by him. The discussion of chemistry and thermodynamics there has to be read to be believed.

In the meantime, I will only point out that (1) I had no intention of blogging his show when I came–there was no “set up”; (2) it was Tim who approached me a “discussion” and then repeated his request the other day; and (3) Tim asked was for me to demonstrate that what Al Gore said about the 20 foot rise in sea level was “feasible” (his word), which I more than adequately did.

Oh, and I do not wear a cape and wrestling mask. Tim obviously doesn’t recognize the Doctor Doom costume, complete with mask that I wear to hide my face in shame from Dr. Egnor. Maybe I should start wearing a cape and wrestling mask, though. A nice Nacho Libre kind of get-up would work.

Comments

  1. #1 Bronze Dog
    July 12, 2007

    I really don’t understand the “set me up” thing. Even if it was premeditated, what’s wrong with that?

    If someone says something stupid, he should be taken to task for it.

  2. #2 Cain
    July 12, 2007

    While he’s definitely wrong, I just want to note for everyone (as I’m sure you already know, Orac) that “Shut up, Orac” is apparently a catchphrase from Blake’s 7. So he’s not being a jerk or anything by saying this.

  3. #3 Joe
    July 12, 2007

    Orac, I took up you challenge inre thermodynamics. I wrote:

    You [Tim] wrote “Even a bicycle emits CO2. Gasoline is essentially a carbohydrate, and produces the same amount of CO2 per calorie burned as sugar. Since the laws of thermodynamics are inflexible, riding a bicycle ten miles will produce the same amount of CO2 as driving a light moped.” I am a chemistry professor- gasoline is in no way a carbohydrate. Moreover, riding a bicycle does not yield the same amount of CO2 as riding a light moped. Where do you find this stuff? Aside from that, your assertion that the laws of thermodynamics are inflexible is correct; but, it helps to know and understand them.

    You [Tim] wrote “Animals also emit CO2 even when they’re stationary, so if we give the UN the authority to regulate CO2, they then have the authority to regulate our every breath; and eventually the UN will be given authority over population growth.” Sometimes one needs to point out the obvious: we could give them the authority to regulate CO2 emissions only from combustion of fossil fuels. You can now, safely, breathe a sigh of relief.

    However, I overlooked his incorrect statement that carbohydrates and petrol produce the same CO2 per calorie- I have to go back and amend that.

  4. #4 Sarabeth
    July 12, 2007

    So what if the interpretation of the data isn’t right in regards to global warming? What’s the harm of conservation and a cleaner environment? Is it a reason to do nothing if the scientists are wrong? Wouldn’t it be worse to do nothing and realize many years down the road that they were right?

  5. #5 Mark P
    July 12, 2007

    I haven’t seen Slagle’s act, so I can only assume what it must be like. Unfortunately, it is probably like most efforts by nonscientists to be funny about science: a total failure due to ignorance. it’s not that jokes about science and scientists can’t be funny, it’s just that you really need to know what you’re talking about to make it funny. That’s why comics should really stick to what they know, which is generally themselves.

  6. #6 Uncle Dave
    July 12, 2007

    Joke Time!
    An elderly man complains to his wife about feeling poorly and after a lot of persuasion agrees to go to the doctor. The doctor checks him out and tells the man to return a few days later for the results. The doctor turns to the patient and says, “I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that you have terminal cancer, polio and have tested HIV+. But the good news is you also have Alzheimers disease so in about 10 seconds you’ll have completely forgotten about it.” “Ooh good” said the patient. “What was the bad news then?”
    Drum roll and cymbol clash!

    I went to the doctor the other day and he said I had an ulcer. I said I want a second opinion. He said your ugly too.
    -Rodney Dangerfield

  7. #7 Ginger Yellow
    July 12, 2007

    Slagle’s attempt to defend the bicycle stuff is just painful. I’m having a similar but completely unrelated discussion on another forum with someone who just can’t grasp how elements are formed and is insisting that “anything could be possible”. It’s infuriating.

  8. #8 factican
    July 12, 2007

    Slagle’s retreating into the “close enough for comedy” bit over on his blog. I’ve decided that means it’s “laughably wrong”.

  9. #9 AJ Milne
    July 12, 2007

    So what if the interpretation of the data isn’t right in regards to global warming? What’s the harm of conservation and a cleaner environment? Is it a reason to do nothing if the scientists are wrong? Wouldn’t it be worse to do nothing and realize many years down the road that they were right?

    Well… in fairness, if they were entirely wrong, you could absolutely make the case that C02 emissions curbing programs were pointless, expensive… since as far as I know, slightly increased C02 levels on their own don’t have a lot of other impacts. I’m not talking about the CO that often comes with those emissions, or the nitrous oxides et al… those, we know are bad news for other reasons entirely, and you’d still have an excellent case for cutting those back, one way or another. And yes, before anyone says it, C02 is a poison to us types that rely upon aerobic respiration, but not in any real sense at the slightly higher levels that the climate scientists are worried about, so far as I know.

    But the thing is, it’s quite moot, because from where I’m standing, the climate scientists that figure their instruments are showing anthropogenic global warming really aren’t wrong. Generally speaking, we know temperature levels are going up globally, we know glaciers are (on average, overall) shrinking, and we know C02 levels are rising at unusual rates against historical values, and the general consensus is the higher C02 levels are the cause of the former observed changes, and that human activity is almost certainly the cause of the increased levels.

    And generally speaking, while I can’t blame anyone for being a bit skeptical on initial, casual inspection of the claims and counterclaims, I would say: once you’ve read a few papers, looked at, for example, what Real Climate has to say against what the folk questioning anthropogenic global warming are saying, there’s really no contest; the former are making sense, the latter really aren’t. So generally calling the bulk of the latter ‘denialists’ in the classic sense (see, on this same server, the Denialism blog’s general description of what these are) is entirely fair. The bulk of the evidence is: the warming is a real problem, the anthropogenic explanation is by far the most plausible one we have, and these two conclusions absolutely should lead to changes to public policy.

    As a compact illustration, consider the very fact that someone could casually cite the Science paper out just before this weekend (the 450,000 year old DNA from the Greenland borehole… a very cool result, on its own, actually, despite the confusion in the popular press about what it means for sea level increase predictions) as rubbishing the climate models, despite the fact that the sea level rise is an independent projection based on known increases during the Eemian (what wasn’t known was which ice sheets contributed, precisely, and how much… see Real Climate’s current cover story on this). I’d call that a fairly typical illustration of the state of the discussion right now between those who aren’t buying AGW and those who see it as a reasonable conclusion.

    The fact is: the folk looking for reasons to question AGW just don’t have any particularly good ones left. Generally, they just aren’t making much sense any more, and haven’t been in quite some time now. The anti-AGW position has jumped the shark: there might have been a time when it made some sense to doubt whether we’re observing AGW. Now, you’ve pretty much gotta be a denialist in that classic sense, or seriously misinformed, to have substantial doubts remaining.

    But again, I guess, don’t take my word for it. Go read Real Climate, compare it against the various ‘climate skeptics’ arguments, see for yourself.

  10. #10 Susang aka Orac's Sister
    July 12, 2007

    Tim’s act is actually very funny. I believe my brother linked to one of his bits in the prior posting. His political views are only one aspect to his comedic personality and it is unfair to judge his entire act based on one section.

    And if comics stuck to only using themselves as their material, we wouldn’t have George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, the list goes on. Sure, some of those comics also used themselves for material, but their other sources were (for Carlin, still are) politics, current events and religion. Wouldn’t it suck if the only thing we ever heard from Lenny Bruce were jokes about how hard it is to be a junkie married to a stripper?

  11. #11 Orac
    July 12, 2007

    Just to reemphasize (although I thought I emphasized it enough in the original piece): I didn’t judge Tim’s act solely on that one segment. Indeed, the reason that segment stood out so much was in contrast to the rest of the act.

    Remember, I pointed out that I was having a good time until that segment and also listed a couple of sections that made me laugh. (The bit on second hand smoking was even amusing; it was only when Tim told me after the show that he didn’t think the studies supported a role for second hand smoke in health problems that my hackles went up.) In addition, my purpose was not really so much to review Tim’s act as to point out the global warming segment as an example of how logical fallacies and denialist arguments about global warming pop up in the least expected places.

  12. #12 Orac
    July 12, 2007

    While he’s definitely wrong, I just want to note for everyone (as I’m sure you already know, Orac) that “Shut up, Orac” is apparently a catchphrase from Blake’s 7. So he’s not being a jerk or anything by saying this.

    I remember a few instances of Orac’s being told to shut up on Blake’s 7; I don’t recall them happening frequently enough to constitute a “catch phrase” of the show, and I have within the last year marched through all 52 episodes on DVD. I did finish a few months ago, though.

    And, of course, you probably know what the result of telling Orac to shut up was most of the time on the show. (Hint: It usually wasn’t good.)

  13. #13 Uncle Dave
    July 12, 2007

    all right!!! since you people insist on being serious about a comedian making fun of the Global warming issue I have to resort to global warming jokes (actaully stealing global warming jokes)…..

    “President Bush has a plan. He says that if we need to, we can lower the temperature dramatically just by switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius” –Jimmy Kimmel, on fighting global warming

    “Scientists say because of global warming they expect the world’s oceans to rise four and a half feet. The scientists say this can mean only one thing: Gary Coleman is going to drown.” –Conan O’Brien

  14. #14 Cain
    July 12, 2007

    My bad. I’ve never actually watched the show, I just went to some fansite Tim linked to from your name. Mea culpa.

  15. #15 Harry
    July 12, 2007

    Joe,
    In case you’re curious, I tried to settle the “moped versus bicycle” argument by using real numbers and real math. I tried to calm down the rhetoric though. Insults don’t advance any argument. Check it out:

    http://www.timslagle.com/blog/2007/02/every-breath-you-take.html

  16. #16 khan
    July 12, 2007

    Immanuel Velikovsky, in his book “Worlds in Collision” conflated hydrocarbons and carbohydrates; leading to the conclusion that the ‘manna’ eaten in the desert by the wandering tribes of Moses, was fallout from a comet’s tail.

    http://talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-velikovsky.html

    Wait one. Back around page 55 this stuff was hydrocarbons. Am I to take it that Velikovsky cannot tell the difference between gasoline and sugar?

  17. #17 Joe
    July 12, 2007

    @ Harry, I saw your post. I thought it was good.

    Joe

  18. #18 Joe
    July 12, 2007

    @ Harry, until you became inexplicibly cozy with the crank.

    You showed he was technically wrong. Then, in efect, you asked “Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

    Joe

  19. #19 Tim Slagle
    July 12, 2007

    Incidently, I NEVER watched Blake’s 7. I was too busy dating girls.

    But I included the fansite link, just to show where the quote came from. I also assumed it was a common tag line, like “Dy-no-mite!” or “What you talking about Willis?”

    I couldn’t resist using it, not because I wanted to tell you to shut up: but because it made a really funny caption for the photo. Like you said, it was used when something bad was happening. I honestly didn’t mean it maliciously.

    vS

  20. #20 ebohlman
    July 12, 2007

    The proper term for someone who believes that “gasoline is essentially a carbohydrate” is “oxygen denialist.”

  21. #21 Harry
    July 13, 2007

    Joe,
    I didn’t consider my comments to be “cozy” towards Tim. I tried to be civil though, since I don’t know anything about the man besides what ORAC wrote and what I read in the posts linked from this one. I simply struck down his science argument for that one post and warned him not to make scientific arguments if he cannot or will not try to prove them.

    However, for _that particular post_, Tim was stating a political opinion that he unfortunately tried to haphazardly support with some wrong facts. But as I said over there, his bad science was not central to his opinion that the government shouldn’t regulate CO2 emissions. He was making that claim primarily on libertarian grounds. Yes, he was trying to falsely support his claim (which I disagreed with politically) with misinformation, but I chose to treat him as ignorant instead of as a crank. If he continues to make similar scientific claims now that he’s seen the numbers, then his crank level can be raised.

    Now, his other post “refuting” ORAC is another matter and deserves harsher scrutiny since he’s trying to make a logical argument instead of just stating an opinion.

    I hope that clarifies things.

  22. #22 Joe
    July 13, 2007

    Harry,
    I take your point.

  23. #23 James
    July 13, 2007

    Sarabeth: Following on from AJ Milne’s comment, The extent to which we should incur costs to combat global warming increases in proportion to the expected harm from global warming. If global warming is false, or has only slight effects (not that I believe that) we shouldn’t try very hard to prevent it. Precaution has a cost and therefore gratuitous precaution should be avoided.

  24. #24 Sarabeth
    July 13, 2007

    I was more referring to conservation. I understand the costs that could be involved. Really, I do. I simply dislike the argument that scientists could be wrong as a reason to do nothing.

  25. #25 KeithB
    July 13, 2007

    Putting aside how *efficient* a bicycle is – I saw an old article in Scientific American showing that a guy on a bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation, the only thing more efficient was a 747 at cruising altitude full of passengers.

    Anyway, the problem is where the CO2 came from. The guy on the bike got it from sources that took it from the current environment. The car is releasing CO2 from old biomasses from millions of years ago – it is *adding* carbon back to the environment that had been locked away.

  26. #26 Jim Lippard
    July 13, 2007

    Tim Slagle regularly says idiotic things in the pages of Liberty magazine–I’ve taken him to task on a couple of occasions. He should stick to comedy.

  27. #27 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    sarabeth writes: “I simply dislike the argument that scientists could be wrong as a reason to do nothing”

    Hmmm. Is there a parachute in this bag? Could be. But not being certain is no reason not to jump!

    Great logic.

    What’s you’re opinion on Trans-Fats? Science was recommending them thirty years ago.

  28. #28 Joe
    July 13, 2007

    Tim Slagle wrote “sarabeth writes: “I simply dislike the argument that scientists could be wrong as a reason to do nothing”

    Hmmm. Is there a parachute in this bag? Could be. But not being certain is no reason not to jump!

    Great logic.

    What’s you’re opinion on Trans-Fats? Science was recommending them thirty years ago.”

    You have it bassackwards. Sarabeth is suggesting that we should make parachutes in case we need to bail out.

    Where did you get that idea about trans-fats? If you asked me 30 years ago- I would have suggested they are at least as harmful as saturated fats. That is not a “recommendation” (today, we know they are worse).

  29. #29 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    note to Jim:

    Keep an eye out for the September Liberty, due out on newstands August 5th.

    I’ve got a Feature Article on Live Earth that you’ll just adore!

    And now you know how to contact me directly with your critique.

  30. #30 Bronze Dog
    July 13, 2007

    For a lot of food-related claims science allegedly made in the past, I’d need to see a citation.

    Newspapers, which are not science journals, are notorious for distorting evidence, misrepresenting conclusions, and mindlessly parroting whatever some guy in a white coat says about different foods, yet people will invariably quote them as “scientists/doctors say…”

  31. #31 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    joe writes: Sarabeth is suggesting that we should make parachutes in case we need to bail out.
    No. Parachutes, I do not mind. Lets make sure we have lots of roads to get out of hurricane and flood prone areas. Every American needs access to affordable automobiles (Katrina victims relied on Public Transit). Stop Federal flood insurance on beach front properties, to make residents bear the real cost of catastrophe. Lower restrictions on nuclear facilities, so that the only realistic carbon free energy alternative can be engaged.
    What sarabeth is suggesting, is stepping out of a perfectly good economy, because there might be a problem.
    and: “Where did you get that idea about trans-fats?”
    I seem to remember a big push from the health industry, starting in the late seventies, to switch from butter to margarine.

  32. #32 Sarabeth
    July 13, 2007

    Really? That’s what I’m suggesting? I had no idea. Thanks for reading my mind.

    I am not suggesting stepping out of a perfectly good economy. I am suggesting that we take measures to conserve. As Joe said, I’m saying that we should have parachutes, which would spur on a whole ‘nother part of the economy. Remember, I don’t like doing nothing.

    Tim, for the record, I think ad hominem attacks for comedy routines are just fine and rather funny.

  33. #33 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    sarabeth: Sorry to put words in your mouth.

    I don’t mind voluntary conservation. However, putting government mandates on things tends to boggle the economy. Right now, look at what the ethanol mandates are doing to food prices. Not just here, but in Mexico. And the most tragic consequence, is that food is now being priced out of reach, for the people who need it most.

    I’m don’t believe, there is aa legislative solution that won’t hurt the economy.

  34. #34 Sarabeth
    July 13, 2007

    Tim, sadly, it is probably true that legislation wouldn’t be good for the economy or would create a different mess. An example would be to replace all light bulbs with CFLs. That won’t do any good unless there are proper disposal places within easy reach of all.

  35. #35 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    You write: An example would be to replace all light bulbs with CFLs

    Yeah, but I HATE CFLs. Blue and Buzzy, Too much like work.

    That’s the other half of the legislative solution I don’t like, making me live in a way I wouldn’t choose for myself. If someone invented a bulb that looked just as nice as a halogen, and only took a fraction of the energy, they wouldn’t be able to keep them on the shelves. Until then, I’m willing to pay the few bucks extra every month just for the aesthetics.

    And before you call me heartless: lets pretend that switching to all CFLs would cut our nation’s CO2 emissionsby a quarter. And let’s also pretend that 70% of the warming is Anthropogenic. If the Oceans are schedduled to rise 31 inches by 2100, such a move would only save us five inches. I’ll gladly take five inches not to have to sit under buzzy blue light. (Oops, I ventured into science again, should have learned after the bicycle mistake).

    Besides, CFLs are linked to Autism.

    (did it again, wanted to see if anyone’s still payin attention.)

  36. #36 Joe
    July 13, 2007

    Tim wrote (inre: trans-fats) “I seem to remember a big push from the health industry, starting in the late seventies, to switch from butter to margarine.”

    I can’t fix a date; but recommendations for the healthfulness of margarine predate the seventies. However, it was not an endorsement of trans-fats. They were little-recognized at the time. The standard analysis, then, lumped them with unsaturated fats. But, of course, you knew that … or not. Why do you persist on pontificating about subjects you don’t understand?

  37. #37 Coin
    July 13, 2007

    such a move would only save us five inches. I’ll gladly take five inches not to have to sit under buzzy blue light.

    Libertarianism at work, folks. The Rational Individual, guided by enlightened self-interest, makes a rational choice as to the most appropriate height of the global sea level.

  38. #38 notmercury
    July 13, 2007

    Tim,
    I’ve replaced many of my incandescent bulbs with CFLs and I don’t find them harsh at all and they don’t seem to bother autistic kids. I know some autistic adults don’t like them and refuse to switch and I don’t think they should have to.

    CFLs do contain mercury and probably release enough in to the environment (when discarded) to offset the mercury from coal burning power plants but some newer bulbs have less.

    Eventually there will be better solutions like LEDs but I’m happy that I am saving electricity and money, climate change or not.

    So how do you feel about LCD displays? They use less electricity and are kinder to the environment. Still reading this on a CRT?

  39. #39 Joe
    July 13, 2007

    @Sarabeth: your concerns about disposal of CFLs are well founded. However, I hear more and more reports that this problem is being addressed. Where I live, New England, one state (NH, VT?) is planning to legislate a shift to CFLs. Unfortunately, there is a better technology (light emitting diodes) on the horizon. It would be unfortunate if that was excluded.

    Tim wrote “Yeah, but I HATE CFLs. Blue and Buzzy, Too much like work.” Do you suppose Tim knows what CFLs are?

  40. #40 Sarabeth
    July 13, 2007

    @Joe–Don’t you think it is a bit invasive of a person’s choice for light bulbs for a state to legislate what can be put in a home? Or is that not the goal of the legislation? If a state or local government wants to mandate that government buildings use CFLs, fine. Just don’t tell me what I can use.

    I do prefer the CFLs as they give off less heat, which leads to less energy being used to cool a house during the summer.

    And, well, it did seem that Tim knew what CFLs are.

    @Tim: Your joke about CFLs causing autism was quite funny. Wonder if Orac will pick that up for a blog post?

  41. #41 Orac
    July 13, 2007

    Your definition of “funny” is apparently different than mine. Tim’s said some pretty funny things before, but that wasn’t one of them.

  42. #42 Harry
    July 13, 2007

    Heavens to Murgatroid, make it stop! I just tried to straighten a few more things out over on Tim’s site, and now I see he’s come over here for some sniping. His comments here seem to be more over the top and more for humor and baiting purposes.

    Tim, in your hypothetical CFL scenario, you erroneously assume a linear relation between CO2 emissions, degree of global warming, and the subsequent rising of sea level. Climate science is a bit more exponential- and power-related than that. I had to point that out because, dude, this is ScienceBlogs. Orac, you should really pull in some other SBers on this one.

    That’s all beside the point. Tim’s postings reveal the core of his libertarian beliefs though. He’s not from the “give us our freedom and capitalism because in the end we’ll do the right things on our own” mentality. Instead he seems to be from the “screw you guys, I’ll do what I want” school of thought. His CFL argument can be reduced to “I don’t like the emission spectrum of CFLs compared to halogens, so go ahead and let the island nation of Tuvalu be consumed by the ocean.” Yes, that’s a gross oversimplification. Hyperbole for effect.

    Viewpoints like this are one of the reasons we have government. Given their druthers, many people would not sacrifice their standard of living to help the greater good. Governments have to intervene because they are taxed with the responsibility of protecting its citizens, sometimes from themselves.

    What’s being revealed again here is that Tim is making a political argument more than a scientific one. When his misuse of science is pointed out, he reverts back to the political realm.

  43. #43 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    You write: “Tim’s said some pretty funny things before, but that wasn’t one of them.”

    Another misfire. Sorry.

    For those of you who might have missed the inference, I was talking about the mercury contained in them, not the actual light, as a source of Autism. (I understand that’s a popular topic here.) The quality of light would have been more likely to cause epilepsy. Also Chronic Fatigue, Epstein Barr, and Fibromyalgia.

    And when I said they were too much like work, I was comparing the quality of light they give off, to the crap they light offices with.

    And I believe that Margarine, is made of Trans-Fat.

  44. #44 Tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    Harry writes:

    “What’s being revealed again here is that Tim is making a political argument more than a scientific one”

    Geez, did you just notice that? I don’t think I once promoted myself as a “Scientific Comic.” And don’t worry, I won’t besmirch any other part of this site. However, since my name is attached at the top, I think I’m entittled to a little leeway. Meanwhile I thought I’d do a couple dance numbers for the crowd while I’m here.

    And I know my reasoning was way off on the “5 inches for good lighting” thesis. It was another joke. I acknowledged as much directly afterwards.

    And I LOVE your notion of sacrificing for the greater good. That worked out real well last century. People usually don’t mind it much, until they find out they’re the sacrifice.

    Incidently, while I have your attention:

    http://www.unfpa.org/swp/

    It’s the recent UN Population report. Got some great stuff in it. They mention how Climate Change is going to cause more frequent hurricanes and tornados in the future, and stress the need for governments to control population.

    They don’t mention any sacrifices though.

  45. #45 notmercury
    July 13, 2007

    Tim said: For those of you who might have missed the inference, I was talking about the mercury contained in them, not the actual light, as a source of Autism.

    Pretty sure everybody got that one.

  46. #46 Orac
    July 13, 2007

    And don’t worry, I won’t besmirch any other part of this site.

    Now, now, don’t pout. It doesn’t become you. And you do love a good online debate; I can tell. Besides, blog wars are actually more entertaining than e-mail. Come on, admit it. Besides, I’m sure I sent a nice traffic surge over to your website, if nothing else.

  47. #47 tim Slagle
    July 13, 2007

    Orac writes:

    don’t pout

    Not pouting. I just sensed a little discomfort from Harry when he found me doing my song and dance over here. It’s kind of like coming home from work, and seeing your drunk uncle in the kitchen. I wanted to assure him I wasn’t staying too long.

    notmercury: I wasn’t sure if it was understood. You said they don’t seem to bother the children, and I figured you weren’t letting the kids eat them. (Heck, joe suspected I didn’t even know what they were!)

  48. #48 notmercury
    July 13, 2007

    Tim said: “You said they don’t seem to bother the children, and I figured you weren’t letting the kids eat them.”

    Maybe as a light snack.

  49. #49 Sarabeth
    July 13, 2007

    It was funny because he was baiting. It worked.

    If I had heard it in a comedy club, I would not have thought it was funny.

  50. #50 Steevl
    July 14, 2007

    And I LOVE your notion of sacrificing for the greater good. That worked out real well last century. People usually don’t mind it much, until they find out they’re the sacrifice.

    Am I missing the reference, or are you comparing “having slightly blue domestic lighting” with “dying in the Holocaust”?

  51. #51 Tim Slagle
    July 14, 2007

    Steevl writes: “are you comparing “having slightly blue domestic lighting” with “dying in the Holocaust”?”

    No. Just pointing out human nature. Most people are in favor of “Taxing the Rich” until they see that the tax code has determined that they are rich. Many people who think we should do something (anything) to curb Anthropogenic Global Warming, never imagine it will alter their lifestyles.

    There is nothing preventing people from using CFLs, taking a bike to work, giving up meat eggs and dairy, or paying more for renewable electricity. If you think those things will help, I encourage you. That’s not what legislation is about. Legislation is about forcing others, to live by your standards.

    The notion of a “greater good” is entirely subjective. It could mean cooler weather. But in the past, it has also been defined as building a better race of humans, a strong National identity, or an egalitarian economy. All three ended tragically, and untold millions perished. Regardless of what you think that “greater good” is, once you’ve determined that it is more important than human rights, you are on the proverbial slope.

    I differ with Harry greatly here. I do not believe that the job of Government, is to determine a “greater good,” and impose it on citizens. I believe that Governments are instituted, to secure basic rights.

    As I mentioned before, switching to CFLs would do very little to alter the Climate Change we are facing. (I know the figure isn’t five inches of ocean, over a hundred years; but I assume it’s equally trivial.) There are many more oppressive ideas in the works, CFLs are just the first step. Quivering paranoid herion addict, RFK jr., said as much at Live Earth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Heku9oTLysg

    Once we agree that maintaining the present climate is more important than individual rights, we are in trouble. If we’re really concerned with what kind of earth we are passing down to future generations a century from now, I believe that a few more feet of ocean, is preferable to tyranny.

  52. #52 Orac
    July 14, 2007

    Quivering paranoid herion addict, RFK jr., said as much at Live Earth.

    Oh, goody. A gratuitous swipe at RFK, Jr. For once we’re on the same wavelength, although I usually trash him over his antivaccination fearmongering.

  53. #53 Tim Slagle
    July 14, 2007

    Orac writes: “For once we’re on the same wavelength”

    Naw, we’ve always been on the same wavelength. Two geeky kids who grew up with a penchant for getting into arguments.

    But I encourage people to bite the bullet, and listen to his speech. He suggests putting people who disagree with him, on trial for treason. (Remember, the penalty for treason is death, traditionally by hanging.)

    Once he has every Oil Executive swinging by the yardarms, he’s coming after all you mercury “denialists.”

  54. #54 jre
    July 14, 2007

    I tried discussing this topic with Tim S. over at his site. It was like wrestling with an eel. You just can’t have a productive exchange with someone who sees every proposition as rhetorical, and doesn’t give a rat’s patoot whether it is true or false.

  55. #55 Tim Slagle
    July 14, 2007

    ” just can’t have a productive exchange with someone who sees every proposition as rhetorical, and doesn’t give a rat’s patoot whether it is true or false.”

    You also can’t lose gracefully

    <3

    vS

  56. #56 Bronze Dog
    July 14, 2007

    You just can’t have a productive exchange with someone who sees every proposition as rhetorical, and doesn’t give a rat’s patoot whether it is true or false.

    That’s what I like to call “epistemological nihilism”. It’s pretty much the same thing as those way-out woos who say that truth is relative.

  57. #57 jre
    July 14, 2007

    You also can’t lose gracefully

    Tim, I pointed out in excruciating detail how and where you were wrong. Rather than engage me on a single substantive point, you pretended not to have said what you said, then changed the subject. It’s frustrating, is all.

  58. #58 tim Slagle
    July 14, 2007

    jre: Sorry, You’re right. I didn’t adequately deal with your assertions that the Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is accelerating, and the melting of the WAIS is not remote. I focused only on the RealClimate rebuttal to the paper I cited, and ignored the other two.

    Greenland Ice Sheet: I provided a link that indicates the Greenland ice mass is actually increasing. It suggests that Global Warming might be causing the edges to thin, but increased precipitation, (also due to Global Warming) is causing the overall mass to increase. So is the sheeting eventually going to outpace the thickening? Stalemate. (that’s kind of why I ignored that one).

    WAIS destabilizing: The link you provided didn’t seem to support that conclusion. Maybe it was my browser, or just my ignorance, but I didn’t see anything there that would support your conclusion. I figured you were bluffing.

    Finally, was Al Gore correct? It is my understanding that he overlaid the projected 20 ft. Sea Level rise, with current geographical population centers. Which suggested the crisis is sooner rather than later. Because over 1000 years, population centers will probably relocate, especially if the ocean starts slowly rising. He wasn’t incorrect, but he was very misleading.

    And when there seems to be no conclusive proof that:

    a) Greenland is melting
    b) Antarctica is melting
    c) Greenland melted 125,000 years ago, and was responsible for that historic ocean rise

    his projection of 20 feet seems about as likely as the Lake Michigan Tsunami I predicted.

  59. #59 AlGoreRhythm
    July 14, 2007

    Ice melts, ice freezes.
    It gets warm, it gets cold.
    Oceans rise, oceans fall.

    Go back to your lives citizens.

  60. #60 Peter Barber
    July 15, 2007

    To anyone who feels that they’re getting bogged down in arguments over the science of anthropogenic global climate change, I suggest this 10-min video by a US high school science teacher, which presents a good rationale for the precautionary principle in respect of AGCC (and its follow-ups) which does not depend on the scientific basis being proven.

  61. #61 Tim Slagle
    July 15, 2007

    RE: this 10-min video

    The link appears to be broken.

    Is the cost of implementing the precaautionary priciple based on work done by legitimate economsists, and published in peer reviewed economic journals?

    Most of the time, the potential economic damage is greatly underestimated, by people with no background in economics; people who are nothing more than paid shills for the AGW lobby.

  62. #62 Steevl
    July 15, 2007

    I do not believe that the job of Government, is to determine a “greater good,” and impose it on citizens. I believe that Governments are instituted, to secure basic rights.

    I completely agree. So governments need to legislate to minimise global warming in order to secure the basic rights of their citizens not to have their health, property and livelihood destroyed by morons who think there is a basic human right to yellow light bulbs.

  63. #63 tim Slagle
    July 15, 2007

    Steevl writes: “governments need to legislate to minimise global warming in order to secure the basic rights of their citizens not to have their health, property and livelihood destroyed”

    Most projections for destroyed properties are 100 years out. So you think Governments are responsible for protecting prtoperty rights of people that haven’t even been born yet?

    The consequences on peoples health are specious.

    And as far as defense of people’s livlihoods; the legislation you propose would destroy more livliihoods than it would save:

    http://www.accf.org/publications/reports/sr-kyoto-beyond-cost-us.html

    http://www.iccfglobal.org/research/climate/kyoto-five-countries.html

  64. #64 Joe
    July 15, 2007

    Tim wrote “Is the cost of implementing the precaautionary priciple based on work done by legitimate economsists, and published in peer reviewed economic journals?”

    You trust economists??!! If all of them were laid end-to-end, they would not reach a conclusion!

  65. #65 ben
    July 16, 2007

    As if by magic, the Washington Post put up a fairly balanced piece about the ice sheet today.

    I wonder if that will answer some of Tim Stagel’s objections.

  66. #66 Ginger Yellow
    July 16, 2007

    “That’s the other half of the legislative solution I don’t like, making me live in a way I wouldn’t choose for myself. If someone invented a bulb that looked just as nice as a halogen, and only took a fraction of the energy, they wouldn’t be able to keep them on the shelves. Until then, I’m willing to pay the few bucks extra every month just for the aesthetics.”

    Which is why some form of legislative approach is necessary. There are enough freeloaders who aren’t willing to make even a tiny sacrifice that voluntary conservation almost certainly won’t prevent significant climate change.

    “I differ with Harry greatly here. I do not believe that the job of Government, is to determine a “greater good,” and impose it on citizens. I believe that Governments are instituted, to secure basic rights.”

    Like, say, the right to life? Where exactly do you expect the 150m people of Bangladesh to move to when your acceptable level of sea level rise occurs?

    Is there any form of preventive solution you would approve of? What, for instance, is wrong with internalising the external costs of CO2 production through a carbon tax or a something similar, besides a potential but marginal drain on the economy?

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