Pharyngula

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Ah, the libertarian extremists have found my site and are making comments. It’s a peculiar pathology that thinks environmentalism is an evil plot, that planning is communism/socialism, and that Jesus was a good capitalist. It is particularly irksome to try and deal with people who are so far gone that they deny science warning them of environmental dangers and impending problems.

How irksome? Imagine that a scientist and one of these deranged libertarian right-wing anti-environmentalist science deniers go out for a drive one day…

LIB: Isn’t this wonderful? I have a desire to drive, and sufficient surplus income to purchase a vehicle, and the market and technology provide me with one. Praise Jesus! Praise Adam Smith!

SCI: Uh, yeah, OK…but you know, the way you’re driving is neither safe nor economical. Could you maybe slow down a little?

LIB: I decide what is economical; I can afford the gas. As for safety, I have insurance, and the little whatchamacallit meter in front of me goes all the way up to 140. I haven’t exceeded the limit yet.

SCI: What you can do and what is safe and reasonable to do are two different things. If you want to experience natural selection first hand, that would be OK with me, except for the fact that we’re both in the same car.
By the way, that’s a lake a couple of miles ahead, and you’re headed straight for it.

LIB: Lake? We haven’t encountered any lakes in our travels so far. We don’t have to worry about lakes. History is our guide, and it clearly says, “no lakes”.

SCI: Well, yes, there’s a lake right there in front of us. You can see it as well as I can, I hope. It’s even marked right here on our map. I suggest you turn left just a little bit and steer clear of it.

LIB: Oh, you pessimistic doomsayers. You’re always gloomily predicting our demise, and you’re always wrong. We hit a mud puddle a few miles back, and see? No problems.

SCI: I’m only predicting doom if you keep driving as foolishly as you have so far. I suggest that we start on this alternate route now, so that we don’t have to swerve too sharply at the last minute.

LIB: There is no lake. I like driving fast and straight. The last thing I want to do is turn left.

SCI: What do you mean, there is no lake? It’s right there! And we are getting closer by the minute! Why are you accelerating?

LIB: That there is a lake is only your opinion. We need to study this, and get more input.
(LIB reaches down beneath the seat. His hand reemerges with a sock over it.)

SOCK: <in a squeaky voice> No lake!

LIB: Hmmm. We seem to have two opinions here. Since Mr Socky has taken economic considerations into account and you have not, I can judge which is the better and more informed. Sound science says there is no lake. Or if there is, we can accept the compromise solution that it will disappear before we reach it.

SCI: We are headed for that lake at 80 miles per hour, in a car driven by a lunatic. Slow down and turn left!

LIB: I am confident that our innovative and technologically sophisticated economy will come up with a solution before we impact any hypothetical lake. Right, Mr Socky?

SOCK: <squeaks> ‘s alright!

SCI: I have been telling you what the solution is for the last 3 miles. Slow down. Turn. Now. How is science going to save you if you insist on ignoring it?

LIB: Aha! Look! There’s a pier extending out into the lake! I told you that technology would be our salvation. You scientists always underestimate the power of the free market.

SCI: Jebus. That’s a rickety 40-foot wooden dock. You can’t drive at 90 miles per hour onto a short pier! BRAKE! TURN!

LIB: You are getting emotional, and can be ignored. Market forces and the science and engineering sector will respond to our needs by assembling a floating bridge before we hit the end. Or perhaps they will redesign our car to fly. Or dispatch a ferry or submarine to our location. We cannot predict the specific solution, but we can trust that one will emerge.
I’ve always wanted a flying car.

SCI: Gobdamn, but you are such a moron.

(car tires begin rapid thumpety-thump as they go over planks)

LIB: I love you, Mr Socky.

SOCK: <squeaks>Ditto!

Comments

  1. #1 muddle
    June 10, 2006

    It is amusing to see self-described conservatives decry “big government” and shout “that’s social engineering,” etc., when many of their proposals (e.g., banning gay marriage) amount to the same thing.

  2. #2 John Pieret
    June 10, 2006

    They even have their own Discovery Institute called the Competitive Energy Institute. Instead of being funded by Howard Ahmanson, it’s funded by Exxon. And I’m sure there are more of the same out there. Peddling bogus science in aid of selling oil, cars, land development, etc. is more profitable than selling theology, if no less dishonest.

  3. #3 SteveG
    June 10, 2006

    Libertarians are the flip side of the religious right. I’ve got an old post exposing the moral poverty of libertarianism over at Philosophers’ Playground. Their tactic is fairly simple, take liberty which is no doubt a moral good, and make it THE SOLE moral good, that is, subjugate everything else to individual freedom. It is the same error that ethical subjectivists make in elevating tolerance above all else. Yes, freedom and tolerance are morally desirable all other things being equal, but in the complex, ugly, messy real world, all other things are never equal and they have to get weighed in alongside of empathetic care for others and the general welfare. Libertarianism is a way for smart white guys who have theirs to rationalize (1) having more than they deserve, and (2) not wanting to share it. Libertarianism is just a way to backfill a justification for being a prick instead of a decent, caring, empathetic human beings who actually gives a damn about anyone other than himself.

    If that doesn’t piss them off, how about this…Ayn Rand’s writings are nothing but the work of Nietzsche with everything insightful or funny removed.

  4. #4 XavierGNZ
    June 10, 2006

    Is the sock named Ayn Rand, by any chance?

  5. #5 Moses
    June 10, 2006

    I’ve looked at Libertarianism as “Facism for One.” They’ve got all kinds of philosophies and arguments. But, in the end, they’re really nothing more than a bunch of wanna-be petty dictators who desire absolute control of thier half-acre suburban kingdoms.

  6. #6 CCC
    June 10, 2006

    I don’t think libertarianism is necessarily conservative as much as it is simply avoidant behavior. Life is too complicated and frustrating, having to manage things is confusing and unsatisfying, so it’s easier and feels better to just take an impossibly simplistic view of things and step aside. It’s just a way of placing yourself above the fray so you don’t have to actually do anything while you criticize those actually doing the work.

  7. #7 K Klein
    June 10, 2006

    SteveG said:

    Libertarianism is a way for smart white guys who have theirs to rationalize (1) having more than they deserve, and (2) not wanting to share it. Libertarianism is just a way to backfill a justification for being a prick instead of a decent, caring, empathetic human beings who actually gives a damn about anyone other than himself.

    Hey, two can play at that game.

    Progressivism is just a way for self-righteous moralists to steal from the “undeserving” for the benefit of the “deserving”. Progressivism is really just a way to oppress the “undeserving” to appease the progressive’s need to feel morally superior.

    Marx had it right about Progressivism: “From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need.”

    I really expect better discourse from Pharyngula readers than these silly straw man sloganeering arguments.

  8. #8 Whimsical Monkey
    June 10, 2006

    What’s the problem? They all three can continue their drive in heaven, which is a better place than this one: free gas and everyone gets a Hummer!

  9. #9 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    Am I the only one who is amused by the fact that, right after linking to a post in which he complains about caricatures and sweeping generalizations, Prof. Myers turns around and does the exact same thing himself?

  10. #10 daenku32
    June 10, 2006

    I wish I could find libertarian health advocacy groups. As much as they want the public to improve themselves individually, they don’t seem to be very much involved in advocacy. I could be mistaken though.

  11. #11 John Emerson
    June 10, 2006

    My favorite cornucopian is argument is Julian Simon’s argument that, since there are an infinite number of points on a line, we can never run out of natural resources. We just have to map them onto the points of a line, and between any two units of a given resource there will always be another point, up to infinity. (Cornucopians are the libertarian version of environmentalist, in the sense of “anti-environmentalist.”)

    People should be warned that Simon won a bet with Paul Ehrlich about 25 years ago, and to libertarians this proved that all environmentalists are wrong about everything. Count on it, if you’re arguing with one of those guys, you’ll be hearing about that bet.

  12. #12 John Emerson
    June 10, 2006

    I read the thread that you linked, and the frat-boy debating-society quality of the arguments is blatant. It starts with clever tricks and ends with insults.

    Economics does not have variables representing existing physical reality — neither the environment nor human beings. Nothing exists in economics until it has a price put on it, either as labor or as a raw material, and nothing has a price put on it unless it is offered on a market. It’s not surprising that economists are blindsided by environmental events — they have bracketed the the environment out of their equations.

    I had a long argument with an cornucopian once about fish farming. Wild fish actually add to the human food supply, but fish-farming just converts low-price food that is fed to the fish into high-price food — in terms of calories or protein, fish-farming is a net loss. We went back and forth 3-4 times, and the end he was still talking about food markets and prices. I could NOT get him to talk about the physical food supply of calories and protein.

    Substitutability as prices increase is the cornucopian solution to resource shortages. This may work for minerals, but I don’t see substitutes for topsoil, clean air, or clean fresh water, and with energy sources there are many difficulties. (No, hydroponics only works for the herb cornucopians smoke before they do their thinking. We’re not going to be growing our wheat and corn in vats under grow-lights.)

  13. #13 Brock Tice
    June 10, 2006

    Hey, not all libertarians are nuts. A lot of people have libertarian ideas, and consider themselves libertarians, but ignore economic evidence when it doesn’t agree with their views. I’ll agree to take communist liberals with a grain of salt if you’ll do the same for some extreme libertarians.

    I’m a registered Libertarian — I just don’t want the government in any more of my business than it needs to be. As a poor graduate student I can tell you that I’m not exactly hoarding my vast resources and shooting everyone that tries to get them.

    As for telling people what to do (like the gay marriage amendment), those people aren’t Libertarians, even though they may claim to be or act libertarian in other ways. They are Republicans, and I’ve had enough of them. One of my senators, David Vitter, was an outspoken supporter of the gay marriage amendment, and I was pretty quick to call his office and give his staffer a piece of my mind on the subject.

    The important thing about the libertarian philosophy is that people should be left alone to do their own thing, but not to the detriment of others. Some people conveniently ignore that last bit. It’s not so simple as they’d like.

  14. #14 Evan Murdock
    June 10, 2006

    I’m no libertarian, and I do think that (by virtue of their status as a minor party) they attract a certain wacko factor.

    But I do think that it makes sense to look at the areas where we do agree. Libertarians (real ones) tend also to be civil libertarians. There is a deep pool of self-identified conservatives who are deeply upset by the wiretaps, by the gay marriage attacks, and similar government intrusions into the daily lives of ordinary people.

    In other words, I’d take an economically conservative socially liberal libertarian anyday over the so called conservatives we have now, who want nothing more than to spy on us and control our bedrooms, in addition to raping the planet and forcing millions into poverty.

  15. #15 cserpent
    June 10, 2006

    Krauze wrote:
    Am I the only one who is amused by the fact that, right after linking to a post in which he complains about caricatures and sweeping generalizations, Prof. Myers turns around and does the exact same thing himself?

    and

    K Klein wrote:
    I really expect better discourse from Pharyngula readers than these silly straw man sloganeering arguments.

    Sheesh, I think PZ was deliberately caricaturing a narrow group of Libertarian extremist hypocrites that were commenting on his blog, rather than making a sweeping generalization. Didn’t you guys read the first sentence in the post? Ah, the libertarian extremists have found my site and are making comments.

    Also I think that “LIB” character in the dialogue sounds eerily like George Will.

  16. #16 Pierce R. Butler
    June 10, 2006

    The extremist libertarians whose comments Prof Myers is now reacting to, judging by the link he provides, ranted their rants in February of 2004 in response to a posting about politics in academia of that date.

    The skit provided today is a tasty little satire about one faction of environmental-disaster denialists, but it stands well enough on its own: what’s the point of resurrecting a minor spurt of irrationalist rhetoric from over two years ago?

  17. #17 OhioMarc
    June 10, 2006

    PZ indicated that he’s going to be rerunning older posts while he is at YearlyKos.

  18. #18 Hinschelwood
    June 10, 2006

    I’d never heard of libertarians until I kept seeing the same argument trotted out again and again on USENET. This was that everybody should be able to own the most powerful weapons available without restriction and that all drugs should be legalised. Somehow, these two things are connected and would lead to a perfect world.

    I therefore think that libertarians are basically a bit nutty because: a) they take various extreme positions from left-wing and right-wing politics and expect them to just work somehow, and b) I first heard these ideas espoused by the famous Ted Holden, and everything that Ted says is wrong.

    The latter, in particular, is pretty damning.

  19. #19 woofsterNY
    June 10, 2006

    I must’ve read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” a half dozen times each, earlier in my life. I thought Ayn Rand was incredible.

    I was young enough that I could read and admire the graphic images of ripping open mountains so that copper and steel would pour out. The problem later was that I got to SEE some of those ripped-open mountains. They’re about as hospitable to life – human or otherwise – as the surface of the moon.

    Working in the Lake Tahoe area some years back, I took the drive up to Virginia City, the wild west silver mining town. Saloons, gambling halls, boardwalks, TV memories of Hoss and Little Joe and Pa Cartwright, yada-yada, but the thing that really caught my attention was the hills surrounding the town. They look like some post-nuclear-war nightmare – a landscape of dead, dry holes surrounded by poisonous-looking greenish tailings.

    I’d somehow always thought that mining companies extracted the goodies from the ground and then COVERED IT ALL BACK UP NEAT AND CLEAN.

    But they don’t. To these wild-west mining companies, the cheapest and most efficient way to handle mining was to extract the ore and refine it onsite (with stuff like mercury, by the way, which ended up in the ground and streams) and then move on to the next mine, leaving the desolate holes behind. To timber companies, the cheapest and most efficient way to handle forests was to clear-cut the entire forest and then move on to the next one.

    Yeah, all us enlightened foresightful folks can see that this behavior isn’t sustainable over the long term. The problem is: How many people are enlightened and foresightful enough to make the cool, wise decisions that would make “market forces” work the way libertarians imagine them working?

    Those of us who lived through the era when smoking was chic knew plenty of adults (a majority, I’m pretty sure) who were, even when their own health and life was involved, literally incapable of making foresightful decisions. Not to mention when the issue was something as esoteric as a distant hillside wildlife habitat which they might never even see.

    The problem with libertarian-type market forces, in regard to environmental issues, is that they’re almost always reactive, almost never proactive. The only reason timber and mining companies act any different today (if and when they do) is because outside agitators – people who understood and cared about some of those distant hillsides more than they did about any one company’s profits – eventually forced them into it.

  20. #20 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    Hi cserpent,

    “Sheesh, I think PZ was deliberately caricaturing a narrow group of Libertarian extremist hypocrites that were commenting on his blog, rather than making a sweeping generalization.”

    Considering that the exchange took place more than two years ago and that those particular “Libertarian extremist hypocrites” are not arguing in the comments any more, that would be an odd reason to re-run the post.

    Also, the post clearly contains elements that indicates that it’s relevant to libertarianism at large. For example, the part about the sock puppet is obviously a riff on the old “libertarian think tanks are all funded by big greedy corporations” schtick.

  21. #21 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    BTW, what’s an “anti-environmentalist”? Someone who’s against the environment?

  22. #22 PZ Myers
    June 10, 2006

    Here’s a good reason to re-run this: it sure seems to strike a nerve in the deranged libertarian subset of readers.

  23. #23 John Emerson
    June 10, 2006

    I’ve had net conversations with similiar types in the last six months, so the topic is not obsolete.

    “What’s an ‘anti-environmentalist’?”

    Krauze, I’ll assign you your own question as homework. Have an answer for me tomorrow

  24. #24 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    Hi PZ,

    “Here’s a good reason to re-run this: it sure seems to strike a nerve in the deranged libertarian subset of readers.”

    And what “deranged libertarian subset” would that be, pray tell?

  25. #25 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    Hi John,

    Why should I know? I’m not the one using the phrase.

  26. #26 NatureSelectedMe
    June 10, 2006

    BTW, what’s an “anti-environmentalist”? Someone who’s against the environment?

    An environmentalist is a religious person whose deity is nature. That’s nature without people. People are evil in this religion. Libertarians are against Environmentalist for the same reason PZ is against religion. They let their religion get in the way of rational thought.

  27. #27 Sid Schwab
    June 10, 2006

    Why ought science be political? Why is it that those who reject evolution and those who reject global warming and other environmental concepts are republicans? Of all things, why should the evaluation of fact be colored by political point of view? I guess it’s that selfishness supercedes science. In a nutshell, the liberal says: we’re in this together. Let’s look realistically at our world and see how we can find ways to improve things. The conservative says, I’ve got mine, don’t bother me with facts, and get out of my way.

    Or maybe it’s about the ability to introspect. If you have the selfish gene the reflective gene can’t express. PZ: tell us how that can be.

  28. #28 George
    June 10, 2006

    If I thought that people who care about the individual (libertarian) and money (republican) more than anything else could protect our environment, I would vote for them. They can’t and I won’t.

  29. #29 ifriit
    June 10, 2006

    An environmentalist is a religious person whose deity is nature. That’s nature without people. People are evil in this religion.

    Wow. Paranoid much?

  30. #30 John Emerson
    June 10, 2006

    Krauze: OK, the word can be divided into three parts, “anti”, “environmental”, and “ist. These all have meanings known to people literate in English.

    “Environmental” is the adjective form of “environment”. “Environment” has several meanings, but standing alone in political discussions it means the natural biological environment, considered from a political point of view (endangered species, pollution, etc.)

    An “environmentalist” is someone involved in political disputes who favors preserving the environment by government regulation, etc. So an “anti-environmentalist” would be someone opposed to environmentalists.

    Someone opposed the the environment itself would probably be an “anti-environmentist”. I don’t know of any of these.

    I actually doubt that you were looking for an answer. I suspect your question was frat-boy debating society snark, like your other rhetorical question below. But I pretended that I thought you were serious and worth bothering with.

    If you’re really having this much trouble with vocabulary, perhaps you should study up for a bit and then get back to us.

  31. #31 Chet
    June 10, 2006

    Marx had it right about Progressivism: “From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need.”

    I think the better way to say it is from Luke 12:48:

    “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”

    Also, a point of semantics – taking from those who do not deserve is not stealing; because to have something you don’t deserve is to be a thief, yourself.

  32. #32 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    Hi John,

    Sure, it would be nice if one could ascertain what people meant simply by looking at the etymology of the words they used. But some labels become so politically charged that accuracy gets left by the wayside.

    Take the other part of Myers’ headline, anti-evolutionists. Judging from its etymology, I would guess that this described people who rejected evolution, that is, the common descent of all life on earth from one or a few ancestors. But I’ve had people tell me that even common descent-accepting ID-supporters like Michael Behe qualify as “anti-evolutionists”, and even the evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne got accused of anti-evolutionism when he criticized an evo-psych argument for the origin of rape.

    Similar doubts linger around the term anti-environmentalist. Take Free Market Environmentalism, the basis of which is the claim that government regulation has failed, and that the environment is best protected through free-market forces, such as private property and “polluter pays” policies. But according to your definition, which emphasizes government regulation, we’d have to label it anti-environmentalism.

  33. #33 WebHubTel
    June 10, 2006

    Ah Hah. Scientist calls it a dock. Libertarian calls it a pier. Therefore, scientist is from Minnesota; libertarian is from Wisconsin. Conclusion: Cheese may cause stupidity.

  34. #34 John Emerson
    June 10, 2006

    This is quibbly debating-society stuff, Krauze, like I said. Philosophy 101 isn’t usually applicable to actual reality.

    “Polluter pays” is a form of regulation. If the free market environmentalists are legit and not astroturf, I would not call them anti-environmentalists.

    Basically it’s better to make substantive arguments rather than to ask rhetorical questions about definitions.

  35. #35 Krauze
    June 10, 2006

    Hi John,

    “Basically it’s better to make substantive arguments rather than to ask rhetorical questions about definitions.”

    I would have loved to discuss some substantive arguments, but the opening post didn’t leave us much in that regard.

    However, if you’ll look over the thread again, you’ll notice that my puzzlement over the use of “anti-environmentalism” was just an afterthought to my main point, that Myers was engaging in the very same tactics he was complaining about in others. If you think discussing definitions is “quibbly”, why was this the very topic you chose to engage me over?

  36. #36 SmellyTerror
    June 10, 2006

    Wonderful timing: the first two things I read today were this and http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19417715-7583,00.html

    To summarise the argument contained in the second one: some rather hysterical people claim that global warming is already flooding island nations. Since this is not true, there is no global warming.

    Who cares about the vast body of evidence? There are a few folk in the environmental movement who are fond of hyperbole, so clearly global warming can’t happen. Cower in the face of my mighty logic!

    …and thanks to idiots like this, anyone who wants to do nothing can feel justified.

  37. #37 John Emerson
    June 10, 2006

    Because I found your quibbling annoying.

  38. #38 Red Dog
    June 10, 2006

    I like the show very much – especially Mr. Socky – and would very much support the notion that this is worth a re-run.

    Having quite a solid stomach i reread the large opinion-pieces of Mr. Feser and the “Reply to the Critics”, just to see if i was not mistaken in a -at first glance – minor point where IMHO PZ Myers is almost as much in error as this “conservative” hack.

    I’m referring to the phrase from his first post: “and a restoration of the university’s pre-Enlightenment role as a promulgator of dogma”.
    If this is meant as shorthand for ecclesiastical censure i won’t argue (evil atheist that i am, too) but taken literally this discounts the memory of those medieval academics, not only pre-Enlightenment but even pre-Renaissance which were in their days the very equivalent of those “poison-mixers” Mr. Feser wants to expose and of them he obviously doesn’t know enough to write anything sensible about.

    Contrary to popular knowledge the medieval (european) unversity life was – clerical overlordship and even membership of every teacher notwithstanding – a time of intense dispute, filled up with radicals and sparsely costumed unbelievers. William Ockham, Marsilius of Padua, John Wycliff, Jan Hus – to those who know (or want to know) these hints should be enough, and professors and clerics they were all.
    Even Mr. Fesers big statue of a righteous teacher, Thomas of Aquin was very much debated and attacked in his lifetime and – a few centuries later – Martin Luther was not only an augustine monk but at the same time professor at the Wittenberg university.

  39. #39 rob
    June 10, 2006

    smellyterror, that the world’s oceans are rising isn’t in doubt, only the mechanism (and only among a small group of doubters). remember that while the ocean floor does indeed subside, it also heaves. if subsidence were the rule, the entire planet would be very wet.

    on the subject of environmentalism: perhaps, rather than demanding that environmentalists prove that their concern for the health of the planet is well-founded, libertarians can kindly demonstrate that the free market will, in fact, keep the environment healthy.

    it shouldn’t be too difficult to bring to light numerous situations where, absent any social or governmental intervention, corporations have left the environment in the condition in which they found it (or better).

    what libertarian philosphy basically does is absolve its followers of personal responsitbility. in short, “i can make as big a mess as i want, because the market will figure out how to fix it.” it’s hard work being good and decent. if you have no desire to put in the effort that it takes, well, found a think tank and look for ways to justify your carelessness!

  40. #40 James Killus
    June 10, 2006

    Karl Hess once told me that he thought Ayn Rand stole all her best ideas from Max Stirner. I disagreed; I didn’t think she was that well-read.

    Any intellectually honest libertarian would soon realize that any action that creates a change to someone else’s property without their permission is unethical, and therefore, said libertarian would have to adopt a zero-emissions environmental policy. Instead, they immediately turn to various legalisms like “proveable harm” (as if you need to prove that someone is harming you by walking through your house uninvited).

    The one group that I’m positive has been wrong more often than environmental doomsayers is they group that predicts the horrible economic consequences of environmental regulations.

  41. #41 rob
    June 11, 2006

    i’m gonna have to disagree with you on that last point, james. the jehova’s witnesses used to predict the endtimes periodically and they missed the mark every time…

    of course, even they had the decency to shut up after a while.

  42. #42 Krauze
    June 11, 2006

    I guess now wouldn’t be a good time to post this link:

    Daily Kos: The Libertarian Dem

  43. #43 Bartholomew
    June 11, 2006

    There’s actually some explicit linkage between the religious right and the right-wing libertarians: Gary North (a prominent Christian “Reconstructionist”) argues that in a libertarian society funding for “Darwinism” will dry up, while the anti-enviromentalist end is kept up by Robert Sirico (a former Pentecostal minister turned Catholic priest) at the Acton Institute. And let us not forget Vox Day’s view that in a “libertarian” USA women would be allowed to vote. I wrote a blog entry on this trend once.

    Back in the 1980s, libertarians were pretty notorious in the UK for their views on South Africa: apartheid is bad (a form of “racial socialism”), but South Africa is standing against communism and only support for the country will lead to apartheid withering, through capital investment. Some characters even went around wearing “Hang Nelson Mandela” stickers, which they now try to deny they ever did – The Guardian had to deal with a case of this a few years ago.

  44. #44 hymie
    June 11, 2006

    The problem libertarians have with environmentalists is the same problem that you have with Christianists. Enviros believe that they are privy to a great Truth that gives them the right to control everyone’s behavior. That Truth isn’t scientific; they are happy to wave around the science when it conforms to their prejudices, but just as happy to dismiss it otherwise. They’re against nuclear power and genetic engineering and modification, for example. Libertarians don’t like to be told how to behave in the name of mystic Truth, and they resist claims of global warming because those claims fit so neatly into the enviros’ existing prejudices that it’s hard to believe they weren’t made up. If the science holds up, they’ll come around.

  45. #45 rob
    June 11, 2006

    hymie, i hope you know what irony is because, unless that was an accident, you’ve mastered it.

    i mean, all we “enviros” have to look to for guidance is the accumulation of hundreds of years of scientific discovery. i mean, i don’t know if you read this blog, but the technical detail and transparency of good science really take all the romance out of it.

    we only wish we could have our own messiah. like ayn rand. what did she do, again? wrote some novels, you say?

    also, from the article Krauze posted:

    “…Libertarian Dems are not hostile to government like traditional libertarians [and] doesn’t believe government is the solution for everything. But it sure as heck is effective in checking the power of corporations.

    In other words, government can protect our liberties from those who would infringe upon them — corporations and other individuals.

    […] A Libertarian Dem rejects government efforts to intrude in our bedrooms and churches. A Libertarian Dem rejects government “Big Brother” efforts, such as the NSA spying of tens of millions of Americans.

    […] A Libertarian Dem believes that […] corporate polluters infringe on our rights and should be checked. A Libertarian Dem believes that people should have the freedom to make a living without being unduly exploited by employers. […] strong crime and poverty prevention programs can create a safe environment for the pursuit of happiness. A Libertarian Dem gets that no one is truly free if they fear for their health, so social net programs are important to allow individuals to continue to live happily into their old age. Same with health care. And so on.”

    if you’d read this before you posted it, you might have hesitated. that libertarian dem is sounding an awful lot like a democratic socialist.

  46. #46 Krauze
    June 11, 2006

    Hi Rob,

    I posted that link to Daily Kos because with all this libertarian-bashing going I thought it was funny that other liberals were trying to find points of similarity. So if you think that the author of that article sounds like a democratic socialist, that’s because that’s what he is.

    If you’re interested in getting libertarians to play on the liberal team, here’s some suggestions from the evil libertarian sock puppets over at the Cato Institute:

    – The left generally supported the Supreme Court’s decision in Raich (the five most liberal justices plus Scalia formed the majority in that case). There were a few exceptions. But by and large, the left approved. (Moulitsas himself took a more middling position). The reasoning I read from leftist pundits was that opposing it would have opened the door just a hair more for the short-lived Rehnquist federalism revolution. In other words, a ruling for Angel Raich would have put the slightest of curbs on federal power. And that was too much. In this case, the left couldn’t even bring itself to support a decision allowing sick people to get access to the medication they needed, because it might have hampered the ability of the federal government to enforce hiring quotas, or the EPA’s ability to save endangered, cave-dwelling toads in Texas (the latter argument was actually made by the Washington Post editorial board). It’s hard to take in the left’s reaction to Raich and believe modern American liberalism stands for much of anything anymore, save for raw, unfettered government power.
    – Same goes for the Kelo decision (again decided largely by the Court’s left). Some on the left at the time seemed to sympathize with the fifth-generation homeowner who loses his house to, say, Wal-Mart or General Motors, yet still couldn’t get too worked up over a decision that, after all, (1) struck a blow to demon “property rights” advocates, and (2) once again, gave more power to government.
    – How about the broader drug war? It’s true that a few of Kos’s diarists have been eloquent opponents of drug prohibition. Bully to them. But nationally, Democrats won’t touch legalization. Off the top of my head, I can name far more high-office politicans and pundits who’ve publicly come out for legalizing drugs from the right than I can from the left.
    The thing is, if libertarians and liberals were to form an alliance, these issues really shouldn’t even be in the “compromise pile.” The left likes to think of itself as the champion of the little guy — the left behind, the powerless, and the disposessed. Seems to me the cancer or AIDS patient who needs medical marijuana to keep the meds down, the modest homeowner about to be evicted so a Sam’s Club (or to make it a bit more difficult for our Kos friends, a CostCo) can move in, or the paraplegic arrested and tossed in prison for 25 years for daring to treat his own pain would be exactly the kind of people for whom the left should be advocating. Yet the modern left’s lust for overarching government power makes them antagonists of the little guy in all three cases.

  47. #47 hymie
    June 11, 2006

    I merely read http://www.foe.org/new/pressroom.html. The thought of having these people in control is as terrifying as the thought of having Christianists in control. Their ends are different but the consequences to individual liberty would be equally devastating. It’s touching that you believe that FoE is driven by nothing more than the accumulation of hundreds of years of research, but it’s also false.

  48. #48 TTT
    June 11, 2006

    I debated a libertarian economist about these issues a few years ago. I tried to get him to consciously acknowledge that he was so ideologically opposed to government that he believed it should / could never be used to solve an environmental problem–whereas I, an environmentalist, wanted to use *the best solution* to the problem and would be willing to hear whether that solution would be from government or the private sector.

  49. #49 rob
    June 11, 2006

    Krauze, nobody denies that there are points of similarity. for example, i don’t smoke, drink or do drugs. a teetotalling christian missionary? nope, i’m an atheist.

    if i had to pigeonhole myself, in fact, i’d probably be considered a left libertarian, which basically means, you are free to do what you want on one condition: that it doesn’t hurt anybody. the lefty in me says that if you reach for the stars and fail, we – society – will be there to catch you. you can see that while there’s an element of libertarianism in there, i am not a libertarian by any stretch.

    hymie judging environmentalists by what you read on foe (which i know nothing about) is like judging all christians on the activities of Fred Phelps. you should know better.

  50. #50 Ginger Yellow
    June 11, 2006

    PZ, I assume you’ve seen this brilliant Tom Tomorrow effort.

  51. #51 Ginger Yellow
    June 11, 2006
  52. #52 PZ Myers
    June 11, 2006

    Hmmm. I just want you to know I wrote this in 2004, and Tom Tomorrow’s cartoon was published in 2005. Who read who?

  53. #53 Matt B
    June 11, 2006

    PZ, one can be pro-environment and anti-environmentalism. The reason is that the environmental movement is unquestionably led by anti-capitalists who’s eyes are as often on issues unrelated to protecting the environment. How else to explain pro-environmentalists’ reluctance to embrace capitalism where it can help the environment, for example in promoting investment in technology by private enterprise and reluctance to use private property rights to protect the environment in instances where those measures would work?

    PZ I think you are confusing what is good for the environment with what is good for people. People care about the environment, but they also care about health and education and national defense etc. Because there are tradeoffs, it necessarily follows that, in principle, environmental protection at some point destroys more human happiness than it creates.

    For these reasons, one can without contradiction be pro-environment, pro-human welfare, and anti-environmentalist (and still despise the Conservatives).

  54. #54 Matt B
    June 12, 2006

    Hymie said: Libertarians don’t like to be told how to behave in the name of mystic Truth, and they resist claims of global warming because those claims fit so neatly into the enviros’ existing prejudices that it’s hard to believe they weren’t made up. If the science holds up, they’ll come around.

    This is quite wrong Hymie. Libertarians need not be convinced that global warming is happening (few seriously reject that now), they need to be convinced that responses involving central planning and various degrees of coercion are not worse than the problem they are trying to solve. IMHO, the credibility of the environmental movement is damaged by its failure to consider this issue.

  55. #55 RickU
    June 12, 2006

    Ouch PZ! It seems that every ideology has it’s whack jobs. I consider myself an atheist liberal libertarian with conservative leanings, and I’m not registered w/ any party. You can believe in individual rights and limiting/limited government without being a crazy person and denying what’s happening in front of your face.

    I’m of the opinion that any political ideal taken to it’s extreme is bound to be crazy and unworkable. At least, among those that we’ve thought of.

  56. #56 John Emerson
    June 12, 2006

    In the original post PZ was clearly talking about a fringe of the libertarian movement, not all of them. It’s a pretty significant fraction, though.

    The credibility of libertarians is damaged by their placing conditions on their willingness to acknowledge global warming, and their unwillingness to accept governmental regulation as part of the solution. (And as I said, pollution credits and taxes are forms of government regulation.)

    Cherry-picking the stupidest things any environmentalist ever said and using them to smear the whole movement is right-wing politics-as-usual. No environmentalist has to agree with everyone else who calls themself an environementalist. As a group, libertarians (even the good ones) have a very weak record onenvironemtnal issues.

    I think that the free-marketer affection for pollution credits as opposed to other forms of government intervention lies in the fact that pollution credits are so wonky that they confuse people. As a result, they’d be easy to sabotage behind the scenes by amendment, with the result that they’d probably end up providing windfalls for certain industries without actually reducing pollution. That’s the way our government often works.

  57. #57 myrddin
    June 12, 2006

    One of the things that hasn’t really been addressed is the notion that libertarians would leave unchecked corporations and their effect on the environment, and so far no one has introduced any positive private effort to benefit the environment. Allow me to do both.

    The latter first–there are non-governmental organizations such as the Sycamore Land Trust (http://www.sycamorelandtrust.org/) that use private money and donations to support the environment.

    Second, one of a typical libertarian’s points on this issue should be that as you strip away all of the junk government does and all of the inefficient uses of your tax dollar, that there are more tax dollars left to enforce laws and civil judgments. So, for example, it would be theoretically be easier for citizens and private entities to hold polluters accountable. Obviously a lot would have to change before that became a practical reality (changes to corporation law being a good place to start), but that overall, unclogging the system of inefficient government and increasing responsibility provides for better enforcement mechanisms of the critical government functions that remain.

    Of course, the flip side is that citizens have to exercise their own personal responsibility as well in order to make such a system work. You say you don’t like how mining operations ravage the landscape? Do what you can not to buy from businesses that do business with those mining companies. Will that cost you extra? Damn skippy it will. But you have to put your money where your mouth is, and in the end that is what makes the difference. Once corporations and businesses know that the populace is willing to flex their collective moral muscle in the marketplace a lot of things would change. Most of us are just too lazy/cheap/hypocritical to step up to the plate in that regard.

    I agree with several earlier posters (paraphrasing/summarizing) that libertarians are being painted with a pretty broad brush in this thread. The thrust of libertarianism is *not* denial of science. I consider myself to be a libertarian and I am very pro-science. The thrust of libertarianism is that when science determines there is an issue, who is the better to address it . . . private interests or government? I reasonable libertarian might not end up agreeing with you that government is necessary, but it is a discussion that can occur without resorting to partisan sniping.

  58. #58 myrddin
    June 12, 2006

    I think that the free-marketer affection for pollution credits as opposed to other forms of government intervention lies in the fact that pollution credits are so wonky that they confuse people. As a result, they’d be easy to sabotage behind the scenes by amendment, with the result that they’d probably end up providing windfalls for certain industries without actually reducing pollution. That’s the way our government often works.

    This is a very strong libertarian argument overall. When you grant a government power, it creates an inviting atmosphere for influence over legislators. If the government was reduced to those powers explicitly authorized by the Constitution, there would be little need for such issues as “campaign reform” and most ethics issues would go the way of the dodo, because a government without power is a government unable to grant favors. A government without power and unable to leverage interest groups is one of little interest to those who would corrupt.

  59. #59 hymie
    June 12, 2006

    That’s naive. What this argument misses is that there are always people who want to have power over other people, and who will acquire that power. Whether those people are members of governments, corporations, churches, unions, co-op boards, the mafia, or street gangs isn’t relevant, and libertarians miss the mark when they favor one such entity over another. Their job must be to fight such dangers to individual liberty in all places where they appear, not just to focus on government as the sole threat to such liberty.

    And it happens that environmentalists could be such a threat if they acquired sufficient power. They appear to be bent upon preventing exploration for and exploitation of natural resources, use of nuclear energy, use of genetic modification, use of nanotechnology, and in general, to any sort of man-made alterations of the world. I don’t think this is confined only to extremists of the movement, I think this defines the movement.

  60. #60 Krauze
    June 12, 2006

    “In the original post PZ was clearly talking about a fringe of the libertarian movement, not all of them. It’s a pretty significant fraction, though.”

    Got any data to back up that assertion?

    “The credibility of libertarians is damaged by their placing conditions on their willingness to acknowledge global warming, and their unwillingness to accept governmental regulation as part of the solution.”

    For one who doesn’t like “cherry-picking the stupidest things” said by a particular group, you sure do make some sweeping generalizations. Which “conditions” do libertarians place on their willingness to acknowledge global warming? And how many libertarians actually fit this characterization? I consider myself a libertarian, and I don’t deny global warming. Ed Brayton and Timothy Sandefeur, two libertarians who co-blog with Myers at The Panda’s Thumb, don’t either.

    As for accepting governmental regulation as part of the solution, shouldn’t this be contingent on governmental regulation actually being the best solution? Surely you don’t want people to support governmental regulation solely on principle?

    A libertarian approach to the environment, such as Free Market Environmentalism, is based on the principle that the ones best equipped to protect a piece of land are the ones who depend on it for their profit. Therefore, free market environmentalists will support such measures as giving Zimbabweans the right to sell photo and hunting safaris on their land, thereby giving them an incentive to prevent poaching. to name but one example.

    Your criticism of “pollution credits” is odd, given that neither I nor anyone else in this thread suggested this measure. I specifically advocated a “polluter pays” policy, which is just an extension of private property rights. (If you vandalize your own property, you’re an idiot. If you vandalize my property, you’re going to have to clean it up. It doesn’t matter whether the vandalizing is done with a spray can or a sewer pipe.)

    Also, your comments about pollution credits being favored because they’re “easy to sabotage behind the scenes by amendment” indicates a profound misunderstanding of what libertarianism is about. Libertarians are opposed to corporations abusing the power of the government, whether to squash competition, award themselves government welfare, or pollute someone else’s property. In fact, libertarians are so opposed to this that they want to reduce the power of the government, thereby decreasing the attractiveness of lobbying and forcing corporations to compete on the free market.

  61. #61 James Killus
    June 12, 2006

    Oh golly, it’s all true. If environmentalists came to power, they’d use the power of the State against people they consider to be immoral, they’d be unrestrained by Constitutional checks and balances, so they’d spy on people without court oversight and imprison peopel without habeas corpus, they’d make war on countries that they considered to be against their agenda, and they’d engage in never-ending smear tactics against their political opponents.

    It’s a good thing we have libertarians to protect us against them.

  62. #62 Krauze
    June 12, 2006

    Hi Hymie,

    You’re forgetting one thing: I’m not obligated by law to pay part of my income to gangsters, street gangs, or any of the other groups you mention.

    “Their job must be to fight such dangers to individual liberty in all places where they appear, not just to focus on government as the sole threat to such liberty.”

    No one’s saying that we shouldn’t fight non-government threats to liberty. What Myrddin and I are pointing out is that accusing libertarians of using government to provide “windfalls” for corporations gets it exactly the wrong way around, as libertarians are the ones trying to prevent this abuse of power.

  63. #63 myrddin
    June 12, 2006

    Oh golly, it’s all true. If environmentalists came to power, they’d use the power of the State against people they consider to be immoral, they’d be unrestrained by Constitutional checks and balances, so they’d spy on people without court oversight and imprison peopel without habeas corpus, they’d make war on countries that they considered to be against their agenda, and they’d engage in never-ending smear tactics against their political opponents.

    It’s a good thing we have libertarians to protect us against them.

    Once you give government power over the environment, it opens it up to all of the influence-peddling and partisanship that are the hallmarks of the environmental debate. The oil companies using the government to force open ANWR, as an example. Giving the federal government power over forests invites influence peddling from the logging industry, and partisan decision-makers.

    Beyond that, your post is making some kind of weird point not related at all to the topic at hand. Libertarians oppose all of the things you mentioned, and at least do so on a consistent principle of limited government. One of the similarities of both major marties today is that both are pro-big government, each just wants to pick and choose what part of government they want to be big.

  64. #64 Krauze
    June 12, 2006

    Hi James,

    “It’s a good thing we have libertarians to protect us against them.”

    You mean libertarians like Brayton? Or Kuznicki? Or what about those evil sock puppets over at the Cato Institute?

    Another question: If a liberal candidate takes over in 2008, what do you think will happen? Will he or she just do away with all that presidential power that Bush accumulated? Or will he or she use the eyes and ears of the NSA to investigate groups like the pro-lifers, the Christian Reconstructionists, and the nut who stores canned food and guns in a bunker in Idaho? If the latter, who do you think will (once again) fight it? That’s right, the libertarians.

  65. #65 cserpent
    June 12, 2006

    myrddin wrote (refering I guess to woofsterNY:
    You say you don’t like how mining operations ravage the landscape? Do what you can not to buy from businesses that do business with those mining companies. Will that cost you extra? Damn skippy it will. But you have to put your money where your mouth is, and in the end that is what makes the difference.

    Except that many useful products, including coins, by the way, contain copper, zinc, nickel, or other metals mined in the destructive way described by woofsterNY. The computer I’m typing on contains cadmium and other toxic metals. No one makes computers or coins without these things and much of modern human existence would end without them. Imagine a car without any of these things: “Meet the Flintstones…” Also most complex products are constructed of hundreds of components from many different sources and the companies that make them don’t make any effort to disclose who their suppliers are, especially since their suppliers change routinely as prices shift.

    Basically, the simplistic boycott the producers of the end product approach is unrealistic when it comes to most major polluters.

    Imagine using that strategy with petroleum companies. It’s a safe bet that nearly every plastic item in America was made with petroleum. Every company that ships its product uses vehicles manufactured with and powered by petroleum. Much of the electric power that keeps industries operating is generated using mined products (petroleum and coal). Every petroleum company pollutes and it is ludicrous to expect that everyone opposed to polluters give up all plastics, indeed nearly every material thing produced, even food, in protest over pollution. I guess that makes me lazy/cheap/hypocritical.

    That is why we have government regulation. Sure, government regulation over such things will result in higher prices on many, perhaps most products but so what? Maybe the average person might keep his car for more than two years before trading it in. Maybe people will stop tossing their old TVs in dumptsers because it’s cheaper to buy a new one than repair the old one. Maybe the cheap plastic crap from China at the discount store won’t be so cheap any more but at least a good quality product won’t seem insanely overpriced in comparison. Maybe someone might actually be able to make a profit recycling some of our junk instead of dumping it in a landfill where it does no one any good. But, again, I guess I’m just too lazy/cheap/hypocritical.

  66. #66 John Emerson
    June 12, 2006

    “In the original post PZ was clearly talking about a fringe of the libertarian movement, not all of them. It’s a pretty significant fraction, though.”

    Got any data to back up that assertion?

    Krauze, how old are you, twelve? I meet these guys all the time, here and there, on the internet and in real life. But I haven’t done a statistical study.

    The average libertarian is a George Bush loyalist. Jim Henley, a libertarian I respect, seems to have given up on the party for that reason. There are lots and lots of really stupid libertarians. Those are the ones we’re taking about. I don’t care about how many other, non-stupid libertarians there are. If you’re not stupid, you’re cool with us.

    But your argumentation is stupid.

    I am holding my breath waiting for your non-government libertarian response to global warming.

  67. #67 Krauze
    June 13, 2006

    Hi cserpent,

    I agree that boycotts aren’t a very good solution to environmental problems. They are often ineffective, as when we in vain tried to get France to stop testing nuclear weapons in one of their colonies on the other side of the planet. And when they do work, there’s no guarantee that they’ll lead to an improved environment, as when Greenpeace staged a boycott against UK Shell, who were planning to dispose the oil platform Brent Spar in the sea. Shell caved in, and dismantled the platform on land instead, a solution that was not only more expensive, but also presented a bigger hazard to the workforce and to the environment.

    But government solutions also have a long tradition of fouling things up. Take your suggestion of making cars more expensive to make sure people don’t buy new ones as often. In Europe, where I live, we indeed do have such “green taxes”, with the result that people drive around in wrecks. Old cars are not only more unsafe in traffic, but they also pollute more, and the government now have to pay people to get rid of their rust buckets.

  68. #68 madjoey
    June 13, 2006

    Krauze: Greenpeace staged a boycott against UK Shell, who were planning to dispose the oil platform Brent Spar in the sea. Shell caved in, and dismantled the platform on land instead, a solution that was not only more expensive, but also presented a bigger hazard to the workforce and to the environment.

    And your point is? The expense was borne by Shell as a cost of doing business and certainly merits little consideration — no Shell employees starved because they had to responsibly dispose of the platform. And from what I’ve been able to determine, there were no accidents during the on-shore dismantling in Norway, nor any environmental catastrophes.

    Brent Spar was significant because it showed the potential power of the environmentalist movement, and how that power could be abused (e.g. by Greenpeace’s lies about how much contamination was on the platform, etc.). “Oh joy,” think libertarians; “Another flawed organization to exercise violent power over others.”

    Really makes me think that it’s a good description of libertarianism: It’s the political system for people who don’t like people. After all, libertarians really shine when it comes to defending the rights of the few against the many, even if it means that the few might have their “rights” sacrificed on the altar of the *shudder* common good.

  69. #69 Krauze
    June 13, 2006

    Hi John,

    “Krauze, how old are you, twelve? I meet these guys all the time, here and there, on the internet and in real life.”

    So do I, and I don’t recognize your characterization of them at all. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of extrapolating my own subjective experience to all of reality, without having some concrete evidence. But then again, I guess little things like that don’t matter to inhabitants of “the reality-based community”.

    “But your argumentation is stupid.”

    I guess the only appropriate reply to this is “Is not!”

    “I am holding my breath waiting for your non-government libertarian response to global warming.”

    Don’t bother. I’m sure you’d absolutely demolish it with a clever retort of “Is too!”

  70. #70 Krauze
    June 13, 2006

    Hi madjoey,

    “And your point is?”

    Clearly spelt out in the first part of the sentence you didn’t bother to quote: “And when they [boycotts] do work, there’s no guarantee that they’ll lead to an improved environment”. Consumers can be misled by the rhetoric of people with a stake in the outcome – as you yourself acknowledged was the case with the Greenpeace boycott, and as we also saw illustrated by the Islamist boycott of Danish companies for operating in a country with freedom of press.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think boycotts are a great way for consumers to affect policy through the free market – and it’s certainly preferable to the destruction of property which both the Islamists and some environmental groups (Greenpeace excluded) also engage in. But as a general tool for securing the environment, I agree with cserpent: Ain’t gonna’ happen.

    “After all, libertarians really shine when it comes to defending the rights of the few against the many, even if it means that the few might have their “rights” sacrificed on the altar of the *shudder* common good.”

    You can say that again! That’s exactly why I find libertarianism appealing: I believe that individuals have rights that are unalienable, and which can never be taken away from them, not even to benefit the “common good”. That’s also the reason why I oppose the President violating the rights of individuals (such as the right to a fair trial) in the name of the “war on terror”. And if a liberal candidate takes over and keeps violating these rights, I will oppose that too.

  71. #71 James Killus
    June 13, 2006

    Yes, yes, libertarians oppose all sorts of things, from wiretapping to environmental regulations. Oddly enough, it’s only in opposition to the latter that they seem to be effective, thereby allowing those who want to put poisons onto my property and into my lungs plenty of “freedom,” while showing no effective resistance to those who want to invade my bedroom or listen to my telephone calls.

    So you vote against Gore because he’s such a rabid environmentalist, and against Bush because he’s…well, actually, I know libertarians who voted for Bush, because he was a “small government conservative,” which is to say that he used the magic words that appealed to them. And that’s the important part, to maintain the magic words. Just like it so much more important to rail against the hyptothetical threat (environmental fascism?), than against the real one.

  72. #72 John Emerson
    June 13, 2006

    “Of course, I wouldn’t dream of extrapolating my own subjective experience to all of reality, without having some concrete evidence.”

    What’s at question is whether there are a lot of loony anti-environmentalist libertarians, and I’ve met a lot of them, so I conclude that there are. That’s hardly subjective; I really doubt that I’ve met every idiot in the party.

    You do argue like a 12-year-old college freshman just out of Phil 101.

    I imagine that you’re a small-l libertarian, because if you were a big-L Libertarian you’d have to talk about this. The Libertarians are a mini-version of a real party — sorruption and all.

  73. #73 Matt B
    June 13, 2006

    Hymie

    That’s naive. What this argument misses is that there are always people who want to have power over other people, and who will acquire that power. Whether those people are members of governments, corporations, churches, unions, co-op boards, the mafia, or street gangs isn’t relevant, and libertarians miss the mark when they favor one such entity over another. Their job must be to fight such dangers to individual liberty in all places where they appear, not just to focus on government as the sole threat to such liberty.

    This is true in princple, but the mechanism by which many of these groups, especially environmenalists, exert their attempts to constrain liberty is through government. Attention is therefore appropriately directed to government rules setting.

  74. #74 hymie
    June 13, 2006

    For many libertarians that attention is permanently fixed in place; they appear to have forgotten that the goal is individual liberty and that limiting government is only a means to that end.

  75. #75 Krauze
    June 15, 2006

    Hi James,

    “Yes, yes, libertarians oppose all sorts of things, from wiretapping to environmental regulations. Oddly enough, it’s only in opposition to the latter that they seem to be effective,”

    In general, libertarians aren’t very effective at opposing anything, as neither party is particularly interested in restricting government, resulting in a situation in which there is every incentive for corporations to influence the government to their own advantages.

    “So you vote against Gore because he’s such a rabid environmentalist,”

    Considering that I live in Europe, I doubt I’ll be doing much “voting against Gore”. BTW, considering your demand for “effective resistance to those who want to invade my bedroom or listen to my telephone calls”, what’s Gore’s position on restricting federal powers?

  76. #76 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    Hey, two can play at that game.

    Typical libertarian asshole. It’s not a game; libertarians really are assholes.

  77. #77 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    My favorite cornucopian is argument is Julian Simon’s argument that, since there are an infinite number of points on a line, we can never run out of natural resources. We just have to map them onto the points of a line, and between any two units of a given resource there will always be another point, up to infinity.

    This is just a version of Zeno’s Paradox — or, more properly, Zeno’s fallacy.

  78. #78 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    I guess now wouldn’t be a good time to post this link:

    Daily Kos: The Libertarian Dem

    Does being a libertarian asshole make it impossible to read and comprehend an article beyond its title? What Kos calls a “Libertarian Dem” is simply a classical liberal Dem. He distinguishes them from “classical libertarians” — assholes like you.

  79. #79 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    P.S. Despite having a very successful blog and heavily involved in Democratic politics, Markos is not very well educated in or particularly sophisticated about political philosophy, so whether he calls himself a “libertarian Democrat” or promotes such a view is neither here nor there; argument from authority, and all that.

  80. #80 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    The problem libertarians have with environmentalists

    The problem libertarians have is that they’re arrogant ignorant self-centered assholes.

  81. #81 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    I merely read http://www.foe.org/new/pressroom.html

    Well, that’s your problem, asshole. It’s like if I were to merely read Catherine Mackinnon and from that conclude what feminists believe, or if I were to merely read Fred Phelps and from that conclude what Christians believe.

  82. #82 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    Damn, I mentioned Fred Phelps before seeing that rob used the same example. That must prove something … perhaps just how blatant hymie’s assholy stupidity is.

  83. #83 PZ Myers
    November 1, 2006

    What is this, you just needed to vent? The comments you are railing against are several months old, you know.

  84. #84 llewelly
    November 1, 2006

    PZ, for some of us, it’s like therapy…
    when you need it, you need it, no matter how old or irrelevant it might seem to someone else.

  85. #85 mark
    May 2, 2007

    “The important thing about the libertarian philosophy is that people should be left alone to do their own thing, but not to the detriment of others. Some people conveniently ignore that last bit. It’s not so simple as they’d like.”

    To be honest I think that’s what most (although probably not all) liberals believe in. People should be free to do what they want, and have strong civil liberties free from government oppession, but liberals pay more attention to reality and thus realize individual behavior can result in collective harm (such as with excessive CO2 emissions). The Daily Kos I thought made a good point about “libertarian liberalism,” we need freedom and liberty, but unlike traditional libertarians people need to understand that threats to their freedom can come from both the government and corporate sector.

    The problem however is libertarian groups DON’T listen to the “not to the detriment of others” bit. Libertarian philosophy is opposed to all government intervention except for direct violence. Other than that the so-called “free market” will solve everything. Unfortunately I do consider destroying our planet and polluting our air to be to the detriment of others, and of course it is. Just because there isn’t an obvious victim in, say, driving a hummer all day when you don’t need to doesn’t mean it has no negative effects. Again, you may be different, afterall many people don’t follow everything their fellow (democrats,conservatives,[insert ideology here]) believe in. However with every major libertarian group, magazine, blog,or web site I’ve been to I’ve never seen one acknowledge any environmental issues. Instead they just smear real scientists and experts as all alarmists or part of some sinister, yet ludicrous conspiracy. Furthermore for a group of people so concerned with liberty, they seem to rarely ever talk about, say, the Patriot Act or the NSA scandal. Instead mostly outrage over things like the FDA, and how big business has a “right” to pollute however much they want.

    I guess maybe they do believe in absolute freedom except when harming others. It’s just in their model of the world, environmental issues and the like don’t exist, and as long as we have an unregulated free market, everything will be perfect.

  86. #86 mj
    May 2, 2007

    I now despise anti-environmentalists far more than creationists. This is simply because the former could actually lead to the end of life on earth as we know it (or at least the end of human civilization). No matter what they’ll keep trying to fool the public and politicians that things like global warming don’t exist, or are actually good things. The people financing this no doubt would be considered evil. I mean, they’re determined to make alarge profit, even if it ruins life for the rest of us. The IDers are more like flat earthers (at least at this point) IMHO, they can fund their private fundamentalist schools and brainwash their kids, but the organized and well-funded anti-environmental movement is truly scary.

  87. #87 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “Libertarians are the flip side of the religious right. ”

    Yes and the record in question is called the Republican Party.

    I am so sick to death of hearing libertarians claim they oppose most of the neocon and religious right agendas and then announce that they will never ever under any circumstances vote for a Democrat because Democrats support higher taxes.

    Thousands of dead Iraqis and women dying in back alleys of illegal abortions versus Bill Gates paying an additional 1% of his income in tax. It’s a no-brainer, right?

  88. #88 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “Economics does not have variables representing existing physical reality — neither the environment nor human beings. Nothing exists in economics until it has a price put on it, either as labor or as a raw material, and nothing has a price put on it unless it is offered on a market.”

    Ever hear of hedonic pricing?

    By your logic, since there’s no market in human lives, economics sets the value of a human life at zero.

  89. #89 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “An “environmentalist” is someone involved in political disputes who favors preserving the environment by government regulation, etc. So an “anti-environmentalist” would be someone opposed to environmentalists.”

    Wasn’t someone just complaining about “straw men” earlier?

    Environmentalists favor protecting the environment, fr a variety of reasons including self-interest.

    There’s about 50 years of environmental economics theory devoted to the most cost-effective way of doing that – which more often than not isn’t “government regulation”.

    Most environmental groups have taken that on board, as anyone who actually read what they have to say, rather than the endless right-wing screeds about how the greens hate poor people would know.

    But of course, for many libertarians, The Road to Serfdom is sacred writ and just as Muslims believe the doors of prophecy were sealed once Mohammed transcribed the Q’uran, they believe that the writings of Hayek on economics are final, complete and perfect and anyone who thinks otherwise is an infidel and a tool of the Devil.

  90. #90 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “How else to explain pro-environmentalists’ reluctance to embrace capitalism where it can help the environment, for example in promoting investment in technology by private enterprise and reluctance to use private property rights to protect the environment in instances where those measures would work?”

    Who do you think are largely responsible for tradeable meissions rights schemes and conservation easement? CAFE standards? Tax incentives for hybrid vehicles?

    Who slashed funding for renewable energy research – Carter or Reagan?

    Who supports an international trading scheme for emissions reduction credits and who supports carbon taxes and government hand-outs for particular technologies?

    Writing “unquestionably” before making a series of completely false statements doesn’t make them any less false.

  91. #91 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “This is quite wrong Hymie. Libertarians need not be convinced that global warming is happening (few seriously reject that now), they need to be convinced that responses involving central planning and various degrees of coercion are not worse than the problem they are trying to solve. IMHO, the credibility of the environmental movement is damaged by its failure to consider this issue.”

    And the libertarian movements refusal to actually engage in subtantive debate around these issues and look at the massive amount of economics literature on the subject rather than sloganeering about how “I’m from people AND the environment”, would damage its credibility if it had nay in the first place.

  92. #92 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “Second, one of a typical libertarian’s points on this issue should be that as you strip away all of the junk government does and all of the inefficient uses of your tax dollar, that there are more tax dollars left to enforce laws and civil judgments. So, for example, it would be theoretically be easier for citizens and private entities to hold polluters accountable.”

    Yes just think if not for goverment regulation, the victims of the greater increased number of Minamatas and Bhopals would get larger compensation cheques.

    There’s a fundamental distinction in economics (the real version not the Flat Earth/Hayek/Von Mises version) between willingness to pay and willingness to accept.

    Look the terms up and consider their implications as to why prior restraint by government regulation is in some instances preferable to post ante torts for compensation.

    Finally, can you point to any instance where an environmental quality indicator went down as a result of government regulation aimed at protecting it? (Logically if less government regulation means higher environmental quality then more government regulation must mean a reduction in environmental quality. I guess that’s why air quality in the US has declined so drastically since the passage of the Clean Air Act.)

  93. #93 Ian Gould
    December 7, 2007

    “But government solutions also have a long tradition of fouling things up. Take your suggestion of making cars more expensive to make sure people don’t buy new ones as often. In Europe, where I live, we indeed do have such “green taxes”, with the result that people drive around in wrecks. Old cars are not only more unsafe in traffic, but they also pollute more, and the government now have to pay people to get rid of their rust buckets.”

    On average European cars are not only less polluting than American cars they are also safer – there are fewer traffic fatalities per kilometer traveled in the EU than in the US.

    That’s in large part because a large part of the US fleet is made up of SUVs which until recently were exempt from most pollution and safety laws since they were classed as commercial vehicles rather than passenger vehicles.

  94. #94 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    I’ve always thought Myers’ rants against libertarianism and Rand more than a little bit resembled exactly what he denounces the ID proponents for doing when they clump all atheists into a single type and attack them as the evil to end all evils. I was quite interested to find this particular post by Myers at the top of his list of a Taste of Pharyngula (I see this list changes each time one logs in), and then to find within such level headed posts in defense of libertarianism by the likes of Klause and myrddin … and then to see the likes of Truth machine come in to defend Myers position. It’s similiar to when the more level headed of the Pharyngula readership are found on a pro ID or creationist site… they are usually the ones presenting matter of fact arguements whilst the defenders of the faith wail away and wring their hands about how wretched we are. That’s how I see Myers while he was writing this post… sitting there wringing his hands and smirking at how he knows he is going to get under the skin of these people he so loves to hate. It bugs me because I respect him for his rational views and his ability to look at the bigger picture when the creationists and the like debate the way they do and pick their arguments apart. It bugs me because he has the power, and has shown he can wield it, to do good things; to bring people together for a common good. It bugs me because to me Ayn Rand was about respecting the individual and individual rights, and understanding that to be of value I must take responsibility for my actions. Through this I came to fully understand that though my life was MY ultimate value, another individual valued his life just as much. Hence the most important single rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Ayn Rand holds the human being up as something that is wonderful and full of possibility and Myers seems to detest this. Sure people have taken her ideas to the wrong extremes. I haven’t. The idea of Capitalism and Rational Objectivism that her philosophy promotes is based on people being free to deal with one another as they see mutually beneficial. Why does this bother so many here to such a deep degree that they automatically feel the need to respond with vitriol instead of thoughtful replies? Truth Machine: “The problem libertarians have is that they’re arrogant ignorant self-centered assholes”.
    Wow.

  95. #95 Brownian, OM
    May 7, 2008

    Evidence for Rand’s assertions that you regurgitated here, Dave?

    The problem with the Truth Machine is that it is too aptly named.

  96. #96 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    As for this anti-enviromentalist thing… it seems a good deal of what we see as enviromentalists are anti-human being! It’s hard to appreciate the point of view of a group of people who tend to have advocating for them the likes of PETA and other eco-terrorist who openly despise our species and lump us all in (again) as the evil to end all evils. And yet, though I do despise what I have come to think of as the mainstream enviromentalist: the one’s you see walking around in anti-fur demonstrations and the like, I probably care for the enviroment as much or more so than you do. I live in a pristine part of the world, Yellowknife NWT Canada where the effects of global warming are more evident than almost anywhere else on the planet. I live in some of the most beautiful and rugged country anywhere to be found and love it with a jealousy… yet we sit upon 270,000 metric tonnes of arcenic that has been stored underground… a legacy of the gold mines. I think we are very much alike Myers. I have a daughter who is 14 that I love very much. She is a tomboy who likes to go exploring with me looking for fossils in the riverbeds or likes to go fishing with her dad. I have a step daughter who is a marine biologist who I also love dearly. She is my favourite eco-terrorist. I love life. I hate seeing people in misery. I hate war. I hate pollution and our dependancy on oil that has helped to create the Alberta Tar Sands. I’ve always been an atheist. Born that way after all. But there is something that definitely has your tits in a twist and you seem to love to dig the fork in whenever the opportunity exists to equate people who agree with anything Rand had said or libertarians or these so called anti-enviromentalists with something that is “obviously” hideous in your view. Maybe I haven’t read enough of your blog, but I’ve been a daily reader of yours for over a year now and haven’t come across the roots of this hatred of yours. Thanks for keeping up the blog though. I don’t know how you manage to do it given what must already be a hectic schedule.

    Regards

  97. #97 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Evidence for Rand’s assertions that you regurgitated here, Dave?

    The problem with the Truth Machine is that it is too aptly named.

    What kind of evidence do you seek Brownian? I gave you evidence: Those are the things I gleaned from Rands writings. I apologize if that’s not what you thought should be the results. As for Truth Machine, there is nothing apt about vitriol. Truth Machine is not an it. But perhaps an alter ego?

    Regards

  98. #98 SC
    May 7, 2008

    Patient: Dave

    Diagnosis: Randophilitis.

    Rx: a hefty dose of Emma Goldman.

    (Be sure to complete the entire cycle.)

  99. #99 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Why…is that ever witty. I think. Randolph…Edmund perhaps? Just googles the name but didn’t persue it and don’t know who he is. Why would Goldman be a prescription for Randolph? Anarchism vs ?? please elucidate. I enjoy learning new things even if it’s thru a joke at my expense. I’m not so fragile.
    Regards

  100. #100 Ichthyic
    May 7, 2008

    Randolph…Edmund perhaps

    ummm… no.

    Randophilitis

    i believe the stress is on the Rand.

  101. #101 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Oh duh! And of course Goldman would have prescribed Anarchism as a cure to her view of Capitalism, if I read wiki correctly. Actually it would appear that both women’s views were probably fundementally similiar. Both hold personal or individual freedom over state (or religous) control as central to their ideals. Semantics and perspective often need to be resolved before meaningful dialogue begins. Then and now.

    Regards

  102. #102 SC
    May 7, 2008

    Now Dave, did I not state explicitly that completing the entire cycle would be necessary to effect a cure? If you stop now, what you’ve done so far will only create (and already appears to be creating) a more virulent, truth-resistant strain of Randophilitis. The full course of the first stage of treatment will require reading. Books. Goldman’s.

  103. #103 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Thx SC. I will take it under consideration. But you know how it is… especially with the older generation and apparently men (like me as my wife might add), we really don’t think there’s so much wrong with us. Hard to drag us off to see the doctor. Hard to prescribe a dose of pink milk when we’re happier with a glass of suds. You need not fear as you will probably be somewhat immune to my strain of Randophilitis. I don’t force it on anyone or call them down as failures for not agreeing with me. Nowadays it interests me more to understand why others think the way they do anyways.

    Regards

  104. #104 SC
    May 7, 2008

    Best of luck to you, Dave. I hope you do give it a shot.

    (I am, by the way, entirely immune to Randophilitis, having been vaccinated years ago. Fortunately, the preservatives led me to develop thoughtism, which I hear is not uncommon :).)

  105. #105 Dave
    May 8, 2008

    Good morning SC
    I’m in camp at the Taherea Diamond Mine (that’s in the process of closing down [not permanently I hope] due to some extremely bad business decisions), and am flying out today, so I have a bit of time on my hands. It’s a brand new mine in etremely good shape. It’s quite a strange feeling here. It’s like seeing a teenager with boundless potential who has lost any notion of purpose. There are pictures up and down the main corridors showing the mine at different stages of it’s construction; Prime Minister Harper up here for a ribbon cutting ceremony, the ERT team holding up a trophy for first place overall in a rescue competition, pictures of the trucks on the ice roads and caribou on the horizon…. The hope is gone now and many of the people who have been here from day one are also flying out today. There’s a kind of melancholy over the site.

    But I digress.

    Since I equate what you call Randophilitis with Rational Objectivism, which to me simply means attempting to look at the world about me rationally and objectively, I must inquire as to what YOU think said Randophilitis might be, as I find it interesting that anyone should consider being inoculated against such a thing as a good deal.

    Regards

  106. #106 Dave
    May 8, 2008

    (Tahera)

  107. #107 Dave
    May 8, 2008

    Sucks… doesn’t it Myers?
    I’m not the idiot or personification of evil you would have your minions believe.
    I am a libertarian. I am a rational objectivist. I am a product of Ayn Rands philosophy. I believe in freedom and equality for all. I love my family and my fellow man, though I don’t give my love away freely. Love and respect has to be earned. Nonetheless it is easily understood that there will be people who, for whatever reason, cannot care for themselves. I’ll help care for them if you don’t force me too. I’ll do it gladly. Why? Look out from our small planet and we see that ‘life’ is the most rare and precious of all things. But understand, my life is not yours to guide. My life is not yours to play cards with. The greatest of human rights is the right to our own existence. You seem to have a problem with that. You seem to think that the right to my own life is an imposition on yours. Sorry about that. It’s not. Get over it. To a large extent I think you’re border line brilliant. But, like your following, there’s a part of you that hates me for wanting to be free. Or what is it? I know how you might respond: you might make up another silly story like the one that started this particular post. But geeesh was that dumb. I am not that person, nor can I even remotely understand where you’re coming from there. What exactly is your idea of an ideal society? What is your notion of human rights?

    Damn… looks like Detroit won the hockey game.

    Regards

  108. #108 Dave
    May 18, 2008

    You call me anti-environmentalist, I call you eco-terrorist… you call me GW denialist, I call you reality denialist. Pigeon holing people solves nothing though, don’t you agree? It merely allows you to blame a whole group of people, who may only be indictable to differing degrees based on their individual circumstances, for the wrongs you perceive have been done by people who accept certain things to be true or possible. Makes you feel good huh?
    Petty.

    Regards

  109. #109 Dave
    May 18, 2008

    You call me anti-environmentalist, I call you eco-terrorist… you call me GW denialist, I call you reality denialist. Pigeon holing people solves nothing though, don’t you agree? It merely allows you to blame a whole group of people, who may only be indictable to differing degrees based on their individual circumstances, for the wrongs you perceive have been done by people who accept certain things to be true or possible. Makes you feel good huh?
    Petty.

    Regards

  110. #110 Dave
    May 18, 2008

    Had to say it twice apparently.
    I’m sure I could say it three more times and it won’t sink in though.

    Regards

  111. #111 Not-Dave
    May 18, 2008

    Shorter Dave: Please, somebody, won’t you please pay some attention to me!

  112. #112 Walton
    May 24, 2008

    I must say, I disagree with the implicit parallel drawn in the title of this section between “anti-environmentalists” and creationists.

    As most people on this blog agree, creationism (at least in most of its current forms) is not science. I am no scientist, but as I understand it, creationism (of the Young Earth variety, at least) is inherently unscientific, since it involves rejecting large amounts of scientific evidence about the age of the Earth, the history of species and the formation of geology (forcing its adherents to the conclusion that either the evidence is false or misleading, or that God somehow put it there to confuse people). I am also given to understand that there are numerous observed instances of the evolutionary process altering species over time, and that it doesn’t take much of a conjectural leap to presume that this process has happened throughout natural history and created the diversity of life which exists today. Creationism is also bad theology, since it postulates that the whole natural world – with its flaws and cruelties – was designed by God, which doesn’t square well with the idea of an omnipotent or loving God. I realise I’m not saying anything novel or interesting here, but I’m just establishing that I oppose creationism as much as any of you.

    On the other hand, those of us who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming – i.e. those of us who tend to be labelled as “anti-environmentalist” by the left – do not reject science, and I resent being compared to a creationist in that regard. There are more than 17,200 reputable mainstream scientists who are, to varying degrees, critical of the prevailing orthodoxy as regards climate change. The theory that global warming is primarily caused by solar cycles, or by some other natural factor, is a perfectly scientifically sustainable one. It is not like creationism, because it does not involve rejecting scientific explanations and evidence in favour of a supernatural explanation.

    It’s difficult, of course, to separate the scientific global warming controversy from its political implications. But Al Gore’s endorsement, and popular hysteria encouraged by the sensationalist media, does not place the orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming beyond the confines of public debate.

  113. #113 penguindreams
    May 27, 2008

    Like a creationist, you claim to support science.
    But like a creationist, you cite petitions or polls rather than science.
    Unlike creationists, the poll you cite is over a decade old. (at least theirs are usually fresh)
    Like creationists, you say that it is of ‘reputable mainstream scientists’, when, in fact, it is of people almost strictly outside the relevant fields.
    Like creationists, you know only that the conclusion that you dislike is wrong, but neither know how it was reached, nor have anything to rebut it with. (‘solar cycles or other some other natural factor’; like a creationist, you can’t bother to cite a scientific source, nor name those ‘other’ ‘natural’ factors) (that you wave unnamed ‘natural causes’ is no better than their named supernatural cause)
    Like creationists, you wave the name of a boogeyman rather than present any science.

    Sure there are distinctions. But as it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, we’re now down to deciding whether it’s a loon or a bufflehead.

  114. #114 Dave
    May 27, 2008

    penguindreams… you are doing nothing different than Walton appears to be doing. You both are just going “IS TOO!!” “IS NOT!!”. Where is YOUR science that you rail on Walton for not showing and why is it any more believable? I’m just a regular tradesman who reads the paper in the morning and dabbles with Scientific American sometimes but really prefers Hi Fidelity Magazine. Is your explanation (or that of the Al Gores and Michael Moores of the world you hold up so high) supposed to convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt, when I (like literally billions of other people) don’t understand the complexity of the science involved (and I dare say neither do you)? In my mind you are more like the creationist calling the anti-evolutionists deniers of your religion.

    Regards
    Dave

  115. #115 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    don’t understand the complexity of the science involved

    if you don’t understand it, why bother involving yourself in the discussion of it?

    If you WANT to understand it, likely you will have to go beyond reading your local newsrag, or even Scientific American.

    your ignorance (note: NOT STUPIDITY, for the definitionaly impaired) is hardly relevant to whether or not the issue exists, or what the evidence actually shows now, is it?

    would ‘Penguin’s’ arguments seem more valuable to you if he referenced the thousands of journal articles regarding global climate change?

    articles utilizing ice core data, for example?

    How, if you don’t understand any of the data?

    bottom line:

    In my mind you are more like the creationist calling the anti-evolutionists deniers of your religion.

    why should anyone care what’s on your mind, Dave?

    Walton said:

    creationism (of the Young Earth variety, at least) is inherently unscientific, since it involves rejecting large amounts of scientific evidence…

    guess what? that’s EXACTLY what we see with global warming deniers as well: a gross rejection of large amounts of scientific evidence.

    those who support the deniers typically don’t even know about, or care about, this evidence.

    …or, like Dave, don’t understand it.

  116. #116 Dave
    May 28, 2008

    Ichthyic

    Isn’t that what everyone loves to do; “citations please” gets worn out here but with good cause. Actually, as I just posted to Penguins blog (though it will have to go thru moderation which I appreciate) I would very much like to see one of these thousands of articles. And indeed I have seen some, but as I have explained here and there they seem to get so muddled up with the mainstream media claiming absolutely everything unusual being attributable to GW and others who rightfully question the results of studies (that are used by some environmentalists to blame mankind for the impending end of the world) with fair questions that never get answered. I asked Penguin if he could explain what is really happening in layman’s terms. http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/
    If you would care to put in your two bits please do.

    Regards
    Dave

  117. #117 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    I would very much like to see one of these thousands of articles.

    they aren’t hard to find.
    have you looked before?

    but as I have explained here and there they seem to get so muddled up with the mainstream media

    which is why I suggested you go beyond your newspaper and scientific american.

    find the original articles by actual climatologists, geologists, oceanographers, meteorologists, paleontologists (yes, them too), and read those instead. You can find many of them linked to from various sites dealing with climate change issues, including the UN site.

    for example, you could start here:

    http://unfccc.int/2860.php

    and work your way down to find the links to the original data and articles published in the peer reviewed journals.

    if you have to rely on the media to interpret things for you, you can’t really complain about media bias now, can you.

    I asked Penguin if he could explain what is really happening in layman’s terms.

    but by your own claims, you don’t understand much of the science involved.

    what you ask is exactly the equivalent of a creationist asking for a one paragraph explanation of all of evolutionary theory.

    if i reference a thousand articles for you, other than being an ‘argument from weight of evidence’ of what value would it be to you?

    do you think I could synthesize all of that data into a short and sweet statement that would satisfy you?

    sseriously, put yourself in the shoes of a creationist asking about evolutionary theory, and asking an evolutionary biologist, on a blog forum, to explain all of the many parallel evidences supporting evolutionary theory for the last 150 years.

    Is that a reasonable request?

    would you, putting yourself in the position of a creationist, with an obvious creationist background, really be expected to understand and process even a tenth of the information presented to you?

    OTOH, say you were a geologist, and questioned some of the geological data used in formulating climate models.

    THEN there would be something to debate, since you would at least be familiar, being a geologist, with the relevant methods used to obtain the data, and we could argue whether or not the conclusions and usages of the data is justified in the particular models under discussion.

    No, if you are not knowledgeable of a particular subject, then just like the rest of us, you will end up relying on what experts in the relevant fields DO have to say about it.

    You don’t, however, have to rely on what the MEDIA has to say on any given issue.

    This is why real science is represented by publication in peer-reviewed journals. The point is to limit the amount of bias involved, by forcing review of each others work before publication. This way, we can more easily rely on the expertise and studies done by our colleagues, in fields that we ourselves have but limited knowledge in.

    As a biologist, i don’t assume that everything published wrt to quantum theory in the last 30 years needs my constant review in order for me to accept it. Instead, I rely on the peer-review process, and time, to weed out unsupported conclusions and poor methods. I know from publishing in my own field that peer-review for the most part keeps all of us honest, so i can trust the results of studies published in quantum physics, even though I only have a rudimentary (comparatively) knowledge of physics.

    In the case of climate change, there might have been legitimate questions as to the direction and causality of it 30 years ago, but time, much experimentation, a ton of data, and an awful lot of peer-reviewed publications really do tell a rather convincing story.

    It really isn’t the media that is driving the UN decisions being made on climate change.

    that said, compare it to any other issue you rely on expert advice on a daily basis?

    how do you come to your decisions on what expert advice to use?

    How much do you know of physics and engineering?

    do you need an electrical engineer to explain exactly how the chipsets in your computer are constructed in order to feel comfortable that your computer works the way that vendors say it will?

    do you need a meteorologist to fully explain the data used in constructing forecasting models in order to trust the weather report in your local paper?

    why not?

    why do you feel a need to challenge the conclusions being made regarding global warming, but not what your local weatherguy tells you the weather will be like this weekend?

  118. #118 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    others who rightfully question the results of studies

    again, how do you know they are “rightfully” questioning the results of the studies they are attacking?

    how do you come to such a conclusion?

    how do you know that creationists are NOT “rightfully” questioning evolutionary theory?

  119. #119 Dave
    May 28, 2008

    Tell you what ..
    Don’t bring Creationism into it. Bad example of people with blinders firmly in place and not willing to change an opinion. I am.

    ..why do you feel a need to challenge the conclusions being made regarding global warming, but not what your local weatherguy tells you the weather will be like this weekend?..

    Because if it is true, you are asking people to change their way of life, and likely drastically. It’s because environmentalists blame Humanity for all the ills of the planet, indeed seem to think that the planet would be better off without us here at all. If the purpose of life is to exist, then we have every right to exist. Mankind would seem to be life’s only hope of moving beyond our little corner of the universe to thrive beyond this little drop in time that will certainly die an uneventful death without us.

    And it’s people like me you have to convince (one of those billions) because you are telling me the world it is a changing and I had better change my ways. I am not a global warming denialist. It has happened before in the history of our planet. It will happen again. And it would seem apparent on the face of it that Humans have had a hand in this, but it is equally apparent that we are not the cause.

    You want to win me over because you need my help. You may be right, but it’s not about winning a debate where only scientific charts are presented to those who can read them.

    Regards
    Dave

  120. #120 penguindreams
    May 28, 2008

    I’ll stay here, for now, Dave, since I’m about to be off net for a month and discussion at my blog would be distinctly slow. But when I’m back, I expect to be writing about many relevant points. Suggestions for particulars welcome. In my absence-to-be it seems likely that there are some science-knowledgeable folks here to keep things going ok. I’ve approved your post over at my blog and will take it up more thoroughly there when I get back.

    Creationism is sadly relevant. Not something I’m liable to be going in to on my blog as over there I’m aiming differently. But, consider. Creationists have their commitment regardless of evidence because the consequence of science being correct is abhorrent to them. Regarding climate change there’s both that (‘you’re just trying to take away my SUV’ being a common response to climate change) and an enormous industry with enormous financial stakes and political power. It would be amazing if (some) people didn’t react at least as non-rationally to the science on climate, and even more amazing if there weren’t fairly large efforts to distort and lie about the science here as with creationism.

    You note that if the science is true (on climate change) then people are asking you to change your way of life. That’s what I shorthand to ‘trying to take away my SUV’. The thing is, I don’t know or care if you have one. My interest is that discussions about how and whether to respond to climate change be based on the science. Reasonable people can reach different conclusions even based on the same science. But nothing honest is served by lying about the science, or by hiding from it.

    For explaining the science to laymen, sure I can. I’ve done so quite a number of times, for layfolks down to 4th grade. The science — as science — is quite simple and old. Since you’re still asking the question, though, with the internet and Scientific American available, let me ask you which of the following you disagree with or consider questionable:

    • there is a greenhouse effect
    • carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
    • adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere can be expected to cause a warming
    • atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    • the cause is human activity
    • global mean temperature has risen since 1880
    • a significant fraction of that rise (greater than 50%) over the past 50 years, is due to human activity

    And, for any that you reject or doubt, let me know what sort of evidence would cause you to change your mind.

  121. #121 Dave
    May 28, 2008

    Hello Penguin and thanks for the reply

    ” let me ask you which of the following you disagree with or consider questionable:

    * there is a greenhouse effect
    yes

    * carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
    yes

    * adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere can be expected to cause a warming
    yes

    * atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    if humanity was not present, would there be an increase of any magnitude due to natural cycles? If the answer is yes has it been determined how much mans presence has added to the effect?

    * the cause is human activity

    * global mean temperature has risen since 1880

    * a significant fraction of that rise (greater than 50%) over the past 50 years, is due to human activity
    so perhaps this answers my query above, but what is this rise? Is the rise 1% or 1 degree above what the normal rise might be expected to be, or is it significantly higher?

    A question about momentum also… the runaway greenhouse effect as it were: Is there a general consensus as to what this point is and what the time lines are?

    Regards
    Dave

  122. #122 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    You want to win me over because you need my help

    oh?

    what makes you think so?

    frankly, Dave…

    you’re wrong.

    nobody needs your help.

    what bloody arrogance.

  123. #123 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    but it is equally apparent that we are not the cause.

    like i said, you like to ignore evidence.

    in fact, you really are no different than the average creationist, you just like to project your ignorance as if it were somehow different.

    no, nobody needs your ignorance, nobody wants it, and it is nothing but destructive.

    suggest you rethink your relative importance in this ‘debate’, because frankly, you have none.

    that you project yourself as representative of some various “block” is hardly relevant to whether the science is there.

    learn, or don’t. you’ll end up having to fucking bite the bullet anyway, and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.

    you simply don’t have the background to make a difference.

    wanna change that?

    then fucking stop reading you damn newpaper, and learn something about the relevant issues involved.

    frankly, I know you won’t bother, so I suggest you simply STFU.

  124. #124 tony (not a vegan)
    May 28, 2008

    Dave: I don’t understand why you are willing to ‘concede’ to scientific consensus on the majority of the points listed by penguin, above, but want to ‘debate’ the items that directly impact you, or cite you are partially responsible

    * atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    if humanity was not present, would there be an increase of any magnitude due to natural cycles? If the answer is yes has it been determined how much mans presence has added to the effect?
    * the cause is human activity

    What. A. Plonker.

    Either accept, or don’t.

    The consensus is in. People are responsible (largely) for GW.

    With that being said there are things you can do NOW. And that includes voting for, and putting pressure on, your governmental represntatives. It includes tailoring YOUR life to have a smaller carbon footprint (and don’t say ‘but noone else will do it’ – YOU need to do it, as do I, as does penguin, as does our dear demented president)

    So either get with the program. or (as Ichthyic so eloquently put it) STFU.

    Tony

  125. #125 penguindreams
    May 29, 2008

    >Hello Penguin and thanks for the reply

    In early july check back at my blog for responses to your note there. In the mean time:

    ” let me ask you which of the following you disagree with or consider questionable:

    >>* atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    >if humanity was not present, would there be an increase of any >magnitude due to natural cycles? If the answer is yes has it been >determined how much mans presence has added to the effect?
    >
    >* the cause is human activity

    One thing at a time. This is a problem for most people approaching climate issues because there’s a huge bias towards worrying about the human part without understanding the background science.

    So, first part is how we know that CO2 has indeed risen since 1880. Second question is what caused that rise. A lengthier note which answers both questions and with good citations is Jan Schloerer’s CO2 Rise faq.

    First, our knowledge of past CO2 levels comes from ice cores (now extending back 800,000 years) and direct measurement (since 1950s). The two complement each other as the ice cores don’t answer well the most recent events, while the direct measurement (Keeling curve is a term to search on) answers for recent events extremely well. As snow is compressed to ice, it traps air bubbles. When we core ice sheets and sample those bubbles, we get a sample of the ancient air. For the modern sampling, we take a flask of air exposed to the free atmosphere.

    The ice core sampling shows that there is a glacial to interglacial swing of about 80 ppm in CO2, associated with the 5 K global warming/cooling. The interglacial level is about 280 ppm while glacial is about 200. See, for instance, the Vostok core papers from the mid 1980s. The time scale for this swing is a few centuries. We had been around the 280 ppm (260-280) for the last several thousand years prior to industrialization. (At this point in this note just a time marker rather than causal.)

    Since direct measurement started in the 1950s, atmospheric CO2 has risen from 315 ppm (already 35 ppm up from pre-industrial by the time measurements started) to about 385 now (you’d have to check the NOAA monitor for this to get the current value; it’s rising about 2 ppm per year). So 70 ppm in 50 years (er, the rate’s been increasing, contemporary with the spread of industrialization and increase in population) presently, 105 ppm in the last 120 or so. This as compared to 80 in a few centuries recorded by ice cores. Both the magnitude and the rate are well above anything recorded for the previous 800,000 years.

    I’ll suggest that makes a fair circumstantial case on its own. But the science didn’t stop there. (Indeed, even from the start of direct measurement it took the next step.)

    The thing is, a) there are 3 isotopes of carbon b) different sources have different distribution patterns for those isotopes (ex: soil is depleted in 13C but not much in 14C, volcanoes are not depleted in 13C but completely so in 14C, fossil fuels and limestones (used in making cement) are depleted in both 13C and (completely) in 14C) and c) we can and have measured the isotope levels of atmospheric samples. Further, we know how much fossil fuel has been burned, and how much concrete has been made.

    When you sit down and try to make the total carbon level change as observed (feeling free to mix in any sources you like) and the isotopic levels change as observed, you’re stuck with a source of the magnitude of human activity, with the signature of human activity, and not matching at all any other sources. It’s human activity. You can also see interestingly coincident wiggles in the CO2 curve. The totals also knew about the 1973-4 oil embargo, for instance.

    So we get down to: the current CO2 rise is human-caused, it is large compared to recorded pre-industrial rises (105 and still rising vs. 80), and it is much faster than previous rises (now doing 20 ppm per decade, vs. about 20 ppm per century at the end of ice ages, 20 ppm per millennium variation in the past 10 ky).

    Irrespective of profound knowledge of radiative transfer, climate systems, etc., I think anyone can look at this and figure that the change in CO2 is large and fast, so we should expect it to have some significant effects.

    But we’d better lay down an idea of what a ‘significant’ climate change is. I’ll suggest that the change from full glacial to full interglacial is a huge change. It corresponds to extinctions, 100+ meter sea level changes, 5 K global mean temperature swings, large scale ecosystem changes (greatly increasing or decreasing the extent of deserts, forests, etc.).

    Now with those being examples of huge, I’ll suggest that 10% of huge is significant for the climate system. Humans might be particularly concerned about some aspects of climate, and less so about others. But to start a discussion of climate, let’s try to understand the system first.

    With me so far? (Both by way of understanding and by way of agreement. If not, where’d I lose you?)

    (Skipping ahead to one bit):
    >A question about momentum also… the runaway greenhouse effect
    >as it were: Is there a general consensus as to what this point
    >is and what the time lines are?

    Runaway greenhouse is not expected by anybody in the relevant sciences and as far as I’ve seen, never has been. What has been an increasing concern is ‘tipping points’ (a term I happen to dislike, but the science involved is meaningful) — that there can be thresholds for (for examples) CO2 levels, degree of melting of the permafrost, degree of melting of ice sheets, melting of sea ice, etc. .. such that if we pass them, we are then committed to far greater changes. Greenland might (or might not, I have to read a couple recent articles to know the current state of thought) be near such a ‘tipping point’ such that if it melts much more, it would be committed to melting away entirely (a 5-7 meter, 15-22 feet, sea level change).

    Tony, et al.: Please, if Dave (or others) don’t know the science, it’s far better to present it than to call names or tell him to STFU. If he shows himself to be intentionally ignorant and immune to learning, then I understand the response even if I still think it’s better to present the science for those who merely don’t know and are looking in.

  126. #126 Dave
    May 29, 2008

    Ichy my friend… it isn’t arrogance at all…. are we not supposed to be all on the same team? You are somewhat like that idiot Truth Machine … to you this isn’t about discussing something with a fellow human being. You just want to be seen as witty. You just want to be seen by the masses here as a hero that finally throws that STFU sword in some heroic pose.

    Thanks for trying to enlighten me and good day to you.

    No Regards
    Dave

  127. #127 Dave
    May 29, 2008

    Awesome thoughtful response Penguin. It has at least said something real and given me something to think about. I just returned from a trip out of town and in fairness cannot respond to you without thinking about it for a while. But again thanks; I am truly interested and just don’t understand… or like some, pretend to understand.

    Regards
    Dave

  128. #128 Ichthyic
    May 29, 2008

    it isn’t arrogance at all

    re-read your own damn post, where you assume we all want to convince you because you’re the one who is important to convince, and then tell me again how that’s not arrogant.

    I’d say you’re living in denial, but then that would be rather obvious, given the topic of the thread.

    No, Dave, we’re not “on the same side”, and until you choose to read beyond your local newspaper, we never will be.

    nor is your opinion on the matter of the slightest interest.

    If Dave (or others) don’t know the science, it’s far better to present it than to call names or tell him to STFU

    I DID; I asked him how giving him a thousand references would help, and he complained of media bias. I gave him a way to get to the original work, free of bias, and he ignored it.

    He clearly stated that not only was he ignorant of the science, he then concluded strongly that he didn’t need to be aware of it.

    so, you’re wrong in your approach, penguindreams, and here’s why:

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    I’ve been at this a LONG time, and I know when it’s a waste of time to do anything BUT ridicule the wilfully ignorant.

  129. #129 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    I am not interested in engaging your obvious lack of ability to contain yourself Ichy. I won’t learn anything in trying to beat you up or letting you beat me up. The day is too short. But hey, make the best of it anyways and good day to you

    Regards
    Dave

  130. #130 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    “nor is your opinion on the matter of the slightest interest.”

    Sorry, did have to comment on that. It’s obviously of interest to you. You’re akin to that bully that’s more worried about the perception of others and seeks the opportunity to demonstrate his superiority with a “look PZ I can do it too” slapdown.

    Whoops. But there I do engaging.
    No more. Off to work 🙂

    Regards
    Dave

  131. #131 penguindreams
    May 30, 2008

    Dave: Please do take some time to read Jan’s faq http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/scq.CO2rise.html and follow up some of his citations, and look for more recent scientific work on the topic. It does take time to get up to speed on any of these areas.
    As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be off-net for June, so you have some time to read and study. Let’s take it back up in July on my blog.

    Ichthyic: I, too, have been at it a long time. And this is my professional area so hits close to home. I have very little patience or interest with the willfully ignorant, and if Dave proves himself so, go ahead. But I think the two of you have been reading each other poorly. Your ‘offer’ sounded more like a lawyerly ‘asked and answered’, for instance. Yes, there are indeed thousands of citations. IMHO, it’d have been better to list your 5 favorites after observing that. (I like Fourier 1827, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, myself.)

    I also think you missed the drift of Dave’s ‘you have to convince me’ comment. (He can verify this for us.) The thing is, in democratic societies, you do need to persuade a majority that you’ve got a point, and you have a good solution. The majority are not going to be profoundly knowledgeable about a given topic. You have to make a case to them. So make it. Calling them ignorant doesn’t help.

    My wife (we’re newlyweds) is an intelligent, well-read, interested in the world person, who went to good schools and has taken advantage of the benefits of living in a major metro area. Nevertheless, she’s been surprised to hear about things which I’d thought were widely known 25 and more years ago (well, I knew them, but then I do work in the field). If she can be surprised, I figure quite a lot of people of good intent and interest can be surprised. I’ve since been looking at how this comes about and … well, my blog will try to address some of it.

    Now if Dave turns out to be intentionally ignorant, I owe you a virtual beverage of your choice. If he doesn’t, you owe me a virtual beer (something with body). In the mean time, I’ll take the opportunity to talk about my interesting field of study.

  132. #132 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    Penguin
    I appreciate the benefit of the doubt as I tend to give it more often than not also. I am a skeptic and I enjoy a dose of Shermer now and then. I’ll play the devils advocate to enjoy a good debate, but generally won’t do so just to get someones goat or show how witty I am at someones expense. But ‘intentionally ignorant’ .. I have grown out of that some years ago. I’m 47. Life is to live and learn. All else is a waste of something that grows in value with every passing day.

    Regards
    Dave

  133. #133 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2008

    It’s obviously of interest to you.

    nope, only your posting behavior is of interest to me, because I see it so commonly among those who ARE denialists, but claim not to be.

    you act from a position of ignorance, and then continue to debate that that is a perfectly legitimate position to take, and then whine and play the victim when you are called out on it.

    yeah, you don’t resemble the other denialists at all.

    phht.

    >>>

    penguin, it’s you that has clearly misread Dave.

    go back and carefully read his posts again.

    you will find the argument from ignorance everywhere in them.

    You’re wasting your time.

  134. #134 dave
    May 30, 2008

    good heavens icthy you need a hobby. And if this is it… what a small life you lead
    Regards
    Dave

  135. #135 dave
    May 30, 2008

    Thanks for that link Penguin

  136. #136 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    Ichthy

    Why is it important to you to hate me? Do you need to have people in your life you hate? I merely want to understand. Even the possibility of this seems to get your gal up. sorry about that big guy… but you are not important enough to me that I should care… but similarly, I should not be so important to you.
    Regards
    Dave

  137. #137 Patricia Shannon
    October 22, 2008

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

    Has an explanation about the greenhouse effect that laypeople should be able to understand.

    If you want to personally experience a greenhouse effect, go sit in your car on a sunny day. You will notice that it is considerably warmer than the outside temperature.

  138. #138 Patricia Shannon
    October 22, 2008

    Of course, the greenhouse effect in your car is from the glass. This is how greenhouse gases got their name, because they have the same effect.

  139. #139 S.o.G.
    November 17, 2008

    I’ve always felt libertarians are the lowest of the low politically. I think anarchists have more connection to their community than libertarians. Libertarians tend to have higher intelligence than average, so they don’t have the same excuse as other groups.

    Has anyone studied whether there is a correlation between sociopathy & libertarianism? I suspect there is.

  140. #140 Admiral-Zombie
    November 17, 2008

    I’m fairly libertarian. I don’t care much for how many of the people here portray me and tend to lump me into a big group with others. I am skeptical of the government, and feel like we should reduce it.

    But many people here have been throwing us into a large pit and then saying we are all the same. I’m all for helping the environment, helping the poor, etc etc.

    But the fact that I don’t trust the government to do this would seem to make me a bad person. I personally support going through independent groups to achieve this. Because really, of all the money the government throws at lobbyists and the like, how much of it is actually going towards a good cause? I’m not saying its all bad, but I would say the majority of it is bad. With an independent group I feel like things are a lot more clear, and if they start doing bad things then I can easily choose to stop supporting them. But when I’m paying taxes to have the government do this, and they start doing bad things, i don’t have the option to stop supporting them.

    (S.o.G. I would say people like you are far worse than those you describe. You do realize though that anarchy is a more extreme form of libertarian, right?)

  141. #141 Morbo
    February 15, 2010

    It is nice to learn that those who express support for people being able to live their lives as they see fit — as long as you aren’t harming others — is somehow equated to the crazy.

    Thanks for the blanket shot across the bow, PZ.

    Ok… so anyone know of any science/atheist-centric blogs that don’t shit on the political leanings of its readers if they don’t perfectly align with the blog’s author?

  142. #142 stevieinthecity
    February 15, 2010

    hahah. Morbo pouts.

  143. #143 Jadehawk, OM
    February 15, 2010

    It is nice to learn that those who express support for people being able to live their lives as they see fit — as long as you aren’t harming others — is somehow equated to the crazy.

    did you even read what you yourself wrote? anti-environmentalism does harm others. d’uh.

  144. #144 David Marjanovi?
    February 15, 2010

    Ok… so anyone know of any science/atheist-centric blogs that don’t shit on the political leanings of its readers if they don’t perfectly align with the blog’s author?

    Ooh! Look at the burning strawman! Flames so bright, I can turn off the light.

  145. #145 speedweasel
    February 15, 2010

    My favorite cornucopian is argument is Julian Simon’s argument that, since there are an infinite number of points on a line, we can never run out of natural resources. We just have to map them onto the points of a line, and between any two units of a given resource there will always be another point, up to infinity.

    Along the same lines as being able to survive in the desert if you have a cup of water, if you just drink a thimble full per day. Or how you can cover the entire earth with a drop of water… if you spread it thin enough.

    Someone should explain atomic theory to these idiots. Those ‘points of a line’ are called atoms and there are a finite number of them.

    Like electrons and children, matter ‘comes in lumps.’

  146. #146 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    The comments you are railing against are several months old, you know.

    The relevance of which is nil. The nature of libertarianism and libertarians did not change in those months; not even the views of the specific libertarians who commented here changed. And now you you yourself have linked to this article nearly four years later (when I finally have seen your comment).

    I offered a friendly smile and handshake to you and you responded by calling me “very obnoxious”. We share many views, and I respect and admire most of the work you do, but damn you are a smug hypocrite.

  147. #147 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Ok… so anyone know of any science/atheist-centric blogs that don’t shit on the political leanings of its readers if they don’t perfectly align with the blog’s author?

    So you’re upset that a blog author shits on views that he considers shit? What ever happened to all that personal freedom you assholes (aka libertarians) espouse?

  148. #148 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Don’t bring up Catherine McKinnon as someone who should not represent feminism unless you have actually read the woman firsthand.

    What makes you think I haven’t? I have, but that’s beside my point. What I wrote was “It’s like if I were to merely read Catherine Mackinnon and from that conclude what feminists believe” — it’s a fact that not all feminists believe what Mackinnon believes.

  149. #149 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    On the other hand, those of us who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming – i.e. those of us who tend to be labelled as “anti-environmentalist” by the left – do not reject science, and I resent being compared to a creationist in that regard. There are more than 17,200 reputable mainstream scientists who are, to varying degrees, critical of the prevailing orthodoxy as regards climate change.

    Not reputable in re climate science.

    The theory that global warming is primarily caused by solar cycles, or by some other natural factor, is a perfectly scientifically sustainable one.

    Only by rejecting science.

    (What does Walton 2010 think of Walton 2008?)

  150. #150 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Truth Machine: “The problem libertarians have is that they’re arrogant ignorant self-centered assholes”.

    And indeed you demonstrated it throughout your posts, Dave.

  151. #151 Scott Carnegie
    February 20, 2010

    How about you don’t paint all Libertarians with the same brush PZ.

  152. #152 Ichthyic
    February 20, 2010

    have you ever considered you might not fit the classic definition of “libertarian”?

    funny, but you will find demos and reps that want to reduce govt size too.

    does that make them libertarians?

    I think a lot of self-called libertarians haven’t actually spent enough time researching what that term actually means, historically.

    of course, there are others that do indeed fit the description, and also have failed to study history.

    either way…

  153. #153 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010

    wtf?

    it’s

    slow

    motion

    cit

    y

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