Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Gospel according to St. Al.

I’ve been searching for Al Gore’s testimony before Congress on global warming. I wanted to see what he said and report on it. Along the way I went by the doom prophets of Grist, a rather Left the-end-of-the-world-is-coming environmental web site. The sort of people who worship the water Al Gore walks upon.

I found their report prior to his testimony where they were salivating in anticipation. Apparently this was something of a Greenies wet dream. They refer to his testimony, before he gave it, as “what may be the blockbuster hit of the political season”. Yawn! They say “there’s sure to be drama”. No doubt, fiction is often dramatic. Reality, however, often isn’t. Now remember this is the very publication that printed Gore’s statement that he exaggerates the facts in order to get people’s attention.

Of course they were upset that anyone disagreeing with St. Albert of Gore is allowed to counter the prophet at the same hearing. So they run down Prof. Lomborg and make a snide remark about how the subcommittee chairman “thinks Bjorn Lomborg is of commensurate intellectual and political status.”

Interesting. Why does “political status” matter at all? This is supposed to be a scientific debate. Or is it? By now you know that I contend that many of these warming hysterics (not all) are pushing these claims because of the perceived ability to impose socialism as part of the solution. They are control freaks. Regulations, taxes, controls, are their solutions to almost every problem they invent or exaggerate. In a previous era they would be in jackboots and brown shirts. Some are sincere. But many are not. By the way the same is true on the other side of the debate though the control freak label doesn’t apply as often.

As for being of “commensurate” intellectual status let’s explore that for a second. Commensurate means of equal status. The implication is that Gore has intellectual status and Prof. Lomborg does not. Odd since Lomborg is actually a university professor while Gore is a politician. Gore was born into a political family and has basically been a politician his entire life. He entered Congress in his late 20s.

His academic career, what there is of it, was that he went to university. Not taught just attended. He first studied English and then switched to his passion “government”. He took some theology courses, and it was actually there that he became an environmental catastrophist. He studied law but dropped out to run for office. That is his academic career. Unless I missed something he earned an undergraduate degree in government and nothing else.

Prof. Lomborg received an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia (even if he is Danish). He got a Master’s degree from the University of Aarhus and then received a Ph.d from the University of Copenhagen. He was an assistant professor in statistics at the University of Aarhus then became an associate professor there. He then became an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. And in 2002 he was appointed to run the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute. It’s true Lomborg’s intellectual status is NOT commensurate with Mr. Gore, it is vastly superior. Of course the faithful won’t see it that way.

Since I reported what Lomborg said, and urged you to read the entire thing, I will do the same for Gore. (Note: PDF document.)

Now, Al, is no hysteric preaching doom. Not at all. He started out saying we face “a planetary emergency--a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth.” “Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause. The consequences are mainly negative and headed toward catastrophic unless we act.”

Next he uses the old line about the Chinese word “crisis” meaning danger and opportunity. (Is that true or an urban legend? Anyone know? UPDATE: I checked. It is basically an urban legend. The literal meaning is “dangerous moment” which make sense. Poor Al didn’t even get that right.)

St. Al warns that “Hurricanes are getting stronger”. Actually they aren’t. (Also here.) “Sea levels are rising.” Well, yes and no. In some places they are rising and in others they are not (and here) and there is no change in the long term trends. “Mountain glaciers are receding around the world.” Technically yes, and they are also expanding around the world. Some expand, some contract and they are located all around the world. See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

After telling Congress that disaster and catastrophe is around the corner Gore then says: “New evidence shows that it may be even worse than we thought.” Worse than catastrophe?

Next he talks about how various political bodies are taking “action”. And he says that since “the climate crisis is, by its nature, a global problem” then “ultimately the solution must be global as well.” He next compares this to the crisis of “global Fascism” which England “and then America and our allies rose to meet”.

He told Congress that “This is not ultimately about any scientific discussion” but like the fight against Fascism “is a moral moment” “about who we are as human beings and our capacity to transcend our limitations and rise to meet this challenge.”

He assured everyone that “if we solve” this crisis “in the right way, we will save money and boost productivity.” No details about “the right way” were given. Next, he presented an image of future grandchildren begging to know why we didn’t save the planet for them, and how if we do save it, i.e. give politicians more control, they will thank us.

Odd that he compares this to fighting Fascism while simultaneously requesting greater control of the economy. Fascism is an economic system where the means of productions are privately owned but regulated and controlled by the state in the name of the “collective good”. In one sentence he invokes the moral courage of standing up to “global Fascism” while in the next he is basically advocating another form of global Fascism.

There is hyperbole, rhetoric, emotional images, sentimentality, fear mongering, etc . What is missing is science. But as he said “this is not ultimately about any scientific discussion”. Gore didn’t present testimony, not in the sense of offering evidence, he preached a sermon. Fundamentalists love sermons so the Green fundies will be shouting “Amen, brother”. The only thing missing was an altar call and the choir singing “Just as I Am” as sinners come down the sawdust trail promising to never emit carbon again.

As I’ve said repeatedly, go ahead and read the testimony yourself. Compare what Gore had to say, how he said it, and the evidence he presented (or failed to present) to that of what Lomborg said and the evidence he presented. With Lomborg’s testimony I said I left out the copious footnotes that present his sources. With Gore I didn’t but then I didn’t need to. Gore didn’t have any.

Given the quality of testimony from St. Al and that of Prof. Lomborg one can understand why Gore has refused to talk to Lomborg and why he refused to do an interview if Lomborg was allowed to forumulate any of the questions. Religion just doesn’t hold up to rational scrutiny well. And what Gore presents is apocalyptic religion at it’s best.

Photo: I admit it’s a little mean. It’s also amusing and the entertainment devil on the one shoulder won the debate over the niceness angel on my other shoulder. Sorry Al. By the way I actually did love this speech you gave on the Constitution. It was great and we were on the same wavelenght 95% of the time.

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