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Politics and 'An Inconvenient Truth' 630

Frogbeater writes "The producer of 'An Inconvenient Truth' is accusing the National Science Teachers Association of being in the pocket of Big Oil because she can't get preferential treatment for her film. The entire situation is turning into a 'if you're not with us, you're against us' yelling match. Regardless of the viewpoint, is it even possible that science can remain apolitical? Has it ever been?" The Washington Post makes things out to be less than above board: "In the past year alone, according to its Web site, Exxon Mobil's foundation gave $42 million to key organizations that influence the way children learn about science, from kindergarten until they graduate from high school ... NSTA's list of corporate donors also includes Shell Oil and the American Petroleum Institute (API), which funds NSTA's Web site on the science of energy. There, students can find a section called 'Running on Oil' and read a page that touts the industry's environmental track record -- citing improvements mostly attributable to laws that the companies fought tooth and nail, by the way -- but makes only vague references to spills or pollution. NSTA has distributed a video produced by API called 'You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel,' a shameless pitch for oil dependence."
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Politics and 'An Inconvenient Truth'

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  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:04AM (#17016394)
    Where there's money involved, so too will there be politics.
  • Get in Touch! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by RecycledElectrons ( 695206 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:06AM (#17016422)
    > NSTA has distributed a video produced by API called 'You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel,' a shameless pitch for oil dependence."

    I believe that the video in question shows exactly how dependant we are on oil and gas. That's reality. If you want to change it, criticizing a cartoon is slightly less damaging than criticizing the source of funding for science education, but it's still incredibly stupid.

    Andy Out!
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:06AM (#17016426) Homepage the known universe. In other words, *everything* has a political dimension to it. Politics is unavoidable.

    What needs to be avoided is not politics but the temptation to distort scientific findings and inquiries to match preconceived ideas that support entrenched political interests.

    We're pretty terrible at that. But it might not take a genius amount of forethought to understand that putting Al Gore's name on the movie doesn't help to de-politicize the issue.

    I mean, duh.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:10AM (#17016486)
    -To answer the question: yes, science can remain apolitical, as long as it rigidly adheres to the scientfic principles of reproducibility and transparency. That's what makes science science: Even if someone refuses to believe you, it doesn't matter. Other people can perform their own corroborating experiments. Even if someone believes it to be all voodoo, you can then go out and continue to make valid predictions that result in useful services. And then anyone is free to propose alternate theories that match the data better.

    So what happens when the other party refuses or is incapable of 'performing their own corroborating experiments'? What if they tell you that God has decreed that this science is wrong? What are you supposed to do with that?

  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:14AM (#17016560) Journal
    This is always the counter argument..."As long as we hold true to our principles it doesn't matter where the money comes from."

    This is fine as long as everyone does hold to their principles, as long as there is someone there to point out that, in fact, X, Y, or Z piece of propaganda is propaganda.

    History is rife with examples of corporate special interests skewing research about their products through carefully chosen grants and commissioned studies. Lead, Tobacco, DDT, Oil; hell, you even get a lot of it in government sponsored hydro power, because if the people who make dams run out of places to put dams their jobs go away.

    It's real easy to say, "We can keep our principles and take their money" but history shows that that's just not true. You take their money, you drink their kool-aid, you sacrifice your principles, and you produce biased research.

    It's like a politician saying, "Just because this lobbyist gave me a million dollars, doesn't mean I'm going to vote the way he wants me to." Come on. You're only fooling yourself.
  • I swear... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:14AM (#17016562) Journal
    If people just turned out the freaking lights when they left the room, it would cost them essentially zero effort, save them money and make a genuinely useful contribution to the environment, whatever the details of global warming turn out to be. It's like some people can't imagine any useful activity that doesn't involve denouncing someone else.
  • Science? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spikev ( 698637 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:18AM (#17016628)
    I'm not saying they're not right about the NSTA being in Big Oil's pocket, but An Inconvenient Truth didn't have much in the way of science in it as far as hard numbers go. And without numbers, all of Al's pretty graphs don't mean anything. If my body temperature increases .000000001 of a degree, steadily year after year, I don't think it would amount to much. I'm not saying the science in An Inconvient Truth is wrong, it's just that the movie doesn't give any hard numbers to relate it to. I'm sure they're out there, but if I'm a science teacher and I'm going to spend valuable teaching time showing a movie, I want everything to be put together for me.
  • by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:18AM (#17016634) Journal

    ... people start making what you believe to be baseless accusations about the environmental impact of your business.

    I disagree with the assumption that the oil companies truly believe that global warming is a nonexistent threat. Remember big tobacco? They persisted in denying that cigarettes causes cancer, etc. all the while knowing full well that this was false.

    A quote which is attributed to Friedman goes: "The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders." Taken to the limit, this means that a company will take any action neccessary to secure and guard profits.

    I'm one of the people who believes that this is exactly what most big corporations do. Call me cynical, but I think a lot of empirical data supports this theory.

  • by Frumious Wombat ( 845680 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:18AM (#17016640)
    We do what we've always done; use indirect measures and accumulated evidence to reduce our uncertainty, then make extrapolations based upon the reproducible data. Go to your nearest university library and look up Tom Ray's work on the Tierra simulator, or read a few physics journals to find out what goes into those climate models that you're implicitly rejecting. (hint: lots of physics, parameters derived from measurements as appropriate, and endless validation runs) Other people are free to use the same equations, write their own simulation, and if they aren't deliberately feeding the models misinformation, will converge to a result within some confidence interval similar to yours, presuming you did your job correctly as well.

    I make my living as a computational chemist, and while I know that we're neglecting many terms in our solutions, reproducible results come back, that agree to varying degrees of confidence to experimental results. Furthermore, we understand how to improve those results, and make rational time/accuracy/resource trade-offs to get the answers we need to the precision required.

    In short, while I've never directly observed an oxygen molecule, accumulated indirect evidence has caused me to believe in them. It has also led to the conclusion that removing them from my immediate environment is bad. Same for your examples. Come up with a reasoned set of arguments that explain why a couple thousand physicists or biologists are all wrong, send out some papers and get yourself slotted into a presentation at a conference, and have at. You're free to try, and that's what the process is all about.
  • by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:21AM (#17016696)
    A week ago slashdot had a story about the inconvenient truth DVD was out, and to go buy it, and about how noble Gore is. I realized, the movie was in theaters first, then the DVD came out, and it hasn't been on tv yet. Isn't that how you maximize profits from a movie? If I was all noble and I made a movie I genuinely felt people needed to see to save the earth, wouldn't I just give it to PBS on day 1?
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:24AM (#17016752) Journal
    It's not right that all science teaching is geared to the environemntal message. Yes, the Big Oil companies have done some questionable things, but the nature of our society is that we debate these points. The environmental lobby is hardly a tiny group of zealots these days, and it's not like they're totally without blame for spreading misleading propaganda. We should not allow all our science information to come from any single source. And there's some truth to what the oil conmpanies say. For good or bad, oil is essential to our society. Cars need it to run. Most machines will stop working without oil based lubricants. Oil is used for all sorts of purposes.

    There can even be some largely apolitical justification for oil companies to be sponsoring science education. They are the largest employers of geologists, and oil probably account for a substantial portion of professional chemists. It's simply in their direct commercial interests to fund science. And if they do this, it's a good thing for everyone.

    Likewise, with the lobbying against environmentla regulations - The adversarial system is not limited to the courts any more. Should politicians enact any and all possible environmental legislation no matter how small the effect without any concern at all for the costs to the oil industry?
  • 2 comments (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SageinaRage ( 966293 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:24AM (#17016760)
    Two things I was thinking of while reading this:

    1. By passing on some free material, I wonder whether the teachers are trying to promote having a single 'correct' view on things, as opposed to showing multiple different views, to show both differences of opinion, as well as differences in research. This to me seems pretty dangerous, as it makes the assumption that one thing is definitely 'correct'.

    2. The author of the article's main problem seems to be that the movie isn't being accepted despite being OBVIOUSLY right. It's this attitude of smug correctness, even when from what I can tell global warming is not universally accepted even among scientists, which hurts their position.
  • by jstomel ( 985001 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:25AM (#17016772)
    As someone who has been trained in scientific ethics I can answer your questions. Research funded by industry into the effects of that company will be viewed as valid if the following conditions are met. 1) The scientist performing the research is independent of the company. He can be funded by grant from the company, but must be independent of it's internal organizational structure and to hiring/firing pressures. 2) Said scientist must have free reign in his choice of methods and staff. 3) Results must be published in peer reviewed independent journals regardless of what those results show and without editing/review of the company funding the research. 4) The results must be repeatable by independent labs. and finally, 5) Said scientist must not receive any personal mony or "bonus" from the company at any point before or after the research. If these conditions are met then the research is generally considered to be unbiased. Many companies follow these guidelines as a matter of course, especially drug companies. But we're not really talking about companies funding research, are we? We're talking about companies being able to buy the beliefs in which your children are forcefully indoctrinated by the state. And that's wrong.
  • by yankpop ( 931224 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:25AM (#17016780)

    I think you're missing the bigger issue here. There is not necessarily any problem with the oil industry doing their own research, and disseminating that research to teachers. It becomes a problem when they are allowed to buy access that other groups don't have. In this case they've been treated as loving benefactors, and the teachers have willingly accepted their message along with their cash. But when another group tries to offer a different viewpoint, they are labeled special interest and shut out of the process.

    What's the real difference between what the offerings of the oil companies and the film-makers? Both have a vested interest in the issue, and both have done substantial research on the subject, research that merits careful consideration. But one is welcomed and the other is marginalized. The only difference, obviously, is cash.

    It would be different if this were a fringe environmental group advocating a return to the stone-age or something, but it's not. It's a very conscientious group trying to advance a carefully researched opinion. They're not even asking for equal time. They just want to make their material available, presumably allowing individual teachers to decide how to present the information.

    Underlying the whole issue, as the author points out, is that the teachers aren't really bad guys here. They've been forced into a corner by dwindling budgets, and its now so bad that corporate sponsorship trumps curriculum content. That's frightening.


  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:29AM (#17016824)
    Allow me for one to say that I am sick of the "Christians are anti-science" bullshit that the left loves to harp on while giving the environmental movement a free pass. You will notice, if you are honest, that the areas where even the most fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible conflict with modern scientific work are in areas that Christians have an **ethical** objection to the way that life is manipulated or ended or in how things came to be on some level. The environmental movement on the other hand is generally wildly antagonistic to everything from GM foods to many promising alternative energy sources to nanotechnology.

    If there is any group that can be called anti-human, anti-science, it is the "true believer" segment of the environmental movement. No other politically active group is so thoroughly terrified of every promising area of research and development, so violent in opposing science (animal rights groups bombing research labs, for example) and so quick to limit the quality of life of the majority of the human race.
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jamie ( 78724 ) * <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:29AM (#17016846) Journal
    the National Science Teacher's Association rejected an offer to provide free copies of the movie to classrooms, for fear of losing money from Exxon

    That's an allegation, but the facts of the article don't strongly support it. Yes, the NSTA was worried about losing corporation contributions; whether they actually would have or not has not been demonstrated. And yes, one of their supporters is Exxon-Mobil, and other contributors are also in that industry, but it has not yet been shown that Exxon is the supporter that the email's author was chiefly concerned about.

    Slashdot is being accurate here, presenting the facts and allowing you to draw your own conclusions. Slashdot - 1, you - 1 :)

  • by Paladin144 ( 676391 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:29AM (#17016848) Homepage
    There's certainly nothing to be concerned about here. Sure, the increasing prevalence of corporate influence in every sector of our lives is astonishing -- astonishingly profitable. That's why the economy is in such great shape -- because we let the corporations do whatever they want. Look how far it's gotten us! We've got highly edumacated students, a brilliant president and a society that values truth... as long as it doesn't get in the way of profit, which is how things should be!

    The omnipresence of major corporations is not a bad thing -- it makes things so much better. Imagine if we didn't give corporations the keys to our kingdom. Who would be in charge then? People? Voters?! Pshaw! We need the benevolent hand of Wall Street to guide us to the promised land of low, low prices.

    Now, let's all rejoice in Big Oil's concern for the welfare of our children. It's obvious that they know what's best for us, and they obviously have our best interests at heart! After all, they are oil men, and oil men are the most caring, compassionate and kind people ever to walk this green earth (although they actually hover a few inches off the ground).

    It is a blessing that corporations care for us so much that they intervene in our daily lives. We can only hope that they will one day bring their bounty to slashdot.

    This post brought to you by the Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft loves you. Microsoft made Vista from little bits of love and crafted it into a generous helping of goodness, just for you. Microsoft makes operating systems just like your mother used to. Microsoft cares about your bits. Microsoft would like a few minutes alone with your children. Buy Vista!

  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:38AM (#17017022) Journal
    in other news NSTA rejects KKK film for fear of angering everyone. whats the difference?

    Are the Black Panthers a major financial supporter of the NSTA?
  • by WileyC ( 188236 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:41AM (#17017084)
    ...unlike the movie, however, this is actually based on facts.

    Global warming does exist... on Mars. And, in fact, on every body in the solar system that we can measure accurately including the Earth. Polar ice caps are melting that aren't terrestrial. Until people realize that whatever human beings are doing to the atmosphere is not and cannot be the whole story, then the "It's all our fault!" environmental movement is bankrupt both morally and intellectually.

    Here's some other Inconvenient Truths...
    * DDT is not very dangerous to the environment
    * One of the founders of Greenpeace supports nuclear power
    * The Kyoto Treaty exempts some of the biggest carbon polluters of all
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:42AM (#17017100)
    whats the difference?

    You'll have to remind me what science the KKK deals with. You know, the "S" in NSTA?
  • Difference (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:43AM (#17017124) Homepage
    The difference is that climate scientists at the very top of their field - in terms of number of peer-reviewed articles published and positions held - vouch that An Inconvenient Truth is 99%+ accurate in portraying the current state of climate research.

    Meanwhile, films that proclaimed the virtues of burning fossil fuels - nothing more than public relations - were distributed in past years under the guise of "science" education.

    But I suppose to you a scientist and a Klansman both look the same, what with their white cloths? Except that you figure the Klansman prays to Jesus and the scientist is in league with the Prince of Lies? I'm sure you know your Klansmen; but you don't know jack about scientists. Nor do our students, being raised on crap rather than best data.
  • by kjart ( 941720 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:47AM (#17017180)

    Also there is no real environment in just about every city.

    Exactly - this seems like an argument against having large, sprawling cities though. As per my example, Los Angeles is extremely spread out and certainly doesn't seem to have a smaller environmental impact compared to New York. I would think that you would want smaller, denser cities to lower the overall footprint. You also gain, as per the GP, in energy efficiency due to public transport, etc.

  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zootm ( 850416 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:47AM (#17017182)

    I think the difference would be that this could be indicative of a trend whereby private funding of institutions effectively gives those providing the funding the right to censor and/or alter the educational material being provided to those being educated. The KKK example is different because it's not the funders who are being given the right to decide the materials available.

    If McDonalds were to pour funding into schools, you might expect (with the same logic) for education about the unhealthiness of fast food to "fade away" from textbooks; this is much the same as that situation.

  • by WED Fan ( 911325 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:48AM (#17017204) Homepage Journal

    ...its hype.

    Anyone remember all the dire predictions that the east coast was looking down the barrel of a gun for this year's hurricane season, and man was the cause? That global warming was going to be driving a huge hurricane season for 2006? This is the slam dunk. []


    1. Warming is taking place
    2. The planet is still cooler than it has been in recent geologic history
    3. The sunn is in a heating phase
    4. Mars has shown an increase in global temperatures
    5. There are no SUV's, factories, or cans of Pam on Mars
    6. While noxious and bad smelling, man's contribution to warming is miniscule compared to the Sun and volacanic activity

    And the biggest fact:

    There is nothing we can do to slow it or hurry it along. But, our expenditures of energy and voter goodwill in this arena take attention away from areas where we can be effective:

    1. Poverty
    2. Disease
    3. Hunger
    4. Slave trade
    5. War

    Not only that, but regulation we are forcing upon other countries actually prevent them from activities that could bring more wealth and aid to their populations.

    And, regulations are preventing the building [] of cleaner solutions.

    Can we get off the Global Warming kick and turn our efforts, money, voter action towards something we can change?

  • by fastcoke11 ( 805687 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:50AM (#17017244)
    4) The results must be repeatable by independent labs.
    This seems to me to be a reason why all labs should be independent (that is, free of direct funding from groups interested in selling said results to the public to their benefit). Why do we have a possibly compromised lab doing work that is just going to be repeated by an independent lab? Why don't we just cut out the middle-man?
  • by BTWR ( 540147 ) <americangibor3&yahoo,com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:51AM (#17017274) Homepage Journal
    Everyone always loves to say how the Big Oil guys keep getting richer by denying global warming, etc. Now, I know *someone* is making millions off of environmental activism. Anyone know which companies or which people? It'd just be interesting to see...
  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:53AM (#17017296) Journal
    As opposed to the god fearing midwestern farmer. That's a man of the land! He knows all about the environment, read about it in the good book! Practices non-sustainable farming, just like all them folks in the bible! He don't believe in no damn "no till" farming! Only a bunch of hippies'd come up with crap like that.

    Fertilizer, pesticides, and drainin down the aquifers, that's how god meant man to live! Top soil blowin away? Hell, boy, you think we're gonna run outta dirt? Go back to yer city!

    Face facts, jackass. There is no place in this country where people are really living "with the land". Cities are actually nice and efficient, because they cram all those people and services into a tiny area. Sure they produce pollution, sure they use a lot of energy, definitely a hell of a lot more than in the 20's, but don't pretend that everyone in this country doesn't use more power than people in the 20's, and cities don't produce more pollution than the same number of people living outside a city would produce...Quite the contrary.

    And it's a widely proven fact that the worst thing for nature is too much contact with man. Wildlife in the area around Chernobyl has rebounded since the disaster, and is more healthy now than it was before the meltdown. The demilitarized zone between the Korea's has healthy game populations, despite being paved with fricking landmines.

    So all those people crowded together in that city are far far better for the environment than the same number of people spread out equally around the country. It's not that they're isolated fron the folks just love to go out and spend time with nature! It's that the environment is isolated from them...And that's a good thing.
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:54AM (#17017314)
    You have inside crude a mix of very light organic element, and some downright long chain. Some part of it will indeed evaporate over time (the lighter element). But i think the Tar and most long chains, what most people think when picturing crude, will not evaporate over time. And most probably this is the first to fall down on the bottom of the sea to be decomposed :

    how crude behave with time []
  • I'm not sure who you're calling "environmentalists", but I know that I self-identify as one. I also have 3 science degrees, and am working on a fourth. I don't think you could sanely call me anti-science. Also, when it comes to anthropogenic global warming, every single last climatologist who does not receive money from fossil fuel companies is in agreement that it is real, and that it will be a major problem for humanity if something is not done about it.

    Of course, I'm not 100% against GM foods (although I appreciate caution), I'm in favor of informed uses of nano-technology, and I think that nuclear power (i.e., fission) is the best option we currently have for dealing with greenhouse gases. So maybe I'm not an "environmentalist" by your definition - but I still recognize that global warming is a real, anthropogenic, threat.

  • by w00f ( 872376 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:03PM (#17017490)
    I think it's funny (read: sad) that slashdot has such a leftist slant to it. Sadly, when someone makes a comment that outs the truth (see the post I'm commenting on) it gets modded as a 'troll'... interesting.

        What's really sad is that politics is the root cause for everything you see on the news, everything you learn, and everything you hear.

        Now - to comment on the original issue presented. I think it's incredibly ironic that the NSTA refused to distribute a film which would villify some of its main contributors. The hardest thing to understand for us here is this - Exxon and the NSTA's other 'contributors' have a vested interest in us consuming fossil fuels, as they sell and research them. There are also very few alternatives. So consider this... if the current donations dry up as a result of the NSTA accepting this DVD (let's take it as a hypothetical), where does the NSTA get its funding. Right, tax dollars from the government, wait... we would have to re-shuffle the budget to get funding for that from the government, right? Does that mean our taxes go up? Does that mean that something else (some other pork-barrel project) gets less funding? And who makes this decision?... that's right - the government officials who are lobbied by big Oil... how's that for a twisted circle of life for you?

        What's the solution? I don't have an answer... but it's interesting to point out all the issues with finding it. I will finish with this statement - humans being what we are - it's impossible (read: improbable) to get a donation made from a corporation (or an individual) completely selflessly and without any self-interest expected back... except of course in the form of tax dollars :)
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:11PM (#17017598) Journal
    you are correct. A KKK film is a bad example. Let's say that Michael Moore wanted to give out copies of his box set that includes "Dude, Where's My Country", "Bowling for Columbine", and "Fahrenheit 911" to classrooms. If they refused, would they be "in the pocket of Big Bush?"

    And before you say that Michael Moore is full of sh1t and AlGore's film is "The Truth" (as "inconvenient" as it may be), weren't we supposed to have like 15 hurricanes hit New York this year?

  • Missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trails ( 629752 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:11PM (#17017600)

    A lot of people are missing the point. This isn't about choice, or scientific debate, or agreeing to disagree.

    The NTSA have themselves stated that they turned this down because they were concerned about their funding, instead showing a movie that is at least if not more bent in the opposite direction.

    They said they're afraid of losing money. They never said they thought Inconvenient Truth is a crock of shit or that Gore is a snake oil salesman. They simply said if they do this, they may lose money.

    This isn't about principles, this isn't about debate, and it isn't about educating kids. They've been bought and they admit it plain as day.

  • by jadavis ( 473492 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:11PM (#17017612)
    more interest in pushing their political agenda than teaching science

    If I read that out of context, I would guess you were talking about the environmentalists.

    Pot, meet Kettle.
  • Re:apolitical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:15PM (#17017684)
    Polls pretty much consistently show that about 30% of Americans are "conservatives" who always vote Republican and about 30% are hard-core Democrats who may or may not be "conservative". The rest of us are more up-in-the-air. I think that the reason Slashdot seems to be so lefty is that academia tends to be lefty. We, being nerds, tend to be fairly educated. In other words, we are a very small cross-section of the world and do not represent the broader political reality at all. Further, we tend to be smart and are used to often being the smartest one around, so we tend to be jackasses when other people express an opinion that does not agree with our own. This is accentuated by our relative lack of social grace. :)

    Note that these are all gross generalizations, and nearly everyone reading this will take exception to some specific thing that I said... one guy will claim that he never finished high school and another will claim that he's not socially awkward, as if that really matters when discussing generalizations.
  • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:18PM (#17017736) Homepage
    That's not from the edit summary, that's from Frogbeater []'s story submission. Now, the editors may have picked that particular summary in order to piss off Slashdotters because we'd all point out how baldly inaccurate ("preferential treatment"?!) it was, so they'd get scads of comments. It wouldn't be the first time, but it's not quite the same as the editors themselves saying anything quite so stupid.
  • Re:Difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:19PM (#17017756) Journal
    The difference is that climate scientists at the very top of their field - in terms of number of peer-reviewed articles published and positions held - vouch that An Inconvenient Truth is 99%+ accurate in portraying the current state of climate research.

    Aren't these the same climate scientist that said we were going to have a record hurricane season this year. What was the number I read? "One in Six Americans Could be Directly Impacted by 2006 Hurricane Season " [] But we are supposed to believe them when they say that the film is 99% correct on long term forecasts when they can't tell me if it is going to rain today or not.

    Yeah, these guys may be the top of their field, but being on top of a bunch of people who don't know crap doesn't say much.

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:21PM (#17017798) Journal
    You will notice, if you are honest, that the areas where even the most fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible conflict with modern scientific work are in areas that Christians have an **ethical** objection to the way that life is manipulated or ended or in how things came to be on some level[1]. The environmental movement on the other hand is generally wildly [2] antagonistic to everything from GM foods to many promising alternative energy sources to nanotechnology.
    Are you serious?

    [1] So it's an ethical objection that causes a lot of the Christian fundamentalists to say the Earth is 6,000 years old, and all animals were created by God as-is? What exactly is the ethical objection, there?

    [2] Hogwash. Some environmentalists are diametrically opposed to some areas of research. Most environmentalists are much more temperate in their approach to questionable technologies. Most scientifically educated environmentalists believe that above all, we need to know the implications of our behaviors before we can make an ethical decision on what behaviors are appropriate. This is the obejction to GM foods (where we don't know yet how far-reaching some of the implications are), ditto for nanotech. As to nuclear, I believe you are right about a lot of the environmentalists, who are unaware of current research and programs that are much safer and cleaner than the nuke plants of the 1970s.

    At any rate, you totally dismiss the ethics of environmentalism in your post. I, for one, would rather that people followed ethical behavior patterns due to a rational analysis of the merits and demerits of a behavior (such as -- does this behavior run the risk of causing harm to others), than choice ethical behavior patterns based upon the utterances of a few men issued a couple thousand years ago and their modern interpretations (such as, thou shall not have sexual intercourse with a member of the same sex).

    Either way, there are zealots on both sides, and it's as much of a mistake to lump garden-variety Christians in with extremist Christian pedagogues as it is to lump typical environmentalists in with extremist environmental pedagogues.
  • Re:Difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluekanoodle ( 672900 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:23PM (#17017846)
    So as one who believes in rigorous scientific analysis, you'd be willing to reference where you got your statistics from? Just curious.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:23PM (#17017854)

    Until people realize that whatever human beings are doing to the atmosphere is not and cannot be the whole story, then the "It's all our fault!" environmental movement is bankrupt both morally and intellectually.

    This is called a strawman argument. No one ever said that there were not multiple factors that determine the temperature and even warming trends. That does nothing to address that the best scientific theory indicates that humans are significantly contributing to unusually rapid changes in global warming.

    Here's some other Inconvenient Truths... * DDT is not very dangerous to the environment

    DDT is plenty dangerous to regulate its use. It may not be as harmful as some other substances, but few of those substances were ever used in the massive quantities DDT was.

    * One of the founders of Greenpeace supports nuclear power

    So? Greenpeace is a political group and nuclear power is a reasonably safe clean, and cheap power source compared to fossil fuels.

    * The Kyoto Treaty exempts some of the biggest carbon polluters of all

    So? The Kyoto treaty was a compromise designed to reduce global emissions. Some large producers of carbon dioxide are in the same industrial growth phase the US was seventy years ago. You can't get ahead of everyone else using a practice and then ban others from doing it themselves and expect them to go along with it.

    In any case, all the points you make do nothing to address the issue at hand. Our best data indicates humans are significantly increasing the temperature and rate of change of temperature of the planet. Oil companies are using money to influence our educational system to teach that this is not the case.

  • Re:Difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:27PM (#17017954)
    Mods, don't diss this guy for making a personal attack and then reward the parent with an "insightful" rating for doing the exact same thing. Mod points aren't for people that you agree with - they are for posts with content. I hope I get to meta-moderate your ass.
  • The Fear Card (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spud Stud ( 739387 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:28PM (#17017972)
    The Fear Card has been played by the Bush Administration in destroying civil liberties and has always been a favorite tool of environmentalists. When somebody is trying to scare you, it's time to guard your wallet/Constitution.
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DavidShor ( 928926 ) <supergeek717@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:28PM (#17017984) Homepage
    Moore movies are political commentary. This movie presents scientific facts in a understandable matter. The science happens to have political implications, as does most science.
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:34PM (#17018108) Journal
    And what scientific field is Al Gore in again?
  • Re:apolitical... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:36PM (#17018164) Homepage Journal
    we tend to be smart and are used to often being the smartest one around, so we tend to be jackasses when other people express an opinion that does not agree with our own.

    And, of course, the definition of "smart" that is used here is "agrees with me..."
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:40PM (#17018248) Homepage Journal
    weren't we supposed to have like 15 hurricanes hit New York this year?

    Yeah, isn't it funny how a 1 degree change in a decade makes so much of a difference? Now, every weather event is Global Warming. It's hot - global warming. It's cold - global warming. It's windy - global warming.

    Let me ask, can you tell the difference between two temperatures separated by 1 degree?
  • by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:53PM (#17018514)
    It seems he could reach more people by making the movie free on TV. If, as you suggest, he's interested in targeting a theater-going, dvd-buying, and money-paying demographic, he could STILL reach more people by making the movie free on TV as well as all the other stuff. Is there ANY downside to making the movie free on TV, other than cutting into profits?
  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @12:59PM (#17018630) Homepage
    Agreed. This slashdot summary is so twisted that it strains the concepts of "journalistic integrity". And yes, Slashdot, by posting and summarizing content that proports to be factual, you're practicing journalism. By posting articles but twisting the facts about them, you're practicing shoddy journalism. NTSA wouldn't even accept free DVDs of material that has been widely commended for its scientific accuracy and is already part of the science curriculum in several countries, while it accepts ludicrously biased material from its energy-industry sponsors.

    I think the message from the NSTA is a big "We're For Sale" sign. Note to the Christian Coalition: Buy now! For a few million dollars, you can get them to start distributing pamphlets talking about that great flood that wiped out our dinosaur enemies 6000 years ago.
  • by Frumious Wombat ( 845680 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:00PM (#17018664)
    No, my argument is how well do our models reproduce reality. Models that fail that test are discarded. White-earth models of the 70s were the result of not enough factors and too large of grids. Current models with smaller cell sizes, better hydrodynamic codes, and more atmospheric factors included (reflective aerosols, additional greenhouse gases, etc) can reproduce climate trends, within certain error ranges, rather well. If you read the primary literature, you will see that given a suitable start point (parameters chosen from historical data, ice cores, tree growth patterns, etc.), you can reproduce climate trends leading to now rather well. That data is being presented, those models are out there and validated, and the skeptics are hiding behind, "well, you haven't sat around watching first-hand for a few thousand years, so your model is untrustworthy." If you read the primary literature (or you've spent any time doing simulations in physical science), you'll know that these results come both with error bars, and with internal checks and validations. Again, from chemistry, using a variety of codes based upon different numerical approximations to the underlying physics, if you want molecular structures or vibrational frequencies, we can get those within a percent or less. Relative energetics, about 4-12 KJ/mol, if we are willing to spend the time, farther away but with a known error range if not. We can also compare them with real-world data from a variety of sources, which demonstrates the generality of the models, as models based upon widely differing approximations (plane-wave DFT, localized orbital post-Hartree-Fock perturbation theory, etc) converge to results which agree with each other and the available experimental data to within measured precision. Once again, science is a process, and it deals in probabilities. There is some percent chance (large by current estimates), that we are contributing to global climate change, and one of the results will be a rise in sea levels. There is some chance (small) that there is a teapot orbiting Neptune (with apologies to P. W. Atkins for stealing his example). Therefore, policy-wise, I would worry about preventing flooding in coastal cities, but not necessarily worry about whether to take Earl Grey or Darjeeling on a trip to Neptune.

    There are two issues: what do we accept as close enough to correct to believe and use to make further predictions or policy recommendations, and to what extent do we act? The issue becomes, do we do nothing, or do we take reasonable (i.e. presuming the results in the range of greatest confidence) action? Shutting down all carbon emissions is extreme, especially in light of the role played by methane and other gases. On the other hand, preparing coastal cities at very low elevations for raised sea-levels and increased storm-surges is not. You may say that it's only computer fictions reproducing historical results (from a starting configuration, may we add, not from adjustments along the way), but that will be cold comfort to the bankers on Wall Street who get to pump out their offices from the storm surge the simulations predicted 40 years before, but you wouldn't act on because "the models only reproduced historical trends, not current events".

    Again, these simulations are based on the same physics used to predict wind-resistance in cars, aerodynamics of new airplanes, stresses that bridges can withstand, and behaviour of new microchips. You will notice how many events such as that on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge have occurred since finite-element modeling came into widespread use by civil engineers. The models aren't perfect, but they reproduce reality to a sufficient extent to use them to make predictions, with those predictions having confidence ranges associated with them. Unfortunately, what gets reported in the general press lacks those ranges, and only reports what is most sensational and will sell the most media. Spend some time looking at how any of these simulations (climate, hydrodynamic, q
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:09PM (#17018832)
    Why not give it away for free on iTunes. By pass the teachers and let the students download it onto their computers or video enabled iPods.
    Al Gore is on the board of directors of Apple, I'm sure he can work something out with Steve Jobs. All Apple has to do if foot the bill for storage and download bandwidth.
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:2, Insightful)

    by harl ( 84412 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:11PM (#17018870)
    Both the dust and the el niño effect were likely caused by global warming.

    Evidence please.
  • Re:Difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pentavirate ( 867026 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:15PM (#17018964) Homepage Journal
    Just a thought having nothing to do with whether global warming is true or not....
    The difference is that climate scientists at the very top of their field - in terms of number of peer-reviewed articles published and positions held - vouch that An Inconvenient Truth is 99%+ accurate in portraying the current state of climate research.
    Do you think that scientists that have a vested interest in global warming (ie reputations, grant money, etc.) might support a film that furthers their cause?

    Science isn't researched in a vacuum. Nothing is apolitical.
  • by bodland ( 522967 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:18PM (#17019012) Homepage
    What is a global warming freak?

    What is the opposite, earth destroying selfish bonehead?

    The fact you pointed out that fossil fuels are going to run out is key. If we don't start to change our behavior in regards to fossil fuel consumption (which we "freaks" are already doing) then the earth destroying selfish boneheads are in for a shock. So are we to provide exceptions for those fools who believe that they deserve to consume more than a fair share of global resources?

    Think about how to balance fuel consumption and global warming while you row your boat down fifth avenue to work.

    Global warming minimizers are quick to forget that a huge percentage of the earth's population live not far above sea level. And it seems possible that those levels are going to be significantly higher in the coming century at our present rate of consumption.

    Do what you can do now. Reduce, recycle, buy more efficient transportation or use mass transit when possible, use renewable energy this so difficult to do? Make plans for the future, set an example for children to follow. Living heavy with all the toys and the lights on does not set the example.

  • by derubergeek ( 594673 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:18PM (#17019014) Homepage Journal

    The latest dishonest meme is that those who don't believe there is global warming are merely expressing their "valid difference of opinion".

    Really. And here I was thinking that the latest dishonest meme is that anyone who questions the veracity of the global warming claims must be some Bible thumping redneck from one of those ignorant red states. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  • by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:19PM (#17019020) Homepage Journal
    As a scientist, I am sure that you have studied statistics - but you may have fallen into a common trap of those with a scientific mind. That is, to create a model based on past data and then to believe it when it makes predictions wildly divergent from said past data. When the model is making predictions that are outside of it's experience you are in a danger zone.

    For example - I know that the complex models you describe are missing at least one critical element: Methane has stopped increasing for unknown reasons. Methane is an important green house gas, and not modelling this behaviour may invalidate the model. Why did we not forsee this? Because the model was based on past data, which has never included humans farming at the level we are today. Are they completely invalidated? Who knows!

    Your branch of science is much further developed - because people made predictions based on past data, and then verified those predictions! Even then, the predictions are not always correct, even after a millenia of improvement. (For example, rocket fuel formulations almost never work exactly as predicted - they are all on the edge of stability, and without actual testing you cannot know which side of the edge they are on).

    Making models and running past data through them until the output matches is not science. That approach suffers from a form of survival bias - you keep changing the model until it matches, but that doesn't mean you can predict the future.

    The stock market exhibits the same behavior. Many people come up with algorithms to predict the markets using past data. They all fail when run on future data. It's just not science!
  • Bzzt - wrong! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by enodo ( 603503 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:36PM (#17019394)
    There is no "global warming" on Mars. There *have* been some isolated incidences of regions on Mars that are warming up, over the course of 3 Martian years or so, but to infer from that that anything like a global warming trend of the type seen (and predicted) on earth is invalid.

    As a reference, see the discussion here: []

    The case for anthropogenic global warming is extraordinarily solid, and is based on lots and lots of observations of different effects, combined with modeling based on principles of physics. These talking points are just hot air.
  • by saltydogdesign ( 811417 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:37PM (#17019418)

    But it might not take a genius amount of forethought to understand that putting Al Gore's name on the movie doesn't help to de-politicize the issue.

    If it never becomes a political issue, it will never be addressed. The science is what it is, but once the science has been done, politics necessarily enter the scene. And what better person to put forward a political argument than a politician? They may be stinky, and we may all hate them, etc., but I'm sorry -- global warming researchers haven't got the clout or political savvy to move the issue where it needs to move. Perhaps Al Gore doesn't either, but who are you going to get? George Bush?

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:39PM (#17019476) Journal
    > Regardless of the viewpoint, is it even possible that science
    > can remain apolitical? Has it ever been?"

    Science is one thing. Science portrayed by a power hungry politician blatantly and obviously using it to try to gain the presidency is quite another. We won't even bother getting into left-wing politicians in the late '60's onwards getting into ecology^H^H^H^H^H^H^H environmentalism because it gives them a secondary argument to massively control business when the usual class warfare rhetoric starts to fail (accurate description regardless of the science, which is what most people put on blinders about).

    I support not putting this ad for Al Gore to school children.

  • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:48PM (#17019638) Homepage
    Do you think that industry-created "think tank" fronts are in any way comparable to scientists working on grants? Have you considered that a scientist who fakes evidence and fudges numbers to garner reputation is taking a tremendous risk of being utterly discredited and never trusted again, while these "think tanks" can do so with impunity, secure in the knowledge that the funds will keep rolling in?

    Your attempts at drawing a moral equivalence are feeble, and were I a working scientist, I'd probably be offended.
  • Utter bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @01:52PM (#17019742)
    I've pointed this out before [], but I have yet to see any rigorous evidence for the assertion that scientists gain anything by somehow promoting a theory they do not believe is true.

    It's classic FUD--an unfounded, unsupported ad hominem attack that draws attention from the substantive issue--the science itself. I could understand it if there were some evidence that scientists had anything to gain by promoting a movie they agree with. For example there is no question that oil companies have a financial stake in maintaining the status quo usage of fossil fuels, just like tobacco companies have a financial stake in the number of people who start smoking every year. But there's no evidence that all the climate scientists will be super-rich in a couple years if only the public would learn about global warming.

    Do you think that scientists that have a vested interest in global warming (ie reputations, grant money, etc.) might support a film that furthers their cause?

    Do you think you can get away with totally unfounded assertions just because you used a question mark []?
  • by wanerious ( 712877 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @02:14PM (#17020224) Homepage
    rom your point of view, what is the difference between effective and cheapest? From a standard economics point of view (another field of engineering, not science, IMO), the cheapest (well, least expensive all in) is always the best solution. Why is this not the case here?

    I have two answers: one, the most obvious, is that an effective solution removes the need for further iteration and repair which may cost more over the long run. Related to this, you may argue that this is really what you mean by the "cheapest" solution --- the cheapest in the long run. I would not disagree with this on the surface, but it assumes that we know the *reasons* why other approaches will not be, in the long run, as cheap. This evaluation of the "whys" is something that you and other engineers would apparently like to avoid.

    And the issue of "cheapest" is not obvious. What is the metric used to determine cost? Lives? Property? Dollars? Evaluating the impact of warming and migrating populations on these observable effects takes careful consideration and the application of scientific methods.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:28PM (#17021852) Homepage Journal
    Yours apparently is "makes money from".

    You could only thing that if you didn't read very carefully. A report can be considered an unbiased authority if it has gone through the process of independent review by people of different opinions. As I noted, it could well have been paid for.

    I believe that you have a bias on this issue (just like everyone else), even though you have basically nothing at stake other than your ego (just like everyone else).

    But you make my argument for me. People as you say cannot totally rid themselves of their personal biases. It's not even necessarily desirable that they do so. What makes privately published study A less authoritative than a journal published study B is the kind of scrutiny it was subjected to. Private publications are reviewed to ensure they reach the conclusions desired by their publishers. Journal published articles are reveiwed for completeness, accuracy, fairness, and ability to stand up to adversarial examination. Both studies could be funded by the same organization and reach the same conclusions, and it still would not matter. A would be less authoritative than B.

    For me, bias is best described by: you would not change your desired outcome even if the experiment had the opposite result.

    This is not a verifiable standard, because it is premised on observations that can only be made in situations contrary to fact. It's usually best to look at the statement, not the person making it, and certainly not a hypothetical projectsion of that person's behavior in situations that haven't happened.

    I'd suggest that attributing authority to a statement is proper if (a) if it hsa been subject to independent scrutiny and found reasonable and (b) no more authority is ascribed to it than contrary statements that have survived equal or greater scrutiny.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:39PM (#17022158)
    If a corporation does, it's because the people running it and owning it have decided, AS HUMAN BEINGS, to engage in that behavior.

    Well, given that it is illegal to take actions that reduce shareholder value and the "moral duty" of a corporation is to increase shareholder value, I would argue that it is the moral imperative that corporations lie. Well, not exactly lie, but that they say whatever they think will best help their bottom line. If it happens to be true, then all the better. If it is a lie, then it doesn't matter. It isn't about corporations being capable of lying, like any other organization. It is that corporations are the only organization that is set up in a manner where lies are apparently encouraged. Add to this that they have many of the protections of "people" but few, if any, of the drawbacks, then you have amoral entities encouraged to lie and harm with few, if any, consequences to their actions.

    So saying that corporations can be unethical, or that corporations should be more tightly controlled and watched, is silly because it singles them out. If you feel that a behavior is harmful and should be regulated, just have the guts to make the statement that it should be regulated throughout society.

    And I find that statement just silly. If I were to lie repeatedly to people to get them to buy something I'm making that ends up killing them, I will be unable to sell that or anything else after I'm tossed in jail for negligent homicide. When's the last time a corporation was banned from interacting with society? I'm guessing never. There is no "jail" for a corporation. When Ford saw that Pintos were going to kill people and purposefully sold something they predicted would kill people, that is a criminal act on the part of the corporation. Ford should have been shut down 100% for 5 years or more if they had the responsibilities of people. Since they have many of the rights confered to them, but few of the responsibilities, they do need to be singled out. They are completely different from people and above the law for the worst offenses, so greater regulations make sense.
  • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:48PM (#17022330) Homepage
    You were replying to a poster who claimed that while An Inconvenient Truth is backed by an overwhelming consensus of scientists, the industry films that the NSTA has accepted in the past are nothing more than propaganda. You claimed that scientists have just as much of an axe to grind as industry shills, and would support their own form of propaganda in order to acquire, as you said, "reputations, grant money, etc.".

    If your purpose wasn't to discredit the scientists who have endorsed An Inconvenient Truth as just as biased, and therefore morally equivalent, to the fake "science" groups who have been donating to NSTA, what on earth were you saying?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:29PM (#17023176)
    I know there is little debate that anthropogenic global warming occurs, the real debate which you gloss over is that no one agrees on just how much is being contributed by man.
    I'm guessing you don't know what anthropogenic means. :D

    He probably does know what anthropogenic means. He's saying that nobody agrees on its magnitude.

    For someone with three science degrees, you seemed to exercise very little critical thinking when evaluating his sentence.

    And the discussion on magnitude is the heart of the issue. Yes, with current knowledge of radiation in participating media, we can reasonably expect that pumping CO2 into the atmosphere will change the way the earth retains heat. What we don't know is how much or how fast, because the entire system is extremely nonlinear and full of crazy feedbacks and forcings we don't either don't understand or don't know about. So while the majority of scientists and engineers in the related fields may agree that there should be some sort of anthropogenic effect on global warming, the reality of the matter is that they don't agree on what the magnitude of that effect is.

    And for this reason people both inside and outside of the relevant fields seem to get this enormous "you're either with us or against us" mentality, and the politicians and politically motivated environmentalists jump on this because it suits their particular brand of deception. When they can paint anyone who questions the politics as a "science hating denialist" and have the public believe them, they've done their jobs well. They've convinced the public that there is no middle ground, there are only extremes, and have thus pulled off the scary yet impressive feat of making their real enemy not exist.

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:06PM (#17025032)
    Since when is a movie designed to promote the political career of a politician proper viewing material in schools? What next, force kids to watch campaign commercials? Why not require them to "volunteer" to support Al Gore's next political campaign (or whoever he endorces) in order to get full credit?

    Sorry, even if your propoganda is being pushed out of schools by the oil companies, just because the oil companies are doing it for their own selfish reasons doesn't mean that keeping propoganda out of schools is a bad thing.
  • Re:I'm SHOCKED (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vought ( 160908 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:34PM (#17026550)
    And what scientific field is Al Gore in again?

    Bono's not a sociologist. What's your point? Angelina Jolie isn't a social worker. What's your point?

    How many scientists working on issues of critical importance are household names? And how much weight does a well-known name give to scientific or social crises?

    While every politician has his shortcomings Gore's interest in and message about global worming is not a political one - though it does have repercussions in the political arena.

    I fuckin' hate when people use Gore's political career as a cloak to cast doubt on the facts about global warming - it shows how well the right wing noise machine in this country has done at convincing otherwise intelligent people to disbelieve experts and those who speak for experts about real facts.
  • by SonicSpike ( 242293 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @12:26AM (#17029134) Journal
    "An Inconsistent Truth"

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire