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Old 01-12-2007, 02:31 PM   #1
Spider AL
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Gore's 'Truth' particularly inconvenient for those lovable creationists...

This story details one of the latest assaults by irrational fools on logic and reason.

Regardless of whether one likes Al Gore as a person or not, one can hardly dispute that his recent film on climate change was scientifically quite strong. In presenting prevailing science in an ordered yet accessible fashion, it not only succeeded in living up to its obligations as a documentary, but also lived up to the demanding terms of its title.

However, a school board in Federal Way, Washington, decided yesterday that Gore's film could not be shown to students without an "alternate view" being presented alongside it.

And what alternate view did those kerrayzee kreationists have in mind when issuing this edict? Why, a biblical view of course.

This kerfuffle was (naturally) started by a rabid faith-head named Frosty E. Hardison; my favourite quote of the year so far- straight from the lips of Mr. Hardison- reads: "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

I've often scoffed at the ever-present "must present an alternate viewpoint" argument. There is no valid alternative to logic. There is no alternate viewpoint to the truth, other than a lie.

References:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/...venient11.html
http://washingtontimes.com/national/...0719-1638r.htm


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Old 01-12-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
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Very good post, Spider.

Quote:
Regardless of whether one likes Al Gore as a person or not, one can hardly dispute that his recent film on climate change was scientifically quite strong.
Which is why they do not dispute the matter and instead resort to ad hominem assaults on Al Gore as a person, or accuse him of seeking the next Presidency.

Quote:
However, a school board in Federal Way, Washington, decided yesterday that Gore's film could not be shown to students without an "alternate view" being presented alongside it.

And what alternate view did those kerrayzee kreationists have in mind when issuing this edict? Why, a biblical view of course.
Bollocks.

If they were really for "alternative views", they'd also have to teach Intelligent Falling alongside the Law of Gravity, and the powers of spirits alongside magnetism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by S. Al's article
After a parent who supports the teaching of creationism and opposes sex education complained about the film [...]
Am I the only one who fails to understand what sexual education has to do with global warming?

Quote:
"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher [...]
I wish this guy was an Internet forum member. I'd ship that gem of a fundamentalist rant straight to Fundies say the darndest things.

I also find it ironic that this opponent of contraceptives has seven kids, though of course that's off-topic.


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Old 01-12-2007, 04:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Am I the only one who fails to understand what sexual education has to do with global warming?
Those who oppose teaching one usually oppose teaching the other. Also, the basis for the claims against these two things is religion.



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Old 01-12-2007, 05:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
I also find it ironic that this opponent of contraceptives has seven kids, though of course that's off-topic.
My parents are one up on them. I think that family size is probably a pretty good indication that either they're poor or they're serious about religion.

-

I don't see how people can deliberately try to hide from reality like that. It just doesn't make any sense. There was the one lady saying she didn't want to hear about America being irresponsible, presumably even if it were true. How exactly is the problem supposed to be fixed if it's ignored?


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Old 01-12-2007, 06:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
I also find it ironic that this opponent of contraceptives has seven kids, though of course that's off-topic.

Actually, it would be more ironic if a proponent of contraception ended up with seven kids.
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Am I the only one who fails to understand what sexual education has to do with global warming?
Probably something about heating up the night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
I also find it ironic that this opponent of contraceptives has seven kids, though of course that's off-topic.
Nothing ironic about that at all. It'd been ironic if he'd had only 1 kid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
My parents are one up on them. I think that family size is probably a pretty good indication that either they're poor or they're serious about religion.
Or they just like big families. Jimbo came from a family of 9 and loved growing up in a big family, and he wanted lots of kids of his own as a result.

I think fundamentalists actually should be extremely active in promoting sound environmental-friendly policies, since in the Christian paradigm we're charged with being good stewards of the Earth. Unfortunately, environmentalism got associated with only liberals (at least in the US), when it should be a universal concern.
Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my wonderful but ultra-conservative brother-in-law:
Brother: EPA and other environmental regulations are hurting business.
Jae: It's kind of hard to do business if we're all dead from the pollution those unregulated businesses would create.
Brother: You might have a point there....


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Old 01-12-2007, 07:45 PM   #7
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Re. irony: Of course. Exceptionally poor choice of words. I meant "amusing" or "typical" or something.

Quote:
I don't see how people can deliberately try to hide from reality like that. It just doesn't make any sense.
Believe me, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Willful ignorance of the most obvious facts is a phenomenon that never seizes to amaze me.

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Old 01-12-2007, 08:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Samuel Dravis:

I don't see how people can deliberately try to hide from reality like that. It just doesn't make any sense. There was the one lady saying she didn't want to hear about America being irresponsible, presumably even if it were true. How exactly is the problem supposed to be fixed if it's ignored
Yeah, it's an amazingly stupid thing for her to say. I literally cannot compute the amount of stupidity that's involved.

It kind of reminds one of the famous George Bush Sr. quote from a Newsweek interview in the late eighties: "I will never apologise for America, I don't care what the facts are."

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Dagobahn Eagle:

If they were really for "alternative views", they'd also have to teach Intelligent Falling alongside the Law of Gravity, and the powers of spirits alongside magnetism.
Tee hee, "intelligent falling"...

Actually that's not as funny when you realise that they're probably genuinely going to start lobbying for that to be taught, sooner or later. I mean it's not that much more stupid than ID, is it.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I think fundamentalists actually should be extremely active in promoting sound environmental-friendly policies, since in the Christian paradigm we're charged with being good stewards of the Earth.
There's a better reason to be environmentally-friendly than yet another biblical edict. The better reason is good, sound common sense. Ideas from an old storybook shouldn't in my view be taken into consideration at all. They're hardly necessary.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Unfortunately, environmentalism got associated with only liberals (at least in the US), when it should be a universal concern.
Mmm. This is correct. And if something is "associated with liberals", it's automatically anathema to a great many people. Bless 'em and their little political bigotries.

That's why neo-con spokespeople are always trying to brand people and ideas they just don't like, as "liberal." Because they know that a great many silly people simply won't look at "liberal" things, or listen to "liberal" people.


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Old 01-13-2007, 10:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
That's why neo-con spokespeople are always trying to brand people and ideas they just don't like, as "liberal." Because they know that a great many silly people simply won't look at "liberal" things, or listen to "liberal" people.
And it might be why Al Gore said that "this really isn't a political issue as much as it is a moral one".

Quote:
Tee hee, "intelligent falling"...

Actually that's not as funny when you realise that they're probably genuinely going to start lobbying for that to be taught, sooner or later. I mean it's not that much more stupid than ID, is it.
It was taken very seriously once upon a time:
"In a letter to the Reverend Dr. Richard Bentley in 1692, Isaac Newton [yes, Isaac Newton] wrote: "To your second query I answer that the motions which the planets now have could not spring from any natural cause alone but were impressed by an intelligent agent." This statement is referenced by Intelligent Design advocate Stephen C. Meyer in The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design[5], who refers to this statement as "Newton's famous postulation of special divine intervention to stabilize the orbital motion in the solar system" in developing his argument of the methodological equivalence of naturalistic and non-naturalistic (i.e. supernatural) theories."

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Old 01-22-2007, 05:28 PM   #10
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Mike the Mad Biologist commented on this, too. And, as a matter of fact, so did Al Gore, likening the "artificial controversy" strategy to that of the tobacco industry and its "it's still being debated whether or not tobacco causes cancer"-scam.

As Al Gore also said, "it's hard to get a man to understand something... when his pay-check depends on him not understanding it".

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Old 01-24-2007, 10:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Am I the only one who fails to understand what sexual education has to do with global warming?
"It's getting hot in here! So take off all your..."

Well, you know how it goes.

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Old 01-24-2007, 01:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime
"It's getting hot in here! So take off all your..."

Well, you know how it goes.
Can I change my mind about this whole global warming thing? I was definitely looking at it from the wrong perspective!


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 01-24-2007, 08:08 PM   #13
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Jae hauls her mind back up out of the gutter....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
There's a better reason to be environmentally-friendly than yet another biblical edict. The better reason is good, sound common sense.
You know it's common sense and so do I--life and tremendous pollution are incompatible, period, and we're an environmental disaster waiting to happen if we're not there already. However, if you're going to work within the fundamentalist community to get them to change their attitudes on environmentalism to something reasonable, you (in the general sense) have to work within their paradigm, otherwise their trust factor is low. Non-believers don't need it couched in Biblical terms, obviously, but fundamentalists do. They need to hear 'we're not being good stewards of the Earth because we're doing x, y, and z environmentally. To properly take care of the Earth like God wants, we have to change our habits to a, b, and c.' The message is still essentially the same, but that 'God wants' (supported Biblically) is critical for the fundamentalist community. At the point when/if a Christian with the appropriate science credentials picks up the environmental banner, I think that community will move in some very positive ways.

Not meaning this as a debate point, more of an fyi....
Creationist thought falls on a continuum. It's not an either/or atheistic evolution/Literalist Creationism. On one end there's the Enlightenment view (God set it in motion billions of years ago and it's just going its own way), to theistic evolution (God utilized evolution) to progressive creationism (God progressively created each species separately over millions of years). Most Christians fall into one of these 3 viewpoints. Then we move over to the other end of the spectrum where there are the 6-day literalists who think God made it all about 6000-7000 years ago over a literal 6 day time period, no evolution whatsoever, all species were created individually. While the literalists are by far a very tiny minority, they get the most attention because their views are so far out of mainstream science. Thus you end up with stories of people like this pastor, because they're just too weird to pass up for a reporter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Mmm. This is correct. And if something is "associated with liberals", it's automatically anathema to a great many people. Bless 'em and their little political bigotries.

That's why neo-con spokespeople are always trying to brand people and ideas they just don't like, as "liberal." Because they know that a great many silly people simply won't look at "liberal" things, or listen to "liberal" people.
Well, liberals can be just as bigoted, unfortunately. I live in a heavily Democratic liberal town, and I've seen people vote for Democratic nominees just because they were Dems, when the opponents were clearly more qualified for the job.


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Old 01-24-2007, 08:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Well, liberals can be just as bigoted, unfortunately. I live in a heavily Democratic liberal town, and I've seen people vote for Democratic nominees just because they were Dems, when the opponents were clearly more qualified for the job.
Most people who actually vote do that, whether they're Democrat or Republican. 'Tis very unfortunate.



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Old 01-25-2007, 05:17 AM   #15
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Unfortunately true. A lot of people will vote for Joe Schmoe (generic candidate) b/c either their friends do or their family does. Then there are the others who just don't bother to vote b/c they see all candidates as basically the same......crooked.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
You know it's common sense and so do I--life and tremendous pollution are incompatible, period, and we're an environmental disaster waiting to happen if we're not there already. However, if you're going to work within the fundamentalist community to get them to change their attitudes on environmentalism to something reasonable, you (in the general sense) have to work within their paradigm, otherwise their trust factor is low.
You possibly have a point there.

Far too many forsake critical thinking for good ole What Would Jesus Bush/My Pastor Do? Perhaps some interpretation of the Bible could actually go a long way. It won't be done by me, though.

Either way, Spider is infinitely right when he compares Creationism to global warming. Get over to Amazon and read some of the one-star reviews of An Inconvenient Truth and you'll get an idea of what I mean. Keywords are willful ignorance, lies, caricatures and long-since refuted arguments. Oh, and a hearty load of ad hominem:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
I find it amazing that so many of you lemmings believe the substance of this movie, since none of it is accepted by the majority of the most respected scientists in the world.
Blatantly false and remniscent of the "more and more scientists are discarding evolution"/"evolution is a THEORY in crisis" myths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
Al Gore is still a bitter touchy-feely liberal that will never accept his defeat for president.
Poisoning the well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
Anyone ever hear of the SUN and the cycles it goes through?
The greenhouse effect has also been proven. It may not be the be-all, end-all of global warming, but it's certainly there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
At best humans have only been recording temperatures for 120 years [...]
It's a good idea to watch the movie you're reviewing. Good guess, though, you're only 650 000 years off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
[...] why do most reviewers base their futures on the profiteers of "global warming"?
"Profiteers"? More poisoning of the well? Tsk, tsk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
Ever hear of the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption in the 90's and how it affected the weather all around the world?
Red herring. Global warming has been happening for more than just sixteen years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
And, how about all the underwater volcanic eruptions that happen on a daily basis? Isn't that the reason almost half million people died from a tsunami ..... caused by underwater eruptions?
I don't recall anyone ever saying the tsunami that hit, among others, Sri Lanka was caused by global warming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
Pinatubo ejected more atmospheric pollution in one day than that produced by all mankind in the history of the earth.
What kind of pollution? The kind that produces global warming? Source?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
In the 70's the shelves of most book stores will filled with the prophecy of "global cooling" and the fact that "we" are overdue for the earth's repeated cycle of the new ice age, which is scientifically proven to occur every 10,000 years.
Someone borrowed Creationism's "science was wrong about a, so don't trust them on b! Cute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Review
Make no mistake, "global warming" is big business and big Al just dipped into your money roll. Isn't is hard to not believe the guy that admits he invented the internet?!
More ad hominem.


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Old 01-26-2007, 02:51 PM   #17
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http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...NGVLNPGM61.DTL

Here's an interesting in-depth piece on the Federal Way controversy that brings us pretty much up-to-date. Essentially the creationists win another round, because of a truly pathetic school-board, presumably made up largely of spineless and/or creationist imbeciles.

They cry that they have lifted the temporary ban on showing the film... but of course they have left in place the requirement that teachers get high-level approval before showing the film, and also that they showcase "alternative views" (lies) at the same time. Muahahah.

The teacher who originally showed the film in class is apparently to be disciplined by the school, and Frosty Hardison and his god-bothering family of eight are presumably sitting at home, rubbing their fat little hands together and planning their next anti-logic assault.

It makes one quite ill.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Samuel Dravis :

Can I change my mind about this whole global warming thing? I was definitely looking at it from the wrong perspective!
I was thinking the same thing... until I realised that it wouldn't just be the attractive young women running around in the buff! It would also be the erghy old saggy people. Ergh...

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

To properly take care of the Earth like God wants, we have to change our habits to a, b, and c.' The message is still essentially the same, but that 'God wants' (supported Biblically) is critical for the fundamentalist community. At the point when/if a Christian with the appropriate science credentials picks up the environmental banner, I think that community will move in some very positive ways.
I suppose in theory, some pro-science "christian" might pop up who has the mass-appeal and charisma necessary to effect change in the attitudes of the religious... but it's not very likely. Especially since:

a. "Moderate" christians are regularly shouted down by the evangelistic set, and seem to be neither willing nor able to exert sufficient influence upon their religious community to halt or even reverse the spread of I.D. and similar nonsenses. (Shown by the seemingly almost perpetual victories of the fundies in US schools.)
b. Religious beliefs tend to override scientific beliefs in a certain proportion of cases. (Even after many years studying the sciences, religious folk are still capable of maintaining their beliefs... which boggles the mind.)
c. Those christians who do believe in the validity of evolution (and science in general) seem to do so by a process of compartmentalisation. By selectively disregarding most of the bible and effectively separating their theism from their rational faculties, they manage to force co-existence between rational thought and irrational belief within their own minds. If a person is so conflicted internally, it's hard to see how they will be focussed enough to operate externally with the degree of efficacy that you're describing.

As for your contention that one must speak to fundamentalists in their own language to effect change... Well it doesn't work very well for moderate christians, so I don't see any reason why it would work for me, or other atheists.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Creationist thought falls on a continuum. It's not an either/or atheistic evolution/Literalist Creationism.
Yep, there's everything from the most fundamentalist (flat-earthers... I kid you not) to possibly the least fundamentalist (old-earth creationist theistic evolutionists)... who are still pretty uber-religious, by my reckoning. Of course, one cannot be a conventional christian without believing that god was involved SOMEWHERE along the way.

But of course, the fact is that one is either rational in the way one perceives life, or one is irrational to a certain degree. And sadly, it seems that- at least in America- the majority of people are irrational to a sufficient degree for them to side with the intelligent-design lobby.

Polls of varying degrees of exactness have been published in recent years that seem to show that most Americans believe that ID should be taught alongside real science in the classrooms, and/or that they share some of the views of the most fundamentalist creationists.

November 2004, cbs poll states that 65% of those polled were in favour of teaching both science AND baseless crap in classrooms. It also states that those who are involved with organised christianity are very unlikely to hold any positive views about the teaching of evolution.

April 2006, CBS poll taken over three years states that just over 50% of those polled believe that god created humans in their present form. Only 17% believed that god didn't guide our evolution at all. Scary stuff.

June 2006, Gallup poll taken over three years showed an even lower level of rationalism than the cbs poll, with an average of 12% of people believing that god had no hand in anything, and over 40% stating that god created man in his present form.

So of course the majority of christians in the US don't take the bible quite as literally as the minority crazies do... but the majority of US christians certainly seem to be quite amenable to the changes proposed by the minority crazies. So while there may indeed be some minor technical differences between average christians and fundies... Is there an effective difference on this issue? Nup.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Well, liberals can be just as bigoted, unfortunately. I live in a heavily Democratic liberal town, and I've seen people vote for Democratic nominees just because they were Dems, when the opponents were clearly more qualified for the job.
Well can't really argue with this statement, because the wording covers a multitude of sins. "liberals can be just as bigoted"... my emphasis. Well anyone "can" be as bigoted as that, I suppose.

The question however, is whether it's a particular characteristic of the US public in general that they react disproportionately badly to policies that are characterised by politicians and the mainstream media as being "liberal". Well I don't think anyone can seriously contend that that statement is untrue. In addition, it's a notable characteristic, because the majority of Americans believe (erroneously) that they're living in a functioning democracy, and also that the US is the most "tolerant" nation on the planet. One would think that these delusions would foster a love of liberal values. But of course, they don't.

Also, I wouldn't characterise the Democrats as "liberal", except when directly comparing them with neo-conservatives... but that's not a great endorsement of their liberalism. Everyone is more liberal than SOMEONE.


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Old 02-14-2007, 10:33 AM   #18
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In stark contrast to these idiotic events over in Washington, the government of the UK has recently agreed to send a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth" to every secondary school in England as part of a information pack on climate change.

Official Press Release: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/latest/...mate-0202a.htm
Reuters Story: http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/arti...-C2-Business-4

The Environment Secretary Mr. Miliband mentioned the release of the recent (and still relatively conservative) report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a UN organisation), stating that the report demonstrates that "the debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over".

BBC article on the IPCC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6321351.stm
BBC synopsis of the IPCC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6324029.stm
Actual IPCC press release (pdf): http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

For once, a decision by a branch of the UK government that isn't totally idiotic and/or immoral. Props to them.


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Old 02-14-2007, 01:43 PM   #19
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Indeed. Hooray for them.

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Old 02-14-2007, 03:26 PM   #20
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It'll be interesting to see what Gore's nomination for the Nobel Prize will do for his work over here in the States, and I hope it'll be positive.

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I suppose in theory, some pro-science "christian" might pop up who has the mass-appeal and charisma necessary to effect change in the attitudes of the religious... but it's not very likely. Especially since:

a. "Moderate" christians are regularly shouted down by the evangelistic set, and seem to be neither willing nor able to exert sufficient influence upon their religious community to halt or even reverse the spread of I.D. and similar nonsenses. (Shown by the seemingly almost perpetual victories of the fundies in US schools.)
'Moderate', or mainline, denomination Christians don't have the same credibility within the fundamentalist community as other evangelicals/fundamentalists would. There are a very few people right now who have the credentials in both areas to speak to the evangelical/fundamentalist community.

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Originally Posted by SpiderAl
b. Religious beliefs tend to override scientific beliefs in a certain proportion of cases. (Even after many years studying the sciences, religious folk are still capable of maintaining their beliefs... which boggles the mind.)
Religious folks wonder how atheists can maintain their stance after seeing a mountain of evidence arguing against the universe coming together out of pure chance. It is extraordinarily difficult, once you've studied biochemistry for any length of time, to believe that proteins, DNA, RNA, and other molecules necessary for life were organized by pure luck, especially when that organization appears to defy the laws of entropy (and yes I've heard the counterarguments on entropy and closed systems and such). It is extraordinarily difficult, after studying physics in some depth, to believe that the universe came into being ex nihilo, that somehow anyone can deny that power needed to create that initial singularity and give it the energy required to explode into a universe. However, that's a different thread.

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Originally Posted by SpiderAl
c. Those christians who do believe in the validity of evolution (and science in general) seem to do so by a process of compartmentalisation. By selectively disregarding most of the bible and effectively separating their theism from their rational faculties, they manage to force co-existence between rational thought and irrational belief within their own minds. If a person is so conflicted internally, it's hard to see how they will be focussed enough to operate externally with the degree of efficacy that you're describing.
How is there conflict when God created physical/scientific laws in the first place? Science doesn't exist separate from God, it exists within the framework of God's creation. It's not separate from the whole, it's a part of the whole. The Bible addresses precious little in the way of science anyway, and only in a very general sense--it's not a physics or organic chemistry text, it's a theological text that was written prior to our developing knowledge of those scientific concepts. In that respect there is no conflict; I don't have to deny whole chunks of the Bible in order to also believe in science and scientific theories. God certainly can use evolution to allow species to grow and develop, for instance.

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Originally Posted by SpiderAl
As for your contention that one must speak to fundamentalists in their own language to effect change... Well it doesn't work very well for moderate christians, so I don't see any reason why it would work for me, or other atheists.
It won't work at all for any atheist. Once you have that label of atheism, you're done with the evangelical community for the most part, because you'll have zero credibility. Not only is an atheist viewed with distrust because s/he is diametrically opposed to the evangelical on the existence of God, but the atheist is also viewed (rightly or wrongly) as someone who actively wants to draw people away from faith. There is an underlying current of suspicion of anything an atheist would say, because the evangelical community feels the atheist's goal is to destroy belief in God, and that the atheist will do anything to achieve that goal, including, but not limited to, 'shading' the truth on scientific facts or adjusting facts to fit their theories, instead of using the facts to come up with a working theory, even if that theory ends up including God as a possible answer. I'm not saying this is what atheists actually do, mind you, but it is the perception of the evangelical community for the most part.

I wish the whole evolution/ID debate would calm down--we're talking about a small part of science and yet it garners huge amounts of attention. I spent a whole 3 days out of all 720 days of high school science on the issue of evolution, and maybe a day or 2 or 3 on it in all the years of science I had in college. Then again, it does get people to actually think about science in general instead of the latest news on the death of Barbaro or arguments over the best episodes on The Simpsons, so maybe the debate's good for science after all.


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Old 02-14-2007, 07:34 PM   #21
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Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

It'll be interesting to see what Gore's nomination for the Nobel Prize will do for his work over here in the States, and I hope it'll be positive.
Ref: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlates...386033,00.html

Well, I'm not certain that there aren't others who have done more fundamental and frankly more important work to prove the reality of climate change, but Gore and his publicity team have certainly put the topic firmly in the mainstream... even in such climatologically backward-looking countries as the US. So perhaps he deserves the nomination, if not the prize.

Yes, I too hope the effect of the nomination will be positive in the US.

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Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

'Moderate', or mainline, denomination Christians don't have the same credibility within the fundamentalist community as other evangelicals/fundamentalists would. There are a very few people right now who have the credentials in both areas to speak to the evangelical/fundamentalist community.
Well this is different from your statement in post #13 that I was responding to:

"Non-believers don't need it couched in Biblical terms, obviously, but fundamentalists do. They need to hear 'we're not being good stewards of the Earth because we're doing x, y, and z environmentally. At the point when/if a Christian with the appropriate science credentials picks up the environmental banner, I think that community will move in some very positive ways."

And of course I responded in post #17, essentially stating that your assertion was a practical nonsense, because:
  • A moderate christian won't be taken seriously by the fundies no matter WHAT biblical texts he quotes,
  • Moderate christians aren't inclined to oppose the fundies in any serious way ANYWAY,
  • And that the majority of christians would be too conflicted between their irrationality and their rationality to be focussed enough to function as anti-fundamentalist spokespeople of any efficacy.

But now instead of a "Christian with the appropriate science credentials", you're actually suggesting that a fundamentalist with "appropriate" scientific knowledge might convince the rest of the fundies to start combatting climate change?

Well that's even more ludicrous an idea than a NORMAL christian doing so! To BE a fundie, one has to be an even more irrational, even more blinkered and delusional individual than a mainstream religious person is. How exactly is a practicing fundamentalist going to be objective enough to go against fundie doctrine in the first place, let alone in such a careful, underhand way as you describe?

And even if such an oddity were to exist... do you really think the rest of the fundie community wouldn't kick them out summarily and ignore them en-masse? Nahhhh.

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Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Religious folks wonder how atheists can maintain their stance after seeing a mountain of evidence arguing against the universe coming together out of pure chance.

...

It is extraordinarily difficult, after studying physics in some depth, to believe that the universe came into being ex nihilo, that somehow anyone can deny that power needed to create that initial singularity and give it the energy required to explode into a universe. However, that's a different thread.
Firstly, let's make this crystal clear: There is no evidence to suggest that the universe was "designed" in any way, there is no evidence that the big bang was "intended" by any being, intelligence or organism, and furthermore there is no evidence to suggest that any portion of the event was "intended", "designed" or even assisted by any intelligence, being or organism. Any more than there is evidence that my cat was "designed" or "intended".

Secondly, this is a typical theist non-sequitur, Jae. The universe may have come about in any NUMBER of ways. Pre-time seven-dimensional alien beings may have done it! A giant blancmange may have carved the materials necessary to create the universe out of a celestial apple-core! The sentient cheese-slices on the floating island of Mandango may have willed the big bang into existence! These are all faint, faint... unimaginably faint possibilities. But the fact that we don't know for certain what existed prior to the beginning of our universe...

Does not mean a deity did.

You often state that SOMETHING must have contributed energy to the creation of our universe. Fine. Something may well have. Now please explain your assumption that a deity is that something. If necessary, please start that other thread you've talked about, and explain why you think the presence of a deity is suggested, and by what evidence. Explain further why you believe that one specific deity, YOUR deity, the christian deity... is suggested, and by what evidence.

Explain why, when you insist that something must have put external energy into the reaction that formed our universe... you also assume that whatever put the energy in must also have been intelligent, and all-powerful.

Because frankly, it doesn't follow. It just doesn't follow.

If you are rational... you require evidence before forming an opinion. If you do not require evidence before forming an opinion, you are irrational. I want to be rational. I hope and imagine that you do too. I think the above topic would be a most valuable one for both of us.

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Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

How is there conflict [between scientific knowledge and religious belief] when God created physical/scientific laws in the first place?
How is there conflict? There is conflict because religious belief is based on no good evidence, and requiring evidence is BASIC to the scientific method, as is rational evaluation of assertions and a desire for fact.

How can you NOT be conflicted if half of you seeks logical truth by attaining evidence through experimentation... and the other half believes that there's some all-knowing and omnipotent creature somewhere who will drop you into an eternal cauldron of fire if you so much as GLANCE at your neighbor's... donkey?

It's the conflict between logic and illogic. Some people can function as scientists while compartmentalising their irrational religious faith... but by gosh, what a heck of a subconscious conflict that must be.

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Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I don't have to deny whole chunks of the Bible in order to also believe in science and scientific theories.
Oh of course you do Jae, don't be silly.

If you really believe in the science of biology, you must deny say... the virgin birth. You must deny the resurrection. Because... oh, as a general rule... human animals reproduce sexually, and human animals do not come back from the dead.

If you believe in the science of chemistry, you must deny the whole water into wine thaaang. Because water doesn't transmute into a fruity alcoholic beverage on a whim. As a rule.

If you really believe in the science behind the theory of evolution, if you really believe in the sciences of cosmology and geology, you must deny the bible's creation myth, because neither the universe nor the earth were created in a week, and NO animal was created as-is, nor did they come about in a brief period of time as the bible states.

The list is probably endless, but heck, if you really believe in the scientific method itself, you must automatically deny the bulk of the bible and state unequivocally that you do not believe in god or gods. Because the scientific method is all about rational knowledge based on evidence, not superstitious hearsay.

You may be able to hold mutually exclusive, diametrically opposed and fundamentally conflicting opinions... But I cannot.

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Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

It won't work at all for any atheist. Once you have that label of atheism, you're done with the evangelical community for the most part, because you'll have zero credibility. Not only is an atheist viewed with distrust...
Yeah, I agree. I think I said that, pretty much.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I wish the whole evolution/ID debate would calm down--we're talking about a small part of science and yet it garners huge amounts of attention. I spent a whole 3 days out of all 720 days of high school science on the issue of evolution, and maybe a day or 2 or 3 on it in all the years of science I had in college.
A "small part of science"? Evolution is how our species came to be. It's how every species came to be. Could it get any bigger, as a scientific issue?

Furthermore, evolution is merely the beginning. Because many people in the world still don't understand the concept fully, (probably because people are only spending... oh, six days on it in school and college) it's ripe for the picking by the nefarious fundies. But once the creationist nonsense of ID is established, they'll be on to other things, other areas of science. Of course they will.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

maybe the debate's good for science after all.
The attack on science isn't good for science. Because frankly, in the US at least... the attack on science is succeeding in many ways.


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Old 02-15-2007, 01:43 PM   #22
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Jae: I don't have to deny whole chunks of the Bible in order to also believe in science and scientific theories.
Spider: Oh of course you do Jae, don't be silly.
Spider is right. Facts and the Bible contradict on many accounts.

The Bible claims the entire Earth was flooded by an angry god and that every living animal is a descendant of the few lucky ones that get on board a giant ark. Science tells us this is utter nonsense.

The closest thing you get is the metaphor trick - to state that the Bible did not literally mean to say that there was a flood, that the Earth is flat, or that the Sun was made to screech magically to a halt for then to be started up again - all without taking damage.

It's one of the reasons why Norwegian schoolchildren don't end up believing in Thor even though they're taught both Norse mythology and Christianity - Norse mythology is taught literally, from the whole deal with the flat Earth to the nonsense about thunder being the work of a god and his hammer. Christianity, on the other hand, is saved by metaphors - the Bible metaphorically states the Earth is flat. It metaphorically says there's a Borg cube-sized golden city in the clouds. It metaphorically claims that underneath us there's a fiery lake of fire your soul is sent to come your body's death.

The problem is that as far as I can tell, there's no sign either of these are metaphors, apart from the fact that they have been proven wrong. Another problem is that religions deemed untrue (i.e. Norse mythology) do not get the same special treatment.

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Old 02-15-2007, 01:58 PM   #23
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It's interesting, because I and some others have been talking about what exactly constitutes rational belief in a thread at the Cantina. This particular bit is the most relevant, however: religion says our senses are not enough to detect God through perception... but what is there, apart from that perception, to detect? I think the question is, do you trust products of your peception to tell you the "truth" about what you percieve, or do you yourself to determine that by experience (i.e., empirically)?

Anyway...

I think that such compartmentalization does, but it would probably end up running into the "god of the gaps" problem eventually. If not that, then something else like the above.

Interestingly enough, I am taking an environmental science class this semester. We just went over evolution and will will cover global warming as well. There were quite a few that stuck around to argue the point that since there have been no true *experiments* of evolution (aka demonstrated current species splitting) that it is unlikely and/or that God did it in some way - as if they had a way to estimate the probability of that occurence. I'm curious what they will say about global warming...


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Old 02-15-2007, 03:26 PM   #24
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religion says our senses are not enough to detect God through perception
Then it's funny that the Bible says several people have seen him. But then again, writings suggest people have seen a monster in Loch Ness, too, and Oni in Japanese mountains.

Oh, and there have been plenty of observations of both global warming and evolution (up to and including the observation of new species of birds forming).

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Old 02-15-2007, 03:30 PM   #25
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What I meant by that that is that religion doesn't think that science can show anything about God. What is science if not an attempt to explain in a predictable way what we percieve? So I think it's essentially the same thing.


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Old 02-15-2007, 04:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
It's interesting, because I and some others have been talking about what exactly constitutes rational belief in a thread at the Cantina. This particular bit is the most relevant, however: religion says our senses are not enough to detect God through perception... but what is there, apart from that perception, to detect? I think the question is, do you trust products of your peception to tell you the "truth" about what you percieve, or do you yourself to determine that by experience (i.e., empirically)?
Well a rough but essentially correct way of defining rational opinions is: Those opinions which are based on a preponderance of objectively evaluated evidence.

And "evidence" can be tangible evidence, or logical reasoning, or any combination of the two.

We hold mathematical truths to be correct purely because of the evidence supplied by abstract logical reasoning. But on the other end of the spectrum we use tangible evidences alone to determine what our opinion should be on such subjects as... how to cook a palatable tomato soup, for instance. Colour, smell and flavour provide us with the evidence of success or failure in such endeavours.

But EVERY rational opinion must be based on objectively evaluated evidence, regardless of what form that evidence takes. And the ability to reasonably evaluate evidence is a skill which is simply not taught in classrooms in my nation, and probably isn't taught in the US either.

We still teach children by rote. They are expected to learn reams of asserted facts and to parrot those facts back on request. But how many teachers teach children how to learn? How many teachers teach children how to objectively assess the veracity of a given claim? How many teachers teach children to discard any and all assertions that are unsupported by evidence?

I've only ever met one or two such teachers myself. They are rare indeed, so it's about time people took responsibility for their own education in this matter, and became more objective and less invested in such nonsenses as traditional political parties and religions.

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What I meant by that that is that religion doesn't think that science can show anything about God. What is science if not an attempt to explain in a predictable way what we percieve? So I think it's essentially the same thing.
Could you clarify this statement? The same as what? I'm sorry, I just don't understand what you are saying here.


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Old 02-15-2007, 04:15 PM   #27
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Well a rough but essentially correct way of defining rational opinions is: Those opinions which are based on a preponderance of objectively evaluated evidence.

And "evidence" can be tangible evidence, or logical reasoning, or any combination of the two.
Tangible evidence being evidence we percieve. The topic of the other thread had turned into the merits of solipsism, so you can go check it out if you feel like doing so.

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Could you clarify this statement? The same as what? I'm sorry, I just don't understand what you are saying here.
Just that science is the rational study of our perception of reality. I argued that when you take skepticism too far, you eventually end up not "knowing" anything, and thus have to make probabilistic arguments on what the outside world is, in itself. Here's the relevant post of mine about that. Condensed, I stated that since doubting the very senses is totally useless in any manner I know of, I would accept them as the evidence of an outside reality. Thus, one who doubts the study of what we percieve (aka science) by imagining the existence of an unsupported entity would be relegating their statement into uselessness; to do that, they would have to assume that senses are not to be trusted and I don't see how that's useful.

As for what I meant by the same thing, I meant that science, by definition, IS what we percieve. It is composed of the models we have created to explain the experiences we have.


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Old 02-15-2007, 04:29 PM   #28
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Tangible evidence being evidence we percieve. The topic of the other thread had turned into the merits of solipsism, so you can go check it out if you feel like doing so.
Looks like a nice thread, but I'm limited to the senate and the swamp, otherwise I'd most happily involve myself.

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As for what I meant by the same thing, I meant that science, by definition, IS what we percieve.
Ah, now I understand what you meant. Well it rather depends what sense you're using the word "perceive" in.

"To perceive" can refer specifically to knowledge gained purely through the senses, or it can refer to any knowledge gained either through the senses or through the faculties of the mind.

And the latter sense would be accurate when applied to science. Because science is the study of reality, and reality in totality cannot be perceived purely through the physical senses. As stated elsewhere, logical reasoning must be applied for one individual to form any kind of workable picture of the world. One cannot physically confirm every basic accepted fact that goes to make up one's world-view. Logical reasoning fills the gulf, however.

So sure, one could say that science is the study of reality through the medium of perception, if "perception" is referring to the logical faculty as well as the physical senses.


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Old 02-15-2007, 04:46 PM   #29
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In that thread, I was using percieve to mean information gained through senses, and I indeed argued that it's not possible to know exactly what reality is. The logical model created through scientific reasoning may be more accurate in predicting phenomena we can detect, but it's not necessarily correct in an absolute sense. Still, I had argued that being able to predict phenomena we can detect is better than nothing, and is probably the most accurate representation of "truth" that can be found reliable.

Going from this, there is no reason to suppose there is a <hypothetical> because it has not demonstrated its existence in a way which has meaning to us. If there isn't such reason, then there's little to justify any position based on it - aka creationists, global warming detractors, etc.


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Old 02-15-2007, 05:01 PM   #30
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In that thread, I was using percieve to mean information gained through senses
Ah, if you're using THAT sense, then I disagree with your statement that science "is what we perceive".

The information we can actually perceive through our physical senses is fairly limited when compared to the structures we can posit and impose onto the world via logical reasoning. Science is the organised study of reality, but that which we can perceive physically is quite a small part of the equation, as all data received by the senses must automatically be logically analysed before it's of any use anyway.

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I indeed argued that it's not possible to know exactly what reality is
On the contrary, it may well be possible to arrive at ultimate truth. But of course, even if one did arrive at 100% accurate understanding of the physical universe, if one was being true to rationalism one could never be absolutely certain that one HAD arrived at ultimate truth. So I see where you're coming from.

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Going from this, there is no reason to suppose there is a <hypothetical> because it has not demonstrated its existence in a way which has meaning to us. If there isn't such reason, then there's little to justify any position based on it - aka creationists, global warming detractors, etc.
The basic truth of religion is that it is a belief based on no good evidence. Quite literally NO good evidence. So if one regards the existence of a hypothetical deity as likely, one is being fundamentally irrational. Heck, if one operates in the world AS IF the existence of a hypothetical deity is even moderately possible, one is also being irrational.

Evidence is required. End of story.

So as you say, there is nothing to justify any position that is based upon a contention that a deity exists.


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Old 02-15-2007, 05:25 PM   #31
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Ah, if you're using THAT sense, then I disagree with your statement that science "is what we perceive".

The information we can actually perceive through our physical senses is fairly limited when compared to the structures we can posit and impose onto the world via logical reasoning. Science is the organised study of reality, but that which we can perceive physically is quite a small part of the equation, as all data received by the senses must automatically be logically analysed before it's of any use anyway.
Good point. I was thinking along the lines that for science to even work, it has to have something to explain - perception - which I suppose would make the statement half-true. It would really require both the evidence and the ability to link them to cause and effect. Thanks.
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So I see where you're coming from.
Yep, that's exactly what I meant.
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So as you say, there is nothing to justify any position that is based upon an <unsupported idea>.
Fixed, and true, as far as I can tell.


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Old 02-27-2007, 05:01 PM   #32
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Jerry Falwell joins the "global warming is religion" crowd.

History will remember them as idiots, that's my only comfort.

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Old 02-28-2007, 08:56 AM   #33
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Yep, if there's anyone left to do the remembering, that is.

'An Inconvenient Truth' scooped two Oscars at the weekend.

Promptly, a neo-con "think-tank" started a carefully timed smear-campaign against Mr. Gore, citing the power bills for his large mansion as proof that he is a hypocrite when it comes to conservation!

Of course, this was not only irrelevant, but was also ludicrous nonsense, and is debunked here and here. Gore is unusually environmentally conscious for a public figure, it emerges, and due to his energy-saving efforts, his "carbon footprint" is probably smaller than mine.


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Old 02-28-2007, 09:14 AM   #34
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Promptly, a neo-con "think-tank" started a carefully timed smear-campaign against Mr. Gore, citing the power bills for his large mansion as proof that he is a hypocrite when it comes to conservation!
Of course they do. What else can they turn to, when they don't have arguments?

But yes, it's utterly and completely irrelevant as it has no impact whatsoever on the facts of global warming and An Inconvenient Truth.

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Old 03-04-2007, 10:10 PM   #35
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If Al Gore is so determined to be enviromental, something we should all aspire to though not to the lengths he wants us to, maybe he should explain this away.

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArti...57471698173513

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Globa...2906888&page=1
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:18 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Nancy's first article
Does John Edwards, who lives in this enormous house in North Carolina, know what it is like to be "struggling to get by?"
Yes:
Edwards was born on June 10, 1953 to Wallace R. Edwards and Kathryn Juanita Wade in Seneca, South Carolina. The family moved several times during Edwards' childhood, eventually settling in Robbins, North Carolina, where his father worked in a textile mill and his mother was a postal employee. Edwards was the first person in his family to attend college.
And why on Earth should left-wingers have to be and stay poor themselves to help other poverty-stricken people? It's akin to me saying I can't help an elderly lady down a flight of stairs because I'm neither female nor elderly. Do I have to wait until I'm an old and fragile 75-year old to help other of the same age?

I can't for the life of me understand why it is that in order to help the less privileged, you have to be poor yourself. They never apply the same standards to other fields of aid - Red Cross aid workers don't have to lose a leg to an IED before they can talk about land mine victims, for example.

And if the carbon offsets are like "cleaning your travel", or whatever it translates to in English, it's a great system. "Travel-cleaning" consists of summing up what you spend on polluting travel and donate the same sum to those fighting global warming.

Not that it matters anyway. He could be driving his car to the mailbox and it wouldn't make his film any less true. Sure, it's senseless of him if he wastes power, but to use it to discredit An Inconvenient Truth just won't work.

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Originally Posted by Nancy's article
Second, the average American family is going to feel financial pain Gore won't if it were to buy the same offsets.
I fail to see the point here.

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Old 03-04-2007, 11:22 PM   #37
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The main point of the articles comes from a site where they discuss Al Gore having a $30000 utility bill. Which begs the question: he is allowed to use as much water gas and electricity as he likes? But others arn't?
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Old 03-05-2007, 01:58 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
The main point of the articles comes from a site where they discuss Al Gore having a $30000 utility bill. Which begs the question: he is allowed to use as much water gas and electricity as he likes? But others arn't?
Sorry to butt in.

1) Although the headline (purposely?) misleads you to think that's his monthly electric bill, the article itself points out that it's actually his annual bill. Al Gore doesn't pay 30k per month for electricity and gas.

2) SourceWatch lists TCPR (the group that published the info on Gore) as a far-right think tank. Which clearly contrasts their own claim: "an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research and educational institute". Source

3) While the billing information might be part of the public record, it doesn't appear to be published online by an independent source (at least not by one that I was able to find). Therefore, TCPR could just be making the numbers up. The ABC News article says that the numbers are undisputed, but the wording in that part is suspect.

4) Speaking of suspect wording, this should give one pause: "The Center claims that Nashville Electric Services records show...". So did the journalists actually fact-check the information or are they relying on report published by the partisan "non-partisan" group? Hmmmm...

5) No one seems to dispute that the Gore's are off-setting their carbon footprint in other ways. It seems to me that he is practicing what he preaches. He's doing on a scale that probably makes most Americans extremely jealous, but so what?

6) Saving the best for last, none of this really matters anyways. The whole thing is an ad hominem attack and does nothing to distract from his message. Suppose private investigators find that he clubs baby seals in his basement and sneaks out into the wilderness to dance naked around mountains of burning tires. So what!? Doesn't change the validity (whatever you think it may be) of what the man says.

My 2 cents.

Added by edit: So much for non-partisan. Click me

Last edited by Achilles; 03-05-2007 at 02:04 AM. Reason: Additonal source
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:20 AM   #39
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I'm not sure about the rest but I'll touch on this last part. You're right, this is used as an attempt to discredit Gore in his enviromental activism, something which it does a good job of as it shows him to be hypocritical. If he did commit the acts you described then not only would it further prove his hypocracy it would show that he should be locked up. But despite all that there is no denying the enviromental message Gore, conservative and enviromental groups such as PETA, Captain Planet and even the hard line groups such as Sierra and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement are putting out.

That post, well there you go, the tactic against Gore backfired and shows that the people behind it could not give two damns about the enviroment, they just wanted an opportunity to try and bring down Gore.
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Old 03-06-2007, 05:20 PM   #40
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You're right, this is used as an attempt to discredit Gore in his environmental activism, something which it does a good job of as it shows him to be hypocritical.
You mean except from the fact that it's not true?

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That post, well there you go, the tactic against Gore backfired and shows that the people behind it could not give two damns about the environment, they just wanted an opportunity to try and bring down Gore.
I think it's just as much that they want to bring down Gore's environmentalism. It's a hinder to their lucrative businesses, and puts them in a very bad light.

Of course, however, it's also a myth that to curb global warming, we'll have to effectively ruin our economy. Gore himself states in An Inconvenient Truth that changes in our daily routines alone (shorter showers, car-pooling, etc.) would have a significant effect.

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