Weapon of Mass Confusion

So yesterday, or whatever it was in Indonesia, our Secretary of State beclowned his office by saying that climate change could well be considered as a weapon of mass destruction. This means any number of things, but the central thing it means is that somebody doesn’t want to have the 2014 elections hinge on the triumphs of Obamacare.

So it is apparently time for us to review what we do not know about global warming. There is quite a bit that we don’t know so you might want to gulp down an extra bit of oxygen before starting the next sentence. First, we don’t know that climate change is even happening; in the next instance, we don’t know whether it would be a bad thing or a good thing if it were, for it is quite possible that we will like it when Iceland is famous for her white wines; in the third place, we don’t know, if it is happening and if it is bad, that we, as in we humans, are in any way responsible for it, another possible culprit being the flaming hot ball of fire in the sky; and fourth, we don’t know that anything can be done about it.

However, one thing we can be pretty sure of is that if it is happening, and if it is bad, and if we are causing it, and if we can reverse it, then the last people on earth we should entrust with the responsibility of reversing it would be those statist functionaries who are clamoring for more power in the name of climate change. I would rather die in a rising ocean of inconvenient truths than to pass out the rest of my days smelting our old toothpaste tubes before an important bureaucrat in that big office building across the continent says that it is safe to throw them away.

Think about it for a minute. The Peter Principle says that in an organization, people get promoted up to their level of incompetence, at which point the promotions stop, and you are stuck with that person in that slot for the foreseeable future. But when it comes to government disasters, they do this principle one better. Every fiasco caused by their thundering incompetence is used as compelling evidence that they are long overdue for a promotion and a raise.

Runaway government is a metastasizing cancer that has donned a doctor’s white coat and is offering to help with the treatments. My suggestion would be to say no.

A moment ago I urged you to think about it for a minute, but I sensed that your attention may have started to waver. Don’t drift off now. This the crux of the whole risible affair. The people who brought you trillion dollar deficits, the government education system, the spiraling chaos of Middle East politics, the roll-out of Obamacare, departments of motor vehicles everywhere, and a Federal Reserve honeycombed with crony capitalists, are now asking, on the basis of their record, a record that looks like the trail left by an F-5 tornado, to be put in charge of the weather.

And so I am afraid that if you take longer than a couple seconds to think about whether to be against this galloping folly, then you are a worthy recipient of everything you are about to get.

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137 thoughts on “Weapon of Mass Confusion

  1. A few years back, I got interested in the whole debate on global warming, and I read up on it.  I actually read the IPCC report, all 900 plus pages of it, plus about a dozen other books on the subject.  Climate science is actually a very interesting subject.
    Here is what I found out:
    (1)  The Earth has a number of natural climate cycles.  The most relevant one produced the Medieval Warm Period, in which wine grapes grew naturally in Labrador and Britain, followed by the Little Ice Age, in which the Thames froze solid in the winter in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.  That particular cycle has been traced back into Roman times and before.  As far as I know, no one knows why the cycle occurs, but that it does occur is well-established.  The Little Ice Age ended in 1750, and was followed by the Modern Warm Period, which we are now in.   Since 1750, there has been a slight, but noticeable, increase in global temperature, subject to various ups and downs.  What we have seen since 1750 is entirely consistent with the Medieval Warm Period and earlier examples of the cycle.  Thus, Occam’s Razor suggests that whatever caused the cycle before is causing it now.
    (2)  Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as methane, have a proven effect on temperature.  They tend to heat things up a bit.   The planet Venus, for example, has an over 90% carbon dioxide atmosphere, and it is incredibly hot there as a result.  On Earth, carbon dioxide is a trace gas; it is measured in parts per thousand, in the atmosphere, meaning that there is tremendously less than 1% of the atmosphere is made up of it.  There is no question but that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has increased a great deal, in the last century or so, but it is still a trace gas.
    (3)  Believers in the conventional theory of global warming take (1) and (2) and connect the dots.   They note that, since 1750, is has been getting generally warmer.  They note that, for most of the 20th century, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has increased.  They assert that the latter causes the former, and that, if this continues, there will be a catastrophic increase in global temperature, which will melt the ice sheets, kill the polar bears, lead to huge rises in ocean water levels and so forth.
    They could be right.  Climate science is complicated, and it is hard to sort it all out.  Relatively simple logic, however, suggests that they probably are not right.  The big fact is the Medieval Warm Period, which occurred long before humanity started pumping carbon dioxide into the air.  The fact that, in the historical past, it got warm before, just the way that has been getting warm since 1750, suggests very strongly that: (1) climate varies naturally; and (2) whatever caused it the last time is causing it now.  
    Another substantial piece of evidence is that it has not gotten any warmer in the last 17 years.  If you look at the evidence, this kind of multi-decade change in the trend line happens all of the time.  That what appears to be a general warming trend would pause for almost twenty years, however, is far more consistent with the idea that natural variability is driving the process, then the idea that evil mankind is causing the change by pumping out CO2.  After all, in the last 17 years, we have pumped out a great deal of CO2.  If it was causing warming, you would expect to see some warming.
    Another thing that I found out is that most of the global warming folks do not take their own theory seriously.  If you really believed that CO2 in the air is going to cause horrible things to happen, then, logically, you would support any kind of large-scale energy production which does not produce any CO2.  In other words, you would be a fan of nuclear power, the only possible source of massive amounts of CO2-free energy.   In fact, some of the global warming true believers, such as James Hansen, do support nuclear power, for exactly this reason.  By and large, however, the same people who are beating the drum about global warming are also die-hard opponents of nuclear power.  
     
     

  2. So it is apparently time for us to review what we do not know about global warming. There is quite a bit that we don’t know so you might want to gulp down an extra bit of oxygen before starting the next sentence. First, we don’t know that climate change is even happening;[citation needed] in the next instance, we don’t know whether it would be a bad thing or a good thing if it were,[citation needed] for it is quite possible that we will like it when Iceland is famous for her white wines;[citation needed] in the third place, we don’t know, if it is happening and if it is bad, that we, as in we humans, are in any way responsible for it,[citation needed] another possible culprit being the flaming hot ball of fire in the sky; and fourth, we don’t know that anything can be done about it.[citation needed]

    -

    And so I am afraid that if you take longer than a couple seconds to think about whether to be against this galloping folly, then you are a worthy recipient of everything you are about to get.

    Oh, wait, you’ve already poisoned the well, so if anyone disagrees with you, or asks you to back up your assertions, they’re just idiots.

  3. Jon: Poisoning the well is a way of immunizing your position from objection, and so of coercing others to submit to your word. To treat you like as if you’re the authority, whereas on this issue, Pr. Wilson is definitely not an authority–thus it’s also a lie.

  4. Dan: I find that a really odd point. It’s the military industrial complex that gives us problems like global warming. While I agree that U.S. imposed solutions are not the solution, resisting the idea of global warming comes very close to defending the institutions which have caused it, namely, the military industrial complex, and its imitation.

  5. How do you like this recent headline:
     
    Global warming: Australian scientists say strong winds in Pacific behind pause in rising temperatures…
     
    When it goes up it’s our fault, if it doesn’t go up it’s natural variability…

  6. Michael: It doesn’t do to take third hand accounts of the science. http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1174. We need to either evaluate what the scientists themselves say, or is we can’t do that for whatever, pay attention to what they say, not to second-hand accounts, and trust them to know better than we do.

  7. Matthew, I beg of you brother.  Please deal with your bitterness.  Lately it seems every post Wilson makes you come our of the corner swinging but you consistently miss the point he is making. <br><br>
    Point in case:<br>
    You concatenate his conclusion with his groundmaking paragraph and think you have caught him out.  You have ignored all the argument in between.<br><br>
    The paragraphs starting Runaway government and the next one are the crux of his argument.  He tells us that.  And if what he says about runaway government is true then his conclusion is valid and not a case of poisoning the well.  We will get what we vote for, and we probably deserve it.<br><br>I don’t think your obsession with Wilson is helping you to grow in godliness or see things clearly.<br><br>I feel for you brother, but it’s getting embarrassing.
     
     
     

  8. Michael: You’re right, the middle section is a little better–though one could contest whether some of those things are nearly so bad as he makes out. But either way, saying “If you disagree with me, you’re dumb” is poisoning the well.

    That said, the force of the post is not “Global Warming may be happening, but if we fight it, we need to not do it like that” but “Global Warming is probably not happening, and those idiots are fighting it wrong.” That he has recently said that the whole point of the liberal agenda is a power grab (not a power grab in response to real problems, etc.) only makes the issue more problematic.

  9. You can also see that my comment on the most recent thread was a question not a refutation at all. To ask someone a question is to honor them.

  10. Matt,                                                                                                                                                                                 
    It would be nice to see more constructive thinking from you.  It is no virtue to be the guy who only seems to be able to point out things to which he disagrees, and who does not seem to be able to put forth a positive case for what is true.  We are truth seekers after all, not just error revealers.  

  11. Since I’ve disagreed with DW on nearly every “Global Swarming” post ever, why stop now? What we know – carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and other gases reflect back heat that otherwise would have been lost to space. Some are more potent than others. The fact that it is a “trace gas” as posted by Rick is meaningless. The current question is whether it is increasing or not. CO2 and methane are increasing significantly with the highest levels in many decades measured,  I believe last year. We also know that global temperatures are increasing by many, many factors, one of the easiest to follow is loss of glaciers. We also know that those glaciers were melting fast BEFORE the CO2 started to rise as quickly. It seems plain to me that what we are witnessing is a natural warming cycle, likely a function of solar variation topped by man-made warming from green house gases.    The next question is more important to me in regards to whose forum we are on. There is certainly doubt regarding how much impact we have on the current warming trend. However, it would seem that a conservative would err on the side of safety and be encouraging his flock to support appropriate environmental safeguards.  It also would seem that a Christian leader, esp one of DWs caliber, influence, intellect and eschatologic position would take on a God-honoring position instead of  his consistent Creation-trashing position.  I do not think our Father is  honored or pleased with those who disregard that which he has called good.    I do agree with Rick that nuclear energy makes the most sense in this regard with some use of renewables although all of them take their enviromental toll as well.

  12. Tim: It’s really hard to provide a positive argument for anything when the well has been poisoned against anyone who tries. The negative comes first. I’d be happy to contribute more positively. But that would require that the rhetoric be open to counter suggestions, rather than making it so anyone who disagrees is already stupid.

  13. OK Matthew, you say:

     To ask someone a question is to honor them.

    So, in order to honor you I would like to ask you a question.  Is this well not Pastor Wilson’s to “poison” as he sees fit? 
    You also said:

    you’ve already poisoned the well, so if anyone disagrees with you, or asks you to back up your assertions, they’re just idiots

    In the interest of further honoring you: Do you not realize that a good number of the readers here already have a pretty good handle on who the “idiots” are?

  14. we don’t know that climate change is even happening

    Sure we do.  It is happening.  It happens all the time.

    we don’t know whether it would be a bad thing or a good thing if it were

    The usual argument made here is that we’ve built a world around a certain climate, and it would be extremely disruptive, to say the least, for it to change such that coastlines were no longer where they were.  This is all true, but irrelevant if….

    we don’t know, if it is happening and if it is bad, that we, as in we humans, are in any way responsible for it, another possible culprit being the flaming hot ball of fire in the sky; and fourth, we don’t know that anything can be done about it.

    True!  It’s all currently based on models that don’t have anything like the precision of an actual atmosphere.  The sensible approach here is that climate modeling (not a bad idea inherently) is in its infancy, and it would be supremely foolish and wasteful to go trying to stamp out climate change based on its conclusions.  There is little chance of getting it right and enormous chance of doing more harm than good.

  15. That’s a rhetorical question, not a true question. That people think there are idiots at all is something of an issue. That Pr. Wilson encourages that tendency, rather than helping his viewers learn to listen to people they disagree with is more of an issue.

  16. Matthew N. Peterson here are some dictionary definitions: 1) fool – a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense; 2) Idiot - an utterly foolish or senseless person.  The dictionary seems to present the words fool and idiot as fairly synonymous.  Here is a list of Bible passages that declare individuals to be fools: Num 22:29; 2 Sam 3:33; 13:13; Job 5:2f; 12:17; Ps 14:1; 39:8; 49:10; 53:1; 92:6; 94:8; 107:17; Prov 1:7, 22, 32; 3:35; 8:5; 10:8, 10, 14, 18, 21, 23; 11:29; 12:15f, 23; 13:16, 19f; 14:3, 7ff, 16, 24, 33; 15:2, 5, 7, 14; 16:22; 17:7, 10, 12, 16, 21, 24, 28; 18:2; 19:1, 10, 29; 20:3; 23:9; 24:7; 26:1, 3ff; 27:22; 28:26; 29:9, 11, 20; 30:22; Eccl 2:14ff, 19; 4:5; 5:1, 4; 6:8; 7:4ff, 9, 17; 9:17; 10:3, 12, 14f; Isa 19:13; 32:5f; 35:8; 44:25; Jer 17:11; 50:36; Hos 9:7; Matt 5:22; 23:17; Luke 11:40; 12:20; Rom 1:22; 1 Cor 3:18; 4:10; 2 Cor 11:16f, 19, 21; 12:6, 11.  Therefore, I do not think it is an issue to think that idiots exists.  Neither do I think there is any issue in describing someone as an idiot.  The Bible seems to do so quite frequently :)

  17. And yet, Matthew 5:22. The issue is saying treating people as idiots, and therefore not worthy of hearing. Do you like it when they do the same to you? Then the golden rule applies.

  18. But I perhaps could have been more clear. Sorry about that. (It’s worth noting that most of your passages aren’t relevant–they are examples of people avoiding shame, or delighting in shame, not, passages where people are called fools.)

  19. Even if we could grant, based on lack of directly contrary data, that things are warming dangerously because of human activity, we simply cannot grant that an expansive new government bureaucracy would do anything but make the problem worse.  This is because we possess overwhelming data that this is what expansive government bureaucracies are best at!  (See the War on Alcohol, War on Poverty, War on Racism, War on Drugs, War on Education, War on Guns, War on War, War on Deficits, War on Sub-Prime Loans, War on Insider Trading, etc., etc.)  Before Petersen accuses me of poisoning the well by saying so, I would point out that it was poisoned long ago.  (Note that my argument is not against government regulations, as such, but against expansive government bureaucracies which are alleged to save us from something.)

  20. Matthew N. Peterson: I didn’t want to wade through them all, just trying to demonstrate that fools exist :) Most of the proverbs passages apply though correct? Moros is a common greek word which we translate into English as fool (Matt 5:22; 7:26; 23:17; 25:2f, 8; 1 Cor 1:25, 27; 3:18; 4:10; 2 Tim 2:23; Titus 3:9).  The issue in Matthew 5:22 seems to be sinfully angry utterances towards brothers where no attempt is made at reconciliation.  Later on the LORD declares the Pharisees to be blind fools (moroi – plural of moros).  Therefore, there does not seem to be anything objectively wrong with the term itself.  Were you saying that the issue in Matt 5:22 is treating people as idiots and not worthy of hearing? If so please demonstrate :) Stupid ideas do exist correct?  There are clearly stupid people who make stupid decisions?  I know it’s not pc to say so, but the whole book of proverbs is dedicated to teaching us how to keep from being idiots.  Before coming to know Christ we are all idiots (Rom 1:25 - moraino).  Therefore, I would not have any problem saying that unbelievers are a morons and their explanations of the Bible are not worth hearing, would you?  The Bible seems to make this point quite clear.  It probably would not be polite to go around calling all the unbelievers that you see morons.  But the general point stands. That is what they are.  

  21. I general I think we should all acknowledge: 1) idiots exists; 2) there are stupid ideas; 3) unbelievers are morons; and least we get prideful 4) God chose the morons (believers) to shame the wise (unbelievers).  

  22. It’s only poisoning the well if you say that only an idiot would disagree with you, which you didn’t. I agree that government bureaucracies aren’t the a good solution–though there are other bloated entities, and it may take similarly bloated entities to fight them when they do wrong.

  23. Tim: Luke 16:8. And there’s no reason embarrassing ourselves by not even trying to understand. And, that’s no way to convince them of anything.

  24. Consume less? What do you mean by that Matthew? Are you meaning that we should forgo modern luxuries like washing machines, dish washers, hot water heaters, air conditioners, a car that fits all my children comfortably? Are you meaning that people should purposefully strive to be barren so they don’t end up throwing away more than one bag of garbage a week to “save the planet”? 
    Everything is economics. I am unwilling to forgo those conveniences because my time is more productive with them. Even the super greenies like Darryl Hannah have air conditioning. Ed Bagley Jr might ride a bicycle but I bet he doesn’t wash his clothes on a washboard. C’mon.

  25. My reason for quoting the sermon on the Mt. is to show that it’s simplistic to say fool is a biblical category. As for the rest, we can’t know someone’s a fool unless we have already listened to them. Listening is a prerequisite for that judgment–and even then, we may need to listen on other issues than the one we already have judged with respect to.

  26. Matthew N. Petersen, “fool” is clearly a biblical category.  This is not simplistic.  There are times and situations where it is appropriate to call someone a moros.  Jesus does so, so does the Book of proverbs using words like CaSil and eVil.  Yes I totally agree that unbelievers are shrewd in ways that believers are not.  If an idea is stupid, it is stupid.  Why can’t Douglas Wilson say so?  Must all of his posts await the verdict of his commentators?  If he has evaluated a position and found it to be ludicrous, why would it be wrong for him to say so?  If the evidence shows him to be wrong, then he is the one who looks stupid correct?  Doug is attempting to teach truth in these blog posts, he is not attempting to facilitate a discussion where all ideas are treated as equally valid.  I am sure he has listened to what he believes is nonsense for years.  Why is he not permitted to call nonsense nonsense?

  27. I honored you by asking you a question to clarify your blanket statement that it’s inherently best “if we could all consume less”. What, indeed, do you mean by that? 

  28. Or is it that you are troubled when people make dogmatic claims in areas that you are not settled?  All dogmatic pronouncements must be put on hold until you come to a settled stance?  Anyone who dares to speak dogmatically on any non-settled issue is guilty of not listening?

  29. Matt, brother, prior to the comment that seems to have been objectionable to you, the pastor listed off the record from the folks who now want to be a credible source to handle  global warming.  Prior to that he gave a list of some of the many questions we should look into about global warming.  Do you consider pointing out someone’s record as poisoning the well?  Do you consider listing some queries you have about the purported crisis, posing as an expert?  Again, Matt, I urge you to think about why you seem compelled to discredit Pastor Wilson.    I pray that what ever is troubling you, would be resolved.  At any rate you began an argument claiming that we should consume less, correct?  So considering you are a person involved in Science, would you tell us why you believe that.  We are all flushing out our arguments and I am sincerely intrusted in hearing yours.Thanks

  30. Tim: It bothers me when people make dogmatic claims about their opposition before they have listened to their opposition, and when people make dogmatic claims as if they have expertise when they clearly do not.

  31. The political – science cronyism is getting a bit weary. It’s like Chicken Little, the sky is falling, the sky is falling! There’s a manufactured crisis prophesied by our secular scientific priests; global cooling, ozone hole, global warming (note that it had to rebranded as climate change) and dozens of minor ones. Our repentance plan and salvation is forced upon us by the secular king(s). 
    Good science depends upon many data points. Weather science cannot even predict storms very well. They are relatively local. There is a wealth of data available. They still get it wrong. Now with a very small set of data points, gathered over a very short period of time, trusting the accuracy of centuries old instrumentation, encompassing the whole earth they are putting forth what we are told is an ironclad theory. So serious is it’s import that catastrophe is around the corner if we don’t take some action (like taking my money and putting into the climate scientists coffer.) It is impossible to take anyone seriously who propounds this nonsense.

  32. The fact that I eagerly clicked on the comments and scrolled down, only to find Matthew N. Peterson’a whining in the THIRD comment of the thread now makes me doubt the predictive power “settled science” on everything.

  33. Matthew it is very difficult to keep from concluding that your problem is in dogmatism itself. Doug is obviously a reader. How could you possibly conclude that he hasn’t listened to his opposition? Are you aware of his reading habits? Doug has never claimed to be an expert, just a popopularizer. A person doesn’t have to be an expert to spot a poor argument.

  34. Matt: We all rely on expert testimony for much of our knowledge, even scientists do. Mr. Wilson read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and I’m assuming that’s where he got his views on GW. I’m no science expert either, but I read Unstoppable Global Warming by Avery and it appears he comes to the same conclusion as the author Mr. Wilson reads. I have no problem mocking GW personally, even though I’m not an expert. Neither he, nor you, nor I are experts, but he and I have read up on it.

  35. Matthew Petersen:
    Pretty funny reading your “poisoning the well” complaint after 30+ years of being told I’m not “intelligent”, or a “fundamentalist”, or even “another racist” since I don’t accept the current line put forth by the intellectual elite on most issues.  Simple tautological  claim:  If you don’t accept the majority view held by those who are strict materialists then you can’t be rational, logical, or scientific, and whatever education you have supposedly received is clearly and systemically flawed and useless.
    Never mind that the mainstream views on cosmology, evolution, climate change, medical practice, economics, international relations, morality, and even “justice” change so fast that a person would need to read full time just to keep up with the current trends.
    “If you don’t agree with us you must be wrong.” – Tell me this isn’t poisoning the well.
    Anyway, this is all beside the point, as the primary truth expressed in the sixth paragraph is so hilariously obvious as to make the last little more than a parenthetical chuckle.  Even if there was global warming, Wilson is right about the absurdity of failed and incompetent persons, institutions, and statist systems attempting to influence global weather at this time, with such childish fervor, and such a bad track record.
    (I say this while watching the local (and some national) media discussing the $300,000,000 being spent on ORBamaCare, but nobody seems to know where the money went.  Look!  A Squirrel!)
    Teaching a three year old how to direct traffic would be more realistic.

  36. Tim: I don’t think he has the tools to listen to his opponents on this issue. Statistics are hard, and I don’t get them at all. But aside from that, in this post I didn’t say that he hadn’t listened to them, but that he poisoned the well, which results in immunizing his position from criticism, and instructing his audience not to listen. That said, when he acts like there are a ton of open questions, all of which have been addressed, it’s pretty strong evidence that he isn’t listening to his opponents.

    Seth: Listening to one side does not mean listening to his opponents–though, if someone were to make a point of making Proverbs 18:17, and then thought listening to one side was good enough, there may be serious honesty issues in play. Setting that aside, Denis Avery is a food policy analyst, and Christopher Horner is a lawyer. And google scholar seems to indicate that neither of them has published real science on climate change. Neither of them are anything close to experts. Fred Singer is a physicist, though he does have some experience with atmospheric physics, but again, not an expert.

  37. Monte: You are correct that the other side often behaves poorly. That is not an excuse for us to do so. That said, I agree that government fighting global warming is at best a necessary evil. But this post does not have the force “Global Warming may be happening, lets all be less enslaved by consumerism, and therefore, less consumptive of the very problematic chemicals (gasoline especially)”, but rather, it has the force of “Global Warming is almost surely not true (look at this litany of questions that isn’t addressed), but even so, we shouldn’t let that damn government meddle.”

  38. It seems very difficult to avoid concluding that you think yourself God. Who knows what Doug has read or what tools he has?You seem to be demanding that he be an expert to evaluate an argument? What is the difference between your understanding of poisoning the well and being dogmatic? If I were to say “buying luxary items on credit cards makes you a fool. Anyone who disagrees with me deserves their calamity.” Have I poisoned the well?

  39. Tim: If you said “buying luxary items on credit cards makes you a fool. Anyone who does so deserves their calamity.” You would not be poisoning the well. But if you say anyone who disagrees, so that, if, for instance, I were to say “Sometimes that happens because they get suckered into it, not because they’re fools, in which case, they only need our help” you’ve made it so no one will agree with me. Anyway, you’re free to google poisoning the well, and figure out for yourself what it means.

    -

    As to being an expert to evaluate an argument: No, someone can evaluate an argument without being an expert. In the post in question, I was challenging Seth’s claim that listening to non-experts from your own side amounts to listening to people who disagree with you. That said, it’s very easy to make good arguments look silly. And that’s really all Pr. Wilson is qualified to do on this issue. Statistics are extremely difficult, and he is not qualified to evaluate statistics based questions. I’m not even qualified for that.

  40. “I’m not even qualified for that.”

    You are also not qualified to assess Pastor Wilson’s qualifications. Mr. Petersen, can you not understand that your behavior, regardless of your protestations, appears boorish? It is apparent that you have created a special residence for Douglas Wilson: he is in your head.

  41. RFB:  I know Pr. Wilson well enough to know he didn’t even have calculus, probably not college math at all. That’s not exactly a problem, but it becomes a problem when he decided to speak on matters too lofty for him. Given the quality of responses–people who didn’t even take the time to google “poisoning the well” it doesn’t surprise me that I seem boorish to some people here.

  42. Robert.   The best book on the subject is Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, by Ian Pilmer.  It is an extremely good read, by a scientist who really knows his stuff.  Another good book is The Deniers, by Lawrence Solomon.  It is a series of vignettes about scientists who, in their field, went up against some part of the conventional wisdom.  Their experiences are very instructive.  A very good book, although an extremely partisan one, is Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1600 Years by Dennis Avery and Fred Singer.  Finally, the IPCC’s book really is worth reading.  If you want to know the evidence in this area, you need to read the IPCC book.    

  43. Kimberley: I missed your question above. I don’t know anything about any specific situation, so I can’t say. But I think most of us, if we knew to, could say: “When I try to be thrifty, I shouldn’t only look at how much money I’m spending, but at how much stuff I’m wasting” and build off that to find ways to consume less. For some that might mean biking more. For some that might mean taking more public transportation. For some that might mean eating more rice and beans, and less high sodium foods. For some that might mean deciding to join a coop, so they can buy organic relatively cheap, in bulk. For some that might mean…

  44. I just like the name Tim Mullet.  Everything Tim writes seems more down to earth just because of his name.  In Australia we would give a bloke a nickname like Mullet,  “This is me mate, Mullet.”  God bless you brother.

  45. Matthew, people use words in different ways. I’m a counselor, I don’t like to assume I know what people mean by the expressions they use, that’s why you ask questions. People use expressions improperly. It really sounds like you do not like dogmatism. It is strange that you do not simply disagree with Doug’s case. For a person who likes to try to understand people, it is an interesting phenomenon to observe. You are very concerned with Doug’s manner of speaking in certain areas. It appears that whenever he speaks dogmatically about science, you are going to accuse him of scapegoating, poisoning the well, not being qualified, not listening to the other side, etc. So yes I’m trying to figure out what is behind the eccentric behavior.

  46. Also, I don’t see any suggestion that Kerry said “Climate Change is a weapon of mass destruction, so submit to the government.” It seems likely that he would think something like that is the best solution, but also, that he thinks it’s a real problem, and really is like a weapon of mass destruction, and that the government is just the best solution. As to the substance: If global warming isn’t controversial (and it shouldn’t be, and it isn’t in his circles) then there isn’t anything controversial about the statement.

  47. Matthew – Why is “consuming less” the gold standard for human behavior? Who gets to decide what the baseline “less” is for everyone? 

  48. Kimberley: Question 1: I didn’t say it’s a gold standard. Question 2: I said that each of us could decide for ourselves, and that it doesn’t work to decide from outside.

  49. Listening seems to be one of the most basic concepts, and so I’m not sure I could define it in terms of less clear terms. Listening would involve sitting down with the best one has access to, and hearing what they have to say. And asking questions that admit your ignorance and attempt to give your opposition the ability to answer them. But look at, for instance, entropy. He went with a dictionary definition, and claimed that he could reason based off a popularization–when in fact, the popularization is just that, a popularization, and not the thing itself, and if he were to attempt to approach the definitions themselves, he would need to ask numerous questions. Same here. Have the questions in his second paragraph. Have none of those been raised by the scientists–say the question about the [sic] flaming hot ball of fire. Do they not have answers? Can he even begin to follow the answers that a popularizing web site (run by an Evangelical Christian) gives? Has he read, asking questions to understand, not to refute, popularizers of the science? (Perhaps he has, but it does not even seem that–since if he’s asking questions to understand, he would recognize that he doesn’t, and place his hand over his mouth.) 

  50. That no one seems to think that Seth’s suggestion that listening to non-experts on his own side amounts to listening to experts from the other side deserves to be laughed out of town is more evidence that there is no listening here.

  51. Matt, don’t tell me it was a dictionary definition. I knew that. Tell me what was wrong with it. Being a popularization isn’t an error.

  52. Matthew, You’re right you never said it was the gold standard. I inferred that from your previous blanket statement  “We could do well to start by trying to consume less.” that there is some ultimate standard you are thinking of for all…hence the “we”. To what end are “we” all supposed to be consuming less steak and more rice and beans for? For what purpose should my family forgo modern conveniences? What is the end game? 

  53. I am in no way a climate scientist (or any kind of scientist for that matter), but why is man made global warming so hard to believe? In the past 3-5 hundred years mankind has exterminated entire species, damned up the mightiest rivers, destroyed cities with atom bombs, reduced the population of fish in the ocean by 90%, and the list goes on. Shanghai’s air is thickened and disgusting and on its worst days it blots out the sun. Is it so hard to believe that this might have long lasting consequences for the environment? I just don’t know why so many people think believe global warming doesn’t pass the smell test. We can disagree about what can and should be done about it, but I find it hard to believe that climate change isn’t happening. Why would we expect the climate to remain the same after everything we’ve done to the earth? If one of the great lakes can catch fire then why would we dismiss the notion of a warmed earth offhand?

  54. Nick, It is only hard to believe if you don’t want to believe it. Disbelief requires a political or theological agenda that contradicts that which everyone can see. All you need to do is travel a bit,  open your eyes a bit and think a bit.  Global warming is plain as the nose on your face. The question once again is how much does human activity have on it and how much is outside of man’s influence. Your observations however are spot on.

  55. Matt, 
    . Also, the Wilson is far more qualified than you give me credit for. He is a gentleman and a scholar. He is why the event, and highly logical. The fact that he doesn’t answer you quickly point does not mean he doesn’t have answers.

  56. Sorry for the garbled comment – so much for posting from my iPhone. 
    <br></br>
    What I meant to say was this: Matt, in a multitude of words, sin is not absent. Also, Pastor Wilson is definitely qualified to air an opinion on global warming – he has read very widely – perhaps even wider than you – and a logical thinker (consider his debate against Christopher Hitchens). Science is based upon logic (at least when it’s being honest), so he certainly doesn’t need a degree in climatology or a course in calculus to follow the basic arguments for or against global warming. 
    <br> </br>
    The fact that you don’t like his rhetoric is another thing, and I agree with you on his last paragraph to some extent, but you are completely out of line insulting Pastor Wilson. “God strike you, you whitewashed wall.” He is older and wiser than you, and you might consider the fact that you frequently make  yourself unlikeable not by being the boorish truth, but by acting like a boar and lacking basic Christian charity and civility. 

  57. @Nick E.   The fact that Greenland (a large island covered in ice) was given the name Greenland in the very near past suggests at a very superficial level as least, that parts of this world have been significantly warmer than they are now.  Global warming would make the world more like it was in the past – at least in that area.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                   With a bit more research you can find proof of ancient (Roman era and beyond) vineyards in places in Britain where they wouldn’t grow today.  A bit more research will show similar evidence that we’re not living in extreme climate conditions and will also show a corralation between colder than average years and poor harvests/warmer than average years and good harvests – suggesting that for many places, being warmer will make things better for people. 

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    Currently in Britain (following the Stern report) there are lots of initiatives to try and reduce CO2 emission, mainly by subsidising costs of ‘alternative’ energy.  This has already pushed up the cost of electricity making heating of homes hard for the elderly – and in Britain the number of deaths from inadequate heating in winter is already a much bigger problem than the number of deaths from overheating in summer.   Action on global warming has already cost lives – the debate is whether such action has saved lives or will save lives, but the case needs to be made for it.

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    http://wattsupwiththat.com/ will provide some of the science questions on why the case for global warming isn’t as strong as it’s sometimes made out to be.  Simple observation of human nature, trying to follow different leads, thinking about how money can distort people (big oil is tiny compared to big government, and all they money they are pouring at Global warming research – a scientist friend of mine had to come up with a way of crowbarring global warming into his research if he wanted to get any funding for it) and how governments almost always wants to increase their power as well as knowing how readily fear drives people who are outside of the gospel and drives them to find false-messiahs, should all lead us to be sceptical of the worst claims of global warming (and it is these worst claims which drive the action).  It strikes me that anyone who understands people and can do basic historical research should be eminantly suitable for commenting on global warming.

     
     
     
     
     

  58. Matthew that seems to be a very strange definition of listening that you have given.  You said, ” Listening would involve sitting down with the best one has access to, and hearing what they have to say. And asking questions that admit your ignorance and attempt to give your opposition the ability to answer them.”  According to your definition in order to listen, one has to admit his or her ignorance and ask your opposition questions and give them a chance to answer your objections.  The reason why I keep saying that I think that you have a problem with dogmatic pronouncements in certain areas is reflected in your definition of “listening.”  You keep saying, “Doug is not listening.”  I scratch my head and think, “he has obviously listened; that is why he has something to say. He has “heard” what he thinks to be bad arguments and now he is declaring them to be bad arguments.  Why is Matthew keep saying that Doug has not listened, when it is obvious that he has listened.”  But then you give me your definition of “listening” and now I get it.  You are against dogmatism.  Doug is not allowed to write a blog post bashing evolution or global warming.  He is not allowed to mock evolution or global warming, because then he would not be listening according to your definition.  In order for Doug to “listen” he has to write a blog post on a controversial issue and humbly acknowledge that he does not know everything.  He must cautiously put forward his best attempt at a position and suspend judgment until his critics have had a chance to object.  In this way, dogmatism is eternally suspended until all critics have had a chance to weigh in.  Doug is only allowed to facilitate a conversation where all ideas are treated with equal respect.  Sounds very postmodern/emergent :)  Dictionary.com defines listening as giving attention with the ear; attending closely for the purpose of hearing.  Doug has obviously listened extensively.  He has found arguments wanting.  Therefore, he is declaring them to be foolish, dangerous, and unbiblical.  A house built on a poor foundation will not stand.  You seem to think that a person cannot recognize a poor foundation unless he has an exhaustive understanding of the house.  Yet, a poor foundation is a poor foundation.  You do not need an exhaustive understanding of the house to recognize a poor foundation and be qualified to make dogmatic pronouncements about the impending doom of the house.

  59. Nick E, it’s not hard to believe that man has an effect on the environment.  But there are two caveats.  One is that this whole debate is not about observed effects, as contra Doug’s assertion that we don’t know if the climate is changing, we do know and that’s uncontroversial.  The sticking point is the predictions we make and the models they’re based on.  Climatologists do the best they can with what they have, but the technology and expertise just isn’t there yet to claim the kind of certainty GW believers routinely claim, either about the cause of the effects we see or the projections of the effects themselves or any possible treatment on our end.  Any reasonable cost-benefit analysis at the moment will return a value of “do nothing”, because there is too much uncertainty.  The other caveat is that this has turned, like seemingly everything in America, into a politico-tribal issue where you are supposed to “take a side” and fight til the death for your cause.  So Ds will argue until the end about how GW is real and we have to do something, and Rs will argue the opposite.  Most people on either side have no real understanding of anything beyond their prejudices, and it is best to just ignore this war mentality that infects everything and remain skeptically agnostic.

  60. Matthew, this just begs for a comment:

    more evidence that there is no listening here.

    I for one have listened to you, …and listened to you,  …and listened to you until I a can barely bear it.  I am beginning to feel like the Israelites did after eating quail until it came out their noses.  Sometimes it makes me wonder if you are a judgment from God like the flies in Egypt, but if so what could I have possibly done that would bring such wrath down.
                                                                                                                                                                             Listening does not equal agreement, or even acceptance as a valid alternative.
                                                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                                             Seriously though, I cannot help but fear for your soul.  I come to this blog to be edified by Pastor Wilson’s wisdom and wit.  If I vehemently disagreed with 90% of what he wrote I would not waste my time. I have read enough of Pastor Wilson’s writing to get a pretty good look at his heart.  Enough so that I am as sure that I will meet him in heaven one day as one can be of someone I only know through his writings on the internet.  You Matthew, on the other hand, disagree with nearly everything Pastor Wilson writes.  In fact, it seems that of all the commenters here, the one you share the most agreement with is comrade Eric the Red, the resident communist.  That is very troubling.  I have prayed for you, and I will try to do so in the future.
                                                                                                                                                                             On a lighter note, Nick E throws out this gem:

    In the past 3-5 hundred years mankind has … reduced the population of fish in the ocean by 90%

    This figure of course comes from comparing the results of the great fish census of 1625 to the most recent one done in 1984.  Of the billions of forms mailed out to fish, only 10% were returned correctly filled out this last time around.  Perhaps a problem with the post office?  …Nah!
     
     

  61. Matthew,
    There are listening skills and there are reading skills.  The point of the above blog is found in the third paragraph.  Even if global warming is happening, even if it is bad, and even if humans caused and can reverse it, Pastor Wilson does not think the Federal Government should be in charge of reversing it.  This point has nothing scientific or mathematical about it.  It is a point about the government’s ability to handle a crisis.  In addition ,we are all suggesting to you that your overwhelming desire to inform us of the pastor’s limitations, is clouding your own reading and comprehension skills.  We get it, Matthew.  Pastor Wilson is not a math/science guy and you are.  Truly, we get it.   Clearly he is showing more patience and tolerance to you than the rest of us are, but there is something very sad about watching you rant like this.  Perhaps you could show your posts to someone you trust and seek their advice.  May God bless you.
     

  62. Incidentally, Matthew, this is not a case of poisoning the well.  Poisoning the well is: “My opponent is a scoundrel, therefore what he says is false.”  That’s a logical fallacy.  Pastor’s Wilson’s argument is: “These people are scoundrels, therefore we ought not give them more power.”  That’s quite a different statement.  You seem to either have misread the post, or misunderstand what poisoning the well is.

  63. St. Lee: I see you have accused me of telling a “fish tale”. I did throw out a few figures without sourcing them, and I can see why you might accuse me of making things up (this is the internet of course). However I can easily back up my claims about the decline of fish populations. The data comes from comparing fish populations from the 1950s to now. There are many many many many studies detailing the fishpocolypse we are currently living in.  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120920-are-we-running-out-of-fish
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0515_030515_fishdecline.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/02/AR2006110200913.html

  64. Tim: If one of your clients had listened to his wife just long enough to think she was saying silly things, but not long enough to be able to sympathize with her, etc. would you say he had listened to her?

  65. Luke: Give me a break. Yes, statistics are logical, no mere logical training does not qualify you to judge statistical arguments. Perhaps you’re right that I shouldn’t cry foul when Pr. Wilson starts pontificating about things that are far too lofty for him, and shouldn’t ask questions when he says things that sound silly to me, but he is doing those things, it doesn’t bode well that no one is willing to admit it.

  66. Jonathan: The last paragraph says the first.

    And so I am afraid that if you take longer than a couple seconds to think about whether to be against this galloping folly, then you are a worthy recipient of everything you are about to get.

    This paragraph says that someone like me, who isn’t quite so sure this is a galloping folly, or isn’t even quite folly at all, doesn’t deserve to be heard. That’s completely uncalled for, and is poisoning the well against people like me who might disagree. It’s inoculating his position against criticism, and a preemptive ad hominem against me, and anyone outside his community, inoculating his readers from hearing opposition.

  67. Matthew, maybe affirm would be a clearer word to express what you are trying to express? He definitely heard her, though he might not have enough information to help her. Sometimes a woman will come in and let you know that she committed adultery. She is tearful and wants you to understand her. When you try to encourage her to repent, she might say, “you’re not listening, you do not understand.” What she means is that you are not understanding that she really could not help her sin. At that point you are not dealing with a listening issue. A person can always listen more effectively. The more information you have the better. But no matter how much I listen, adultery is wrong and the solution is repentance.

  68. Sure if a woman is saying silly things, if you want to help her, you probably want to listen more, so you can understand the source of the silliness. But silliness is still silliness. At some point you have to call it what it is and confront it. No matter how much a person may listen and sympathize, at some point the silly woman has to be told she is being silly, unless you understand hearing to equal affirmation.

  69. Mr. Petersen,
     
    According to your standard of listening, Job, a man declared by God to be a blameless and upright man who shunned evil, was evidently a poor listener and lacking in sympathy:
                                                                                                                                                                  “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
    But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.”              

  70. Tim,
    As long as it is just silliness and not so irrational that there is an indication of something more serious that may need attention.  That’s what concerns me.

  71. Carole perhaps you can fill out your sentence so I can understand you.  I think I know what you’re saying, but want to make sure :)  As long as it is just silliness and not so irrational that there is an indication of something more serious that may need attention… (then?)  Some silliness is just lighthearted silliness.  Sometimes prolonged, repeated silliness or irrationality is the result of deep seated problems that need to be explored.  Is that your basic point?

  72. Matthew, it took me a moment but I’m a tired Mama so you’ll need to forgive me not catching it sooner…I said everything is economics. I did not say everything is *money*. Economics is really just a fancy way of saying “cost benefit analysis”. Cost does not necessarily equal coin.

  73. RFB: Actually, it was his comforters who were poor listeners. He was defending himself from people who judged superficially, and used that to condemn.

    -

    This is actually a good example for Tim as well. Yes, if someone comes in and says “I committed adultery” you (more or less) know she sinned (more or less, because she may have been raped, or may have an oversensitive consciousness, and be reacting to liking it when a colleague patted her on the back). But if the situation is remotely more complicated, it takes a lot more to figure out what’s going on, and may take actual listening. (Also, bringing her to repentance may require what you’re calling “affirmation”, and which is not what I’m calling listening.) Job’s friends did not listen to him, or to the situation, but judged him because he was obviously wrong. That’s exactly what Pr. Wilson is doing. He simply does not have the tools to listen to his opposition, yet, based on his superficial scansion, has decided and is judging. That’s perhaps silly, what’s more problematic, is that he inoculates his position to criticism by saying “and if you disagree with me, you’re an idiot.” How can someone respectfully disagree with him after that? I suppose I perhaps should take Luke’s advice, and decide that Pr. Wilson is effectively closing down criticism, and making it impossible to respectfully disagree with him; but to do so is not to be more respectful of him.

  74. Kimberley: Then we could rephrase my original statement as “We should take carbon and plastic waste into our cost column as we make cost benefit analyses.”

  75. Tim, Yes, it is my point and I am feeling that it is quite relevant now.  My real point is that I am concerned I am a member of a crowd looking on while someone is crying out for help.  But I am not sure what should be done about it. Perhaps I am needlessly concerned…Dan, what do you think?

  76. Matthew,  thanks for clarifying.  What we have at the end here is still not poisoning the well.  Poisoning the well attempts to use the persons status (scoundrel, idiot, whatever) to discredit their argument.  This is the opposite.  It uses their argument (the government needs more power to fight global warming) to discredit their status (deserving of the consequences of that empowerment).  It’s the difference between saying “My opponent is a liar, therefore what he says is untrue” (a logical fallacy), and “What my opponent says is untrue, therefore he is a liar” (a moral judgment, and valid, with the right qualifications).

  77. Nope. It says “If people disagree with me, they’re idiots (and so their argument shouldn’t be heard).” It makes it impossible to respectfully disagree, since, if I do, merely by disagreeing, I’m an idiot who shouldn’t be heard–even if I think he’s being simplistic in part, but not in the whole.

  78. Another way of saying that, is that it makes it sound like any argument disagreeing in any way is in fact an argument for government power, and so discredited. But for most people who would disagree, that’s a lie about their argument.

  79. Matthew, the law distinguishes rape and adultery  (Deu 22:25).  I addressed the situation where a woman confesses that was a willing partner.  That sort of information can usually be discovered in the first few minutes.  Many times in that situation, the person who has been willingly unfaithful is going to spend days and day trying to explain all the horrible things that her husband did to her that provoked her to be unfaithful.  If you let it go on, there is no end to it.  All I am saying is that nothing fundamentally changes from minute 2 to month four.  If she committed actual adultery, then she needs to repent.  Nothing that she says will change that basic need.  No amount of listening will modify the basic solution.  In this way, often there is a demand that you keep listening, because if you keep listening you will realize that it was not their fault.  Affirmation is desired.  If you do not affirm, you haven’t listened or so it goes.  None of that denies the importance of listening well.  If you want to help the woman to never sin in this way again, you need to understand her thinking, motivation, history, etc.  Typically the more information, the better you will be able to help.  However, no amount of listening will change the basic need in that situation.  In a similar way.  A house built on a bad foundation will not stand.  If you notice the bad foundation and point it out, you may be accused of not listening.  Do you understand the quality of wood that we have used in the construction?  Do you understand the process by which it was made?  Do you understand the quality of the masonry?  Could you design a similar house?  Do you have a degree in architecture?  Do you know what a load bearing wall is?  Yet, a bad foundation is a bad foundation.  No amount of talking about the intricacies of the house is going to change that basic fact.

  80. Tim: You said: 

    Sometimes a woman will come in and let you know that she committed adultery.

    I can imagine that happening because she was raped, and doesn’t know how to process it, and so blames herself, and accuses her of adultery. If she comes in and let you know she’s guilty of adultery, and you just insist she was wrong, you’ll only kill that person. But that was just a parenthetical comment. Setting that concern aside, we agree there.

    -

    Regarding the second half of your comment: If notice they’re using a shaky foundation, I really do need to listen, since I couldn’t tell, and could pretty easily mistake good practices for bad ones. Likewise here. Pr. Wilson simply is not qualified to make arguments about the science.

  81. Matthew, I’m afraid we think of poisoning the well quite differently, or else read the above post quite differently.  Maybe an example could help clarify.  Imagine an anti-war post, claiming that going into battle is not only immoral but would lead to disastrous defeat.  The author concludes his argument with the claim, “Anyone who goes into battle with that general deserves the defeat he’s going to get.”  Would you consider this an example of poisoning the well?  For what reason?

  82. I am a little troubled by the suggestion made by a couple of people that those who typically disagree with the Pastor, or who question his qualifications to make certain pronouncements, should not comment here.  I think people may come here for any number of reasons:  they agree, they disagree but find Pastor Wilson interesting, they find him infuriating but can’t leave him alone, or they–like me–sometimes agree, often disagree, but always gain something of value from people’s comments.  Incessant, perseverant opposition is tiresome, but I think this board would lose much of its value if it became nothing more than an amen corner for Pastor Wilson.  Carole’s kindness and concern are inspiring and reflect the love of our Lord for even the most difficult among us.  She is like a little lighthouse illuminating an ocean of angry rhetoric.

  83. Jill, you know I don’t deserve that, but thank you very much.  I guess maybe this is just how the guys work it out, but I must say it has become stressful for me.  I enjoy the exchange of ideas more than I can say, and believe it helps all of us to work out our thoughts.  It’s a great community,  and it’s true, what would we discuss if everyone agreed?  I just don’t want to see anyone who is reaching out, get stomped on, but people are often tougher than I imagine.  Thanks Jill!

  84. Anyone with common horse sense would be able to see that the name change from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ was to distance scientific and liberal charlatans from their own folly.  People who have jumped on that bandwagon have a far different agenda than protecting folks in low lying areas around the world.  If they cared about those people, they would help them now, wouldn’t they?

  85. Hi Carole.  I do think your concern is justified.  I’m a bit concerned too, and I think you gave Matthew some good advice.  Perhaps Jill said it best by her comment that some people find Pastor Wilson infuriating but they can’t leave him alone.  It’s one thing to get into substantive debates with others on various topics.  That’s what this blog is for.  But when it becomes argumentative constantly, over and over, and where someone is continuing to rub others the wrong way and is constantly being defensive, then yes, there could be a crying out for either attention or help.   Matthew doesn’t seem want to allow Pastor Wilson the freedom to express his own thoughts on his own blog.  Pastor Wilson is immediately charged with not listening to others, or is charged with speaking outside of his authority.  My goodness, it’s not like he’s about to operate on someone’s brain, for heaven’s sake; he’s just stating his opinion on some topic.  If someone doesn’t agree with him, then they have the platform to state why, just like we all do.  There’s nothing sinister about Pastor Wilson having strong opinions.  Most of us do.  And most (but probably not all) of us are not as well read as Pastor Wilson.  Nevertheless, he’s merely stating his opinion.  He’s not altering natural law and he’s not amending the constitution with the stroke of his pen.  As I’ve said a few times before on this blog, people need to toughen up a bit and get a little thicker skin.   

  86. carole’s observation is apropos and worth repeating:

    “Matthew, There are listening skills and there are reading skills.  The point of the above blog is found in the third paragraph.  Even if global warming is happening, even if it is bad, and even if humans caused and can reverse it, Pastor Wilson does not think the Federal Government should be in charge of reversing it.  This point has nothing scientific or mathematical about it.  It is a point about the government’s ability to handle a crisis.  In addition ,we are all suggesting to you that your overwhelming desire to inform us of the pastor’s limitations, is clouding your own reading and comprehension skills.  We get it, Matthew.  Pastor Wilson is not a math/science guy and you are.  Truly, we get it.   Clearly he is showing more patience and tolerance to you than the rest of us are, but there is something very sad about watching you rant like this.  Perhaps you could show your posts to someone you trust and seek their advice.  May God bless you.”

    I might add that sometimes it can be very useful and instructive to have a foil.  I think Matthew functions mainly as a foil for Doug, and a helpful contrast.  It’s sort of like the woman who cried “shut up!” when Doug was speaking at the campus on the topic of Sexual by Design.  She perfectly embodied Doug’s point about intoleristas.  Sometimes vocal opposition is valuable for illustration, sanctification, and something that money can’t buy.

  87. Melody, well said: “Anyone with common horse sense would be able to see that the name change from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ was to distance scientific and liberal charlatans from their own folly.”  Very true indeed.  The term ‘climate change’ is less dogmatic than ‘global warming’ and of course more vague.  Of course the climate changes; it changes often and it changes in cycles.  The liberals had to downgrade the ‘global warming’ moniker once they learned that we’re in a 15 year hiatus with no actual increase in warming.  Such was the warming “crisis” that we were supposedly in.  Thus, since there’s no crisis in warming, then there must be a crisis due to the fact that the climate changes.  But wait, that’s not good enough.  It must be “man” that causes the climate to change.  And the only way out of this crisis is to create bigger government to curb it.  Well, no, “curb” is not quite strong enough of an agenda — I mean goal.  We must save the planet, and we must start now, otherwise it will be too late for all our children and grandchildren.  And if you’re not on board with saving the planet, then you must be one of those cold-hearted, anti-science “deniers” who only cares about himself.  Shame on you.

  88. Thanks Dan, Katecho and Jill,  I agree with what all of you have said.  I do agree Katecho and Jill that I learn so much from the debating that goes on here and that draws me to the blog along with the Pastor’s posts.  I appreciate Jill willing to express her opinions even when they are contrary; however I know that she is well capable of carrying her points and has beautifully admitted if she wants to spend more time praying on the subject, as she has recently done.  That in and of itself, (I was being seduced by those articles too, Jill) does as much to help readers as anything else.  Eric too can handle the debate and backs out when he has enough.  But there is a difference when someone no longer seems rational, and I personally think we ought to go easy when we see that.  If a coherent argument cannot be made by a foil then somehow it seems unkind to continue.  At any rate I am, as always, very thankful for these threads, for all that I have learned, and for the brothers and sisters I have met here.

  89. Jonathan: That isn’t what he said. He said that anyone who thinks a second before agreeing with him deserves all the ridicule he gets. If I begin to disagree with him, I have already lost.

  90. Matthew N. Petersen, deserves all he is about to get does not mean deserves all the ridicule he gets.  Notice the sentence before, “Runaway government is a metastasizing cancer that has donned a doctor’s white coat and is offering to help with the treatments. My suggestion would be to say no.”  All Doug is saying is that if you cannot quickly recognize that a runaway government is a bad thing, you deserve all the negative consequences that will come from a runaway government.  

  91. (1) a runaway government is (2) bad thing;  Therefore a person who cannot quickly recognize (1), deserves all the bad consequences of a runaway government (2).  

  92. Tim: There are still two problems: First, “this” at best has an ambiguous antecedent: Does it only mean government resolution of the problem? Or does it mean all that, but also not believing that the questions he asserts are open are in fact open? If I think that the questions are settled, and that he has no authority to claim they are not, I deserve all that I am about to get, even if I deny that the best solution is government regulation?

    -

    Second: He doesn’t say we deserve the economic ruin we are about to get (though that would also be problematic: If we deserve the economic consequences that we are about to get, we aren’t reasonable people, and our views shouldn’t be considered), but that we deserve all that we are about to get. That includes the ridicule that will come from supposedly supporting evil.

  93. I would be willing to bet you five dollars that mine is the correct interpretation of Pastor Doug’s intention and that he wouldn’t be able to recognize your suggestion :)

  94. I don’t know what his intention was. I know what he said. If he didn’t intend to say what he did, he should be more careful with his words.

  95. I’m saying he said what he said. Neither of us (nor even he) knows what he meant to say. All there is is what he said: That if you think the questions are not open, you deserve everything you are about to get, which includes (since you’re an idiot) the ridicule for being an idiot (since “you deserve what you are about to get” means you’re an idiot).

  96. Very profound insights, I won’t ask you what you intended by them because you couldn’t possibly know. I interpret you to be recanting of your well poisoning with respect to Doug and science. Once again I admire your courage :)

  97. Or, I could only say what I intended by them with more words, etc. The point is that now even I am a reader, not an author, and in response to a legitimate interpretation saying “that isn’t what I meant” is something of a confession, and a retraction. “Oh, you’re right, that’s what I said, that isn’t what I (hope!) I meant to say, sorry for my clumsiness.”

  98. So you recognize there is such a thing as an illegitimate interpretation of someone’s words?  Your interpretation of Doug’s words falls into that category.  You have no textual warrant for determining the referent of “this” to be  “not believing that the questions he asserts are open are in fact open?”  Therefore, your interpretation is illegitimate and fanciful.  Normally, in English, the word “this” refers to what immediately precedes the word.  We cannot simply make up referents and hold people accountable for all the possible referents that we can imagine.  

  99. Tim: You’ll have to argue that my interpretation is illegitimate based on the text. I see no reason whatsoever to think the “this” refers to the whole post–especially given his claim that “I think climate change is a con being run by power-grabbers”. That is, that the climate change part is not accidentally connected to the later part. But even so, there isn’t any textual reason to think “this galloping folly” excludes the folly of climate change(and by claiming the questions are open, and that he can judge them to be so, when they have been repeatedly answered in the literature, he is claiming climate change is folly). That is, there isn’t reason to think “this” does not refer to the whole post (which is grammatically could), and there are reasons to think it does.

  100. Tim: You’ll have to explain why exophor is not possible. But I said “this” could refer to the whole post. That isn’t exophor, but endophor, like you demand.

  101. Doug says, “Runaway government is a metastasizing cancer that has donned a doctor’s white coat and is offering to help with the treatments. My suggestion would be to say no.”
     
    Doug’s argument: 1) Runaway government is a form of cancer; 2) this cancer has donned a white doctor’s coat and is asking to help cure itself; 3) A cancer victim should say no to cancer trying to help cure cancer.  Next paragraph, “A moment ago I urged you to think about it for a minute, but I sensed that your attention may have started to waver. Don’t drift off now. This the crux of the whole risible affair. The people who brought you trillion dollar deficits, the government education system, the spiraling chaos of Middle East politics, the roll-out of Obamacare, departments of motor vehicles everywhere, and a Federal Reserve honeycombed with crony capitalists, are now asking, on the basis of their record, a record that looks like the trail left by an F-5 tornado, to be put in charge of the weather.”  Doug’s argument: 1) the people that have brought you all these problems (listed above) are asking to be in charge of fixing a new problem (global warming); 2) they are asking this on the basis of their record; 3) their record looks like the trail of an f5 tornado; Therefore 4) “And so I am afraid that if you take longer than a couple seconds to think about whether to be against this galloping folly, then you are a worthy recipient of everything you are about to get.” If you think it is a good idea to let the people whose record looks like the trail of an f5 tornado be put in charge of the weather, you are a worthy recipient of the damage coming your way.  Presumably, another f5 tornado trail.

  102. Matthew N Petersen, interpretation is not your area.  You are not qualified to comment on matters of interpretation.  From now on you are only allowed to ask questions, and if we are in a good mood, then we will answer your questions.  :):):)

  103. Tim: If that was all there is to his argument, I would have been (relatively) sympathetic to it. But you’re only able to make that his argument because you ignore the first few paragraphs. His argument is: 1) The science on global warming is not settled, and so when people claim it is, it’s just a power grab 2) the people that have brought you all these problems (listed above) are asking to be in charge of fixing a new problem (global warming); 3) they are asking this on the basis of their record; 4) their record looks like the trail of an f5 tornado; Therefore 5) “And so I am afraid that if you take longer than a couple seconds to think about whether to be against this galloping folly, then you are a worthy recipient of everything you are about to get.” But premise 1 is included in that folly.

  104. We are not asking the question of what his entire argument is, I would have presented his entire argument differently.  We are trying to determine two things: 1) what is the referent to ” this galloping folly?” and 2) what does Doug imagine that worthy recipients “are about to get?”  In terms of 1) if we pay attention to the context, “this galloping folly” clearly refers to letting the people who are responsible for the f5 trail in charge of the weather.  In terms of 2) if we pay attention to the context worthy recipients “are about to get,” another f5 trail or possibly something worse than that.  The issue is monetary loss.  If you think it is a good idea to let the government waste your money on an uncertain solution to an uncertain problem, you deserve to have your money taken.  See above comment.  You are clearly not a expert in matters of interpretation.  You do not get to make interpretations, only ask questions. You are about as qualified to interpret as Beyonce is qualified to explain the filioque clause.  Please stick to your area of expertise and quit speaking so dogmatically about issues you do not understand :):):):):) 

  105. Tim: You haven’t argued that the only possible referent is the immediate context, and not the whole post. And you haven’t argued that the things we are about to get for disagreeing with him is *only* monetary loss, and not, because we *deserve* that and so are fools, deserve the lack of hearing he said we should get.

  106. Matthew, he did not say anything about deserving to get a lack of hearing, please point to ANY detail in the passage that supports that.  If you were an expert in interpretation, I would not have to explain these things to you, and I don’t expect you to be able to understand, because interpretation is not your area.  You are a beginner in interpretation.  If you weren’t a beginner, then you would be able to understand all of the interpretive howlers that you are making.  All expert interpreters know that you start with the immediate context and work outwards.  If you cannot summarize a person’s argument, you are in no place to critique it.  I do not expect you to understand me, because this is no your area.  :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):) But Doug is clearly saying, that he: 1) believes global warming to be far from proved; 2) unable to be proved; 3 even if it were able to be proved, then we wouldn’t want the people who have a track record of f5 damage to be put in charge of the cure for global warming, they do not have a good track record.  Agreeing or disagreeing with Doug is not the issue.  It is not part of the discussion.  The discussion is: 1) even if global warming was a proven problem do you want the people who have a bad track record to fix the problem?  If you cannot see the damage done and conclude that it is a bad idea to give the cancer more power, then you deserve the cancer.  One can reasonably ask at that point, what does Doug consider to be the “cancer” or the “f5 trail?”  I would conclude that he is  primarily thinking of government theft of taxpayers money used to build “big office buildings.”  But you are not allowed to question my interpretation, because you are not qualified to give an interpretation :):):):):):):):):):):)::):)):):;0;0;00;00;00

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