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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Rick Gibson
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Rick Gibson

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… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

Rick, what would be some good literature for us to share this with environmentalist susceptible friends?

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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… Read more »

Jon Swerens
Member

Oh, wait, poisoning the well is now a bad thing? Or only when someone other than the government does it?

Dan Vitco
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Dan Vitco

One thing is missing from that list – the Military Industrial Complex of the US Empire.  Otherwise well stated.

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Michael Hutton
Guest

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…

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Michael Hutton
Guest

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… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Tim Mullet
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Tim Mullet

Matt,                                                                                                                                                                                  It would be nice to see more constructive thinking from you.… Read more »

dchammers
Member

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… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

soylentg
Member

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?

Matt
Guest
Matt

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,… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

Matt: We could do well to start by trying to consume less.

Tim Mullet
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Tim Mullet

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;… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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.)

Katecho
Member

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… Read more »

Tim Mullet
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Tim Mullet

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… Read more »

Tim Mullet
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Tim Mullet

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).  

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Kimberley
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Kimberley

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… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Kimberley: Sheesh. I didn’t give any program.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

And not everything is economics. Man does not live by bread alone. And the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

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?… Read more »

Kimberley
Guest
Kimberley

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? 

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

Matthew are you a relativist?

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

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?

carole
Guest
carole

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… Read more »

carole
Guest
carole

hmm, I see my years in North Carolina came rollin on out when I meant to write interested. :)

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Carole: The questions Pr. Wilson asked have been asked repeatedly in the scientific literature.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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.

Jeff
Guest

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… Read more »

John Rabe
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John Rabe

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.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

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.

Seth B.
Guest
Seth B.

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.

Monte Harmon
Guest
Monte Harmon

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… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

Greenland

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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.”

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

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?

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

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:… Read more »

RFB
Guest
RFB

“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.