Tuesday, April 21

Global Warming Site


The above is a link to a global warming site that I found to be quite interesting. On the site, many articles are posted discussing, among other things, how their is huge profit to be made by creating global warming discussion and hysteria throughout the world. Although I do believe that much of the science indicates that global warming is a legitimate concern and there are scientific facts that back up many of the issues at hand, some of the articles on the site do bring up some ethical issues regarding media biases and the profitability that could be made by creating misconceptions behind the issue.

I found one passage from the article "Money Being Made from Warming Scare" by Dan McGrath to be particularly interesting in the counter-argument to global warming. In the article, McGrath discusses a passage from Larry Thornberry's first book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)." McGrath writes, "Mr. Horner parsed the fanciful claims of the global warmers. He built the case, infrequently encountered by the public, that the warming our planet has undergone over the past century is almost certainly nothing outside of the normal temperature variations the Earth has been undergoing since there’s been an Earth. Man’s activities may have played a part in this small temperature increase, but almost certainly a trifling part compared to variations in solar activity."

Although this is definitely not the argument that we see on the news everyday, it is important to analyze both arguments and realize that there is often times another side to the story that the public is often not exposed to. Next week, our global warming group will be discussing some of the issues on both sides of the subject at hand. I look forward to hearing what the rest of the class has to say regarding the topic.


  1. I find this topic very interesting especially the business involved in scaring people about global warming. I don’t believe that humans are the sole cause of global warming. I’ve read that if your could visualize earth’s life on a 60 minute clock then the last 2 seconds of the hour would represent the existence of man on this planet. During this time period the earth has seen drastic temperature changes, from extreme heat to bitter cold. To me, this makes sense to say that we are probably not the sole cause of this climate change. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we are affecting our planet in negative ways, but we should not allow ourselves to be scared into action by greedy companies and politicians. We should look at all the facts and make a smart, well thought out plan of action.

  2. I find the conspiracy-theories about politicians and green-energy corporations making up global warming a teensy bit hilarious (and ironic) given the recent scare-mongering that resulted in the removal of many of our liberties under the Patriot Act and the enormous efforts of the oil/coal/auto/&c. industries to confuse and obscure a fairly clear message about global climate change. A standard rhetorical strategy of conspiracy theorists is to call attention to the fact that we haven't heard of the theory as evidence for its truth (someday I'm going to teach a class on the epistemology of conspiracy theories: it's really fascinating stuff!). That seems to be what's going on in the quote Casey found: "He built the case, infrequently encountered by the public, that the warming our planet has undergone over the past century is almost certainly nothing outside of the normal temperature variations the Earth has been undergoing since there’s been an Earth." Alternative explanation for its infrequent airing: almost no scientist believes it.

    There are certain similarities with this "debate" about anthropogenic climate change and the "debate" about the principle mechanisms of evolution. It's tempting to think that we should listen to "both sides": it's such a reasonable-sounding suggestion. But at some point, debate needs to make way to public action (with which some people will no doubt disagree).

    Don't get me wrong: I think that there are still great uncertainties about the extent of climate change that is happening, what will happen, how fast, whether we can stop it at this point (some people think that our window for doing anything has passed and that positive-feedback mechanisms on the planet are now the dominant forces influencing the climate), &c. It's pretty difficult to look at the evidence in detail, though, and say that the dramatic increase in CO2 (for example) due to human industry has nothing to do with it. This is another way in which the "controversy" is similar to that regarding evolution: it's easier to be a skeptic when you're at arm's length from the evidence. I would have found it much easier to doubt that evolution has been responsible for the character of life on earth, if I had never been acquainted with comparative anatomy and genetics, facts about geographical distribution, the fossil record, and so on. It took finding out those things for us to entertain the possibility that natural selection was the cause of biological diversity.

    The proper thing to do when you're not sure what to believe about some matter is to stop listening to talking heads and look at the evidence. That's what I encourage you all to do.

  3. It also occurs to me that, given Shrader-Frechette's examples from her book, it might behoove us to ask after this Thornberry's affiliation: the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Hmmm. . . . Could this be another "Global Climate Coalition" or "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition"? (See S-F p. 81).


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