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Wednesday, May 31. 2006
I have been thoroughly farked.
I have never had one of my pieces "farked" before (see my post prior to this one), but I have also never been subjected to so much rage in my life, as in the abundant comments. "Wingnut"? Me? They would never call me that, if they were lucky enough to meet me. 172 comments!
It wasn't even a piece about global warming - just a piece about how the human conscience works. What's the big fuss? Is Al Gore a sacred cow?... or a Sacred Bull? And then does his BS not stink?
This is not war, dear gentle readers.
What especially bothered me is that essentially all of the over-heated comments missed the entire point of the post. Perhaps I should have used the example of "Bush lied so we can get all of this nice cheap oil?" But I have no comparable confession from Bush, nor do I see all of the cheap oil.
Yes, that photo is me, at Cape Cod last summer. Surfer's Beach (White Crest Beach), where the strong and manly hands of the waves will firmly, steadily and relentlessly disrobe a lady of both her upper and her lower bathing garments, if she is not careful, and unveil the glory of her secret delights.
By the way, if I misread Gore's intent, I will say so. I am not convinced, but I am a Mass General doctor with a Harvard MD. Not a lawyer, but not stupid either: I do not parse - I just read, like a normal person. I can't help it if I am attractive - God made me this way, to be a good breeder, and I like it.
Image: Copyright Harvard Medical School Faculty Facebook
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"Yes, that photo is me."
Wow! You look a lot better than you think. A whole lot better. Too bad.
BTW in case you haven't gotten it by now, the "big fuss" was about totally misinterpreting, either because of bias or simple ignorance of language, what someone says and then calling him basically a liar who is attempting to deceive the public based on that misinterpretation. Could make anyone a bit peevish, no?
I see. The appropriate thing to do after being unable to parse a sentence of moderate complexity--and failing to notice the mistake after being corrected!--is to say, "Hey look, I'm hot!"
That's a great way to reinforce the stereotype of attractive women as bimbos and airheads.
For the sake of those of us who can handle complex concepts, and are brave enough to admit when we've made a mistake, and are tired of not being taken seriously, can you please at least be more subtle?
I will take another look at it, and see whether I failed to parse his sentence properly. I an quite capable of doing so, hot or not.
there are a few things worth "parsing"here. and "his" sentence isn't one of them
Your entire article yesterday was a strawman of gigantic proportions, and now you engage in another faulty debate tactic of the red herring by talking about your looks instead of just admiting that you were blatantly mis-representing someone else's words. Nice try. Now just be a big girl and acknowledge your mistake and move on. No need to enhance your shallowness further by telling us how hot you are.
Your comments remain humorless and puritanical, but at least not hostile, which I appreciate.
But what exactly did I not understand? I quoted the guy accurately, did I not?
And, by the way, this post was as effort to add some humor to the whole thing.
You quoted the guy accurately, and then proceeded to attach your own erroneous interpretation to the quote and base your entire analysis on that interpretation.
What Mr. Gore was stating - as plainly evidenced by the full quote in context - is that the dangers of global warming, while factual, were being abundantly represented in the film as opposed to a balanced approach of dangers and solutions. The presentations regarding the dangers of global warming are over-represented in the movie, or given more screen time than anything else and focused on more intently. This is done so that when solutions to the problems that exit are presented at another time or in another medium, people will realize their need.
He is not admitting to lying or exaggerating or anything else you'd like to see into the statement in order to make your partisan point. If I said there's an over-representation of white people in the Major Leagues right now, does that mean I'm lying about the disparity? A quick fact checking showing only 9.2% of Major League players are black would confim I'm not.
That is why people took issue with your article. Its basis was faulty, meaning all conclusions drawn from that basis were also faulty. Nice ass though.
Thanks for the compliment.
There is no partisan point - I have no partisan position with this, nor do I even view it as a partisan issue.
I do have an issue with propaganda. When it comes to science, chasing truth is the entire deal, not scoring points.
From all I have read and seen, Al Gore is trying to create fear and hysteria, but it won't work and the rest of the world will ignore it.
I wish he had just come out for nuclear power as a solution. That's not partisan - it's practical.
Okay, this is better!
Let's look at why Gore's sentence doesn't mean that he's misrepresenting anything--it just means he uses complex sentences. We're going to have to do some parsing here, cause reading is just unconscious parsing, but it's really hard to have a discussion about an unconscious process.
Gore: "I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is"
There's a much shorter way to say "I believe it is appropriate to have X". Just say, "Let's have X." There's a slightly different implication, but it's pretty close.
Now let's focus in on the over-representation + factual part.
Try #1: "(Let's have) an over-representation of factual". This isn't grammatical since "factual" is an adjective and we need a noun here.
Try #2: "(Let's have) an over-representation of factual presentations". Presentation is a noun, so this works.
What does this mean? Well, "over-representation" can mean "too many" or "lots". So we can simplify to
Gist #1a: "Let's have lots of factual presentations"
Gist #1b: "Let's have too many factual presentations"
Gore could have said "over-representation of facts", but he didn't. Why not? There's a difference between a fact and a presentation. He said to have too many presentations, not too many facts. What kind of presentations? Factual ones, of course.
What's he presenting?
"...factual presentations on how dangerous global warming is"
If you're going to tell how dangerous global warming *is*, you have to consider all the evidence. You have to describe good science, and complete science, otherwise you can't tell what the danger is. It's a factual presentation, so you can't lie about it or misrepresent the danger.
Therefore, this is a presentation saying how dangerous global warming actually is, as best as we know. Now, you might think that he's failing to do this, that he's instead running a scare campaign with exaggerated risks and minimized uncertainties, but if so, that's a problem with what he's actually doing, not with what he's advocating.
So, putting it together, Gore is saying, "I'm going to tell you over and over how dangerous global warming actually is."
I don't see any misleading going on there. I see him being straightforward but badgering us to the point of being annoying. At least, there wouldn't be any misleading going on if he actually gave factual presentations on how dangerous global warming is.
Now, if you believe that global warming isn't dangerous, and you believe that Gore knows that it isn't that dangerous, and he's giving lots of presentations that say global warming is really dangerous, then Gore is not doing what he thinks is appropriate but instead is misleading people (intentionally). You could criticize him on that, if you could demonstrate that he knows it isn't that dangerous. Or if you could demonstrate that it isn't dangerous, you could criticize him for unintentionally misleading people (it being unintentional may not get him off the hook as he ought to know better).
If anyone can come up with any other interpretations of that sentence that are remotely plausible, fire away!
Bud and Eli make good points.
You guys would make excellent lawyers - if you aren't already.
If you want an objective view of climate, see the link we added to the bottom of the post, from Junk Science.
Anyway, as I said, I really just wanted a public example to use for a piece on the human conscience.
Honestly, now that I have gone deeper into it, I see no danger from "global warming" - but that was not my point. Thanks to all for your time and effort in posting - much appreciated. And very much appreciated is the rational tone - as opposed to the Jihadist-sounding stuff we got on the orginal post, including death wishes. Jeez.
Unfortunately, JunkScience isn't objective. They're scholarly, but also heavily biased against global warming.
For example, they claim that 3.4% of carbon production is from human sources. That's correct, as far as I know--3.4% sounds trivial, so who cares? On the other hand, humans produce at least ten times as much carbon each year as is put into permanent stores (e.g. sediment on the oceal floor)--possibly more like 30 times more. Sounds alarming. Both numbers are true, but junkscience.com only presents the one that makes it sound like global warming is not an issue. (We have increased CO2 by 35%, so obviously our 3.4%s are adding up; they report "25% increase in greenhouse gases" instead of the raw CO2 number even though they spend most of the rest of the time talking about CO2--then in a later remark, they seem to think they were talking about CO2.)
Anyway, they make some good points, and fail to make some good points. You're doing yourself a disservice to merely read that site and assume you've been objectively informed. You'll have to read a comparable text that is biased towards thinking global warming is a problem in order to really be informed. For example, one could read An Inconvenient Truth as well.
the politicization of all this is unfortunate.
but no matter - whatever happens will happen, and that means nothing will happen...and it doesn't really matter anyway, as far as I can tell. try telling India to stop driving cars instead of donkeys or whatever- just in case it might matter! Humans can adjust.
Yes, that's a comforting thought. "Everything will be okay. Humans will adjust." After all, we always have before.
Maybe the Easter Islanders thought the same thing when they cut down the last tree on their island. (They did adjust, but personally, having ~10% of your population manage to survive by eating rats is not what I would call a success.)
Why is it that humans are so adaptable and can survive so many conditions? Its largely because we think ahead to solve problems before they become impossible. Human societies have adapted many times in the past, and they have also failed to adapt many times.
I want to be one of the ones who manages to adapt, not just assuming that everything is going to work out okay and then starving or being killed in rioting or whatever if my assumptions are wrong. I'd rather pay attention and evaluate whether or not things will work out okay, and fix the problems before they're critical.
It may not be clear that this is a critical issue, but it ought to be clear that it could be, and therefore deserves serious attention. For example, if one doesn't want to read Gore's book, one could at least read the Wikipedia entry
to see what the other side (i.e. the overwhelming majority of scientists) is saying.