Very Serious People

Unlike a fair number of my readers, I’m a liberal Democrat (and some day I’ll tell you all why! But not today…).

As a progressive liberal I enjoy reading the thoughts of bloggers like Andrew Sullivan (who actually is a liberal conservative), Paul Krugman, Kevin Drum and others. I’m fortunate enough to have ready access to conservative counterpoints, which I hope helps me avoid tunnel vision. Some of the best minds of the last century were conservative and I don’t want to forget that. Speaking as a partisan I must say I see no sign of conservatives doing that this century–but maybe they’re just off to a slow start. Every political movement has fallow periods where stagnant dogma and entrenched interests make it look moribund–it’s sure happened to Dems more than once.

One area where the liberal points of view disappoint me mightily is in discussion of climate change. Folk like Sullivan, Drum and Krugman parrot establishment talking points without showing any sign of ever having investigated the issue at all.

Krugman is especially disappointing as he understands statistics–he earned his Nobel (and if I can permit myself a partisan aside, he is IMO completely correct in his analysis of the current global economic situation and the path needed to correct current problems), and I cannot believe he has looked at the statistics used by the spokespersons he parrots.

Krugman, as well as Drum and Sullivan, have joined unwittingly the ranks of the Very Serious People on climate change. This is a bitter irony as they were among the first to note the existence of VSPs who blindly echoed the Bush administration’s basic talking points on terrorism and our foreign policy in Iraq. In that case, basic acceptance of the Bush/Cheney doctrine served as table stakes, a minimum requirement for participation in policy discussions, with predictably disastrous consequences.

Very Serious

All three of these bloggers, with whom I agree on so many subjects, use the same language and offer the same tired tropes for dealing with climate change. It is obvious that they learned about climate change at the knee of Al Gore, when they would have been better served by Andrew Revkin, and have continued getting their talking points from Michael Mann, Bill McKibben and Peter Gleick, rather than saner and more honest voices.

For the avoidance of doubt, let me be precise: Michael Mann is continuously in error in his analysis of the temperature record. Bill McKibben is not stable in his demeanor or policy advocacy. Peter ‘Gleick stole and forged (or knowingly published forged) documents from an organization he opposes. Reliance on their pronouncements will lead even intelligent and savvy people into a spiral of error that leads to foolish pronouncements such as Krugman’s latest misstatement condemning deniers to hell. 

When Very Serious People can be Very Seriously Wrong about a subject of global consequence, we have to begin to  analyze what the qualifications are for the position. They certainly reach the level of national significance through achievement (even if you disagree on their positions, you should note that they are skilled and intelligent).

But what happens afterwards? Why would Andrew Sullivan, Paul Krugman and Kevin Drum feel a need to comment on climate change? They don’t claim to be experts on the subject (and quite clearly are not). They don’t appear to have read enough of the current literature to even understand the state of play regarding the debate.

It very much appears that their opinion is pasted in from Joe Romm’s writings with no analysis or consideration. Which has led to the disastrous result of three of my favorite writers looking really stupid about an important issue.

So the next time they write about something important their credibility will be reduced. And that’s a tragedy from the point of view of a liberal Democrat–now all you Republicans can start snickering.

73 responses to “Very Serious People

  1. “I’m a liberal Democrat (and some day I’ll tell you all why! But not today…).”

    I’d just assumed that you’d never been shown the light of sweet reason.🙂

    As to why VSP’s can be so wrong outside of their own fields, I’d opine that there are any number of reasons. In no particular order, here are three:

    Self-importance – VSP’s tend to be told frequently how important and intelligent they are, and it’s only human nature to grow to implicitly believe this. It is also human nature to attach the same sort of importance to their own utterings, no matter how far outside of their own fields they might be straying. A form of confirmation bias will then allow VSP’s to ignore any real self examination of belief.

    The ‘fellow traveller’ effect – Everyone has the tendency when straying out of his own field to latch on to the opinions/ideas of others with whom they have common ground. If A and B both share, for example, a common belief in the ability of big government to solve problems, A will be far more inclined to take on B’s views when dealing with B’s field, especially if part of B’s solution is an increase in government. VSP’s are not immune to this.

    Playing to the base – Everyone who is in the public eye, and wants to stay there, does this. If Andrew Sullivan’s base is liberal Democrats, and the bulk of liberal democrats are driven by fear of the world ending, Andrew Sullivan will find many reasons to himself believe that it is and report accordingly. If it’s outside of his field, it’s easier to maintain that error than if it’s in his field.

  2. In the case of Krugman, we are seeing an opinion aggregator. He has leveraged his iconic reputation to speak on a wide range of topics in a manner in which like-minded people will trust. It is nothing but branding and all rather tribal.

    Having said that, the guy whose brand resonates with my opinions is Walter Russel Meade. See http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/

    I find Meade’s views on energy and climate change quite reasonable.

    I would also add that as a liberal Democrat, you might want to read up on what Meade calls The Blue Model. Very interesting stuff.

  3. I like Meade quite a bit.

    • He likes carbon taxes too, you should.

      His views on breaking the entrenched views on on-line education are also enlightening (public teacher unions fighting this every way they can). The model of a bored mediocre teacher endlessly repeating the same lessons live to a mercilessly bored audience will be something we all will look back on and wonder what took it so long to be changed. There are better ways.

  4. This just in, Krugman is advocating for much, much, more government spending which will solve all social ills (oops I mean investment). If it doesn’t work it is only because we didn’t spend enough. We need much higher taxes on the evil wealthy, and we should all ignore the national debt.as irrelevant. And anything wrong in the US is all the fault of the Republicans. The only valid reason why there is political turmoil in Washington is because Republicans aren’t liberals.

    You now have no reason to read another Krugman post. Ever.

  5. Also, Sullivan as ‘liberal conservative’? Care to expand? ‘Cause it seems to me that as the conservatives have pretty much rejected him (and his unseemly fixation on Palin obstetrical matters), the liberals pretty well have to own him now. No fair trying to give him back…

  6. Tom, You’re up to about 400 hits a day. You must be offering something that can’t be found elsewhere.
    For what its worth, I stopped reading the New Republic when Sullivan came on. I quit Mother Jones when I got married 32 years ago when both me and my new bride just decided it wasn’t worth it.
    Most of the MSM pundits on both sides are getting paid to deliver.
    The term I prefer for McKibben is agent provocoteur. He doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.

    • Marty, I’m not so sure. I am king of afraid that he actually believes what he’s selling.

      Sent from my iPhone

  7. “I like a carbon tax–doubt if he would agree with the starting level I recommend– $12/ton. Bet the Big K would come in close to a C-note. ”

    The idea of a carbon tax is absurd, and I think deep down you must know that this is true. Krugman, not so much. Krugman, I classify as a genetic liberal You, a guilty liberal. There are literally hundreds of reasons why a carbon tax is is a juvenile idea, but to appeal to your progressive propensities, I suggest it is fundamentally immoral. You know the story – cheap energy has been the greatest liberator of mankind’s ascent from poverty to prosperity.

    • I ain’t guilty at all, Bob. I’m proud to be a progressive, liberal Democrat of these United States. I think we have done so much good that has been shamefully obscured since the Reagan Revolution that it is high time for the record to be set straight.

      Have we made mistakes? Sure. Are there people masquerading under our label that I would disown if I were running the show? You bet.

      But fro the GI Bill to Social security, the things that have made the biggest difference in people’s lives for the last century are the fruits of progressive and liberal initiatives. And I’ll stand under that banner every day.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Hi Tom,
        “I ain’t guilty at all, Bob. I’m proud to be a progressive, liberal Democrat of these United States” Your expression of being “proud” is a sure sign of your liberal guilt. Liberalism in every society inevitably fails ( and don”t give me a Scandinavian exception), because we know that all true progress derives from humankind’s unavoidable desire to achieve and live beyond their ordinary means. Liberalism’s ultimate fault is to deprive oneself the opportunity to overachieve. Since over achievement provides the bounty of innovation, liberalism is also immoral.

      • Thomas Fuller

        No, Bob–my example for the success of liberalism is right here in the US. And if being proud is a sign of guilt, the lock me up and throw away the key.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Tom, wrong about liberalism in the US. You are right that liberalism is rampant in the US – but that is why we are running on 2 cylinders, instead of 8. You also know, but will be reluctant to admit, that all progressive societies are ultimately doomed. Such societies are against the nature of man

      • Tom, if you get a minute, ponder this ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/mar/07/energy-poverty-deprives-billion-adequate-healthcare), and then tell me you still want a carbon tax.

      • Thomas Fuller

        Bob, i more or less wrote a clone of that article over at 3000Quads–and yes, I still want a carbon tax.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • What you willfully fail to recognize is that capitalism is what is paying liberalism’s bills. I don’t envision there is a thank you note coming for that, is there?

      • Thomas Fuller

        Shall we scrap social security, Medicare and the GI Bill, then? What conservatives don’t realize is that progressive liberals prevent conservatives from being eaten. Where shall we send the bill for Non-Socialist Security?

        Sent from my iPhone

      • I’m all for Social Security and Medicare, does it make sense to even out the funding and expenditures?

        There is no doubt that there will be rioting in the streets if we only provided the amount of services we actually pay for. See Greece.

        My crazy theory is you should never have set people’s expectations to these unrealistic service levels. You are now trapped. Hence the can gets kicked down the road until the system collapses.

        Which side of the aisle is more guilty of ignoring this problem? Feel free to appeal to emotion, demonize the fiscally responsible as heartless, and ignore the national debt as a a real problem.

  8. As a progressive liberal, you should recognize that Joe Romm is the designated voice for your faction on matters of climate. You are the one out of step with almost all progressives.

    • What kind of logic is that? Are you saying that Tom does not conform to some stereotype that you want to believe? Do you know any real progressives? Joe Romm is nothing but a nuke lobbyist pretending he cares about the environment. I’m the progressive here and I was a skeptic back when Rupert Murdoch was still pushing global warming.

  9. Tom,
    Great column. However, if conservatives are off to a slow start this century, I would suggest that modern liberalism is moving backwards. ;^)

  10. For folks like Krugman, Sullivan and Drum, climate change is an excuse to impose a middle class tax hike (which is what a carbon tax would be.) it’s the catch 22 of liberalism- everybody loves it but won’t pay for it. So we have people moralizing about how generous they are, but they’re borrowing the money for the spending from generations unborn. It’s unsustainable not to mention immoral – how nice to write yourself a pension paid for by your great grandchildren. Unfortunately for liberalism a middle class tax hike is political suicide in the US.
    The fact that Krugman, Drum and the hack Sullivan love climate change but not enough to learn anything about it is evidence hat climate change falls under the same umbrella as other political scare stories – anti-nuke, anti GMO.

    • Jeffn, you’ve read me enough to know that I want a carbon tax that is revenue neutral, so your worry is not relevant to my policy prescription.

      • Tom,
        The chances of a revenue carbon tax coming into existence is vanishingly close to 0.

      • We already know that the VSPs don’t want it to be revenue-neutral. How else do you fund the $30 billion (for starters) UN climate justice slush fund?
        I don’t doubt that you want it to be revenue neutral, but the Drums/Krugmans of the world are looking at the bigger picture. They talk of carbon taxes three ways – punitive to wean you off of oil (ever heard of a revenue neutral cigarette tax?), charging for externalities, or eliminating “subsidies” for fossil fuels. Even if they give a few pennies back in other tax reductions, the burden for this will fall on the middle class and everyone knows it. Since energy is involved in everything you buy, think of a carbon tax as a green VAT.
        This is the grand stalemate- you cannot pay for the progressive agenda solely with taxes hikes on the rich but the middle class won’t agree to pay for it and borrowing the money is both unsustainable and immoral.

  11. Marty,

    I’m saying that Tom’s views on climate – and yours too – do not conform to those of the overwhelming majority of self identified progressives. Joe Romm blogs for the most prominent progressive think tank. That’s what makes him appealing to the progressive liberal VSPs that so disappoint Tom.

    • When I was writing for Examiner.com I lost track of how many people told me that they were liberal Democrats who shared my position on climate change. Close to a hundred, I think. And they usually said they were afraid or ashamed to admit it to their equally liberal friends. I find it sad–that an established position on climate change would become dogma. Sadder still that it is not the first time ‘liberals’ have been so illiberal.

      • I have another explanation. It’s like me and Obama. I criticize him a lot when I’m with people who understand my politics. Otherwise, when I’m with people I don’t know that well, I end up defending him, because I don’t want to be associated with the nutjobs that are always trashing him. Go to most any skeptic site, ignore the articles, just read the comments. Who would want to be associated with them.
        Remember on your old blog, I made a prediction. That FOX and the Tea Party would re-elect Obama. I feel vindicated.

      • Tom, I’ve tried to function in “liberal academia” for 20 years. One, it’s not that liberal in any sense of the word. Also, I have presented the skeptic position in a variety of venues. I got lots of arguments. Progressives would often hear me out because I was presenting a view point they never heard. The guy who would go after my job wasn’t the campus radical but the “nuke,” the unemployed nuclear engineer who managed to convince a dean that he knew enough physics to teach it. (Their ignorance of general physics always amazed me.) He’s the real backbone of global warming hysteria, and believe me, he ain’t that progressive on other issues.

    • No, forcing someone into a stereotype is an insult in anybodies book.

    • I thought about this for 4 days. Me and Tom actually represent the real America. We are actually very typical. We just happen to be vocal about it. You are more of a fringe than you realize.

  12. It seems the comment tool has picked my wordpress ID rather than my facebook ID for verification…..Paul Kelly

  13. I like to think we would have figured it out eventually, Paul.

  14. I shudder to think what a carbon tax would look like. I imagine it will come in around 3,000 pages with a Goldman-Sachs water-mark on each one.

    When are people going to begin asking why so many Goldman-Sachs alumni are appearing in the leadership of the environmental movement: WWF, Nature Conservancy, etc? Would it be too cynical to believe it has something to do with carbon-trading?

    Yes, yes, I know carbon-tax and carbon-trading are not the same thing – but then ObamaCare is called The Affordable Care Act. Things do tend to get confused in Congress.

  15. I am only familiar with Drum and Krugman and agree with your assessment. Drum has made several mistakes in his past articles, and he seldom checks climate data for himself as I have pointed out to him on several occasions.

    Krugman also lacks the depth of climate knowledge that say Revkin or Kloor have so When Krugman addresses climate I simply ignore him.

    I just think that straight reporting of climate is too complex for most journalists and their audience. It is easier to feed the political feud as readers seem less interested in nuanced discussion of science and more interested in bias reinforcement.

  16. From where I stand the difference between Dems and Reps is so miniscule as to be almost unobservable. American mainstream politics are center-right and from a US perspective, Cameron & Clegg must look like hardline Communists.

    That’s why my eyebrows disappear up into my hairline and I get a coughing fit when Dems describe themselves as liberals, or as if they somehow occupied the morally higher ground.

    My suggestion is that you turn off your television for a month and re-learn the lost art of forming your own opinions. It’s going to be hard work after all those years of happily swallowing the pre-digested pabulum that your media disgorge. Your economy is not going to recover and your only surviving claim to fame is a military that can wipe out every other nation on earth before breakfast. By the year 2025 America, having successfully bankrupted itself, will be the fourth-ranking world power behind China, Russia, and India. Start planning your personal future around that scenario.

    Now that I’ve got that off my chest may I suggest to my American friends that you drop your insane squabbles over cosmetic issues like gay marriage and address the real problems. Create a future that includes the huge and growing class of economic outcasts. Stop building those Berlin Walls between Rep and Dem and realize that if you don’t all hang together… well you know what will happen.

    And learn to speak Mandarin.

  17. I guess I find liberal’s desire to drive up the cost of energy worldwide to be a regressive tax that mainly falls on brown people in India, China and Africa. So for a liberal to disagree with the “liberal” viewpoint on energy production and sue, there are good progressive reasons to do so.

    Frankly, I find Gore, Krugman and T. Friedman to be elitists.

  18. A quote from Willis Eschenbach “If you argue for any form of increase in the price of energy, whether through more renewables, subsidies for “unconventional” energy, renewable “standards”, required percentages of unconventional energy, cap-and-trade schemes, carbon taxes, or anything else that raises energy prices, you are harming and impoverishing and killing the poor today.
    That is what you are doing Tom and I am ashamed to be reading this blog.
    Killing 75 UK Citizens a day, unknown numbers in the EU and way more in the 3rd world. If that is what Liberalism is, count me out.

    Eve

    • Hi Eve

      I don’t want you to be ashamed–feel free to go elsewhere.

      I don’t want energy to be more expensive for anyone, let along the poor in the world. If you have spent more than five minutes on this blog or its companion, 3000 Quads, you will know that. Willis certainly does.

      Cleaning up pollution of any sort is currently done with your tax dollars. Charging energy producers for emitting pollution of any sort has historically caused them to cut down their pollution. In the past it has not led to energy prices–the innovation they used to avoid polluting actually lowered their costs.

      Carbon dioxide is a trace gas necessary for human life. It is not a pollutant. However, too much of a good thing can be dangerous. The physics of carbon dioxide increasing temperatures are not controversial, although the extent to which it will do so is not known and the impacts of it are uncertain.

      I believe a little less of this good thing would be good for us. I believe that charging large CO2 emitters a fee for every ton of CO2 they emit will cause them to search for and successfully find ways of not emitting CO2. I believe that if we return these fees to the taxpayer in the form of lower employment taxes that the economy overall does not suffer. We tax what we want less of–CO2 and reduce the taxes on what we want more of–employment.

      Eve, there are a lot of people who agree with you and who disagree with me, many here in the comments section. I don’t want you to be ashamed of what you read–Bishop Hill Climate Depot,Shub Niggurath and many others are good blogs that I read frequently and they seem to share your opinion–I won’t feel slighted if you abandon this blog for greener pastures elsewhere. Be well, in any case.

      • rogercaiazza

        Tom said
        “Cleaning up pollution of any sort is currently done with your tax dollars. Charging energy producers for emitting pollution of any sort has historically caused them to cut down their pollution. In the past it has not led to energy prices–the innovation they used to avoid polluting actually lowered their costs.”

        This paragraph is completely wrong.

        “Cleaning up pollution of any sort is currently done with your tax dollars.” Some pollution cleanups are done with tax dollars but the majority of the costs are borne by the affected industries. The EPA or state regulatory agency promulgates a rule to say, for example, reduce the NOx reasonably available control technology limits from 0.42 lbs NOx per mmBtu to 0.12 lbs NOx per mmBtu for a coal-fired boiler. The entire cost to meet that limit is borne by the source owner who passes on the costs.

        “Charging energy producers for emitting pollution of any sort has historically caused them to cut down their pollution.” In New York and elsewhere there are annual emission fees which are used to fund various regulatory programs. The fees never changed behavior. When emissions decrease the agencies change the cost per ton so that their regulatory program revenue stays the same.

        “In the past it has not led to energy prices–the innovation they used to avoid polluting actually lowered their costs.” New York established the lower NOx rate limits, has lower than Federal limits on SO2 and NOx, and is a member of RGGI so there is a CO2 cost of doing business. Pennsylvania is next door and has no equivalent state limits. If the costs of pollution control “actually lowered costs” then the average retail price in New York ($16.51) would be much closer the price in Pennsylvania ($10.31). I am not saying that is the reason for all the cost difference but clearly it is a significant part of the cost difference.

        I also have a philosophical difference with “I believe that charging large CO2 emitters a fee for every ton of CO2 they emit will cause them to search for and successfully find ways of not emitting CO2.” I don’t think you should pick on large emitters instead you should charge for carbon fuel across the economy. It should also be revenue neutral. In reality the likelihood of a carbon tax that is not driven primarily by rent-seeking opportunists is nil so I am against a carbon tax.

      • Hi Roger

        I agree partially and I was partially wrong. I hope I can explain more fully today, schedule permitting.

    • But of course if climate change is real, which the host here concedes, then not raising the price of energy is killing the poor tomorrow. Presumably there are some other tradeoffs possible? Perhaps one might tax the rich to increase the incomes of the poor while also taxing GHGs to reduce emissions? At the very least a “fee and dividend” scheme would reduce the regressive impacts.

  19. Tom,

    I just visited your 3000 Quads site and read the About. I am embarrassed to admit visiting the site before but not lingering long enough to get much of an understanding. Could you give us a few links to summarize your ideas?

    Thanks.

    • Tomorrow.I’m a long way from home and I walked back to the hotel through the snow. Strange for a San Franciscan

  20. Tom, I’m a little more cynical than you. I don’t think that these pundits who pretend to be left or right are paid to educate or enlighten. They are paid to channel the public’s fear. There is an article in this month’s New Scientist on the importance of getting environmentalists more afraid of climate change than nuclear reactors.
    What we are seeing that the MSM is not reporting on is a new grass roots environmentalism organizing against fracking. These aren’t the usual suspects. The big greens by and large were content to take money from oil and gas and give fracking a pass. But now we have small town Republicans getting involved. At the state and local level there is real movement against fracking. The little politicians want to get re-elected. What I am seeing is a new campaign to make the little people more afraid of global warming than fracking. It’s absurd. I bet that before long some right leaning pundits will hop on.

    • Actually Bloomsburg Business Week is already on the “We’re going to burn up because those Greenies won’t let us frack” bandwagon.

  21. By the time I get through all the comments to this post, Phil Och’s “Love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal” is going through my head. That was when this country had a real left that treated liberals as to the right of center.

    • What happened and when?

      • The draft ended in 1973 and the opportunity for Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists, and other “real” leftists to be taken seriously faded away (though google “Bob Avakian” and enjoy some nostalgia). American socialists and social democrats, marginal through the 60s (in part because they turned a principled anti-communism into an unprincipled pro-US-imperialism), have maintained their marginality, but nor have they gone away. But they were not so into liberal bashing, since they quite reasonably concluded that a progressive coalition would be based on the existing liberal wing of the democratic party, and that the proletarian revolution was not going to occur in this arm of the galaxy.

  22. Tom, I think that you would really appreciate this. Watch all the way through. I hope you could capture an image for net Sunday.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/constructing-a-masterpeep/2013/03/15/e90507b6-8ce7-11e2-b63f-f53fb9f2fcb4_video.html?hpid=z7

  23. Tom,
    There seems to be an elephant in the room. Have you noticed it yet in the midst of your busy schedule?

    • Hiya Hunter

      No–indeed, it’s been a bit crazed. What am I missing?

      • Hi, I am referring to the final release of Climategate. “CG3”. Check with your collaborator. I think he is working on some sophisticated tools to make digging through ~200K of emails and stuff less of an ordeal. The empire is striking back, seeking to apply UK data laws to non-UK bloggers.
        It is becoming quite the donnybrook.
        But is there any “there” there?

  24. OT: for Tom, whose numerous thoughtful commets were so brutally deleted in the SkepticalScience fuss over Lewandowsky’s work, I thought you’d be interested in the latest if you haven’t already seen it:

    Lewandowsky “Roll of Honour”
    http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2091932

    Prominent climate scientist Richard Betts of the UK’s Met Office is sure to be amused to learn that he is guilty of such “conspiracy ideation” too. That will teach him to hang around on politically incorrect climate blogs!

    • In Lewandowsky’s world, according to his own selection criteria as demonstrated in his own data, anyone who disagrees with his work or his methods or even offers ideas on how to improve it is a conspiracy kook. Apparently more than just Betts are guilty of being conspiracy kooks. Anyone who dares disagree with Lewandowsky is a kook.
      Climate science is the word of God, and Prof. Lewandowsky is the chosen infallible defender of the right interpretation of God’s word. We must all kneel before His greatness.

  25. You’re kind of missing the point. The Very Serious attitude is practically defined by “Lukewarmism”.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Very_Serious_People

    • You’ve got to be kidding, right?

      • Well, Revkin and Kloor are clearly the Brooks and Friedman of the climate world, and if the Breakthrough Institute isn’t consciously modeled on Brookings to some extent I’ll eat my ten gallon hat.

        How much more Very Serious do you want?

        David Roberts has talked about this extensively on Grist, and Kloor has referred to the Very Serious meme defensively. So I think you’re missing the point, yeah.

        also https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/306440923900960770

      • Truly amazing. Very Serious People get invited to participate in national media discussions–like Romm and Hansen. Not Pielke or Revkin. Very Serious People have access to national media–like Mann and Gleick. Revkin got demoted from the NYT to a blog afffiliation. Very Serious People are allowed to pontificate without backing anything up–like McKibben. When Pielke writes about hurricanes using peer-reviewed literature he is challenged at every step of the way and has to do and redo, show and re-show every step a dozen times–and then the Very Serious People act as if he never wrote a word or published a paper.

        You are a victim of motivated reasoning.

    • Mr. Tobis seems to have bloviating down to a well practiced art.
      But inadvertently maybe Tobisis on to something about how, at their core, the climate extremists are not really serious people.
      But the insight he gives- that the climate extremists are unreasonable and seemingly guided by something besides evidence and the testing of hypotheses, is fascinating.

  26. Again, http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Very_Serious_People

    ===

    For the “lukewarmists”:

    Valuing common sense over scientific consensus when there is a conflict. Check.

    Loves the hell out of the balance fallacy. They feel uncomfortable pointing out flaws concentrated in the right-wing or left-wing without pointing to an opposite example. “Both sides do it!” Check.

    Loves the hell out of the balance fallacy. They feel uncomfortable pointing out flaws concentrated in the right-wing or left-wing without pointing to an opposite example. “Both sides do it!” Check.

    Consistently taking moderate or center-left/right positions; very rarely will an individual Very Serious Person have an opinion that is too far out of mainstream. This also leads to VSP being reflexively dismissive of alternate political perspectives such as libertarianism and socialism, regardless of the truth value of individual claims. Check.

    Overemphasizes civility and niceness in public discourse. Check.

    fondness for the style over substance fallacy when evaluating political positions. Bullshit wrapped in a folksy anecdote and a G-rated zinger is more worthy of praise than the sober counter-point. YMMV but I say check.

    Faces no punishment, ridicule, or loss of status for incorrect or mistaken opinions as long as the opinions were mainstream when made. Check.

    That’s at least 7 out of 10 for the lukewarmists. I could also make a case for “Bored by examining proxy causes or causal chains with more than two links. ” which makes possibly 8.

    I’ll give you a pass on hegemony and cultural defensiveness.

    ===

    For the climate hawks? I see zero matches. Zero.

    ===

    I guess you can use words to mean whatever you want. Just don’t expect that other people will think you are making any sense.

    • You’re ‘check’ mating yourself. Not one concrete example of what you claim. Because it simply isn’t true.

    • Naughty boy. This is Tom’s blog and you have to use “bull****.”

    • This comment is waiting to be posted at your weblog:

      You have a moderation policy. It appears at the bottom of each post. Or are you just looking for a way to strengthen the wall that shields you?

      I am being as constructuve as I can be. Darwins comment about the value of correcting error lives at the top of my weblog, balanced by the Biblical rejection of Lukewarmism. Both here and t the thread you link to, you show no reason beyond faith to justify your condemnation of my position.

      Cook never returned to defend his positionthere is no scientific defense. He left it to you to defend him via tribalism, leading to your regret at opening up your playground.

      I dont regret my moderation policydont swear too much,dont use the word denier to describe people.Thats it. Amazingly,we still have some pretty good discussions. Matt Ridley got pissed off at me==I think he believed that Lukewarmers were advocates of a false balance who wanted to be very serious people, or some happy horsesh*t like that.

      We have a definite stance on climate issues. It is supported by mainstream science. We are not skeptics, we are not climate hawks.

      And we are not in the middle. Weve moved ahead of the two tribes stalled by their battles. Lewandowsky and Cook, Prall and Masheythey are keeping you lashed to your opponents like Ahab to his whale.

    • Tobis, you got it bass ackwards as usual. The lukewarmer position is the one that’s hard to take. You get it from both sides. The only harder position is that there is a serious man made problem with climate, but it isn’t co2. Your position is simply putting your mouth were the soup spills.

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