The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mr. Gore's Blurt

It might be said to be unbecoming to a former Vice President and former President-Elect to use foul language in public. It's possible he didn't want it published.

But it's true enough, every word of it. Even if there's room for argument at the fringes, the key points of the bunkosphere simply don't add up to a supportable view of what is going on. In fact, they don't even try.

As Eli says, Gore, and Romm, and Hansen (and one might add Eli and myself) may not be perfect but more importantly what they (we) are is mostly right. The posture that the situation is, without any doubt, not serious enough to merit a response is a combination of ignorance and arrogance that seems medieval, until you reflect that medieval errors could not do nearly so much damage.

Update: ABC news reports that the public release of this presentation was indeed inadvertent on Mr. Gore's part.

25 comments:

Lou Grinzo said...

About f***ing time he showed some b****.

Two things, aside from the above, leap to mind upon reading this:

1. I hope this acts as a catalyst to push some people in the reality based community to talk and act like our situation is even one quarter as urgent as it really is.

2. Sorta kinda feels like his version of Bill Clinton's infamous "Sister Soulja moment". (For those too lazy to G it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Souljah_moment )

muoncounter said...

You might enjoy this:

Historian William Manchester described a period of time as follows:

"... the portrait which emerges is a melange of incessant warfare, corruption, lawlessness, obsession with strange myths, and an almost impenetrable mindlessness."

Sound familiar? Could he be talking about the present? No, he was describing the Dark Ages in 'A World Lit only by Fire.' Any similarities to today are purely coincidental.

Steve Scolnik said...

The reaction from the bunkosphere is entirely appropriate to their mentality:
He said wood, uh hehehehe.

The Peak Oil Poet said...

peak people


The talk of global warming - all the carbon in the air
the scientists are warning - but tax payers do not care
and all the talk on carbon tax has left me feeling lost
so i guess i'm just another stupid sheeple

http://thepeakoilpoet.blogspot.com/2011/08/peak-people.html

David B. Benson said...

muoncounter --- The period in Europe from the fall of the western Roman empire to the beginnings of the enlightment is best divided into two. The first might be called the Dark Ages which the historian you quote aptly describes. The second was the high medieval period proper; not so terrible:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Ages

While devolution is certainly now happening in the USA, it has yet to reach the stages of either portion of the middle ages.

muoncounter said...

David Benson:
Manchester's book is somewhat dated, so your points are apt. However, we are certainly witnessing the ascendency of impenetrable mindlessness.

David B. Benson said...

muoncounter --- Yes.

Ready, aim, ...

Steve Bloom said...

"There's no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened."

Even though? Maybe "because" would be more apt.

I expect that no small number of future climate refugees will be denialists, especially those from formerly entitled portions of the globe.

Steve Bloom said...

OT: More fun with Sailor Tom, I see.

Neither he nor Kloor are in any degree persuadable, IMHO, although I seem to recall saying that before.

Pangolin said...

Honestly, I think Gore is still soft-pedaling the absolute depths of evil the denialsphere is willing to sink to. Because you have to understand the real climate science to come up with half believable rebuttals.

For the people that originate the climate-lie-of-the-day it isn't ignorance, it isn't failure to understand the math or implications, it's simply evil willingness to condemn millions to terrifying disasters, refugee status, and early deaths. It will condemn even more millions to lives as permanent shock/trauma victims scraping along with diminished capacities.

All for personal profit.

There are no words in English to adequately describe that kind of evil.

Dan Olner said...

This from MT's shared items jumped out as relevant: another case where a) something happened in the real world and b) vast swathes of media and politics "interpreted it through their own ideological lens" (or just lied about it, having read what S&P actually said, leading others to parrot the same line.)

Society needs to develop some kind of immune response to this level of self-deception if we're going to stand any chance at all.

muoncounter said...

We grew up on those 3 wise little monkeys: 'See no evil' and 'hear no evil' survived; 'speak no evil' was turned into a sock puppet.

David B. Benson said...

Guys --- I think you are preaching to the converted on this blog. Somehow need to take the message to a wider audience in a persuasive manner.

[I don't know how to do that, it seems.]

Michael Tobis said...

Preaching to the converted has always been the purpose of this blog, no apologies.

I do indeed have some ideas, though, which will become revealed in the next few months.

Pangolin said...

Preaching to the converted is going to have to happen until such time as Joe and Jane Sixpack develop a level of concern that sends them searching for honest answers instead of comforting lies.

When they get around to doing that somebody has to have the answers ready AND have a reputation for honesty and fair play. Actually more than a few somebodies.

That's why I'm here. I don't have the credentials or training to make any claim to climate scientist but just maybe I can move the conversation forward; or at least keep it moving.

Steve Bloom said...

muoncounter, a while back I saw a cartoon where the fourth member of the group, Admit No Evil, had left to take a lucrative position with a DC law firm.

muoncounter said...

Steve,
Good one! Found it here.

I'm also very fond of a recent comment on tamino's blog regarding people with 'multiple simultaneous misconceptions.' If we could only get that classified as a learning disability...

David B. Benson said...

Pangolin --- Joe & Jane haven't had the educational opportunites you and I have. [Increasingly, even a B.S. still alows people to be 'persuaded' by snake-oil salesmen.]

Somehow a non-lecturing method of enabling people to see the errot of the views thay have acquired needs to be practiced.

But do what I say and not what I do; I don't seem to be able to be convincing. :-(

Michael Tobis said...

Some basic rules:

1) If you can't afford focus groups, tell the truth.

2) Illegitimi non carborundum.

3) Different strokes for different folks.

In short, be kind, be consistent, use lots of different ways of communicating, be patient, be interesting, and avoid flame wars.

Pangolin said...

David_ I'm a high school drop-out. Tested my way into college, dropped out and restarted several times, no degree.

My educational opportunities have all come from reading material available at any public library with subscriptions to Scientific American and New Scientist.

Critical thinking is not a habit exclusive to the college educated but is helpful to any handyman, chef or fisherman. The only needed skill is to look at facts, reputation and consistency.

If all anybody read about Climate Change for a year was WUWT the contradictory nature of their various denials should send up sufficient red flags.

The real problem is that emotionally we are unable to let go of our toys.

David B. Benson said...

Pangolin --- Self-educated; wonderful.

Would more engage in life-long learning.

David B. Benson said...

Michael Tobis --- Even if you can afford focus groups.

[Whatever those are...]

IA said...

OT, but Michael you quote Robert Kennedy. This quote from him is one of my favourites:

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

(your website is one of those ripples)

susan said...

I do like "bunkosphere". Good work, and glad to see Gore goring the bullshitters. I don't know what all we can do, but better something than nothing.

Oddly, the "guys on the street" I talk to (mechanic, repairpeople, home health aides, and odd conversations on the sidewalks of Boston) find a population almost universally worried and very ready to understand. It's only the partially educated who get all het up with hate.

too weird: wv "fulaggr"[ession]

susan said...

Note also that reporters are being bombarded with subtle "you are your own worst enemy" stuff - I suspect this is the trouble with Revkin and Kloor, and I've seen it in action at Chris Mooney's place. Kill the messenger was the first, and it was very successful with Gore.