Saturday, June 01, 2013
Alterman Cleaves to the Alarmist Talking Points
So it is in that light that I read his recent pompous drivel about Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming titled, Blame News for Public's Ignorance about Climate. Here are some thoughts on its contents.
Alterman writes about the Cook/Nuccitelli "study" which claimed to find 97% concurrence about Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming among climate scientists although only 32.6% of the articles cited actually showed support for it. So that well debunked study is, for Alterman, the truth and everyone who opposes it can be easily ignored as a product of just so much right wing radio propaganda. For a political wing which lauds itself for supposed independent, critical thinking and questioning authority, the left too often relies on argumentum ad verecundiam (argument from authority) as their main support for what they believe. We cave-dwelling rubes on the right actually think differently. Consensus has nothing to do with science; indeed, it is anti-scientific. 97% can say something is true and all be dead wrong. Before Copernicus, for example, the scientific consensus was that the Earth was the center of the Universe and everything else, the stars, sun, moon, and planets revolved around it. Seems a pretty quaint belief now. More recently, we boomers actually observed a now central geological belief go from 97% of scientists believing it was dead wrong to 97% believing it was dead on, in little more than a decade (floating continents). From his broadly falacious start, Alterman descends.
I’ve written in the past on the myriad components of purposeful climate illiteracy in the media. Many U.S. meteorologists, for instance, who have no particular expertise in climatology, play the role of climate deniers to the general public in part because, according to meteorologist and writer Bob Henson, “There is a little bit of elitist-versus-populist tensions.” He explains, “There are meteorologists who feel, ‘Just because I have a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on.’”Using argumentum ad verecundiam, I would counter that meteorologists probably know more about climatology than Mr. Alterman. To the left, who overwhelmingly have a near religious faith in the truth of Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming, only an elite know the truth and everyone who disagrees has a character flaw of one sort of another. (It is a very tedious position, almost as meaningless as the race card has become). But aren't we Republican knuckle-draggers merely using independent, critical thinking and questioning authority? Moving on.
Alas, researchers at George Mason University found that more than a quarter of television weathercasters agree with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” and nearly two-thirds believe that if warming is occurring, it is caused “mostly by natural changes.” But even the American Meteorological Society has stated that warming is occurring, and that human activities are very likely the cause. Unfortunately,according to The New York Times, researchers at Yale and George Mason found that 56 percent of Americans trusted weathercasters to tell them about global warming far more than they trusted other news media.