Friday, May 04, 2007

Al Bore: Creationist

A sad day for a Canadian warmist, who went along to pay homage to Al Bore and his slideshow only to find out that Warmist Bore is also Creationist Bore. Turns out The Goracle is as prone to Religio-Enviro-Babble as every other faith-based nutter. At the Neurotransmission blog the poor chap describes his moment of disillusion:
At first, I thought I was going to be in for a live repeat of the movie, but he did have some new slides, or at least slides that were not shown in the film... The real interesting part (for me anyways), was a few of his comments about a topic that I've been researching a lot lately - the battle between science and religion... he comes across as a man who is ready to accept science as the proper methodology (versus evangelical faith in biblical literalism). ... During his live slideshow today, however, he showed his true colors. One of his slides was a quote from Genesis, which he used to show that humans are the stewards of biodiversity...

The slide I found particularly interesting/shocking/sad, was his new(?) slide containing a graph of human population growth over the past couple hundred-thousand years. It started off good. He pointed at the beginning of the graph, showing the population of humans on Earth from 200,000 years ago, and referred to the "rise of humans."

Cool beans. So he believes that Homo sapiens evolved from other hominid ancestors, right? Nope. In the very same breath, he then continued to explain that according to his religious beliefs, this "rise of humans" was God's creation of mankind - apparently 200,000 years ago. His graph then changed to include the caption "Adam & Eve" above this starting point.

I started laughing, and I had to consciously blink my eyes and double-check the screen to make sure I was seeing it properly. Let me get this straight...the guy's entire presentation exists in order to present people with the scientific data showing that human-caused climate change is a fact. He does his very best to include references in all of the slides, showing to any thinking person that this data is not made up, that it comes from the forefront of our scientific research (there was many slides containing data from Science journal, and a few from Nature).

At the same time, he tarnishes his beautifully crafted presentation by not only stating his belief in creationism - but by placing the words "Adam and Eve" right on the slide (which is actually a scientific graph) as a caption explaining the beginnings of mankind.

Something doesn't add up here. On one hand, he is using science to predict the disastrous outcome of our current actions and rally support for taking proactive measures to make sure bad things don't happen, but on the other hand, he is clinging to stone-age beliefs that another very important area of science has proven wrong (that we humans evolved from other forms of life, and that every organism on Earth has a common ancestor)...

I should also note that at this point in the lecture (I'll call it the schism) he stated that there is no conflict between science and religion. He appeared as though he wanted to say more about this, and even mentioned the Scopes trial, but then decided to continue on with the slideshow instead.

Whaaaaa???? You tell me that anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fact (to the degree that science can use that word), mankind came from God's creation of Adam and Eve 200,000 years ago, there is no conflict between science and religion, refer to the Scopes trial, and then shrug it off and move on with the show?

The schism pretty much ruined the rest of the show for me. His message about climate change and our need to take action was great, inspiring even. However, I am now somewhat confused about the sort of man that is Al Gore. If you're going to be intellectually honest about issues like climate change, than why not carry through to the next logical step and apply this kind of honest thinking to everything?
That's a a question some Gore fans here might like to answer.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Matt B said...

Careful, this is dangerously close to the ad hominem fallacy, unless you think an inability to apply science in one area demonstrates inability in another.

And I don't think it does. There are plenty of creationsts in science, and although they are unquestionably guilty of hypocrisy by being selective in their application of the scientific method, that does not prevent them being genuinely good scientists in their chosen fields.

Gore is guilty of hypocrisy, but it seems to me that is all. Whether his case for AGW stands up has to be judged on its merits. A lot of good science would have to be ignored if its originator's creationist credentials were used to disqualify the idea.

5/04/2007 01:01:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

Heartily agree with Matt B. I can, with a clear conscience and a jaunty smile, giggle at Gore for his backward creationist beliefs, ridicule him for his hypocrisy on personal energy consumption, applaud him for his success in selling the AGW message, and agree with the majority of his opinion in the area of global warming.

His pulpit style may grate on me a tad (or more) and his hyperbole-laden rhetoric make me wince now and then, but his other views are simply his other personal views, and might bear on your personal holistic view of the bloke, but shouldn't bear on the validity of his argument.

This tenor of argument is exactly what climate change argument eventually gets mired in, eg:

"Scientist A says GW is attributable to x!"

"Whatever, Trevor. Scientist B, who is waaay more respectable, has shown convincingly that GW is in fact caused by y."

"Ha! Scientist B? Everyone knows he is in the pocket of Big Oil."

"Well, Scientist A would be sweeping the sidewalk for a living if it wasn't for the GW gravy-train."

Etc ad nauseum.

Bottom line = from the above example, we shoudl be arguing x and y, not A and B.

DenMT

5/04/2007 02:14:00 pm  
Blogger Greg Bourke said...

Newsflash:
Gore is a politician not a scientist. He'll say what ever get's him attention!

Is he slimming down? That's supposed to be a sign he'll run for Democrat candicacy.

Quite right about the ad hominem. Real science demands that bias should be boxed and kept away from the lab benchtop. Gore should keep his theories seperate.
It ain't science though is it, it's politics.

5/04/2007 02:51:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Well yes, of course, but that hasn't ever been the way things have been framed, have they.

When has the global warming debate ever really been about science?

And when has the issue ever avoided ad hominem, well poisoning and countless other logical fallacies.

Even good old PZ Myers, the guy that Richard Dawkins calls "America's pre-eminent scientist blogger" has a problem here: like too many others he equates climate change 'denial' [sic] with evolution denial - hence the reason for the panic of our warmist friend, and the reason I linked his post.

For example, writing recently, he had this package deal to make:
"The Give Up Blog has a post outlining a general problem: denialists. The author is putting together a list of common tactics used by denialists of all stripes, whether they're trying to pretend global warming isn't happening, Hitler didn't kill all those Jews, or evolution is a hoax, and they represent a snapshot of the hallmarks of crank anti-science. Most of the examples he's using are from climate change, but they also fit quite well with the creation-evolution debates.

Here are the key features..."


You can follow the link above to read on.

5/04/2007 03:10:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

PC: That may be so (GW argument often straying from a scientific focus) but surely one should strive for the ideal of staying on target, rather than playing the politicking game just because everyone else does?

Again, you're playing the man, not the ball. If you must discredit, then discredit the commentator for their substance, not the manner in which it is delivered, views they hold which are peripheral to the topic at hand, or their giant beard (I'm looking at you, Lindzen...)

DenMT

5/04/2007 03:40:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

By the way, does everyone have to type the Word Verification test twice every comment, or is my eyesight/typing unusually gammy?

DenMT

5/04/2007 03:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Den

That is usually a problem if you take a long time to type a note – it seems to time out.

Insider

5/04/2007 03:53:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

Cheers Insider - I had legitimate fears for my eyesight/sanity. Deep breaths...

DenMT

5/04/2007 03:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.

`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'

`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.

`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'

Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on` And how do you know that you're mad?'

`To begin with,' said the Cat, `a dog's not mad. You grant that?'

`I suppose so,' said Alice.

`Well, then,' the Cat went on, `you see, a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.'

5/04/2007 04:22:00 pm  
Blogger Matt B said...

Greg and PC

Yes, Gore is a politician, and no, the debate is not about science. But I don't think Gore's opponents should feel any right to be less than rigorous in their criticism just because their target is not a scientist or because of the low quality of environmentalists' thinking. The way to know who is on the side of good in this debate is follow reason and logic to wherever it goes; that approach ought be surrendered more reluctantly than it is in the article PC quotes.

Denmt

I too can giggle at Gore for his use of fairy tales, but unlike you I disagree with his main messages. Which actually demonstrates the point: Gore's stance on creation really is barely interesting, let alone relevant.

5/04/2007 04:29:00 pm  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

Did someone say ad-hominen? Holy Underwear Joshman!

http://brainstab.blogspot.com/2007/04/pedumentation.html

It's not just "dangerously close" to ad hominem - indeed it is!

5/04/2007 05:26:00 pm  
Blogger Matt B said...

Eric

It would not be ad hominem if it was argued that fuzzy thinking on creationism is a predictor of fuzzy thinking elsewhere. If that is the author's position then it is not ad hominem since the quality of thinking on creationism tells us about the reliability of the global warming argument.

But the author doesn't come out and say that, and it seems to me he should, and probably back it up with some evidence linking creationism with illogical thinking elsewhere. Although belief in creationism is negatively correlated with intelligence, my own experience is that intelligence is no barrier to being a creationsist and creationists are quite capable of separating reason which they successfully apply in their profession and in life from the illogic necessary for belief in creationism.

Anyway, that's my defence for "dangerously close" - strictly its not ad hominem because the author is drawing a link between the quality of thinking on each topic.

5/04/2007 05:54:00 pm  
Blogger Nigel Kearney said...

Pardon me for asking, but isn't there a scientific consensus about this kind of thing?

5/04/2007 06:56:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Had this been evident in 2000 (and remember the Republicans could hardly use it for political purposes) Gore would have lost far more to Nader.

The painting of Gore as some sort of great intellectual secularist compared to Bush, but as PC said - he's a politician.

5/04/2007 08:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It would not be ad hominem if it was argued that fuzzy thinking on creationism is a predictor of fuzzy thinking elsewhere. If that is the author's position then it is not ad hominem since the quality of thinking on creationism tells us about the reliability of the global warming argument.

But the author doesn't come out and say that, and it seems to me he should, and probably back it up with some evidence linking creationism with illogical thinking elsewhere. Although belief in creationism is negatively correlated with intelligence, my own experience is that intelligence is no barrier to being a creationsist and creationists are quite capable of separating reason which they successfully apply in their profession and in life from the illogic necessary for belief in creationism."

Yeah. And then the dinner bell rang.

5/04/2007 08:54:00 pm  
Anonymous jc said...

Of course Gore is an idiot. Everyone knows that Adam and Eve can't be 200,000 years old when the earth is only 6000 years old.

JC

5/04/2007 09:42:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

I think Gore's version of "creationism" is a nice private pet theory but one that Occam's razor easily prunes back.

Don't know why the guy got so upset, perhaps the trigger word Adam and Eve?

5/05/2007 08:50:00 am  
Blogger Matt B said...

And what would be the theory that Occam's Razor would favour Berend? Let me guess. Goddidit. Am I right?

5/05/2007 01:27:00 pm  
Blogger Greg Bourke said...

jc.
Bravo.

5/06/2007 07:44:00 am  

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