Steve Forbes on Global Warming

30 August 2007

Businessman Steve Forbes (pictured left) recently posted an article on his website titled "Fantasy Fears" in which he repeats the same tired memes regarding global warming.

Step 1: Portray global warming as a religion.

"apocalyptic projections"
"It's now become a religion instead of science"
[Despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific organizations and peer-reviewed literature support it.]

Step 2: Turn it into an issue about Al Gore, then call him an "alarmist."
"Al Gore went on a rant recently... Gore paints a horrifying picture... Gore's hysteria... Gore's whoppers... Gore's movie... Alas for his alarmism"
[Most of this article is about Al Gore. I think that this is really on par with an ad hominem argument.]

Step 3: Without naming even a single one, claim that there are plenty of scientists on your side.
"Literally thousands of scientists have expressed deep doubts about global warming, yet those doubts are deep-sixed by a gullible media."
[Forbes doesn't cite a single source to support this proposition. But if there truly are so many people out there who think so, and they are actually qualified climate scientists (not simply "scientists" in another field), then they should publish their ideas in the peer-reviewed journals.]

Step 4: If the scientists on your side aren't publishing in the peer reviewed journals, claim persecution by the scientific establishment.
"Scientists who arrive at opposing conclusions are ostracized and often denied grants. Universities won't hire them or, if they are already tenured, will make sure they don't get promoted."
[No examples are provided by Forbes to support this proposition.]

Step 5: If you can't find reliable scientists to support your propositions, fall back on amateurs with no relevant qualifications:
"One such person who saw Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, is Mary Ellen Gilder, a medical school student at Albany Medical College (and daughter of noted technologist and FORBES newsletter partner, George Gilder). Ms. Gilder decided to dissect the movie piece by piece... Gilder found Gore's documentary to be riddled with egregious distortions and falsehoods... Hers is the kind of citizen's journalism that we will see more of in this Internet era."
"Gilder quotes physician-writer Michael Crichton, who wrote a bestselling novel, State of Fear, based on the global warming hysteria"
[To support his arguments, Forbes relies on a student and the writer of Westworld (a science fiction film about a robotic cowboy).]

Step 6: Complain about use of the word "denial" while simultaneously comparing your critics to eugenicists.
"Doubters and disbelievers are simply stooges of big oil, particularly ExxonMobil, he harrumphed. Newsweek, meanwhile, tastelessly labeled skeptics "deniers," a not-so-subtle comparison to those sick individuals who deny the reality of the Holocaust."

[First of all, denial is defined as "a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence." It's not isolated to "Holocaust denial" and that is not the natural implication. Second, Forbes was "not-so-subtle" himself when he said "I don't think it's a hoax, just bogus science, like eugenics was decades ago." Apparently, Forbes doesn't understand the difference between a social philosophy like the eugenics movement, on the one hand, and a scientific claim such as anthropogenic warming, on the other.]

Step 7: Conflate weather with climate.
"What Gilder and others have discovered is that the subject of weather is an extraordinarily complex subject. "The profound weakness of the climate models on which so many policymakers hang their hats," she writes, "is that they project our present conditions into the future." Yet look at the extraordinary changes in the world since 1900"
"Nobody believes a weather prediction 12 hours ahead. Now we're being asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?"
[Weather and climate are not the same thing. Furthermore, it does not take a precise weather prediction 100 years from now to tell that greenhouse gases have a warming effect.]

Step 8: Sweeping conclusion about how you will somehow be vindicated by people from the future.
"Future generations will look back in astonishment that so many supposedly educated people came to be caught up in this hysteria."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now a day global warming controversy is very hype. NASA sciencetists completely work on global warming research. According the sciencetists after 30 year earth is completely effected by global warming.