The New York Times Magazine is slated to publish a story on March 29 -- promoting the controversial global warming views of physicist Freeman Dyson -- that was written, not by a scientist or science writer, but by Nicholas Dawidoff, whose previous work for the Times has focused largely on sports and music.
A New York Times Magazine profile of global warming skeptic Freeman Dyson quotes without challenge his false suggestion that there was a scientific consensus in the 1970s that the earth was cooling. Unlike the current consensus that global warming exists, there was no consensus in the 1970s that the earth was cooling.
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From Charles Krauthammer's March 13 Washington Post column, titled "Obama's 'Science' Fiction":
I am not religious. I do not believe that personhood is conferred upon conception. But I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix. Moreover, given the protean power of embryonic manipulation, the temptation it presents to science and the well-recorded human propensity for evil even in the pursuit of good, lines must be drawn. I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research -- a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end.
On this, Obama has nothing to say. He leaves it entirely to the scientists. This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of "science" and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom.
From Cal Thomas' March 13 Washington Times column, titled "Journey to Destruction":
What will constrain science? The president says it will be up to the National Institutes of Health to come up with "guidelines" for the use of embryonic stem cells. He specifically came out against creating embryos for the purpose of human cloning. But the question is this, if there are to be no moral, ethical or religious restraints on the initial experiments, why should anyone expect them to be invoked later? One can only be a virgin once. After a moral or ethical line has been erased, it is nearly impossible to redraw it.
At the extreme, unrestrained science has the capacity to produce a Josef Mengele. The Third Reich "scientist" and doctor was given the green light to do whatever he wished with Jews, twins, the physically deformed, the mentally challenged - all in the name of "science" and progress. We are repulsed by the horrors he created in his "scientific" laboratory, to which many of the German people turned a blind eye, mostly because they had been conditioned to do so by nonstop propaganda, which convinced them that some lives were less valuable than others.
We have been warned by history, in novels like Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" and on TV news, of what can happen when government operates outside a moral code established to protect us from its penchant to be excessive. Unfortunately, government in recent years has sometimes engaged in a type of moral freelancing, embracing a mushy morality in order to serve purposes that are sometimes immoral.
Removing restraints on stem cell research is another step on a journey leading us to a distant somewhere. Does anyone know the destination? Do enough people care that it might just be leading us not only to the destruction of more pre-born human life, but also ultimately to our own end?
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On Your World, Neil Cavuto hosted Trent Lott to discuss energy policy but failed to disclose that Lott is now a lobbyist for major energy companies. During the segment, Lott touted specific issues for which he lobbies, including "Algae to Ethanol technology" and offshore drilling.
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Slate's managing editor is angry. "Fuming," in her words. What has Jill Hunter Pellettieri so upset?
When she was a child, she used to enjoy staying in hotels, which she found "a world that suspended the realities of life at home."
But now hotels are harshing her buzz by letting her decide whether her bath towels need to be washed or can be re-used.
No, really: that is why she's "fuming." She explains:
[O]n entering a hotel room, I still immediately review the room-service menu, bask in the prospect of fresh, silky sheets, and inspect the bathroom to ensure I have fluffy, clean towels for every possible need. Then I spy one of those little placards, nestled among the tiny soaps or hanging from the towel rack, asking me to reuse my linens: "Save Our Planet ... Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once ... Please decide for yourself." And, like that, my hotel buzz fizzles.
I'll admit that I sometimes choose not to participate in this program and request fresh towels and sheets every day. Before you write in scolding me for being a wasteful person, let me qualify that by saying it's not the program, in theory, I'm against. I'm all for saving the environment. But I don't want to be guilt-tripped into going green. It's the two-facedness of it that gets me-save our planet! Conserve our resources! It's up to you, hotel guest. Forsake that washcloth (or two!), or those crisp sheets that are your right when you pay for the room, and to what end-so the hotel can save money on laundry? How many natural resources are wasted printing all of these little signs? Here's an idea: Instead of printing out a placard for every room in the hotel, wash my towel.
Now, let's reiterate: the hotels in question aren't requiring Jill Hunter Pellettieri to re-use bath towels. They're offering her the option to do so. And she's upset because while exercising this option conserves water and energy, it also saves the hotel a few pennies. Pennies that, as far as she knows, keep the price of her hotel room lower than it might otherwise be.
I can't imagine that most Best Western guests are so delicate as to have their weekend stays ruined by a two-inch sign offering guests the option of reusing bath towels. And I can't imagine most readers of Slate's "Green Room" department share Pellettieri's annoyance at being offered the option to voluntarily and at no cost help reduce energy and water consumption.
UPDATE: * By "of the day," of course, I mean "of six days ago," when the Slate piece was posted. Gristmill's Kate Sheppard dealt with this nonsense on Friday:
Yet another climate finger goes to Slate and its managing editor, Jill Hunter Pellettieri, for publishing this asinine piece equating green efforts at hotels and other businesses with being "cheap." At first, we thought the article was a parody, lampooning Slate's love of vapid, self-important contrarianism. If only that were true. We're so sorry you feel like it's a tremendous act of "self-sacrifice" to sleep in the same sheets two nights in a row, Jill. We'll cry you a river while the ice caps melt.
Fox News' Brit Hume asserted that "climate alarmists certainly did not foresee the cooling trend of the past decade" and, therefore, the Obama administration is premature in implementing cap-and-trade policies to curb global warming because it is merely a "scientific consensus" and "something that is not yet a fact." In fact, according to climate scientists, the temperature data continue to show a long-term upward trend in global surface temperature, and a cooling trend would need to last longer than a decade before it could be distinguished from the natural variability in the Earth's global surface temperature.
Glenn Beck and James Pethokoukis each cited a study by the George C. Marshall Institute to criticize the carbon cap-and-trade system described in President Obama's budget proposal. But neither Beck nor Pethokoukis noted that the Marshall Institute has received funding from ExxonMobil.
In yet another example of what County Fair's own Eric Boehlert described as the press awakening from its slumber "just in time to aggressively press the new Democratic administration," the NYT's controversial science reporter John Tierney --American Progress' Joe Romm called him "easily the worst science writer at any major media outlet in the country"-- has written a column and two blog posts in the last couple of weeks fretting about the kind of advice President Obama might receive from some of his science advisors, most specifically John Holdren (Obama's pick for Science Advisor) and Steven Chu (Obama's Secretary of Energy). If you find it odd that a journalist who did little to no reporting on the widespread and well documented distortion of science and the scientific process during the George W. Bush administration would suddenly find it important to write about the politicization of science in Washington, you are not alone.
After his January 23 column, "Politics in the Guise of Pure Science," Tierney noted that he was asked by critics "[w]hy start worrying now about scientists pushing a political agenda" and isn't it disingenuous "to worry about the politicization of science now instead of during the Bush administration?" In his own defense he writes: "I agree that there were lots of attempts to use science for political ends during the Bush years. I wrote about some of the questionable claims by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House drug czar's office." So, while the Bush administration was busy placing unqualified political appointees in scientific positions, muzzling agency scientists, ignoring scientific findings when making federal health and environmental rules, manipulating the scientific advisory system in favor of ideology and industry, and editing reports in way that distorted scientific data, Tierney wrote about some "questionable claims" by the DEA and White House drug czar. Got it.
And just why is Tierney now concerned about "honest science"? Have Holdren or Chu been accused or found guilty of distorting scientific evidence or manipulating the scientific process for political purposes? No, Tierney is "concern[ed] about some of the debating tactics used by Dr. Holdren and his allies" early in Holdren's career, back in the 70s and 80s. Tierney's also concerned that Holdren, as Tierney sees it, has a "tendency to conflate the science of climate change with prescriptions to cut greenhouse emissions." According to Tierney, "There are other ways to cope, and there's no 'scientific consensus' on which path looks best." Of course, Joe Romm -- an actual scientist, as opposed someone like Tierney, who "always wanted to be a scientist but went into journalism because its peer-review process was a great deal easier to sneak through,"-- has noted that the idea that climate change science does not suggest the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions is just absurd.
As for Chu, Tierney cites one comment that Chu made in an interview with the Los Angeles times where he suggested that the effects of climate change could reduce the snow pack in the mountains of California to such an extent that there could be "no more agriculture in California," making it difficult to "keep their cities going." While Chu's comment may strike some as going beyond what the available science would allow us to predict with any degree of certainty, Tierney failed to mention that Chu reportedly was describing a worst case scenario or that the LAT reported that "[a] pair of recent studies raise similar warnings." Moreover, Chu's singular comment hardly provides evidence that we should be worried about whether Chu and other advisors give Obama "realistic plans for dealing with global warming and other threats." But it's good to see that Tierney has his watchful eye on the use of science in Washington, this time around.
From a March 4 Washington Times editorial:
Driving snow froze the hopes of organizers of "the biggest global warming protest in history" Monday in Washington. With the government on a two-hour snow delay and the speaker of the House unable to attend because her flight was grounded by inclement weather, shivering protestors gathered on the west front of the Capitol, the latest victims of a climatological phenomenon known by the scientific community as the Gore Effect.
The Gore Effect was first noticed during a January 2004 global warming rally in New York City, held during one of the coldest days in the city's history. Since then, evidence has mounted of a correlation between global warming activism and severely cold weather.
A year ago a congressional media briefing on the Bingaman/Specter Climate Bill was cancelled due to a cold snap. In October 2008 London saw the first snow since 1922 while the House of Commons debated the Climate Change Bill. That same month Al Gore's appearance at Harvard University coincided with low temperatures that challenged 125-year records. Tellingly, the average global temperature for each of the 366 days in 2008 was below the average for Jan. 24, 2006, the date Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was released at the Sundance Film Festival.
Critics claim the Gore Effect is mere coincidence, though one could also argue that coincidence is also the basis for the anthropogenic theory of climate change. Alternative theories, e.g., citing the influence of sun spot activity, have gained increasing credence as scientists have noted global warming in recent years on other planets, which presumably have been human-free. Significant data issues have also arisen, such as the recent discovery of a chunk of Arctic sea ice the size of California that satellites had missed (but which in all probability had been known to polar bears).