Thursday, February 05, 2009

Inhofe and the Greatest Moral Failing

In my last post, I identified an unwillingness to take a stand against intellectual recklessness as being the greatest moral failing of our day.

Because of that moral failing, I doubt that we will not take appropriate action against global warming. In the future, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Washington DC, and New York will be tourist attractions for divers interested in visiting these submerged ruins, with their upper floors still sticking out of the water until the foundations rot and the structures collapse. Around the world London, Amsterdam, Cairo, Singapore, Sydney, Shanghai, and Tokyo will have the same distinction.

One of the two major pieces of evidence that draw me to this conclusion is that Exxon Mobile is still able to draw in billions of dollars worth of profits. We reward the leaders of businesses who engage in this type of destructive behavior. And that which we reward we can expect to get more of. When that reward is in the billions of dollars, we can expect billions of dollars in investment in that which will produce this destruction.

The other major piece of evidence is the fact that James Inhofe is still a Senator.

Inhofe enters our discussion because he has abused his position for the purpose of pushing lies and rhetoric onto the American people – nonsense claims and outright deception that will, if left unchecked, result in just the type of destruction that I mentioned above.

See: UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims.

He has, for example, pushed a document that claims that over 650 scientists deny that there is any man-made global warming.

A look at this document suggests how it was made. Somebody who wanted to sew doubt about the issue of global warming set to work collecting quotes that can be presented as being critical of global warming. Also, the quotes had to come from people who could be presented as having some knowledge of the subject.

It did not matter if the quotes were taken out of context, or the resumes of those from whom the quotes were taken had to be padded to make them seem more knowledgeable of the subject than they were. All that mattered was the usefulness of the quote in spreading doubt. And what gave doubt its value is the fact that it would prevent people from taking political action to prevent or restrict activities threatening this future destruction.

When this document was mentioned in a comment to a previous post, I knew that I would be able to find a document on the web that would expose the errors in this claim. I knew that, because I know the science of global warming and that denying global warming makes as little sense as denying evolution or denying that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

I am grateful to a member of the studio audience, Eneasz, for providing a link to that document. See Inhofe's Morano Recycles Long Debunked Denier Talking Points. Will the Media Be Fooled Again?

We have here quotes from scientists who believe that global warming will not be catastrophic because the author believes humans will take appropriate action in time taken out of context and presented that global warming is not a problem that requires action.

We have quotes from TV weather reporters where meteorologists are given the authority of climatologists. Here, the list plays on the fact that the public does not know the difference between weather and climate.

It contains quotes from scientists who have asked to have their names removed from the list because the list misrepresents their views, only to have their names remain on the list.

All of these is evidence that the list was constructed by somebody who has no love of truth – who will misinform so as to (profitably) stand in the way of preventing people from protecting future generations from serious harm without a twinge of guilt.

However much this speaks to the evil of Inhofe and his staff, their evil would not be a problem if society as a whole were to take a moral stand against this type of behavior. They would simply be removed from office and held in social disgrace.

I have mentioned that the right to freedom of speech means that it is inappropriate to respond to words with violence. The only legitimate responses are words and private actions.

However, voting is a private action. (Buying gasoline from Exxon-Mobile is also a private action.) As such, deciding not to vote for somebody because he is an advocate and practitioner of the art of deception and misrepresentation is a perfectly legitimate response to the fact that a candidate is engaging in deception and misrepresentation.

The discovery that Inhofe had anything to do with promoting this list should have been met with the same type of response as the discovery that a Senator had been sending sexually explicit emails to underage pages. This violation of public trust should have been (and should still be) met with demands that he resign his seat in disgrace so that the people, using whatever Constitutional methods provided by law, can get a decent human being to fill that position.

The fact that no such demand is being made is proof that the moral problem goes far deeper than the evil of Inhofe himself.

Ultimately, what puts future generations at risk is not the evil of Inhofe himself, but because the unwillingness to take a moral stand against these types of deceptive practices goes so deeply. That is why I classify the unwillingness itself as our current greatest moral failing.

5 comments:

anton said...

" . . . deciding not to vote for somebody because he is an advocate and practitioner of the art of deception and misrepresentation is a perfectly legitimate response to the fact that a candidate is engaging in deception and misrepresentation."

Ergo, we should not vote for known practitioners of witchcraft, voodoo, or Christianity! YES!!!

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anton

Well, remember, I said that the objection is not to the conclusions that a person reaches, but in the types of arguments they use to get there.

Also, I have argued in the past that intellectual recklessness, like other forms of recklessness, depend on harm done to others. The person who drives drunk on his 10,000 acre ranch where no tresspassing is permitted is not an evil person because his recklessness is not in a context that threatens others.

faithlessgod said...

I notice a subtle change here from your last post: "the top of the list of evils that deserves our greatest condemnation... is the lack of condemnation given to those who use poor arguments in defense of beliefs that threaten the well-being of others " versus here "an unwillingness to take a stand against intellectual recklessness as being the greatest moral failing of our day"

This answers my caveat unless you think "greatest moral failing" = "greatest moral evil". I assume you do not, is this correct?

David said...

I have mentioned that the right to freedom of speech means that it is inappropriate to respond to words with violence. The only legitimate responses are words and private actions.

However, voting is a private action.


Does that mean a deceptive dictator is safe until he engages in some physical violence (since voting isn't a possibility)?

Hume's Ghost said...

Inhofe is using the same exact tactics that creationists use when they come up with the same sort of lists about evolution. Tim Lambert cleverly pointed out that this list is actually more dishonest than the Discovery Institutes anti-evolution list.

In this post I link to a number of posts from Lambert pointing out the dishonest inherent in the list, including, but not limited to, Morano having quote-mined someone who is not a critic of AGW.