Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christians Love Climate Gate

Why is it that Christians are a disproportionately high number of global warming skeptics? The apologetic minded Christians love this hole email conspiracy thing. They love it at Triablogue. They love it at Uncommon Descent. They love it at Evolution News and Views. A friend asked me recently why that would be. Why does it seem that the people that latch on to any type of global warming denial evidence are always Christians?

I believe it is because Christians trust Jesus to take care of everything and expect him to come again and fix all problems. So why sacrifice now and reduce carbon emissions when the Lord will come again soon and none of this will matter? Secularists on the other hand think that if we destroy our planet we really will be screwed. No magic man will come to save us.

If you're a Christian that thinks that the email scandal reveals some sort of massive conspiracy and cover up to get politicians to run your lives, depriving you of Hummer's, etc, watch the video below. Then maybe ask yourself why your conservative sources are always leading you astray. I'm coming to learn that if it's coming out or Rush Limbaugh's mouth and it's remotely debatable it's probably false. Learn that lesson or continue to lose debates with informed people. Or worse.

38 comments:

HispanicPundit said...

Here is a better explained version of what many conservatives believe - including myself.

Btw, have you added McArdle to your blogroll?

Jon said...

It's good to see that Megan isn't presenting the email thing in an out of context fashion to make it out to be something it isn't. On the other hand, is she questioning the fact of global warming?

Remember our whole Jaraslov Pelikan debate? You quoting the experts, me saying that I just don't accept a position based on consensus.

Unless I have no clue. And I have no ability to evaluate the "adjusted" temp values she refers to. What I do have is a universal consensus, from both the right and left wing, that global temperatures are rising. When I say right and left wing I'm not talking about pundits. I'm talking about experts. Even the fossil fuel funded people working for National Review don't dispute that global temperatures are rising. See a good summary of the science here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52KLGqDSAjo

The experts universally say that global temperatures are rising. I seriously don't know a single dissenter. A very small number do dispute that it is caused by man. There's something like a 90% consensus that it is. So me being a non-expert I have to decide what to believe. Absent a real argument based on real data (which is offered in the scientific literature by zero people as far as I'm aware) what conclusion should I draw? Megan is posing a worthwhile question about how to understand the data, but barring detailed explanations from experts that deny global warming I think the wiser assumption is to just admit that we're not qualified to interpret that and accept the overwhelming consensus position of the experts.

HispanicPundit said...

Oh, definitely, don't misunderstand me: I wholeheartedly agree that the world is getting warmer. That shouldn't be too controversial a claim - it's relatively easy to measure temperature.

Where the debate lies is in the question of how much is attributed to man (not so much debate even here - Id be willing to even grant this) but more importantly, how much control we have to prevent real harm and even more controversial, how much we should sacrifice now for future catastrophe later.

Arguments like this, this and this are all consistent with the science of global warming but more alligned ideologically to the skeptic Christians you so deride.

Btw, I like how you accept consensus arguments in environmentalism, but don't when it comes to economics - particularly on views that are near unanimously against Chomsky's. But that's the new Jon - benefit of the doubt to the left, skepticism towards the right.

Jon said...

I don't know about your claim that Chomsky's economics. What is a consensus economic view that he opposes?

You might be right about my tilts. I used to be such a fan of Rush and now I really feel like as I learn more all those factoids he'd placed in my head turned out to be false. I literally embarrassed myself repeating his arguments in the face of informed people. The same was true of Christian apologetics. It was quite surprising to me to have been misled so badly by people who must have either known they were wrong or were just way too lazy and didn't check. If I find that Chomsky is leading me astray, making blatantly false assertions like Rush and the apologists do, maybe I'd end up feeling the same way towards him. But having gotten burned by the right wing side I approached the left wingers with skepticism and have been checking up on them, especially Chomsky. I've seen slight overstatement from him at best. Mostly he's dead on.

You repeated that same assertion about Chomsky that I'd corrected before, as if he doesn't present real solutions, etc. You obviously do not listen to him.

Have you listened to the Perle debate?

Jon said...

One other point. In the Perle debate Perle makes the same point towards Chomsky that you often do. "What are your solutions? It's easy to criticize what others do. It's another thing to offer real world workable solutions. What are yours?" Chomsky's answer is brilliant. Listen for it.

Ron Henzel said...

Geologist Dr. David Gee, chair of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress and author of 130 plus peer reviewed papers said, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" (Dr. Gee is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.)

These and many, many quotes from scientists engaged in the climate debate can be read in the "U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk 'Consensus' in 2008 &
2009."


Even the most committed global warming kool aid pushers are now reduced to urging cap-and-trade policies as a form of "risk management" because the science has become so unsettled and questionable.

HispanicPundit said...

Maybe that is the difference between you and me - I have never really listened to or read conservative hacks. Its intellectuals I follow - people like Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Hayek, and others. So my conservativism/libertarianism has a much stronger foundation than yours did. I have never listened to Rush, I've never read but more than a few articles of NRO, or the Weekly Standard. Etc I just read the academic arguments, and make my own judgment.

Another difference that I bet informs us, is our surroundings. You probably live next to alot of conservatives, and so what they believe shapes what you think the majority of conservatives believe. Plus, since most people are not very politically interested (as most people are not very religiously interested - its primarily habit and culture), you see a lot of weak arguments. Liberal arguments are new to you.

Well I live in the hotbed of liberalism. So I see the very opposite. Conservative arguments were new to me.

Also, I do take academic consensus serious. I have changed alot of my views precisely because those who make it their job to study the issues, disagree with my previous held views. Of course I still have to learn the debate and issues, but academic consensus cannot be discounted. That is why I dont deny global warming, or free trade, or evolution.

Chomsky's views on the economic motives of the United States, his views on free trade, his views on NAFTA, and his views on alot of foreign policy are not taken seriously by those who make it their profession to study the issue. So by default, I tend to be skeptical of his sort of argument.

You've always been a rogue thinker. You like being on the fringes. It is one personality description of you that has remained consistent, no matter your beliefs. So I think Chomsky is just one more thing to replace the void Christianity left behind.

Jon said...

Ron, I want to respond to what you've said, but give me a little time.

HP, what's so strange about Chomsky's views on NAFTA? What's the consensus view and what is it that Chomsky thinks that's contrary to the consensus view. You repeat your charge that he's on the fringes, but you've already said that, which prompted my question asking for specifics. You retort with vague reference once again to how he's on the fringes.

I'm not trying to be difficult, but I do want you to think about such charges before you make them. Otherwise you'll be substituting good sounding rhetoric for good argument. Your claim that I adopt views contrary to the consensus when it suits me does discredit me unless I can justify why I apply one standard in one case and another in a different case, so I really want to know what I'm doing so I can evaluate whether I'm acting inconsistently. I honestly want to know. And you're good at pulling this stuff out so I just want to see.

HispanicPundit said...

I mentioned it in my post: Chomsky believes that the costs of NAFTA outweigh the benefits. Chomsky is a skeptic of free trade - not just theoretical free trade, but actual practiced free trade.

I'm not as much informed about his foreign policy views but they give me the same impression.

Jon said...

Ron, I think your report of 700 "international scientists" is a poor way to evaluate the consensus views of scientists. The scientific method involves hypothesis, testing, documenting, peer review, publication, duplication, etc. What do you do when you can't win via the scientific method? You appeal to the public with a laundry list of names of people on your side.

This is done with evolution for instance. Intelligent Design isn't science. They can't do tests to evaluate their theory. So they go to PTA meetings or churches and compile lists of smart people that sort of dissent. Here's some explanation of how this is working and how critics reply.

Take a look at this list of experts of yours. Do you know that 80% have no published documentation on climate research? 65% don't even work in a field that's even related to climate science. Contrast this with the IPCC Report. Huge numbers of credible scientists form the basis. The report is vetted and re-vetted. 4% of the people in your report accept the findings of the IPCC report, which goes beyond asserting global warming. It says that man is the likely cause. So I'd expect an even greater % of those in your report accept that the earth is warming.

The people on your list may be smart, but they aren't experts in the field. I'd read that a greater percentage of historians deny the holocaust than there are scientists that deny the Theory of Evolution and I imagine it's similar with regards to climate scientists that deny the earth is warming.

Jon said...

Be more specific on NAFTA, HP. I don't know that he says the costs outweigh the benefits in every sense. What do you mean? And what is the consensus view?

HispanicPundit said...

The vast majority of economists support free trade in general. The vast majority of economists still support NAFTA, as it was implemented.

Some economists would have liked different tweaks and implementations. Some economists argue that it helped some areas more than others - or even at the cost of others. But it'd be hard - though not impossible - to find an economist who full out says NAFTA was a *net* loss to Mexico.

I haven't read Chomsky on this, only what you send me, but how far does he go on NAFTA? Does he say it was an overall net loss?

Jon said...

I haven't read him saying that. It seems you have no basis for telling me I'm following Chomsky into fringe like economic positions.

HispanicPundit said...

Or even his hypothesis of why countries go to war - the whole dollar issue.

Its a non-issue to economists.

Jon said...

That's not Chomsky's view. He's not a Ron Paul gold bug type person.

Sounds like you're having trouble finding out an opinion of Chomsky's that would qualify as fringe like.

Fred said...

I have 2 problems with the "believers" of anthropogenic global warming:
1) Their reference to "consensus" of scientists. Science is not advanced by consensus. Majority rule does not establish truth. Hypotheses and theories SHOULD be examined by skeptics who find flaws.
2) The use of the term "global warming deniers." This is terminology akin to charges of "heresy" by the religious orthodox.

That being said, the reaction of the "skeptics" to the e-mail scandal has been even worse than the above. The email issues, while they display pettiness and games playing, do not in any way, shape or form provide any evidence that the researchers have been dishonest about their core research and conclusions.

The overall problem, IMHO, is that this scientific issue is politicized - so the rules of science are supplanted by the fisticuffs of politics.

My sincere wish is that we can let the scientists do the science, and that they be allowed to do so as honestly as possible. This means honest peer review, dealing with appropriate criticism in a rational manner, and progressing the state of knowledge.

HispanicPundit said...

Or you are toning down Chomsky's true views to have him appear more mainstream.

HispanicPundit said...

Here is a recent discussion on NAFTA with Chomsky, that shows what I am talking about. Sure, he does not come out and fully say that NAFTA was a net loss to Mexico, but he certainly implies it.

Also, implicit support for the Zapatista's movement and their "collectivist" actions is typical Chomsky.

Seriously Jon, stop listening to Rush's. First it was Rush on the right, Rush Limbaugh, now it's Rush on the left - intellectual Noam Chomsky. Hacks - both of them, IMO.

HispanicPundit said...

Here is another example of Chomsky on capitalism. Where to even begin? First, sure many people thought the USSR had respected standard of living, but that was because they faked their statistics. Many people on the left bought into the BS (including Chomsky)...but what Chomsky doesn't tell you is that the vast majority of the economics and even non-economics profession, see it now as a fake, a facade. So they were wrong in believing the data. Same can be said of Cuba (it's an ironic fact of history that Cuba, the darling of the left, has the worst economy in Latin America, and Chile, the hatred of the left, has one of the best economies in Latin America).

Knowing this, and I am sure Chomsky knows but doesn't say, puts his response in a completely different light. Then he gives alot of anecdotal data to paint his preferred picture of history. Look at the tone and clear implication he gives of capitalism in general. Not even your left most economist would give the same impression. Contrast his view to how mainstream economists see capitalism, for example, this article.

Jon said...

See HP, this is where you really owe me some additional credit. Your claim is that I follow Chomsky away from consensus on economic matters. The fact of the matter is I'd already seen both of those youtube clips from Chomsky. I thought the claim about economic growth in early Soviet Russia would be a fascinating point if true. So what did I do? I made efforts to determine the growth rates and I was unable to confirm his claim. So I have not followed him down that path.

He may be right and I don't have the right information, but I haven't confirmed it so I'm holding off.

As far as NAFTA, you know it's not like I'm saying much that contradicts your views. Chomsky isn't really either. So how am I following him off the cliff and away from consensus? His basic claims (tons of people put out of work by farm subsidies, lots of cheap labor moving northward) sounds pretty non-radical. Maybe I'm wrong and you disagree, but that's not radical stuff.

I do think that what he's saying in your second clip is worthwhile, but as I said I haven't confirmed his claims that might be more controversial. You say he bought off on fake statistics, but I don't think you know that. He doesn't indicate the basis of his claim.

Chomsky is very good about sources. He doesn't make stuff up because he knows he'll be pounced on. If he was misled by fake statistics I think that's excusable. Anyone can be misled by false information. Probably you thought the 9/11 hijackers had box cutters, right? These things happen.

HispanicPundit said...

This would be a huge source to get wrong. I'd be very surprised if it was news to him - if it was, then he isnt the note taker you give him credit for. I think he is intentionally misleading - if pressed, he might say, "well sure NOW its seen as bogus, but I was referring to what they believed THEN"...while intentionally leading the viewers to assume otherwise.

Again, watch NAFTA video. There is more there than mere agriculture. Look at the way he treats NAFTA vs say the way he treats the Zapatistas (a neo-communist organization in the Southern parts of Mexico).

Like I said above - when it comes to lefties, you bend over backwards to shine the best light on them. Righties get the opposite treatment from you.

elenburg said...

The term Global Warming isn't nuanced enough to communicate what the pundits mean. There is evidence the earth is on a warming cycle, but I've not seen much good science to prove humans caused this. The best evidence I've seen is solar (sun spot) activity is to blame. I prefer the term Anthropogenic Global Warming to be more specific. Similarly, the term "evolution" is trotted out by scientists engaging in scientism which is why I prefer using the more descriptive term "Darwinism" to help keep the proven and speculative on the proper side of the line of truth.

Jon said...

HP, you basically aren't even defending your initial assertion at this point. You say I follow Chomsky against the economic consensus. You don't have a single example of me doing this. Basically you seem to be trying to find positions from Chomsky that might be radical, but that doesn't mean I followed him in his radical views. I haven't claimed to agree with his point on Soviet economic growth. I haven't said that NAFTA wasn't a net gain. You're just completely wrong.

HispanicPundit said...

Fine...you havent claimed to believe him on any of these points. But re-read what you wrote above and see how you try to explain what Chomsky *meant*.

Clearly you try to paint Chomsky in the best possible light. Maybe you are blind to this. Ask one of your objective friends to watch the videos and read our responses - see who is being more fair to the message he tries to get across. I think I am on firm ground here. If the hack was Rush, or any conservative author, I doubt youd give it the same benefit of the doubt.

With that said: whether you believe him or not, this is one of the reasons why I dont take him as seriously as you do. On areas of topics that I do know a little bit about, his message is radical - and, I would say, completely uninformed. Knowing this, why should I read him on areas I know even less about?

Jon said...

I don't deny that right now in life I have a bias in favor of Chomsky, and this of course would mean that I'd be defensive of him. Call it painting him in a favorable light if you like. So what? Don't we all do that with our preferred thinkers? I don't like Rush because I have first hand experience with Rush spinning.

Chomsky is not Rush. That's a joke. The guy has written dozens of books, all meticulously documented. He's completely revolutionized his professional field (linguistics) completely independently of his political work which in fact distracts him from his actual profession. Listen to him argue and every word that comes out of his mouth is a formulation of a cogent argument based on facts he documents. This is like Rush? Next you'll be telling me that he doesn't offer solutions but only criticism. Either read him or stop even trying to describe him because every time you do you completely wrong. You don't see me ripping on Megan or David Friedman. I haven't read enough from them. Get informed, then criticize.

HispanicPundit said...

He is an intelligent Rush - even far more intelligent.

I bet I've read more of Chomsky than you have of David Frum or Megan McArdle. And atleast in areas I know a little about, he rubs me as a hack. Dont get all butt hurt cuz I think so little of your hero. :-)

HispanicPundit said...

Btw, have I sent you my links on Noam Chomsky? I thought this would be a great place as any...for your record keeping.

Here is a long repository of anti-Chomsky writing.

David Horowitz on Noam Chomsky.

Reason Magazine reviews the book, The Anti-Chomsky Reader here.

HispanicPundit said...

But my favorite is from Brad DeLong, economics professor at UC Berkeley (and a very big liberal, by economic standards) who wrote this:

The Chomsky defenders--and there seem to be a surprisingly large number of them--seem to form a kind of cult. Arguing with them seems to be a lot like trying to teach Plato's Republic to a pig: it wastes your time, and it annoys the pig.

Then goes on to give examples of his disapproval.

HispanicPundit said...

Some of his commentators pleaded with him to give Chomsky a second chance, so he has a second post, where he concludes:

What I object to is that Chomsky tears up the trail markers that might lead to conclusions different from his. He makes it next to impossible for people unversed in the issues to understand what the live and much-debated points of contention might be.

What I object to is the lack of background, to the lack of context. In telling the history of the Cold War as it really happened--even in ten pages--there has to be a place for Stalin, an inquiry into the character of the regimes that Stalin sponsored, and an assessment of Stalinist plans and expectations. But Chomsky ruthlessly suppresses half the story of the Cold War--the story of the other side of the Iron Curtain.

In my view, the first duty that any participant in any speech situation has: to tell it like he or she thinks that it is, not to try to suppress big chunks of the story because they are inconvenient in the context of your current political goals. You can't show only half (or less than half) the picture. That's an act of intellectual authoritarianism, an attempt to lower the level of the discourse, an attempt to keep people from knowing things that are not "good" for them--an intellectual foul.

In a world in which there are lots of people who try to tell it as it really happened, why should I spend any time reading someone who tries to tell it as it didn't happen?

And then there were the passages that I could not take to be anything other than casual lies:

That (doomed) postwar partisans trying to fight guerrilla wars against Soviet rule in Ukraine, Belorus, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere were "armies that had been established by Hitler." (Instead they were by and large people--a good chunk of them fascists and anti-semites-- who wanted to be ruled by neither Hitler nor Stalin. Nationalist partisans fought the Nazis when they occupied eastern Europe, and fought the Soviets when they moved in.)

That the "liberal extreme" of postwar American policymaking was the George Kennan who sneers at "vague... and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization." (No one who has read any of the documents can believe that. The liberal extreme--in fact, the vital center for much of the immediate post-WWII period--was the position that Kennan was arguing against in the passage Chomsky quotes: the position held by those who did care deeply about human, rights, economic development, and democratization., and who made them the focus of a substantial chunk of U.S. postwar policy.)

That "free trade is fine for economics departments and newpaper editorials, but nobody in the corporate world or the government takes the doctrines seriously." (How does he know better than I do what I--or Lloyd Bentsen, Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, or Laura D'Andrea Tyson--takes seriously?)

So by page 17 I had had more than enough.


In other words, not even a very liberal economist could take Chomsky seriously. Imagine what moderate and conservative economists would think of him?

This is part of DeLong's response resonates with me: " it makes me wonder: whenever we reach an issue that I do not know deeply, what things that I would like to know is Chomsky going to try to keep me from noticing?". I don't think you ask this question enough.

Jon said...

Yeah, there's piles and piles of criticism of Chomsky. I've read much of it. In fact it was the anti-Chomsky article from Horowitz that prompted me to investigate Chomsky in the first place. After noticing various errors from certain conservatives like Horowitz I was thinking "Who is that guy that David Horowitz hates so much? I wonder if in fact he's pretty good." I re-read that Horowitz article before I even read anything from Chomsky and I noticed that he never really offered any substance. Check it out. Where does he show Chomsky to be mistaken? It's very vague. Much of what you quoted is quite vague. Supposedly Chomsky doesn't tell us the whole story. It's not that he's wrong in most cases. It's that the story he tells people don't like, so the claim is that he doesn't tell us enough. How can you evaluate a criticism like that?

Most of your criticism of him is just like that. It's stuff that can't be evaluated. You call him fringe. You reference views of his that are supposedly fringy but you don't give specifics. "Costs outweigh the benefits." I don't know what that means. He's just a demagogue like Rush. Liberals don't like him. There's nothing that can be learned from any of that.

If you read him you'd know why so called liberals don't like him. You wouldn't expect them to. Instead you think their criticism makes him less credible because you expect them to be on his side. You're just totally ignorant and hence your massive reliance on name calling. That's why I say you need to stop criticizing him and get more informed. Then come back with substantive critiques. At least listen to the Perle debate for crying out loud. I even converted it from youtube so you could listen on the go.

Jon said...

He was interviewed on the BBC and they asked him about his critics. He responded and said that he does read their criticisms, but he also said that in truth he finds that there's almost nothing to any of it. He looked very genuine in believing that and I find the same thing when I read his critics. Now much of it is stuff I can't evaluate. Were the fighters of the guerrilla wars established by Hitler or indigenous? I don't know. But why is so much of the criticism made up of material that isn't even making an argument? Why is so much name calling going on? This prompts me to give Chomsky the benefit of the doubt in things I can't evaluate.

For the stuff I can evaluate I usually find the critics to be wrong. Take your claim about Pol Pot. This is a big one for the critics, and everything I've learned suggest that their criticism (and yours) is just totally wrong. You say he denied the atrocities of Pol Pot or diminished them and you were totally wrong. The fact is he was critical of Pol Pot all the time, but he did notice that the major media only came on board when it was politically useful and was quick to attribute atrocities to him while he was an enemy of the state even in cases where the evidence was poor, but then ceased their criticism when Pol Pot later became someone the U.S. government approved of. Suddenly all of his genocide was forgotten. The fact that the media overstated his atrocities for a time period according to the documentary record is spun as if it were a defense of Pol Pot by Chomsky's critics.

Another big one that I hear a lot about is apparently he wrote a statement in support of the free speech rights of a Holocaust denier. That letter ended up being used by the denier in his book as part of the introduction. He takes huge flak for this. But it's so unimportant in my eyes. Free speech needs to be defended in the unpopular cases. Defending it for unpopular speech is the very point of it. Chomsky is no Holocaust denier.

Watch Andrew Sullivan criticize him on Maher's show. He never says one substantive thing. This is not unusual for the critics. This enhances his prestige in my eyes.

But I will continue to evaluate these things.

HispanicPundit said...

Brad DeLong does mention straight out errors, he lists three of them at the end of his post, which I pasted above. Did you completely miss that?

Also, DeLong goes through the Pol Pot issue, quoting verse and section of Chomsky's book. Read the DeLong links in full. Its really embarrassing.

Especially considering that DeLong only gets to page 17.

Jon said...

The three criticisms are either vague or not possible for me to evaluate. Or maybe just plain obviously wrong.

1-The rebels were established by Hitler. I already said I can't be sure who's right.

2-Chomsky summarizes Kennan to the effect that certain goals related to human rights are "vague and unreal objectives". Delong complains that elsewhere Kennan speaks highly of human rights. So? What is Chomsky speaking in reference to when he talks about Kennan's identifying certain objectives as unobtainable or vague? Once again I can't evaluate the assertion without details. It's one thing to speak highly generally about human rights and another to stand up for them when profits are on the line. Maybe Delong is talking about the former.

3-Chomsky describes his own perceptions about the corporate world's attitude toward free trade. I suppose he's thinking about things like ITT in Chile, the United Fruit Company in Colombia, BP in Iran, steel tarriff's, etc. Delong wonders how he can know this. I don't know. Maybe observing corporate action, violence instigated by certain corporations, etc. I don't even know how Delong can deny the obvious on this one.

Your links from Delong aren't working at the moment, but I'll check them out later. Give the Perle debate a listen.

Anonymous said...

I cringe when I see someone referencing a David Horowitz article as supporting argument for anything.

There is irony in using him for sure.

HispanicPundit said...

You know what would be interesting to see, is Chomsky's views on whether Bush or "the jews" were behind 9/11, why he believes the Holocaust is real, and other conspiracy theories.

It seems he intentionally avoids those topics. As a mud slinger, it would put Chomsky in the awkward position of having to actually commit to a view and answer vague, anecdotal references - the type he is famous for making.

I could answer that on such deep questions, I default to the standard academic view.Or I find their evidence weak. Or the numerous documentation showing otherwise. But Chomsky refuses those standards when arguing his position - so it would be interesting to see what he gives them as an answer. IOW, what standards he considers acceptable.

Regarding DeLong's posts: Sometimes you have to use Google Cache feature. Google "Chomsky Brad DeLong"...the links will come up...then click Cache, it will show you the full posts.

Jon said...

Good Lord you are so ignorant about this stuff. Just go to youtube and type "Chomsky 911 conspiracy". He doesn't avoid this stuff. He talks about it all the time. I've listened to numerous discussions from him where he answers the questions directly and unambiguously. There's been so many I can't even find the one I thought was most interesting at the moment.

Vague anecdotal references? As if he doesn't offer specific answers to specific questions. It's been a running joke in this thread for me how you assert he doesn't offer real solutions but only criticisms because the opposite is the case if you'd only listen to what he says instead of making stuff up. You've read more from Chomsky than I've read from Frum? How is this possible?

HispanicPundit said...

Okay, then tell me - what view does he take, and why?

Jon said...

Well, he says it much better than me, but here's the very first result of a youtube search.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzGd0t8v-d4

In sum it would have been insane to attempt it from the inside. Totally impossible to keep a lid on it. Impossible to predict if it will work. What if the planes miss the towers? That could have happened very easily. Forget that Bush gained from it. Every repressive regime gained from it, from Putin's Russia to China to Israel to everyone else. But are they really going to put their head in a noose like this just to pass the Patriot Act or invade Iraq (notice that the hijackers in fact were Saudi's, which is not convenient at all from Bush's perspective assuming he wanted to invade Iraq at this stage).

Watch it and part 2 though. There is probably good stuff I forgot.

Another great point he makes in another video I can't find is he says why are all these people emailing him about it? Why don't they email the engineering department at MIT? OK, so they say they found nano-thermite at the scene. So? What does that mean? Here's a fact. You don't wake up one morning, read a couple of internet websites, and suddenly you're an expert in structural analysis. These are complex things and the structural experts all say that the collapse makes sense from an engineering perspective. Go ahead and dispute it if you like, but talk to the experts, not a linguist.

Chomsky is not remotely conspiratorial in my experience. He's always citing the most respected sources to make his case. The conclusions are often shocking which might make you think he's prone to conspiracies. I think it's easy to conflate shocking, non-discussed truths with conspiracies. We don't talk about much that Chomsky talks about, so when you hear it it sounds bizarre, like a conspiracy theory. But his sources are impeccable. He's not actually positing conspiracies. He basically says that we have a system that serves powerful interests, and certain behaviors and actions (media coverage, war) manifest that structure. It's really almost axiomatic.