Excuse me, but Madonna is not a rocker. She's not really even a musician. She is an entertainer, a personality, a businesswoman, an actress, a showman. She has excelled in those roles, and there are other places where such people can be honored. But inducting her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to take her place alongside Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Creedence, Clapton, and others is just wrong.
One might as well induct Pavarotti: hey, he's kind of musical and he sold a lot of records!
So the Pope thinks that all the fuss about global warming is a bunch of hot air. This comes from the head of the institution that forced Gallileo to live out the last years of his life under house arrest because he thought the earth revolved around the sun, from the organization that maintains that evolution is bunk, from the gang that practically invented anti-semitism, from the lovely folks who discourage condom use in AIDS-ravaged Africa, abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and birth control even for those at medical risk from pregnancy.
Here's the article (by the right-wing Daily Mail's Simon Caldwell) and the snarky deconstruction.
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
This is a laugh, given the church's positions in the face of firm evidence that the earth revolves around the sun and that animals evolve. Given the impossibly high standards of proof the church has required of those two theories, the Med will have to be three feet from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel before the church decides the evidence is firm enough.
The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
Fear engendered by forces outside the church cuts into the church's attempt to hold a monopoly on the control of fear. The church wants people to fear hellfire and damnation if they don't act the way the Catholic hierarchy commands. The church--and only the church--can protect folks from these terrors if they just drink this magic wine and eat this magic wafer. Since fermented grape juice and saltines won't stop us from cooking the planet, people afraid of climate change might actually attempt to address their fears by taking reasoned action, instead of pleading with God and his minions to protect them.
The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.
Look: we're reasonable men. But the key word here is "dogma." The church doesn't want anyone encroaching on that.
His remarks will be made in his annual message for World Peace Day on January 1, but they were released as delegates from all over the world convened on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for UN climate change talks.
In a pathetic bid for relevance, the Pope figures that taking a contrarian position on global climate change will give him more influence over the Bali conference than going with the overwhelming weight of scientific authority and political judgment.
The 80-year-old Pope said the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.
A great mixture of scientific no-nothingism and the staw man fallacy. It's precisely because human civilization depends so heavily on the conditions that allow plant and animal life to flourish that changes in the climate that harm non-human life threaten mankind as well. Sure, I'm concerned about the polar bears qua polar bears, but I'm even more concerned about polar bears qua harbingers of flooded coastal cities, the expansion of uninhabitably hot regions of the globe and the warfare that results from changing resource bases.
"Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow," he said in the message entitled "The Human Family, A Community of Peace".
"It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.
Boilerplate. Who could disagree with any of that? I heard Mitt Romney saying something very much like that just the other day.
"If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations.
Since the church's best markets for growth are likely to continue to be in the developing world, it wouldn't be right to ask, say, Nigeria or Venezuela to do something about global warming. Anything that slows down the economies there will cut down on the amount that parishoners in those places can put in the collection plate every Sunday.
"Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken."
Thank you, George H.W. Bush (Mr. Prudence himself).
Efforts to protect the environment should seek "agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances", the Pope said.
I think you're repeating yourself. Maybe it's because you're getting senile.
He added that to further the cause of world peace it was sensible for nations to "choose the path of dialogue rather than the path of unilateral decisions" in how to cooperate responsibly on conserving the planet.
Right, because if there's dialogue, the church will have the opportunity to gum up the works and interfere with solutions that might actually improve life on earth, thus making the afterlife seem all the more enticing by way of comparison.
The Pope's message is traditionally sent to heads of government and international organisations.
His remarks reveal that while the Pope acknowledges that problems may be associated with unbridled development and climate change, he believes the case against global warming to be over-hyped.
Presumably the Pope would rather that we focus on more pressing issues, such as preventing gay marriage, barring women from the priesthood and burning witches.
A broad consensus is developing among the world's scientific community over the evils of climate change.
But there is also an intransigent body of scientific opinion which continues to insist that industrial emissions are not to blame for the phenomenon.
Here Caldwell is shooting for the kind of phony "balance" that is destroying contemporary journalism. In this model, it is not the journalist's job to report the truth, only to report the controversy and give equal space to all views, no matter how ill-founded or loony they may be.
Such scientists point out that fluctuations in the earth's temperature are normal and can often be caused by waves of heat generated by the sun. Other critics of environmentalism have compared the movement to a burgeoning industry in its own right.
The phrase "can often be caused" hides a lot. Note that constructing the sentence this way avoids both identifying the "scientists" who hold such views and attributing to them the contention that global climate change is being caused by fluctuations in solar radiation.
In the spring, the Vatican hosted a conference on climate change that was welcomed by environmentalists.
But senior cardinals close to the Vatican have since expressed doubts about a movement which has been likened by critics to be just as dogmatic in its assumptions as any religion.
Look how these sentences stands the epistemologies of religion and science on their heads. Science deals with the realm of things that can be proved or disproved by evidence and the rules of logic. Religion deals with matters of faith that can neither be proved nor disproved. Yet the certitude of science in this article is referred to as "dogmatic . . . assumptions," presumably in contrast to the transcendent truths of revealed religion.
In October, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, caused an outcry when he noted that the atmospheric temperature of Mars had risen by 0.5 degrees celsius.
"The industrial-military complex up on Mars can't be blamed for that," he said in a criticism of Australian scientists who had claimed that carbon emissions would force temperatures on earth to rise by almost five degrees by 2070 unless drastic solutions were enforced.
The sneering ignorance--the willful opacity--that is revealed in this kind of argumentation is just repulsive to behold. The argument seems to be that since natural forces can affect climate, therefore man-made forces cannot. It's akin to saying that since car crashes cause injuries, people can't be injured by falling. Maybe this kind of reasoning works in the realm of faith, but it sure isn't common sense, elementary logic, or good science.
I disagree with Camille Paglia at least two-thirds of the time, but I love her nonetheless. She delights in debunking the groupthink we progressives can fall into all too easily, and even when she is bat-shit crazy, she is never dull or uninformed. In her recent column in Salon, I found a link to the video I will be posting tomorrow. I also found this:
I substitute art and nature for God -- the grandeur of man and the vast mystery of the universe.
Funny: for someone who has a well-deserved reputation for verbosity, Paglia has delivered a remarkably succinct statement that reflects my own spiritual views.
Whoa. I think I've had my eyeballs on the P2008 race more than most people, but I didn't know til I saw early accounts of the CNN Republican debate today that Harold StassenAlan Keyes is running for President.
I saw The Golden Compass a couple days ago. I had not read the book and knew very little about the film; partly, I went to spite Bill Donahue. And then to spite him even worser, I bought the book, which I have just now begun.
A couple of the reviews I read after seeing the film suggested that it might have been better if it had been longer. I agree. The movie was paced very smartly, perhaps so newcomers to author Philip Pullman's complex fantasy world like me wouldn't get antsy. However, it may be that in ensuring that we wouldn't all get bored, director Chris Weitz didn't trust his vision enough to allow us to linger in it. Still, it's better to leave a theater wanting more than having had more than enough.
As a newcomer to Pullman's world, I was most intrigued by the idea of the alethiometer, the titular device which doesn't tell direction, but instead tells the truth. The idea is that in a repressive society, a device of this sort constitutes a serious threat to the powers that be who have built their rulership on lies and deceit. Though the film did not explicitly invite this association, it made me think of Copernicus and Darwin and the threat the truths they revealed posed to the authority of the church. Which, I think, was precisely Pullman's intent.
Today's coordinated terror bombings in Algeria hear the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda operation. Assuming that it correct, then once again al-Qaeda has shown that it doesn't care one bit about Muslims, who surely bore the brunt of this mindless murder.
As I've been arguing for some time, the U.S. and other countries should be doing all we can to promote democracy in the Maghreb region, which is likely to be the next front in the battle against radical Islamic terrorism. This will require a deft diplomatic touch; I hope that our government is up to it. If people in that region have some stake in and confidence in their governments and societies, will they be willing to step forward to fight the kind of murderous nihilism these attacks represent. Even as I mourn the victims of the attack today, I hope that this is the moment when it becomes clear to the people of North Africa that al Qaeda does not have their best interests at heart.
Just a reminder for my readers in Ohio's Fifth Congressional District--it's election day today. The district includes Crawford, Defiance, Fulton,
Henry, Huron, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams,
and Wood counties, and parts of Ashland, Lucas, Mercer, and Wyandot. The polls are open now and will close at 7:30.
Democrat Robin Weirauchis in a close race against Republican Bob Latta, and could surely use your support. I made a small donation to the Wierauch campaign through ActBlue last week and think it's important to the future of the progressive movement that she win today.
I heard an attack ad on the radio yesterday criticizing Weirauch for wanting national health insurance "even for illegal immigrants" and wanting to repeal the "death tax." In other words, the same exhausted rhetoric is being totted out against her. The effect of the ad for me was to reinforce that not only do the Republicans lack ideas of their own, they also lack new counterpunches.
Weirauch does indeed favor national health insurance. She also wants the troops out of Iraq now--just two of the many excellent reasons to vote for her.