Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize for Damnable Pseudo-Science?

Is it weird to give the peace prize to an individual/group whose efforts have indirectly been good for the world? Let's look at the last five award recipients:

'06 -- Muhammad Yunus--Entrepreneur--"Banker to the Poor" in Bangledesh--microcreditor

'05 -- Mohamed ElBaradei--Egyptian--anti-nuclear-weapon director of IAEA

'04 -- Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai--Kenyan parliamentarian--"The Tree Mother of Africa" fighting soil erosion

'03 -- Shirin Ebadi--Iranian Lawyer--fights for women's and children's legal status

'02 -- Jimmy Carter--former US president--anti-death-penalty, SALT


I guess the former VP and his campaign are not outside the norm for receiving the award.

7 Comments:

Blogger Marc said...

...and who should have received the award instead?

11:19 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

By the way... I'm going out on a limb by presuming that this is your primary blog while the other two were just mindless distractions until you got the cahones to commit to one full-time?

11:53 AM  
Blogger christovich79 said...

The prize could have gone to a huge number of people, most of whom with I'm not familiar. Ron Paul would have been a better suited winner. Someone else suggested Dick Lugar (R-IN). Maybe it could've gone to some French guy, or the legendary African guy who is melting down guns to make sterile syringes used to treat AIDS. But I'm not a VIP Norwegian on the Nobel committee. Perhaps they are using their political influence for what they believe is the best cause. Like I said in the post, this 2007 award isn't a shock considering some of the past winners.

Your limb won't hold you long. I wouldn't call my other blogs mindless distractions, although I was on-the-clock when I added content to them (mwahahaha). I also wouldn't describe my commitment to this blog as "full-time." More accurately described, I would like to call it, "working-at-a-computer-all-day-expressive-precipitate." I no longer have that job, so now my commitment is somewhere near "rebounder girlfriend".

My primary expression now is lower-brow and ephemeral, to be had in the hearing of my stand-up comedy routines. My precious, dry bits are classy, though ridiculously localized (our regular venue seats 170). Three shows this weekend! --for anyone who can get tickets before they sell out.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Well, considering that the evidence that the earth has warmed markedly over the past 100 years and that there is some pretty solid science supporting the idea that human activity had something to do with that, I don't think it's absolutely crazy that extend the award to Gore. Were there more qualified candidates? Probably (although I'd be hard pressed to consider Paul or Lugar to be among them). But ultimately, if the earth continues to warm as it has, sea levels are going to rise (see, e.g., here) and tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of people stand to be affected, something that certainly will add to the unrest. The prospect of tens of millions of refugees could spark a lot of misery.

I don't think anyone one knows for sure if its possible to reverse that trend, but there is a virtual consensus among climatologists that we should begin to act. On that front, Al Gore has done as much as anyone to raise consciousness on the issue. Perhaps it's a bit premature to crown him with a prize like this, but if the widely held sentiment in the scientific community continues to be accurate, then I don't think an award like this is misplaced.

As for the past winners you referenced, I'm not sure you've outlined any articulable reason why they weren't deserving. Can you tell me why Muhammad Yunus wasn't deserving? Micro-lending is something that can dramatically better the lives of people in poorer countries in immediate and very recognizable ways, more so than almost anything else. The Church has actually experimented in the area a lot as a way to extend aid and seen promising results.

I'm also not sure I understand your cracks about Carter. He's done an enormous amount of work to better the world through the Carter center. His work on helping to ensure transparent, free and fair elections is really indispensable and is relied on by governments worldwide. Is there something contemptible about his efforts to organize efforts to eradicate diseases and to help shelter the poor? What exactly was your point about the Sandinistas? As president, should he have continued to support the pretty despicable Somoza regime? Would you take the equal effort to note Reagan's significant support of the brutal Chilean president Augusto Pinochet if you were writing a one line snippet about him? What about his support of both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, in their respective wars against Iran and the U.S.S.R. (in Afghanistan)? I don't think complicated foreign policy issues like these lend themselves well to this sort of criticism.

Perhaps I'm taking your post too seriously, but I don't think there is much to be gained from partisan rhetorical bombshells. In fact, I think it's something that's doing serious harm to the political dialogue in America today. It undermines productive and substantive discussion about real issues and legitimate differences.

4:39 PM  
Blogger christovich79 said...

here

I must alert you that I'm not clueless when it comes to the issue of anthropogenic global warming. I grew-up at a dinner table with a father that studies C02-cycles and has been simulating atmospheric conditions of the prehistoric past, present, and distant future in tunnels for the USDA. This isn't a partisan bombshell in the context of my life--it's an all-out, every day war. I will try to help you understand what I have learned about the technicalities. I'm aware of the articles published by the GPU, the NSF, and other organizations. But it's still a lively debate:

Co2 Science website that my dad is associated with unofficially.
canada freepress article
reuters article
debate
more debate here
more here
and here
and here

Gore is a liar. How's that for a bombshell? People on the IPCC think he's grossly overstating his case. That's why he doesn't deserve an award.
wikipedia summary of controversy and criticism

He's tried to personally destroy the reputations of scientists with whom my family is in contact.

The IPCC report section for policy makers has been described essentially as an exaggeration by scientists that are a part of the IPCC.
IPCC problems discussed
more
last one


Carter I will leave alone for now because it doesn't interest me. I'll only say that Regan didn't get a Nobel Peace Prize, so it's not the best place to grab comparison's from. Yes, international relations are complicated. I don't understand them completely. See the change my entry to better help the political dialogue.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

This likely is an issue that we aren't going to see eye to eye on. As I see it, there will always be doubters and skeptics on virtually every issue under the sun. Just look at the thousands of people who have rallied behind former BYU professor Steven Jones and the Scholars for 9/11 Truth movement.

I never implied that you were clueless to global warming. I simply outlined one argument that might be made to support Gore's receipt of the peace prize.

As you will likely acknowledge, your strongly held views on the issue of global warming and its consequences do go against the strong current of scientific climate research today. While I certainly won't claim to be as well-versed on the arguments that the Center for the Study of Co2 and Global Change puts forward, I have explored some of the criticisms generally put forward by opponents of the current prevailing ideas on Global Warming at large. I actually had even read and visited several of the articles and websites you linked to. The best and most balanced site I've come across for information on the topic, however, is probably realclimate.org.

Admittedly I'm a lawyer trying to get a handle on scientific issues, but I am convinced enough about the merits of global warming to believe that we should start trying to reduce our carbon emissions. Would I argue that our knowledge on the issue is complete? No. Would I argue that it's possible proponents could be wrong? Of course not. But I think the research establishing human caused global warming and predicting disconcerting consequences is much stronger than you or other critics give it credit for. That's not to say that all of the ideologues on the left don't get under my skin. I find it pretty annoying when people try to attribute ever ill or happenstance to global warming when these sorts of claims often can't be substantiated.

Given that the IPCC report involved a collaboration of well over 2,000 scientists, the fact that there may be a few dissenters in the crowd isn't really surprising. It's actually expected. I did read the lengthy summary of the IPCC findings that the UN put out, and I followed the coverage, and I think it's pretty clear that those dissenters are a very small minority of those scientists participating. A good number of the scientists involved in the project actually claimed afterward that the final report was watered down (see, e.g., here).

As you've probably already gathered, I'm not big on inflammatory rhetoric or hyper-partisanship. I don't think personal attacks on public figures like Gore (or Bush for that matter) are warranted or productive.

Anyhow, this is your blog and I'm not here to rain on your parade. Forgive me if I have. Please, continue as you were, making fun of anything and everything with your dry and needling humor.

PS - Nice deletion on Carter by the way, though you still don't reference any of the pursuits for which he was given the Nobel prize.

5:41 PM  
Blogger christovich79 said...

I guess you have to look at who the skeptics are. How many of those who believe in "global warming" actually study global climate systems? I know people who study particle physics and chaotic systems, and they have PhDs. But I don't respect their opinion especially on the subject of subtle, global climate shifts.

Gore warrants more criticism than he gets.

Computerized climate modeling doesn't accurate predict the future, and, shockingly, it doesn't even accurately describe the past records.

1:41 PM  

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