Penn and Teller: Uncontested Experts in Bullshit

Mon, 2006-08-21 12:25Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Penn and Teller: Uncontested Experts in Bullshit

Thanks to Wacki for tipping us to this Penn and Teller edition slamming the science behind climate change - in fact, slamming science behind pretty much all environmental concerns.

For my part, I thought Penn and Teller were those guys who got mauled by their own tiger, but it turns out they aren't quite so courageous. All their work is conducted from behind the protective glass of a camera that somebody else carries into the real world.

Pushing “experts” like Patrick “Gobs of Money” Moore and Bjorn “The Skeptical Environmentalist” Lomborg, and relying even more on the cheap exploitation of ditzy environmental campaigners and on opportunistic film cuts, Penn makes fun of pretty much everybody and everything environmental. He also recruits a disinformation specialist of phenomenal ability to push an anti-dihydrogen monoxide petition (without ever offering that dihydrogen monoxide is water). It's reminiscient of every high-school gotcha pulled by a SMARMY smart kid who was trying to prove that he was a smarmy SMART kid.

Penn also dismisses the deSmogBlog's own Ross Gelbspan with an expletive - although the offensive TV host doesn't actually address any of the facts that Ross offers.

If you have the stomach to watch this tape, ask yourself if Penn and Teller were really trying to raise the level of environmental education or whether they were just tying to look clever. Ask yourself whether climate change science is really a worldwide socialist plot or perhaps exactly the global threat that Ross so eloquently argues it to be.

Whatever answer you ultimately come to, we urge you to seek sources more serious than Penn and Teller, and experts less completely compromised than Patrick Moore, Bjorn Lomborg and the assembled industrial apologists at the Cato Institute.

Comments

Wow - this one was a surprise for me. 

Thank you for your work. 

these guys are usually pretty good at debunking bullshit. but being libertarians, they have their own herd of sacred cows that they would never dream of slaughtering. proceed with caution…

Spencer R. Weart, a physicist and historian who is charting the course of research on global warming, said the hacked material would serve as “great material for historians

642-062 dumps \ 70-630 dumps \ 70-271 dumps \ 640-721 dumps \ 350-040 dumps \ 70-293 dumps \ 642-072 dumps \ 000-152 dumps \ HP0-J43 dumps \ 000-151 dumps \ BCP-420 dumps

 ”we urge you to seek sources … less completely compromised than …. industrial apologists at the Cato Institute.”

http://www.cato.org/people/jillette.html

*snicker*

You should also mention that a LOT of their facts were wrong.  One being scientists predicted global cooling….. which they didn’t.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

Lets not forget the fact that they put the best of the frauds vs the biggest stoners on a college campus.  Maybe they should do a NASA vs. CATO next time.  

They actually did predict global cooling. Maybe you should try watching the science channel once in a while.

Who is “they”? Can you please cite some sources?

I just did a point by point rebuttal of that show.

http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptics/bullshit.html

I’ll work on the grammar/format later.  You guys should put me under your

Friends and Links

section.   

Checked your link. Do you realize you are using a discredited graph named after play equipment to mock a comedy team talking about a presently unprovable theory on a show named after animal dung? Life is farce. Don’t take it too seriously.

I added the following sentece

    This graph has been affirmed via realclimate and the IPCC.  This data has also been affirmed by the national academies of 11 countries.

That should make it abundantly clear the data is solid.

Wackie,

Please let me know when all this data was released so that it could be affirmed.

It took Mann 4 years after MBH98 to release part of his data. This was after the IPCC TAR was published, so clearly the IPCC never saw his data.

Phil Jones’ instrument graph is shown throughout the TAR, but Jones refuses to release his data to anyone. Clearly the IPCC has never seen the instrument data.

Therefore, please explain how the IPCC and the national academies of 11 countries could affirm something that they did not see.

I enjoy this blog abundantly. Where else could I see RealClimate cited as an ‘affirmation’ of the hockey stick?

That would be the ‘now flaccid hockey stick’ that ‘can’t keep its tip up.’

See- www.desmogblog.com/a-hockey-stick-that-cant-keep-its-tip-up

C’mon Tartly. I’m completely willing to admit that I used “flaccid” in the the headline because I was hoping to engineer a little inflamation in the deSmogBlog’s hit rate. The hockey stick has certainly suffered abuse, but if you look at the realclimate.org analysis, you’ll notice that the fleshy bits are still pretty robust. And, as even your Mr. Wegman acknowledged, it is only one tiny bit of evidence in the overwhelming case that proves humankind’s contribution to climate change. The only reason that everyone is so obsessed with the stick is that arguing its accuracy is a good distraction from all of the other evidence.

John,

Since RealClimate was formed by Michael Evan Mann to defend his papers and the Hockey Stick, you need to take whatever shows up on RC in support of the hockey stick with a grain of salt. RC is rather rigorously edited to prevent questions from appearing that might be too close to issues of substance concerning the hockey stick.

If you want to test this editing, try asking a question about the sensitivity of the graph to the removal of bristle cone pine proxies.

You could also ask why it took 4 years for Mann to release part of the data he used for MBH98. Independent verification is the cornerstone of science. Without releasing your data, your work can not be independently verified.

Checked your link. Do you realize you are using a discredited graph named after play equipment to mock a comedy team talking about a presently unprovable theory on a show named after animal dung? Life is farce.

Here’s a more considered position on the hockey stick: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=121

As for life being farce: it’s sometimes a funny line and it appears particularly applicable to many events over the past couple of years, but as the Bushies are finding, it’s a dubious philosophy on which to build policy.

“Checked your link. Do you realize you are using a discredited graph named after play equipment to mock a comedy team talking about a presently unprovable theory on a show named after animal dung? Life is farce.”

I thought I heard every argument made by a skeptic.  What the hell are you talking about?  Playground equipment?  Please link me to this argument.

Ugh….. play equipment, not playground equipment.  That’s 2 mistakes in 24 hours.  I need to stop pulling all nighters. 

Inflammatory comments linking climate change science to socialist ambitions aside, I thought they made a few good points on the tenor of the environmental movement.

Broadley speaking it is white; it is middle class; it is very North American centric; and it does consist of mostly uniformed “joiners”. And the drums are getting annoying.

By the way, Richard, you’re sounding a little defensive.

Richards, believe in defensive strategies i guess, thats why he was still successful, i agree with you Inflammatory comments linking climate change science to socialist ambitions aside, I thought they made a few good points on the tenor of the environmental movement. 70-652 and 70-653 Certified.

White middle class people (from Europe as well as North America) are really the biggest part of the problem, so it stands to reason that the protesters would also arise in that group. If you’re in India or Africa, living off less than  $100 US per year, there is no cause to go join an environmental organization.

The joiner thing certainly applies to the folks that P&T were picking on, but has previously never applied, say, to me or many of the other journalists and policy wonks I know. The drums are, frankly, intolerable - worse than the kit that my wife bought for our teenage sons.

And yes, I was feeling defensive, especially on behalf of Ross Gelbspan, who I admire as an individual and whose work I respect. I thought the P&T piece was gratuitously insulting. Cheap in an infuriatingly effective way.

I agree with you, mostly, except that the joiner thing applies to a whole lot more people than the ones they were picking on. You and guys like Gelbspan are definitely not joiners because you are informed and are actually ACTIVE. My experience in the enviro movement, both as major event producer and PR guy, is that it is filled to the brim with arm chair activists mostly looking for the next social event. 

I will admit that large scale parties can be effective, however. Remember Clayoquot 1993?

I’m with you.

Brad,

in fact it WAS a very white , middle class and north american centric.

this is no longer the case. The movement in the US now is much stronger among minorities because they are the ones living in areas which suffer from the highest environmental degradation. I don’t have fact and figures to hand (they are on my home computer) but I am happy to dig them up for you and post them if you wish.

Secondly there are numerous movements all along latin america by indigenous people trying to fight off large oil corporations who are turning the lands they need to survive on into absolute wastelands and poisening their water supply. if this isn’t an environmental movement i don’t know what is. This occured in Nigeria as well and culminated with the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa 

 things change. but the science and arguments of the skeptics don’t. a telling sign indeed.

I find P&T to be great fun. That said, you need to understand that Penn Jillette is an atheist libertarian and his views on everything are slanted by these beliefs. He really falls into that John Stossel category (at least as far as his libertarianism goes) of someone who claims to understand science, and riles against its misuse, but only when it serves his political ends.

I rented Bullshit a few months ago. I was enjoying it until the “Climate Change” episode. I knew they were spinning like crazy, and it was obvious the way they stacked the proponents versus the stoners.

All I could think was “assholes” before I popped out and skipped watching any more.

On the upside, Penn has a house in Las Vegas, so ideally his a/c bill will offset some of the profits from the dvd rentals.

Come on, you have got to be kidding me. Penn and Teller simply point out the outragious crap that people do to try to get their point accross. People take things too far, bottom line. If you can’t understand that people need to be shown this from time to time to bring them back to reality then you need help. So why don’t you keep drinking your Koolaid.

if p&t say what they know or think who are you to take that away anyway?  i happen to watch the show ademantly,  and most things i can agree on a few i dont but i keep that to myself.  if you dont agree that is your right.  i cant take that away as you cant take mine.  these two men give an honest viewpoint on issues they study.  if they were wrong i m sure the show would NOT air.  i feel sorry for all of you who put these two down for being as intellectual and truthful as they can be.