Penn and Teller: Uncontested Experts in Bullshit

Wed, 2006-10-11 20:58Richard 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

Regarding Penn and Teller’s approach to the science of climate change, it seems that they have learned all they know from the climate disasterologists themselves: how to use smog to cover up a lack of understanding of science.
i think you missed their point. the point is people can have good intentions but not think critically of all of the facts. it seems that environmentalists appear more closed minded when someone calls into question the logic behind their arguments. when someone says “i’m not sure if global warming is real, maybe you guys are overreacting” they get blasted as someone who is greedy and cares more about the bottom line than their own future. penn and teller are attacking the HISTERIA behind the environmentalist movement. fifteen years ago the public was told they had to act RIGHT NOW or we all faced certain death. if that were true and considering the growing rate of gas usage and the fact that the average american drives a car that is twice the size of the one he/she drove fifteen years ago, shouldn’t we be way past the point of no return by now? the truth is, science changes as we get more data and through testing and debate, conclusions are reached and changed as new data arrives. by declaring a consensus and simply attacking the credibility of the dissenters you impede the progress of scientific research. penn and teller let you know right up front that they are biased, in the first episode,one learns that it is for legal reasons that they call people “assholes” because to call someone a “fraud” can open the door for litigious “motherfuckers”. hope this clears up any misconceptions.

“penn and teller are attacking the HISTERIA behind the environmentalist movement. fifteen years ago the public was told they had to act RIGHT NOW or we all faced certain death.”

Talk about hysterial overreaction. When someone tells you we should act now because things will be harder to change later, and that it may not be possible to change later, and that things are getting worse, if you hear them saying “you will face certain death” you really need to get a grip. (Of course I’m facing certain death myself, as is everyone I know, but then I’m not one of the priveleged ones. :)

P&T’s science knowledge comes directly from the nearest libertarian think thank, generally Cato. They have a nice magic act, but their science is ludicrously bound to their libertarianism. It traps them and makes them say really stupid things. I have heard they’ve backtracked on their claims that secondhand smoke causes no problems, and if so, that’s a mark on the plus side for them. But most of what I’ve heard when they talk about science is nonsense.

Why does global warming have to be our problem? What if we are not causing it? Have you ever asked that?

It’s been asked and answered. We are causing it and it is our problem (which it would be even if we weren’t causing it).

We are not causing it per se, but we are, beyond the shadow of a doubt, contributing to it and/or accelerating it. I would like to know if it is even possible to stop and reverse it, when that study comes out I will be all ears as to whether or not I should change my lifestyle.

Why did Al Gore get that award? He didn’t even really do anything. Isn’t it nice to get paid, and awarded for telling everyone about something that they already knew, and popularizing the data that they were all eagerly anticipating.

I think the dihydrogen monoxide petition was not a cheap trick. Unless you are a chronic joiner, you should always ask questions before signing a petition. Anybody who can not figure out that two hydrogens and one oxygen is water does not have even an elementary understanding of science. Your average elementary school student would not fall for this stunt. If someone is this ignorant when it comes to basic science, what business do they have in any sensible discussion about the environment. I think the one lady was right, most of the people present didn’t even know what they were there for.

If I question any of the data presented in defense of some the global warming hypotheses, I open myself to personal attack from knee-jerk environmentalists. There is plenty of area for reasonable debate without immediately questioning the motives of those who may hold an opposing view. One commenter here states that all the questions about global warming have been asked and answered. I disagree so that must make me a puppet for oil and chemical companies. I guess all those big checks got lost in the mail because I have yet to receive one.

I don’t see any unanswered questions in that post. A ‘for instance’ would be helpful.

I did this interview with Salon last year, and if I was doing it now, I would use much stronger language in debunking the myth of AGW.

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/09/29/freeman_dyson/index.html

If you don’t believe people like Claude Allegre, Lord Monckton and myself, who have spent years studying this issue at the highest level, I don’t know what it will take to dissuade you True Believers. AGW is a religious belief for you now.

I guess only time, and the fact that none of the dire consequences of this chimera will ever be realized, are the only things that will eventually send this bullshit to the compost heap.