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Author Topic: Who says the propaganda movie genre is dead?  (Read 1067 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. George
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« on: May 28, 2006, 12:00:02 AM »

Before my viewing of "Thank you for smoking" (discussion here - http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=9149.msg122355;topicseen#msg122355), I saw buried in the previews one for a movie about global warming, which seemed to include a lot of Al Gore, Founder and CEO of The Internet

While I do not wish to dispute whether or not global warming is happening (other threads - 2006: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8862.0, 2004: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=4518.msg59118#msg59118
), I do wish to get out there that it seems to be a broad propaganda stroke on his part to further the cause of the environmental lobby (and to re-raise his place in the American consciousness after his post-election tumble). 

I guess I've been living in a cave (thank you, HCHC) and I don't get to watch much TV up there (only the Sopranos), but hearing that this movie is coming out really bugs me, if for no other reason than he implies (or outright states, I can't remember) in the trailer that the scientific community is at a consensus that what we're emitting into the atmosphere is the root cause of global warming, and hence Katrina, and the flooding that will occur if the icecaps melt.

{Edited to fix formatting}
« Last Edit: May 28, 2006, 12:00:42 AM by cleveland » Logged

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BrotherAidan
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2006, 12:15:27 AM »

Maybe the planet is just going through one of those cyclical warming periods.

But can all these greenhouse gasses be a good thing?
Do we need all these 4 wheel drive SUV's ? Especially in the sun belt?
Don't we consume an almost obscene amount of natural resources in the developed West?
And what if the planet is NOT going through a cycle and greenhouse gasses are to blame?
Do we really want to despoil Alaska to gain a few more decades of oil only so the Chinese, with their burgeoning middle class can gobble up more petroleum than us and drive up the price of oil even more?
We've seen all this since the 70's. The handwriting was on the wall. I lived through the first "energy crisis" in the 70's. North America has fiddled while Rome burned regarding an energy policy, or lack thereof.

If there had been an urgency then and some research dollars had been put toward the problem, we wouldn't be in this mess today.
 
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Fr. George
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 12:19:22 AM »

There should be research dollars and effort put into study... but is Al Gore going on the movies telling people that there is scientific consensus that we're causing global warming the way to do it?  I'm not going to disparage him for a smart move - all great propagandists have done it throughout time, save Christ Himself - bending the truth in order to stir up the people (the definition of propaganda, almost), it just pisses me off that he's going to the movies and doing it after failing elsewhere... I will admit it's shrewd, but he's an idiot fighting for a potentially noble cause...
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2006, 02:22:24 AM »

Well, Gore may be a -insert disparaging term here- but at the least we should say that he is informing people through a tool of mass communication on a subject that most people don't think about the consequences of, or even of the subject itself (eg, me).

I'd love to type more but I have to go fill up my 9miles/gallon monster SUV and drive to California for no apparent reason.
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Fr. George
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 03:20:21 PM »

At least he is making an effort... but in that effort, he is playing up the hype that is half false about the issue.

I don't know why I'm so agitated about the uber-environmentalist garbage about humans being the major cause of global warming... I mean, half-truths flow like water in general society - always have, always will... but there's something about how condescending and hypocritical these folks are...

(and let me tell you, it was a struggle to only write "folks" in the last sentence).
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 05:22:10 PM »

I haven't seen the movie, but I don't fault Gore for trying.  This is a subject on which he has been involved ever since his college days, and one where he seems to have done his homework, so he is hardly an uninformed observer.  I personally think he is probably overstating his case in some areas, but the core arguments are pretty solid.  Most climate scientists do indeed seem to believe that the earth has warmed over the past century, that it is currently warming and we can observe this warming in our present environments, that it will continue to warm this century even if the extent is unknown, that human activities are at least partially responsible, that at least some affects of this warming are likely to be damaging, and that we can take certain steps now to mitigate potential damages.

Beyond these generalities however, there seem to be vast differences of opinion within the scientific community on the particulars - the extent of change expected, the extent of human contribution, whether specific weather effects (hurricanes, etc) are significantly effected by warming, and so forth.  The actual scientists I have read state their conclusions with due caution in most cases, knowing that much more research is needed.  The measurement and statistical issues involved in building accurate climate models are daunting indeed, particularly if one hopes to use such models for forecasting, and truly hard measurement data (i.e., direct measurement to X significant digits) on some key variables only goes back a few decades, and none go back more than a couple centuries.  Beyond that proxyies must be used.  The validity of using proxy measurements, especially multiple proxy reconstructions, to impute key variables from past data is far more difficult to establish than most people realize.  Most scientists realize this these days I think.  I do think they have made giant strides in the past few decades, and applaud their efforts.  But much needs to be done still, and a cautious attitude is still called for.

On the other hand, we have seen in recent years what can only be called mass hysteria by the media on this issue, roused by activists who feel no compulsion to make their case with scientific rigor and humility.  I have seen the most outrageous claims utterly unsupported by facts or empirical data.  And I have seen outright torture of data to make it fit preconceived notions.  The scientific community has done a terrible job of countering the politicization of their research by, frankly, those with strong Marxist, statist, anti-globalization, anti-western, and even anti-human agendas.  As a result, we have seen the inevitable counter-reaction by those in political opposition to these types, which has also been willing to use any means necessary to debunk.

Now that I think of it, the current climate (no pun intended) is analogous to the Reformation period.  Excesses by one side produces a revolt followed by hardening attitudes and a counter-revolt.  And the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.  So goes the culture war.

The British media seems particularly prone to manipulation and hyperbole.  Michael Crichton's novel State of Fear (not a particularly good story in my opinion), was filled with poor science, and those who use it to try and buttress a case against global warming only show they have no familiarity with the science.  In spite of this criticism, he was correct in his critique of the media on this issue I think, and on the cynical manner in which activists manipulate public opinion.

As with most inflammatory issues, humilty and caution are counters to demagoguery.

Peace.
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Fr. George
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2006, 05:30:37 PM »

Thanks man.  You make many good points, especially about our social environment and the tendency towards overreaction/counter-reaction.  I hadn't even thought of the ties to the reform period, but it makes sense...
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2006, 06:02:08 PM »

Thanks man.  You make many good points, especially about our social environment and the tendency towards overreaction/counter-reaction.  I hadn't even thought of the ties to the reform period, but it makes sense...

Yeah, the analogy with that period just came to me as I was writing.  It's only a loose analogy of course, but I thought it apropo for this orthodox audience. Wink
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