Sunday, January 11, 2009

41 - Answer(s)

Q: Adam Barnello - Why didn't you like The Big Lebowski?
A: I didn't say that I didn't like The Big Lebowski. I said that I didn't get it. I enjoyed the movie on a number of levels. The characters were well written and acted. The plot, while confusing at times, was neatly wrapped up by the end of the movie. I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more.

But in the end I just didn't "get" it. I realize that the movie can be viewed as a psychological study of humanity. But I didn't see that. I saw a movie about a stoner slacker from the 60's and his two friends. The Dude certainly is an interesting character, but that's nothing special to me. His world and the wacky events of it make for an entertaining story. But I just don't get the obsession, the absolute cult following that this movie has generated. And until I get that, I probably won't "get" this movie.

Q: Brett Gobe - Yeah?
A: Yeah. Sorry, guys. I hate to disappoint you. Maybe someday you both can sit me down and explain it to me.

Q: Eric Democko - Who will be playing in the Super Bowl? And what time does your party start?
A: Right now the teams remaining in the playoffs are as follows:
AFC - Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC - Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles

Of those teams I think that the Ravens will beat out the Steelers and the Cardinals will beat down the Eagles. That means we'll have a Ravens/Eagles matchup in the Super Bowl. And I will be rooting for the Ravens with every fiber of my being due to my hatred of the Eagles.

To answer your other question, the third annual Mitssob Super Bowl Extravaganza begins at 5pm at Mitssob Estates. My address is 1079 Paul Road, Churchville, NY. I will begin a thread in the Rochester/Western NY section of Jolinko after this answer is posted to take suggestions for food, beverages and entertainment. Last year the taco bar went over fairly well and I'd like to see if I can top that this year. Hope to see you and the family at Casa de Mitssob for the game!

Q: Jarsh Beckstein - Why has Global Warming become a partisan political issue rather than a scientific one?
A: There is a lot to talk about in this answer, so please forgive the length. I will try and keep this as coherent and on-point as I can, but if I'm unclear about something and you'd like clarification then please ask followup questions. The topic is very complicated and very heated (forgive the pun) and I don't think one answer is going to cover it. I'd like the opportunity to continue the conversation.

My thinking on the subject of Global Warming was altered dramatically by reading a speech given by the late Michael Crichton in September of 2003. The text of the speech can be found here. The thesis offered is that Environmentalism (and by extension belief in Global Warming) is more of a religion than a scientific pursuit. I recommend reading the speech in its entirety; it had a profound impact on me, and it might have the same impact on you.

With that thesis in mind, I think that one reason it has become a partisan issue is that the people who believe in Global Warming treat those who do not as heretics. "The debate is over" has been stated numerous times by numerous champions of Global Warming (including Al Gore). When it comes to science debates are never over, especially when considering something so complex as the climate of the Earth. The science, quite frankly, is not settled.

The problem with this issue is that the people who believe in Global Warming have tied the issue to environmentalism as a whole. Therefore if someone is skeptical about Global Warming, they are viewed as anti-environment. And no one wants to be seen that way. After all, who wants to be FOR dirty water and dirty air? No one. The idea is stupid. But if you're someone who questions environmental policy or the validity of the theory of Global Warming, you're anti-environment and thus someone not worth debating. That has the effect of turning the issue from a scientific one, where facts can be discussed and evidence weighed, into a political issue where inconvenient facts are ignored if they don't fit into the larger narrative.

Here's a quick question for the Global Warming evangelists: What is the optimal temperature of the Earth? I don't have an answer, and neither to they. And that's the point. There isn't an answer. The Earth's climate is in constant change and has been from the beginning of the Earth's existence.

Adding to the partisan nature of the issue is that Global Warming are framed as a crisis. Since the 1970's Americans have been told that we have less than 10 years to save ourselves or else it will be too late. And they've been wrong. I see no reason to trust people like that. The scientists have been screaming bloody murder for decades and people are not listening as intently as they used to.

So why is it partisan? Because the people who champion the issue have made it partisan. I see no reason why it should be. The issue should be able to be discussed rationally, scientifically, without any prejudice. If the Earth is getting warmer or cooler, the question shouldn't be "What can we do to stop it?", but rather "What can we do ABOUT it?" The Earth's climate will continue to change regardless of what we do. Adapting to that change will enable our survival as a species, and it's something that we should focus on.