top
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Thu Sep 9 2004
Penn and Teller Discount Global Warming and Deforestation
Thu Sep 9 2004
Penn and Teller Discount Global Warming and Deforestation
Indybay reporter Charles Slay recently noticed copies of Penn & Teller’s TV series, entitled “Bullshit," which began airing on the Showtime cable television channel in January 2003. Each episode of "Bullshit" sets out to debunk a false claim or pseudoscience, such as, alien abduction, spoon bending and creationism. Then came the chapter on “Environmental Hysteria” on the final DVD. In it, Penn Gillette—the duo member who does all the talking—begins attacking the subject of Global Warming. He states, “no one in the scientific community agrees on global warming, the science is inconclusive and no one knows if global warming is a natural fluctuation or not.” According to Slay, Penn neglects to mention experts such as Climatologist Stephen Schneider, Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry Kendel, and the Union of Concerned Scientists Instead, Penn & Teller present as their expert on global warming, as well as all things environmental, statistician Dr. Bjorn Lomborg of Denmark’s Aarhus University. Lomborg is the author of “The Environmental Skeptic,” a book that suggests, through the use of statistics, that environmentalists have greatly exaggerated the effects of pollution, deforestation, and global warming. Lomborg contends that aside from some localized problems, the environment is actually improving. Penn & Teller forget one important fact about Dr. Lomborg’s work, “The Environmental Skeptic” is a highly controversial book within the scientific community. Judging by the criticisms leveled against Dr. Lomborg’s tome by such prominent scientists as Dr.E.O. Wilson and Dr. Norman Meyers of Oxford University the work is not held in high regard. A scathing review of “The Environmental Skeptic” in the January 2002 issue of Scientific American sheds more light on the subject. To present the other side, Penn and Teller call upon journalist Ross Gelbspan. When Gelbspan makes the statement, “1998 was the hottest year on record,” Gillette cuts him of with the sarcastic refrain, ”so we’ve peaked, now what, an ice age?”
Having “debunked” global warming, Penn & Teller segue into the realm of deforestation. To back themselves up they call upon Patrick Moore. Penn & Teller are quick to point out that Moore was a cofounder of Greenpeace, but they fail to mention he now heads an organization called Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. This is a public relations firm whose clients include, among others, the Canadian Pulp & Paper Association and the National Association of Forest Industries. Mr. Moore states that the environmental movement consists of “elitists and morons” and “every tree that’s cut causes a new one to be planted.”
Just to be fair on the subject Penn & Teller decide to ask forest activist Julia Butterfly Hill what she thinks about the state of our forests. In a brief clip Ms. Hill states, “I would rather not see trees cut down for paper.” Gillette then interjects “What would we print medical textbooks on? And what about all of Picasso’s great artworks?” When Charles Slate interviewed Ms. Hill, she told him, “Penn & Teller just took a clip of me”—they didn’t interview her—“and they presented what they wanted.” He asked Ms. Hill to elaborate on her comment about cutting trees for paper and she gave a statement on using recycled paper and alternative sources of pulp, something Penn & Teller might have used. She pointed out that both of her books were printed on 100% recycled paper—presumably medical textbooks could be, as well. Slay's perspective is that the entire episode of “Bullshit” is an attempt to discredit environmentalists in general and global warming in particular. Penn & Teller make a half-hearted attempt at softening their critique by suggesting environmentalists are “well meaning, but naïve.” “It’s noble to want to save the environment, but …” Penn & Teller ignore important information, and select what suits their preconceived notions. They attack opponents on a personal level and misrepresent and oversimplify their positions. A new season of “Bullshit” has begun on Showtime. Penn and Teller declined Charles Slay's invitation to be interviewed for this article- Read More
Disinfopedia reviews "The Skeptical Environmentalist"
09/22/16 Freedom Sleepers Still Advocating for Public Safe Sleep Zones at Community Sleepouts Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia09/22/16 Washington Farmworkers Ratify Union, Farmworkers in Mexico Continue Driscoll's Boycott Front Page | Racial Justice | Labor & Workers | California | U.S. | International | Americas | Immigrant Rights | Santa Cruz Indymedia09/22/16 San Ardo Field is Most Carbon-Intensive Large Oilfield in California Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | California | Santa Cruz Indymedia09/22/16 Course Examining Palestine through Lens of Settler Colonialism Nearly Censored Front Page | Racial Justice | Education & Student Activism | East Bay | Palestine09/21/16 Media Exposure Leads to Largest Number of Area Police Criminally Charged in Recent History Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Womyn | East Bay | Government & Elections09/15/16 Prison Labor Profiteers Targeted in Oakland in Solidarity with Nationwide Work Stoppage Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | East Bay | U.S.09/15/16 Stop Urban Shield Coalition Seeks End to Military Weapons Expo and SWAT Police Training Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Anti-War | East Bay | U.S.09/10/16 Dakota Access Pipeline Construction Temporarily Halted by Obama Administration Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Central Valley | Peninsula | North Coast | California | U.S. | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia09/05/16 Water Protectors Call for Additional Supporters, Global Solidarity Actions September 3-17 Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Central Valley | San Francisco | U.S.09/05/16 Report Finds Palestinian Students Were Singled Out for Discipline by University Front Page | Racial Justice | Education & Student Activism | San Francisco | Palestine09/05/16 Monterey County Fracking Ban Proponents to Host Rally and Grand Opening of New HQ Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia
Related Categories: Arts + Action
Beyond Occupy - Five Years Hence Occupy Oakland Monday Sep 26th 10:59 AM
Celebration of of the Beach Flats Mural 9-17-2016 AutumnSun Tuesday Sep 20th 10:47 AM
David Lee Morgan, Science, Love And Revolution At The Fringe KPFA Pacifica WorkWeek Radio Thursday Sep 15th 10:54 PM
SF Mime Troupe "Schooled" Charters & The Privatization Of Education Labor Video Project Sunday Sep 4th 8:11 PM
Prison Strike Solidarity BBQ, Banner Making, and Film Showing Oakland IWOC Wednesday Aug 17th 2:46 PM
More Local News...
[ × close ]
Video: Founding Fathers, Hip Hop www.openculture.com Tuesday Apr 26th 2:35 PM
San Francisco Green Film Festival - Volunteers Needed! Victoria McKenzie Tuesday Mar 22nd 11:45 AM
Time to update the Handy Chevron Guide IndyRadio/Roknich Thursday Mar 3rd 9:42 PM
An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King Vic Sadot (1 comment) Thursday Jan 14th 11:54 PM
Video: Direct Action and Protest, 1 hr 9 min c-span.org Friday Jan 1st 2:29 PM
Video: Super Amigos (2007), 1 hr 15 min marc Tuesday Dec 29th 7:52 AM
Open Newswire...
[ × close ]