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"
08/24/16 Filthy & Dehumanizing Santa Rita Jail to Improve Treatment of Women In Custody Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Womyn | East Bay08/20/16 Tribes Push Back Against Yet Another Threat to Clean Water Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice | U.S.08/20/16 Grand Jury Releases Report on 2015 Jail Death of Krista DeLuca Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/20/16 Nationally-Coordinated Prisoner Work Stoppage on Anniversary of Attica Prison Uprising Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | U.S.08/19/16 Renter Protections on the November Ballot for Six Bay Area Cities Front Page | Health, Housing, and Public Services | East Bay | Peninsula | California08/19/16 Bulletproof "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" Training Relocated to San Jose Church Front Page | Police State and Prisons | South Bay | East Bay | California08/18/16 The PR Campaign to Uplift Police & Demonize Those Who Call for Accountability Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Indymedia | San Francisco | California | U.S.08/14/16 California Coastal Commission Upholds Public Access for All Police State and Prisons | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/14/16 Santa Cruz NAACP Plans Peace Party with Local Police Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/11/16 Residents Look for New Places to Live Following Chinatown Homeless Sweeps Front Page | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/04/16 Boycott Driscoll’s Protest at Watsonville Strawberry Festival Front Page | Labor & Workers | U.S. | Americas | Santa Cruz Indymedia
Related Categories: Arts + Action
Prison Strike Solidarity BBQ, Banner Making, and Film Showing Oakland IWOC Wednesday Aug 17th 2:46 PM
Santa Cruz Sentinel Reporter Leaves Questionable Voicemail Tannery Concerned (18 comments) Friday Jul 29th 4:09 PM
"Kill Cops Not Trees" Graffiti Found in Santa Cruz Police News (3 comments) Thursday Jul 21st 4:55 PM
City directed police shutdown of artists and PUBLIC ALERT on Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz, CA The Jones/Skelton Report (5 comments) Sunday Jul 10th 12:47 AM
Ranger Mathews Arrests Artists on Pacific Avenue Free Speech Matters (1 comment) Thursday Jul 7th 10:26 AM
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 ]