Prosecute the torture.

August 24, 2007

Assault on Reason

Tony Norman's column today is another of his "reading list" pieces:
Enough readers have asked me to put together a list of books I've read or have been in the process of reading this year, so it doesn't feel like a completely delusional exercise on my part. Lately, I've developed a taste for classic science fiction, Jason Bourne thrillers and Stephen King novels that aren't reflected on this list. Like many readers, I'm usually reading several books at a time. What follows is merely the stuff that is allegedly good for you:
The first on his list?
"The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore. Even some of my liberal buddies think this book is dull. I couldn't disagree more. Mr. Gore's analytical critique of the Bush administration's fear-based politics and its notorious indifference to fact-based reasoning only feels obvious after he's explained it. If only the leading Democratic presidential candidates were this "dull."
That would be me. Here's what I wrote on August 9:

It's not that I disagreed with anything I read in Gore's book - far from it. It's an important work that everyone should read, no question. But while it may or may not be written by Gore alone, it certainly sounds like it's a work written by a committee all trying to sound like Al Gore.

It's an odd torture, of sorts. You know each page contains important ideas. But sitting through (and sifting through) the text...oh god. Not fun.

So Tony, if it means that much to you, I'll try to plow through it again. I'll have to set aside Warren Weaver's book on probability and of course Marvel Zombies, but I'll try.

If anything, I'll get more sleep.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

This blog is hilarious. It may not have been written by Gore but sounds like it could have? It may not be global warming but it feels good to say it? It is an important work that everyone should read even if Gore may or may not have written it and even if the facts are stretched somewhat? After all, it makes the left feel so much better about themselves. This blog is the funniest going.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Hilarious, but not as funny as the Anonymous Laughing Wingnut making outrageous statements without the ability to back them up. Now that's funny!

EdHeath said...

Only Tony Norman would post a summer reading list at the end of August.

I have been reading, struggling through, "The Political Brain" by Drew Westen. The guy, a psychologist, also seem like a mild paranoid to me, seeming to think the Republicans are a monolithic threat, using our emotions to cloud our judgment. I think he is good on specifics, though, but very repetitive.

Christina said...

Interesting that Tony defends Andrew Keen's "Cult of the Amateur." Keen was so obnoxious on the Colbert Report that I had wondered if he was a plant.

I'm definitely more interested in next week's list of classic science fiction.

Heir to the Throne said...

No doubt, Assault on Reason covers dodging debates with people who disagree with you and screaming scientific consensus every time someone questions anything you say.
Al Gore Challenged To Debate Global Warming By Best-selling Author
Mr. Avery is co-author of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years. Both Al Gore and Dennis Avery have New York Times best-selling books on global warming, but with opposite conclusions.

[…]

Avery joins Lord Christopher Monckton (former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher advisor), Bjorn Lomborg (Danish economist), author Michael Crichton, Prof. S. Fred Singer (former director of the U.S. National Weather Service), Tim Ball, Ph.D. (historical climatologist), Prof. Ian Clark (University of Ottawa), and Prof. Richard Lindzen (MIT) among others.

Has the goracle even corrected his BS on US cars not sold in China? "We can’t sell our cars in China today because we don’t meet the Chinese emissions standards."
I know Paramount got the video where he says it pulled from youtube for copyright violations.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Right, Mein Heir. Why would we listen to thousands of climate scientists when we could take the word of a Reagan agricultural consultant? Especially when said consultant has written "Why Punish Oil Companies Just When We Need More Energy?" and "Free Range Chickens and Ducks Dangerous to Humanity?"

And why wouldn't Al Gore debate him? Probably 'cause Gore's afraid of being outclassed, huh?

Coming up next on Fox News: Why is Stephen Hawking afraid to debate Jessica Simpson on the subject of String Theory?

M. Friedman said...

S.S.- Spot on. This is classic kill the messenger, and present even lamer messengers to do it. Look, from a scientific standpoint, we know that we need to do something about global warming. You know what policies have little credible empirical evidence that they actually act as promised? Uh, supply side economics, raising the minimum wage reduces employment, and host of other 'conservative' mantras that have never, ever been proven but yet we keep hearing this crap. Trot out a journalist, a hack, a science-fiction writer, and some B-grade pseudo-scientists from the Discovery institute or AEI to argue those points instead of allowing the whole world to laugh at your arguments. Ahh. sorry to rant, I feel better now. Thanks 2PJs!

xranger said...

Uh, Milton, the US has engaged in supply side economics since Reagan instituted it over 20 years ago.

Pretty good track record.

Heir to the Throne said...

Coming up next on Fox News: Why is Stephen Hawking afraid to debate Jessica Simpson on the subject of String Theory?
If Al Gore is so brilliant, he would wipe the floor with the "deniers" and discredit them.

Of course, the cars in china quote shows he is not so brilliant. That and the fact George W. Bush beat him in the Presidential debates.

Milton, it must stick in your craw that the "B-grade pseudo-scientists" found the flaws in the hockey-stick graph and the NASA temperature measurements.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

he would wipe the floor with the "deniers" and discredit them
Finally we agree about something.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

For some reason even I don't understand, I checked your links, Mein Heir. The opinions expressed there are strident and amusing, but fail to support the case they attempt to make, even ignoring that the facts are extremely sparse, ambivalent, and unsupported.

Your author is a guy who never met a reactionary idea he couldn't write a paper to support.

EdHeath said...

xranger said:

Uh, Milton, the US has engaged in supply side economics since Reagan instituted it over 20 years ago.

Pretty good track record.
????

Well, perhaps, doing a quick read on Wikipedia. But, in the last twenty years we have had unemployment, some recovery, increasing deficits and debt, increasing income disparity, an internet boom, a stock bubble, a balanced budget, a surplus, increasing income for most, a burst stock market bubble, terrorism, tax cuts and an increasing deficit, more debt, more income disparity, static wages for most of us, a dropping deficit, more income disparity… Pretty mixed track record, especially if you look at medians instead of averages or aggregates.

Although I will say there is weak evidence that increasing the minimum wage reduces future hiring, at least for a while.

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xranger said...

Yo, dude, your tinfoil hat is crooked.

Beam me up, Scotty...