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Politics Science

Al Gore = Jesus?

Shot with my iPhone camera Friday at our campus bookstore:

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Although I’m sure this was meant ironically (although one can never be sure), somehow I don’t think that linking Al Gore with Jesus is a particularly good idea. Climate change “skeptics” already focus on Al Gore as though discrediting him somehow discredits behind science of anthropogenic climate change. Of course, Al Gore isn’t a scientist. He is a popularizer and a politician; so even if his credibility were utterly destroyed it would have nothing to do with the validity of global climate science.

It’s the same with other types of denialists. They seem to have a tendency to emphasize the person over the actual science. Thus, creationists try to emphasize Charles Darwin as though the theory of evolution hasn’t undergone considerable revision since he first proposed the theory–in other words, as though the validity of the theory of evolution depended on Charles Darwin. Antivaccinationists tend to go after Dr. Paul Offit, as though he were the final word on the science of vaccination and destroying his credibility would have one whit to do with whether or not vaccination was safe. It also seems to be the reason that pseudonymous bloggers drive such cranks crazy. They don’t look at the arguments and facts; they want to tear down the person, as though tearing down the person has anything to do with whether the science is valid. Bloggers using a pseudonym make that more difficult. The reason, I suspect, that denialists tend to do this is because it’s far easier to tear down a person than it is to construct a cogent scientific argument. People are imperfect; they have foibles and make mistakes. It’s always possible to find flaws. It’s much more difficult to address the science.

In any case, feeding into this perception of a “cult of personality” around Al Gore strikes me as playing right into the hands of climate change “skeptics.” They frequently claim that it’s all about Al Gore rather than the science. It’s not. But such items make it easy for them to claim that it is.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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