Connecting the dots

Jonathan Chait connects the dots between dishonest conservative (fn1) claims about income inequality (coming in this case from Alan Reynolds) to similar arguments made about evolution and global warming. As he says, to construct an alternate reality in which income inequality is not increasing, global warming is not happening and the world is near the end of its 6000 years anyway, there’s no need to prove a case – just cast enough doubt on the facts and ideology or faith will do the rest. The Republican War on Science is so broad-based that here is now no academic discipline whose conclusions can be considered acceptable to orthodox Republicans.

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Weekend reflections

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

50 000 comments

Some time in the past few days, my WordPress dashboard recorded its 50 000-th comment. I meant to watch out for it and note the lucky commenter, but I’ve been travelling and missed it. These comments span the period since the beginning of 2004 – I lost thousands of comments in the Great Database Disaster of 2003, and there were lots more in an early commenting system called Haloscan that I never managed to transfer.

Comments are a crucial element of a blog, and I’d like to thank both regular and occasional commenters for their contributions and for the fact that, most of the time, discussion here is sufficiently civilised and constructive to advance our understanding of the issues. If you’ve thought about commenting, but not got around here, this post would be a great opportunity

On the other hand there’s the spammers who make running comments much harder than it should be. I’ve only been running Akismet for six months or so, and its already picked up more than the 50 000 genuine comments accumulated over three years.

Exxon joins the real world

For the last few years, Exxon Mobil has been the biggest single source of support for global warming denialism, and has also exercised a lot of influence on the Bush Administration in its do-nothing stance. For a long while, Exxon was able to act through front groups like the Global Climate Coalition, but the corporation has been increasingly isolated and its activities have been exposed to public scrutiny, most notably with the open letter from the Royal Society last year.

Now Exxon has changed its position, recognising the inevitability of some sort of controls on CO2 emissions, and lobbying for a broad approach that will be relatively favourable to businesses like Exxon, rather than one tightly focused on the energy industry. At this point, an association with shills for denialism like the Competitive Enterprise Institute is counterproductive as well as being embarrassing, so they’ve been cut adrift (along with half a dozen others not yet named).

In other news, Stern has responded to critics of his review in a recently published postscript. There’s also a Technical Annex with a sensitivity analysis, something that both critics and those (like myself) with a generally favorable view should welcome.

Weekend reflections

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.