Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mrs. P On The Levin-Manzi Issue

 She writes:
Alright, because of last week's fight between conservatives -John Podhoretz and David Goldman with Jody Bottum and Michael Ledeen running interference- then the fight 2 weeks before between David Frum and his employers who were paying him a 100 grand to work, not blog about himself, then Frum's wife coming out again and attacking Sarah Palin as if we already didn't completely understand the Frums totally hate Palin, then there's the takeover of the financial sector by our government which is all in a day's work for O, I just have been on autopilot. I missed this latest street urchin fight. This one seems to be following O's maxim, if you bring a knife, we'll bring a gun. Manzi brought a gun to a street fight and he's shot himself in the foot. Let's see how, shall we?


Manzi didn't bring a knife to a gunfight.  He brought a gun to a nuthouse and the residents complained his shirt was too brightly colored.


I did not even know of Jim Manzi was until you mentioned in this space in the last 10 days. Have since learned he was at MIT and that explains why he was never on my radar. I just read what he wrote at NRO that started the streetfight, and frankly, do not even understand why he wrote it. He must have had issues in his private life and wanted to vent. This paragraph -the final one- is most telling:

"There are many reasons to write a book. One view is that a book is just another consumer product, and if people want to buy jalapeno-and-oyster flavored ice cream, then companies will sell it to them. If the point of Liberty and Tyranny was to sell a lot of copies, it was obviously an excellent book. Further, despite what intellectuals will often claim, most people (including me) don’t really want their assumptions challenged most of the time (e.g., the most intense readers of automobile ads are people who have just bought the advertised car, because they want to validate their already-made decision). I get that people often want comfort food when they read. Fair enough. But if you’re someone who read this book in order to help you form an honest opinion about global warming, then you were suckered. Liberty and Tyranny does not present a reasoned overview of the global warming debate; it doesn’t even present a reasoned argument for a specific point of view, other than that of willful ignorance. This section of the book is an almost perfect example of epistemic closure."

This is where conservatives -for the most part- are different than libs. Conservatives do get angry, very angry, at a breach in civility. Think of D'nesh D'souza and you start to understand what I'm talking about. His rudeness has flushed out Victor Davis Hansen. D'Souza now sits at Pat Buchannan's table at the Republican National conventions. Manzi's words are a classic breach in civility. It's obnoxious.
I haven't read Levin's book, but have listened to his radio show.  If the issue here is civility, then Levin loses.  He's a total asshole to people who disagree with him on the radio show.  If Levin were correct on the merits, then perhaps the tone wouldn't be so much of a problem.  BUT...Levin's global warming argument is mistaken at best and downright misleading and irrational at worst.  Nevertheless, the civility point is silly given Levin's conduct, but even still Manzi's tone isn't all that uncivil.

Ask yourself, how many people of the 17+ million who bought Mark Levin's book view Levin as a global science expert? The title of the book is what? Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. Where is the claim of global science expert in that?
I might accept that, but it is incumbent upon even a non-expert who writes a book that argues the otherside is evil, power hungry crazies to actually debate the best arguments of the other side. Not setup strawmen, tear them down, and then assert the other side consists of evil, power hungry crazies.  Maybe they're are some in there, but that doesn't make all people who acknowledge or are concerned about global warming crazy.


Manzi is from MIT and so he should have more expertise at global warming however, I've done the math and he was at MIT when my uncle was the assistant director of admissions and so Manzi may not be as bright as you think...but let's accept that Manzi was actually qualified to get into MIT. Yes, no doubt the guy knows more than Levin on global warming science. Alright. Does that make Manzi more of an expert than Levin on Liberty and Tyranny, which is the book's topic?
Manzi, as far as I know, majored in Math and did research on his own after college to look at the global warming debate.  If Levin wanted to write an entire chapter on the topic, then maybe he should've done the same and perhaps confronted the best arguments of the global warming side.

Now yell at me all you like and tell me that Levin wrote a chapter on global warming where he *only* used the science that fit the premise of his book. Alright, fair enough. I agree based on reading Manzi's complaint. According to Manzi Levin did this. I have not read Levin's rebuttal because I don't care to. All I will add is how is this tactic different than most authors use? Think global wamrming expert and billionaire, Algore. If we are going to destroy Levin over it, then go after everyone, including Obama. O used to the same tactic to push through healthcare. There was a whole lot of ignoring of science, economics, facts and plain old constitutional facts with that government takeover. That willful ignorance will have a lot more effect on each American's daily life that Mark Levin's *flawed* chapter on global warming *science". Or is it man-made global warming *science*? The difference is people are free to buy or reject what Mark is selling. They are not free with Obamacare so that may just make it, dare I say it? tyrannical...which takes us back to Levin's book.
This is a damn good point.  People do cherry pick data to support their conclusions.  That still doesn't make it right.  The common political argument of, look the Dems do it, or look the Republicans do it, is childish finger pointing.  Also, there's cherry picking and then there's willful ignorance of strong evidence to the contrary.

However, where the other side goes wrong we should point them out. And in point of fact, Manzi took down Paul Krugman not too long ago.


I do love how the American Scene characterized the NRO criticism of Manzi as "savage" and linked this as a prime example of savagery:

"Re: Liberty and Tyranny and Epistemic Closure [Andy McCarthy]
There will be more to say about this, and I imagine I won't be the only one to discuss it when time allows. But for now I would just observe that Jim Manzi's post on Mark Levin's widely acclaimed book is beneath him. No one minds a good debate, but Jim's gratuitously nasty tone — "awful," "Trilateral Commission," "wingnuttery," etc. — is just breathtaking. I've read a number of Jim's articles and posts over the years, including more than a few involving exchanges with other writers. He has always struck me as a model of civility, especially in his disagreements with the Left. Why pick Mark for the Pearl Harbor treatment?"

That is savage???? Hell no wonder young men are waxing themselves. They're a bunch of girls. McCarthy, who most days drives me nuts but I like him enough takes issue with Manzi's tone. Back to breach of the civility. But let's continue, shall we?
It wasn't all that savage.  I agree.  I think the point for the people at The American Scene is not so much the tone, but the epistemic closure. When confronted with facts and a well-reasoned argument by a climate change policy skeptic, they point to incivility rather than confront how utterly misleading the content of the book is.

Another savage attack on Manzi by NRO:

"Re: Liberty and Tyranny [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I love debate, as people here know, but to treat Mark Levin as a mere "entertainer" who was just looking for a bestseller is to not know Mark Levin or have taken his book seriously. Besides being entertaining, he's been a laborer on policy, legal, and political battles that have made substantive differences in the battle to preserve liberty from tyranny. There is heart and soul and years of experience in his book — and a heck of a lot more than cut-and-paste Google searching (!). He's heard a lot worse and can handle his own battles, but as one who has followed Mark's career, I found Jim's tone deeply disappointing. Especially at a time when Liberty actually is endangered and Mark Levin is not to blame."

frankly FLG, you and I and others who comment here have been far more personally savage to K-J-Lo than she is being to Manzi. It is a gross to characterize this as "savage". If Ann Coulter had weighed in well then yes, we would have gotten savage.
What is objectionable here is the idea that Liberty is endangered by Obama & Co and presumably this means that we must ignore the damage to Truth and Reason stuff like Levin's book is doing.   When, at least according to me, Liberty cannot exist without Truth and Reason.

But forget about that, the editor of NR has weighed in (like Jody Bottum had to) and he makes some excellent points as good editors should:

Re: A Long Reply [Rich Lowry]
Jonah, those are good points. I suspect three weeks from now the debate over "epistemic closure" will seem even more precious and overwrought than it does now. One last thing on the Manzi v. Levin business: The "epistemic closure" school says the kerfuffle proves there are things you can't say on NRO. But Manzi said a supposedly unsayable thing and Levin (and especially Andy McCarthy, who is always happy to hop into a foxhole with a friend) hit back and Manzi was free to reply however he wanted, which he did (engaging Andy at length and letting people judge his critique and Mark's response on the merits). This is called having a blog where people are free to disagree. As far as the merits of the global warming exchange, I'm at a disadvantage not having read Mark's chapter, but let me say this: 1) As a general matter, I've come to trust Jim's analysis on global warming over the years; 2) I'm sure that Mark nails where the other side is coming from on the issue, and that his skepticism about "the consensus" is even more justified than when he wrote about it a year-and-a-half ago"

"I'm sure that Mark nails where the other side is coming from on the issue,"

That is a succinct description of the topic of Mark's book, which is why 17+ million people bought it. After learning yesterday that Cap n'Trade will now regulate all the wood burning stoves in America - all of them - Mark is right on the money about statists and using global warming to accrue more power.
But now we have to assume ill-intentions on the part of the Left.  When there are smart, informed people who actually are concerned about global warming in and of itself and not as part of some sinister plot to accrue power to the government.  Indeed, the vast majority of people concerned about global warming I'd say are in that category.

Will Cap-N-Trade and regulation increase the power of the state?  Absolutely, and we should keep that in mind.  However, because that is a consequence does not mean we ought to attribute that as the primary and ultimate goal of everybody concerned about global warming or those who propose policy to combat it.  Certainly, I will agree that there are people who want to increase the power of government and cynically use environmental concerns as a justification, but that doesn't mean all do.  Moreover, what if global warming is real,the consequences will be disastrous, and we can fix it?  Ought we not simply because it will increase the power of government?  Maybe in this case government is the only solution to a problem and it can be fixed.


A global warming expert like Manzi ought to be thankful the truth about the power grab is getting out.

Mrs. P 

Manzi ought to be thankful that Levin's intellectual bankruptcy is so readily apparent.

15 comments:

The Ancient said...

The idea that calling something "awful" is a breach of some unwritten law of civility is ridiculous.

As for "savage" -- this is "savage":

nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=23222

(Intellectual debate, if it's to rise above gasbaggery, often needs savagery.)

Anonymous said...

FLG, Wow. Cool. An intellectual foodfight -well you're the smart guy - I'm the food service cafeteria girl. Let's play Animal House, cava? (That was supposed to be French.) Alright, I lack the time to toss away right now because The Baz is due over to take us to some bar of his in St. Louis where he claims they serve up a decent Bloody Mary so tomorrow I shall -like Napoleon return to have my officers' heads shot off forcing retreat back through Russia over the same barren path in which I arrived. I only just popped over here because Andy McCarthy at NRO has found the time to really weigh in and this time it is scathing - note McCarthy's real problem seems to be civility :

Reply to Jim Manzi [Andy McCarthy]

I was happily out of pocket yesterday, traveling to beautiful Santa Barbara for a weekend retreat organized by David Horowitz's Freedom Center — and a panel this morning with John Yoo and my fellow Cornerite Marc Thiessen.

Jim, Rich observes that you have responded to me, but I feel compelled to say I don't think you've so much responded as addressed to (mostly) me a post in which you speak at great length without responding to what I was getting at.

I wasn’t speaking about the esoterica that unites and divides you and Dr. Richard Linzden. My post was about the inappropriateness of your attack on Mark Levin, particularly in light of your evident respect for Linzden, whose WSJ essay did pretty much the same thing for which you assail Levin. Your post was not "scathing." Having dished out plenty of "scathing" myself, I’m confident that no one around here minds a good, sharp argument. Your post, instead, was unprovoked and gratuitously insulting. You’re not alone in this offence; I’ve done it myself on occasion – and to my great embarrassment when I look back on it. But let’s face it, you didn't "call a spade a spade." You saw what you portrayed as a spade and dropped an atom bomb of derision on it.

And over what? After one wades through your citations to yourself and Linzden in your latest post, we finally get to the heart of the matter: You acknowledge that you and Linzden are "in such close agreement." Well, it turns out, Linzden is also in close agreement with Levin. Analyzing the Manzi, Linzden and Levin positions, one finds significant overlap. As for the differences, even accepting for argument’s sake that each scientific nuance you describe is a worthy concern rather than a nit-pick, one still has to ask whether they justify your DEFCON 5 approach to Levin, 18 months after his book was published. I don’t think they come close.

cont'd...

Anonymous said...

...As for your dilation on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), I don’t write much about the subject. I haven't taken the time to study it, as you have. But I have read enough to roll my eyes at most of the public debate. It is two ships passing in the night.

From the premise that AGW is undeniable, the alarmist side leaps to the extravagant conclusion that we are therefore capable of, and obliged to, do something meaningful about it. On the other hand, the skeptics (I am one), too often deny the premise — not because it's false but because it may be frivolous. That is, relatively speaking, it may be nothing more than a drop in the ocean. I suppose it is undeniable, in absolute terms, that the drop increases the ocean's volume. The increase, though, appears so de minimis that denying it makes sense in the greater scheme of things. Yet, the alarmists deride the skeptics over their denial as if they were denying something as basic and incontestable as that two plus two equals four. For their part, the skeptics continue denying — even if they are wrong in absolute terms — because they fear alarmists have set the table in such a way that to concede the premise is to concede the draconian remedies alarmists have in mind. The debate gets nowhere.

You say: "Put yourself in the position of a senior government leader tasked with making real decisions that affect the lives of millions. What would you do if faced with a matter of technical disagreement on such a quantitative-prediction question among experts?" I'll tell you what I would do. I would say that, given our finite capabilities and the shortness of life, AGW may not be a problem at all, and, if it is a problem, it is not urgent enough to obsess over. Not if I am a senior government leader of a country trillions of dollars in debt who is also tasked with making real decisions about unsustainable entitlement programs, the high likelihood that states will soon default, 10 percent unemployment, crippling new taxes and inflation on the horizon, a global war against jihadists whose mass-murder attacks — and their catastrophic costs — are impossible to predict, the imminence of game-changing nuclear capability in a revolutionary jihadist state that has threatened to wipe Israel off the map and whose motto is "Death to America," aggression from other hostile nations, a judiciary that is steadily eroding popular self-government, and a host of other actually pressing problems.

That is, I would say it's not the government's job to gather together "the leading subject matter experts to produce a review of the known science" and then have their product "reviewed by a standing body of leading scientists ..." If the issue is truly important enough, the experts will sort that out themselves. Meanwhile, I’d conclude, get back to me when you have more certainty about the nature and extent of the problem, plus a compelling case that it's worthy of being on my plate given all these other first-order challenges. And when you come back, make sure that you have a proposal that makes economic sense in light of the straits we're in, and that you are ready to explain why I should not discount the problem based on (a) the rampant fraud that has been perpetrated to make the problem seem dire, and (b) the financial interests of the alarmist community in the existence of the problem.

04/24 12:00 PM

---

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

By the way, when I read the term "epistemic closure" my first thought it was something the doctors performed on me during childbirth.

Mrs. P

Withywindle said...

Noting that talk-show hosts never listen to their callers, and always twist their twenty seconds into some minutes-long rant. But it can be done with more or less geniality. Rush is a model of good humor compared with Levin.

Anonymous said...

FLG, you'll never believe what happened yesterday. As I said The Baz was supposed to take us in to St. Louis some visit some establishment that looks like the Senate dining room a la 1940 as they serve the best Bloody Mary that side of the Mississippi. Well just before he arrived it began to storm (rather nastily) and I was loathe to leave the kids. I spoke with Mr. P and he agreed and I sent the babysitter home. Baz, after arriving and hearing the latest developments, went and got the fixings for Bloody Marys. He returned and it was cocktail hours. Yes, hours.

Well, well into our first Bloody Mary the kids took the dog for a walk, neglecting to bring their walkie talkies. Suddenly the sky went all Wizard of Oz on us. Then the sirens went off.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Mr. P raced outside. I stood on the front porch - remember we have a classic Illinois farmhouse now- I followed and if I had been wearing my apron, I would've looked just like Auntie Em just before she headed to the dugout. The kids - we could see them across the field - were at breakneck speed on the way back to the house with the dog - rescued from the dumpster in Detroit so she's no Toto - leading the pack pulling them. Our daughter was screaming. Oh. My. Gosh.

Throughout all of this The Baz was finishing his Bloody Mary with the two cats. When it was done, he got up and fixed himself another one and had reseated himself in the wing chair just when the 4 of us and the dog blew threw the front door.

"There's no tornado," he instructed the children. The sky was still all Wizard of Oz and the sirens were still blaring. They didn't believe him.

After calming the kids down, we sent them down to the basement where they watched the weather channel Mr. P poured himself and I or is it me? another cocktail. After enjoying it a bit he went down to check on the children. He came back up with the news -which you'll never believe - the tornado touched down on our oyster bar.

Yup.

A house of cards. Or is it a house of clams?

So we kept drinking, after the storm blew through we grilled out on the deck (Greek kebabs) and Basil departed about 10 hours after he had arrived. So it really became more like a hurricane than a tornado.

Anyhoo, I've got to go make breakfast, then Mass and then I'll put on my hairnet and we'll continue.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

Hairnet on, food fight.

"Manzi didn't bring a knife to a gunfight. He brought a gun to a nuthouse and the residents complained his shirt was too brightly colored."

Hahahahahahaha

Very funny. But it doesn't negate the fact Manzi picked a fight...with Mark Levin. Picking a fight with Mark Levin is too different from dating a Kennedy. The girl almost always end up dead, raped or crippled.

That said, let's proceed. Oh, and I'm admitting I'm entering this food fight completely prejudiced : I like Mark and I think it's funny when he beats up Conor Friedersdork. Actually it's hysterical. And I'm admitting I know absolutely nothing. Am no expert on anything except maybe English Rockingham pottery and Derby Porcelain. Oh, and single malt scotch.

"I haven't read Levin's book, but have listened to his radio show. If the issue here is civility, then Levin loses."

Aren't there two different kinds of civilities going on here? Going back to Conor Friedersdork - he took after Mark after listening to him for what? 15 minutes? And it happened to be 15 minutes where Mark told the female caller who was not a fan, that her husband must want to put a gun to his head.

Between you and I FLG, I'm very sympathetic to that sentiment. Women, for the most part, are dreadful. But forget my sympathy, what Friersdork said was and this is not a direct quote but something like Friedersdork said, "I listened to Mark Levin for 15 minutes"...and then he went on to tear Mark down.

Mark is on the air a few hours a day, 5 days a week, 12 months a year, vacations excepted. Is 15 minutes fair to judge him and his radio show by? Is a 15 minute sample a fair critique? Hold your answer. As we're not talking about Friedersdork but about Manzi. Look at what Manzi wrote and maybe, just maybe we begin to see a pattern emerge:

"I started to read Mark Levin’s massive bestseller Liberty and Tyranny a number of months ago as debate swirled around it. I wasn’t expecting a PhD thesis [...] But when I waded into the first couple of chapters [...] I’m not expert on many topics the book addresses, so I flipped to its treatment of a subject that I’ve spent some time studying — global warming — in order to see how it treated a controversy in which I’m at least familiar with the various viewpoints and some of the technical detail."

I just through the miracle of Amazon looked inside Levin's book. Do you wanna see the topics Manzi is not an expert on that he somewhat bypassed?

1. On Liberty and Tyranny
2. On Prudence and Progress
3. On Faith and Founding
4. On the Constitution
5. On Federalism
6. On the Free Market
7. On the Welfare State

All of those make 113 pages total. Manzi couldn't wade through 113 pages? The book must be perfectly awful. Levin must be as dry a writer as Henry James. Manzi flipped to his area of knowledge -global warming on page 114 and Chapter 8. Interestingly, this is the chapter's title: "On Enviro-Statism" The rest of the chapters are:

9.On Immigration
10.On Self-Preservation
11. A Conservative Manifesto.
The manifesto is only 10 pages long and the book is only 206 pages long. Manzi, a paid conservative, couldn't read the whole thing? Is he ADHD? Just wondering?

My point here is the *offending* chapter in question is called "On Enviro-Statism". Not "On Global Warming" That does not sound like Levin was going to focus on the science around global warming but on the power grab behind global warming. In other words, it was never meant to be about science but about power. In the law there's a lot about original intent but have no clue what it truly means but here, what was the original intent and who strayed from it? Levin or Manzi?

I'm not done yet...

Anonymous said...

Don't respond yet...more chocolate pudding heading straight for your kisser.

Anonymous said...

Through the magic of Amazon I was able to read the first 6 pages of the book which might be as much as Manzi actually read. This is what Levin writes about on page one what he is up to (very poorly worded, sorry)

"Scores of scholars have written at length about what can be imperfectly characterized as conservative thought. But my purpose if not to give them each exposition, as it cannot be fairly or adequately accomplished here, nor referee among them. Nor will I give attempt to give birth to totally new theories.

"Instead what follows are my own opinions and conclusions of fundamental truths based on decades of observation, exploration, and experience about conservatism and conversely non-conservatism- that is liberty and tyranny in Modern America.

"To put it succintly: Conservatism is a way of understanding life, society, and governance...."

What hit me straight between the eyes was "Instead what follows are my own opinions and conclusions of fundamental truths based on decades of observation, exploration, and experience about conservatism and conversely non-conservatism"

This goes back to my earlier point about people who bought the book probably were not buying it for Levin's global warming expertise. They were buying, like they do on his radio program, his opinions, thoughts and ideas as well as experience.

Now let's jump back to Manzi's complaint at NRO which was the whole reason for the Pearl Harbor attack on Levin:

"Jonah notes Ross Douthat’s very interesting post, in which Ross had this to say:

"Conservative domestic policy would be in better shape if conservative magazines and conservative columnists were more willing to call out Republican politicians (and, to a lesser extent, conservative entertainers) for offering bromides instead of substance, and for pandering instead of grappling with real policy questions.

"I thought some about this over the past few days, and took this as a direct challenge."

See what I mean about picking a fight? It was Jonah and Ross Douthat smoking pot - Aren't they are almost all potheads over there at NR - and looking up at the sky and pondering the shapes in the conservative clouds? Levin, meanwhile was on his show insulting the libs, making others laugh & educating too. And Manzi goes after Levin out of nowhere and admits like Friedersdork "I read him for 15 minutes and...fill in insulting blanks"

Actually this is where Manzi shot himself in the foot and like a girl who dates a Kennedy, is left permanently crippled:

"But if you’re someone who read this book in order to help you form an honest opinion about global warming, then you were suckered."

That was by Levin's own admission, not the intent of the book. If Manzi had read the book he would have understood this. But wait it gets better. Manzi continues:

"Liberty and Tyranny does not present a reasoned overview of the global warming debate; it doesn’t even present a reasoned argument for a specific point of view, other than that of willful ignorance."

Earlier Manzi had written:

"Levin argues that human-caused global warming is nothing to worry about, and merely an excuse for the Enviro-Statists (capitalization in the original) to seize more power."

Hmmn...


cont'd...butterscotch pudding up next or would you prefer spaghetti w/marina?

Anonymous said...

Let's unpack that, shall we?

"Levin argues that human-caused global warming is nothing to worry about, and merely an excuse for the Enviro-Statists (capitalization in the original) to seize more power."

2 questions, 1. Did Levin actually say "human-caused global warming was nothing to worry about"? 2. Is human-caused global warming really something to worry about since our government can only control what goes on in our own borders? If they can even do that.

Now no straw dogs allowed. That is not at all to suggest we should do willful destruction of our earth. But do we all really have to, in America only, paint our roofs white? Someone in the O administration was talking about that being a good idea. A good idea it may be but is it practical? Or reasonable? Or better yet, unconstitutional? Then you take in all the codes and what not liberal places like Beacon Hill have on suitable building materials - hint green quality only really comes in with the patina your copper gutters develop and the from the approved color palette of paint for your window boxes- and will everyone in the country have to paint their roofs white or just the ones without the friends in DC? And this starts to look like....tyranny. Now let's look at Levin wrote this on page 4:

"For a conservative, the civil society has as its highest purpose its preservation and improvement.

The modern liberal believes in the supremacy of the state thereby rejecting the principles of the Declaration and the order of civil society, in whole or part. For the modern Liberal the individual's imperfection and personal pursuits impede the objective of a Utopian state. In this modern Liberalism promotes what French historian Alexis De Tocqueville describes as soft tyranny which becomes increasingly more oppressive potentially leading to a hard tyranny (some form of totalitarianism) As the word "liberal" is, in its classical meaning, the opposite of authoritarian, it is more accurate to characterize the Modern Liberla as a Statist.

"The founders understood that the greatest threat to liberty is an all-powerful central government, where the few dictate to many..."

Going back to Manzi's complaint and holding from judgement whether Levin literally said human-caused global warming is nothing to worry about let's read it again:

"Levin argues that human-caused global warming is nothing to worry about, and merely an excuse for the Enviro-Statists (capitalization in the original) to seize more power."

Sounds as if Levin is staying on track to the theme of his book. But let's go further into Manzi's complaint:

"It reads like a bunch of pasted-together quotes and stories based on some quick Google searches by somebody who knows very little about the topic, and can’t be bothered to learn. After pages devoted to talking about prior global cooling fears, and some ridiculous or cynical comments by advocates for emissions restrictions (and one quote from Richard Lindzen, a very serious climate scientist who disputes the estimated magnitude of the greenhouse effect, but not its existence), he gets to the key question on page 184 (eBook edition):

[D]oes carbon dioxide actually affect temperature levels?

Levin does not attempt to answer this question by making a fundamental argument that proceeds from evidence available for common inspection through a defined line of logic to a scientific view. Instead, he argues from authority by citing experts who believe that the answer to this question is pretty much no. Who are they? ..."

This is where Manzi was totally unimpressed. But I was impressed by what Andy McCarthy who came to Levin's defense wrote just yesterday about Levin and Lindzen - the serious climate guy Levin did cite:

cont'd...

Anonymous said...

McCarthy:

Jim,[...]I wasn’t speaking about the esoterica that unites and divides you and Dr. Richard Lindzen. My post was about the inappropriateness of your attack on Mark Levin, particularly in light of your evident respect for Lindzen, whose WSJ essay did pretty much the same thing for which you assail Levin. [...] After one wades through your citations to yourself and Lindzen in your latest post, we finally get to the heart of the matter: You acknowledge that you and Lindzen are "in such close agreement." Well, it turns out, Lindzen is also in close agreement with Levin. Analyzing the Manzi, Lindzen and Levin positions, one finds significant overlap."

Hmmn...so Levin wasn't being totally irresponsible regarding human-caused global warming which I always thought was man-made but no matter,was he? There's significant overlap by all three men. And we can see by Manzi's own criticism Levin in the chapter called "On Enviro -Statism" was staying true to the intent of his book. It was Manzi who desired Levin's to be something different:

"But if you’re someone who read this book in order to help you form an honest opinion about global warming, then you were suckered."

And truthfully, no one was completely suckered, if even suckered at all, if McCarthy is right.

Then Manzi wrote this:

"Liberty and Tyranny does not present a reasoned overview of the global warming debate; it doesn’t even present a reasoned argument for a specific point of view, other than that of willful ignorance. This section of the book is an almost perfect example of epistemic closure."

Now let's go back to what the boss at NR, Rich Lowry, who both of these guys work for wrote regarding Mark's book (2.), Manzi and epistemic closure:

"Jonah, those are good points. I suspect three weeks from now the debate over "epistemic closure" will seem even more precious and overwrought than it does now. One last thing on the Manzi v. Levin business: The "epistemic closure" school says the kerfuffle proves there are things you can't say on NRO. But Manzi said a supposedly unsayable thing and Levin (and especially Andy McCarthy, who is always happy to hop into a foxhole with a friend) hit back and Manzi was free to reply however he wanted, which he did (engaging Andy at length and letting people judge his critique and Mark's response on the merits). This is called having a blog where people are free to disagree. As far as the merits of the global warming exchange, I'm at a disadvantage not having read Mark's chapter, but let me say this: 1) As a general matter, I've come to trust Jim's analysis on global warming over the years; 2) I'm sure that Mark nails where the other side is coming from on the issue, and that his skepticism about "the consensus" is even more justified than when he wrote about it a year-and-a-half ago."

Lowry is right on the money. Mark was attempting not to prove or disprove man-made global warming but nailing "where the other side was coming from".

As for Manzi;'s claim that Levin's chapter "On Enviro-Statism"is

"This section of the book is an almost perfect example of epistemic closure."

The only definition I could find of epistemic closure:

"Closed-mindedness, false consensus, or groupthink, especially with regard to Conservatism in the United States, after a blog posting by Julian Sanchez"

I dunno. Sounds like an overblown claim since Manzi wanted wanted something from Levin Levin never intended to do. Oh, and after reading 6 pages of Levin's book I have to say he is not a bad writer nor anywhere near a dry a writer as Henry James. I could finish a Levin book. Easily. Never have I finished a Henry James'...

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

OOPS!

That should read,

Picking a fight with Mark Levin is NOT too different from dating a Kennedy. The girl almost always end up dead, raped or crippled.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I never meant to suggest Mark Levin is a rapist. He's a very honorable man. A family man and dog lover.

Mrs. P

Andrew said...

Manzi has been thoroughly refuted,

NRO’s Manzi Mischaracterizes Global Warming Debate

"Who are they? An associate professor of astrophysics, a geologist, and an astronaut.

This is unfair to Levin and, by extension, to others in the global warming debate who sometimes choose to write about the issue without delving into the science. The science is there for anyone who wants to read it, from Anthony Watts’ excellent Web site at www.wattsupwiththat.com to the 880-page Climate Change Reconsidered, a chapter-by-chapter rebuttal of the latest IPCC reports with more than 4,000 footnotes. Not every book by a conservative or libertarian that comments on global warming needs to provide a summary of this scientific research. And it’s pretty fair to guess that if Levin had done so, Manzi would have nit-picked him apart anyway.

Manzi doesn’t bother to identify who the professor, geologist, and astronaut who Levin cites are, so allow me. The associate professor of astrophysics is Nir Shaviv, one of the most accomplished solar physicists in the world. He has already been published many times in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and has forever made his mark in the world of solar physics by redefining landmark principles of stellar gravitation and radiation known as Eddington luminosity. Shaviv used to believe carbon dioxide was the primary driver of global warming, but in recent years has published groundbreaking research showing solar activity and cosmic rays may be more important factors.

Dudley J. Hughes, the geologist, is a recipient of the Texas A&M Distinguished Alumni Award, which according to Texas A&M University, “is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University.” He is a recipient of the Texas A&M Geosciences and Earth Resources Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a recognized expert regarding earth sciences and carbon dioxide, and authored the 1998 book, A Geologic Reinterpretation of the Earth’s Atmospheric History, Inferring a Major Role by CO2.

Phil Chapman, the astronaut, is a scientist with a degree in physics and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has worked as a science researcher in Antarctica, a staff physicist at MIT, and a propulsion scientist at the Avco Everett Research Laboratory. He worked closely with the inventor of the solar power satellite, and contributed to NASA research on power in space. Oh, and amidst all these scientific accomplishments, he also found time to be an astronaut.

Manzi is either ignorant of the scientific accomplishments of these three scientists, or sought to score a cheap point by taking advantage of uninformed readers."

Anonymous said...

Monorail was developed to meet medium-demand traffic in urban transit, but represents a relatively small part of the overall railway field.
A coalition of state, local and federal officials’ plan to get the federal funds – again – after Gov. Rick Scott turned down the money last month has failed, Nelson said in a statement this morning.
Road trains are used for transporting all manner of materials; common examples are livestock, fuel, mineral ores, and general freight. Their cost-effective transport has played a significant part in the economic development of remote areas; some communities are totally reliant on regular service.
A somewhat less common practice is the naming of freight trains, for the same commercial reasons. The "Condor" was an overnight London-Glasgow express goods train, in the 1960s, hauled by pairs of "Metrovick" diesel locomotives. In the mid-1960s, British Rail introduced the "Freightliner" brand, for the new train services carrying containers between dedicated terminals around the rail network. The Rev. W. Awdry also named freight trains, coining the term The Flying Kipper for the overnight express fish train that appeared in his stories in The Railway Series books.
In some countries "piggy-back" trains or rolling highways are used: In the latter case trucks can drive straight onto the train and drive off again when the end destination is reached. A system like this is used through the Channel Tunnel between England and France, and for the trans-Alpine service between France and Italy (this service uses Modalohr road trailer carriers). "Piggy-back" trains are the fastest growing type of freight trains in the United States, where they are also known as "trailer on flatcar" or TOFC trains. Piggy-back trains require no special modifications to the vehicles being carried. An alternative type of "inter-modal" vehicle, known as a Roadrailer, is designed to be physically attached to the train. The original trailers were fitted with two sets of wheels — one set flanged, for the trailer to run connected to other such trailers as a rail vehicle in a train; and one set tyred, for use as the semi-trailer of a road vehicle. More modern trailers have only road wheels and are designed to be carried on specially adapted bogies (trucks) when moving on rails.

[url=http://BESTRAILTRAIN.INFO/article.php?article=409671]Trains to hull[/url]

 
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