Saturday, October 10, 2009

From Brent

Ok, Joe, the debate is officially called off. Well, unless Bart or someone else has something to say.

But is there any way you can ask your friends if Patrick Moore really warns that hundreds of *billions* of people would die? I've gotten curious if I'm hearing it right.



The wise

Like I said, I'm not going to debate. I'm going to attempt to follow the example of our most wise friend Pat Carpenter....

I planned on watching "Capitalists.." and will share my thoughts with you after. I find Michael Moore fun, though often irresponsible...

Friday, October 9, 2009

From Brent Cunningham

DATE: Oct 9, 2009

Hi, Joe,

In what sense can you read a statement like "there is no climate crisis" (from the film's website, underlined) as being "agnostic about whether and to what degree humans are causing climate change"?

In what sense is "CO2 has little effect on planetary temperatures" (same source) not a pre-judging of the scientific data by people unqualified to make such judgments? In what sense is such a statement merely a "whiff" of skepticism and not an absolute yet unsubstantiated conclusion?

In what sense is "ice is the enemy of life" (the very first statement the filmmakers put in the trailer that they approve of!) grounded in a sane discourse about climate change, and not itself a hysterical piece of pseudo-logic?

I'm sorry, Joe, I don't accept this really is somehow about religious zealotry on my part. I don't feel at all hysterical, and I'd like to know where my rhetoric crossed that line for you. It wasn't easy to say what I said, and I did a lot of research on the film and filmmakers beforehand, listened to some of their online debates/interviews, watched the trailer six or seven times, and read through most of their site. I'm sorry I failed to locate the names of the contributors despite a lot of hours the site. Otherwise, I stand by what I said: unless the film is a totally different animal from their trailer and their website, your friends have made a film that is irresponsible and illegitimate--quite beyond their economic and social views which I happen to disagree with too.

Can we take one of the few quantitative moments from the trailer and just look at it?

Adam Rose says:

"you're talking about 7 million jobs in the united states" [i.e. jobs being lost because of some unspecified environmental regulations presumably connected to cap-and-trade & which haven't actually been proposed yet]

the film cuts to:

terrifying images of factories going into negative filmic space (evocative of nuclear blasts), windswept negatively-filmed streets (again evocative of devestated nuclear landscapes), and finally (in case you're an idiot and missed the point): some random flames evocative of some hell or other.

Patrick Moore is meanwhile saying:

"that [i.e. losing those 7 million jobs in the US] would bring civilation crashing down to its knees, and hundreds of billions of people would die"

(btw I listened to this many times over, since there aren't hundreds of BILLIONS of people on earth and never have been even if you count everyone who ever lived, but I'm quite sure he says billions not millions!)

This whole tiny arc is intellectually dishonest in every conceivable way. In fact, since the film was shot in 2008, the US has shed 7.2 million jobs, so I guess we're already burning in those flames, and those hundreds of billions of deaths have already taken place...except it was LACK of regulation, of Wall Street fiscal products, that brought civilization crashing down to its knees.

Let me be clear: I'm not especially comfortable having a politician like Al Gore be the face of climate science either, and I think there's room for lots of critique of him, but at least he footnotes and quotes rigorous studies and does some actual research and sticks to the topic. Your friends are overtly bundling scientific debate about climate change with hotbutton social issues like raising taxes and restructuring the industrial economy and malaria.

You seem to think it's a good thing this film has twenty-five enemies, from Rachel Carson to Obama's health care plan to "nanny state socialism." That's NOT a good thing for a film that purports to be about a scientific debate and is aggressively marketing itself as a film with something to say about climate change. Again, I'm not the one saying the film is taking a firm and aggressive position on climate change, that's what the film's publicity and web site says!

We can argue all day about social policies, and about the economic impact of eco-friendly laws and policies. We can argue about what actually helps the poor be healthy and happy (coal mines!, right?), and we can disagree, as I know we do, about basic economic models. I'd even like to think we could do that all fairly respectfully. I don't know that such debates are productive of much, but they're at least legitimate. But what is illegitimate here is the claim this film has a contribution to make to a scientific debate when it actually doesn't. It's so shrill it's not even a useful or skeptical corrective to Gore. Rather it's ham-handed social activism and rightwing propaganda *masquerading* as having scientific concerns. If Michael Moore made an eco-picture, even though I'd likely agree with most of the basic social views it would advance, I promise I'd condemn it as illegitimately injecting ideology and emotional manipulation into a largely scientific debate too.

Still, I'll watch it if you want me to. And you can watch Capitalism, A Love Story. Then we can meet back here and say how our views haven't changed at all, ok?



From Joseph D'Anna

DATE: Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hey Brent, Lance,

The last thing I want to do is argue about the topic of Global Climate Change. I simply wish that you, not having seen the film nor had a chance to fairly vet it, would give your friend Bart the benefit of the doubt that he'd only associate himself with a project of integrity. Though it's a film you suspect you'll not fully agree with I sincerely hope you'd lend it consideration, or at least not sabotage Bart's ernest efforts out of blind faith or prejudice.

To me, the most apparent, immediate and baffling effect of the Global "Climate Change" topic is how it causes intelligent well educated people to react to any whiff of skepticism with religious zeal. I've learned it's safer to talk about God or politics "in mixed company" than Global Warming.

You two say you're not "in the same ballpark on this issue" but I suspect this is not entirely the case. You misconstrue the full spate of issues examined by this film. Would either of you claim you are against the health or happiness of the world's poor?

I have seen a pre-release version of the film. It's not precisely about the topic Global Warming. By my account, the filmmakers, whom I know very well, are generally agnostic about whether and to what degree humans are causing climate change. What they wish to illuminate is what they see as the costs and consequences to the world's poor of an emergent hysterical crusade fueled by the politics, economics, and ideology of rich white people. They seek to frame Global Warming as the latest (and possibly the greatest) in a series of (not un-founded nor-unimportant but nonetheless hyped and manipulated to the detriment of many) emerging end-of-world-esqe crises (DDT, ozone hole, global famine, Nuclear disasters, new ice age,...). I'm confident you will not agree with every frame, but I'm equally confident this film is worthy of your consideration.

I value your perspective and intelligence. Most self-serving, I hope you watch the film, or better we watch it together, so we can share what will certainly be a wide and lively post screening discussion.




-Come it fair to knock a documentary because it's trailer doesn't provide citations to its facts or display the credentials of every person flashing by. Cheap shot, no? The movie's website gives the bios of al the folks appearing ( For example, the first "talking head" sitting "in front of a bookcase is: Patrick Moore...a founding member of Greenpeace...Ph.D. in Ecology.

Science isn't done by consensus or by committee. I would never gather or promote such a petition, but I fully appreciate being tired of hearing folks pound about some universal scientific consensus that lofts Al Gore... Global Warming shall not be questioned! I put as much stock in a scientist petition, OR a scientific proclamation by a political committee, as I do in the toothpaste endorsement of "9 out of ten dentists." What does the IOCC have to say about plaque? I say you can take away my skepticism when you pry it from my cold dead brain.

From Lance Laurier

DATE: Thursday, October 8, 2009


Good to hear from you. Also good to hear that you are happy and deeply involved in an issue about which you feel strongly.

However, I must wholeheartedly agree with Brent; we are not in the same ballpark on this issue. I also don’t see it as a left verses right issue. Although, that’s how most people seem to want to talk about it. I see this issue simply as doing the best we can to take care of the earth—being good stewards of the earth. How can anyone in their right mind say that it’s a bad idea to take care of the very thing that sustains us AND feeds the economy?

I think one thing people tend to forget is that the economy is a subset of the environment. The environment supplies all of the materials necessary to maintain the economy AND it must absorb all of the waste created by the economy. The do not and cannot exist separately. You cannot talk about one without talking about the other. In my opinion, protecting everyone’s best interests equates to taking care of our world. (Remember The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Better yet, Easer Island is a perfect example of what happens when people fail to safeguard their environment.)

I guess it’s best to say that we disagree on this issue and leave it at that. And that should have no bearing on our friendship. I think back on the times we spent together fondly. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to make some new memories in the not too distant future.

All the best,


From Brent Cunningham

DATE: Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hi, Bart,

I love you dearly and always will, but sadly we're not even in the same ballpark on this issue! I can't even wish you luck unfortunately...but wishing you happiness anyways, always.

For everyone else cc:ed here, you can of course make up your own mind. But before helping this film in any way please take a look at some of the very sound and laboriously gathered science this film appears to want to willfully ignore or belittle. I'd suggest checking out something like the IPCC assessment reports which are overwhelming in their conclusions and thoroughness:

God knows where the film got the figure that 31,000 scientists agreeing with them, I'd like to see the list of who they are. Worth noticing that none of the talking heads in the trailer are even identified & could be anybody with any degree of knowledge--anybody can put on a tie and sit in front of a bookshelf, that doesn't make a person a scientist. And can I ask in what sense ice is "the enemy of life"? It's the enemy of life if you're a tropical fern, but it's damn good stuff if your entire water supply comes from melting glaciers, etc.

Sorry, Bartles, but this movie is flagrantly irresponsible, I'm sorry you've spend so much of your time on it. Even if the filmmakers had a good point or a response to some Gore opinions or distortions somewhere in there it's completely covered up by the proudly unscientific, transparent, and entirely ideological motivations overtly on display.

For the record, many of you know I'm a lefty, but this truly isn't a right vs. left issue--this is about scientific sobriety vs. politically-motivated blather.



From Barton Sidles

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 7:55 PM

Dear UofR Friends, (Joey, can you pass this on to Skip and Will and others... thanks).

Hello from DC (if you can believe it... no this is not permanent.. i will be back in Romania soon :)
Long time no hear. Why so long you ask? For one reason... i have been busy!
Sadly, I have been busy being a bad friend... but i have also been busy producing a film called Not Evil Just Wrong.

I hope you will take 3 minutes to check out the trailer of the film and also join me to be part of a world record attempt for the largest simultaneous film premiere which is set for Sunday, October 18th at 7pm CST (8pm EST).
Please check it out here:

Also, i pulled some strings.... and as a friend you get a 10% discount on the purchase of the DVD, Premiere Pack (which includes the DVD, poster, post card invitations and a piece of red carpet to roll out for your very own VIP event at home:) or anything else on the site. All you need to do is input the discount coupon code: " BART " during your purchase in the coupon code box.

I would appreciate your support and also any help to spread the word to other friends (they can use the 10% discount code, too).
We have screenings in all 50 states and in over 21 countries... but we want to make this as big as possible, and i would really like my friends to be part of it too. Please check out more information here about the premiere of my film, Not Evil Just Wrong.

Thanks very much.

(202) 290 8671
please call me... would love to hear from you (i basically never sleep, so please call me at any hour... well, not quite any hour :)

Barton Sidles
Executive Producer
Not Evil Just Wrong
Greener Horizon Films LTD
(202) 290 8671
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