Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Wingfield Something Something

Have you heard? There's a new kid in town. His name is Kyle Wingfield. He's Wooten's replacement and he's put me into a terrible dilemma. He's reasonable and doesn't provide me much ammunition. Also, I can't think of a clever name for a series about him.

Until today.

I have one firm rule in life. If you tell me you believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, I will stop listening to you as I will assume anything which comes next will be just as insane.

I have a more flexible rule regarding logical fallacies - if you use them frequently, I'll probably stop listening to you. I need flexibility on this one because if it were applied rigidly, I'd have to stop paying attention to politics.

Kyle Wingfield tackles Cap and Trade today and shockingly, I agree with most of his points.

Cap and Trade is a Rube Goldberg affair which likely won't accomplish its goal - can't disagree there.

It will likely be used for nefarious gain by greedy politicians - if it can be leveraged, a politician will grab the nearest lever.

A straight carbon tax would be fairer - A conservative calling for a tax? Both shocking and correct.

Unfortunately, to get to these meaty and worthy topics, you have to traverse the following:
One does not have to doubt, as I do, claims that the complex science of the Earth’s climate is “settled” to see that this bill is a sham.
Well, hello Mr. Strawman wrapped in a cloak of incredulity.

Climate science is certainly not settled and no one claims it is. What has been described in layman's terms as "settled" is the overwhelming evidence that man is impacting the climate in an adverse manner.

And that leads us to the argument of incredulity. It's a personal favorite since it is so frequently used by creationists. The simple version is someone states something is so complex it can never be understood therefore any conclusions must be wrong.

Life is so diverse, therefore we can never understand it, so evolution cannot possibly explain it. The weather, atmosphere or whatever trope of the month is used to describe climatology is so complicated, climate scientists could never explain its actions.

Any scientist, if he or she didn't immediately apply my 6,000 year old rule, would reply, of course it is complex but that does not mean we cannot understand it nor should we stop trying.

Kyle, your writing reminds me of the old Jim I so frequently miss. It is well reasoned, worthy of conversation and certainly on the track of "common sense conservatism".

It would be a shame if so early in your run you decide fast fallacy is necessary to amplify steady reason.

Now about that name...maybe something with Winging in the title?

14 comments:

Jmac said...

I went to Grady College with that guy!

Yeah, I didn't care for his stuff when he wrote for The Red & Black either.

Sara said...

What about Spanking the Wingfield?

Uh...I got nothing.

Doug said...

On a Wingfield and a Prayer?

Grift,

I think most people that object using the complexity argument is that someone is proposing to break a complex system down into a much too simple model.

A perfect example just happens to be carbon dioxide induced global warming. Sadly, "simple" solutions (with paradoxically extremely complicated legislation) are we get out of Washington.

Brian said...

Unlike Jmac, I'm enjoying his columns. Shocking!

Icarus said...

I'm still partial to "My Morning Icarus", but I'm also a bitter loser.

Daniel N Adams said...

Maybe you could use multiple titles as they apply:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingfield_Series (found looking for a Simpson's reference)

I would never use "settled science" when it came to our climate and environmental science. I don't even think they should use "somewhat understood science" until they can predict the weather 10 days out with a lot better accuracy than I've seen displayed. (If they can produce a picture of the Earth's thermostat and operator's instruction... I'll take my comment back)

Alan said...

And, once again on a somewhat related note re: climate change, I'll point you to the following Paul Krugman op-ed:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/opinion/29krugman.html?_r=2

In the op-ed he calls out GA Rep Paul Broun who stood on the House floor recently declaring that climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.” ... And his declaration was met with applause...

I find it hard to believe that this guy can represent Athens...

TPA said...

Grift,

I agree that the current cap-and-trade bill is a piece of horse-youknowwhat, but what isn't out of Congress these days? Anyway, that doesn't mean that cap and trade cannot work. For a very good explanation of the economics behind cap/trade vs. carbon tax, check http://www.env-econ.net/carbon_tax_vs_capandtrade.html

Jen said...

I knew his name was familiar! I remember him writing for the Red & Black as well.

That guy sucks. He said it was shameful that Georgia fans tore down the goalposts after our 2000 victory over Tennessee.

Heh.

http://media.www.redandblack.com/media/storage/paper871/news/2000/10/09/Opinions/Meaning.Of.Win.Got.Lost.In.The.Crowd-2591874.shtml

Jerry said...

His argument is also devalued by his rant about how Democrats have arranged the proposed rollout schedule to their advantage. I mean, what's that got to do with it? So what? Of COURSE they did.

As if Republicans aren't going to fight tooth and nail against anything proposed by the majority anyway.

nast said...

How about "A Steaming Kyle of Crap?" But only when he says something loony.

Rusty said...

Jen,
C'mon now, everybody loves a good round of pearl-clutching.

The horror. Bellowing beasts teetering in their Doc Martins in the bleachers, their yellow glazed eyes flitting about in search of a fix, the goal post a kitten thrown into a den of hungry wolves. It was doomed. Doomed I say!

Never in all of my 19 years have I witnessed such a shameful and monstrous act.

In all seriousness, every column written in a college newspaper is pretty much horseshit. I say that as someone who wrote one.

MTHEORY said...

Grift, the answer is "something Wingnuts." Think about it: Kooky ideas? My far-right wingnuts. Bold-faced lies or brazen arrogance? My big, brassy wingnuts. Fuzzy logic? My hairy wingnuts.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Added bonus: Keeps the "morning Wooten" theme going.

machine2473 said...

"A straight carbon tax would be fairer - A conservative calling for a tax? Both shocking and correct."


Certainly. It individualizes the incentive to correct a negative externality. C&T just monetizes an "acceptable" level of polluting.