It wouldn’t be easy to prove, not unless I can get a transcript of today’s show. Sick of commercials on KLSD1360, I did a quick dial rotation. Most radio stations play their commercials around the same times each hour, but occasionally I can catch five minutes of rightwing talk. That’s about how long I make it before I nearly snap the dial off in disbelief that these people believe anybody should take them seriously. Today I got some Dennis Prager. I felt like I was attending a sermon on how to actively lower your intelligence.
The caller asked Dennis a real hardball question: “Why won’t Al Gore debate the scientists who say he’s full of crap? And why do his people insist his excuse that he’s not much of a debater?” (This is all paraphrased, and I have the memory of a flea…)
Okay, let’s just set aside that the “scientists” that want to debate Al Gore are the same people who have lost the argument within the scientific community. Al Gore isn’t a scientist, he’s a liason between the scientific community and the public. Al Gore has perpetually been among politicians one of the most scientifically literate and philosophically astute. He’s someone I feel kinship to in that regard. I’m far too atrocious with math to get into the true nitty gritty of science, yet I’m attracted to the greatest minds and when they try to explain things to people at my level, I listen very carefully. Gore’s film The Inconvenient Truth was an initiative taken on his part to help teach the public what the best science of the day is saying about global climate changes.Â And the scientific community agrees, Gore did listen to them very carefully.
Dennis Prager, however, responded (and I’m not trying to put words in anybody’s mouth, anybody who does grab a transcript will see that I’m good with “the gist”), “Well, that doesn’t make sense to me. It seems to me that if you’re smart and have good facts on your side, you’re a good debater, right? Truth persuades. When a person is persuasive in a debate, it’s because they’ve got the truth on their side. Al Gore doesn’t want to debate because he’s full of it!”
Well, folks, throw out the logic textbooks. Rhetoric is truth. Propaganda is right if you believe it.
Can Prager claim to believe this for one second? He’s supposed to be a learned man, but how could anyone remotely versed in intellectual honesty drop that whopper and not blink? How can he not understand that an “expert,” however off-base, can overwhelm a layman with minutae?Â If you’ve read debates with Creationists vs. the occasional scientist who can be bothered, it’s considerable what a person can whip up to support pure gobbeldygook.
Does Dennis Prager think he would survive ten minutes against one of the world’s leading global warming experts? Please! Al Gore would sure as heck hand Prager his own balls in a global warming debate, but one must admit that in almost every case, large numbers of people will still back the loser of the debate if their beliefs match.Â Â
So Prager forgets that Gore’s side has won the debate among people who are actually scientists. That doesn’t count!Â It’s that darned liberal bias that reality has (thank you, Colbert). What counts is when a bunch of laymen are asked to be the referee on highly complicated scientific issues, duh.
Next:Â the public gets to settle that string theory debate!
I think Prager’s comments illustrate that true propagandists are required to be convinced of their own bullshit when they spew it, but spend so much time spewing it they get stuck. Perhaps in the corners of his mind, for a few seconds a day, Prager is able to understand that he’s full of shit. But does he really deserve credit for that? Is he still “smart” if he knows he’s pushing flat-out brain junk?
The global warming debate is a wonderful opportunity to gauge with near scientific accuracy just how much effort humans can put into absolute, complete bunk, and how much resistance they can put up against the fairest objectivity. It reminds us that even the “smartest” of us, as no doubt many on the right consider Prager to be, will be flat dead wrong and refuse to acquiesce easily to new shifts in understanding when they come. Airtight logic will not give airtight results, or anything resembling.Â And in the case of Prager, a godless priest can be fully able to comprehend the new paradigm and yet forcefully advocate against it for some fraudulent “higher ideal.”