- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dumbed down?

“In his best-selling book ‘The Assault on Reason,’ Al Gore name-checks Jurgen Habermas, Noam Chomsky, and I.F. Stone, digresses into the peculiarities of human brain chemistry, and, as expected, explains the intricacies of atmospheric science. … As his book makes clear, he thinks the rest of us are hopelessly dumb.

Gore argues that the average American is in an advanced state of political torpor, induced by a profit-mad mass media. …

“Lamenting a surfeit of ‘electronic images that can elicit emotional responses,’ Gore is deeply concerned ‘about the potential for exploitation of the television medium by those who seek to use it to manipulate public opinion in ways that bypass reason and logic.’ With the national media controlled by a handful of corporations, he fears that ‘money and the clever use of electronic mass media could be used to manipulate the outcome of elections.’ The rise of cable news and talk radio has seen ‘media Machiavellis’ flood the airwaves with ‘propagandistic electronic messaging.’ …

“Once upon a time, Gore explains, radio was a ‘one-way medium’ controlled by the wealthy; that is, until the ‘defenders of democracy’ required ‘safeguards’ like the Fairness Doctrine, which ‘ensured that differing points of view were included in programming.’ ”

Michael C. Moynihan, writing on “Free Speech for People Who Think Like Me,” June 12 in Reason.com

Secular society

“The ongoing process of secularization in our society (witnessed in the diminishing influence of the church on people and on institutions) as well as the ongoing growth and accommodation — regardless of the impact of society — of diverse and sometimes unhealthy world views, have produced our pluralistic society, which is reactive against Christians who seek to impose their moral values.

“We believe God made human beings to be free and responsible, and therefore we do not want to impose Christian values on others. But at the same time we cannot and must not simply acquiesce about things around us that passionately displease God.

“So, the church must be the conscience of the nation committed to educating the public as to why Christian morality makes sense.”

The Rev. John Yates, in a weekly bulletin distributed June 16 at the Falls Church in Falls Church

Frozen fear

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently returned from a junket to Greenland, where, among other things, she says she ‘saw firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality.’ True enough, Madame Speaker, but you didn’t see.

“New satellites tell us that Greenland — mainly southern Greenland — is shedding ice at the rate of 25 cubic miles per year. If Greenland lost most of its ice, sea levels would rise 20 feet or so. Greenland is by far the largest mass of ice in the Northern Hemisphere, with roughly 10 percent of the world’s total.

“Greenland’s total ice volume is 680,000 cubic miles, and it is losing four ten-thousandths of its ice per year. Do the math. That works out to 0.4 percent of its total mass per century.

“Never mind that the most recent study of Greenland indicates that even this minuscule rate may have slowed. Pelosi is falling victim to the common misconception that a slight, additional warming of Greenland will lead to the biblical flood, pronto.”

Patrick J. Michaels, writing on “The Cold Truth About Greenland,” June 13 in the Chicago Sun-Times

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