After my recent post on Bill Maher’s show Real Time, and his interview with the author of the book “Cool It,” Bjorn Lomborg, I got a lot of interesting reactions. But first, some corrections.
I referred to Lomborg as an economist because that’s how he was introduced on Real Time. Apparently he’s famous for organizing economists to get their views, he’s got a background in statistics, and he was Director of Denmark’s Environmental Assessment Institute. But he’s not an economist. He’s more like a guy who organizes experts, gathers their views, and develops a point of view from that. If an informed opinion requires input from multiple fields, say science, economics, statistics, and alternative energy, no one can be a complete expert without mastering all of those fields. I don’t know if such a person exists.
Also, many of you pointed out that my example of cognitive dissonance wasn’t so much cognitive dissonance as one of many other possible labels. Some of you are probably right. But I don’t know which ones, and cognitive dissonance seems to me like a close enough diagnosis, so I’ll keep using it.
But here’s the most interesting part. My blog on how Bill Maher and his panelists misunderstood Lomborg has caused a new round of cognitive dissonance. I have now been labeled a supporter of Lomborg’s arguments simply because I said I understood what he said on a TV show. Check this out. It’s somewhat jaw-dropping:
I always wondered why Al Gore never defended himself from the attack “He said he invented the Internet.” What he did is get funding for the Internet before most people had even heard of it. I thought he could have easily turned the attacks into a positive with something like, “I never used the word ‘invent,’ but I did play a big role in funding the creation of the Internet before anyone else in Congress saw its potential. That’s the sort of vision you need in a president.”
But he didn’t take that path. He rolled over and took a beating. Now I understand why. Once a misunderstanding gets out of the bottle, there is no fixing it. He didn’t have a chance. I think he knew it.