Penn and Teller call BS on much of the environmental movement

Is the movement pro-environment or anti-corporation? How smart are environmentalists? Would they even sign a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide? (BTW, Penn and Teller are well-known atheists and skeptics.)

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"Would they even sign a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide?"

I've already signed this petition. You have to understand, this stuff is everywhere. I hear it's one of the most abundant compounds on Earth. Apparently it's in all of our oceans and sufficient quantities in our lungs will kill us. Marine life has developed a tolerance for it (probably through some government/big corporation sponsored genetic modification experiment we're not being told about).

Worst of all, big corporations are actually stealthily pumping the stuff into our homes and we're paying for the privilege.


You forgot to mention the bit about it being found in every cancerous tumor.

The better description would be how certain agents ingested from the environment, present in the dihydrogen monoxide you consume are known to affect normal cellular reproduction resulting in cancerous tumors. So, yes ironically you are absolutely correct.

My own water well has high concentrations of pesticides due to run-off from citrus and sugar farms into the aquifer. I have to drink and cook with bottled water. Yeah, but I'm sure the water is safe, the dam environmentalists probably rig the tests for false positives.

It's great that Penn & Teller decided to make a short film that concentrates on interviewing individuals who are not well informed about the issue of environmentalism. The emphasis being not well informed instead of misinformed. There are organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council who could provide a spokesperson that not only understands the issues and has the data to back up their claims but are also able to properly formulate coherent sentences. 

It is certainly appropriate that Mr. Penn & Mr. Teller presented this film while attired in a three piece suit. I never cared for the stuffy Wall Street banker look. They should stick to their magic act as deception seems to be their strong suit.

Deforestation is a real problem and there remains plenty of room for improvement in this area by the logging industry. Locally here in Arkansas the paper mill companies have a bad habit of purchasing tracts of land of old growth hardwood forest, leveling it through clear cutting, and then replanting it with coniferous fast growing pine. The problem with that is that the habitat loss for forest animals is not replaced with pine trees. Ask a squirrel if he would rather munch on an oak acorn or a pine comb. Biodiversity suffers, capitalism wins. Wonderful.

And yet, someone who's lived 68 years like me has seen numerous environmentalist false alarms, exaggerated doomsday claims, and just plain old misinformation. While I do worry about the environment, I can't help but note that a lot of pro-environmentalists seemingly never met a technology they liked. And they pass along misinformation as though it's fact. 

Back in the 1960'a, they were busy predicting global cooling. More recently, in almost knee-jerk fashion they blamed corporate America for the global decline of amphians and bees, problems which have proven to be much more compicated than that. It is their hysteria over mercury poisoning which has people declining to partake in vaccination or to get metal fillings, both of which science tells us are safe. 

Many of their false beliefs are actually harmful. Their resistance to irradiating food is a prime example. Irradiation does not result in radioactive food and it allows fresh, raw food to be stored longer by killing off spoilage bacteria. The benefit of this to the environment is obvious: if food stays fresh longer there's less spoilage which means less food needs to be produced which means some of that land won't be used for agriculture and may actually be returned to the wildlife from whiich it was taken. Food that lasts longer can be shipped to refugee camps and won't spoil as fast. 

A lof of what environmentalists believe they believe because another environmentalist told them so. There seems to be a tragic lack of skepticism among environmentalists. They often seem as bad as the climate change deniers.

Some very smart people got the lead out of paint and fuel, asbestos out of buildings, smokers out of public places, and are still working hard to save the big cats, whales and rhinos and elephants, etc. They took measures so that the nasty polluted rivers in Ohio and New York stopped catching on fire. They work to keep our drinking water safe, they stopped the complete destruction of the special places like the Florida Everglades and the Giant Sequoia trees. It is not easy work, they are heroes.

Local environmental disasters are easy to predict. the marine estuary in my town is a toxic mess. The bottlenose dolphins are covered in ulcers, the crabs and fish are all  fished out. Well they drain all the run-off into it. Nobody wants to swim in it anymore. Its not worth the ear infection you will get. People are slowly getting the message.

Global environmental disasters are not easy to predict. On a global scale, mother earth appears to be very forgiving. Until she is not.

Did I claim that everything they do is bad? No. Am I a ckimate change denier? No. 

I'm just noting that they are not always right and that perhaps 99% of those who think of themselves as environmentalists are not so because they themselves are informed. They actually get their beliefs from the organizations they belong to and if those organizations are wrong, perhaps blinded by their leaders' political leanings, then that trickles down to the members who simply parrot what they hear as though it's the truth.

There was another short-lved environmental catastrophe bank in the late sixties warning that deforestation would lead to a shortage of oxygen in the atmosphere,

 I used to buy irradiated dinners for my lunches. The major benefit to them was they did not require refrigeration. That saved a LOT of energy.

The issue with this video is one of preparation. Youthful zeal to do the right thing for the sake of the planet is admirable but without preparation & research they are left open to trickery and ridicule. I think it is a sham for Penn & Teller to focus on a group of well intentioned individuals who haven't done their homework. Their are a number of environmental conferences laden with individuals who have the professional backgrounds, done the studies and analyzed the data. Why not talk with them?

I'm trying to imagine a Penn & Teller series heavy on research and the presentation of data.

Their real point, I think, in terms of this and other movements (they have a wonderful episode on PETA, for example) is how shallow the understanding of the typical follower of these movements is. It is the people out on the street carrying placards, chanting, or burning buildings who provide the real power of these movements, and when they operate with almost no skepticism toward their leaders, demagoguery has a vast playground in which to operate.

They do make one important point which is that we need to divorce environmentalism from knee-jerk anti-capitalism. Sometimes even capitalists do the right thing because it's in their self-interest if for no other reason.

"Sometimes even capitalists do the right thing because it's in their self-interest if for no other reason."

Self-interest at the expense of everything else is not a motto I'm inclined to adapt.


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