Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Inconvient Day in Court for Gore

If An Inconvenient Truth is scientific consensus at its best, then it should stand up to debate. If the science is settled beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt, then Mr. Gore's documentary should have no trouble standing up in court. Unfortunately for those who worship at the alter of An Inconvenient Truth, that hasn't happened.

Recently the British government decided to all secondary schools in England. The Government was impressed by the message of Mr. Gore's movie. Unfortunately, its against the law in England to show a film in school that contains partisan politics without informing students that it is a political film. A school governor and a parent a student went to court to get the film banned from schools in England.

The court didn't ban the film. However, a judge ruled that there were nine errors or omissions that must be explained to students before it can be shown. First, students must be warned that An Inconvenient Truth is a political film and doesn't explain all sides of the arguments. Second, if the film is presented without addressing the nine omissions, teachers will be breaking the law. Third, the omissions pointed to by the judge must be specifically drawn out to the students.

Here is the list of errors and the judges finding:

  1. An Inconvenient Truth claims that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting ice sheets. The Judge said, "This is distinctly alarmist," and would only occur after 1,000 years.
  2. An Inconvenient Truth claims that Pacific Islands have, "...already been evacuated." There is no evidence that this has happened.
  3. Mr. Gore claims that coral reefs are dying and bleaching because of Global Warming. The Judge in England stated that there are many factors that can destroy coral and separating out individual factors is very difficult.
  4. Mr. Gore claims that polar bears were found that had drown swimming from melting ice bergs. Unfortunately for Mr. Gore's film, only four polar bears were found drown, and those drown due to a storm.
  5. An Inconvenient Truth claims that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro (as shown by two photos in the movie) is due to Man-Made Global Warming. The judge ruled that it can't be shown that the recession of snows is related to Global Warming.
  6. Similarly, An Inconvenient Truth claims Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming. The judge stated that there wasn't enough evidence to prove Katrina was caused by Global Warming.
  7. Like Kilimanjaro and Hurricane Katrina, An Inconvenient Truth claims that Lake Chad is drying up due to Global Warming. Again, there isn't enough evidence to establish Lake Chad is drying up because of Global Warming.
  8. In a spectacular portion of the movie, Mr. Gore warns that the Gulf Stream will shut down. The judge stated this was "very unlikely".
  9. Mr. Gore shows in his movie that a graph of CO2 rise and temperature rise over the same period are an exact fit. The judge ruled that while there was a connection between the two, the film is misleading. The judge noted that in some cases, the CO2 rises lagged by 800 to 2000 years.

By itself, this doesn't mean man-made global warming isn't happening. It does mean that man-made global warming is still a theory. Man still hasn't been able to prove it. Two individuals in England fought to keep this film out of British schools. They failed at that. However, the film will only be shown with disclaimers explaining what it truly is: A political propaganda movie.


familyman said...

OK Andy, I know you must have started drooling when you saw this chance to slam An Inconvenient Truth.

I think it's important to note though that England's largest teachers union has come out publicly against the judge's ruling.

I think your distaste for Al Gore's movie might be clouding your judgment some. As a conservative I would think you would be decrying this ruling as government over-stepping it's bounds instead of heralding it as a triumph for common sense.

As a representative for the National Union of Teachers in Wales says in the article, [is] inappropriate for a judge to dictate how films or other creative work [is] taught in schools and all literature from Shakespeare to Doris Lessing [is] political.

He said,"This response from the High Court in London is outrageous. It is scary. It’s like the thought police. It’s a slap in the face to teachers to suggest they are incapable of chairing a mature discussion to go with showing this film."

Andy D said...

I could see where you might think that. However, it is against the law to show a partisan political film in school in England without calling it a political film. These two individuals took this film to court because of their belief that the government is breaking the law by showing it. While the judge said it could be shown, it had to be accompanied by a few disclaimers.

I would challenge the representative for the National Union to show me where they were already planning on having a discussion with students on the inaccuracies in the movie.

The main theme I wanted pulled from this story wasn't the impact on British schools. The main theme I wanted to share with people is that a court of law had found there were factual inaccuracies in the movie.

Jayne d'Arcy said...

I really liked Inconvenient Truth, much to my surprise. Despite liking it, I think this judge did the right thing. I believe any politically driven material in schools need to be labeled as such. I saw too many films and had to read books that were politically motivated and it was never explained to me, a kid, that quite a few of these materials were mere political opinion. Some of them were scary.

Gore presents a fine case for man-made global warming in his movie, but I came out of the movie needing to do some of my own research. I'm an adult, skeptical, that's what I do. Children are impressionable, and trust what they're elders say to be true.

I'm still on the fence in regards to man-made warming. However, I can see with my own eyes on a daily basis that we humans are not doing enough to conserve our planet's resources. I do believe if we don't make changes, both on the small scale individually, and on the large scale, this planet cannot last and sustain us forever. All things die.

jml said...

Hi Andy!
WOW! What a difference between the UK and the USA. Most teachers use this film as a teaching tool here.
I am going to have to share your blog entry with some of my colleagues here, if you don't mind.
Some interesting points to ponder in your essay.
Gee, and Al Gore just won the Nobel Peace Prize this past week.

Mr President said...

Gore winning the Nobel Prize in the same week as a study from a US university showing that the ice caps in Antartica have grown (yes, grown) by a record amount in the last year is a bit of a joke, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Now that *one judge* critiques a movie, you've got your case against global warming proved. You should have just phoned Clarence Thomas a few years ago and we could have settled this instantly!

Whatever you do, don't listen to the nation's top scientists about An Inconvenient Truth, that would be... well... inconvenient. Truth can be annoying like that.