The Rise of the Kitsch Monster


While some people are lamenting a decline of Jewish literacy and sophistication (a post on that is soon to follow; I’ve been doing quite some reading on that over the past few weeks) and are conveniently blaming it on intermarriage, I’d like to lament the rise of the kitsch monster.

What is the kitsch monster? The kitsch monster is some kind of creature with superpowers that makes Jews do extraordinary things. Nobody has ever quite seen the kitsch monster, but if you look at what’s going on at this time of the year, you’ll easily see there’s enough evidence to base the belief in a kitsch monster on. The things the kitsch monster makes you do include buying overpriced kitsch in blue and white with star patterns and making Jewself believe you’ve acquired a piece of art and skilled craftmanship (the price might well suggest such), going out for Chinese food on Xmas Eve just to conflate religious identity with stereotypical behaviour, eat gross amounts of fried carbs with spiritual complacency, nodding in approval at cheesy holiday music, lousy holiday jokes & anecdotes and online videos, placing emphasis on a minor Jewish holiday (Wasn’t Shavuot the cheesecake day?) and one’s religious authenticity but at large celebrating an adaption of non-Jewish customs to that minor Jewish holiday while resenting the notion of an initially non-Christian winter solstice festival.

Do not feed the kitsch monster! Do not mate with it! Once you enter concubinage with the kitsch monster, it is going to get a rough grip on your left hemisphere!

Just as vampires presumably can be kept in check with a handful of salt thrown at them as their obsession with counting makes them start counting the salt grains, the kitsch monster can be fought back with a handful of holiday trivia concerning the origins of customs.

In a nutshell:
Jewish: story of the Maccabees, oil flasks;
Goyish (as in Christian) religious: candles, sufganiyot, gelt (real money or chocolate coins), certain gifts;
Goyish secular: latkes, spinning top-games, all other gifts;
Pagan: solstice festivals, decorations of perennial greenery, star-shaped amulets.

The kitsch monster is not just seasonal. Its impact has been reported around other holidays as well, but winter seems to be its peak season.

What would the Maccabees do?

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37 Comments

  1. Netsach Shebe Netsach

    12/16/2008 at 12:51 am

    Is the “Kitch” monster bad? If so, do you find yourself immune from it? I am not sure from what you are saying.
    You don’t sound too impressed with this “Kitch.”

  2. froylein

    12/16/2008 at 1:35 am

    Netsach, the word indeed is “kitsch” (a German loanword). And no, I’m not impressed at all, particularly since kitsch seems to have become a gauge of religious identity.

  3. Jewish "Bridezilla" Gal

    12/16/2008 at 1:45 am

    So… how come candles are goyish for Hanukkah? And how come latkes are more secular than sufganiyot? And what are the certain religious-but-still-goyish gifts? I’m confused. You spent a lot of time identifying what is kitsch, but not what is not-kitsch. How can we follow your guidelines if we don’t know what those are.

  4. ben

    12/16/2008 at 2:35 am

    funny, a little sad, and very thought provoking. to what extent do you really think kitsch is a measure of religious identity? and do you think the people wallowing in kitsch see it as useless crap?

    so you’re saying oil flasks are truly jewish but lighting candles is just goyish-religious? and i gotta reiterate bridezilla’s question: what makes latkes more goyish than doughnuts? what if my focus is on the amazing ability of the jewish people to bounce back from certain doom? or REDEMPTION from something or another? doesn’t that kavana make eating a latke jewish?

    i know what you mean though, about the kitsch monster, especially this bit “placing emphasis on a minor Jewish holiday (Wasn’t Shavuot the cheesecake day?) and one’s religious authenticity but at large celebrating an adaption of non-Jewish customs to that minor Jewish holiday while resenting the notion of an initially non-Christian winter solstice festival.”

    but where is the resentment? i get that most jews revel in their non-jewish customs and that chanukah is now completely misunderstood as a jewish christmas. but what about this resentment at the notion of a pagan winter solstice? and am i a pagan just for having a plant in my house?

  5. Netsach Shebe Netsach

    12/16/2008 at 3:05 am

    How do we know when the Kitsch is setting (his/her?) sites to mate? Apparently this Kitsch is looking for action… Isn’t there some other Kitsch to make a proper shiduch instead of picking up on
    wayward jewish boys and girls.

  6. Shaul

    12/16/2008 at 5:53 am

    The biggest irony is that they called jewish olympics Maccabian games, which is ridicilous since jews compete in greek disciplines in them, like athletics, wrestling, etc. That’s because it was started by secular zionists, and they had something very canaanite in them, they felt that judaism is a thing of galut…

  7. froylein

    12/16/2008 at 10:01 am

    Bridezilla, latkes were adopted in Germany and were just plain food; sufganiyot on the other hand (long before Zionists adopted them) have traditionally been eaten during the days of Carnival preceding the Christian Lent, so there is a religious connotation to them. (One smaller variety is even called “NonnenfĂĽrzchen” = nuns’ fart. The origin of that name is that a nun was preparing “sufganiyot” for Carnival at her convent when she accidentally dropped a bit of the dough into the fat. The sizzle sounded as if she’d just passed gas, and the other nuns gave her stern looks. They then found that the smaller variety was just as good as the large one.)
    Jews picked up lighting candles instead of oil flasks from their Christian neighbours in the Rhineland; ironically enough, candles in Christianity symbolize Jesus and their lighting symbolizes spreading Jesus’ message.

    Ben and Bridezilla, my point was not what Jews should and should not do but what they should be aware of. I’ve seen customs being labelled “originally Jewish” especially with regards to Chanukka which by any means aren’t. It might be rather telling that the celebration of Chanukka with all that it entails is a New World phenomenon, that has reflected back onto the Old World via American TV shows. The only European Jews I know that have got a family tradition of celebrating it are Chasidim, and among those only the males “celebrate” it by lighting their chanukia. I’m not against mixing traditions, I’m not against fun holidays, but I don’t like being told a Jew may not put up a tree (many German Jews pre WW2 did put up perennial greenery in the winter, partly as decoration and partly because of superstitions) when there are so many customs that haven’t got a religious Jewish background either.

    Also, I find the tendency of conflating Jewish affiliation and literacy with participating in Jewish pop culture worrisome and not a way to “maintain” a heritage other than on a highly superficial level.

    I’m very busy these days, so I’ll apologize in advance if I cannot reply as much as might be desired. Thanks for your comments though.

  8. Jewish "Bridezilla" Gal

    12/16/2008 at 1:09 pm

    Shabbat candles – reminding Jews of Jesus, too? Or those candles are OK but Hanukkah candles, not ok, even though for many people they are a more convenient form of the oil hanukkiah.

    I don’t know. I get your point about the shallowness, but I don’t think that lighting candles, eating latkes, and playing dreidel are the identifying symptoms of a shallow, meaningless holiday. You can do all of that and celebrate the original story. Maybe latkes and doughnuts aren’t originally “Jewish,” but what else would be the food that goes along with the holiday? And having a food to go along with something helps memory storage, associating a certain food or smell (or action, like lighting a hanukkiah) with a story is more effective than just repeating it over and over, even more effective than having a visual reminder.

  9. froylein

    12/16/2008 at 1:21 pm

    So what is the quintessence of the story of Chanukka theologically speaking? What is its reception? I should be surprised if a non-Chasid knew off-hand. Clue: it’s not about men cleaning a place.

    And yes, all candles also are an adoption of Christian candles. Jews ditched oil flasks in the Rhineland for the more convenient candles. I’ve got an approx. 1,800 years-old oil flask here. Fascinating stuff. I should take a pic.

  10. ben

    12/16/2008 at 3:41 pm

    OK i get it, we’ve stolen some a minhag or three from the goyim. candles used to be a strictly christian symbol? are they still? i would say not because over time candles have become part of lots of traditions. i agree with bridezilla, i don’t think lighting candles (as opposed to oil lamps) necessarily indicates a shallow celebration, because lets face it, candles arent just for christians anymore. i do think you’re on to something with this kitsch monster, though. i just barely escaped this monster’s clutches myself when i encountered my synagogue’s spread of chanukah “gifts” that have been re-priced and marked down since 1985.

    ill agree that there’s no problem with mixing traditions, and if i ever meet a jew who puts up a tree because that’s what his ancestors did in berlin so many years ago, then that is all well and good. i do think it’s a problem when jews put up a tree and call it a chanukah bush, but that’s just me. i guess you would call it hypocritical because i celebrate chanukah in other goyish ways like doughnuts and candles. shades of gray i suppose.

    like i said earlier this kitschiness and the conflation of Jewish literacy with Jewish pop culture is something worth exploring. we could make chanukah less kitschy by making latke-frying a family enterprise, having meals as a family for eight whole days (i’m just a college student but apparently having family dinners is one helluva task), and actually learning something meaningful. instead, more often than not, the kinderlach are more worried about which video game chanukah harry has brought them. its enough to make your dreidl spin.

  11. Pingback: IFF Network Blog » Blog Archive » Hanukkah Comes Up From the Minors

  12. maven

    12/16/2008 at 3:48 pm

    Man cannot live by philosophy alone. Somewhere along the line some kind of entertaining praxis must become the norm, and special foods, etc, are no crime.
    It has been pointed out that the medieval philosophers left almost no impact upon Jewish practice, whereas the Kabbalists eternalized themselves by transforming every ritual practice in Jewish life, from dipping the challah into salt 3x on Friday night to the actual text of the siddur.
    Life without “something to do” can be deadly dull, particularly to traditions.

  13. Ephraim

    12/16/2008 at 4:27 pm

    As everybody knows, the main custom of Chanuka, other than lighting the chanukiya, is to eat foods cooked in oil. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as it is fried in oil. So in Europe, where everybody eats potato pancakes in one form or antoher, that became most common. My own family tradition (in addition to latkes, of course, since I’m a Yekke) is to eat tempura at least once during Chanuka. Nobody, but nobody, can hold a candle (or an oil lamp) to the Japanese when it comes to deep frying. Hands down, they are the undisputed masters. If I have time, I make sufganiyot too.

    Candles as opposed to oil lamps in Europe makes perfect sense. Where are you going to get olive oil in Russia in the middle of the winter? The light is the issue, not what it’s made from. I doubt very, very seriously that the Jews adopted candles in imitation of the meaning given to them by their gentile neighbors. They just lived in a place where candles were more readily available than oil lamps. And you can be sure that if candles smacked of avodah zara the rabbis would have forbidden it. So obviously it’s kosher.

  14. froylein

    12/16/2008 at 5:48 pm

    Well, Ephraim, the rabbis also tried to ban the wigs with little luck. :) BTW, the lasting of consecrated oil for eight days is vital to the Chanukka story. The oil was more than just a source of light but an item of ritual.

    As I stated above, I’m not against celebrations of whatever kind, but I do find some of the nomenclature worrisome. A while back ck voiced his anxiety over a decreasing number of sophisticated Jews, and I think just taking matters as given is the first step to that. Candles of course aren’t exclusively Christian, but their origin and original connotation are ironic given the circumstances. Fats other than olive oil were used in oil flasks, but candles apparently do have a lot of advantages (particularly traditionally hand-dipped ones).

    I’m still waiting for somebody to get into the theological message of Chanukka as perceived by the sages. :) But for now I’ll bid you goodnight as it’s almost midnight, and I need to get up at 4am.

  15. Ephraim

    12/16/2008 at 6:07 pm

    I’m aware, of course, that the oil lasting for eight days, etc., is vital to the story (whether it actually happened is another story). But when you can’t get oil, candles will hasve to do. In any case, the chanukiya is to remember the miracle, not recreate it.

  16. Ben-David

    12/17/2008 at 7:44 am

    Froylein:
    Also, I find the tendency of conflating Jewish affiliation and literacy with participating in Jewish pop culture worrisome and not a way to “maintain” a heritage other than on a highly superficial level.
    - – - – - – - – - -

    When you say “pop culture” I assume you mean the Seinfeld-Sandler-Matisyahu type of stuff, rather than long-established customs.

    In which case I agree with you – but it’s important to understand how we got here.

    Judaism was reduced/compressed from an all-encompassing moral-spiritual worldview down to an ethnic identity to serve the purpose of post-Enlightenment assimilation.

    Just knowing more about cultural aspects of Judaism – or the stylistic difference of shunning “kitsch” – is not the answer.

    What’s missing is a sense taking part in the binding covenant of Sinai.

    Without that, no amount of cultural research survives, or can ever be sufficiently “authentic”.

    With it – any of the recipes (latkes) or technological innovations (candles) we adopt from the larger world are transformed and made “authentic” by investing them with our unique meaning, by our use of them for our unique purposes.

  17. Grand Muffti

    12/17/2008 at 11:50 am

    Muffti finds himself in one of those rare moments when he agrees with B-D. Without a spiritual grounding (he’s not sure in a sinai covenant) in something that goes beyond current cultural icons to connect them to something more meaningful, all you have is a bunch of icon that are grouped together by a tag (Jew) rather than a real link to a history that unifies them in a meaningful way. Mass consummerism’s byproduct is the ability to make people think that products that look like they belong vaguely in a tradition connect one to a tradition. That’s why people by che t-shirts, B-D, without bothering to look into the full character of the man and his history of bloodshed. Why bother when the symbol has been repackaged and can be sold to you in a safe way devoid of real consequence?

    It’s atheism that keeps muffti from doing too much ‘jewishy’ stuff precisely because it would feel downright inauthentic to him.

  18. maven

    12/17/2008 at 2:01 pm

    Is a “link to history” (if such a thing is ontologically possible) superior to a “link to a culturally defined signifier”? I’m not sure that minhag is equivalent to a mass consumerism byproduct.

  19. Grand Muffti

    12/17/2008 at 3:04 pm

    Depends on the link – Muffti didn’t have in mind a sui generis ontic entity. Something is linked to history for a person roughly in case it’s role is appreciated by the person as being caused (in part) by a long tradition in which items in a similar equivalence class played a role. So if you buy a menorah coz it looks funky, its not linked to history for you. If you buy it because you want to participate in a long standing tradition and have an understanding of how that items fits in, you are. Obviously it can be to greater and lesser degrees.

    But your point is well taken.

  20. froylein

    12/17/2008 at 4:34 pm

    BD, the common religious denominator is assumed even on the kitsch level, but contextually it’s like a label on a glass of (storebought) jam as compared to the actual (and homemade) jam. You can try a spoonful of the jam and taste its flavour, but chewing on the label won’t give you the right taste no matter what.

  21. Ben-David

    12/18/2008 at 3:35 am

    Froylein:
    the common religious denominator is assumed even on the kitsch level
    - – - – - – - – -
    Not in my experience, unless I am misunderstanding your application of the word “kitsch” here.

    Just looking at Chanuka, we have many “ethnic/cultural” Jews who have already redefined the holiday to mean the exact opposite of its original religious intent:

    These people will tell you it’s a holiday of “tolerance for diversity” when in fact it was a separatist battle against such multiculti formulations.

    Some have even appropriated the menorah symbol of Chanuka to endorse gay rights – which was a particular aspect of Greek culture that the warrior-priests of Chanuka opposed:

    flickr.com/pho...

    … the (obviously unintentional) visual parallels between that float and the famous frieze on the Arch of Titus is a telling reminder that there are many “kitsch-level” Jews who care not a whit about Torah morality or the covenant at Sinai.

    The best that can be said is that they are ignorant and therefore tone-deaf to the discordance between their actions and Jewish teaching.

  22. Ben-David

    12/18/2008 at 3:48 am

    Oh and Froylein:

    More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

    Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008

    Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore…. including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC…. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

    The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grow louder in 2008 as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments challenged the UN’s and former Vice President Al Gore’s claims that the “science is settled” and there is a “consensus.”

    Even the mainstream media has begun to take notice of the expanding number of scientists serving as “consensus busters.” A November 25, 2008, article in Politico noted that a “growing accumulation” of science is challenging warming fears… Canada’s National Post noted on October 20, 2008, that “the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly.” New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin noted on March 6, 2008, “As we all know… there are heaps of signed statements by folks with advanced degrees on all sides of this issue”. (LINK) In 2007, Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics “appear to be expanding rather than shrinking.”

    - – - – - – - – -
    Almost every sentence contains clickable links – including a link to the actual report. The article is a clearinghouse of the mounting scientific objections to the theory of man-made global warming.

    But the best part are the quotes from the scientists themselves – some of which note the heavy-handed Bolshevism of leftists in imposing their “faith” in climate change:

    “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical…The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.” – Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

    Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

    “The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” – Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

    “Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense…The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning.” – Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

    “CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” – Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

    Read the whole thing:
    epw.senate.gov...

  23. Grand Muffti

    12/18/2008 at 9:30 am

    Muffti hopes the skeptics have this one right. The one thing Muffti finds baffling is what motive an entire community like the scientific one could have for collectively agreeing for pulling the wool over the eyes of everybody in the conspiratorial manner suggested.

  24. Ben-David

    12/18/2008 at 2:49 pm

    Muffti: it’s not a conspiracy – any more than the affirmative action or slavery reparations people are consciously engaging in conspiracy, or the in-the-tank-for Obama media are consciously engaging in conspiracy.

    Many of these people believe what they are saying because they want/have to on emotional and other levels. It confirms other deeply held values/opinions they have – about themselves and society. Considering that climate prediction is notoriously imprecise, it’s open to interpretation.

    What’s telling in this case is the speed with which these theories solidified into ideological dogma. That’s obviously related to the Left’s domination and politicization of academia, which has resulted in a dissent-stifling echo chamber.

    We can also point to the Leftist intelligentsia’s concerted, decades-long attack on the very notion of objective reality. Post-modern thought has so skewed the rules of discourse that it’s hard to conduct a rational, evidence-based inquiry – even about a scientific matter.

  25. froylein

    12/18/2008 at 5:27 pm

    Oy, B-D, I’ve explained to you before what global warming is in scientific terms. Those people quoted above refuse the lefty, green-party pop-culture scare crow of global warming. You may discuss this with my brother if you wish as he’s hands-on with environmental impact research, but to him you’d likely be a religious nut (he’s more of an atheist than our dear Muffti).

    And how did you lads even get to talk about that topic? Now I’ll have to read the entire comment thread…

  26. Grand Muffti

    12/18/2008 at 6:39 pm

    Truthfully, B-D, as someone who works in a university and is familiar with its goings on, teh post-modernism you speak of is really an artifact of humanities and arts departments. Very little of it infects science directly at the university level. English professors, bless their relativists hearts, have little say over what gets funded in the science (compared to NES) and the word ‘deconstruction’ is never heard in the labs. There is a real divide their between the two. Only rarely in quantum physics when discussing issues like quantum collapse do you get to see scientists use their anti-objectivity chops (as one of the theories of collapse is the subjective interpetation where observation itself is crucially linked to collapse).

    The case of slavery and affirmative action, on the other hand, come out of the soft science where one would expect some of the wonky policy ideas to originate with an academy rife with rather radical ideas who don’t have to worry a whole lot about how the rubber meets the pavements. For all that, Muffti ins’t ENTIRELY convinced that AA is such a bad idea (though he’s not convinced htat it is a very good one). SO Muffti thinks the analogy is somewhat flawed – in the case of global warming and climate change, there are facts to argue about and then there are policies to argue over. AA and slavery reparations you really only have the policy issues; next to no facts that anyone knows how to analyze, interpret or even use in any clear way. But Muffti guesses part of your point is that the data is equally unclear in the case of GW?

  27. Ben-David

    12/20/2008 at 11:56 am

    Froylein –

    I think the 650 scientists signing on to this understand “what global warming is in scientific terms.”

    They seem to be saying that there’s not much there – that the charge of human influenced climate change is “lefty, green-party pop-culture” without much science to back it up.

    Why don’t you show your scientist brother this link, and have him scientifically refute the scientific, factual criticisms of global warming theory made by these scientists?

    And maybe you could tell us exactly how many scientists must sign on before you’ll stop dismissing their dissent and actually examine their critique?

    Your response takes the somewhat laughable position of claiming you understand the science better than they – either that, or the more revealing postmodern/PC notion that facts don’t really matter.

    Which brings us to Muffti.

    Muffti-

    I would say the difference between professors in the hard sciences and the soft ones is largely one of degree. Read any biography of Einstein or Darwin to see how dogmatic physical scientists can be, and how often new theories are only accepted because old professors die off.

    When there is money involved, science profs can be just as open to manipulation as any others. And there is a lot of money flowing through that part of the quad in this technological age.

    I also think that staffing/tenure decisions in these faculties are still impacted by administrative levels that have been infiltrated/subsumed by left-wingers.

  28. froylein

    12/20/2008 at 12:25 pm

    B-D, my scientist brother knows about this and also thinks you don’t get the difference between apocalyptic prophecies those scientists refute and climatic changes far more scientists than those mentioned above have been able to track and been trying to see where those changes come from and in how far the reasons for those changes are endogenous or exogenous of the respective ecosystem. But for that, I suppose, one would have to accept the notion that science isn’t all black and white.

  29. Ben-David

    12/21/2008 at 5:29 am

    Froylein:

    The only point of contention was/is whether or not human processes have significantly impacted the global climate – therefore justifying significant, far-reaching, and expensive government policing of previously unregulated activities.

    Look at the quotes, and read the report. That is what these scientists are addressing.

    There is no practical distinction between “apocalyptic scenarios” and the assertion that change is “exogenous” (assuming you exclude human activity from any given ecosystem). Once you believe that human behaviors are the primary factors changing the climate, it leads directly to calls for regulation of those behaviors.

    Regarding science not being “black and white” – the preponderance of corroborating evidence gives the “theory” of evolution a certain authority and reliability. This is directly related to its being a uniquely good explanation for observed evidence, its ability to predict outcomes, and to the fact that it is not contradicted by significant evidence.

    The “theory” of human-centric global warming is, as you say, not nearly as “black and white” as you and your brother (I assume he agrees with you) seem to think. Not so uniquely fit an explanation, not able to predict future climate trends, and contradicted by much other evidence.

    That’s what all these other scientists are pointing out. They are engaging in scientific discourse.

    If your talk of endogony/exogony refers to localized phenomena like the pollution cloud over Mexico City – that is obviously not what is being discussed, and you are copping out.

  30. froylein

    12/21/2008 at 7:48 am

    I’m not at all copping out, but since I see that you apparently don’t know what endogenous and exogenous factors are in terms of environmental research, any further discussion would be a waste of time to begin with. BTW, my and my brother’s point of view is shared by thousands of environmental researchers / scientists. Considering that Germany and Luxembourg are the leading nations in environmental research (and oddly enough the industrialized nations with the healthiest environments, too) I’m wary of turning to researchers whose living depends on salaries provided by countries favouring unrestricted industrialization.

  31. Ben-David

    12/21/2008 at 5:13 pm

    Froylein cops out:
    you apparently don’t know what endogenous and exogenous factors are in terms of environmental research, any further discussion would be a waste of time to begin with.
    - – - – - – - -
    Translation: whew! I hopefully baffled him with enough bullshit fancy-pants terminology to cover my ass as I retreat.

    Further waffling:
    Considering that Germany and Luxembourg are the leading nations in environmental research (and oddly enough the industrialized nations with the healthiest environments, too) I’m wary of turning to researchers whose living depends on salaries provided by countries favouring unrestricted industrialization.
    - – - – - – - -
    Take a look at the list – scientists from industrialized and third-world countries are represented. Several of the dissenting scientists are themselves veterans of the UN/IPCC and other “politically correct” NGOs. They simply feel they can no longer ignore the lack of evidence and distortions used to prop up PC climate theory.

    This is hogwash – and typical of one-sided PC “credentialing”: you are wary of the motives of those who dissent, yet you do not question for a moment the economic/career motivations of your fine German/EU-funded researchers.

    Yes, you’re copping out. Paddling furiously away from the real issues.

  32. froylein

    12/21/2008 at 5:23 pm

    The real issue is that there are people out there that will behave irresponsibly towards their offspring for a short term gain. I wasn’t trying to baffle you with any terms, but as long as you don’t get that distinction, any further discussion will be futile. The odds of global warming existing are 50%, 25% it’s manmade (higher odds even if you consider that numerous scientists back that claim). The odds of a child being taken ill with cancer if either parent smokes are about 0.05% in Germany. Still, those odds would prevent me from deliberately exposing my kids to a smoking environment. BTW, developing and take-off countries are among the fiercest advocates of non-environmental industrialization among industrialized countries that largely depend on classic industries and / or cheap production to cut production costs. Therefore, it’s particularly the social[ist] left and right-wing neo-Nazis over here that are most critical of environmental policies.

  33. Ben-David

    12/22/2008 at 7:42 am

    Froylein:
    1) On what do you base those probabilities? If the source is advocating global warming theories, then this is “begging the question” – a common logical fallacy.

    So far the closest scientific fit to the climate data we have is solar activity. Not human activity.

    2) “numerous scientists backing that claim” does not budge the numbers one bit. This kind of argument uses several logical/rhetorical fallacies at once.

    Similarly, it doesn’t matter who supports or opposes environmental policies. Such an argument is, perhaps, revealing of your own motivations for believing as you do – but it doesn’t change the science one bit.

    May I suggest:

    nizkor.org/fea...

  34. froylein

    12/22/2008 at 1:03 pm

    This is simple stochastics. There is evidence galore of how human actvity influences the environment; just look at how warfare has influenced the climate during WW1 and WW2. Eruptions of mega-vulcanoes have had similar effects (e.g. Krakatau). I don’t see a logical fallacy in parallelling your 650 vs 52 number game to a large scale of thousands vs 650 unless you’re admitting to a logical and rhetorical fallacy of your own. It’s all a parallelism just as when you pointed out that there also were scientists from developing, non-industrialized countries on the list in return to which I explained their “cui bono” reasoning. And indeed, it does make sense to ask why a scientist that is on the public (“independent”) payroll of a state that lives on industry, particularly the “cheaper” automobile sector all of a sudden refutes what he for years if not decades had allegedly researched and found out.

  35. Ben-David

    12/23/2008 at 7:00 am

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree since we cannot hash out all the “evidence galore” you claim is out there…

    At least admit that the cui-bono point cuts both ways: the people flogging the global warming theory have as much “vested interest” in their theory as those debunking the theory – and the global warming folks stand to directly profit if their opinion carries the day, as opposed to the dissenters.

    These same people whipped up a similar hysteria not more than 30 years ago – about a coming ice age.

    The agenda is to justify socialist-style regulation and control of trade, industry, and other previously free and private sectors and behaviors.

  36. Grand Muffti

    12/24/2008 at 9:33 am

    B-D said

    Muffti-
    I would say the difference between professors in the hard sciences and the soft ones is largely one of degree. Read any biography of Einstein or Darwin to see how dogmatic physical scientists can be, and how often new theories are only accepted because old professors die off…I also think that staffing/tenure decisions in these faculties are still impacted by administrative levels that have been infiltrated/subsumed by left-wingers.

    Sorry B-D, but as someone who actually works in a university with a thriving science division, Muffti sees very little (but not none) evidence of this. Is there any evidence yo can site that this is a widespread phenomenon? Hiring is nearly always controlled by deans and deans are almost always hired professors within the field. And dean hiring is usually (though not always) done with massive input from the many departments over which the dean is head — so its not like there is an environmental science dean typically who gets hired by people interested in a single agenda – usually s/he’s a dean of science and is hired with input from biologists, physicists, chemists…

  37. Grand Muffti

    12/24/2008 at 9:36 am

    In fact, insofar as administrations tends to be ‘left wing’ (though Muffti isn’t sure what counts as left vs. right when it comes to universities), deans and administration are MUCH more concerned with issues about propositional hiring, sexual harassment, student development issues…they also, typically, have very little input in tenure decisions (though you see their interference sometiems, such as in the case of Norman Finkelstein)…

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