[Eco] BS on the BS

Luisa Luisa at looneylabs.com
Tue Jan 30 12:23:54 EST 2007

--On 1/30/07 10:40 AM -0600 Jonathan Grabert 
<jonathang at austin.rr.com> wrote:

> Just because these guys are libertarians doesn't mean that
> they're wrong. You're attacking the messenger, not the
> message.  (Not that calling someone a libertarian is
> necessarily an attack, but in this case it is.)
> Like you, I felt like I had to study up on what was said in
> the program.  I went back and read the sources, and some
> other information.  (I'd recommend Bjorn Lomborg's _The
> Skeptical Environmentalist_, which was featured in P&T's
> season 1 episode on the environment.)  What I've read
> absolutely supports what P&T say.  It takes money, energy,
> and time to recycle paper, and the net effect is *bad* for
> the environment.
     From the US Energy page I checked out during my research


      I found out that indeed there are pros and cons to both 
using virgin pulp for making paper and to recycle. They use 
energy in different ways and produce different kinds of 
waste. However, the *net* energy usage is *lower* when you 
*do* recycle than when you do not. So this would be *good* 
for the environment. Recycling is especially good when no 
chlorine nor acids are used, and when soy ink is used. As 
consumers we can choose to buy only these kinds of products 
to encourage all companies to produce environmentally 
responsible products.

> Lastly, I just wanted to say that it's really good of Andy
> to promote this discussion.  It takes a lot of courage for
> him to even consider denouncing recycling.  I take a lot of
> heat for it, but for Andy, a self-proclaimed hippy, to do
> so is even bigger.

       I think discussion is great! I think backing one's 
arguments with research and hard facts is great! It seems P&T 
used old data to support their argument as well as people 
from ONLY one side of the argument (John, great research on 
that btw). Their show seems clearly biased and I have not 
found any hard data that supports their arguments now 
(perhaps in 1996, that was ELEVEN -11- years ago! Industry 
REALLY changes in that amount of time). I will say this, 
though, when you compare the recycling of aluminum to that of 
paper, it seems that it is not worth recycling paper because 
the gains are so much smaller. But notice, there are still 
gains from recycling, no matter how small, and the more we 
recycle, the better the gains will be, especially for the 


> J/
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "ginohn"
> <ginohn at comcast.net>
> To: "Eco Foundation Discussion List"
> <eco at lists.looneylabs.com>
> Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 11:43 PM
> Subject: [Eco] BS on the BS
> > OK, so I finally watched the Penn & Teller Bullshit! show
> > on  uncycling,  and I remain unconvinced. P&T used a very
> > short, vague  list of supporters  to represent their
> > cause, and I had to do some  extra searching to find  out
> > who they were and what they represented.  Here is the
> > cast of  characters that I tracked down:
> >
> > Daniel K. Benjamin is a senior fellow at Property and
> > Environment  Research Center (PERC), a conservative
> > libertarian think tank which  publishes policy papers and
> > press releases to further their agenda.  This  guy's
> > statement was used through most of the show. His "ground
> > breaking  paper" was not a peer reviewed scientific
> > paper, rather it  was a policy  paper out of the Hoover
> > Institute titled Political  Environmentalism. The  Hoover
> > Institute, a conservative libertarian  think tank which
> > publishes  policy papers and press releases to  further
> > their agenda, is funded in  part by Exxon Mobil, ARCO,
> > Ford,  General Motors, and Proctor and Gamble.
> >
> > Angela Logomasini works for the Competitive Enterprise
> > Institute, a  conservative libertarian think tank which
> > publishes policy papers and  press releases to further
> > their agenda. They are infamous for  arguing,  sometimes
> > in paid commercials, that global warming is not a
> > problem,  second hand smoke is not a problem, and
> > recycling is a  problem. This is  not surprising since
> > much of their funding comes  from Amoco, Coca-Cola,
> > Ford, Philip Morris, Pfizer, and Texaco.
> >
> > John Tierney was not named in the show, but for some
> > reason Penn  spent a  long time quoting one of his
> > opinion pieces from the New York  Times,  where Tierney
> > had a short stint as an op-ed writer. The quote  that
> > Penn  took from Tierney's 1996 article went like this:
> > "Recycling  may be the  most wasteful activity in modern
> > America: a waste of time  and money, a  waste of human
> > and natural resources." The entire  article can be found
> > here:
> > <http://www.williams.edu/HistSci/curriculum/101/garbage.h
> > tml>. Needless to say, it's a ten-year old opinion piece,
> > and doesn't carry  as  much weight for me as it must have
> > for P&T. Incidentally, the  article,  titled "Recycling
> > is Garbage," broke the New York Times  Magazine's hate
> > mail record, according to Wikipedia. A series of
> > rebuttals to some of the  article's claims can be found
> > here:
> > <http://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/611_ACF17F
> > .htm#summary>.
> >
> > If I were to take a wild guess, I'd say Penn & Teller (or
> > at least  Penn)  are conservative libertarians interested
> > in furthering their  agenda.  While I've got no problem
> > with that, I don't think Bullshit  performs  quite the
> > thorough research it pretends to. Like they say,
> > "Everybody got  a gree-gree," and P&T do too, in spades,
> > and they're  promoting theirs  quite effectively. They
> > tell people to do their  homework, yet their own
> > incomplete homework has a selective bias -  the same kind
> > of selective  bias I've heard Penn rail against on his
> > radio show. That smacks of  hypocrisy and trickery. (They
> > are tricky  guys. I love their magic shows.  BTW, Penn
> > Jillette is also a research  fellow at the Cato
> > Institute, a  libertarian think tank which  publishes
> > policy papers and press releases  to further their
> > agenda.)
> >
> > In general, I like Penn & Teller. They are funny and
> > brash. And I  happen  to agree - possibly holding onto
> > some gree-grees of my own  here - with a  lot of their
> > skeptical viewpoints against some very  popular
> > gree-grees  (gods, ufos, ghosts, etc.). When it first
> > began  airing, I hoped their  show would advocate and
> > advance critical  thinking, but after watching a  few
> > episodes I now consider BS to be  "for entertainment
> > purposes only,"  and even as entertainment, it's  kind of
> > mediocre compared to other P&T  products. The incessant
> > cussing doesn't bother me so much, but when Penn  calls a
> > guy an  asshole just for having a different viewpoint and
> > working  for a cause  he believes in, whew. Even if the
> > cause _is_ bogus, insulting  the guy  kind of distracts
> > me from P&T's arguments a bit, and it detracts  from  the
> > arguments themselves. Not that I'm going to start
> > believing in  ufos or the Boy Scouts (two other issues
> > that BS took to task), but I  won't be able to get my
> > answers from Penn & Teller's show. I'll do my  own
> > research elsewhere, thanks.
> >
> > :-j
> >
> >
> >
> >
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