NRO Writer: Levin's Essay 'Awful'

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Conservative radio host Mark Levin's recent book, "Liberty and Tyranny," was a bestselling blockbuster that remains the background of Levin's Twitter feed today and includes a case against the theory of global warming. It was this case that drew National Review writer Jim Manzi to levy a lethal takedown of the book worthy of a liberal think-tank.

He tore into Levin's chapter on climate change and his credibility as a conservative voice. "I wasn’t expecting a PhD thesis," Manzi writes. "But when I waded into the first couple of chapters, I found that — while I had a lot of sympathy for many of its basic points — it seemed to all but ignore the most obvious counter-arguments that could be raised to any of its assertions. This sounds to me like a pretty good plain English meaning of epistemic closure."

His interest piqued, Manzi did some outside research on climate change to see how off-base Levin was. The result?
It was awful. It was so bad that it was like the proverbial clock that chimes 13 times — not only is it obviously wrong, but it is so wrong that it leads you to question every other piece of information it has ever provided.
From there, Manzi cuts loose, eviscerating Levin with a point-by-point rebuttal of his anti-climate change methodology.

On Whether Carbon Dioxide Affects Temperature Levels
Levin does not attempt to answer this question by making a fundamental argument that proceeds from evidence available for common inspection through a defined line of logic to a scientific view. Instead, he argues from authority by citing experts who believe that the answer to this question is pretty much no. Who are they? An associate professor of astrophysics, a geologist, and an astronaut. ...
Among the organizations that don’t reject the notion of man-made global warming are: the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; The Royal Society; the national science academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany ...
On Levin's Belief in a Massive Conspiracy to Promote Global Warming
What evidence does Levin present for any of this amazing incompetence or conspiracy beyond that already cited? None. He simply moves on to criticisms of proposed solutions. This is wingnuttery.
Manzi's Conclusion
There are many reasons to write a book. One view is that a book is just another consumer product, and if people want to buy jalapeno-and-oyster flavored ice cream, then companies will sell it to them. If the point of Liberty and Tyranny was to sell a lot of copies, it was obviously an excellent book. Further, despite what intellectuals will often claim, most people (including me) don’t really want their assumptions challenged most of the time (e.g., the most intense readers of automobile ads are people who have just bought the advertised car, because they want to validate their already-made decision). I get that people often want comfort food when they read. Fair enough. But if you’re someone who read this book in order to help you form an honest opinion about global warming, then you were suckered. Liberty and Tyranny does not present a reasoned overview of the global warming debate; it doesn’t even present a reasoned argument for a specific point of view, other than that of willful ignorance. This section of the book is an almost perfect example of epistemic closure.
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