August 16, 2007

"Global warming denial" is not a helpful phrase

Jeff Jacoby writes (via Memeorandum) about the overbearing attitude now being taken about global warming, using the word "denial" as in "Holocaust denial."
Why the relentless labeling of those who point out weaknesses in the global-warming models as "deniers," or agents of the "denial machine," or deceptive practitioners of "denialism?" Wouldn't it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit? Do Newsweek and Begley really believe that everyone who dissents from the global-warming doomsaying does so in bad faith?
How ironic that people who want to rely on science are using not the language of science -- argument based on evidence -- but the language of religion -- believe or face condemnation.

190 comments:

Pogo said...

Not ironic at all. Global warming is a religion, albeit a modern one. Chesterton's [attributed] warning is true:

"When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything."

The GW True Believers will be as quick to form a Taliban protectorate as any fundamentalist creed.

Bissage said...

If the global warming movement speaks predominantly in the language of religion it is because it believes it is time to stop sowing and start reaping.

Richard Fagin said...

Indeed, Pogo. A commenter to this blog even stated that MIT atmospheric science Prof. Lindzer, a big global warming doubter if there ever was one, was taking money from oil companies to fund his research and it was thus was suspect or worse. That was in response to my bringing up Prof. Lindzer to the commenter's statement that there were no credible, peer reviewed researchers who did not concur that global warming is a man-made catastrophe.

I wouldn't insult the Taliban by comparing them to the GW True Believers. At least the Taliban professes belief in God.

cokaygne said...

Few of us have the credentials to decide about the science. We accept other scientific findings based on the authority and convincing arguments of their proponents, so why souldn't we accept global warming as well?

Still, we all know that some other scientific certainties - the Ptolemaic universe; phrenology; racism; and so on, have been discredited. Dissenters should be tolerated because they might be right.

The problem is that the science global warming has been harnessed to policy prescriptions, especially Kyoto. Policy should always be subject to debate and questioning. It should be perfectly acceptable to say that there is enough uncertainty about the nature and extent of global warming to cast doubt on the effectiveness of prevention strategies at this time. Talking about mitigation would be more useful, but no one wants to do that.

Contrary to Pogo, the GW True Believers are discrediting the scientists with their stridency.

EnigmatiCore said...

I don't see global warming as a religion.

The religion is bigger and older than that. It is the religion of anti-capitalism and of leveling.

Global warming is just their latest series of sermons. There will be different sermons down the road. The underlying message will be the same: we need to destroy commerce, especially American commerce, because it is the root of all evil.

hdhouse said...

When I read the early comments on this thread and take a look at the debate generally I am reminded of Rush Limbaugh's famous observation that it "is 9 degrees in NYC this morning..so where is this global warming?"

Temperature is just a part. CO2 is just a part. Ocean levels and currents, drought, storms, etc. are just symptoms or manifestations or causes. It is a complicated issue. That it is happening is without doubt and no amount of "Bush best science" will wish that away.

We have 6-7 billion people wandering around this planet. I am certain you can find more than a few to support everything from flat earth to the 2012 catastrophies. Don't hang your hat on the one who agrees with your philosophy. Find the concensus - in science it is usually right.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I wouldn't insult the Taliban by comparing them to the GW True Believers. At least the Taliban professes belief in God."

You just lost me.

One group is being bullies about global warming and try to convince people by shouting down their opponents.

The other group believes in a religion of brutality, oppressing women, honor killings, death to infidels, and a desire to establish a world-wide religious dictatorship.

And you are saying that the second group should be regarded better than the first? That's nuts.

Gedaliya said...

Here is an excerpt from a Michael Crichton essay that speaks to the subject:

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well I have always contended that when the Soviet Union fell and communism was shown to be the utter failure those of us knew it was, the fellow travellers flocked to environmentalism.

But as with communists, the ones demanding loudest for self sacrifice to save the plane expect the rest of us to make do with 2 seater cars, 2 sheets of toilet paper and a 800sq ft home while they live in thier 40,000 sq ft dachas, ride on their private jets and soothe thier consciences by planting a few trees.

I guess my question to the GW proponents is if they can define for me what the optimal weather is for planet earth and when did we ever have it?

Original Mike said...

With all due respect (and I mean that sincerely) few people are capable of using the language of science. I can't talk like a lawyer because I am not trained as a lawyer.

Unfortunately, while our modern society is reliant to a very large degree on science and technology, its citizens ability to understand science is on par with a caveman. Our schools are failing us miserably in this vital area.

Pogo said...

Re: "the religion of anti-capitalism"

Yes, the many-headed Hydra of Utopia, from Plato to Marx, a religion based on misanthropic envy. Each generation seems destined to fight this corrosive desire.

No one has yet discovered a way for Heracles to place the one immortal head of utopian belief under a sacred rock.

My fear is the seemingly inevitable collusion between enviromental fascism and Islamofascism. 100 million dead under communism will seem like a golden era in comparison.

Never again didn't last very long.

Richard Fagin said...

EnigmatiCore:

I try to limit "insulting" humor to those comments that are so facially outrageous that no reasonable person could take the comments as anything other than sarcasm. The Taliban comment was intended as one of those, and the purpose was to provide a facetious reference point about how serious the GW True Believers are about their religion. Kind of like telling Limbaugh to stop using the term "feminazis" because real Nazis find it insulting.

The reason we accept the consensus of scientists in other technical subject areas is because those we accept are subject to repeatable demonstration. There is no doubt that I will get a shock if I stick my finger in a live lamp socket. We aren't there yet with weather forecasting, let alone climate modeling.

Simon said...

I've still never seen anything amounting to a reply, let alone a rejoinder, to a problem with the thesis I noted here, viz. that if carbon dioxide concentration tracks but lags temperature change, how can the latter possibly drive the former? This is a gaping hole in the thesis, but no one's been able to provide a satisfactory answer. And I never used to be a skeptic; I still don't think of myself as a skeptic, but when you spot a killer argument that apparently has no rebuttal, what to do?

Pogo said...

"what to do?"

Well, attack the messenger, of course!

MadisonMan said...

We aren't there yet with weather forecasting, let alone climate modeling.

This statement shows profound ignorance both in the differences between weather and climate and in the state of current Weather forecasting technology.

Kevin said...

hdhouse said:

Find the concensus - in science it is usually right.


But at the same time don't mistake consensus for scientific proof. Remember that in the past there was consensus that the world was flat, Earth was the center of the universe, disease could be cured by bleeding with leeches and all sorts of other nonsense.

Real science has theories and experiments and data, it's not a popularity contest.

Simon said...

EnigmatiCore said...
"I don't see global warming as a religion. The religion is bigger and older than that. It is the religion of anti-capitalism and of leveling. Global warming is just their latest series of sermons. There will be different sermons down the road. The underlying message will be the same: we need to destroy commerce, especially American commerce, because it is the root of all evil."

I can sort of agree with that - as I said last month, it's a "curious coincidence that the solutions advaced by advocates of this putative crisis ... just happen to line up with the pre-existing political preferences of these people. A lot of climate change evangelists come across as people who possesed the solution long before they hit on the problem to justify it. ... Global climate crisis, if true, is an extraordinarily convenient truth for most of its proponents because it can be used to demand the kind of solutions ... of massive regulation of what businesses and individuals can and can't do that those people have long believed in. ... [Are we to believe that it's] just coincidence that climate change is the orthodoxy of the left, and the solutions they advocate are basically the same solutions they advocate for everything else?"

jane said...

It was almost 100 degrees F here yesterday in the deep South, and I believe! A searing hot Apocalypse is upon us- repent of your non-Prius, multiple squares of TP ways, so that I and my tomatoes won't languish so.

(Then won't you please drive SUVS and use styrofoam cups in the winter, because most Januarys here feel like Hell frozen over?)

Original Mike said...

MM: I'm with you regarding the difference between weather and climate, but I think it's fair to say "we aren't there yet" with weather forcasting.

rhhardin said...

Planets moving in circles on circles turned out to be a fourier series for their periodic ellipses, according to Fred Hoyle.

It wasn't particularly explanatory, though, compared to Newton.

Take the lesson as that the measurements are right, and the explanatory theory is useless.

Gahrie said...

I am a global warming skeptic, not a denier or dissenter.

hdhouse said...

Kevin said...
"Real science has theories and experiments and data, it's not a popularity contest."

yes kevin that is right. and GW has had a number of models all pretty much reach the same conclusion and, horribly for us, by different routes.

Yes people thought the earth was flat but SCIENCE won out. Yes people thought we were the center of the universe but SCIENCE WON OUT.

It is real. It is happening all around you. The evidence is overwhelming - piecemeal and in total - and it isn't political. It is science.

Gahrie said...

Note:

I am not skeptical that the Earth is warming. The whole Solar system is warming. The Earth has warmed and cooled in the past. I am skeptical that:

A) the warming is abnormal
B) the warming is man made
C) the warming is harmful
D) the warming can be reversed
E) that there are no feedback systems that maintain the Earth's equlibrium
F) that the best answer to global warming is destroy the American economy and our standard of living

Gedaliya said...

It is real. It is happening all around you. The evidence is overwhelming - piecemeal and in total - and it isn't political. It is science.

Let's stipulate you're right.

What's causing it?

Simon said...

hdhouse said...
"[P]eople [once] thought the earth was flat but SCIENCE won out. Yes people thought we were the center of the universe but SCIENCE WON OUT."

So they did, and so it did. And why was that? Because people kept challenging the consensus view. Which is precisely what we are told not to do with global warming. It's a funny kind of scientific theory that doesn't invite criticism, since scientific theory is supposed to be concerned with truth, and an accurate theory will withstand scrutiny.

J said...

You might have it backwards - a global warning denialist is an environmentalist trying to deny the environmental movement was calling for the exact same control measures 30 years ago to control global cooling.

"And you are saying that the second group should be regarded better than the first? That's nuts"

The environmental movement's anti-DDT effort alone kills over a million people a year. Though I'm sure they'd like to, the Taliban aren't going to hit numbers like that anytime soon.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yes people thought the earth was flat but SCIENCE won out. Yes people thought we were the center of the universe but SCIENCE WON OUT.

Thirty years ago scientists were proclaiming a new ice age and that we'd have to pour ash over the polar caps to stave off the impending famine that would result from our crops freezing in June.

There used to be a glacier where I live but at some point it melted. What caused it? Why do none of the GW proponents acknowledge that big firey ball that rises in the east and sets in the west might have a teeny weeny bit to do with warming?

Why is it when the science shows that it was warmer during the medieval period and in the 1920s and 1930s, versus the last decade the GW proponents are thunderously silent?

I don't deny there is warming. The earth was warmed and cooled long before we invented fire, the wheel and lattes. My question as posed before, what is causing it and what are we supposed to do about it?

bill said...

Two views on climate change at Edge.org: Dyson vs. Anderson

Hoosier Daddy said...

Again, GW advocates, I ask, what is the optimal weather for the planet?

Simon said...

Gedaliya said...
"Let's stipulate [Harry's] right. What's causing it?"

...And if your answer's "carbon dioxide," Harry, you need to deal with the lag-rather-than-lead problem explained in the post I linked to in my 7:40 AM comment. Faced with that problem, even climate change proponent Prof. Jeff Severinghaus concedes that "CO2 does not initiate the warmings, but acts as an amplifier once they are underway." If CO2 concentration merely amplifies, rather than causes, climate change, that begs two critically important questions: First, If "CO2 does not initiate the warmings," what does? Second, if "other factors besides CO2 affect climate," to what extent does CO2 affect climate (and pendent to that question, how important a factor is it?).

And in all events, what's the remedy? Without answers to those questions, what happens to Gore's claim that "the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less carbon dioxide"? Clearly not - we can't return to the status quo ante by regulating something that didn't actually start the warming process and plays an unknown role in perpetuating it.

Simon said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
"There used to be a glacier where I live but at some point it melted. What caused it?"

Five bucks says that Kevin Barrett believes George W. Bush planned it. ;) "Scholars for Ice Age Truth"...

Gedaliya said...

Again, GW advocates, I ask, what is the optimal weather for the planet?

That which we experienced during the Summer of Love, in '67.

P. Rich said...

Recognized, accepted experts on modeling, people who examine models for consistency with legitimate methodology, have flat stated that there are NO legitimate climate prediction models.

And it isn't the minor, and questionable, "global warming" that has supposedly (measurement issues even with this) occurred over the recent past that is leading to all the hysteria. It's the hypothetically horrible future based on these illegitimate models.

I hope there weren't too many multi-syllabic words in that brief explanation for hdhouse and his ilk.

SteveR said...

As a geologist, ascribing to humans, things that have been taking place on the earth for billions of years without significant proof is a fool's game. Go back a minute amount of geologic time and a few degrees of temperature change and a few feet of sea level change is baseline noise.

There's every reason to be dilligent but science driven by religious and political dogma is an abuse of the gift of reason.

Original Mike said...

Yes people thought the earth was flat but SCIENCE won out. Yes people thought we were the center of the universe but SCIENCE WON OUT.

Science always wins out. But often, the original participants in the debate are long since dead.

Simon is exactly right when he says: "[Science won out] And why was that? Because people kept challenging the consensus view. Which is precisely what we are told not to do with global warming."

NSC said...

I believe in GW. In fact I am a big advocate of it because it is just too fricken cold here in the winter so I am driving my two SUVs as much as possible.

I say embrace it. Have fun with it.

SGT Ted said...

The climate models are fately flawed in that they don't know all of the variables that keep the earth cool.

Because of this, when these models are run with known data from past years, they always go way off into unrealized overheating.

IOW the scientist doesn't know how weather works completely, therefore, it cannot be accurately modeled to predict much of anything climate-wise.

The models are NOT evidence of global warming. Saying that it is doesn't make it so.

AlphaLiberal said...

"Denial" or "denyer" are not religious terms. They are words, just words.

Most of these experts use an apparently endless supply of shifting arguments. Only their denial remains steadfast. Their arguments are knocked down and replaced with new, slightly flimsier ones.

The dominant characteristic among them, is that they deny a global warming problem exists, for a wide range of reasons.

Hence the label, "deniers." I think it's very appropriate definition of a position.

Gedaliya said...

Most of these experts use an apparently endless supply of shifting arguments. Only their denial remains steadfast...

Ok, once again, let's stipulate that global warming is occurring.

Is this a bad thing or a good thing?

AlphaLiberal said...

To clarify my earlier post (hit wrong button).

The deniers keep on denying, as argument after argument of theirs are knocked down. They replace their defeated arguments with slightly flimsier arguments. Sometimes they just repeat discredited arguments again and again.

What do you call one who denies? A denier!

If you want to read a scientific take on these issues, and takedown on the various bullshit arguments used by the professional denier corps, here's a good site where the arguments are addressed scientifically, as Jacoby falsely claims is not being done (liar):
http://www.realclimate.org/

p.s. Again, Ann, forwarding and echoing a right-wing meme. Such a "liberal!"

Sloanasaurus said...

So they did, and so it did. And why was that? Because people kept challenging the consensus view. Which is precisely what we are told not to do with global warming.

Excellent response!

Global warming is a religion. A nasty one at best. Passing global warming laws, which are really laws to reduce economic growth, will be impossible in American Democracy. When people start losing jobs from the laws, the laws will be "unpassed."

If the people who believed in global warming "really" believed in it they would be advocating realistic solutions such as nuclear power. But they are not. They only advocate reducing economic growth.

Clinton was smart because he told all the internationalists that he supported Kyoto, knowing that it would never be enacted in the U.S. Bush was too honest. .

Der Hahn said...

Only the Right People, with the Correct Views, can be Dissenters. Because dissent is patriotic you know.

Palladian said...

"They are words, just words."

Saying "just words" is like saying "just an automatic handgun". Do you dispute the power of words?

And besides, "denial" used in this context is an unjust word.

This entire issue is about manipulating language. Just like calling people "anti-immigration" when they favor putting a stop to illegal immigration, you're calling people "global warming denialists" when they dispute the cause of climate change. (Almost) no one disputes that climates change. Where you cross the border (illegally) into La-la Land and away from Science Land is in attributing these changes to man.

Some of us (well me) also dislike being swept up into "movements" and being part of a nodding crowd. There's a strong push from certain political groups to bundle environmental and scientific concerns into a larger blob of unappealing political ideologies and brainless feel-good "green" claptrap. Many of us chafe at that.

Kevin said...


AlphaLiberal says:

If you want to read a scientific take on these issues, and takedown on the various bullshit arguments used by the professional denier corps, here's a good site where the arguments are addressed scientifically, as Jacoby falsely claims is not being done (liar):
http://www.realclimate.org/


Ah yes, Realclimate is to Climate Science as DailyKos is to rational and moderate political discourse.

Just sayin'

knoxwhirled said...

Yes people thought the earth was flat but SCIENCE won out. Yes people thought we were the center of the universe but SCIENCE WON OUT.

It is real. It is happening all around you.


Use enough CAPS and scary language and you might just convince me. sheesh.

Cedarford said...

It is a problem of both liberals and a large number of conservatives concentrated in the "Fundie" segment that shun math and science in public school and college and then bring their ignorance, and their PC or Faith-based mental templates to scientific, statistical, and engineering debates. And those of us with education and background can usually detect their cluelessness and "dogmatic beliefs by the 3rd or 4th sentences out of their mouths or the 2nd paragraph they write.

A dead giveaway is they initially quote a "Great Authority" like they were the Noam Chomsky or Jesus My Personal Savior of the GW, energy, ecological collapse debate. Then they tie their assertions to ideology - America the murderer of Iraqi babies is the global murderer of global warming, or that Hayek Himself said all problems can be solved by the free markets and maximum wewalth transfer to a wealthy elite who can invest it wisely to assure us of cheap SUV driving forever as we celebrate our "God-given freedom to burn away on the world's fossil fuel reserves. "High Tech will always find more!", they assert...

The Lefties and the conservative "supply sider" Fundies tout their GW, energy gurus, but themselves lack the education in science and technology to debate the matters intelligently.

No, you will not get 200mpg SUVs with a "little more high tech engine research". No, you will not run a fleet of vehicles bigger than New Englands on "miracle ethanol production" from corn and that Dubya favorite, "switchgrass".
No, people that deny evolution is possible are hardly in a position to discuss supercomputer modeling of CO2 projections and permafrost release of trapped methane in the arctic regions and methane hydrates in ocean basins....

Lefties that want Open Borders, declare the US is morally obligated to take in all "suffering 3rd Worlders from overpopulated, politically backwards and violent lands" and who oppose nuclear, fusion, use of coal, any oil and gas exploration, and want most dams torn down so they can have scenic and exciting kayak rides. They are even less able to debate the matters than Hayek worshippers, brainless libertarian ideologues, and anti-science Christian Fundies.


We do know for sure that all the talk of "exciting alternative energy sources like wind and solar will replace main energy sources in the near future is bunk. 5-8% max, and if America brings in another 100 million "hard working immigrants" - that completely negates all conservation savings and "exciting alternative CO2 neutral energy".

The data showing a massive increase in CO2 levels and loss of forested lands due to human population explosion and modern human activities requiring feverish quest and burning of fossil fuels is solid. Prudence would dictate that we should assume it could become a huge problem and that we must make plans to address it should the preponderence of scientists be correct that it is driving GW, and not make it one more thing like massive Dubya debts to kick down the road into the laps of our kids...

We do need to have a debate and leave one's ideological dogma, right or left, behind.

1. On the need to sharply reduce global population - even if thet requires limits!!! on number of kids allowed and Nations regulating that.

2. On America's need to figure out if we can survive as America without a dramatic crash in our standards of living and quality of life and our civilization if we flood up to 363 million by 2030 and 420 million by 2050 with immigrants with no great education tradition and low achieving cultures elsewhere.

3. American children must soon begin to have the scientific, statistical, and math education of their European and Asian betters. It is OK if that education is focused on the smarter half of the population and the lower IQ'd Americans get the public education they are getting now.

3.We need to go forward with 2 Plans on energy - one ready to be doven into if Global Warming from man's excess CO2 is true, one ready if global warming is not a problem in the near future but CO2 will make it a problem 70-100 years in the future.

4. We need to be realistic about oil declining after Peak, we need to be realistic about the minimal utility of "hippie energy solutions" like solar, wind, biodiesel, oil from chicken guts, and every little tiny contribution now touted as "major" for the future.

AlphaLiberal said...

Sloan, you are saying that efforts to counter global warming are really "to reduce economic growth."

Let's step back and appreciate the full breadth of idiocy in this statement.

Global warming is accepted by governments worldwide as a problem we need to deal with. Major corporations are now coming around saying "yes, it's a problem that we should, and can, address."

Please explain to us how this hidden agenda "to reduce economic growth" can be shared so widely across the world, including by major corporations who have a vested interest in economic growth.

How did the anti-economic growth conspiracy keep this such a secret? And please show us the smoking gun that displays how this is the real motive?

Surely, with such a worldwide movement there should be mountains of evidence to support your conspiracy theory?

(Althouse, at least, does not echo and amplify these crazy right wing theories. Not yet).

Zeb Quinn said...

This statement shows profound ignorance both in the differences between weather and climate and in the state of current Weather forecasting technology.

This is one of their fave talking points, and they bleat it back and forth to each other and offer up as a grand pronouncement, as if explains something Scientifically Important (which they never specify) but just use it to attack, to-wit: "Weather isn't climate, weather isn't climate. You're too stupid to understand the difference, you're too stupid to know the difference."

To which I call bullsh*t.

The relationship between climate and weather is akin to the relationship between forests and trees. Climate IS weather, writ large and tracked over time. If one knows weather, one knows climate. Simple as that. And so like the commenter aptly said, we aren't there yet with weather forecasting, let alone climate modeling. Ka-ching.

chuckR said...

What is the optimal climate? It probably looks like the Roman Warming, the Medieval Optimum or today's climate rather than the intervening cold periods such as the Little Ice Age. See for example, Brian Fagan's Little Ice Age or taking a longer (geological rather than historical) view, Douglas MacDougall's Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages.
Separating weather and climate parries the question - If you can't tell me the weather five days from now along the East Coast, then why should I believe that you have the correct prediction for the climate even five years from now? I'm waiting for that answer.

AlphaLiberal said...

Kevin:

Actually, you didn't "say" anything. You just knocked them without any substance to your reply. That's not how RealClimate does things.

You are acting not out of science or knowledge, but belief and bias. More like a religion.

As we can see from the longs strings of illogicial, emotional, hateful speech here directed toward people who support global warming action, the anti-global warming crowd is motivated by ignorace and spite.

First, they deny, then they fabricate "logic" to support their denials.

Which Althouse stokes with her false attack.

AlphaLiberal said...

Palladian, you addressed one point I made, but badly.

Althouse claims "denial" is a religious term. There are terms we hear that immediately invoke religion. This is not one of them.

Althouse and Jacoby claim that the deniers' arguments are not addressed with science. This is a false premise by Althouse. I posted one example (the first evidence I've seen used in this thread).

Hoosier Daddy said...

They replace their defeated arguments with slightly flimsier arguments. Sometimes they just repeat discredited arguments again and again

You mean like how NASA has shown it was warmer in the 1920s and 1930s versus the last decade? Or what about that pesky Medieval warming period?

Ok lets make this easy for you. We all know that when your body temp rises above or below 98.4 that is a sign of impending sickness. How about for the climate? What is the optimal climate for the earth?

Until someone can tell me what is a normal climate, how am I supposed to know GW is bad or good?

Sloanasaurus said...

Major corporations are now coming around saying "yes, it's a problem that we should, and can, address."

Corporations know political issues when they see it. They want to make sure that if it gets "addressed" they are in on it.

Besides, corporations are not generally for the people. They are not patriotic and they don't care about culture, which is why coporations are for illegal immigration and national health care - two things good for corporations, but bad for the average American.

AlphaLiberal said...

HoosierDaddy,

I have a response to your question but I know there's no end t questions like this.

Or if there is an end, you guys will just start recycling the first ones, but maybe with more insults.

So, I'll pass on taking that Merry-go-Round ride and encourage you to seek answers from web resources, even if they are not right-wing. I posted one good one above.

Here's one with a harder edge.

Simon said...

Alpha:
Re your 9:22 AM comment, those are loaded questions. Sloan asserted that the remedial agenda of climate change proponents is "to reduce economic growth"; you ask him to explain "how this hidden agenda 'to reduce economic growth' can be shared so widely across the world" and "how did the anti-economic growth conspiracy keep this a secret?" In both cases, you smuggle an assertion in that Sloan didn't make into the assumptions of your question: that this agenda is "hidden," that it's a "secret."

AlphaLiberal said...

Sloan,

Duck much? You really passed up on the opportunity to clarify where the scientific, empirical basis for your "global warming is really anti-economic growth" argument comes from.

Please elaborate on something you seem to believe in so strongly. How did such a world-wide anti-economic growth movement flourish and only you and a few other righties know what's "really" going on?

Sloanasaurus said...

Althouse claims "denial" is a religious term. There are terms we hear that immediately invoke religion. This is not one of them.

The humans causing global warming is classic religiousity.

Think about the classic story where the local clerics lambast the sins of the people. Then the town is damaged by a natural disaster and the clerics come to the logical conclusion, sins = punishment from god. They use this conclusion to impose a theocracy on the village.

Man causing Global warming can't be proven anymore than God causing the natural disaster because he was mad at the people. Global warming caused by man is a theory only - a theory with a lot of holes.

Bruce Hayden said...

This sure sounds like "science" by policial consensus:

Global warming is accepted by governments worldwide as a problem we need to deal with. Major corporations are now coming around saying "yes, it's a problem that we should, and can, address."

Apparently, we are to take seriously the views of a bunch of countries that likely tend to have fewer PhDs than many large universities here in the U.S. (and that includes PhDs in such relevant subjects as history, feminism, etc.)

Whether or not man produced CO2 emissions are causing Global Warming has little, if any, relationship with whether or not many countries in the world support that proposition. The first is a question of fact. The second, one of politics.

AlphaLiberal said...

Simon,

If "anti-economic growth" motivation is not secret and is so easily seen, then it should be easy for you guys to back it up.

For example, Tony Blair made this the single biggest issues in his waning months as he sought to define his legacy. Please show us where he used "anti-economic growth" arguments to rally that broad movement.

Me, I just think you guys are, once again, bearing false witness (see, now that's religious language) i.e., "lying" about the motives of others. And that's wrong. A sin.

AlphaLiberal said...

Bruce:

Distort much? It's easy (and lazy) to take an argument our of context to attack it. Guess that's the best ya got.

Clearly, the reason I mentioned the worldwide consensus was to address Sloan's "anti-economic growth" conspiracy theory, NOT to make the case for global warming action, as you falsely allege.

Deny, deny, deny.

Fen said...

"Wouldn't it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit?"

If the law is not on your side, pound the table...

Bruce Hayden said...

Please elaborate on something you seem to believe in so strongly. How did such a world-wide anti-economic growth movement flourish and only you and a few other righties know what's "really" going on?

Ok, maybe it cannot be proven. But it is higly suggestive that growing countries like China are not only exempt from Kyoto, but are increasing their pollution, CO2 emissions, etc. as fast as they can. I saw a figure the other day that that country is bringing a new coal fired power plant online every day or so (ok, maybe week, not absolutely sure of the exact fact, but the point stands).

Come back when you have China, India, and Russia on board.

jane said...

"Or if there is an end, you guys will just start recycling the first ones, but maybe with more insults." alphaliberal

It's all so confusing. I thought recycling was GOOD.

Simon said...

Alpha,
Re your 9:42 - define "back it up." Just look at the remedial proposals that climate change proponents advance. They may not couch them in terms of retarding economic progress, and they may well not even consciously think of them in such terms. But in terms of practical effect, the remedial proposals - the "agenda" - advanced will limit economic growth, and that agenda is not hidden.

MadisonMan said...

And so like the commenter aptly said, we aren't there yet with weather forecasting,

And what evidence supports this statement. Granted, how you verify a forecast is about as complex a task as forecast (see here for example), but I see this recurrent claim that forecasting is lousy. My experience tells me otherwise.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I have a response to your question but I know there's no end t questions like this.

So what you're saying is that you don't have an answer and the debate is over?

Or if there is an end, you guys will just start recycling the first ones, but maybe with more insults.

Alpha, I don't recall tossing any insults. I thought it was a simple question.

So, I'll pass on taking that Merry-go-Round ride and encourage you to seek answers from web resources, even if they are not right-wing. I posted one good one above.

Already read em. The reason for my question is that the sites you
post don't answer any of them. What is the optimal climate for planet earth? Why claim the last decade was the warmest when science has shown otherwise?

Seems when some less than favorable evidence is presented, you prefer to avoid the question I present and instead tell me to go look it up myself. Sorry but that is not a persuavive way to convince me the planet is in dire straits.

AlphaLiberal said...

Simon:

That's just plain nonsense.

Global warming action advocates routinely say we can have economic growth with new "green collar jobs," or in "new industries" to provide increased energy efficiency and new clean energy sources.

How is talk of "new industries" simultaneously anti-economic growth? WTF.

Look, you guys seem to be getting your information from biased, slanted sources. Instead of reading what Rush Limbaugh, or some other professional bloviator (Jacoby), falsely claims we say, why not read what we say?

I put two links up here for starters.

Yeesh. I can't take much more. I'm good for your traffic, though, Althouse. So, bye!

Anthony said...

I admit that, while being one of those evil, unrepentant "deniers" (though honestly, I wish Big Oil would throw a little money my way, my Mustang needs new carpet) I am uncomfortable with tossing the "religion" epithet around at AGW believers. This may be somewhat appropriate for some of the more political players, who rely almost exclusively on the opinions of "the experts", but I don't think it really ought to be flung at the scientists doing the work.

That isn't to say that every scientist is doing his/her Baconian best to be an entirely objective researcher. Personal political views can and do play a role, though I would argue that it's mostly an implicit rather than explicit one. Probably at worst, researchers tend to be overcome with confirmation bias rather than outright deception.

I come at this from an archaeological perspective, where a similar morality play has been going on for a while now, having to do with megafauna extinctions (mammoth, mastodon, etc.) at the end of the Pleistocene. Some have argued quite forcefully that people were primarily to blame, started mostly by Paul Martin and termed "overkill". The idea that people were responsible for most of these extinctions has moved into the mainstream and become pretty much the "accepted" scenario for why these extinctions occurred. In fact, I would wager most outside the discipline consider overkill as "settled science". Certainly, such luminaries as Jared Diamond and Tim Flannery regard it as settled.

Nevertheless, in strictly archaeological circles, it's still very much contested. Data are fairly spotty, and yes, computer models have been one of the main arguments used in overkill's favor.

There are a lot of other similarities, epistemology-wise, but that's too detailed for a blog comment. A freely-available paper online that captures the controversy pretty well (albeit from a non-overkill perspective) can be found here by Grayson and Meltzer. If you read through it, you'll find many similarities, I think.

Kirk said...

Kevin,

"Remember that in the past there was consensus that the world was flat"

It's hard to remember something that never was--and in fact there never was such a consensus among the educated. But perhaps you meant hoi polloi of the distant past? Well, their thought is for all practical purposes unknowable, but my money is with C.S. Lewis, who suggested that, rather than thinking the world was flat, they didn't think about the question at all.

Fen said...

Simon: Just look at the remedial proposals that climate change proponents advance.

Its Global Socialism - redistribution of wealth via limits on energy consumption and production. China will surpass us in economic heft, and the Euro's will cheat their way out of any Kyoto-like treaty [as they are doing now]. It will be much like the vaunted Geneva Convention and International Law - America will be held to a higher standard than her enemies, be it economic or military.

Beth said...

Remember that in the past there was consensus that the world was flat, Earth was the center of the universe, disease could be cured by bleeding with leeches and all sorts of other nonsense.

Real science has theories and experiments and data...


This seems representative of how many global warming doubters respond, by saying "we used to think the world was flat! science can be wrong!" But we didn't really think the world was flat. The other scientific snafus--bleeding, mistakes about the solar system--aren't good analogies to the issue of global warming because what passed for "science" at the time was nothing like what that term encompasses now. Don't tell me to be dubious about chemistry because somewhere in the past, alchemists strove to transmute metals. This hardly rises to Jacoby's challenge to use the language of science in the debate. It's just as emotionally charged as what he decries on the other side.

jimbino said...

Our concern with global warming is just one of many that a halt on world breeding would put a quick end to.

I've done my part by not breeding. It's up to you breeders and your broods to worry about the future. Just leave me out of it and keep your hands off my gas and oil.

Bruce Hayden said...

Global warming action advocates routinely say we can have economic growth with new "green collar jobs," or in "new industries" to provide increased energy efficiency and new clean energy sources.

How is talk of "new industries" simultaneously anti-economic growth? WTF.


Let's see if I understand what you are saying. You seem to be suggesting that diverting money (often via taxes) from high productivity uses to low productivity uses based on political considerations is "growth".

Look, you guys seem to be getting your information from biased, slanted sources. Instead of reading what Rush Limbaugh, or some other professional bloviator (Jacoby), falsely claims we say, why not read what we say?

In other words, if you agree with a source, it is unbiased and unslanted, but if you don't, it is biased and slanted.

Bruce Hayden said...

This seems representative of how many global warming doubters respond, by saying "we used to think the world was flat! science can be wrong!" But we didn't really think the world was flat. The other scientific snafus--bleeding, mistakes about the solar system--aren't good analogies to the issue of global warming because what passed for "science" at the time was nothing like what that term encompasses now. Don't tell me to be dubious about chemistry because somewhere in the past, alchemists strove to transmute metals. This hardly rises to Jacoby's challenge to use the language of science in the debate. It's just as emotionally charged as what he decries on the other side.

Not really responsive to the point that real science involves hypothesis and experimentation.

ricpic said...

I love Jeff Jacoby. In a platonic way, of course.

Joan said...

As a "denier", my problem is with the underlying assumptions, namely:
1) the earth is warming
2) human activities are the cause of the warming
3) the warming is bad
4) we can, and must, do something about it.

From where I'm sitting, every one of these assumptions is flawed.
1) It is very difficult to collect temperature data over millenia. Any such data is going to have a lot of statistical noise and errors in it. When we're talking about shifts of temperatures in the tenths and hundredths of degrees, that is well within the margin of error of the measuring devices and models themselves. That's not even factoring in human error in collecting the data, as we saw with the recent downward revisions of temps from the 1990s.

2) Mars is warming, too -- can't blame us for that! Of course, Mars doesn't have much of an atmosphere to speak of, nor does it have oceans, so scientists are pretty confident that fluctuations in solar radiation are causing the increase in temperatures on Mars. If there's warming here on Earth, it's highly likely that solar radiation is playing a tremendous role there, as well.

In addition, as others have mentioned, climate models are incomplete at best, and basing policy on such wobbly foundations is ill-advised. Just recently scientists discovered a new major ocean current that plays a significant role in the warming and cooling of the oceans, the biggest players in the climate regulation game. Why should we believe what the models predict when they didn't include the effects of this current? What else aren't they including?

3) Why should we assume that increases in temperature are going to be devastating? We've had warmer and cooler periods in the past, as with the Little Ice Age in medieval times. We've managed before, with significantly less technological help. Everyone always talks about how horrible global warming will be, but there will be benefits as well, as areas that are now too cold to be farmed will become available. When the Vikings named Greenland, it wasn't a sheet of ice as it is now, it was really green, providing anecdotal evidence of a period of earlier significant warmth. Where's the analysis of the benefits? Will the benefits outweigh the negatives? There's no balance in this discussion.

4) If we stipulate that the Earth is warming, and that human activity is somehow contributing to that warming, the idea that we can control climate change through regulating CO2 emissions is still ridiculous on its face. Even the best models show that if everyone, not just the rich countries, got on board Kyoto tomorrow, the difference in temperature as a result would still be measured only in tenths of a degree. Solar flares and erupting volcanoes have effects orders of magnitudes greater than anything people can do, and those are things that are still far beyond our control.

I'm not in favor of spurious pollution, and I think it's a good idea to keep looking for clean-burning fuels, especially a sustainable energy source (such as ethanol from non-food biomass), but that change will have to come about gradually as the infrastructure adapts. Forcing massive changes onto every industry will cause economic upheaval and won't solve anything.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Something's gone seriously awry when a neocon big-business shill like me has less confidence in the sincerity of corporate PR departments than does an Alpha Liberal.

Bruce Hayden said...

For all those true believers here, the question that is repeated asked but is never answered is: What is the optimum climate? Alternatively, What is the optimum world temperature? And, I would add the question of: Why?

I was not the least bit surprised when Russia recently announced that it was not going to participate in reducing greenhouse gases in order to prevent man made Global Warming. Why shold they? They have billions of acres of potential farmland locked up by the Artic cold that much of their nation faces. Plus, a bit of warming would likely make energy and mineral exploration easier there too.

The reality is that the Earth has been warmer since the advent of man on it, and it has been cooler. It is likely that it has been warmer since the birth of Christ.

So, why is one global temperature setpoint (assuming that there were such a thing, and there isn't) better than another? Ever stop to consider that warming the Earth just a little bit might actually be beneficial to mankind?

Beth said...

There are two threads in this topic: in one, there is some interesting debate on the actual issue of global warming, but the topic that Ann proposes, the language of the debate, is not being pursued much. I'm terribly disappointed in her slant, responding to Jacoby with a "yeah, what he said!" Were you interested, Ann, when scientists who'd worked on the Bush Administration's climate reports had their work edited to remove phrases like "climate change" or "global warming"? Did it bother you that political appointees were editing scientific findings?

Pogo said...

Phrases like "climate change" or "global warming" are not scientific findings but conclusory terminology, political statements disguised as fact.

jane said...

AGW is The Perfect Transnational Issue. Air goes cross borders, and America can be held responsible for Africa’s climate, now. Pony up, Yankees.

The UN may soon address (capitalist) man-caused global warming with committees headed by Mugabe, Putin, Chavez, and Elizabeth Edwards, who will tell Middle America they’re real bad and need to atone by giving more foreign aid to those who hate us and by giving up tangerines. OTOH, industrializing, polluting and energy-hogging China is basically exempt, because it is not the USA, and please buy Chinese mandarin oranges.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Beth: aren't good analogies to the issue of global warming because what passed for "science" at the time was nothing like what that term encompasses now.

"The evidence in support of predictions [of global cooling] has now begun to accumulate so massively," Newsweek claimed in 1975, "that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it."

/via Jeff jacoby, Boston Globe

Beth: Ann, when scientists who'd worked on the Bush Administration's climate reports had their work edited to remove phrases like "climate change" or "global warming"? Did it bother you that political appointees were editing scientific findings?

Beth, did it bother you when Al Gore edited the cover letter of a climate report to support conclusions not reached by the study?

I think everyone can agree that the "science" behind global warming theory has become politicized. Beth, what happens to science when its politicized?

Brian Hancock said...

If humans are in so much danger, why are we just striving to be carbon 'neutral' in our lives? Wouldn't we want to be carbon 'negative'?

Also, wouldn't we ban jet travel, have scheduled blackouts, stop professional motor racing, and anything else the may use unnecessary energy?

Obviously, if you do not have to waste, you shouldn't.

Original Mike said...

MM, I'll take the bait. I'll grant you that the forecast a couple of days out is not bad. The 5-7 day forecast I see on the Weather Channel is a joke. My evidence is many, many episodes of looking at that forecast on Sunday/Monday interested in what the weather is going to be the next weekend for camping trips, etc. Typically what happens is that the forecast for the weekend changes a few times as we get closer, not surprisingly converging to an accurate forecast as we get closer to the weekend. But as to the accuracy of the forecast given at the beginning of the week (and I'm talking a simple rain/no-rain criteria), I don't know why they even bother.

Frankly, I suspect in the long run, climate predicition is probably easier than a 7-day forecast.

Bruce Hayden said...

You can tell when one side has absolute truth on their side, when you see this:

Were you interested, Ann, when scientists who'd worked on the Bush Administration's climate reports had their work edited to remove phrases like "climate change" or "global warming"? Did it bother you that political appointees were editing scientific findings?

You also can tell when mention is made that some doubter has been collected any money from anyone the least bit suspect. Never mind that the ratio of money funding pro-GW is at least 10X, and likely 20X right now the money going to those questioning GW.

The reality is that if a researcher wishes to get funding for studying anything close to the climate, he is 10x to 20x as likely to get funding if he has a pro-GW slant in his proposal than if he has an sceptical slant.

But apparently, since GW is gospbel truth, then there is no problem with providing almost all funding to bulster it, and almost none on the other side, but it is somehow highly questionable if someone in the Administration refuses to play along with this.

hdhouse said...

Simon is exactly right when he says: "[Science won out] And why was that? Because people kept challenging the consensus view. Which is precisely what we are told not to do with global warming."

WHO is telling you not to debate? Who is that? Debate like crazy but don't put up political science to combat science. I'm sure there a number of things in nature that you don't like. I don't like foxes killing rabbits but it is a balance.

Sooooo what are the reasons that there appears to be global warming if you subtract the human element from the equation? Just some mystery that just happens randomly? Why is the speed of it so much faster now than in ANY recorded age in history? Why is that? Any explanations you care to put up?

The denialists offer nothing in explanation other than shit happens. There is strong evidence that we contribute mightily to the "shit happens" issue....

so I'll just wait here until you give a scientific explantion of the current global warming issues that subtracts out the human element and doesn't rely on "shit happens".

Go ahead. post away.

knoxwhirled said...

This is truly a great comments thread.

Jane: It's all so confusing. I thought recycling was GOOD.

LOL

...and this one from PZ: Something's gone seriously awry when a neocon big-business shill like me has less confidence in the sincerity of corporate PR departments than does an Alpha Liberal. ...that comment from Alpha *did* make me fear I had fallen into another dimension or something.

and of course: Where you cross the border (illegally) into La-la Land and away from Science Land is in attributing these changes to man.

Althouse does have the best commenters, no question.

vnjagvet said...

It looks to me like the argumentation on this thread from the GW advocates like AlphaLib have many of the characteristics of arguments made by religious fundamentalists.

His primary argumentation is the "appeal to authority" technique. Of course, unless the authority cited is "inerrant", such appeal is not conclusive, or, to many, even persuasive.

"Inerrant" authority (e.g.,God, Allah, Jesus, Muhammed, The Buddah, Confucious, the Bible, The Q'ran) is one of the major characteristics of religious thought and theory.

It is not part of scientific thought or theory. Even Einstein continued to question and refine and his theories after they were accepted by his peers.

Bruce Hayden said...

Also, wouldn't we ban jet travel, have scheduled blackouts, stop professional motor racing, and anything else the may use unnecessary energy?

I think that I would start by banning private jets and houses bigger than, say, 2,000 sq. ft. No limos either (sorry Paris, you will have to sober up before going out for munchies). And no buying your way out by planting trees in third world countries without sufficient water.

jane said...

Anthropogenic Global warming is scientific. The equation is AGW = American-Gaia War = must cool US-Western sovereignty = utopian climate for UN, EU, NGO and Third Worldism.

Gedaliya said...

Sooooo what are the reasons that there appears to be global warming if you subtract the human element from the equation?

The main (and most obvious) reason is that there are periodic fluctuations in the intensity of solar radiation. These fluctuations have occurred on a regular basis for countless eons and remain largely unexplained.

Why is Mars getting warmer? One explanation may be second-hand greenhouse gas pollution, but I doubt it. Perhaps we can get Mike Bloomberg on the case.

A far more plausible case can be made that the sun is shining a bit more intensely than it has in the immediate past and making everything warmer that lies in its wake. Why don't the GW alarmists ever talk about the sun?

Why is the speed of it so much faster now than in ANY recorded age in history?

How much faster is this warming trend than the one that occurred a millennium ago? How long have we been recording temperatures accurately?

Please provide a source that proves the earth is warming "faster than in ANY recorded age in history."

Original Mike said...

WHO is telling you not to debate? Who is that?

You, for one. It's already settled.

Sooooo what are the reasons that there appears to be global warming if you subtract the human element from the equation?

Huh? If it takes humans to change the climate, how did climate change before humans came along?

Personally, I'm agnostic on GW. It's a complex issue and I don't have the time, unfortunately, to read the science myself. I do know, however, that none of the proposed "solutions" come anywhere near tackling the magnitude of the problem.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sooooo what are the reasons that there appears to be global warming if you subtract the human element from the equation? Just some mystery that just happens randomly? Why is the speed of it so much faster now than in ANY recorded age in history? Why is that? Any explanations you care to put up?

And how would you know that? Unless, of course, you limited yourself to, for example, the last 50 years or so. And even then, most of the measurements during that time are suspect to some extent too. (Any of those earlier measurements from the old Soviet Union? Have your figures been corrected for the effect of shutting down approximately half the Soviet weather stations when the USSR fell?)

The denialists offer nothing in explanation other than shit happens. There is strong evidence that we contribute mightily to the "shit happens" issue....

so I'll just wait here until you give a scientific explantion of the current global warming issues that subtracts out the human element and doesn't rely on "shit happens".


Interesting problem here. Assert something that cannot be proven and is likely irrelevant, then assert that the reason for climate change is human, and then on the basis of that, transfer the burden of proof to those questioning the human element in GW.

Cute, but no cigar, esp. since almost all of GW, greenhouse effect, etc., is natural. Since almost all is natural, it is YOUR responsibility to show how much is man made.

reader_iam said...

Beth: It sure bothers me to have scientists "edited" based on politics. At the same time, it bothers me that one of the scientists most often used as an example of that appears perhaps not to be quite as forthcoming and transparent in his dealings when he appears to have made a mistake of some significance to the debate.

I think it's pretty hard to take at face value a lot of what's said on both "sides" of the debate. At this point, the ego investment is just so high and entrenched, and the issue itself has become a political litmus test, of sorts.

MadisonMan said...

Most of the graphs I've seen (usually in otherwise boring presentations) show that the accuracy of 3-day forecasts now is about where 1-day forecasts were 30 years ago. That's an incredible improvement! One-day forecasts are very rarely wrong -- but memorably so when it happens.

My opinion is that someone who believes climate models are worthless because a 7-day forecast is wrong is someone who is looking for a reason not to believe.

Things that drive the discussion of global warming should be facts. Policy decisions can fought elsewhere.

Original Mike said...

MM said: My opinion is that someone who believes climate models are worthless because a 7-day forecast is wrong is someone who is looking for a reason not to believe.

I agree 100%

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'll say this, though: if I could wave a magic wand and permanently abolish either "You're a denier!" or "Your opinions are a religion!", I would not hesitate to do away with the latter.

Original Mike said...

Why is the speed of it so much faster now than in ANY recorded age in history?

That's news to me (unless by recorded history you mean recorded by man, in which case the answer simple: that is a very short time period). It's my understanding that there are claims of evidence for some very rapid changes in climate. Frankly, this is a scary aspect to the GW debate; the possiblity that we could trigger a non-linear response.

Tully said...

It amuses the hell out of me watching all the heat coming from people who don't know the science involved.

Once you begin appealling to a "consensus" you're no longer speaking about science. You're simply making an argumentum ad populum, and a false one at that unless you can show that actual consensus. Which has still not been done. Even then the argument being made is political and rhetorical, not scientific. Real science needs no consensus, it is self-demonstrable.

But if you don't speak the language and grasp the practical process of science at work and the extreme limitations of the theoretical models involved and the limitations of the datasets themselves, you have no effing clue, you're just arguing religion and belief, not science.

chuckR said...

A couple of quotes I like that are relevant.

In 1931, 100 German scientists including Nobel Prize winners, publicly denounced Einstein's Jewish physics. He is supposed to have replied, "If I was wrong, they only needed to send one scientist to prove me wrong." I'm sure there were plenty of vitriolic and unhelpful phrases in the published denunciation - who but an historian of science would remember any?

Attributed to John von Neumann (and others) -
``Give me four parameters and I can fit an elephant. Give me five and I can wag its tail'' When you condense all the climate effects (or is that weather effects) in 3500000 square miles of the US over an entire year to a single temperature number, there sure is a lot of elephantine curve fitting going on.....

reader_iam said...

what happens to science when its politicized?

This reminds of something I came across this very morning in a book I'm re-reading: the tale of a farmer with a barn impressively covered with bull's-eye shots who later admitted he'd shot his barn first and then drew the targets around the holes.

It's frustrating not to have the expertise to truly and deeply analyze and judge the science for myself, or even enough to determine definitively who's (most likely, more often) giving into the temptation to shoot first and draw the bull's-eye second.

Original Mike said...

Good post, Tully.

Saul said...

Regardless of the truth behind global warming or the rate at which it is ocurring, we are polluting the hell out of the world....

Pinko said...

It's like ray-ya-yain on your wedding day!

AllenS said...

Over a 100 comments so far. This is really a hot topic. More than just warm, that's for sure.

Joe said...

One of the problems in many theories of global warming (anthropological or not) is the failure to explain the physics involved.

How, for example, does the trace gas of CO2 cause or even contribute to global warming? If, in fact, CO2 had such a profound effect, we would be able to reproduce this experimentally under controlled conditions. (More importantly, we would be able to use it to generate an endless source of energy.)

The truth is, CO2 doesn't do what global warming proponents claims it does. That's simple scientific fact.

(PS. Concerning weather forecasting--the leap forward was discovering and understanding the jet stream and the use of weather satellites. Despite all that, weather forecasting isn't very accurate at all--I certainly wouldn't start betting on it.)

hygate said...

The other scientific snafus--bleeding, mistakes about the solar system--aren't good analogies to the issue of global warming because what passed for "science" at the time was nothing like what that term encompasses now.

Okay, how about Continental Drift:
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/wegener.html

Or Puerperal Fever:

http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/hand_background.html

http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/manitoba_womens_health/hist1b.htm

And of course there is the current controversy over String Theory:

http://sciencewriter.org/2006/10/peter-woits-book/

knoxwhirled said...

Over a 100 comments so far. This is really a hot topic. More than just warm, that's for sure.



uh oh, Althouse, shut it down. SHUT IT DOWN!

hygate said...

For some reason two of those URLs are being cutoff; I am forced to break them into multiple lines.

www.accessexcellence.org/
AE/AEC/CC/hand_background.html

http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/
manitoba_womens_health/hist1b.htm

El Presidente said...

The answer is more socialism . . . what was the question again.

El Presidente said...

The socialist wonderland has done its part, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions every year since the fall of Batista.

El Presidente said...

Lenin encouraged a dictatorship of the proletariat; I foresee a dictatorship of the pseudo-scientist.

Simon said...

As a side point to Joan's 10:33 AM comment (and at risk of offending Beth - apologies in advance), something to add about incentive structures. If a man in Pompei had proclaimed that he had certain knowledge of the immiment destruction of the city, you'd think he was a loon if he still lived there. Likewise, most of the proponents of the climate crisis model live in the very coastal cities that are in the firing line, despite a plethora of alternatives. Doesn't it seem reasonable to conclude that you can infer how strongly someone believes in something that, if true, will affect their own lives, by comparing what they do about this thing to how a reasonably prudent person who believed it would react?

Richard Dolan said...

There are several strands of argument that keep running into each other in all this global warming debate. The first is a purely scientific discussion, asking about what is happening to the climate over time and why it is happening. The second is an economic debate about the costs and benefits resulting from any such climate changes, how those costs and benefits are being allocated, how much they should be discounted for want of certainty that they will come about, along with the feasibillity and desirability of taking collective action that may impact on the human consequences of whatever climate change may be occurring. The third is a political debate, that partly overlaps with the other two (and in the process makes them much more difficult to keep straight), and partly focuses on the what to do? and who pays? questions.

Ann asks about the moralizing tone that keeps getting injected into all three aspects of the overall global warming discussion. It is obvious that this has been occurring for some time, but as a phenomenon it is hardly unique to this context. Whenever a subject becomes politically charged, I think it is inevitable that the sort of moralizing tone we see here will occur -- the Newsweek piece was a fine exemplar, presenting the subject as a black/white, good gusy/bad guys kind of morality tale. The reason (one of them, anyway) is that "the language of politics, even in securalist France, is saturated in telelogical moralism. Political language is, as George Sorel eloquently showed, profoundly mythic." (David Martin, reviewing John Gray's Black Mass as the lead review in this week's TLS). To complain that the tone of discussion has switched from the language of science to the langauge of religion, is in a way to note that the subject has become politicized. So it has.

The trick is to keep the moralizing language from distorting the scientific and economic discussions of these issues. It seems pretty clear that it will be as hard to accomplish that as it will be to get solid answers to the scientific and economic questions themselves.

Paddy O. said...

"Inerrant" authority (e.g.,God, Allah, Jesus, Muhammed, The Buddah, Confucious, the Bible, The Q'ran) is one of the major characteristics of religious thought and theory.

It is not part of scientific thought or theory. Even Einstein continued to question and refine and his theories after they were accepted by his peers.


This is an idealized view of Science and scientists. Of course there is politics and an almost religious zeal to defend territory and their own established research. They get proven wrong and they lose funding. Those who have tenure have their reputation, those who don't have to suck up to those who do.

This is precisely why the overused term paradigm shift was coined by Thomas Kuhn in his writings on science. For long times things are considered inerrant, assumed, built on, and so the trend is to explain discrepancies away. Until there comes a point which this is impossible, the dam breaks, and everything is re-examined.

This was true for Einstein in relation to Newtonian physics, and true for Quantum Mechanics in relation to Einstein. This is also true for religions. Judaism survives because it adapted to the Babylonian exile and later the diaspora. Any major religion adapts to the immediate challenges or it dies. Christianity, despite what Fundamentalists might express, is extremely adaptable.

Both science and religion depend on theses, tradition, exploration, and personal investment. Both rely on those who have gone before and application to the present challenges. Both appeal to some kind of assumed inerrant authority, whether the Bible or peer reviewed journals.

Both fight against having their established worldviews dismissed even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

MadisonMan said...

weather forecasting isn't very accurate at all--I certainly wouldn't start betting on it.

There's a thriving weather commodites market that does just that. In fact, Weather Risk Management is one of the big growth areas in meteorology!

Revenant said...

I'm inclined to believe that human activity is warming the planet. But the global warming crowd are such raging assholes to everyone who doesn't strictly adhere to their dogma that I just can't bring myself to support them.

I got less grief from the Southern Baptists I grew up around when I told them I didn't think God existed.

jimspice said...

At some point you just have to sit back and let people believe what they want. It would do absolutely zero good to haul in truckloads of evidence to convince the "scientists" as the recently opened creation museum that they have erred. Just let them publicly state their positions, and wait for the grandkids to hang their heads in embarassment.

Pogo said...

From William Graham Sumner, The Forgotten Man [1876]
"Now we have a great many well-intentioned people among us who believe that they are serving their country when they discuss plans for regulating the relations of employer and employee, or the sanitary regulations of dwellings, or the construction of factories, or the way to behave on Sunday, or what people ought not to eat or drink or smoke. All this is harmless enough and well enough as a basis of mutual encouragement and missionary enterprise, but it is almost always made a basis of legislation. The reformers want to get a majority, that is, to get the power of the state and so to make other people do what the reformers think it right and wise to do. A and B agree to spend Sunday in a certain way. They get a law passed to make C pass it in their way. They determine, to be teetotallers and they get a law passed to make C be a teetotaller for the sake of D who is likely to drink too much.

If, then, we measure political rights by one theory and social responsibilities by another, we produce an immoral and vicious relation. A and B, however, get factory acts and other acts passed regulating the relation of employers and employee and set armies of commissioners and inspectors traveling about to see to things, instead of using their efforts, if any are needed, to lead the free men to make their own conditions as to what kind of factory buildings they will work in, how many hours they will work, what they will do on Sunday and so on. The consequence is that men lose the true education in freedom which is needed to support free institutions. They are taught to rely on government officers and inspectors. The whole system of government inspectors is corrupting to free institutions."

John Stodder said...

Once you begin appealling to a "consensus" you're no longer speaking about science. You're simply making an argumentum ad populum, and a false one at that unless you can show that actual consensus. Which has still not been done. Even then the argument being made is political and rhetorical, not scientific. Real science needs no consensus, it is self-demonstrable.

To me, the damage that Newsweek's Begley did to the public's conception of science far outweighs the potential good she thinks she was doing on behalf of Mother Earth. Science is not about a bunch of scientists of vastly different disciplines coming to some sort of virtual Town Hall and voting on what's true or false.

In fact, the history of scientific progress is the opposite. One person working initially against the "consensus" being proven correct, often after they die, through rigorous scientific experimentation.

The science around GW has become almost irrevocably contaminated by politics on both sides. Neither the left nor the right deserve any aid and comfort as they pursue their political ends around this topic. Both sides are guilty of repeated scientific vulgarities and naked demagoguery.

The reality is, no one on the left is really serious about global warming. They accept far too many contradictions and weasely political compromises to be viewed as persons with integrity. It's a good political horse to ride for awhile, but only until they find another one. They really aren't interested in the science at all. I feel sorry for hdhouse and others like him who have agreed to repeat the left's "it's science!" mantra. They've been duped, and it's sad.

But the right is equally grotesque on this issue. There is no question or doubt that the Bush Administration is politicizing science for its own ends. It is not a left-wing exaggeration to say Bush and Cheney are the presidents of the energy industry. Policy is being driven by purely special interest factors. And, to be perfectly clear, there is a healthy amount of "denialism" coming from those special interests. I don't ascribe bad faith to all GW-deniers, but for some of them, the shoe clearly fits.

Here's where I come out on GW. The earth's climate changes constantly. We don't have a handle on the reasons for the small fluctuations perceived over such geologically insignificant spans as a century. However, such fluctuations can have a devastating impact on human populations and the economy.

So, just as we try to use science to understand and prepare for natural hazards like earthquakes, tornados and asteroids, we ought to deploy science toward the basic goal of adapting to inevitable yet unpredictable change for the protection of the human species.

At the policy-making level, worrying about what causes GW is a misdirection; all we have now are theories that might or might not explain what's happening. But the earth's climate system is too complex, with too many variables and unknowns, for anyone to claim to have a comprehensive scientific grasp of how one variable might be affecting the whole system. So stop the pissing matches. The ultimate respect for science is expressed by acknowledging uncertainty. That's the truly radical position.

GW policy should be about one thing: Managing risk. Everything else is secondary.

P.S. The switch to alternative fuels can be argued for without even resorting to global warming. I favor aggressive moves away from oil and gas and toward sustainable energy, even though I suspect it won't make any difference in the earth's climate.

Beth said...

Beth, did it bother you when Al Gore edited the cover letter of a climate report to support conclusions not reached by the study?

Fen, yes, it did. Thanks for asking. I don't consider Al Gore to be an unbiased source on the topic.

As expected, reader_iam has something quite cogent to contribute: I think it's pretty hard to take at face value a lot of what's said on both "sides" of the debate. At this point, the ego investment is just so high and entrenched, and the issue itself has become a political litmus test, of sorts.

Indeed. And that's why I take exception to singling out the problems with one "side" of the debate. If Ann's concerned about how the debate is being framed, what language is in play, I'd hope she'd be concerned across the board. Otherwise, this is just a silly vortex post.

From Inwood said...

Gahie

Great list

If I may, I’d add three things I’m skeptical of, namely that

G. Global Warming as popularly understood, or as hijacked by calamitologists, is science rather than just guesswork.

H. The thuggish attempts to suppress all doubt and dissent is consistent with the concept of science.

I. That it's really a crisis since the people who say it's a crisis don’t themselves act like it's a crisis.

Beth said...

Simon, your post of 12:55 has me worried now about Ann moving to New York. It's one of the at-risk areas!

Meanwhile, I'm stocking up on sandbags down here in the delta. But seriously, we can't abandon our coasts. Where will get our oil? Seafood? How will we transport goods? How will we protect our borders? A better question is not why we remain in coastal cities, but how we manage our wetlands and adapt to coastal changes.

Revenant said...

But seriously, we can't abandon our coasts. Where will get our oil? Seafood? How will we transport goods? How will we protect our borders?

We'll always have a coast. If the sea level rises it'll just be somewhere else. :)

Seriously, though -- while it is true that some people have jobs that require them to be near the ocean, most don't. Most people don't even have jobs required to *support* the people whose jobs require them to live near the ocean.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Again, GW advocates, I ask, what is the optimal weather for the planet? Hoosier Daddy wants to know.

I guess it depends on which life form is asking the question. Optimal for dinosaurs, penguins, woolly mammoths, trilobites, humans? The idea that we are the supreme life form: that the earth should conform to our desires is conceited and ignorant. The optimal temperature for humanity may not be the optimal temperature for the rest of the living organisms on the planet. Win some lose some. Life goes on....it always does. It just might not be ours and my be unrecognizable to us. Maybe slime mold is the optimal life form.

Humans have been on this planet for a very very short time in the 4 billion years the Earth has been around. Maybe we are an aberration and are just taking up space for another life form to come. I say adapt or die, just like every other before us. Some creatures like Sharks have figured it out.

Personally, I like this global warming thingy. I can plant my tomatoes sooner. My garden, grape vines and fruit trees are producing like never before. The winter nights are not as cold and I use less energy to warm my house (environmentalist should like this!). Geese and ducks arrive sooner, stay longer and have more babies. The frogs are enjoying the balmy fall evenings and have more bugs than ever to eat.

Who says global warming is all bad. :-)

From Inwood said...

Gahrie

Be nice if I spelled your name correctly. Sorry.

Simon said...

Beth said...
"Simon, your post of 12:55 has me worried now about Ann moving to New York. It's one of the at-risk areas!"

I'd worry for her, but I'm told it's not very feminist to be all chivalrous. ;)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Consensus in science is like individual statistics in baseball. Both are fine as long as they emerge as the result of things the actors are doing for other reasons (discovering the truth/helping their team win). Once they start becoming ends in themselves, you've got problems.

Beth said...

Revenant: there will always be a coast--I'm still laughing at that. Thanks for the funny.

You left out one parameter: many of the jobs that require one to live on the coast contribute to the lifestyles and maintenance of those whose jobs don't require them to live on the coast. See oil, goods, etc. as mentioned above.

According to NOAA: "The narrow coastal fringe that makes up 17 percent of the nation's contiguous land area is home to more than half of its population." Simon, that's a lot of people to relocate.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I remember seeing the idea of clock used to illustrate how long man has occupied Earth, as I'm sure all of you have.

Our 100,000 years starts at one minute to midnight, based on Earths history as a 24 hour day.

A hundred years is a few nanoseconds in that history, and even a ten degree swing in that 100 years would be an insignificant percentage of the total warming and cooling over the history of the Earth.

The problem is not global warming over our life span, its realizing our life span's insignificance in relation to Earth's. Once we realize our four, or even five score is a minor portion of a small drop in an ocean of years, the importance of the last hundred years becomes evident as well.

I still believe most of the people supporting this human caused climate change actually believe the world barely existed before they were born will (metaphorically) cease to rotate when they breathe their last. Those who don't 'believe' know their place and accept their true impact, or lack thereof

Doyle said...

I know I'm late to the party here, but boy is this stupid.

It's not "the language of religion" to call people who deny the reality of human-caused global warming "global warming deniers."

Argument based on evidence is what scientists do, and they're overwhelmingly convinced that it's really happening.

So if you don't want to be called a global warming denier, stop denying global warming.

From Inwood said...

Rev

You said:

"We'll always have a coast."

Sounds like Humphrey talking to Ingrid in Casablanca!

Actually if you listen to the clamitologists, all continents are gonna be submerged & so there will be no coasts. Just a series of submerged Atlantis.

Hey it's in their bible:

"Then the God Of GW said: Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place and let the dry land disappear." (Un-Genesis, Ch I , v. 9.)

Beth said...

Simon, life is full of dilemmas, and meta-worries are among them. As long as you don't throw yourself in her path and block her departure, I think you're okay.

Doyle said...

The science around GW has become almost irrevocably contaminated by politics on both sides.

There's not enough science in the denial camp for it to be contaminated.

Beth said...

We've covered physics, politics, linguistics, feminism, economics and trade, and now Ed.Red. has added metaphysics to the mix. My head is spinning.

Beth said...

Simon, you've been saving up a good retort on that chivalry thing--touche!

Simon said...

Beth said...
"As long as you don't throw yourself in her path and block her departure, I think you're okay."

In view of her subsequent post, I'd say that ship's sailed. ;)

FGFM said...

they live in thier 40,000 sq ft dachas, ride on their private jets and soothe thier consciences by planting a few trees.

Funny, I don't even own a car...

knoxwhirled said...

And that's why I take exception to singling out the problems with one "side" of the debate.

Okay, but GW Deniers aren't the ones telling everyone else to change their lifestyle and entire way of living based on our beliefs. Yet, merely questioning the evidence gets a pretty vitriolic reaction from Believers.

Even if the Deniers sometimes unfairly act like the Believers are a little, say, hysterical... at least we are not telling you to sell your big car, stop traveling, stop having kids, and buy prohibitively expensive "green" products, or any number of other ridiculous lifestyle changes.

That's a pretty significant difference between the two positions, I think.

From Inwood said...

Doyle

Sigh. Don't know why I'm responding to you, but hwere goes:

Not only are you coming late to this, you apparently didn't read what our blogmistress quoted

"Wouldn't it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit?"

Nor did you read all the substantive arguments on this thread.

You chose,rather, just to assert that there are no scientific data and arguments contra the Global Warming Theory.

Some one had a wry comment somewhere in this thread to the effect that re global warning: A denier is an environmentalist trying to deny the fact that the environmental movement was calling for the exact same control measures only 30 years ago to control global cooling.

I claim a consensus on this thread that this mot is a scientific fact

John Stodder said...

So, Doyle, then I take it you agree with Robert Kennedy Jr. that those who question the scientific hypothesis of man-made global warming are guilty of "treason?" That it should be a crime to dissent from the GW consensus?

Look, I've been concerned about GW for nearly 20 years. I put on a conference about it in 1990. But the more I see the leading activists insist that there is only one side to a scientific debate, that the other side is not only wrong, but it is a moral imperative to shut them up, using the force of law if necessary, the queasier I get.

Can you really call yourself a liberal and stand behind that kind of thing?

And if the scientific consensus is that strong, why the need for these nasty threats against people who depart from it? Shouldn't the idea just prevail on the merits -- if in fact this consensus exists?

Paul Zrimsek said...

The number of people living at elevations of 20 inches or less falls a bit short of half the population, I believe.

Bissage said...

Paul, that's great news!

Here's how we can all get rich.

Invest now to get in on the ground floor.

No, better get in on the second floor, just to play it safe.

You never know.

Original Mike said...

Beth said: that's a lot of people to relocate

No problem. Just have everyone be responsible for themselves. Works better that way.

Kirk said...

jimbino,

Your anti-"breeding" rants are tedious enough in themselves, but it's even worse that you appear to be unaware that demographers--not just evil right-wing ones, but even those at the UN--are much more concerned about population collapse in the moderate future. People who put themselves out to have children should be our heroes, not seen as villains.

Revenant,

"We'll always have a coast. If the sea level rises it'll just be somewhere else."

More specifically, the more the ocean level rises, the closer the coast gets to "flyover country". Heh. How convenient!

Tully said...

The switch to alternative fuels can be argued for without even resorting to global warming.

Absolutely! We should be seeking new energy sources, simply on general principle. And those we develop will come into widepread use as they become cost-effective. And we can do more today to get rolling away from petroleum, even without new sources. Among things we should already have are the high percentages of nuclear electricity production enjoyed by much of Europe and Japan. That's not even remotely new tech.

We don't have nearly enough og those nuclear plants now because the same people that now insist we quit using hydrocarbons made them too politically expensive to build.

It's not "the language of religion" to call people who deny the reality of human-caused global warming "global warming deniers."

Argument based on evidence is what scientists do, and they're overwhelmingly convinced that it's really happening.


Name 'em. I'll match you name for name--and mine will come out of the ranks of those in the appropriate fields. I was one of the many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people who received the IPCC 4 draft for criticism and policy review, over a year before its release. I was appalled at the completely UNscientific distortion of the basic research involved. The researchers whose work was cited are for the most part not at fault--it was the report compilers of the IPCC who mangled it to fit their agendas, with the mangling becoming worse and worse as it rose up each level. The final product is laughable. And it's not science. It's a polemical construction designed to support pre-decided conclusions.

Yes, it is indeed the language of religion, as you demonstrate, Doyle. It's the language of fundamentalism, to be precise. And the style of the attempted suppressions is that of zealotry and thuggery. Rather than encourage real debate and examination of evidence and verification of conclusions, it's aimed at silencing dissent and bullying the dissenters and shouting down the other side.

That's not science.

The Exalted said...

just because you don't understand it doesn't make it a religion

Tully said...

Can you really call yourself a liberal and stand behind that kind of thing?

LOL, John. Remember that the definition of "liberal" is rather pliable these days.

The Exalted said...

My fear is the seemingly inevitable collusion between enviromental fascism and Islamofascism

started drinking early today, did we?

Tully said...

I see there's actually some money in proving the AGW thesis. Have fun with it.

OldManRick said...

The AGW scientists would get a lot more respect and a lot less suspicion if they were more willing to release the data and models they used to make their predictions. Two recent examples show why the "deniers" have a strong case.

The first is the discovery of the Y2K error in the NASA climate data. See http://www.climateaudit.org/ The bottom issue for me was that NASA was unwilling to release its modeling to Stephen McIntyre. It would not release it methods of making corrections. That is not science, it is gate keeping.

For the second, read the story of the hockey stick. Mann hid both his data and his methodology from review. This link tells part of the story http://www.uoguelph.ca/%7Ermckitri/research/Climate_L.pdf . It also indicates that Mann used a "redacted" data set for his analysis. Search for the word "CENSORED"

I do not deny global warming. All the the planets in the solar system are experiencing global warming. I am very skeptical about the "settled-ness" of the Anthropogenic portion of GW. I am also very aware of the capabilities of and limitations of computer models (since I do computer modeling).

These two cases show the AGW belivers acting as priests, hiding the AGW text (scientific data / models) from the eyes of unbelievers. The idea that use of the "deniers" term is language of religion and not the language of science is re-enforced by the way the AGW crowd treats their data and models.

Joe said...

There's not enough science in the denial camp for it to be contaminated.

Quite to the contrary. The so-called denial camp is based on actual science. The AGW proponents are largely using computer models that have been repeatedly discounted.

As I stated earlier the most fascinating thing about the CO2 as greenhouse gas theory is how little actual scientific support there is for it. Even more fascinating is that if CO2 behaved the way AGW proponents claim, this behavior could be measured experimentally. The problem for AGW proponents is that these experiments have been done many times, going back over a century and CO2 does not behave the way AGW proponents claim. (Were it to do so, it would violate the laws of thermodynamics.)

The second big problem with the argument for CO2 caused global warming is that CO2 lags warming, it doesn't precede it. This is scientific fact.

The third big problem [for AGW-ists] is that there has been no increase in global temperatures in nine years. Since atmospheric CO2 has increased since then, the temperature should not only be increasing, but should be doing so at an increasing rate.

There is actually very little science to support the theory of anthropological global warming, let alone that CO2 concentration is a causative or contributory. The actual overwhelming scientific evidence is that the global warming from about 1980 to 1998 was caused by a convergence of various solar cycles. Furthermore, the evidence is that in the next two decades, global temperatures will begin to decline and that this decline will exceed that from 1945 to 1980.

(One of the most disturbing aspects of the CO2 theory of AGW is that assuming CO2 behaved the way proponents claim it does--which it does not--if we somehow reduced human emissions of CO2 to zero, it would plunge the earth into an ice age.

On the other hand, if we are heading into a period of global cooling, then, following AGW/CO2 theory, we should be pumping as much CO2 into the atmosphere as possible.)

. said...

a bit off topic but..
hygate said...
For some reason two of those URLs are being cutoff; I am forced to break them into multiple lines.

you can use tinyurl.comor lix.in ...there are probably others as well

John Stodder said...

Tully,

I insist, against all evidence, on the liberal political philosophy as it was understood by FDR, Truman, JFK and Hubert Humphrey. Also woven into my nostalgic view of liberalism is an absolute commitment to the First Amendment, and a deep concern about those who find rationalizations like, oh, "saving the planet," to limit it.

If Nazis can march through Skokie, then GW deniers can go on C-Span, and Doyle will just have to tolerate it. Or move to Russia.

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trumpit said...

I agree with the other (im)posters here that GW is a total phoney and a cruel hoax perpetrated on the American people by powerful money-laundered vested interests on the far right. And I absolutely agree with Pres. Reagan's Asst. Attorney General, Bruce Fein, that GW and Cheney should both be impeached for high crimes and misdemanors forthwith. We can end this farcical charade of a presidency (and national nightmare) now to save future generation from the harmful fallout of a sick, warped, and noxious political climate presently existing in the White House.

Hector Owen said...

Extreme Mortman has a scan of the 1975 Newsweek article about global cooling referenced by Jeff Jacoby and by Fen. Apparently we were all supposed to have starved to death by now. Conclusion: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality." Same old Technocratic song: more power to the planners! Cooling, warming, whatever.

Tully said...

I insist, against all evidence, on the liberal political philosophy as it was understood by FDR, Truman, JFK and Hubert Humphrey.

I think you would have had trouble getting those four to agree on what liberalism was, but hey, you said "nostalgic." I tend towards the classical Jeffersonian view myself. My point was that what's called "liberalism" nowadays generally isn't. Nor is "conservatism" for that matter. Now they're just labels used to designate differing factions, and have little descriptive value.

But that's digression--I'm sure in complete agreement with the rest of your statement. The core of most of the agenda of the AGW crowd is the same as it was before they had AGW as their new totem--more power to tell others what to do and how to live. Something that tends to pop up on both ends of the spectrum, that.

Revenant said...

Extreme Mortman has a scan of the 1975 Newsweek article about global cooling referenced by Jeff Jacoby and by Fen.

Thanks, Hector! I've been trying to find a copy of that for a little while now.

Doyle said...

So, Doyle, then I take it you agree with Robert Kennedy Jr. that those who question the scientific hypothesis of man-made global warming are guilty of "treason?"

Uh, no. Ridiculous accusations of treason are generally more of a wingnut thing.

If you're a global warming skeptic, fine. I know moon landing skeptics, too. Nice people.

hdhouse said...

As I look west over my tidal wetlands that have seen a mean high tide increase of nearly a foot in the past five years (we actually do measure it..nature conservancy helps us)...i'm going to forget all about global warming issues, melting ice....everything.

I'm just going to attribute it to too many republican scientists pissing in the ocean.

Hector Owen said...

You're welcome, Revenant.

hdhouse: could you be living in an area subject to post-glacial rebounding? The Earth's crust has not entirely recovered from the last ice age. What appear to be rises and falls in sea level could be due to the land rising or subsiding.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

Doyle? Hello? I was quoting RFK, Jr.

I get the feeling this is a topic you don't know much about. You're speed-reading the talking points and not noticing where you're contradicting yourself.

If you read what I wrote, you'd know I'm not a GW skeptic. The temps are going up, to be sure. And I'm actually in favor of doing something about it -- something other than making movies or bopping Karl Rove, you know, something that might actually work to manage the risk.

However, I don't agree that scientists who refuse to join the GW consensus should be considered traitors. The whole idea that scientists should follow a popular idea in lockstep strikes me as completely contrary to the scientific ethic.

Galileo dealt with similar problems in his day. I take it you would've joined with the Pope and the cardinals in calling Galileo a "wingnut." And you know, Galileo was probably in the pay of some evil special interest.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Uh, no. Ridiculous accusations of treason are generally more of a wingnut thing."

Yeah? Well in this case, it's from the left-wingnuts. So you don't agree with and postively repudiate Kennedy, right?

Hector Owen said...

More to Althouse's point, this post, with graphic, from Maggie's Farm. "You're all emitters ... You'll all burn in hell!" Al Gore as Elmer Gantry.

knoxwhirled said...

doyle

I know I'm late to the party here, but boy is this stupid.
...

If you're a global warming skeptic, fine. I know moon landing skeptics, too. Nice people.


thanks for contributing to the "stupid"

Doyle said...

I know who you were quoting, that's why I wrote generally as if that quote were somehow not as representative of liberal opinion as, say, "Treason" by Ann Coulter was of conservative opinion.

I didn't know RFK Jr. said that. I knew he's big on the environment. I don't necessarily subscribe to everything every environmentalist says about the global warming debate.

Doyle said...

Note: I mean political debate, not scientific.

amba said...

It's frustrating not to have the expertise to truly and deeply analyze and judge the science for myself, or even enough to determine definitively who's (most likely, more often) giving into the temptation to shoot first and draw the bull's-eye second.

reader: bottom line, even the scientists don't know. Climate changes.

amba said...

the seemingly inevitable collusion between enviromental fascism and Islamofascism.

Could you elaborate on that, Poge? 'Cause you've lost me.

The environmental religion (and I agree, it is) is a religion of this world. Islamofascism, of the other world. They both have their puritanism and asceticism, their dietary and voluptuary restrictions. They both distrust certain kinds of pleasure. But different kinds, and for different reasons.

Environmentalism's anthem is "Imagine there's no heaven." The earth is it. Islamofascists despise the earth and consider life on it to be a sordid interlude, not the whole game. They are sexual puritans. Environmentalists think sex is all good.

How do you see them getting together?

Gahrie said...

amba:

How do you see them getting together?

The whole enemy of my enemy thing. They both hate the same thing...modern western civilization.

Revenant said...

How do you see them getting together?

The bulk of the global warming movement consists of people who saw stuff about global warming on TV and, as they do with every other scary thing on TV, became concerned about it. These people obviously aren't likely to make common cause with Islamic terrorism.

The hard core of the environmentalist movement, though -- the Greenpeacers, the ELFers, et al -- share with radical Islam a deep hatred of capitalism and western "decadence". Massive, wide-scale sacrifice by the West has been a solution in search of a problem for decades now, and fresh problems (curable only through massive reductions in our standard of living) get marched across the stage every couple of years.

There's plenty of room for common cause there, simply because both groups agree that the world would be a better place if you rolled the clock back a few hundred or thousand years and made everybody live as Nature/Allah intended.

Hector Owen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Exalted said...

the dissertations on islamogreenism are among the best and brightest this site has to offer

well done

Hector Owen said...

I see that the noted climate scientist Leonardo Di Caprio has a movie coming out this weekend, "The 11th Hour." Trailer. Blog. Post by Ron Bailey comparing all this to the Millerites and other millenarians, DiCaprio's The 11th Hour: We are the Most Important Generation in History. Parents who want to frighten their children should certainly take them to see this. Those kids will curl right up, and never want to go for a ride in the car again.

Kev said...

Doesn't it seem reasonable to conclude that you can infer how strongly someone believes in something that, if true, will affect their own lives, by comparing what they do about this thing to how a reasonably prudent person who believed it would react?

Bingo. Glenn Reynolds has said it best: "I'll start acting as if it's a crisis when the people who are telling me it's a crisis start acting as if it's a crisis."

Pogo said...

amba,

Gahrie and Revenant are correct. They share a similar aim in ridding the world of the dead white males from Western Civ. The utopian impulse animates both.

As for their differences, one says Allah, one says Gaia. They'd hate each other, to be sure, but they hate the West far more. The US similarly joined forces with their recent enemy the Soviets once Hitler became a common foe.

But the vicious destruction of anti-Czar factions in Russia after the Revolution is the most useful template for estimating the eventual result of their collusion because, as you say, ultimately they are incompatible. More simply, both groups see the other as a useful idiot, not a friend.

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cyrus pinkerton said...

Simon wrote:

I've still never seen anything amounting to a reply, let alone a rejoinder, to a problem with the thesis I noted here, viz. that if carbon dioxide concentration tracks but lags temperature change, how can the latter possibly drive the former?

Actually, Simon, I've replied to you twice on this subject (and you've previously acknowledged at least one of my responses). Perhaps you've forgotten. In any case, you can find those replies here and here.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

DaveL said...

"Wouldn't it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit?"

Unfortunately the GW debate has reached the point that (e.g.) the Creationism and Holocaust debates reached years ago. There are indeed acres and acres of "scientific data and arguments" which have been written supporting the theory of anthropogenic GW, and more are being written every day as the data accumulates and the models incorporate new data and add new areas of coverage. The previously linked site, RealClimate, is one accessible (to laypeople) place where one can keep up with this effort.

However, the response of many on the anti-AGW side has been to ignore the data, ignore the science, ignore the reasoned responses, and repeat the same old arguments (you can get a good sampling of them by reading this thread) over and over again. It generally takes pages and pages of explanation to accurately and completely counter a one-sentence, ill-informed objection, and so the initiative is always on the side of the deniers.

The next tactic is to find new nitpicks such as the "Y2K error" which end up having negligible impact on the models, but are trumpeted as disproving everything, and exhumed from their graves every time the argument gets heated, as though they were in the pink of health.

The final tactic is to question the motives and attitudes of the supporters of mounting a response, and the motives of the scientists involved. Whether Laurie David hitchhikes cross-country or takes the Space Shuttle does not impact the science behind the theory, nor does the fact that she's a moron.

So, eventually, some fraction of the people on the AGW side will eventually become disgusted with these tactics and overreact, just as has happened with some people on the Evolution side of that debate, or the The-Holocaust-Happened side of that debate have done. That a few people do that doesn't change the science in the slightest; the science supports the theory.

There's an old saw about being a trial lawyer: "If the facts are on your side, argue the facts; if the law is on your side; argue the law; otherwise, bang the table."

Jeff Jacoby and most of the posters on this thread are banging the table.

Pogo said...

The DaveL synopsis:
Everyone who disagrees with AGW is nuts.

Thank you.

cyrus pinkerton said...

DaveL,

Very well said.

John Stodder said...

However, the response of many on the anti-AGW side has been to ignore the data, ignore the science, ignore the reasoned responses, and repeat the same old arguments (you can get a good sampling of them by reading this thread) over and over again.

While that might be the response of "many" anti-AGW non-experts to the assertions of the many pro-AGW non-experts -- all of whom feel passionately about this subject that they know little about -- this is a gross mischaracterization of the scientific debate.

Take a look at this, for example:

http://tinyurl.com/27yo8c

Do these scientists remind you of Holocaust deniers or Creationists? They are raising questions about the computer models used to predict CO2's future effect on global climate change. They have come to have doubts about those models predictive capabilities.

They are not saying rising CO2 levels have no effect on climate change. What they're saying is, the models the IPCC relied upon have significantly overstated the effect.

What do you bring to the table to overcome those doubts? Aspersions on their character? Fine. That's the way the game is played. But facts? I doubt it.

Tully said...

More consensus-crumbling here. [pdf]

Roger said...

I simply don't know enough about the scientific issues to comment in meanaingful manner. It seems clear to me that: (1) It is getting warmer--an empirical question; and (2) some component of warming is a function of human activity. Having said that, however, we have to start to consider policy options about how to deal with the components of global warming that is a function of human activity. The first part of that is to attempt to determine precisely how much human activity contributes to global warming. Is any one aware of consensus on those figures? And while GW may have adverse consequences, what positive consequences might result from it? That seems to be another factor that would determine policy responses to GW. Just my .02

Tully said...

Mean to add, the modeling results I have examined closely to date strongly suggest the Error of the Omitted Variable(s) at work. This is a classic modeling error wherein anything not explained by already-known factors is automatically assumed to be caused by another factor(s) being studied or hypothesized, when other unknown factors exist, and all causation therefore falsely quantified to the factor(s) studied.

The effect of the unknown factors is thus (wrongly) attributed to the factor(s) being measured (or hypothesized) as potentially explanatory, in a manifestation of the causation/correlation error.

Example of Omitted Variable Error: "My swimming pool water level rose six inches last night. It rained last night. Therefore, the rain raised my swimming pool water level by six inches last night." Omitted Variable: The eight tons of rock someone dumped in your pool last night that you never actually looked for, because you assumed the rain was the only possible cause.

Tully said...

Roger:

How dare you bring up cost/benefit analysis in climate "solution" decisions? You make baby Gaia cry!

(Just ribbin' ya, despite the point.)

cyrus pinkerton said...

Tully,

If you will, please list some of the modeling results you've examined. Thank you.