Two posts about denialism, climate change and otherwise

By Phil Plait | February 26, 2010 12:59 pm

Because I love to write about climate change and watch the misinformation and noise fly in the comments, I will direct your attention to two very interesting articles about denialism:

1) My friend and noted skeptic Steve Novella writes about the meaning of scientific consensus and denialism, whether that’s over global warming or vaccines.

2) An article on lies.com likens global warming denialism to the O. J. Simpson trial, saying that when faced with overwhelming evidence, Simpson’s lawyers attacked the court process instead of the actual case. It’s a fascinating analogy and one that strikes me as being very apt.

lalalala_beavercanthearyouI’ll add as a bonus a link to something I wrote a while back: the difference between skepticism and denialism. I wrote it a year or so ago, and don’t see anything I would change today.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, Science, Skepticism

Comments (90)

  1. Ray

    As a real skeptic, I question your skepticism.

  2. Utakata

    As a real skeptic, you should also question your own skepticism, Ray. I believe inpart that’s what Novella’s article was talking about. And yes, I’m not off the hook either. :(

  3. Of course the argument could be made that if the climate change debate was the O.J. trial the case would have been thrown out and the prosecutors disbarred for legal malpractice. Regardless of his guilt….

  4. Yojimbo

    @1 Ray says “As a real skeptic, I question your skepticism.”

    I question your question.

  5. Bruce the Canuck

    @1 Ray “As a real skeptic, I question your skepticism.”

    I’m skeptical of Ray’s ability to be skeptical of his claim to be a “real skeptic” about Phil’s skepticism about the genuineness of the skepticism of the climate change “skeptics”. But sometimes I question the ability of any mere human being such as myself to objectively evaluate my own skepticism of the skepticism of others.

    Seventh order skepticism – I win!

  6. Art

    I don’t even believe in skepticism.

  7. Yojimbo

    @5 Bruce are you a skepticism denier?

    @6 Art – I doubt that!

  8. Bruce the Canuck

    I invoke the liar’s paradox, casting Art@6 into the metaphysical nothingness inhabited by postmodernists.

  9. P@J

    Phil, can we institute a Godwin’s Law corollary here? Any comment thread on Anthropogenic Global Warming will eventually result in a reference to Al Gore, at which point the person who raised “Al Gore” is immediately the loser of the argument.

    Argumentum al Gorium.

    “Plutonium being from Pluto” was the perpetrator last thread (comment #52)

  10. M

    @9. P@J

    So does that mean you lose the argument because you brought him up?

  11. *sigh* I’m starting to give in. It’s hard to swallow. Give me some time. Curse you, Phil! ;)

    As for Al Gore? Play the drinking game. Every time he is mentioned, take a shot. You’ll be dead half way through the comments*. :D

    *[once a solid 100 or so comments have been established]

  12. Steve

    To run with the OJ analogy, as one pundit put it “they (the police) framed a guilty man”. In the end that man walked.

    This is why I’m glad the other thread linked to Judith Curry, and why I’m somewhat saddened by the BA’s lack of outrage regarding CRU. Regardless of how confident somebody is in AGW the content of these emails is going to cause a loss of trust, and for most of us in the end it comes down to trust people smarter than ourselves.

    Whether or not AGW is real is independent of the CRU’s malfeasance. But malfeasance it was and trying to pretend it wasn’t is only going to make things worse.

  13. Cristian

    Phil,

    If I read an article criticizing the notion of parallel universes, I (who knows nothing about quantum physics) might tend to agree with the author since it does not really fit my “gut feeling” about the universe :-) , but agreeing or not agreeing is not really the point, I read because of an abstract interest in the subject matter.

    Importantly though, if I needed to form an opinion about it, I could find extensive literature, both specialized and for laymen. Most of that literature would try to make a point either for or against, but I doubt that any of it would make one position or another a imperative. That to me is one of the defining aspects of scientific writing.

    My point: why do you (and almost everyone writing about climate matters these days) feel the seemingly constant urge to make it into a choice between good and evil? I’m hard pressed to find any rational and factual source about “matters that count”.

    I thoroughly enjoy your posts on astronomy, but I must say I’ve become tired of the “press-release quality” posts on skepticism and climate issues. They seem to come from some media department with the task of drumming some point in, no matter what.

    Personal ideologies and convictions are fine but I (and I imagine many of your readers) hope for content, not moral patronizing.

    Let me say again, I immensely enjoy your astronomy post, thanks for that!

    Cristian.

  14. Mike

    To add to these two articles, Point of Inquiry just posted a new episode where Chris Mooney interviews Michael Mann with the topic “Unprecedented Attacks on Climate Research.”

  15. JT

    @ P@J #9:

    I happened to go to foxnews.com (What? Someone has to keep an eye on the enemy.) and guess who was on the front page?

    The reason he was there: he hasn’t said anything recently. Yep, that’s right, they’re bringing Al Gore into the debate explicitly because there is no reason to bring Al Gore into the debate.

  16. Brian

    I question nothing and thus am never disappointed.

    Expect the worst and you can be only pleasantly surprised.

    Fear change. Nothing good can ever come of it.

  17. Theobroma Cacao

    Whether or not AGW is real is independent of the CRU’s malfeasance. But malfeasance it was and trying to pretend it wasn’t is only going to make things worse.

    It wasn’t malfeasance. It was, if anything, a bunker mentality brought about by having to constantly defend not against the science but rather against loons with political agendas. A blogger at the Economist has an interesting observation related to this:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/02/climategate_distortions/

    On the positive side, I suspect research groups will be less interested in entering into data sharing agreements that limit their ability to make the data they use in their analyses public.

  18. ttrygve

    Your “I’m Skeptical of Denialism” post makes good points, and you’re obviously using the word skeptic properly, while the deniers misuse it. But I’m still not sure it does any favors to skeptics to embrace that label. It’s general connotation for most people isn’t nearly as precise as your use of it. Most people will hear the word skeptic and think of examples of deniers.

    It’s like the scientific use of the word “theory”, and the lay “it’s just a theory” dilution of it. Those most likely to understand your meaning by it will already agree with your main points, ie, you’re preaching to the choir (pardon the giant sky wizard phraseology).

    I love the skeptic cause and general mindset, but I just have a lot of trouble embracing that label, it just seems too counterproductive.

  19. “Because I love to write about climate change and watch the misinformation and noise fly in the comments…”

    I think there’s a bit more of it going on than you realize or will ever be willing to accept. La la la, indeed.

    You’ve never been particularly balanced in your blog and most of the time you don’t need to be. Besides, provocative is fun…it’s one of your more lovable attributes. I’m just not sure it always serves you well.

  20. Bababooey

    Al Goreleone is too busy working his hedge funds to be concerned about this flab. Governments will still throw countless billions at this so in my mind ‘climategate’ is nothing more than a fun little speed bump.

    On a side note, I still wonder whether glacier retreat is just a lasting effect of moving out of the last ice age? Or is it just something that’s started this past century.

  21. Although I am in the ocean very often I have no empirical evidence that it is rising. I’m no expert. I choose to trust the opinion of experts that can convincingly argue to skeptical me. Based on MY readings I trust that sea levels are rising. I trust that overall temperatures are rising. I trust that, overall, glaciers are retreating. I believe that I could be wrong. But, I trust that all the controversy surrounding global warming will only inspire today’s and tomorrows’ researches to devise better and smarter ways to monitor the climate. I trust that time and science will eventually demonstrate what is happening to our climate and what, if anything, we should do about it.

  22. The problem is that we’re dealing with long-term changes which won’t become readily apparent for decades. That’s what really fuels denialism since they may never be proven wrong in their lifetimes.

  23. beachmaster

    I’m skeptical of the alarmist calls for action. Yes, the world is a little warmer than at the end of the Little Ice Age, yes, CO2 has a role in temperature and yes we need to keep an eye on this. We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Yes, computer models produce some scary scenarios at the extremes. We should include more funding to ensure that these models include important actors, such as cloud cover. When Dr. Phil Jones says there has been no statistical change in world temperatures for 15 years … the models clearly need improvement.

  24. Ryan

    News flash for you, Phil.

    http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2010/02/26/jenny-mccarthy-says-her-son-evan-never-had-autism/

    “Jenny talks about her son’s progress saying, “Evan couldn’t talk — now he talks. Evan couldn’t make eye contact — now he makes eye contact. Evan was anti-social — now he makes friends. It was amazing to watch … when something didn’t work for Evan, I didn’t stop. I stopped that treatment, but I didn’t stop.”

    And she is also reversing her initial position that the MMR shots caused Evan’s autism. Jenny says she wants vaccinations better researched — rather than getting rid of them altogether. And though her son may never have had autism, Jenny insists, “I’ll continue to be the voice” of the disease.”

  25. HaelMic

    That’s a cute beaver.

  26. Your Name's Not Bruce?

    So what’s Phil’s political agenda? What’s the reason he keeps on harping on about AGW?

    I think it’s because he’s a concerned parent, a concerned citizen and a concerned human being. The likely consequences of AGW are bad for his child, bad for his country and bad for his civilization. As an author of a book devoted to the various ways in which an indifferent universe can casually snuff us out, it must be truly alarming to witness this planet’s allegedly most intelligent inhabitants proceed to do it to themselves, thereby saving the universe all that trouble. And not out of ignorance, but with full (or full enough) knowledge of exactly what we’ve got ourselves into and how we might get out of it. We’re all on a speeding train and the bridge is out; while some are strongly suggesting we apply the brakes a few are convinced that the train can fly.

    It’s easy to see that the sort of changes to our lifestyle required to slow the process and turn the corner will be very disruptive and mess up more than a few corporate bottom lines in the process. But certainly not as disruptive or destructive as the changes that will come to the human enterprise as a whole should AGW proceed unchecked. Those who would deny the threat of AGW and delay any action to slow or reverse it are gambling with the fate of our civilization for a few more years of business as usual.

    Positive, progressive changes in the past have been opposed by powerful vested interests that wished to maintain business as usual. Some of these changes, sadly, are not yet universally realized. The end of slavery, the end of child labour, the emancipation of women, the promotion of freedom of thought, conscience and political liberty. None of these has come to pass anywhere without the resistance of individuals and institutions which felt they stood to lose something with the correction of these injustices. These individuals and institutions have managed to convince others that these struggles were somehow in the interests of these (sometimes unwitting) recruits too. But it wouldn’t do to do so in the name of naked greed and power, so some euphemism or fig leaf would be chosen. Orthodoxy. Tradition. Stability. Glory. Purity.

    I think that the threat posed by human induced climate change is a similar issue with similar resistance and similar recruitment. Certainly there are political ramifications and costs but surely it is better to face them and prepare for them than to pretend that the problem is imaginary or will go away if we ignore it. Wise homeowners buy insurance against the possibility of fire; they don’t pretend that their wooden houses are magically immune to fire or that “fire” is a conspiracy foisted on them by insurance companies. Sometimes “alarmists” are right. But many of the actions proposed to avert the worst of AGW’s consequences are good ideas to pursue even in the event the “alarmists” are wrong. Continuing on the path of environmental degradation and resource depletion we are presently on is probably not in our own best interests even if the denialists are right.

    So what’s at stake for Phil? A future for his child, his country and his society. It just so happens that his interests in this regard coincide with my own. I’ll take that bottom line any day.

    Thanks Phil; keep up the good fight.

  27. Redstar

    #13 asked a question that’s worth answering:
    My point: why do you (and almost everyone writing about climate matters these days) feel the seemingly constant urge to make it into a choice between good and evil?
    With most scientific matters, there is no real moral ramification – people won’t potentially die in large numbers if most research is ignored. The problem is that climate change does have the potential to drastically impact the world. The moral imperative comes from the fact that there is a clock running on all of this, and we’re wasting time.

    Granted, if you don’t think climate change is true, then it removes a large amount of the moral imperative. Here, an analogy: While walking down a street, two people are approached by a third, who draws a gun and demands their money. When the first goes for his wallet, the second stops him, saying “Hang on – we don’t know for sure there are any bullets in the gun.”

    Hopefully that illustrates the sense of urgency: People who are convinced of climate change feel that deniers are forcing them (and their loved ones, children, and the rest of the human race) into a personal risk. With the worst-case scenario being a social collapse fueled by natural disasters, it’s not that hard to understand the sentiment.

  28. 22. Romeo Vitelli Says: “The problem is that we’re dealing with long-term changes which won’t become readily apparent for decades. That’s what really fuels denialism since they may never be proven wrong in their lifetimes.”

    In that case, neither will the proponents. A change happening that slowly is not a crisis; it’s adapted to almost automatically. Given decades to do things, the changes happen as needed.

    25. HaelMic Says: “That’s a cute beaver.”

    Actually, it’s an otter. Apologies if it was a joke.

    - Jack

  29. ND

    There be carbon in them thar whales!

    There was a segment on NPR’s science friday about whales and how much carbon may have been released by the hunting and consumption of whales. Basically given the size of the whales and their abundunt population before their numbers were reduced, those whales contained a lot of carbon.

  30. tresmal

    beachmaster @ 23: “When Dr. Phil Jones says there has been no statistical change in world temperatures for 15 years … the models clearly need improvement.”

    Actually Jones didn’t say that. What he did say was :

    I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm In other words there was warming in that period but there was a slightly higher than 1in 20 chance of it being a random occurrence.

  31. SLC

    Although the Simpson Trial is a little OT here, I must respectfully disagree with the analysis at lies.com. The not guilty verdict was not due to the skill or the slight of hand of the defense lawyers but the incompetence of the prosecutors. The infamous glove experiment is only one example of their many blunders. I am afraid that the enumeration of their blunders would take up several thousand words which would not be appreciated by Dr. Plait or his Discovery overlords.

  32. NelC

    Jack @28: Yeah, it’s a joke. Check the global warming tag about a week back and you’ll find a post with the same picture and Phil’s mistaken identification of it as a beaver.

    Also, it puts me in mind of the beaver joke in one of the Naked Gun movies. “Nice beaver!”

  33. Big Fat Earl

    I find it amusing that Phil uses that image to represent “denialists” when it’s the proponents of human-made climate change who steadily deny common sense and evidence contradicting their viewpoint…

  34. Bruce

    Drink milk, O.J. will kill ya.

    But global warming won’t. Cuz it doesn’t exist.

  35. Steve

    Cacao@17:

    A nice link that makes the point that the “no warming since ’95″ is a misquote. Anybody who doubts that isn’t paying attention, btw.

    The link then goes on to say “it illustrates the reasons why the East Anglia scientists adopted an adversarial attitude “.

    Perhaps true. Also irrelevent. It _is_ malfeasance regardless as to what the motivation was. I’m not an expert at English law (or for that matter American) but I do know what would happen where I work if somebody said “delete this so it can’t be FOIAd”.

    I will not waste everybody’s time discussing whether the rest of it was malfeasance. At best I’m not qualified. I assure you that many of the non-technical people following this will feel that this a betray of trust. Also everytime somebody says “oh it’s just scientists being human” or “these quotes don’t mean what they sound like they mean” or “it’s not malfeasance to try and duck a FOIA” a bit more trust is eroded.

    Trust is what’s necessary here if the warmers are to convince 7 billion people to change how they live.

    There are cranks on both sides of this argument. But I also see reasonable scientists on both sides. My question then is who is confident enough of their data and math to show it?

  36. I find it hilarious that there are still people actually arguing whether the earth is warming. The data, at least on that has been pretty conclusive. It speaks to various denialist prejudices and shows that most of the mainstream argumentation is not grounded at all in fact. I mean we had a bevy of pundits telling us how the blizzards that hit the East Coast are evidence against global warming: An idea I attacked vociferously elsewhere with a great deal of NSFW language (if there is such a thing.)

    The only credible arguments are ones that can’t point to specific problems with the data and its interpretation- and I don’t see a whole lotta that in the comments here or elsewhere. The primary reason of course- most people don’t understand it well enough to form their own judgments. Fine, but then choosing to side against the scientific consensus when you are in a position of ignorance is a fool’s gambit.

  37. Correction to me @ #36:

    I wrote: “The only credible arguments are ones that can’t point to specific problems with the data and its interpretation”

    I meant: “The only credible arguments are ones that can point to specific problems with the data and its interpretation”

  38. Jeffersonian

    @20 Bababooey
    You don’t have to wonder, just look at the evidence. Assuming you live in the US, you can look at the Pinedale Glaciation event in the central Rocky Mountains since it may be in your backyard. This ice age peaked during the Pleistocene, 18,000 years ago. The glaciers then began a retreat which peaked 10,000 years ago. The glaciers then entered a period of stabilization and the remnants of that epoch are the glaciers we have today in this region (the largest of which are in Sublette and Fremont Counties, Wyoming). Note that the decline took 8,000 years. In the last 50 years, these glaciers have lost as much as 50% of their girth. These glaciers act as a storage reservoir for farmland downstream. The speed of disappearance is increasing at a rate that is unusual enough to cause alarm (due to factors such as the changing of the ablation line into the accumulation zone), which means they are doomed. (You can look around the world, for example the Alps and the Himalaya, and you will find plenty of additional evidence that the speed of the retreat is unprecedented for more than just the Holocene).

    @22. So there are, in fact readily apparent changes.

    What some people don’t understand is that (aside from having practical purposes for life) glaciers are a “living indicator” of the state of climate, not just regional weather. They are old and exist due to a state of stability. If they suddenly change, then something has lost its stability. We expect them to grow and shrink over time, locally. But not this much, not this fast and not in a majority of regions. It’s a giant, screaming red flag.

  39. jcm

    “Because I love to write about climate change and watch the misinformation and noise fly in the comments…” And, I thought that all BAblogees where skeptical beings who accept the irrefutable evidence.

  40. Theobroma Cacao

    Trust is what’s necessary here if the warmers are to convince 7 billion people to change how they live.

    An interesting assertion, particularly in the context of a discussion on skepticism. I, for one, have little trust in any single scientist, institution, or body to be non-biased in their presentation of findings regarding climate change (or vaccines or anything else for that matter). I do, however, place more trust when multiple independent scientists, institutions, or bodies that corroborate or duplicate findings. I lose trust when counter-arguments focus on personalities or process instead of data and results, particularly when they cherry pick, quote mine, and obfuscate.

    As for changing how they live, that is going to happen regardless of what the 7 billion people trust. To quote Feynman, “reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

    Did the folks at East Anglia commit wrong doing (the definition of ‘malfeasance’ according to my dictionary)? Difficult for me to say as I will admit that in a similar situation I have done something similar (specifically, not committed something to email because it would then be FOIA-able according to US law). The reality is that when you work in a politically charged environment, people can and do take anything you might say or do and spin it in the worst possible light, thus forcing you to defend yourself against spurious and fallacious claims instead of doing real work (which, in some cases, is the actual intent of the FOIAs). Pretending this sort of thing does not occur and people get frustrated and take steps to avoid it is naive. Worse, declaring a whole branch of science untrustworthy because of such actions is doing a disservice to truth.

  41. Katharine

    “I mean we had a bevy of pundits telling us how the blizzards that hit the East Coast are evidence against global warming.”

    They’re pundits. By definition, they don’t have brains.

  42. Utakata

    Big Fat Earl Says @ #33:

    Which common sense and evidence is that?

  43. Gorebal Warming Scam

    In March of 2000, the UK Independent ran this headline, “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

    “Global warming…is now accepted as a reality by the international community.”

    Dr. David Viner of the now infamous Climatic Research Unit (CRU) [home to Climategate and the key scientists behind the IPCC curtain] stated that “within a few years winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event.’” [ reminds us of the Himalayan Glaciers that were scheduled by the IPCC to disappear in 2035.]

    “’Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.’”

    Fast forward ten years and the UK Express headline for 23 February blares, “UK Braced For Yet More Snow Storms.”

    “Hope for a respite from the wintry weather were dashed yesterday…”

    Sigh. Where is global warming when you want it?

    Of course, the global warming crowd now tells us that all this snow is a sign! They were right! On his blog for 23 February, Al Gore declares this as “Fact. Climate Change [aka Global Warming] causes more frequent and severe snowstorms.”

    A succinct comment on this conundrum was posted on Andrew Revkin’s blog:

    “23. Eva – February 12th, 2010 – 4:25 pm
    In 1899, Washington DC had 54 inches of snow. We are told that was because there was less CO2 and it was cold.
    In 2010, Washington DC had 55 inches of snow. We are told that is due to global warming.”

    “Why does the global warming community expect the rest of the world to be as neurotic and confused as they are?”

    Snow or no snow, heat wave or none, arctic ice decline or increase—none of these affect this key point: Earth has warmed over the last century and that warming is all within the bounds of natural climate change. As Freeman Dyson observed, “Climate change is part of the normal order of things, and we know it was happening before humans came.”

    How much warming? The guess is something on the order of 0. 7 C since about 1880. [The shenanigans by the CRU ‘Hockey Stick Team’ and at NASA:GISS may require some modification of that insignificant number.]

    So, when NASA puts out some headline like “End of Warmest Decade,” you have to ask two questions. 1) How much warming? [Nothing outside the bounds of natural climate change even if NASA’s figures have been manipulated like they were to make 1998 the warmest year on record over 1934.] and 2) Were you expecting cooler as Earth moves away from the last little ice age? [Never mind that NASA cannot count to ten and that the decade is not over.]

    The second key point, the one that most affects the global governance agenda, is summed up by Dr. John Christy, who served as a lead author on the IPCC. The Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama—Huntsville, stated, “Our ignorance about the climate system is enormous, and policy makers need to know that. This is an extremely complex system, and thinking we can control it is hubris.” [THIS is the most important fact of the whole issue.] Ah, man’s ignorance and hubris–who would have guessed?

    The third key point is what every high school student who has passed biology knows: CO2 is not a pollutant. It is essential for life. More CO2 actually means better crops and forests. Reducing CO2 has will have no effect on climate change.

    As Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, has stated, “One of the things the scientific community is pretty agreed on is those things [CO2 ‘caps’] will have virtually no impact on climate no matter what the models say. So the question is do you spend trillions of dollars to have no impact? And that seems like a no brainer.”

    And that brings us to another key point: We are the number one debtor nation [and that cancer may well turn out to be terminal] and spending trillions to fix a non-existent problem will be economic suicide. [Trying to sell the green agenda as a ‘jobs bill’ ignores the failures of this policy elsewhere. Spain’s green jobs agenda resulted in a loss of 2.2 jobs for every ‘green’ job.]

    With all the hype and propaganda flowing out of NASA and the USA mainstream media, we need to keep reminding people, and especially our senators, of these key points:

    1.Any global warming has been within the bounds of natural variation. [No outside explanation of some 'forcing factor' is required--unless you get government grants.]
    2.Reducing CO2 will have no impact on climate change.
    3.CO2 is not a pollutant. [There are real pollutants and dangers that are now ignored by those who are selling this agenda.]
    4.It is the height of folly to spend trillions of dollars, debt or no debt, to ‘fix’ a nonexistent problem.

    We face three key dangers [and the fictional ‘dangers’ produced by the computer climate models are not among them]:

    1.The “global governance” that is sought by Al Gore and President Obama, which would result in a socialistic, bigger government world.
    2.The big business bubble of carbon trading where people like Al Gore and entities like Goldman Sachs become richer while we become poor. [As President Obama has clearly stated, “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” [along with the cost of EVERYTHING which takes energy to produce].
    3.Bigger deficits heaped on the backs of our children and grandchildren. [The deficit may already be beyond repair.]

    We can revel in the midst of every exposé and all the weather news humor, but we need to do so keeping focused on key points. They never change.

  44. fred edison

    I take offense to many of the deniers calling themselves skeptics too. Please, enough with the attempts to add an air of legitimacy to misquotes and the misinterpretation of scientific concepts and terms. It’s painfully obvious that many of these people aren’t overly concerned with the facts and quality (and eventual quantity) of the evidence presented them, as a true and objective skeptic would consider in order to reach a conclusion, or at the minimum to reach an educated opinion about global climate change and man-made warming. What highly amuses me is the insistence from a few in the anti-global warming crowd for the “warmers” and “alarmists” to refrain from slandering them, and to be so courteous as to not refer to them as deniers, but henceforth refer to them as skeptics. What a marvelous double standard they enjoy.

    As more snowstorms hit the U.S., you’ll certainly hear more of the “skeptics” confidently and smugly tell us what it isn’t – more proof for the death of global warming – as they go about talking up a storm of fact-resistant, hot air fueled and convoluted “controversy.”

  45. Bruce the Canuck

    Phil, comment 44 is directly plagiarized from “Michael Snow” in the “Dakota Voice”. It really says something when even their lies aren’t honestly come by.

  46. Sir Struggle

    To me it’s not a question of the warming, it’s a question of whether it’s wise to sink the economy trying to stop something that would take a worldwide effort to stop, especially when the worst offenders (like China) are not interested in helping at all. The U.S. and most of Europe need to remain at the top of the economic food chain in order to make any kind of difference. If we crash our economies trying to do it alone, we will end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

    Simply put, if China and India aren’t on board with whatever plans we have, they will just be wasted efforts. We should be spending more time getting them on board than worrying and taxing the hell out of people living here that are having a hard enough time getting by as it is, even though they do WAY more to help than 90% of the world.

    No, I don’t mean people that own Hummers…. they still suck.

  47. Sir Struggle

    Oh, and I don’t care how many times I read warm and fuzzy reports of the companies, “carbon offsets” are downright shady and anyone that buys them is just proving to me that they’re overly rich and too lazy to actually change their ways. I challenge someone to legitimize these things. It’s energy the company was going to not use anyway and they made a quick buck and a “Green Seal of Approval” for doing it…. Disgusting

  48. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 41. Theobroma Cacao Says:

    I lose trust when counter-arguments focus on personalities or process instead of data and results, particularly when they cherry pick, quote mine, and obfuscate.

    But where exactly do you think the data & results come *from* if not people (with personalities) and processes or methods?

    And how about when raw data “goes missing” after leaked emails show the lead researchers would rather delete their files than show them to others and are willing to warp peer reveiw, suppress dissenting opinions, come up with misleading graphs via bad methodology (eg. Mann’s “Hockey stick”) and boasted of “using tricks to hide the decline?” Is all that okay by you? Really? :roll:

    @ 15. JT Says:

    @ P@J #9: I happened to go to foxnews.com (What? Someone has to keep an eye on the enemy.) and guess who was on the front page? The reason he was there: he hasn’t said anything recently. Yep, that’s right, they’re bringing Al Gore into the debate explicitly because there is no reason to bring Al Gore into the debate.”

    I disagree. I think the silence and absence of Al Gore here is indeed a striking reason for comment.

    Has Al Gore said anything at all post climategate? If so, I haven’t heard about it & given his notoriety you’d certainly expect he’s been asked – a lot!

    What is his silence telling us?

    Why isn’t he defending the CRU “scientists” and his increasingly unpopular and increasingly criticised AGW idea?

    Don’t those sound like a legitimate questions to you? They sure do to me!

    The fact that Al Gore who is the leading pusher & most prominent of the AGW scare has refused to defend his beloved idea in the face of climategate, the IPCC revelations showing how dodgy that report was, the record cold-snaps throughout the globe (coldest in 40 years in Russia on the news last night) everywhere in the world despite record and increasing carbon dioxide levels, etc .. doesn’t strike you as odd?

    Al Gore staying silent on climate change (formerly known as “Global Warming”) is like the Pope staying silent when challenged on the “every sperm is sacred” doctrine or when women are being declared Catholic priests.

    It suggests that either Gore can’t answer the critics – or that he won’t because ..? Well we can only speculate. Shame? Guilt? Belated pause for rethinking his position? Who knows?

    @ 9. P@J Says:

    Phil, can we institute a Godwin’s Law corollary here? Any comment thread on Anthropogenic Global Warming will eventually result in a reference to Al Gore, at which point the person who raised “Al Gore” is immediately the loser of the argument. Argumentum al Gorium.

    You’re becoming *that* ashamed of him now? ;-) :-P

    Or are that unwilling to hear him criticised? :roll:

    “Plutonium being from Pluto” was the perpetrator last thread (comment #52)

    “Perpetrator?” So its something like a crime to even mention Gore’s name now in your opinion? Wow.

    Al Gore is the high priest of the AGW movement. For a very long time now he has been the leading, most vocal and high profile AGW Alarmist spokesperson. Yet now it seems even his own followers get embarrassed when they hear his name & don’t want their case to be associated with him. Appears Gore is increasingly friendless and goes undefended (undefendable?) as well as being isolated and keeping silent. Interesting. Morale in the Warmer camp must be near a record low – just like the weather! ;-)

    @ 45. fred edison Says:

    … What highly amuses me is the insistence from a few in the anti-global warming crowd for the “warmers” and “alarmists” to refrain from slandering them, and to be so courteous as to not refer to them as deniers, but henceforth refer to them as skeptics.

    Its only “slander” if its NOT true. ;-)

    In this specific case climate Alarmists really are being Alarmist and making extraordinary claims about our global climate whereas skeptics really are being skeptical (NOT “denialist”) about the extreme alarmist claims. I do try to be polite but I also do believe in calling things as I see them.

  49. bad Jim

    Moving to a more energy-efficient state of affairs isn’t going to sink our economy; it’s more likely to do the reverse, even if peak oil isn’t imminent. It is likely to threaten the profits of the energy industry, though, which is why they’re crying doom and gloom. Investing in infrastructure, like locally sourced renewable energy and mass transit, would make us leaner, stronger and more resilient.

    Politicians love to proclaim that they’re going to cut government waste, but there’s far more waste in private lifestyles that could be nearly painlessly cut. We could have high-speed trains instead of short-haul planes or endless commutes and find ourselves happier and healthier in the bargain.

    The auto-centered American lifestyle is a big part of the obesity epidemic. Cutting back could add years to our lives. We’ll make better choices if we consider this an opportunity than if we fear it as only a threat.

  50. CB

    When you check into a hospital, you should be given a choice of a doctor who believes in science and one who doesn’t believe in science. ‘nuf said.

  51. Sir Struggle

    @ BadJim

    I’m not talking about businesses, I’m talking about the average working class American who, under the proposed new cap and trade nonsense, would pay double what they used to pay for utilities. Even UPPER middle class families will have a hard time making ends meet with power bills in the neighborhood of $300 a month or more. If you want to tax the socks off of people that are wasting resources when another option is available I guess that’s fine, but no American has another option when it comes to the power bill. When its cold, it’s cold. When it’s hot, it’s hot.

    Unfortunately, Algae fueled Heaters aren’t exactly available at the local Home Depot. Once they are, these overinflated taxes MIGHT make sense, until then they are just a burden on an already struggling economy.

    I have no problem punishing wasteful lifestyles (not corporal punishment or anything), but when it becomes what amounts to a tax for just existing, I will draw the line. Ending the utility monopolies is the first step I would take.

  52. Sir Struggle

    On the subject of mass transit, I realize that GM pretty much killed our mass transit system 70 years ago, but we are a unique country with our bountiful space and long commutes (the opposite of Europe) between home and work and a truly innovative system would have to be invented to ween us off of that. Not everyone lives in an urban area (even state) and 40 mile max electric cars aren’t going to cut it. I realize that max mileages will go up significantly in the future, but current options still leave a lot to be desired. Living in an Apartment, how exactly am I supposed to charge my Plug-in electric car? The point is that it isn’t smart to start taxing and regulating things that aren’t even CLOSE to being perfected yet.

  53. Iggy NoRant

    I’m ignorant of the science behind CO2 and other basic scientific ideas, so I don’t believe in global warming. My faith in Randian objectivism allows me to advocate a selfish libertarian blinkered view that cuts through any inconvenient “reality”. I’m so out of it that I think that I can convert Phil Plait by quoting denialist buffoons, and wavinng my ignorance about like a pennant .
    So, Phil, are you converted yet?

  54. Phil, I know you don’t like to ban people, but you just might want to get out the Big Stick just in case more walls of text start getting pasted in here.

  55. bad Jim

    Clearly we are too poor and too stupid to improve our lot from this point forth. Therefore it’s not our problem, so don’t bother us.

    Isn’t it possible that another point of view might be more productive?

  56. Muzz

    Plutonium Mann “And how about when raw data “goes missing” after leaked emails show the lead researchers would rather delete their files than show them to others and are willing to warp peer reveiw, suppress dissenting opinions, come up with misleading graphs via bad methodology (eg. Mann’s “Hockey stick”) and boasted of “using tricks to hide the decline?” Is all that okay by you? Really?”

    Demonstrate any of this actually happened and wasn’t, at worst, just talked about.
    We know their raw data didn’t “go missing”, they discarded it as it wasn’t theirs to redistribute freely in the first place. Anyone who wants the raw data can go get it from the same place they did.
    Do you know of any papers that weren’t published because of the actions of CRU? Do you know of any dissenting opinions that have been buried because of CRUs actions? Betcha can’t find one.
    You know the hockey stick controversy is a disagreement over how to represent the so called medieval warm period’s influence on overall climate trends when it’s not considered to be a global phenomenon?
    You know “hiding the decine” refers to statstical methods to adjust for anomalies in the tree ring data set so they don’t unduly affect trend data after the 60s (or there abouts), right? And that tree ring data’s limited usefullness in recent times is well known and not at all secret.

    One aspect of skepticism is not being easily led by this particular brand of emotive, captious Inquisition-style thinking. It’s why a lot of people saying “I’m just skeptical! Don’t call me a denier!” makes a mockery of the term when this stuff is pulled out and still wants to be called “skepticism”.

  57. John

    I’m loving these climate posts. Your pseudo -skepticism is being cached and archived for reposting in a few years when AGW is an embarrassment to science.

  58. teknochill

    I’m not a denialist.
    I am skeptical about anyone that wants to take my money to stop, or rather slow down the rate of Global Warming. Only a fool would open thier wallet to that kind of claim.

    I’m embracing Global Warming
    It’s our best hope for avoiding the next Ice Age
    Brrrr…..
    Oh wait…that’s right, Global warming is likely to cause the next Ice Age.
    Looks like we’re all Doomed anyway.

    Scientists are being used as pawns in a power play.
    Take away the science and all you have left is politics.

  59. dcurt

    It’s funny how AGW hasn’t definitively been proven…yet there are still those out there crying that “the science is settled”.

    If it’s really so ironclad then why is the bad science necessary (Mann’s hockey stick, IPCC’s inclusion of data from Greenpeace and WWF, CRU, NCDC “urban warming” adjustments)?

    For years, every person that’s called any of this into question has been demonized and blasted as a fraud with no credibility…or paid by big oil (funny how there’s billions poured into proving AGW..but I guess that’s different). Yet, recently when the integrity of those at the top has been called into question, we’re all supposed to just look away. Seems a bit too convenient, considering how much tax payer money goes to pay for this.

  60. Autumn

    It’s cold outside right now.

    Ergo, Summer is a political myth invented by Al Gore.

  61. Lupine

    I can’t see the sun right now.

    It must not exist.

  62. Gary Ansorge

    49. PBFP:

    I’ve watched your postings about AGW for several months now and have noticed a few things:

    1) you keep referring to 1998 as the hottest year, when it’s actually 2005 that was the hottest.
    2) you keep referencing AL Gore as the high priest of AGW, when he’s merely a retired vice-president who is concerned enough about the available evidence to speak up. If I had HIS credentials and notability, I’d be doing what he does.
    3) you refer to local weather as though that had any bearing on average global temperatures. Please note: Vancouver BC. had to import snow for the Games while the US east coast was buried in the stuff. SO? How come Canada has to import snow?
    4) you seem to think the “climategate folk” had nefarious reasons for their intransigence when it’s obvious they were merely frustrated about the aggravation imposed by denialists constantly criticizing data and models they haven’t spent 30 years researching.
    5) An elitist is someone who spends their life in study and thought. They may not be right, but I’ll trust another elitist to find their errors for more than I’d trust you.

    Gary 7

  63. tresmal
  64. Cars

    Process doesn’t matter in science? As a layperson, that sounds like a disturbing claim from a scientist. Whenever we hear challenges to AGW by other scientists, we are told they are cherry-picking data, but the process that has been revealed through “ClimateGate” and various fallout scandals (including rank speculation published as established fact) shows as much, if not more, cherry-picking by AGW supporters in the drive to — as one sympathetic commenter here says — to defend their conclusions against the “loons” who dare question them. The “loons” then become a justification for the “non-loons” to indulge in chicanery, albeit in defense of our proclaimed truth! That doesn’t sound like science.

    To a layperson, process would seem to be at the very core of science. For instance, the collection of temperature data, which seems to have been tainted, is created through a process that is either reliable or not. Process is what creates data; to forego process is to make assumptions. To falsify the process — on the pro- or con-side of AGW — should rightly call either side into question. Why are scientists fully invested in AGW (through grants, media adulation, book sales, etc) let off the hook on the question of process, while process (the “cherry-picking” accusation) is used as the primary excuse to demean and ruin the reputations of inconvenient scientists?

    This seems to be a convenient double-standard.

  65. Cars (#66): Of course process matters. That’s not what I said, nor what the article implies. What’s being said is that OJ’s lawyers attacked the process sowing doubt where really none existed. That’s what denialists are doing, attacking little things, exaggerating mostly minor issues, and making a lot of noise to distract people from what’s really going on.

  66. jorge c.

    dr.phil plait
    the United kingdon institute of physics on their submission to the united kingdom parlamentary committee said that about the deeds of mr phil jones et al.:
    “(…) 1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.
    “(…) 2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.”
    “(…)5. The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.
    6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ’self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.”

    The royal Scientific Society also informed the said committere that:
    “(…) 4. The RSS believes that the debate on global warming is best served by having the models used and the data on which they are based in the public domain. Where such information is publicly available it is possible independently to verify results. The ability to verify models using publicly available data is regarded as being of much greater importance than the specific content of email exchanges between researchers…

    9. More widely, the basic case for publication of data includes that science progresses as an ongoing debate and not by a series of authoritative and oracular pronouncements and that the quality of that debate is best served by ensuring that all parties have access to the facts. It is well understood, for example, that peer review cannot guarantee that what is published is ‘correct’. The best guarantor of scientific quality is that others are able to examine in detail the arguments that have been used and not just their published conclusions. It is important that experiments and calculations can be repeated to verify their conclusions. If data, or the methods used, are withheld, it is impossible to do this.
    10. The RSS believes that a crucial step in improving the quality of the debate on global warming will be to place the data, the analysis methods and the models in the public domain.”

    So dear mr plait two SCIENTIFICS INSTITUTIONS don’t think that the emails were “litle thigs and/or minor issues” or do you think that a violation of the united kingdom Freedom of Information law is a minor issue???
    I liked in the submission of the RSS this “(…) that science progresses as an ongoing debate and not by a series of authoritative and oracular pronouncements (…) It is well understood, for example, that peer review cannot guarantee that what is published is ‘correct’ what do you think?
    i always thought that you were a “liberal”….

  67. olderwithmoreinsurance

    NO DOUBT EXISTED in the O.J. case? that’s why 12 honest Americans found him innocent? Ah, they were all stooopid and easily fooled by those evil defense lawyers (surely no scientist would be that stoopid)! yeah, that was it. the American justice system has NOTHING to do with how science is done. NOTHING. Conflating science and the American justice system does a great injury to both.
    SLC @31 has it exactly right.

  68. olderwithmoreinsurance

    Oops, I misspoke in my previous post. The jurors in the o.j. case didn’t find him innocent, since that’s not what jurors they do, they found him “not guilty”.

  69. Peter

    I read somewhere that, just like a monkey not able to comprehend science to certain extent, there may be something which is beyond what our human brains are capable of. I think global warming is one of those.

    If we don’t do something about global warming, I don’t see how we can do anything significant for mankind, let alone space colonization.

  70. Markle

    AGW/AGCC deniers like to play the moral outrage of passive-aggressive victimhood. They insist that they are being equated with or considered equivalent to Holocaust deniers. That’s just not the case. It’s simply that they use the same rhetorical tactics as HDs, Birthers, Flat Earthers, Moon Hoaxers, Electric Universers, etc. The WALL O’TEXT, being a favorite. “Refute every one of my points to the smallest detail or what was once false, magically becomes true.”

    It’s not that those of us who use the D-word think that you don’t accept the reality of the Holocaust, it’s just that you often employ the same tactics as those who do. Indeed, at least one of your number from the comments on the Al Gore story referenced by #15 JT above embraces the Holocaust.
    FOXNews.com – You can call him Al… But Al Won’t Call You Back Comment #4 Sorting by Oldest

    ralpherus

    start with algore, then move on to all democrats: Boil the oil out of him, use it for fuel, since they prevent drilling here. Use the residual proteins for pet food. Use the mashed bones for highway construction aggregate (along with ground up tires- let’s make highways that LAST A WHILE). Good roads, a government without traitors, a nation without parasites…think of the bliss folks!
    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Insert emoticon for slack-jawed disbelief here.

    Yep, that’s right. He’s suggesting wholesale slaughter of most of the population and industrial reuse of the remains. The architects of Birkenau would be proud of his ingenuity. Human fat for fuel. Yay!

  71. It is interesting to compare Phil’s usual embarrassing ramming against the topic, and McKibben’s unadulterated rubbish (aren’t we well past the time of rhetorical gymnastics??) with Steve Novella’s measured and reasoned tone.

    Notably, Novella only mentions “denialists” in one of the comments and makes it clear he’s not referring to the entire community of people that are skeptical of one aspect or the other of AGW.

    Since Novella is a friend, there is still hope Our Very Dear Bad Astronomer might revise his debating tactics.

  72. Chris Winter

    dcurt wrote: “It’s funny how AGW hasn’t definitively been proven…yet there are still those out there crying that “the science is settled”.

    If it’s really so ironclad then why is the bad science necessary (Mann’s hockey stick, IPCC’s inclusion of data from Greenpeace and WWF, CRU, NCDC “urban warming” adjustments)?

    For years, every person that’s called any of this into question has been demonized and blasted as a fraud with no credibility…or paid by big oil (funny how there’s billions poured into proving AGW..but I guess that’s different). Yet, recently when the integrity of those at the top has been called into question, we’re all supposed to just look away. Seems a bit too convenient, considering how much tax payer money goes to pay for this.”

    It’s funny how so many of you assert that there’s no proof of AGW when any data, observations, or physical laws that are shown you as proof get blasted by you all as “bad science.”

    And for all of your claims that it’s all cooked up in order to garner billions for climate scientists, none of you can uncover a trace of that supposed ill-gotten wealth.

  73. Messier Tidy Upper

    @9. P@J Says:

    Phil, can we institute a Godwin’s Law corollary here? Any comment thread on Anthropogenic Global Warming will eventually result in a reference to Al Gore, at which point the person who raised “Al Gore” is immediately the loser of the argument.

    I am NOT a fan of the Godwin’s law idea at all which I think should be abolished for the following good reasons :

    1. First, because it restricts free speech ie. for people to make whatever comparisons and analogies they choose, regardless of how inaccurate, offensive or just tedious others find them. Let people fully express themselves and say what they want to say in whatever way they choose to say it. Then lets decide for ourselves, please, whether a specific comparison is warranted or not, rather than just having an instant “ha-ha you said word X thus you lose!” unthinking dismissal.

    2. By making Hitler and the Nazi’s taboo – unsayable at pain of losing an argument – then, to at least some extent, this hides and buries the historical reality of just how evil and wrong Hitler and the Nazi regime was. The Nazi is the ultimate in evil for very good historical reasons and lets not forget what they did or make the words and references to them as the ultimate evil by which other acts are compared disappear and thus risk forgetting that.

    3. The use of Nazi and Hitler comparisons could potentially sometimes be valid and while possibly being offensive or controversial can provide insight into particular cases and the people that are arguing for them. While such comparions may be over-used, there are times – & at least hypothetical – instances where such comparisons are appropriate and worth making. Allusions to one of the worst evils that has happened in human history could potentially, if made by enough people, act as a sort of wake-up call enabling people to act and prevent further atrocities. Well, we can at least hope can’t we?

    So, no, I don’t want or think we should adopt the “Al Gore corollary” and, speaking personally, would like to see the Godwin’s law idea scrapped altogether.

    I do think that while comparisons to Hitler, Gore etc .. should be used sparingly and not ad nauseam folks should still be allowed to use them when they wish to do so without considering this loses the argument for them.

  74. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 64. Gary Ansorge Says:

    49. PBFP:

    I’ve watched your postings about AGW for several months now and have noticed a few things:

    1) you keep referring to 1998 as the hottest year, when it’s actually 2005 that was the hottest.

    If you believe Hansen which I don’t.

    As I understand things the majority of reliable scientists consider 1998 was the hottest ever year globally. 2005 was also a very warm year – nearly but not quite beating 1998′s record.

    2) you keep referencing Al Gore as the high priest of AGW, when he’s merely a retired vice-president who is concerned enough about the available evidence to speak up. If I had HIS credentials and notability, I’d be doing what he does.

    Al Gore is best known for three things :

    a) His promotion of the Anthropogenic Global Warming scare via his c-grade horror masquerading as a “documentary” movie and accompanying book. Gore has been the most prominent and high-profile proponent of AGW Climate Alarmism & his political activism won him the Nobel Peace (NOT science!) prize. However, Gore’s movie has also been found to be riddled with scientific errors and exaggerations and utterly unreliable.

    b) His political career most notably his controversial failed bid for the US Presidency in 2004 when he lost to Bush Jr and refused to accept the result for a very long time. Also his stint as Vice-President to Bill Clinton.

    c) His laughable false claim to have “invented the internet” .. Oh & his weight problems!

    You think those are worthwhile and noble credentials? That allow him to determine what’s scientific fact or not? Really? :roll:

    3) you refer to local weather as though that had any bearing on average global temperatures. Please note: Vancouver BC. had to import snow for the Games while the US east coast was buried in the stuff. SO? How come Canada has to import snow?

    Okay, local weather is, well, just that – local weather. Fair enough.

    But do you also point this out to the climate alarmists when they blame every hot spell, drought and hurricane on their pet AGW boogeyman? Thought not. :roll:

    4) you seem to think the “climategate folk” had nefarious reasons for their intransigence when it’s obvious they were merely frustrated about the aggravation imposed by denialists constantly criticizing data and models they haven’t spent 30 years researching.

    I’d say the motivations for the Climategate “scientists” were the usual human mix of seeking money, fame and attention. I think some may even have been genuinely well-meaning believers in their extreme alarmist ideas. But this doesn’t change the fact that what they did was very wrong and that there was certainly an element of fraud or, at the least, misrepresentation and conspiracy about what they did. They did wrong and they were wrong & were caught out being wrong – this can’t be denied.

    5) An elitist is someone who spends their life in study and thought. They may not be right, but I’ll trust another elitist to find their errors for more than I’d trust you.

    I’ve got nothing against elitists and have never said so. I’m not asking you to trust me, just expressing my views and why I think them and putting my case same as everybody else here.

    I’ve said a bit more and answered some points raised by others AGW-wise here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/24/nasa-talks-global-warming/

    If you’re curious.

  75. Charles Boyer

    “[Al Gore's] laughable false claim to have “invented the internet”

    You lose pretty much all credibility there, because you are simply repeating Dick Armey’s talking points fax that he sent to a very lazy press — a fax that completely mischaracterizes what Al Gore Actually said. From the source interview, the March 9, 1999 CNN Late Addition, in which host Wolf Blitzer was asking Gore what separated him from his challengers fro the Democratic nomination:

    BLITZER: I want to get to some of the substance of domestic and international issues in a minute, but let’s just wrap up a little bit of the politics right now.

    Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley, a friend of yours, a former colleague in the Senate? What do you have to bring to this that he doesn’t necessarily bring to this process?

    GORE: Well, I will be offering — I’ll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.

    But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

    The truth is that Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet in that statement, but instead accurately claim that he led, within the Congress, promoting and advancing the technical developments that have led to Internet as we know it today.

    But don’t take my word. Read on.

    Vinton G. Cerf, a senior vice president at MCI Worldcom and the person most often called “the father of the Internet” for his part in designing the network’s common computer language, said in an e-mail interview , “I think it is very fair to say that the Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given it and related research areas by the vice president in his current role and in his earlier role as senator.”

    Several days later, Dick Armey sent out a fax twisting what Gore said, which the press quickly lapped up with little if any fact-checking. Thus, a false meme was created, one that persists to this day. It is a textbook example of how if people tell a lie often enough it becomes the “truth.” Except that it isn’t.

    While there is much to criticize Gore for – his personal hypocrisy, his exaggeration of AGW, his promotion of FUD, etc, saying he ever claimed to “invent the Internet” is not one of them, and when someone claims that indeed he did say such a thing, it is a clear sign of either someone too lazy to research the story for themselves, or someone that is willing to repeat a widely accepted yet thoroughly debunked story in order to propagate a political viewpoint. Since we are talking about science here, politics have no place on the podium.

    But thanks for playing, and here’s Jay to tell you what you’ve won!

  76. Chip

    AGW is a fact. Global Warming (which results in both warmer AND colder seasonal weather than usual) is a fact. Climate Change is a fact. Long term natural Climate Change is also a fact. All of these facts are studied, investigated, researched, theorized upon and accepted by scientists worldwide. Apart from the facts that are studied there is the denialist propaganda and disinformation from various sources, private and corporate. Read any science journal and climate change is not a “controversy” but a reality that is studied, just like evolution, which also has a fake “controversy” attached to it. Some of the posts in this thread are reminiscent of the scene in Carl Sagan’s “Contact” where a lunatic carnival atmosphere appears around the radio telescope.

    Now I’m going back to my vacation on the gulf coast (where it is unseasonably cold.)

  77. Markle

    Gee, I thought he lost credibility when he claimed Gore ran for President in 2004, something so recent and notorious that anyone of high school age should know by rote.

    SteveoR aka Plutonium being from Pluto’s posts in regards to AGW are so basically flawed in their assumptions that they’re not even wrong. His conversion seems to have come from reading Heaven and Earth “written by Australian geologist and mining company director Ian Plimer. A book soundly (each letter a link to a different review by an AU scientist. I ran out of letters, not reviews) trounced for its “science”.

  78. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Okay, I meant the 2000 election not the 2004 one of course. Big deal. :roll:

    Yes, I’m guilty of reading the papers, watching the news and believing the story that Gore said he invented the internet – I didn’t realise that’s technically not what he said &, yes, maybe I should’ve been more careful. Mea culpa.

    But then maybe some of the Climate Change believers here should be a bit more skeptical about what *they* read & see in the media too.

    As for Plimer’s book – I stand by its credibility over those of its opponents. Professor Ian Plimer has a genuine skeptical and scientific record & while he’s clearly upset & disagrees with the Anthropogenic Global Warmers, this doesn’t make them right and him wrong and no amount of partisan book reviews by his opponents can prove otherwise. :roll:

    - Plutonium being from Pluto aka StevoR

    (Which has never been much of a secret. Also I haven’t posted as StevoR for ages and don’t plan to do again if its a problem.)

  79. Messier Tidy Upper

    @80. Markle Says:

    …His [PBFP/StevoR] conversion seems to have come from reading “Heaven and Earth“ written by Australian geologist and mining company director Ian Plimer. A book soundly (each letter a link to a different review by an AU scientist. I ran out of letters, not reviews) trounced for its “science”.

    How do you do that – get each letter to link to a review or even generally get a word instead of a web-link I mean – Markle?

    Afraid, my net-fu is weak & all I know how to do when it comes to on-line hypertext cites is just cut’n'paste the web link directly.

    Plus it seems you can only cite a certain number of these that way (5 or so?) before you get your post marked as “spam” and into big trouble here. :-(

    Interesting reviews of Plimer’s book and other links. Thanks for that. :-)

  80. TheBlackCat

    But then maybe some of the Climate Change believers here should be a bit more skeptical about what *they* read & see in the media too.

    What makes you think we pay attention at all to what we read and see in the media? Rather than listening to the media, I listen to the experts, I listen to the relevant scientific organizations, and I listen to the peer-reviewed literature. All of these agree. I don’t even read what the popular media says because it worthless. I listen to people who know what they are talking about, I listen to the organizations that represent those people, and I listen to the data itself.

    As for Plimer’s book – I stand by its credibility over those of its opponents. Professor Ian Plimer has a genuine skeptical and scientific record & while he’s clearly upset & disagrees with the Anthropogenic Global Warmers, this doesn’t make them right and him wrong and no amount of partisan book reviews by his opponents can prove otherwise. :roll:

    Right, because when a denialist criticizes the arguments and evidence of several entire fields of science, then that gives them “a genuine skeptical and scientific record”. But when numerous people from those fields criticize the arguments and evidence of a denialist, that can just be dismissed as “partisan book reviews by his opponents”. No need to actually address their criticisms, no need to actually address the errors of fact in the book, it can all just be waved away as a “partisan book review”.

  81. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ TheBlackCat :

    I listen to the experts, I listen to the relevant scientific organizations, and I listen to the peer-reviewed literature. All of these agree.

    Really? Doesn’t that get boring? ;-)

    Seriously, if there is absolutely *no* disagreement of any kind in the sources then that would suggest to me that something is wrong! A few different or diverse ideas seem more realistic to me. ;-)

    Can I ask about your definition of the supposedly “worthless” popular media please?

    Does that include specialist but popular level magazines such as ‘New Scientist’ and the various astronomy magazines? (Eg. ‘Sky & Space’ magazine, ‘Astronomy Now’, Patrick Moore’s ‘Sky at Night’ magazine, etc ..?)

    I do watch the TV news shows and read the newspapers but take them with a grain or two of salt.

  82. Pi-needles

    ^ Mmmmm .. salty newspapers! Delicious. ;-)

  83. TheBlackCat

    Seriously, if there is absolutely *no* disagreement of any kind in the sources then that would suggest to me that something is wrong! A few different or diverse ideas seem more realistic to me. ;-)

    There isn’t zero disagreement on even the most established science. But there is not very much amongst scientists in the relevant fields (compared to other established science), there is practically none in the scientific literature, and there is absolutely none amongst the relevant scientific organizations.

    Does that include specialist but popular level magazines such as ‘New Scientist’ and the various astronomy magazines? (Eg. ‘Sky & Space’ magazine, ‘Astronomy Now’, Patrick Moore’s ‘Sky at Night’ magazine, etc ..?)

    I personally don’t read those sorts of magazines, so I don’t know. I get most of my science news from publications like Science.

  84. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ TheBlackCat : Fair enough. Thanks.

    I’d guess you are a bit unusual then – maybe more of a professional scientist than I am.* Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all! ;-)

    But you mean you’ve never even *once* picked up and flipped through even the odd copy of New Scientist or Astronomy magazine? Really? I find that a bit sad actually. Personally, I *do* get a lot of information – and considerable pleasure as well – from reading popular science magazines such as those I’ve listed earlier. In fact I picked up a copy or two of the latest issues today at my local newsagent. ;-)

    So, if you don’t mind me asking (& if you see this this late in the thread) aside from Science magazine what else do you read and esp. get your info from?

    @ 85. Pi-needles Says:

    Mmmmm .. salty newspapers! Delicious. ;-)

    Not so much the newspapers themselves as the fish’n'chips that wrapped up inside them! :-)

    * & I am very much an interested amateur only.

    PS. Just realised “never even” is one of those palindromes (?) that reads the same backwards as forwards too. Trivia discovery for the night. ;-)

  85. TheBlackCat

    But you mean you’ve never even *once* picked up and flipped through even the odd copy of New Scientist or Astronomy magazine?

    Not those in particular, although I used to have a subscription to Science News and Scientific American.

    So, if you don’t mind me asking (& if you see this this late in the thread) aside from Science magazine what else do you read and esp. get your info from?

    Mostly Nature and some subject-specific journals.

  86. Being an engineer I used to be always a bit curious why the pump was vital, since a legislation of thermodynamics states that heat at all times flows toward cold. Theoretically, the combination valves under the sinks must perform without the pump. Effectively, sooner or later I unplugged the timer to see what would happen. You already know what? The taps produced hot water just as quick with out the pump working! Now we go away the pump off all of the time. My advice is to save yourselves cash and simply buy the undersink valve kits (about $50 every). The pump can all the time be added later in the event you find it is still necessary. Possibly some water techniques require the pump. Hope this helps!

  87. Messier Tidy Upper

    @88. TheBlackCat : Ok, thanks. :-)

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