Let them eat fake

By Phil Plait | April 6, 2010 8:00 am

I wish I had thought of the title of this post, but I have to give credit to the wonderful Rachel Maddow. I happened to catch a few minutes of her show while on the road the other day, and although it made my blood boil, I watched the entire segment, which is now online:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In her segment, Ms. Maddow talks about the out-and-out lying being done by so many right-wing media outlets, in this case about ACORN and Climategate. As I have been saying many times, the far right in this country have been beating the pulpit to a bloody mess with their distortions and noise-making. They will do or say just about anything to distract people from the real issues. As long as people are scared to death by this noise, they won’t think about issues, they’ll react to them.


Elizabeth Kolbert — gotta love that name — has an article in The New Yorker on a similar theme, saying how the sturm und drang over Climategate is much ado about nothing, an overtrumped, overhyped, and breathlessly hyperbolied mountain crafted entirely out of molehills. I have said exactly that myself. Twice. And as I expected when I posted those articles, there was a huge amount of noise, but the points I was making — the ones I was actually making, and not the ones denialists tried play up — still stand. The hacked emails did not show widespread conspiracy by climatologists, and in fact a parliamentary committee that convened to investigate the hacked emails cleared scientists of all wrongdoing.

I’ll note that the far right doesn’t own the copyright on this; the far left has its share of antireality. The alternative medicine movement is a fine example of this. But the right is the one currently making the most noise. I agree with some of the basic tenets of Republicanism — I’d prefer a small government over a bloated bureaucracy, and I believe in fiscal responsibility — but the GOP as it stands now is a far cry from the roots of its party. I think the unholy (so to speak) alliance it curried with fundamental religion a few decades ago has led it to the antireality stance it has today. And either way, and from whatever direction, the noise machines are in full swing.

We’ve seen this over and over again, and it will continue for as long as the media allow it, and we allow the media to allow it. I’m really glad Ms. Maddow and The New Yorker called them out on it. The blogosphere does what it can, but until the main stream media take this issue on, I fear that most people won’t see the man behind the curtain.

Global warming is real. Evolution is real. Vaccines do not cause autism. Homeopathy doesn’t work. These are facts, and they don’t care whether or not denialists spin, fold, and mutilate them. Until we face up to reality, however, they will spin, fold, and mutilate us.

Comments (151)

  1. What you fail to comprehend is that reality, facts, and the entire universe have no bearing to some people. They will continue to wallow in their ignorance, and Faux Noise will continue to fed them what they want to hear.

    I wonder if we can follow the lead of the Golgafrinchams and just ship them off? Although, a direct collision course with the sun would be better, in order to prevent their type of infection from inadvertently spreading.

  2. Gary Ansorge

    Wow! I have a new hero in the realm of news.

    Rachel Maddow !!!

    THAT’S how news should be reported. Just the facts man, just the facts.

    “Tell a big enough lie, loud enough and long enough and people will believe it to be true.”

    I don’t recall who said this first, but as I recall, they were nasty folk. It seems the current Republican party leadership is truly taking their cheat sheets from the worst dictators in history.

    Way to go there, you overfed pachyderms.

    Thanks for posting that Phil.

    GAry 7

  3. Narvi

    I’m just glad that spring is finally here. Maybe it will mean people will stop going “Global warming can’t be real, it’s cold outside at the moment!”, thereby showing that words like “Global” and “Climate” are beyond them.

  4. X. Wolp

    I really like Rachel but unfortunately she keeps bringing people like Tom Harkin (of NCCAM fame) on. Somehow his support for useless alternative medicine and quack cancer cures hasn’t hit the mainstream yet.
    Oh well, at least she is bringing people like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye on, can’t have it all I suppose…

  5. Narvi

    @Gary Ansorge:
    “I don’t recall who said this first, but as I recall, they were nasty folk.”

    It was Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, and yes, generelly considered a bad man.

  6. Ray

    Two observations:

    1) Its a dead horse on this blog. Why keep beating it?
    2) You’ll gain no converts here; anyone who doesn’t buy AGW isn’t going to change and anyone who does buy it won’t either.

    Just seems to me that your time, resources and energy could be better spent on other topics. Less political topics. Science, for example, is fascinating. I hear you might know a little about that.

  7. Ray,

    Read this post: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2007/07/15/politics-science-me-and-thee/

    (Not like it’s linked on the right, or that it’s a three year old post, or that this is Dr. Plait’s blog and he can do what he wishes with it…)

  8. @Ray

    Take a read of the link over to the right under Blogroll, “Politics and Religion posts”.

  9. Mike

    Phil, I agree with you to a large extent however I think the fuss did some good as well. It turned out there were errors of analysis made due to a flaw in the software and data was accepted from questionable sources. My view of the situation is reevaluate the data and eliminate any questionable sources then correct the flaw in the software and reanalyze the data. That will squelch the anti arguments and leave us with a clear picture of what is really happening, where the biggest troubles are and give us a roadmap to finding real solutions. The biggest problem with this entire issue has been the insertion of politics and possible vested financial interests at high levels. Only unadulterated science can give us the answers we need.

  10. BigBadSis

    Rachel Maddow. My new woman crush.

  11. I’ll note that the far right doesn’t own the copyright on this; the far left has its share of antireality. The alternative medicine movement is a fine example of this.

    Since when is the alternative medicine movement an example of the “far left?” It’s news to me that chiropractors, naturopaths and homeopaths are really communists. :-)

  12. “I’d prefer a small government over a bloated bureaucracy, and I believe in fiscal responsibility ”

    Sorry Phil, false dichotomy. Your libertarianism is seriously undermining your credibility. One can also have small bureaucracies and big but efficient governments. And since when have the right been showing any fiscal responsibility? Please, get a reality check and judge yourself by the same standards you judge others.

  13. I’d prefer a small government over a bloated bureaucracy, and I believe in fiscal responsibility.

    I don’t believe you.

  14. Zucchi

    I love how Fox News, the highest-rated “news” channel, doesn’t consider itself part of the mainstream media.

    Rachel, I love ya, but goddamnit, stop confusing “disinterested” and “uninterested”. I’ve heard many people mistakenly use the former to mean the latter; you’re the first one I’ve heard mistake it in the opposite direction.

  15. Sili

    “A lie travels halfway around the Globe before the truth has even put its boots on.”

  16. Ray

    @Larian and Todd,

    Message recieved. Not allowed to have an opinion here unless it agrees with everyone else.

  17. Nails67

    Fiscal responsibility is a tenet of Republicanism? Et tu, Brute? Carter (D) decreased the debt by 2.8% relative to GDP. Reagan (R) increased it by 7.3% and 11.2% during his two terms. Bush the 1st (R) increased the debt by 12.2%. Clinton (D) increased by 3.0% first term, and decreased 9.8% second term. Bush the 2nd (R) increased by 5.6% and 6.3% for his two. Perhaps the biggest Republican triumph over the last 30 years has been their success at positioning themselves as “the party of fiscal responsibility” in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

  18. Mike From Tribeca

    Just once, I’d love to hear an explanation of how we can have “small government” in a nation of over 300 million people, never mind that there will be 100 million more of us over the next century ? Less pie in the sky and more pragmatism is needed in this day and age.

  19. Martha

    Not only does the right spread lies now they are attempting to silence voices who disagree with them. The link below tells how they have begun denial of service attacks on liberal websites today. IMHO trying to stifle free speech is the epitome of anti Americanism.

    http://newsjunkiepost.com/2010/04/05/breaking-right-wing-begins-internet-attacks/

  20. PhilB

    Rachael Maddow makes me wish I was a lesbian.

    Karen Gillan, on the other hand, will always keep me straight.

    Seriously though, Rachael ain’t perfect but she’s this amazing beacon of intelligence and honesty in the current cable news community.

  21. Jove

    “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

    -Jonathan Swift

  22. Bob in Easton

    Except for true libertarians… if there really are any… there is a basic reality that the “small government” crowd doesn’t get.

    You cannot have an Empire and have a small government at the same time. The two are mutually exclusive. The US maintains the largest empire in history with our military ensconced in bases all over the world and now in two wars. The biggest promoter of this empire since the 1980′s have been the so-called Conservatives and their institutions.

    Conservatives are not really for small government as the wild spending to further the empire escalated during the “W” years shows. Conservatives love authority. American Conservatives are more Monarchists then Republicans.

  23. Rachel Maddow has her own share of disingenuous reporting the last year, just one more empty talking head to add to the pile of fail.

  24. Ray,

    It wasn’t meant as a slam on the opinion, but it’s one that has been adressed numerous times and gets old hearing people complain about when the complaint is just to hear yourself moan. :)

  25. BigBob

    Phil, you were the first one I read to step into the so called ‘Climategate’ nonsense and explain some of the terms used in the emails. You explained what they were actually saying. I tip my hat in your general direction.

    BTW
    Can we borrow Ms Maddow? Just for a couple of weeks maybe. She is, as we say, the business.
    Bob(Big)

  26. Lupine

    I thought global warming was caused by Al Gore reflecting liberal sunlight of Pluto.

  27. @Ray

    As Larian said, we’re not disallowing you an opinion, but rather that your concerns have already been noted. Just about every post that covers politics or religion, we get someone telling Dr. Plait not to post on such topics and focus on astronomy or other non-religion/non-political topics. If you don’t like to read such posts, then don’t read them. Every post has tags letting you know what to expect.

  28. Good points in the video. The left and right can both make a LOT of noise. I dislike both sides which isn’t easy. You get people on either side barking at you to pick a side. If you do, then one is your friend but the other barks twice as loud. *sigh* It’s OK, I have earplugs for both sides. ;)

    “Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity.”

    -Albert Einstein

  29. Chris

    If we say watching Fox News causes autism, we can save the country!

  30. Jeff in Tucson

    @Ray A discussion of the politics and public perception of science IS a post about science. “Climategate” is a science-related issue (despite the fact that it really shouldn’t be an issue at all…). What do you want from Phil? His own original research every day on these topics? Aside from that, I’m with Todd, Larian, et. al.

  31. Dave R

    @11:
    >Since when is the alternative medicine movement an example of the “far left?”

    From where Phil’s standing, he can’t see the real far left even with his telescope. :-p

    Good post as usual apart from that, though.

  32. Wayne on the plains

    @ 18. Mike,

    I’ll spare you having to actually read the Constitution and explain how a large country can have a small federal government in two words. State governments. See, that was easy.

  33. I’d prefer a small government over a bloated bureaucracy

    Seriously, is there anyone who wouldn’t prefer this, other things being equal? That government should do the same things more efficiently is a no-brainer.

    I guess the questions are, what things are best done by government: it’s your answer to this that characterises you as libertarian, conservative, Republican, etc.

    I believe in fiscal responsibility

    Ditto – who wouldn’t, in the abstract? But it’s quite possible to be a respectable economist and say that the fiscally responsible thing to do is for the government to run up debt just now while the bulk of the world’s economy is in a liquidity trap – and back it up evidentially.

  34. Martha

    Also note that Limbaugh and others of his ilk are attacking net neutrality.

    “Right-wing delusion: Net neutrality is government plot to control Internet content”

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201004050020

  35. I love Rachael… especially when she does pieces like this one. Sure she’s fallable and has gotten things wrong before, but way more often than not, she hits the nail on the head.

  36. Gary

    fwiw, the parliamentary committee that “cleared” Phil Jones and CRU failed to ask the pertinent questions and adequately address the issues of illegally tampering with the FOIA process and obstructing critics from fully examining the basic data. It was a political committee doing a political job of making the situation look not so bad. Science suffers when the truth is suppressed, as well as aided and abetted by political whitewash. If you can’t accept that exoneration by compromised and uninformed examiners is meaningless, then you can’t be reasoned with. It’s an argument from authority where the authority is bogus. You don’t accept that for anti-vaxxers and ID-ers; why accept it for climate scientists?

    The hypocrisy – it burns.

  37. Charlie Young

    Personally, I like the political banter here. I like that there is a political balance and everyone is free to express their opinions without recrimination from our genial host. Most of the vitriol comes from those with strong opinions one way or the other. Phil stays pretty neutral.

    One point I’d like to bring up: Phil said he agrees with certain tenets of Republicanism, but never stated he thinks the current Republicans abide by those tenets. He clearly states current Republicans are a far cry from those beliefs.

  38. Gary Ansorge

    18. Mike From Tribeca

    Good point however, the population statistics I’ve seen indicate the USA will peak at about 350 million by the mid 21st century. The only reason we ‘re still growing is due to immigration. Our resident birth rates from old timers is below replacement. First generation immigrants have high birth rates which decrease in the second and third generations.

    We’re pretty typical of techno societies world wide. Soon, we may have to draft old timers to keep our military forces fully staffed,,,

    Gary 7

  39. Jim

    A small nit, but it should be Dr. Maddow, as she has a Ph.D. from an obscure college in England. Oxford, or Oxbow, or somesuch. I know, it’s odd to think of a talking head as being highly educated, but there it is. I’m sure, as self-effacing as she tends to be, she would prefer Rachel.

    And Shane Brady, any, you know, EXAMPLES of “disingenuous reporting” on Dr. Maddow’s part? With links, please. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, after all.

  40. Chip

    Rachel Maddow is my Facebook friend. Well, me and many thousands of others. So is Phil Plait, well, me and many thousands of others. I’m glad the pro-reality side has allies like these.

  41. Tangofish

    A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.
    – (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)

  42. Lindsay

    Perfect examples of my favorite Jonathan Swift quote:

    “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after.”

  43. @37 The reason why skeptics support climate change over anti-vax is there IS evidence of climate change as opposed to anti-vax where there is no evidence. Now whether the evidence of climate change is convincing to you is rather a matter of your scientific rigor and ability to look at the evidence as whole and accept evidence even if you do not agree with the outcome. So far the evidence for anthropological climate change is far more convincing to the scientific community then the evidence that shows otherwise.

    @33 The belief that state government would decrease federal bloat could be false conclusion. States can be just as inefficient as the federal government and when you have many states acting independently but a federal government trying to corral all these individuals to do federal tasks; it could actually make the federal government just as bloated maybe even more. Unfortunately this is a matter of opinion or philosphy as human behaviour cannot really be modeled. Just food for thought.

  44. Original Mike

    I have just finished reading “The Hockey Stick Illusion” by A.W. Montford. Available from Amazon UK. Don’t let the title fool you. It is an eye opener.

    P.S. It has very little to do with the CRU hack. Last 40 pages or so hastily written as the episode broke while the book was nearing publication. The body of the book is about the paleoclimate reconstructions themselves.

  45. kat wagner

    Rachel has a PhD & I’m so glad she’s on tv. Journalism is in such trouble for a number of reasons, but Rachel speaks the truth. “Fair & Balanced” is a misnomer, if you’re arguing facts & lies. There is only one side – the truth. I try to watch Fox sometimes just to see what they’re saying, but OMG, Hannity says there’s “liberal media” & then there’s Fox. Lies get repeated, over & over again, by multiple wingnuts, & pretty soon people think they’re facts.

    Oh yeah, Rachel said right-wingers are wingnuts and left-wingers are moonbats. I was glad she cleared that up.

  46. Utakata

    I believe in fiscal responsibility and accountability too…as long a healthy proportion of it re-distributed to the poor. :)

    And Ray @ #16: Here’s your bottled baby’s milk.

    Great video by the way! Besides, I thought most Repugs are pimps anyway. :)

  47. But then, isn’t it a bit arrogant to say with bold letters that these theories *are* real? I mean, I guess science only says that they are currently the best approximations of reality but who knows, maybe we can further polish them and get even better approximations.

    Look at Newton mechanics that worked perfectly and was an approximation good enough for a long time, but then it got improved and/or replaced.

    Regards.

  48. Daffy

    What’s amazing to me is that after years of Republicans controlling everything, the country was left in a complete shambles in every sense. And somehow they manage to believe that everything will be OK if we just let them control everything again.

    Are their memories really that short? Or do they just hope everyone else’s are?

  49. Yeah, Maddow tends to be spot-on with her reporting. I have a lot more faith in a presenter like her, one who makes a point to offer corrections up front and completely when it’s warranted. Accuracy, specific details and context matter, and her reporting on these points is probably why so few on the right will accept her interview requests.

  50. Daniel J. Andrews

    Mike @9 said,

    My view of the situation is reevaluate the data and eliminate any questionable sources then correct the flaw in the software and reanalyze the data. That will squelch the anti arguments and leave us with a clear picture of what is really happening, where the biggest troubles are and give us a roadmap to finding real solutions.

    Already been done for years. Many times. Independent verifications using independent methodologies. Redone using improved methodologies. Constant examining and improving. It’s all in the journals, and discussed on science blogs like RealClimate.

    Also 95% of the data is available to anyone to download (see RealClimate.org and find the data sources tab at top of the page) and you can work on the data yourself (as has been done by many people now). The other 5% or so can be purchased from the countries of data origin (so I’m sure it would be available to self-proclaimed think-tanks–wonder why they haven’t done anything with the data yet?).

    None of this though has made the slightest difference to those who lie or unknowingly propagate the lies. Not one of the climategate promoters will retract their claims, and apologize for their slander. They will just regard it as evidence of an even more massive conspiracy. In fact, you cannot produce any evidence that will make them admit they were wrong about climategate. Their opinions are entrenched ideology, and unlike in the sciences, evidence and facts will not change those opinions.

    We already have a clear picture of what is really happening. There’s just a well-funded campaign aimed at the general public to create doubt. Doubt is their product.

    That last line should sound familiar. This is being done by the same think tanks, the same public relations firm, and even some of the same people who were telling us cigarettes don’t cause cancer, 2nd hand smoke doesn’t cause cancer, acid rain isn’t a problem, CFCs aren’t depleting the ozone, etc. They’ve gone a step further in slandering, libeling, smearing climate scientists because the science itself is too strong.

    If we really want to squelch the anti arguments the antis need to be held accountable for their lies. Why not hold everyone else accountable to Inhofe’s (and Faux Noise) standards for climate scientists (e.g. criminalizing them)?

    Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Watts, and even Inhofe would probably find themselves facing a Congressional hearing, heavy fines, and possibly jail time….which is probably why they don’t hold themselves accountable to the same standards. Those folks can’t write or talk for more than a paragraph without committing some schoolchild blunder, repeating some long-debunked lie, or contradicting basic physics.

    If the liars aren’t held accountable, then there’s no reason for them to stop. Their tactics work and there’s no real consequences. Let’s change that if we want clarity.

  51. Charlie Young

    I think it’s fascinating how many people equate the Presidential administration with the state of the union. That, my friends is only 1/3 of the picture. There is also the Congress to be accounted for as well. The Supreme Court has influence, too. You can never really say that the Republicans or Democrats ran us into any of the troubles we have seen. It usually takes both kinds to really screw it up.

  52. David D.

    @46–
    “as long a healthy proportion of it re-distributed to the poor. :)

    A sizable portion of my income is redistributed to the poor every year, through my taxes and voluntarily of my own volition (donations, personal pro bono work, etc.). I think it’s a lot better for everyone involved if I get to “redistribute” my wealth as I see fit, rather than at the whim of someone else. If that’s a problem for you–hey, no one is stopping you from sending a bigger check to the regional IRS office next week.

    @48–

    Not sure that I would characterize what Maddow does as “reporting;” “personal observations” perhaps, certainly not as clownish or “entertaining” as Beck or Olbermann, but definitely not “reporting.”

    @51–
    “the country was left in a complete shambles in every sense.”
    I remember buying gas in December 2008 for about a buck 35 a gallon, half of what it costs now. And the unemployment rate was 7.2%; there were about 4 million more people with jobs then than there are now. Complete shambles?

    Just sayin’.

  53. Jim

    @50 -

    “When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

  54. Jeff in Tucson

    @50 Michael: Scientific theories are only considered valid insofar as their ability to fit observable phenomena. Evolution fits our observations of the apparent interrelation of the traits of various living organisms with each other and to their environments. Global warming fits observations of historical climate data, and present trends. Antivax “theory” is a model for no observable phenomenon. There is no (statistically significant) trend linking vaccination rates and autism rates. You have a model here, without any observable quantities which need modelling. That is what makes it not “real” as compared to the other two examples. Same thing for homeopathy. It has nothing to do with arrogance, and everything to do with the fact that science is based first and foremost on observable quantities, not anecdotes.

  55. Plastic Jesus

    Phil. I love your blog, but it’s better when you leave the politics at home.

    Rachel Maddow is as much of a frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic on the left, as Glen Beck is on the right.

  56. DS

    Unfortunatlly, her cheerleading of Acorn is based on in incomplete reading of the report.

    From the report:
    “Employees outside California made suggestions for disguising profits from the illegal enterprise and for avoiding detection by law enforcement authorities. Clearly, the worst behavior was exhibited by the Baltimore employees who advised on how to falsely report the profits of their sex business and report underage prostitutes as “dependants.” To a somewhat lesser degree the Washington, D.C. employees provided inappropriate advice, as did the employees in the Brooklyn office.”

    So, in the SPECIFIC California cases, the SPECIFIC definition of Aiding and Abetting were not met.

    Nor did Acorn show the jokers the door as soon as they brought up the less than legal activites that they were claiming to be partaking in.

  57. Bob

    @46: “The reason why skeptics support climate change over anti-vax is there IS evidence of climate change as opposed to anti-vax where there is no evidence.” – so far, I have not seen any evidence that would prove that (a) there is a global warming _and_ (b) it is caused mostly by humans _and_ (c) that the main cause are CO2 emissions (not to mention: _and_ (d) limiting CO2 emissions is the most effective method of reducing such GW with regard to both cost and effect). However, I’ll be more than happy if anyone points me to right direction (that would be much better than attacking opponents and exclaiming in bold letters that GW _is_ real. Yes, I’m looking at you, Phil).

  58. Original Mike

    Echo Bob @60.

    As I said above, I believe I’ve learned a lot by reading “The Hockey Stick Illusion” by A.W. Montford. It has shaken my previous confidence in the conventional wisdom. I would now like to read a book which would present the other side of the paleoclimate temperature reconstructions. What should I read?

  59. Greg C

    Just an observation from a non scientific guy.
    The local weather guy has a problem predicting the weather five days out and I’m supposed to believe in global warming models?
    Not going to happen
    What happened to the ice age that was iminent when I was in grade school. How did I miss that?
    Is there validity to the trend? Maybe so, caused by man, not convinced, there are too many variables.

  60. Jim

    @62 – We can predict the ocean’s tides with a high degree of accuracy, but not individual waves. Similarly, day-to-day weather versus long-term climate are totally different types of predictions on much different scales, so comparing the two directly doesn’t make sense.

  61. CyrusZ

    @ Greg C 62

    You managed two long refuted canards in one go.
    First, I advise you to learn the difference between weather and climate.
    Second, regarding your canard about the coming ice age, did you do a review of the peer reviewed scientific literature of the day to determine how many climatologists were arguing for global cooling versus how many were arguing for global warming?

    Media hype doesn’t always equal scientific consensus.
    In the seventies a majority of scientific papers actually argued for global warming.

  62. dcurt

    Maddow…seriously?

    Nothing like watching a political hack accusing others of bending and misrepresenting the truth…by bending and misrepresenting the truth. There was no cherry-picking of facts going on in that video.

  63. Joe

    @65

    Thank you for summarizing my thoughts on this thread. The hypocrisy going on in this debate is overwhelming.

  64. jcm

    Unfortunately, nowadays (most of) the media seems to be more interested about whether Britney Spears has flashed her lady parts than actual news about the issues or problems that the country faces.

  65. So all it takes to get a national assistance group that is supported by federal aid to go away, is to make a video that gets on Fox News? Especially with a Democrat majority Congress? Really?

    I am going to have to try that!!

  66. @57 Jeff in Tucson
    I guess it depends on the definition of `real`. If real is what you use that word for – I agree. It’s just that I thought real was closer to true (as in the romantic idea of the theory of everything).

  67. Leander

    “…the sturm und drang over Climategate…”

    Sturm und Drang ? You got any idea what that means ? I thought I did, so I looked across the web, whether it had any further meaning apart from the one that I was aware of, that would justify your use of this expression in this context, couldn’t find one. So either I’m uneducated and there’s a justification for use of this term in such a way…or you’re trying to sound really educated. Really hard. I’m just puzzled at the moment.

    EDIT: My bad. Seems to be an existant, though still scarily uneducated English/American mangling of the expression, indeed usable in such a context. You never stop learning and wondering.

  68. Yojimbo

    @70 – I dunno Leander. The sense of sturm und drang from the arts movement (which is the only source I know of for it), with its emphasis on subjectivity and extremes of emotion, seems perfectly fitting. What is your understanding of the term that would make it inappropriate?

  69. Chip

    @ 70. Leander:

    “Sturm und drang” means “storm and stress” and is named after a 17th Century style of German literature wherein stories culminated in rousing action. The term has also been applied in art and music history. In music, it is applied to the middle Viennese Classical Period of late Haydn through early Beethoven.
    The term is also used in the 20th/21st Centuries to simply mean stressful drama or turmoil. Phil’s use of it as an analogy for Elizabeth Kolbert’s article about the corporatist inspired front of phony “debate” against the reality of climate change and its influence on some law makers, pundits, rightwing writers and weathermen is insightful and clever.

  70. Original Mike

    @ 53: “Already been done for years. Many times. Independent verifications using independent methodologies. Redone using improved methodologies. Constant examining and improving. It’s all in the journals, and discussed on science blogs like RealClimate.

    Also 95% of the data is available to anyone to download (see RealClimate.org and find the data sources tab at top of the page) and you can work on the data yourself (as has been done by many people now). The other 5% or so can be purchased from the countries of data origin (so I’m sure it would be available to self-proclaimed think-tanks–wonder why they haven’t done anything with the data yet?).”

    Montford paints a very different picture. For example, he argues the verifications have been anything but independent, and this matters because the reconstructions do not appear to be robust (i.e. they are sensitive to cherrypicking the data). It’s pretty convincing and well sourced. I’d really like to read the other side of this specific piece of the larger AGW debate. Can anybody point me to a comprehensive book dealing specifically with the historical temperature reconstructions a.k.a. “the hockey stick” (blogs don’t fit the bill)?

  71. Doug Little

    Greg C,

    If you are not willing to research the topic yourself then the only sane choice is to trust the scientific consensus. Also how can you possibly make the statement that there are too many variables, knowing nothing about science of modeling climate.

  72. Steve in Dublin

    Ray @ #6, Mike @ #9, Lupine @ #26, Gary @ #37, Original Mike @ #47, Michal @ #50, David D. @ #55, Plastic Jesus @ #58, Bob @ #60, Greg C. @ #62, dcurt @ #65, and Joe @ #66:

    My, but the noise to signal ratio seems particularly high today. Would that be more akin to weather… or climate?

  73. Original Mike

    Very substantive contribution, there, Steve in Dublin.

    Pardon me for thinking I could learn something from you free thinkers.

  74. Peter Beattie

    I recently came across two seemingly anti-AGW articles by Matt Ridley, of all people. I’m not quite sure I understand what’s going on there, but I’d let to get some input from you lot.

    The Global Warming Guerillas
    The case against the hockey stick

  75. Phil,

    I remember when you were a science writer… and a scientist. A shame that you have shifted to liberal politics and the global warming religion.* A few years ago I would have said to any one who wanted a great astronomy blog to check yours out. It was that good. Today I would not, because you are sub-par.

    We are creatures of habit,which is the only reason I continue to read Bad Astronomy. Which in this case is a bad habit, which is my problem… not yours.

    Get back to your roots, Phil. I like your science writing and you blazed a trail for all of us who blog.

    *If you cannot scientifically refute people who disagree with you and instead demonize them… you are a religious zealot. Global warming might be true, but the way you and other believers promote it invites skepticism… which like all zealots is unacceptable to your world view.

  76. Steve in Dublin

    Thanks, Original Mike. I like to think of it more as a bias towards reality. Free thinking was, like, so 70′s – though that was the decade I was educated in.

    Not that the education doesn’t continue. Just can’t help noticing the Exxon and ‘think tank’ millions flowing to those who get (quietly) paid to sow the seeds of doubt about the science of AGW, about which there is no longer any real doubt, only the manufactured kind. And just love watchin’ you sock puppets lap it all up. It would be simply pathetic were the situation not so serious.

  77. The Other Ian

    Arquette Sisters,

    Get over yourself. You aren’t Phil’s editor, and he’ll write about the things that he cares about, not the things that you would prefer. If you’re only interested in a subset of the posts on this blog, then I suggest you start taking advantage of the category feature to skip directly to the posts about astronomy, NASA, and space.

  78. Joey Joe Joe

    Oh, come on, guys! Maddow is hardly the pinnacle of journalistic integrity. Doesn’t anyone remember her hysteria that the cryptic inscriptions of biblical references on U.S. guns was “putting the troops lives at stake” (or hyperbole to that effect)?

    As much as I disagree with the inscriptions being there, her publicizing of the issue did far more to put the troops lives at risk that the verses being their in the first place.

    Maddow is just as bad as O’Reilly – she’s just on the other side of the political spectrum.

  79. Joey Joe Joe

    @79 (Steve):

    Do you have any evidence that Exxon & co. are funding a disinformation campaign?

    This is interesting, because on the one hand we have the likes of you claiming that “big oil” are behind the AGW denialism (presumably because they want to sell oil), and on the other hand some of the more extreme deniers claiming AGW is a conspiracy by the same “big oil” to convince us to buy their green products.

  80. Steve in Dublin

    @82 Joey Joe Joe,

    Yes, there is evidence. The trouble is that one of the the main sources is Greenpeace, so that’s going to get the denialists’ hackles up straight away. FWIW, just do a search for ‘exxon secrets’. Then look at the FAQ, the HTML fact sheets, and the map of the paid shills. The same names keep cropping up again and again, same as it was with the tobacco lobby years ago in the face of overwhelming evidence that smoking causes cancer.

    The science has been settled since the 90′s. And that’s about the same time that the anti-AGW propaganda machine kicked in. It’s essentially paid lobbyists vs. the climate scientists. You decide who you would trust more.

  81. Steve in Dublin

    Also, the two web pages that (for me) best state the case for man-made GW (though I will get held up in moderation for providing links):

    The first page shows what happens (using statistical analysis rather than models) when you add/subtract greenhouse gases from the various factors that contribute to global climate change:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/not-computer-models/

    Most instructive is the graph labelled ‘No GHG’, which shows the effect for all factors *besides* CO2 (methane and other gases also play a part, but not nearly as much as CO2). And that effect is *negligible*. OK, so that page shows us that CO2 is one of the biggest forcings driving global climate change. But how can we prove that this effect is largely man-made? Well, have a look here:

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-7.1.html

    From that page, this is the most telling bit:

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is known to be caused by human activities because the character of CO2 in the atmosphere, in particular the ratio of its heavy to light carbon atoms, has changed in a way that can be attributed to addition of fossil fuel carbon.

    Fossil fuel carbon. Hmm. I wonder where that could come from?

  82. Joey Joe Joe

    @83

    Steve,

    Greenpeace is an organization with an agenda relevant to the subject, so I would be concerned if it didn’t raise your skeptic hackles either. If you don’t think they have an agenda, then may I suggest you google “FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE”.

    In any case, I visited the site and read the topmost blog post (which is a year old as of this writing). I’m sorry, Steve, but seriously:

    Revealed: Exxon Secret Funding of Global Warming Junk Scientists

    Thanks to Exxon’s revealing this little secret, we now have a direct link between the Exxon black bag o’ cash and two scientists who have made their careers as global warming deniers.

    The new Exxon Giving report shows straight pipe funding, in the odd but specific sum of $76,106 to the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, home of Dr. Willie Soon and Dr. Sallie Baliunas. Or we assume the cash went to these two, until Exxon explains itself.

    Bolding mine.

    I don’t have the time right now to poke around the site too much, but based on this, I think you are giving far too much weight to this “evidence”.

  83. TheBlackCat

    @ Joey: If you don’t trust greenpeace, what about the Royal Society of London, Britain’s premier scientific organization? They seemed convinced that Exxon was funding global warming denialists. They were so convinced they took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to Exxon asking them to stop:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/20/oilandpetrol.business

    It also looks like Exxon has outright admitted they did this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/28/climatechange.fossilfuels

  84. TheBlackCat

    @Joey: If you don’t trust greenpeace, what about the Royal Society of London, Britain’s premier scientific organization? They seemed convinced that Exxon was funding global warming denialists. They were so convinced they took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to Exxon asking them to stop. Google “Royal Society exxon letter” to get more information. (I have another comment in moderation with links)

  85. David D.

    “Yes, there is evidence. The trouble is that one of the the main sources is Greenpeace . . .”

    I guess you consider Greenpeace one of those unbiased organizations, or at least, “biased towards reality,” to echo a phrase you used. Say–you’re not one of those “BigPharma” conspiracy moonbats, are you? Like Tom Harkin, or Bill Maher?

    Listen–I am somewhat of a skeptic on the whole GW alarmist issue, but I haven’t gotten my check from Exxon. Any idea where I can pick it up?

    And by the way, folks–science is NEVER settled. It is ALWAYS open to inquiry and questions, and yes, even FOIA requests.

  86. Bruce

    It was over 80 degrees today. Let the warm-mongering begin! Page 1 of the liberal playbook: repeat the same garbage over and over again until people start to believe it as fact. Global warming is a big hoax? Who cares! Just keep telling the public that it’s a super-big problem and eventually the gullible masses will be converted. Looks like most of the people on this blog have already become global warming zombies. Earth… getting… warmer. Humans… bad…..

    Phil, you really get your news from Rachel Maddow? That’s pathetic. The only thing more dangerous for your brain cells is watching Keith Olbermann.

  87. TheBlackCat

    @ Bruce: Please be a poe. Do you really think pretty much every relevant scientific organization and journal in the entire world is participating in a giant liberal conspiracy? Because that sure sounds like what you are saying. Have any evidence backing this up?

  88. Utakata

    Beep!!! Bruce @ #89 used the word “liberal” as a bad thing. This automatically qualifies him to be a likely a kook on my nut case rating scale. Or a bad troll at the very least. Either way, avoid feeding it.

  89. Astrofiend

    89. Bruce Says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Have a cry Bruce! Straight out of page one of the conservative playbook – Step 1 – become a massive cry-baby sook. Check!

    Now that that’s taken care of, I believe that Step 2 requires fulfillment – head off somewhere to get your opinion vomited into your mouth by Bill O’Reilly!

  90. Astrofiend

    Oops, did I just feed a troll? Man I love doing that. You’ll always be a massive sook to me Bruce! Eat that up.

  91. John A. Jauregui

    Jay Richards’ “When-Not-To-Believe-The-Science-Of-Scientists” is the best rebuttal to the relentless drum beat of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) zombies. A person’s retort only has to quote one or more of a dozen of the reasons listed below, depending on the offending Eco-hype in question, to give Jay Richards’ logic and common sense wings. His 12 point checklist should be taught in the classroom to inoculate our youth against the rising flood of propaganda manufactured by Big Government, Big Media and Big Academia working together against the best interests of the American people.

    Let’s see, what might fit the logical absurdities ladled out in many of today’s AGW articles responding to ClimateGate revelations of scientific, political, media and academic misconduct and outright RICO ACT fraud? #10 looks pretty good to start with, but here, you choose the rest:

    (1) When different claims get bundled together.
    (2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate.
    (3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line.
    (4) When publishing and peer review in the discipline is cliquish.
    (5) When dissenting opinions are excluded from the relevant peer-reviewed literature not because of weak evidence or bad arguments but as part of a strategy to marginalize dissent.
    (6) When the actual peer-reviewed literature is misrepresented.
    (7) When consensus is declared hurriedly or before it even exists.
    (8) When the subject matter seems, by its nature, to resist consensus.
    (9) When “scientists say” or “science says” is a common locution.
    (10) When it is being used to justify dramatic political or economic policies.
    (11) When the “consensus” is maintained by an army of water-carrying journalists who defend it with uncritical and partisan zeal, and seem intent on helping certain scientists with their messaging rather than reporting on the field as objectively as possible.
    (12) When we keep being told that there’s a scientific consensus.
    For a better understanding go to:

    http://thegovmonitor.com/world_news/united_states/when-not-to-believe-the-science-of-scientists-26425.html

  92. Jeffersonian

    And since “let them eat cake” is made-up history to begin with, it’s an even better title.

    But I don’t get:
    “the far left has its share of antireality. The alternative medicine movement is a fine example of this”
    Altmedicine is just as easily labeled far right. The people I know that but alt med are republican voters

    and:
    “I agree with some of the basic tenets of Republicanism — I’d prefer a small government over a bloated bureaucracy, and I believe in fiscal responsibility ”
    Both of which, the last 20 years show, are Democratic ideals, not Republican.

  93. folder

    @David, 55

    “I think it’s a lot better for everyone involved if I get to “redistribute” my wealth as I see fit, rather than at the whim of someone else.”

    The problem with that is that there may be large gaps left because people (generally speaking) either are not willing to spend the money on something they disagree with, but which may be necessary or useful (ie. stem cell research), or simply an oversight, or because something has happened. For instance, many charities discover a surge in donations during a particular crisis (ie. Red Cross donations during earthquakes, etc) or when it appears in the newspaper, and drops in donations when the event has passed or it has left the minds of people.

    This is why some oversight might not just be necessary, but beneficial. It can ensure money gets to EVERYONE, not just the more popular or larger groups. The idea is to help minority groups and if a minority is so small as to be invisible, then they can easily fall through the gap of charity assistance. After all, it’s harder for each of us to see outside of our own charity donations and find the gaps ourselves.

    Let’s face it, some people do donate on a whim. You may be better at redistributing your wealth, but others are not.

    … On another topic…

    I really find people who comment on what Phil should/shouldn’t be writing frustrating. As a writer, I know it’s hard to be inspired when you’re only writing what other people want to read, and not what you feel like writing. I also get constant harassment from casual bypassers to my site who think they know better than I do how to present my content. Legitimate and helpful criticisms is fine, but if you just don’t like the content/subject matter (and not the way in which it was presented): DON’T READ IT. How hard is that to get? (And why do you think complaining will change anything? Do you also write letters to book authors demanding they write something else? Heck, blogs are cheaper than books – I’d feel worse if I’d spent money on a book that I didn’t like, than spending nothing on a blog I didn’t like)

  94. Marion Delgado

    It ‘s definitely anti-empirical to equate the formal State and government, anyway.

    What you actually get with libertarian – “true” or otherwise* – deregulation and privatization is that control over resources, physical plant, and, increasingly, every part of the Commons shifts from a system that everyone has input into – democratic governance – to unaccountable private tyrannies.

    The idea that once everything is owned by corporations who order everyone around – their scared employees, and in cases like ENRON’s, everyone in their fiefdom, employed by them or not – you have suddenly eliminated “government” simply fails empirically.

    Indeed, nearly all of neoliberal and so-called classical macroeconomics is anti-empirical, one school, the Austrian school that’s been the most influential outside the Chicago School is openly anti-empirical, and the main reason for that is that the standards of neoliberal economics are directly opposed to those of science. To the libertarian, whichever study results someone will pay the most for must, by the magic of the market, also be defined as best and most accurate. To them, a conflict of interest is a sign of quality.

    I agree that what passes for a left in the US** is a bigger piece of the antivax pie than the militia/teabag right that also hates vaccines. Some liberal critiques of Big Pharma have legs, but the vax issue is displacement on their part because challenging big business on more important issues is much harder. Even taken on its own merits, what the corruption of the research pool by special interest funding does is introduce noise, and there are more than enough independent studies from enough diverse countries on vaccination by now to sort it out. And attacking science as corrupt is grabbing the wrong end of the axe. Science is corrupted by secrecy agreements in joint private/public ventures, science is corrupted if research that shows what industry wants gets re-funded, and research that shows the opposite is not re-funded, etc. But it’s only via science that we have any yardstick to say whether something is corrupted or not. If I were an anti-vaxxer, I’d work very, very hard to support science, not attack it. If I thought it was a socialist UN plot, I’d picket the UN and vote out “socialists.” If I thought it was a Big Pharma plot, I’d want Big Pharma broken up – I’d support strengthenening and re-establishing the Sherman and Clayton Acts. But I’d still leave the science alone.

    *The No True Scotsman Fallacy: “true” libertarianism or communism or capitalism or Christianity = idealized fantasized X. Actually existing, real, verified X is “false X.” This one and sheer tautology are the two libertarian pillars. The Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so. Capitalism works because capitalist sources say it does, and if you disagree, and you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?

    **A country skewed so far to the right by even its own previous standards that its spectrum is meaningless. Nixon promised that, actually – he said he’d work to appoint federal and supreme court judges who would, in his words, “turn this whole country so far to the Right that you won’t RECOGNIZE it.”

  95. mike bukhart

    You forgot to metion one thing the GOP is the party of big corperations and wall street

  96. Muzz

    88. David D. Says: “And by the way, folks–science is NEVER settled. It is ALWAYS open to inquiry and questions, and yes, even FOIA requests.”

    You’re dead right. I think you should devote your remaining days to reproving gravity, on principle. I look forward to the annual submission of new iteratons of your paper “On Hopping” to physics journals.

  97. Ian

    @95 “The Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so”

    That’s not correct – the Bible is the word of God because the Catholic Church, who compiled the Bible and agreed its contents, said so.

  98. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Elizabeth Kolbert — gotta love that name — has an article in The New Yorker on a similar theme, saying how the sturm und drang over Climategate is much ado about nothing, an overtrumped, overhyped, and breathlessly hyperbolied mountain crafted entirely out of molehills.

    Hang on a minute! :-0

    “Changing what peer review is” means is nothing? :-(

    Refusing to let other scientists actually even look at the contentious data (& now missing mysteriously “lost” data)& prefering to order it deleted rather than shared is molehill!? :-(

    Using tricks to hide the decline?

    Censoring & excluding and threatening to bash up (along with gloating at the deaths of) those who disagree with the Anthropogenic Global Warming ideological Orthodoxy is “much ado over nothing?”

    I very strongly disagree with you there BA. :-(

    I have said exactly that myself. Twice. And as I expected when I posted those articles, there was a huge amount of noise, but the points I was making — the ones I was actually making, and not the ones denialists tried play up — still stand.

    Do you really think so? Truly?

    If so then I think you are just fooling yourself as well as trying to fool your readers. :-(

    The hacked emails did not show widespread conspiracy by climatologists, and in fact a parliamentary committee that convened to investigate the hacked emails cleared scientists of all wrongdoing.

    One inquiry that actually deserves the word “whitewash” instead.

    The evidence in the leaked CRU emails is out there and it is damming & anybody thinking or saying otherwise is just plain wrong.

    The general public just aren’t buying the “Chicken Little” AGW lies anymore – they are NOT fooled anymore. Perhaps self-professed skeptics should now start waking up to the truth that AGW has been convincingly exposed as at best dubious and overhyped and at worst outright scientific malpractice and a fraudulent political religion too?

  99. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Global warming is real.

    No it isn’t.

    Or if it is evidence and the scientific method say that :

    a) This is highly uncertain and dubious and well within the natural climate system variation noise & error bars.

    b) this it has nothing to do with Humans and Co2 despite radical Green claims to the contrary. Graphs over adequate spans of time show Carbon dioxide levels do NOT co-relate with climate which is borne out by the geological record.

    c) Even if theworld is warming then it is agood thing as life benefits form awarmer climate and suffers far more under the much harsher ice age conditions.

    Evolution is real.

    Yes indeed.

    Vaccines do not cause autism.

    Very true.

    Homeopathy doesn’t work.

    Completely agreed 100 %.

    So I have to give you three out of four BA.

    Actually I agree with you 9 times out of ten with the AGW scare being the main (sole?) exception.

    I just wish you’d apply the same skeptical treatement to AGW as you do to creationism, homopathy, anti-vax and the Moon Hoax Conspiracy theory instead of letting your politics cloud your judgement in this specific case.

    These are facts, and they don’t care whether or not denialists spin, fold, and mutilate them. Until we face up to reality, however, they will spin, fold, and mutilate us.

    Reality – 1998 was the hottest year and the peak of the late 20th Century warming.

    Reality – Climategate exposed the con job of the climatological Alarmists only club.

    Reality – Climate fluctuates all the time regardless of human actions because of natural factors and always will. We have cool decades like the18960′s & 1970′s and warm ones like the 1990′s – it really is no biggy & no cause to destroy our way of life.

    Period. Whatever the Alarmists may try to spin, fold and manipulate otherwise.

  100. Original Mike

    @77 Peter: Though Ridley did a good job of summarizing Montford’s book (The Case Against the Hockey Stick, you should read it for yourself. I just finished it and am about to start again, note pad by my side, just as I do when reading a paper in my own disipline. It’s compelling stuff.

  101. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Thats 1960′s not 18960′s of course. Typo. :-(

  102. Muzz

    Pluto, I wish you’d apply some skepticism to the idiot bloggers and pundits you get your information from.
    My lordy you’re even trying to hang on to the “hide the decline” idiocy. Cherry picked quotes and thought crimes left and right. Deniers arrive here by mistake I think. They come to a blog ostensibly about stars while looking for the star chamber instead.

  103. Darrell E

    I hardly ever comment but I think that it needs to be said that anyone that equates Maddow to the likes of any Fox news talking head is either ignorant, has allowed themselves to be hoodwinked, is firing purely for effect (lying), or just has some thoroughly despicable attributes that they really should examine closely if they want to have any chance of contributing in a positive way to the advancement of the human race.

  104. Prof. Jim

    I know it sounds all schmart and stuff to throw around phrases like “The No True Scotsman Fallacy,” but does that logically apply here? I mean, one is born a Scotsman; one is not born into an ideology. Are you an adherent to an ideology just because you say you are, or do you have to walk the walk?

    For an extreme example, when I look at the things that Stalin did, and compare them to the writings of Karl Marx, there’s not a lot of crossover. Should we then judge socialism / communism / Marxism / whathaveyou by looking at Big Joe? Is that fair, or intellectually honest?

    When I look at the things that Fred Phelps says and does and compare to the words and deeds of Jesus in the Bible, I likewise don’t see a great deal in common. Should we then judge Christians, or people of faith in general, by the Phelps clan? Is that fair, or intellectually honest?

    If I introduce myself as a scientist, and then start babbling about astrology or homeopathy or whatnot, don’t you have cause to be a wee bit, well, skeptical? Do we just take people at their word when they profess an ideology or philosophy, or do we examine their actions to confirm?

    Incidentally, I’m yet to see a linked or cited reference to Dr. Maddow being “disingenuous,” just sort of vague stuff. Evidence, please.

  105. Gary Ansorge

    102 PBFP:

    So, you keep insisting on 1998 as the hottest year, eh? Ok, how about this; I make this prediction; including the “perfect storm” that hit the US east coast this winter(for precision, I’ll say winter is from Jan 1 to March 31) this year, 2010, will be the new “hottest year on record”.

    Will that conclusively prove AGW for you? If it does, your analyses will be wrong. One year of WEATHER does not a climate trend PROVE.

    It’s the decades long TREND we have to look at and that trend is zig zagging UPWARDS.

    See you in another nine months(specifically, Dec 31, 2010). Then we’ll see how my prediction works out.

    Here in Georgia, it’s already in the mid 80s(actually, yesterday(April 6,2010) topped out at 90 F).
    As I recall, we’re getting our hot weather about two weeks earlier than we did last year, but of course, that’s just MY memory.

    Trust me. MY memory is REALLY good. LOL.

    See you in Dec.

    Gary 7

  106. fred edison

    @Pluto

    Forget early stage global warming for a minute. Look up ocean acidification in respect to CO2 emissions and then tell me that everything is coming up roses. Do you plan to deny that real problem with the oceans (as we pump more and more CO2 into the sky)? Let me guess; as a denier you will.

  107. Bruce

    @99 Muzz:

    Hey Muzz, ever hear of Gravity Probe B? It’s a satellite that was collecting data a few years ago to help prove Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Yup, more than 90 years after that theory was published, we’re still doing research on it. I guess Einstein should’ve just said, “The debate is over. Relativity is real.” Then everyone would have believed him and we wouldn’t have to do one more bit of science trying to prove it.

  108. Utakata

    …accept when the rebuttle is proven to be completely bogus, John A. Jauregui @94. Perhaps we need to innocualte our youth against the American people who believe in such nuttery.

    Besides you guys shoot yourselves in the foot with point #2)…because it obivious that most “dissenting” views on this subject have nothing been but baseless ad hominem attacks with a smidgen of “baffling with pop armchair science,” against a “liberal media biast” that doesn’t really exist.

  109. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 109. fred edison Says:

    @Pluto : Forget early stage global warming for a minute. Look up ocean acidification in respect to CO2 emissions and then tell me that everything is coming up roses. Do you plan to deny that real problem with the oceans (as we pump more and more CO2 into the sky)? Let me guess; as a denier you will.

    Not so much as a “denier” – the accurate word is skeptic BTW – but as someone who actually knows a little about what the geological record says when it comes to our planet’s climate & the distinct absence of any link between high carbon dioxide levels and planetary catastrope :

    There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example:

    During the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.

    The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today.

    To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm.

    According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.

    Source : http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest/A6c.html

    (Emphasis added. Graph available via link – scroll down to see the figures quoted above.)

    That kinda busts the AGW Co2 = DOO-OOM! myth right there.

    Co2 has been far higher before. In fact, our Earth is currently suffering unusally *low* levels of carbon dioxide in this geological era. And when Co2 was higher, life did better & no disaster ensued.

    Q.E.D. AGW = bunk.

  110. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @108. Gary Ansorge Says:

    102 PBFP: So, you keep insisting on 1998 as the hottest year, eh?

    Yes I most certainly do. Because it is a simple matter of fact that it was. ;-)

    Jim “Callling this press conference to shout I’m being censored” Hansen may claim otherwise but then this is the activist and perhaps ex-scientist (the ‘perhaps’ part covering the idea that he once *might* have been a legit scientist NOT the ex-prefix!) who was arrested for criminal trespass during an anti-coal mine protest – hardly the act of an honest, objective, non-partisan professional scientist. (See his wiki page if you don’t believe me about that.)

    Note that genuine scientists spend their time doing proper, cautious, careful, legitimate research – they do NOT get themselves arrested while screeching “The end is nigh! Repent! Repent! Tax! Tax!” like Hansen does. Activists picket coal mines and make over the top speeches exaggerating their causes. Religious nuts make doomsday pronouncements about the end of the world and our need for self-flagellating and other extremely unpleasant measures to prevent it. By his own actions Hansen has demonstarted he is a religious nut activist & not a proper scientist.

    Arrest during protest in West Virginia :

    On June 23, 2009, James Hansen, along with 30 other protesters including actress Daryl Hannah, were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing police and impeding traffic, during a protest against mountaintop removal mining in Raleigh County, West Virginia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen

    Ok, how about this; I make this prediction; including the “perfect storm” that hit the US east coast this winter(for precision, I’ll say winter is from Jan 1 to March 31) this year, 2010, will be the new “hottest year on record”.

    I predict you’ll be wrong there! ;-) :-P

    Will that conclusively prove AGW for you? If it does, your analyses will be wrong. One year of WEATHER does not a climate trend PROVE. It’s the decades long TREND we have to look at and that trend is zig zagging UPWARDS.

    Not really its not. The 1990′s and 200′s have been warm decades -the 1960′s & 1970′s have been cool ones.

    Currently the trend is unclear, could be marginally warmer, marginally coller or stable. Either way no discernible alarming rise intemperature is present co-relating with the ever-increasing human Co2 so AGW is busted there alone.

    Also, as I’ve said before, if we have *two* out of the next *three* years beating the 1998 record peak temperature then I’ll be willing to take the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis seriously. That’s my rule of thumb criteria. After all, 2 out of three ain’t bad as the song goes! ;-)

    Judging by that common sense criteria, I will also observe that the past three years have all been cooler than 1998 thus supporting the case of skpetics against AGW. Sound reasonable to you? If not, then why not?

    See you in another nine months(specifically, Dec 31, 2010). Then we’ll see how my prediction works out.

    Time will tell – thing is for me & many others it *already* has.

    It has been 12 years since temperatures peaked and stabilised or even dropped.

    Is that NOT enough for you?

    If not, then how long is?

    Are the AGW believers *ever* going to concede that their predictions just aren’t coming true?

  111. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Yes, on checking & adding above Hansen’s charges for his arrest were technically “obstructing police” & not criminal trespass according to Wiki.

    Not that that changes anything substantial.

    James Hansen is an activist political protester who spearheads the Green lobby & AGW cult – & therefore not an objective, impartial scientist & NOT someone who has any credibility on this issue.

    Not that anyone who absurdly calls a press conference to claim they are being censored could possibly have any credibility to begin with.

    Legitimate skeptical scientists agree that 1998 was hotter than 2005 although 2005 may well have been nearly as hot and a close second it nevertheless was the *second* hottest & NOT the first, record holding hottest year ever. Nor is this really surprising or worrying given that temperatures naturally fluctuate from warmer to cooler spells and back and have done since the year dot.

    Plus that on a broader scale we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age which ended in1850 Common Era and thus conditions naturally have been more pleasant since that freezing spell of a few centuries which followed after the older hotter Medieval Warm Period.

    Globally, it has NOT been as hot as 1998 for twelve years.

    DESPITE Co2 levels continually rising since then.

    Incidentally, in the USA the record hottest year was 1934 – again, *despite* ever increasing human carbon dioxide emissions.

    Doesn’t that in itself really tell anyone who is genuinely interested in the truth enough to rule out AGW as a falsified hypothesis?

    AGW just doesn’t work. That’s what the evidence says – like it or not.

  112. Daffy

    Plutonium,

    Your continued use of the words “religion” and “cult” against those who have differing opinions shows how tenuous your arguments must be. If you had anything valid to say you wouldn’t have to resort to such childish behavior. Same for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the right wing extremists. They do it because they know facts will never serve their purpose.

  113. Marcus

    Ah, so much lack of logic emanating from our radioactive friend from the outer planetoid… and continual quoting of blog science. Have you watched the Alley video yet on historical CO2? Have you stopped treating Plimer as a reliable source of information?

    Also, linear trend of temperature since 1998 is warming in 3 out of 4 datasets, along with 5 year mean temperatures:

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/mean:60/offset:-0.15/plot/gistemp/from:1979/mean:60/offset:-0.24/plot/uah/mean:60/plot/rss/mean:60/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1998/trend/offset:-0.15/plot/gistemp/from:1998/trend/offset:-0.24/plot/uah/from:1998/trend/plot/rss/from:1998/trend

    (and UAH and RSS may be underestimating the trend due to lack of correction for bleeding in of stratospheric temperatures – see work by Fu et al. from U. Washington)

    (personally, I give even odds for 2010 to be warmer than 1998 in most datasets… and I’d bet money on at least two years being warmer than 1998 between 2010 and 2015)

    (also note that no one says that CO2 is the _only_ driver of temperature: go back several hundred million years and you have a cooler sun, different continental configuration, etc. However, all other things being equal, more CO2 does mean a warmer surface)

  114. MDForseth

    Interesting article and blog post. However, homeopathy is not the sole realm of the Left. On the contrary, you may find a rather large constituency of conservative-minded folk aligned with such magical thinking (I dated a conservative who believed in, among other things, such junk science as “chem-trails,” bio-photon analyzers [she owned one at $2K], etc.)
    On the other hand, subterfuge, misinformation, and spin appear deeply rooted in the neocon movement. Anyone who has an awareness of reality ca n see that the neocons will actually do anything to “win,” including blatant lies. Check out the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) Web site; this is the “think tank” that put Reagan, among others, in power to further its agenda of world military dominance (and other spooky issues they like to push while smokescreening their constituency with fearmongering tactics). Read their “Statement of Principles,” particularly the signators — it’s a who’s who of dangerous, fascist (Google Benito Mussolini’s accurate description of fascism equated to corporatism) freaks who both hijacked and control the Republican party, its agendas, and its talking points these days. The RNC is no doubt closely allied with, if not built entirely from, PNAC.
    Various research into the conservative mind suggests that such people are extremely resistant to change, and likewise tend to be quite obstinate in their beliefs, in spite of the facts. They’re also prone to assigning a huge degree of trust to their belief-system’s authority figures, such as popes and priests and conservative talking heads — taking these authorities’ word at face value (regardless of the truth) without bothering to research and/or verify the efficacy of their authorities’ claims. Such tenacious psychological predispositions are virtually impossible to change through much other than mere genetic attrition. Consider that it takes a “special” mindset to so willingly hate (gays, health-care reform, concepts of global warming and humankind’s damage to the environment) on so many levels — versus an openmindedness that allows considering the very real evidence on a broad scale, and with a little personal effort (e.g., reading, research, sorting things out in one’s mind given the facts, etc.).
    God, deliver me from your followers!

  115. Original Mike

    “Various research into the conservative mind suggests that such people are extremely resistant to change, and likewise tend to be quite obstinate in their beliefs, in spite of the facts. They’re also prone to assigning a huge degree of trust to their belief-system’s authority figures, such as popes and priests and conservative talking heads — taking these authorities’ word at face value (regarless of the truth) without bothering to research and/or verify the efficacy of their authorities’ claims. Such tenacious psychological predispositions are virtually impossible to change through much other than mere genetic attrition. Consider that it takes a “special” mindset to so willingly hate (gays, health-care reform, concepts of global warming and humankind’s dmage to the environment) on so many levels — versus an openmindedness that allows considering the very real evidence on a broad scale, and with a little personal effort (e.g., reading, research, sorting things out in one’s mind given the facts, etc.).”

    Now I remember why I stopped coming here.

  116. uudale

    “Various research into the conservative mind suggests that such people are extremely resistant to change, and likewise tend to be quite obstinate in their beliefs, in spite of the facts.”

    What research? Cite please?

  117. Her last words “stop making stuff up”… I don’t think she really wanted to say “stuff.” Just a feeling she nearly went for a different “s” word.

  118. Sman

    Some reading for Plutonium:

    Ordovician glaciation implicated from CO2 draw down.
    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/33/2/109

    CO2 and the environment during the Paleozoic:
    https://wesfiles.wesleyan.edu/home/droyer/web/KurschnerCommentary%282008%29.pdf
    https://wesfiles.wesleyan.edu/home/droyer/web/PhanCO2%28GCA%29.pdf
    https://wesfiles.wesleyan.edu/home/droyer/web/GSA_Today.pdf

    You write:

    genuine scientists spend their time doing proper, cautious, careful, legitimate research – they do NOT get themselves arrested…

    What is that… a false dichotomy and an ad hom all rolled up into one big fallacy?
    Your assertion that scientists can’t be vocal about their concerns, and be objective, is just silly!

    You claim that you are someone who actually knows a little about what the geological record says…

    I assume from that statement that were educated as a geologist. I know a few geologists, and most of the ones, that I know, that espouse view similar to yours, work in the oil or coal industry. There, threw it back at you.

  119. Wayne on the plains

    If this is what passes for a biting expose of conservative lies, it’s fairly sad. I won’t try to defend the “Climategate” silliness, but the ACORN bit was almost funny in the way she was doing exactly what she accused others of (cherry picking information to make a point). Also, I thought it was shameless how she assumed that if any Republicans supported something (or initiated it) then any opposition to it from the right was “fake”. I was also shameless the way she mixed together wacko ideas like the birthers with legitimate complaints about increases in federal spending etc. For the record, I’m a libertarian and I was almost as upset with Bush’s policies as I am with Obama’s, so the idea that opposition to Obama and Congress is a unified mass of Bush-loving far-right GOPers is pretty far fetched. It’s easy to paint all your opposition with the same brush and lump them all with the fringes. In that sense, she’s JUST LIKE those she is accusing.

  120. MDForseth

    @ Original Mike & uudale, if you haven’t figured out The Google yet, here’s the research:
    “New Scientist,” Two Tribes: Are Your Genes Liberal or Conservative? It’s the cover story and delves into the serious scientific research on the formation of political opinions.
    “American Psychologist,” vol 61, p 651: In 2003, John Jost, a psychologist at New York University, and colleagues surveyed 88 studies, involving more than 20,000 people in 12 countries, that looked for a correlation between personality traits and political orientation.
    “Journal of Research in Personality,” vol 32, p 431: Combine the genetic influences on personality with the political tendencies of different personality types, and the idea that genetics shapes political tendencies seems very plausible indeed. All of the big five personality traits are highly heritable, with several studies suggesting that around half of the variation in openness scores is a result of genetic differences. Some traits that are linked to openness, such as being sociable, are also known to be influenced by the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. And levels of these chemicals are controlled in part by genes. So while there isn’t a gene for liking hippies, evidence suggests a set of genes that influences openness, which in turn may influence political orientation.
    “Nature Neuroscience,” vol 10, p 1246: Per researchers, “Tasks that involve dealing with conflicting information, for example, are known to activate an area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Since liberals are generally more open to conflicting ideas, activity in this area of the brain would be expected to differ between them and conservatives.” A study by NYU’s David Amodio supports this, with his research linking that difference to brain activity. “Electrodes placed on subjects’ skulls revealed that liberals had greater ACC activity… Liberals also had higher activity immediately after making a mistake, and the greater the activity, the better their performance over many rounds. The results, says Amodio, suggest that basic brain mechanisms, such as those that control habit formation, may distinguish liberal minds from conservative ones.”
    Read it and weep, my conservative brethren. Tell me I’m wrong.
    God, deliver me from your followers!

  121. brad

    “genuine scientists spend their time doing proper, cautious, careful, legitimate research – they do NOT get themselves arrested…”
    Carl Sagan was arrested while protesting nuclear proliferation twice… just pointing that out.

  122. Doug Little

    MDForseth,

    Arggghh, So there really isn’t any point in discussing anything with them then. I would also assume that this research explains a lot about the trolls I see around here and at science blogs.

  123. Mark

    @Ray, commenter #6:

    I’m glad Phil posts about this topic. It is a science topic. There is not rule stating that a science blog has to always post topics with nothing but science news in them. Besides, this topic of global warming falls into a general science category and can even be related to astronomy.

    Furthermore, it’s not beating a dead horse either. I’m always telling people I know about this site- especially my more open-minded (yet, in my opinion, misguided) republican and/or christian friends, and the friends I know still watch fox news and believe what they see and hear on that station. Articles like these are what I want them to see, so they can read a well-written argument against there beliefs.

  124. Mark

    @ commenter 118, “original mike”

    If you stopped coming here why are you posting? And why would you stop coming here because of that post? There is research on that very topic supporting those claims. (See below)

    @ commenter 119

    I can’t cite that other person’s claim but I have read that same thing in several places. One of them probably http://www.livescience.com. Also, there is a lecture about that very topic on http://www.TED.com.

  125. Dean

    @94/John, a fair number of ‘your’ ‘points’ are very much perspective-dependant, and in that sense beg the entire question…

    For example, for a paranoid individual (not that I’m saying any particular newscaster or commentator is…), a number of those criteria might seem to be met even in a scenario that is very much balanced to other impartial individuals (assuming basic knowledge). It almost seems like the list is written in a manner that “pre-validates” such objections, frankly. Take for example #4, “cliquish” peer review. It begs the question, and certainly provides ammunition for anyone whose view has been called to task in peer review… “oh, the critical reviews are just part of the cliquish cadre”… 5, 7, 11, 12, and others are also tied into the same potential fallacy. “Creationism is denied equal time only due to the “cliquish” suppression by the Darwin cult.” No, that is not a real quote (that I know of). Yes, there are people who would agree with that statement, unfortunately.

    And your own entire 2nd paragraph seems to fail to live up to your criterion #2… What’s up with that?!? You can’t have it both ways!! And I used the term “cult” above for a reason…

    …In another, though highly parallel, line of thought, your buddy (tongue in cheek) “plutonium” has seriously breached a whole bunch of your criteria… I’ll leave it to you to provide fair and impartial judgement on that front! If you dare!

  126. Dean

    Funny how the comments started out very positive, then after an hour or so started increasingly showing “dissenters”… Almost like someone is noting “Hey, Plait is in ‘liberal’ mode again, monitor/post as needed”… or would that be a ‘paranoid’ thing to say ;-) ?!? I expect the dissenters will add Phil to their short[er] list (not to be confused with the no-fly-list, I guess?) so it doesn’t take so long in the future… After all, we’ve already heard about the difference between truth & lies w/regard to speed & vigor of dissemination and acceptance…

  127. Dean

    Planetoid, you’re on a tear… I guess I’m feeding the trolls here, but here goes…

    “James Hansen is an activist political protester who spearheads the Green lobby & AGW cult – & therefore not an objective, impartial scientist & NOT someone who has any credibility on this issue.”

    Ad hominem, I think. But whether or not you agree, do you seriously feel it is impossible for someone to be objective in 100% of their scientific research, and yet be willing and able to espouse a credible (personal) political view on their own time?!? That is just twisted in my book…

    “Not that anyone who absurdly calls a press conference to claim they are being censored could possibly have any credibility to begin with.”

    *Ditto* (irony not lost… see prior posts!)

  128. Dean

    @114 plutonium, wow, I’m shocked that it has to be pointed out, but you are citing data points as if they invalidate an overall theory… A hot or cold year (or month, or day) does not invalidate a theory concerning temperature trends, period. It’s like comparing weather forecasting with climate models, apples and oranges.

    Your assertions (re climate trends and what “legitimate” authorities might say) have no substance, as you’ve chosen to simply appeal to unnamed authorities (while at the same time indicating that anyone disagreeing is not “legitimate”).

    I would love it if people like yourself, wishing to object to the sites they view/post on, could provide something substantive (!!!!!) instead of focusing on discrediting those who do not share your views.

  129. Muzz

    Hey Bruce @#110, was there a time before recent decades where relativity was a practical concern for human technology and we had the equipment to look at it more closely? Probably since the space program I’d guess. It’s kinda a difficult thing to look at directly wouldn’t you say?

    At any rate, the point was that the denier rhetoric of ‘Science is never settled!’ is exactly that, rhetoric. I doubt very much if there’s anyone working in climate who thinks there is no more to learn, but at some point you have to proceed as though established knowledge is accurate to a very high degree of certainty when the availably evidence shows that. Holding a questioning position for the sake of some abstract moral/logical high ground is sophistry. They’re bascially saying accepting evidence at all is an intellectual weakness.

  130. Original Mike

    I stopped coming here because I can’t stand circle jerks.

    Let’s check my liberal credentials on the way out the door. Woman’s right to choose? Check. Access to health care for all? Check. Stem cell research? Check. Atheist? Check. Environmental regulations? Check. Oppose the death penalty? Check. Taken in by researchers telling me I’m awesome? Time to check out.

    Industry researchers come to the conclusion that they are not harming the environment and you guys fall all over yourselves crying foul. But liberal researchers come to the conclusion that liberals are open minded while conservatives are dogmatic and you guys wet yourself. Do you have no self awareness?

  131. David D.

    @Muzz–

    First, most of the “Science is settled” rhetoric comes from the alarmist side, in case you haven’t noticed.

    Second, it’s not about re-testing the value of G (although that is probably done on nearly a daily basis). It’s about making sure your data is available for scrutiny and review and questioning how it is interpreted. If your “science” is robust, it will more than likely survive this kind of review. As the Climategate e-mails have revealed, there are at least some doubts about how robust the data is. See Judith Curry’s excellent (and pretty well-balanced) article about the damaged credibility of the climate researchers.

    I don’t think you can equate the solidity of Newton’s (or Einstein’s) gravitational laws with the current state of climate science. Believe me–climate skeptics aren’t “holding a questioning position for the sake of some abstract moral/logical high ground;” a lot of us are concerned about how the political has infected the scientific process here.

    And I still haven’t gotten my Exxon check. :)

    Oh, and as far as the “conservatives are brain-damaged” research (I use the term loosely) quoted above–you guys are great. If this is what constitutes some kind of “proof” for you, all I can say is wow. If you want to think that those who disagree with you are somehow damaged, you proceed at your own peril.

    What an “enlightened” worldview, by the way.

  132. uudale

    MDForseth:

    So the research suggests that my conservative tendencies come from a genetic predispostion to being close-minded.

    Hmmm…

    Then how does that explain my liberal tendencies? On economic issues I’m fairly conservative (for the most part), while on social issues I can go in one direction or the other, depending on the issue. Never really thought of myself as either a liberal, or a conservative.

    Maybe someday when I figure Google out I can look up the research on that.

  133. Muzz

    Well Dave, as long as we’re concerned about how the political is influencing the criticism process as well, I guess that’s alright in principle. But the ‘as long as’ is crucial.

    I wish I believed you about skeptics though. I mean, some are genuine, sure. But we are still talking about ‘hide the decline’ and ‘Jones is a meany’ in so many circles, rather than how the science might be wrong.

  134. Plutonium being from Pluto

    53. Daniel J. Andrews Says:

    Independent verifications using independent methodologies. Redone using improved methodologies. Constant examining and improving. It’s all in the journals, and discussed on science blogs like RealClimate.

    RealClimate? Oh puh-leeze. :roll:

    RealClimate is a partisan Alarmist propaganda lobby site that censors & excludes dissenting opinion and is run by some of the worst AGW hysterics. (Alarmists is too mild a word for ‘em.)

    RealClimate was among those exposed in the leaked CRU Climategate emails & it has no credibility whatsoever with me. (Or I think anyone else able to think clearly.)

    @ 130. Dean Says:

    Planetoid, you’re on a tear… I guess I’m feeding the trolls here, but here goes… “James Hansen is an activist political protester who spearheads the Green lobby & AGW cult – & therefore not an objective, impartial scientist & NOT someone who has any credibility on this issue.” Ad hominem, I think.

    No just a simple statement of fact.

    Oh & try to be polite with me please like I do with you. I’m no troll just somebody who happens to disagree with the AGW Orthodoxy which is increasingly fading as more and more inconvenient truths come to light – & my name here is Plutonium being from Pluto (PbfP if you wish to abbrieviate it) not “Planetoid”.

    But whether or not you agree, do you seriously feel it is impossible for someone to be objective in 100% of their scientific research, and yet be willing and able to espouse a credible (personal) political view on their own time?!? That is just twisted in my book…

    True objectivity is a difficult thing to attain.

    We all have our natural bias based on our personal beliefs and experiences and preferences.

    However, we need to be cautious and try not to be fooled or carried away.

    Yes, scientists are fallible humans who will have their personal political views – but these views should ideally NOT impair their scientific objectivity. Science – & individual scientists – should as far as possible be apolitical – separate from political views.

    Politics is subjective, a matter of personal perspective and not objective truth.
    Science deals with reality and trying to understand it as it is – not as we’d wish it to be.

    The climate will do what it always does regardless of political fads. It will change whether a Republican or a Democrat, an (Australian) Liberal or a Labor politician holds office and politics is a matter of opinion and irrevelent to scientific reality.

    Objective truth and the logical rational scientific method say that the climate fluctuates naturally and always has & will. The facts (as outlined comprehensively in Skeptic & Professor Ian Plimer’s book debunking the AGW myth) do NOT support but rather they totally contradict Anthropogneic Global Warming. They say AGW is a falsified idea, a theory that must be rejected because the evidence of multiple studies contradicts its basic tenets :

    The world is NOT warming – especially not at a dangerous rate.
    CO2 is NOT responsible or co-related with climate change.
    A warmer planet is generally afar better planet for life incl. us than a colder one.

    These are all objective scientifically supported facts.

    Because Hansen and the AGW hysterics refuse to accpet this evidence based reality they cannot be considered proper scientists any more.

    Long ago Hansen ceased being a scientist interested in analysing the climate from an objective viewpoint and fell into the trap of sacrificing his scientific research for his personal political ideology. Hansen’s science is so tainted by his Green extremism that he has lost all credibility. He is no longer a scientist but a political activist.

    Greenpeace, Hansen, the “Climatologist” Alarmist club – these are not people dispassionately studying the truth but those advocating political and ideological positions and abusing and manipulating and fuging their supposed “science” to suit their political ends. They cannot be quoted or accepted as being in any way reliable or accurate sources. Period.

  135. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @124. brad Says:

    Carl Sagan was arrested while protesting nuclear proliferation twice… just pointing that out.

    Really? I never knew that.

    @ 121. Sman Says:

    Some reading for Plutonium:

    Thanks – I’ll check those links out.

    You write: “.. genuine scientists spend their time doing proper, cautious, careful, legitimate research – they do NOT get themselves arrested…” What is that… a false dichotomy and an ad hom all rolled up into one big fallacy? Your assertion that scientists can’t be vocal about their concerns, and be objective, is just silly!

    There is a big difference between scientists “being vocal about their concerns” & being shouting picketing protesting lobbyists for an ideological extreme.

    If someone is spearheading a political group (& the AGW faith is politics NOT science) then to say they are simultaneously conducting objective, rational, unprejudiced work in that area is just not credible. Thinking that James Hansen is able to assess climate change objectively and rationally just isn’t even plausible any more than it is that failed presidential contender Al Gore has any valid expertise in that area.

    I think it is fair for a scientists to express their views calmly and rationally.

    I do NOT think it is right for them to go about obstructing police and trespassing on mine sites interfering with people’s livelihoods as part of political protests.

    You claim that you are someone who actually knows a little about what the geological record says… I assume from that statement that were educated as a geologist. I know a few geologists, and most of the ones, that I know, that espouse view similar to yours, work in the oil or coal industry. There, threw it back at you.

    I studied geology and geomorphology (the evolution of landscapes through geological time) true – I am an amateur astronomer with a strong interest in geology as well.

    However, I am NOT employed in any mining or coal /oil related field and – like (#134) David D – I get no checks from Exxon or anyone like that.

    I was convinced about AGW being false from my own research and especially from attending lectures by Professor Ian Plimer – a noted skeptic and expert who I have personally met and will vouch for as a legitimate source & a good rational bloke – and reading his comprehensive book along with a great many other sources from both sides.

    You may also be interested to know that I too started out accepting the Global Warming idea as fact and was later convinced otherwise by the actual evidence presented against it.

    I suggest you (& everyone else) takes a good long look at that evidence and start asking some serious questions and thinking critically yourselves.

  136. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @115. Daffy Says:

    Plutonium, Your continued use of the words “religion” and “cult” against those who have differing opinions shows how tenuous your arguments must be. If you had anything valid to say you wouldn’t have to resort to such childish behavior.

    Since when has expressing one’s well-justified opinion based on valid evidence been “childish behaviour”? :roll:

    AGW isn’t science – the scientific method as I have explained in my posts 112 & 114 and elsewhere here has refuted AGW. The Global Warming myth is busted as mythbusters would say.

    Or as Monty Python would say AGW is kaput, finito, done with, dead as doornail, deader than a dead parrot, it has gone off to meet its maker, joined the choir invisible, departed this vale of tears, shuffled off this mortal coil, it is pushing up daisies, bought the farm, has kicked the bucket and has gone to rest with its ancestors! It is an EX-THEORY!!! ;-)

    AGW is scientific corpse that stinks worse as it decomposes more with every passing moment. Scientifically AGW is dead as a dodo.

    Sadly it has become a political and ideological even, yes, *religious* zombie corpse lumbering and flailing about and seeking to eat the brains of the guillible.

    Same for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the right wing extremists. They do it because they know facts will never serve their purpose.

    As an Australian without pay-TV I have never seen those people. From what I’ve heard and read online I’m not missing much and even if I could watch ‘em I wouldn’t waste my time on them.

    Idon’t agree with much if anything at all of what they say & politically I’d be described, at least in US terms, as fairly liberal in most if not all my views. I support abortion & gay rights; I’m an agnostic who opposes fundamentalism & creationism & while I support the cautious and careful use of the death penalty and being tough on crime, I’m hardly a raving right-winger.

    Plus the facts are on my side & are the very reason *why* I’m a skeptic of AGW.

    So please try NOT to resort to political stereotyping and tarring by association. I know AGW believers find the temptation to do so hard to resist but please try ok?

    @ 116. Marcus Says:

    Ah, so much lack of logic emanating from our radioactive friend from the outer planetoid… and continual quoting of blog science.

    Actually my main source is a printed published text – Ian Plimer’s comprehensive debunking work ‘Heaven + Earth – Global Warming : The Missing Science’ (Connor Court 2009.) & which I strongly urge you to read for yorself.

    Along with many also other sources both published texts and online websites natch.

    Plus common sense observations and critical thinking of my own.

    Have you watched the Alley video yet on historical CO2?

    I’m planning to do so soon & have been meaning to for a while but I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t done so yet.

    Have you stopped treating Plimer as a reliable source of information?

    No because Plimer *is* a reliable source of info. His book may have a couple of minor errors in it, true. (For example getting the name of Voyager II wrong in one spot) But then in a book that big and comprehensive that is pretty much inevitable and there are nowhere near as many errors in Plimer’s work as there are in the IPCC report or Gore’s polemic that AGWers take as gospel.

    Yes, Plimer’s critics have loudly denounced his text and him personally – shock, horror, what a surprise! Not. :roll:

    Many others on the opposing side of this issue – and those who began as neutral or unsure on this matter – have praised it – correctly in my view.

    All I can say is read it and consider its arguments for yourself. You may be surprised – it may even convince you. ;-)

    Also, linear trend of temperature since 1998 is warming in 3 out of 4 datasets, along with 5 year mean temperatures:

    Whiler fve years can be mildly suggestive it is really a bit short to be considering climate which varies over decades and centuries and thousands of aeons.

    1998 is more than just a single dataset – it marks the point on the graph where the recent Late 20th Century Warming reached its peak and then stabilised or started to recede.

    Ask yourself this, honestly, if AGW is real why then is 1998 still the globe’s record hottest year?

    Do you really think you can just explain that inconvenient fact away? Yes, it wasan extreme & thus somewhat exceptional year – it was the record hottest so d’uh! But in all the time since then with all the rising levels of that just so nasty & evull CO2 gas, (& never mind that plants can’t live without it! CO2 must be a demon Al Gore & Jim hansen said so!) does it really make sense to still claim the world is warming alarmingly and rapidly after over a decade when it clearly isn’t?

  137. Muzz

    For those playing at home who may have come in late, Pluto’s obviously never read about them, preferring instead to minister (repeatedly) on his conversion at the rough hands and smooth voice of Mr Plimer, but there are dozens of errors Plimer’s book. His error rate is vastly higher than that of any IPCC report.
    Here’s a starter:
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/04/the_science_is_missing_from_ia.php

    Professor Ian Enting of U. Melbourne goes into more detail (41 pages worth) on errors of fact, cite and logic here:
    http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/plimer2a0.pdf

    It should be obvious to a casual observer that Pluto is barking, but just in case that isn’t enough; note how he spends some time running down Jones and co at CRU and calling the whole thing a fraud, Climategte the proof, hiding declines et al. Yet he relies a lot on the stat that 1998 is the warmest global year on record. Which is the general conclusion of the HadCRUT data.
    HadCRUT stands for Hadley Centre & Climate Research Unit (CRU) Temperature set.
    Maybe he thinks the Hadley Centre are fine upstanding people all by themselves. Who knows.

    Pluto also then runs people down for using a five year means, preferring 30yrs to milennia apparently. But he is clearly more than happy with a ten or 12 year one as well. Anyway

    1998′s “inconvenient” prominence can indeed be explained away, since for it to be as inconvenient as he says you have to accept the straw climate change theory he’s building for us. See, no part of the theory says it will be a smooth incline all the way up. Some back and forth is expected. As is well known to climate scientists and skeptics alike: clouds, aerosols and melted ice can all influence the global average. The fact that the last 12 years were a downward slide in solar output probably is worth thinking about too. Think that the planet didn’t drop back down to where it was in the 60s or whenever temperature wise as the solar irradiance fell away, but plateu’d instead. Egads Holmes, it’s almost as though it was insulated somehow!

    So yes, the rate of increase is still the big deal even with some plateau effects going on. The theory hasn’t been shattered yet, and even if you want it shattered, dear readers, Pluto here is the last person you can expect to do it (or even tell you about who to read so you can).

    The free-market denier campaign, skeptics, government stupidity and the planet itself do seem to be ensuring we have to wait and see before doing anything about it all though. So here’s hoping the worst case scenarios are just that.

  138. David D.

    @Muzz–

    Before you (or others) cavalierly dismiss Climategate, you might want to read Monbiot’s take on the whole issue (along with Curry’s as I mentioned before). Monbiot, as you are probably aware, is most likely NOT getting paid by Exxon, if you catch my drift. Here’s a relevant passage (from his Nov 2009 Guardian piece):
    But the deniers’ campaign of lies, grotesque as it is, does not justify secrecy and suppression on the part of climate scientists. Far from it: it means that they must distinguish themselves from their opponents in every way. No one has been as badly let down by the revelations in these emails as those of us who have championed the science. We should be the first to demand that it is unimpeachable, not the last.

  139. Mark

    @original mike

    I don’t mean to pick a fight. I assure you this is not my intention. So please, do not take this as an attack. But… once again, you’re still here. So I don’t really take your claim that you’re “checking out” seriously. If I cared a bit more, I’d link some articles and the video on TED.com to this thread so you could read and watch the articles and video I mentioned. But I don’t. (I just care enough to respond). TED.com does have a search function so I’m sure it won’t be hard for you to find if you take a moment to look for it.

    Pre-judging research before you’ve seen it and writing off those who use it to make a point as a “circle jerk” as you so eloquently stated is not the most effective means to support your argument. Sassy may be funny, but it doesn’t make it witty. Besides, that research isn’t the rule regarding political preference. So don’t take offense to it. Use it to gain some insight and compare it to your own experiences to see if the research stands up, rather than writing it off and defaming those who have read the research and found it to generally-not always-be true.

  140. Mark

    @ David commenter #141

    I’d hardly call that relevant since:
    a) the point of the video Plait posted is to update us on the findings of the British court this week that the climate scientists had not lied.
    b) That is from November 2009. And once again the most recent reports came out last week.

    It’s rather easy to dismiss “climategate” (ugh… i hate calling it that) because there was no “climategate.” As Maddow pointed out, those with an agenda and something to gain from ending the fight against global warming were the ones who trumpeted these emails as “proof” that global warming was faked, even though they grazed and cherry picked passages to make it appear that the scientists were faking it. And they did so rather poorly. It was easy to make the connections between those screaming about it and their interests and stakes in ending the fight against global warming. Those people held no credibility. Most level headed people didn’t buy into that nonsense. Especially because there is so much overwhelming and physical evidence that supports global warming. (Does anyone remember the Arctic passage opening up last year? Russia being able to claim the ocean floor under the arctic where it had melted? HELLO?????? Reality, are you there?)

  141. Dean

    @137

    >>@ 130. Dean Says:
    Planetoid, you’re on a tear… I guess I’m feeding the trolls here, but here goes… “James Hansen is an activist political protester who spearheads the Green lobby & AGW cult – & therefore not an objective, impartial scientist & NOT someone who has any credibility on this issue.” Ad hominem, I think.

    >No just a simple statement of fact.

    Ad hominem: attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain. “…not an objective, impartial scientist & NOT someone who has any credibility on this issue”… Not ad hominem? Seems like a textbook case to me. I’m not arguing for or against Hansen.

    >Oh & try to be polite with me please like I do with you. I’m no troll just somebody who happens to disagree with the AGW Orthodoxy which is increasingly fading as more and more inconvenient truths come to light – & my name here is Plutonium being from Pluto (PbfP if you wish to abbrieviate it) not “Planetoid”.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to besmirch anyone’s “good name”, it was perhaps a poor attempt at humor and nothing more. I guess I assumed that someone who would use a “name” like that would have a sense of humor about it, what with Pluto being a planetoid and all. Who knew? I’ll grant that the “troll” bit was ad hominem on my part, if that helps.

    Interesting though that you find support for what you call “AGW Orthodoxy” is “increasingly fading.” Definitely not the impression I have, and and it sounds rather like wishful thinking on your part.

    >>But whether or not you agree, do you seriously feel it is impossible for someone to be objective in 100% of their scientific research, and yet be willing and able to espouse a credible (personal) political view on their own time?!? That is just twisted in my book…

    >True objectivity is a difficult thing to attain. (etc.)

    Clearly. Clearly. Granted that I phrased it in the extreme (“100% objective”), but that was to make a point. Now you turn it around as if I had meant that literally… Well, I guess I lobbed that one right where you wanted it. The point is that some people are able to separate arenas in which they have a responsibility to strive for objectivity from arenas in which they feel free to express their personal viewpoints (“perspectives” which are inherently not “objective views”). The minute I hear someone dismiss a point by dismissing a person who has made it the BS alarms start ringing, with harmonics of “ad hominem”…

    In any case, regarding the difficulty of obtaining true objectivity, your repeated and vigorous assertions seem to be a case in point, despite your protestations. Mangling Monty Python is cute (e.g., lead up to “AGW is scientific corpse that stinks worse as it decomposes more with every passing moment. Scientifically AGW is dead as a dodo”), but doing that and effectively/repeatedly saying “is so!” (regarding your views and the reliability of your sources) doesn’t do much to establish credibility for the points you are pushing. Your view just has to be correct, and those who would oppose it are not “legitimate”, it seems. Well, OK. But “is not!” ;-)

    Sigh.

  142. Dean

    @101, 102, 104, 112, 113, 114, 137, 138, 139

    Hey, I just noticed your initial “asides” about Hansen (and Gore) in this thread were not in response to someone else (I had initially assumed it was, as it looked to be responsive; long threads like this are hard to “grok” without substantial time), you brought that “topic” to the table. Nobody else has mentioned Hansen (except in response to your ad hominem attacks), and you launch into a tirade like that out of the blue… Same with Gore, you brought him up (unless you count Lupine’s comment w/reference to Gore and…. Pluto…?), you are the only one to mention him. Not to say you can’t discuss anything that’s on your mind, within site standards, but… I hesitate to say it is the sound of one hand clapping… but… hmm….

  143. Phil, I love you, but you’re wrong: the flaws in global warming “science” have been made clear, and Phil Jones isn’t in the clear – that investigation was a joke, relying on his own word to clear him.

    And Rachel Maddow? She who called Americans “teabaggers” and speaks with crooked mouth a la Dick Cheney? To those of you who find that sexy, you can have her.

    Finally, “alternative medicine” has a home on the left – Hell, name me a NewAger who didn’t vote for Obama.

    That’s all I got. Like I said, Phil, I love you, but your leftist politics is galling.

  144. Ed

    It’s “bull” when Fox reports it but when Michael Moore makes films with the same types of distortions the libs give him and academy award. BTW Jerry Brown is a major liberal so it’s no surprise that he would support the liberal story line.

  145. Ichi Naka

    Plutonium being from Pluto Says:

    “No because Plimer *is* a reliable source of info. His book may have a couple of minor errors in it, true.”

    A couple hundred major errors more like:

    http://tbp.mattandrews.id.au/2009/06/06/debunking-plimer-heaven-and-earth/

    You’d have to be pretty much out of the loop to think Plimer was a reliable source for anything.

  146. Joseph

    I love this woman.
    I routinely argue with conservatives, & I wondered why we seldom see eye to eye on anything.
    I was loonking for the article ‘Liberal mind vs. Conservative mind’ and I came upon this Rachel video.
    Wow, what a bombshell.

  147. @108. Gary Ansorge :

    @102 PBFP: So, you keep insisting on 1998 as the hottest year, eh? Ok, how about this; I make this prediction; including the “perfect storm” that hit the US east coast this winter(for precision, I’ll say winter is from Jan 1 to March 31) this year, 2010, will be the new “hottest year on record”. [Emphasis added.]

    For the record : You were correct! :-)

    2010 was, indeed, the hottest year on record tying with 2005.

    As NASA observed :

    WASHINGTON — Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

    (Click on my name for the source quoted above.)

    As I type this the USA is suffering from a massive heatwave (esp. in the South) and there have also been record temperatures in the former USSR.

    It seems likely 2011 will, again, be a record breakingly hot year.

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