Lukewarm

By Daniel Holz | December 8, 2009 3:59 pm

At this very moment the nations of the world are meeting in Copenhagen to discuss the Earth’s climate. 192 countries are represented, and for the next two weeks they will try to come up with a strategy to deal with climate change. Obama will show up in 10 days, as will other heads-of-state. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage (at least in the US) includes discussion of what is being called “ClimateGate”. Someone hacked into the email system of the University of East Anglia, and stole hundreds of private emails from climate researchers around the world. Let us remember that Watergate had to do with an investigation of the burglars, while in this case there seems to be scant attention to the crime (i.e. stealing and publishing personal email), and much more attention to the “incendiary” emails themselves.

earthScientists are people too. Amazingly enough, we get frustrated and annoyed. We have fights with colleagues. We let our emotions get in the way of dispassionate peer review. We send emails we probably shouldn’t. This should be no surprise to anyone. There are immense pressures on scientists working on “hot button” issues like climate change. They’re constantly being assaulted and questioned (mostly by people with no particular background or training). And, on occasion, individuals end up saying things and doing things they shouldn’t. Looking over the stolen emails, there are certainly some unfortunate revelations. But there is nothing even remotely indicating widespread fabrication of results. As far as I know, not a single scientific finding is now in doubt because of these emails. No papers will be withdrawn. Nature has a summary of the [lack of] content of the emails. A lot more detail can be found here. And the IPCC weighs in here.

I am not an expert on climate change. If the lives of our children and grandchildren depended on questions having to do with cosmology or general relativity, I would most certainly have a direct, informed opinion. And I would hope that my opinion, and those of my colleagues, would be solicited and respected, given that we’ve dedicated our lives to studying the relevant subject matter. Likewise, I respect the conclusions of my esteemed colleagues in the fields of climate research. And there is absolute and clear consensus on one fundamental point: the actions of human beings are altering our climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of thousands of scientists from all over the world, made this startlingly clear. I highly encourage you to read the report (or at least the executive summary). As if that isn’t enough, the World Meteorological Organization just released a report indicating that the last decade was the warmest on record, and that the warming trend shows every sign of continuing.

Now, there are certainly researchers in the field that dissent. This is part of the nature of the scientific enterprise. We’re all trained to be skeptical and contrary. Be leery of received wisdom. Question everything, and try to build your own understanding from first principles. Along the way, on any topic whatsoever, you find some scientists that wander down some misbegotten path and get stuck. Sometimes the individual is Einstein, and they’re about to blow open entire fields. But the vast majority of the time, these radically contrary scientists are simply misguided and wrong. Which is okay. It’s part of the process. And it keeps everyone on their toes.

You can find scientists that believe the Universe is not expanding. They are wrong. You can find scientists that believe there is no evidence for evolution. They are wrong. And you can find scientists that believe there is no evidence for anthropogenic global warming. They are wrong.

This is not to say that there aren’t open questions or issues in these fields, nor that we understand everything perfectly. It’s simply a statement that the evidence is compelling and overwhelming, and the basic findings are no longer in doubt. Any future theories will incorporate and subsume what we already know. Just like General Relativity subsumed Newtonian gravity, without nullifying the inverse square law. Global warming is happening. We are (at least part of) the cause. Perhaps the details of what will happen in the next few decades are unclear. Perhaps the worst-case scenario won’t come to pass. It’s a very complicated, interconnected, non-linear system. All we know for sure is that human activities are introducing a new forcing term into our climate, and that this term is already having measurable effects. The Earth is really big. Go outside and look out across the mountains or the oceans or the sky. There’s a lot of room out there. It’s amazing that we can have a serious, global impact on this massive chunk of rock. For reference, I calculate that the entire biomass of humanity is 6.8 billion x 68 kg (150 lbs) = 5 x 1011 kg. This is one hundred million millionth the mass of the Earth. And yet, we’re having an effect on the entire planet.

Since this issue has profound consequences for centuries to come, I would claim it is the responsibility of every citizen of the world to educate themselves on the topic. It seems to me that each of us has three straightforward choices:
1. go back to school, get a PhD in climate sciences, and form one’s own informed opinions about what’s going on.
2. trust the experts.
3. trust the fringe.

Note that the fringe consists almost entirely of non-experts. And believing the fringe requires you to be convinced there’s a vast scientific conspiracy, with the willing collusion of thousands of experts around the world. With no obvious motive or agenda. As a practicing scientist, I find it farcical that people imagine scientists capable of such a wide-ranging, organized conspiracy. We’re much too eager to prove each other wrong. And we’re much too stubborn and iconoclastic to just go along with the consensus, if we pick up any whiff of doubt. On the other hand, it is easy to see why some are interested in questioning global warming. It is indeed an inconvenient truth, after all.

We are altering our planet’s climate. This is not in doubt. How can anyone not be disturbed by the knowledge that we are fundamentally changing macroscopic properties of the Earth, our only home?

[NOTE: Sean just posted on the same topic. This just goes to show that even fellow bloggers have trouble coordinating. Much less thousands of scientists engaging in vast, motiveless conspiracies.]

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    We would have coordinated better, but given recent events I now destroy all my global-warming-conspiracy-related emails.

  • Aaron

    “You can find scientists that believe the Universe is not expanding. They are wrong. You can find scientists that believe there is no evidence for evolution. They are wrong. And you can find scientists that believe there is no evidence for anthropogenic global warming. They are wrong.”

    [Citation Needed]

    Clarke summed your opinion up as such: Clarke’s First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

  • joulesm

    I completely agree that scientists are definitely eager to prove people wrong, I question the dumbest things people say to me just to make them realize they need to check their sources, even if they are right.

    And I’m really glad you guys posted something about it. I’m not in academia right now and a lot of people I know and interact with tend to jump on headlines like “Climategate proves global warming a farce”, and while I can easily disregard stupid headlines, it’s harder to convince uneducated people to just trust the science. I don’t always know how to approach it without sounding like an elitist.

    Anyways, thank you!! I pray (and atheists don’t usually pray) that something productive will come out of Copenhagen.

  • tacitus

    The irony is that for all the accusations leveled against scientists claiming that they are conspiring to bring about the world socialist revolution that the Soviet Union failed to accomplish, it is obvious that it is the deniers who are ones in lock-step with each other for manifestly political reasons.

    And when find you have people like Lord Monckton, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and (what the heck!) Alex Jones leading the charge, one would hope that most of the doubters would begin to second-guess their skepticism. It’s not as though they have a great track record of being right.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/sunclipse/ Blake Stacey

    Let us remember that Watergate had to do with an investigation of the burglars, while in this case there seems to be scant attention to the crime (i.e. stealing and publishing personal email), and much more attention to the “incendiary” emails themselves.

    There’s no news in the stolen e-mails themselves. We know this by now. The real story is that somebody was motivated enough to steal them . . . or to pay to have it done.

  • Matt

    Check out Michael Crichton’s speech on the Global Warming debate. I think it should be required reading for anyone in the scientific community.

    Cheers

    http://www.michaelcrichton.net/speech-alienscauseglobalwarming.html

  • Greg

    Trust the experts? If I trusted them then 30 years ago I would have believed that there was a coming ice age. A number of years before that I would have believed that the Earth was warming… before that a coming ice age… etc…

    Environmental Science as a whole has lost all integrity. It is a constant flip flop and I have to wonder if anyone in environmental sciences has a clue as to what the hell is going on.

    Deleting original data? Trying to delete emails and other info so as not to release it? This doesn’t help the integrity issues that environmental science has.

  • tacitus

    Trust the experts? If I trusted them then 30 years ago I would have believed that there was a coming ice age.

    And what exactly were the experts saying 30 years ago? Not what you seem to think they were saying. Perhaps you need to go and do a little research for yourself, then you wouldn’t kill your credibility from the get go.

  • tresmal

    Actually Greg, 30 years ago if you had listened to the experts , you wouldn’t have believed anything one way or the other regarding climate change. However, if you followed climate science then, you would have known that a very few climatologists had floated an hypothesis about possible global cooling ( the notion that this was a wide spread and accepted hypothesis at the time is a myth spread by denialists) and a larger but still small number of scientists were grappling with how to figure out what consequences if any there would be from our pouring tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • Greg

    I am not sure how it is a myth spread by “denialists.” I remember learning about the coming ice age in school for a number of years back in the early 80′s.

    If being highly skeptical of any science that tells me what I have to do to “save the planet” means I have no credibility then so be it. I have personally watched many flip flop over the last 30 years with what the latest thing we have to do to “save the planet.” If “you” want me to support altering the entire course of the human race then you have do a lot of explaining on why I should care about something that makes up 0.00039% of our atmosphere. And it will take a lot more then an appeal to authority to convince me (which by the way is poor argumentation).

    I am not saying that man caused global warming is not happening. It very well could be. But for me (and many like me) there are a lot of credibility issues. These emails do not help those credibility issues.

  • Jeff

    “I am not sure how it is a myth spread by “denialists.” I remember learning about the coming ice age in school for a number of years back in the early 80’s.”.

    Yes, Greg. In school. I wouldn’t try to rely on schoolteachers for an accurate assessment of current thinking in proper academic circles.

  • DaveH

    Greg ‘#10,

    Memory is a funny thing. my Dad used to say me in the 80s, “I don’t believe all this global warming.” That was then. Here’s an article in USA Today about that supposed coming ice age I don’t remember.

    Also, scientists weren’t wrong about CFCs.

    As for 0.00039% – small percentage, still a great volume of CO2.

    The emails have nothing to do with anything. Unless you’re a gossip, the kind of person who pays attention to a snatch of out of context conversation your neighbour heard. Don’t be that person.

    Facts and Figures about AGW

  • Tim

    If climate science is to be taken seriously they need to make ALL data freely available with clear documentation for every step. This means everything from instrumental record to corrections to that record to averaging to climate model code – everything.

    If you really believed that the future of Earth and your children depends on your data being persuasive would you not strive to make it as freely available as possible? Would you not invite others to check your data to ensure the supposed impending disaster is not due to a bug in code or wrong interpretation?

    Now contrast this with what actual climate scientists are doing. They would rather commit a crime by deleting the data subjected to a FOI request then make it available for outside verification! How can anyone ever trust such “scientists”?

  • Greg

    DaveH: Thanks for the first article. I will have to look into that more.

    “Also, scientists weren’t wrong about CFCs.”

    You are correct, but now they are saying that the replacements (HFCs) cause global warming. Along with trees, cows, burping, etc…

    The emails become a big deal when they talk about deleting information. I don’t care about the word “trick” or any of the other stuff. But deleting emails (and they have also admitted to deleting the original data) are quite suspect. That is more than just gossip. That is an integrity issue and causes me to question why they would want to do that. I have to wonder what are they so insecure about that they would do this.

    Like it or not, when asking the world to do what they are being asked to do you can not delete information (or even talk about it). Integrity is a must. For me when it comes to “trusting an expert” there must be integrity. When it is not there then neither is my trust. If these scientist don’t like it then perhaps they should change fields. That is the reality of things.

  • B

    @Tim

    “If climate science is to be taken seriously they need to make ALL data freely available with clear documentation for every step. This means everything from instrumental record to corrections to that record to averaging to climate model code – everything.”"

    Even with proper documentation would YOU know how to perform the analysis needed? I have a degree in Computational physics and working on a M.S in Math Modeling and I wouldn’t know heads or tails to start and EVEN, EVEN if I could perform the analysis myself, I wouldn’t know what to make of the result. Hell, I once made an attempt at producing an analytical model of the tides and couldn’t make heads or tails of the graph I made in the end. ‘

    “Now contrast this with what actual climate scientists are doing. They would rather commit a crime by deleting the data subjected to a FOI request then make it available for outside verification! How can anyone ever trust such “scientists”?”

    You’re branding EVERY climatologist, hell even scientist, over the actions of a slight few. I bet you go to the doctor don’t you? Guess what? There are some doctors/surgeons who leave sponges in people. By YOUR logic, we shouldn’t trust “doctors”

    You missed the entire point of what Sean was trying to say. Scientist are people. Some have questionable ethics, some can be bought, some are complete and utter pricks. A majority of them: are only out for one thing, truth and knowledge. Nothing drives a scientist more than trying to find out something new or understand something. And many jump at the chance to be wrong, because that means they don’t know the problem as well as they thought.

    So, given the way you’ve framed your entire argument I’d say your training as a “scientist” didn’t reach much more past a couple science classes in college or you majored in Political Science….(which isn’t a science BTW).

  • B

    Just realized it was Daniel wrote the article, not Sean…ooops

    Correction: “You missed the entire point of what [Daniel] was trying to say. “

  • Sharon

    To B:

    You wrote:

    “You’re branding EVERY climatologist, hell even scientist, over the actions of a slight few.”

    The scientists in question are members of a very small group responsible for the outcomes of the IPCC. They are not just any “few” scientists. They are key scientists on whose findings the IPCC recommendations are based.

    None of the earth-based data sets has been released by ANY scientists. Why is that?

  • Chris F.

    To Sharon:

    Again, missing the point.

    “None of the earth-based data sets has been released by ANY scientists. Why is that?”

    Probably because they know that the caliber of people who want to perform these additional (and unnecessary) analyses are just as intellectually inept as you seem to be.

  • http://techskeptic.blogspot.com techskeptic

    “ALL data freely available with clear documentation for every step”

    you know, whenever I hear that I think what you really mean is that, all scientists, for free, must spoon feed you personally. YOU have to go find the research, there are tens of thousands of articles, conferences, summary reports, all with data, all with various conclusions, and scientists with varying degrees of biases and skepticism all work to generate this body. Its not their job to feed you personally. Instead of whining that no one has spoon fed you the raw data, dive into the research, they all did, its part of the process for even writing your very first paper on a very small branch of any science, background and support for your claims form the litereature.

    When you say that, it just sounds like a baby saying “I cant feed myself, feed me”.

    greg,
    “Environmental Science as a whole has lost all integrity. It is a constant flip flop and I have to wonder if anyone in environmental sciences has a clue as to what the hell is going on”

    If this is what you really think, you should simply step out and just listen to them. You should stop pretending that you actually understand any of this enough to make a legitimate scientific argument. You demonstrate absolutely zero idea as to how science improves knowledge and how it is self correcting. Newton wasnt wrong because Einstein showed new ways to understand fundamental physics. When they changed the guidlines on breast cancer exams they didn’t say :all exams are now bad, the modified it to incorporate the latest science about efficacy and safety.

    “If I trusted them then 30 years ago I would have believed that there was a coming ice age”

    Bullshit, if you did exactly what you are doing right now, trusting a fringe group and scientists who are trying to make a media spash, then yes, you would do exactly what you are doing right now, believing the poorly supported conclusions that almost no one who has spent their life actually studying this stuff actually thinks. good work.

    “Trying to delete emails and other info so as not to release it? This doesn’t help the integrity issues that environmental science has.”

    It doesn’t, but I take this to mean that you have never erased an email that you didnt want people to read?

  • Matt

    “…very few climatologists had floated an hypothesis about possible global cooling ( the notion that this was a wide spread and accepted hypothesis at the time is a myth spread by denialists) and…”

    If you ask me, AGW believers would be wise to stop using charged terms like “denialists”. That’s the type of language you typically hear from political or religous zealots. …people who desparately want others to believe something that they can never really prove so they resort to insults or take the childish path of insisting that everybody else already agrees with them (even when they clearly don’t). It’s not the type of language that should be used by scientists.

    When I hear somebody use that type of rhetoric, I automatically dismiss the rest of whatever it is they’re trying to say. I’m only interested in what reasonable people have to say on this topic. Not some fanatical nutjob.

  • Fugly

    I think it’s more relevant to compare our biomass to the mass of the atmosphere rather than the rock we stand on. We weigh about 1/10,000,000(*) as much as the atmosphere, which makes it seem much more likely that we could have some effect on it, especially given the fact that we multiply our impact on the environment with our massive machinery and cattle, fire, etc.

    This seems all the more significant when we note that nature doesn’t care much about our temperature scale; degrees Kelvin is much more relevant. If we have changed the atmosphere’s temperature by 1 degree C, and the average air temperature is 290K, that’s about a 0.3% change. Doesn’t strike me as surprising at all.

    (*)
    (Atmospheric pressure at Earth’s surface) * (Surface area of Earth)
    = $latex (14.7,mathrm{psi} times 0.45,mathrm{kg}/mathrm{lb}) times left(4pi(251106299,mathrm{inches})^2 right) approx 5 times 10^{18},mathrm{kg}~.$ This is 1/10,000,000 of what you calculate for our biomass.

  • Tim

    B wrote:

    “You’re branding EVERY climatologist, hell even scientist, over the actions of a slight few.”

    First I am not “branding EVERY scientists” where did you get that from?! I can actually answer that for you – you made it up to serve your cheap rhetorics.

    As was already pointed to you the scientists in question are not some random insignificant bunch, they are some of the most prominent climate scientists in the field and the main proponents of AGW! Significant portion of IPCC conclusions rests on their work and their CREDIBILITY, credibility which is now lost.

  • http://techskeptic.blogspot.com techskeptic

    OK, I can follow, John Rennie. How about Climate Contrarian? Means the same thing, Have the same characteristics.

    “None of the earth-based data sets has been released by ANY scientists. Why is that”

    so once again, you wish to be spoon fed. Instead of spending 5 whole minutes to check your own claim, you could actually try to figure some of this stuff out on your own. Its no wonder you guys are largely ignored by people who are actually doing research. Rightly so.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/#Climate_data_raw
    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/READER/surface/stationpt.html
    http://icoads.noaa.gov/nrt.html (just sign on as guest)
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/ (sign on as guest)

    and on and on and on. you arent really asking for data, you are asking for spoon feeding.

  • Surferosad

    I posted this in Sean’s thread, but I want to post it here too:

    From the scientific american web site: Seven answers to climate contrarian nonsense.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=seven-answers-to-climate-contrarian-nonsense

    About “climategate”:
    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Climategate: Smacking the Hack Attack – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P70SlEqX7oY

    There are other episodes of Climate Denial of the Week. Well worth watching.

    I particularly like this one: The Great Petition Fraud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8mlF8KT6I&feature=related

    It exposes the fundamental dishonesty of the climate denial industry.

  • Tim

    techskeptic: “you know, whenever I hear that I think what you really mean is that, all scientists, for free, must spoon feed you personally…”

    If results cannot be independently verified it is not science. What you think is irrelevant.

  • http://techskeptic.blogspot.com techskeptic

    Right, and thousands of actually scientists in tens of thousands of papers in hundreds of faclilites are doing that work. You just sit there and say “Spoon feed me!” As if its their responsibility. Go do the research couch potato.

  • Fugly

    Oh, man. You guys gotta fix what happens to latex when a comment is edited. Trying again:

    $latex (14.7,mathrm{psi} times 0.45,mathrm{kg}/mathrm{lb}) times left(4pi(251106299,mathrm{inches})^2 right) approx 5 times 10^{18},mathrm{kg}~. $

  • Tim

    Techskeptic: “Right, and thousands of actually scientists in tens of thousands of papers in hundreds of faclilites are doing that work.”

    Good, if only climate scientists joined that club.

    Here is a quote from Phil Jones director of CRU at the center of this debate – in response to a fellow scientist who requested his data so he can reproduce his findings:

    “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

    This is the same Phil Jones who preferred to commit a crime by deleting the data subjected to a FOI request to releasing it for outside verification. What honest scientists would ever do such a thing? It’s contrary to everything the science stands for! Again, please you or anyone here, try answering this very simple question – how can anyone trust such a “scientist”?

  • Cecil

    Global warming is no longer a scientific issue, it’s a political issue. There is science underlying it, true, and it all (or nearly all) falls squarely in the AGW camp. Most of the scientific data is available if you know where to look. There’s certainly enough data and research freely available to push you into the AGW camp if you’re an honest truth-seeker.

    The problem is that political issues are not decided on science, or on facts, or on the truth. They’re decided on perception, and the contrarian camp is trying very hard to win people over to their side – as the whole climategate debacle shows. You have quotes from scientists in the papers saying this has set the debate back 20 years. Whether it has or not, it’s all based on smoke and mirrors.

    THIS is why people like Phil Jones are reluctant to share all their data. Because they know from experience that if it falls into the hands of someone who isn’t interested in the truth, little insignificant details will get blown out of proportion and trumpeted to the lay public as another nail in the coffin of global warming. Hell, that might happen with people who ARE interested in the truth but not knowledgable enough to analyze the data properly. It then has significant implications for public policy, despite having no relevance.

    Assuming you are honest yet unwilling to get a PhD yourself, the only options you have are to trust the experts or believe in a global conspiracy. Otherwise you’re claiming that having read a few websites makes you more qualified than people who’ve spend decades studying the issue.

  • Sam Gralla

    Hi Daniel,

    “All we know for sure is that human activities are introducing a new forcing term into our climate, and that this term is already having measurable effects.”

    Do you really think we know this “for sure”? You later backtrack slightly, comparing cosmic expansion with “evidence for global warming”, which seems more fair. I don’t think *anything* of policy relevance in climate science is known with the same certainty as the “universe is expanding”, and so I don’t think it’s a good idea to compare. Rather, I’d just say the following: a lot of very hard work has shown that the possibility of significant anthropomorphic global warming is very real. So, perhaps we should do something. I think that’s a much more responsible way to make the argument.

    I’m also wary in general of comparisons to cosmology or any other precision science. Because if it happens that the scientists missed something in climate, and the earth (say) cools down a bit, people are going to think the same thing is possible with the expansion of universe, which we both know is false. (And in that case, say goodbye any big bang cosmology in high school textbooks.) There is an argument from climate science to emissions reductions, but it doesn’t involve pretending we are as sure that recent warming is anthropogenic as we are that the universe is expanding.

    -Sam

  • http://techskeptic.blogspot.com techskeptic

    Tim,

    As I pointed out earlier the data is available. Its not spoon fed to anyone who just wants to make a fuss. You, Greg, JoNova, the Heartland institute, everyone needs ot dive into the research just like the climate scientists have to do. Yes, you need self will to be able to do it. This is why I laugh at AGW denialists. They come up with a theory, then even after having it debunked over and over and over again, they still repeat it without moving forward. I’m still hearing about cosmis ray theory even though, while an interesting idea, it WAS looked into. Zero correlation. Its done. Stop bringing it up. 800 year lag, its understood, stop bringing it up. Innacuracies in climate models, yes, no one disputes that models are not 100% accurate, but they contrarians have had decades to develope a physics based model that doesnt include A-CO2 that shows equal or better accuracy. So stop bringing it up.

    This reminds me of the episode when Schafly from Conservapeadia wanted all of Lenksi’s data when Lemnski demonstrated proof of evolution in the form of a beneficial set of mutations in his lab. Do you think schafly was there to actually learn from it? Do you think he actually had the skill, education or desire to actually do anything positive or unbaised with it? Yeah, neither do you, or greg, or Beck, or Limbaugh, or Inhofe, or even a weatherman. I’ve spent years studying this by reading actual research papers, they are all available (although granted, by having access to some on-line journals makes it easier for me).

    I’ll let lenski himself tell you why giving data to people who are intent to destroy its meaning is a stupid endeavor

    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Lenski_affair#Second_reply.2C_June_23_2008

    Want to be able to debunk the science? Learn the science first. Not media filtered, Limbaugh lensed versions of science. It takes years. Google university doesnt provide the rigor required for it.

  • Greg

    techskeptic,
    Talking down to people and treating them like they are assholes is not a way to help someone along in their search for knowledge. I am more then willing to agree with you all on this topic, but I personally have to be convinced. Someone with a title saying something is not enough to convince me. I have to have some basic understanding of why this is man caused and not the normal cycle, or many of the other possible theories. Sorry if my skepticism towards environmental sciences doesn’t meet your standard of approval.

    “When they changed the guidelines on breast cancer exams they didn’t say :all exams are now bad, the modified it to incorporate the latest science about efficacy and safety.”

    This isn’t even a relevant example. An example that I think would be more relevant to how I view this is saying breast cancer is good, no… breast cancer is bad, no… breast cancer is good. Or another example would be: here take this pill, it cures breast cancer but causes brain cancer.

  • Surferosad

    Most deniers are not looking for knowledge. They’ve already made up their minds, and when they do “debate” they tend to do it in bad faith. Most of the people that say they don’t think anthropogenic climate change is real do it because they don’t want it to be real, because they don’t want to be responsible for addressing it. They’d rather live their lives out cheerfully doing whatever the hell they like and hope science figures it all out later.

  • Sergey, VT

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of thousands of scientists from all over the world, made this startlingly clear. I highly encourage you to read the report (or at least the executive summary). ”

    Thousands of scientists were not all AWG experts, only core group of 50 are real experts in climate science publishing papers in prestigious journals. Significant part of IPCC findings were based on work of the CRU team and their friends and as the team is implicated in questionable practices the IPCC report is compromised. Nature peer-review process is implicated and can I imagine reasons why they would like to see climategate emails as non-issue.

    Ed Wegman’s report to Congress http://climateaudit.org/2006/07/14/wegman-report-release/
    debunks (a) their use of statistics (b) claim that studies are actually indepndent. The report contains some bacground on the hockey stick work.

    “Note that the fringe consists almost entirely of non-experts.”

    Hmmm…How about NIPCC report based more reasent peer -reviewed papers?
    (http://www.nipccreport.org/)

    “And you can find scientists that believe there is no evidence for anthropogenic global warming. They are wrong.”

    I would not make such a strong claim after admitting that I am not an expert. This blows up ostensibly objective tone set up in the beginning of the article and here you sound more as a preacher in Church of AWG. How can you know that they are wrong if you just admitted that you are not an expert? Perhaps it came to you as some Divination from the great Gods of AWG faith?

    OK, I too am not an expert in climate scioence. I can’t review all literature and make my own informed opinion. The reason I do not trust IPCC has nothing to do with science. I know how to spot commercial scam and I know how to spot a lier. As I see utterly dishonest, easyly to disprove claims coming from AWG industry, such as claims about existence of AWG consensus, I see it as a sign of scam. The way Mike Mann writes his papers on RealClimate, his adhominem attacks on McIntire are also serious signs of a lier. My gutts tell me that these people make it up.

  • A.H

    Prof Daniel,

    It is easy to get excited about such topics, and be infuriated with what one may see as a small group of illogical deniers. The group however is not devoid of scientists and mathematicians, and putting the term “experts” one side of the fence is probably not a good idea.

    I for one do not want to trust the current majority unconditionally, on matters of such a scale. It would be a disaster if the lack of PhD work on “climate science” bars one from understanding the magnitude of the claims being made. This is macroscopic phenomenon, a group of processes involving the entire planet. Now, I am not doubting the skills of the climate scientists or their understanding of statistical inference, but the subject is damn hard. Understanding things at a fundamental microscopic level is not very easy – the big picture, depending on the system, is often laughably difficult to discuss in solid terms.

    You mentioned non-linearity. That is a key problem. Non-mathematicians using probabilistic reasoning is another one. Mathematicians using probabilistic reasoning on systems they don’t understand (usually very tiny ones in comparison to our subject) is a third, and anyone with first hand experience in inference and modelling will know how painfully prevalent and unchecked this is, outside of fundamental physics.

    Now if you’ve read so far and think I will suggest an answer here, some solution on “what we should all do”.. well, I can’t. If we all trust one perspective on 5 or 10 years of data for a system aged millions of years, when other *reasonable* perspectives exist, we could be making a bad mistake.

  • DaveH

    “The reason I do not trust IPCC has nothing to do with science.”

    Oh, we know that.

  • Arrow

    The main problem of AGW is that global climate models have never been experimentally verified.

    Since many people seem to have blinders on when it comes to climate imagine something else – imagine that someone claimed he has developed a successful computer model of evolution and that he can now predict where evolution will take a particular organism in 100 years.

    How should science deal with such a claim?

    There is only one way to verify such a claim – it has to pass experimental test. First one should check if the model successfully postdicts past evolution. If it passes this test the next step is to see if it can indeed make successful predictions – use it to predict evolution ten or twenty years into the future and wait to see if those predictions agree with reality.

    Only when the model passes both tests, meaning it can successfully postdict and predict evolution, it will deserve some trust but even then it may very well turn out that those results were a fluke and therefore the model will only be trustworthy if it is repeatedly shown to correctly predict evolution on the timescales on which it is to be used.

    If the model is unable to even postdict past evolution it is worthless.

    Now the same applies to any new models, before they can be trusted and considered part of established science they have to pass experimental verification. Experimental verification is what turns such models into science and it is the *only* thing that separates them from pseudoscience.

    A model and especially when it is complex should *never* be trusted if it has never passed experimental verification.

    Now consider this, not a single climate model used for predicting future global climate has ever passed rigorous experimental verification – not a single climate model has been shown to correctly postdict past climate, not a single climate model has been shown to successfully predict future climate.

    What it means is that climate predictions based on such models are *NOT* scientific and should *NEVER* be trusted, not until proper verification takes place.

    This also means that we cannot tell what impact manmade emissions have on climate – whether they account for 90% or 0.09% of the change. The only scientifically valid way to prove causation here requires experimentally verified climate models – one has to run such models with and without manmade emissions and then compare the results. Without trustworthy climate models this is of course impossible.

    To sum it up from a strictly scientific point of view AGW remains nothing more then a plausible hypothesis and future climate predictions are baseless speculations.

  • Surferosad

    Arrow says: “The main problem of AGW is that global climate models have never been experimentally verified.”

    First of all, AGW isn’t solely based on models. There is a large array of field observations (like the proxy temperature measurements already mentioned) that corroborate AGW.

    Secondly, it isn’t true that AGW models haven’t been experimentally verified. Many researchers have published models that reproduce past climatic events.

    See for instance: http://article.pubs.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/ppv/RPViewDoc?issn=1480-3313&volume=37&issue=5&startPage=811

    It’s an old paper, but its abstract gives the general idea. The researchers modeled the Younger Dryas event. There are many more recent papers on this, but I can’t be arsed doing your job for you.

  • costanza

    Like it or not, what impacts most people is the APPEARANCE of impropriety.

  • coolstar

    Very, very well said Daniel. I think this is going up on bulletin boards around me, with especially pertinent paragraphs highlighted.

  • spyder

    Just a short comment on the “data.” The data that was deleted at CRU was that which had been uploaded and copied into their computers from many sources including NASA, NOAA, NWS, etc. All of the original data sets exist in the stored systems at those locations. Albeit, the data is disaggregated and would require an individual or small group to request to upload and copy it into their supercomputers. Then they too could develop a set of models for change and test their outcomes against the data sets. Of course that would also require a careful study of how to integrate tree ring climate data into CO2 storage of Antarctic ice with methane releases over the last 200 years and so forth and so on. Yes indeedy. we could all be climate experts too. Of course that would mean we would have to read another whole career’s worth of papers, articles, books, and perform 20 years of research. I am sure we all have that time.

    Then again, we can just acknowledge what costanza says in #39, that the actual discussion is about the politics and not about the science.

  • Pingback: Credere e sapere « Viaggiar si deve

  • Neal J. King

    For those who want a description of the theory behind the enhanced greenhouse effect, I recommend: http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    It is a graduate-level textbook.

  • Chris W.

    From Greg (#10): If “you” want me to support altering the entire course of the human race then you have do a lot of explaining on why I should care about something that makes up 0.00039% of our atmosphere.

    I think that’s ~0.039%, Greg. You were off by a factor of 100, on the low side. If you had omitted the ‘%’ you would have been fine.

    More substantively, we should care about something that (currently) makes up 0.039% of the atmosphere if small increases (or decreases) in that percentage can have significant effects on climate. Whether or not that is the case is a non-trivial scientific question, not a matter for seat-of-the-pants judgments. By way of analogy, there are substances existing in the human body in extremely small concentrations, but whose physiological roles are such that small variations in the concentration can be hugely significant. Similarly, there are toxins, such as dimethyl mercury, which can be fatal in extremely small quantities (0.1 mL of this particular compound).

    The point is often made that water vapor is a greenhouse gas, and that the earth would be a frozen hulk without the greenhouse effect, as if this can be taken to imply that enhancement of the greenhouse effect can only be a good thing. The underlying attitude seems to be that because the benefits of industrialization and the large-scale exploitation of fossil fuels were achieved while most people were completely oblivious to their potential global environmental impacts, this attitude should be perpetuated, even as the earth’s human population surpasses 7 billion—versus less than 2 billion at the end of the 19th century. That can only be described as a huge crapshoot. Of course, huge crapshoots misrepresented as safe bets seem to be de rigueur in some major sectors of modern capitalist economies, so I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise. :(

  • http://WWW.UMUEKEMPI.COM nwabueze eleke

    The point indeed, often be made that water vapor is green house gas , yet no body had thought of using NASA planet earth image of Africa cosmic microwave radiation background of Atlantic ocean current motion overturning circulation APOLLO 17 MISSION photograph of upturned image of Africa too read what is presenting taking place in the land of uprising risen sun – east Bight of Biafra in west coast Atlantic ocean Africa in good sense of JOSHUA 22:22-29 judgment for complex building heart center temple house body of a new universal figure with a new coil grid power ring of engagement in one body order compliant.

  • http://WWW.UMUEKEMPI.COM nwabueze eleke

    Let backward race culture and values be the key information sharing contribution of good sense of JOSHUA 22:22-29 judgment.

  • http://WWW.UMUEKEMPI.COM nwabueze eleke

    why not take look of upturned image of Africa universal figure of NASA APOLLO 17 MISSION photograph of Black African Ancestral idol – breeder of human race in good sense of judgment.

  • Sergey, VT

    >>DaveH
    >>“The reason I do not trust IPCC has nothing to do with science.”

    >>Oh, we know that.

    DaveH ,
    If you are a physicist rather than a climate scientist and yet you have a strong opinion about AGW then the only difference between two of us is that I have courage to honestly reflect and publically disclosure how I got my opinion, while you keep your reasoning steps under the rug. I win, you lost.

  • Sergey, VT

    >>Like it or not, what impacts most people is the APPEARANCE of impropriety.

    costanza:
    what is the difference between “impropriety,” violation of code of scientific integrity, misdemeanor, a crime and a crime that merits RICO class law suit?

  • ian fairchild

    Daniel,

    Your post is offensive and disingenuous. You characterize an apparent conspiracy among scientists to evade legitimate FOI requests as “scientists having a bad day.” You pass over scientists covertly conspiring to sabotage the peer review process while openly dismissing critics because they haven’t been peer reviewed. Finally, you characterize those who disagree as non-experts and tell them to get a PhD. How could they ever get a PhD in the field, given the likes of Jones and Mann, who would not accept their dissertation?

  • http://tispaquin.blogspot.com Doug Watts

    ian — do you have anything to say about the actual science?

    didn’t think so.

  • Sergey, VT

    Dough,
    Is Daniel’s article about actual science or it is about necessity of trusting the experts or (fake) consensus while while you are not an expert?

    I do not think it is about science as such.

  • wds

    re the whole sabotaging of the peer review process. I think this is poorly understood by the people commenting on it and it’s probably worth a moment to reflect on it. What makes a good journal? A good journal is a journal that 1) publishes important results and 2) is trusted by scientists to to publish only scientifically sound research. Trust is a very important factor in deciding how valuable a journal is. When that trust is gone, you act accordingly, i.e. you give the journal the cold shoulder. If enough scientists feel like you, the journal falls into obscurity and it either disappears or becomes a great source for crackpot papers. Either way, this is simply the scientific consensus at work. It’s no great conspiracy, it’s actually pretty democratic (remembering for a minute that journals are how scientists, not the public at large, arrive at a common consensus).

    @ian
    “How could they ever get a PhD in the field, given the likes of Jones and Mann, who would not accept their dissertation?”
    You don’t put Jones and Mann on your jury committee.

  • Sergey, VT

    wds,
    it is one thing to worry about peer -review that passes only scientifically sound research based on methodology and it is another thing to worry about peer -review that passes only “scientifically sound research” that produces desirable results no matter what methodology is. The difference between two *may* become as wide as the difference between NIH funded research and a tobaco companies funded research from past history of lung cancer studies.

    I wonder why many common people understand this point, while some established scientists do not.

  • DaveH

    I have courage to honestly reflect and publically disclosure how I got my opinion

    Your self-proclaimed honesty is heart-warming, but since your opinion has nothing to do with the science and the actual warming that is actually happening, you are misguided at best.

  • Sergey, VT

    DaveH,
    Your phrase “the actual warming that is actually happening” exposes your innocence on the issue . Warming and cooling has been always happening and what you said is banality. The key questions are about the covariates of the process. If you are not a climate scientist which obviously is the case, then I beg you to explain to yourself what make you so confident in your opinion regarding climate science? When you do so you will find that your own reason for your beliefs is not based on science either!!!!

    OK, let me help you: Being not an expert you can only believe in one or another authority in climate science. When authorities have distinct and mutually exclusive opinions you have to choose . Your choice can not possibly be based on science since you know next to nothing about it. So how do you make your choice? You use your common sense, not science. You may decide e.g. go with perceived majority or go with your more informed college. In context of logic such reasoning is a fallacy, so it is not science. But we always apply plausible reasoning in our common sense. And this is what I do too, the difference between two of us is difference in our common sense reasoning procedure and of course our abilities to reflect on own reasoning process. And this is not about science, it is about common sense.

  • DaveH

    So how do you make your choice?

    a) The overwhelming opinion of the great majority of climate scientists!
    b) The lack of a credible mechanism given by ANY climate scientists as to why the greenhouse effect would NOT be pertinent.
    c) Acidization of the oceans.
    d)The *rate* of warming.
    e) The alarming rise in sea levels this century.
    f) I give little credence to mere noisemakers.

    http://www.realclimate.org

  • Sergey, VT

    DaveH,
    I afraid you have not examined classical material on logical fallacies. Let us begin:

    a) The overwhelming opinion of the great majority of climate scientists!

    First, it is not overwhelming great majority . Do not forget about NIPCC and many climate scientists who sideline with it. Second, even if that were a majority it does not make scientific argument. Or else you are guilty of “Argumentum ad populum (“appeal to belief”, “appeal to the majority”, “appeal to the people”): where a proposition is claimed to be true solely because many people believe it to be true ” see REF1

    b) The lack of a credible mechanism given by ANY climate scientists as to why the greenhouse effect would NOT be pertinent.

    OK, if there is no proof that ManBeraPig does not exist then it must exist :-) Even South Park comics “ManBearPig” gets it. This isactually a known fallacy “Argument from silence (argumentum ex silentio): a conclusion based on silence or lack of contrary evidence ” (see REF1)

    c) Acidization of the oceans.
    Sorry do not know how this should be connected with AGW, no comment on this.

    d)The *rate* of warming.

    Neither it is unprecidented if you look at various historic records, nor we actually know for sure if any of these records correct . Hockey stick was debunked by Ed Wegman comission , see his report to Congress (REF2)

    e) The alarming rise in sea levels this century.

    There are conflicting reports on this either. “Global Warming Swindle” movie is controversial, but the scientist who was talking about absense of sea level variations was not the one who challanged the producer.

    So, why not to honestly acknowledge that you do not have enough quality information to make a scientific opinion on the issue and what you really use is (a). And what you use is merely a kind of plausible reasoning well described by Jaynes in the begining of the first chapter of his “Probability Theory: The Logic of Science” (see REF3). And plausible reasoning is merely a variaty of common sense reasoning.

    REF1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies
    REF2 http://climateaudit.org/2006/07/14/wegman-report-release/
    REF 3 http://www-biba.inrialpes.fr/Jaynes/prob.html

  • DaveH

    Sergey,

    Deferring to the expert consensus is the rational behaviour when making an informed decision and has nothing to do with the fallacy of formal logic you invoke.

    Yes, 1000 experts might be wrong and the ten dissenters right, but you go with the 1000. They are almost always right and the dissenters wrong. On big well-studied issues, the scientific consensus is almost always right compared to the alternatives. Revolutions do not happen every day!

    Or, in this case, it’s :

    IPCC
    U.S. Global Change Research Program
    International Arctic Science Committee
    American Meteorological Society
    Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
    World Meteorological Organization
    American Geophysical Union
    European Federation of Geologists
    European Geosciences Union
    Geological Society of America
    Geological Society of Australia
    International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
    American Quaternary Association
    International Union for Quaternary Research

    European Academy of Sciences and Arts
    InterAcademy Council
    International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences

    32 *national science academies* making joint statements about AGW.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    European Science Foundation
    Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies

    Current major national or international bodies of scientific standing who dissent from the consensus: None

    b) The lack of a credible mechanism given by ANY climate scientists as to why the greenhouse effect would NOT be pertinent.

    “This is actually a known fallacy “Argument from silence (argumentum ex silentio): a conclusion based on silence or lack of contrary evidence “

    - Er, no. Fallacy wrongly applied. Well done though – a little bit more actual thinking and you’re close to discovering that science is greatly reliant on induction.

    Climate science is not some gedanken experiment. The greenhouse effect is occurring. No mitigating mechanism has been found. There is no reason to think there is such a mechanism. Since it hasn’t been found- well, only cosmologists are allowed to suggest that the laws of physics can change from place to place! FINIS.

  • Sergey, VT

    DaveH,
    a) I too signed petition of the Union of Concerned Scientists back in 2001. I did it based on gang mentality. Science is persecuted by evil Bush administration and yes we are scientists. Did I know about AGW? No. But I belive that I have to defend *science.* With such personal experience I do not see much value in number of organizations who put their endorsement under IPCC. It is all TRUST BASED. What matter is the research which they cite and research has flaws.

    >Deferring to the expert consensus is the rational behaviour when making an informed decision and has nothing to do with the fallacy of formal logic you invoke.

    Again Dave, there is no consensus! See NIPCC report which has about as many heads behind it as IPCC report. Second, what “Argumentum ad populum” actually mean in your world?

    Third, I agree with your point on rational behavior. In fact rational behavior and decision making is the field where I involved in. Yes it is rational to put bets on outcome with highest probability. It is rational for an organization to trust a community of the leading expert (so they all signed it). But it is also rational to look at internal group dynamic and to suspect scam when you see evidences of lie from the core 50 scientists who were leader in making the IPCC report. You and I both use rules of rational behavior. And *that has nothing to do with science*.

    b)
    >The greenhouse effect is occurring
    Yes of course, water vapor is an important driver of greenhouse effect, we all agree on this. Does CO2 and heavy gases like Methane make a major contribution? You know what, the truth is that the biggest and far the most important driver of the greenhouse effect is the breath of ManBearPig! It is ManBearPig what drives greenhouse effect !!!! And as no one can prove that ManBearPig does not drive greenhouse effect, he certanly does! Got it?

    And by the way, ManBearPig is going to get you.

  • DaveH

    “It is rational for an organization to trust a community of the leading expert “
    The first seventeen bodies I listed are expert.

    “NIPCC report”

    The IPCC is a United Nations body. It’s job is to assess the intergovernmental consensus of climate scientists and report on it.

    The NIPCC is a small group of skeptics sponsored by a politically-motivated (libertarian/conservative free market-oriented) think tank based in Chicago, Illinois.

    The IPCC’s reports have been endorsed by

    Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    European Geosciences Union
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US)
    Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
    Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London

    and many other national and international scientific bodies.

    The NIPCC report is endorsed by Rush Limbaugh and some libertarians with blogs.

    “evidences of lie from the core 50 scientists who were leader in making the IPCC report”

    This lie of yours is libelous.

    “water vapor is an important driver of greenhouse effect”
    Amplifier – it doesn’t drive it in Earth’s atmosphere. Can’t drive it: water vapour has an atmospheric lifetime of about ten days.

    Does CO2 and heavy gases like Methane make a major contribution?

    Yes. Especially CO2.

    no one can prove that ManBearPig does not drive greenhouse effect

    Therefore God exists. And Leprachauns. Wait, no – What?

    Manbearpig is not physics.

    http://www.realclimate.org

  • Sergey, VT

    >>Therefore God exists. And Leprachauns. Wait, no – What?

    >>Manbearpig is not physics.

    Dave, ManBearPig was a parody on how you reason about greenhouse effect. I am surprised that you missed even that !!!!

    >>>The IPCC’s reports have been endorsed by …..
    …And so it is true. That is precisely what argument ad populum is. Fallicy. Has nothing to do with science.

    But you like to claim that your arguments are based on science. Now when I hear such claims in future I will be very suspicious.

    >>This lie of yours is libelous.

    Yes we should witewash deletion of data, fudging data and hiding from FOIA requests as this article tries to do. But it is dishonest. Fudging data is a direct lie, while deletion of data, and hiding from FOIA requests are natural signs of criminal activity.

  • Sergey, VT

    Climategate to RICO:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2009m12d11-Global-warming-loyalty-oaths-and-Climategates-smoking-gun

    For more than two weeks we have heard the establishment scientists saying that the leaked emails were take out of context. Unfortunately for them, putting them in context makes it even worse, as McIntyre shows with one series that should have district attorneys dusting off the definition of RICO statutes. The emails show collusion to place inaccurate and incomplete data into public evidence for policy makers charged with enacting appropriate legislation to evaluate and deal with climate change.

    http://biggovernment.com/2009/11/21/manipulating-climate-change-warming-to-rico/
    Manipulating Climate Change: Warming to RICO?

    Well, now it really does look like a massive conspiracy to defraud the government……
    Fraud is a RICO predicate offense. If what we are seeing unfold is evidence of fraud, a RICO complaint is a possibility, along with what the “discovery” process would reveal.

    http://www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=websterb&date=091125

    Those who were most responsible for massive diversion of federal spending (tens of billions of dollars over the past three decades) should not only be fired, they should be tried for criminal conspiracy and violations of the RICO Act. They have corrupted science, the classroom and political processes for their own personal empire-building gains.

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_113009/content/01125109.guest.html

    I have an article here: “RICO Convictions of Major Tobacco Companies Affirmed — [T]he DC Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a 92-page per curiam opinion upholding the judgment issued by DC District Court … in August 2006.” Well, this is how the big warmers should be treated, exactly — and Algore is the biggest of the big warmers along with Phil Jones and Michael Mann and everybody else at this CRU place at East Anglia. There should be legal consequences for this fraud! I remember those hearings. Waxman held those hearings. That’s when the CEO said nicotine was not addictive. Remember all that? We’ve been through this before. Except last time the left was out destroying a capitalist enemy. This time they’re circling the wagons around one of their own, which is genuinely destroying capitalism.

    http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2009/12/climategate-rel.php

    From there you proceed into issues of potential legal liability, for transparency and other laws broken, possible RICO exposure, and other legal fallout for the principals.

    Sounds as if we have growing consensus :-)

  • http://techskeptic.blogspot.com TechSkeptic

    Greg,
    I am more then willing to agree with you all on this topic, but I personally have to be convinced. Someone with a title saying something is not enough to convince me. I have to have some basic understanding of why this is man caused and not the normal cycle, or many of the other possible theories.

    Yeah, well that’s all well and good if you actually bothered to do some work yourself. But you sit there and say “someone needs to convince me”. Have you bothered to pick up a text book? Have you dived in any small percentage of the literature on this? I’m fine with you not wanting to trust someone just because they have a title. Thats healthy skepticism. Not actually bothing to understand the basics of why they are making those claims, not bothering to challenge your own skepticism? that is denialism.

    An example that I think would be more relevant to how I view this is saying breast cancer is good, no… breast cancer is bad, no… breast cancer is good. Or another example would be: here take this pill, it cures breast cancer but causes brain cancer.

    And once again you have shown yourself to not bother to understand the science. I dont really care how you interpret it, when you show so clearly that you have not bothered to try to understand the basics. ir even the basics of how science works.

    You example above shows that you simply believe the fringe. a tiny minority of fringe scientists claims the globe is cooling, you beleive it, a fringe group of scientists (again almost none of them climatologists) claim the world is not warming, and you believe it.

    Your problem isnt just that you havent bothered to take time to attempt to fully understand the dynamics, you simply beleive the fringe. That its why you have the impression you have. Stop doing that.

    And yeah, after all this time, after all these years of delay and fear mongering. after decades of not doing science, not developing independant models that show warming without anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, after all these years of repeated long debunked canards like cosmic rays, 800 year lag and so forth… i do in fact think denialists are assholes.

    Wanna know who actually faked data? The producers of the Great Global Warming Swindle. politically and economically motivation denialists are almost always caught. A couple of tardy emails from frustrated scientists and you go off half cocked, again with the fringe group, who have consistently lead you wrong in the past.

  • DaveH

    Sergey,

    “Dave, ManBearPig was a parody on how you reason about greenhouse effect.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

    So how do you make your choice?

    a) The overwhelming opinion of the great majority of climate scientists!
    b) The lack of a credible mechanism given by ANY climate scientists as to why the greenhouse effect would NOT be pertinent.
    c) Acidization of the oceans.
    d)The *rate* of warming.
    e) The alarming rise in sea levels this century.
    f) I give little credence to mere noisemakers.

    http://www.realclimate.org

    Just as, given “micro” evolution, I accept speciation because of the lack of a credible mechanism as to why speciation does not occur.

    Just as I don’t expect the car to start flying as I cross the Nevada state line.

    Just as I expect a planet several light years away to orbit it’s star according to the known laws of gravitation.

    In all these cases, there is nothing known, no credible mechanism, which would change observations. In fact, in all cases, observations are in accordance with expectation.

    “That is precisely what argument ad populum is. Fallicy.”

    Deferring to the expert consensus is the rational behaviour when making an informed decision and has nothing to do with the fallacy of formal logic you invoke.

    Yes, 1000 experts might be wrong and the ten dissenters right, but you go with the 1000. They are almost always right and the dissenters wrong. On big well-studied issues, the scientific consensus is almost always right compared to the alternatives. Revolutions do not happen every day!

    Or, in this case, it’s :

    IPCC
    U.S. Global Change Research Program
    International Arctic Science Committee
    American Meteorological Society
    Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
    World Meteorological Organization
    American Geophysical Union
    European Federation of Geologists
    European Geosciences Union
    Geological Society of America
    Geological Society of Australia
    International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
    American Quaternary Association
    International Union for Quaternary Research

    European Academy of Sciences and Arts
    InterAcademy Council
    International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences

    32 *national science academies* making joint statements about AGW.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    European Science Foundation
    Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies

    Current major national or international bodies of scientific standing who dissent from the consensus: None

    “when you see evidences of lie from the core 50 scientists who were leader in making the IPCC report”

    This lie of yours is still libelous.

    Thanks for the blog links full of conspiracy. In your head, they probably change reality.

  • Sergey, VT

    >>Deferring to the expert consensus is the rational behaviour when making an informed decision and has nothing to do with the fallacy of formal logic you invoke.

    OK, I made it too simple , it is not “argumentum ad populum” but a combination of “argumentum ad populum” and “argumentum ad verecundiam” (Latin: argument to respect) or ipse dixit (Latin: he himself said it). See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

    How hard it is to explain basics of logic to a physicist? Have can I do it.? Let me try again. First, please have some respect to someone who got at least some education in logic and decision theory. Here is what I learned in school: We distinguish different forms of reasoning and each has different place. Induction play important role in formulating hypothesis but using patterns of inductive logic as form of proof is a fallacy. Scientific theories can start from an analogy (atom is a solar system) or some hypothesis based on inductive inference but the proof is always based on FACTS+DEDUCTION. In common sense reasoning we use induction and abduction much more often than deduction and it works in everyday situations.

    So your appeal to authority indeed qualifies as a rational behavior, acceptable for your own ends, but it would not stand as a public argument in the court of law even in ancient Athens.

  • Sergey, VT

    >>This lie of yours is still libelous.

    Sooner or later we will get to the bottom of this. Congress will see to it, if not now then after 2010 elections.

  • http://techskeptic.blogspot.com techskeptic

    Greg (still there),

    here is a point I will concede: It is very hard to pour through the data. That is why its not anyones job here to convince you in a paragraph or two. But this is a good start. you have to say “I think A” then you have to go and find out why A is wrong. YOU have to do it. No one can or will spoon feed it to you. Here is an example of someone who spent a lot of time doing exactly that

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

  • Pingback: Data, Skepticism, Judgment | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine

  • Pingback: Data, Skepticism, Judgment | Cosmic Variance | U Reader | Your daily news stop station ...

  • Pingback: The passage of time (and space) | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Daniel Holz

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »