Money vs. Science

By Sean Carroll | February 20, 2012 4:35 pm

Everyone who has been paying attention knows that there is a strong anti-science movement in this country — driven partly by populist anti-intellectualism, but increasingly by corporate interests that just don’t like what science has to say. It’s an old problem — tobacco companies succeeded for years in sowing doubt about the health effects of smoking — but it’s become significantly worse in recent years.

Nina Fedoroff is the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is holding its annual meeting right now. She is not holding back about the problem, but tackling it directly. From a weekend article in the Guardian (h/t Dan Gillmor):

“We are sliding back into a dark era,” she said. “And there seems little we can do about it. I am profoundly depressed at just how difficult it has become merely to get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms.”

Tim F. at Balloon Juice points to this flowchart at Climate Progress that illustrates how the money and message gets sent around to sow doubt about scientific findings. (Okay, it’s not really a flow chart, but you get the point.) I was also struck by a link to an older article by Ian Sample, which put the problem in its starkest terms: the American Enterprise Institute was offering $10,000 to scientists and economists who were willing to write op-eds or essays critiquing the IPCC climate report — before it was published. Money goes a long way.

Relatedly, here’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg trying to push the Supreme Court away from its ruling in Citizens United, the notorious case that led to the creation of SuperPACs by deciding that corporations were persons, and not letting them advertise anonymously would be a grievous violation of their free-speech rights. We’ll see how well she does. Scientists, meanwhile, need to keep speaking out about the integrity of our field. When researchers are attacked and their jobs threatened by politicians who disagree with their results, it’s time to stand up for what science really means.

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com Lab Lemming

    I think the difference between populist anti-intellectualism and corporate corruptions is fairly straightforward:

    Look at the difference in scope and influence between the organized attempts to discredit climate science vs those to discredit old-earth geology or old-universe cosmology.

  • shane

    nah. we ain’t anti-science. we just don’t want to replace the old dogma with a new one.

  • http://math-frolic.blogspot.com Shecky R

    When I was in college in the 70s, “Question Authority” was a common bumper sticker (and it’s still around), and it seemed appropriately inspired by the politics of the day… but in a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ that challenging, skeptical (and increasingly widespread) attitude seems, in recent decades, to have morphed into science denialism!

  • AJKamper

    Legal geek: The Citizens United decision has nothing to do with corporations being legal persons. Zero. Zilch. It has to do with the people being able to join together to exercise their individual free speech rights.

    I agree with the rest of the post, but I’ve sworn to get rid of that inaccurate piece of rhetoric whenever I find it.

  • Savmerrabard

    Quote: “a strong anti-science movement in this country”…no there isn’t – oh! wait a moment – of course! Silly me! The centre of the universe, that northern country, um…oh yes, the USofA. Who’d've thought that a global structure such as the internet wouldn’t automatically default to this and insert – for the sake of those of us unfortunate enough not to live in such a paradise – “USofA” for every time we read “this country”.
    The problems here seem to be of your own making: as a capitalist nation, the almighty dollar rules, the bottom line is of supreme importance, and is protected – seemingly – at all times, regardless of all else. Witness: the success of the Tobacco Companies for one.
    You’ve made your collective bed, so you’ll have to lie in it! Sadly, for the rest of us, the influence and power you have is monstrous and destructive and parasitical. We, also, have to live with it!
    Greetings from Australia.

  • ursusmaritimus

    AJ: There is no way that an ‘original meaning’ interpretation of the First Amendment would include unlimited spending by corporate interests, especially when the integrity of elections is at stake. Speech and spending are not synonymous. A decision could have been rendered on much narrower grounds.

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com Lab Lemming

    Re: #5. Science denialism in Australia is almost as bad as in the US. Just look at the Federal opposition. Or the Australian.

    Also, it is obvious from Sean’s background that he is an American wrining from a US location.

  • GM

    5. Savmerrabard Says:
    February 20th, 2012 at 6:37 pm
    Quote: “a strong anti-science movement in this country”…no there isn’t – oh! wait a moment – of course! Silly me! The centre of the universe, that northern country, um…oh yes, the USofA. Who’d’ve thought that a global structure such as the internet wouldn’t automatically default to this and insert – for the sake of those of us unfortunate enough not to live in such a paradise – “USofA” for every time we read “this country”.
    The problems here seem to be of your own making: as a capitalist nation, the almighty dollar rules, the bottom line is of supreme importance, and is protected – seemingly – at all times, regardless of all else. Witness: the success of the Tobacco Companies for one.
    You’ve made your collective bed, so you’ll have to lie in it! Sadly, for the rest of us, the influence and power you have is monstrous and destructive and parasitical. We, also, have to live with it!
    Greetings from Australia.

    Anti-science attitudes (and anti-intellectualism in general) are indeed most visible in the US but that does not at all mean that they do not exist or they don’t dominate everywhere else. It is useful to actually review the situation worldwide rather than just talk in general:

    1. We know the US is pretty bad, and as it was mentioned above, Australia isn’t in a great shape either. But the US is actually far from the worst, because you also have:

    2. The Muslim world which I need not go into details about how “respected” science is there

    3. The non-Muslim part of Africa where all sorts of crazy versions of Christianity mixed with tribal beliefs dominate people’s thinking to an extent not seen in other place since the Middle Ages

    4. Latin America plus the Philippines where the Catholic Church has a great influence on society. As a little example, in Nicaragua abortion is completely illegal even in cases in which it’s needed to save the mother’s life

    Then you have the supposed fortresses of rationalism where, however, closer look
    reveals things to not be so rosy.

    5. The former communist countries indeed put a lot of emphasis on science and math education. The problem is that it was always technical and teaching children how to think was happening only in math, i.e. scientific reasoning was never really taught. There is a reason why for all the intellectual brilliance that exists there there are also so many wacky crackpot scientists. But the more serious problem was that people developed, and rightfully so, a deep distrust of what the government was telling them (the rule of thumb was that the truth us usually the opposite of what the official sources say) and because science was very much part of the establishment, that mistrust extended towards it too. And it hasn’t subsided at all two decades later.

    6. In Western Europe you have a similar distrust towards science developed due to its association with industry and pollution, dangerous chemical in consumer products, etc. On top of it you have a much lower level of scientific literacy and respect towards science than commonly assumed. If the US did not exist, we would, and should, be fretting about the abysmal level of scientific literacy in Europe – things are not at all good there, however, because they are so bad in the US, and the US is so important for world affairs, that this is usually glossed over.

    It is isolated pockets of rationality here and there in the world and the US is by no means the only place in which this is a problem, it is not even the worst.

  • Savmerrabard

    Re#7. Absolutely! What a delicious term: science denialism! I’m also prepared to look at the Australian Federal government and its allies, and even down to State and Local government. But why stop there: science denialism is rampant in the public conscience; just look, for example, at all the hack cosmetics/diets which are pseudo-science at its best, which (usually) deny science.

    However…

    “Or the Australian”: pardon? ‘The Australian’ what? The AustralianNewspaper?

    Not too sure how I would know Sean’s background by 18 words into his piece. Referencing ‘American’ (I assume USofA) and UK authorities doesn’t exactly identify his geographic location.

    ‘Supreme Court’? We have one in Victoria! Not a unique identifier!

    And Sean might be an ‘American’ (as anyone from Canada, Mexico, Argentina can so describe themselves) but it is unclear how that demonstrates that he is “wrining” from a US(ofA) location.

    “wrining”?

    At least you were able to comment with great accuracy on the Australian connection (given that I accurately identified the origin of my previous greeting).

  • http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~wball/ Warrick

    The problem with the anti-science movement is that it is difficult to convince people away from their convictions. Consider the backfire effect (link at You Are Not So Smart). If we, as scientists, wade in saying things that boil down to “you’re wrong, stop being silly”, we aren’t going to get anywhere in bucking the anti-science trend.

    Fortunately, we have scientific studies of human behaviour on our side, so at least we know what innate bias-systems we’re fighting against!

  • Pieter

    I also recommend the book “Merchants of Doubt” by Conway and Oreskes. It is a detailed and well-documented account of how the same people who were hired to throw doubt on the link between tobacco and lung cancer are behind the climate change misinformation campaign.

  • AI

    What about money in climate science? Don’t you think it can corrupt if you are getting significantly more for finding one way then another? With all the group think and suppression of dissent characterizing AGW movement it’s a good thing someone is funding opposing views.

    But the main problem is that climate science is 90% politics and 10% science. The fact that people are attacking funding sources to discredit the views they oppose is the best proof of that. Scientific arguments are decided on their merit. If that cannot be done then the issue is scientifically undecided.

  • http://lablemming.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    Re #12
    Most climate scientists are geologists (of one type or another), and are taking a $50,000 to $150,000 dollar per year pay cut by working in government or academia instead of mining and exploration.

    I have several friends who have moved between industry and academia in both directions, so for a properly trained earth scientist, the learning curve between the types of work is modest.

    For industry rates, go to http://www.seek.com.au and type in “geologist”

  • anoNY

    “the notorious case that led to the creation of SuperPACs by deciding that corporations were persons,”

    I thought scientists knew how to read. The Court in Citizens United did not rule that “corporations were people.” The Court said that individual people do not give up their constitutional rights when they organize themselves into corporations.

  • http://BadAstronamy ErisArticWolf

    Not quite as kid-friendly as the bad astronomer*sigh*

  • http://www.naturalism.org Tom Clark

    I got a look at an advance copy of Chris Mooney’s forthcoming “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality” (note the subtitle!). Very much on target about why conservatives can’t and won’t accept certain fact-based realities and what liberals can do about it: appeal to conservative emotions, not reason. http://www.amazon.com/Republican-Brain-Science-Science-Reality/dp/1118094514

    There’s also a fairly straightforward top-down approach to those who deny science, should we be able to engage them in a conversation about epistemology (good luck with that!): Have you got a better idea about how to decide what’s true? Does science have a rival? If so, please show and tell, http://www.naturalism.org/epistemology.htm#rivals Scientists shouldn’t be so shy about publicizing the virtues of empiricism, but since they’re afraid of offending their congressional funders, they generally keep quiet. Nice that Fedoroff is speaking her mind…

  • AJKamper

    @6: I’m not remotely as confident of that as you are. I think it’s quite possible that one’s right to speak might also include one’s right to spend money to have one’s speech published… after all, isn’t that what freedom of the press really is?

    I think the Citizens United decision is right on principle, but incredibly naive in the ramifications for public elections; the actual result is incompatible with a just democracy.

    It’s just that progressives (of which I am one in many ways) have used that “corporations are persons” canard to make the decision seem worse than it really is, and have basically lied about the decision and the Court as a result. So when I see people that I otherwise agree with make that mistake, I raise my little red flag to keep us honest.

  • GM

    16. Tom Clark Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 5:05 am
    I got a look at an advance copy of Chris Mooney’s forthcoming “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality” (note the subtitle!). Very much on target about why conservatives can’t and won’t accept certain fact-based realities and what liberals can do about it: appeal to conservative emotions, not reason. http://www.amazon.com/Republican-Brain-Science-Science-Reality/dp/1118094514

    The problem with Mooney is that he doesn’t realize that by calling for scientists to appeal to emotion and not to reason, he basically calls them to lose the battle voluntarily. After all, the goal is to have people think rationally because there are some really big and desperately needed changes to be made that people can agree on only if they think rationally about the issues and no amount of “framing” will get them to accept them otherwise. So if you just try to gain small victories here and there by “appealing to reason”, you’re never going to get where we need to be. But Mooney doesn’t understand that.

  • Joel Rice

    So … where is the flowchart for how Al Gore’s money gets around promoting his brand of nonsense – which is supposed to be required brainwashing in schools. I wonder how much money that cost. It was all politicized since the beginning. Even in Science Mag.

  • shane

    again, not anti-science. just no more accepting of the fact that science represents absolute truth than we are of religion. science is a process. you all really need to reexamine what science is instead of using it as your latest propaganda tool of power. science that can not be proved wrong and improved on is not science. science is the art of not knowing. science is not a conclusion. it is not an answer. we are not anti-science. we are anti-d0gma, the dogma that tells us scientific conclusions are one thing one day and one thing another day. stop saying science when you mean power, money, rhetoric or politics.

  • Al

    Ah climate change. We can always count on you to bring the nuts out of the woodwork.

  • Frankie

    It seems, at least to me, that most of us scientists are very bad at explaining the nuance of science to the general public. It seems, from my impression anyway, that these so-called controversial debates (tobacco, evolution, climate science) often reduces to the opposition selecting out one or few counter-intuitive and ignoring the overall body of evidence. (Reminds me of the movie “Thank You for Smoking.”) This also speaks to the misunderstanding of the scientific process in the larger public. The scientific process is more like building houses and bridges than “A Beautiful Mind.” There’s a large army of postdocs and grad students banging their heads, checking and re-checking many different pieces of evidence that ultimately converge to an overall thematic conclusion. The term “scientific consensus” much closer to “the body of analyzed evidence” than “scientific opinion.”

  • http://www.astro.multivax.de:8000/helbig/helbig.html Phillip Helbig

    Quote: “a strong anti-science movement in this country”…no there isn’t – oh! wait a moment – of course! Silly me! The centre of the universe, that northern country, um…oh yes, the USofA. Who’d’ve thought that a global structure such as the internet wouldn’t automatically default to this and insert – for the sake of those of us unfortunate enough not to live in such a paradise – “USofA” for every time we read “this country”.”

    I think it’s fair to assume that the author means the country in which he lives when he says “this”.

  • http://www.astro.multivax.de:8000/helbig/helbig.html Phillip Helbig

    6. In Western Europe you have a similar distrust towards science developed due to its association with industry and pollution, dangerous chemical in consumer products, etc. On top of it you have a much lower level of scientific literacy and respect towards science than commonly assumed. If the US did not exist, we would, and should, be fretting about the abysmal level of scientific literacy in Europe – things are not at all good there, however, because they are so bad in the US, and the US is so important for world affairs, that this is usually glossed over.

    First, I agree with your points 1 through 5. However, if some Bushman has a view of reality which is not backed up by science, the consequences for the rest of the world are not as severe as when US politicians have a view of reality which is not backed up by science.

    Yes, in Europe there is (justified) distrust of some technological (I think that is more appropriate than scientific, here) aspects due to pollution etc and while this might turn into anti-science in general in some people, these people are definitely a minority (though a vocal one). Second, with regard to genetically modified food etc in the States some people take it too far the other way: just because there is no moral danger involved, it is assumed to be safe in all aspects. Saying that evolution produces genetically modified organisms as a response is as silly as saying that we don’t need to worry about AGW because other things influence the temperature of the Earth as well.

    Attitudes to science and technology also vary quite a bit within Europe. Scandinavia and Finland in general tend to adapt quickly to new technology. I think that scientific literacy is more respected in France than in Germany, where the emphasis in education is somewhat different. (In all countries, of course, the fraction of the population actually working in science is quite small.) Yes, scientific literacy might be less in Europe than some people assume, but the scientifically illiterate here tend to avoid science entirely, whereas in the US they tend to claim that they are scientifically literate and real scientists are not: Evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics, and those devilutionists are so brainwashed that they don’t even realize it.

  • KWK

    Re:“Scientists, meanwhile, need to keep speaking out about the integrity of our field. When researchers are attacked and their jobs threatened by politicians who disagree with their results, it’s time to stand up for what science really means.”

    For example, you can easily keep informed on (and learn what you can do about) some current situations faced by scientists throughout the world by joining the email listserv of the American Physical Society’s Committee on International Freedom of Scientists. Or, if you are an APS member, serve on the Committee yourself!

  • Claude

    Speaking more or less from the Right, I believe that many of the comments above misdiagnose a skepticism of the effectiveness of climate policy (carbon tax, renewable energy subsidies, etc.) as a manifestation of religious superstition or the result of corporate brainwashing. It’s an obvious point, but I see this occurring again and again.

  • http://radical-moderation.blogspot.com/ TheRadicalModerate

    “…corporate interests that just don’t like what science has to say.”

    I’m sure that, while there are lots of things that corporate interests don’t like to hear, corporations are by-and-large pragmatic about adapting to reality as they see it. The implication here is that these groups are actively malicious, and that just doesn’t seem possible. After all, corporate CEOs have children and grandchildren, too, and they’re no more likely to engage in behavior that they believe jeopardizes their progeny than any other group of humans.

    So, at their core, these groups may be engaging in disinformation campaigns with lots of money behind them, but that’s only because they sincerely believe that there’s no threat, or at least that the risk from the threat is outweighed by the risk from the costs of mitigating the threat. I’m not saying that they aren’t wrong, or that they aren’t rationalizing stuff in their favor, but arguing bad faith seems equal parts wrong and unproductive. (Full disclosure: my opinion is that the mitigation risks somewhat outweigh the risks of climate change, but I hope that you’ll consider me to be sincere, as well.)

    So why has this debate gotten so vicious and unscrupulous? The answer lies in the uncertainty of success for any policy we could put in place today. The ultimate reason for that uncertainty is that, while there may be a nascent climate science, that science isn’t capable of supporting a corresponding discipline of climate engineering. The best engineering solution we’ve come up with is, “Let’s try to slow the rate of increase of CO2 emissions, and maybe average temperatures won’t go up quite so much.” That doesn’t stand up very well to a cost/benefit analysis, especially when we’ve got a pretty good idea of what lopping off half a percent or so off gross world product will do.

    Seems to me that the viciousness of the debate on any policy is inversely proportional to our ability to do something effective about it. I don’t see this as being particularly anti-science; it’s just how humans respond to uncertainty.

  • Tom W

    Sean -

    You purport to talk about integrity and debate in science but link to a far-left political advocacy website (Think Progress) and then link to a more centrist liberal website discussing a 1st amendment case which since it was decided has been a rallying cry for left wing radicals? Where is the science here? Ruth Bader Ginsberg (also a liberal, I’m starting to see a theme…) makes a compelling legal argument however 5 of her colleagues on the court disagreed with her, and they also make a very compelling legal argument!

    The key word there is legal – not scientific. I appreciate your opinion and your passion but if I’m looking for political or legal commentary I’ll go elsewhere. For cosmology, I’m all yours.

    For the record, in case you haven’t been following it, there has been a very healthy debate on climate change going on for the past few weeks on the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal.

    And if you’re worried about how money is being spent in the climate change debate, check out this link:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204909104577233191850812630.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

    Short answer – the vast majority of the money being spent is on the side of the advocates for global warming/climate change.

    A little healthy skepticism of the left wing political advocacy websites you browse might be a good thing from time to time.

  • Count Iblis

    The SuperPACs are actually having a positive effect. The anti-science forces now have more than enough money to destroy each other during the Republican Primaries.

  • Savmerrabard

    Re #23: Quote: ‘I think it’s fair to assume that the author means the country in which he lives when he says “this”.’
    Couldn’t agree more, but context is important for those who don’t know in which country the author lives. For the sake of clarity a simple statement such as “in this country (Albania)” would make it far easier to see where the author is literally and figuratively coming from, and then put into context the remainder of the article. Still not 100% sure whether Sean is from the USofA as there is no absolute indication in his article as to his country of origin. Given the global and 0pen availability of the information on the internet, including this specific page, I believe that it is not asking too much for clarity.

    I do enjoy the way many of the comments here use the term US; does this (surreptitiously) imply the rest are THEM? I also err: should be U.S.of A of course.

    Quote, first word from this article: “Everyone.” Everyone? Really? What an outrageous claim!

    As most of us are aware, there are more than a million feral camels running rampant in this country. http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/animals/feral/camel.html

  • Carl Brannen

    It will be entertaining to watch Sean back out of his repetitive support for CAGW as the science obviously tips the other way.

    The primary difference between the climate arguments of today and the tobacco arguments of the last century is the money involved. There were billions being made selling cigarettes; this naturally bought a lot of science. Now the side with the billions for climate research are in renewable energy and green concerns. Most of the funding is by the government, but billions are contributed to green activist groups.

    Heartland Institute’s funding was stolen and leaked; Peter Glieck admitted to using fraud in obtaining the documents and now is preparing to pay the price. Their expenditures on global warming for 2011 was $679,000. What Sean needs to explain is how, in the face of massive expenditures on global warming education, research, etc., etc., these tiny funds have apparently been able to reverse public opinion on the subject.

  • GM

    Re: 24 Scandinavian countries were among the places I had in mind when I said “isolated pockets of rationality here and there”

  • GM

    31. Carl Brannen Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 6:59 pm
    It will be entertaining to watch Sean back out of his repetitive support for CAGW as the science obviously tips the other way.
    The primary difference between the climate arguments of today and the tobacco arguments of the last century is the money involved. There were billions being made selling cigarettes; this naturally bought a lot of science. Now the side with the billions for climate research are in renewable energy and green concerns. Most of the funding is by the government, but billions are contributed to green activist groups.
    Heartland Institute’s funding was stolen and leaked; Peter Glieck admitted to using fraud in obtaining the documents and now is preparing to pay the price. Their expenditures on global warming for 2011 was $679,000. What Sean needs to explain is how, in the face of massive expenditures on global warming education, research, etc., etc., these tiny funds have apparently been able to reverse public opinion on the subject.

    How much money do you need to build a nice house? Probably hundreds of thousands of dollars. How much money do you need to destroy it – a small fraction of that for some dynamite.

    It is a very similar situation with climate change – you hear the canard that there are billions spent on global warming while “the other side” has a fraction of that. Well, yes, billions are spent but those billions are spent on research and research is a lot of hard work that costs a lot of money. It is much cheaper to slander people and manipulate public opinion.

    And then, let’s see if it really is that little money and resources. Heartland is only one of dozens of conservative think-tanks that promote climate change denialism, and it is hardly just the think-tanks, you have Fox News and all sorts of other conservative media brainwashing people and the majority of republican politicians denying climate change – if that’s not good public exposure, then what is? The media presence of climate change denial vs real climate science is 50-50, and it may well be in favor of denial in the US – most networks always try to have both sides (even it there aren’t two equal sides in the debate and there is no debate to begin with), but Fox News and the likes often do not even bother to invite the other, from their perspective, side.

    Finally, you have the nature of the problem which is such that people are naturally predisposed towards doing nothing about – even the action that is required by the very conservative official projections would mean hardships that most people would never voluntarily subject themselves to. And those conservative projections are precisely that – conservative; reality has consistently outpaced them which means that we’re most likely in for much worse warming and much sooner than what the IPCC 2007 report said. On top of that, the IPCC report only discusses climate change and climate change is only one of the many ways in which we are totally unsustainable – there is a laundry list of civilization-threatening sustainability issues each of which would bring it down on its own if the others didn’t exist, and they are all related to each other and are ultimately caused by the fact that there is an order of magnitude (or maybe even two) more humans on this planet than there should be consuming a lot more than they should. That’s something we can’t even talk about because as I sad, people aren’t ready to voluntarily commit themselves to the sacrifices required to tackle climate change as projected by the IPCC, sacrifices that are dwarfed by the sacrifices required to tackle our global sustainability crisis in its entirety.

    All of this means it is very easy to find listeners for the climate denial message and a little money (and it’s not really that little at all) goes a long way. Politicians are dirt cheap to buy, it’s perfectly legal to do so and you have already done it anyway for other purposes, plus they may also already share the same ideological convictions that make you deny climate change . The media you already own. All you need is to find a few scientists that are willing to sell their souls for a little cash or, as the some of the politicians, are already committed believers in your ideology so they don’t have to apply too much violence on their consciousness to do it.

  • Fred

    So, if you don’t agree with it – that means it’s anti-science? What a crock.

  • Count Nukem

    Sean, it is good timing for the article. Just recently Peter Gleick confessed of stealing private memos of Hertland Institute (see round up here http://climatedepot.com/a/14880/Climate-Depots-round-up-of-FakeGateGleickGate-scandal–Read-all-about-it ).

    Here we have it, reputed scientist, McArthur Genius fellowship recipient ,chairman of a committee for ethics and integrity of science at AGU lies, steals documents (and obviously fakes the strategy memo) just to advance his pet cause. Can now anyone buy this myth of yours about scientists being decent beings, impartial, objective researchers obsessed only with truth about Nature? Not anyone who uses commonsense would take this myth seriously. But, even if you know about piltdown man or climategate emails or acts of Peter Gleicks you will not stop trying perpetuating that myth, would not you?
    The question we should ask: why there should not be any “anti-science” movement “in this country” while large number of scientists “in this country” are purveyors of left liberal ideology taking their talking points form “ThinkProgress?” Say if I am a conservative average American then why would I like to send my kid to a school infested with left liberal activism? Would not I rather get my son to business school or help him to get a career in industry only because the standards of honesty and decency in industry are way better than in academia and there is no those sneaky activists peddling their ideology under disguise of science (junk science actually) and trying to drag students into left political activism?

  • http://www.astro.multivax.de:8000/helbig/helbig.html Phillip Helbig

    Who was it who says that reality has a liberal bias?

  • Rob

    33. GM Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    How much money do you need to build a nice house? Probably hundreds of thousands of dollars. How much money do you need to destroy it – a small fraction of that for some dynamite.

    So the AGW science house is so weak that it can be destroyed by only a small amount of dynamite? Oh, I forgot, the majority of people are so stupid and so easily led that the smallest amount of information contrary to your great authority will cause them to stampede towards the cliff.

    You would think if the science was so sound and so obvious that it wouldn’t be hard to overcome the sceptics? Take gravity for example; how effective do you think a lobbyist would be in denying the existence of gravity (at lease in respect to its localised effect on earth)? Pretty difficult because the existence of gravity it’s readily demonstrated by simple repeatable experiment in the real world. Something AGW alarmists can’t do.

    If the theory of gravity was AGW, and some people suddenly started falling up instead of down, the gravity proponents wouldn’t admit their theory was wrong, no they would simply bend it to include falling up. Then if people in Canada started floating, not falling at all, well that would be accommodated by a hypothesis that it was due to the increasing gravity in China caused by the overuse of hair colour.

    …;reality has consistently outpaced them which means that we’re most likely in for much worse warming and much sooner than what the IPCC 2007 report said.

    Outpaced? Really? What planet are you living on?

    Some of things the IPCC says will get worse:

    More floods – hasn’t happened
    More hurricanes – hasn’t happened
    More tornadoes – hasn’t happened
    More droughts – hasn’t happened
    Sea acidification – hasn’t happened (and all studies show that even if it does it either helps or is neutral to sea life at all realistically possible levels of CO2)
    Sea level rise (i.e. increasing rate) – hasn’t happened

    Oh, I know it’s pedantic, but one other small thing hasn’t increased in the last 15 years – global temperature!

    Climate sceptics are not anti-science (well, apart maybe from the odd intelligent design nutter, but religion can blind people to one particular area of science like it does GM), they are anti-stupid.

    there is a laundry list of civilization-threatening sustainability issues each of which would bring it down on its own if the others didn’t exist

    Wow, you really do despise humanity don’t you? Perhaps you should set an example and disappear from the planet yourself (in a sustainable way); the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Think of the gloriousness. Or is it not you, but other 8 or 9 billion that have to go?

  • Otis Graf

    The money allocated for science and research has been significantly reduced in the President’s new budget. Why? Is it because of anti-science Republicans? No! It is because the leftist socialism of the President thinks that it is more important to enroll more people in food stamps and distribute federal tax dollars to the 99% than it is to do more and better science.

    NASA’s planetary research budget is slashed. It’s schedules for manned space flight are continually being pushed back. Funding of university research is on the decline. And on and on. This is all happening when liberal Democrats control the Presidency.

    I think the hysteria of Nina Fedoroff is completely displaced. The President’s budget tells the tale of just who is ambivalent to science.

  • GM

    Why do we have to go through the same canard again and again? It gets really tiresome

    So the AGW science house is so weak that it can be destroyed by only a small amount of dynamite? Oh, I forgot, the majority of people are so stupid and so easily led that the smallest amount of information contrary to your great authority will cause them to stampede towards the cliff.

    The majority of people are indeed stupid and illiterate. It is an unfortunate fact of our existence – being scientifically literate generally does not improve one’s inclusive fitness in our society so there is very little incentive for people to invest the required time and effort into educating themselves. End result is that we have an idiocracy.

    On top of that there is the destructive influence of religion. The majority of people also rejects the theory of evolution. I guess you would also take their side. Curiously, I have yet to see a creationist who is not also a global warming denialist. I wonder why…

    You would think if the science was so sound and so obvious that it wouldn’t be hard to overcome the sceptics? Take gravity for example; how effective do you think a lobbyist would be in denying the existence of gravity (at lease in respect to its localised effect on earth)? Pretty difficult because the existence of gravity it’s readily demonstrated by simple repeatable experiment in the real world. Something AGW alarmists can’t do.

    See above, I explained it in my previous post. The implications of global warming are such that the idea of doing what has to be done goes against both core identity-forming concepts that people really cherish and the deeply ingrained animal instincts that drive their behavior. The logical consequence is that they go in denial mode, and BTW, the ones that tell you that we will just switch to renewables and BAU will carry on are in just as much denial as those who reject the notion that global warming is a problem.

    …;reality has consistently outpaced them which means that we’re most likely in for much worse warming and much sooner than what the IPCC 2007 report said.
    Outpaced? Really? What planet are you living on?
    Some of things the IPCC says will get worse:
    More floods – hasn’t happened
    More hurricanes – hasn’t happened
    More tornadoes – hasn’t happened
    More droughts – hasn’t happened
    Sea acidification – hasn’t happened (and all studies show that even if it does it either helps or is neutral to sea life at all realistically possible levels of CO2)
    Sea level rise (i.e. increasing rate) – hasn’t happened

    Have you actually looked at what the IPCC says? Judging from your list, it would seem that your main sources of information are the denialist websites.

    Oh, I know it’s pedantic, but one other small thing hasn’t increased in the last 15 years – global temperature!

    The last decade has been the warmest on record. I am amazed that people still think that blatant cherry-picking like this reveals anything else but their own intellectual bankruptcy.

    there is a laundry list of civilization-threatening sustainability issues each of which would bring it down on its own if the others didn’t exist
    Wow, you really do despise humanity don’t you? Perhaps you should set an example and disappear from the planet yourself (in a sustainable way); the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Think of the gloriousness. Or is it not you, but other 8 or 9 billion that have to go?

    So you deny that we have no problems with Peak Oil, exhaustion of other easily extractable fossil fuels, uranium-235, a long list of concentrated mineral ores, fossil aquifer depletion (and fresh water reserves in general), soil degradation, and general ecosystem collapse due to habitat destruction, pollution, hunting and overfishing?

    If one denies that any of the above is a serious problem, he is in dire need of having his head examined…

  • Rob

    The majority of people are indeed stupid and illiterate.

    You seem to have a lot in common with other great leaders who felt the need to offer a guiding hand to the helpless masses. People like Hitler and Stalin. It must be lonely being one of the few who sees things in the true light of knowledge.

    The majority of people also rejects the theory of evolution. I guess you would also take their side.

    I see you didn’t waste your considerable intelligence studying grammar.

    Do I take their side in rejecting the theory of evolution? No. Evolution is real science with a testable hypothesis, real world supporting evidence and we have yet to find any credible evidence disproving it. Obviously I would change my view if genuine evidence to the contrary was found.

    Have you actually looked at what the IPCC says?

    Yes, I have and it’s mostly B.S.

    The last decade has been the warmest on record. I am amazed that people still think that blatant cherry-picking like this reveals anything else but their own intellectual bankruptcy.

    It’s not cherry picking to pull you up on the primary tennant of your religion – that it’s getting hotter and we’re going to fry. Sounds like armageddon to me; are you sure you’re not religeous? Raised a catholic maybe?

    The temperature reached a temporary high point and is now slowly but reasonably steadily decreasing. Thus, of course recent years are amongst the warmest on (a very short) record, it doesn’t mean it’s getting warmer, which is kind of the point. If you climb Mt Everest and then start to go back down, after five steps you are still at one of the ten highest altitudes you have ever been on foot, does this mean you are still going up?

    So you deny that we have no problems with Peak Oil, exhaustion of other easily extractable fossil fuels, uranium-235, a long list of concentrated mineral ores, fossil aquifer depletion (and fresh water reserves in general), soil degradation, and general ecosystem collapse due to habitat destruction, pollution, hunting and overfishing?

    Well that’s a long list to “deny”. Peak oil has been imminent for as long as I can remember (about 35 years); still waiting for that one. The developed world has never been cleaner and the way to clean up the rest of the world is to encourage them to develop as well (development cuts down the birth rate as well – you’d be happy about that one wouldn’t you?).

    We’re certainly going to run out of rare earth minerals pretty quickly if we keep using them to make things like useless wind turbines and electric batteries for cars (which often charge up from fossil fuelled power stations – priceless).

    Actually, I agree with you on overfishing in many places.

  • Count Nukem

    RE: Who was it who says that reality has a liberal bias?

    Perhaps it was Paul Krugman came up with the phrase, but he was not the first who had the idea. The first was Karl Marx who believed that his political/dialectical views were reflection of reality. In Soviet Union Marxism was considered as science (nauka to be precise) and thus the policies of the state were considered to be based on solid scientific background (and if you disagree, then you must go to psychiatric clinics or jail.) Liberal ideology will achieve the same status in US academia as soon as the proportion of liberals among faculty in academia reaches 100%. It is now roughly 90 to 95% in average, so we are close.

    Academics due to their arrogance often believe that their political views are just as rigorous as the knowledge in their field. But why then they almost never make good elected representatives or stock speculators? And why academics tend to be helpless in real life situations. Look at that genius award recipient Peter Gleick: he was not even able to fake Heartland Institute Strategy memo without using language used exclusively within the greendom. It is only in green’s fantasies skeptics may call themselves “anti-climate” or want “dissuade science teachers from teaching science.” What a shame for McArthur foundation who gave genius award to such a lunatic.

  • Carl Brannen

    Re 33 GM: “All of this means it is very easy to find listeners for the climate denial message and a little money (and it’s not really that little at all) goes a long way. Politicians are dirt cheap to buy, it’s perfectly legal to do so and you have already done it anyway for other purposes, plus they may also already share the same ideological convictions that make you deny climate change . The media you already own. All you need is to find a few scientists that are willing to sell their souls for a little cash or, as the some of the politicians, are already committed believers in your ideology so they don’t have to apply too much violence on their consciousness to do it.”

    Just a few years ago, even Republicans were supporting global warming. It was very convincing. I was convinced. What happened is not some change in politics, it’s that the evidence collapsed. “Global warming” got replaced by “Climate Change” for a reason; the evidence for warming subsided. Anyone who reads history knows that climate has been changing for as long as history has been written. Youth is easily convinced by this sort of thing because they haven’t watched the story morph.

    The media is run by the left; this has been repeatedly demonstrated by simply asking them what political party they’re a member of. The vast majority of the media can be relied upon to give lap-dog reports in favor of global warming. What’s changing now is that a few journalists smell the blood in the water. For them it’s better to get in on the kill than to continue to support a losing proposition.

    Supporting an argument, when the facts do not, is difficult. That’s why people rely on weak analogies such as comparing global warming to a “house” and the other side as “dynamite”, LOL. I’m reminded of people who try to understand Einstein’s field equations by comparing gravity to a rubber sheet. Why not compare global warming to a “tank”, and the other side to an “ice cream cone”, LOL? Instead of arguing by analogy, argue by the thing itself. And the thing itself is that global warming has at least 100 x as much money as the opposite side. It was not a fair fight at all but the skeptics won.

  • Carl Brannen

    OM writes: “So you deny that we have no problems with Peak Oil, exhaustion of other easily extractable fossil fuels, uranium-235, a long list of concentrated mineral ores, fossil aquifer depletion (and fresh water reserves in general), soil degradation, and general ecosystem collapse due to habitat destruction, pollution, hunting and overfishing?

    If one denies that any of the above is a serious problem, he is in dire need of having his head examined.”

    I do not deny that these are problems. What I deny is that you in particular, or the academic left in general, has any solution to these problems.

    Academia has been in existence for hundreds of years and has never solved any such problem up to now, why should now be any different? Eventually private enterprise will solve these problems just like private enterprise dug the Spindletop oil gusher in Texas and solved the peak whale-oil problem. But the only way private enterprise can solve these problems is with sufficient economic motivation and what the left would prefer to do is to tax away the solutions because they think the profits are “windfalls” rather than “motivations” to produce more oil (or its replacement).

  • Thomas Larsson

    “Peak oil has been imminent for as long as I can remember (about 35 years); still waiting for that one. ”

    Crude oil production in US48 peaked in1970, in the North Sea in 1999, and worldwide around 2006. Only the production of “all liquids”, including stuff like ethanol, has grown (very modestly) since then. The price of crude oil has gone up from 20$/barrel in 1999 to some 120$ today. Waiting for it to increase further?

    OTOH, peak oil, and in the not-to-distant-future peak coal and peak gas, turn CO2 emissions into a pseudo-problem. As is known, it takes carbon atoms to make CO2.

  • William Nelson

    The money and effort which has gone into opposing the climate change “science” is dwarfed by that which has been spent to promote it. I seem to recall a widely distributed, full-length film promoting this “science”, as well as a nobel peace prize awarded to its author, a person whose scientific credentials are less than stellar. I seem to recall dozens upon dozens of articles in nearly every conceivable popular magazine, and even semi-popular ones like SciAm, promoting this viewpoint.

    Plenty of people with plenty of power, influence, and money, have energetically promoted this “scientific consensus”, and yet it is unraveling. Why? Because it was at best premature, and more likely wrong. If the extra carbon causes significant warming, then it should now be significantly warmer, but it isn’t. If the extra “warming” causes rising sea levels then the sea level should now be higher, but it isn’t. People are rejecting this “science” because its predictions are based on means that they can’t understand (computer simulations) and rightfully don’t trust, and the predictions do not accord with what they can see with their own eyes. Moreover, the predictions fit a classic and many-times-refuted pattern of environmentalist disaster forecasts, in which something is always “about to happen”, but never does.

    The original post was about popular rejection of science, and it is certainly the case that people don’t know much about science. However, if one wanted to design a campaign to cause maximum damage to popular views of science, and indeed maximum confusion among the public as to what science is and does, one could not have done better than the global warming campaign.

  • Charon

    @Savmerrabard

    Seriously. I understand people from other countries get annoyed by Americans who think theirs is the only country in the world, but… seriously. Get a grip.

    American: this is a noun and adjective referring to someone from the United States of America. Get a dictionary. You can make a logical argument that it should apply to anyone from the Americas (North and South), but in actual English (American English and otherwise), it almost always means someone from the US. There is no other accepted term for this (United Statesian?).

    US: this means United States. It is by far the most common acronym for the United States of America when you are in the US. I know some other countries (e.g., Sweden) use “USA” instead of “US”. Others don’t (in French it’s common to say “les Etats-Unis”, and drop the Amerique just like in English). In the US, we call it the US, or would you like to overrule what a country wants to call itself?

    Where this blog is from: if you’re so confused by this, you could read the handy “about the authors” section in the top right. Every author of this blog is in the US. The majority of the readership is in the US (the majority of native English speakers in the world are in the US, so that’s not a surprise). Sean doesn’t repeat this fact in every post. That would be really annoying.

    And if you think someone from Canada would call themselves an “American”, I recommend that you actually talk to someone from Canada. Could clear up a few misconceptions.

  • Pro_Science

    Hello everybody,
    I have been working as a junior anti-science , anti-climate and anti-environment consultant for Koch brothers Industries. My job description included demonizing evolution and global warming and personally damaging good climate scientist’s reputation. For that I was paid handsomely, $51K a year.
    Few days ago I decided to change my allegiance and become pro-science. Why did I change my mind? I realized that I am not really evil and do not have to do all those anti-science work which I was doing, but I will tell you later about the reason why I changed sides. First, let me tell you about the good and the bad. Science is always good and people who oppose science do it only because they want to be bad: they had a horrible childhood and they think that they are evil and they have to do something evil. For example, I thought that I am an evil person by my nature and that is why I wanted to have job with Koch Industries. What make me to change my mind? It is simple, I had to bring my 10-years old nice to Planned Parenthood lessons about sex and it was based on book “It is perfectly normal” http://www.amazon.com/Its-Perfectly-Normal-Changing-Growing/dp/0763644846/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330041568&sr=8-1
    And I was there and listening to the counselors and when I heard that masturbation is perfectly normal I realized that I may be just a normal person, not evil one. I did it since I was 6 years old and I thought that I am a pervert and an evil one. I was convinced that I am very evil person and that I have to do something evil in my life and that is why I wanted to be anti-science. Because, science is good and I wanted to do something evil. What can be easier way to do something evil than destroying something good. Thanks to the school counselor and Planed Parenthood now I realize that I am a perfectly normal person and that is why I do not want to do any evil things anymore and I decided to become pro-science.
    You know all about the global warming and you know all that it is real and the only reason why some people do not believe in it is because people like me where paid a lot of money to seed doubt in minds of people and convince them that global warming is not real. I do understand that there is global warming, but I care only about money and that is why I tell everyone that there is no global warming. Dr. Ivar Giaever who resigned as a Fellow from the American Physical Society (APS) on September 13, just to show his disgust over endorsement of global warming is not to different from me. Dr. Ivar Giaever may be is a Nobel prize winner for physics in 1973, but he is no scientist, he is anti-science because he does not believe in global warming. He did it because he wanted to do something evil, believe me, I know what I am talking about. Eventually he will change his mind and become pro-science.

    As I decided to become pro-science I realized that our society is very evil, because our policies ignore science. For example, Dr. Alfred Kinsley demonstrated a long time ago that children as young as two years or so can have sexual orgasms. And yet, in spite of his incontrovertible proof that children have sexuality, pedophilia is still considered to be a crime. It is highly un-scientific and anti-science. If science shows that it is OK for children to have sex, who we are to say otherwise. But the evil Koch brothers pay infinite sums of money to make sure that pedophiles are kept behind the bars. It is very unscientific and evil, I should say.

    Another scientific discoveries we ignore are related to the population bomb. Paul R. Ehrlich clearly demonstrated that we are doomed as population will grow and we will have not enough resources as planet’s resources are limited. He may be got the timing wrong , but his theory incontrovertible. What we are doing about that as society? If we are to be society ruled by reason and science then every man should get vasectomy or become a homosexual. Homosexuality is very natural and if you want to be pro-science you should think seriously about becoming a homosexual, just that you do not make children and help to save the planet. That is what school counselor told to the daughter of my brother. And she is 10 years old. I wish I got sex education when I was 6 years old. That would help me to understand that I am perfectly normal, not an evil one. I wanted to do evil and anti-science because I thought that it is what people who masturbate should do. Now, thanks to that sex education lesson I understand everything and I decided to become pro-science, so that I can help to save the planet from humans and make sure that everyone is happy, even those who are called pedophiles. I am quitting my job with Koch brothers and will try to join Obama’s campaign just to help him to make Catholic priests to provide contraceptive to their employees. Catholics will never understand that we should be sustainable and pro-science, that is why we have to force them to do what is right for the planet.

  • Daniel Rosa

    I distinctly recall that very few “deniers”, not to say none at all, made a comment about the legality or even the ethics of hacking emails when the whole climategate fake conspiracy thing happened. And now, lo and behold, here they were, bitching about the legality and the morality of Peter Gleick’s actions!

    I can’t think of a better and clearer demonstration of the bad faith of the denier camp.

  • GM

    Not just that – there is a consistent tendency among deniers to very quickly resort to intimidation with legal action. From the campaign against Micheal Mann down to how they treat people in the comment sections of their blogs – there was a time when I commented at WUWT in an attempt to understand what drives their thinking and after I said that global warming denial is equivalent to a crime against humanity of a magnitude that not even Hitler or Stalin have reached (which is 100% true – billions will die because of this, the whole human civilization will collapse and the human species itself may even go extinct; if that’ not the biggest crime against humanity in history, then what is…), Anthony Watts tried very hard to track down who I actually was, apparently hoping I was someone that that comment could be used against.

    You simply don’t see that kind of behavior from climate scientists – when ClimateGate happened, people mostly tried to get on with their research and not pay much attention (it wasn’t possible ultimately) and I am not aware of a single climate scientist suing a “skeptic” for libel even though there is plenty of opportunity to do so given how often outright blatant defamation like “the evil kabal of climate scientists” is used.

  • Count Nukem

    RE# 48, Daniel
    First, Climategate emails were covered under FOIA and were withheld illegally and it is not the same with internal documents of a private institute. Secondly, it was not clear if it was an insider or hacker who released them. It may be even Putin’s FSB who did it. There was no big “denier” behind hacking CRU and that is why we “deniers” never had to answer the same questions alarmists have to answer now. If it occurred that climategate emails were stolen by a *scientits* of Fred Singer caliber, not a small hacktivist then for sure we would get into the same mess where all you are now and many of us would probably switched sides.

    Take back your accusation “of bad faith” back or find a better justification for your accusations.

    RE:#48

    GM, why do you forget that before Cincenelly came after M. Mann, M. Mann wanted to sue Menisootans for Global Warming for a song? I do not believe that Watts would have any legal ground to sue you for what you say. On the other hand, if you are one of the Team, say if you are M. Mann or G. Schmidt or J. Hansen then merely revealing your identity in connection to what you stated could be devastating to the Team and here is why: You seems do not see flaws in your logic, but average american used to filter TV adds will have enough common sense to see your blind faith in your predictions of the future as a big problem and will doubt your rationality and by extension the rationality of the Team. Using questionable and (by now mostly discredited) prediction of the future as ground for ethical judgement or even Nuremberg tribunal is enormous lapse of logical and ethical sense.

    We know that the Team think as you do and we want them to say it publicly and let them deal with ADL and other Jewish organizations. The time they say it in such colorful way as you put it, they become laughing stock. Normal average people whom you so deeply despise have better capability for ethical judgement than an average dweller of Ivory Towers. So, that is why Watts would love to associate your real identity with the assertion you reproduced @ #49 and put your mental attitude under scrutiny of the public. But thatmay be meaningful only if you are someone well known. Hope my explanation makes sense?

  • GM

    That people are afraid to say what I said is only a testament for the dysfunctionality of our society – we face a very serious problem and we can not even talk about it. What I said follows directly from our current understanding of the Earth’s climate. Our best explanation for previous mass extinctions with the notable exception of the K-T event is extreme global warming leading in the worst cases to an anoxic ocean with everything that follows from that. And we’re heading for CO2 concentrations that were last seen the last time that happened. Of course, even much smaller warming can prove fatal to the highly tuned system of world agriculture.

    The only way the above will not happen is if civilization collapses before it happens due to shortage of fossil fuels and CO2 remains below 500-600ppm. But that’s the very thing we’re trying to avoid.

    I repeat – that nobody can state the above in public without risking being labeled a lunatic is pure insanity. Especially given that what actually drives denialism is even more insane and it is starting to come out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ8iXYrFMdw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGEOFipx70U

    Ever noticed that there is not a single creationist that is not a global warming denialist?

    What kind of society is that in which it is perfectly OK to be a religious fanatic and to run for president as such but to seriously discuss what logically follows from the best understanding of the world science can provide at present is not OK?

  • Count Nukem

    GM,
    I understand that you do believe in what you say and that your concerns are sincere. The problem is that your concerns are based on predictions and predictions are not fact. The predictions of IPCC have been always wrong. Now, thanks e.g. to the WSJ debate started by “No need to panic about global warming” even wider audience can see the divergence between IPCC predictions and the data. See it here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213244084429540.html

    Ever noticed that several papers published recently rebut IPCC s values of temperature sensitivity to CO2. E.g. here the “tipping point” hypothesis is busted:

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2012/02/climate-scientists-confirm-that-actual-atmospheric-water-vapor-levels-invalidate-global-warming-tipp.html

    You problem is not in having an opinion that dates back to 2007, you problem is your inability to understand that your believe is still a theory and it can be wrong (and in fact it is wrong), and when you ready to pass a moral or even criminal judgment on people who do not subscribe to your theory you find yourself in the same camp with religious fanatics who prosecuted people who have different set of believes about nature (e.g. “Earth is round”), medieval Catholic Church and Stalin come to my mind. There is nothing wrong with society that does not wish to follow Stalin’s footsteps. And now, when it becomes clear that imposing their theories as replacement for fact and jailing anyone who does not agree with them is greens dream, our society see the greens as manifestation of evil.

    Having values different from yours does not make anyone a lunatic or fanatic. I do not see how Rick Santorum is lunatic for having values different from values of Greenpeace. I too believe that “man is salt of the earth,” excuse me if that sounds too Jewish. I understand that you hate my values and believes, but here is a good news for you: you can live with Rick Santorum as president and me as your opponent without fear of criminal prosecution for your believes, even if I am convinced that your eco-Stalinist ideology is both misguided and evil. On the other hand, I am now certain that the greens would not afford us the same dignity we afford you (the greens) if you had any power. Thanks to G-d, you have no any power.

  • Daniel Rosa

    Count Nukem,

    I gave up debating deniers along time ago. If deniers were capable of assessing evidence in an intellectually honest manner, they wouldn’t be deniers. Therefore, since it is obvious that you are a denier, debating you is an exercise in futility.

    So… Whatever you say, man! Don’t waste my time. Don’t waste yours!

  • GM

    Well, we just had someone say with a straight face that anthropogenic global warming is “just a theory” he will not believe in and then turn around and claim that the he firmly believe in the God hypothesis. Either he thinks it is better supported by evidence or he thinks evidence doesn’t matter and all that talk about “global warming isn’t proven to be real” is just a fake concern expressed to hide his blindness to everything that contradicts his ideology. Or both. Either way, he can’t be reasoned with – in the former case he is incapable of evaluating evidence (and let me be very blunt once again and say that no sane person can claim that there is more evidence for the existence of God than for AGW; people ave been sent to mental health institutions for saying significantly less loony things than this); in the latter he is just a lying bigot.

  • Anne Ominous

    Danial Rosa and GM:

    I notice that neither of you are actually presenting any evidence to refute what this article states; you are just back here again attacking people with views that differ from yours.

    If you have any actual refutations of the facts as stated in Rawls’ article, why don’t you state them and have done with it? Or are you just here (as usual) to make ad-hominem attacks on “deniers”?

    Seriously: if you have something to actually say, why not say it? I’m not trying to tell you to go away, but I am asking what you think you’re adding to any SCIENTIFIC discussion.

    I will concede that #8 was on the money; other than that, though, all I’ve seen is rhetoric. Stuff like this:

    “Ever noticed that there is not a single creationist that is not a global warming denialist?”

    Perhaps not. But that does NOT work the other way around. Just like the “therapist” who tells people that their denial of alcoholism is a symptom of alcoholism; that may be a true statement but you can’t work backwards from that observation and make a diagnosis. You would be wrong vastly more often than you would be right, simply because the majority of people who claim not to be alcoholics are, in fact, not alcoholics.

    The majority of “denialists”, as you call them, are not creationists. They are well-educated and even scientists themselves. I cannot prove it at this time, but I am convinced that if you took actual AGW skeptics and compared them with the population of people who believe in AGW, you would find that the skeptics, on average, are noticeably better educated. That assertion is based on the simple fact that anybody can believe what they are told about AGW, but it takes education and discipline to make a plausible argument against it.

    As many have. As Mr. Rawls has. Once again: do you refute anything he says in this article?

  • Anne Ominous

    Hah! figures. I was on the wrong page the whole time. I somehow got here from a different page entirely. Well…

    Never mind. :)

  • Daniel Rosa

    Anne Ominous said: “The majority of “denialists”, as you call them, are not creationists. They are well-educated and even scientists themselves. I cannot prove it at this time, but I am convinced that if you took actual AGW skeptics and compared them with the population of people who believe in AGW, you would find that the skeptics, on average, are noticeably better educated. That assertion is based on the simple fact that anybody can believe what they are told about AGW, but it takes education and discipline to make a plausible argument against it.”

    Ah! You guys fucking crack me up, man!

    Deniers, eh? I wouldn’t be able to make this shit up even if I tried!

  • Count Nukem

    GM,
    how about creating an alliance between Islam, atheism and green movement? I could see you, Sean and Daniel working together towards a common goal. Your shared love for “rationality” would be a very strong glue. And Muslim’s love for execution of the al-kafirun (unbelievers) applied to AGW deniers may help the cause of the green and also create special attraction for the blood thirsty Muslims to participate in the whole green enterprise. Greening the world by slaughtering the infidels, how does it sound? Muhammad would be very proud of such a thing, would not he? Atheists of the past like Lenin would be also proud of doing slaughter for the right cause.

  • Anne Ominous

    Daniel Rosa wrote:

    “Ah! You guys fucking crack me up, man! Deniers, eh? I wouldn’t be able to make this shit up even if I tried!”

    Once again, you don’t address the point, and just attack the person. What’s your problem? I mean, seriously, why are you even here where people SHOULD BE discussing the science? Because you haven’t seemed to have any real interest in doing that.

    In order for that comment to have any meaning, it would have to refute what the other comment says. So why aren’t you doing that?

    I’m asking seriously. What are you doing here? What is your purpose? It obviously isn’t to discuss the actual issues, because you have been doing none of that.

  • GM

    57. Daniel Rosa Says:
    February 26th, 2012 at 9:37 pm
    Anne Ominous said: “The majority of “denialists”, as you call them, are not creationists. They are well-educated and even scientists themselves. I cannot prove it at this time, but I am convinced that if you took actual AGW skeptics and compared them with the population of people who believe in AGW, you would find that the skeptics, on average, are noticeably better educated. That assertion is based on the simple fact that anybody can believe what they are told about AGW, but it takes education and discipline to make a plausible argument against it.”

    Actually, the majority of deniers are creationists. Young earth creationists are something like 50% of people in the US, other creationists are another 40%. Global warming deniers are a slight majority. Simple math tells you that given that every young earth creationist if also a global warming denier, most global warming deniers are creationist too.

    Yes, the most visible ones have some intellectual credentials, but the majority belong to the young earth imbecile crowd. And nobody has any hard stats on that but I am 99% certain that if you look at the deniers with technical credentials, you will find that disproportionately large number of them strongly believe in God compared to equivalent group of people with the same technical credentials. I have found that out directly about a number of them while online. Religion is a very string motivation behind AGW denialism, it’s just that nobody talks about it.

  • GM

    55. Anne Ominous Says:
    February 26th, 2012 at 7:27 pm
    Danial Rosa and GM:
    I notice that neither of you are actually presenting any evidence to refute what this article states; you are just back here again attacking people with views that differ from yours.

    Which article? I didn’t see anything with the name “Rawls” here. Do you mean the WSJ one? If yes, have you ever heard of the concept of a “Point Refuted A Thousand Times”?? Apparently not. Ever noticed that there was a response to that in the WSJ by real climate scientists (which, BTW, only one of those who wrote the original one was)? Apparently you didn’t either. Finally, did you read the RealClimate post on the issue? I especially like this part:

    That brings up another point. All climate models include parameters that aren’t known precisely, so the model projections have to include that uncertainty to be meaningful. And yet, the WSJ authors don’t provide any error bars of any kind! The fact is that if they did so, you would clearly see that the global mean temperature has wiggled around inside those error bars, just like it was supposed to.

    So before I go on, let me be blunt about these guys. They know about error bars. They know that it’s meaningless, in a “noisy” system like global climate, to compare projected long-term trends to just a few years of data. And yet, they did. Why? I’ll let you decide.

    So why exactly should I be refuting the same canards that get used again and again and that have been refuted countless times in the past when I can talk about the things that have not been discussed nearly enough, like the causal connection between religion and AGW denial?

  • Daniel Rosa

    “In order for that comment to have any meaning, it would have to refute what the other comment says. So why aren’t you doing that?
    I’m asking seriously. What are you doing here? What is your purpose? It obviously isn’t to discuss the actual issues, because you have been doing none of that.”

    I’m pointing out the futility of debating people who only accept an argument if it falls within the limits of their prejudices.

    You want so much to be taken seriously… But see, the evidence against your position has pilled so high that, at this point, there can be only two types of deniers: fools (the true believers) or crooks (the liars). I don’t waste time debating fools and liars.

    Is that clear, or do you need a longer explanation?

  • Daniel Rosa

    Well, to be honest, there’s a third possibility: maybe you’re just ignorant. In that case, I apologize in advance.

    Here’s a few links that may enlighten you:

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    http://www.realclimate.org/

    http://grist.org/series/skeptics/

    Climate denial crock of the week: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL029130BFDC78FA33

    There, I have all my bases covered.

  • Count Nukem

    RE: there can be only two types of deniers: fools (the true believers) or crooks (the liars).

    Actually “hide the decline” a.k.a hide the divergence saga tells us who the crocks are. Other climategete emails show who are intellectual thugs. Peter Gleick’s affair shows again who are the crooks and who are the fakers: those are warmists fighting for the cause.

    You need to find yet a single instance of clear crookedness from “deniers” side to justify your argument, but you do not have it.

    Not accepting your rebuttal of my arguments (because I have something to rebut your rebuttal) that is what you want to call “crookedness. ” Like omitting error bars on the graph you would call crookedness. But, hey , there are graphs that show the entire picture, with the error bars and that demonstrate divergence as well, but it is a bit complex as there are various CO2 emission scenarios etc. Why do you forget about rebuttal of your rebuttal? So such a smear that you put forth could work both ways.

    Being decent, skeptics do not call warmists crocks because they do not see merit in warmist’s argumentation. They call you guys crooks because you were caught hiding the divergence, massaging the data (Hansen mostly) and finally one of your own committed a crime. Now he also enters to the hallowed hall of “America’s dumbest criminals”:

    http://climateaudit.org/2012/02/25/gleick-and-americas-dumbest-criminal/

    Point to anything equivalent to that in skeptic’s camp and I may consider taking your words about skeptics crookedness seriously.

  • Daniel Rosa

    Yadda, yadda, yadda… Same old bullshit. Yes, you’re right, Count, it’s a gigantic conspiracy! I’m in it. I got my marching orders from the I.P.C.C., I’m their bitch. Sean Carrol is their bitch too!

  • Count Nukem

    RealClimate author points out that if you put error bars on AR4 temperature predictions then modern avg. temperature is within the margin of error. Viola! WSJ authors knew about error bars, so they mislead the public. But what about AR1 and AR2 predictions? Are we still within margin of errors of those? The argument of WSJ article was historic one: that IPCC predictions are good only in short term (after resent report came out) and never were any successful in longer term. Each subsequent AR had to significantly readjust the temperatures. The point is that nothing of long term value had been predicted by IPCC. To refute this argument you would need to consider AR1 and AR2 and AR3 predictions with their margins of errors.

    As I mention earlier I will not call you crooks just for missing the point of the argument and misleading your readers. I will not call you crooks even for behaving as a trail attorney. I know though that this is not symmetric situation and you will not miss chance to accuse your opponent of crookedness when there is a technical error or miss-communication.

  • Count Nukem

    It is not as much a conspiracy, as a political movement that was hijacked by intellectual thugs. There is preliminary research that suggest that the green have 6 times higher avg. propensity to cheat, lie and steal. Seriously, I am not kidding:

    http://scienceline.org/2010/03/going-green-can-make-you-mean/

    If you are fighting for cause to save Earth then such big goal justified any means, doesn’t it? As long as you are helping to save humanity, it is OK to misrepresent your results and even commit a crime.

  • Daniel Rosa

    Count, you should really read this wikipedia entry:

    Psychological projection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

  • Count Nukem

    Daniel,
    I know what is “projection” in psychology. What is the evidence for your tacit accusations? please remember that accusing people (even tacitly) without any evidence is a form of thuggery.

  • Daniel Rosa

    A denier asking me about “evidence”! Ah! Funny!

    I’m just reverse trolling you, man. And getting a laugh out of it too!

    I mean, how can I make it any clearer? I have said I don’t debate deniers a few times already. To put it simply, I don’t take you seriously!

  • Count Nukem

    Daniel @ #70,
    It is OK. My last words to you: if you steal something from HE or Kato Institute to make your point, then do not suggest that it is unwillingness of skeptics to engage in debates made you to commit the crime. And, do not mind that I or anyone else may suspect that you can go that low. Peter Gleick also refused HE personal invitation for debates and then cited HE unwillingness to engage in debates as excuse for his frustration and crime against HE. That is what we may expect from warmists.

  • Daniel Rosa

    Really? Tell me, did you read that on a denier web site, or did you just made that up?

    Mmmm, you probably read that on a denier site. You don’t seem particularly creative.

  • Count Nukem

    GM,

    You sound as a Muslim forced to practice taqiya and pretend that you are a man of reason and tell to your infidel supervisors ( whom you really hate) that Islam supports science and is not related to creationism. As any average Muslim you are a taqiya practitioner and this AGW question is not a big deal for you, is it? I want you to know about something more important for you personally. Blogger Ali Sina accuses Muhammad of being:

    a narcissist a misogynist a rapist
    a pedophile a lecher a torturer
    a mass murderer a cult leader an assassin
    a terrorist a mad man a looter

    See http://www.faithfreedom.org/challenge.htm

    If you can prove that Islam is somehow was founded on reason (as you briefly mentioned in #8 ) then you may debate Ali Sina and may be you will win $50K.

  • Count Nukem

    Daniel @#72,
    You don’t seem particularly sober. You sound as a Mexican intoxicated with half bottle of Tequila. Take it easy man, downgrade your drinks to two bottles of bear a day and may be you would have more time to write your papers on radio-astronomy. I am sure you are already very creative in your field but, if you stop drinking, may be you will also have time left to look at AGW related work and make independent opinion for yourself. For this I can’t be sure as most physicists are extremely dumb when they are taken out of their comfort zone . If they do not talk about physics, they tend to sound as morons . Get a physicist to talk about anything else than physics and he sounds as a moron. I wonder , how they can get married and get children? Is there any famous physicist whose wife is really beautiful?

  • GM

    73. Count Nukem Says:
    February 27th, 2012 at 8:47 pm
    GM,
    You sound as a Muslim forced to practice taqiya and pretend that you are a man of reason and tell to your infidel supervisors ( whom you really hate) that Islam supports science and is not related to creationism. As any average Muslim you are a taqiya practitioner and this AGW question is not a big deal for you, is it? I want you to know about something more important for you personally. Blogger Ali Sina accuses Muhammad of being:
    a narcissist a misogynist a rapist
    a pedophile a lecher a torturer
    a mass murderer a cult leader an assassin
    a terrorist a mad man a looter
    See http://www.faithfreedom.org/challenge.htm
    If you can prove that Islam is somehow was founded on reason (as you briefly mentioned in #8 ) then you may debate Ali Sina and may be you will win $50K.

    Your posts are devolving into sheer lunacy at this point. Where exactly did I say anything of the sort in #8?

  • Count Nukem

    GM,
    Your points 1-3 @#8are typical stereotypes which I hear from Muslim immigrants. But, the main thing which betrays you is your amazement at simple, trivial assertion that AGW Theory is merely a theory. Islam is the only religion and culture that considers its scripture, the Quran as a direct word of a deity unmodified and uninfluenced by limitations of human reasoning and conceptualization. As a consequence, Muslim culture and thinking stereotypes have little to offer to help you to distinguish between reality and human conception/reflection of reality. Hippies, Greenpeace activists whom you are channeling know that distinction too well. If you were one of them you would see it too. So, how do I explain unique absence of any philosophical sophistication in your posts and unique blood-thirstiness at the same time? One way to explain it is to assume that you are a Muslim. But, take it easy man, it is just an assumption, a conjecture, a hypothesis, a theory, a guess, a prediction. And unlike some, I make clear distinction between assumptions/theories and facts. To be precise: you may be a Muslim, but you not necessarily a Muslim.

    Do not dwell on my comments too heavily. Look, I have been merely trying to help you to understand the difference between “possibility” and “necessity.” It was discussed e.g. by Aristotle. Understanding those logical modalities( “possibility” and “necessity”) may help you to eventually understand the difference between predictions and facts .

  • GM

    The “merely a theory” canard is a trademark of creationist imbeciles. I can not take seriously accusations of “unique absence of any philosophical sophistication” in my posts (when did we talk about philosophy to begin with) or anything else from people who are not ashamed to use it. Period.

  • Count Nukem

    Thanks for telling your mind GM. So, you imply that you do have some philosophical sophistication and, as I see, it comes from your familiarity with creationist vs evolution theory debates in US. I’m sorry but I can’t and don’t watch those debates as I see *both* sides lacking any philosophical sophistication. It is just as watching food fight between savages e.g. watching Muslim girls fighting for food during Ramadan fiesta.

    If you want to know more about philosophy of scientific knowledge, may I recommend Karl Popper’s “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” If you read it you may start understanding why I see you as lacking any philosophical sophistication.

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  • Daniel Rosa
  • Pingback: What you think you know! « The Book of Ascension Blog

  • Pingback: Weekly List Bookmarks (weekly) | Eccentric Eclectica @ ToddSuomela.com

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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