Top 10 warming skeptic arguments

The BBC has a nice piece listing and refuting the top 10 arguments used by global warming skeptics, while Richard Black has surveyed the 61 “scientists” who signed a letter opposing action to prevent warming.


  1. #1 Jc
    November 15, 2007

    “Iran hasn’t aggressed against a neighbour in over 300 years.”

    Oh Please. Iran has been at the forefront of terror activities since the late 80’s.

    Are you simply just wilfully ignoring its intentions to ensure Isael no longer exists? Let me know what other fury little friends you have that you’re not disclosing.

  2. #2 Lance
    November 15, 2007


    I’ll be glad to see “W” gone, which is scheduled to occur in a little over 13 months. That doesn’t mean I agree with your portrayal of the US as a hegemonous “rogue” state.

    You paint with quite a broad brush when you claim that Bush and his neo-con pals are part of a colonialist conspiracy that puts them in bed with Zbignieuw Brezinski.

    Brezinski has been an outspoken critic of the invasion of Iraq from the beginning.

    Also if control of Middle Eastern oil was the objective it has failed miserably. Iraq effectively produces no oil for export.

    I think it is much more likely that Bush and his neo-con pals thought that an Iraq that was friendly to US interests could be assembled. This would provide a base, both military and political, from which their vision of a democratic Middle East could be fashioned. While this goal was overly ambitious and poorly thought out I don’t think it was motivated by visions of a colonial, oil producing, client state.

    In the beginning I had hopes that they would pull it off. I mean are you really against the idea of the Iraqi people forming a democratic state?

  3. #3 dhogaza
    November 15, 2007

    In the beginning I had hopes that they would pull it off. I mean are you really against the idea of the Iraqi people forming a democratic state?

    Not me. Nor am I against the idea of a scotty “beam me up” device that let’s me see my girlfriend in spain whenever I want.

    Both were equally likely before the invasion.

    You’d have to be as clueless about the ethnic make-up of Iraq as you are about AGW in order to believe there was any chance that a quick invasion would be followed with a “poof, now we’re all getting along in a sweet and kind western democracy” event.

  4. #4 Lance
    November 15, 2007


    While I wasn’t expecting anything via “poof” I did have some hope that the various factions would realize the opportunity they had to move their country out of the nightmare it had endured during Sadam’s brutal regime.

    I still think they have an historic opportunity in their midst. Ethnic and tribal differences are obstacles that have been overcome in other regions of the world. Would you condemn them to perpetual fratricide as the only alternative to dictatorship?

    dhogaza, or whatever your name might really be, you go right for full throttle vitriol as a response to any post to which you disagree. While I am certainly prone to the occasional sarcastic response I try to make a rational post here and there. Maybe you should consider an anger management class.

  5. #5 dhogaza
    November 15, 2007

    Maybe you should consider an anger management class.

    Maybe you should mind your own bleeping business.

    Ethnic and tribal differences are obstacles that have been overcome in other regions of the world.

    Doesn’t mean they will be any time soon in Iraq. You have to judge these things on a case-by-case basis. Where’s your evidence that Iraq is ready for such golden times? Surely the post-invasion reality provides no such evidence. It was a pipe-dream before the invasion and many people knew it. I’ve not been the least bit surprised as to what’s happened, but then again I read up on the history during GWI. Clearly, our President and his advisors did not.

    Would you condemn them to perpetual fratricide as the only alternative to dictatorship?

    I have no basis for claiming that our invasion has condemned them to PERPETUAL fratricide, but clearly it’s condemned them to some years of fratricide, with horrible consequences. That’s the reality today, they’ve been condemned to ongoing fratricide as the only alternative to dictatorship. Are you proud of that?

    Bush the Elder and his advisors refrained from overthrowing Saddam largely for this reason.

  6. #6 David Duff
    November 15, 2007

    According to SoD (Son of Duff), I am a boring old fart, so you won’t be surprised if I actually go back to the original conversation (I use the word loosely in the Australian dictionary sense!)

    Mr. Gould, for example, a peer-cuddling lover of reviews, scoffs at my scoffing and points to drug testing. (No, I don’t know why, either!) You see drugs are not peer reviewed. Drugs are developed in (mostly) private labs and are tested by the people who developed them, first on animals and then on people,and finally the the government checks the sums. Scientists at GSK are not in the habit of handing over their drugs to AstroZenneca – or at least, I bloody well hope not because I own shares in GSK.

    When it comes to the ‘peerless’ scientific advocates of AGW, alas, such peer review as can take place, does so without the assistance of the codes neccesary to fully understand the original theories. As some one above, apparently much wiser than me by their own estimation, pointed out, I am just an ignorant, old, car dealer but, I would suggest, that such, er, peer reviews are worth about the same as the service histories for cars produced by a dealer mate of mine who, in the days before computers, had official rubber stamps for every make of car in the top drawer of his desk! So much for Mr. Gould who could do with an advanced course in Kuhnian philosophy which will not teach him much science but will tell him a lot about scientists and their tricky, sociable, not to say, downright, herd-like, little ways. (If they could bleet, they would.)

    Andrew, whose motto is “No point ever knowingly not missed”, tells us that Y2K was a problem; not nearly as bad a problem as many experts, as well as non-experts, told us, certainly not the end of the world as so many implied. He goes on, perhaps in the hope of a medal or something, to tell us that he, and others, in private industry worked jolly hard and, hey presto, the problem went away. Soooo – DON’T TELL ME, ANDREW, GO TELL IT TO ALL THOSE CONTROL FREAKS WHO WANT TO BOSS ME AROUND BECAUSE THEY THINK THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING! It isn’t, and even if it is, their cure is worst than Armageddon. Just read the eye-ball swivelling Mr. Harvey, and be afraid; very, very afraid!

  7. #7 dhogaza
    November 15, 2007

    Shorter David Duff

    I am just an ignorant, old, car dealer

    We already knew that David. Why do you insist on proving it over and over again?

  8. #8 David Duff
    November 15, 2007

    Ah, Mr Dhogaza, the well know spelling mistake! Always a pleasure to hear from you, particularly when it’s limited to two lines.

  9. #9 Chris O'Neill
    November 15, 2007

    some people have said .. the tipping point is 1500 ppm.

    Hmm, warming most probably in excess of 7 deg C. Now we know the sort of nutcases we’re dealing with.

  10. #10 Jeff Harvey
    November 16, 2007


    You’ve never seen me; how do you know that my eyes swivel? Just because I say what should be patently obvious? Because this contrasts with your jaded view of the world?

    Oh, you’re just an ignorant, old car dealer. That nails it.

    For the millionth time and more, the US did not oust Saddam’s brutal regime out of any humanitarian intent (particulalry as the UN sanctions regime – instituted largely by the US and UK – killed more than a million Iraqi civilians between 1991 and 2003). I am sorry to dent your corporate-media generated world view on this Lance, but this should not be that difficult to discern, given the US record of supporting despots. Twenty out of twenty five of the leading recipients of US military aid are regimes with appalling human rights records. As I said before, the US armed, aided and abetted Saddam right through the period in which he committed he worst atrocities. As long as he was a useful pawn in their conflcit with Iran, then he could do what he liked. Did Washington insiders know? Of course they did. They just didn’t care. Just like they knew of the atrocities Suharto was committing while they supported him militarily and economically. A Clinton aide called Suharto, “Our kind of guy” in 1996. They knew full well that Suharto was one of the leading torturers and mass murderers at the time and previously, perhaps even worse than Saddam. Did that matter? Did that stop them? Heck, as late as 2002 Paul Wolfowitz apparently was suggesting that he should never have gone.

    As far as Iran is concerned, the US has unremittingly punished that country for over 50 years. They helped overthrow a democratically elected leader Mossadegh in 1953; they supported the Shah’s regime, one of the world’s worst, for the next 26 years until it was overthrown from within. Then they did everything to help Saddam in waging a war with the country, a war that may have killed more than one million Iranians. In 1982, the Reagan administration managed to get Iraq taken off of a list of nations that officially sponsor terrorism so that they could support his war with Iran. Again, all of this should hardly be considered trivial. But to many western pundits, its all gone down their memory hole.

    Consider this. The US has military bases surrounding Iran. The US Air Force regularly makes flights into Iranian airspace. The US has deployed aircraft carriers and destroyers to the Persian Gulf. How are the Iranian people supposed to view this? More importantly, how would we feel? Let’s say hypothetically the Iranians had aircraft carriers stationed off of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Lets assume they also had military bases and airfields stationed along the Canadian and Mexican borders, and that their fighter aircraft regularly overflew parts of American airspace. At the same time, we read that their political leadership – by this I mean Ayatollah Khomeini who controls power – were openly making threats about attacking US targets and cities (as Bush and Cheney are regulalry doing in the US media). How would Americans feel about that? How would the US government respond to it? Let’s also say that Iranians were known to be funding political movements in the US that wanted to overthrow the government, as US agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Republican Institute etc. have been doing in countries like Venezuela, and only a few years after beiung involved in an actual coup attempt there that failed. How would people in the US feel about that? Why is any of this irrelevant? Its only irrelevant because we are not supposed to see the world as others at the receiving end of our policies see it. Those holding the sticks are not supposed to understand what it is like for those who are getting bashed by the sticks.

    Let me be clear that I know that Iran has a pretty poor record with respect to support for international terrorism. I also know that many domestic freedoms are almost non-existent there. But does this justify more agg4ression by the west? More illegal wars that shred international law? Again, as international law attorney at Princeton Richard Falk once said, we (meaning Americans, but also people in Europe) are conditioned to see the world through a one-way moral/legal screen. Its time we started to try and understand better how those at the receiving end of our policies feel.

  11. #11 Nigel
    November 16, 2007

    “You see drugs are not peer reviewed.”


  12. #12 Ian Gould
    November 16, 2007

    “the UN abdicated its responsibilities after its head quarters were bombed and it fled.”

    you mean when the Occupying Powers abdicated their responsibility to protect NGOS?

    And the UN never fled Iraq, UN projects continued throguhout the period.

    I might have3 more patient for this particular argument if at the time I wasn’t hearing Americans gloat about how Al qaida and their “allies” at the UN had somehow fallen out and how the Eurotrash UN appeaser scum got what they deserved for sabotaging the noble crusade to liberate the downtrodden Iraqis.

    Of course, most5 of the pe3opel making those comments at the time, now claim they were never pro-war, much as you do.

  13. #13 Ian Gould
    November 16, 2007

    “Mr. Gould, for example, a peer-cuddling lover of reviews, scoffs at my scoffing and points to drug testing. (No, I don’t know why, either!) You see drugs are not peer reviewed. Drugs are developed in (mostly) private labs and are tested by the people who developed them, first on animals and then on people,and finally the the government checks the sums. Scientists at GSK are not in the habit of handing over their drugs to AstroZenneca – or at least, I bloody well hope not because I own shares in GSK.”

    Seldom if ever has so much ignorance been packed into so little space.

  14. #14 Jc
    November 16, 2007

    Gouldiechops says:

    “Seldom if ever has so much ignorance been packed into so little space.”

    He’s right, Gouldmeister. Peer review and drug testing are entirely different process. Substanitiate your absurd claim or do the right thing and apologise to david as it’s the right thing to do and you always.

  15. #15 Eli Rabett
    November 16, 2007

    Obviously jc has never heard of the review panels that evaluate and monitor the drug tests and allow them to continue to the next phase or the drug to be used.

  16. #16 Jc
    November 16, 2007

    Ah actually I have, Rabbet. But how is that the same as peer review?

    Drug reviews as done in such a way that they more resemble an audit process. Are you actually trying to spin the line that peer reviews are done the same way? Say it ain’t so, Rabbet.

  17. #17 Lance
    November 16, 2007


    Blow back is a bitch. To quote Mr. Newton “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. Global brinksmanship is prone to more Monday morning, arm chair quarterbacking than any other pursuit.

    My wife is Ethiopian and I have many Ethiopian and Eritrean friends. Any action taken by the US in their region of the world is second guessed, and later blamed for bad consequences, by people on both sides of the conflict. Often these viewpoints are inconsistent and self-contradictory. There is no oil or other valuable commodities there so that should keep you from claiming that the US is raping them for their goodies.

    After WWII the US supported Haile Selassie by endorsing a UN mandated “federation” between an emerging Eritrea and Ethiopia which had lost the land now called Eritrea to Italian colonization. The US’s interest was to prevent Ethiopia from coming under Soviet influence.

    This pissed the Eritreans off (and still does). Of course if you ask an Ethiopian they will tell you that the US didn’t back them up against the Eritreans. After years of bloody conflict (there was also a period where a brutal Marxist, Soviet backed regime, The Derg, had a little reign of terror in there but I don’t have the time to go into every nuance), Eritrean rebels threw off their Ethiopian cousins domination.

    While the US actions were motivated by self interest, they were also aimed at preventing the eventual bloody civil war that claimed hundreds of thousand of lives on both sides. My review of the decision of the US in the matter indicates to me that it was the best solution at the time. Ultimately both the Ethiopians and Eritreans blamed the US for many of their problems. So damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    Also don’t think that inaction will let you off the hook either. Consider Rwanda for example.

    The point I am making is that people, such as you, will read what they wish into every action or even inaction, to suit their “world view”.

    You claim that I have a “corporate media generated world view”. Of course I would disagree with that assessment. You have mistaken my criticism of your US as “evil empire” scenario as endorsement of the policies of which you complain. I just think things are far more complicated than the “rich and powerful western elites” oppress the “innocent foreign little guy” model you propose.

    I’m all for a clear “leave us alone and we won’t come kill you” foreign policy. I would pull troops out of Korea, Kosovo, Germany, Japan you name it. I would just make it very clear that we have no interest in meddling in the rest of the world’s business but they had better make damn sure they didn’t mess with ours. I favor a small but mobile military that would deter aggression by promising a quick and deadly response to any attack on US interests. No nation building just quick and deadly pay back.

    Isolationist? Perhaps. Self interested? Surely. But if the escapades of the last fifty years of intervening in the affairs of far away places has taught us anything it should be that no good deed goes unpunished. Since people are going to be pissed and find fault with whatever you do, I say we stay home, save our money and not get our young people killed.

  18. #18 Lee
    November 16, 2007

    Actualy, JC is wrong:

    “Drug reviews as done in such a way that they more resemble an audit process.”

    Drug reviews consist of much more than simply checking to see that process was followed and documented, and the numbers done correctly.
    Drug review committees are composed of experts in the relevant fields of biology, physiology, medicine, and tox/pharm. Their job is to evaluate risk and reward, and they bring their knowledge to the job. When reviewing an application, they look at the data presented, check it out, but they also ask whether the drug might have additional risks not covered int eh data, if this is a new or known clas o drugs and whether that might require additional studies, and on and on. They do a REVIEW.

    It is not unusual for a review committee, to require aditional studies orwork for a clinical study transition, or for a NDA, even if all stated requirements were met and properly analyzed and documented, if in their review they identify a possible risk fa ctor that want considered. I personally know a research head in a small drug research company that had to recently lay off 3/4 of her staff, when the FDA turned down a new drug application and required additional clinical research – the company shifted all resources to those new clinical trials. FDA praised the submitted work, it was properly done, it was properly analyzed, it meant what the company said it meant – and FDA found that there was a possible unidentified risk in this entirely new class of drugs, and required the company to go back and do more studies to check that out.

    That isnt just an audit, it isn’t checking to see that things wer properly done and documented, it is review, a process of adding the reviewer’s knowledge to the process.

  19. #19 dhogaza
    November 16, 2007

    JC is wrong

    This blog software needs an autoresponse feature that automatically provides this answer for each of JC’s posts…

  20. #20 Eli Rabett
    November 16, 2007

    And yes dear, what Eli pointed to, and what Lee explained is peer review.

  21. #21 Nigel
    November 16, 2007

    No, Eli, what JC and DD meant to say was, “Drugs are not peer reviewed, at least they wouldn’t be if it weren’t for you pesky interfering communistical scientists! Grrr!”

  22. #22 Jc
    November 16, 2007


    Stick with your competetency which is repairing computer programs and leave this to the adults.


    Let me know if it is the same thing as a clinical trial, FDA approval and various other checks of efficacy when into-ing a drug compared to peer review on the interesting feature of the pranceas of an african fluck.

    Stop spinning as you’ll lose you balance and fall.

  23. #23 z
    November 16, 2007

    I’m still wondering what magic trick of logic is used to make it seem that the arguments “there is no warming” and “the warming is caused by solar changes” are considered to be in some way synonymous.

  24. #24 Ian Gould
    November 17, 2007

    So JC which co drug tests more closely resemble – peer review or an internet free-for-all of the sort David Duff advocayes.

    Of course, we all know that on that blessed days when the degenerate “illiberal democracies” are replaced by Hayek’s much-beloved liberal dictatorships, all these petty tyrannies upon the free market will be cast away and anyone blaspheming against the merits of such fine products as Thalidomide will be carted off to the sub-basement of the Ministry of Freedom to pay for their crimes against economic freedom.

  25. #25 David Duff
    November 17, 2007

    It’s your friendly, neighbourhood, car dealer again – yes, yes, I know but don’t say it too loud, I might hear!

    Dear old ‘Rabbett-Rabett’ and ’21-carrot Gould’ still don’t seem able to grasp the difference between a scientific proposition subject to ‘peer review’, and a commercial product subject to government testing to ensure that it is safe. Think ‘cars’, gentlemen! Ford produce ’em, and the government tests ’em. Ford makes no claims that this car has altered the Kuhnian paradigm of cars because it runs on fresh air, and even if it did, the government couldn’t care less just so long as they can be sure after testing it that it will not career off the road and kill some one.

    The same thing applies to drugs. GSK (a particularly fine company, if I might say so, and the fact that I own a teensy-weensy few shares in it has nothing to do with it!)might produce a pill that they claim will grow hair on a billiard ball. The government could not be less interested what it does, just so long as it doesn’t kill anyone. So it TESTS IT to make sure it is safe, not whether it grows hair. Regrettably, as we all know, quite often they don’t test things very well, in fact, in that respect their tests, and scientific peer reviews, all done by cronies in the same racket, ooops, sorry, the same field, are worth about, er, the same.

  26. #26 Nigel
    November 17, 2007

    In summary, all scientists are communists and should be gassed like badgers. Except the ones who make me some money.

  27. #27 guthrie
    November 17, 2007

    Guilt by association fallacy.
    Thank you for playing, Duff. Next!

  28. #28 z
    November 17, 2007

    ” The government could not be less interested what it does, just so long as it doesn’t kill anyone. So it TESTS IT to make sure it is safe, not whether it grows hair. ”

    Youre ahead of yourself here, a bit: here’s why the rightwingers are suggesting that the (US) government should STOP testing drugs for efficacy (and let the enlightened consumer decide, possibly postmortem):

    “Nonetheless, Congress took the occasion to expand the FDA’s responsibilities to include testing for efficacy as well as toxicity.
    Efficacy testing adds years and hundreds of millions of dollars to the approval process. Desperate patients wait indefinitely while FDA regulators chew their pencils and scratch their heads, looking for more convincing evidence. Meanwhile, with the spread of information on the Internet, clinical trials for efficacy are becoming more and more difficult to complete. Say you’re dying of cancer. Would you be willing to participate in an FDA trial where there is a 50 percent chance you will be receiving a placebo? “An increasing number of trials are now falling apart as soon as there are perceived results,” says Tom Miller, health policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “It’s also getting harder and harder to recruit volunteers.”
    Rather than allowing an orderly progression of new products at reasonable prices, efficacy testing has turned the industry into a casino. For every 5,000 new compounds the industry screens, 250 are chosen for preclinical testing, according to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Five of these will enter long-term clinical trials. Only one will be approved, says Joseph DiMasi of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Thus, each marketed drug must earn back on average $1 billion in FDA testing costs. But only three of ten marketed drugs earn back even their own investment. ”

  29. #29 Ian Gould
    November 18, 2007

    Actually, David, scientists hired by the drug company test first for safety then for efficacy.

    After each step, their results are submitted to government scientists who review the results which are then published.

  30. #30 stewart
    November 18, 2007

    Shorter summary of last 129 posts
    ‘There’s no warning, and it’s all the sun, and besides all scientists are fools and frauds, and warning is good for most of us, and we can just buy a new planet’
    ‘You’re a fool’
    ‘Not, me, you! And science is so old hat anyway’
    Do we need to play this game? Ideologues refuse anything that doesn’t fit their ideology – in science-based discussions, they have the same role as my dog, as a mascot or a distraction, but not a contributor.
    I enjoy the science-related discussions here, but no-one’s ideology hs changed as the result of an argument. In fact, not changing ideology despite being trounced in an argument is a sign of honour.
    Fuhrer-Ex, by Ingo Hasselbach, does provide some description on how to change an ideology – it’s an internal, not an external, process.
    A digression – absolutely, but perhaps more productive and less tedious (how many times have we been over this ground – and to what accomplishment?) than responding to comments by many of the posters.

  31. #31 Stewart
    November 19, 2007


    The mean temperature of the planet cares not a wit about ideology. The next ten years will tell the story. China and India alone will provide enough CO2, no matter what the west does, to continue the upward trend. If things heat up measurably it will strengthen the claim of AGW. If the temperature remains flat or decreases it will falsify the theory.

    Of course if there is no warming, or a decrease in temperature, some people may try to save the theory by claiming more “aerosol” cooling or some such other cobbled up excuse.

    If the temperature increases substantially, as predicted by AGW theory, this will be hard to ignore. There will of course be some people that will claim that the warming has other causes.

    Satellite measurements of the temperature of the tropopause will also be something to watch.

  32. #32 Chris O'Neill
    November 20, 2007

    “Satellite measurements of the temperature of the tropopause”

    Wow, I didn’t know they could pick out that small an altitude range.

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