Between electronic “smog” and their incessant bleating that every weather event is due to global warming, I have come to the conclusion that the Independent, with stories like this one, are trying to bring down the science of global warming from the inside.

It’s official: the heavier rainfall in Britain is being caused by climate change, a major new scientific study will reveal this week, as the country reels from summer downpours of unprecedented ferocity.

More intense rainstorms across parts of the northern hemisphere are being generated by man-made global warming, the study has established for the first time ­ an effect which has long been predicted but never before proved.

The study’s findings will be all the more dramatic for being disclosed as Britain struggles to recover from the phenomenal drenching of the past few days, during which more than a month’s worth of rain fell in a few hours in some places, and floods forced thousands from their homes.

I feel like Mooney said it best in what I quoted in his book review this morning:

At the outset, let me offer a critical point of clarification: Global warming did not cause Hurricane Katrina, or any other weather disaster. Or to put it more precisely, we just can’t say scientifically that global warming either does or not “cause” individual weather events.

Exactly! Will somebody please tell the independent this? Climate change is about increasing probability of certain types of weather. It is not possible or responsible to attribute specific weather events as evidence for or against climate change. These ridiculous assertions from the Independent are just as annoying as those coming from anti-GW cranks like Tim Blair who rejoice in every cold-snap. Climate is not the same as weather!

What is even more amazing is that in the same article they include this statement:

The new study, carried out jointly by several national climate research institutes using their supercomputer climate models, including the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office, does not prove that any one event, including the rain of the past few days in Britain, is climate-change related.

So why did you just write 10 paragraphs about how it is?



  1. #1 Chad
    July 24, 2007

    I can see the GW Denialists now: You see! The “scientific” report was wrong, ergo, no global warming!

  2. #2 bigTom
    July 24, 2007

    Without getting into the actual attitude displayed in the article, the study coming out claims to say something to the effect that the tail of the distribution has significantly changed. Now a change in the tail of a distribution could have a profound effect on the probability
    of a rare event in any given time period. They may not be nearly as far offbase on technical grounds as you seem to think.

  3. #3 MarkH
    July 24, 2007

    That’s not the issue BT. The issue is attributing specific weather events to global warming or climate change, which only can be measured in terms of averages.

    To say, recent weather would be consistent with the predictions of climate change would be one thing. To say, “It’s official: the heavier rainfall in Britain is being caused by climate change” suggests their current flooding is due to global warming. You simply can’t know whether or not this is an outlier.

  4. #4 guthrie
    July 24, 2007

    Whats worse is that Dr King, the gvts science advisor here in the UK, is apparently blaming the floods on global warming. Of course he may have put it somewhat differently, but by the time he’s been quoted, that is what it sounds like.

  5. #5 Tony
    July 24, 2007

    At base I agree with you, Mark, and I rolled my eyes when I saw this report — not to mention its clear implication that the study was authoritative (when in fact there are challenges from the scientific fraternity).

    On the other hand, Joe public may not see the difference between the original lead and a more measured “The UK is likely to see more floods such as those that swept across the nation in recent weeks, according to a study to be published in …”

    The sad truth is that nuance doesn’t get the public’s attention, and without the public’s attention, we won’t get government action, and without government action, there’s no way voluntarily changing a few light bulbs is going to succeed in curbing GHGs by the 80%-90% most scientists say is required.

    So while I’m disappointed to see the Independent stretching the truth, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I hate to be an ends-justifies-the-means kinda guy, but I can’t see any other good way to get people’s attention. Remember, Mooney’s book had that revealing graph showing how public attention increased with headline-grabbing hurricane coverage.

    Finally, this pales in significance to what the Daily Telegraph, The Australian, or the Financial Post comes out with. For one thing, it’s not an outright lie. For another, I doubt it’s wilful.

  6. #6 MarkH
    July 24, 2007

    So while I’m disappointed to see the Independent stretching the truth, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I hate to be an ends-justifies-the-means kinda guy, but I can’t see any other good way to get people’s attention. Remember, Mooney’s book had that revealing graph showing how public attention increased with headline-grabbing hurricane coverage.

    Good points Tony, however, there are also studies from the framing people showing that alarmism creates fatalism and decreases involvement. Big headlines get attention, but it may not be positive. It also give fuel to the cranks who will do the exact same thing with every cold-snap to prove global warming isn’t happening.

    This is what the framers are for. Telling us how we should get this message across. I’m pretty sure the alarmism of the Independent is bad, and is routinely used by anti-GW cranks against us. That’s my point of view. We’d have to get some data together to see if it causes a net change of attitude towards the positive to justify this kind of factual carelessness.

  7. #7 Tony
    July 24, 2007

    Yeah, those studies also were on the back of my mind. I have to admit, I’m wavering. My instincts as a liberal tell me to play by the rules, but my knowledge of the social science has me very worried about the lack of solid collective will. Sometimes I’m tempted to be, heck, a little alarmist.

    A sidenote: It often occurs to me that this is akin to what war boosters must feel in their support for torture, relaxed rules of engagement in Baghdad, warrantless wiretapping, detention without habeas corpus, etc. After all, both groups feel civilization is at stake.

  8. #8 bigTom
    July 24, 2007

    With the caveats that I haven’t read either the papers -or the Independent (just in case what they did was really egregious). If an event is say 8 sigma in the old climate, but you expect the new climate
    to have higher variability, it is probably not stretching things to say the change of climate did it. News statements like the Severn flooding being the worst in sixty years, makes me think this isn’t nearly that much of an outlier, in which case your criticism is justified.

    It is of course likely that for any climate past present or future, that we really have a good handle on the tail of the (event) distribution.

  9. #9 hunter
    July 24, 2007

    Anthropogenic Global Warming has become apocalyptic global warming, or AGW, and a scam.
    Just like Tony above, the AGW movement believes its lies are jsutified by the need to wake up the dull proletariat to the latest enlightenment of the vanguard.
    Well, rubbish on that.
    Climates change. Always have, always will. The AGW movement is simply another in the long line of apocalyptic pop-fears that happen from time to time, since the time of Noah.
    And all they hype of the AGW promoters will not induce the climate to cooperate by killing us.

  10. #10 TTT
    July 24, 2007

    So, Hunter, why is your position at odds with that of pretty much the worldwide scientific community? Do you know more about their field than they do, or is it a conspiracy?

  11. #11 Dave C
    July 24, 2007

    While hunter may be over the top, those on the side of science need to be wary about an “ends justifies the means” attitude to informing the public.
    One incident that sticks in my mind was the issue of disposing of the Brent Spar in the North Sea some decades back. Greenpeace gilded the lily terribly when trying raise the publics attention and were found to have done so when the work was achieved through other means. Put simply they said what needed to be said in order to get their way and to me that reduced any further pronouncements worth. It also cost them my subscription.
    Let the facts talk for themselves in properly framed arguments and if you don’t know say so. Because the deniers will leap on any exaggeration or half truth and beat you on the head with it repeatedly. A good example is the GW and the air national guard story, one forged paper made it all go away even though the main facts held. He didn’t go to Vietnam, he failed to fulfill his duty in the US and it was all down to favouritism, cowardice and connections.

  12. #12 Ted
    July 24, 2007

    Good points Tony, however, there are also studies from the framing people showing that alarmism creates fatalism and decreases involvement.

    1. Can you point out some? I’m curious to the circumstances.

    2. There are two types of alarms that come to mind; first one requiring action, second one that has consequences of inaction. For example, girls are told that instead of yelling “HELP” or “RAPE”, they should yell “FIRE”. Why?

    If you hear “rape” or “help”, and decide to investigate, you are exposing to potential danger (Sorry Kitty Genovese); it’s safer to stay put. If you hear someone yell “fire”, your inactivity increases your chances of personal danger. You don’t just remain sitting, and shut the drapes, you go look.

    Is yelling WATER similar to yelling FIRE?

    As a corollary, should one fisk the girls afterwards for having the temerity to yell FIRE, when the danger was no such kind.

  13. #13 Kapitano
    July 24, 2007

    Sometimes it’s a good idea to be a little inaccurate, just to get things done.

    When Carl Sagan testified in court against creationists that science is a self correcting process while religion has no such mechanism, he was not being absolutely, scrupulously honest. But the important thing was not to educate the judge about the finer details of post-Popperian philosophy of science, but to get rid of the rabid christian mystics.

    Charles Darwin knew there were minor problems in his theory – there were gaps in the fossil record and he had only the haziest notion of heritable traits could be stored inside an organism. But the important thing was to beat the critics, not give a seminar on what Evolution theory didn’t explain.

    And here, it’s certainly true that global climate change doesn’t exactly cause specific rainfalls or storms. But if you insist that the public have a detailed, nuanced understanding of the issue, you risk losing the bigger argument, which is about whether climate change exists at all.

  14. #14 Chad
    July 24, 2007

    Mark, what’s with the picture change? The other one makes you look more prestigious and thoughtful.

  15. #15 MikeB
    July 25, 2007

    Sitting here in the soggy UK (although fortunately nowhere near the flooded areas), I must admit that anything that gets the government and public to take AGW seriously has to be good. I’m with Tony that attributing this particular event to AGW (which the media has been constantly asking) is problematic, but the evidence is certainly a ‘maybe’.

    Whats very annoying is the way the media has played up the AGW angle, while pretending there are two ‘sides’. Newsnight did it the other day, with George Monbiot and a meteorologist who’d been studying long term patterns. It was obvious that the BBC was trying to set up the researcher as the ‘voice of reason’, with him pointing out that the UK had had various floods over the years, and that the current ones were not particularly unusual. Fortunately, Monbiot was clever enough to see this as a setup, and pointed out that the climate models project exactly the sort of effects we are seeing now, but in the winter. The other other guy agreed with him, and the BBC didn’t get what they wanted, a fight.

    Of course, the message about climate change probably isn’t getting through, when you have the Housing minister still saying that more houses will have to be built on flood plains anyway…

  16. #16 Paul
    July 25, 2007

    The danger is that the Independent is looking increasingly like the voice of certain doom. Every week (especially on Friday…are they trying to spoil our weekends?)there are stories about some threat or other that will cause the end of life as we know it. Even my scientist friends who are far from skeptical on AGW ant other issues have pointed out the sillyness of making dire predictions about the fact that young people are not saving enough to fund their retirements when the previous week they were predicting ecological disaster and the collapse of the global economy within a couple of decades.

    There is a danger in diluting the brand (so to speak).

    Having said that the Independent’s piece was still far better than the observers recent Autism/MMR nonsense.

  17. #17 errp
    July 25, 2007

    We know the difference between climate and weather, when it is hot it is climate, and when it is cold it is weather. Just read the press, it’s right there, only an idiot could miss it.

  18. #18 Yo Mama
    July 25, 2007

    Keep trying weasel boy, maybe someone will believe ya.

  19. #19 Harry Eagar
    July 25, 2007

    Mark “Almost a Doctor” Hoofnagle, Denialist!

  20. #20 errp
    July 25, 2007

    You know, I actually somewhat agree with Hoof here. I think that the newspapers create far more skeptics than site’s like Tim Blair’s ever could though. Tim just exploits the easy pickings newspapers leave out. The application of critical thinking to newspaper articles on “climate change” 99 times out of 100 leads to the same kinds of conclusion Hoof draws from this article. Namely that the facts contained in the article rarely support the conclusions pushed by the writer, headline writer, and editor.

  21. #21 dzd
    July 25, 2007

    It’s kind of sad, really, since the Independent seems to have its head screwed on reasonably firmly about most other topics. But on anything even vaguely green they manage to make American TV news look sober.

  22. #22 errp
    July 25, 2007

    Wow, I am keeping this thread a favorite. It is truly telling how many of you believe that lying is the best course, not only that, but additionally, after having agreed that exageration is the best course, agreeing to call anybody who points out such exageration “denialist cranks” is positively Orwellian.

  23. #23 eerrp
    July 25, 2007

    Here is the thread over at Tim Blair’s place on this post, if you would like to come over and comment, or if you don’t have an ID, you could reply to comments there here.

  24. #24 Boris
    July 25, 2007

    agreeing to call anybody who points out such exageration “denialist cranks” is positively Orwellian.

    Who called MarkH a “denialist crank”?

  25. #25 Boris
    July 25, 2007

    And I should point out the intent of any exaggeration/downplaying should be taken into account.

    Let’s say someone is about to dive into a pool of water. Two people standing on the edge both know the water is 3 feet deep. One lies and says it is 18 feet deep. The other lies and says the pool is 1 foot deep. Now, those are two different breeds of liar, if you ask me.

    Regardless of your views on exaggeration, it is best not to give the denialist cranks any ammunition.

  26. #26
    July 25, 2007

    This is a perfect example of
    why AGW deniers exist.

    It because they are tired
    of the cult like behaviour
    and “the end is nigh” bullshit.

    The ever increasing wild claims

    They see the bullying,hectoring
    behaviour,that brooks no dissent.

    It’s ironic that even the
    “Pommy Pravda” is now in
    trouble for not toeing
    the party line.

    Maybe there’s room
    in the gulag.

  27. #27 TallDave
    July 25, 2007

    Let’s face it, AGW’s effects amount to a religious debate.

    Proponents almost everything is caused by global warming. Opponents say almost nothing is caused by global warming.

    AGW might as well be a weather god. We’re even being asked to sacrifice to it!

  28. #28 BillC
    July 25, 2007

    Of course the Independent are just ridiculous middle class moral zealots on their latest “cause”. They are quite happy to use exagerration, alarmism and downright science fiction to try to propagandise the public. After all if you work at The Independent you are obviously far more intelligent and moral than the rest of us – so the end justifies the means. They just rave along standard Biblical prophet lines then claim it is “predicted by a computer model”. By now it must be becoming a favoured theme for standup comedians.

    Most people on this thread are no better, and are only upset at the Indy because they are now making fools of themselves – and by association the rest of you as well.

    What happened to those predictions of the hottest, driest summer in British history just a few months ago?

  29. #29 Admonkeystrator
    July 25, 2007

    I’m interested to learn, how all these people know the results of a study that they are not involved in, before the study is completed and published.

  30. #30 Boris
    July 25, 2007

    They just rave along standard Biblical prophet lines then claim it is “predicted by a computer model”.

    Um, we’re talking about someone saying a specific weather event is due to a change in climate, aren’t we?

  31. #31 Boris
    July 25, 2007



  32. #32 MarkH
    July 25, 2007

    Let’s face it, AGW’s effects amount to a religious debate.

    Proponents almost everything is caused by global warming. Opponents say almost nothing is caused by global warming.

    AGW might as well be a weather god. We’re even being asked to sacrifice to it!

    No, this is not the point. AGW and its effects are measurable and of legitimate concern. The way the media covers it is not the fault of scientists who have very little influence over the way news organizations choose to cover it. Every time you read these articles you see a bunch of BS, then some scientist saying something much more reserved and careful. There is also a tendency, even appearing on this thread, to encourage alarmism as a tactic because people feel it is difficult to otherwise distract people from Lindsay Lohan’s latest DWI arrest. I happen not to agree with it, but there it is.

    What the media proponents and opponents say is of no import to the actual science, which people here at the scienceblogs do their damnedest to try to educate people about. Chris Mooney, for instance, wrote a wonderful book on the subject, and I’d love for the Blairites to read it. They would actually really like it!

    So much of the anti-environmental crankery comes out of a dislike for the people who promote environmentalism, and while it’s unfortunate I understand. I don’t like hippies either, and its abundantly clear, they rarely know what they’re talking about. I don’t think that many of the environmental advocates do a good job representing the science or the risks from global warming. But representing them as AGW science is misguided. They are what they are, we can’t help that.

  33. #33 Andrew Dodds
    July 26, 2007

    MarkH –

    On the environmentalist/hippy front, I weas fairly depressed by an article in the Observer a few months ago..

    They interviewed the leader of the protestors who had tried to break into and shut down the Drax power plant. This is the largest coal fired electric plant in Europe, and hence the largest single point source of CO2.

    Ironically, of course, it is one of the best from a thermal efficiency point of view; if the protestors managed to shut it down for an extended period of time (very, very unlikely), the only replacement would be to de-mothball some old, inefficient coal power plants. Resulting in higher CO2 emissions.

    Quoth the Homer: D’Oh.

    At the end of the interview, he mentioned that his co-conspiritor was away that day organising a protest against a nuclear power plant.

  34. #34 Dunc
    July 26, 2007

    I don’t like hippies either, and its abundantly clear, they rarely know what they’re talking about.

    Oi! We’re not all like that you know. The sets “hippies” and “idiots” have a substantial intersection, but the former is not exclusively a subset of the latter.

  35. #35 errp
    July 26, 2007

    By moving your side of the debate towards alarmism, you increase the gap between youselves and those you are debating, making the achievement of understanding even more difficult.

    As for the analogy of claiming the pool is one foot deep? If the potential jumper can clearly see that it is not, why should he not believe the claims that the pool is deeper? Credibility is worth something. Newspapers and network news have ruined theirs in misguided fighting for “the cause”.

  36. #36 Oliver
    July 26, 2007

    Mark, I’d like to note that “the heavier rainfall” is not the same as “the heavier rainfall of the last couple of weeks”. It can likewise refer to a statistical mean over a longer period of time.

  37. #37 pat
    July 26, 2007

    There’s a age-old stereotype of academics being a little slow on the uptake & I’m afraid you’re only reinforcing it. So-called ‘science’ can’t claim global warming as it’s own… the sooner you wake up to that the better. Apart from the dodgy claims on the wrapper, it has nothing to do with science. Global warming belongs to politics, it’s a political thing. Exhibiting some semi-religious faith-based overtones. It is a movement, not a theory or hypothesis.

  38. #38 Ted
    July 26, 2007

    Global warming belongs to politics, it’s a political thing. Exhibiting some semi-religious faith-based overtones.

    But pat, if science can’t save us, we’re not worthy of saving. Being saved on the basis of politics or social communication is icky.

    Which is why the influence of science on public policy is so effective.

  39. #39 errp
    July 26, 2007

    Oliver just wants to, nay needs to believe. Keep grasping at straws. Before this Summer, the Met office in the UK was predicting record heat and drought. Wetter winters and warm dry Summers.

    If you guys knew any history, you might be interested in how the story of Frankenstien, Mary Shelly’s original version was written. Seems the Shelly the more famous at the time poet, his wife and a couple of other British Romantic poets and spouses were spending the summer at the lake and it rained non stop for weeks on end. Was cold too, they came up with the idea of a contest to write a novel. If you actually read the original Frankenstein, you cannot help but notice the constant them of cold and ice. There is a scene where the monster is driving a dog sled, persued by Dr Frankenstein, through the artic.

    Of course the story proves nothing. It is just a coincidence that ice core samples from Greenland at the same time, and from Antarctica too, by the way, show that the world was in “The Little Ice Age”. Because I note this problem with the idea of a flat climate history, I am a denialist crank. I know, I know.

    It is interesting too how the Frankenstien myth so nicely parallels the mythic core of blind belief in catastrophic global warming. BTW, I am using the work “myth” in the sense of a kind of cultural archetype, not in the sense of lie or falsehood. Everybody who has ever examined history to any extent, and the evidence, knows it has warmed since the Little Ice Age. Someday, we might even reach the levels of the Roman Warm Period, which lasted for thousands of years, and during which, most of modern civilization began.

    The real question in the minds of a thinking skeptic, is will it get warmer than it was then? The jury is out on that. The polar bears and the Great Barrier Reef survived the RWP and the Midieval Warm Period as well.

  40. #40 Oliver
    July 26, 2007


    thanks but I don’t “need to believe”, I can assess the data on my own. If you had the capabilities to do that, you’d know that there’s no such thing as a “mIdieval” Warm Period.

    So unfortunately, while you claim that “everybody who has ever examined history to an extent” knows ABC, you, unfortunately, have obviously never done so.

  41. #41 TTT
    July 26, 2007

    “Errp,” you are the first person I’ve ever seen claim to have peer-reviewed evidence of the detection of the so-called “Little Ice Age” in Antarctica, or for that matter, anywhere outside of Western Europe and North America. Can you cite that source, please?

  42. #42 MikeB
    July 26, 2007

    Of course the reason the weather might have been so bad during that summer by the lake might have had as much to do with the eruption of Tambora as the ‘Little Ice Age’. But you’ve studied history, so you know that already.

  43. #43 Anonymous
    July 26, 2007

    This is the kind of article that you open yourself up to when you make unsupported claims that everything is due to climate change

    Cold weather kills 70 children in Peru.
    I know, I know, cold = weather, Heat or damaging weather = climate.

    Peer reviewed evidence of the LIA in Antarctica, I thought you’d never ask.

    See figure 3.

    From the caption of Figure 3:

    “The upper plot displays temperature variations over the past 8,000 yrs, whereas the lower plot is a zoom on the past 2,000 yrs. Similar temperature variations for the last 2,000 yrs have been reconstructed from Law Dome bore hole data from Antarctica.”

    Also, here is a quote from the conclusion:

    “It is from the ice core perspective thus not possible to attribute the warming of the past century solely to the influence of mankind. The climate changes recorded by meteorological observations since 1875 are not unique in climate history. Taking into account that the period round 1875 appears to have been one of the coldest during the Holocene makes it even more difficult.”

    But I officially apologize for taking this thread OT, and the above will be my last word on it. Feel free to rip it to shreds, just remember that it has been peer reviewed, and so, you should come up with another peer reviewed article that proves the methodology or the conclusions wrong. “Doesn’t fit the models” does not count.

  44. #44 errp
    July 26, 2007

    The interesting part of this thread is the justification for exageration. This goes to the heart of why many skeptics view Hansen’s data, for example, with a such, well, skeptcicism.

    Hansen’s surface temp data shows 2005 to be on a par with 1998. The satelite data, which is far less prone to subjective manipulation, shows no such thing. It shows ’98 as unmistakeably extremely warm, and then shows that temps dropped a bit from that peak, and have held pretty steady since then.

    The fact that the suspicion exists that Hansen shares the worldview that “it is ok to lie if the lie is to help people”, coupled with the problem of divergence of his surface temperature data from Mann’s proxies and the troposhperic temp data, is enough to render his surface data non credible.

  45. #45 Anonymous
    July 26, 2007

    I wonder what the volcano was that contributed to the similarly cold summer of 1797, when Mary Shelly was born?

  46. #46 Boris
    July 26, 2007


    Read what you quoted–

    It is from the ice core perspective thus not possible to attribute the warming of the past century solely to the influence of mankind.

    The IPCC certainly doesn’t rely on the ice core record to attribute 20th century warmth to increased CO2.

  47. #47 Tarun K Juyal
    July 26, 2007

    The study found that global warming since 1985 has been caused neither by an increase in solar radiation nor by a decrease in the flux of galactic cosmic rays. Some researchers had also suggested that the latter might influence global warming because the rays trigger cloud formation. I am write a blog which gave complete information about Global Warming.

  48. #48 James
    July 27, 2007

    “So, Hunter, why is your position at odds with that of pretty much the worldwide scientific community?”

    We hear this time and time again, but no one making this assertion ever points us to a study that details the members of the worldwide scientific community, the opinion of each member of this club dubbed the “worldwide scientific community”, what their specialities are (is the lab tech at DOW entitled to the same clout as climatologist skeptics?), how the question was framed to them in order to have this survey that is pointed to but never revealed, in other words, the above quote was really just pulled out of thin air, repeated again and again. You will laugh, tell me I’m just a skeptic, but you know what you won’t do? Actually show me or point to the detailed study (not the same assertaion made elsewhere but the actual detailed study that confirms it). You can’t, cause it has never taken place. Instead you just make things up. How does anyone know what the position is of the entire worldwide scientific community, let alone what defines that community or how conclusions about such positions are drawn. In other words, you just made it up. You’ve heard it time and time again, but have never verified it. Here come the links to others that have said it, but none to an actual detailed study.

  49. #49 errp
    July 27, 2007

    I leaned all I need to from this thread. Liberals feel that lying is perfectly ok in a good cause.

    Liberals then must feel that it is ok if they are lied to, as long as they trust that it is in a good cause.

    Liberals feel that it is ok to have a powerful state to with intrusive enforcement mechanisms to enact their solutions.

    Liberals then are “shocked” when the Stalins, Pol Pots, and Maos of the world use these tendencies to grab absolute power.

    And, liberals say conservatives have no sense of irony.

  50. #50 Anonymous
    July 27, 2007

    The post was in response to the assertion that there were no peer reviewed studies that show an LIA outside of the Northern Hemisphere.

  51. #51 MarkH
    July 27, 2007

    errp, that is such BS. The Independents coverage is sloppy, but probably not deliberately dishonest, I think calling it lying is a bridge too far. I don’t think they’re cackling in the editors office about how they can freak people out, I think the more likely conclusion is they are ignorant.

    The people who are really dishonest are those who deny there is any problem at all, and instead insist it’s just a liberal plot.

  52. #52 errp
    July 27, 2007

    I get it, when your side does it, it is “factual carelessness” or “ignorance”, or “sloppiness”. When our side does it, it is “lying”.

    I actually don’t have any argument with the vast majority of your post or your comments, except the one where you said something like “could it be proven that lying works, we should lie”. My problem was with the commenters, who seem to think that lying is justified.

    When you hide the truth from people in order to steer them to a conclusion you want them to make, you are robbing them of the right to think for themselves. That is not what democracy is about. It was what the Soviet Union was about, which is why I find Liberals scary.

    This admitted (in this thread) tendency of liberals to lying or exageration if it is in a “good cause”, is the very thing that makes so many skeptical about “climate change”. It is a “convenient” truth for Liberals, because, if you can scare the wits out of enough people, you may be able to sieze control of the economy.

    I am with you on this one. Stick to the truth. I will tell you you are out of step with “the movement”.

  53. #53 MarkH
    July 27, 2007

    That’s not really the discussion we’re having. The question is whether or not we should present things in an alarming way. It’s what the framers here at the scienceblogs are always talking about, how do you get science across to the masses.

    It still would be inappropriate to present this article in its current format and associate an event with global warming when it is impossible to determine if that is in fact the case. The discussion is whether or not excessively informing people about worst-case scenarios is beneficial. These scenarios are based on facts – like fossil evidence that when the ice sheets have melted in the past that sea-levels were several meters higher. Should people trying to advocate for change focus on these potential risks? The data I’ve seen suggests that alarmism creates apathy and defeatism in people.

    People always interpret framing as “lying” but as the framers endless preach, it is about how to make people receptive to legitimate information. Scientists aren’t good at framing things in a way that people are receptive to the information.

    Global warming denialism, however, is deceptive, because it represents the cherry-picking of data, conspiracy-mongering, hiring of fake experts and think tanks, and other fallacious arguments to dissuade people from believing the very real body of evidence that climate is being affected by carbon emissions. I do think the problem with the Independent is that they are good-intentioned but incompetent to judge science. Just look at their crap on electro-smog. I don’t think they’re intentionally trying to confuse people – my headline is a joke – but they are incompetent at judging scientific material.

  54. #54 errp
    July 27, 2007

    I can only say that articles like the one you refer to in this post create far more skeptics than Blair ever could.

    Would you call this “framing” or lying?

    The study’s central findings were that 54 percent of all bankruptcies have a “medical cause” and 46.2 percent of all bankruptcies have a “major medical cause.” Even if this were true, bankruptcy law already provides adequate safeguards for the special problems posed by medical bankruptcies, as one of us (Mr. Zywicki) testified at the hearing. But it is not true. And the only way to make such a claim is to gerrymander the definition of medical bankruptcies to generate the desired results true junk social science.

    For example, the study classifies uncontrolled gambling, drug or alcohol addiction, and the birth or adoption of a child as “a medical cause.”

    The above is from

  55. #55 Boris
    July 27, 2007


    Every scientific org that studies the climate supports AGW. Every national academy of science that I know of, including the academies from the G8 nations supports it. A very, very few articles are ever published that dispute the consensus.

    Where is this hidden web of nonpublishing, but brilliant, scientists who you seem to believe exist?

    Okay. The LIA may or may not have been gloabl in extent. Regardless of what some people say, this is not a problem for AGW.

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