Effect Measure

Our post on what is behind the Right Wing attack on science drew a lot of attention and numerous comments. I’d like to emphasize some key points that may have gotten lost in the details (for the details, please see the original post). We’ll use climate change skepticism as an example, but the principles hold for other kinds of assaults, for example, on public health concerns regarding bis phenol A.

The cardinal point is that the attacks aren’t about science. Refuting false statements about whether CO2 is or is not a driver of global warming may seem (and be) necessary, but it is not the objective of the attackers. Karl Rove is famous for his doctrine that you attack your adversary at his strongest point. Environmental science’s strongest point is the scientific integrity and credibility of the developing consensus that human activities are driving a significant increase in mean global temperatures. It is not the science of global warming that the Right Wing is concerned about but the policy consequences it entails. It is therefore necessary to destroy its authority and credibility.

The attack on the science has two components. The first is the most obvious: to use what appear to be scientific arguments to cast doubt on what the scientific community deems valid arguments about climate change. But the second may be the most important: to do it in a way that casts aspersions on all kinds of scientific argument. The attackers don’t care if they are accused of political or economic bias in making their own scientific arguments because one of their objectives is to establish a covert narrative that says science is always biased and tainted by political corruption. The aim is to destroy the moral authority of science, not its factual basis. They then erect a new standard based on economic promise and the virtues of “progress” and modernity.

In our view an important element in countering the attack is not only to respond by pointing out what is behind the attack (which we have just done), but who is behind the attack and why. Our original post discussed this in some detail, where we document that, almost without exception Far Right ideologues and wealthy elites are the material force behind the assault on mainstream environmental science. Is this a conspiracy theory? There is nothing theoretical about the demonstration that over 92% of books in English questioning the science supporting climate change, endocrine disruption, air pollution effects and other environmental issues with obvious consequences for policy are directly and explicitly affiliated with Right Wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and their ilk.

That’s not a side issue. That’s the issue.

Comments

  1. #1 Martin
    June 16, 2008

    I know that for some weird reason it’s a dirty word here on ScienceBlogs, but the issue you have is one of “framing”. Your article’s nonsensically vague title “Why the Right Wing attacks science” gave the impression that you were a rabid left-winger desperate to blame all anti-science on the right wing, and ignoring the fact that it comes from all sides of the political spectrum. Using such a title immediately achieved three things in the eyes of a political neutral like myself: (1) it made you look as dumb as the right-wingers you were attacking; (2) it made you look as if you wanted to try and polarize the debate between left-wing scientists and right-wing philistines; (3) it immediately raised a big barrier around your article turning away 50% of your potential audience.

  2. #2 revere
    June 16, 2008

    Martin: It’s not a dirty word, although it’s a word that has many meanings. On the old site I wrote a seventeen part series on Lakoff (whom I know and done some work with) so I am neither averse to nor ignorant of his version. Of course there are versions and versions and yours seems typical of a certain take on it that can be found here at Sb (Matt Nisbet, specifically).

    The post you refer to (I assume you are including the one from last week that this is a specific commentary on; if not you need to read that one to see what this is about) is not meant to persuade. It is an analytical piece. I am not in the business of marketing ideas. I am in the business of struggling with them myself by writing about them and engaging with others who want to discuss them.

    If you are really interested in this topic and my views on it as an idea and not as spin or framing or marketing you need to engage with the ideas involved, in particular the question of environmental skepticism which is what this post and its predecessor was all about. Note that I am not blaming the Right for being antiscience or being philistines. Far from it. I am saying they couldn’t care less about science, that that isn’t what environmental skepticism is about. I’d be glad to engage you in conversation about the ideas if you were interested. This site has commenters from a very broad spectrum of political views that goes from the Far Right to the mid Left. I am, quite obviously, a person of the Left but I feel strongly that there are important ideas to discuss about which no one has the answers.

  3. #3 Julie Stahlhut
    June 16, 2008

    Is this a conspiracy theory?

    Not at all. There are no black helicopters here. The bad stuff isn’t a cloak-and-dagger activity — it’s completely out in the open. It’s not difficult to track this stuff down to the aforementioned think tanks. (Kind of like the U.S.’s gift of $43 million to the Taliban in early 2001 for their “anti-drug” activities. That one was reported all over the mainstream media — and repeated by major newspapers after the September 2001 attacks. Many papers may have put it on page 22, right after the church-picnic announcements. But no one had to sneak through steam tunnels or exchange coded messages with spies to find this out.)

    There exist some bonkers tinfoil-hat types out there, to be sure, but it’s hardly a “conspiracy theory” to point out a fact that’s a matter of public record. It’s just that, given enough money, it’s also very effective to wage a marketing campaign to obscure information that’s already out there, and to ridicule the people who point it out.

  4. #4 Martin Robbins
    June 16, 2008

    @Revere:

    If you’ve seen my Blog you’ll know that in my short blogging career I’ve taken detailed looks at CTTs in the past, and their role in environmental skepticism, so I’m well aware of the underlying issues. What you’re asserting here is nothing particularly new – we’ve all known since the days of the Tobacco Lobbyists that the aim of these people isn’t to engage in scientific debates but to wage a campaign of obfuscation that undermines scientific debate itself.

    Given all of that – and I’m not intending to come across as antsy – I still don’t really see what the point of your original piece was supposed to be?

    As for framing, you’re a paid, high-profile blogger, and the fact is that every time you write an entry on here it is framed. I think the moment you agreed to join ScienceBlogs, you took on a responsibility to try and portray science debate in a positive light. Even if you didn’t particularly intend it, the way you’ve framed your side of the debate is, I think, unhelpful for the wider debate. Surely the people that you want to read your post are right-wingers, so why post under such a provocative title?

  5. #5 revere
    June 16, 2008

    Martin: I don’t consider myself a paid blogger. I’ve been blogging almost four years, much of that time totally unpaid and some of it paid lunch money. The paid part is immaterial. I moved to Sb on condition that there were no strings or controls involved and I continued just as I had before. My traffic on Sb is about half of what it was on blogger when I moved. I didn’t agree to join. I was invited to join and I accepted the invitation, no strings attached.

    You and I disagree about this issue. Since I’ve been involved in this for many years of course I’ve known what was behind this. But you are wrong if you think it is widely or generally known among scientists, who still see these as arguments about science. Moreover the analysis I’ve given includes some historical perspective that is not usually included, so it isn’t just warmed over stuff.

    I am not about framing. You are free to consider that the main issue but I don’t. I don’t have any responsibility to see it the way you see it (nor vice versa of course), and I don’t see it your way. I’m sorry you don’t see the point of the post. That happens.

  6. #6 dubiquiabs
    June 16, 2008

    Seems to me that wars on science are about power. If you allow free investigation of what is the case and free access to results, you limit what those in power can legitimately do about what’s the case.

    Who would be interested in waging war on science? I think it’s largely those who want to put one over on their subjects, those in possession of “absolute truth”, and those who want to create their “own reality” (not mutually exclusive, of course).

    The right – left debate is a distraction. It does not seem to matter what type of ideologue the perpetrators are – they’d rather incur the liabilities of prostituting science than accept limits on their power. At the moment, it’s the right-wingers that are most conspicuous in this regard, so Revere once again got it right, in my humble opinion.

  7. #7 Lea
    June 16, 2008

    Some may care but many do not revere. It’s a losing battle and forgive me for being pessimistic.
    The common struggle is really against human injustice and yes the wealthy elites are the material force behind the assault on mainstream environmental science.
    This is history and quite frankly I just can’t envision it ever changing.

  8. #8 dubiquiabs
    June 16, 2008

    Lea –
    If your time horizon is the last ca. 30 years, you may be right. If you go back a couple of hundred more years, not so much. If you want to dispel the blues, read some Thomas Jefferson. Problem is, he was about 300 years ahead of his time.

  9. #9 Lea
    June 16, 2008

    dubiquiabs: thanks for thinking of me. appreciate dialogue/conversation that is devoid of anger. although I do succumb to it.

    If you’ve not seen these clips watch them.

    Arithmetic, Population and Energy

    The Most Important Video You Will Ever See
    in 8 segments – Part 1 of 8, watch them all

    http://www.newsnet7.com/view/103/the-most-important-video-youll-ever-see-1-1/

  10. #10 pft
    June 17, 2008

    I can understand the confusion. People who do not believe in conspiracy are easily confused. The ruling elite seek to conquer the world via divide and rule issues, and they have done well.

    Some of the issues

    Race (black vs white)
    Religion (everyone vs Jews, Christian vs Islam)
    Sex (male vs female, gay vs straight)
    Politics (left vs right, liberal vs conservative,)
    War (pro-War, anti-War)

    etc.

    They do not create these issues so much as they fuel them.
    Social and economic stability are not welcome among those who seek to consolidate wealth and power.

    Now they bring science (enlightenment) vs religion (creationism) to the table.

    One of the motives is they seek the destruction of every religion, Judiasm, Islam, Christianity, and now science has been brought on board.

    They weakened Christianity by having Rome create and adopt Catholicism.

    Judaism was weakened with Babylonian Kaballah, and then Zionism which established a secular Jewish state following the holocaust and made possible by Anglo-American elites financing of the anti-semitic Hitler, sacrificing the religous Jews of eastern Europe while the secular Jews, like Einstein were saved.

    The US revolution in fact was initiated by Illuminati forces via Freemasons who wished to create a secular New World.

    Islam was weakened by elite forces that established Islamism in the late 70’s, and Shia vs Sunni strife.

    The GWOT was initiated in order to pit Christians against Islam, and split Christianity between the unitarian Christian Zionists on the right and trinitarians on the left. The Catholic church is referred to as the great Whore to be destroyed in the coming End Times.

    Now another front is opened up. Science as a religion, not to be questioned, but accepted as an article of faith in the scientists moral purity. Global warming deniers are anti-science and linked to the religous right. For the feeble minded. Science good. religion bad. (I am not religous, but agnostic, atheism requires too much faith)

    “…Scientific community deems valid arguments about climate change.”

    The community you refer to fight like cats and dogs and rarely agree on anything. IPCC is a political institute that cherry picks it’s scientists.

    “….. that says science is always biased and tainted by political corruption. The aim is to destroy the moral authority of science….”

    Ask yourself who pays the scientists?. Not saying scientists fudge the data intentionally, but those whose science does not meet with corporate favour or fulfill some political agenda, well, they don’t eat well. Universities are corrupted with endowments from corporations and foundations that have political and profit motivations. Research is funded by government grants.

    A good example is Nikolas Tesla. His vision of AC power was fought by Edison who had bet on DC power. Tesla won that battle. But his funding from JP Morgan quickly dried up when Morgan recognized what his science would mean to his investments in other technology, not to mention the elites plans to use wars and energy as ways to globalize the world.

    , not its factual basis. They then erect a new standard based on economic promise and the virtues of “progress” and modernity.

    In our view an important element in countering the attack is not only to respond by pointing out what is behind the attack (which we have just done), but who is behind the attack and why. Our original post discussed this in some detail, where we document that, almost without exception Far Right ideologues and wealthy elites are the material force behind the assault on mainstream environmental science. Is this a conspiracy theory? There is nothing theoretical about the demonstration that over 92% of books in English questioning the science supporting climate change, endocrine disruption, air pollution effects and other environmental issues with obvious consequences for policy are directly and explicitly affiliated with Right Wing think tanks like the American

  11. #11 pft
    June 17, 2008

    forgot to delete the last 2 paragraphs copied and pasted from the article, sorry

  12. #12 paiwan
    June 17, 2008

    ” Surely the people that you want to read your post are right-wingers, so why post under such a provocative title?”
    ———————————————————-
    It depends. The physician ususlly has to make judgement on a surgery or the medication.:-)

    To appease or not to appease is a choice. It really consumes a lot of energy and dies of many cells. Who likes?

  13. #13 K
    June 17, 2008

    Lea and all the video you posted is in one part complete at
    http://globalpublicmedia.com/dr_albert_bartlett_arithmetic_population_and_energy
    It is an excellent presentation and EVERYONE should take the time to watch of listen to it (you can get most of it by just listening)

  14. #14 g336
    June 17, 2008

    Dub has it right: it’s all about POWER. Freedom of scientific inquiry leads to the discovery of facts (insert usual disclaimers here for a quantum universe and the statistical nature of reality). Those with illegitimate power or desire for same want nothing to stand in their way. Facts to them are like elections: an annoyingly unpredictable mess from which you pick the ones you like, and suppress the ones you don’t like. Facts they don’t like are treated in the same manner as political dissidents.

    But lest we go thinking the left is free of such nonsense, take a look at the science on tobacco and health. The fact that cigarettes are an enormous health hazard is not in dispute here. However, take a look at the stats for pipe smokers and cigar smokers who don’t also smoke cigarettes: health risks minimal, lifespans the same as those of nonsmokers, period. Uh-oh, pesky annoying dissident facts that get in the way of ideology. The objective way to discuss tobacco is to differentiate between cigarettes and pipes/cigars, and to specify “cigarette smoking” rather than lump all forms of tobacco together in much the same way as the righties lump marijuana in with heroin.

    What’s really going on there with the leftie anti-tobacco zealots is a form of puritanism: they want to punish others for enjoying something that they themselves do not. In that regard it is much the same as the dynamics around the right-wing puritans and sex.

    And that brings us to the subject of puritanism in general. The powers-that-be have discovered an amazing ally in the anti-science religious extremist crowd. The reason is that science ultimately challenges and defeats the entire basis for religious extremism: starting with utterly disproving the fundamentalist assertion that scriptures (in any denomination) are literally true. But along the way, science also leads to another conclusion that is downright terrifying to rightie religious nutters: the idea that sex is OK, sex is good, sex is good for you, and gay sex is as good for you as straight sex. These are people who would rather die of prostate cancer than cut their risk 50% by whacking off three times a week or more (look it up). And they’d rather your kids die of resistant strains of STDs than learn what a condom is.

    Freedom of inquiry does not live in a vacuum. It also requires freedom on the part of adults to live their lives as they see fit, whether that includes smoking lethal cigarettes or marrying people of their own gender or whatever. Can’t have one without the other.

  15. #15 Matt
    June 17, 2008

    Thank you for the link, Lea and K. The video really was highly informative (and slightly depressing, I must admit).

  16. #16 Lea
    June 17, 2008

    Your welcome Matt. Don’t let it be depressing though, thinking adults must make the leap and really realize what the heck is going on. There’s far too many brain-dead folks running around and if it takes a handful of thinking adults it set things straight, or at least attempt to, then no time has been wasted.
    Thanks K for the site. The entire video used to be on google but guess what, it’s not there anymore.

  17. #17 James Mayeau
    June 17, 2008

    Fenton communication, Scienceblog, Wikipedia, Realclimate.org http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=48,
    American Trial Lawyers Association, Air America Radio, Businesses for Social Responsibility, Tides foundantion, California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG),
    Carbon Disclosure Project, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union, Current TV (Al Gore), David and Lucile Packard Foundation Energy Foundation, Evangelical Environmental Network, Environmental Media Services, Environmental Working Group, Economic Policy Institute,
    Global Exchange, Goldman Environmental Foundation,
    Heinz Family Foundation, Institute for Policy Studies,
    John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Greenpeace,
    Health Care Without Harm, International Criminal Court,
    International Forum on Globalization, Million Mom March
    MoveOn.org, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, NARAL, Pro-Choice America, Open Society Institute, Pew Charitable Trusts, People For the American Way, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Pro-choice Public Education Project, Public Citizen, The Foundation Center, The Nature Conservancy, Tides Foundation, True Majority, Turner Foundation, Patagonia, Rainforest Action Network, Salon.com, Sierra Club, World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund.
    Commercial message from the proprietors of RealClimate:
    We wish to stress that although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to RealClimate.org any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research.
    Of course not. Fenton & EMS use the Tides Foudation for their check writing chores.

    Glass houses, stones.

    It’s becoming much clearer to me why Revere hides his identity. It’s not to protect any students. It’s to protect him while he helps to destroy a society he had no hand in creating.

  18. #18 bigdudeisme
    June 17, 2008

    Wow, what a bunch of hogwash. You liberal loonies sure are brainwashed. You look at the Right as some kind of conspiracy without even considering that maybe, just maybe the Left is throwing some crap around too. Have you ever thought that the Left has a dog in this fight? Maybe they have just as many elitist rich people and think tanks sponsoring the pro-global warming political line. And I do mean political line.

    All of these scientists on both sides lining up to prove their points on whether the planet is warming up, or not warming up, what is causing it or not causing it; it is politically motivated at the core. This is all a plan to gain more control of our lives by big government.

    Whether you believe one side or the other, it doesn’t matter. If global warming is happening, it is not beacuse of anything man is doing. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs after so many eons have passed. It is said that in the time of Christ it was 6 degress warmer than it is today (and yet we still have polar bears). The same is true of an ice age. They come and they go.

    Don’t get your tails ruffled and start your blame the conservatives game you fingerpointing liberals. Man, I never saw such a group of people who are holier than anybody else and have no accountability in life. You’re being spoonfed crap too and lapping it up. You think you now have the answers, but all you have is the party line. You’re no better than the spoonfed conservatives (your yang you silly yins). You need to open you’re eyes and learn that your liberty is being taken from you while you get played against each other.

  19. #19 revere
    June 17, 2008

    James and Big: LOL. Demonstration by assertion. QED.

  20. #20 bigdudeisme
    June 17, 2008

    I think I did not claim to be a conservative. I only went after all the liberals here who think they are so holy, when they are no better than anyone else for being taken in by a party line. Everyone has dirt on their hands. You buy all the crap that is being fed to you and say that it is truth because you can see it and hold it, it is still crap, it is just packaged well.

    Your politics of attacking what you percieve as wrong and bad in others (liberal vs conservative) is a planted bias and only perpetuates the discontent that the elite want. The erosion is all around you and you put your faith in politicians? Once you have lost your freedom and realize you gave it away then you will see it was all a game and you were the pawns. Go ahead and attack and think there is a conspiacy of the Right against the left and the Left against the Right and battle it out on the political battlefield. The real work is being legislated behind closed doors in a bipartisan manner by people who know that politics don’t really matter. One law and one regulation at a time, especially since 9/11, you are losing your freedom.

    You really think it matters who gets elected as President this time around? Don’t you think it has been planned for a awhile? It doesn’t matter who is in the White house, they serve someone else’s agenda. You think they could get themselves elected? Don’t you think there is a big machine behind them and someone or some group runs that machine. That is who’s beckoning they do. The election is a show for the American people and that is all it is. Much like professional wrestling on Friday night.

    Enjoy the show, it rolls around every four years with the primaries inbetween.

  21. #21 Torange
    June 17, 2008

    The global warming people wan’t to hit my family between the eyes with a 2×4.

    Anyone ever hear about sunspots? There is 500 million years of direct and indirect evidence that sunspots causes global warming and cooling. Something happened to the sun about october 2005 and now the sun is NOT producing many sunspots.

    Another problem is the earth’s orbit around the sun. There has been 10,000 years of warm weather. Now the orbital cycles are alligning to produce an ice age.

    According to solar scientists, THE science is set and final. Buy a coat.

  22. #22 Quentin
    June 17, 2008

    It’s becoming much clearer to me why Revere hides his identity. It’s not to protect any students. It’s to protect him while he helps to destroy a society he had no hand in creating.

    You know, James, when I Google your name, all I see are dozens upon dozens of posts to various blogs, relentlessly harping on the same handful of issues. What exactly is it that you do that justifies your continued existence? How have you helped to build This Great Country? What do you do besides sit around on the Internet all day, complaining that the Left is ruining the world?

    Let’s have your CV, right here, right now. Show us your qualifications in black and white.

  23. #23 Matt
    June 18, 2008

    Torange: According to a NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) press release, “…the solar increases do not have the ability to cause large global temperature increases…greenhouse gases are indeed playing the dominant role…” The Sun is once again less bright as we continue to be in solar minimum, yet global warming continues.

    Why do you think that the sun producing NO sunspots is an indicator for GW? Sunspots are a sign of great activity.

    I don’t understand the rest of your post, if you could redirect me to a source on this “alligning(sic) to produce an ice age” I’d be happy.

  24. #24 Torange
    June 18, 2008

    Matt – I agree 100% that changes in brightness of the sun is not important. The theory that seems to be the most popular is as follows:

    Sunspots eject millions of tons of charged particles throughout the solar system.

    These sunspots block many of the cosmic rays that enter the solar system.

    When there no sunspots, more cosmic rays reach the earth.

    These cosmic rays penitrate to the lower atmosphere and start bouncing off atoms.

    Each place where there is a collision is a condensation point for water.

    This causes more low level clouds that reflect sunlight away from the earth.

    Global cooling. Buy a coat.

  25. #25 revere
    June 18, 2008

    Torange: Thanks for your explanation (that’s not sarcasm, BTW). So now we are getting to something we can discuss. You lay out a scenario whereby sunspots are potentially a significant driver of mean global temperature variation. Fair enough. But now you are in the same position as the climate modelers because how much the sunspots will affect temperature depends on some fairly complicated relationships. You need to know how much sunspots block off cosmic rays, how much ionization a given amount of cosmic radiation produces, how much and what sizes of nucleation of what kinds of things this produces and probably a bunch of feedback loops that this produces. For example, if this cools ocean temps then there is less water vapor and less nucleation, etc., etc. (and I am simplifying). That’s exactly the kind of thing the modelers consider.

    So I presume you have examined the climate models to see if they take this into account, how they take it into account and the other factors are not more important. And as a result of that examination you conclude that the other factors aren’t as important as sunspots, right? On what grounds do you think that?

  26. #26 Chris
    June 18, 2008

    One reason conservatives reject global warming science is because of the political consequences it offers – extending government control over the individual. Look at cap and trade – as proposed, it will raise trillions in new taxes, and allow the (presumed liberal) government to bend people to its will by bribing or bankrupting. Equally suspect is the out of hand rejection of other solutions – removing restrictions to encourage nuclear energy, or fertilizing the oceans to capture C02 (where it is predicted to remain for about 300 years). So the question becomes – is it about reducing CO2, or is it about control of the people?

  27. #27 revere
    June 18, 2008

    Chris: Or said another way, it has nothing to do with the science.

  28. #28 Torange
    June 18, 2008

    Group Revere –
    The issue is not climate modeling but the historical record.

    Lack Sunspots can drop the world temperature 4 degrees or more within a few years. CO2 may raise the temperature 2 degrees in 100 years.

    In addition, the orbit of the earth around the sun affects climate. Solar scientists are saying that several cycles are working together to drop the world temperature as much as 14 degrees centigrade.

    In addition, the Pacific Decadal Oscalation (spelling?) is entering a 30 year cold cycle cooling the world.

    In addition, several volcanoes are dumping sulfer dioxide into the stratosphere blocking sunlight. If one of these blows it’s top, the temperature could drop a lot and fast.

    In addition, the world’s stocks of food are gone and cooling can destroy future food production.

    I have read about the little ice age and I have become afraid.

    There is an S curve. As the oceans cool the temperature will drop. At some point there will be more snow cover reducing heat absorbtion. Then the S curve will flatten as climate reaches a new equiblibrium.

  29. #29 Matt
    June 19, 2008

    Torange: Remember that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. A working model that predicts the current climate and which can explain the past climate is very important to test whether we are on the right track. It’s paramount. To correlate sunspots with global temperature is a somewhat shaky business for other reasons as well. We don’t have data on sun spots for long periods of time, they only started observing the sun a few hundred years ago, which is very short in geological terms.

    All the data at the moment points toward a warming earth, you shouldn’t be too worried about it cooling (at least not in our lifetime).

  30. #30 Ana
    June 19, 2008

    Oh “they” (getting into the spirit here!) like – nay, love and slather over – Science – when it for what is prudishly called Defense

    To protect the health of mothers and babies, err, not so much.

    No blockbuster attitude, but selectivity. Plenty of historical examples – Hitler would do fine.

  31. #31 Chris
    June 19, 2008

    “Chris: Or said another way, it has nothing to do with the science.”

    Revere: Global warming, as expounded by Al Gore and friends, has nothing to do with Science. Science proves we have had global warming since the last ice age. Science says some very small part of that may be due to human effects on the environment. All the rest, including the failure to pass the bill mentioned in the subject article, is just politics.

    By their rejection the politics, you assume conservatives are rejecting science when they are merely exercising proper skepticism. Given “Science” that once wildly accepted phlogiston and N-Rays, skepticism is a good thing. It’s certainly called for before rushing off to revise society, redistribute wealth and proclaim Al Gore a minor deity.

  32. #32 Torange
    June 19, 2008

    Matt –
    There is suppose to be indirect evidence going back 500 million years of a connection between sunspots and climate.

    It’s the orbit thing I am worried about. The cycles of the earth going around the sun are as regular as a clock.
    Tic-Toc Tic-Tock

    There has been 10,000 years of warm climate. The is time for the next ice age.
    Tic-Toc Tic-Tock

    100 years is just 1% of the time span that has been warm. The ice age could start this century. With a cure for cancer soon and a cure for Alsheimer’s, who says what your or my life span will be.

    There could be 200 million displaced persons along the cost of the Gulf of Mexico this century.

  33. #33 Quentin
    June 20, 2008

    By their rejection the politics, you assume conservatives are rejecting science when they are merely exercising proper skepticism. It’s certainly called for before rushing off to revise society, redistribute wealth and proclaim Al Gore a minor deity.

    I’m not sure what’s more pathetic about this comment: the slimy rhetoric, typical of Bush partisans, that dismisses anything the other side does as “playing politics” while being completely dishonest about its own motivations; the all-too-revealing statement that what conservatives are really afraid of is the redistribution of wealth; or the insane idea that liberals worship Al Gore as a “minor deity”, which is about as accurate as saying that conservatives worship Pat Buchanan as a god.

    Then again, conservatives ain’t what they used to be. There was a time that the word stood for a certain cautious rationalism, at least in some cases. Nowadays, in practice it amounts to little more than a raised middle finger, directed at everyone, all the time.

  34. #34 Matt
    June 20, 2008

    By their rejection the politics, you assume conservatives are rejecting science when they are merely exercising proper skepticism. Given “Science” that once wildly accepted phlogiston and N-Rays, skepticism is a good thing.

    It’s a logical fallacy to argue from previous error.
    1) Science had been wrong in the past
    2) Therefore science is wrong now. QED
    It’s a non-sequitur. Especially because you can’t compare the science of 200 years ago with today’s science. In the end it was science that showed that phlogiston and N-Rays don’t exist.

    Torange: What kind of indirect evidence?

  35. #35 Chris
    June 20, 2008

    Torange: I don’t argue that science is now wrong because it’s been wrong in the past. I argue that the majority position in science has been wrong in the past, so an attitude of skepticism is warranted now (as it was then). Skeptical science is healthy science. Science is not decided by a majority vote.

    What is wrong is to argue that “science shows we may have a problem developing now, so the following political program is the only solution. If you’re against it, you reject science.”

  36. #36 Chris
    June 20, 2008

    Sorry – my comment should have been addressed to Matt, not Torange.

  37. #37 bigdudeisme
    June 20, 2008

    “Skeptical science is healthy science”
    Isn’t that what it is all about? Proving things wrong or right through scientific analysis? Being skeptical of what you hear, see, and maybe even believe until you prove it to be true or false through analysis. At least I think that is what a good scientist would do.

    Yet, science is influenced by political policy these days as to do otherwise means they will receive no funding and they will be out of a job. No room for skeptics, they have to buy into the party line.

    If it is global warming your sponsor wants, then they get a scientist that is fully behind the theory. Have enough money as a sponsor to throw around and you have a lot of scientists behind a theory. Pretty soon, you have all sorts of papers being written, seminars going on, politicians weighing in, the United Nations taking action, and the whole thing must be true.

    Myself, I am still skeptical. I am neither liberal or conservative on this. I know I don’t want my money being redistributed by anyone as I am not rich and I need my money to buy food, gas, and pay rent. I am disabled and I also need my money to buy medications. So don’t come and try to redistribute my money. I think we have bigger problems to worry about than global warming.

    I just hate to see people knocking each other for being conservative or liberal, when we need to start pulling together again and trying to save this country from tyranny and abuse of power. You’re all being led along by these politcal parties and being fed crap and you love eating it up and believe it all. Meanwhile, the elite keep getting richer and keep pulling the strings and tell the politicians what to say and tell the political parties what they want them to do. Your lives are being controlled cradle to grave and you just want to be part of a group? I’m a liberal, I’m a consrvative you chant. You think you have any advantage being either or that it makes you a better human being or American? Meanwhile your country is being sold out beneath you and is about to collapse. You had better wake up or get ready for the food riots, which will really wake you up.

  38. #38 revere
    June 20, 2008

    bigdude: How do I know you aren’t just knocking global warming because you don’t want anyone interfering with your ability to pollute? How do I know you aren’t one of the elite that is pulling the strings? You sure use the same line they do. Maybe that isn’t the kind of skepticism you are advocating. Sounds more like the tinfoil hat kind of skepticism.

  39. #39 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 20, 2008

    Quentin-Even though I get a little pissed off at the left, never ever do I raise my middle finger at their little liberal asses. I dont because respect where respect is due and this should be automatic. On the other hand when anyone goes against the greenies, Al Gore or anyone that could possibly come up with other reasons for something other than this consensus stuff for GW or ice cap melt, they are attacked. They of course never ever produce anything that is P R O V A B L E and by their own admission is this consensus stuff thats based upon models that the modelers state could be skewed by just about anything.

    100 million will not be displaced even if GW in this century is correct and the projections hold. 7 billion by 2012 now. Sorry, they will simply starve to death instead because thats a definitively provable fact… the worlds food supply is shrinking. It has dropped from 41 days of reserves under normal consumption to only 23-25. Thats provable. If we have dropped to this and those new people show up and we feed them, then population tip over will occur with horrendous results. The ONLY way to keep them alive is to use petrochemicals. If the GW’s are right about warming, then it tips over at some slightly later date from using those carbon based op;tions. Better hope they ARE wrong because a lot of us are going to become a thing of the past either way. I said it before that none of this means a hill of beans if the GW people are right and the projections with them. We can cut, and that means EVERYONE then we might be able to sustain life as we know it. If they are right about GW and the causes wrong then its game over. If they are wrong then they would be just that, wrong.

    I do know that this all encompassing socialist/communist government that everyone keeps trying to push down our throats would collapse under any estimation from job loss, food shortages. Even capitalism would suffer if it were still in place.

    That is the true science of this. If GW is underway and its anything but the warming cause suggested by the Greenies, we are in deep, deep shit.

  40. #40 revere
    June 20, 2008

    Randy: Nothing in science is “provable.” Provable only holds in mathematics. Science presents evidence, explains, makes predictions — all checkable against facts and evidence and subject to coherence with established science. Nothing in empirical science is provable. So don’t ask for what cannot be provided by any science.

  41. #41 Quentin
    June 21, 2008

    I am disabled and I also need my money to buy medications. So don’t come and try to redistribute my money.

    Um, if you’re disabled, and you’re on disability, the only way you’re getting that money is through the redistribution of wealth. That’s a textbook case of what taxation is supposed to do!

    It reminds me of people who constantly complain about taxes — “I shouldn’t hafta pay nuttin’ to no gummint fat cats” — but then throw a hissy fit when they go to some government office and have to wait 15 minutes because it’s understaffed.

  42. #42 paiwan
    July 8, 2008

    Justice delayed is justice denied?

    G8 finally endorses halving gas emissions in 2050.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080708/ap_on_re_as/g8_climate_change

    Associated Press writers Malcolm Foster and Steve Gutterman in Rusutsu, Eric Talmadge in Sapporo and Deb Riechmann in Toyako contributed to this report.

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