Yesterday, James Randi put up a blog post in which he questioned the validity of anthropogenic global warming. He has subsequently made the statement that he probably has more thinking to do about global warming, and he admits that he really knows nothing about it. So Randi’s blog post is, essentially, a non-starter as an issue, although there are some interesting things to think about.
James Hrynyshyn has an excellent blog post about this, in which he reports a conversation he had with Randi about Randi’s post.
Randi’s original post displays a rather embarrassing ignorance of earth science and global warming. He states things as fact that simply are not true, and he makes references to run of the mill AGW denialist philosophy in an utterly uncritical way. On one hand, Randi really needs to not do this sort of thing: He is a vitally important, central figure in the skeptical movement (if you want to call it a movement) and what amounts to an AGW denialist post (and it is) by him would be very important if it was a valid critique, but as a rambling inaccurate pile of crap it is only an annoyance that will certainly grow disproporionatly to its significance.
We were all busy trying to fix this problem … of global warming … and to deal with the denialism. Emailgate is a stupid distraction but at least it was based on a crime perpetuated by unethical AGW denialists. Randi’s denial is equally irrelevant to the issue of AGW science, but it comes from a source that should have known better.
On the other hand, it was a blog post. The guy was thinking out loud. So who cares? While it is true that if you are a major figure whom people look to for guidance and inspiration and stuff, one might want to avoid randomly tossing spurious wrenches in the politically charged works, we are not perfect, and blogging is blogging and thinking out loud is thinking out loud.
The fact that the most recent communication I’ve had with Randi was him slapping my wrist over a very minor infraction (not even a factual one, almost more of a grammatical one … and he was totally correct) could leave him open to me going ballistic on him because of this whole responsibility thing. But I won’t. We’ll deal with it like colleagues, allies, and adults.