Respectful Insolence

Over the summer, I got into a bit of an argument with a certain Libertarian comic named Tim Slagle who doesn’t seem to accept the scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is happening or that it is a potentially grave problem. In a perilous bit of criticism, given that comedy often depends on saying stupid things, I deconstructed his comedy routine in which he threw all sorts of bad arguments and straw men as attacks on Al Gore. It was a routine with the old trope that “science has been wrong before,” with a truly unpleasant bit of scientist-bashing thrown in for good measure.

The blog argument petered out after a few exchanges, but I recently noticed that Tim can’t resist trying to continue to tweak me from time to time, attempts that I’ve basically ignored―until now. The reason that I stopped ignoring him is because Tim did something useful for my purposes: He posted a video clip of part of the comedy routine that I deconstructed.

As your humble servant, how could I pass by an opportunity to show you more or less what I saw (or at least part of it) and then let you judge for yourself whether I was too hard, too easy, or just right on Tim? One thing that interested me is that all the patient schooling about the science of global warming and other topics that you, my faithful readers, and I tried to administer to him apparently sank in not one little bit. Four months later, Tim’s still repeating the same anti-AGW canards about Al Gore, while adding a bit about his Nobel Prize. (In fact, if anything, Tim may well have gotten worse; I don’t remember him comparing Al Gore to Pat Robertson or likening AGW science to religion in the show that I saw in June. Either my memory is faulty, or that’s a new addition to the bit.)

In any case, check out this excerpt from Tim’s comedy routine and tell me whether you think my analysis was on target or not. (The clip is a little less than six and a half minutes long.) Hey, maybe I was wrong.

It could happen.

Comments

  1. #1 Joseph
    November 1, 2007

    His Pluto as planet argument is poor, beyond an appeal to “science has been wrong before.” Scientific consensus on definitions and scientific consensus on realities of the world are two very different animals.

  2. #2 lb
    November 1, 2007

    Did the “self-important pinhead” comment upset you.

    Sorry, I tend to agree with him. Al Gore flies around in a private jet telling us how we have to throw our old cars in the lake and buy hybrids. When I see him out putting solar panels on his mansion, or lobbying the government to give us the ability to sell back on to the grid (could you imagine if we all had panels on our roofs, and a windmill in the back yard… We’d have more electricity then we’d ever know what to do with).

    Global warming is real – but it’s also big business. Is a florescent light really going to save the planet? Nope, just more electricity for industry to use. Why is the diesel-electric engine not available in North America? Maybe if we had started in the ’70’s we could have saved the planet, but now……

    And to be blunt, if global warming is going to cause wars over resources, why does he deserve a peace prize? He’s a figure head, he does nothing but talk.

    I really think that the Southpark episode nailed him exactly.

  3. #3 Orac
    November 1, 2007

    Did the “self-important pinhead” comment upset you.

    Not at all. Why would it? After all, I’ve made fun of Al Gore before myself.

    You are, however, missing the point. Whatever you think about Al Gore, the routine was full of distortions (the bit about Al Gore supposedly warning about sea level increases of over 20 ft taken out of context, for example) and at least one really dumb howler (the Pluto bit, as Joseph pointed out).

    I really have no problem with comedians taking down politicians. As far as I’m concerned, they’re fair game. What annoys me is when they insult my intelligence with routines based on such bad arguments where both science and scientists are misrepresented. The sad thing is that Tim can actually be funny and political without descending into dumb, even when I don’t necessarily agree with his viewpoint.

  4. #4 Joshua
    November 1, 2007

    “…if global warming is going to cause wars over resources, why does he deserve a peace prize?”

    Because… he’s trying to stop that from happening?

    Or are you suggesting that Al Gore is somehow the cause of global warming?

  5. #5 Winnebago
    November 1, 2007

    He’s right when he says, “I may be ignorant…”

  6. #6 Yojimbo
    November 1, 2007

    “… are you suggesting that Al Gore is somehow the cause of global warming?”

    Of course he is. We never heard about it until he started talking about it. He actualized it in his mind. Its one of those Quantum Mechanics things…

  7. #7 blf
    November 1, 2007

    The Guardian today published an interesting look at various measures to deal with AGW, How to save the planet:

    The [UK's] Environment Agency has asked a panel of experts to compile the ultimate to-do list – in order of priority. Leo Hickman assesses whether they got it right

    Just where do you start when you want to “save the planet”? And in which areas should you focus most of your efforts? In a rather brave thought experiment, the Environment Agency has assembled a group of the country’s leading environmental experts to draw up a list of actions that we should all undertake if we are to try to avert the environmental horrors so often forecast if we continue with our “business as usual” lifestyles. This list contains suggestions for government, companies, councils, religious leaders, scientists and others to consider, but it also includes actions that individuals can attempt. More unusually, though, it lists the actions in order of priority.

    The full top 50 list is a PDF. The Guardian summaries the 20 as:

    1 Dramatically improve the energy efficiency of electrical goods
    2 Religious leaders to make the environment a priority for their followers
    3 Encourage the widespread use of solar power throughout the world
    4 Secure a meaningful post-Kyoto treaty on reducing the emissions that contribute to global warming
    5 Encourage households to generate much more of their own power
    6 Introduce tax incentives to “buy green”
    7 Tackle the rapid growth in aviation emissions
    8 Wean ourselves off dependency on petroleum
    9 Encourage individuals to buy less non-essential “stuff”
    10 Dramatically improve public transport
    11 Aim for a “zero waste” culture
    12 Install “smart energy” meters in all homes
    13 Introduce a measure of economic success that includes the environment
    14 Fully harness Britain’s huge potential for generating renewable energy
    15 Seek alternative, less damaging sources for biofuels
    16 Bury carbon dioxide from power stations underground
    17 Encourage hydrogen fuel cell technology in cars
    18 Implement government policies to control global population growth
    19 Reach international agreement on preserving rainforests
    20 Create better incentives to improve energy efficiency in the home

    The suggested prioritised list is clearly a mixture of specifics (of varying degrees of immediate practicality) and “mind-set” changes; and a mixture of regulation and voluntary actions. I have not yet read the full list myself, so I don’t know what metrics (measures) or timescales are proposed; nor indeed anything other than what is reported.

  8. #8 lb
    November 1, 2007

    You are, however, missing the point.
    Okay,point taken, but he’s a comedian, I don’t think he was trying to pass this off as a science lecture. Yes his science is bad, not the worst that I’ve seen, but bad.

    Or are you suggesting that Al Gore is somehow the cause of global warming?
    No I believe he’s in it for his own self pompous needs. After all – he did invent the internet….

    But how is flying around in his own private jet and running up $3000/mo electricity bills in his mansion helping? He’s got at least 100 times the “footprint” of the average person. He’s a hypocrite. But according to his faithful, that doesn’t matter because his message is so important as to warrant not living up to his own standards. Sort of like the PETA leader who uses bovine insulin, because her life is more important than other humans. Sure he buys “carbon offsets”, but really, what does that do? Should I send money to PETA so I can eat meat and wear leather? I poison the planet, but I send money to charities, so that makes it all right.

    Prove to me that he actually does something for the environment. What has he done? What has he told us that many before him didn’t already know (David Suzuki has been preaching about this since the ’70’s). Carter at least tried to bring in some laws, but they got nixed by Regan. I didn’t see him & Clinton putting the laws back on the books.

    There are answers, unfortunately the good answers stink of “communism” (selling back onto the grid doesn’t make the governments friends rich – although it will reduce your heating/electric bill). It’s more environmentally friendly to make a car that lasts 50 years (or keep the old good ones on the road as long as possible) than to make us replace our cars every five years. On the car note, my ’72 510 got 35mpg, my Nissan Versa gets 40…. We couldn’t of improved more than that in 35 years? (And before you mention hybrids, I’m not rich enough to be that green, I just plan on keeping my car on the road for 20 years). Why are there not wind farms everywhere you look? Solar panels on every rooftop, cars that get 100mpg? or even electric cars? Toyota’s supposed to have one that can plug into your household electricity, why isn’t it on the market?

    I do what I can, but I can’t create a decent transit system, I can’t build a car. All I can do is try and keep what I do down to a minimum. If Al Gore did the same, then maybe I’d back him.

    And the peace prize belongs to people like Kissenger, Carter, or Ghandi, not Gore. IMO, it must of been a slow year.

  9. #9 Joshua
    November 1, 2007

    So because Al Gore is not God, he’s part of the problem?

    Even if he has a footprint 100 times a normal person, he’s brought global warming to the attention of millions. Even if only a few thousand of those changed their lifestyles, that would cancel his footprint. And that doesn’t count all the people who have joined or donated to organisations that promote solutions to global warming, lobbied their congressmen for infrastructure changes, etc.

    But I guess all that doesn’t count because he flies around in a jet instead of bicycling between his single-wide trailer and all his speaking engagements.

  10. #10 Orac
    November 1, 2007

    Okay,point taken, but he’s a comedian, I don’t think he was trying to pass this off as a science lecture

    I never said he was. I also don’t buy the excuse that he’s a “comedian” particularly since (1) I know he’s smarter than that and (2) I know he’s been exposed to numerous rebuttals and corrections of the bad science and the distortion of what Al Gore actually said about the “20 foot” sea level rise. It really is a matter of his Libertarian views making the science dumb.

  11. #11 Evan
    November 1, 2007

    Ugh. It’s all I can do to wade into these… Same old, same old. But here goes:

    No I believe he’s in it for his own self pompous needs. After all – he did invent the internet….

    Not really. He took credit for pushing forward the development of the internet as a congressional initiative:

    “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.”

    So he claims to have invented the internet to the same degree that he claimed to have personally carried out the improvements in the educational system. Clumsily worded, perhaps, but not what you claim.

    $3000/mo electricity bills

    The numbers I find say $15000/year, which is high though nowhere near $36000/year; in addition $5000/year of that is in premiums due to the fact that he buys 100% green energy, kind of negating your whole point. In addition, he has solar panels.

    Sure he buys “carbon offsets”, but really, what does that do? Should I send money to PETA so I can eat meat and wear leather? I poison the planet, but I send money to charities, so that makes it all right.

    This shows a complete lack of understanding of how carbon offsets work; whether that’s a willful misunderstanding or not I won’t try to guess. Carbon offsets work by removing carbon somewhere else – so his motorcade releases X tons of C, and he pays to sequester X tons of C elsewhere. It’s not a charity, it’s a global commodity.

    All I can do is try and keep what I do down to a minimum. If Al Gore did the same, then maybe I’d back him.

    Given that I’ve just demonstrated that this is essentially precisely what Gore does, I trust you’ll back him now. His net carbon footprint is almost certainly smaller than yours.

    Gore has a high carbon footprint because being a high profile public figure imposes a high carbon cost. He has done everything in his power to minimize and offset that. And someone has to do what he’s doing. If it was someone else you’d just attack them. What the right wants is to silence those who are effectively communicating about AGW, and they do so through ad hominem attacks. It is the weak and desperate defense of the defeated.

  12. #12 Jim RL
    November 1, 2007

    Evan, you are missing the point. Al Gore won’t be a “good guy” until he shuts up and lives in the cold and the dark like a “real” environmentalist.

    lb, firstly, Al Gore has backed the ability to sell elecrity back to the grid. Secondly, Al Gore was the vice president. His only constitutional power was to cast the tie-breaking vote in the senate, so the Clinton Administration’s record is relevant. Thirdly, as Evan pointed out nicely, Al Gore has limited his carbon footprint as much as possible while attempting to get his message out to as many people as possible. Finally, you are missing the entire point of Al Gore’s message. He is trying to push governments to enact regulations to impact climate change because voluntary measures just won’t do it. Getting people to voluntarily cut emissions is really only useful in getting them to care about the problem. He is smart enough to realize that real change won’t happen until the US leads in the policy arena.

  13. #13 lb
    November 1, 2007

    So because Al Gore is not God, he’s part of the problem?

    Nope, just slap some solar panels on that mansion, grow a garden, and use the internet (that he created) to do his speeches remotely.

    He’s a hypocrite plain and simple.

    I never said he was. I also don’t buy the excuse that he’s a “comedian” particularly since (1) I know he’s smarter than that and (2) I know he’s been exposed to numerous rebuttals and corrections of the bad science and the distortion of what Al Gore actually said about the “20 foot” sea level rise. It really is a matter of his Libertarian views making the science dumb.
    I agree with what you say about Tim, but as you can see from my above postings, I am not an Al Gore fan. (I also consider David Suzuki a sellout, but that’s another story). I do believe that global warming is happening, I’ve seen the evidence. I just don’t believe that the big-business proposals that are being put into place are the answer. Yet they’re the ones taking center stage. When the hell did nuclear energy become environmentally friendly, does nobody remember Three Mile Island or Chernobyl? Unfortunately the other side of the coin is just as bad, “lets give all the land back to the natives because they’re the guardians of the earth.” Yep, and they can strip log/mine as good as anyone, I guess they just do it with more reverence.

    Oh well, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, “Those who take the middle of the road, get run down by both sides”.

  14. #14 lb
    November 1, 2007

    So, the Clinton administration is irrelevant.
    He’s so important that his global footprint is irrelevant.

    Yep, he preaches and preaches, yet when he’s confronted with the practice what you preach argument, his worshipers deem it irrelevant.

    Tim had one thing right – he is the environmental Pat Robertson.

    Anyway, I’ve got to get off this site and get some work done.

  15. #15 Davis
    November 1, 2007

    Nope, just slap some solar panels on that mansion, grow a garden, and use the internet (that he created) to do his speeches remotely.

    He’s a hypocrite plain and simple.

    Do you always ignore substantive responses to your points?

    At the very least, the intellectually honest thing to do would be to stop throwing around the “Al Gore invented the internet” canard, as this has been debunked left, right, up, and down — even in this very thread. Or are you more interested in taking cheap shots than making honest criticism?

  16. #16 Evan
    November 1, 2007

    Anyway, I’ve got to get off this site and get some work done.

    Translation: all of my points have been fully debunked and I don’t have new ones, so I’ll skulk away now.

  17. #17 Tyler DiPietro
    November 1, 2007

    “Unfortunately the other side of the coin is just as bad, “lets give all the land back to the natives because they’re the guardians of the earth.” Yep, and they can strip log/mine as good as anyone, I guess they just do it with more reverence.”

    lb, I’d be very curious to know who actually advocates this proposal. I’m pretty sure no one here does. Arguing against strawmen is cheap and annoying.

  18. #18 MarkH
    November 1, 2007

    Sorry, I tend to agree with him. Al Gore flies around in a private jet telling us how we have to throw our old cars in the lake and buy hybrids. When I see him out putting solar panels on his mansion, or lobbying the government to give us the ability to sell back on to the grid (could you imagine if we all had panels on our roofs, and a windmill in the back yard… We’d have more electricity then we’d ever know what to do with).

    Ahh, the great quonset hut quandary. How can you be an environmentalist if you don’t live in a quonset hut and eat dirt? Classic “you do it too” nonsense.

    Al Gore != global warming science. It is impossible to inform people around the world about a problem in this world without consuming carbon, teleconferencing only goes so far (and it uses electricity!).

    Also, Kissinger? Really? Winning a Nobel peace prize when there wasn’t even peace in Vietnam at the time? He’s one of the great creeps of history, to see you mention him in the same breath as Ghandi makes me want to puke.

  19. #19 Saint Gasoline
    November 1, 2007

    He even ripped off a joke from Drew Carey, almost word for word, when he talks about standing outside with an aerosol can trying to make it warmer.

  20. #20 lb
    November 1, 2007

    Do you always ignore substantive responses to your points?
    No, but I do believe his exact words were “I invented the internet”…. Oh yeah right, taken out of context (Isn’t it always…..). Also some of the points came up between when I started writing the response, and when I hit post. Internets kinda funny that way.

    Translation: all of my points have been fully debunked and I don’t have new ones, so I’ll skulk away now.
    Nope, just beating a dead horse… And I really do have work to do, I just keep coming back here as a work avoidance tactic.

    lb, I’d be very curious to know who actually advocates this proposal. I’m pretty sure no one here does. Arguing against strawmen is cheap and annoying.

    I went over the 50 things to save the environment, and I agree with them for the most part.

    I differ on the following:

    2 is a pipe-dream. Hey, but if it can be done then all the power to you.

    16 “Bury the problem”? Out of sight, out of mind I guess.

    17 Hydrogen Fuel Cells may be the way of the future, but they’re a long way off. Electric cars could be on the road next year.

    18 I’m not touching that one with a 10′ pole, I’m really amazed they mentioned it. Who chooses?

    19. Not just the rainforest – BC has been decimated by the pine-beetle, the government is fighting it by planting more pine? Ummm…. maybe we should plant something else?

    23. Foraging for wild food in season sounds wonderful, if you’re respectful about it. Mushroom pickers were not, cutting fences, destroying ecosystems, it was horrible.

    46. If it’s manufactured green, but I want someone there 24/7 watching them. Considering what’s come out of China in the last year, I’m not going to take their word on anything.

  21. #21 lb
    November 1, 2007

    Oops misread your post.

    Sorry, the native thing was something that came up in BC. We should give the old growth back to the natives because they will take care of it. Then the same “greenies” were up in arms because the native tribe started logging the area.

    I see this post of proof of my point. Because I don’t like Al Gore, I’m obviously a bark eating hut living nature nut. Well I live in a house, I go to work, and you wouldn’t notice me walking down a street. But because I don’t like the man, I should be hung (can’t burn me at the stake, that wouldn’t be eco-friendly now would it).

    It’s just that I’ve been hearing these same arguments for over 30 years now. I’ve done what I can, and I’m sick and tired of being told what a monster I am because of what?? I don’t know. I see these carbon offsets as a way for rich people to throw money at the problem (Sure I fly my jet around the world, but I send millions to plant pines in northern BC (damn beetle), what do you do….. uh.. don’t fly around the world in a jet?

    I’m also tired of people who tell me how to live, but don’t practice what they preach because they’re “special”. Sorry, but no your not. It’s not just Gore. Suzuki preaches one child per family, yet has 7 of his own because he’s special. Bono says governments should give more money to the developing nations but puts his own money into tax shelters (Does he not realize where governments get the money from?).

    It just gets tiring after a while.

  22. #22 gwangung
    November 1, 2007

    No, but I do believe his exact words were “I invented the internet”…. Oh yeah right, taken out of context (Isn’t it always…..)

    Well, creationists do it all the time, right?

    Sorry, but I expect better than this non-thinking claptrap.

  23. #23 lb
    November 1, 2007

    So let’s see…. I’m accused of non-thinking claptrap. Accusing Al Gore of creating global warming.
    Creationism.

    Your right he didn’t say he invented the internet, he said he “took initiative to create the internet”. my bad, how could that ever be taken as “inventing the internet”.

    All I said is that I think he’s a self-serving pompous ass who thinks he’s better than everyone else. How you live your life is your business, but at least live by the same rules you expect others too.

    But then again he’s “special”.

  24. #24 Skeptico
    November 1, 2007

    Wow that was really bad. Much worse than I thought it would be. From your earlier article I thought – “I don’t know”. I wondered if you were over-reacting. After all, he’s a comedian and they can take liberties. But that was just lame.

  25. #25 sailor
    November 1, 2007

    “18 Implement government policies to control global population growth
    I’m not touching that one with a 10′ pole, I’m really amazed they mentioned it. Who chooses? ”

    Well the first thing is to let women choose. In this case to have babies when they want, not when they have to have them. Empower women, give them control over ther own reproduction, given them equal rights as men, and this will be a good first step. After that we probably need to create a little morality based on the idea that overcrowding the earth and using a ridiculous proportion of its productive resources soley for mankind is not a very good idea. This is not a problem we have faced before so it is new in the morality game (religions are hopeless at this, all their ideas are based on ancient problems) and we do not seem to be making much progress at dealing with it.

  26. #26 Tyler DiPietro
    November 1, 2007

    Your right he didn’t say he invented the internet, he said he “took initiative to create the internet”. my bad, how could that ever be taken as “inventing the internet”.

    He said that he “took the initiative in creating the internet.” Which is absolutely true, the internet was not adopted en masse until the mid-90’s. Gore backed legislative initiatives (“The High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991″) that nurtured the development of the internet while disjoint private networks, like AOL, were in widespread use. When the manufactured controversy over his comments surfaced, several internet pioneers rose to his defense.

  27. #27 Orac
    November 1, 2007

    From your earlier article I thought – “I don’t know”. I wondered if you were over-reacting.

    That’s why, when I became aware that Tim had posted a clip of the routine in question, I wanted to post it for feedback from my readers. At the time, I wondered if I had overreacted, too. I would have posted a clip of the routine back then if there had been one.

  28. #28 Robster, FCD
    November 1, 2007

    Saint G,
    I noticed the same ripoff. Maybe it was because I had heard the joke before and was stunned at the ripoff, but Tim’s delivery was crappy. Maybe the crowd wasn’t miked (miced?), but his best laugh line was about fake boobs and dodgeball. Yawn (and I kicked ass a dodgeball, thank you very much).

    ——-

    lb, If you had some factual information about Gore, you might have some ground to stand on. Instead, you repeat urban legends and exaggerations. Besides, Gore isn’t saying we can’t be rich and live well, just that our net effect on the environment as individuals needs to be positive. His point is that if we start now, we can do it without a lot of expense or pain. You claim to already be making the attempt at this, so good for you.

  29. #29 ks
    November 2, 2007

    here is the thing about Kyoto that denialists don’t get… we have a very poor cohort study involving at least 2 nations to test the following Kyoto would have financially ruined our economy hypothesis. Back in 1998 England signed on and the US opted out. Looking ahead nearly 10 years later we see that England has aggressively reduced CO2 emission through governmental regulation while the US has sat on its hands, increasing CO2 emissions. The result? The pound is now stronger relative to the dollar than it was 10 years ago. Certainly there are confounding factors with each economies of the last 10 year… but I think we can safely rule out Slagle’s “it would most probably have been devastating to the US economy” hypothesis.

  30. #30 Susang
    November 2, 2007

    Tim Slagle steal a bit from Drew Carey? Hardly.

    Tim’s been in comedy longer than Carey and has been doing that global warming/aerosol can bit since I can remember. And I’ve got a long memory. If anybody lifted material from anyone here, you can be sure it was not Tim who did the stealing. You may not agree with his politics or even like his comedy, but Tim would never perform stolen material. However, he has had his material stolen more times than he’d probably like to admit.

    Stand-ups steal from each other all the time. Famous comics get away with it. If they get called on it, nobody cares. Just ask Dane Cook. He’s become a millionaire performing other comics jokes badly.

  31. #31 Chris Noble
    November 2, 2007

    If it wasn’t for the fact that the typical AGW Denialist arguments go along the same lines it would be amusing.

    The idea that you can discredit the science behind AGW by attacking Al Gore seems to be the major AGW Denialist tactic.

  32. #32 Orac
    November 2, 2007

    Personally, I had no idea whether that particular joke was ripped off or not, and I actually don’t care much. I tend to doubt that it was. It’s irrelevant, anyway. As Susang points out, comics steal each other’s material all the time. Also, it’s not uncommon for them to come up with the same sorts of jokes independently.

  33. #33 The Crack Emcee
    November 2, 2007

    “Recently a lot of gays have spoken out against me for telling AIDS jokes that were “medically incorrect”. Because I remember when I was going to medical school learning how to write fuckin’ jokes,…”

    – The late, great, Sam Kinison.

    Attacking comedians while – at the same time – covering for Gore’s obvious hypocrisy? It boggles the mind, how you’ll twist yourselves into pretzels, ethics be damned. I really expected more from you guys. While I (still) despise new agers, you’ve given this layman/artist some serious insight into why woos don’t trust you – and why I’ll never think of your community as I once did:

    You guys are as unreal as they are.

    In a short time, I’m sure, you’ll be hearing much more about me in the press. Unfortunately – while defending many of the same positions you hold – I will not be able to speak kindly of what I’ve seen here. You, and your intranseance (sp?), are, most definitely, part of the problem as I see it:

    For starters, you really shouldn’t be messing with artists,…

  34. #34 John C. Welch
    November 2, 2007

    Um Ib?

    “17 Hydrogen Fuel Cells may be the way of the future, but they’re a long way off. Electric cars could be on the road next year.”

    Honda debuted the FCX as a concept car in 2005 in Europe, and actually leased a small number of its predecessor to Los Angeles in 2002. They’re going to put the third generation version into low-rate production in 2008, and are working deals with Shell, Chevron, and BP to get some refueling stations set up. Unlike most other Fuel Cell cars, Honda’s models meet US certification requirements, so they can be leased and registered to individuals as their normal vehicles, not as some extended test.

    It’s a small start, but it’s not way off by a long shot.

    As well, speaking as someone who has to deal with video conferencing both from the support end as well as delivery, the idea that Gore should rely solely, or even mostly on “teh intarweb” for his speeches is laughable. Video conferencing requires reliable high-speed, low-latency networks. Those are not in place worldwide. Not by a long shot. the truth is, once you get outside of Europe, ANZAC, and the US/Canada, they’re not common at all.

    As well, because the man was the VP of the United States, he’s an assassination target for the rest of his life. That means flying commercial is a bad idea, not just for him, but for everyone else on that plane.

    Really, if “OMG, he doesn’t use videoconferencing” is the best you’ve got, you don’t have much.

  35. #35 Orac
    November 2, 2007

    “Recently a lot of gays have spoken out against me for telling AIDS jokes that were “medically incorrect”. Because I remember when I was going to medical school learning how to write fuckin’ jokes,…”

    Kinison was wrong; although comedians are generally (and appropriately) allowed wide latitude, given the nature of comedy (which is the main reason I used the word “perilous” in describing my deconstruction of Tim’s routine), there is definitely a point beyond which it is perfectly appropriate to call them on the carpet for grossly misrepresenting science in the pursuit of a punchline, a point beyond the “it was just a joke” defense just doesn’t hold water anymore. Kinison, as funny as he could be at times, deserved every bit of the criticism directed his way for some of his offensive AIDS jokes. Artists, be they comedians or other, are not, nor should they be, immune from being criticized when they say really dumb and/or demonstrably incorrect things. Again, even for comedians, there is a point beyond which the “it’s just a joke” defense should not be allowed to shield them.

    As for what you think of “us,” quite frankly, I really don’t give a rodent’s posterior. And here’s a clue: Woos wouldn’t “trust” us even if we all decided tomorrow to start piling on Al Gore. They don’t “trust” or like us because we keep reminding them that their woo doesn’t have a leg to stand on, scientifically speaking. In fact, piling on Gore might make them “distrust” us even more, given how many New Agers tend to see AGW as validation that “natural is better.”

  36. #36 Bronze Dog
    November 2, 2007

    Satire requires a grain of truth. That’s why I find so many “comedians” people tell me I “shouldn’t take seriously” to be unfunny.

  37. #37 Robster, FCD
    November 2, 2007

    Kinison was funny if very crude. Tim is just a dull hack.

  38. #38 Orac
    November 2, 2007

    Actually, I wouldn’t judge Tim by that one routine, which in my mind was a misfire (although his ideology is such that he keeps doing it regardless). Most of his act was pretty darned funny. I kind of like his routine about vegetarians, for instance.

  39. #39 Donna Mancini
    November 2, 2007

    Tim Slagle is right on! I think Global Warming is a bunch of BS. Just another crisis invented by the “establishment” to control people and steal their stuff. When I was in college in the 60ties they were worried about the Coming Ice Age…
    The earth has been around for billions of years. Where do these scientific types get off with their absurd theories and their arbitrary predictions?
    Tim Slagle has the answer. They need to get laid ;-)

  40. #40 climate controlled 4U
    November 2, 2007

    Hello,

    I’m not sure what all the hubbub is about, Tim was funny as hell in this clip and probably made more sense then all the junk science spewed regullarly by the MSM.

    Face it peeps no one here is capable to claim anything based on the science; it’s the underlying science that largely is being ignored; it’s this ‘skeptical’ science that is so desperately needed to challenge various hypothesis in order for science to fundamentally advance.

    What is so wrong about that? Truth is anytime and just about everytime an assertion comes out to challenge the so-called ‘consensus’ they are automatically branded and threatened.

    What is so horrible about those who scientifically state that we are not causing catastrophic AGW?? A neutral observer would take heart to learn it’s not all floods and mass-extinctions and actually some moderate warming would have a net benefit to man, earth and its’ inhabitants.

    By the way most if not all ‘mass-extinctions’ in earths history have been linked to global COOLING not WARMING, but hey let’s not let history get in the way of a nobel cause eh?

    It’s OK to Chill about ‘global warming’ and I contend man-kind only has a minimal effect on earths climate and may very well be contributing to cooling and keeping earths climate cooler from various aerosols and particulates we emmit in the atmosphere (volcanoes come to mind dont they)

    I mean really, with all the billions of $$$ poured into funding, grants and research doesent it give pause to the neutral observer to concerns about scientific integrety? Nah, that can’t happen right? I mean there can’t possibly be incentives to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of scientific research? (hint = grants)

    Whatever gave us the notion there has every been any prolonged ‘climate stasis’ or even the hint we can controll said stasis at some imagined ‘normal’ range? Who’s to say it wont change anyway once we impossibly achieved it?

    I contend there is no proof of catastrophic AGW, only theories and exaturated claims from those with vested interests.

    Why is it there is still a mad march towards massive CO2 cuts at unthinkable economic consenquence? Most is based on the thoroughly de-bunked ‘hokey stick’ by Mann that was since removed from the latest IPCC report…and from a computer modeler desperately promoting his extremely expensive and outlandish ‘projection’ of future calamity.

    Isn’t it humorous to think these warm-mongers can accurately predict, control and prevent climate change when climate is change, it always has and always will and guess what people, we’re at the end of our little inter-glacial period and that ain’t controlled by GHG’s that’s controlled by the sun and our relationship to it…do you all actually believe this hype that a limited minor constituant of our atmosphere can stop a tremedous force of nature that has rulled our climate for the past 3 million years????

    That’s why I feel it’s so damn stupid, all of this warming madness is and should be the brunt of any and every joke around!

    There….bash away…don’t matter to me none, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion right?

  41. #41 Robster, FCD
    November 2, 2007

    Donna,

    There were a couple papers that tentatively suggested a cooling was a possibility. It got the media attention and became an urban legend that it was the scientific consensus.

    Climate,

    Can you define “theory?”

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. The data is solidly against the warming “skeptics.” Odd name choice, that. Skepticism requires that you go with evidence, not that you respond negatively against whatever you dislike.

  42. #42 George Worthy
    November 2, 2007

    Here’s the problem: Slagle is a pundit. He’s an intelligent guy using comedy as his vehicle to communicate different viewpoints on a host of topics. Frankly, I find his material to be not only downright funny, it’s also on target in many ways. And yes, he may or may not be off on his statistics, but that’s not the point. The point is that he’s providing the fodder for his audience to think a little bit. For them to look at a subject from another side. Bottom line is if you put ten scientists in a room and ask their views on global warming, you’re going to end up with 10 differing answers. I say 3 cheers for Mr. Slagle and I hope he continues his “rants” for a long time to come.

  43. #43 lb
    November 2, 2007

    John,
    from what I’ve read it will take 10-15 years for North America auto makers to put a line of hydrogen-vehicles on the road. Now whether that is because of the technology, or because they are dragging their feet, I don’t know. I do know that Chev had an electric car, they still have the specs, I’m sure that it was reverse engineered by the competitors, and could be put back on the road within a year. A concept car is just that, a concept. Is it financially viable? Will the common working person be able to afford one? Toyota has a concept hybrid that is twice as efficient as the hybrids on the road today. Why it’s not on the market is beyond me. Daimler has a hybrid diesel/electric that is for sale in Europe and Asia, but not here. Why? As I said in 35 years, Nissan has improved 5 mpg?

    Donna,
    Yes there are papers that say that cooling could happen. Basically they say that as the world warms, it will cause evaporation, that will cause cloud cover, that will eventually cause cooling. They’re scientists not fortune tellers. They look at the evidence they have today and then try to hypothesis an answer. We won’t know the true effect until it actually shows up.

    As far as a definition for scientific theory, here’s the one I like to throw at people. It’s a quote from Stephen Hawkings:
    “a theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model which contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations”. He goes on to state, “any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single repeatable observation which disagrees with the predictions of the theory”.

    The only way of actually proving evolution, or global warming, or any other scientific theory would to build a replica of the earth down to the minutest detail, and then watch it grow. Of course we would also have to make sure that asteroids hit it at the same time that asteroids hit the earth (out by 100 years could throw the whole thing off). So as you can see that’s pretty much impossible.

  44. #44 Shane Killian
    November 2, 2007

    Apparently, they have carbon-fiber cars that’ll be on the market in 5-7 years, according to the Discovery Channel. These puppies’ll get 100+mpg.

    To clarify lb’s statement above: it isn’t support for a theory that makes it valid, it’s the failure to prove the Null Hypothesis–the predictions we would expect if the theory were false.

    As for GW, I think there’s plenty of BS on both sides. I tend to agree with Bjorn Lomborg–he’s about the only voice of reason I’ve seen on the issue. Google him, and read what HE has to say, not the words put into his mouth by others.

    As for the Slagle routine, I thought it was hilarious! He has a point about smart people not making much money while the high-school bullies become corporate bullies, bullying their way to the top. A popular lawyer in my area used to bully me all the time–and he hasn’t changed much since then.

    Suck it up, people. You can’t laugh as someone slams Pat Robertson and then get all huffy when he gets around to YOU. Learn to laugh at yourselves; you’ll live longer. Well, maybe not, but you’ll laugh more.

  45. #45 Laura M
    November 2, 2007

    Al Gore is an bloated idiot. I think we all know that. Tim Slagle is hilarious, and liberals need to get over it.

  46. #46 stanhope
    November 2, 2007

    Here’s a pickle maybe Orac can help me with on a scientific level.

    You say that this material – aside from being technically or logically flawed – is simply not funny.

    Yet I clearly hear people laughing in the video.

    If it’s not some editing chicanery, how do you solve this conundrum? And let’s not throw out that old “canard” that humor is subject to individual taste and perception. That’s just a boatload of malarky.

    stanhope

  47. #47 Orac
    November 2, 2007

    Al Gore is an bloated idiot. I think we all know that. Tim Slagle is hilarious, and liberals need to get over it.

    Tim Slagle is right on! I think Global Warming is a bunch of BS. Just another crisis invented by the “establishment” to control people and steal their stuff. When I was in college in the 60ties they were worried about the Coming Ice Age…
    The earth has been around for billions of years. Where do these scientific types get off with their absurd theories and their arbitrary predictions?
    Tim Slagle has the answer. They need to get laid ;-)

    I am completely devastated by the incredible logic, evidence, and intelligence of these retorts.

    Really, is that the best the AGW “skeptics” can come up with? “Al Gore is a bloated idiot” or “it’s all a scam,” so the science behind global warming must be wrong?

    And, from George Worthy:

    And yes, he may or may not be off on his statistics, but that’s not the point. The point is that he’s providing the fodder for his audience to think a little bit. For them to look at a subject from another side.

    Off in his statistics? That’s putting it mildly. Let’s put it this way: Tim took a quote so far out of context that its intent was clearly to deceive. That wouldn’t necessarily be so bad if I knew that Tim had just read it somewhere. It could have been an honest mistake. Unfortunately, I and multiple other people have told him where that misrepresentation came from and shown him that it is a misrepresentation. Yet he keeps repeating it. At the very least, that tells me that his politics trump evidence.

    And that is “making people think” exactly how?

    No, it has nothing to do with “making people think” and everything to do with making people turn off their brains.

  48. #48 Ela
    November 2, 2007

    I don’t know why you’re getting your feathers so ruffled. People will say and believe what they like are entitled to their opinions. Comedians are little but a fount of opinions and if you don’t like what they say… hm… don’t listen, perhaps? It was funny by any account, and this world needs a lot more humor and a lot less doomsday predictions. Lighten up please. You’re acting like a spoilt five year old that just got called a dirty name.

  49. #49 Orac
    November 2, 2007

    Here’s a pickle maybe Orac can help me with on a scientific level.

    You say that this material – aside from being technically or logically flawed – is simply not funny.

    Yet I clearly hear people laughing in the video.

    If it’s not some editing chicanery, how do you solve this conundrum? And let’s not throw out that old “canard” that humor is subject to individual taste and perception. That’s just a boatload of malarky.

    People laugh at fart jokes, too.

  50. #50 JEB
    November 2, 2007

    Don’t know why the people on this web site are so up in arms.

    I think that while the scientific community is in agreement that global warming exists, it is also obvious that the seas are not likely to rise up 20 feet in a few years or that a squiggly light bulb is going to make a big difference.

    Whether you find Slagle funny or not, his point that much of the information about the impending doom of global warming is exaggerated, and that many of the proposed solutions are unlikely to have much effect, are both points well taken and worth making. Just because someone is politically incorrect, doesn’t mean that their voice doesn’t deserve to be heard. I think comedians like Slagle perform a public service when they cause us to question whether the emperor actually has clothes. In Al Gore’s case. let’s hope he keeps his on despite any rise in temperature.

  51. #51 Jesse
    November 2, 2007

    How to lose any credibility whatsoever in a single sentence, by ‘Climate Change 4U':

    “Tim was funny as hell in this clip and probably made more sense then all the junk science spewed regullarly by the MSM.”

    1. Refer to something dull, uncreative, and flat out boring as ‘Funny as Hell”
    2. Misspell a simple word.
    3. Refer to the ‘MSM’ as though it is a shadow entity with some sort of Socialist/’Big Brother’ agenda.

    Two bonus points:
    4. Use the word ‘peeps’ in a broad, sweeping generalization of all scientists as untrustworthy eggheads.
    5. Include a link to your AGW myspace page, titled with the words ‘truth’ and ‘global warming’, both used in an non-ironic manor.

    *sigh*
    some people never learn. However, I do thank them for continuing to make their opinions known such that all their bunk, baseless theories drift further and further away from anything that resembles a logical thought. Nature uses things like bright colors to signify poisonous plants, as a ‘KEEP AWAY’ sign. I’m glad the cranks have happily settled into their role as the vocal minority. They let us know to ‘KEEP AWAY’.

  52. #52 jen_m
    November 2, 2007

    I dunno, Slagle fans: I suspect that no matter what you say, you are never going to convince anyone who’s been made fun of that the joke is funny if they weren’t in on the joke.

    I don’t fit into Slagle’s theory at all – I’m a female scientist married to, and thus being “laid by”, to use the charming term his fans seem to choose, a hot, smart, funny non-egghead man. We do fine, financially. The only person I blame for dodgeball is my gym teacher, who really should have known better.

    So the joke wasn’t on me, but I still find myself thinking that voice crying out with envy and despair was Slagle’s “inner scientist”, if you get my drift. How much does a Libertarian stand-up comic make per year, anyway? And how many boob-job boat girls are lining up to help spray *his* aerosol?

  53. #53 Col. Hogan
    November 2, 2007

    The Algorian religion lives on the left, and the only reason for it is not to herald a future disaster, but to expand government and further shackle productive individuals.

    Talk to anyone who lives in areas of extreme cold. They’ll tell you that warm is good. Polar bears, if they could talk, would tell you that warm is good.

    Roughly a thousand years ago, and for centuries, the Arctic was much warmer than it is now, and the Norsemen, who farmed in Greenland, prospered. Polar bears made it through that with a smile.

    Algore, who continues in spite of his primitivist blatherings, to enjoy a lavish lifestyle even while criticizing the poor and middle class for striving to better themselves. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that he wishes to be a baron of a herd of raggedy feudal serfs.

    I reject the Algorian Hoax just as I rejected the Ozone Hole Hoax and the New Ice Age Hoax of recent decads.

  54. #54 Vegas Razz
    November 2, 2007

    Question: What the difference between a Cadillac and a dead hooker? Answer: There’s not a Cadillac buried behind my garage.

    The point I’m trying to make is that some of you might of thought that was funny, others- not so much. While some of you might pose the argument that it is impossible to bury like 10 or 11…or is it 12 dead hookers in the backyard of a crowded suburban neighborhood like mine without anybody noticing. Others will say that it was funny; it needs some work; I don’t agree with your thinking, but…

    We get bombarded everyday with images and words and thoughts and viewpoints and homicidal impulses that while it is important to stand up once in a while and say “no more!”, is disagreeing with a comedy bit where we make this big stand? Even faced with such overwhelming evidence regarding research and findings or odors or even the simplest “hey, where’d all the hookers go?”, the bottom line is that it’s either funny or it’s not. People were laughing in the crowd. Therefore, people thought it was a funny bit. It’s a matter of taste. If you no likie, you know next time not to go to his show or watch his video.

    Life is too short to be worried about such things…

    Especially if you’re a hooker.

  55. #55 Robster, FCD
    November 2, 2007

    Jeb,

    it is also obvious that the seas are not likely to rise up 20 feet in a few years

    Who said that was going to happen in the near future? Oh, thats right, it is what global warming deniers claimed Gore said. Sort of like how his political opponents made up that thing about him inventing the internet.

    Gore pointed out that if one of two specific ice sheets were to melt, ocean levels could rise 20 ft. There was no time frame mentioned.

    Whether you find Slagle funny or not, his point that much of the information about the impending doom of global warming is exaggerated,

    He finds the science unconvincing, so it is exaggerated? And he proves his point with falsehoods and misquotes picked from pundits?

    and that many of the proposed solutions are unlikely to have much effect, are both points well taken and worth making.

    Taken together, many small steps will have a great effect, and without great expense. I’m unsure as to why conservation and efficiency are so despised by so called conservatives. Lower energy bills, gas costs, costs of production and shipping. All of this will be good for business and the nation. If American automakers would produce efficient cars, they could compete on a global scale. It is within our means to become an oil exporting nation and reclaim our economy. How is this a bad thing? Even if you don’t agree with the evidence of global warming, the economics should push you to make these changes.

    By installing more ceiling fans, dimmers on most of our lights and a programmable thermostat, we cut our average electric bill from $100 to $55 per month. I don’t use nearly as much energy as any of my neighbors.

    Just because someone is politically incorrect, doesn’t mean that their voice doesn’t deserve to be heard.

    Politically incorrect is one thing. Just plain incorrect is another. And nobody is silencing him. We are just pointing out that he is neither correct nor is this bit all that funny.

  56. #56 Screaming Lord Skull
    November 3, 2007

    Great fun Tim even if there are others who aren’t so fun. One thing I’ve noticed when it comes to doom and gloom enthusiasts, such as those who follow global warming, global terrorism, the new world order, 911 truth or whatever, they are not good at hearing criticism or humor when it is directed at their obsession. (They’ve heard the good news and believe, why can’t I? I’m a heathen, that’s why.) Of course that can make your nerdy scientist all the more poignant when failed persuasion turns into government coercion.

  57. #57 Fox1
    November 3, 2007

    I’m pretty sure I saw lb making the exact same comments about Gore on deltoid like 3 months ago, with exactly the same corrections and rebuttals offered, and they were all completely ignored.

    Even if he’s not the same guy, he’s using the same tactics: he hates Gore and thinks he’s being funny, so accuracy is irrelevant. He justs wants to be derisive and mocking, and get people riled up, then move on to a new inflammatory topic. Whoops, did I just define troll?

  58. #58 Orac
    November 3, 2007

    Yeah, this thread has been invaded by anti-AGW trolls, most of whose arguments seem to boil down to “Al Gore is a bloated idiot” or “Al Gore is a hypocrite.”

    Let’s put it this way. Even if Al gore were both a bloated idiot and a hypocrite, it would be utterly irrelevant to the question of whether the science behind AGW is correct or not.

  59. #59 Lou Angelwolf
    November 3, 2007

    Wow, my buddy Slagle picked a scab with you guys.
    One thing comedians can do quite well , probably better than most, is smell a scam when its going down.
    Al Gore and his “global warming” fear generating agenda should scare anyone, with anything to lose.
    Seeing as none us truly know the depth of this issue, any salesman knows you can prove alot of “things” with the correct stacking of numbers and projected outcomes. Lets face it , if carbon dating is flawed in its structure many “facts” about the earth are now moot.
    The non-exact science of climate change bears the same burden.
    After all we are talking about the weather.
    With knowledge doubling every 14 months or so , i say give Mr. Slagle a little more room to wobble, and look at the jist of his argument. This is the biggest scam ever to come down the pike in alot of years, and one that will create huge government implications to correct a undefined problem.
    Do you really want a whole more government than we already have?
    All of our minds are finite…

  60. #60 Orac
    November 3, 2007

    Lets face it , if carbon dating is flawed in its structure many “facts” about the earth are now moot.

    “Carbon dating is flawed in its structure”? Please explain.

    (This ought to be truly hilarious to watch.)

  61. #61 blf
    November 3, 2007

    Orac observes:

    Even if Al gore were both a bloated idiot and a hypocrite, it would be utterly irrelevant to the question of whether the science behind AGW is correct or not.

    Indeed. A third irrelevance is dealing with AGW is strictly a cost. That’s unlikely, and if even if correct, doesn’t mean AGW isn’t happening.

  62. #62 Uncle Dave
    November 3, 2007

    Taken from the National Academies Press;
    Abrupt Climate Changes; Inevitable Surprises
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=16

    “Recent research has shown that human activities are affecting climate, but it is often difficult to separate human-induced changes from those occurring naturally (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001b). The question arises whether anthropogenic influences will trigger abrupt climate change. It is not now possible to answer that question, because the processes that cause abrupt climate change are not sufficiently understood.”

    The debate should be at better defining global rapid climate change, which is still not understood.
    I have often debated with friends that refuse to accept this statement made by the NRC.
    They claim that this rapid climate change is due solely to industrialization, and that it is common sense knowledge that tells us that.

    There have been other rapid climate changes in earth’s past.

    I am not saying;
    1. That we are not experiencing abrupt climate change.
    2. That civilization is not a player in this complex climate puzzle.

    Sorry, its just that when I even reference this NRC statement many get really upset with it.

    Often comments to this are “well you can stick your head in the sand all you want.”

    Since when is a statement of scientific limitation in the understanding of climate mechanisms wrong? This issue is also one that has reached the hysterical stage to the point that statements about limitations of models and understanding become “either your for us or against us” attitude?

    I have read a bit about rapid climate change and the fact it that we don’t fully understand what is happening seems to be a statement of heresy……

  63. #63 Robster, FCD
    November 3, 2007

    Dave,

    Could you define rapid? Over a decade or over a century. That would help us understand what you are getting at.

  64. #64 Travis
    November 3, 2007

    First, I think most people offended by what this guy says are scientists or people very into science. Once he pointed out that you are “self important pin heads who don’t get laid” I would figure you would have issues with his humor. Might I point out…most people feel that way about you.

    I used to be a person who would say “I am a man of science not of God”. Now the “science people” are as insane as the religious people. I think this comedian does a great job of pointing out the fact that people believe just about anything a “scientist” tells them.

    I liked the part about the ocean rising 23 inches. New beaches! Since when did people become so important that we think the earth should yield to us? People have trampled all over the nature’s home for years. No one feels bad about the country home they build on a squirrel’s house. Do you think their is an Al Gore squirrel crying about their world crashing down? No, you know why? Because animals kill off their weak and sick. Chicken Little doesn’t have a place in human society either. I, for one, am sick of science telling me how I’m gonna die. It’ll be the cigarettes and booze long before the ocean or the ozone. If I quit those things the boredom of waiting for your armageddon would kill me.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the humor is lost on most of the readers here. As far a people attacking this comedians scientific facts…come on! He is a comedian. Look it up on Wikipedia or wherever you get information regarding things that go on in the actual world.

    I saw a great shirt today, it read “Al Gore didn’t invent the internet but he did make up global warming”.

    Good Luck!

  65. #65 Uncle Dave
    November 4, 2007

    I am not referring to the apparent spike or rise (my poor words) we have seen in the last ten years (increase in green house gases)as the rapid climate change. I define rapid as it is defined by the source that I listed. Rapid being the present condition of 1905 to present.

    Further explination is sourced here;

    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=14

    “The quintessential abrupt climate change was the end of the Younger Dryas interval about 11,500 years ago, when hemispheric to global climate shifted dramatically, in many regions by about one-third to one-half the difference between ice-age and modern conditions, with much of the change occurring over a few years (Alley, 2000). The changes affected many environmental parameters such as temperature and rainfall (Figure 1.2). Weaker, but still of hemispheric extent, was a short cooling spell 8,200 years ago that lasted for about 200 years (Alley et al., 1997). Although more regionally limited, the apparent change in El Niño behavior toward generally warmer and wetter conditions around 1976 (Nitta and Yamada, 1989; Trenberth, 1990; Graham, 1994) could also be considered an abrupt change. Thus, studies of abrupt climate change overlap with studies of ice”

    see the graph shown at this site.

    More appropriately I should be calling it abrupt climate change, as the text refers to it.

    This NRC text is referenced from the EPA’s website.

    What will this all lead to? Who knows? It may not be good, but trying to get our hands around what is really happening is (I believe) not completely understood yet.
    We may have reached the tipping point where the temperature is becoming exothermic regardless of any man made influence at this point.

    Currently I am trying to learn how to breath Co2 ;)

    Thats all that I am saying. I agree that man made influence is likely having an effect, but how much of this (last 100 years) is solely due to man made effects remains an argumentative point by researchers.

  66. #66 Uncle Dave
    November 4, 2007

    By the way, I didn’t think Tim’s routine was very funny. Sorry I realize standup ain’t for wimps thats for sure, but it Seemed to be more a lecture than a standup routine – seems there would be other funnier angles to Global warming and Al Gore than what he focused on. But hey, it’s easy to critique and a lot harder to make people laugh….

  67. #67 Scotty Boman
    November 4, 2007

    As an astronomy instructor and logical thinker, I found the Pluto thing to be irrational. Pluto is no longer a planet; it is a dwarf planet. Sort of like, my beagle isn’t a dog; it’s a hound dog. That’s his point though. It isn’t that science is wrong, it’s that scientists say stupid things, and sometimes the scientists who are saying the stupid things have enough prestige to be regarded as consensus builders. That is why Slagle is funny. He finds absurdity in the real world.

    Some scientists had to stop acknowledging Pluto’s planet-hood, or else they would have to let Planet Eris into their planet club. Once again, Eris just wasn’t welcome.

    Those who remain gray-faced when faced with Tim’s jokes, just help prove his point… at least the one about science nerds. Don’t feel bad. I’m one of them. I get a couple masters degrees and study the secrets of the universe, then I find out some lady gets an awesome job on the view who thinks the Earth is flat. Furthermore, we have a president who appears to have an IQ in a single digit percentile.

    But that’s beside your point. Your point is that global warming is a real threat caused by humans. I believe in science, not consensus. Point me toward resources that can address at least four of these issues and I may consider agreeing with you.

    1. Has a study been done to compare the current warming trend to warming or atmospheric Co2 levels during previous interglacial history? If so, does this trend appear more extreme? How can we tell?
    2. If humans are the cause, why did the warming trend begin before, the surge in human carbon emissions?
    3. Why was it warmer before the so-called, “little ice age” then it is now? There were far fewer emissions before the Middle Ages.
    4. What percentage of the studies supporting a threat by artificially induced global warming were funded by the government (which has a vested interest in controlling human activity)
    5. What percentage of the scientists, who fear global warming, prefer to ski than surf?

  68. #68 khan
    November 4, 2007

    I believe in science, not consensus.

    Can someone translate that into English?

  69. #69 TTT
    November 4, 2007

    Apparently fans of Timslagle are able to simultaneously believe that:

    –Timslagle’s routine is just joking, so people shouldn’t criticize it

    And also:

    –Timslagle’s jokes are accurate science/history and refute the findings of experts worldwide, so people shouldn’t criticize it.

    In all ways, the figure at the center of the personality cult is un-answerable.

  70. #70 Bengt Washburn
    November 4, 2007

    The irony in your blog is breathtaking.
    I am a comedian and friend of Tim Slagle.
    I saw Tim’s Global Warming bit and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    It is ironic that the same people who routinely dismiss inconvenient scientific studies about man made global warming with arguments like: “that research came from people who work for the oil companies” or “your a right wing idiot” would criticize ad hominem attacks in a comedians routine.

    I’m disturbed that global warming has become such a sacred cow that questioning it, not just in a comedy club but more importantly within the scientific community, can bring anybody’s show to a halt. I find it very discouraging that some in the scientific community have released their own little M-Words (no doubt shuddering as they did) into the media environment. M-Words such as “the debate is over”. When it most certainly isn’t.

    For whatever reason, I don’t trust anybody so I have been trying to educate myself about this issues for the last five years or so. I read the IPCC report hoping it would have some answers. Instead it was confusing and vague. It left me wondering if this is such an important issue, backed with solid science that everybody needs to know about, why don’t these geniuses put it into plain English that all of us ad hominem usin’ idots can understand? I suppose that was what Gores film and book were supposed to do. In my opinion they failed.

    BTW: I visited the website of the IPCC and googled the first half of the list scientists on the panel and learned that all the IPCC scientists (or at least the half I googled) were on BOARD with man made climate change before being appointed to the panel. The IPCC did not come to a consensus after they met, they came to a consensus in order to form the panel, and then proceeded to squabble over the details, to arrive at wide ranging and vague conclusions. When are they going to invite some of the really skeptical scientific minds to the party? I would be interested in reading that report, preferably AFTER they hire some writers to put things into laymans terms..

    Like Tim I get very annoyed when global warming is used as the cause or contributor to every problem on earth- ie. the genocide in Darfur, and recently fashion industry woes. This makes US Consumerism and capitalism the root cause of all that ails the world. As if being a capitalist superpower isn’t enough of a public affairs nightmare.

    Then, speaking of illogical arguments, the media somehow uses all of these collateral events linked to climate change as more evidence of man made climate change. Environmentalists use them to generate guilt as they urge people to people dump their SUVs, go green or vote democrat or maybe even socialist. Both of these tactics would be logical IF we had PROOF that the CO2 from people was the root cause of global climate change. That is the question. The question that needs to be answered- scientifically- Did our CO2, which WE CAN differentiate from naturally occurring CO2 and track, did OUR CO2 contribute SIGNIFICANTLY to the fluctuating temperatures?
    PS- I’ve noticed most man-made global warming advocates avoid the word FLUCTUATE, maybe because it infers that this stuff has happened before- and by before I mean BEFORE factories and cars- as in the medieval warm period, an historical event they ignore and try to deny by embracing only those studies that localize the medieval warm period in Europe.

    I think that the irony in your blog peaked during your 20 feet versus 23 inch argument. You present us with an IF, a BIG IF-when ice sheets melt- then you drop the massive consequence- 20 foot rise in sea levels. You ignore the real questions- WILL the ice melt according to current projections of temperature increase? and the even MORE important question, is OUR CO2 going to CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY to THAT INCREASE in TEMPERATURE? Sorry to use bold letters but the IRONY of this argument being made under the category of skepticism and critical thinking is exasperating.

    Again- The question isn’t IF the ice will melt. It most certainly will- someday. The question is HOW MUCH OF THIS TEMPERATURE CHANGE DID WE CAUSE? This will remain the question until it is answered. And this is where my skepticism about man made global climate change lingers- the hard science; the link between man made CO2 and rising temperatures just isn’t there, and yet so many scientists and NONSCIENTISTS are acting as if the hard science IS there. Its creepy.

    If there is scientific proof of the link between man made CO2 and the increases in temperatures, please point it out to me. It would be SO MUCH EASIER to be wrong about this. I would love scientific findings that show this link but instead I get solid but redundant circumstantial evidence. I am repeatedly presented with proof of two separate but coinciding events, rising temperatures and rising man made CO2 levels, and then I am expected to assume that one of the events caused the other. That is absolutely flawed logic. (again, see the title of your blog)

    Of course I AM just a comic. Climatology isn’t my forte, but BULLSHIT is. My own and EVERYBODY ELSES. I make a living at it. But since this isn’t my specialty, there is a possibility that there is a new discovery I don’t know about. Again if there please point it out to me but DON’T point me to more of the same proof that these two events are in fact happening at the same time. I BELIEVE you already. I NEED the LINK between the events.

    I enjoyed Tim’sportrayel of a petty and envious scientist. Probably because I’m mean. But also because I think its high time the scientific and academic community got a little of what they dish out. I suspect it might hit home for a few scientists, especially those who base their self esteem on intellect, reason and a commitment to being “part of the solution” rather than the failed relationships and social pain they may have experienced in the world at large. I think it is not far fetched to say that smart kids or “nerds” get picked on and that this childhood experience could create deep resentment.

    More importantly, I find it silly and scary when people think they can reason their way above greed and vanity and petty human nature. We all have biases and gripes. Even brilliant scientists have irrational emotional triggers put into place who knows how, when or where. Shouldn’t we be questioning the motives of everyone who is involved? Ad hominem attacks are pointless because they can be hurled at everyone. Every guest in the parlor who is feeding at the trough is a human being and suspect- the scientists, grant awardees, political rivals at all levels (local and global), and even comedians. All of these potentially petty humans have ulterior motives, not just people on the oil company’s payroll.

    I DO THINK THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING. It always has. It changed so rapidly in the Little Ace Age that priests and Bishops performed exorcisms on advancing glaciers and prayed to God to turn up the thermostat. And the temperature changes coincided with crop failures and famines. Then God answered the prayers and raised the temperatures. Of course the increase in temperature was caused by the prayers! I know that is just circumstantial evidence but if you guys can use this method of argument, so can I.

    The temperature changed and it will continue to do so. We should prepare to adapt. The plates of the earth will shift- so attach your furniture to the walls and stand in a doorway, the axis of the earth will continue to wobble- don’t know what to do about that one. Every once in a while the magnetic poles will flip, or so I’m told. In 5 billion years the sun will expand into a red giant. Of course we’ll be dead long before then. But until then we will ALL be afraid. We will ALL fall pray to our own innate and biologically necessary ability to bullshit ourselves into thinking that we are doing something more than just selfishly trying to stick around for one more day.

    In the theme of sticking around- I think it is a bad idea to drive SUVs. But I think that building beach homes and sprawling developments is a much worse offense. This ruins soil and habitat, wastes energy for routine movement, and it pisses off the poor and working class. You want to really ruin the environment? Spawn a revolution.

    I think its bad to screw up the air. But I think its worse to fib and lie in order to scare people into rearranging their priorities and doing what you think is right or profitable. When we non-scientists catch researchers and politicians in intentionally flawed arguments and tricky little number games, we lose all trust of everything they do. And then when it comes time to solve a real problem, we have a real problem.

    I agree with Gore- the environment is a moral issue- But so too is the wise management of our political and economic affairs. We have to strike a balance between all of these areas. This requires debate and compromise. In my opinion any hypothesis on man-made Global Warming does not rise above that process .

    There is always a need for scrutiny. Even highly rational, stone-cold reasoning scientists and pure hearted politicians need to establish causal arguments and conduct cost-benefits analysis, because even they will resort to M-Words and illogical arguments when their meal ticket is threatened. This doesn’t make them evil, it makes them human- and being human makes all of us a little evil and potentially very stupid.

    Congratulations to Al Gore on his Nobel Peace prize. Call me when he and the IPCC get a Nobel Prize for SCIENCE.

  71. #71 TTT
    November 4, 2007

    Bengt:
    HOW MUCH OF THIS TEMPERATURE CHANGE DID WE CAUSE? This will remain the question until it is answered. And this is where my skepticism about man made global climate change lingers- the hard science; the link between man made CO2 and rising temperatures just isn’t there, and yet so many scientists and NONSCIENTISTS are acting as if the hard science IS there. Its creepy. If there is scientific proof of the link between man made CO2 and the increases in temperatures, please point it out to me. It would be SO MUCH EASIER to be wrong about this.

    Correct. It is extremely easy to be wrong about this, especially if–like just about all deniers–one isn’t actually a scientist and is just bluffing and bloviating through the conversation.

    The link you request, showing how we can use isotopic concentrations to differentiate human CO2 outputs from natural background levels, is here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87

  72. #72 Tyler DiPietro
    November 4, 2007

    Bengt demonstrates yet again that RANDOM CAPITALIZATION is the best of all idiot barometers.

  73. #73 Orac
    November 4, 2007

    I am a comedian and friend of Tim Slagle.
    I saw Tim’s Global Warming bit and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    That’s nice. That, and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee. ($2.50 if you insist on Starbuck’s.)

    By the way, I’m an acquaintance of Tim’s, as you might know if you actually read the post I linked to. In any case, Tyler already pointed you in the direction of at least one answer.

  74. #74 Tyler DiPietro
    November 4, 2007

    That was actually TTT, I just dropped a snarky comment.

  75. #75 BenGt the Idiot
    November 4, 2007

    WoW. I can’t believE you did that!

    I alrEadY know that we can differentiate human CO2 from natural background levels. What I asked for was the ScienTific link betWeeN the 2 seperate events of rising temperatures and rising anthropogenic (do I seem smarter now?) levels of CO2.

    Can you provide that?

    PS I think the best idiot barometer is mounting a snarky ad hominem attack when you are condemning ad hominem attacks.

  76. #76 Tyler DiPietro
    November 4, 2007

    “I alrEadY know that we can differentiate human CO2 from natural background levels. What I asked for was the ScienTific link betWeeN the 2 seperate events of rising temperatures and rising anthropogenic (do I seem smarter now?) levels of CO2.”

    The greenhouse effect has been established in chemistry since about the 19th. century. As for a “ScienTific link”, it’s a little thing called “convergence of evidence”. Three basic pieces of evidence that converge in this case are rising C02 levels, rising global mean temperatures and decreasing C^13/C^12 ratio.

    So no, you’re still an idiot. Atop the pile we now have the fact that you don’t appear to know the difference between an ad hom fallacy and a personal insult.

  77. #77 TTT
    November 4, 2007

    You are asking, at ever-smaller levels, for “proof” that an observed increase in heat-trapping gases is the cause of the observed increase in temperature.

    Before you get it, I first want you to prove something to me.

    You said analysis of this issue should take into account the “petty motives” and “greed” of “grant awardee scientists” involved.

    Since the scientists involved represent more or less the entire global scientific community… and since more or less every liberal arts college in the world will, every single year, turn out a new crop of scientific graduates, who in turn must be bribed… then your global warming counter-theory requires a sum of bribe money that is already gobsmackingly immense and must expand infinitely forever.

    Prove it exists. Prove there is such a bribe fund. Something that big and long-lasting should be an easy catch. Prove there has been such a bribe fund throughout the history of public scientific debate on global warming for the last ~20 years (yes, we are all aware of those notorious Prius-industry fatcats and compact-fluorescent-bulb stock option magnates, but they are a very recent invention).

  78. #78 Robster, FCD
    November 4, 2007

    With as many researchers who don’t get grants, you would think that more would become turncoats for boats and boobs.

    I think Tim’s problem with scientists is that he’s a college dropout. Not only does he not have the good life that he claims scientists are aching for, but he couldn’t hack it on their turf either.

  79. #79 Tim Slagle
    November 4, 2007

    Orac writes:

    “People laugh at fart jokes too.”

    Wrong. 

    EVERYONE laughs at fart jokes.  Even scientists.  

    You tell me when a bunch of scientists are sitting around playing Dungeons and Dragons, and the Wizard lets one rip, before making some crack about poison elf gas, they don’t all double over in laughter.

    Since many here are theorizing what my intentions behind the routine are; what I believe and what I was trying to say; I thought I would spell everything out for you, minus the yucks.

    http://www.timslagle.com/blog/2007/11/dodgeball-analyzed.html

  80. #80 TTT
    November 4, 2007

    Saw it, and the first comment is mine. True “environmental alarmism” comes from people who act like every new law or tax will be THE BIG ONE that bankrupts us. They were wrong about the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Montreal Accords banning CFCs. Yet, sure, sure, the carbon tax will be the new BIG ONE to destroy our economy.

    It’s really funny how the bogus “1970s global cooling” meme has caught on so virally, but simultaneously the 0/0 record of economic Chicken Littles goes unremarked. Seriously, what with how bad the Montreal laws were supposed to be for us, there shouldn’t be anything left now for the big bad carbon tax to destroy!

  81. #81 Robster, FCD
    November 4, 2007

    Tim’s link demonstrates that he doesn’t understand science, statistics (90% chance is not 18 to 1 odds), economics (energy waste, not being at the front of new tech, lack of energy security all are drains on the economy), or even what capitalism is (harness greed and desire for profit for the public good and maintenance of common use items).

    Tim, for a joke to be funny, it helps that the person telling the joke to have some understanding of the subject matter. Otherwise, you aren’t just a hack, but an ignorant hack.

  82. #82 Bengt the fellow IdIOt
    November 5, 2007

    Dear Tyler
    Sometimes ad hominem attacks are also personal insults but you are definitely right here, that capitalization thing was just a snarky remark- as a comic I appreciate snarky remarks. Thats why I had fun with the capitalization thing. I do think calling somebody stupid and dismissing the rest of thier post is suspect. Tell me why I was stupid, please. In my defense, many of the posts on this blog contain ad hominem attacks which is ironic considering the subcategory under which we post.

    To start- I wasn’t trying to call into question the greenhouse effect. Apologize if I did. I was asking if our CO2 was enough to cause the greenhouse effect. Can you prove that it is causing the greenhouse effect? If so how much? Is it a significant amount? That is what I want proof of.

    You understood that question and gave me “a little thing called convergence of evidence” and called me an idiot, which I definitely deserved. So I looked up convergence on wikipedia and google. (I am such an idiot, Tyler! You were right!) and now I am supposed to believe that the convergence of three different pieces of evidence proves that one of these events caused one of the other events, because the likelihood of these three events/pieces of evidence occuring coincidentally and simultaneaously is highly unlikey. This makes sense to me. A lot like the convergence of prayer, exorcism and retreating glaciers in the Litte Ice Age proved that God raised our global temperatures. Kidding there- a little.

    The little thing called convergence could expel my doubt but not in this case and I think we both know why, don’t we Tyler? (If you don’t, then you need to google convergence.) It doesn’t apply here because we aren’t talking about a whole bunch of seperate cross disciplinary pieces of evidence, Tyler, we’re only talking about the convergence of three pieces of evidence. I know there is probably more evidence. Lord knows we’ve poured enough grant money into this to have more than three pieces of evidence, but they mostly overlap, don’t they? If there are more that don’t overlap, then tell me about them.

    You gave me three converging pieces of evidence, and one of those pieces of evidence is pretty slippery, isn’t it?

    But before it gets slippery- the C13 c12 ratio…in laymens speak, or idiot speak if you will. What is that? (I just googled it-nothing) I have no idea Tyler, but I’m not going to let that stop me! I’m going to go ahead and argue anyway! After all I am an idiot with time on his hands. Its what we do. Plus, if I am outrageously wrong it will be fun for all the scientists. Sure, I’ll be humiliated but thats nothing new for me, Tyler. Is it new for you?

    So if this scientific idiot understands your snarky science speak correctly-

    Tyler’s “little thing called convergence of evidence”-
    the rising temperatures coinciding with the rising amounts of co2 and the decreasing ratio of C^13/C^12 PROVES (if you read that last phrase out loud while doing an impression of Thurston Howell III it sounds AWESOME!) This convergence of evidence proves that the additional 3% of man made CO2 in our atmosphere caused enough greenhouse effect to trigger current global warming trends? These three pieces of seperate evidence prove that if our additional 3% of CO2 wasn’t in the atmosphere, increases in global temperature would not be occuring or would be significantly reduced? Hmmm. Please tell me where I can read more about that. How all it takes is three, thats three pieces of evidence, two of them closely related, to establish proof with the convergence of evidence. I have one article under my belt but heck I’ll read another…

    Now about the slippery piece of converging evidence…mean temperatures.

    You choose to ignore very plausible, simpler alternative explanations for the rise in mean temperatures. See: lex parsimoniae. (Isn’t wikipedia great! Even an idiot can write like a reader!) I think you have chosen to throw out evidence that does not properly converge. I have a problem with that. I’m pretty sure quite a few scientists have a problem with that.

    Also. When you assess temperature aren’t you assessing a trend over time? How do you determine the beginning date and ending date of your temperature sample? Seems like that would present you environmentalist global warming advocates with all sorts of wiggle room when compiling your data.

    Again. I am not saying temperatures aren’t rising. Not even saying we have no effect on that rise in temps. I am asking for the proof. And based on what my idiot brain can compute, at this point we do not have the proof.

    Am I wrong in my assessment of the convergence of evidence?

    PS
    I already know I’m an idiot. Believe me I know. Just this afternoon I spent two hours at the beach with a metal detector, a camping shovel and my wifes nice aluminum colander. Lost it in the ocean. Not good. Bad for the ocean and my marriage. I once drove the wrong direction for five hours. What kills me, Tyler, is you guys don’t realize that you are also very very capable of being idiots. Snarky, over-emotional, petty, self-deceiving idiots just like the rest of us. Aren’t ANY OF YOU MARRIED? Where is your SPOUSE? They’d back me up on this one. You are capable of bending your reason to better match your passions.

    I am not attacking the science here, Tyler. I am not a scientist. I am a slow reading, professional smart ass with way too much time on his hands. I am questioning the logic being used to compile and apply science. And I am proposing that even scientists should have their motives questioned. Especially when money and politics are involved.

    Speaking of politics and all snarkiness aside, I am sincerely trying to understand some of the science because I have to go out and vote in a while. And no offense but I don’t trust you. I am not going to just take your word for it. Maybe if I wasn’t an idiot I would just lay down and believe you (ok- this is getting snarky again) but I do think environmentalists have ulterior motives, Tyler. And I have read too much recent history that confirms my suspicion of these motives.

    I also think environmentalists have done some great, even awesome things of late. Decreasing CFCs, saving the ozone, made huge improvements in our air and water quality, saving some species etc. You’d think some democrat or green would run a positive campaign on this track record but I guess its fear that moves voters. Everybody knows that. Even environmentalists. Environmentalists have also botched some stuff of late.

    PPPS
    About ten months ago I was on a plane reading “Collapse” (a great book for idiots like me) by Jared Diamond. The passenger next to me asked me what the book was about. I told him it was about sustainabilty and and how different civilizations through time had not lived within their environmental means and that it had destroyed them. I told him it was a little alarming. He then assumed I was an environmentalist and started telling me in an urgent tone about global warming. Turns out he was a chemist. Had been for about forty years. He was also (gasp) a global warming denialist! This chemist started preaching to me about global warming, not knowing that he was kind of preaching to the choir. He told me the ratio of man made CO2 in our atmosphere and informed me that most of our CO2 is naturally occuring. He also told me that he thought there was no way that this 3% increase in CO2 was enough to create a significant greenhouse effect.
    Now, Tyler who am I supposed to believe? You with your convergence of three theory or the chemist on the plane?

    You folks act like there aren’t any scientists who are questioning your judgement. But there are.

    PPPPS Isn’t it wierd how repeating someones name comes off as snarky?

    PPPPPS
    This is not meant to be snarky- Thank you everybody for reminding about the word snarky. And thank you Tyler for teaching me, or making me learn some very interesting stuff. Please do get back to me on what exactly the C^13/C^12 ratio is. If that last piece of evidence is a doozy. I will gladly hop on board. In many ways I already am-
    Sincerely,
    Bengt

  83. #83 Bengt the fellow IdIOt
    November 5, 2007

    Dear TTT I did not request that information. I was actually very careful to concede that scientists can differentiate man made CO2 from naturally occuring CO2. I think my random capitalization threw everybody off.

    Oh- and I always bloviate.

    Thanks
    Bengt

  84. #84 BenGt the Idiot
    November 5, 2007

    Dear ORAC
    I read the post-
    Thank you for pointing out the price of coffee when accompanied by personal information about friendships. Turns out personal info about friendships does not alter the price of your coffee.
    And thank you for pointing out how TTT pointed me in the direction of an answer to a question I didn’t ask in my post.
    Sincerely
    Bengt

  85. #85 Andrew Dodds
    November 5, 2007

    BenGt TI –

    You may wish to read through this:

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html (The full monty)

    Or:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    (The simplest version)

    As for your request that it be simplified for a blogh post, I would like to quote Elucid:

    ‘There is no Royal road to learning’.

    Problem is, you see, your ramblings cannot be simply answered in a simple and neat way, because the scnence is very complicated. You may as well ask for a 1-paragraph description of general relativity that would allow you to instantly understand all relativistic calculations; it isn’t going to happen. If you want to be skeptical of global warming, then fine – I would only ask that you learn what it is that you are skeptical of. Is that unfair?

  86. #86 Orac
    November 5, 2007

    I am not attacking the science here, Tyler. I am not a scientist. I am a slow reading, professional smart ass with way too much time on his hands. I am questioning the logic being used to compile and apply science.

    Given that admission, we should take your ignorant, “smart-ass” pontifications culled from Google and Wikipedia seriously…exactly why?

    Oh, right. No reason at all, particularly when you can’t do anything other than obfuscate and “question” without presenting any real counterevidence.

    What kills me, Tyler, is you guys don’t realize that you are also very very capable of being idiots. Snarky, over-emotional, petty, self-deceiving idiots just like the rest of us.

    Irrelevant to this discussion. Really. It appears that, like Tim, when you can’t provide evidence, you seem to prefer to attack the messenger. Tim attacked Al Gore and climate scientists; you attack me and some of my regular commenters as overwrought and self-deceiving. Here’s the problem: In science, evidence walks, “questioning” bullshit along the manner of what you’re doing walks. If you think scientists are as much “over-emotional, self-deceiving idiots” as you’ve just admitted yourself to be, it’s utterly irrelevant unless you can also show that all those climate scientists and the overwhelming consensus on the issue of AGW are wrong.

    Good luck with that. Given your performance thus far, you’ll need it.

    You know, I’ve never understood people who are happy to admit that they are “not scientists,” in essence proudly trumpeting their ignorance of or lack of training in science and then seem to think that they know what they are talking about when they “question” a scientific consensus. It’s one thing if they can demonstrate that they really understand more than on a sound bite basis the issues involved, but even this level of understanding is rare, particularly on global warming. Also amazing to me is the arrogance that these same nonscientists routinely demonstrate when they assume that an objection to a hypothesis or theory that seems so “obvious” to them was not also even more obvious to the scientists interested enough in the topic to have dedicated their careers to studying it. Yet, these same nonscientists who think they’ve found some fatal flaw in a scientific consensus view seem to blithely assume that the very same potential flaws they see were never even considered or debated in the course of reaching scientific consensus. Although AGW is not nearly as settled as evolution or AIDS, this behavior reminds me of creationists and HIV/AIDS denialists.

  87. #87 Teri O'Brien
    November 5, 2007

    I’m not a scientist, so perhaps I’m being presumptuous even commenting on the issue of global warming, but from what I’ve been able to understand with my lumpen brain, the facts are as follows:

    The climate of the earth has been changing since the earth began, and undergoes periodic cycles of higher or lower average temperature.

    We may be in a period of slightly (we’re talking 1 degree F or so) higher average global temperature.
    Even assuming that we are in a warm period, not every credible scientists accepts the so-called “consensus” that the current warming is caused by human activity. Those who suggest it is have to explain a few things, such as why the average temperature of the earth was higher in the beginning of the 20th century that at the end.

    Al Gore, flying around in his private jets and living in a huge house, is just another phony liberal hypocrite, no different from the late Jim Bakker or some creepy tv evangelist working a scam.

    None of that stuff is as important to me, though, as the blatantly wrong and unfair characterization of Tim Slagle. He is funny and original, and any suggestion that he isn’t is simply not true. Stealing material? I don’t think so. If anything, he’s the one who doesn’t get credit for the clever things he writes. He’s got too much class to whine about it, but it’s true. Not funny? I think that perhaps this guy wasn’t thinking straight after 3 beers. That or he has no sense of humor. Those of us who do are major Tim Slagle fans!

  88. #88 TTT
    November 5, 2007

    i>The climate of the earth has been changing since the earth began

    Non-sequitur. Humans have been dying since the human species first evolved, but that fact has no significance when discussing new threats to human life and limb i.e. nuclear war. Likewise, the past history of environmental change doesn’t mean humans can’t cause or magnify environmental change.

    We may be in a period of slightly (we’re talking 1 degree F or so) higher average global temperature.

    A little more than that, actually. But global average temperatures are funny things. During the last ice age, when the northern hemisphere was crushed under glaciers a mile thick and global sea levels were dropped so low that you could walk from Dublin to Jakarta, the average temperatures were only 8 degrees off from today. So when the IPCC’s report says the mean temperature increase likely during the next human lifetime is 3.5 degrees, that’s actually very major.

    not every credible scientist accepts the so-called “consensus”

    Yeah, they actually pretty much do. Of the handful of scientists who deny mainstream global warming theory, almost none are actually trained in the relevant fields and publish counterevidence in the peer-reviewed literature. It is utterly useless to hold out for worldwide unanimity in the face of one or two cranks–that’s how 9/11 Truthers work.

    why the average temperature of the earth was higher in the beginning of the 20th century that at the end

    It wasn’t. There was a cooling trend in the middle of the 20th century, due to uncontrolled sulphate pollution blocking some of the sun’s incoming rays. When we cleaned up our smokestacks in the 1970s and ’80s, that artificial cooling effect was removed and the broader warming trend re-established itself.

    I’m curious, Teri, as to why you don’t give the benefit of the doubt that scientific professionals might actually have already thought of the very, very basic questions you were asking. If the past history of environmental change really did disprove global warming, and it was so obvious that you were able to think it up immediately, don’t you think perhaps the experts have already noticed it–and their continued attention implies that there’s more to it than you believe? Would you so quickly challenge an aerospace engineer with the “facts” that airplanes can’t actually fly because they’re too heavy and unable to flap their wings?

  89. #89 TTT
    November 5, 2007

    Oh, and it’s heartening to see that even the “skeptics” will grant up-front that we are in a warming period at all, since less than a decade ago they fought against that notion as hard as they’re fighting today against the evidence that humans have influenced it.

  90. #90 Uncle Dave
    November 5, 2007

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD6VBLlWmCI

    Not sure where this youtube clip came from sot I can’t verify it’s

    http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119387567378878423.html

    Michael Mann’s view vs. John Christy the recent Nobel laureate

  91. #91 Tim Slagle
    November 5, 2007

    Orac writes: ” …Tim, when you can’t provide evidence, you seem to prefer to attack the messenger.”

    Attacking the messenger?

    Well isn’t that what you’re all doing to me?

    Because I’ve pointed out, that Al Gore exaggerates, the consensus is only 90% certain that there is going to be a minor rise in ocean levels over the next 100 years, and scientists are not always rational; I’m being called stupid, ignorant, a denier, unfunny, and a hack.

    Nice kettleblack you’re wearing, Potsie.

    PS: for those who missed it above, I repost my response link:

    http://www.timslagle.com/blog/2007/11/dodgeball-analyzed.html

  92. #92 Robster, FCD
    November 5, 2007

    Dave, Youtube source is watermarked as Newsworld, CBC.

    You may not know this, but the “scientists” in the youtube video, all have major financial ties to coal and petroleum. Dr. Soon is a registered lobbyist for Exxon. All in all, you have a handful of industry supported researchers going after one person, acting as though they are in the majority. Their paper, published in Climate Research, was of such low quality that several editors resigned in protest of the railroaded peer review. It is this paper, so poorly supported by it’s own included evidence as to be laughable, that is pointed to as debunking Mann’s hockey stick. A disagreement is not a debunking. You can find another paper by some of the same authors in JPandS, a non peer reviewed political journal masquerading as science, solely dedicated to far right causes.

    Mann’s model is but one of several models that all agree that global warming is real, man made, and will lead to serious and deleterious changes in our environment. It gets so much flack from science deniers because it has gotten the most media attention.

    Multiple studies, produced by multiple independent researchers, using different data sets all produce similar models. In science, that’s pretty damn impressive.

    As to the Wall Street Journal oped page, it is not a science source of any kind, but being behind a subscriber wall, I cannot offer a comment beyond him having changed his story from A) no warming to B) warming with major human contribution, but its a good thing. Still way, way outside the mainstream.

  93. #93 Bengt the Idiot
    November 5, 2007

    Dear ORAC,

    So I can’t question how you apply your evidence, unless I provide evidence of my own?
    Ridiculous. I need to ask questions.

    you typed-
    “these same nonscientists who think they’ve found some fatal flaw in a scientific consensus view seem to blithely assume that the very same potential flaws they see were never even considered or debated in the course of reaching scientific consensus.”

    I don’t blithely assume that I’ve found an undiscovered and undebated and fatal flaw, ORAC. I think I’ve found personal room for continued debate and questioning. I think I’ve figured out why I keep reading about, even meeting, scientists, or crackpots-as you would characterize them- who are not totally on board with global warming theory. I think I’ve found room to disagree on what we should do about this problem. Room to disagree on how much we should spend on this problem. Room to disagree on what we can realistically afford to try to prevent and what we should accept as inevitable and prepare for.

    maybe I found a reason for global warming to maintian its current ranking on my list of things to be worried about. I’m going to take that list to the voting booth. And that list, the order of that list, is why you should take my questioning, and other idiots unscientific questioning seriously. Because like it or not, Idiots with regular access to google and wikipedia vote. I dont think this problem can be approached and solved with a little top down legislation. Do you? I think eventually, if you want to curb CO2 production, change the way we consume or even pass some top donw legislation you are going to have to reach the idiots. So with that in mind, teach me where I went wrong.

    Was the evidence I gathered from the internet and a couple of books and quickly slapped together accurate? Were my questions and concerns logical? Was the 3% figure correct? How about my assesment of the current state of the convergence of evidence and global warming? Is there, in your informed opinion enough converging evidence to seal the deal and sound the alarms?

    you typed- irrelevent to this discussion-attacking the messenger.

    Seemed like personal attacks were the norm here. And if you noticed, I said “just like the rest of us”. What I am really trying to say is I am very cynical about all humans and human nature in general. Maybe what you mean to tell me is that you have a more positive view of humans than I do. With this issue I am trying to be skeptical, and not cynical.

    You tell me I’m in over my head- go away. In fact many of you make a point of throwing around scientific jargon to let people know they’re in over their head. In my opinion a lot of these posts do have the tone of people who took a few too many dogdeballs to the head while in grade school.

    You tell me and all the nonscientific idiots aren’t invited to the debate. Well we’re invited to the voting booth. How can I step aside and not question anything? I would then have to ignore all those people who disagree with your assessments. This probably won’t happen, ORAC. I’m not going to go from being skeptical to being gullible.

    Of course I assumed you guys talked about this stuff. I also suspect that as the scientists debated, in the back of their minds there was grant money. Funds that flow more readily when this issue remains on the front page of the newspaper, scaring the crap out of everybody, everyday. Maybe while debating over the evidence, a human mind would consider the increased weight global warming gives to other desrired and related recommendations for policy and programs. Is my imagining this scenario really that ridiculous? Is my suspicion ridiculous? I’ve rationalized much worse.

    So how can you expect me to blindly trust your community with that kind of money and power amid reports from scientists who say you’re methods are suspect, your conclusions inaccurate, and you’re assessments very possibly wrong? We are talking scientists with what appears to be evidence. Was I lied to? Are these fake scientists? Did they fudge their numbers? I’ve got conflicting reports here ORAC? What would you do if you were a non-scientist voter in my position? Conflicting reports, and everyone is a suspect. Both sides saying if you dont agree with them you’re either stupid or gullible.

    Again. I am not saying these thiings to attack you personally. Or to bring into question your logic or science. I am trying to explain to you the reason why I am suspicious. If, however I am disagreeing because I am misinformed, then for hell sake tell me how and where.

    So, other than my personal attacks, where did my logic fall apart? I will read the links you provide. I will read a book that you recommend. Would you be willing to simply answer these last two questions?
    If you or nobody else wants to repsond anymore, cool. I won’t post anymore. I’ll go elsewhere for answers. I’ve got a very smart scientist comic buddy that I should have talked to about this years ago.

    The questions:
    1- Is current global warming theory built on the convergence of evidence? Or is there some pivotal study with facts I have not heard that would clinch the deal for me?

    2- In your opinon, do most scientists, not just climatologists, agree that there is enough evidence to go on at this point? If yes whats the perecentage on that? Do you know? I am curious to find out what the scientific consensus is in the entire scientific community. Not just among the climatologists. What is the current crackpot/people who agree with you ratio?

    3- Why do I hear and read about so many scientists, some of whom seem VERY reputable, questioning, at least the severity, of what you have accepted as unquestionably and at times alarmingly true?

    One thing about which you are wrong. Its my fault. In goofing around I misrepresented myself. I am not proud of my ignorance of science, ORAC. I am just profoundly aware of it. I think you guys need to become aware of you’re lack of expertise when it comes to communicating with, and influencing, unscientific idiots like me. Calling us stupid and telling us to go away is a bad approach. Stroking your own ego by using some big words that are sure to produce a befuddled expression on the face of an idot, while personally enjoyable, is counterproductive. In the long run, it is the approach of an idiot.

    Thanks
    Bengt

  94. #94 Bengt
    November 5, 2007

    Dear Mr. Dodds,
    Thank you very much for the links and sound advice. The IPCC report was very intimidating. Even the simpler books I get a hold of are difficult for the non scientist to understand.

    What you ask is certainly not unfair-

    Bengt

  95. #95 Robster, FCD
    November 5, 2007

    Bengt,

    I can answer your third question easily. Our media is obsessed with having an appearance of fairness. Scientist representing mainstream thought says “A.” As a counter, the media will seek out anybody who will take up an opposing position of “B”, regardless of their expertise or evidence.

    In the case of global warming, you have a handful of self-described “skeptics” responding with PR disguised as science. This creates an illusion of disagreement where there is none. Do scientists debate the costs, effects, severity of global warming? Yes, but not to the extent that the PR suggests. I could find you PhD researchers, Nobel prize winners even, that will contest a variety of well established, mainstream scientific concepts. Name one, I’ll show you an outsider with a Galileo complex.

    You say that you are a cynic on human nature. Then apply your cynicism. Look to their movers and shakers, and you will find that the opposition to global warming research has no problem receiving funds, while the mainstream must compete for a diminishing supply of grant money. The opposition side is funded by those who have the most to lose from conservation and efficiency, the fossil fuel industry.

    I would suggest this link for what real skeptics say about global warming.

  96. #96 Uncle Dave
    November 5, 2007

    Robster FCD,

    Mr. Christy was the Nobel laureaute (sp) whom received the nobel prize for his work on this subject along with Al Gore. Mr. Christy’s view point is less alarmist than the report which he was contributor to suggests – the one for which he recieved the Nobel for.

    My point is that;
    “Recent research has shown that human activities are affecting climate, but it is often difficult to separate human-induced changes from those occurring naturally (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001b). The question arises whether anthropogenic influences will trigger abrupt climate change. It is not now possible to answer that question, because the processes that cause abrupt climate change are not sufficiently understood.”

    That is referenced from the EPA website. I am sticking by this statement in the research as a very important destinction when evaluating the very complex models of climate change and making statements “this climate change is Man made”.

    This is not fully supported because no one can say for sure what contribution man has made to this current condition.

    Corelation does not equal causation.

    Yep were heat’n up
    Yep man likely has an influence – but current research does not support an assignment as to the degree of influence we have had.

    Nothing more than that really, if you disagree with that statement, then take it up with the National Research Council.

    As to the YouTube link I threw at the wall?
    I will have to check out your information as to the two individuals shown in the video. Thanks, you information about them is interesting…..

  97. #97 Tim Slagle
    November 5, 2007

    FCD wroites: “the mainstream must compete for a diminishing supply of grant money”

    Diminishing?

    That pie is HUGE and getting bigger every year.

    “The federal government spent nearly $2 billion to support climate change science programs in FY 2004″

    http://www.marshall.org/article.php?id=289

    Get that? Two BILLION

    And that’s just for research supporting climate change. By comparison, the “Denial” Industry is a Mom and Pop operation. You add up the annual budgets of the Heartland Institute, CEI, and the rest of the think tanks listed on ExxonSecrets.org, and you would still be be well under 20 million.

  98. #98 Uncle Dave
    November 5, 2007

    Heres John Christy’s comments;
    http://www.atmos.uah.edu/atmos/john_march11_01.html

    Of course he is just one researcher of many, however he is listed as a major contributor to the national research council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1992.

    Interesting interview with Dr. fred Singer below;

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/warming/debate/singer.html

    Interesting comments…

  99. #99 Robster, FCD
    November 5, 2007

    Tim, the difference in budgets between real science and PR science (aka “sound science”) is that PR science doesn’t require research, just deliberate misstatements of evidence produced by others and being available for interview/ debate shows on cable and network TV.

    Also, per scientist research budgets are going down in almost every field. We produce more scientists every year, faster than they retire. They compete for a slowly growing pool of grant money. Sorry I wasn’t more clear.

  100. #100 Tim Slagle
    November 5, 2007

    “the difference in budgets between real science and PR science (aka “sound science”) is that PR science doesn’t require research”

    Even if you were right, both sides still require that salaries get paid, whether there is actual research going on, or just paper writing. So if you’re buying scientists, you can buy a whole lot more with two Billion, than you can with a few million.

    Incidentally, two Billion is just the Federal Money. “Private foundations distribute a minimum of $35-50 million annually to non-profit organizations and universities to comment on or study various elements of the climate change debate.”

    So obviously, the ” mainstream” side is going to have a lot more paid shills. Which is perhaps why it is considered “Mainstream.”

    Just follow the money.

  101. #101 Col. Hogan
    November 5, 2007

    The Gospel according to Algore gets more and more complex, both by His worshipers ad libbing elaborations ‘pon His pronouncements and by quasiscientists, fat from their government research grants (given with the expectation of certain results). More and more real scientists are debunking bits and pieces of the Algorian Scripture with every week that passes.

    One says that 97% of greenhouse gases are actually water vapor going through normal processes. Another says that the approximately 3% that is CO2 has been more-or-less constant for millennia. Yet another refers to temperature measurements over the past many decades as having been not terribly accurate, because of more primitive technology and methodology.

    Guess what? If the sea rises near the coasts–move! More room for the smiling porpoises and other finny critters. We can move farther north, because it’ll be warmer there. Problem solved, although I won’t be hustling my tired ol’ butt away from the coast any time soon, because I don’t think the climate will change enough that you and me and the raccoons will actually notice.

  102. #102 TTT
    November 5, 2007

    I see “grant money” has replaced “poisoned communion wafers” as the conspiracy vector of this century.

    Previously I challenged the conspiracists to prove the existence of the infinitely large and ever-expanding global bribe fund that MUST be in existence to bankroll their alleged global warming conspiracy. Even Tim’s hushed statistic of “$2 billion a year” wouldn’t be enough. More importantly, even that insufficient sum didn’t exist 15 years ago…. and most scientists were just as ready to acknowledge the reality of global warming back then too. This is NOT a new debate, gentlemen; what do you think they were being bribed with in the ’90s, stock in Power Rangers action figures?

    Moving beyond sheer material absurdity, the idea reveals a total lack of knowledge of how grants are awarded in scientific institutions. There is no money to be made in reaffirming well-established truths like mainstream global warming science. It’s already been done and everyone is willing to do it. You get grant money by doing something new and creative.

    And once you get a grant, no more than a year later you will have to account for every dime of it in front of the disburser, with solid results. And if the conspiracy theorists are right and there is no global warming, it would be hard to find those results, mm? Every time you fail, it gets harder to attain further granting in the future–and again, with global warming just made-up, they’d fail to find evidence every time.

    The stage would be set for one brave scientist to make a name for him/herself, and capture a MASSIVE slice of the pie, by proving global warming false. The motive for disproving it is immense, both financial and careerist. But no one has grabbed that ring yet, because all the evidence points towards the mainstream interpretation.

    I know, I know, it’s not as exciting as the made-up journey through the wondrous land of Conspiracylvania. But sometimes the world can be a disappointing place.

  103. #103 Orac
    November 5, 2007

    Stroking your own ego by using some big words that are sure to produce a befuddled expression on the face of an idot, while personally enjoyable, is counterproductive. In the long run, it is the approach of an idiot.

    Oh, please. Cry me a frikkin’ river at how “unfair” and “mean” I’ve supposedly been to you.

    Let’s refresh everyone’s memory. It was you who charged into this comment thread like the proverbial bull in a china shop pontificating about how AGW has somehow become some sort of “sacred cow” that can’t be criticized and at how much you enjoyed Tim’s portrayal of a “petty and vengeful scientist” because, as you put it, “you’re mean,” all the while finding it “silly and scary when people think they can reason their way above greed and vanity and petty human nature.” You coupled this with a bunch of anti-AGW canards and talking points and bloviations about “convergence” of evidence. Pardon me if you didn’t impress me very much at all with your trying to cast doubt on science by portraying scientists as petty and self-deceiving.

    In other forums and other discussions, I’ve frequently seen cranks show up asking “innocent” questions, as if they are truly curious. Over the years, I’ve developed a rather sensitive bullshit detector, and your comments set it off. In fact, it was easy to spot you, as you were downright hostile. If you want to see the “approach of an idiot” (as you put it), your entry into this discussion was a good example.

    If it was just your “cynicism” (as you put it) that led you to such an inauspicious entry into this thread and if you truly want to learn the answers to many of your questions about climate change, I suggest perusing the articles in How To Talk to a Climate Skeptic. The articles are accessible to educated nonscientists.

  104. #104 Orac
    November 5, 2007

    Because I’ve pointed out, that Al Gore exaggerates, the consensus is only 90% certain that there is going to be a minor rise in ocean levels over the next 100 years, and scientists are not always rational; I’m being called stupid, ignorant, a denier, unfunny, and a hack.

    Oh, come on, Tim, repeating that just doesn’t make it so. Tim Lambert, Dave Roberts, RealClimate, and Tom Yulsman have all thoroughly debunked that canard about “Al Gore and the 23 feet.”

    As for the “pot, kettle, black,” thing, it was you who first started ad hominem attacks against Gore specifically and climate scientists in general; so that’s really, really rich. Also be clear that never called you a hack, although you do have a distressing tendency to keep repeating exceedingly dubious arguments on this topic. There comes a point when the “it’s just a comedy routine” defense doesn’t hold water anymore, particularly given the number of times you’ve written similar things in all seriousness on your blog.

  105. #105 Robster, FCD
    November 6, 2007

    Yes, Tim. Let’s follow the money. Let’s see which scientists are bought and paid for by fossil fuel industries, to the point that some are lobbyists, producing papers which cannot pass fair peer review and researchers who compete on a merit basis for research grants.

    TSIB.
    ———
    Dave,

    It took me a little bit to place the name Fred Singer, but then I realized that he was the same schmuck that sold his credibility to big tobacco in order to obfuscate the link between smoking and cancer. Doing the same for oil and coal is no surprise.

    Corelation does not equal causation.

    True, but this statement does not invalidate correlations.
    ———
    Hogan,

    More and more real scientists are debunking bits and pieces of the Algorian Scripture with every week that passes.

    You really sound like a creationist. They make the claim that “Darwinism” is about to collapse, any time now, and breathlessly point to growing numbers. And every year, nothing.

    There really aren’t that many global warming deniers. Many of them are tailoring their message according to PR surveys, now admitting that there is warming, but it isn’t man made and it is going to be pleasant. Just like ID is a PR move by creationists. Warming deniers look like a growing movement because they get lots of visibility from the media (must have two sides debate, even if one has no evidence) and the internet (where everything you read is always true). Looks more like a group of about 30.

  106. #106 Tim Slagle
    November 6, 2007

    Orac writes: “repeating that just doesn’t make it so”

    I agree. And repeating that the Gore 20 ft. canard has been “thoroughly debunked” does not make it so either.

    Rather than debunk the canard, your experts only want to explore if Gore is telling the truth or not. Much like the rest of the Clinton Administration, I guess that depends on what your definition of is is:

    Lambert:

    “So sea levels could rise by 6 metres as Gore suggests. And the scientists don’t know how long it would take, so Gore did not present a time frame for the rise.”

    –Since Gore did not present a time frame, he didn’t lie

    Roberts:

    Notice that all the work here is being done by the weasel phrases “citing no particular time frame” and “at least visually.” Of course, as those awake during the movie know, Gore cited no time frame because he was talking about what could happen if the Greenland and/or Antarctic ice sheets pass a tipping point and melt quickly, as many scientists fear.

    -Again no time frame, no lie. Anyway, he wasn’t making predictitions, just wild speculations. (And since when is FEAR a valid scientific parameter?)

    Your Yulsman link just linked back to Lambert’s opinion on the twenty feet, as did RealClimate

    How can you sit there, and think that it’s alright for Al Gore to show pictures of flooded modern population centers, uncritically? You don’t think that was suggestive in the least?

    Even Roberts admits: “… he “implied” otherwise. Visually.”

    If a mobster was showing some guy a picture he took of the guy’s wife dropping off the kids at school, and commented on how pretty they all were, you would not take that as a threat? Or would you as a juror say, “This man was just complimenting another man on his beautiful family, your honor. That threat canard has been totally debunked.”

    And isn’t one of the defining characteristics of science, predictability? So if there is no timetable for the melting of the ice shelves, overlaying historic ocean levels on a modern map is more geography than science. Unless we are to believe Gore was just doing a little demonstration on what might happen if Scientist’s worst fears were realized. (I mean BESIDES Stargate SG-1 getting cancelled.)

    So from now on in my act, rather than say, “Al Gore said the ocean is going to rise 20 feet,”

    I will say: “Al Gore showed pictures of the ocean rising 20 feet, an occurance that runs completely contrary to the current scientific consensus, of 23 inches over the next 100 years.”

    … and you will back me up, right?

  107. #107 Tim Lambert
    November 6, 2007

    Slagle misrepresents the scientific consensus, yet yet yet again. The IPCC report does not put an upper bound on sea level rise this century. The 23 inch number specifically excludes the effects of accelerating ice flow. The consensus is that warming will lead to a 20 foot SLR, as Gore suggests. There is no consensus as to how long this will take. We can hope it will take much longer than a 100 years, but some scientists thing this is a possibility.

  108. #108 Tim Slagle
    November 6, 2007

    ” The consensus is that warming will lead to a 20 foot SLR”

    Here’s where you lose me. What consensus? Where is that published?

    Because when I went to the IPCC report it said that it “Might” lead to a 20 foot rise.

    Not “Will”

  109. #109 tim Slagle
    November 6, 2007

    Sorry I didn’t mean to imply that “Might” was a quote. I was using the lazy subsititue of quotation marks instead of italics.

    Here’s what I was refering to: “Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of
    these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.”

    So please explain to me how Limited Understanding equates to Scientific Consensus.

    The way I read that sentence is that there is no consensus beyond the 23 inches. that the IPCC has already agreed upon.

    Yes it COULD be a lot worse, SOMEDAY. But the IPCC wasn’t willing to agree when or how much. Therefore, there is no consensus.

  110. #110 Andrew Dodds
    November 6, 2007

    Tim –

    In the last interglacial, the Eemian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian) sea levels were 4-6 meters higher than today with temperatures around 2K higher (than pre-AGW). So with business as usual such a sea level rise is a virtual certainty.

    That kind of sea level rise happening in a century is also known in the palentological record.

    The 23 inches/100 years is the non-melting rise in sea level – i.e. the minimum, not the ‘best estimate’.

  111. #111 Orac
    November 6, 2007

    will say: “Al Gore showed pictures of the ocean rising 20 feet, an occurance that runs completely contrary to the current scientific consensus, of 23 inches over the next 100 years.”

    … and you will back me up, right?

    Uh, no, for the reasons that Tim Lambert and Andrew Dodds describe, both of whom posted while I was sleeping. Why should I support a misrepresentation of the consensus?

    You’re perfectly free to say whatever you want in your act. No one’s going to stop you, and you can always fall back on the whole “it’s just a schtick” defense if anyone points out your errors. Not that you need to worry about that much, aside from the blogosphere. After all, chances are that very few people in the audience, if any, will know it’s a distortion–which is all the more reason refutations on the web are a good thing. Heck, if you want to rip on Al Gore, why not rip on his “the planet has a fever” analogy, which was pretty dumb?

    You don’t even have to credit me for the idea.

  112. #112 Petra
    November 6, 2007

    It is really sad for anyone if they think they need to make comedy about global warming. That man fails on at least as many levels as creationists – at least in this routine.

    There might be reasons to ridicule Gore here or there, but that doesn’t change a thing about global warming. I am a little shocked by the commenters who actually believe there is no substance to the warnings on global warming. It seems to me many people making such claims (outside of this blog) just fear they might lose their comfy life if they have to keep a thought on the environment.

    As for this being an attack on you – I don’t know. I think many reasonable, intelligent minds might have pointed out to him where he has gone painfully wrong and, being unable to accept that, this is the sad result.

  113. #113 Bengt the Idiot
    November 6, 2007

    Dear Orac
    BUll in a China shop- guilty as charged

    “Cry me a friggin river about how mean I’ve been to you…”
    YOU completely missed my point. I don’t care if your’e mean to me. I’m not complaining about you being mean to me. I am claiming that avid AGW backers are bullies. And it is a stupid approach. I spend lots of time with all sorts of people from San Francisco to the heartland I can tell you many of the people that you would characterize as idiots that vote don’t like the tone of the message. It talks down to them. I am saying the arrogance will never accomplish good communication.

    I dont’ care if you’re impressed with any of my bloviating. I did notice you did not answer or address one of my quesitons, ever. Tyler did. TTT did. And I will go out and get my own answers on this. I do actually have an open mind on the topic. You’re the one who isnt willing to concede even an inch of wiggle room for doubt or debate. Which seems closed minded to me.

    Bengt

  114. #114 Bengt the Idiot
    November 6, 2007

    Dear TTT,

    In this case there is no conspiracy. All it takes is economic incentive, a bunch of humans and not enough transparency. Then corruption or greed or at the very least outrageoous waste will occur. So the massive conspiracy in this case is a market economy. Sorry I didnt provide this answer earlier.

    I gotta quit doing this now. Thanks for the time.

    Bengt

  115. #115 Bengt the idiot
    November 6, 2007

    Dear ORAC,

    You stated earlier that ” AGW is not nearly as settled as evolution or aids…”

    Aren’t you conceding then that you do not in fact have enough evidence in the convergence pile to close the doors on this argument?

    Why do you keep comparing us to creationists, thus implying that your AGW is as settled as evolution and aids? If it isn’t as settled as those well established theorys. Why not keep an open mind?

    Bengt

  116. #116 Orac
    November 6, 2007

    I am claiming that avid AGW backers are bullies. And it is a stupid approach. I spend lots of time with all sorts of people from San Francisco to the heartland I can tell you many of the people that you would characterize as idiots that vote don’t like the tone of the message. It talks down to them. I am saying the arrogance will never accomplish good communication.

    I never said that it would. However, you’re clueless if you can’t realize that you’re not innocent in this by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly, you did not come off as someone who was puzzled or open-minded. (Your parroting the same old substance-free attacks on Al Gore found in so many conservative websites and sources was a dead giveaway.) Indeed, your “bull in a china shop” approach came off so much like the approach of so many AGW “skeptics” that I’ve encountered that there really didn’t seem to be much point in wasting my time crafting careful and serious answers to you. You didn’t seem as though you honestly wanted them.

    You’re the one who isnt willing to concede even an inch of wiggle room for doubt or debate. Which seems closed minded to me.

    Not true. I’ve read the AGW “skeptic” websites fairly extensively; it’s depressing how poor the arguments are most of the time.

    As for the whole “arrogant” thing, I think a guy by the ‘nym of Bronze Dog said it best. Ditto the charge of “elitism,” which often goes hand-in-hand with the charge of arrogance

  117. #117 MartinM
    November 6, 2007

    Why do you keep comparing us to creationists, thus implying that your AGW is as settled as evolution and aids?

    I imagine it’s about the arguments used, not the position against which they’re used.

  118. #118 Orac
    November 6, 2007

    Why do you keep comparing us to creationists, thus implying that your AGW is as settled as evolution and aids?

    Easy. Because AGW denialists use the same sorts of logical fallacies and tortured distortions of science that creationists do. If they stop doing that, I’ll stop comparing them to creationists.

    Regarding evolution, there is 150 years worth of research and evidence to support the theory; AGW has only been studied a few decades at most. Of course, AGW isn’t as well settled as evolution. As for HIV/AIDS, it is possible to experiment directly with the virus, which makes it easier to settle questions regarding it once and for all. Given that, I’d say that AGW is rapidly approaching the point of being almost as well settled as HIV/AIDS.

    But your comments are basically a smokescreen, the proverbial “argument from uncertainty.” Just because a hypothesis has a high degree of evidence to support it does not mean that there are no unanswered questions or uncertainty. In science”settled” does not necessarily equal “perfect,” which seems to be the standard that AGW “skeptics” apply. To think that is to misunderstand the nature of science. Once again, I suggest perusing How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic to get an easily digestible overview of many topics, as well as an idea of just how well settled AGW is and where the remaining areas of uncertainty are.

    That you apparently haven’t as yet done so speaks volumes.

  119. #119 Tim Slagle
    November 6, 2007

    Andrew Dodds wrote: “In the last interglacial… sea levels were 4-6 meters higher than today with temperatures around 2K higher …So with business as usual such a sea level rise is a virtual certainty.”

    I understand that. There is also virtual certainty that the sun will go super nova, that an asteroid or comet will someday collide with the earth, and that the North American continent will collide with Europe.

    In fact, Science has some fairly decent numbers about how long from now each of these events will occur, or the probability of them happening over the next 100 years. One of the defining characteristics of Science, is that it is predictable.

    But when Scientists cannot even offer a guess as to when the oceans are going to rise twenty feet, or the probability of it happening in our lifetimes, it is not Science.

    It is Faith.

  120. #120 Bengt the idiot
    November 6, 2007

    Dear ORAC,

    I honestly have never waded through all the anti AGW websites. I will now. I have recieved clips and emals here and there. I honestly DID use google and wikipedia on the fly to look up convergence, and I honestly built my argument about that on the fly. I got most of my skepticism from a book called the Skeptical Environmentalst, which I read a few years ago. This seesion has reminded me that I need to dust off that part of my brain. My skepticism has also been fueled from reading horribly reasoned pro AGW articles in the local paper, day after day after day. And by being attacked and called an idiot by AGW non-scientists who display an unbelievable amount of confidence for having read even less about this stuff than me.

    Typical escalating argument: I’ll say I think an awwful lot of the stuff in the media about AGW is hype and that they should keep at least a little bit of an open mind about this topic. They’ll say I’m closed minded idiot for taking that position. They’ll judge me as some radical pro right SUV drivin, environemntal wreckin idiot redneck. Then I turn into a jerk, which is too close to their intended mark, its true. But its the hypocracy thats setting me off, not the science.

    I honestly think there is a chance that AGW is occuring or will occur. Seems fairly reasonable to me based on what I’ve read.

    I also honestly think there is a chance that the effect will be small enough to not warrant world wide panic. That being said I think people like TIm and his routine on Global Warming are a good to have around. And I thought the bit was very very funny. I yur writing and some of the other postings about comics were annoying.

    I definitely was nasty and mean sometimes when asking my questions or, more accurately, questioning the answers And that isn’t the best way to approach things when you want to influence someone with information. I guess my bad instincts got the best of me.

    done posting
    Thanks for the time-I look forward to seeing Tims Global Warming bit live-
    Bengt

  121. #121 John C. Welch
    November 6, 2007

    “from what I’ve read it will take 10-15 years for North America auto makers to put a line of hydrogen-vehicles on the road. Now whether that is because of the technology, or because they are dragging their feet, I don’t know. I do know that Chev had an electric car, they still have the specs, I’m sure that it was reverse engineered by the competitors, and could be put back on the road within a year. A concept car is just that, a concept. Is it financially viable?”

    The point is, what Honda is releasing in 2008 is not a concept car. It’s not a test. It’s a hydrogen fuel cell car that will lease for around $500 a month. Is that cheap, no, but neither is it insanely expensive. Honda’s working to create an infrastructure that will, every year, allow them to build more cars than the rather small amount they’re targeting for 2008.

    The more infrastructure, the more practical the cars get, and unlike American car makers, Honda will be gathering reams of real-world production data that will put them far ahead of their competition in this area.

    I don’t really *care* why U.S. Automakers are such a great bunch of prats, but if I had to guess, it comes down to two things: 1) They are fundamentally unable to plan past the next quarterly report. Right there, that dooms any ability to innovate, because it removes the ability to take risks. 2) They’re too busy sucking the cock of the SUV/Big fucking car trend.

    Honda’s done this kind of long term planning before, and it’s paid off handsomely before. When you look at the history of that company, betting against them is for fools.

    What I notice about most of the Slagles of the world, (regardless of topic), is that they won’t, (unless it’s convenient for them) accept anything but the “perfect theory” and the “perfect solution”, put forth by the “perfect person”. When you point out that someone like Slagle is *highly* unqualified to be the “perfect person” to rebut the evidence that global warming research has marshaled, then the dodging begins.

    I’m not qualified to debate science point, so I don’t. But when I hear them blathering on about how Gore should be using “technology to replace being there in person”, I piss myself laughing at the utter ignorance this shows as to the reality of global communications and how the technology they’re pushing works. Shit, I can’t get reliable cell service in 100% of the US, or even wired high-speed access in 100% of the U.S., yet somehow, there’s this magical network that will allow Al to, with 100% interactivity with the audience, video conference to a room with a few hundred people in it.

    Ironically, I find people are MORE intimidated by practical application of computer and communications theory than they are by truly complex issues such as climate science, (and I worked for a weather science company, I have more than a passing acquaintance with how long research and modeling in that area takes. Ever set up an email system to pass multi-gigabyte data set attachments? I have. Fun times. That’s from almost ten years ago. I imagine the data sizes have grown rather a lot since then.), which is, when you think about it, hilarious. They’ll argue (incorrectly and poorly) with scientists all day long and think they’re right, yet any IT person can convince them of any damned fool thing we want, because “computers and teh intarwebs are harrrrrd”. That’s what passes through the brainpans of the Slagleites here.

    morons.

  122. #122 tonyl
    November 6, 2007

    Tim stated:“The federal government spent nearly $2 billion to support climate change science programs in FY 2004″

    http://www.marshall.org/article.php?id=289

    Get that? Two BILLION

    And that’s just for research supporting climate change. By comparison, the “Denial” Industry is a Mom and Pop operation.

    Wow, either you really need to work on your reading comprehension, or you are being blatantly dishonest! The two billion is to support climate change science programs, not to fund science programs that support climate change. (note that those two phases have completely different meanings.) That money is available for studying the basic science of climate change, not for political advocacy. As I often say, the data is what the data is. It’s very common for data to show the opposite of what you expect. That often leads to very popular papers and additional research programs. If the data didn’t support global warming, it would show up in some of these grants that are being supported with that funding.

  123. #123 Robin Levett
    November 7, 2007

    Bengt:

    I got most of my skepticism from a book called the Skeptical Environmentalist, which I read a few years ago.

    Well, there’s your problem. Lomborg got reamed for the inaccuracies and misrepresentations in that book; the quotemining and use of secondary sources was almost creationist. The Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty acquitted him of dishonesty solely because there was insufficient evidence that he knew what he was talking about; when Lomborg appealed his acquittal (!) the Ministry referred it back on four grounds, the major ones of which were that (i) the DCSD hadn’t established that the book was a scientific publication within their jurisdiction and (ii) the DCSD had judged the work by accepted standards of honesty in the physical sciences, and different standards might apply in the social sciences such as economics.

    Perhaps you might like to apply your skepticism to Lomborg?

    As for whether correlation equals causation – ’tain’t the issue here. We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is responsible for a significant part of the greenhouse effect (of c30K) that makes life possible on the Earth. We know (from the C12/C13 ratios)that we’ve taken CO2 levels from roughly 280ppm to 380ppm; but the scary thing about that is that we know how much fossil fuel we’ve burnt, and only half of it shows up in the atmosphere -I’ll come back to that. We know that increasing CO2 levels will, all other things being equal, lead to increases in atmospheric temperatures. – and we’ve measured those rises We know that increases in atmospheric temperatures will lead to warmer oceans and hence sea-level rise (since warm water expands) – which is being measured. It will also lead to ice-melting – you can do that experiment yourself by switching your freezer off – or even just leaving the door open – and seeing what happens to the food inside it. That will also lead to sea-level rise – the uncertainty referred to by the IPCC about this component of sea-level rise in the FAR was that we don’t know enough about the physics of ice-flow etc to predict exactly when the Greenland and West Antarctic ice-sheets will melt – but we do know from the measurements we have taken and the science we do know that unless we take action to curb CO2 emissions temperatures will rise sufficiently to melt those ice-sheets.

    That’s not reliance on correlation – there are mechanisms, and causation, all over the place.

    I referred to the scary thing being that we can only see half of the fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere; we believe that the remainder has been absorbed by the ocean (Henry’s law applying); we can see the oceans’ acidity increasing as a result. The problem here is that absorption of gases by the ocean is temperature-dependent; increase the temperature and the water’s capacity reduces. We are currently relying upon the fact that the ocean isn’t CO2 saturated; but when ocean temperatures rise sufficiently (and we’re not talking about much of a rise) the CO2 that we put in there will come bubbling out again – and that’s a problem…

    Colonel Hogan cites the water vapour canard; there is a very good reason why climatologists consider water vapour to be a feedback and not a forcing – it’s called rain. While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, it will reach an equilibrium at any given temperature and rain out if you try to pump more in. Use CO2 to trap more heat in the atmosphere, however, and you will increase the atmosphere’s ability to hold water vapour; uptake of which will lead to another increase in temperature until a new equilibrium is reached.

    Disclaimer – I’m not a scientist but an interested layman.

  124. #124 Andrew Dodds
    November 7, 2007

    Tim –

    I really don’t know what the comparison is with supernovas and metorite impacts. It boils down to this:

    (a) On our current path, a warming of 2K or more is a virtual certainty.

    (b) The last time temperatures were that high, sea levels were indeed around 20 feet higher

    (c) The historical recors shows evidence of this sort of change happening within a century or two.

    Put these points together and you may not get a certainty of disaster due to rapid sea level rise.. but it’s not something you’d want to find out by experiment.

  125. #125 trrll
    November 7, 2007

    But when Scientists cannot even offer a guess as to when the oceans are going to rise twenty feet, or the probability of it happening in our lifetimes, it is not Science.

    It is Faith.

    That’s certainly an odd notion of faith. Faith characteristically deals in certainty. Acknowledging the limits of current knowledge is far more characteristic of science. If AGW wanted to push their point of view, it would obviously be more compelling if they could offer a definite date or probability, but instead they have chosen to go with honesty, and forthrightly acknowledge the limits of current science when dealing with a situation where there is really no experience. Nobody knows why the ice caps are melting faster than theory predicts. Is this indicative of a major departure from theory that will lead to the ocean rising by feet within our lifetimes? Or is it a minor deviation that will subside? Nobody knows.

  126. #126 Orac
    November 7, 2007

    But when Scientists cannot even offer a guess as to when the oceans are going to rise twenty feet, or the probability of it happening in our lifetimes, it is not Science.

    It is Faith.

    Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim…

    That truly has to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard you say or seen you write since our friendly disagreement began.

    Really.

    I mean, creationists say the same sorts of things, fer cryin’ out loud, as do all manner of pseudoscientists. You don’t really want to sound like a creationist, do you?

    My jaw dropped in astonishment when I saw your comment, because, believe it or not, I really did think you were better than that, that you knew much more about science, and that you were much more intelligent than that. I really couldn’t believe you would publicly say something that idiotic.

    To give you the benefit of the doubt and allow me to work a Pink Floyd reference in, I’ll chalk it up to a momentary lapse of reason.

    At the very least, your statement demonstrates to me that, your protestations otherwise notwithstanding, you truly do not understand how science works. “trll” is correct; faith deals with certainty. If AGW were a matter of faith, the uncertainties wouldn’t be acknowledged. Oh, I know, you’ll say that they aren’t acknowledging them, but that’s just not true. Even Al Gore, who sometimes goes overboard, acknowledges the uncertainty.

    As for your analogies, they’re nothing but red herrings. Early on in astronomy, how long it would be before the sun went supernova was uncertain as well–or even that it would go supernova. As more science is done, the predictive power of the science increases and the uncertainty decreases, but the predictive power is never 100%, nor does uncertainty in its predictions ever fall to zero. It’s rather amusing, in fact, that you would choose that example. After all, we’ll all long dead when the sun goes supernova; yet you accept the “scientific consensus” that it will in a certain time frame. In contrast, the effects of AGW are starting to be observable within a single lifetime; yet you can’t accept the scientific consensus on that.

  127. #127 Lene Johansen
    November 12, 2007

    I thought Tim Slagle was right on in his routine, both his critique of the brevity of scientific consensus, and on ridiculing the alarmism of the global warming movement. He is hilarious in my eyes, and I have a hard time criticizing his scientific acumen, to the extent that is relevant for his stick.

    I do not think that the argument between the two of you are based on disagreement on the science, although I think you did brush off the IPCC report Slagle refers to a bit easy in your July 11 post. The main problem is that we use science to justify a course of action in the climate change debate, and science is quantitative, not normative. Thus, we have politicized science. This is a grave disservice to science, and Seed’s Chris Mooney has leverage apt critique of this current tendency in public policy.

    I have a hard time understanding what your actual critique of Slagle’s scientific argument is, although criticizing a comedian for ridiculing people is like criticizing the leopard for its spots. Comedians do it every day, including the ever popular Daily Show.

    If your beef is his 20 feet v. 23 inches, I suggest you read the scientific part of the IPCC report, and I will be more than happy helping you find the actual citation. The scientific part (not the summary for public policy wonks) is as close to scientific consensus on this issue as all sides in the climate change debate can agree on.

  128. #128 Orac
    November 12, 2007

    Thanks for the offer, but I’ve already read the relevant parts of the IPCC report; I don’t need your kind help in finding the relevant section. In case you happen to need help, Tim Lambert is more than happy to give it to you.

    As far as I can tell, Tim (Slagle, not Lambert) never read the original document until after it was pointed out to him how much he had misrepresented it and I provided him a link to the actual report, apparently having gotten that criticism of Gore from a badly written NYT editorial.

    If your understanding of science is such that you don’t find a problem with Tim’s routine, then I probably can’t help you. I mean, come on. He can’t (or won’t) even distinguish between changes in scientific nomenclature (the “Pluto isn’t a planet anymore” bit) and substantive changes in scientific consensus.

    Besides, if you look at what I actually wrote in my original critique, you’ll find that I’m not a doe-eyed Al Gore fan. Here‘s where I mentioned why I critiqued his comedy routine:

    The other reason I mentioned these attacks is because bad arguments are bad arguments regardless of the validity of what they are attacking. Even if global warming is, in fact, a “swindle,” as some self-styled skeptics have labeled it, these would still be bad arguments and logical fallacies. (Given that one of the recurring themes of Slagle’s comedy is how politicians twist science to their own purposes, I find it particularly ironic that he seems oblivious that he’s serving up even worse arguments as entertainment.) That the scientific consensus overwhelmingly favors the contention that global warming is indeed due to a significant degree to human activity is not controversial in strictly scientific terms. The areas where controversy remains are over how much the earth is warming, how much of it is due to human activity, and whether and how much decreasing CO2 emissions would slow or reverse it, not whether anthropogenic global warming is happening. I also point out that there are two questions here, the scientific question (again, “Is anthropogenic global warming a reality?” “How much is caused by human activity?” “How fast is it happening?” “Can reducing CO2 slow or reverse the process?”) and the political question (“What policy changes can we or should we institute based on the science?”) Global warming “skeptics” often conflate the two. I will also say that I am somewhat sympathetic to the view that global warming represents a “crisis” may be overplayed. Even so, I accept the scientific consensus on this issue, and my take on it is much like Ed Brayton’s, who happens to be a libertarian as well.

  129. #129 Lene Johansen
    November 13, 2007

    Hey Orac,

    Thanks for your comments, but if this is about how he misrepresents changes in scientific nomenclature, this argument between the two of you is a bit out of proportions.

    He is not a scientist, or a science writer. He is an entertainer. A member of the audience need to have the context of the change in nomenclature to see the funny thing about the change in the number of planets, otherwise Slagle would not be funny. You should actually see the blank face of my mother in law, who missed a lot of the references to find this funny, and she was not amused by the stick either. (Although she is Jewish and finds it quite amusing that her Norwegian daughter in law use Yiddish words).

    So, I am still a bit flabbergasted about what this whole conflict is all about, but that is my two cents worth anyway. We would do a whole lot better if we stopped discussing people, and started discussing issues, the discourse is cleaner that way.

  130. #130 Orac
    November 13, 2007

    So, I am still a bit flabbergasted about what this whole conflict is all about, but that is my two cents worth anyway. We would do a whole lot better if we stopped discussing people, and started discussing issues, the discourse is cleaner that way.

    Strawman. It isn’t about Tim; it’s about what he said and his behavior. Later, it morphed into being about his whole scientific outlook, which, if you peruse his blog you’ll see as being just as off base as his six minute routine.

    That you would remain flabbergasted about how ridiculous Tim’s misrepresentation of science in pursuit of either a punchline or a political point is something I find worrisome in a science writer.

  131. #131 Lene Johansen
    November 16, 2007

    Orac, you keep criticizing Slagle for ad hominem attacks, and you just made two of them.

    That I am a science writer does not mean that I am devoid of humor, or that I cannot appreciate good craftsmanship in creating a narrative that conveys the point to its intended audience. I ought to know quite a bit about narratives to be good at what I do.

    Again, you have yet to point out where Slagle is misrepresenting facts, you just disagree with his form of delivery. It is a waste of time to be mad at a comedian for being a comedian. Let me know if you want to discuss the science.

  132. #132 Orac
    November 16, 2007

    Oh, please. Give me a break. I’ve pointed out ad nauseum where Tim gets the science wrong and is misrepresenting the facts:

    The perpetuation of bad arguments
    Orac, Killer of Buzz

    (You might in particular like the list of links included in the second post, which are more general refutations of the complaints of AGW “skeptics” that do not focus on Tim.)

    By the way, it’s not an ad hominem (really, it’s not) attack to criticize something a person writes if the reasons for the criticism and why the person is wrong are laid out.

  133. #133 El Arntson
    November 20, 2007

    Wow a lot of people seem to miss the point that he is a comedian. A funny comedian. Comedy is all about poking holes in pretentious balloons. And there are few out there more pretentious than Scientists and global warming activists. Take Slagle’s advice, get laid and have some fun.

    El Arntson
    Comedian

  134. #134 Robster, FCD
    November 20, 2007

    Arntson,

    You probably know the response to heckling, I don’t come to your job and tell you how to flip the burgers… Tim came to our field of expertise, tried to tell us how science should be done (very unscientifically), and when corrected, whined about it. There is a lot of good comedy about science, just not in that routine.

    Maybe Tim has a good overall act, but this one isn’t part of it.

  135. #135 El Arntson
    November 21, 2007

    Actually I prefer “I don’t come to the back alley and knock the dick out of your mouth”, but then I’m dirtier than Tim. I guess I don’t think he came to your field of expertise. He did a comedy show and Orec blogged about it, he didn’t post it here Orec did. He has certainly found some dissenting voices in the scientific community, which would seem to show that the science is certainly not indisputable even by others with scientific training.

    As for your opinion of his routine I have seen that bit kill many times, comedy is rarely funny to those who are really attached to a topic.

  136. #136 Orac
    November 21, 2007

    I can tell you that, on that night, in Chicago, that bit didn’t kill. Indeed, that night the momentum of Tim’s show, which had been building pretty nicely up until he started the Al Gore/global warming/dodgeball routine, clearly came to a screeching halt. It didn’t recover until well after he had moved on from that routine.

    Maybe Chicagoans have better sense than audiences in other parts of the country.

    As for blogging about it, after I did, Tim invaded the comments here, which is fine, except that the assiduous schooling by my readers about his errors in fact and science failed to stick in the least. He then every so often tweaked me from his own blog, which I ignored, more or less, until he posted a video of his routine, which gave me an idea. Why not show the video and let my readers decide if I was off base in my criticism?

    Oh, and who are these “dissenting voices” in the scientific community? They’re rarely climate scientists who actually do research about..you know…actual climate change.

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