Pharyngula

Long time readers will know how fond I am of the Index to Creationist Claims, a long list of common creationist arguments linked to short, pithy rebuttals with references. Now the gang at Gristmill have done the same thing for climate change, with a How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic page containing a list of common global warming denialists claims linked to blog entries that address the criticism. This should be handy!

One weird thing, though, is that since the answers are blog entries, people can actually comment on them…and of course, the denialists are out in force. It’s useful to see that the accusations aren’t straw men at all, because there are people actively arguing them right there.

Comments

  1. #1 Mark Plus
    May 31, 2007

    I wonder how many global warming denialists think that humanity will exert complete dominion over Earth some day, like an advanced civilization from a science fiction story, so that we’ll have the abilty to control the weather & climate. In that event you’d think they’d want to thank the climate change scientists for discovering one of the climate control buttons.

  2. #2 Dunc
    May 31, 2007

    I wonder how many global warming denialists think that humanity will exert complete dominion over Earth some day

    Many of them seem to think that already… Witness the recent vogue for proposing ludicrous geo-engineering schemes to deal with the problem which doesn’t exist, isn’t our fault, is actually a good thing, and which we can’t do anything about without destroying the economy. Because obviously our knowledge of climateology is far too crude to even identify the major forcings in opertation at the moment, but is perfectly good enough to enable us to re-engineer the entire system to suit our wishes.

    Also note that while detailed numerical models of complex phenomina based on hard observational science are inherently unreliable, simple economic models based on the hand-waving assertions of 18th century aristoracts are perfect.

    Hmmm… Still need to get the snark quotient up a bit… 😉

  3. #3 Who Cares
    May 31, 2007

    Thanks for the page. Just happened that one of the people I work with said something about climate change not being the result of human action. This should give me decent ammunition to get him to think a bit more about it (doubt my debating skill are good enough to do more).

  4. #4 Mike
    May 31, 2007

    New Scientist have just produced a similar special:

    http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462

  5. #5 Carlie
    May 31, 2007

    Just this morning on NPR I heard a NASA spokesperson trying to carefully dance around the idea of climate change, and he actually made the argument that even though the earth is warming up, who says that this climate is optimal and who are we to decide that the climate has to stay this way for future generations, because they might want something different?

    Thank goodness I was already pulling into my (almost empty) parking lot, or I might have wrecked the car.

  6. #6 wÒÓ?
    May 31, 2007
  7. #7 wÒÓ?
    May 31, 2007
  8. #8 Nerull
    May 31, 2007

    That wasn’t a spokesperson, that was NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

  9. #9 Bronze Dog
    May 31, 2007

    Ignore the immature troll stealing my name. Or roast him. I don’t care. Just make sure whatever you do is pleasant.

  10. #10 Dave Eaton
    May 31, 2007

    I am not a AGW denialist. I need to state this up front because I usually get mistaken for one when I point out that no political mechanism exists to mitigate AGWs effects.

    Specifically, the imposition of any measure that is going to cause serious economic pain (which I suspect will be necessary if one is to stave off AGW’s effects) gives an automatic opening to a rival party to make hay by offering to repeal it.

    My prediction- climate change denialism will become more fashionable the more is done to confront climate change. People are great rationalizers. When the money comes from their pocket, the data will suddenly be less clear. I suspect that the underlying science has the most acceptance and support it will ever get at this point now, before anything gets done. It isn’t about the science, anyway, it’s a left/right proxy fight. Once someone pays, sides will shift, and political actors will look for was to externalize the costs. Because they care, but only about getting elected again and again and again.

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I am bitter, cynical, and slightly misanthropic.

  11. #11 K
    May 31, 2007

    Not ANOTHER global warming argument. I’ve been hearing about it since the 70s, recently someone said that we only have 5 years to do something to stop it.
    No one (governments) is doing anything and no one plans on doing anything except talk until their term of office is over and it’s no longer their problem, let’s just move on. The planet is going to get hotter, it’s too late. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

  12. #12 Fatboy
    May 31, 2007

    Here’s the appropriate NPR page concerning Michael Griffin.

    I blogged about it already myself. I can’t believe that someone like that is the head of a supposedly scientific administration. The arrogance comment really got me. That’s like like someone going around and intentionally starting forest fires, and then when the firefighters show up, he calls them arrogant for assuming that potential future residents might not want trees in their back yard.

  13. #13 Jesus Christ
    May 31, 2007

    Bjorn Lomborg

  14. #14 David Marjanovi?
    May 31, 2007

    I can’t believe that someone like that is the head of a supposedly scientific administration.

    That’s because you still belong to the reality-based community. “But we’re an empire now. We make our own reality.”

  15. #15 David Marjanovi?
    May 31, 2007

    I can’t believe that someone like that is the head of a supposedly scientific administration.

    That’s because you still belong to the reality-based community. “But we’re an empire now. We make our own reality.”

  16. #16 mark
    May 31, 2007

    I was surprised that in the public radio interview with Griffin, no one mentioned the International Space Station. Why not tow that to the Moon?

    Also, no one mentioned the Cassini unmanned spacecraft that explored Saturn’s Titan, and the relevance of some of its data to biogenesis.

  17. #17 Carlie
    May 31, 2007

    Thanks, Nerull. I couldn’t remember his name. Weirdly enough, when I got in the car to come home after work I heard THE SAME STATEMENT by him on ATC. Turned out that the NPR people were apparently just as shocked as I was at his statement about usbeing so “arrogant” as to presume to know what future generations would want for their climate, so they made it a segment in the afternoon too and brought in a climatologist to comment on the statement. He did a good job of it, too – said that yes, there may be winners if the earth warms up, but there will also be losers, and the faster it happens the more losers there will be.

  18. #18 Richard Ray
    May 31, 2007

    One should be careful about comparing the climate problem with the evolution/creationism problem. They’re not in the same league. Only fools deny the massive evidence in support of evolutionary changes, or the massive evidence for an old Earth. In contrast, determining what is happening to our climate and why is much more difficult and a lot murkier. And figuring out what to do about it, if anything, is even murkier.

    Some of the Gristmill arguments are not as sound as one might like. Proxy-based temperature reconstructions are very difficult to make and can be sensitive to data-processing issues (e.g. over smoothing of older data) and many other problems. Past warming events are not well understood — e.g., orbital causes vs geochemical causes vs solar causes. Computer-based climate models still have very coarse spatial resolutions, etc., etc.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m not a “climate-change denier”. I’m just pointing out that these are difficult problems, whereas showing that creationism is bogus is not a difficult problem. It does not help our anti-creationism battles to conflate these two very different scientific issues.

  19. #19 The Lucifer Principle
    August 24, 2007

    If global warming theories are like evolution, than denying global warming would be creationism, yes.

    Unfortunately for the man-made global warmers (lol), their theory isn’t anything like evolution.
    It’s unfalsifiable (how do you prove the climate is not influenced by man, if it isn’t?) and makes bad suppositions about earth’s climate being a static and/or classical system.

    The “index” is full of personal beliefs with no real corespondence in science. It’s like the “creation wiki” of climate science.

    For example:

    They say “Quite a few people believe that climate is a chaotic system”.
    This isn’t a belief; Is it complex? It is. Is it non-linear? It is.

    They say “But it is not chaotic on anything approaching the time scales of which humans need to be mindful”
    That’s just a lie; even an entry-level book like “Marion & Thornton, Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems” has info on chaotic systems: page 144, chapter 4, Nonlinear Oscillations and Chaos.

    1. Classical chaotic systems are deterministic, and therefore they’re predictable in principle. In reality you need to know the initial state with exceptional precision, so that “in principle” is nullified.

    2. Real chaotic systems are not classical. Quantum mechanics forbids knowing the initial state with any high enough precision so they’re not predictable even “in principle”.

    Global average temperature would only be relevant for static systems, but the earth is not a static system.
    Here’s how average temperature evolved over time:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/60/Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1b/65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    Does that look predictable to you? I see serious fluctuations, enough to show that the system is unpredictable.

    This guy claims he experimetally checked what the doomsdaylovers said: http://www.john-daly.com/artifact.htm
    and the experiment doesn’t come out like their pseudotheory predicted.
    Between nonsense and experimental evidence, I’d go with the latter 🙂

  20. #20 guthrie
    August 24, 2007

    Pardon? Your using a graph with a minimum scale of 500,000 years to criticise research and projections about the next 100 years? Where do you think you learnt your science?

  21. #21 The Lucifer Principle
    August 24, 2007

    Re-read the whole argument and address the fact they’re basing their theories on false suppositions about what kind of system earth’s climate is. That was the main point.

  22. #22 The Lucifer Principle
    August 24, 2007

    Here’s another thing: has any MmGWt fan (man made global warming theory) criticised the Al Gore documentary that is sheer fearmongering?

    An Inconvinient Truth is no different from “What the **** do we know” and “The truth behind the gates of Auschwitz”.
    All of them take some real data, mix it with their own oppinions and end up presenting something false to the public.

  23. #23 Orson
    November 10, 2007

    So – people here (Carlie, Dune, Who Cares, etc) ARE SAYING we now have an optimal climate?

    Personally, I prefer the Roman Optimum. Think about it: Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” was a great motion picture. We could enjoy a great time on earth again if we could have that climate again. Great times in the past correlate with great motion pictures. Let’s have both – again!

    Or won’t you defend our time as having THE GREATEST CLIMATE EVER?

  24. #24 guthrie
    December 21, 2007

    How annoying. I forgot to come back and point out that this lucifers principle chap has not addressed my critiscism in any meaningful or valid way.

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