Pharyngula

Training young denialists

Does everyone here listen to NPR or something? Not only have I been hearing all about the Expelled ads running, which is bad enough, but apparently in their attempts to sidle towards the lunatic side of the political spectrum, this morning they also ran a story about a pretentious 16 year old climate skeptic. Woo hoo, teenager thinks she knows more than scientific experts … now that is news. I took a look; I’m unimpressed, even considering her age. Parroting right-wing thinktanks is not evidence of independent, skeptical thought, I’m afraid.

Fortunately, James Hrynyshyn and Janet Stemwedel dug a little deeper. Both point out that the student’s exercise in critical thinking is a little shallow and a little selective. But of course shallow and selective is precisely what one wants in a young person being groomed to fit into the right wing ideology machine — someone just smart enough to snipe at the edges of the science, but not good enough to actually comprehend it.

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    April 15, 2008

    So she can repeat what she’s told.

    I’m always more impressed when magpies and parrots do it, frankly.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  2. #2 J
    April 15, 2008

    I’m giving the money I would have donated to NPR to the NCSE. Hopefully the thirty pieces of silver they got from Expelled will tide them over.

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    I’m always more impressed when magpies and parrots do it, frankly.

    actually, if the work done with Alex the African Grey was at all representative, parrots can do quite a bit more than, uh, “parrot”.

    I never did find out if they decided to continue the work with another parrot, unfortunately.

    anyone know?

  4. #4 Ben
    April 15, 2008

    To my surprise, there was an Expelled commercial that ran last night during The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Haven’t heard any radio ads just yet.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    of the “climate skepchick”:

    She does not see herself as an environmentalist, though. She says that makes her think of hippies.

    whenever I see the word “hippie” associated with environmentalist by a high school student, I KNOW their parents are demented fuckwits.

    independent thinker?

    I think not.

    apple/tree

  6. #6 daenku32
    April 15, 2008

    When they say “natural cycle”, exactly which natural mechanism are they attributing it? I think that is the main similarity between the GW skeptic crowd and the ID movement. The GW skeptic crowd refuses to submit the source of their “natural cycle” to scientific review, such as the ID movement refuses to submit the ‘creator’ to scientific review.

  7. #7 Lelouch
    April 15, 2008

    Those expelled ads make me sick.

    I was watching a show on Jupiter and future space missions on the Science Channel. It was really entertaining until the first commercial break…then i heard that annoying voice of Ben and I wanted to vomit. How could the freakin science channel plug expelled?

  8. #8 me
    April 15, 2008

    I heard it this morning getting ready for work.

    The kid sounded pretty much exactly like you’d expect a typical smug, self-possessed 16 year old know-it-all to sound.

    Just like my own daughter

  9. #9 thrashbluegrass
    April 15, 2008

    I listened to that on my drive to work in DC this morning; all I heard was yet another easily-swayed mind falling for the sophistry of the climate change denialists (which is, frankly, on par with the sophistry of evolution denialists; the same insistence on picking apart percieved inconsistencies while not proferring a falsifiable hypothesis themselves).

    I had to shut it off at one point due to the insular smugness that she and her stepfather were displaying.

  10. #10 scoop
    April 15, 2008

    The Enlightening Ramray Bhat: Origin Of Body Plans
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0804/S00213.htm

  11. #11 Jonathon
    April 15, 2008

    I saw one of the “Expelled” ads on the Reelz network during a re-run of “The Critic”. Quite frankly, I was appalled. Not so much that they ran the ad – they are, after all, a commercial enterprise and run ads for people who pay for them – but what I was most concerned about was the dishonest way in which the film was promoted.

    The scenario in the ad was Ben Stein sitting in the back of a classroom during a discussion of evolution. He asks “how did life begin?” (not sure of the exact quote, but that was the gist of it) and then finds himself sitting outside the principal’s office, presumably for questioning evolution.

    Well, that isn’t really an honest portrayal of the film insofar as I can tell based on the many reviews I have read. Clearly they are trying to present the film as a regular documentary instead of the propaganda that it is, but can’t they at least be honest about the content of the film?

  12. #12 Reginald Selkirk
    April 15, 2008

    Here’s another youngster who knows everything:
    Liberals Are Annoying

  13. #13 Steve_C
    April 15, 2008

    It was maddening… SHE ANALYZED THE DATA AND DECIDED IT DIDN’T ADD UP… well I guess we should stop worrying.

    I mean if a 16 year old can figure it out, she must be right.

    Uhg.

  14. #14 MikeK
    April 15, 2008

    I heard it as well, and was not surprised that her “stay-at-home step-dad” was reported to also be highly “skeptical” of global warming. Clearly, he must at least be a trained climatologist, dontcha know.

  15. #15 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    How could the freakin science channel plug expelled?

    It could have to do with local re-broadcasting companies deciding to have their percentage of the advertising include such things. Moreover, it appears often to be the case that those who control the advertising for a given site/channel don’t really pay much attention to what goes through rotation.

    you will often see rather bizarre banner ads cycle through science blogs, for example.

    I’m certainly not positive, but my first response is to not think that there is an oversight committee that gets paid to review the content of all advertisers that might rotate through every place the Science channel gets broadcast.

    that said, I’m sure if enough of a stink was raised, someone would end up reviewing whether or not there would be an impact on the popularity of the channel itself of a given round of advertising.

    there is also something tickling the back of my skull about there having to be good reason to refuse an advertiser for a give television channel, beyond merely whim.

    again, totally not sure about that, just something that rings a bell.

  16. #16 Glen Davidson
    April 15, 2008

    actually, if the work done with Alex the African Grey was at all representative, parrots can do quite a bit more than, uh, “parrot”.

    That was a cool bird.

    I liked his word (I suppose his trainer’s, originally) for triangle, “three-corner” in that “calling all cars” voice.

    Kristen can probably do all of that, though.

    In a sense, Alex and Koko seem preferable to the various denialists, though, because they don’t manage the anti-knowledge positions of Kristen and, say, Ben Stein. Maybe they would if they could, but, in any event, Alex never put forth any effort to make human children stupid.

    I’ll take Alex over Kristen or Ben any day, then.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  17. #17 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    I’ll take Alex over Kristen or Ben any day, then.

    ditto.

    I tried to inquire after Alex’s demise as to whether the work would continue with another bird over on the neurophys blog (she used to work with the researcher that set up the experiments with Alex), but never got a clear answer.

    I do hope they plan to reproduce the work, with many more samples.

  18. #18 Pablo
    April 15, 2008

    Her parents have set up the “Kristen Byrnes Science Foundation” to help raise funds to “allow Kristen to continue studying and promoting quality climate science.”

    I think this statement tells me everything I need to know. Yeah, let’s use it to “raise funds.”

    Of course, exactly how much “climate science” has she actually studied? Got news for people, “studying climate science” does NOT consist of quote-mining and re-interpreting other people’s data. Real climate scientists, the ones who are truly studying the climate, are in the field making measurements and creating new data that help us get a better understanding of what is happening.

    The comment about “The University of Google” nails it. People think that “research” means looking something up on the web.

  19. #19 Ryan F Stello
    April 15, 2008

    NPR seems stuck in the mold of, well if X% of the general public believes something, by golly, we should give them a voice.

    Morons.

  20. #20 Bill Anderson
    April 15, 2008

    PZ, I loved your last sentence. I’d like to extract it and save it for posterity, with full credit to you, of course, if you don’t mind.

  21. #21 Carlie
    April 15, 2008

    I heard part of that, and couldn’t believe it. I thought somehow I must have missed the part where they explained how she wasn’t a good example. I emailed NPR my displeasure, for what that’s worth. Didn’t they just come under new leadership recently? Worrying, it is.

  22. #22 Carlie
    April 15, 2008

    I saw one of the “Expelled” ads on the Reelz network during a re-run of “The Critic”.

    Wait, there’s a station that’s re-running The Critic? Dang, how I want that channel. [pouts]

  23. #23 the amoeba
    April 15, 2008

    Hell, I saw an ad for Expelled on the “Weather Underground” site! I thought they were real…

    But it’s the media, and the media’s all about the money. Like the local NPR beggar who asked whether it was right and proper for anyone who hadn’t pledged to be listening. Immediately after Morning Edition gave five minutes of free advertising to IKEA and its seventh-richest-man-in-the-world CEO.

    NPR, these days, reminds me of the Emcee (Joel Gray’s character) in Cabaret, romancing the gorilla before an audience of brownshirts.

  24. #24 Turdus
    April 15, 2008

    I wonder how much of what is written on her website comes from her and how much comes from her step-father? This is news? A child raised by some right wing loon denies climate change! What next, cats give birth to puppies?

  25. #25 emily
    April 15, 2008

    Even when Alex was still alive Pepperberg had several other birds she was working with. This can be seen in her published work.

  26. #26 Hugh
    April 15, 2008

    it doesn’t matter how good your grades are, you’re still a dumbshit 16-year-old who doesn’t know shit about shit.

  27. #27 junk science
    April 15, 2008

    whenever I see the word “hippie” associated with environmentalist by a high school student, I KNOW their parents are demented fuckwits.

    Not necessarily. I’ve known intelligent, liberal parents who have managed to raise arrogant, idiotic brats who parrot conservative talking points that they couldn’t have picked up at home. Conservatism will always have its charms for entitled morons who want to feel smart without having to know anything, whatever their parents tried to do for them.

  28. #28 Spero Melior
    April 15, 2008

    I haven’t heard anything from Expelled on our local NPR affiliate, but unfortunately ads are running on our local Air America affiliate. They’re deceptive enough to lure in some of the unwary, I’m afraid.

  29. #29 peter garayt
    April 15, 2008

    What #5 said
    with added knashing of teeth.
    I’ve heard this hippie/environment
    (or anything liberal) comparison before.
    As far as I recall most would have made better repuglicans under the hair and beads, opportunistic and selfish.
    I was there, she wasn’t.
    Maybe one of the dirty hippies peed on her parents lawn.

  30. #30 Mike
    April 15, 2008

    daenku32 said:

    “When they say “natural cycle”, exactly which natural mechanism are they attributing it? I think that is the main similarity between the GW skeptic crowd and the ID movement. The GW skeptic crowd refuses to submit the source of their “natural cycle” to scientific review, such as the ID movement refuses to submit the ‘creator’ to scientific review.”

    The claim being targeted is that humans are causing global warming. The onus is on science to prove that assertion. She doesn’t have to prove an alternative theory is true to do that.

    As for the “natural cycle” point you made, it’s rather weak. Science has shown that climates have shifted in the past. I’m not saying that in any way implies the current shift is natural, but rather that you immediate dismissal is rash at best.

  31. #31 Dave Munger
    April 15, 2008

    My daughter was surprised to learn that some of her classmates were thinking of doing “research papers” showing why evolution was false. One of them even showed her an anti-evolution screed “proving” humans couldn’t have shared a common ancestor with other primates.

    She was so amused by this that she xeroxed a few pages from her classmate’s book. The “proof”? Piltdown Man was a hoax, therefore all evidence for human evolution must be false!

    It was obvious to her that this was quite insufficient evidence. She just thought it was funny.

  32. #32 tsg
    April 15, 2008

    Let them air the Expelled commercials. The more they talk, the worse they look.

  33. #33 Ryan F Stello
    April 15, 2008

    Just picking some nits, but:

    I’m not saying that in any way implies the current shift is natural, but rather that you immediate dismissal is rash at best.

    Sometimes rash dismissal is warranted, it’s not like people haven’t heard the statements before.

  34. #34 Ian
    April 15, 2008

    It’s like TU24.org all over again. Except denialist instead of alarmist.

  35. #35 Brownian, OM
    April 15, 2008

    There are good reasons we don’t let 16-year-olds vote.

  36. #36 Jyotsana
    April 15, 2008

    “Expelled” ads are on my Air America affiliate, too. They make me want to tear my hair out! The ads are promoting the movie as a free speech issue. There’s none of that “How did life begin” like in the television ads. Instead they don’t mention the premise of the movie at all, only that “it’s the movie Big Science doesn’t want you to see” because “some scientists” are supposedly having their freedom of speech suppressed.

  37. #37 Alex
    April 15, 2008

    Congratulations Kristin, way to be a complete tool for denialists!

  38. #38 Rebecca Watson
    April 15, 2008

    of the “climate skepchick”:

    Ugh! Oh, god, that made me cringe. Please don’t!

    I heard the story on NPR this morning and couldn’t stop groaning. From the moment the reporter spoke of her “stay-at-home step-dad” who happens to also believe the exact same tripe, I think we all knew what the deal was. Pathetic attempt at reporting, that’s for sure.

  39. #39 Rebecca Watson
    April 15, 2008

    I heard it as well, and was not surprised that her “stay-at-home step-dad” was reported to also be highly “skeptical” of global warming. Clearly, he must at least be a trained climatologist, dontcha know.

    Posted by: MikeK | April 15, 2008 4:11 PM

    Ah. And I see we are soul mates, MikeK.

  40. #40 Christopher Heard
    April 15, 2008

    From J (comment #2): “I’m giving the money I would have donated to NPR to the NCSE. Hopefully the thirty pieces of silver they got from Expelled will tide them over.”

    In NPR’s defense, NPR followed the interview by plugging a link on the NPR website that goes to a recent UN report, and the “outro” stressed that the UN report assigns a very high degree of responsibility for climate change to human beings. NPR didn’t let the kid’s vapid comments stand unchallenged.

  41. #41 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    Ugh! Oh, god, that made me cringe. Please don’t!

    sorry, it just fit all too well from an irony standpoint.

    :p

    how’s the blog going?

  42. #42 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    btw, Rebecca, you might want to correct this particular entry:

    Expelled Exposed website has updated- Including a video of Chris Comer, victim of Darwinism, on the front page

    Chris Comer was a victim of the religiotards, not “darwinism”.

  43. #43 Brother Phil
    April 15, 2008

    It’s interesting that on one side a “denialist” gets criticized and on the other an “alarmist” wins a Nobel prize, and neither are scientists, and both are quoting information that is spun, filtered, turned into pap and pablum and fed to the panicked masses.

  44. #44 October Mermaid
    April 15, 2008
  45. #45 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    It’s interesting that on one side a “denialist” gets criticized and on the other an “alarmist” wins a Nobel prize, and neither are scientists, and both are quoting information that is spun, filtered, turned into pap and pablum and fed to the panicked masses.

    actually, it’s not interesting seeing a strawman spun of the issue.

    it’s rather tedious and boring.

    I’d say “nice try”, but it wasn’t.

  46. #46 MikeM
    April 15, 2008

    Man, I have been waiting, patiently, for someone to bring up Alex.

    Just in case you haven’t seen this, in the March edition of Nat Geo, they have an article on animal intelligence, and they start with Alex.

    I also heard that radio segment. Blech. I checked her website as soon as I got to work. I think “smug” is the best one-word description I’ve read so far.

  47. #47 J
    April 15, 2008

    Christopher (comment #40),

    Thank you for adding that (and your excellent post on Ken miller, among other things). That’s good news, but I am still raw about those ads plastered all over NPR’s web site. They are not off the hook in my book.

  48. #48 Doug
    April 15, 2008

    A teenager with a website? OMG, someone call Myspace and tell them there’s a huge market they can potentially exploit.

  49. #49 T. B. Sheets
    April 15, 2008

    Has human activity caused the recent changes?
    ‘Climate can vary as a result of changes in forcing factors that affect the way energy is exchanged between the sun, the earth and space. These forcings can be of natural origin (e.g. volcanic dust in the atmosphere, variations in solar output and variations in the Earth’s orbit about the sun) or a result of human activity (e.g. increases in “greenhouse” gases such as carbon dioxide). Additionally, complex interactions between atmosphere, oceans and sea ice can cause climate variability, particularly on a regional scale, over a timescale of years to decades. Attributing observed changes in climate to particular changes in forcing (or to natural variability) is a difficult process that can only be accomplished by bringing together reliable observations of past and present climate with the results of experiments carried out with sophisticated models of the climate system. Attribution of Antarctic climate change is particularly difficult because of the relatively small number of instrumental climate records available from this region and the short length of the records.”

    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/bas_research/our_views/climate_change.php

  50. #50 Karey
    April 15, 2008

    Every lab I’ve ever worked in has NPR playing constantly. I haven’t heard the expelled ads yet but I’ve been getting increasingly unimpressed with the spin on their political coverage lately. Seems slightly better than most of the alternatives though.

  51. #51 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    A teenager with a website? OMG,

    SIWOTI!

  52. #52 J Daley
    April 15, 2008

    I fail to understand why the hell deniers think their position is even relevant. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that in fact global climate change is not real. Who gives a shit? Even if it were somehow true, it wouldn’t mean that pumping billions of pounds of emissions into the atmosphere is therefore benign – or, for that matter, that any other aspect of or civilization is remotely ecologically sustainable.

    Call me a hippie if you want, but if you’re going to, I want some of whatever you’re smoking.

  53. #53 Patricia C.
    April 15, 2008

    My local radio station has an ad for Expelled that features Rush Limbaugh calling the film “powerful”. The sheeple will lap the tripe up.

  54. #54 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    Call me a hippie if you want, but if you’re going to, I want some of whatever you’re smoking.

    don’t be convinced that the label is a negative connotation, and I’d be happy to share.

  55. #55 dkew
    April 15, 2008

    Yet the wingers consider NPR to have important position in the Librul Athiest Conspiracy to Ruin ‘Merica. We’re so screwed.

  56. #56 Gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Love the blog, and love the attack on idiot creationist/IDers, but I take exception with this post.

    You can’t ask people to be free-thinkers and skeptics and then attack one b/c she disagrees with your take on Global Warming, especially a teenage girl. People like you yell at idiot creationists, and I yell with you, and I do so because their shallow perspective clearly comes from a place of indoctrination and an inability to think independently.

    But something about your take on climate change screams of hypocrisy. And you can liken me to a holocaust denier (one of the most insanely offensive things I’ve ever heard given I’m half Jewish), but the data on human influence climate change so far IS inconclusive. With posts like this, you ask your readers to do the same as the creationists – to believe in the face of inconclusive evidence.

    To me, “teenager thinks she knows more than scientific experts” is short sighted and slightly immature. There are scientific experts on both sides of the issue. And frankly, if there is an idea for a movie called “Expelled” it should be about climatologists that don’t subscribe to the idea of human-influenced climate change. Their opinions aren’t based on faith or scripture, they are equally grounded in science – not some fake version of it the IDer’s try to pull. Climate change, in particular, appeals very much to our politics and personal style, which greatly shapes and filters our perspective. You should consider that before bashing a 16 year old girl tying to take a stand.

    Still a big fan of the blog though. Thanks for listening to MY rant ;).

  57. #57 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    You can’t ask people to be free-thinkers and skeptics and then attack one b/c she disagrees with your take on Global Warming,

    uh, perhaps you missed the part where we don’t think she IS a free thinker?

  58. #58 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    With posts like this, you ask your readers to do the same as the creationists – to believe in the face of inconclusive evidence.

    and that is just utter BS.

    -the evidence IS conclusive

    -and what PZ does or does not think about it isn’t the issue being expressed at all.

    two strikes in one sentence.

  59. #59 Jim
    April 15, 2008

    Mike: “The claim being targeted is that humans are causing global warming. The onus is on science to prove that assertion.”

    Carbon dioxide is a known greenhouse gas. Beginning 200 years ago humans began releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Beginning over 100 years ago records began showing an upward trend in both carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and atmosphere temperature. During this same time period there has been no natural cycle identified which could cause such a change.

    The link between human production of carbon dioxide and global warming in not just a correlation. It is a correlation with a causal link. Do you understand the difference? If A is correlated to B, AND there is a possible causal link between A and B, AND all other known causal links have been eliminated, then it is proper to assume that A caused B. It is irresponsible to reserve judgement on the supposition that some presently unknown and mysterious cause might be found in the future. Scientists have shown as good a causal link between human activities and global warming as is possible.

    “As for the “natural cycle” point you made, it’s rather weak. Science has shown that climates have shifted in the past. I’m not saying that in any way implies the current shift is natural…”

    That is the essence of denialism. Positing some unknown cause in order to deny the scientific results. Having already shown a plausible link between human activity and global warming, and having eliminated all presently known natural causes, it is not the responsibility of scientists to reserve judgement on the off chance that some unknown mechanism might be found in the future. If denialists think there is some alternative cause, they are the ones responsible for providing the data.

    Regards,
    Jim

  60. #60 Kirk
    April 15, 2008

    I find it very interesting that one of the links from her site is critical of the locations for temperature recording devices. As someone who has worked in the HVAC industry one thing strikes me as odd. They seem to have forgotten the bit in science class where heat rises (probably they were pondering the relative merits of evolution vs ID). So if a sensor is mounted right next to an AC Condenser since the airflow pulls in cool air through the side and rejects the hot air out the top, thats probably the COOLEST place they could put it. Ah, I love it when teenagers know it all. What a tool.

  61. #61 Ryan F Stello
    April 15, 2008

    Yet the wingers consider NPR to have important position in the Librul Athiest Conspiracy to Ruin ‘Merica. We’re so screwed.

    I think it’s because of that belief that NPR is making as much effort to be inclusive of those views. Even when those views are completely wrong.

  62. #62 Djur
    April 15, 2008

    Uh, Gabe, how did PZ liken you to a holocaust denier?

  63. #63 Carlie
    April 15, 2008

    Gabe, I thought of that too, but there is a difference between being skeptical of everything and being skeptical but understanding what evidence is. She’s read some things on the internet. That right there is an exercise in critical thinking, one that she probably hasn’t done. There’s the bias of the person writing the web page to worry about, there’s the validity of the data, there’s the real question of how other experts interpret data. I think that honestly, one of the most dangerous ideas that can be promulgated is the idea of being “skeptical” without any skills to do so with. That’s what I see a lot among certain fundamentalists I know – they think that they’re quite learned individuals, and they think they have looked at their religion critically and know everything about it, basically they have the absolute certainty that they have fully examined the issue, when all they’ve really done is bounce around in their own echo chamber for awhile. Snottily saying “I’ve spent a few weeks googling it and therefore my opinion is as valid as someone who’s spent their whole life studying it” isn’t simply rejecting argument from authority, it’s consciously ignoring any facts that disagree with what you subconsciously think. Being uncritically skeptical of everything is almost as stupid as being uncritically credulous of everything.

  64. #64 Hap
    April 15, 2008

    It’s nice to be asking questions, but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t actually care about or listen to the answers. Asking questions and trying to fill in as many gaps as possible in your information would seem to be the essence of skepticism – not “hearing something from your dad, finding some websites that agree with it, and proposing the synthesis as authoritative proof”. It is also a worrisome part of the Bush SOP (“I know something, I decide, I don’t need to listen anymore”) – one that has appeared often enough before to get its own aphorism (“A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing”). Not necessarily a principle to be encouraged.

    On the other hand, it often takes a while for people to learn that they and others don’t know everything and that no one is infallible – it’s possible that she may learn that later on. It’s a slight improvement over other potential role models who can through a ball really far or who look appropriately (or inappropriately) attractive in small amounts of clothing. The worst case scenario could be…Ann Coulter.

  65. #65 Orac
    April 15, 2008

    But something about your take on climate change screams of hypocrisy. And you can liken me to a holocaust denier (one of the most insanely offensive things I’ve ever heard given I’m half Jewish),

    The reverse Godwin technique. Very clever.

    It doesn’t help your argument, though.

  66. #66 jeh
    April 15, 2008

    The Alfred E. Neuman “What, me worry?” syndrome.

    She and her brood will have to live with the consequences of her call to inaction a little longer than the rest of us.

  67. #67 Jsn
    April 15, 2008

    I’m afraid this little story may be an indication that the devils are within the walls of NPR.

    I’ve noticed more “conservative friendly” stories are being aired. The possibility of inciting the rightwingers has had the requisite chilling effect on NPR’s supposed liberal bias.
    It’s sad when the most pointed commentary comes from “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me”.
    It’s too soon to sound the death knell but…

  68. #68 CJO
    April 15, 2008

    Denialism =/= Skepticism!

    I am sick to death of conventional wisdom posing as criticism. The pattern holds true for all denialists.

    Evolution: That species are static is the old convention. Evolution overturns “common sense,” which says species were created relatively recently, separately, and immutably. Evolution denialists are not skeptics.

    Climate Change: That the earth is vast, imperturbable, and its resources are functionally inexhaustible is the old convention. Understanding anthropogenic effects on global feedback systems is the result of skeptical inquiry. GW denialists are not skeptics.

    The classic case in point misunderstood by denialists desperate to claim the mantle of a famous skeptic is Galileo. New idea vs. old idea, again. Who were the denialists? The Catholic Church, you dumbasses! (I bring this up because –well, just wait.)

  69. #69 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Carlie, that’s well said. I would generally agree, but I still think that’s slightly biased and applies more to religion that ideas about science.

    Am I to believe that everyone who believes in human influenced global warming has done the necessary research, armed with a comprehensive understanding on the multitude of variables associated with climate change?

    There is a fundamental difference here. In religious terms, the creationist says god is in the gaps – “not enough evidence to support evolution, must be God then.” The atheist says, “wait for more data, but no need to sucbscribe to magical thinking.”

    In this dilemma, the people that believe in human influenced climate change say they have enough data, period. My instinct says “don’t jump to this conclusion, wait for more data.” But it’s not magical thinking vs logical thought as it is in religion. It’s how to remove your pre-existing personal and political biases, and just SEE the data.

    Isolating the variable of human Co2 emissions and correlating it with various aspects of climate (small local contained climates like cities, land mass surface climates, the oceans, the atmosphere, large areas of frozen ground – ice/snow),and somehow selecting out the confounding variables like:

    -distance a local climate is from the sea
    -ocean currents
    -volcanic activity
    -fluccuation of direction of prevailing winds
    -proximity to the equator
    -el nino
    -solar winds
    -extreme events such as droughts, flood, hurricanes, tsunami,

    is a very difficult task, and one I don’t think we’ve quite accomplished yet. Do you feel 100% sure we’ve got this nailed down? To me, that requires a certain amount of blind faith.

    Is this girl a climatologist, or a genius? Probably not. The reality is she may have republican parents that have indoctrinated her into calling it hogwash, but we don’t know that.

    I’m just disappointed at the knee jerk reaction to put this girl down.

  70. #70 Elf M. Sternberg
    April 15, 2008

    Well, of course we all listen to NPR. And sip latte’s. And drive Volvo’s (they’re boxy, but they’re good)!

    Because the alternative is to latch on to Great Nation Conservatism, you know, “All you care about is superficial shit like not starving, living a long time, and being creative and happy. Blah blah blah. But, really, what’s the point of living to 200 if all you do is enjoy yourself the whole time? I mean, don’t you want to know what it is like to kill a man? DON’T YOU WANT TO TASTE BLOOD!? Besides, virtue. Vote John McCain.”

    And we wouldn’t want any of that.

  71. #71 AgnosticTheocrat
    April 15, 2008

    Lay off the 16-year-old a bit. Very few people are completely independent in thought at the age. We all go through phases, and she is obviously pretty damn smart. My bet is that by the time she’s in her 20s she’ll have outgrown all of that and developed the critical thinking skills necessary to truly analyze the evidence.

    Unless her parents send her to Liberty U or something…

  72. #72 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    For clarity – “holocaust denier” is a common phrase used for people that don’t do the global warming handshake. By no means accusing PZ of that at all. As I’ve said, I’m a huge fan of the blog.

    I’m not even a practicing Jew, but likening to someone to being a holocaust denier for questioning the validity of science results is offensive and irresponsible. And the existence of holocaust deniers is in it of itself offensive. Really it was just a side point.

  73. #73 Citizen Z
    April 15, 2008

    But something about your take on climate change screams of hypocrisy. And you can liken me to a holocaust denier (one of the most insanely offensive things I’ve ever heard given I’m half Jewish),

    PZ, that was the most offensive thing you’ve never said. I’m contacting the Anti-Imaginary Defamation League. I can’t believe what my ears aren’t hearing right now.

  74. #74 Mark
    April 15, 2008

    I wonder if she’s fixed the graph that compared temperature since 1880 with CO2 since 800 on the same scale:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/ponder-maunder-tony-at-deltoid-points.html

  75. #75 Hap
    April 15, 2008

    Gabe – I wouldn’t have figured that scientists would have gotten into the global warming thing because all their friends were doing it – I don’t think enough scientists play well together to form a monolithic clique sufficient to the task. If climate change theories were missing any one of the factors you cite, Exxon wouldn’t have had to pay people to astroturf – the truth is a better frame for itself than any other because it can’t be refuted, and the missing causes would make human causes for climate change a whole lot more contingent then advocated. Without social forcing, there isn’t a very good way to get scientists (lots of whom might be conservative) to keep quiet about holes that large in climate change theory, and since such a social forcing is unlikely to exist, it doesn’t seem like a good assumption that global warming theories would overlook those causes.

    If you smell smoke in a movie theater, and it’s not cigarette smoke (or maybe even if it is), most people don’t wait to see if it’s a misfiring radiator, or the popcorn machine making a new flavor, or Smellovision making a comeback. They are likely to conclude that it is best to leave, because the smell of smoke makes the possibility of a fire nonnegligible (not just that a fire could happen), that a fire is the most likely cause for the observation, and that a wrong guess has a substantial chance of ending their lives.

  76. #76 Onkel Bob
    April 15, 2008

    Oh cephalopodan overlord (and others) If you were a university admissions officer, how do you evaluate this applicant? While she demonstrates an ability to gather information, she also has shown an inability to evaluate the material nor the necessary comprehension skills. Agreed, she has “wonderful” high school grades; however, these are poor indicators of future performance.
    Is she a lost cause and immune to education? Or is her intellectual curiosity admirable and in the right environment she would blossom?

  77. #77 Donalbain
    April 15, 2008

    Please, can you all stop hijacking every thread and turning it into an Expelled Thread. PZ gave you an open thread for that. please, stop boring the rest of us..

  78. #78 MikeM
    April 15, 2008

    Off-topic, and I apologize:

    Getting back to the Fundamentalist Mormons for a second…

    A very small town gets to handle all this.

    Isn’t there something we can do to help??

  79. #79 SC
    April 15, 2008

    Wow. That is infuriating. And my hackles are still up over the glowing review of Bjorn Lomborg’s book in the new issue of the Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter.

    Sorry for yet another tangentially-related link, but this reminded me of an article I saw a couple of weeks ago:

    http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/80604/

  80. #80 HeyZeusCreaseToe
    April 15, 2008

    Yes, she is a skeptic because her stepdad has prodded her to not believe in Global Warming and this is news why? Because she happens to be smart? A lot of smart teenagers happen to believe ludicrous things(ie God, Wrestling is real, Britney Spears is talented). The fact that she is rehashing all of the current anti-global warming propaganda on a sloppily made website is not indicative of anything other than the fact that NPR is trying to appear more balanced in their reporting. This is sad in my opinion.

  81. #81 Nibien
    April 15, 2008

    You know, unfortunately, I find it that high school typically disregards any building of critical thinking as it is. That with the force of an ever-present and probably indoctrinating stepfather gives this a rather horrible stench upon it.

    Rather than memorizing what a textbook says and prattling it off for a test, she goes to websites that conform to what her parents view and prattle that information off instead.

    Color me impressed.

  82. #82 Sioux Laris
    April 15, 2008

    Fuck NPR “news.” Better no news than that.

    It’s become Faux News lite,at it’s best. (Without Dan Shore, it would lack even one real news analyst.)

    I repeat, Fuck NPR “news.”

  83. #83 SomeGuy
    April 15, 2008

    Am I to believe that everyone who believes in human influenced global warming has done the necessary research, armed with a comprehensive understanding on the multitude of variables associated with climate change?

    I think that is a good point. When you think about it its really quite amazing how many pro-AGW laymen will tell the anti-AGW laymen to “shut up, the science is settled” and criticizing their lack of critical thinking skills all the while parroting – with great pride – talking points and figures filtered though the popular media. The Martians observing us must be having quite a giggle at the irony.

  84. #84 Phoca
    April 15, 2008

    “confounding variables like:

    -distance a local climate is from the sea
    -ocean currents”

    You apparently do not know what “confounding variable” means. Global temperature should include the temperature of the oceans, making distance from them pretty irrelevant, and certainly not a confounding variable. Especially when you’re comparing temperatures from the same location over time!

    “-volcanic activity
    -fluccuation of direction of prevailing winds”

    Again, winds are a feature of climate and not a confounder of global temperature. They are not by any stretch of the imagination a confounding variable. Volcanic activity is an important contributor to temperature and looking at the volcanic record can reveal significant information about shifts in temperature.

    “-proximity to the equator
    -el nino”

    Again, in no way confounding variables since they are functions of the very climate you want to measure.

    “-solar winds
    -extreme events such as droughts, flood, hurricanes, tsunami,”

    Solar winds are an important factor that should be measured, and examining them gives considerable pause to any notion that the sun is responsible for most of the warming. Tsunamis and hurricanes and such are also a function of climate and not confounding variables.

    A confounding variable is one that would make the before/after comparison appear to be due to one factor when it was in fact due to another factor. For example: urbanization and paving have increased at the same time CO2 emissions have. They could be a confounding variable in temperature measurements, if it weren’t for the fact that temperature measurements are already subjected to a correction for the urban heat effect.

  85. #85 Carlie
    April 15, 2008

    Lay off the 16-year-old a bit. Very few people are completely independent in thought at the age.
    It’s not the 16 year old we’re so upset with, it’s NPR for thinking that this is somehow a news story. There’s an awful lot going on in the world that would have made a better use of air time than “teenager thinks she knows more than she does”. Heck, I’d have rather have heard a bit on the 13 year old who set a record yesterday by blowing up 213 balloons in an hour with his nostril. [to which my son responsed by saying "I wouldn't want one of those balloons."]

    Am I to believe that everyone who believes in human influenced global warming has done the necessary research, armed with a comprehensive understanding on the multitude of variables associated with climate change?

    No, I’d say that questioning them is also a good idea, but the important thing is to look at the research, or if you can’t understand it to look at the most unbiased summaries you can find. There are crazies on all sides of each issue, but separating the wheat from the chaff (to use a Biblical phrase) is where the critical thinking skills come in. That skill does take a long time to develop, so in the meantime it would be preferable to realize that you might not know everything yet (which is NOT how she came off, she was quite sure of herself).

  86. #86 wildlifer
    April 15, 2008

    This girl isn’t a “free-thinker.” She’s parroting what she’s learned at home, what her daddy tells her.

  87. #87 Zeke
    April 15, 2008

    Gabe:

    There -is- a very strong scientific consensus in the peer reviewed literature that human activities are profoundly altering the Earth’s climate (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change for a good laundry list).

    There remain considerable uncertainties regarding the magnitude of future warming (based on different possible emission scenarios, rates of technological development, uncertainties in aerosol and cloud feedbacks, etc.), but the fundamental physics are sound.

  88. #88 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Hi Hap,

    Well, I think this brings the discussion into a larger sphere. The Global Warming theory has become a full blown movement, it’s like the low-carb diet, it’s a fad. And we’re in the “green” fad. It has the full backing of hollywood and many of the big media outlets. There isn’t really a voice for dissent on this b/c no one really cares to hear it, it just doesn’t have that pop appeal.

    In fact, there are climatologists who disagree with the current hypothesis, but there isn’t really an “anti-global warming” fad to latch onto (unless you’re a drudge reader, which I assume most people here aren’t ;). So scientists and stories that support the theory get the majority of the coverage you and I see.

    It just startles me that in a field of so much variability, we are so keen to believe this hypothesis. And this long-enduring working title of the phenomenon apparently doesn’t work anymore. Global warming is a gross generalization and only true depending on what data you’re looking at – what time period you’re looking at in, where the particular climate is, etc. Climate change is the appropriate term now, which I’m not sure helps its cause.

    It is important to recognize that this is not the same as atheism vs. creationism. this is science vs. science, and it deserves more objective thought than I think it’s receiving.

    People that believe 9/11 was a conspiracy believe it regardless of the evidence for or against it, they believe it because they’re most likely a left-wing democrat. That frames the evidence as they see it. It’s an emotionally-charged issue as is the climate change issue – you can tell b/c people argue on this thread like they’re defending their lives.

    We need more patience and less emotion on the topic of climate change to be able to truly look at it objectively. Because underneath it all, we all agree that we need alternate energy sources. I mean, at the end of the day, this 16 year old was at least exploring that idea.

    “Kristen is getting out of the climate-change business. She thinks she would like to become an architect — maybe even build energy-efficient “green” buildings”

    At the heart of it, aren’t most people here hating her on her mostly b/c they disagree with her?

  89. #89 Carlie
    April 15, 2008

    gabe – what really got to me, the part that makes me “hate on her”, as you put it, is fundamentally because she is a microcosm of demonstration of the total lack of respect for science as a discipline that is characteristic of everything on the creationist right. Opinions are the only thing that count. Reading a few articles makes my opinion just as valid as anyone else’s. Science doesn’t know anything for sure, therefore what I say is just as good as anything else. It’s insidious, and it’s frightening. No, you should not respect someone just because they are an authority on a subject, but you ought to realize that there is a subject there that does require a lot of effort to understand well. That’s the part that is missing in people who want to throw things in their school’s curriculum just because they heard about it from their preacher, and that makes it equal to the team of teachers who made up the standards. That’s the part that is missing when Michael Egnor claims that there is no evidence for mutated beneficial physiological pathways just because he can’t search PubMed right. That’s the part that makes me want to SCREAM when someone says that I don’t know any more about evolution than they do, thereby in one fell swoop discounting years of intense study. Sure, natural selection or global warming can be explained in two minutes, but you don’t know everything there is to know about it in two minutes, and people think they do. That’s what gets my hackles up.

  90. #90 Jonathan
    April 15, 2008

    How many of the commenters visited the blog itself? It is hypocritical if your only exposure to her work is a story on NPR, and you feel that that story arms you with enough evidence to say “She’s been bamboozled by the denialists. She’s just parroting what she read on the Internet.”

    I think gabe (#69)’s right on the money. It’s a fair bet that most of the commenters here aren’t climate scientists who have their own primary data to show. And if you are (or even if you’re close), go to her website and try to point her in the right direction. It’s far more productive than posting your complaints here among the like-minded. Just because she’s being lied to doesn’t necessarily make her a liar. She’s a high school student with a web page, she’s not Ben Stein for god’s sake.

    But I can’t go to bed now… Someone is wrong on the Internet!

  91. #91 D
    April 15, 2008

    Gabe and co:
    Provide one scientific paper that calls into question whether climate change is due to humans. Just one to start to show us all how it is still a scientific uncertainty. We’ll wait, take your time.

  92. #92 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Hi Phoca,

    If you read the whole comment, you’d see I allude directly to your point, I wasn’t referring directly to global temperature, but climates of every scale:

    “Isolating the variable of human Co2 emissions and correlating it with various aspects of climate (small local contained climates like cities, land mass surface climates, the oceans, the atmosphere, large areas of frozen ground – ice/snow), and somehow selecting out the confounding variables…”

    The global climate is not a vacuum, it is made up of smaller climates of which contain smaller confounding variables. So the directions of winds, el nino, etc make a difference on localizable climates that in turn effect the global climate over small and very large time scales. Those are still confounding variables.

    Do you really think you’re able to isolate human (only human’s) CO2 emissions and its effect on global and/or local climate with the data gathering techniques we’ve had over the last 20 years, let alone 140? You have more faith in our knowledge of this than I do.

    How do you convince yourself it’s still true when the numbers don’t match up? Like in the 20s and the 70s when Co2 emissions were at an all time high and it was getting colder. The scare then was that we were heading towards an ice age. And now, people don’t seem to be so sure there even is a heating trend anymore. I’m not saying I know the answer, just waiting for better information. And as I’ve said, in the mean time, let’s not sink whatever public policy money we have into new energy sources – not global warming PR campaigns.

    Oh, and thanks for the science lesson ;).

  93. #93 ChrisS
    April 15, 2008

    Gabe, all you’re doing is writing long-winded screeds hitting every single tired denialist talking point.

    You obviously have no understanding of the current state of the science (or how the research is conducted, or where, by who, etc.).

  94. #94 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 15, 2008

    The comment about “The University of Google” nails it. People think that “research” means looking something up on the web.

    If you actually spend a few hours in Google, you will learn a lot.

    If you imagine spending 10 minutes is enough, however…

    The claim being targeted is that humans are causing global warming. The onus is on science to prove that assertion. She doesn’t have to prove an alternative theory is true to do that.

    No, she has to show that the current warming can be attributed to some other cause than the elephant in the room (our emissions).

    You see, there is no increase in insolation currently (ref below). Neither is there a flood basalt eruption going on. So what can it be?

    Never mind the question of how our emissions could possibly not result in a temperature increase if we aren’t in the beginning of an ice age — and we aren’t, the next ice age is scheduled to begin 50,000 years from now, see the same ref.

    A. Berger & M. F. Loutre: An Exceptionally Long Interglacial Ahead?, Science 297, 1287 — 1288 (23 August 2002)

    See, there is so much knowledge out there that you haven’t even noticed exists…

    but the data on human influence climate change so far IS inconclusive.

    No. Your knowledge of the data on human influence on climate change is inconclusive. There is so much knowledge out there that you haven’t even noticed exists…

    There are scientific experts on both sides of the issue.

    Not really… on one side, there are only a few ignoramuses and a few oil corporation shills…

    Their opinions aren’t based on faith or scripture, they are equally grounded in science

    No, on ignorance, actually. Read, and you will learn.

    In this dilemma, the people that believe in human influenced climate change say they have enough data, period. My instinct says “don’t jump to this conclusion, wait for more data.”

    *uck your instinct. You will go and find out if enough data are in. You will not simply assume that more are needed. It’s science, not philosophy: just thinking about an issue does not solve it.

    Co2

    This may seem like nitpicking, but Co is cobalt, so that Co2 would be a molecule that might, but probably does not, exist in cobalt vapor. Carbon is C, and oxygen is O.

    various aspects of climate (small local contained climates like cities, land mass surface climates, the oceans, the atmosphere, large areas of frozen ground – ice/snow),and somehow selecting out the confounding variables like:

    -distance a local climate is from the sea
    -ocean currents
    -volcanic activity
    -fluccuation of direction of prevailing winds
    -proximity to the equator
    -el nino
    -solar winds
    -extreme events such as droughts, flood, hurricanes, tsunami,

    is a very difficult task, and one I don’t think we’ve quite accomplished yet. Do you feel 100% sure we’ve got this nailed down? To me, that requires a certain amount of blind faith.

    “100 %” is always a strawman in science. But you can’t simply assume climatologists haven’t accomplished stuff just because it’s difficult. Most of the causes you mention are very easy to get under control by simply measuring at enough points on the globe, plus from orbit. The rest — El Niño and La Niña are impossible to overlook, they are far too large for that; it simply cannot happen that such an event is mistaken for unrelated warming or cooling. (1998 was an El Niño year — 2003 was not.) The sun’s activity is being measured at great precision, and the present warming (since about 1940) does not correlate to any change in solar activity because there simply is none. Flood basalt eruptions are simply not happening at the moment (explosive eruptions would cause cooling, as Mt. St. Helens and Pinatubo did). What have I missed?

    Comment 75 says it best.

  95. #95 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 15, 2008

    The comment about “The University of Google” nails it. People think that “research” means looking something up on the web.

    If you actually spend a few hours in Google, you will learn a lot.

    If you imagine spending 10 minutes is enough, however…

    The claim being targeted is that humans are causing global warming. The onus is on science to prove that assertion. She doesn’t have to prove an alternative theory is true to do that.

    No, she has to show that the current warming can be attributed to some other cause than the elephant in the room (our emissions).

    You see, there is no increase in insolation currently (ref below). Neither is there a flood basalt eruption going on. So what can it be?

    Never mind the question of how our emissions could possibly not result in a temperature increase if we aren’t in the beginning of an ice age — and we aren’t, the next ice age is scheduled to begin 50,000 years from now, see the same ref.

    A. Berger & M. F. Loutre: An Exceptionally Long Interglacial Ahead?, Science 297, 1287 — 1288 (23 August 2002)

    See, there is so much knowledge out there that you haven’t even noticed exists…

    but the data on human influence climate change so far IS inconclusive.

    No. Your knowledge of the data on human influence on climate change is inconclusive. There is so much knowledge out there that you haven’t even noticed exists…

    There are scientific experts on both sides of the issue.

    Not really… on one side, there are only a few ignoramuses and a few oil corporation shills…

    Their opinions aren’t based on faith or scripture, they are equally grounded in science

    No, on ignorance, actually. Read, and you will learn.

    In this dilemma, the people that believe in human influenced climate change say they have enough data, period. My instinct says “don’t jump to this conclusion, wait for more data.”

    *uck your instinct. You will go and find out if enough data are in. You will not simply assume that more are needed. It’s science, not philosophy: just thinking about an issue does not solve it.

    Co2

    This may seem like nitpicking, but Co is cobalt, so that Co2 would be a molecule that might, but probably does not, exist in cobalt vapor. Carbon is C, and oxygen is O.

    various aspects of climate (small local contained climates like cities, land mass surface climates, the oceans, the atmosphere, large areas of frozen ground – ice/snow),and somehow selecting out the confounding variables like:

    -distance a local climate is from the sea
    -ocean currents
    -volcanic activity
    -fluccuation of direction of prevailing winds
    -proximity to the equator
    -el nino
    -solar winds
    -extreme events such as droughts, flood, hurricanes, tsunami,

    is a very difficult task, and one I don’t think we’ve quite accomplished yet. Do you feel 100% sure we’ve got this nailed down? To me, that requires a certain amount of blind faith.

    “100 %” is always a strawman in science. But you can’t simply assume climatologists haven’t accomplished stuff just because it’s difficult. Most of the causes you mention are very easy to get under control by simply measuring at enough points on the globe, plus from orbit. The rest — El Niño and La Niña are impossible to overlook, they are far too large for that; it simply cannot happen that such an event is mistaken for unrelated warming or cooling. (1998 was an El Niño year — 2003 was not.) The sun’s activity is being measured at great precision, and the present warming (since about 1940) does not correlate to any change in solar activity because there simply is none. Flood basalt eruptions are simply not happening at the moment (explosive eruptions would cause cooling, as Mt. St. Helens and Pinatubo did). What have I missed?

    Comment 75 says it best.

  96. #96 Lyle G
    April 15, 2008

    I understood that industrial CO2 was boosting a natural cyclic warming trend, following the ‘little ice age.’

  97. #97 Bride of Shrek
    April 15, 2008

    I am a trained Climatologist but, I stress I haven’t worked in the field for near ten years now. Back “in my day” the climate change discussion was only really beginning to emerge and my area of study wasn’t anything to do with it (I focussed more on Microclimatology). However I will say that back then it was approx 50/50 for the Climatologists opinions on whether there was anthropogenic influences driving the mechanisms of change. Given that it was only early days you can’t really blame the Climatologists over which perspective they were taking but I often wonder what happened to those 50% dissenters. Given the advances in the knowledge on the field I would assume a large percentage of them went to the “other side”, so to speak, as the data became clearer but surely not all of them?

    Makes me wish I was still working in academia so I could hear the debates. I’m not kidding, 15 years ago we were considered the dull end of the science office block and we damn near had to beg students to take our classes- now its all international debates and Nobel prizes. Nobody had ever HEARD of a Climatologist when I told people what I did for a living ( or if they had a vague idea I was inevitably mistaken for a Meteorologist and asked what the weather was going to be like the next day).

  98. #99 Longtime Lurker
    April 15, 2008

    I usually don’t comment on people’s personal appearances (I’m no oil painting), but this girl totally looks like a female Ben Ferguson. He’s in his twenties, he should hook up with her after she graduates from Liberty.

    As far as hippies are concerned, I have this couplet for Baby Boomer Conservatives:

    “Do you find that you cry in your pillow at night,
    ‘Cos you know in your heart that the hippies were right?”

    Cuttlefish’s inky influence spreads through the meme-sea.

  99. #100 Winnebago
    April 15, 2008

    Indeed, gabe is using the IDiot tactic of epistemological relativism by authority proxy: “In fact, there are climatologists who disagree with the current hypothesis”…just like Behe, Wells, and Dembsky disagree with the current ‘hypothesis of evolution. Teach the controversy and all that crap.

  100. #101 Will E.
    April 15, 2008

    I never listen to NPR anymore. It’s like listening to cardboard.

  101. #102 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 15, 2008

    Do you really think you’re able to isolate human (only human’s) CO2 emissions and its effect on global and/or local climate with the data gathering techniques we’ve had over the last 20 years, let alone 140?

    Do you even know how climatologists do that?

    Seems to me comment 93 is right, and you don’t… and if you don’t know the methods, why do you think you can say anything about the results?

    How do you convince yourself it’s still true when the numbers don’t match up? Like in the 20s and the 70s when Co2 emissions were at an all time high and it was getting colder. The scare then was that we were heading towards an ice age.

    Firstly, it’s not the speed of increase of either cobalt or carbon dioxide that matters, it’s the absolute amount in the atmosphere. Secondly, what was going on then was air pollution — aerosols reflecting so much sunlight that a (very slight) net cooling resulted. Then acid rain became a problem, the Western world cleaned its factory and power plant emissions, and the warming trend came back through…

  102. #103 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 15, 2008

    Do you really think you’re able to isolate human (only human’s) CO2 emissions and its effect on global and/or local climate with the data gathering techniques we’ve had over the last 20 years, let alone 140?

    Do you even know how climatologists do that?

    Seems to me comment 93 is right, and you don’t… and if you don’t know the methods, why do you think you can say anything about the results?

    How do you convince yourself it’s still true when the numbers don’t match up? Like in the 20s and the 70s when Co2 emissions were at an all time high and it was getting colder. The scare then was that we were heading towards an ice age.

    Firstly, it’s not the speed of increase of either cobalt or carbon dioxide that matters, it’s the absolute amount in the atmosphere. Secondly, what was going on then was air pollution — aerosols reflecting so much sunlight that a (very slight) net cooling resulted. Then acid rain became a problem, the Western world cleaned its factory and power plant emissions, and the warming trend came back through…

  103. #104 BaldApe
    April 15, 2008

    “She and her brood will have to live with the consequences of her call to inaction a little longer than the rest of us.”

    But that’s one of my pet peeves on this subject. The people who profit by claiming there’s no evidence; lets wait and see; it costs too much to change things now… Those aren’t the ones who will bear the costs, unless you can somehow force them to live in Bangladesh and keep them from leaving when sea level rises.

    And I agree that NPR news is really crappy now.

  104. #105 Holbach
    April 15, 2008

    I have seen the same bullshit of Stein and also on bible crap in the commercials on the Science Channel. The SCIENCE Channel! What the crap is going on here? Are they trying to be funny or annoying, knowing that atheists will probably watch a science program than a crap program? I sometimes wonder if there is a connection to a religious network that we are unaware of. I’m still inn the slow mood of giving them a call and finding out what the freak is going on! Have they got to you too? What an annoying piece of bullshit! And you just know you will never see a commercial for Pharyngula on any of those crap shows.

  105. #106 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 15, 2008

    I understood that industrial CO2 was boosting a natural cyclic warming trend, following the ‘little ice age.’

    “Understood” is the wrong word. Spend a few hours at http://realclimate.org and read it up.

    Given that it was only early days you can’t really blame the Climatologists over which perspective they were taking but I often wonder what happened to those 50% dissenters. Given the advances in the knowledge on the field I would assume a large percentage of them went to the “other side”, so to speak, as the data became clearer but surely not all of them?

    Where did all the dissenters from plate tectonics go? I’ve read a few apparently peer-reviewed book chapters from the 1960s that are basically the last apologetics for the traditional view of fixed continents and oceans. Where did they go?

    The vast majority went to the other side, and the rest presumably died out.

    This latter part is what the climatologists are waiting for. How many dissenters (including paid oil corporation shills) are there left? Five? Ten?

    —————————-

    “…just like Behe, Wells, and Dembsky disagree with the current ‘hypothesis of evolution.

    Behe and Dembski, fine, but what Wells really thinks is unknowable. Here’s how he started getting involved in this topic, in his own words:

    He [Sun Myung Moon] frequently criticized Darwin’s theory that living things originated without God’s purposeful, creative activity…

    Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.

    And here are the Right Irreverend Moon’s own words:

    So telling a lie becomes a sin if you tell it to take advantage of a person, but if you tell a lie to do a good thing for him that is not a sin. Even God tells lies very often; you can see this throughout history.

    No comment necessary.

  106. #107 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 15, 2008

    I understood that industrial CO2 was boosting a natural cyclic warming trend, following the ‘little ice age.’

    “Understood” is the wrong word. Spend a few hours at http://realclimate.org and read it up.

    Given that it was only early days you can’t really blame the Climatologists over which perspective they were taking but I often wonder what happened to those 50% dissenters. Given the advances in the knowledge on the field I would assume a large percentage of them went to the “other side”, so to speak, as the data became clearer but surely not all of them?

    Where did all the dissenters from plate tectonics go? I’ve read a few apparently peer-reviewed book chapters from the 1960s that are basically the last apologetics for the traditional view of fixed continents and oceans. Where did they go?

    The vast majority went to the other side, and the rest presumably died out.

    This latter part is what the climatologists are waiting for. How many dissenters (including paid oil corporation shills) are there left? Five? Ten?

    —————————-

    “…just like Behe, Wells, and Dembsky disagree with the current ‘hypothesis of evolution.

    Behe and Dembski, fine, but what Wells really thinks is unknowable. Here’s how he started getting involved in this topic, in his own words:

    He [Sun Myung Moon] frequently criticized Darwin’s theory that living things originated without God’s purposeful, creative activity…

    Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.

    And here are the Right Irreverend Moon’s own words:

    So telling a lie becomes a sin if you tell it to take advantage of a person, but if you tell a lie to do a good thing for him that is not a sin. Even God tells lies very often; you can see this throughout history.

    No comment necessary.

  107. #108 SC
    April 15, 2008

    I was at a conference at MIT last Thursday at which Naomi Oreskes spoke. She has studied GW denialism and those who fund it as much as anyone, and she suggested that most deniers are not bothering with outright denials so much these days. Overwhelmed by the evidence, they have generally shifted to a “climate realism” frame, and are now advocating adaptation as more “realistic” than mitigation (as though these were mutually-exclusive options).

    I guess gabe and co. didn’t get the memo.

  108. #109 Lint Hasenpfeffer
    April 15, 2008

    Well this is perfect, i just saw an ad for Expelled on The Discovery Channel. I really expected better.

  109. #110 gwangung
    April 15, 2008

    I guess gabe and co. didn’t get the memo.

    Of course not. That’s part of the BIg Lie technique. And that’s why ID is not supposed to be religion…but STILL gets embraced by the stupidly religious.

  110. #111 Numad
    April 15, 2008

    “Well this is perfect, i just saw an ad for Expelled on The Discovery Channel. I really expected better.”

    I once saw a row of “Ancient Astronaut” documentaries on the Discovery Channel. My expectations are low enough.

  111. #112 Alex Gerten
    April 15, 2008

    I’m 16, but at least I have enough sense to know that the Earth is getting warmer, at least that is what the facts point to. What she probably doesn’t realize is that Global Warming does not mean the earth is going to be an oven in 10 years. Like evolution, its something that takes time to happen. But if we don’t act future generations will be screwed

  112. #113 Spook
    April 15, 2008

    Expelled is running ads on NPR?

    More importantly, NPR is running ads?

    Are they operating above 92MHz now?

  113. #114 unicow
    April 15, 2008

    Umm… has anyone actually heard these ads for Expelled on NPR themselves?

    After all, NPR doesn’t run traditional ads. There would be no voice of Ben Stein, nor anything beyond the old “we’re supported by donations from _____” pseudo-ads. I listen quite a bit and haven’t heard anything about Expelled.

    Of course, maybe they just decided that Massachusetts isn’t really their target area for the movie.

  114. #115 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Ironically, I’m usually on the other side of this argument. Even more ironically, I seem to be accused of being a…denialist – as if I’m some kind of religious zealot. Oh deaer, some of you, I think, have been engaged in the creationist argument a bit too long. You have succeeded, I am insulted.

    Here’s a quick thing – a lot of people “knew” anti-depressants work, and the studies were there to prove it. Turns out? The studies that showed they were no different than a placebo were being hidden for years (and causing higher rates of suicide). We should be careful to treat science papers as the Gospel.

    http://wweek.com/editorial/3421/10752/

    Oh boy, I’ve done it now! I only want to keep one idea clear – trends and fads in science come and go, and there is corruption in every human institution, from politics, to religion, to science.

    Magically, people think it goes away when it supports their theory. We’re all guilty of this.

    I’ll happily leave you with this roundup on global warming skepticism from Wikipedia – this was a fun one!

    “A 2006 op-ed by Richard Lindzen in The Wall Street Journal challenged the claim that scientific consensus [of global warming] had been reached, and listed the Science journal study as well as other sources, including the IPCC and NAS reports, as part of “an intense effort to suggest that the theoretically expected contribution from additional carbon dioxide has actually been detected.” Lindzen wrote in The Wall Street Journal on April 12, 2006:

    ” But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis. ”

    Similarly, Timothy Ball asserts that skeptics have gone underground for “job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.”

    At least one survey of the scientific community has found the opposite problem — New Scientist notes that in surveys a much larger fraction of U.S. scientists consistently state that they are pressured by their employers or by U.S. government bodies to deny that global warming results from human activities or risk losing funding.

  115. #116 Kevin
    April 15, 2008

    I think you are missing the fact that “stay at home da Mike” is the driving force behind this:

    “Kristen says when her determination sagged, Mike encouraged her.”Kristen! MOTIVATION!” she remembers him saying. Mike is deeply skeptical humans are behind global warming and pulls up a graph on the computer to help make the case. ”

    and Mike is, like, God and knows everything….

    I wonder about abuse….

  116. #117 Mike
    April 15, 2008

    @Jim

    I stand corrected.

  117. #118 Carlie
    April 15, 2008

    She’s a high school student with a web page, she’s not Ben Stein for god’s sake.

    Who was featured on NPR, without any skepticism or rebuttal from the feature itself as to the validity of her arguments. You’re missing the point that it’s not the fact that a high school student has some ideas that aren’t fleshed out very well. The point is that NPR thought it interesting and important enough to showcase it as a “teen against the machine” story.

  118. #119 SC
    April 15, 2008

    Ah, WSJ op-eds – where scientific truth lives.

    Also from Wikipedia:

    “Ross Gelbspan wrote a 1995 article in Harper’s Magazine which was very critical of Lindzen and other global warming skeptics. In the article, Gelbspan claimed that Lindzen charged ‘oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; [and] his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC’.

    According to a PBS Frontline report, ‘Dr. Lindzen is a member of the Advisory Council of the Annapolis Center for Science Based Public Policy, which has received large amounts of funding from ExxonMobil and smaller amounts from Daimler Chrysler, according to a review [of] Exxon’s own financial documents and 990s from Daimler Chrysler’s Foundation. Lindzen has also been a contributor to the Cato Institute, which has taken $90,000 from Exxon since 1998, according to the website Exxonsecrets.org and a review Exxon financial documents. He is also a contributor for the George C. Marshall Institute’.”

  119. #120 SC
    April 15, 2008

    From SourceWatch:

    “Dr. Timothy Ball is Chairman and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP). Two of the three directors of the NRSP – Timothy Egan and Julio Lagos – are executives with the PR and lobbying company, the High Park Group (HPG). Both HPG and Egan and Lagos work for energy industry clients and companies on energy policy.

    Ball is a Canadian climate change skeptic and was previously a ‘scientific advisor’ to the oil industry-backed organization, Friends of Science. Ball is a member of the Board of Research Advisors of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Canadian free-market think tank which is predominantly funded by foundations and corporations.”

  120. #121 me
    April 15, 2008

    > pulls up a graph on the computer

    Ah, the famous graph. The graph many pointed out, and eventually she admitted, that she got wrong. Remember how Judith Curry tried hard to help her out of her dead end over at CA.

    But she never fixed it, did she?

  121. #122 Kevin
    April 15, 2008

    ok ok reading the comments you, of course, did not miss that fact….

    oh well I just wanted to point it out again….

    “For clarity – “holocaust denier” is a common phrase used for people that don’t do the global warming handshake”

    Gabe – you are somewhat strange right? shunned? laughed at? all for not doing the secrect handshake? (ha ha we already changed it anyway)

  122. #123 Brother Phil
    April 15, 2008

    Well, back to the point I was trying to make which was apparently missed by Ichthyic… Until quite a bit after my posting, most of the comments were criticisms of the insulting or praising sort, instead of discussions of the quality (or lack thereof) of the scientific arguments made by both sides. This seems to be a small reflection of the way this type of information is fed to the masses. Rather than good discussion, you have puff pieces and soundbite journalism for the mainstream media, with both sides selectively presenting data that on the surface seems to support their positions. I’m glad that a little further on, the discussions seem to have at least brought up theory instead of simply repeating that this was about a 16 year old girl and calling her names like “pretentious” and “smug.”

  123. #124 SomeGuy
    April 15, 2008

    Parrots criticizing other parrots for parroting.

    Maybe it would be a good idea if everyone expressing any belief in the AGW debate should state up front whether they are a scientist with expertise in the area or if they are just another parrot. Not that I think there is anything wrong with second or third hand opinions if you recognize that’s, in fact what they are and also you aren’t emotionally attached to them.

  124. #125 Epikt
    April 15, 2008

    gabe:

    Do you really think you’re able to isolate human (only human’s) CO2 emissions and its effect on global and/or local climate with the data gathering techniques we’ve had over the last 20 years, let alone 140? You have more faith in our knowledge of this than I do.

    So you have an alternative explanation for the ongoing change in carbon isotopic concentrations in the atmosphere, and for the fact that the trends over the last 150 years or so are consistent with what you would expect if the increase in CO2 was due to deforestation and/or the burning of fossil fuels, but are inconsistent with CO2 coming out of the ocean?

    Oh, wait. I’m not “100% certain” that it’s anthropogenic. Never mind.

  125. #126 Phoca
    April 15, 2008

    If you read the whole comment, you’d see I allude directly to your point, I wasn’t referring directly to global temperature, but climates of every scale:

    “Isolating the variable of human Co2 emissions and correlating it with various aspects of climate (small local contained climates like cities, land mass surface climates, the oceans, the atmosphere, large areas of frozen ground – ice/snow), and somehow selecting out the confounding variables…”

    The global climate is not a vacuum, it is made up of smaller climates of which contain smaller confounding variables. So the directions of winds, el nino, etc make a difference on localizable climates that in turn effect the global climate over small and very large time scales. Those are still confounding variables.

    Except that it’s still nonsense that confounding variables on a local scale are confounding variables on a global scale. Climate change was not discovered by examining every local climate and finding that they were mostly warming. Climate change was discovered by taking long-term, globally dispersed data sets such as the HADCRU or GISS data sets and comparing them over time. For example, if there’s a temperature station for Rochester in the HADCRU data set in 1910, there’s a temperature station for there in 2008, and when you compare the anomalies for all the temperature stations across the globe you don’t need to control for whether there was a wind blowing off the North Sea in May of 2008 because…

    (1) You are comparing May of 2008 to May of 1910 in the same place and the wind is a relevant part of that comparison. Don’t even get me started on the notion of trying to control for distance from the sea when the stations are in the same place!
    (2) You have 11 other months of data to compare between 1910 and 2008.
    (3) You have about 2,999 other stations to compare.

    You can find out more about how global temperature data sets are constructed here: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

  126. #127 Winnebago
    April 15, 2008

    Jeebus. Now Gabe’s playing the ‘Expelled’ card on climate science. No evidence, just naked assertions from a WJS editorial.

  127. #128 Strider
    April 15, 2008

    Damn, Sioux Loris beat me to it! FUCK NPR!

  128. #129 Epikt
    April 15, 2008

    gabe:

    At least one survey of the scientific community has found the opposite problem — New Scientist notes that in surveys a much larger fraction of U.S. scientists consistently state that they are pressured by their employers or by U.S. government bodies to deny that global warming results from human activities or risk losing funding.

    The administration’s ham-handed attempt to censor Jim Hansen’s work (having it vetted by a political appointee with no relevant expertise–and, in fact, no degree at all, though he lied about that on his resume) was and is reprehensible. Though I don’t work on anything so controversial, I do work for the Fed, and I’m just paranoid enough that I post here under a pseudonym.

  129. #130 Stanton
    April 15, 2008

    For clarity – “holocaust denier” is a common phrase used for people that don’t do the global warming handshake. By no means accusing PZ of that at all. As I’ve said, I’m a huge fan of the blog.

    I’m not even a practicing Jew, but likening to someone to being a holocaust denier for questioning the validity of science results is offensive and irresponsible. And the existence of holocaust deniers is in it of itself offensive. Really it was just a side point.

    I have never heard anyone refer to, or even liken any denier of (human-caused) Global Warming to a holocaust denier, ever.

    To be honest, I find your accusation to be utterly insulting and demeaning to think that you so little faith in other people that you would casually assume and accuse these other people of being so debase that they would resort to horridly unfair, inappropriate, insulting comparisons. The only reason I could ever bring myself to call any Global Warming denier a “holocaust denier” is if he/she/it were actually also a holocaust denier.

    And having said that, please specifically point out to us where Professor Myers called and or likened you to, and or other Global Warming deniers “Holocaust Deniers”

  130. #131 Joel
    April 15, 2008

    Watching Frontline tonight, apparently the next Frontline will deal with global warming. It will be interesting to see where they go with it.

  131. #132 wazza
    April 15, 2008

    As for the parrots thing… has anyone ever tried the same thing with Keas?

    they’re regarded as the most intelligent birds in the world. Some people say they’re smarter than dolphins.

  132. #133 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    where the stupid holocaust denier comparison comes from:

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/02/09/no_change_in_political_climate/

    “I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.”

    This is related to a prevailing attitude I’ve encountered online and in NY, where this attitude is common.

    Regarding the parrot comment, I absolutely agree, I’m not a climatologist, but I did study science (I majored in neuroscience), I know how it works, and I understand its weaknesses, which I’ve tried to describe here to no avail.

    Tell me, out of the handsful of angry commenters, who is a climatologist? If not, what exactly makes you so sure about your convictions?

    I ask this innocently, not to incite anything, but to achieve a better understanding of where we all come from.

    Bear in mind, I’m an atheist gripped in the fight against creationist misinformation as any reader here. We’re on the same side – I’m just trying to have a meaningful discussion. Maybe i should know better on a blog ;).

  133. #134 Andrew
    April 15, 2008

    Most of the people here criticizing this girl are no better than she is. There’s not a one who has used any data to support their claims of human-caused climate change. You’ve just repeated things you’ve read on the internet that happen to come from sites YOU believe. You’ve trotted out your arguments from authority till you’re blue in the face, but not one of you seems to be able to produce the climatic equivalent of nested hierarchies across genomic and fossil data, the fossil record itself, isochron dating,conserved protein sequence homologies that correlate with putative evolutionary distance…

    As it happens, I’m not a climate change skeptic for reasons based on risk analysis, the clear vested interest of those who fund skepticism and some FAITH in the peer-reviewed scientific community that comes from a couple of decades of working in it.
    However, neither PZ, nor any of you have cogently summarised the science behind the claims that the trends we’re seeing in global climate change are not the result of some natural phenomena.

    I have read that the fellow (whose name escapes me) who first correlated increases in global temperatures to sunspot activity showed in a later paper that a more careful analysis of the effect showed that it was insufficient by itself to account for the rate of heating, but I have not read the work –nor have most of you, I suspect!

    It’s quite amusing the smug, self righteous condemnation of a teenage girl by people who fancy themselves paragons of reason, yet the derision to data ratio in these posts makes me wonder if i haven’t stumbled onto “Uncommon Descent” by mistake.

  134. #135 Stanton
    April 15, 2008

    This is related to a prevailing attitude I’ve encountered online and in NY, where this attitude is common.

    And I repeat my question:

    please specifically point out to us where Professor Myers called and or likened you to, and or other Global Warming deniers “Holocaust Deniers”

  135. #136 Gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Stanton, please let it go, I clarified this a while ago. I never said he did. I’m a huge fan of the blog, and clarified that “denier” is terribly close to a phrase I’ve heard uttered in both the article i linked to and around NYC, where I live. How about moving onto something more constructive? I fail to see the relevance of your point.

  136. #137 plum grenville
    April 15, 2008

    Gabe, real scientists don’t get their information from op-ed pieces or wikipedia. And those of us who are not scientitists but who have some knowledge of and respect for what they do are also more impressed by links to the primary literature rather than the popular press. Do you bother to read any of the primary literature yourself before you flit on to your next fad? What I see is someone who enjoys seeing himself as a a gadfly, not someone who has any interest in resolving a disputed issue.

  137. #138 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Plum Greenville, that’s absolutely wrong and I resent it. Though I agree, using Wikipedia was a silly idea.

    I was trying to express a different point, that in a lot of cases, the primary literature is scrubbed or missing essential, but “unwanted” data points, and is interpreted as The Answer. Often times this data is often proven wrong. I wasn’t using the wiki quotes as “proof.” This was a point I was trying to make in an earlier post.

    I’m afraid what you seem to think you see is grossly inaccurate, and you take the standard strategy of trying to insult rather than make an original point. Color me unimpressed.

  138. #139 gabe
    April 15, 2008

    Also, I’m no sure you noticed, but I’m the one NOT accepting the fad.

  139. #140 parrot
    April 16, 2008

    For those interested in Alex the Grey Parrot:
    I have heard that amongst those in the know, there is speculation that Alex committed suicide. This sounds absurd at first, but here’s why: Alex died suddenly at the age of 31, which is very young for Grey Parrots. What is more, the way Alex was trained used extreme negative reinforcement – put in a cage and in a dark closet, which is an extremely uncomfortable condition for parrots, often for as many as ten thousand repetitions to learn a particular word association. Alex also reportedly mutilated himself (feather-plucking), a sign of stress. His behavior therefore shouldn’t be considered representative or normal, or indicative of anything other than his rote memorization through trauma. (You might consider how it was that Alex was taught the meaning of the phrase “I’m sorry”). And we shouldn’t necessarily be pining so eagerly for another Alex.

  140. #141 plum grenville
    April 16, 2008

    gabe,

    What exactly is that you think I “seem to think [i] see” that is grossly inaccurate?

    What exactly was I “grossly inaccurate” about? That the scientific literature is a better source of information about scientific issues than op-ed pieces and wikipedia? Or that you enjoy being a gadfly more than you enjoy reading real science? Just to increase the number of data points on the latter issue, I invite other readers to express their opinions of gabe’s motivations.

    I’m glad to hear that you now think that citing wikipedia is “silly”, but I’m still confused. If you weren’t citing it as “proof”, what were you citing it as? And if wikipedia wasn’t your “proof”, what was? An op-ed piece?

    I fail to see how I’ve insulted you. That you enjoy being a gadfly strikes me as an accurate observation, although of course it’s not strictly relevant to the issue of whether or not a scientific consensus exists about global warming. If I’m wrong is ascribing a lack of interest in actually resolving issues, I invite you to provide some evidence that you are interested in evidence, not second- or thirdhand accounts of evidence written by people who lack the competence to assess the evidence.

  141. #142 nedlum
    April 16, 2008

    For the love of Rhetorically Used God: NPR is wrapping up a *twelve month* series of stories about global warming. If it were a scientific organization we were talking about, it wouldn’t make sense to lend a public podium to those who would make clearly counter factual statements; but as a news organization, it’s understandable that NPR would have *one* voice to represent the millions of Americans who remain unconvinced. The alternative paints a false view of public sentiment.

  142. #143 wazza
    April 16, 2008

    Well, not if you’re wrapping up an attempt to put out the truth

    you cover the objections earlier, then make the conclusion, well, conclusive.

  143. #144 Tom L
    April 16, 2008

    Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the NPR report was ever so slightly dismissive of her. One or two places they were clearly letting her hang herself on her own rope. Certainly the comment about dismissing environmentalism because it makes her think of hippies was not a quote designed to conjure an ethos of rational objectivity.

  144. #145 Ichthyic
    April 16, 2008

    Am I to believe that everyone who believes in human influenced global warming has done the necessary research, armed with a comprehensive understanding on the multitude of variables associated with climate change?

    here’s a clue for ya, genius:

    It’s fucking irrelevant what you “believe”.

  145. #146 Ichthyic
    April 16, 2008

    And we shouldn’t necessarily be pining so eagerly for another Alex.

    funny, you’d think the people who actually worked with the bird might have mentioned adverse methodology.

    frankly, you’re full of shit. Moreover, you’re a disgusting piece of human filth for casting aspersions on the people who spent most of their lives working with the bird, and obviously cared for it very deeply.

    go jump off a cliff, eh.

  146. #147 Ichthyic
    April 16, 2008

    Regarding the parrot comment, I absolutely agree, I’m not a climatologist, but I did study science (I majored in neuroscience), I know how it works, and I understand its weaknesses, which I’ve tried to describe here to no avail.

    don’t tell me, let me guess:

    you flunked out for saying stupid shit to your major prof?

    guess what:

    a LOT of us have graduate degrees, and can smell shit from a mile away.

    and brother, you STINK.

  147. #148 John Mashey
    April 16, 2008

    1) Some of us followed this while it was going on last spring/ summer.

    Google: ponder maunder
    to see just how well the story did in the blogosphere.

    2) The website asserts that:
    “Ponder the Maunder was an extra credit project for Honors Earth Science, Portland High School, by Kristen Byrnes of Portland Maine.”

    And they have been seeking money, via a web page that is worth reading carefully. Let us hope she did the work herself for Honors Earth Science at PHS, which seems a reasonable school.

    At PHS, as can be found in their catalog, the following are labeled Grade 12:

    statistics, calculus and physics.

    Chemistry is grades 11 or 12.

    Perhaps she already knew these things at 15 [although the website offers little evidence thereof.]

    Honors Earth Science is grade 9, which fits with age 15 a year ago.

  148. #149 Brandon P.
    April 16, 2008

    Why do wingnuts even deny global warming in the first place? You’d think they would accept it wholeheartedly and blame it on Satan, or read into it the coming of the End Times.

  149. #150 Peter Ashby
    April 16, 2008

    From: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0804/S00213.htm

    Molecular Homology-Analogy paradox — why same/similar sets of genes are employed to build functionally or structurally similar organ forms in widely divergent organisms.

    Oh my on existent deity! right at the start the fuckwit displays he doesn’t understand what a paradox is. That similar things use similar mechanisms is not a paradox you dumb fuck. Shit, and the journalist gave him a free ride on that one. Now I’m depressed about going home.

  150. #151 Brian Macker
    April 16, 2008

    A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA’s estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.

    Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.

    NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right.

  151. #152 Peter Ashby
    April 16, 2008

    Wazza the problem with using keas in research is that last I looked they were still listed as endangered. Don’t be misled by the fact that there are always lots around at the Eastern end of the Homer Tunnel or at Mt. Cook village. So given that they have protected status your chances of doing Alex type research on one is absolutely nil, you would never get even close to ethical clearance for it.

    I once wondered about the chances of doing some muscle anatomy on kiwis (don’t ask, we all have perversions) but the chances of even getting access to a dead one were pretty minimal at the time. Then there is the problem of getting permission from whichever Whanau decides to claim ‘ownership’ of the creature…

    Just hope that at some time in the future keas (and kiwis) will be so numerous that using them for research will not be problem, but that time is not now.

    Mind you I have a love/hate relationship with keas. They are lovely birds and great to observe but I remember trying to get to sleep in a camping ground at Fox Glacier, except that a kea in one tree kept calling loudly at a kea in another tree 150m away, who would call back. Half the bloody night. It of course didn’t help that, this being the West Coast, it dropped over 50mm of rain on us that night. I woke up in the small hours to find a river was trying to run through the tent and my sleeping bag was wet. I reckon those keas were calling up the rain gods on us…

  152. #153 Brian Macker
    April 16, 2008

    “However, neither PZ, nor any of you have cogently summarised the science behind the claims that the trends we’re seeing in global climate change are not the result of some natural phenomena. ”

    Precisely. I understand the phenomena and, of course, all things being equal, increased CO2 means increased temps. The question is, how much. That’s what they haven’t got straight yet. They just don’t understand to the degree they are claiming.

    Physicists do the same thing. They have given precise estimates of what was going on a fermisecond after the start of the big bang. I don’t know how many times I’ve read a story where such a claim has been made. Then they go on to say how that explains the structure of the universe. I laugh because I know enough to know that it is nonsense. A few years later they discover that the universe isn’t structured the way they believed because of new observations. Back to the drawing board. All because of hubris.

    Physics is suppose to be a hard science but they make it even softer than biology by over reaching.

    Climatologists are doing the same now and are not accepting criticism when they are wrong in their procedures, in their math, and in their simulations. That makes me not have much confidence in their predictions.

    Add to that the witch hunt attitude that is being taken towards anyone who criticizes and it doesn’t seem like the science I’ve come to love.

    It’s starting to smack of the kind of garbage I hated about religion. The, I get to run your life because I have a direct connection to god, appeals to authority that short circuit open investigation.

  153. #154 Brian Macker
    April 16, 2008

    “Do you really think you’re able to isolate human (only human’s) CO2 emissions and its effect on global and/or local climate with the data gathering techniques we’ve had over the last 20 years, let alone 140? You have more faith in our knowledge of this than I do.”

    I don’t have that kind of faith.

    “How do you convince yourself it’s still true when the numbers don’t match up? Like in the 20s and the 70s when Co2 emissions were at an all time high and it was getting colder. The scare then was that we were heading towards an ice age. And now, people don’t seem to be so sure there even is a heating trend anymore. I’m not saying I know the answer, just waiting for better information. And as I’ve said, in the mean time, let’s not sink whatever public policy money we have into new energy sources – not global warming PR campaigns.”

    Precisely.

  154. #155 Steve
    April 16, 2008

    Oh come on. Here’s a kid that has taken it upon herself to do research and become educated on a scientific topic. Can’t we just applaud that? So she didn’t come to the same conclusion as the rest of us. I still admire her initiative.

    If a 15 year old kid can read up on global climate and come to the conclusion that she did, then maybe we as a scientific community have not done a good job of presenting our case.

  155. #156 Samizdat
    April 16, 2008

    It sounds to me like her parents wrote it for her. The website is certainly out of date and her prose is hardly stunning. On the other hand the points she makes (having heard them elsewhere) are still convincing, and I have to ask whether you aren’t just parroting the “warmists”. I prefer to remain agnostic on the whole thing.

  156. #157 wazza
    April 16, 2008

    Pete: aren’t Greys endangered too?

  157. #158 MartinM
    April 16, 2008

    Guess we can add cosmology to the list of topics Macker doesn’t have a fucking clue about. Who would’ve guessed?

  158. #159 CalGeorge
    April 16, 2008

    Kristen: “She just believes what everyone else is making her believe.”

    That could never happen to Kristen. Kristen is special.

    Congratulations, NPR. Another endearing story about your average American idiot.

    Thanks for the fluff.

  159. #160 lockmyth
    April 16, 2008

    Oh come on. Here’s a kid that has taken it upon herself to do research and become educated on a scientific topic. Can’t we just applaud that?
    And what are the chances that she came to the same conclusion as her doting, proud step father. Her ‘research’ is simply parroting of other denialist claims that have long been shown to be invalid.
    It is highly probably that she had already decided which side of the issue she believed before researching. Look at the following quote:
    “Details of temperature stations that are being used to measure global warming. WHAT A JOKE!”
    That’s not the language of a person that has made an honest attempt at research and self education. Any one involved in actual science should find that highly insulting, especially at the implication that she believes she is more qualified to decide what is valid data the people trained to gather and analysis data. I’m sorry she hasn’t shown any degree of intellectual honesty, nor has she shown any genuine level of intellectual achievement. High school grades (especially in recent years) are very poor indications of anything other then rote memorization, her intellect will not be proven until she enters a genuine university. Hopefully with a real graduate education behind her she’ll realize the intellectual bankruptcy of her current position and her faux research attempt and she will escape the mental indoctrination of her stepfather.

  160. #161 Steve Bloom
    April 16, 2008

    It’s interesting that there’s a subset of libertarians who are quite sincerely pro-evolution (and anti-creationist) but for whom climate change denialism is very appealing since any solution to the problem would seem to necessarily involve large-scale collective action. Plus of course certain parties stand to make a lot more money for as long as serious action can be delayed.

    Note to Gabe and Brian Macker: You may believe otherwise, but it’s obvious from the details of your arguments that you’re very poorly-informed on the issue. This is not a climate blog so you won’t get informed here; I suggest the IPCC AR4 synthesis report to start with followed by RealClimate.

  161. #162 Heather
    April 16, 2008

    Wow, people… yikes. So I heard the NPR report (YES, I HAVE A VOLVO!) but, I was half asleep so, I read it again just now. Some of you need to brush up on your contextual reading skills. The report was not about a Smarmy Teenager it was about the irrational ways in which we formulate opinions. Smarmy Teenager is usually a good example because most of tend to not emerge from that stage.

    From the report: “Most of us delegate, decide to believe someone we trust. We don’t actively seek out the other side. We probably wouldn’t know what to make of it, or how to reconcile the two. Who has time? Or the expertise?”

    Piss on NPR all you want but this is a damn good point. As a scientist and (what was I thinking?) soon-to-be high school biology teacher, most people don’t look for, care for or seek out primary evidence. They just want to be told. I ask of students all the time, “What’s the evidence for you conclusion?” It is like pulling teeth. The fact is, it is very hard for people to think scientifically and when you actually have a knack for it, it is very hard understand how you couldn’t think scientifically.

    I really feel this was a feature of the report and the fact that so many here have their panties all knotted up over her lack of true, reflective, evidence based, critical thinking (ugh, fourth grades are better than teenagers at that!) might aid my point.

    Besides, they did follow up the report with another on UN studies of climate change which pretty much drove home the point that she really didn’t know what she was talking about. Calm down folks.

  162. #163 Paul Lundgren
    April 16, 2008

    I just got done firing off an email to NPR about their crappy decision to take Premise Media’s money…

    Dear NPR.

    I have been a great fan of many of your programs for many years. I feel that America needs more media outlets that are willing to tell the entire story in depth and with fairness.

    Which is why I am utterly appalled over the advertisements for the Creationist movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” This deplorable pack of most unchristian lies demeans everyone who comes in contact with it, including yourselves.

    I understand that public radio budgets are always tight, and that public donation campaigns are difficult. If an annual contribution from me is what is required to help offset the cost of telling these vile people you don’t need their money that badly, I will do so. But this movie is NOT about freedom of speech, it is about spreading vicious slanders and untruths, and NPR’s reputation is soiled by being affiliated with it.

    Cordially,

    Paul Lundgren

  163. #164 Epikt
    April 16, 2008

    Brian Macker:

    A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA’s estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.

    NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right.

    Um, no.

    From cosmos4u:

    Well, here’s what NASA’s NEO guru Don Yeomans told this blog yesterday: “We have not corresponded with this young man and this story is absurd, a hoax or both. During its 2029 Earth close approach, Apophis will approach the Earth to about 38,900 km, well inside the geosynchronous distance at 42,240 km. However, the asteroid will cross the equatorial belt at a distance of 51,000 km – well outside the geosynchronous distance. Since the uncertainty on Apophis’ position during the Earth close approach is about 1500 km, Apophis cannot approach an Earth satellite. Apophis will not cross the moon’s orbital plane at the Moon’s orbital distance so it cannot approach the moon either.”

    From the same source, a quote from celestial dynamicist Frank Spahn:

    “I asked him to meet me (last Friday), he told me about the asteroid – satellite collision thing (after I asked him how he calculated and “corrected” the NASA result). Then I showed him at the black board about the extremely small collision probability (frequency) with such an object. Seeing the arising problems I attended the set of [German TV news station] N24 and explained the leading responsible person that I appreciate the engagement of that young student but simultaneously I express that one has to mention the low probability of such a collision plus expressing that this is not a correction to NASA.”

  164. #165 BubbaRich
    April 16, 2008

    I heard Ben Stein on Laura Ingraham’s show yesterday. She “interviewed” him for several segments, and took calls for him, too. The calls were predictable, a few were critical that Expelled! wasn’t more aggressive in fixing the problems of the world. Oddly, Ben kept calling Laura “Ann,” for which he quickly apologized each time, saying she was much more beautiful than Ann Coulter.

    In talking about the movie, both the audio trailer they played and Mr. Stein himself concentrated on one “flaw” in science education: scientists can’t tell you how it all started. He had numerous scientific flaws in his statements, of course, but oddly he had several rhetorical flaws, too. His scientific flaws were weird, saying that scientists didn’t even suggest any possible explanation for certain things.

  165. #166 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    a fermisecond after the start of the big bang. I don’t know how many times I’ve read a story where such a claim has been made. Then they go on to say how that explains the structure of the universe. I laugh because I know enough to know that it is nonsense.

    But not enough to know there’s no such unit as a “fermisecond”. It’s femtosecond, Brian – go to the bottom of the class!

  166. #167 D
    April 16, 2008

    Also, I’m no sure you noticed, but I’m the one NOT accepting the fad.

    You should branch out a little, challenge a few more of those fads, like the HIV causes AIDS fad, siRNA mediated by DICER fad, the ribosomal sequencing for phylogeny fad or maybe the R gene mediated plant immunity fad. I’m sure the various chemists and physicists and such can even give you more of these fads you might take exception to.

    And what is this appeal to no authority tactic? Just because no one here is a climatologist doesn’t mean no one anywhere is, or that they don’t have readily accessible information. Do you people tell someone coming back from the doctor that they can’t know why they are sick because they themselves aren’t a doctor, regardless of what an actual doctor told them about why they were sick?

  167. #168 Andrew
    April 16, 2008

    “And what is this appeal to no authority tactic? Just because no one here is a climatologist doesn’t mean no one anywhere is, or that they don’t have readily accessible information. Do you people tell someone coming back from the doctor that they can’t know why they are sick because they themselves aren’t a doctor, regardless of what an actual doctor told them about why they were sick?”

    My problem with it is the fact that if you can’t summarise what the experts said in your own words, then invoking their expertise to bolster your argument could be:

    a) laziness
    b) true argument from authority, as though revelation from “on high” was legal tender in adult debate…
    c) lies based on misrepresenting said experts
    d) use of expert opinion that one doesn’t understand and probably mis-stated or misconstrued
    e) a shorthanded way of saying “the evidence is clear, it’s out there and if you goole “expert X” you will find detailed evidence that is best viewed in the context of a scholarly paper or review”.

    I notice that e) is usually accompanied by the “invoker” at least showing some passing knowledge of the evidence available by consulting the writing of “expert X”

    My point is simply this: it seems that there is a smug double-standard amongst many here when it comes to backing up claims that fall outside their areas of expertise.

    My own (albeit not exhaustive) attempts to put global climate change on firm evidentiary footing have been relatively unsuccessful. This is not to say that the denialists fare any better, but I hold people who profess to value objective evidence to a higher standard than corporate shills.

    If you’re gonna heap scorn on a viewpoint and can’t pony up any positive evidence that excludes that viewpoint as valid, then whether you happen to be on the right side of the debate or not, you’re sitting with Ben stein et al and not with people who use evidence to arrive at their conclusions.

  168. #169 Steve Bloom
    April 16, 2008

    OK, looking at the full picture, I think we can cut NPR a little slack.

  169. #170 Sven DiMilo
    April 16, 2008

    I have heard that amongst those in the know, there is speculation that…

    It’s hard to imagine a less scientific way to begin a statement of (ostensibly) fact.
    Parrot, you can rest assured that you’re full of shit. I know Irene Pepperberg, have met Alex, and there is absolutely no truth to your rumormongering.
    Irene does have a couple of other birds. What she doesn’t have is a) a job and b) any funding to speak of.
    I’m not sure what the conservation status of African Greys is in the wild, but it’s a moot point since they are very successfully bred in captivity, and that’s where the research animals come from.

  170. #171 Algore
    April 16, 2008

    GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL. I HAS SPOKE!!!

    I must be right because I have 2 PhDs in climate science, a Nobel Prize, and I would be President if those evil Rethuglicans hadn’t stolen the 2000 election. And I invented this here information superhighway.

  171. #172 Richard Clayton
    April 16, 2008

    “Kristen did get emails from people challenging her science. But after a few exchanges, she says, her opponents backed down. “A few of them gave up and figured they can’t win against a 15-year-old,” she says.”

    So of all the emails she’s received about her site, not one single person was familiar with the actual science? Frankly, I doubt this. I’ve debated creationists in email exchanges, and every debate– EVERY SINGLE ONE– has ended with the creationist running away and later trumpeting victory. Why should I believe that she’s not doing the same thing?

  172. #173 Carlie
    April 16, 2008

    Orac made the same points I was trying to make, but of course better.

  173. #174 Brian Coughlan
    April 16, 2008

    My point is simply this: it seems that there is a smug double-standard amongst many here when it comes to backing up claims that fall outside their areas of expertise.

    I don’t think this is (generally) true, or at best it’s a misinterpretation of what most modestly intelligent people do when faced with incredibly complex subjects, they will only ever scratch the surface of.

    The only people who’s opinion interest me on complex subjects, are those that are experts in those subjects. Additionally, If a very significant majority support a particular position, as a non expert I feel quite justified in “going along” with that. That there are outliers that disagree with a majority consensus is important only in relation to the scale of dissent, 10 or 20 individuals amongst thousands of climatologists world wide is not going to sway my mind on this. They need to convince their colleagues FIRST, then they will have a case.

    I’m even (shock horror) quite prepared to defer to authority in complex areas that seem quite at odds with common sense. Quantum mechanics and the General Theory of Relativity being two obvious examples.

    I do not extend the same courtesy to religious, political or ideological positions, because these are frequently little more than poorly supported opinions, as opposed to evidence based conclusions with a broad agreement in the relevant “evidence based” community.

    Out of a million lone “geniuses” challenging the status quo, how many are just mad, bad fuckwits with an axe to grind? About 999,999 I suspect. Remember Mike Hallett and the Sea Zorias?

    There is an attack on science, and AGW denialists, Creationists and Religious fundamentalists of all stripes are now getting in on the act. Science being exactly the opposite of what these people claim, faced with slick soundbites which are very hard to refute as they spring up, is getting hammered. Ironically just when we need it the most. It’s a worry frankly.

  174. #175 D
    April 16, 2008

    My problem with it is the fact that if you can’t summarise what the experts said in your own words, then invoking their expertise to bolster your argument could be:…

    Have you somehow missed the posts here that have done just that? #59, #84, #94, #101, #122 & #123 from a brief review. And then there are the several people who have provided more than adequate links explaining the evidence you seem to be blind to seeing. I’ll even re-link the one’s Steve Bloom provided, since they are damn good ones.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/
    http://www.realclimate.org/

    As for you laundry list, speaking only for myself:
    a) yes I am lazy. I see no reason to spend time and energy doing something that other have already done better than I could hope to do (see links).

    b) I don’t know what an “adult debate” involves for you, but generally speaking if someone is a known expert in a field I tend to take their thoughts on that field seriously.

    c)and where have they been misrepresented? oh right, on the deniers side.

    d) again, who’s doing this? the deniers

    e) um, ok…

    My point is simply this: it seems that there is a smug double-standard amongst many here when it comes to backing up claims that fall outside their areas of expertise.

    Giving scientist the benefit of the doubt on their area of expertise but not people such as Gabe who obviously has no expertise is hardly a double standard.

    If you’re gonna heap scorn on a viewpoint and can’t pony up any positive evidence that excludes that viewpoint as valid, then whether you happen to be on the right side of the debate or not, you’re sitting with Ben stein et al and not with people who use evidence to arrive at their conclusions.

    Right… If someone says an angel is what causes an arrow to fly from a bow I’m on the same level of Ben Stein if I don’t want to bother brushing up and then spelling out mechanical physics before calling them fool….

    No, I think the people on the side of evidence are the ones that trust science, not the ones who claim it to be faulty.

  175. #176 TTT
    April 16, 2008

    I realize Gabe was just a hit-and-run troll who by now has declared victory and will never come back, but as a matter of principle:

    “Like in the 20s and the 70s when Co2 emissions were at an all time high and it was getting colder. The scare then was that we were heading towards an ice age.”

    There is no better way to proclaim yourself a Follower than to talk about “global cooling of the 1970s”. The scientific community never believed that. The internet is FULL of gullible lemmings who hear talk-radio hoaxes and adopt them as truth–going so far as to rewrite their own memories of their own lives to incorporate elements of the hoax. I’ve heard so many people claim to have been told–personally!–that X years ago Y scientists were battening down the hatches for global cooling, until they flip-flopped…. and not only are they (of course) unable to cite a single peer-reviewed scientific article backing up their claim, they are also unable to substantiate what they claim happened to themselves–by naming the person they “heard” tell them of the global cooling disaster way back in the day. Because of course, they weren’t told of it back in the day–they were told of it by Rush Limbaugh five or six years ago, and reshaped their own distant memories to accommodate that.

    In much a similar way, most stories of alien visitation / abduction / gov’t coverups were heavily influenced by made-for-TV movies about the “Roswell Incident,” with later “sightings” inevitably featuring aliens that looked just like the ones shown on TV. ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE MENTIONING IT AND I WAS ALIVE AT THE TIME, SO I MUST HAVE SEEN IT TOO.

  176. #177 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    My problem with it is the fact that if you can’t summarise what the experts said in your own words – Andrew@165

    I’m not a climatologist; indeed I have no formal education in the natural sciences past age 16. Here’s my summary, written in about 40 minutes, without going to check anything (so there may be important points missed, and a few errors):

    1) Since the early 20th century, global temperatures have risen by about 0.7 degrees C. Roughly speaking, there was an increase up to 1940, a more or less flat period to 1970, and a sharper increase since. This increase has been accompanied by recession of glaciers and ice sheets, a small rise in global sea-level, and changes in the pattern of seasonality. global temperatures are now almost certainly at their highest level for several thousand years.
    2) Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are at levels higher than any for several hundred thousand years, as assessed from air bubbles trapped in ice. Levels of methane and nitrous oxide are also at long-term highs. Levels of CFCs and related chemicals are at all-time highs.
    3) The increase in carbon dioxide can be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels by the carbon’s isotopic composition.
    4) Levels of methane have not risen much recently. Since carbon dioxide and methane account for the great bulk of the additional warming due to greenhouse gases, it makes sense to concentrate on carbon dioxide, the concentration of which is rising at unprecedented rates.
    5) CFCs and similar are so far as is known only produced by human beings.
    6) Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and CFCs (plus one or two other chemicals found in significant amounts in the atmosphere), and water vapour, are greenhouse gases. Their physical properties, and the way they warm the Earth, are quite well-understood.
    7) Water vapour, unlike the other gases mentioned, acts as a “feedback” rather than a “forcing” mechanism, because its residence time in the atmosphere is so short (if there’s too high a level, it precipitates out as rain or snow).
    8) The sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide, once short-term feedbacks are taken into account, is estimated from information about past atmospheric concentrations, and temperatures, to be about 3 degrees C, although there is considerable uncertainty.
    9) The period of more-or-less flat temperatures from 1940-70 is thought to be due to an increase in aerosol levels, mainly sulphates. Because these leave the atmosphere on a timescale of days to weeks, while the main greenhouse gases other than water vapour have residence times of decades to centuries, the aerosol increase would have been overwhelmed by greenhouse gas increases, even without clean air legislation in industrialised countries.
    10) The pattern of temperature change (more warming near the poles than at the equator and at night than during the day, cooling of the stratosphere alongside warming of the troposphere) strongly and specifically implicates greenhouse gases.
    11) Climate models are designed from physical principles and known climate mechanisms, not fitted to the data. They are changed when the understanding of the mechanisms changes.
    12) Effects of aerosols, clouds, and black carbon (soot) are less well quantified than those of the greenhouse gases. If some unknown mechanism were found to be affecting temperature, it is the magnitude (and in the case of clouds, direction) of these effects which would be queried first, for that reason.
    13) The dynamics of ice sheets are one of the largest uncertainties about the future effects of a given schedule of greenhouse gas emissions. Recent findings suggest they may melt faster than expected, leading to considerably larger increases in sea level this century than estimated in the IPCC 2007 reports. The estimates made there specifically excluded the effects of adding meltwater to the oceans, and took account only of thermal expansion.
    14) A significant amount of warming would now take place even if we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow. This is partly because the Earth’s heat exchange with the space around it will take years to reach equilibrium, partly because the immediate effect would be to reduce levels of sulphate aerosols.
    15) It is widely considered that we must try to keep global temperature increases due to greenhouse gases down to 2 degrees C or less. Above this level, the chances of disastrous crop failures, complete melting of glaciers in Asia and South America leading to severe water shortages; and of additional positive feedbacks, such as the release of methane from wetlands and undersea clathrates, and a fall in the amount of carbon dioxide the ocean and plants absorb, are very high.
    16) Again, recent research suggests things are more likely to be worse than better than expected: in the past few years atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen faster than expected, and this may be due to some previous land-based sinks becoming sources.
    17) The acidification of the ocean is a second big worry about rising carbon dioxide levels. This could make it difficult or even impossible for some marine animals to maintain their shells.
    18) The above-mentioned positive feedbacks will NOT cause a runaway greenhouse effect of the type found on Venus.
    19) However, widespread extinctions are likely among species unable to migrate to more suitable habitats as climate changes.
    20) A true mass extinction may occur, if the reduction of the temperature gradient between equator and poles causes enough slowing of ocean currents to render large parts of the ocean anoxic, with the consequent production of large quantities of hydrogen sulphide by anaerobic bacteria.

  177. #178 Andrew
    April 16, 2008

    “Science being exactly the opposite of what these people claim, faced with slick soundbites which are very hard to refute as they spring up, is getting hammered. Ironically just when we need it the most. It’s a worry frankly.”

    Brian Coughlan, great summary of my motivations for the previous posts. I agree with all your points, but still arrive at my stated conclusion. Why?

    The reason is contained in your pithy summary of the trouncing science and reason are taking in the rhetorical wars. Even an professional evolutionary biologist can fare poorly in debate against a Creationist if she allows herself to be put in the position of answering all the niggly, oft-debunked lies and errors that form the basis of the BS “evidences against evolution”.

    The only successful strategy I’ve seen is to briefly and concisely list the observations that evolutionary theory explains, head-off any lies at the get-go (e.g. “incompleteness of the fossil record”, lack of evidence for speciation or “macro-evolution”), show at least one successful prediction of the ToE (e.g. homology of sequence between fused human chromosomes and un-fused Great Ape chromosomes) and challenge ID or any other type of creationism to produce a singly such prediction.

    Surely the same kind of arguments are available to knowledgeable climatologists.

    We are not going to convince the ideologues or get the industry shills or pork-barrel politicians to tell the truth.

    We also have no right to expect the uninformed, but potentially open-minded public to trust scientists based on our say-so, however informed it may appear to us.

    Drug companies, cigarette companies, the nuclear industry, agri-business and religious zealots among others have made it clear to any reasonably intelligent layman that science and scientists can be subverted.

    And although my interpretation of the memory molecule” and “cold fusion” debacles has been that they vindicate the self-correcting nature of scientific practice, an outsider may be excused for wondering whether the self-righting will occur before we run aground.

    I think expecting the lay public to trust scientists rather than evidence, ipso facto, is a dangerous practice. I suspect that a healthy attitude of fact-checking among the public, rather than deferral to authority might have prevented the invasion of Iraq. I found enough enough evidence while sitting on my ass at my home in Canada surfing the internet to make it clear that there was

    i) almost no chance that Iraq had any sort of viable weapons program

    ii) that the US and their British toadies were using forged and plagiarized/outdated information to launch an invasion that had been discussed (possibly decided upon) prior to the 9-11 attacks.

    But if we assume incompetence rather than malice, the US Congress “trusted the experts”, and “everybody” knew that the anti-war types were kooks, traitors or just dumb.

  178. #179 Andrew
    April 16, 2008

    Thanks #174. I’ll read it.

  179. #180 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    At least they are balanced in the other direction by some who are more reasonable like “John Coleman”
    - Brian Macker @235 in the “Why are Little Girls…” thread

    I do urge everyone to follow Brian’s recommendation: http://media.kusi.clickability.com/documents/Comments+on+Global+Warming02.pdf

    If you aren’t already convinced global warming denialists are a bunch of anti-science paranoid kooks, this should do it!

  180. #181 Peter Ashby
    April 16, 2008

    Global cooling in the ’70s????? My Great Uncle came out to visit us in Southern New Zealand in the mid ’70s (twice) and on both occasions it was so hot he got sunburned through his tweed cap (he was bald on top). Not a common occurence in that part of the world I can tell you. Having moved North later on and then back down to University I cannot remember being sunburned at all. Mind you we were much better educated about such things due to govt info campaigns and subsidised high SPF suncreams, but I am a distance runner and frequently run with my top off in summer. Cooling in the 70s my arse.

  181. #182 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    Re #175

    I found enough enough evidence while sitting on my ass at my home in Canada surfing the internet to make it clear that there was

    i) almost no chance that Iraq had any sort of viable weapons program

    ii) that the US and their British toadies were using forged and plagiarized/outdated information to launch an invasion that had been discussed (possibly decided upon) prior to the 9-11 attacks.

    But if we assume incompetence rather than malice

    Don’t you see the difference? In the climatology case, the experts are scientists, doing their work in the open, and subject to peer review. In the Iraq WMD case, the “experts” were “intelligence” professionals, working in secret and answerable only to their political masters.

    And in the case of the US Congress:
    (a) With regard to those on the right, assuming incompetence rather than malice is foolish. Most of them will have known perfectly well that the real aims of the invasion had nothing to do with WMD or spreading democracy.
    (b) Incompetence and malice do not exhaust the possibilities. Political cowardice would seem to have been behind the failure of many to speak out.

  182. #183 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    Re #175 Reposted to get block quoting right.

    I found enough enough evidence while sitting on my ass at my home in Canada surfing the internet to make it clear that there was

    i) almost no chance that Iraq had any sort of viable weapons program

    ii) that the US and their British toadies were using forged and plagiarized/outdated information to launch an invasion that had been discussed (possibly decided upon) prior to the 9-11 attacks.

    But if we assume incompetence rather than malice

    Don’t you see the difference? In the climatology case, the experts are scientists, doing their work in the open, and subject to peer review. In the Iraq WMD case, the “experts” were “intelligence” professionals, working in secret and answerable only to their political masters.

    And in the case of the US Congress:
    (a) With regard to those on the right, assuming incompetence rather than malice is foolish. Most of them will have known perfectly well that the real aims of the invasion had nothing to do with WMD or spreading democracy.
    (b) Incompetence and malice do not exhaust the possibilities. Political cowardice would seem to have been behind the failure of many to speak out.

  183. #184 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    Re #179,180. Um. Sorry, still wrong, I’ll have to check up on nested blockquoting. Up to and including the words “rather than malice” is my quote from Andrew. The reaminder is my response to that quote.

  184. #185 khan
    April 16, 2008

    I was trying to express a different point, that in a lot of cases, the primary literature is scrubbed or missing essential, but “unwanted” data points, and is interpreted as The Answer.

    How do scientists feel about being told that they are liars, and part of a conspiracy?

  185. #186 gabe
    April 16, 2008

    “I realize Gabe was just a hit-and-run troll who by now has declared victory and will never come back, but as a matter of principle:
    “Like in the 20s and the 70s when Co2 emissions were at an all time high and it was getting colder. The scare then was that we were heading towards an ice age.”
    There is no better way to proclaim yourself a Follower than to talk about “global cooling of the 1970s”. The scientific community never believed that.”

    The cover article of Time Magazine in 1974, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html
    http://www.charlotteconservative.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/cooling.jpg

    “As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades.”

    “When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.”

    I’m sorry, you were saying, TTT?

    And I’ve had my name dragged through the mud on this thread repeatedly, over the last 24 hours, and I still masochistically return. In fact, I believe it was you, TTT, that just called me a “troll.” Also a “gadfly,” from another clever reader – that’s a new one. I love the shallow pop analysis of my character on these threads. Very mature form of debate.

    And a “Follower”? Once again, this connection to creationism and people that question the 100% consent of the scientific community on AGW are not apt here. AGW is not evolution, and this is not the fight against Ben Stein.

    In fact, the one climatologist I have read that commented here (comment 96):

    “However I will say that back then [ten years ago] it was approx 50/50 for the Climatologists opinions on whether there was anthropogenic influences driving the mechanisms of change. Given that it was only early days you can’t really blame the Climatologists over which perspective they were taking but I often wonder what happened to those 50% dissenters.”

  186. #187 gabe
    April 16, 2008

    “Don’t you see the difference? In the climatology case, the experts are scientists, doing their work in the open, and subject to peer review.”

    I love how clean the science community is to you. I urge you to read this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Drugs-DNA-Sciences-Confronted/dp/product-description/0230521126

    It’s sort of an insider view into how the science community behaves from a geneticist Gen X-er’s perspective.

    That community you speak of is unbelievably competitive and narcissistic, while the push to publish is ubiquitous – people are fighting to get grants and establish tenure.

    The idea of peer review is also far from perfect – most scientists don’t like to peer review for fear of having their own work criticized. Nepotism and quid pro quo, believe it or not, also exist in science. So do personal and political agendas. And if you think this AWG issue isn’t HEAVILY tied to politics you’re deluding yourself.

    And another odd comment:

    “How do scientists feel about being told that they are liars, and part of a conspiracy?”

    How do politicians feel when that happens? It happens and sometimes it’s true, what’s your point exactly?

  187. #188 Brian Coughlan
    April 16, 2008

    Surely the same kind of arguments are available to knowledgeable climatologists.

    Of course they are Andrew, and I’ve heard them. I am not a novice on the subject, and have familiarised myself sufficiently to feel a level of comfort as regards my stance.

    However, you still seem to be suggesting that some lay people and a few websites somehow trumps the position of the vast majority of actual experts in the relevant field, which has been repeatedly articulated in peer reviewed papers, international forums as well as on quite a number of websites too.

    I don’t know why you are a skeptic, and frankly, I don’t think it matters terribly, because you are just some random person. The cyber equivalent of a guy waving a placard in the street. The people you need to convince are the climatologists, because then you’ll have convinced me.

    A case in point is the bio-fuels debate. First I was for, then I was against, now I’m on the fence again. When those fuckers make up their minds, so will I:-) The debate concerning AGW is long past this point, hence my position and unless you have a PHD in climatology, and few papers under your belt, I think it a much more sensible position than yours.

  188. #189 D
    April 16, 2008

    gabe: As a scientist, I have to say you haven’t a clue. And the reviews of the book you linked seem to indicate that you’re rather misrepresenting it as well.

    From Booklist
    The taboos referenced by the subtitle are the sanctions against scientists talking plainly to the public about their work and their concerns. Stebbins has had enough of them and breaks ranks to passionately, revealingly, often less-than-gracefully counter the threats to biology and medicine posed by general American stupidity about science, public health, and science education. After a chapter outlining the typical American scientist’s life (more anxious and far less likely to be lucrative than the typical American physician’s), Stebbins lays out the truth and flays conservative propaganda and policies about stem cell research, cloning, genetic engineering, contraception and STDs, bioterrorism, the potential for pandemics, global warming, and other matters that wouldn’t be controversial, or in some cases even problematic, if it weren’t for mistaken, misinformed policies and venal corporations. Corporations and policies come even more directly under fire in the chapters “Drugs,” “Healthcare,” and “Science Education.” To be sure, Stebbins’ effort is an anti-Bush–administration diatribe. It is far superior to the rest because it argues from fact and knowledge, not hype and politics. Ray Olson

    The idea of peer review is also far from perfect – most scientists don’t like to peer review for fear of having their own work criticized.

    That I have to pick out in particular though as extremely dishonest. Peer review’s failing is in its unavoidable imperfect rigor. That no one likes to be criticized has little to nothing to do with scientists feelings on the process.

    And if you think this AWG issue isn’t HEAVILY tied to politics you’re deluding yourself.

    And which way have the politics been pushing? Your book seems to spell that out.

  189. #190 Gabe
    April 16, 2008

    This, incidentally, is the kind of reasoning I’m used to when engaging in this debate:

    “Global cooling in the ’70s????? My Great Uncle came out to visit us in Southern New Zealand in the mid ’70s (twice) and on both occasions it was so hot he got sunburned through his tweed cap (he was bald on top). Not a common occurence in that part of the world I can tell you. Having moved North later on and then back down to University I cannot remember being sunburned at all. Mind you we were much better educated about such things due to govt info campaigns and subsidised high SPF suncreams, but I am a distance runner and frequently run with my top off in summer. Cooling in the 70s my arse.”

    But I remember hot days in the 70′s! It was 70 degrees in March here in NYC the other day and a GWM enthusiast said to me “this doesn’t strike you as weird??.” No, there are abnormally hot days in the winter, and cold days in the summer. That is not proof for GW.

    I find it interesting that no one discredits comments like this that are so clearly void of anything substantive. This is the common evidence for most people that believe in this phenomenon. But if it’s on your side, who cares, right?

  190. #191 Brian Coughlan
    April 16, 2008

    That community you speak of is unbelievably competitive and narcissistic, while the push to publish is ubiquitous – people are fighting to get grants and establish tenure.

    Which is why talk of a conspiracy is absurd, and those that publish nonsense quickly get burned. This is the difference between Science and Religion. Both can channel human greed, vanity and the occasional smidgen of nobility, but in the Science even the bad stuff has a positive outcome. One scientist may expose and humiliate anothers incompetence for personal gain, or because it’s the right thing to do. Either way, we get closer to the truth.

    That is the beauty of the idea! Motives don’t actually matter, a competent sinner will often be just as productive as a similarly equipped saint.

    Bottom line? There is no conspiracy against ID’ers and AGW denialists, unless you consider reality itself a conspiracy.

  191. #192 Gabe
    April 16, 2008

    “That I have to pick out in particular though as extremely dishonest. Peer review’s failing is in its unavoidable imperfect rigor. That no one likes to be criticized has little to nothing to do with scientists feelings on the process.”

    This is neither a point, nor an argument. Thanks though.

    Read the byline of this blog, D:

    “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”

    I’m not sure you’ve noticed but GW is heavily tied with being a democrat in this country. I’m neither, so I have no biased? You?

    The book is about flaws in science, which many here seem to think there are none. I’ve actually read it, but thanks for pointing out the synopsis.

  192. #193 bi -- Intl. J. Inact.
    April 16, 2008

    What? Are climate change research programmes funded by alternative energy companies? Which companies are funding which research group exactly? Where can I see the memo?

    – bi, International Journal of Inactivism

  193. #194 Brian Coughlan
    April 16, 2008

    I’m not sure you’ve noticed but GW is heavily tied with being a democrat in this country. I’m neither, so I have no biased? You?

    You are forgetting the rest of the world Gabe, that makes you a Republican for sure:-)

    The book is about flaws in science, which many here seem to think there are none.

    There is not a single person on the thread that would endorse such an idiot position. Not one. If there is, please point them out. You may be confused by the reality based communities insistence that the testimony of scientists, in their own field of expertise, should carry exponentially more weight than similar testimony from politicians, priests or Ann Coulter.

    More liberal elitism I suppose?

  194. #195 Gabe
    April 16, 2008

    “Which is why talk of a conspiracy is absurd, and those that publish nonsense quickly get burned. This is the difference between Science and Religion. Both can channel human greed, vanity and the occasional smidgen of nobility, but in the Science even the bad stuff has a positive outcome. One scientist may expose and humiliate anothers incompetence for personal gain, or because it’s the right thing to do. Either way, we get closer to the truth.”

    That is the beauty of the idea! Motives don’t actually matter, a competent sinner will often be just as productive as a similarly equipped saint.”

    Bottom line? There is no conspiracy against ID’ers and AGW denialists, unless you consider reality itself a conspiracy.”

    My god, it’s not that black and white. Do I think science is wrong and doesn’t work?? Of course not! The constition was created b/c it is aware of the flaws of man and protects against it. Peer review is designed for the same protection. Are there holes? Yes, there are highly visible in politics, but you seem to think they don’t exist in science.

    And you are the one that keeps calling it conspiracy. I wouldn’t say it that way, but I think there are holes. I just don’t think we’re there yet.

    The point of this post was that I thought it slightly childish to attack a 16 year old girl for trying to check the facts – that seems an admirable thing to do. You just don’t like it b/c what she came up with doesn’t agree with you.

    If this were a story about a 16 year old in the bible belt that decided to question God, you’d be singing her praises.

    It seems everyone here is against the idea of continuing to question GW theory.

    For years it was believed that your brain doesn’t grow new neurons, and was “proven” in the lab, until ten years later it was…DISPROVEN! That’s how science makes progress.

    Don’t you think this movement to call anyone who disagrees or questions GW a “denier” is actually the religious thing to do?

    The existence of evolution – no argument. Some of the theories about its specificities, open to question (as long as “god is in the gaps” is not employed).

    The existence of climate change – no argument. Some of the theories as to its mechanisms – open to question. But not here – if you question that, you’re a “denier.” Wow, sounds an awful lot a which hunt to me.

  195. #196 gabe
    April 16, 2008

    “You are forgetting the rest of the world Gabe, that makes you a Republican for sure:-)”

    Clever, but wrong.

    “Liberal elitism?” When did I ever say that? You don’t notice a dichotomy between democrats and rebuplicans on GW?

    That makes you either crazy or blind.

    For the record, I’m registered as an independent. And I voted for Gore before he made this his calling card issue after he invented the internet.

  196. #197 D
    April 16, 2008

    This is neither a point, nor an argument.

    Read the byline of this blog, D:

    “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”

    I’m not sure you’ve noticed but GW is heavily tied with being a democrat in this country. I’m neither, so I have no biased? You?

    Then what was your point or argument? Even the current US administration accepts the reality of global warming. And neither what?
    You seem to have lost most any coherence, only spouting various non sequitur phases that you seem to think condemn science and avoiding all the more substantive rebuttals.
    The only thing you’re conveying anymore is that you don’t trust science or scientist on a basis of ignorance about such. As long as that’s all you can muster I can’t be bothered to care about your opinions.

    The book is about flaws in science, which many here seem to think there are none. I’ve actually read it, but thanks for pointing out the synopsis.

    So you’re saying that the reviews and summaries of the book on Amazon are incorrect? Maybe someone else who’s read the book can give their take on it. Until then I’ll consider the actual sanctioned reviews on Amazon to be more accurate than your claims.

  197. #198 gabe
    April 16, 2008

    “The only thing you’re conveying anymore is that you don’t trust science or scientist on a basis of ignorance about such.”

    My last comment (not addressed to you) is where I come down on science. Though for some reason you insist on simplifying it:

    “It seems everyone here is against the idea of continuing to question GW theory.

    For years it was believed that your brain doesn’t grow new neurons, and was “proven” in the lab, until ten years later it was…DISPROVEN! That’s how science makes progress.

    Don’t you think this movement to call anyone who disagrees or questions GW a “denier” is actually the religious thing to do?

    The existence of evolution – no argument. Some of the theories about its specificities, open to question (as long as “god is in the gaps” is not employed).

    The existence of climate change – no argument. Some of the theories as to its mechanisms – open to question. But not here – if you question that, you’re a “denier.” Wow, sounds an awful lot a which hunt to me.”

    “As long as that’s all you can muster I can’t be bothered to care about your opinions”

    No arguments here, D ;).

  198. #199 Brian Coughlan
    April 16, 2008

    Don’t you think this movement to call anyone who disagrees or questions GW a “denier” is actually the religious thing to do?

    You are making the same consistent mistake in your posts, again and again. No one is disputing the right of people to disagree with AGW, we just don’t think you have a clue. It’s your right to question, it’s our right to point out you are a clueless random individual pissing against the wind of expert scientific opinion.

    You may of course be right, you may be that one in a million status quo challenger, but probability says you are just another Mike Hallett http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/another_entry_in_the_annals_of.php with a different obsession.

  199. #200 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    “…The scientific community never believed that.” –

    The cover article of Time Magazine in 1974… -Gabe

    Gabe, if you want to know what the scientific community thinks, or thought, you do NOT go to Time Magazine. You go to the peer-reviewed literature. What Time Magazine has to say about the state of scientific opinion, now or in 1974, is of no relevance. Not slight relevance. Not marginal relevance. But of absolutely, unequivocally, none whatsoever.

    Gabe, “most scientists don’t like to peer review for fear of having their own work criticized” is utter, putrid garbage. Any reluctance is because scientists are busy people, and you get neither pay nor positive kudos for doing peer review. You do it, because it’s part of your responsibility as a scientist; and being asked to do it indicates that your peers value your opinion. If you shirk it badly enough, people will get to know and consider you selfish. If everyone shirks it, the system collapses.

    What’s more, peer review is just the first stage of the scientific filter: it gets rid of the worst of the rubbish, and gets authors to clarify, prune and justify their work. Most peer-reviewed work then has little or no impact, ever. Anything that looks really important will be checked and rechecked and argued over. It will give rise to attempts to refute it or show its limits. It will give rise to new questions.

    Despite what you say, the situations concerning evolution and anthropogenic climate change are closely parallel – and also like those concerning the HIV-Aids connection, the smoking-cancer link, and many others. The serious scientific debate on the central issue is over, having generated scads of new questions that active researchers are busy with. The opposition to the scientific consensus on these issues (and in this context, consensus does not require 100% agreement – just agreement by the vast majority of those with relevant expertise) consists of: a handful of people in the field, too stubborn to admit they have been wrong; a larger number of people from unrelated or distantly related fields making fools of themselves outside their area of expertise; and a bunch of ideology- and/or interest-driven conspiracy theorists, claiming that the consensus is a false one, enforced by greed and fear. In the evolution case, the ideology is religion. In the climate change case (and as it happens the smoking-cancer one), it’s “free-market” fundamentalism, and combines with the economic interests of those corporations that fear they will lose out from the actions necessary to deal with the problem.

  200. #201 Gabe
    April 16, 2008

    Hi Brian, just got through watching your whiney, narcissistic ramblings on youtube in your attempt to be a poor man’s Richard Dawkins, except without the intelligence. So consider your petty attempts at slinging petty insults useless. It does nothing but comfort me to disagree with a guy like you.

    Enjoy your Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.

  201. #202 Brian Coughlan
    April 16, 2008

    So consider your petty attempts at slinging petty insults useless.

    I’m just trying to put this in a context for you. You may be the most wonderful person on earth, but on the subject of AGW, here on this thread, you come across as a clueless, ideologically driven, obsessive.

    I think you’ll find that there is broad consensus on that.

    For the record, BTVS, rated an 8.6 on IMDB, is one of the best written drama/comedies ever to grace the small screen. Your not grasping the import of AGW, is as NOTHING compared with a dissing of BTVS. You are clearly “a very bad man”.

    Goodnight;-)

  202. #203 Steve_C
    April 16, 2008

    What’s that buzzing noise? So annoying.

  203. #204 Andrew
    April 16, 2008

    Brian, I think we’re talking at cross-purposes here. If you read my posts you will see that I am not an anthropogenic climate change denier, thus to cast doubt on the truth of ACC is absolutely not my purpose.

    I do not doubt the opinion of the majority of working climatologists, but see no reason why the general public should not.

    I have had the privilege of seeing the peer-review process in action and contributing to it. I could split hairs and say that this experience extends only to the fields of neuroscience and cell biology and not climatology, but to suggest that the branches of science one does not work in are different wrt to the peer review process would be absurd.

    The general public does not have access to the peer review process and must take our assurance that it is reliable.

    They (and I) on the other hand, were able to see Gen. Powell et al. summarize the evidence for Iraq’s WMD on TV. Where on TV will I see the IPOCC debate the evidence for ACC?

    As I mentioned before, the scientific peer review process has given us cold fusion as well as thalidomide, Prozac and the indiscriminate proliferation of carcinogenic NSAIDs, so it is not perfect. That admission alone justifies outsider skepticism.

    I’ll leave off the discussion by making my one point in yet another way: democracy is not served by training the electorate to accept an idea because the “majority of [fill in the blank, e.g. pastors, scientists, hot chicks, Democrats, ballon animals] agree that it’s true”.

    In any case, it doesn’t matter whether I convince you or you convince me: we are both in the smallest minority of folks to whom it would occur to check peer-reviewed research before arriving at an opinion. Sad, but true.

    Derision heaped on the majority will certainly not entice them to sacrifice their lifestyle choices for scientific consensus.

  204. #205 TTT
    April 16, 2008

    Gabe: “But it was in Time Magazine! I’m sorry, you were saying, TTT?”

    I was saying you would not be able to find peer-reviewed science articles showing the scientific community was warning about global cooling, and I was right, you couldn’t and you didn’t.

    Go tell paleontologists that Newsweek’s cover article on Jurassic Park suggests that maybe dinosaurs are still alive and they shouldn’t be so quick to declare them extinct. It’s OUT there, man, I remember reading it! There are TWO VIEWPOINTS! What is Big Paleontology afraid of?

  205. #206 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    Parroting right-wing thinktanks is not evidence of independent, skeptical thought, I’m afraid.

    But parroting left-wing thinktanks is A-OK, at least in the alleged mind of a doctrinaire liberal.

    But of course shallow and selective is precisely what one wants in a young person being groomed to fit into the right wing ideology machine — someone just smart enough to snipe at the edges of the science, but not good enough to actually comprehend it.

    Funny, that sounds like the approach of the majority of Doomocrats to economic theory.

    I’m always more impressed when magpies and parrots do it, frankly.

    I’m always more entertained when Global Warming Cultists parrot the High Priest of the Church of Climate ChangeTM, Al Gore.

    whenever I see the word “hippie” associated with environmentalist by a high school student, I KNOW their parents are demented fuckwits.

    Whenever I see the phrase “demented fuckwit” associated with anyone, I KNOW I’m dealing with someone who is unemployed and lives in his parents’ basement (and who hasn’t yet figured out how to use a shift key). Oh, wait…it’s the Icky Thing drooling more stream-of-consciousness nonsense. Never mind.

    The kid sounded pretty much exactly like you’d expect a typical smug, self-possessed 16 year old know-it-all to sound.

    You mean, she sounded like the Kos KiddiesTM?

    I listened to that on my drive to work in DC this morning; all I heard was yet another easily-swayed mind falling for the sophistry of the climate change denialists (which is, frankly, on par with the sophistry of evolution denialists; the same insistence on picking apart percieved inconsistencies while not proferring a falsifiable hypothesis themselves).

    You’re right. She should instead fall for the sophistry of the Global Warming Cult, because Al Gore says so, dammit!

    Liberals Are Annoying

    I would say more entertaining than annoying, for what is modern liberalism but extreme performance art anyway?

    I heard it as well, and was not surprised that her “stay-at-home step-dad” was reported to also be highly “skeptical” of global warming. Clearly, he must at least be a trained climatologist, dontcha know.

    Yep, just like Internet Inventor Al. Why, he won the climatology Oscar last year.

    NPR seems stuck in the mold of, well if X% of the general public believes something, by golly, we should give them a voice.

    Absolutely!!! How dare National Proletarian Radio stray from the list of Officially Approved MoveOn.org/Daily Kos/Doomocratic Underground/Lame Scream Media Talking Pointstm? This calls for a Congressional Investigation!!! Quick, somebody call Shrillary or Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy or sKerry John!!

    A child raised by some right wing loon denies climate change!

    Yes, we just can’t have that. Next thing you know, a child raised by a left-wing loon will deny that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

    it doesn’t matter how good your grades are, you’re still a dumbshit 16-year-old who doesn’t know shit about shit.

    Wow! How original! Did you come up with it all by yourself, or did Mommy and Daddy help you? By the way, your first-grade English lesson tomorrow will be about capitalizing the first letter of a sentence. Hmm…are you a sock puppet of the Icky Thing?

    Conservatism will always have its charms for entitled morons who want to feel smart without having to know anything, whatever their parents tried to do for them.

    And liberalism will always have its charms for lazy the-world-owes-me-a-living morons who want to be given money without having to earn it, whatever their parents tried to do for them.

    There are good reasons we don’t let 16-year-olds vote.

    Yes. Now if we could only do the same with welfare leeches…

    It’s interesting that on one side a “denialist” gets criticized and on the other an “alarmist” wins a Nobel prize, and neither are scientists, and both are quoting information that is spun, filtered, turned into pap and pablum and fed to the panicked masses.

    That’s because the Nobel committee is composed of a bunch of far-left, anti-American, socialist moonbats. Why do you think they gave the Peach Prize to Jimmy “I never met a dictator I didn’t like” Carter?

    the evidence IS conclusive

    And upon what wealth of experience in climate science is this conclusion based? Oh, that’s right, it’s an argument from authority (in this case, the “authority” of High Priest Al).

  206. #207 Brother Phil
    April 16, 2008

    I believe that some of the references to “global cooling” in the ’70s might stem from the “nuclear winter” scenarios that were the result of calculations of the amount of material that would be thrown into the atmosphere if there were a nuclear war. I recall news stories comparing the detonation of nuclear warheads to volcanic eruptions.

  207. #208 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    “Joe Blow” – you’re not fooling me! I know quite well you’re the product of an undergraduate AI project. Nobody could really be THAT stupid and still remember to breathe.

  208. #209 kmarissa
    April 16, 2008

    Wow! Post 203, what a post! A roller-coaster of adventure! Global Warming Cultists! Doomocrats! Welfare leeches! Socialism! Weapons of Mass Destruction! National Proletarian Radio! Jimmy Carter! Thrills! Chills! This year’s SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!

    But sadly lacking in relevance or coherence.

  209. #210 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    “Joe Blow” – you’re not fooling me! I know quite well you’re the product of an undergraduate AI project. Nobody could really be THAT stupid and still remember to breathe.

    Yes, I can see you’ve been imbibing the Global Warming Kool-aid again. By the way, High Priest Al called. He said your new marching orders are on-line at the Daily Kos.

    But sadly lacking in relevance or coherence.

    I can see how someone lacking in reading comprehension and critical thinking skills would come to that conclusion.

  210. #211 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    Re #207. Kenneth Colby’s “Parry”, a computer representation of a paranoia sufferer, had much the same limitations as “Joe Blow” has: if what you typed in didn’t fit one of its pre-existing templates, Parry simply reverted to a complaint about one of its preprogrammed obsessions (in “Joe’s” case, the central one seems to be Al Gore). However, Parry was written in 1972: more than three decades later, it’s somewhat discouraging, even in an undergraduate project, to see so little technical progress.

  211. #212 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    Re #207. Kenneth Colby’s “Parry”, a computer representation of a paranoia sufferer, had much the same limitations as “Joe Blow” has: if what you typed in didn’t fit one of its pre-existing templates, Parry simply reverted to a complaint about one of its preprogrammed obsessions (in “Joe’s” case, the central one seems to be Al Gore). However, Parry was written in 1972: more than three decades later, it’s somewhat discouraging, even in an undergraduate project, to see so little technical progress.

    Hey Nick! I can see that one of your central obsessions is the liberal myth of global warming (or “climate change”, or whatever they’re calling it this week). That’s okay, though. In a decade or so, you will have been re-programmed to parrot the “global cooling” mantra, since that will be the leftwit cause-du-jour. Good to see that changing your code requires only time and very little effort.

  212. #213 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    Mostly, however, Parry (like Weizenbaum’s better-known “Eliza”, a programmed “Rogerian therapist”, would simply pick up a few words or parts of words (e.g. “obsessions”, “programmed”) from whatever was typed in, and include them in its reply to give the impression it was making a meaningful response.

  213. #214 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    Mostly, however, Parry (like Weizenbaum’s better-known “Eliza”, a programmed “Rogerian therapist”, would simply pick up a few words or parts of words (e.g. “obsessions”, “programmed”) from whatever was typed in, and include them in its reply to give the impression it was making a meaningful response.

    So that’s how High Priest Al has managed to brainwash so many people with his global warming hogwash, by repeating the same debunked arguments ad nauseum, to give the impression he is making meaningful responses (like “no controlling legal authority”). Who knew?

  214. #215 Hap
    April 16, 2008

    Joe B.,

    Don’t you have a John Birch Society meeting to be going to? Or perhaps your nightly “personal time” with some candles, AstroGlide, and a copy of Ann Coulter’s latest screed?

    Also, your ability to predict liberal opinion in ten years might be more accurate if you had a grasp of knowledge and logic. I think I can get a Magic 8-Ball with better thinking skills and higher predictive accuracy than you, and I’m pretty sure it will be less annoying.

  215. #216 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    In #211 we see the two techniques combined: the repetitive “obsession” focused on Al Gore, and the way words or phrases are picked out of the incoming message, and recycled as part of the reply (here, “meaningful response”).

  216. #217 Ryan F Stello
    April 16, 2008

    Nick (210),

    I disagree about the technological advancement, here.

    The goal doesn’t seem to be a meaningful response, but the perfect representation of a far-right psychopath: dopey, paranoid and demanding of attention.

    The goal isn’t to create a bot that creates meaningful responses, but one that thinks that it does.

  217. #218 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    Don’t you have a John Birch Society meeting to be going to?

    No, I don’t, but thanks for the stereotype (and for proving me right)! Of course, anyone who disagrees with you must be a racist. Never mind that I’m of mixed race myself. Facts are mere details to a properly indoctrinated liberal. Let me guess: you were “educated” in a government school.

    Or perhaps your nightly “personal time” with some candles, AstroGlide, and a copy of Ann Coulter’s latest screed?

    Project much?

    Also, your ability to predict liberal opinion in ten years might be more accurate if you had a grasp of knowledge and logic.

    Well, you left-libbers are nothing if not predictable, going from one doomsday fantasy to another, just like the Biblical Reconstructionists. Y2k was their “global warming”. Or was it AIDS? It’s hard to keep all you crazy people and your idiotic religions straight.

    I think I can get a Magic 8-Ball with better thinking skills and higher predictive accuracy than you

    It doesn’t surprise me that you would believe in magic, given how much Global Warming Kool-aidTM you have obvioulsy ingested. It tends to have that effect.

    and I’m pretty sure it will be less annoying.

    Annoying liberals is like shooting fish in a barrel. Pretty much anything outside of their pre-programmed talking points sends them over the edge. It is entertaining, though.

  218. #219 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    In #211 we see the two techniques combined: the repetitive “obsession” focused on Al Gore, and the way words or phrases are picked out of the incoming message, and recycled as part of the reply (here, “meaningful response”).

    You mean, like you just did? Wow! You must be the result of an eighth-grade AI science fair project. Color me unsurprised.

  219. #220 Ryan F Stello
    April 16, 2008

    You must be the result of an eighth-grade AI science fair project.

    Neener!

    Color me unsurprised.

    01000110011101010110001101101011 010011110110011001100110

  220. #221 thwaite
    April 16, 2008

    Hopelessly OT, but the question of parrot Alex’s companions came up early in the thread and never got answered except with aspersions, so:
    The parrot Alex, his companions and Professor Pepperberg’s research lab focused on them are well described at their web page: Alexfoundation.org and also the wikipedia entry for Irene Pepperberg. Browsing in Pepperberg’s site, one finds publication links, video, and this paragraph:

    Alex’s personality was very evident in his everyday life. He was “in charge” of his home and relished ordering “his” humans to perform various tasks for him. He also acted as a coach and cheerleader to his fellow birds, Wart and Griffin, alternately encouraging or admonishing them during their lessons. His favorite toys were cardboard boxes, key chains and corks.

    These birds and this description aren’t the product of a hell-hole such as #137 portrays. And in fact the training method which Pepperberg insightfully applied for these social birds is not “extreme negative reinforcement” but the ‘model-rival technique’. This relies entirely on the intense social bond between subject and trainer, with the subjects jealousy of anyone distracting the trainer’s attentions providing the only negative experience.

  221. #222 Kseniya
    April 16, 2008

    Joe – are you avoiding me? I though we had something… y’know… kinda special
    :-|

  222. #223 Joe Blow
    April 16, 2008

    01000110011101010110001101101011 010011110110011001100110

    Wow, a leftwit who thinks in binary. Now there’s a redundant statement if ever there was one!

  223. #224 Ryan F Stello
    April 16, 2008

    Now there’s a redundant statement if ever there was one!

    01001100010011010100000101001111. Definitely better than unary!

    01000100011011110110111001110100

    0110001001101100011000010110110101100101

    011001010111011001100101011100100111100101100010011011110110010001111001

    01100010011001010110001101100001011101010111001101100101

    0110010001100001011001000110010001111001

    011010100110010101110010011010110110010101100100

    011110010110111101110101

    011011110110011001100110

  224. #225 Jennie
    April 16, 2008

    Maybe Chris Clarke has updated the blogwarbot.

  225. #226 Steven Sullivan
    April 17, 2008

    “In #211 we see the two techniques combined: the repetitive “obsession” focused on Al Gore…”

    I know, isn’t it bizarre? The ‘Joe Blows’ of the chattersphere seem far more obsessed with Gore than the Democrats/Hollywood types/green crusaders that supposedly worship him.

  226. #227 Nick Gotts
    April 17, 2008

    The goal isn’t to create a bot that creates meaningful responses, but one that thinks that it does.
    Ryan F Stello

    Ryan, either would in fact be a great advance! The point about Eliza and Parry was that there was no semantics whatever behind the facade: there was a collection of simple template-based routines for transforming input sentences into apparently-related responses, and some all-purpose utterances for use when this approach failed. For example, if you told Eliza:
    “My boyfriend made me come here.”
    It would respond:
    “You say your boyfriend made you come here?”
    If the input did not match any of its templates, it would resort to:
    “How does that make you feel?”, or
    “Tell me more about your family.”
    This worked reasonably well because a Rogerian therapist is supposed to act as a kind of sounding-board for the client, never directing them or introducing any very specific topic – in other words, they pretty much try to turn themselves into a machine for keeping the conversation going. Weizenbaum was (quite unnecessarily) appalled that some of his test subjects used Eliza to explore real personal problems – really this suggested both that there may be some point to Rogerian therapy, and that he’d succeeded in what he was trying to do. (More recent research has shown that getting a patient to interact with a computer has advantages over a human interviewer in areas of medicine involving sex, drug use, bowel movements etc.) Similarly to Eliza, Parry worked reasonably well because it could always go back to its obsessions – if I remember rightly, the Mafia took the role that “Joe Blow” assigns to Al Gore. However, clinical psychologists under the impression they were interacting with a person often diagnosed it as brain-damaged, rather than psychotic, because of syntactic errors. A political scientist called Abelson created a program more like the one you’re suggesting, called “Believer”, which did have some minimal semantics behind its utterances – so it would know that “Red China” was likely to try to thwart anything “The Free World” did, but its lack of common-sense knowledge would quickly become evident – it did not distinguish between individuals and countries, for example, only between goodies and baddies. I think “Joe Blow” is probably at about this stage too. If I can find the time, I’m going to collect all “Joe’s” utterances and see if I can reverse-engineer my own version.

  227. #228 Brandon P.
    April 17, 2008

    But parroting left-wing thinktanks is A-OK, at least in the alleged mind of a doctrinaire liberal.

    Bro, we don’t get our information about climate change from “left-wing think tanks”. We get it from climatological evidence. Such as that seen here and here. Or is the discipline of climatology now a huge left-wing think tank?

  228. #229 Eli Rabett
    April 17, 2008

    Besides failing graph cut and paste, Kristen also learned to build strawmen in arts class. First time around everyone tried to be nice to her, but it is clear that nice don’t get her attention.

  229. #230 Ian
    April 17, 2008

    How could the freakin science channel plug expelled?

    Look on the bright side – every time the scientific world – in whatever form, however tangential, has a commercial or a feature or a review about this “movie”, it completely undermines their lie that ID is 100% categorically expelled!

  230. #231 Scooty Puff, Jr.
    April 17, 2008

    Even though Kristen is wrong, I, as a computer scientist, have little means of refuting her. The reporter raises a valid point that most people don’t have the time or means to read the evidence for global warming (or evolution by natural selection) themselves. And, being apart from the scientific community, how is the public supposed to know how to separate scientific fact from opinion? That is to say, how can we expect people to take science’s word for it when science (and education) is so culturally devalued.

    Here’s a good example. The subprime mortgage meltdown proved to the public that financial “experts” can’t be trusted. As far as the general public is concerned, scientists and financial analysts are on equal footing: they’re experts, more likely to be right than the general public, but also possessing a political agenda that tempts them to exploit their position to achieve their own selfish goals. When you have a public that can’t understand the evidence well enough to come to the same conclusions as the scientific mainstream themselves, how do you convince them?

    There were also plenty of people trying to warn the public that the subprime market would collapse. But no one listened to them. They were spreading a message people didn’t want to hear, so the public plugged their ears and said, “la la la I can’t hear you!”

    How do you convince Kristen that the sources she’s citing are crap, or that the data are taken out of context, or that she doesn’t understand them as well as she thinks she does?

  231. #232 Kseniya
    April 17, 2008

    It seems that WingNutDaily apostle Joe Blow has completely degenerated into an insult-spewing Limbaugh dittohead troll – and he still has the nerve to push that “And you proved my point!” nonsense. Hypocrite.

    Joe, are you ever going to be man enough to admit that I pwnd your sorry ass on the WMD point and the “government schools” point?

    I’ve come to realize that you’ve a limited mental absorbance for fact and reason, but if you’re up for broadening your horizons a little, please read these two pieces:

  232. Net builders Kahn, Cerf recognise Al Gore
  233. Al Gore and the Creation of the Internet

    Prediction: We’ve seen the last of Joe on this thread.

  • #233 OrbitalMike
    April 17, 2008

    I accept that increased Global Warming is occurring and that Humans are a major contributor. I would still like to see more work and data on the effect of the change of galactic cosmic rays on cloud formation rates and the change in the solar “constant” dumping energy into the Earth’s climate system. What still bothers me is the identification of the causes of previous extreme climate changes. We Humans are now a very strong forcing function working in conjunction with the natural forcing functions of climate change. This makes the climate system more unstable than it already is, with a possibility of driving the climate beyond its natural stability boundaries. More work is needed to quantify the magnitude of our impact to climate change and to make global policy changes that reduce that impact below the critical threshold AND not curtail Human societal growth.

  • #234 LAN3
    April 17, 2008

    Amazing, this. NPR produces one of the weakest possible responses in opposition to its otherwise complete agreement with the scientists and politics that support the existence and human causes of global warming, as far as its coverage goes, and you all think it’s trying to balance a one-sided issue. Of course not. If they sought balance, they’d get someone with a PhD to argue against it. NPR believes as you do, and you can’t seem to see that. A 16-year-old climate skeptic barely registers as token opposition, and that’s the best that NPR cared to do.

    Also, I don’t know how many of you give money to NPR directly, NPR doesn’t own or operate its local stations– they’re mostly independent and they choose to license NPR programming, as well as programming from other stations and networks, PRI, BBC, CBC, and in general other public radio. This is not like TV networks, where Channel N only runs FOX shows. This would be a channel that runs shows from any network it could afford. Don’t make your local station suffer because you don’t like what the network flagship is doing. Yes, your local station pays a license fee for NPR programming (to say nothing of all that other stuff).

    Second, NPR and public radio stations aren’t running advertisements. Sure, those “sponsor messages” crossed the line into ads an number of years ago, but they need to be reminded pretty constantly that they’re betraying their public radio stance by taking that sort of crap, and here’s the perfect opportunity. On the other hand, telling them that you don’t like an ad they air is going to get them to digress into the “we don’t run ads” crap. Tell them that you think this new sponsor is a lying sack of crap and that you’d like to see it gone, even if that means boycotting several other more long-running sponsors. Movie-marketing-division sponsorship is a fleeting thing they can do without anyway.

  • #235 Kseniya
    April 17, 2008

    Good comment, LAN3. It’s also worth noting that NPR isn’t nearly as liberal as everyone seems to think. That’s a dittohead perception created by the Right, which is forever tugging hard on that Overton Window.

  • #236 Brian Macker
    April 18, 2008

    “But not enough to know there’s no such unit as a “fermisecond”. It’s femtosecond, Brian – go to the bottom of the class!”

    I’m remembering this stuff from 35 years ago. What’s your excuse. It’s still bullshit.

    I’ve been around long enough to have heard in my high school those very ice age scares that some posters here claim never happened.

    When I was in school I used to read the grandious claims made by cosmologists and physicists all the time. They didn’t have the benefit of a lot of the observations they have now and they have had to change their theories. Doesn’t stop them from making the claims. They don’t understand a lot about the universe and to think they were at the point where they knew what was happening such a short time after the start of the big bang is ridiculous.

    Hell they don’t even really understand black holes yet.

    They are still talking this way. From a NYT article:
    “Experiments that are simply unthinkable in physical terms can and will be conducted on and by these computers,” Mr. Rattner said. Imagine being able to stop the universe a few femtoseconds after the Big Bang and just poke around to see what’s happening.” A femtosecond is one-quadrillionth of a second. “Or imagine watching the folding of a protein at an armchair pace”, he said. “These and many other opportunities await us.”

    … and of course I don’t know a heck of a lot about cosmology. Never claimed to know more that college level physics. However you don’t need to know a heck of a lot to know bull when you see it. This guy is overselling what is possible with a computer simulation.

    You guys are just nit picking.

    The level of panic in your comments is palpable. I mean really, I’m a “dangerous”. Calling the other guy a “kook” when he’s fairly reasonable, although some of the stuff he says is in error. Meanwhile writing a panicky post about how the worlds going to pretty much burn up while including a disclaimer that it’s not “runaway”.

    Really, “runaway” doesn’t mean that we’re going to be boiling lead and given the conditions on Venus, it’s not runaway either, in fact it’s quite stable there. What you outlined however was the most dramatic an chicken little scenario possible. Temps warm till all the methane trapped sublimates, that feeds into this, blah, blah.

    Stop scaring the children.

  • #237 Brian Macker
    April 18, 2008

    TTT,

    Your speculations about people imagining the global cooling scare while inventive aren’t based on anything real. There really was a global cooling scare. It did involve not only articles in newspapers, and magazines but also famous scientists like Carl Sagan. Look at this book by Fred Hoyle. ;)

    “Citing evidence drawn from geology, astronomy, biology, and meteorology, the noted scientist argues that the conditions for inducing an ice age may develop within a decade’s time and outlines necessary precautions to avert this catastrophe”

    That people can’t come up with peer reviewed scientific articles from memory thirty years later is hardly suprising. That they remember the scare isn’t surprising. It happened.

    Go read the Wiki article on the scare, do a web search, you’t see that we didn’t just invent it. By the way, there was a Vietnam war too.

    As of twenty years ago the belief was that interglacials last 20,000 years. Apparently that’s been updated since. The science changes as new information comes in. Climate science isn’t as hard as they make it out to be.

    I do believe that the increased CO2 from human activities is going to warm the climate. What I don’t believe is that they know by how much, and certainly not that it requires panic.

    It certainly doesn’t require vilifying people who remember things that really happened as kooks.

  • #238 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    It seems that WingNutDaily apostle Joe Blow

    WingNutDaily? What’s that? A trade journal for tool-and-die makers? And why would such a thing have apostles anyway?

    has completely degenerated into an insult-spewing Limbaugh dittohead troll

    Those aren’t insults; they’re observations. Please take the time to learn the difference.

    As for Limbaugh, I haven’t caught his show since 2002 (as I recall, my memory ain’t what it used to be).

    I didn’t think you would be old enough to remember mimeograph machines (I haven’t personally used one since high school), but I can assure you that I’ve never stuck my head into one.

    – and he still has the nerve to push that “And you proved my point!” nonsense. Hypocrite.

    Yes! How DARE I tell the truth like that!!! Memo to self: in future be more of a lying leftwit!

    Joe, are you ever going to be man enough to admit that I pwnd your sorry ass on the WMD point and the “government schools” point?

    Yo, Pat! I think Kseniya needs to buy a vowel (or two). By the way, I’ve never had a donkey, or any other barnyard animals, and I don’t think any pawn shop owner would be interested in one anyway!

    By the way, two factoids to keep in mind:

    (1) Weapons of mass destruction WERE FOUND in Iraq. This is a fact which will not be altered by any amount of denialist whining.

    (2) A school owned and operated by the government is, by definition, a government school, unless you are prepared to simultaneously argue that a school owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Church is not, in fact, a Catholic school, and a Madrassa is not a Muslim school.

    I’ve come to realize that you’ve a limited mental absorbance for fact and reason, but if you’re up for broadening your horizons a little, please read these two pieces:

    Net builders Kahn, Cerf recognise Al Gore

    …wherein we learn that Prince Albert created, rather than inventing the internet…

    Al Gore and the Creation of the Internet

    …wherein we are informed that High Priest Al sponsored a resolution to declare October 1989 as Country Music Month. (What? No Western? Doesn’t Tipper’s husband know that we like both types of music?)

    Prediction: We’ve seen the last of Joe on this thread.

    Wrong again, honey. :-) Another liberal hypothesis consigned to the trash heap of history. Just like global warming. Oh well. All in a day’s work for ol’ Joe.

  • #239 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    (1) Weapons of mass destruction WERE FOUND in Iraq. This is a fact which will not be altered by any amount of denialist whining.

    Sure, Joe. Pity no one told Bush.

    Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck!

  • #240 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    Sure, Joe. Pity no one told Bush.

    Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck! Al Gore! High Priest! I win! Liberals Suck!

    Wah! Wah! Wah!

    This liberal whine-fest brought to you by George (my brain was fried in the) Cauldron.

    And by the Clintonian News Network. All Hillary, all the time (except when we’re talking about JonBenet, of course).

  • #241 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    “Wahh! Al Gore! Liberals suck! Hitlery is a lesbian! Bill Clinton killed Vincent Foster! Lewinsky! John Kerry is French! Al Gore! Liberals!”

    There. We can do you better than you can. You’ve been rendered unnecessary.

  • #242 Nick Gotts
    April 19, 2008

    The evidence grows that “Joe Blow” is an undergraduate artificial intelligence (or perhaps “artificial stupidity”) project. After all, no human being could possibly be moronic enough not to realise that if WMD had been found in Iraq, Bush, Blair and their cronies would have shouted it from the rooftops. Or for that matter, not to realise that this would be obvious to everyone else.

  • #243 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    “Wahh! Al Gore! Liberals suck! Hitlery is a lesbian! Bill Clinton killed Vincent Foster! Lewinsky! John Kerry is French! Al Gore! Liberals!”

    There. We can do you better than you can. You’ve been rendered unnecessary.

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Global warming will spell the end of the world as we know it!!! You can’t waterboard those poor terrorists!!! Rush Limbaugh!!! Fox News!!! No WMD were found in Iraq!!! Oral sex isn’t sex!!!! AIDS is spread by a lack of funding!!! Bush stole the election!!!

    This leftwit whine-fest brought to you by George (my brain was fried in the) Cauldron.

    And by the lame scream media. Your official Doomocratic Party Propaganda HeadquartersTM.

  • #244 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    And by the lame scream media. Your official Doomocratic Party Propaganda HeadquartersTM.

    Clinton blowjob! Libs! Whitewater! Al Gore says he invented the internet! Liberals hate America!

  • #245 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    Clinton blowjob! Libs! Whitewater! Al Gore says he invented the internet! Liberals hate America!

    And your point, leftwit?

  • #246 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    And your point, leftwit?

    Liberals hate our freedoms! Kerry looks like Herman Munster! Al Gore says he invented the internet! John Edwards’ hair!

  • #247 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    John Edwards’ hair!

    You find him attractive? Ask him out on a date then!

  • #248 PZ Myers
    April 19, 2008

    Joe Blow, you are so predictable that you’ve become exceptionally boring. Actually write something other than your usual keyboard spasms, or you’re gone.

  • #249 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    Joe Blow, you are so predictable that you’ve become exceptionally boring. Actually write something other than your usual keyboard spasms, or you’re gone.

    The Great Peasy HAS SPOKEN!!!

    Actually, predictability is a liberal trait, as is repeatedly demonstrated here.

    But you’re right. I should be more like you, and spend weeks whining about not getting in to see a fourth-rate “documentary”, or reflexively disparaging anyone who disagrees with me, or writing about pictures of anuses forming a portrait of the President of the United States, or calling people “demented fuckwits”. Nope, nosireebob, no “keyboard spasms” there. Just good old-fashioned, honest-to-Darwin science. Why, what scientific journal hasn’t used the term “fuckwit” on at least a monthly basis?

    And of course, your hypocritcal double standard is noticed.

  • #250 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    Just good old-fashioned, honest-to-Darwin science. Why, what scientific journal hasn’t used the term “fuckwit” on at least a monthly basis?

    Or ‘leftwit’, or ‘my brain was fried’?

    And of course, your hypocritcal double standard is noticed.

    But…what about Al Gore? He said he invented the internet!

  • #251 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    Or ‘leftwit’, or ‘my brain was fried’?

    The difference being that I’m not the one claiming to run a “science” blog, then posting rants that have absolutely nothing to do with science.

  • #252 PZ Myers
    April 19, 2008

    Bugger off, Blow. The stupid canard that a godless liberal must shut up and talk only about science is simply another ploy to demand that evidence contrary to your personal fuckwittery not be aired.

    Now go away. You’ve bored me enough today.

  • #253 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    The difference being that I’m not the one claiming to run a “science” blog, then posting rants that have absolutely nothing to do with science.

    Sooo… these things are bad if a scientist does them, but fine if you do them.

    Hitlery! John Edwards looks gay! High priests of evolution! Leftwit!

  • #254 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    Bugger off, Blow. The stupid canard that a godless liberal must shut up and talk only about science is simply another ploy to demand that evidence contrary to your personal fuckwittery not be aired.

    Ah, yes. “Personal fuckwittery”. How…intelligent. Of course, I never said anything about you “shutting up”, but then again, making things up out of whole cloth is your stock in trade, isn’t it, Sleazy Peazy? Just like concluding someone’s sexual orientation based on an anonymous comment on a newspaper’s web site. What was that you were saying about “evidence”? Oh, right…it applies to everyone but you.

    Now go away. You’ve bored me enough today.

    Why don’t you take your own advice?

  • #255 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    High priests of evolution!

    I’m an atheist, doofus. Get a clue!!! Man you leftwits are a scream!!! Performance art at its best.

  • #256 Steve_C
    April 19, 2008

    What part of “go away” went over your head?

  • #257 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    What part of “go away” went over your head?

    The “go” part, and the “away” part, I guess.

  • #258 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Why don’t you take your own advice?

    LOL

    let me get this straight, you’re trying to tell the owner of the blog to go away?

    what color curtains would you like for your dungeon cell?

  • #259 Steve_C
    April 19, 2008

    so you’re begging for the dungeon?

    I’m sure you’ll be obliged soon enough.

  • #260 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    what color curtains would you like for your dungeon cell?

    Hiya, Icky Thing! It’s been so long!!!

    I think I’ll take fuschia with lime green trim!

    so you’re begging for the dungeon?

    No, I prefer the dragon! As long as I have a shift key I’ll be fine.

    let me get this straight, you’re trying to tell the owner of the blog to go away?

    When did I tell Seed Media to go away?

  • #261 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    PZ uses swear words! He can’t be a real scientist! Real scientists never express emotion!

    High Preist Al!

  • #262 Joe Blow
    April 19, 2008

    Real scientists never express emotion!

    Yes, they do, but they also possess vocabularies.

  • #263 George Cauldron
    April 19, 2008

    Yes, they do, but they also possess vocabularies.

    Me haz big vocabulary now!:

    I’m always more entertained when Global Warming Cultists parrot the High Priest of the Church of Climate ChangeTM, Al Gore.

    And upon what wealth of experience in climate science is this conclusion based? Oh, that’s right, it’s an argument from authority (in this case, the “authority” of High Priest Al).

    Yes, I can see you’ve been imbibing the Global Warming Kool-aid again. By the way, High Priest Al called. He said your new marching orders are on-line at the Daily Kos.

    So that’s how High Priest Al has managed to brainwash so many people with his global warming hogwash,

    …wherein we are informed that High Priest Al sponsored a resolution to declare October 1989 as Country Music Month.

  • #264 Kseniya
    April 20, 2008

    Joe Blow is a troll. Ignore.

  • #265 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    …personal fuckwittery…

    PZ, I actually shot a mouthful of sprite through my nose onto the screen of my Mac when I read THAT gem. I needed that laugh!

  • #266 Rey Fox
    April 22, 2008

    He’s gone now, isn’t he? Dang. I wanted to tell everyone that to call Joe a “couch potato”. He really hates that.

  • #267 John Mashey
    April 23, 2008

    I recommend John Quiggin’s discussion of trolls and why he no longer puts up with them in his blog, and look at a few threads there to assess the level of discourse thereby induced.