Inhofe's war on science

Senator Inhofe (R, Exxon) has responded to the AP story on how top climate researchers say Gore got it right. Drudge pimped the response, so it's all over the place now.

Inhofe's press release starts with a straight lie:


Top climate researchers did in fact praise the movie and the story quoted them.

Inhofe claims that "scores of scientists" have criticized the movie and demands that the AP release the names of the 19 scientists who praised the accuracy of the movie. Fair enough. Maybe he could tell us the names of the scores of critics. Inhofe only has four names and only two of those (Spencer and Lindzen) could be termed "top climate researchers".

Inhofe then attacks Correll:

The AP article quotes Robert Correll, the chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group. It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President.

Gore invites top climate researchers to see his film and this discredits them somehow? Ridiculous.

Inhofe continues:

The AP also chose to ignore Gore's reliance on the now-discredited "hockey stick" by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990's were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years. Last week's National Academy of Sciences report dispelled Mann's often cited claims by reaffirming the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. See Senator Inhofe's statement on the broken "Hockey Stick."

Actually they affirmed the existence of the Little Ice Age, but not of a global (as opposed to regional) Medieval Warm Period, and that this was consistent with Mann's work. From the press release:

The committee noted that scientists' reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for the past thousand years are generally consistent. The reconstructions show relatively warm conditions centered around the year 1000, and a relatively cold period, or "Little Ice Age," from roughly 1500 to 1850. The exact timing of warm episodes in the medieval period may have varied by region, and the magnitude and geographical extent of the warmth is uncertain, the committee said. None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades, the committee added.

Inhofe continues:

Gore's claim that global warming is causing the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro to disappear has also been debunked by scientific reports. For example, a 2004 study in the journal Nature makes clear that Kilimanjaro is experiencing less snowfall because there's less moisture in the air due to deforestation around Kilimanjaro.

This is untrue. Ice sheet expert Eric Steig explains

The Heartland Institute's propagation of the notion that the Kilimanjaro glacier retreat has been proved to be due to deforestation is even more egregious. They quote "an article published in Nature" by Betsy Mason ("African ice under wraps," Nature, 24 November, 2003) which contains the statement "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit." Elsewhere, Heartland refers to this as a "study." The "study" is in reality no scientific study at all, but a news piece devoted almost entirely to Euan Nesbit's proposal to save the Kilimanjaro glacier by wrapping it in a giant tarp. The article never says who the "experts" are, nor does it quote any scientific studies supporting the claim.

Inhofe finally quotes a scientist who is critical:

Professor Bob Carter, of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia, on Gore's film:

"Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

"The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science." -- Bob Carter as quoted in the Canadian Free Press, June 12, 2006

Right, Gore's wrong but Carter can't tell us why. And no, in the full article he doesn't offer an explanation either. Incidentally, Canada Free Press is not a newspaper but a web site that promotes conspiracy theories.

Inhofe continues:

Gore's film also cites a review of scientific literature by the journal Science which claimed 100% consensus on global warming, but [Richard] Lindzen pointed out the study was flat out incorrect.

"...A study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words "global climate change" produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it."- Lindzen wrote in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal.

Lindzen got Oreskes' name wrong (it's Naomi), what she said she'd found (which was that 75% implicitly or explicitly accept the consensus) and what the corresponding claim by Peiser was (that only one third of the papers accepted the consensus). It seems likely that he never checked what Oreskes actually wrote and relied on a second or third hand account. And far from Oreskes being discredited, Peiser eventually admitted that he was wrong.

Roy Spencer, principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, wrote an open letter to Gore criticizing his presentation of climate science in the film:

"...Temperature measurements in the arctic suggest that it was just as warm there in the 1930's... before most greenhouse gas emissions. Don't you ever wonder whether sea ice concentrations back then were low, too?"- Roy Spencer wrote in a May 25, 2006 column.

i-e789b854a23f596df0b655bc4ea85a0b-arctictemps.pngTemperature measurements don't suggest that it was just as warm in the Arctic in the 30s. There were a few warm years then, but there were also some cold years. The moving average (green line in the graph) exceeded the peak from the 30s in 1990 and since then has kept on going up.

Former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball reacted to Gore's claim that there has been a sharp drop-off in the thickness of the Arctic ice cap since 1970.

"The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology," -- Tim Ball said, according to the Canadian Free Press.

Ball neglects to mention that there were several runs and seasonal differences were corrected for. IPCC TAR:

Rothrock et al. (1999) compared late summer September to October data from 1993, 1996 and 1997 from an USA civilian submarine research programme with data from six summer cruises from the period 1958 to 1976. Thickness was adjusted to mid-September values to account for seasonal variability. The significant decline in mean ice thickness was observed for all regions, increasing from the Canada Basin towards Europe (Figure 2.17). Overall, there was a mean reduction in thickness of 42% from 3.1 to 1.8 m the earlier period to the present.

Finally I note that just last month one of the authors of Inhofe's press release, Marc Morano, was writing an attack piece on James Hansen for CNSNews. What's with that?

Also commenting: Judd Legum and play_jurist

Update: The AP responds.

More like this

Gore's critics are falling back on the tried and true method of using volume to drown out truth.

The best take on the whole global warming issue comes from, an unlikely source - insurance companies see:

"Why the insurance industry is putting its money on global warming"

over a year old but still relevant.

Insurance data via that unbiased source Mother Jones.


Flat-earthers technique: if you can't defeat the facts of global warming then attack who is saying them.

"It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President."

There's some careful reading. The article actually implies that Correll hasn't seen the film at all (but has seen the slideshow and read the book). Does it matter to the attempted point? Probably not since Correll does quote himself as speaking to Gore on a first-name basis. Like Tim, I don't find this particularly troubling.

"Flat-earthers technique: if you can't defeat the facts of global warming then attack who is saying them."

Oh, you mean an ad hominem, snide remark like, "Senator Inhofe (R, Exxon)"?

[steps back defensively, waiting to pounced upon by the tolerant left...]

By Thumper44 (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink

Thumper44, thanks for pointing that out. I had completely missed it. Good one, Tim.

By Mark Paris (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink

Your initial premise: " Inhofe's press release starts with a straight lie:" Is never backed up in your attempted defence of Gore. Try again. This time name more than the two scientists that were acknowledged.

Senator Inhouse attacks press, an informal but critical U.S. political institution, by in numerous ways slandering it. Over what is, even if true, a minor issue in a minor story, which he rhetorically inflates to attract attention. I'm an ex-journalist. These are minor issues. Inhouse is following a script handed to him, likely produced by someone outside of Congress. His indignation is manufactured.

This is a U.S. Senator displaying the worst possible political venality and longterm-risktaking with U.S. political foundations for short-term, minor short-term, goals -- just to participate in a constituent's, likely massive, downside risk management plan. [see previous Deltoid topic].

Thumper responds to thread about topic with 7 lies in 24 words. Likely more, but I've no time to think through the layers.

1) Ignores Inhouse's actions.

2) Ignores function of press in US.

3) Ignores topic of blog.

4) "Can't defeat the facts of global warming then attack who is saying them." He does EXACTLY that.

5) "Oh, you mean an ad hominem, snide remark like .... " Then he does EXACTLY that....."[steps back defensively, waiting to pounced upon by the tolerant left...]"

6) Implies moral superiority yet clearly lurks only waiting to disrupt, otherwise why here. Knows what to expect and lies in ambush, an assassin.

7) All shills, by definition, are dishonest.

Conclusion, thumper's actions are more dishonest and amoral than the entire thread up to this point -- and many times that of the offense he complains about. thumper ends up in negatives on moral scale, knows it, self-justifies it's for a larger moral good, and may work for/consult for the "extensive, innovative franchise system" mentioned in previous topic.

[Note, latter three conclusions are intuition from seeing behavior of many other thumpers over time.]

A humble effort to demonstrate a how-to for my admonition in previous topic to "beware of getting sucked in by overt content to the exclusion of the real, operative forces at work" . An adequate, but not great, example. What recommended it is the perp's content is moral condemnation, yet his techniques are even more immoral. Focusing on defending against content distracts audience from perp's behavior. Focus on perp's behavior. Such focus can often be a lead-in to -- ahem -- discussing the larger psychomarketing campaigns that perps are usually a part of. These campaigns are mostly covert, and in the case of GW basically a negative psychomarketing campaign, in essence a negative-PR campaign.

And yes, "Inhouse" qualifies as an ad hominem attack. I'm modelling how-to for the left. I'll cop to moral equivalancy to thumpers once they come clean and lay 30-years of details of them doing such crap before the American public. Rapture will occur first. They won't pass through.

Hope some of this is useful. Signing off both threads...

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink

It seems Thumper and Mark have forgotten the difference between an insult and an ad hominem. Insults are only ad hominems when they are the basis for countering evidence. Tim's insult dosen't affect the points of his argument. Dennis and Inhofe's cries of "bias" ARE the argument.

So when I call people "Thundering Morons" bear in mind that it is indeed not an ad hominem, but merely my concluding opinion.

Thundering Morons is good.

I myself use Thumpering Morons.

Yikes, are we a little thin skinned here? The time and energy put into skookumplanet's post is a little disturbing.

I only meant to point out an amusing inconsistency in a debate between two reasonable points of view but, alas, I must have stepped on the landmine of heresy. As predicted, I was viciously attacked, being called amoral and dishonest and a shill. I thought that personal attacks on other commenters would be disemvowelled?

Oh well... I know I'm not a shill. Nor am I amoral. I'm just not convinced by any facts that the sky is falling, yet.

I guess I looked in the wrong place for a free flowing, open minded exchange of ideas. I'll know better next time.

By Thumper44 (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink

Oh, yeah, the ad hominem thing...

I felt that "Imhofe (R - Exxon)" was an ad hominem because it attacked the Senator's character and motives by implying that he represents "big oil" instead of the state of Oklahoma. That seemed like the right use of the word.

And it was certainly snide (mocking).

By Thumper44 (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink


Its on the record that Exxon Mobil contributed huge sums of money to the election campaigns of a number of US politicians, apparently including Inhofe. As John Stauber and Shelodon Rampton say clearly in their book, "Trust Us, We're Experts", if I pay a lawyer big sums of money, he/she are representing me. They are working on my behalf. It doesn't take much common sense to realize that a politician receiving a huge stipend from a corporation is going to argue in defense of policies tha benefit the profit making capacity of that corporation. The same applies to think tanks, public relations firms, and even scientists who are on the corporate payroll. What is quite remarkable is that some out there still believe that an individual or group remain 'independent' and 'committed to the truth' in spite of receiving large sums of money from a second party.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink

Thumper sez

"I guess I looked in the wrong place for a free flowing, open minded exchange of ideas. I'll know better next time."

Congratulations! You came here to inflate your own ego, and you seem to have succeeded.

If you want to be taken seriously then why don't you address the subject of the post instead of trying to start petty arguments?

Actually, I think I know the answer: because you have nothing substantive to say.

university research has a left wing bias because universities have a left wing bias.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink


No, most universities have a bias towards equity and social justice. Corporations, by their very nature, are rapacious eating machines - they are designed with the exclusive aim of repatriating profits for shareholders, whatever that entails. Read Joel Balkin's "The Corporation" and you'll get the picture. Better still buy the video based on the book which won a suite of international awards.

I suspect you are like most of the contrarians populating this site - a libertarian, who believes in 'unlimited freedom', 'less government', 'more deregulation', and a 'neoliberal foreign policy' combind with support for powerful elites and a strong military. Care to comment Hans?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 28 Jun 2006 #permalink

Your suspicion is wrong jeff.

Politics is always about finding the optimum between employee priorities (maximizing salary) and company priorities (maximizing profit). And I am not a contrarian, remember?

Universities do have a left wing bias.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

Hans, you are being very simplistic there. Employees have other goals as well (for example staying employed) as do companies (market share). Finally, neither group is homogeneous.

As to universities, well, that too depends.

"university research has a left wing bias because universities have a left wing bias."

What a strange thing to say! The question on the table should be "is global warming happening, and is it being caused by human activity". The answer given should not depend upon your political leaning! Scientists are not saying "gloabl warming is happening and it is caused by human activity" because they're left-wing or because they're right-wing. By and large they're saying it because that's what the studies are showing.

Same with the ozone layer. Scientists in the 80's didn't suddenly get together, form a left-wing bloc and decide to arbitrarialy declare that a hole was forming in the ozone layer, and that this was likely to be caused by CFCs because they didn't like Thatcher and Regan; they discovered that a hole was forming in the ozone layer, and announced this fact.

It's stunning that in America of all places how much politicians - and their supporters - seem to think that it is their duty to deliberately mis-represent and mis-interpret scientific studies, and declare the scientists "left-wing" simply because they're reporting the results of their studies.

And it's not just climatology. Look at the evolution "debate". Universities and lecturers are being declared "left-wing zealots" because they're teaching evolution and correclty deride so-called "intelligent-design" as a non-scientific gibberish. But a scientists are no more left-wing for supporting the facts of evolution than they are for supporting General Relativity. They're no more left-wing for declaring that their studies show that climate change is happening and that it's caused by human activity, than they would be for declaring that the Earth orbits the sun.

By John Wilson (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

indeed eli, I was countering Jeff with his extreme green party views. Good companies know that if you keep your workforce happy, they work harder for you. OTOH If there are no environmental laws, companies will pollute more.
How much pollution is acceptable is a political debate.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink


I am a scientist, and I take exception to my views being described by you as "Green Party". Moreover, you are internalizing the ethics of corporations; I am asking you what their external motives are. Its clear that bettering society and maintaining a clean, healthy enviroment (e.g. altrustic values) have little or nothing to do with what corporations stand for. I also take exception to science being paraded as 'sound' when it used to support a pre-determined worldview. Let's be frank here: no matter how rigorous the empiricval evidence will be supporting the hypothesis of AGW (and other environmental aspects of global change which overlap into public policy arenas such as the loss of biodiversity and groundwater, declining soil fertility etc.) there will always be a well-funded industry of denial. They will distort and twist the empirical data to bolster their argument that regulations protecting human health and the environment should either be reversed or weakened, and their motivation will always be the same: maximization of short-term profit.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

I believe that Senator Inhofe has a list of 211 card-carrying climatologists who have secretly infiltrated the US government, and he will be holding hearings to reveal their influence and attempts to desctroy the American way of life. Many of these individuals have engaged in treasonable acts such as attending university, performing research, or sharing data with overseas colleagues, as part of a vast international conspiracy, using coded communications in magazines such as 'Science' or 'Nature', whose very titles demosntrate their deviant worldview.

"is global warming happening, and is it being caused by human activity".

does not have a black and white answer.

The answers lie between "a bit" and "a lot", and this is where politics and bias kicks in.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

jeez, Inhofe. I did 6 years in Stillwater OK and was so embarassed the whole time time to be "represented" by that idiot and his fellow idiots Nickels and (now) Coburn. They are the bottom of the scum barrel for US politicians, and that's saying something.
Pedantic note: to make clear that Inhofe "represents" Oklahoma, the appellation ought to be "(R, Conoco/Philips)"

Politics is always about finding the optimum between employee priorities (maximizing salary) and company priorities (maximizing profit).

That isn't politics, that's economics.

Politics is about finding a compromise between employee priorities (socialism) and company priorities (capitalism).

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

"university research has a left wing bias because universities have a left wing bias."

Hans states this as if its relevant. Its about as relevant to the current topic as the global mean temperature is to my local weather forcast. My experience with universities is that each department is different. Actually my experience was that those liberal arts yahoos on the other side of campus can be pretty left wing but over here in the engineering departments its not particually left wing and sometimes right wing.

"university research has a left wing bias because universities have a left wing bias"

I refer you once again to reality's well-known "liberal" bias; providing overwhelming evidence for AGW whether you look at glaciers melting, plant habitats, or anything in between, for just one example. Fairness and balance require a rebuttal, whether it be research inspired by a fugue from reality, or an in depth analysis of less hardcore left wing numbers; for instance, precisely how many scientists who criticized Gore's movie are top climate researchers.

Politics is about finding a compromise between whoring yourself to one mindlessly partisan group or their mindlessly partisan age-old enemies.

The USA and the UK are not familiar with coalitions or consensus politics.

GW is not proof for AGW

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

In aid of Senator Inhofe, Rabett Run is compiling that list of 211 card-carrying climatologists who believe that Al Gore got the science right. Please add to our collection which right now is distinguished but kind short of 17000. Personal testimony is welcome:)

It's stunning that in America of all places how much politicians - and their supporters - seem to think that it is their duty to deliberately mis-represent and mis-interpret scientific studies, and declare the scientists "left-wing" simply because they're reporting the results of their studies.

This is the result of a deliberate - and highly effective - propaganda strategy. Read up on Frank Luntz.


You've obviously been doing this awhile. But I've been doing my schtick for awhile also, likely longer. I'll try to keep this brief like my post above. That's a sneeze for me. Go back one post to Tim's Gore movie topic and check out my comments. Then go to the post at PZ's I link from there. Finally take all 3 posts and average out the length.

That's a tad long for the average, but it'll do. I'm estimating this. I've done 15 to 20+ posts here at SciBlogs over the last ten days. In total, they are the same average length I just computed. As I said, my post above is a sneeze-length for me.

You'll be hard pressed to honestly characterize more than a few sentences in the lot as "emotional", and they're virtually all calculated. If I was emotional above, other than enjoying writing and teaching, it was impatience because I wanted to finish. I was hungry. There's not a word there that was written in any sort of emotional state about you, thin-skinned, thick-skinned, or any-skinned. I simply looked at a transaction, and from a very circumscribed point of view

You were a teaching example. Nothing more. As you continue to be. Thanks.

I didn't personally attack you, and you know it. I didn't call you immoral.I did imply you were dishonest in that transaction, because you were. I analyzed your behavior here and placed it in context of some larger issues this post topic is part of. You brought up the moral issue by attacking Tim. It was the fact of how you did that, juxtaposed against what you were doing, the hypocrisy, the leaped out. Roughly one-third of my word count was spent explaining how and why it's a teaching example. Something that goes unmentioned in your response.

I came over from another topic looking for an example. You popped.

I'll explain one point in detail, one way you were, and are, being dishonest.

You have exhibited up to this point ZERO interest in the free-flow of ideas. I tend to look to people's actions as a source for validating what they say. If you were interested in ideas, why in the world start the way you did? Why not start with an idea you want some free-flow on?

Inhouse doesn't need you defending him, believe me. The subject of the post was Inhouse. You've tried to pull off one of the more hilarious troll gambits I've seen, saying you came expecting. "... open minded exchange of ideas." About Inhouse?! Open-minded? My, oh my oh my. You're in bed with a man who will lie about anything, including the numerous STDs he's about to give you. [psst, say you have to go to the bathroom, then climb out the bathroom window.]

Inhouse has made it his job, a personal crusade, to shut down the "free flow" of ideas. And he's demonstrating utter disregard for the damage he may be doing in the process. If you want to go before this group and claim he's doing this for the people of Oklahoma, be my guest.

When Inhouse speaks, oily black lies drip out his mouth. Look closely and you can see it.

Best single-word description my brain can come up with [it's early for me] is "scumbag." Senator Scumbag? Accurate, but hackneyed.

Now, he is definitely someone I can get emotionally worked up about. But you? Nah.

And of course, you know all this. So again, your behavior is what I'm looking to. Your clever use of words to obfuscate, which was part of my point originally.

Point-of-Information Note on Disemvowelling. It's not an attack, nor a vicious attack, nor a personal attack if, when someone uses words and rhetorical skills to mislead, they then have these various devices enumerated with evidence, discussed, and then judged. Which is what happened to you. But you already understand that, hence using "viciously attacked" when you weren't.

Let me give you a piece of technical skill. When you have a really smart, analytical audience as here, rather than the simple declarative "I was viciously attacked", disguise it, say, with an interrogative. An example. "I'd call that a vicious attack, wouldn't you?"

This creates another level of distraction. It attracts the audience's natural analytic attention without them realizing it, and thus diverts it from the obvious false accusation you're making, which they're otherwise likely to notice in the flow of meaning.

One further note: Also, a simple definition of amoral is immoral means to achieve goals, ends justify the means. There are many ways to lie, and you've used quite a few of those here. I presumed, based on your behavior in this context where I've seen a lot of such, you're lying to achieve a goal, not because you enjoy being pathological, or actually are pathological. So, I'll take your point. Amoral or immoral is fine, the difference is immaterial to my demonstration.
My flow's a bit off here, but to return to the main topic. Inhouse has amply demonstrated, through many actions over a long period of time an overt, highly immoral and amoral character. He deserves to have his character and motives attacked. May he be buried and suffocated under an avalanche of such. He's a liar -- "The Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated on the American People". A book could be, probably will be, written about his corrosive effects on American political institutions. Tim's witticism is a characterization, not an accusation, that reflects reality. Inhouse is willing to do any sort of damage to science and the press. And your behavior here is, very roughly, analogous to Inhouse's in the larger American context.

I could go on, but won't.

thumper, every single sentence you've uttered so far [as I write] has been political rhetoric, aimed at everything but the facts, ideas, and the free flow of anything but BS. I won't do a textual analysis for honesty, but your own words make clear the intent behind them, and there's not a shred of evidence that you're an honest person. You may be, but you aren't behaving like one here.

And of course, that's been very helpful. So thanks for assisting further in the classroom demonstration.
PS: Last minute addition for readers with possible interest. thumper illustrates the use of core left values, such as free flow of ideas, open discussion, etc. against the left. This a frequently used and very profitable piece of rightwing technology that the left is pretty stupid about.

In the PZ post mentioned above, via Tim's "Gore movie" post, I discuss this and much other rightwing technology and how clueless the left is about that. My case is made at length there. A one sentence summary The left has a HUGE psychological block it is unaware of, the right is aware of and uses, and until the left deals with this, they'll remain exiles from political power in America.

I've been writing about this for several months at SciBlogs and have presented much evidence and sophisticated analysis. My comments at Tim's "Gore-movie" topic are an example. The GW-skeptic campaign has access to the media technology of the radical right, which I label "joint-venture plug-in" capacity there. This technology is foundational to GW-skeptics' success. So GW is a microcosm of the entire U.S. political culture, and so it's illustrative. Citizens are no more aware on a general sociopolitical level than they are about GW. Literally. This scary fact is the principle topic I've been writing about. My primary examples have been GW and evo/ID.

One commenter said thumper was here to inflate his own ego. While possible, I want to caution against this type of personalization, which I frequently see. Not from a rhetorical, "debate", even appearance standpoint, but from a psychological one. The far right actually runs the type of operations I discuss, more or less hidden in plain sight. Guaranteed the GW-skeptic campaign PAYS people to cruise blogs performing the types of functions thumper performs. As I said at Tim's other topic, they care nothing about how stupid or dishonest or anyway they look. They have a specific job to perform.

Indeed, these people are quite happy to have their efforts perceived as personal pathology. It keeps the focus off the campaign and it's instruments. It functions like my technical tip above. In short, personalizing thumper-types assists the people against you! I have absolutely no doubt about this. Bring a scientific approach to the problem, study the literature of the relevant fields, analyze this ongoing operation un-emotionally, and this will all be revealed. It just may take some time, there's a lot of material.


Remember my comments about my poor memory for names, when I asked about Singer, et. al.? I used Luntz to illustrate the elements of what did work for me? Nope. Bad example. There, and [I later checked] 75% of the time I used a first name it used Ed, not Frank. So, it was an example alright, a counterexample.

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

"I believe that Senator Inhofe has a list of 211 card-carrying climatologists who have secretly infiltrated the US government,"

Yes, a bunch of Milankovician Specialists all of them.

They already support global warming. The next thing you know, they will support global government -- and soon after that a global free lunch.

Take away their thermometers and their computers, I say. Force them to stare at the sun until they agree that it is the primary cause of global warming -- either that or listen to Inhofe 23 hours a day rambling on about the "greatest Hoax ever perpetrated upon the American people" .

well leaving aside the climate science for a moment -- Inhofe & his type (& lackeys) are just in the long list of ideological descendants from Screamin' Joe McCarthy. Just replace AGW with communism & vice-versa, and the shrill attacks aren't that much difference. I mean, Mann pretty much was getting grilled and reputation soiled a la the McCarthy hearings over, what, a PCA construction that Inhofe's Canadian pets (to boost their own egos) didn't like?

If these guys held such strict standards in other areas, I could give them some credit, but they'll examing the "hockey stick" with a microscope, but important things they look at with the serious of a two-year-old (like Halliburton contracts, Iraq War "evidence," 9/11 warnings, Islamic militants in one-way flight schools, etc).

Hans Erren: Politics is about finding a compromise between employee priorities (socialism) and company priorities (capitalism).

Can you demonstrate that employee priorities are "socialism" and company priorities are "capitalism"?

I'm not sure you even know what the words mean.


Great post. Hans makes a big deal about the horror of ad hominem attacks and then comes out with a whopper:

"University research has a left wing bias because universities have a left wing bias".

This snide, baseless and empirically unproven remark appears to be aimed to suggest that most university scientists are interpreting the results of their work to promote a 'left-wing' agenda. Its a standard refrain of the contrarians: In discussing extinction rates, Bjorn Lomborg overcame the near impossible task of countering the arguments of thousands of environmental scientists with years of experience in their respective fields against his arguments (and his lack of qualifications in environmental science) with a simple smear: "There are many grants a stake". This appalling and similarly baseless quote was enough to convince those who did not need much convincing.

Hans, "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones".

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

hey Jeff, I am a liberal.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink


Glad to hear that. But you didn't answer my question. Isn't your point about 'left-wing bias' in universities meant to intimate that this influences the interpretation of research findings? And isn't that an ad-hom?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 29 Jun 2006 #permalink

no, it's not ad-hom, it's genuine concern about scientific objectivity in controversial topics. Climate science isn't as black-and-white as it is often depicted. It is my perception (as a liberal!) that the post-graduate university population has a left wing bias, simply because right wing people choose to go into business. And you know what the feeling on this forum is about oil funded research.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

Hans, I have nothing at all against oil funded research. They fund a lot of interesting stuff in mining engineering.

Oil funded opinion (eg CEI), on the other hand, seems to promote the interests of the oil companies and misrepresent the science.

And given your fondness for the personal attack, you are hardly in a position to complain. Here's Hans, writing about me:
>This article is a perfect example of lies, innuendo, smears, outright falsehoods designed to mislead, personal attacks, ignorance and crass stupidity.


Excellent, spot on. I also have nothing against corporations funding research provided they take a 'hands-off' approach to the experimentation and interpretation it. But, as John Stauber and Sheldon Ramption exposed brilliantly in their book, "Trust Us, We're Experts" (2001), there is a sharp difference in the conclusions of research sponsored by government as opposed to corporate sponsored research. Some of the examples they presented show that research on e.g. a pharamceutical drug funded by a company manufacturing the product much more often produce conslusions that are highly favorable to the product than research on the drug funded by government. The book gives plenty of other examples across a broad spectrum of research fields.


While I agree with you completely that climate science is not all black-and-white, you were still intimating that climate scientists who argue that the human combustion of fossil fuels is the prime driver behind the current warming episode are somehow derving their conclusions on the basis of being 'politically left wing'. No evidence is needed to back this assertion up, any more than Lomborg needed to produce evidence that scientists are overestimating extinction rates because, as he put it, "Many grants are at stake". A simple baseless assertion is all that is needed, as I said earlier, to convince those whose beliefs tilt slightly towards the contrarian camp.

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that many pundits, politicians (and some scientists) are receiving big pay offs from corporations who have a vested interest in the outcome of the debate on climate change. There is no doubt that many industries see the public acceptance anthropogenic climate change as a threat to the way that they do business. They thus perceive regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions as a threat to their profit making capacity. What's remarkable in this debate is how you can suggest that the fossil fuel lobby is investing all of this money and effort through lobbying groups and think tanks as well as in 'research' in an attempt to find out the 'truth'. As many contributors have said here, no matter how much empirical evidence comes in, there will always be a denial lobby, for the very simple reasons I alluded to above.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

Jeff, please don't call critical scientists denialists. It doesn't matter who pays them.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink


You rarely, if ever, directly address the points I raise. Do you think that scientists arguing in defense of AGW (which represent the majority of climate scientists) are basing the conclusions of their research on political or scientific grounds? Or was your 'left-wing bias' comment poorly thought out?

I am not calling critical scientists 'denialists', but I believe that there are some scientists (you know who they are) who would be a hell of a lot smarter if they steered well clear of corporate lobby groups who are in the business of denial.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

You rarely, if ever, directly address the points I raise.

Jeff, it's bad form to call denialists on their tactics. See, they get mad and fling ad hom all over the place. 'ware!

'ware of a world where but these two tell!



Prosecution: "Your honor, the defendant was seen chasing the deceased into a closed room with no windows and only the one door, waving a sword and screaming 'I'm going to kill you!'. When the police entered the room, they found the defendant standing over the body of the deceased, who had been stabbed to death, with the sword covered in blood which proved to be that of the deceased. When he saw the police, he said 'It wasn't me, I found him like this'".

Defense: "Your honor, I resent these ad hominem slurs on my client's character and ask that all this circumstantial evidence not be admitted, as he has said he did not do it, and we have no reason to doubt him".

Politics is about finding a compromise between employee priorities (socialism) and company priorities (capitalism).

Pulled that one right out yer butt eh?

Hans' implicit argument is "Personal political philosophy is more destructive to the scientific process than commercial interests and non-political personal interests."

I say implicit because he's intentionally parsimonious with his expression of it. Look how long it took him to actually posit a statement that wasn't simply sloganeering. I haven't misread his argument. He's hiding it. Any complaint he "didn't say that" is 100% dishonest. It only means he set a trap.

I'll paraphrase something I said to thumper. Hans may not be an insincere, manipulative partisan using language to obfuscate, but his behavior here is exactly that. There's also some sort of personality defect, otherwise he wouldn't behave this way. I don't think it's a constructed personality done for professional reasons, as thumper. He presents so little data it's impossible to say more. I'd be surprised if he explains or addresses his behavior, versus his argument, but he might.

However, Hans has interwoven his behavior into his argument. At this point they're melded. That's not a good sign.

Hans, if you're attempting to draw attention to your argument, behaving neurotically is a poor choice because it tends to color your argument. This is a natural perception other brains make about yours. Especially here. You're being insensitive to audience. There are better ways that reinforce the argument instead of weaken it.

Presentation not only matters, it can veto reason. That's just reality.

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

Your debating a Rorschach Test.

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

You're debating....

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

The way to respond to people like hans, et al, is use the colbert manuver:

Reality have a well known liberal bias
Scientist seek to understand the world thru observing reality
Scientist tries to report what they find in reality
Therefore Scientists have a liberal bias

Consevatives create their own reality, let us call it illusion
This illsion has well known conservative bias
Therefore conservatives reject reality and believe in illusion over reality.

Dr. Bob Carter's a liar. The main argument he's made in columns he's personally written is that carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant. This is simply an outright lie. ANYTHING can be a pollutant in large enough quantities. And then he uses this lie as the main argument against climate change. Ridiculous. Any legitimate scientist would know this backwards and forwards, and his comments to the opposite show he's either an idiot, or intellectually dishonest. Take your pick.

What would cause a grown man, Senator Inhofe, to act so foolish and ignorant? The only explanation that makes any sense at all is that he has agreed to be the human spokesperson for the oil industry talking points.

Now everyone knows the oil industry puts out some pretty ridiculous press releases and talking points. But to hear a grown man speak them out loud is, well, disconcerting.

He obviously sounds insane, yet he repeats the insansity with such conviction, it is kind of touching. He is like a child of a cult leader, repeating the most implausible sentences with a whole hearted conviction that is truly touching - until you remember he is an actual U.S. Senator.

Perhaps he has a dementia problem that certain lobbyists are taking advantage of. Perhaps he is just willing to say whatever they put in front of him. Whatever the case, the Senate is going to have to eventually deal with the fact that they have a fragile person in their midst. They need to stop covering up for him. They need to provide him with some mental help assistance and if they care about him at all, a handful of them should stage a full fledged intervention.

It is also about time his constituents voted him out of office. He needs help, not votes.

"is global warming happening, and is it being caused by human activity". does not have a black and white answer. The answers lie between "a bit" and "a lot", and this is where politics and bias kicks in.

Are you claiming that it's unknowable, or merely unknown?
If unknowable, then you ought not be commenting on scientific issues, since you apparently don't believe in the process. Or, you ought to be commenting this way about all scientific issues, not GCC in particular.
If unknown, then the remainder of your comment doesn't make sense- it ought to read "this is where we ought to do more research and learn the truth." Unless you aren't actually *interested* in the truth, but in muddying the otherwise-clear waters.

no, it's not ad-hom, it's genuine concern about scientific objectivity in controversial topics.

It is most certainly a textbook example of ad hom. You have dismissed the actual argument for GCC by (baselessly) accusing those making the argument of bias. You have not addressed the arguments themselves at all. Shamefully, you haven't even substantiated your accusation of bias; you are content with a drive-by smear.
"Controversial" here is particularly funny. The science is not controversial; it only becomes publically controverial when tools such as yourself raise unsubstantiated ad hominems against it. Thus, the circle closes -> you can claim that politics motivates the scientists because it's a political issue, and it's a poltical issue because nonscientists like yourself are willing to make fallacious arguments against it out of political desire.
[n.b. I find ad hom reasoning useful in the real-world sometimes- *after* Ive demonstrated that someone is operating in bad faith & from bias, then I might not bother to read their arguments in the future. But that's an argument from efficient use of time, not a logically-sound method of determining truth].

Finally, please stop your trumpeting about how you are a liberal. It neither advances nor detracts from your argument (or lack thereof). Repeating this over and over as if it were relevant makes me suspect 1)that you really think motivation/viewpoint determines 'truth' and 2)you're not telling the truth in any case (methinks the man doth protest too much).

By Carleton Wu (not verified) on 06 Jul 2006 #permalink