1. Ah…the true believers…Yes, browbeat those who are skeptical about politically charged science. That’s always the best idea.

    I can’t wait for this “global warming” straw man to die.

  2. This is a fun game. Let’s see who dies first, the “straw man” or the civilization. Scientific consensus, political ideology notwithstanding, says it’s the civilization.

  3. John is right. It’s a tragedy that we’ve allowed science to become politicized. It’s not just on the global warming issue. We see many people entering the scientific field who do so for the purpose of using their position to promote a political agenda. That’s not what science is about.

    As I’ve shown before, there actually is no scientific consensus on global warming (sorry…I refuse to go along with the renaming of it to be “climate change” – climate always changes).
    There are many skeptics in an assortment of scientific fields.

    What never gets challenged though is: 1) why is today’s climate somehow the ideal?; 2) whether the proposed changes will actually make any difference on the warming. With regard to the latter, even advocates of measures like a carbon tax admit it won’t make much of a difference in stopping warming…yet they advocate it anyway because it’s “good” for the environment. Never mind it also has the effect of slowing down economic progress which actually leads to less carbon dioxide emissions. (Sorry…I again refuse to engage in the politically correct and dishonest renaming of CO2 emissions as “carbon” emissions.).

  4. I read the comments from John and Paul and read and watched the video on Michael Wallack’s site. To me, the Wallack is more rational. Thanks Michael Wallack. An excellent contribution.

  5. Heh…that blog by Michael made me chuckle from time to time. It’s always fun to see the straw man arguments and the amount of sophistry loaded into the true believers’ arguments.

    It’s also kind of funny seeing Democrats at the Statehouse drive in SUVs. You know, those same evil vehicles which they profess to hate because they’re causing the destruction of the planet.

    I love how “science” can tell us what will happen to our planet in 50-100 years, but somehow can’t tell us when life begins in the womb.

  6. That last statement doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. And the sarcasm doesn’t help the argument.

  7. Climate Change is the natural, on-going environmental changes that have been gradually happening for centuries. Global Warming is the man-made environmental destruction that is speeding up the Climate Change. These names are not interchangeable.

  8. Sorry to burst your bubble john, science can answer that. Life doesn’t just “start,” it’s a little more nuanced than that. The best answer is that life started somewhere billions of years ago and has just kept on going ever since. There is however a good reason scientists refrain from telling you when a fetus becomes a viable, self-sufficient being. I would assume you understand the obvious reasons why an experiment to make said conclusion would be grossly unethical.

    Of course it’s difficult to extrapolate into the future. That’s why we leave the extrapolating to the brighter minds. Even then there are going to be mistakes. Can you point to me one field that doesn’t have any problems or makes no mistakes whatsoever? Have you even compared climate models from the 70’s/80’s to current climate? Furthermore, could you show me how you’ve disproven said consensus? maybe you could compare the adherence rate among scientists in this field with the adherence rate for things we are relatively sure of, like evolution, special relativity, the toxicology of atrizine for amphibeans, etc. I would doubt you’ve done any such controlled comparison, regardless of how highly you seem to regard yourself as a scientific thinker.

  9. What red herring are you talking about. You seem to think that just because science isn’t perfect, you can say whatever politically charged belief about a scientific issue and face no scrutiny “because there is no consensus.” The only reason you think there is not consensus is because there are a few nut jobs in every field who either just don’t get it or refuse to believe because of politicization of the issue (I.E. a biologist who doesn’t believe in evolution). Most likely the ladder. The overwhelming majority of current science shows that we are changing our environment in drastic and harmful ways.

    Thanks for providing me with your sound arguments and proof of the non-consensus. Once again, empty words from the adamant denialist. Keep telling yourself you’ve weighed the field fairly. For goodness sake, Exon Mobile has even resigned from their war on climate science and funding of denialism. Haah, I wonder what Lee Raymond is thinking about that. You can only deny reality for so long.

  10. Bravo RR!

    The conservatives won’t admit that they support the 1% of climate scientists that deny it and ignore and criticize the 99% of other scientists who support their view with facts.

    Hey, that’s reminds me of another 99% that the conservatives laughed at – OWS. The conservatives only follow the 1% and will be remembered as “those who were on the wrong side of history in the early 21st century.”

  11. Excellent posts, RR and AgingLittleGirl. Sensible stuff. When a person is committed to not believing something, data are irrelevant. Wen you get the insults, ridicule and sarcasm, that tends to suggest the rational discussion is over.

  12. In regard to Pascal’s Wager: not really appropriate since the logic of the wager revolves around there not being risk. Obviously, there is an incredible risk involved with believing (or not) in global warming. It’s a square peg for a round hole. In addition, it’s not a philosophical argument.

    We’ve been at the very low end of most predictions for years now, and while backdating can be tricky, the consensus is that warming has been FLAT for nearly 2 decades. Within a few years at this rate we will actually begin to rate OUTSIDE the lowest end of projections. Many experts believe it’s because of all the soot from dirty coal in the air, but wouldn’t that contradict their own argument that CO2 is the primary driver of man-made climate change?

    “The global temperature standstill shows that climate models are diverging from observations, If we have not passed it already, we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change.”

    – David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

    Now can we get back to serious environmental issues?

  13. Stuart: Kinda reminds me of those that are religious. Can’t see it, can’t touch it but as long as one believes, then they will go to that place called Heaven when they die.

  14. “Many experts believe it’s because of all the soot from dirty coal in the air, but wouldn’t that contradict their own argument that CO2 is the primary driver of man-made climate change?” What you’re trying to express is not clear here. I would assume you know that soot and CO2 are two different things right? Beyond that, CO2 emissions and deforestation (trees sequester carbon from the environment) are believed to be the primary drivers of temperature increases. I would assume scientists believe the soot to be reflecting more radiation than it absorbs, leading to a temp decrease.

    Scientists obviously didn’t expect the temp to stall, but they were expecting us to be due for a slight cooling period if I remember correctly (i’m sure you understand that global ave temp fluctuates over time) so a stall in temp increase is probably just delay of game.

    Keep in mind, there are a lot of variables at play here. we can’t know exactly how the climate will respond. We do know however, that we’ve increased atmospheric CO2 from 280 to 391 ppm since the industrial revolution, a split second on the time scale it took to sequester all of that carbon and turn it into a gushy goo of rotted dead biomass. We also know that we have increased the pH of the ocean by 0.1 pH units. That sounds small doesn’t it? Well that’s in a log scale so let me give it to you in English. We’ve increased the acid concentration of the ocean by 30% . Do you know how much ocean volume there is on the face of the earth? Let me know if you need an explanation of how non-acidic CO2 can cause an increase in acidity. I got excited and made a diagram (yes, I enjoy making chemical diagrams) but you can’t paste jpeg’s here.

    I feel like all these denialist arguments really lack the nuance necessary to have an adult conversation. You pompously say that the pascals wager argument is illogical. Did you take a look at the logical validity of your argument? Besides, who decides whether something is philosophical or not. Who are you? god? Ask yourself, would a legitimate philosopher say such a thing? Sounds a bit self-righteous if you asked me, but hey, I’m no philosopher. I think a real philosopher would explain why it’s not philosophical. It seems the only reason that believing in climate change is “incredibly risky” is because you’re unwilling to look at all the potential options to address climate change and you’re only willing to look at the ones politicians have previously brought to the table. Have you considered nuclear?

    Anyway, you say we should get back to the real environmental issues. I would agree with you, we have some real big issues. Some of which aside from climate change, many of which interrelated with climate change. I would like to reiterate something from a past response, I spend a lot of time working with ecologists of various sorts. Prarieland restoration, wetland restoration, agricultural sustainability, etc. They’d all agree that we have huge problems to address other than climate change. They also agree that dumping 35 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year is probably going to have an effect.

  15. I’m mildly flabbergasted that you are accusing me of being arrogant, have you LISTENED to the warming crowd? That gets a big lol. I’ll admit it’s been a few years since I had a philosophy class, but if you disagree with me, RR, than say so. Why would you resort to just throwing slurs out? That doesn’t accomplish anything. In a society with growing obligations and shrinking excess funds, it makes more sense to me to work on known quantities. Just my HO.

    You don’t think it’s arrogant to say “The debate is over,” “The science is settled,” and to engage in name-calling and talking-down incessantly? How long have you been following this blog? I would have to ask exactly which news sources you have been reading if you really think in the grand scheme of global warming/climate change apologetics you think I’m being arrogant. Meanwhile you sarcastically accuse me of somehow thinking I’m God and that’s not supposed to come across as condescending? Alas, challenging people’s beliefs and having them ignore your comments and then call you asinine, zealot, and everything in between I take as proof that the opposition has none.

    Back on topic, your argument that warming/change could be the result of MORE than just CO2 kinda sorta flies in the face of the already settled science, doesn’t it? I understand you work in the earth sciences, but as far as the known science goes, you’re making it much more complicated, because all of this was agreed upon a decade ago. Why would I support such apocalyptic economic measures (because let’s face it, that’s what this is about) when, even if we stipulate that something is happening, we don’t know what’s causing it (your argument, not mine)?

    I have some familiarity with the grassroots environmental movement. Very well-intended folk, but unquestionably the textbook definition of “the ends justifies the means.”

  16. Your comment aptly projects what I was trying to get at Marco. You don’t lay down any facts, any logical arguments, and premises assimilated into a valid argument to produce a sound conclusion. All I’ve seen from both comments is broad conjecture without substantiation.

    For example, could you explain what you are arguing in the following sentence. “Back on topic, your argument that warming/change could be the result of MORE than just CO2 kinda sorta flies in the face of the already settled science, doesn’t it?” CO2 is one of many constituents of the atmosphere. It is even only one of MANY greenhouse gases. As I said, it’s a multivariate situation. It’s hard to account for all the variables at one time. It seems you would hold the scientific community to a standard that only a theoretical god could achieve.

    As far as me being condescending. Sure, I was being condescending. Maybe next time you won’t try to address an argument with “that’s just not philosophical” and no other substantiation. That just doesn’t seem very philosophical.

    You say that saying the science is settled is arrogant. Is the science settled for evolution, special relativity, atom theory, cell theory? There is a point at which the science is settled, or at least at which it would take some major phenomena to change it. Unfortunately there are always just a few unreasonables outside of that agreement who still believe that the earth is 6000 yrs old, or that sickness is a product of evil spirits, or that god put those bones in the ground to fool us and select for those “worthy” of his imaginary skycastle.

    Anyway, thanks for addressing my remarks on the heightened use of nuclear energy, the problem of ocean acidification, and the current temp flatline. I’m sure it’s hard to be in denial and have to deal with things like facts and well-established theories.

  17. RR, saying the science was settled was intended to be tongue-in-cheek (apologies, sarcasm doesn’t type itself out very well), I’m just quoting the global warming movement from last decade. Call THEM out on THEIR arrogance. Of course, many of those who jumped on the bandwagon have already scaled back predictions and expectations (a fact), so I’ll simply rely on their expertise. They think the science (egads) isn’t settled.

    They are the ones who said everything was done and are now quietly trying to figure out why numbers are contradicting alarmist predictions. There is growing evidence that, as you pointed out, the science was/is NOT settled. I’m relying on the experts, and from what I see they’re changing their minds.

    I’m not going to claim to know nearly as much environmental sciences as you do. If that’s your profession, great, but it’s not mine. 80% of my job involves spotting bulls***ters. I’m pretty good at it. I know a rhetorical shove when I hear one. Which is why I had a “let’s wait and see” approach. Admittedly it’s probably a bit skewed, but BioScience estimated a few years ago that invasive species alone could be costing the world economy over $1 TRILLION a year, not even taking into account the irrepairable environmental damage. Like I said, the world doesn’t have unlimited resources or attention spans with which to address these issues. We’re worried more about studying greenhouse emissions, buying carbon offset indulgences for our CO2 sins, etc. Bleh..

    As far as the wager/philosophy hangup goes, like I stated the logic is that it costs nothing and you have everything to gain and theoretically everything to lose. My point is that “belief” in global warming doesn’t really fit into the argument. If we believe in it and rack up more debt to fight it, we’ve lost something, which very obviously dilutes the effectiveness of the argument. If we don’t believe in it we either don’t lose anything or we do lose something. Either way a belief in global warming or lack thereof isn’t going to result in eternal salvation or damnation. The eschatological jargon does get old. Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps…

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