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Why is NCSE Now Concerned with Climate Change? - Comments

wcapehart's Avatar Comment 1 by wcapehart

They've only just recently been inching and expanding their problem domain into this area. This is a great move on their part. I look forward to them rolling out more material. Due to the context-dropped Climategate emails the "controversy" of Climate Change (and I ain't talking about which climate model or precipitation physics scheme or IPCC alphabet-number scenario is the one to use) is more "teachable" than Evolution, which in turn gives it a wedge to include teaching the "controversy" on Evolution (and I ain't talking about Graduated Punctuated Equilibrium vs Selfish Genes).

Mon, 16 Jan 2012 20:09:38 UTC | #908928

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 2 by Red Dog

Here is an interesting discussion about the politicizing of science in general and climate change in particular. One of the most despicable things comes toward the end where a climate scientist mentions that its come to the point in the US where scientist's family are actually being threatened.

Mon, 16 Jan 2012 20:10:30 UTC | #908929

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 4 by KRKBAB

I think we're going about it all wrong (due to the deniers strength). All of the evidence in the world will change few minds- they'll play mental gymnastics with it and find a way to flip it around to fit their desires. I think we need to approach (especially in the USA) the issue by taking back the respect for science. The best way, I think, is to teach and teach VERY WELL the full ramifications of world wide scientific consensus. Not even specifically regarding anthropogenic climate change, but in general. It seems as if the deniers use the moronic reason of it being a worldwide liberal conspiracy. I think they always try to find an easy blame panacea. Everything humans do is subject to politicization, but it should be taught how many checks and balances there are in the scientific community to minimize this human problem (politicization).

Mon, 16 Jan 2012 21:27:30 UTC | #908956

tonyK's Avatar Comment 5 by tonyK

I believe in evolution and I am an atheist as far as I have not yet heard a definition of God that I have been able to test. However, I am not on the climate change alarm bandwagon. I understand that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but "greenhouse gas" is not a word that immediately causes me alarm.

I don't understand how climate change deniers have become heretics among "educated" scientific thinkers. Global warming is seeming to become the religion of the educated elite, the "Scientists". How dare you deny it? Well I am not scared to deny it, just as I'm not scared to say I don't believe in God. I must be somewhat of a rational person, for I believe strongly in evoluion and do my duty every day to minister its beautiful sermon unto the world.

I have an ally in the matter, Matt Ridley. http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog. As much as I hate to vest in someone's reputation when it comes to matters of fact or fiction, I appreciate his work on combating the myths that fuel the alarmist's fire.

I think the whole idea of human enduced climate change can be summed up as, "We have realized that human actions produce A, where A causes the ambient air temperature to increase by some nonzero amount. Therefore if we do not decrease A, we will be in serious trouble and the world will end. How noble it would be to bring all of humanity together on this one grand Earth-saving collaboration?" I don't understand why I do not buy into this. Perhaps we can move forward without changing our CO2 habits and realize that our behavior does not have as significant an impact as we might like to think it does. How much CO2 would it take to cause real danger?

Think about the CO2 output from every breath of every creature every second. From every volcano and sea bed. Remember the lake nyos tradgedy where tons of CO2 spilled into a village and suffocated everyone - CO2 sinks. Why aren't we suffocating?

Please, take a moment to ask yourself. Are you really concerned that the world is going to overheat and die? When you go outside do you see any real effects? The weather has not changed, polar bears are not dying. Africa is asking for money in retribution for western caused global warming when they have suffered droughts through all of recorded history. Think carefully where you stand on this issue. Never stop asking questions and do not be dogmatic. I pray that cooler heads will prevail. I don't know what else to do.

Mon, 16 Jan 2012 23:40:20 UTC | #908997

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 6 by Agrajag

Comment 5 by tonyK

Please, take a moment to ask yourself. Are you really concerned that the world is going to overheat and die? When you go outside do you see any real effects? The weather has not changed, polar bears are not dying. Africa is asking for money in retribution for western caused global warming when they have suffered droughts through all of recorded history. Think carefully where you stand on this issue. Never stop asking questions and do not be dogmatic. I pray that cooler heads will prevail. I don't know what else to do.

Clearly, you need to do some more reading. You are living in a dream world if you think you can just step outside and see the changes.
Steve

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 01:47:30 UTC | #909039

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 7 by Starcrash

I understand the scientific consensus. I've seen An Inconvenient Truth, and I've read a few scientific articles on the subject... but I also read that goddamned book State of Fear by Michael Crichton.

This author brought up a lot of great points, and they've been ill-refuted by his opponents. Is there a site that I can visit that has rebutted his arguments? As much as I want to agree with the consensus, as reasonable as such a request is, I still have doubts that appear to be built on rational arguments.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 02:26:14 UTC | #909043

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 8 by Reckless Monkey

I think the whole idea of human enduced climate change can be summed up as, "We have realized that human actions produce A, where A causes the ambient air temperature to increase by some nonzero amount.

Climatologists know exactly (withing know margins of error-small) we have contributed. We know how much coal and petrol we burn, we know how much plants absorb and emit at different times of year both from fluctuations as part of the winter/summer cycle and from directly measuring in plants (covering them up and measuring how much goes in and out). We also know how much volcanoes release and how many there are. So if you bother to read the scientific papers and find out how and why they know then you have some explaining to do. If you are suggesting there is some unknown source of CO2 then suggest it, because we know how much coal and petrol we are burning and we can directly measure past contributions form trapped air in Mud, Ice and other other places these all agree - what are the odds of that that two different samples taken from the same time agree so closely? or are you suggesting these separate groups are involved in some conspiracy?

Therefore if we do not decrease A, we will be in serious trouble and the world will end.

Show me a climate scientist that says the world will end. Climate scientists are saying that sea levels are likely to rise to levels they did when it was last that high. Palaeontologists and geologists show mass extinctions at these change overs so it stands to reason that there is a risk there could be mass extinctions again, as this is happening at a much faster rate than before (at least in the past 350 000yrs) then it stands to reason that there is a risk that it could be even worse. No-one is seriously saying life will end but it won't take much of an average rise to cause major changes (more drought, flood, brushfires). This will not be cheap financially or in terms of human life.

How noble it would be to bring all of humanity together on this one grand Earth-saving collaboration?" I don't understand why I do not buy into this. Perhaps we can move forward without changing our CO2 habits and realize that our behavior does not have as significant an impact as we might like to think it does. How much CO2 would it take to cause real danger?

1) climatologist have a fair idea look it up.

2) how much does your blood alcohol level have to go up before you feel drunk? Or at risk of causing an accident while driving. How much plutonium do you have to ingest before you get cancer? Thinking that a small amount of carbon dioxide can cause no effect is faulty thinking. CO2 increases temperature, increasing evaporation - water vapor then (as a much more potent greenhouse gas) then ramps up the temp further, this is all well understood and tested, denial of this is point blank physics denial.

Think about the CO2 output from every breath of every creature every second. From every volcano and sea bed. Remember the lake nyos tradgedy where tons of CO2 spilled into a village and suffocated everyone - CO2 sinks. Why aren't we suffocating?

Because all the greenhouse gases amount to only a few percent of the atmosphere, but that small amount is responsible for our Earth having its current temp. Astronomers use an equation to predict the non-greenhouse temp of bodies. In short it takes into account the Albedo (how reflective a planet is - or how dark or light) and the energy from the Sun which is a factor of energy from the sun and distance from the Sun. On every body Moon etc. we have directly landed craft on this has been accurate. We can of course measure objects with IR again this has been shown to be accurate. On Venus if you plug in this equation you get a no greenhouse temp of -40 degrees C. Its actual temp is 470 degrees C. Earths no greenhouse temp should be-16 degrees C its actually15 degrees C. So if you thing the tiny percentages of CO2 in our atmosphere make no difference then you need to explain why the Moon daytime 125 degrees C and Nighttime -175 degrees C gets so Hot and Cold (same average distance from the Sun as Earth) and so far I have heard Zip from Climate deniers on this. Fact is they have some explaining to do and they haven't

As for CO2 sinking yes if the atmosphere was completely static and there was no mixing but its not, the Earth is spinning the equator is hotter at the poles than the equator. Do you seriously think no-one has measured air samples at high altitudes from weather balloons and aircraft? Do you seriously think no-one knows the composition of the atmosphere at different levels? If you don't believe them you could do the experiment yourself for a few hundred dollars hell there might be a nobel prize in it for anyone who could establish that science has no idea of the composition of the atmosphere.

Where do you think the mass of a tree comes from? A tree weighing 100 tonnes has taken it all (other than the water and a few minerals) from the air. If this were not so then there would be 100 tonnes of dirt missing under the tree causing it to fall over. The CO2 was in equilibrium because CO2 escapes from animals volcanoes but is trapped through dissolving in the oceans, taken in by plants, corals, plankton etc. and stored as limestone, calcium carbonate, wood, coal etc. We are taking that coal and oil and burning it we know how much, we also know how much is in the atmosphere therefore we know how much is coming from us, the volcanoes etc.

This greenhouse effect due to CO2 has been understood for well over 100 years. It has stood the test of time and both observation and direct experiment, hell you can do the experiment yourself with a CO2 cylinder and a couple of jam jars. Denial of this is really just saying "I don't understand how this could be so therefore it can't be". Do it, or read bout how others actually have done it then come and argue.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 03:06:23 UTC | #909046

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 9 by Reckless Monkey

Apologies for the lack of good grammar above just re-read it and don't have time to edit.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 03:12:09 UTC | #909047

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 03:28:07 UTC | #909049

JuJu's Avatar Comment 11 by JuJu

Deny the fact of evolution and call evolutionary biologist "strident" or "angry" when they show how silly it is to deny it.

Deny the fact of global warming/climate change and call climatologist "alarmist" when they show how silly it is to deny it.

I see a pattern here.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 05:51:11 UTC | #909067

chris 116's Avatar Comment 12 by chris 116

I have an ally

There is something that you really should know about your ally Mike "business as usual" Ridley: he has more front than Brighton. Firstly, his family has extensive interests in fossil fuels. Secondly, he was the chairman of Northern rock, the first British bank to crash since 1878. Neither this failure nor his being judged by Parliament’s Treasury select committee to have practised a "high risk, reckless business strategy" stopped him from publishing a book a few years back, which explained why there should be less regulation for bankers.

Think about the CO2 output from every breath of every living creature every second.

This, unlike man made warming, has been happening for quite some time now.

From every volcano…

Estimates for volcanic output collected from scientists by the Energy Information Administration of the US energy Department range from 65 to 319 million tonnes. In 2007, fossil fuels were responsible for 29, billion tonnes, which is nearly 100 times the highest estimate.

The weather has not changed…

Even your mate Matt doesn't have the chutzpah to deny that the climate is warming.

Polar bears are not dying…

You don't cite a source for your optimism, so I'm guessing that yours is Matt Ridley again. His optimistic source was a Canadian politician he'd heard on the telly, who was quoting some polar bear hunters. The IUCN have monitored 12 groups of polar bears: one is increasing, three are stable, and eight are in decline.

I don't understand how climate change deniers have become heretics among "educated" scientific thinkers

It's the same reason as they don't take people seriously who don't except evolution: Scientific evidence.

I must be somewhat of a rational person, for I believe strongly in evolution….

Even creationists accept that the sun is not driven across the sky daily on a chariot and that the Earth is not flat. All the same, their beliefs are fucked up beyond belief.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 05:52:59 UTC | #909068

chris 116's Avatar Comment 13 by chris 116

My post above is in response to: Comment 5 by Tony K.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 06:00:39 UTC | #909070

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 14 by Jos Gibbons

I knew some posters would reveal themselves to be in the “I know better than the vast consensus of experts in that subject” group. As a rationalist I am obliged to read their arguments just in case they’re decent, and debunk them if they’re not. Oh look, they’re not. Due to the large difference in the lengths of comments 5 and 7, I’ll respond to them in reverse chronological order.

Comment #909043 by Starcrash

This author brought up a lot of great points, and they've been ill-refuted by his opponents

The entire basis by which you judge the response to Crichton is a single debate (debates are not how science is done, let alone a single one), and you offer no basis at all for calling his points “great”.

Is there a site that I can visit that has rebutted his arguments?

There are two extremes to how I could answer this, “Here are the links; read” and “You’ve not even said which arguments you want debunked yet; do that and we’ll talk”. I’ll go in between those; if an argument in his book isn’t demolished in what I link to, let me know which specific such argument you want to see responded to next. Take a look at this.

Comment #908997 by tonyK

I am not on the climate change alarm bandwagon

I’ll need a few things clarified here. Which predicted changes do you consider alarmism? Why would anything less than those changes not cause you alarm? What evidence can you supply that (a) anyone worth listening to has made such predictions and (b) they’re wrong?

"greenhouse gas" is not a word that immediately causes me alarm

Perhaps a discussion of the scale of these effects will (see below).

climate change deniers have become heretics blah blah

Either show there’s better evidence for their views than the scientific consensus thinks, or shut up. And by the way, “climate change denier” means someone who denies the climate is changing at all, and that means they deny the world has warmed in the last few decades. Do you honestly deny that? If you don’t, I’ll assume you use the term “climate change denier” more widely, in which case I’ll do the same in any subsequent discussion we may have.

I have an ally in the matter, Matt Ridley

One of his speeches, which gave pretty much all his arguments, was debunked thoroughly in our comments here. My own response was this comment. Let me know if you have the data to debunk even one of my responses to him therein. Since I’ve studied this as part of my Master’s degree, I’m guessing (a) not or (b) the evil liberal conspiracy (or whatever reason you think the consensus has gone awry) is even bigger than I thought.
By the way, what makes you think one ally is enough? The consensus is formed off millions of scientists.

I appreciate his work on combating the myths that fuel the alarmist's fire

Either they’re the “myths” we proved in our responses to the speech aren’t myths, or they’re “myths” he covered elsewhere but not therein. Let me know which, then specify what counterarguments he offers. And I don’t want to see any arguments that mix up climate and weather.

the whole idea of human enduced [sic] climate change can be summed up as, "humans produce A, where A causes the ambient air temperature to increase by some nonzero amount. Therefore if we do not decrease A, we will be in serious trouble and the world will end. How noble it would be to bring all of humanity together on this one grand Earth-saving collaboration?"

No it can’t, because you’re simultaneously downplaying the observation and exaggerating the conclusion reached with it, and that’s a straw man fallacy. Why do I say that? Well:

we can move forward without changing our CO2 habits and realize that our behavior does not have as significant an impact as we might like to think it does. How much CO2 would it take to cause real danger?

Let’s look at a few facts (and these are all facts):
(1) Doubling atmospheric CO2 causes a radiative forcing of 3.7 Watts per square metre, hereafter W/m2 (if that comes out wrong blame the software).
(2) The temperature increase due to that much radiative forcing is (a) independent of its cause, (b) called the climate sensitivity and (c) about 3 K initially and about 6 K in the long run as equilibrium is reached.
(3) We’ve already half–doubled atmospheric CO2, i.e. multiplied it by the square root of 2, from 278 to 392 ppm since 1880.
(4) Therefore, the temperature increase of 0.8 K we have seen in recent decades is actually smaller than that CO2 effect; it is literally responsible for more than 100 % of the warming. (Other things have a net cooling effect at the moment, e.g. the Sun has been cooling since the 1970s.)
(5) That increase mentioned in (3) has a current rate of 15 billion tonnes a year, and the same rate of increase is also seen in the ocean. And how much do we make a year? 30 billion tonnes. It turns out we have even better evidence than that that the CO2 increase in both regions is due to us. The decline in O2 matches the rise in CO2, so its source is combustion and similar reactions, and the lack of carbon–13 in the new CO2 shows it is due to burning fossil fuels. (6) Incidentally, the CO2 in the ocean is dangerously acidifying it. Calculations similar to the atmospheric ones above can show we account for the pH change that has occurred recently. Research is already showing that this acidification increases the mortality rate and reduces lifespan in fish, and that it hinders the formation of any biological structures dependent on carbonates. (That’s a counterintuitive result, but it is predicted by competent chemists because of the role hydrogencarbonates play.) These are reasons to reduce CO2 emissions even if the Ridley gang are right about the climate (which they aren’t).

Think about the CO2 output from every breath of every creature every second. From every volcano and sea bed. Remember the lake nyos tradgedy where tons of CO2 spilled into a village and suffocated everyone - CO2 sinks. Why aren't we suffocating?

(1) The CO2 sources you’re talking about are cancelled by CO2 sinks like photosynthesis, which is why CO2 levels have been stable for so long; indeed, our recent increase has pushed it to levels it hasn’t been at for at least 15 million years. (2) Ooh, “tonnes” of CO2” in that tragedy. We make a thousand tonnes a second. (3) You don’t understand how the atmosphere works; CO2 is well–mixed, and so rather than “sinking” has a density that exponentially decays at the lapse rate like every other major gas in the atmosphere. Let me explain that in more detail. An energy level is occupied with frequency proportional to exp(-E/kT), where E is its energy level, T is the temperature in K and k is the Boltzmann constant. Thus, in the case of gravitational potential energy where E=mgz (z the altitude), the change in z that causes an e-fold reduction in concentration is kT/mg. (This is why air thins as you go up a mountain.) In the case of CO2 vs the N2/O2 mix that makes up almost all of the rest of the atmosphere, it’s something like 6 km vs 9 km. CO2 may not suffocate us at 392 ppm, but it has other consequences as aforesaid.

Are you really concerned that the world is going to overheat and die?

The equator will see such high temperature rises humans will have to migrate en masse. We are already seeing the spread of tropical diseases. Rising sea levels will cause similar problems. Many places rely on water supplies due to glaciers that global warming will destroy. That effects tens or even hundreds of millions of people on top of those other factors. Add in the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and you can see the consequences will be very serious. Why does it literally have to bring all life on Earth to extinction before you will care?

When you go outside do you see any real effects?

What part of “statistically significant trends” don’t you understand? I’ll tell you what I see when I look at the “outside”: record highs in temperature occur twice as frequently as record lows (the ratio expected of this warming rate), extreme weather such as hurricanes is fast becoming more frequent, 56 % of the US experience drought and/or flooding in 2011, etc. I don’t know where you live, but there are plenty of places where you wouldn’t appreciate facts like these if you don’t do some research.

The weather has not changed, polar bears are not dying.

Those are both lies.

Africa is asking for money in retribution for western caused global warming

I’ll tell you what Africa is doing: dedicating itself to cleaner energy sources.

I’d like to close with some of your words: Think carefully where you stand on this issue. Never stop asking questions and do not be dogmatic. I pray that cooler heads will prevail. I don't know what else to do.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 08:05:27 UTC | #909081

Metamag's Avatar Comment 15 by Metamag

Comment 14 by Jos Gibbons :

I’ll tell you what Africa is doing: dedicating itself to cleaner energy sources.

Hm, I thought Africa was dedicating itself to religious and tribal violence, medieval superstition and general retardation of civilization...

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:37:11 UTC | #909093

Alex Burton's Avatar Comment 16 by Alex Burton

I think it is clear the public debate about climate science vs ignorance is far more important than the public debate about evolution vs ignorance.

It probably really doesn't matter whether people believe in evolution, of itself, unless they are trying to practice biology/medicine or a related field.

Climate science provides a validation for the distress that observing wilful ignorance of evolution causes many of us. It has long annoyed me that people want to believe in creationism etc, but really it is almost inconsequential.

Both are manifestations of the meta problem of people believing comforting bullshit that disagrees with evidence when convenient for them. If they don't believe in climate science however, there are real consequences for me, my species and any remaining biodiversity that we may still be able to share the planet with.

The other link is that a lot of the evidence about climate change comes from a geological and fossil record that disagrees with creationist world views, so if you can't believe in evolution you will also have difficulty with climate change.

Yet another difficult concept for those involved with gods, is that having control over our fate as a species and planet destroys the warm fuzzy feeling that the world was created for them.

I believe the population at large really has to grow up and become adults about this and realise that their action on this subject has consequences of magnitude larger than any people that has come before us. Never before has any species had the power to create and the potential intelligence to prevent a mass extinction.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:54:38 UTC | #909095

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 17 by Ignorant Amos

@ Alan and Jos....Déjà vu?....and so the merry-go-round begins again.

Comment 5 by tonyK

I believe in evolution and I am an atheist as far as I have not yet heard a definition of God that I have been able to test. However, I am not on the climate change alarm bandwagon.

I'm sure there is a correlation in that comment somewhere, I just don't see it.

I understand that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but "greenhouse gas" is not a word that immediately causes me alarm.

CO2 is one of a list of "greenhouse gases", perhaps you should acquaint yerself with them. As for causing you alarm....when they realised there were not enough lifeboats on the Titanic, it was too late. That was as fine an example of humans being a bit over confident as yer likely to witness.

I don't understand how climate change deniers have become heretics among "educated" scientific thinkers.

"I don't understand how evolution deniers have become heretics among "educated" scientific thinkers". Do you see anything wrong with that statement? Why?

Global warming is seeming to become the religion of the educated elite, the "Scientists".

Oh ffs...behave yerself....religion? Really? "Educated" and "scientists" are the watchwords that should be ringing your alarm bells, as in, they are in consensus and they are "experts".

How dare you deny it? Well I am not scared to deny it, just as I'm not scared to say I don't believe in God.

Hardly the same thing though is it? Any evidence for gods? No. Any evidence for AGW? Yes.

I must be somewhat of a rational person, for I believe strongly in evoluion and do my duty every day to minister its beautiful sermon unto the world.

Why do you believe strongly in evolution?

I have an ally in the matter, Matt Ridley. http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog. As much as I hate to vest in someone's reputation when it comes to matters of fact or fiction, I appreciate his work on combating the myths that fuel the alarmist's fire.

I wouldn't go tying my colours to that mast.....The ex-Northern Rock man is in denial about his book's mistakes.

Please, take a moment to ask yourself. Are you really concerned that the world is going to overheat and die?

Yep.

When you go outside do you see any real effects?

Yep.

The weather has not changed,....

We are not talking about weather, we are talking about climate change.....but as you wish to talk about the weather....I will only talk about my part of the world....hottest April on record 2011..... "The average temperature in England was the hottest since records began 353 years ago.".....warmest Christmas day ever....."Northern Ireland sees its 23-year-old temperature record go with warmest December 25 in it history".

...polar bears are not dying.

Yep. They are, because their habitat is disappearing and why is that?...... Scientists also clearly state that polar bears are in trouble. So why do naysayers claim otherwise?

Warming in the Arctic is happening much faster than computer models have been projecting. Large expanses of darker, open water are absorbing more heat and accelerating the process. Since the 1980s, arctic sea ice has retreated dramatically, with the most extreme decline occurring in the summer melt season.

The current threat to polar bears is entirely different, and more dire. Today's polar bears are facing rapid loss of the sea ice where they hunt, breed, and, in some cases, den. Changes in their distribution or numbers affect the entire Arctic ecosystem.

(See table at linked site)

This compares with five declining, five stable, and two increasing subpopulations in 2005 (plus seven data deficient), so there's clearly a downward trend.

Africa is asking for money in retribution for western caused global warming when they have suffered droughts through all of recorded history.

Think carefully where you stand on this issue.

Oh, believe me, I have....what I've also done is read a bit on the subject, thanks to the couple of gentlemen mentioned at the head of this comment. It always helps to have the information to think about when thinking.

Never stop asking questions and do not be dogmatic.

Absolutely.

I pray that cooler heads will prevail.

I hope the cooler heads are not frozen solid and leave it too late to prevail.

I don't know what else to do.

Educate yerself on the subject.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 11:02:54 UTC | #909107

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 18 by Ignorant Amos

Correction.....Polar bears are not so much dying, as dying out.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 12:42:58 UTC | #909132

aball's Avatar Comment 19 by aball

There is an article in the Independent today about global warming and the battle of one scientist (Michael Mann) against the powerful fossil fuel lobby in the USA that has done everything possible to discredit him both personally and professionally.

What is particularly depressing is the online comments section that has been overtaken by trolls from the AGW camp. It is rediculously well orchestrated when you consider that The Independent is a minor UK newspaper. It's frankly depressing.

In such a bad climate (sorry for the pun), I think that climate science and global warming should recieve special focus in education.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/michael-mann-the-climate-scientist-who-the-deniers-have-in-their-sights-6290232.html

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 13:23:35 UTC | #909144

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 20 by Jos Gibbons

aball, when you say "AGW camp" does A stand for anti or anthropogenic? I'm guessing from the context you mean anti, but AGW is a standard abbreviation for anthropogenic GW. Everything I've just said applies also to ACC with climate change.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 14:03:14 UTC | #909152

aball's Avatar Comment 21 by aball

Jos,

Sorry for the confusion. I meant the anti-AGW camp (i.e. AGW deniers).

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 14:08:42 UTC | #909153

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 22 by aroundtown

Love it that there is another voice calling from the light to those who are in the dark. The determined opposition to climate change in general are economic. I am sure you would remember the UN claim that the glaciers in Asia would be gone by 2035 and the uproar this statement caused. I personally believe they will be gone before this date. How many times have we heard the statement from many scientific groups offering the opinion that "we didn't expect" this effect or condition after their original postulations were blown out of the water. Regardless of our condition within the debate over climate change I will state what I believe should be obvious, nature is the captain of the ship and we are just the passengers and we will not change that situation. To my mind we are complicit in the acceleration of climate change and any argument to the contrary is nonsense for me.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 17:23:41 UTC | #909230

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 23 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 18:00:28 UTC | #909254

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 24 by susanlatimer

Comment 23 by tonyk

I'll tell you where the consensus is, it is among real scientists who think the whole thing is bullshit.

Which ones are the real scientists? How do you tell them apart?

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 18:07:29 UTC | #909257

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 25 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator - Would any AGW-denier on this site kindly refrain from attempting to suggest that Richard Dawkins shares your views. He categorically does not.

The mods

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 18:42:22 UTC | #909271

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 26 by Jos Gibbons

tonyK, you've gone from calling climate change denial "heretical" among "educated scientific thinkers" to saying "real" scientists are fellow deniers. Why have you done this? Because you have no retort to any of the detailed, point by point rebuttals to your previous post. How do I know that? Because calling us "all full of shit" is the sum total of your response to those rebuttals.
And the 97-98 % consensus isn't imaginary, and the cherry-picking in the data is on the deniers' part, not the consensus to which they object. If you disagree, let's discuss the data.
What's more, we've already seen changes in climate trends; you don't get to pretend they still might not happen.

Update: that's a response to a comment that has since been removed by the Moderators.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 18:49:30 UTC | #909275

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 27 by Alan4discussion

Comment 5 by tonyK

I don't understand how climate change deniers have become heretics among "educated" scientific thinkers. Global warming is seeming to become the religion of the educated elite, the "Scientists". How dare you deny it? Well I am not scared to deny it,

Just too ignorant to study it, or just listening to carbonaceaous luddites like Matt Ridley. - key apologist for the dirty profits of the coal industry, - but then his daddy has a nice big coal mine on his estate! Gas fracking may cause land subsidence and earthquakes, but There's money to be made promoting it and writing about it.

just as I'm not scared to say I don't believe in God. I must be somewhat of a rational person, for I believe strongly in evoluion and do my duty every day to minister its beautiful sermon unto the world.

????

I have an ally in the matter, Matt Ridley. http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog. As much as I hate to vest in someone's reputation when it comes to matters of fact or fiction, I appreciate his work on combating the myths that fuel the alarmist's fire.

Praise be to the carbonaceous luddites! and those who appreciate the work of denialists in damaging our climate! Halleluja! Their pseudoscience websites rival those of the creationists! With allies like Matt Ridley who needs to look at real science? - http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643807-thank-you-matt-ridley

Perhaps some reading of some proper scientific discussion would be educational? - http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/642733-why-the-laws-of-physics-make-anthropogenic-climate-change-undeniable have a look at the evidence!

Comment 23 by tonyK

oh wait I'm sure you can cherry pick some data and appeal to your imaginary "consensus" to prove your claim, whatever it is. I'll tell you where the consensus is, it is among real scientists who think the whole thing is bullshit.

It really is comical the way know-it-all creationists and AGW denialists get it backside first!!

97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.- http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm

So which make-it-up-as-you-go-along bullshitter says the consensus is imaginary??

Oh I forgot! You have to know what a real scientists is, before you can recognise a consensus of them!

In the scientific field of climate studies – which is informed by many different disciplines – the consensus is demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change – and that’s nearly all of them. A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused. 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way, focusing on methods or paleoclimate analysis (Oreskes 2004).

Several subsequent studies confirm that “...the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes”. (Doran 2009). In other words, more than 95% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

We should also consider official scientific bodies and what they think about climate change. There are no national or major scientific institutions anywhere in the world that dispute the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Not one.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 19:25:08 UTC | #909288

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 28 by aroundtown

Comment 18 by Ignorant Amos Correction.....Polar bears are not so much dying, as dying out.

This is a very clear and accurate description. They are most certainly becoming extinct due to climate pressures that have affected their ability to survive in their zone of habitation. Evolution determined their range and they just like all other animals are affected by climate shift. The overall affects on the hydrologic cycle have yet to be felt in my estimation due to the warming in the atmosphere.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 22:45:19 UTC | #909339

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 29 by Starcrash

Comment 14 by Jos Gibbons :

I knew some posters would reveal themselves to be in the “I know better than the vast consensus of experts in that subject” group. As a rationalist I am obliged to read their arguments just in case they’re decent, and debunk them if they’re not. Oh look, they’re not. Due to the large difference in the lengths of comments 5 and 7, I’ll respond to them in reverse chronological order.

Comment #909043 by Starcrash

This author brought up a lot of great points, and they've been ill-refuted by his opponents

The entire basis by which you judge the response to Crichton is a single debate (debates are not how science is done, let alone a single one), and you offer no basis at all for calling his points “great”.

Is there a site that I can visit that has rebutted his arguments?

There are two extremes to how I could answer this, “Here are the links; read” and “You’ve not even said which arguments you want debunked yet; do that and we’ll talk”. I’ll go in between those; if an argument in his book isn’t demolished in what I link to, let me know which specific such argument you want to see responded to next. Take a look at this.

What I was hoping for was an answer from someone who had read State of Fear or was familiar with it. The link just provides the evidence for climate change (I'm already familiar with it) but does not address the objections of Michael Crichton. The link I provided was to cite that his arguments are ill-refuted (even if you don't watch the debate, you'll notice that his side won by audience votes).

I understand this isn't how science is done, but do you understand how arguments are done? Both sides can have science on their side. This is a good example of such a case. But the deniers had specific rebuttals to their opponents, and their opponents did what you've done - simply state their evidence and credentials again, even though the deniers shed doubt on their evidence. It also didn't help that they dismissed their opponents with an air of authority, as you have also done.

Let me sum up the arguments made by these deniers... we're horrible at predicting the weather. We have scientific equipment to do it, but science alone doesn't tell us whether or not it will rain tomorrow (and especially can't predict rain a month from now!) because there are too many factors to consider. Climate data, although helpful and undoubtedly scientific, isn't good enough in our current world to be certain of the Earth's climate's future. And there is some doubt to the current data, as well. Things like "sea level" are harder to measure than one might think, as well as such basic and necessary information such as average temperature of a region (as well as the ease of skewing such information even if you have it correct). Factors such as Urban Heat Islands, although "accounted for", were demonstrated to be not taken into accounted for "enough". And the Earth doesn't show a constant warming in all regions and perhaps not even in most - the data used to show warming are selectively sampled.

Michael Crichton, as demonstrated throughout his life and his books, is not anti-science or a science-denier, and yet he didn't agree with the consensus on this theory. Penn & Teller on their show Bullshit didn't, either (and they are also pro-science). I also believe in the scientific method, and you'll notice that all I asked for was help and clarification. And you set me up as some sort of extremist - a member of the “I know better than the vast consensus of experts in that subject” group - despite the fact that I said I was exactly the opposite of that and asked for help in joining the consensus. Show some respect. If you don't have anything useful to contribute, just don't bother.

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 03:35:52 UTC | #909413

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 30 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #909413 by Starcrash

What I was hoping for was an answer from someone who had read State of Fear or was familiar with it.

Which is what the page I linked to constitutes, because by definition it is an answer from its author. Why should that author personally saying those things to you, or you having read the book finding it on Google, count more than someone who hasn’t read the book finding this piece on Google?

The link just provides the evidence for climate change (I'm already familiar with it) but does not address the objections of Michael Crichton.

That’s not true. For example, it rebuts his “but what about 1940 to 1970?” objection. Indeed, the whole piece is “he made this argument but it’s wrong because of this”. If you genuinely believe there is even one argument in that book that the piece I linked to doesn’t demolish, state it. (Don’t bother including examples that I refute in your summary here of the arguments he makes.)

The link I provided was to cite that his arguments are ill-refuted (even if you don't watch the debate, you'll notice that his side won by audience votes). I understand this isn't how science is done, but do you understand how arguments are done?

And do you understand where to look for arguments?

Both sides can have science on their side. This is a good example of such a case.

No, it’s not. Creationists have “science” on their side debunked in the Talk.Origins archive, and the “science” on the side of climate change deniers is debunked at skepticalscience.com – like Talk.Origins, they number the arguments and place them in a classification scheme, as it is quantity and not quality of arguments those people have on their side. I challenge you to come up with even one argument they don’t rip to shreds. (They are listed by taxonomy, among others.)

the deniers had specific rebuttals to their opponents, and their opponents did what you've done - simply state their evidence and credentials again, even though the deniers shed doubt on their evidence.

Maybe that’s why they didn’t win the debate. Debates are no good for issues like climatology or creationism because the wrong arguments take much longer to debunk than to say, as you will see if you read any of the rebuttals found in either Talk.Origins or Skeptical Science. The “doubt” shed is nonsense from start to finish if you ever bother looking in to it.

It also didn't help that they dismissed their opponents with an air of authority, as you have also done.

I’m sick and tired of people not accepting the scientific consensus on an issue first showing a profound unwillingness to look into the science and then, when you try literally the only other approach that works – discussing the size and origin of the consensus – to put things in their right scientific contexts, getting all “a consensus doesn’t make it true” on us. You should only lack confidence in a scientific consensus if you have a genuinely good reason to tear it up. Would you be agnostic on matters in particle physics you didn’t understand? As I’m about to show, these pathetic arguments you happened to get from Michael Crichton but could have gotten from pretty much anywhere else are not an adequate basis for doubting the findings of real climatology. I will debunk them both personally and with links elsewhere, because you originally requested such links and deserve them.

we're horrible at predicting the weather

Climate is patterns in the weather. Predicting the weather is hindered by its stochastic nature; the climate is the probabilities in that stochastic nature. We can predict the time evolution of those properties far better than those of day to day weather. Don’t even pretend there’s any reason to think the climate can’t be predicted. In fact, we know it definitely can be, because our climate models have been right time after time … but only if they concede the effects CO2 have. Models that don’t cannot even accurately reconstruct the past, let alone get the future right. For more information, see the following: Basic Intermediate On prediction

Climate data isn't good enough in our current world to be certain of the Earth's climate's future.

Yes it is. That’s why we actually manage it. And by the way, we don’t just accurately predict temperature rises over the next few years; we also accurately reconstruct the past. The only models that don’t work are those of the climate change deniers.

there is some doubt to the current data. Things like "sea level" are harder to measure than one might think, as well as average temperature. Factors such as Urban Heat Islands were demonstrated to be not taken into accounted for "enough".

Data has error bars, but doubt is another matter entirely. You can’t look at worldwide trends that have held up for decades and pretend they’re fake. The Urban Heat Island effect, for example, is incapable of explaining temperature rises outside cities, which are equal to those in cities. If you look at the heat flow in to and out of the atmosphere by wavelength with satellites, you see it accounts for the warming we’re seeing, and is in turn accounted for by CO2’s greenhouse effect. Don’t pretend for a moment deniers have even begun to explain where those calculations go awry. Indeed, they never get anywhere near quantitative enough to support any of their ideas. Every single proposed alternative explanation is empirically utter garbage. For more information, see the following:

Urban Heat Island: Basic Intermediate
On other explanations:
The sun: Basic Intermediate Advanced
The ocean: Basic Intermediate

the Earth doesn't show a constant warming in all regions and perhaps not even in most - the data used to show warming are selectively sampled.

This is complete nonsense. Firstly, the only people who selectively sample are the deniers, e.g. when they pretend things were warmer in the Medieval Warming Period. Secondly, of course the warming varies by region, because albedo does – the Southern Hemisphere has far more ice and far more ocean, and far less land not covered by ice. But the fact is all parts of the world are warming. Antarctica has the best protection against warming, and even it is seeing massive ice losses because of the warming happening there. Thirdly, every time we use even bigger data samples, e.g. BEST, we find yet again a warming verdict, so don’t pretend if only we covered the entire planet in thermometers this warming trend would just go away.

Michael Crichton, as demonstrated throughout his life and his books, is not anti-science or a science-denier, and yet he didn't agree with the consensus on this theory. Penn & Teller on their show Bullshit didn't, either (and they are also pro-science).

You can’t prove someone is right about one issue by pointing out everywhere else they’re right. If they’re wrong on even one thing, which here they are, they are partially anti–science.

all I asked for was help and clarification. And you set me up as some sort of extremist - a member of the “I know better than the vast consensus of experts in that subject” group - despite the fact that I said I was exactly the opposite of that and asked for help in joining the consensus.

Oh, you think you know better than the consensus, all right – it’s just that in Tony K’s case the way that was so was on the issue of whether it’s happening, whereas in your case it’s on the issue of how much confidence we can have it’s happening, or on what kinds of answer you receive to your questions (as I pointed out above, the sources you claim don’t deal with the specific arguments you want dealt with actually do it).

Show some respect.

Do you know what’s disrespectful? Bringing up climate–weather conflation again. Or an “it’s X even though X would cause regional differences that don’t even exist a little bit” argument, again. Is that the best you guys can do? (Actually, yes it is – I’ve seen a lot of their work.)

If you don't have anything useful to contribute, just don't bother.

I’ll repeat those words to you if your next post doesn’t contain at least one anti–GW or anti–AGW argument better than what you produced here. Look at all the links I’ve presented so far to you any TonyK in my posts and a link Alan4discussion posted, Why the Laws of Physics make anthropogenic climate change undeniable, which I actually authored, and which contains science no–one can refute. Go read any of the posts I wrote on that page and see how true that is, by looking at people’s efforts. Oh, I have a lot that’s useful to contribute.

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 07:29:45 UTC | #909433