Warming Globes

For some reason, I find myself drawn into these long rambling arguments on other sites. I feel a little guilty about this because I write these long dissertations buried in the comments of other sites instead of pulling my weight at ChicagoBoyz.

Instead of rewriting the comments into a post, I think I will be lazy and just link to the comments themselves. So, anyone interested in my perspective on politicization of science and global warming should read my comments to this post over on Science Blog.

[Note that the way ScienceBlog does its comments is last first.]

11 thoughts on “Warming Globes”

  1. I put up a commment some place and if I like it I just go ahead and make a post out of it.

    Most of my posts here started life as part of an email conversation.

    Remember the two rules of successful writing (1) steal only from the best and (2) recycle, recycle, recycle. Rule 2 is pertinent here.

    So, yeah baby, emails, comments, posts, whatever: reuse ’em.

  2. Interesting thread over there. I’m dating myself, but when I was a kid it was the concensus of the scientific community that we were headed for a new Ice Age. It was a “certainty”, in fact. Wrong. What I don’t really understand is, if these people are looking at all this from a true scientific point of view, why can’t they see that the eath has warmed and cooled many, many times in it’s history and that no one can give provable reasons why these cycles happen at a particular time? There are so many variables at work that no one can say with any certainity at all what causes tese things. Solar flares? Volcanic activity? Too much CO2? Too little CO2? Too many clouds? Not enough clouds? Axis tilt variation? Man’s effect on these is minimal. I think it’s wishful thinking on the part of these people. If we’re the cause, then we’re in control. Wrong.

  3. I followed your link and read the whole discussion between you and Fred, and found it informative on a number of levels. I approach the global warming debate from an interesting perspective: I grew up in a very science oriented (and left-leaning) household, and I was taught about the dangers of global warming in conjuction with the dangers of other anthropogenic environmental catastrophes that were certain to be ‘just around the corner.’ I am well-versed in the science that supports an anthropegenic cause for global warming. As I grew out of adolescence and pursued science on my own, however, I became increasingly skeptical of both the science and the politcal polemic surrounding global warming (and related environmental issues). The inability of other scientists (my colleagues) to engage in rational discussion about these issues without quickly resorting to ad hominem brush-offs only solidified my position. My only position is that the current evidence is muddy at best and outright contradictory at worst. Consensus in the scientific community doesn’t convince me either- for exactly the reasons you outline so clearly, Shannon. Fred makes following analogy to support ‘doing something’ to stop the global warming catastrophe: “if you had a life threatening cancer and your physician told you that the scientific consensus is that chemotherapy cures 95% of the cases (and you got several concurring opinions from the best medical institution you had at your disposal), would you opt for the vitamin pills that another doctor offered to sell you as an easier cure?” I think a better analogy would be: You live in 1960 and you feel fine. However, you’ve had a few dizzy spells and your doctors say you’ll have violent schizophrenia within six months! 95% percent of the medical and scientific community agrees that the best treatment for you is an immediate frontal lobotomy. Who are you to disagree?

  4. Cornflake, I like your analogy and plan on using it sometime. Nice.

    When I originally read Fred’s analogy, I thought it was more like “Your white bloodcell count is slightly high, but still in the normal range. Your doctor prescribes chemo-therapy. Do you get a second opinion?”

  5. Adding to the medical analogy – Don’t forget the consensus on the cause of ulcers. But now we have Acid Reflux instead so the drug companies can still sell their drugs – at a much lower cost however.

  6. Mike Doughty: I’m curious as to just when you were a kid, because there was actually never a time when the mainstream consensus view among the scientific community was warning about anthropogenic global cooling.

    Lots of people who wish to pooh-pooh the overwhelming mountain of documented and peer-reviewed scientific evidence for global warming try to cling to the “but they all believed in global cooling 30 years ago!” tack. Except that all it ever really amounted to was a cover story in Time, another in Newsweek, and some absurd non-scientific popular novel by Isaac Asimov.

    It would be just as accurate to look back on the 1990s and say the scientific community had cloned dinosaurs back to life, because that was what Time and popular novelists were gasping about then too.

    I defy anyone to cite five (5) contemporary peer-reviewed and published scientific articles that ever maintained that human activities were causing global cooling that would have imminent adverse effects on our society.

    Assuming you can produce them, my response would be to give you a bibliography of one thousand (1,000) current peer-reviewed articles from mainstream experts who say exactly that about global warming.

    One can complain about “consensus” and “argument from authority” to a certain extent, but when the entire thrust of mainstream science comes down in favor of one theory, it is time to apply at *least* equal skepticism to the very few and increasingly irrelevant skeptics nowadays.

    The people who maintain global warming is actually a huge international conspiracy strike me as little different from those who fearmonger over vaccines causing autism or a missile having hit the Pentagon. All require an instantaneous dismissal of the human ability to acquire and interpret knowledge of the world around us, followed quickly by the trashbinning of all data that one finds ideologically inconvenient into corrupt paid conspiracy-land.

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