Discovery Institute: The Mask Falls Away

YESTERDAY we posted Discovery Institute: Thrilled About ClimateGate, in which we showed that the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) were gearing up to use the still-unfolding global warming email imbroglio as “proof” that brave dissenters from science orthodoxy have been suppressed by ideological conspirators.

Although not specifically expressed in the Discoveroid article we wrote about, the implication was that because the legitimate views of global warming skeptics had been suppressed, this means that all science dissent is similarly worthy, and therefore the irrational science-denial of creationists is somehow now respectable. We’re calling this interpretation of ClimateGate the “vindication of all kooks” doctrine.

Following that initial salvo, the Discoveroids have now posted a far stronger article at their blog. We’ve always told you what the Discoveroids were up to. Back when we started our humble blog we posted Discovery Institute: Enemies of the Enlightenment. But it’s no longer necessary to read between the lines. The Discoveroids are now out of the closet.

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Climategate: a Word of Advice to the Scientists. The bold font was added by us:

[T]here will be an accounting for this [global warming] fraud. People are very very angry, and while the skeptics whose darkest doubts have been vindicated don’t pull the levers of organized science (the frauds do that), there are some financial and political resources available to the skeptics who have been demanding integrity in science, and they understand now that this is war.

Ah, “this is war.” Let’s read on:

A cabal of leading scientists, politicians, and media concubines have conspired to lie about global warming. The reasons are obvious: power and money.

I’m not sure that the scientific community can or will respond to this debacle in a courageous or ethical way. The ID-Darwinism debate clearly demonstrates that venality and shameless self-interest, as well as a toxic leftist-atheist ideology, runs very deep in the scientific community.

There it is, right out in the open. We added color so you couldn’t miss it. The presumed vindication of global warming skeptics means the vindication of creationists too. Note that they persist with the goofy propaganda line that the “Darwinists” are all pushing a “toxic leftist-atheist ideology.” We continue:

Science surely provides much benefit to mankind, but we may need to pursue scientific truth with a different set of scientists than the ones we have now.

Right! Bring in the kooks who have been wrongfully “expelled.” Let’s make Ben Stein the new science czar. Here’s more:

Surely many many scientists knew of the frauds so clearly documented in the ClimateGate scandal; where were the august scientific organizations–the Royal Academy, the UN’s IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science–while this fraud was growing and gaining power. The obvious truth is that these citadels of organized science were part of the fraud, or at least acquiescent in it. Several of the admitted ClimateGate fraudsters were in senior positions in these organizations.

Those are the same institutions that scoff at creationism — for good reason — and the Discoveroids have long nurtured a deep hatred of them. You’ll see as the article continues:

We are on the verge of reorganizing our lives, our governments, and our economies on the basis of massive transparent scientific fraud. We may be able to avert more damage; I’m not sure. The bad guys here have all the influence and most of the money, and they are not hindered by ethics.

Perhaps so regarding global warming. We don’t really know yet. But we do know about the ethics of creationists. It’s certainly odd to see Discoveroids claiming to be the good guys, but that’s how they present themselves. Moving along:

What can we do? Criminal prosecution of scientists who manipulate data would be a good start. Scientists who fake data and manipulate peer review to advance their agenda are no different than corporate executives who manipulate stock prices or lawyers who tamper with juries.

Be careful, Discoveroids. That’s a two-edged sword. Remember that one of your own “senior fellows” was involved in the infamous peer review scandal. Well, that won’t be a problem when the Discoveroids take over. It was obviously the science fraudsters who kept that brilliant Discoveroid article from achieving legitimate status. Yes, that’s how they’ll handle it.

Here’s another excerpt:

Ultimately, perhaps massive defunding of organized science, and a new system of support for research that demands utter transparency and maximal accommodation of debate, may be the only way to defend ourselves from an utterly corrupt scientific elite.

Yes! Defund all of science! Verily, a new day is dawning, or so the Discoveroids hope. And now we come to the end of their revealing article:

It may well be that the public will be forced to protect itself from organized science, as we now protect ourselves from organized crime.

That’s the Discoveroid fantasy — scientists treated like Mafia dons, subjected to congressional hearings, courtroom inquisitions, expulsions from universities, purges from the peer-reviewed journals — it’s their sick dream of a Dark Ages restoration. Bring on the theocracy! Burn the witches!

Do you still have doubts about the goals of the Discoveroids? They’re going to ride the unexpected gift of ClimateGate as far as they can. What they couldn’t accomplish with their own nonsensical “science,” they now hope to achieve by exploiting the global warming scandal.

Please keep this in mind: It may be true that global warming is largely a scam, although it’s still early days and we really don’t know yet. Whatever we learn, whatever misdeeds are uncovered, if any, it shouldn’t affect the rest of science. And most assuredly it shouldn’t give any credibility to creationism — or to its stealth version, intelligent design.

Junk science should be treated as junk, whether it’s creationism or perhaps global warming. We already know that creationism is junk. Nothing we learn about global warming will change that.

[Update: See Discovery Institute: ClimateGate Crescendo!]

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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78 responses to “Discovery Institute: The Mask Falls Away

  1. O. M. G. I am flabbergasted. Andrew Bolt is out of his mind. Defund science? Is he friggin serious? Well, I guess all those new medicines that work based on evolutionary principles just won’t get developed. What is he going to do when it is his wife or kid that could have been saved from such an advance? I guess he’ll just have to chalk it up to the “Intelligent Designer’s” not-so-intelligent design of genetic diseases, but rather his “will” for his family member to die.
    :(

  2. retiredsciguy

    Sounds like it could have been written by Pol Pot or Mullah Allah.

    “Organized science”??? Of COURSE it’s organized, you twit of a Discoveroid! What do you want, DISorganized science??

  3. LRA says: “O. M. G. I am flabbergasted.”

    That’s the Discoveroids. Just a great bunch of folks.

  4. retiredsciguy says: “Sounds like it could have been written by Pol Pot or Mullah Allah.”

    Right. And the few other science blogs I look at are all so busy defending the global warming guys that they’re completely missing what’s going on here. Well, I’ve been out on a limb before, so I know the territory.

  5. It is NOT a scam. Are you becoming a birther now?

    Europe and many other countries are working on solving the problem while dufuses in this country don’t have a clue.

    Perhaps you could explain how we can continue anyway using finite fuel resources?

  6. Our friends at Little Green Footballs have a link to this post. Welcome, green ones.

  7. Read it again, Chris P.

  8. You wrote “We really don’t know yet”

    Yes we do. Please stop denying the reality.

  9. Members of the Royal Academy? They presumably provide the artwork for the propaganda.

  10. Chris P “Europe and many other countries are working on solving the problem while dufuses in this country don’t have a clue.”

    Europe is not working to solve the problem, they just dancing around the edges. Only France has a realistic chance of making the Kyoto protocols, and thats because. 1. they never had a problem building nuclear power stations most countries have. 2. The Russians playing games with the natural gas pipelines one winter decided them on replacing more of their natural gas fire power stations, and not much to do with global warming.

    Britain is no where close to making the targets, and even if they do China and India will make up the difference in output in less than 2 days.

  11. Ah, well, Flakey, Europe hasn’t solved the problem, so we should just give up? The point is that the US is almost unique among deveolped countries in having public policy influenced (if not dictated) by finge denialists. Witness endless attempts to foist creationism on school children, and the AGW debate. The science is by and large settled, but we must all wait while anti-science demagogues rant.

    This is not to say there are not scientific debates going on. The difference is that science uses data, while denialism uses distortion, spin and lies.

  12. What fraud and what misdeeds are they talking about, the obvious quote mining, the purposeful misinterpretation or perhaps the inability to differentiate fact from fiction of the denialsphere?

  13. PZ Myers has linked to our thread. Nice jump in traffic.

    For the record, we’ve never been AGW science deniers. The science is what it is. Our skepticism, if that’s what it should be called, is limited to the politics of the proposed solutions.

  14. I must say that, whether you meant it to sound like that, or not, you do sound like you have bought in to at least some of the nonsense that is coming out of the denialosphere.

    No, climate science is not a scam, and nothing in those emails reveals any kind of fraud, if you first understand the context and the real meaning of what was said.

    Sure, it could be argued that some of the emails were unethical — although, nobody has been able to show that any of the suggestions to delete emails were anything other than in jest, or as a result of frustration at being harassed — but there is absolutely no evidence of any kind of fraud, or that any of the major conclusions in climate science are wrong.

    Your main point (that even if it was, it wouldn’t affect the other sciences), of course, is still sound, but this isn’t the time — and nor would it be ethical — to throw perfectly innocent people under the bus in an effort to placate those who won’t stop until they have thrown every last one of is under it, as well.

  15. Damian says:

    I must say that, whether you meant it to sound like that, or not, you do sound like you have bought in to at least some of the nonsense that is coming out of the denialosphere.

    That’s just my reaction to anything promoted by Al Gore.

  16. “2. The Russians playing games with the natural gas pipelines”

    Wrong, it is Ukraine that plays the games – the pipleline goes through it and they siphon off gas They don’t like free market prices.

  17. “No, climate science is not a scam, and nothing in those emails reveals any kind of fraud, if you first understand the context and the real meaning of what was said. ENDCAPS>”

  18. Patrick Tomlinson

    “It may be true that global warming is largely a scam, although it’s still early days and we really don’t know yet.”

    Ah, no it is emphatically not the early days. It is in fact the late days. The science is already settled, we are warming the planet. This has been a well established scientific fact for two decades, and getting stronger all the time.

    The fact that the denialist camp isn’t doing it’s own research, isn’t advancing its own theories, but is instead crowing about out-of-context quotes that were stolen by criminals should tell you something of their character and the quality of their evidence.

    This who email theft reminds me of the often heard creationist trope of Piltdown man. The idea that because one fraud was discovered out of millions of pieces of evidence, that the rest are automatically suspect or discredited. That’s nonsense when applied to evolution and its nonsense when applied to AGW.

    Scientists are people, they are often passionate. They get frustrated and angry, and sometimes one will get greedy and lie. But this predictable human failing isn’t reason to ignore the weight of evidence provided by the rest of the community.

    And the denialists shouldn’t be so quick to decry a single act of manipulation, for manipulation is the only this they have going for them.

  19. This is ridiculous. Defund science? I’ll shove my rather well spiked scientific boot up their ignorant a***s before they are allowed to do that. F*** these ignorant, anti-intellectual s**tbags that think that their religion automatically trumps thousands of years of human scientific advancement.

    /Fark is here. You all should probably be afraid.

  20. Ugh. The IDiots never cease to disappoint. They’ll cling to whatever dingleberries are dangled in front of them.

    As for the AGW denialism tone, I agree; the way this post was written came off in the vein of Glenn Beck’s “I’m not saying such-and-such, I’m just asking questions”. There wasn’t much discussion of the politics of global warming solutions, especially not in phrases like “It may be true that global warming is largely a scam”.

  21. The consensus on AGW is every bit as strong as the consensus on evolution among experts in their respective fields, even if the popular consensuses are quite different.

    A cautious “We don’t know yet” with respect to one, weakens your certainty with respect to the other, in my view, because you seem to change criteria midstream. I’m pretty sure Al Gore is not a creationist.

  22. MikeTheInfidel says:

    As for the AGW denialism tone, I agree; the way this post was written came off in the vein of Glenn Beck’s “I’m not saying such-and-such, I’m just asking questions”.

    Come on, it wasn’t that bad.

  23. This would be laughable were it not that some people will take this seriously.

    Power and money?!? These are not words that come to mind when I think of scientists. In fact, these are perfect antonyms for describing your friendly neighbourhood scientist, who toils in near-complete anonymity, trying to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, all for the sheer love of doing research.

    What exactly do these leaked emails contain that is ammunition for the deranged conspiracy-theory folks? Give me a quote here. All they reveal is that scientists are regular people too: in private emails they will use foul language. Big deal!

    While it is true that some of the larger laboratories receive very large grants, does anyone really believe that they are pocketing the cash?!?

  24. Nekulor the Black says: “Fark is here. You all should probably be afraid.”

    Yup, terrified. Sorry about the delay and the clean-up. Your comment sent the filters into shock.

  25. If I follow you , then, you cautiously accept that AGW may be real (at least you are not a denier.) You object to the political solutions (specifically you hate Al Gore.) In previous posts you have said: “if the free market can’t fix it we’re toast.”

    I would contend that the primitive, call it “fundamentalist” notion of the free market cannot address problems of this nature, because all of the societal costs are externalized, and hence the rational self interest of the individual is to ignore them. This is the well known “Tragedy of the Commons” (see G. Hardin , ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 1968.)

    The political solution, cap and trade, is an attempt to internalize these costs, in the hope that the free market mechanisms will indeed evolve towards solutions. Undeniably, it has problems, but it is a proactive policy, with the intent of using the powers of the free market, not thwarting them.

    IDers are fond of pointing out flaws in evolutionary theory, but are short on actual research or testable theories of their own. I suggest that free market curmudgeons, so quick to point out flaws, and imagine global conspiracies, and whose main solution to any difficult problem is the “free market” (“God did it” ala the IDers), might want to stop being part of the problem and step up with workable solutions of their own. Where are they? Saying the “free market will fix it” is no more than a religious mantra.

  26. Jim Swetnam says:

    If I follow you, then, you cautiously accept that AGW may be real (at least you are not a denier.) You object to the political solutions (specifically you hate Al Gore.) In previous posts you have said: “if the free market can’t fix it we’re toast.”

    You follow me just fine.

  27. Well, I’m glad to put the fear of God into the filters. They often slack on the job anyway.

    As for the “Science is evil” crowd that Beck and Palin stir up, what can be done to actually get them to think for themselves rather than parrot those idiotic talking heads and their ilk.

  28. Nekulor the Black of Fark asks:

    As for the “Science is evil” crowd that Beck and Palin stir up, what can be done to actually get them to think for themselves rather than parrot those idiotic talking heads and their ilk.

    Nothing. Nothing at all. Although it may upset some of my readers, permit me to quote from Atlas Shrugged, where Dr. Ferris said to Dr. Stadler:

    You see, Dr. Stadler, people don’t want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and follow anyone who gives them justification for not thinking.

  29. Who seriously gives a flying f*** about the Disco Institute’s views on the Hadly leaks? The basic fact is that none of the cherry-picked emails from the 13 year period dispute the science. I personally think it’s more than overdue for the “skeptics”, contrarians and creo fundies to hear how the real scientists of the world think about them. They’re like the GOP, all “no” and no substance, then cry when no-one takes them seriously. Ha f**king ha d***heads, this is the best shot you ever had at casting doubt on climate science and you didn’t come close. Eat it.

  30. the problem is that science is based on facts but driven by emotions. what we don’t understand we try to explain, and we are all subject to making our version of a perceived truth fit our own comfort zone. i don’t think the id-darwin debate has anything to do with science really. it’s not about evolution, it’s about the origin of life. seems to me that it takes just as much faith (yeah i said it) to believe (yeah, i said that too) in an id origin or a complete random series of events —

    [That's enough.]

  31. Although I thoroughly distrust anything Al Gore suggests about global warming or anything else, I must point out that one shouldn’t blindly trust every free-enterprise solution that comes along. Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs provided this Amazon link to Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, indicating that — gasp! — big corporations have been known to fool around when presenting science.

    I can’t deny it — the big tobacco companies tried to downplay the cancer risk in using their product. But nobody expected them to be disinterested. Nevertheless, now that tobacco companies have been such a Niagara of tax revenue for government, all seems to be forgiven — especially since their customers may die early and not burden the Social Security system too much. Strange, how these things work out.

    Anyway, it’s true that the free enterprise system has its faults. Still, corporations need the consent of their customers, and they’ve got competition too. Governments don’t have to worry about those things. So it seems like an easy choice. We’ll go with free enterprise, every time — especially when the alternative is Al Gore.

  32. This is a good example of why scientists need to scrupulously police themselves against any hint of unethical behavior or fraud among their own: it gives the kooks like the IDers ammo.

    And that’s why the revelations from the UEA CRU Data Liberation caper, along with other recent revelations as well as long term practices like not releasing data and data processing code, are so disturbing.

    Unlike the case of Evolution vs. Creationism, the conclusions of climatic warming research, most especially the CGM model predictions of dire warming, are NOT settled science for all scientists.

    Some examples that will no doubt provoke a few of the Curmudgeon’s gentle readers:

    http://hiderefer.com/?http://forum.darwincentral.org/viewtopic.php?p=572059#p572059

    and

    http://hiderefer.com/?http://forum.darwincentral.org/viewtopic.php?p=572070#p572070

    Their author is a real scientist, is not a crank, who accepts Darwinian Evolution, and doesn’t not subscribe to 9-11 Truther hogwash, or think we faked the lunar landings. And he is not alone in his sentiments.

    The lesson in this Climate Imbroglio is clear: there is way too much at stake to allow a small group of scientists to turn science into a PR campaign to further an activist agenda — every kook on the planet will seize the opportunity to destroy the public’s faith in science as a means to advance their pet crank theory.

    This is the reason why the Climate researchers should have never been allowed to get away with withholding data, and meddling in the peer review process, and threatening to ouster editors at peer-reviewed science journals who dared to publish papers by those who didn’t share the alarmist’s conclusions. It encourages the Creationoids and other kooks to proclaim all of science is perverted and should be ignored in preference for their crank theories du jour.

  33. Longie says: “Their author is a real scientist, is not a crank, who accepts Darwinian Evolution, and doesn’t not subscribe to 9-11 Truther hogwash, or think we faked the lunar landings.”

    You actually believe we landed on the moon? BWAHAHAHAHA!

    (For all our new visitors today, that’s a bit of Curmudgeonly humor.)

  34. Curmudegeon said:

    “corporations need the consent of their customers, and they’ve got competition too. Governments don’t have to worry about those things.”

    Even debased republics like ours require the consent of the governed. One hopes that that is informed consent. Where information about risks is not forthcoming, either from corporations or government, then that is the role of science and free inquiry.

    All of the human experience cannot be reduced to free enterprise, just as not all of evolution can be reduced to brute individual competition.

  35. Reply to Lonshadow:

    This is your rigorous, evidential reference to the current imaginary climate imbroglio?:

    http://hiderefer.com/?http://forum.darwincentral.org/viewtopic.php?p=572059#p572059

    Readers who go to this link will not find much of substantive import, unless you are the sort who obtains all of their scientific understanding from from random commenters on blogs (there’s recursive irony here.)

    Go to Realcimate.org and track down the original literature yourselves. Contrary to popular misinformation, you can find all of the original data and code there or in the links, if you’re not to lazy to look.

  36. Jim Swetnam says: “… if you’re not to lazy to look.”

    Calm down, Jim.

  37. My sincere apologies.

  38. Jim Swetnam // 29-November-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Reply to Lonshadow:

    This is your rigorous, evidential reference to the current imaginary climate imbroglio?:

    http://forum.darwincentral.org/viewtopic.php?p=572059#p572059

    Readers who go to this link will not find much of substantive import, unless you are the sort who obtains all of their scientific understanding from from random commenters on blogs (there’s recursive irony here.)
    [snip]

    Jim, it would appear from your post you didn’t bother to read the second link.

    Oh, well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it thirsty.

  39. Longshadow:

    Read it, have seen it before, it’s refuted. Again see RealClimate.org.

  40. Ahh, Jim; it was first posted 29 Nov 2009 13:10 (EST) on DarwinCentral™. How could it possibly be refuted at RealClimate or anywhere else yet?

    Grand arm-waving gestures are not a reasoned rebuttal, nor do they refute the professor’s opinion on climate science.

  41. Longshadow:

    I owe you a better response than that. In your second link, within the forest of blog comments, I only saw one figure, which I assumed was your scientific evidence, and that was Steve Mcintyre’s graph.

    This graph, which I have seen before referes to a recognized problem with some of the tree ring data (i.e. some species, in some locations). After circa 1960 some of the tree ring data stops tracking the instrumental temperature records. This is known as the “divergence problem.” It is well known among climate researchers, and has been under debate and investigation for more than a decade. All of the other proxies, such as ice cores, coral reefs, etc, do not show this divergence. It’s a problem because these other proxies can only resolve variance at decadal scales, whereas tree rings can resolve inter-decadal variance. That’s why tree rings are neat. But tree rings are not the big picture. ALL of the other data shows Hockey Stick, not to mention large scale current observations.

    So what causes the divergence? It’s a subject of active investigation. Some suggestions are that those cold climate adapted trees, which are the one that show divergence, may be growth spurred up to some threshold value which has been reached, then growth limited thereafter.

    Maybe. Then maybe it’s something else. The point is, contrary to Steve McIntyre, et. al., this has been a topic of active, open discussion in the literature, and in the emails for quite some time. There is no conspiracy of cover up.

  42. Patrick Tomlinson

    I doubt anyone here is interested in a professor’s opinion, but instead the facts on which it is based.

    So what are his facts, and why do the stunning majority of climate scientists disagree with his interpretation of them?

  43. I’m the scientist Longshadow has been quoting.

    I understand the divergence problem. The fact that it is unsolved is a real issue for tree-ring proxies. If the method you use doesn’t work for the time period over which you have the most reliable corroborative data, you surely have to worry about it over a much long time period when you have almost no corroboration at all. remember, there is no a priori reason to expect it to work.

    My own strong preference vis a vis presenting the data would be to display all the data and acknowledge in the paper that results subsequent to 1960 are divergent. A far less preferable alternative is to omit the data post 1960. What is downright fraudulent is to graft the instrumental record post-1960 onto the proxy record pre-1960, particularly when you then unambiguously deny this has been done. This procedure was discussed in the emails, and it appears clear that it was in fact implemented in various papers.

    If I caught a student doing this, he or she would be warned once, and fired the second time. I find it incomprehensible it have been done several times in the literature.

  44. “stunning majority of climate scientists”: please document.

  45. Ronald Bailey, science writer at Reason Magazine, is another one that the DI wants its cheerleaders to think is “silent” on this issue (he’s not). Bailey a few years ago reluctantly went from AGW denier to cautious AGW accepter, and like you and I, has no problem returning to denier if need be.

    As far back as 1997 Bailey was on to the DI’s antics. He practically predicted the Wedge document 2 years before it was leaked!

  46. RWP, your comments are well founded, if that indeed happened. It’s too early on for me to judge.

    Who are you, really? Surely you don’t sign your papers RWP?

  47. Jim Swetnam // 29-November-2009 at 6:23 pm

    Longshadow:

    I owe you a better response than that. In your second link, within the forest of blog comments, I only saw one figure, which I assumed was your scientific evidence, and that was Steve Mcintyre’s graph. [snip]

    That’s NOT the post I was referring to (it seems the linking function doesn’t provide resolution to the individual post ). Here’s a brief excerpt of the text in the post to which I referred in that same thread.

    … Having done more reading on the proxy reconstructions, I have far less faith in them than I used to. Particularly shocking has been the extent to which these data have been cherry-picked and manipulated.

    I therefore think it’s valid to say 1998 was the warmest year since a good set of instrumental records became available. I don’t think it’s valid to say it was the warmest year in the last (pick a multiple of a hundred) years. We don’t know what the climate was before 1850, except from local anecdotal accounts. ….

    The author is scientist. He’s appalled at what he sees in the CRU data/e-mail dump. And, he’s not sold on the dire predictions of climatic gloom & doom their CGMs predict.

    And on a final note, I just remind everyone that scientific theories are never proven — at best, they are held to be provisionally true pending a falsifying observation. Even the CRU e-mails show the climate scientists admitting that the past several years have not warmed as their models predicted it should, and they have no explanation for it. At the very least, their CGM models are defective, and should not be used for the purpose of determining public policy, especially when someone like AlGore peddles it.

    As another scientist on that same thread, albeit earlier, said:

    The problem with Hadly CRU et al isn’t the quality of the data nor is the the results of their analysis. The problem is the hiding of the data and of the methods of analysis. Basically, their results cannot (without outside analysis) be considered wrong nor can they be considered right; their results cannot be considered at all.

    [emphasis added]

  48. By the way, a big hello to the Curmudgeon, an old ally (not to say leader) in fighting for evolution and against creationism among conservatives.

  49. Ah, I see RWP is here in person, so no need for me to speak on his behalf, he being far abler than I am to defend his position.

  50. My name’s on my blog. I post under RWP just because I want to cut down on the google footprint, not because I’m anonymous. However, I just realized I’ve been entering my email address twice on the reply form, instead of the blog link. It’s now fixed. Click on the RWP heading this post, but not the previous ones, and you’ll get to it.

    Atheist, libertarian, physical chemist, birder…that’s about it.

  51. RWP. If you have such strong reservations about the proxy data (all of it!?), then, as a scientist it is your moral and professional responsibility to publish your critique. Or are you sincerely afraid of the “global climate conspiracy?”

  52. SouthernScientist

    Andrew Bolt is an Australian journalist and climate sceptic. He writes for a tabloid audience and probably exaggerates his own opinions for the sake of sensationalism. He is a climate sceptic but is certainly not a conservative religious wingnut. The Discovery Institute must have picked up his blog entry and run with it.

  53. Jim:

    I come across crap in the literature every day. I publish occasionally in a field where a large fraction of the publications are (IMHO) crap. What makes you think I have time on my hands for what you propose, particularly when Steve McIntyre seems to be doing so nicely on his own?

    FWIW, I have less of a problem with isotope proxies (I publish in the area of thermodynamic isotope effects). There are actual a priori reasons to expect them to work.
    Gerry

  54. Dr. Harbison

    I understand. Not all of us, though, have the luxury of working in fields where all of the data can be specified to 10 decimal points. Ecology and climate are stochaistic and chaotic. We must rely on inference and indirect, or proxy data. Imperfect yes. but far from crap.

    Do not dismiss all of the good data just because some of it may be ambiguous.

  55. RWP says: “I’m the scientist Longshadow has been quoting.”

    M’god! RWP is here. My cup runneth over.

  56. RWP says: “By the way, a big hello to the Curmudgeon …”

    It’s about time you dragged your sorry self over here. I’ve missed your grumpy ways.

  57. Patrick Tomlinson

    “’stunning majority of climate scientists': please document.”

    I don’t think at this stage of the game the statement that the majority of climatologists supports AGW theory really requires documentation. It is common knowledge.

    However, if you really aren’t aware of this state of affairs, I will be happy to provide it to you.

    We can start with any number of IPCC reports of the last eight years, the bulk of the peer reviewed literature spanning two decades, and a recent CNN polling of polar bears about their living conditions, although polar bears are prone to exageration.

  58. There is an argument that is quite current in the AGW debate: We cannot base such vital econonic policy decisions on science that relies on such inferencial and controversial data.

    The ironically wrong assumptions here are manifold:

    1. That policy is more influenced by data than politics or special interest.

    2. That economics itself is any less stochastic and chaotic than climate research. Really, at worst economists, in terms of predictions, might as well be playing roulette. At best they’re just counting cards in blackjack.

    3. The notion that the ego capital scientists accrue in their research is in some way a more powerful threat to life and liberty than simple greed and lust for power.

    4. That a global depression would be much worse than a global ecological catastrophe.

    5. That global science conspiracies are even possible.

  59. WOW! I go away for a day and come back to the longest thread of comments I’ve ever seen here. Amazing what the work of one unknown hacker can do. Just goes to show the power of anonymity on the internet. Anyone can say anything and it will be believed by many others.

    I liked the response that PZ Myers linked to at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/

    What would the anonymous hacker find if he broke into the the Discovery Institute’s emails?

    The one thing about science is, no matter what fraud or misrepresentation there is, it is eventually discovered and revealed. Can the Discoveroids say the same thimg?

  60. Goodness… A lot of AGW and not much on the blatant idiocy of DI. Poor Curmy, being yelled at for being a climate skeptic when he’s just not thrilled by the company that surrounds it. And to be honest, even those who are convinced and want to do something about it are a little alarmed by the politicizing on the “left” of the “debate.” And apparently with some good reason considering some of these emails.

  61. Albanaeon says:

    Poor Curmy, being yelled at for being a climate skeptic when he’s just not thrilled by the company that surrounds it.

    It’s a cruel world. Not intelligently designed at all.

  62. Albanaeon (what does that mean?)

    And what do you mean? I am a simpleton, and this is just too ephemeral for me.

  63. What are you talking about, Curmy? Everything makes PERFECT sense when viewed from the perspective of talking snakes, evil apples, and really big wooden boats.

  64. Albanaeon

    OK, I got it.

    Thanks

    Still don’t know about Albanaeon. I guess I’ll just have to check Wikipedia

  65. Jim Sweetman, first my name is just a pseudonym, like “Mark Twain,” just without any real cultural reference. Second, I think you’re talking about the “politicizing” of AGW within the “left.” I’ll just say that some of the rhetoric towards “defending the planet” goes over the line towards denying human rights, particularly when economic growth and the freedoms it can grant would improve peoples lives and grant this poor abused world the stability it needs to really address its problems.

  66. Hey Jim, don’t take any of my comments as snark. Its been a long day…

  67. Albanaeon

    I detected no snark at all.

    As for human rights, I tend towards the pessimistic. We are facing multiple catastrophes, in order of magnitude: climatic, ecological, economical, political, social.

    It does not even matter who is right about AGW, that’s rhetorical. Human rights will go to the savage.

    Personally, I think Homo sapiens will survive, we are adaptable. The planet itself will regard this as no more than a blip, nothing like the Permian extinction. Whether civilization will survive is another story. I will personally miss modern dentistry.

  68. Jim Swetman (I do apologize for the complete mis-reading of your name. Critical read fail #2…)

    Just wanted to be sure. And I’ll agree that things will change, humanity will go on but a bit different, and I’ll probably miss a lot of animals, but I definitely won’t miss modern dentistry from the sheer number of horror stories I could tell you…

  69. Albanaeon

    When I was a grade school child in northern New Mexico I had my teeth drilled without anesthetic using a foot powered drill. I once had an extracation of a premolar without anaesthtic. That’s not modern dentistry. These days I listen to soothing music and go into a blissful zen-like state (comparatively speaking), while a true artisan sculpts my fragmenting 60 year old teeth into something functional again.

    I think of the female pharoh Hapshepsut, whose mummy showed terrible abcesses in her jaw due to bad dental care. She died in horrible agony, and all of the wealth and power in the world could not save her fom that.

    This is why I always thank my dentist for his skills after every session. He deserves it. So does civilization.

  70. “Atheist, libertarian, physical chemist, birder…that’s about it.”

    So, not climatologist then. However, perceptive your opinions, they do not affect the question of how settled the issue is among experts, contrary to the claim introducing your ideas.

  71. Yeah, I know. I would say my complaints may be more against some of the “modern dentists” rather than dentistry itself. Like the one who so ineptly gave me Novocaine that when he started drilling the non-numbed area it was actually less painful than the injections. Or not notice a cracked tooth and removing a perfectly good filling instead. Or a friend having all feeling removed from his right jaw during a wisdom tooth removal. All these were done by military dentists so that would probably have an effect. I do, however, appreciate greatly my rebuilt teeth so I can only complain so much.

  72. To the people who say nobody in Europe is working on the problem – bulls****.

    Companies, engineers and governments ARE working on the problem. It is supported by the science and engineering communities and publications.

    In the USA the engineering communities largely work against it.

  73. retiredsciguy

    Hey, Curmy,
    Now I understand why you have chosen to stay clear of the AGW debate. A few of the AWG crowd seem to be VERY impassioned; much like the so-called “activists” who riot in the streets whenever there is a world trade summit.

    At any rate, we would definitely be putting less carbon into the atmosphere if we replaced coal-fired power plants with nuclear. I’ll throw the question out there for debate — what’s the problem? It seems as though those who object to nuclear do so because they want the economy to fail.

  74. Most of what the global warming sceptics hace done from the beginning is lie and suppress research. It is sad if there has been even a hint of of such behavior on the part of the folks who are otherwise practicing legitimate science. I learned about the well orchestrated attempts to cover up the truth about global warming by sincerely checking into it. I got suspicious when I could only find the same handful of sceptical “scientists” cited as being against anthropogenic global warming. more suspicious as I checked their credentials. Then I found the Hudson Institute, which listed hundreds of scientists that had “written papers” showing global warming was a fraud. Well, I wrote to about the first 30 or so on their list to get the lowdown. I got responses back from almost all of them and all but 1 specifically said that anthropogenic global warming is the only theory that can currently account for what is happening. The one person who did not respond in this way differed only in somewhat downplaying humanity’s role, but even he said we were part of the problem. Many of the scientists were outraged at the Hudson Institute’s mischaracterization of their position. One surmised that the institute might try to say that some of their papers, written some years ago when everyone was writing about things like Solar variability, counted against the newer views… but he said that none of those theories could account for current data and anthropogenic global warming can. Frankly, I’d suspect “climategate” is another scam on the part of the so-called sceptics (oil company stooges?). But if it isn’t, it is sad that a few misguided scientists have sunk to the level of the “sceptics”.

  75. retiredsciguy.

    Beware of stereotyping, sir, it’s seldom helpful in a debate.

    For myself, I think nuclear might well be a viable option, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs there either.

    The problems with nuclear are past the NIMBY syndrome. I can agree, for the sake of argument, that nuclear plants can be designed to be safe and reliable. For the sake of argument, I’ll even concede that we might be able to safely store the waste in geologically stable formations, and that he transportation of said wastes can be accomplished securely. Would you grant that I have been reasonable so far?
    Well then, the real scary part, as I see it, is creating and securing all of the vast amounts of new fissionables that we would have to produce to power these things. My goodness, some of the people in the right-wing camp that champion nuclear power are also so terrified of terrorism that they don’t wan’t to try terrorists on US soil, yet they would allow vast amounts of fissionable material to be made and transported. I have read intelligence reports (unclassified, and second hand, to be sure) that claim that nuclear materials have been stolen here and abroad not once, but many times. All of the other problems are just engineering, and hence amenable to good solutions. Engineering against human error and venality is something that has never been completely solved.

  76. Unfortunately, longshadow is committing the exact same fallacy as the creationists. Gerald Harbison is a scientist, so therefore he knows what he is talking about. Well, Dr Egnor is a scientist of sorts (he’s actually a surgeon), and so too are Michael Behe and many other “skeptics” of well established science.

    Dr Harbison is actually a chemist, so why would anyone expect him to understand climate science, I have to ask?

    But I need to be clear. It doesn’t actually matter whether you are a chemist, a climate scientist, or you work at McDonald’s, that doesn’t automatically mean that your ideas deserve either respect or disrespect. It matters whether your ideas map well to reality, to the known data, and to that which is already in the literature.

    Now, I admit that it can become complicated: I mean, who on earth do we trust, if anyone?

    Well, first and foremost, if you are a layperson (or even a scientist in another field), unless you understand what you are talking about; that is, unless you have taken the time to do the requisite research; you are, in my opinion, morally required to, at the very least, trust the consensus in a particular field more so than anything else. That is, as I’ve said, unless you have a particularly good reason not to.

    But it doesn’t end there. If you are a scientist, and you harbor doubts about a particular field of research, and as Jim Swetman has said, you are in a unique position to be able to publish your doubts and conclusions.

    However, that comes with some extra responsibility. If, after several years, I or anyone else, see that you haven’t really bothered to do so, and that you generally spend your time on the internet telling non-scientists about your concerns, I am perfectly within my rights to conclude that your concerns are either not really that well informed, or that there is some other, perhaps ideological, reason that you haven’t bothered to take them any further.

    And that is effectively the position that we are in, regardless of a scientists qualifications in another field, and in most of the sciences that attract attention in this regard: be that climate science, evolutionary biology, HIV research, you name it.

    If, as is actually the case, in my opinion, all of the so called concerns have been adequately answered (i.e. they haven’t persuaded the majority of climate scientists), then I am once again morally required to trust the consensus, unless I am prepared to do more than simply pick at the margins, by pointing to a few things that often have little relevance to said consensus.

    If anyone knows of a better system, let’s hear about it.

  77. Patrick Tomlinson

    “If anyone knows of a better system, let’s hear about it.”

    Trust in Jaysus. It’s so much simpler than all that heavy thinking.

    Understand implicitly that human beings are far too small to effect something as huge and complex as the big old Earth, and even if we did it’s too intricate for us to understand anyway, and therefore you don’t have to feel the least responsibility to alter your consumptive lifestyle to address the issue.

    See, easy. And aliens built the pyramids.