Skip to comments.Politicized Science vs. Anti-Science Republicans
Posted on 11/22/2010 7:37:40 AM PST by Kaslin
Just because the motives of many climate change advocates are questionable, even evil, does that mean the entire global warming proposition is a fraud?
It is an article of faith among many conservatives that climate change is sham science. Even worse, it is the nexus of a vast conspiracy involving governments, the UN, and climate scientists that is seeking to destroy the industrial economies of the West, create a one world government, and enrich people like Al Gore who have bet a bundle on a reduced carbon emissions future. They believe that either the earth is not warming at all, or that rising temperatures are the result of other phenomena like water vapor or the dearth of sunspot activity.
Facing off against them are a vast array of learned climate scientists armed with gigabytes of data, carefully calibrated models, and 600 years of experience in the process of discovering facts using the scientific method. The vast weight of evidence shows that the earth is warming and that man is mostly to blame. Hundreds of scientists and thousands of papers published in the most prestigious science journals in the world in a dozen different disciplines ranging from atmospheric physics to meteorology tell us that the preponderance of scientific evidence cannot be denied: we have a huge problem and we must address it.
It’s no contest, really. Climate change deniers are willing to suspend reason and logic while positing a monstrously large and unwieldy conspiracy to deny the “true facts” of global warming — thus accusing hundreds of reputable scientists of being charlatans, or worse. They can’t all be in on the conspiracy, nor is it possible that the data showing man’s imprint on climate — data gathered over many decades — have all been fudged, or pulled out of thin air.
But is this really no contest? Those “carefully calibrated models” have yet to come close to predicting accurate temperature or CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Tree ring and ice core data have been challenged. The entire scientific basis for rising temperatures — the raw data gathered from weather stations around the world giving a temperature record of the last 150 years — is continuing to come under fire as a result of the email dump from the East Anglia labs last year. The scientists in question — Drs. Mann and Jones — are either unwilling or unable to produce their raw data, thus making it impossible for others to reproduce their results.
Why this violation of a fundamental tenet of the scientific process has not resulted in a mass movement by scientists toward a more skeptical approach to climate claims says more about the politicized nature of government-funded science today than it does the efficacy of science itself.
There is a clear and compelling difference between climate deniers and climate skeptics. Deniers see men in black where skeptics see the very human problem of faulty reasoning based on faulty data. Many skeptics fully accept the fact that the earth is indeed warming and that to one degree or another man is responsible. The issue for skeptics is the draconian measures recommended by climate change advocates to address the problem, not so much the science behind it.
Bjorn Lomborg, whose documentary Cool It has given a boost to the skeptical cause (while being trumpeted by the climate conspiracists as “proof” they are correct), represents the only rationalist approach to the problem of climate change being proposed today.
In an interview a couple of weeks ago, Lomborg outlines his thinking about why he made the film:
I have two fundamental points. One is that global warming is real, its man-made, and its important, but it is not the end of the world. The situation is in between its the end of the world and its not happening, but that conversation is very, very hard to have because we have a very polarized discussion.
The second point is we need to find smart solutions. Weve been trying to solve global warming for at least 18 years, and weve been failing for 18 years. So instead of saying, Lets try for another 10 years with the same failed ideas, lets stop having this unproductive either-or conversation. Then lots of other people are going to come up with smart solutions, and were off on a much more constructive way of thinking about global warming.
Lomborg says his film is not so much a response to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth as much as it’s a “post-Al Gore” film that seeks to move beyond the irrational fear mongering generated by Truth. He actually praises Gore for bringing the problem of global warming into the mainstream, but criticizes him because scaring people inevitably leads to bad decision making.
Indeed, you can’t get much worse as far as decision making is concerned than carbon trading or other emissions reduction schemes as they are currently formulated. It is amazing that there is a consensus among scientists, economists, government policymakers, and businesspeople that the cap and trade legislation, so popular around the world with governments, will curtail economic activity and burden ordinary people with increased energy costs while failing to reduce CO2 emissions to any significant degree. No one is arguing to the contrary.
The response from promoters of these schemes is that the effects won’t be as bad as critics are postulating. That may very well be true. Europe’s carbon trading market is quite successful and relatively free of fraud. But German consumers are paying 25% more for electricity, and the carbon reducing regime has had a “much smaller effect on emissions than planned.” Emissions trading is clearly not a panacea for climate change, nor does it appear to be forcing industry to “go green” with any alacrity.
Lomborg realizes the conundrum of being a skeptic but wanting to develop policies to address the problem of climate change:
When you say, Its not as bad as Al Gore says, or The current solutions are not working, then people say, Oh, youre just a Republican. And if you say, We should spend money on working to solve climate change, then they say, Oh, youre just a Democrat. So its a testimonial to the unproductive nature of the conversation that people try to push you into one or the other of those two extreme points.
The fact is, Republicans are terrified of their base, which seems to have abandoned reason and embraced a fanatical anti-scientific viewpoint on climate change. Rather than attempt to carefully weigh and balance arguments, there is a rush to posit conspiracy theories about the motives of climate change advocates. Unfortunately, this attitude has been fed by statements like the one from Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, that climate treaties are beards for wealth redistribution.
This is hardly a secret, nor is it anything new or conspiratorial. The Kyoto accord made wealth transfers to developing countries the centerpiece of the treaty. And the IPCC’s motives in this regard dovetail nicely with those of the developing world and their NGO advocates who stand to receive a nice sized slice of any developmental funds that result from this massive redistribution of wealth.
But just because the motives of many climate change advocates are questionable, even evil, does that mean the entire global warming proposition is a fraud? There are still those hundreds of scientists and their dogged, 30 years of research and experimentation into the question of whether man-made industrial activity is having an effect on climate. They and their findings are not going away no matter how many “conspiracies” are uncovered or how many UN flacks reveal the true nature of their efforts.
You can’t fault the scientists if their research and conclusions have been hijacked by politicians greedy for loot and power, and far left activists who wish industrialized society and its capitalistic excesses would simply disappear. The problem won’t go away because many conservatives seek to hide in their cocoons and echo chambers, assuring themselves that global warming is a myth and nothing need be done about it.
This is a symptom of movement conservatism’s larger problem of rejecting authority and expertise as the product of elitist thinking. Science is especially vulnerable to their skepticism because it is so easily misunderstood. If it is beyond the ken of “ordinary” people to understand, then it is suspect. Any appeals to “authority” are dismissed automatically as an attempt to use “credentialism” to put one over on the people, or claim competency where none exists.
An Army of Davids may indeed possess intelligence beyond that demonstrated by Ivy League economists or others who base their authority on having attended the best schools while enjoying the company and respect of the inside-the-beltway crowd. But it is unreasonable to reject the findings on climate change from so many scientists across so many disciplines. They may be stiff-necked about being challenged on their findings; most scientists are. But does a reluctance to defend themselves and attempts to shut off debate necessarily and automatically mean they are wrong about their findings or part of some conspiracy to destroy capitalism?
Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert of New York, a past chairman of the House Committee on Science, bemoans this attitude:
The new Congress should have a policy debate to address facts rather than a debate featuring unsubstantiated attacks on science. We shouldn’t stand by while the reputations of scientists are dragged through the mud in order to win a political argument. And no member of any party should look the other way when the basic operating parameters of scientific inquiry — the need to question, express doubt, replicate research and encourage curiosity — are exploited for the sake of political expediency. My fellow Republicans should understand that wholesale, ideologically based or special-interest-driven rejection of science is bad policy. And that in the long run, it’s also bad politics.
It is impossible to have a debate when so many on both sides are poisoned with excessively ideological approaches to a scientific problem. We can argue, as Lomborg does, about the extent of the crisis. Or we can debate policy alternatives that fit the size and scope of the problem as Boehlert suggests.
But given the heat the climate change debate generates, we appear doomed to muddle along as we have been, tossing rhetorical bombs at one another while nature, in its own way, proves one side right and the other wrong.
Translation - MY FAITH IS BIGGER AND THEREFORE MORE VALID THAN YOURS!
Of course, skepticism about man-made global warming has what, nothing, to do with all the fudged data, coverups, outright lies and quite frankly, cold winters that have transpired? There was no reason to continue reading after that point.
Investigate Climategate first.
Those who claim to have the historical data also claim "the dog ate it". Where is impartial peer review?
Don't trust those who communicated with their fellow scientists to blacklist the skeptics in the scientific community.
The theory behind "climate change" we are being told to accept as fact is that (A)Man (specifically those in prosperous industrialized Western nations) is killing the planet and we are headed for
an ice age a period of great warming, drought, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes if we don't repent and pay our sin taxes to the third world that "doesn't pollute". (B) we are to accept as fact that since man IS altering the climate, we can ALSO purposely alter the climate, and the scientists know EXACTLY what the optimal temperatures are for ALL regions of the world and whether the sun increases or decreases average yearly temperature, we will use our "special means" to thwart nature and control the planetary thermostat to keep it at the "optimal" temperatures YEAR ROUND (why not?) AND that mucking about with the climate won't cause all of those natural disasters they are predicting if we DON'T ACT.
Sorry, but I stopped reading right there. That is such a loaded and tendentious term. And it's a straw man. There is no such thing as a climate change denier.
What I care about, ALL I care about, are NUMBERS. What are the numbers, and where did they come from? How much has the temperature risen or fallen, based on what data from what sensors, and WHEN? How long have we been measuring by hundredths of a degree, and how widespread and consistently calibrated are the sensors? And PLEASE don't give me ice-core findings from back then when you're doing .01 degree gradations now.
And don't get me going on sea levels. Good luck getting longtudinal gradations on that. No one has yet figured out a way to do it, so anyone who says they have is highly suspect of being an agenda scientist.
Lastly, since we are getting more and more removed chronologically from the last ice age, I would intuitively expect some warming as a natural course of events.
"This is a symptom of movement conservatisms larger problem of rejecting authority and expertise as the product of elitist thinking."
We seem to see that attitude everywhere these days.... whether the topic is climate science, Tea Party politics, or Sarah Palin's presidential aspirations.
Moran might have made more clear that "conservative" objections to climate change science are often more based in politics and ideology, than on scientific reasoning (cf. the dissertaitions on the topic by noted scientist Dr. Limbaugh).
What Moran calls "movement conservatism," though, is really nothing more than a rehashed populism. Over the past 20 years or so, "movement conservatism" has essentially abandoned the intellectual approach epitomized by the work of William F. Buckley or Russell Kirk. Conservative principles (and also the name "Reagan") are invoked like magic words.
2. If the earth is warming is it natural or man-caused?
3. If it is natural is it associated with known short or long term natural cycles? Many climate scientists hate any reference to the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age because they show that there were climate changes before industrialization. Additionally we just left an ice age about 12,000 years ago. Are we still in the natural warming period or are we supposed to have reached a maximum temperature?
4. If it is man-made, how bad will it be? A tenth of a degree temperature increase and an inch higher water level isn't enough to make major changes over.
All of the funding goes to those who say global warming exists, it is man-caused and it will be really, really bad. If your research gives the wrong answers (or even seriously asks the wrong questions) you don't get funding in the future. Many of the principles of publishing complete data and experimental methods were put into place to prevent funder driven science.
My son just came back from a visit to Ireland, where he was told that people in Ireland must register each tv that they have in their homes and pay a $70/yr for each tv. He said that they have inspectors that randomly visit each house and search for tvs and even if you have a tv in your basement thata is not being used, you will get fined if it is not registered. That’s why Ireland has such low income taxes, they have all these other global warming taxes.
There is a blinding glimpse of the principal obvious causes for climate change:
Not one Global Warmer has bothered to inform the public where, exactly, Mother Gaia is in these cycles, which operate over 100s of thousands of years.
There are three cyclical factors:
Milankovitch combined what we know of glaciation history with the Earth's position relative to the Sun. The theory has long since been substantiated. For example, as European glaciers retreat, archaeologists discover many pre-historic lost settlements from a warmer era. Oetzi the Iceman was running through an alpine forest, not a glacier valley!
In fact, relative to our position in the Milankovitch Cycle(s), glaciers probably ought to be melting at a FASTER rate than they actually are.
In addition, we are in a period of very moderate Solar Activity.
What it all means is that Earth is in a period during which seasonal differences in the hemisphere ought to lessen, mainly observable in warmer winters. The opposite would be true in the other hemisphere.
To ignore the Milankovitch Cycles and Solar Activity in any discussion of Climate Change makes that discussion specious. To allocate public money to "correct" them, insane.
Ought we to be aware of the changes in Climate and study them? O sure. But while we can react to them, we can't change them or stop them.
In the 1970's and 1960s, many of these same politically correct "scientists" or their teachers were seemingly worried about "Global Cooling." It made it to the cover of Time! The left has succeeded in conflating "Pollution" with "Dangerous Climate Change." "Pollution" is bad. Unfortunately for their case, it would seem that it has nothing to do with global climate changes, which are most likely caused by cosmic events and movements beyond our control. Man-made Pollution an be controlled and we are doing that. Unfortunately, a volcano is also a major uncontrollable "polluter" on a scale that dwarfs human activity. Like a volcano and other geological phenomena, the cyclical progression of Earth's orbits through our solar system cannot be controlled.
The broad outlines of Milankovitch's Glaciation Cycles ought to be at least presented. I will vote ...twice ... for the first Republican who has the nerve to say, "Anthropogenic Global Warming is nonsense."
You sure was right, see the post above yours
Okay. If they want to go that way, we need to redo “climate research” from ground up.
1. Reform grant funding. Nothing distorts science so much as the expectations of the entities providing the grants. Funds for climate research must be “masked” so that the researchers don’t know where they’re coming from and limited so that “researchers” can’t make global warming their career.
2. All participants in climategate must excluded from the research and from any grants. Their dishonesty is proven, and their research is, by definition, questionable.
3. All previously collected data are suspect. Throw out all existing data and collect new data. All raw data must be preserved and made available to anyone who wants it.
4. All existing models are suspect. New models must be created from the ground up. The source code, parameters and assumptions of the model must be preserved and available to other researchers. Models must pass a results check, predicting past, present and future climate change with equal accuracy.
Oh, that is nothing new. They’ve had that in Europe for generations, and decades. I remember when my parents had to pay a monthly fee for the radio and television broadcast in Germany
It seems to me that the the true anti-intellectuals are those that supported poor scientific processes, bullying of dissenting views, and manipulation of data. The true anti-intellectuals are the people who continue to ignore what is right in front of their faces and rely on an incestuous, ideologically driven academia to define expertise. The anti-intellectuals are those who refuse to see that a snake oil salesmen with a Ph.D. is still a snake oil salesman.
Moran correctly notes the politicization of the science. That's a real and serious problem, not least because it undermines the reliability of scientific endeavors in general.
But the underlying data are still there, and they show that something is going on. The problem is that it's impossible to discuss the data, because both sides are so polarized.
The "Algore" side of the debate has siezed on the data as justification for a broad program of social control. Seeing that, the "conservative" side of the debate rejects not only the program of social control; and they also reject the data.
Both sides are irresponsible.
Your post is a perfect example. You reject all data, because some of it is suspect. The problem being .... you'll probably never accept any data that comes from an "intellectual," because you've already decided they're all snake oil salesmen.
No, there's other reasons. Like falsified data. False assumptions. The more FACTS one reads, the more that they see that Global Warming is a hoax.
See http://wattsupwiththat.com/ for a great deal of information on the subject.
Did they also limit the number of televisions and radios that a family could own?
Amen to that! I refuse to be politically manipulated by politicized "science" that ignores existing knowledge. I've never doubted that some natural warming may be taking place given we're in an interglacial period. But trying to "solve" the "problem" by destroying the American economy and instituting world socialism isn't my idea of scientific rigor.
“A very good article by Mr. Moran. I predict the typical FR dismissive response, however. As Mr. Moran so correctly points out,
“This is a symptom of movement conservatisms larger problem of rejecting authority and expertise as the product of elitist thinking.””
Actually, I’m dismissive of the anthropogenic global warming based upon the available scientific evidence. When I first studied this in the ‘90’s, it was purely a science question, and not yet politicized. I think we can agree the “average global temperature” (pick your definition) has increased over the past century. However, looking at the last 1000, last 10,000, last 100,000, and last 1,000,000 years of temperature variation it is impossible to prove this is caused by mankind. The sample and the variation are too small to be statistically significant. I’d be happy to run an analysis of variation on the two data sets for you and post it here, if you doubt me.
The clincher is that the observed variation co-relates excellently with solar variation, and the “hockey stick” proof was made up by Dr. Mann.
If you have some additional scientific evidence, let me know.
It is very odd that the astronomers and physicists accept Milankovitch, but the left-wing climatologists do not. It is amazing that many non-scientifically educated persons do not know that planetary orbits are highly elliptical with our Sun at one end, and that over the millenia the ellipse grows longer and longer, the climate colder and colder, and as the ellipse again grows more circular, warmer and warmer. This correlation between orbital distance and glaciation has been known for 100 years!
I have given this as a talk, wit various powerpoints swiped from around the web, at Rotary clubs, at Toastmasters Clubs, and yes, in countless saloons, too. Not many believe it. It is too simple an explanation.
Add in geologists who have documented many consecutive glacial/interglacial cycles. Their silence mystifies me unless academia has been so corrupted by political correctness they dare not speak out.
Even more suspect is what appears to be a secret agreement by the media to scare the hell out of the populace with an unending onslaught of global warming propaganda. Movies, TV shows, Seth Borenstein of the AP, Scientific American, National Geographic, Discover Magazine and many more all trumpet the same climate disaster scenario. World socialism and redistribution of (American) wealth is the only "solution" offered to a nonexistent problem.
Correction to Post 19: I said the problem was nonexistent. It exists, or may over time, but giving up our Democratic Republic in favor of world socialism run by unelected U.N. bureaucrats won’t do a damned thing to stop it.
Many observe that the next ice age is overdue.
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