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More liberal abuse of science. June 3, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Global Warming, Liberal Hypocrisy.
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Link here. Scroll down to the bit that states the following:

There is no global warming, there is no global warming.

This is a little thing, I know. But DarkSyde, DailyKos' very own mad scientist (sorry PZ, I know you want the job and look the part, but Steve beat you to it) puts this little sentence up there as a refutation for the apparent argument that there is no global warming.

That is not the argument. The argument is whether or not the warming is anthropogenic in nature. And for the 1.35 X 10+357th time (I wish wordpress would let me do (*$#&&$%ing superscript), we do not have enough data to tell if it's anthropogenic in nature. <150 years of data is not going to tell us if 150,000-5,000,000-year cycles of weather change is causing these glacial retreats, or if humans really are responsible.

Though the betting odds at this point still indicate very strongly that it's old Mother Earth doing the glacial backstep here.

But, you put out your little one-sentence blurb, with your pictures of glacial retreat. . .and make the folks opposed to a global-warming panic look like ostriches.

That's just fine there, Chicken Little.

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Comments»

1. DarkSyde - June 3, 2006

PZ is a real scientist. I’m just a science blogger. So, he should get the job.

2. demolition65 - June 3, 2006

I am honored (and slightly amazed) that DarkSyde even took the time to notice that I said anything about him.

3. DarkSyde - June 3, 2006

There’s nothing amazing about it. I’m just a blogger like you, I’m not like famous or anything. And most folks that criticize me are far, far less charitable than you were. If I can respond to them, it’s only fitting to respond to you.

On the anthropogenic nature of GW, it’s fairly well accepted that humans are at least one significant cause. Even Bush agreed to that–albeit after some urging. BTW-The White House science advisor is a guy named John Marburger, he’s a physicist by training and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him on what I would call the wrong side of an issue. He accepts GW and anthropogenic cause & affect, although he’s a bit guarded on the latter. Most of what you see and hear on shows like Limbaugh or other right leaning, layperson programming that dismisses GW is more or less vestigial from some time ago.

It’s also reasonable that warmer air means warmer SSts and that would plausibly mean more intense hurricanes and higher sea levels. I don’t think anyone is ‘panicking’ about it. I live in Florida, in sight of the VAB and Pad 31. We’re probably as vulnerable to the effects here as anywhere else in the nation. But no one is panicking over it. We’re just concerned about how near the threat is, what might be done about it, and some of are a bit worried that there are elements in the right that see this as some kind of ideological, partisan issue, and it’s not. This isn’t a PR battle: It’s a matter of science and the potential effects won’t differentiate between conservative households or progressives ones.

The questions is not whether global warming is ‘real ‘ or whether or not humans are playing a role, both those questions have been fairly well put to rest. The only people who oppose it are a few outliers and GHG industry funded PR hacks. Both are about as credible among the scientific community as advocates of Young Earth Creationism.

The remaining questions are how fast might it proceed, are there tipping points, how will any tipping points synergize or interfere. That kind of thing. For example, if the sun is heating up, or if there is some kind of natural cycle that is adding heat, then any GW caused by humans would be additive and therefore magnified. if OTOH we’re on the verge of a cooling period, or even a new ice age, then GW might be a very good thing. Right now, most evidence points to there being a slight warming trend, if anything, so if that turns out to be true, then we don’t want to add to it anymore than we have to.

Worst case scenarios have critical tipping points distributed evenly over the next fifty years and they all tip the same way. High end estimates if all these things happen is ~10 C over the next 100 years, and about 2-4 degrees of that in the next 30-40 years (Like most events in nature and in nonlinear relationships, the phenomenon is logged up with respect to time). With polar amplification, that would mean more like 20 C/century (8-10 C/short term) for regions near the arctic circle. That would raise sea levels several meters in the next three decades and several dozen in the next hundreds years. Plus it puts more energy into the atmosphere in general. That means not only more intense hurricanes, but all kinds of weather systems would have more energy. A cold front that would have stalled over Georgia makes it all the way to Miami, and causes snow, freak weather like that.

So, yeah, that’s something we need to know about with more precision. And we can’t make those decisions if the research is being filtered through EarthFirst! or Exxon-Mobil, because then we don’t have good data, all we have is cooked PR doled out by someone with an ideological agenda.

4. demolition65 - June 4, 2006

Bravo, Steven. I have waited a long, long time for a more left-leaning, GW apologist like you to come out of the woodwork; one that can and will present a rational position on this by saying such things as: On the anthropogenic nature of GW, it’s fairly well accepted that humans are at least one significant cause..

I very much like that statement, because it is not of the type I have seen so much of; eg: "WE ARE CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING!!!"  But take care with the "well-accepted notion" part. I still hew to the notion that we may well be, but cannot know for sure. Science by consensus does not have a good track record for revealing truths.

As for this one,. And we can’t make those decisions if the research is being filtered through EarthFirst! or Exxon-Mobil, because then we don’t have good data, all we have is cooked PR doled out by someone with an ideological agenda.

BOOM!!!. That is very wise indeed. And there is far, far too much of that in the MSM (and even the blogosphere) right now.

Now, please forgive me for picking cavils, but why do we not see more of the type of material you posted in the comment above in your postings over at DailyKos?

5. DarkSyde - June 4, 2006

I’ve made those comments more times than I count all over the blogosphere, probably almost word for word at times. And I’ve linked to enough sites with diverse opinion to keep an interested reader busy for days. But everything I’ve said on those comments is valid to the best of my knowledge. There really is a consensus that GW is happening, there is a concensus it will get worse, that consensus has grown more dire with every new data set and projection. There really is an indsutry and ideological persistance n dismissing that threat, often times with open contempts, coming almost entirely, in the US, from conservatives and/or industry funded sources.

I have a question for you. Assuming you support the intervention in Iraq, which I don’t know that you do. We have spent a tremendous amount of blood and treasure to preempt a threat which we now know, in retrospect, was not as great as we thought it was. Yet the same folks who routinely and passionately defend that action will turn around in the next post and berate the threat of AGW as ‘unproven’ or exaggerated. They will cast any cimate scientists who mention it as some kind of egghead flake or worse: I’ve heard Gore and Hansen both compared to Nazis many times in the last few months.

Studying GW, investing in new technologies to limit GHG emissions, and weaning ourselves from foriegn oil, won’t kill anyone, won’t cost a quarter billion a year, it won’t sap our military, it won’t tick off our allies and embolden our foes. In short, doing so holds a lot of potentially beneficial promise far beyond climate change. Just being able to not to give a shit about what happens to tyranical, unstable oil producing regimes in the middle east alone would be worth it in my book.

Why does the right then react the way they do about this issue? Why do you Hoody? I think it’s because you and they have been subjected to years of misinformation and they’re just parrotting what they’ve heard thinking it makes sense, believing it holds up. You’re basically trusting guys like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh not to lie about it, or not to get it wrong. But I don’t know for sure, so I’m asking: Why is a potential threat in Iraq worth what we’ve already paid for it, why is it defensible even though the threat turned out to be less than advertised, but AGW is so easily dismissed and scorned on both counts?

I would suggest that one should consider just who’s interests–both domestic and foriegn– are served by that agenda of dismissial, and who’s interests are not. Specifically, high oil demand and the riches that flow from the consequent high oil prices, greatly help Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Ajerbajeen, etc. These are some of the most potentially troubling, fucked-up, shithole-regimes on earth, often ruled by theocratic lunatics or fanatics, and who directly suppport pretty much every form of radical right-wing Jihadism including the masterminds of 9-11. And by not addressing that simple econimic fact, they have money to burn and a huge amount of leverage over us and our allies.

Doesn’t it then make sense, for a whole bunch of reason, to limit GHG emisisons? And isn’t there a preexisting argument for premption at great cost, enormous cost, already in place on the right which relies on the same reasoning?

6. demolition65 - June 4, 2006

Thank you very much for your generally calm and rational responses.  This exchange has been a remarkable breath of fresh air for me. 

To respond to some specifics:

You’re basically trusting guys like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh not to lie about it, or not to get it wrong. I know this is a small thing, but I DON'T rely upon these people. Never have. Their style of rhetoric has always been much too inflammatory and argumentative for me. I think I've heard Limbaugh twice (thanks to my in-laws) and Hannity once. That was enough for me.

I have a question for you. Assuming you support the intervention in Iraq, which I don’t know that you do. I have never been a strong supporter of it. I will admit that with Powell's presentation on WMDs, it looked bad enough to me that I was cautiously in favor of it. Much has been made of Bush and Co. making that more than it was. . .but from what i know of intelligence gathering, it is so much an inexact science, so much guesswork and instinct, that I cannot turn around and second guess the man; simply because I am not sure I could have done any better in his place.

Studying GW, investing in new technologies to limit GHG emissions, and weaning ourselves from foriegn oil. . . I am not opposed to these things either, especially the last two, in that carelessness regarding GHG emissions strikes me as poor stewardship of the environment, and I love the idea of -for lack of a better term- power independence. However, these goals must not be achieved at the price of mangling our economy. Sacrifice? Sure. Alterations of habit? Love the idea. I loathe SUVs. But not destroying ourselves.

And I am not saying that you are advocating for any such thing. But that is the flavor I get from reading some of the more "progressive" sites.

In the end, my beef as I attempted to describe in the first post is one with the framing of the argument. I keep hearing, "We ARE causing it" thereby engendering a need to panic, to react instead of act thoughfully. It is more that "We MAY be causing it." I am satisfied that you -in your decidedly influential position- do not feel that way (as in saying we ARE causing it). My challenge to you -perhaps poorly worded- is to insure that your postings are worded in such a way, to emphasize the likelihood rather than the certainty. You say that you have done so in the past. Perhaps I missed those postings, perhaps I misread them. I will admit a decided tendency to read some sites with a jaundiced eye, and may have done just that with you in the past. If so, please accept my apologies.

Denial of GHGs is to me on par with Young Earth Creationism. Both require a level of denial that verges on the pathological.

Yet, the Left then tends to sneeringly dismiss some more reasonable alternatives to the above -notably, that GHG is a likelihood but not a reality, or the idea of Intelligent Design (please note, NOT as a science topic. I agree with ID, but as a topic for discussion in philosophy, not in science [obviously, that is another topic])- and lumps all "conservatives" in the "thoughtless, demagogued sheep" category when these topics arise. (Please note I said "tends to").

Anyway, to get back to the last question, yes, it DOES make sense. And on a very little level, I even attempt to do my part in biking to and from work. Yes, to work out. Yes, to save on gas money. But also to limit what CO2 and other GHGs I end up putting out as well.

7. DarkSyde - June 5, 2006

I think you need to get past worrying about what some random guy on ‘the left’ thinks about climate change. He’s not in power, he’s not a climate scientist, he’s no one that anyone will listen to if he’s got it wrong, he’s not calling the shots. And if ‘the left’ does get in power, do you seriously believe they’ll hire some ideologue from EarthFirst! to run science policy?

Come on man, it’s the present day twisted versions of the GOP that is playing to the anti-science lunatics on everything, on every issue, regardless of what the consequences are you for you I. And if you keep voting for those same guys, do you really expect that to ever change?

8. demolition65 - June 5, 2006

if ‘the left’ does get in power, do you seriously believe they’ll hire some ideologue from EarthFirst! to run science policy? Depends on who wins the Dem nomination.

it’s the present day twisted versions of the GOP that is playing to the anti-science lunatics on everything, on every issue, regardless of what the consequences are you for you I. Including using "science by consensus?" C'mon, Steve. You can't say that emotional appeals are confined solely to the GOP.

if you keep voting for those same guys, do you really expect that to ever change? As I've said elsewhere, quoting Mark Shea, it's the Stupid Party (GOP) vs. the Evil Party. I am at this point ready to vote for a 3rd party candidate, but (and since you brought up voting, I'll go ahead and open up this can of worms) until the Dems get coherent on their pro-life policy, I cannot in good conscience vote for them. (Casey in PA would be an exception).

I think you need to get past worrying about what some random guy on ‘the left’ thinks about climate change. He’s not in power, and finally, this is disingenuous nonsense parading around as false modesty. You ARE influential, and in some senses DO wield some real power. Get used to it and use it responsibly.


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